Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter #32 (1-5-2014)

Kamusta Family!

This week I was transferred! Yes, Sister Natarte and I cried a lot. But I know that each transfer is from God, so this will be what is best. The hard part of the story however, is that I was transferred Thursday Morning, and brother Borj's baptism was on ThursdayAfternoon. I missed it by a few hours and was pained in my heart. It is hard to leave an area after so many prayers, so much time, and hard ache, and work, and dedication all towards one area. Then in just a few minutes, you learn to leave it all behind and start again. It is heartbreaking, but also exciting as we meet so many more people in each area. I'm trying not to think to much about all of the families and people I was able to meet and grow to love in just a short time over in Pulupandan. 

Right Now I am in Cadiz with my companion Sister Madronio. Every missionary in this mission says they want to go to Cadiz, so I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.  Even our Assistant to the President mentioned how lucky I was the morning of transfers. Because there are so many missionaries in this mission, they had an early transfer day a few weeks before the end of the transfer which is really on the 15th, for half of the transfers. Then the rest will be on the 15th. Sister Natarte stayed in Pulupandan and is now companions with Sister Nelson (Sister Jenna Smoot's companion in the MTC)!  I know they will take great care of that area.

Sister Madronio has been here her whole mission (4 transfers). She knows the area really well and is loved by all the people. It's fun to not have to lead everything and just be able to meet everyone and teach and not have to decide anything yet. I know that's a lazy attitude, but it's only for a couple of days so I'm going to just enjoy it. I'm still the senior companion, but that doesn't mean much since every missionary is an equal participant.  This area is a blast because it is way more developed in the culture of the church than my other areas. Even though this is only a branch (Cadiz 2nd Branch), it is more functioning than my other wards in Pululpandan and Magsungay.  They have callings, and youth!, and Single Adults!, and a huge gospel principals class! They even have someone who is active to teach it. (I had been teaching Gospel Principals everySunday in pulupandan. Also, our mission vision has been achieved in this area, so we have 26 recent converts all attending the class (that's more than our entire Elders Quorum and Relief Society combined in Pulupandan). It's a little intimidating to adjust to such a well functioning area (what if I mess it up :) ), but it's also a giant relief.  We have members who actually want to help, and then follow through. It's really a paradise over here and I'm starting to understand why everyone is jealous that I got to come.

It is just Sister Madronio and me in our apartment, so it's very quiet compared to the 6 sisters in my last house.  We also speak 0 English so my Ilonggo skills are rapidly accelerating. Actually, it is kind of hard for me to talk in English right now as I'm typing. I keep deleting Ilonggo words that are coming out.I know I should speak English to help Sister Madronio learn it, but I selfishly want to keep improving my Ilonggo. I don't know what to do yet, I will pray about it.  Sister Madronio said that I'm the best Ilonggo speaking American she has heard, so I'm trying not to get prideful. Every time I start to think I'm good at Ilonggo, Heavenly Father removes the gift of tongues and then I start stuttering and can't form sentences. It's literally like the Liahona in the Book of Mormon. If I'm prideful, it doesn't work. As soon as I humble myself and am using it for the good of others, it is understandable, correct and fluid. It is one gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life and truly a miracle from this mission that I can never forget. I hope it isn't removed when I come home!  

Anyway, I love you so much and am so grateful for all of your support and kindness. Knowing you all will love me no matter what, helps me to keep improving and motivates me to do my best! I love you all so much and know I am way too lucky to have you! Lots of Love,
Sister Smoot

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