Hello my wonderful friends and family!!
Well, I think it's safe to say that I'm the worst at 'guessing' if I'm going to transfer or not. It's usually the opposite of what I think, so yep. I got transferred. As sad as I was to leave Bago, Sister Tanes (I know she's in good hands...her companion is Sister Bitter!), and the amazing members, recent converts, and investigators, I'm excited to be in my new area... Pontevedra!! It's south of Bago in the Binalbagan zone. To makes things a bit simpler, I'll give a summary of my new experiences/area:
My companion: Sister Manosig! She's from Tay Tay Rizal, Manila, 24 years old, 9 out of 14 kids (they are all members--majority having already served missions), same batch as Sister Canimo (goes home in August), graduated college as a nurse, and is pretty much the best! She is quiet but powerful, especially in her teaching. She is very Christ-like, very hard working, and I'm so excited to learn from a more experienced sister! I've already learned loads from her this week. :)
The area: Pontevedra. It's actually a branch here, which I'm SO excited about. The branch is working towards becoming a ward pretty soon, so hopefully we'll be able to help them out! They actually just added sisters to this area, so now there are four missionaries instead of two. Sister Manosig and Sister Shakespear actually came in when the area split about two weeks ago, and were just getting settled in when Sister Shakespear transferred a week after she got there. A lot of people were super confused when I started walking around with Sister Manosig...they thought I was Sister Shakespear at first! haha They said we have very similar facial features. Probably because we're distantly related. ;) This area actually reminds me of a Filipino style Logan or Brigham City, so I LOVE it!!
The meeting house: The whole building is smaller than our cultural hall back home and the baptismal font is outside. Love it. :)
The members: LOVE THEM!! They seriously are so great. We had a meetingwith President Castaneda and the auxiliary leaders, and I'm super excited to work with this branch. Some of the awesome members here are Sister Boncag and her sister- they're 73 and 75, never been married, super active in the church, and love the missionaries. They are just the sweetest, funniest ladies. We are currently teaching one of their referrals, Sister Norma, and it's been really helpful to have them there. They're the best. :) Brother Erwin and Sister Nelly Rusia- they look like siblings of like 18 and 20, but they're married and are in their late 20s. They gave me a good joke about that the first time I met them. They have the best "how they met" story ever that I'll have to tell you when I get home. Brother Erwin is a counselor in the Branch Presidency and 1 of the 2 RMs in the ward, and Nelly is Relief Society President. She's pregnant but they have one other 'daughter' who is actually their niece. They adopted her because both her parents died when she was 7. She's eleven now and is one of our recent converts. Her name is Shane Rose and just the sweetest girl ever.
The investigators: Since the area was split, we're in a similar situation as when I was in Bago....the need for more investigators. We've done a lot of finding this week and have had quite a few miracles. One of our investigators is Spark (Mark John). He's 13 and has just the biggest smile. :) He loves our message and is so receptive! We met his 92 year old grandma last night who is part deaf, and probably part blind because she thought I was a boy at first. haha She patted my face, gave me a toothless kiss on the cheek, and pinched my cheek all within 10 minutes. It was pretty great. :) We've had other investigators feed us duck this week, some kids call me Barbie, we need to climb a ladder over a wall to get to one of our areas, and I saw a caribou in a tricycle. It's been quite the week but I'm loving it. :)
Conference was fabulous, as usual....the speakers, the music, the prayers, the spirit...everything. :) We watched thesession in Binalbagan at the Stake Center and Sister Fanene was there! It took all we could to stay dignified and contain our excitement when we saw each other. Goodness, I love her. our branch showed General Conference in the meetinghouse, which was awesome so our investigators wouldn't have to take the hour bus ride to Binalbagan! They only showed the morning session though, so I've yet to see the afternoon session. The spirit was so powerful in all the talks though, and I learned SO much that I want to apply into my work and life as a missionary. We truly are so blessed to have living prophets and apostles lead and guide us in these latter-days. I know they are inspired messengers of God and that Thomas S. Monson is our true and living prophet.
I really liked Elder Ballard's talk and want to do something he suggested to. That is, share one thing I learned from Preach My Gospel this week. And I would be more that happy to hear the things that you learn from Preach My Gospel in your weekly letters to me. :) This week I focused on Chapter 1, My Purpose because it's a new transfer and I've been given some new responsibilities. As I studied, "The Power and Authority of Your Calling" on page 4, I studied about how when we are set apart as missionaries, we receive authority from God to preach His gospel. But it's as we prayerfully and worthily exercise this authority that we receive spiritual power. Our power and authority is evident when we work and teach. One of the listed ways that we can know that our power is being manifest is when we receive guidance about where to go or what to do. Sister Manosig and I experienced this this week when we were proselyting. It was getting later in the evening and we had a few more appointments we needed to hit with investigators to reach our goals for the day. We were debating whether to visit a less active family or not, and when Sister Manosig asked me what I thought, I said, "let's visit them!" We went to their house, and ended up teaching their family with an investigator present! Her name is Jona (18 years old) and she was visiting the family. We taught the message of the Restoration and the spirit was SO tangible. She was very receptive and agreed to be baptized. She's super busy with school, so we weren't able to set an official date, but she is so open to the Gospel. It was amazing to see how the Spirit truly guided us to know where to go, even in that little decision to visit this less active family. As a result of following the Spirit, we were able to teach a less active family, have a member present lesson, and most importantly, bless the lives of our Heavenly Father's children. Strengthening the testimony of the less active members, and bringing new light and knowledge about our loving Heavenly Father to an investigator. It was a small experience, but truly testified to me that when we prayerfully, faithfully, and live worthily of our authority as God's servants, He will manifest His power through us so that we may bless His children in ways that we cannot do on our own.
I'm excited to see what this new week has in store for us. I'm so grateful for my calling as a missionary and the power and authority God gives us each and every day through the enabling power of the Atonement. I know this Gospel is true with all my heart. I know Christ is our Savior and that Thomas S. Monson is God's living prophet on the earth. I know Joseph Smith was called of God to help restore the only true Gospel to this earth. I know God is our loving Heavenly Father. I'm grateful for my companion, for my area, the members, our investigators, and for the opportunity to better love, serve, and learn from the missionaries and people in the Philippines. This work truly is the BEST! Love you all so very much. Thank you for your constant thoughts and prayers...I feel them each and every day!
Have a fabulous week!
All my love,
"Sinigang--delicious Filipino dish. :)"
Jhanna and Glance
"Sister DelosSantos visited me the morning I left."
"How we got our luggage to Galo chapel after our bus ride....good ol' transfers. :)"
"Our cute little meeting house that I love so much. :) There are about 5 different churches (Iglesia ni Cristo, Catholic, Baptist, etc.) in our area, and our church building is the smallest and most humble looking. :) Yet we know it's the most true Church in the world. :)"
"Sister Manosig and me"
"Spark's 92 year old Grandma"