Happy Martin Luther King's Day, definitely didn't remember that was today. So one exciting thing that happened this past week is last p-day: I finally got to play basketball! The kids here play all the time. There are courts all over, and I've always wanted to play when I pass them by. Well last p-day at the court in our subdivision I played with 3 boys, 2 vs 2:) haha. It was JP (one of our ward missionaries), Mark (who is our investigator right now), and then Mark's cousin Jay (who is not a member and isn't interested). It was so much fun. The other sisters just watched.
I always wanted to play . . .
Yes, transfers have come and gone. Monday night our District Leader called us to tell us individually if we were staying or leaving. Then Tuesday as part of our district meeting, they told us where those who were leaving were going. From our district it was just Sister Duncan who got transferred, and then Sister Verma is now living with us. She's from India and has been in the mission for almost one year. She's making Indian food for us tonight, so I'm excited for that. She also told me that she wants to go to BYU after her mission so that will be fun to get to know her and then see her in Provo. But yeah everyone else in my district is the same. I'll attach a picture of my old district that we took Tuesday.
This week we had an area broadcast on Saturday where Elder Teh, Elder Ardern and Elder Nielson (from Idaho) talked to us. It was broadcasted to all of the Philippine missionaries, as well as the leadership for all the wards and stakes. It was a very good broadcast. It was all about establishing the church here in the Philippines. In the last fifty years the number of increased members of the church here in the Philippines is the most of any other country. But there's a big problem now that of that number only 22% of the members are attending church regularly. They talked about how it's a big problem that we need to fix. They just taught us what we will be focusing on as missionaries and as a ward/branch to try and help. Our focus is on teaching less actives and bringing them back to church. A quote that they shared that I really like is: "If not now, when? If not us, who?" It's kind of neat that we are all working together throughout all the Philippines and doing the same work. So far Sister Culango and I have brought back two less active families (attending church four Sundays in a row), and yesterday four less active members attended church for the first time in a long time, after we visited them. So that was really exciting. Then with our investigators this week, we got one of them to go to church. It was Helen, and she brought her husband with her as well. She's the one that has to go to the other church to save money because it's closer. It's kind of a bummer because we don't get to see her at church and talk with her, but at least she's going. I'm not complaining:) The elders that go to that branch texted us to tell us, and we were really excited. Our other investigators we just can't quite get them to come. Mark keeps talking about how he wants to get baptized, and I thought for sure he'd be at church, but he didn't show up. We have another temple tour this week so hopefully we can get some investigators to go to that and that can stir a desire in them to get to church! Sister Culango said she's had investigators before that after they saw the temple, they started coming to church. So we'll see.
My first district in Manilla
This Saturday we did our first service project. We've been asking different members and investigators if they need help with anything but haven't been able to find anything. Well finally we talked to Sister Vilasco, who was one of the less active families who we helped come back to church and who also has 7 kids. They are the ones who live very far from the church, and they all walk each week. They start at 7 to get there by 9. And we went to their house and washed the little kids’ clothes, cleaned the floor, and cut a bunch of wood with a saw (I'm not really sure what that was for.). And when I say cleaned the floor, it was a new experience for me:) ha. So you use half of a coconut pushed down on the floor and rub it on the floor to get off scuffs and to make it shiney. haha Very interesting. I wish I would have gotten a picture, but I didn't. Next time. So yeah that was a lot of fun.
Hope you all have a good week and enjoy the Monday holiday. Dad, my Tagalog is coming along. It's interesting because some of the members and investigators I can understand very well, almost all that they are saying, and then other investigators it is still really hard to understand them. Sister Culango and I figured out it's usually those who are originally from Cebuano speaking parts of the Philippines, and they learned Tagalog after Cebuano that I can understand. It's just the way they talk, and I'm sure the reason I understand them well is because that's how Sister Culango speaks, and I'm with her 24/7. So yeah, it’s kind of interesting, but it's coming.
My first service project
Mahal na mahal ko kayo,