So sorry i haven't been emailing recently, i'm still alive i promise! hahaha so my first Christmas away from home was pretty emotional. It was such a blessing to be able to skype and talk to my family! Haha they put me on the big screen back at home during our family party. Last christmas i remember watching my cousin, Jessie Gadi, on the tv screen, while she was on her mission in Missouri & this year it was me! it was really weird to be on the other side. It's funny - no matter how much time i'm given to email or skype, i don't think it'll ever be enough. I could be sitting in this little computer cafe for days and it still wouldn't be enough because i miss everyone so much! I was just a ball of emotions and tears after we hung up, but that's okay ahahaha i think being out here really makes me appreciate the relationships i have back at home. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. It just makes me realize that homesickness is a blessing bc it reflects just how AMAZING my life back at home is. I know that i'm out here to help others grow closer with their families, and to make those family relationships last eternally - even after death!
I got to see a bunch of my batch mates for Christmas out here with was really cool! We spent all of our Christmas party together! Everyone out here on the field must have known how difficult it is to spend christmas away from home because i got invited to like 50 parties and now i can't fit into any of my dresses. The philippines is such a beautiful place full of love, haha i leave my apartment every morning and hear these little kids scream "HEY SISTER!!! HEY SISTER!!! HIIII!" and how can you not start out your day with a smile when that happens? (lol i added a picture of them down at the bottom). oh and also...i got to eat some fresh balot to celebrate the holiday season ahahahaha (NO BIG DEAL JUST ALMOST BORN BABY DUCK YUM) hahaha
I also had the opportunity to say my testimony during sacrament meeting this week (and it was in taglish (tagalog+english) bc my tagalog is still in its fetus stage). It was about missionary work and how you really don't need a black name tag to be a missionary. I honestly believe that you shouldn't be ashamed to share your beliefs with your friends and family, because they trust and love you the most, and if your testimony matters to you, (if they really care about you) they'll respect what you have to say. That doesn't mean that they'll agree 100% or that you have to force your beliefs on anyone - all i'm saying is that you should feel comfortable sharing what has brought you happiness in your life and what you know is true. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives, and I know that Jesus Christ gave his life for me. The Holy Spirit has testified the truth of their love to me, and i see it everyday in my life. Everything - people, plants, animals, stars, planets- is evidence that God is real. I know They care & know each and everyone of us individually and hear our prayers. Our problems and worries matter to them...and Christ came to Earth and gave his life so He'd know exactly how we felt and how to guide us. There is no reason to be ashamed of your testimony. Christ wasn't ashamed of you when he was spit at and mocked. He wasn't ashamed when he was hated and pinned up on the Cross. He defended your name until the very end, and still defends you today - practicing mercy and creating a plan for us to be forgiven for our wrongs.
They've blessed me with so much. They've blessed me with you as my friend, with my family, with the investigators out here on the field, with air to breath, and a healthy body! I cannot be grateful enough. I hope that this new year inspires a change for the better for each of you. I know that there's always room for growth. I always pray for you out here, and I've gotten letters and emails from you all saying that you've been praying for me...and that is such a beautiful thing to hear! You all mean so much to me. I hope your Christmas was amazing and centered on Christ and all He's done for you! hahaha please send pics/videos/stories because i'd love to hear what you all did! I love you all so much (: Hope to hear from you all soon!