Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trust and Believe.

Dear Mom,
There are two things that happen the last week of the transfer with the extra two days of work without rest - my hair gets really long, and events are so numerous that my email is inevitably also, very long. Don't worry mom, I already got a haircut. Let the races begin.
The week started out with a great visit from a member of the area presidency of the Philippines, Elder Nielson, along with his wife Sister Nielson. We spent nearly the whole day listening to talks about them as they made their way around our mission and did what they call a "Mission Tour." This one was especially important, because it focused on the church's area goals for 2012 by saving the less-active members of the church. Of all the things I remembered, two things are worth mentioning - one, what Elder Nielson told us not to forget - that the area presidency, as well as the leaders of the church, continually love and support the missionaries. And two, something that President Sperry commented on, about how the Atonement that Jesus Christ made for us was for all. All. All from the children of Adam until the end of the world. What touched me the most, is that president made this somewhat personal to me as I commented on how sometimes we as people forget that. Sometimes I think I feel like I'm noninclusive in the Savior's sacrifice for some reason, but it's good to know with assurance that I am. I wish I could have taken a picture, but president even wrote my name on the board when he discussed it. The Atonement is good for all, even Elder Corpuz.

Elder Posadas and I were also extremely lucky. We spruced up and perfected the guitar rendition we put together the day before of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and were able to perform it for the Nielsons as well as the Sperrys. It was one of those opportunities in life that I'll never forget.

The next day, the zone volunteered at the Red Cross and we helped organize stocks. It was a lot of fun actually, and I felt like I was in my days as drum major of marching band again - you can see. Since Elder Jolley and I were the ones that organized the project, I was somehow (standing in the wrong place at the wrong time haha) dubbed as the "leader" of the zone for the hour and a half and was pretty much forced into making sure things ran efficiently and well. Things ended out great, and we had a great time helping. We even finished in record time - that's what you call diligence.

See. Haha.

Eating at Hungry Haven after.
 And the next day was... Thanksgiving! Or for us, any other normal day of work. I actually had such a great opportunity to go on exchanges and work in Meycuayan, Bulacan for the day. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my Thanksgiving any other way. I got to work with one of our zone leaders, Elder Magno, and our missionary who is waiting for his visa (who actually just left today) to Guam, as well as Sister Conje, a friend I've had in the stake. The day couldn't have been anymore fun. For dinner, we were able to get together with Elder Posadas and Elder Hawkins at the apartment, ordered some food, and had a simple Thanksgiving dinner with a chicken instead of turkey. We told the Thanksgiving story and all went around saying what we were thankful for.

 Funny aside - we were talking about what kind of movies we like, and when they got to Elder Posadas, he kind of looked down, and was like... "I really like chick-flicks." When he said that, I just started laughing and laughing and laughing. And he looked at me and was just like... "And I know Elder Corpuz does too." Haha. The Proposal anyone? Best last Thanksgiving in the Philippines ever.

Afterwards, we were able to see the jerseys that were made for the zone. Funny story actually. Elder Posadas picked his number before me, but since his number was taken, he picked seven, because his birthday is the seventh of December, but also because he knew my favorite number is seven. So when it was my turn to pick, I was ready to smack him for picking my number! Haha. So we resolved and decided to just get the same number - bfffs.

 The rest of the week... well was pretty sad. I got the feeling I was transferring about a week ago, so I started packing and saying bye starting on Friday. It was lots of lasts. On Sunday, everyone wanted to work with us, including our most recent converts - the three new members of the youth program.

Our newest convert working with us for the first time - Sister Analyn.

Playing games with the Belista family - John, that crazy kid, was one of our converts here as well.

Look familiar mommy?
 Monday, (bare with me, we are almost to the end) we had one last service project and helped one of the people we were teaching make floormats in her "Bahay Kubo." It was extreme work only to be sold for an extremely low price. It was a lot of fun though, and Elder Posadas and I got another laugh out of us both wearing jeans again haha. Another funny tidbit, while I was grabbing my bandanna for the day to wipe sweat out of my eyes and keep me from breathing in dusty stuff cutting those bits of fabric, I had a feeling Elder Posadas forget to bring one, so I grabbed two. Yup - correct. That's how well we know each other haha. Did I mention we just found out today that we have the same favorite color? Haha - the list goes on and on. We put on an encore performance of the I Know That My Redeemer Lives for Sister Rose too, it was kind of a failure though because I made up half the words I couldn't remember haha.

THAT is what we were preparing to make. We finished one haha.

Elder Jolley teaching the Belista family "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree"
Tuesday - I'll tell you a funny story that happened on Tuesday real quick. First, I'll tell you that, while my companion was being a retard, I ran into a car that day. Second, Elder Jolley made a funny haha. We were teaching about Joseph Smith, and Elder Jolley had been working to memorize James 1:5 in Tagalog. This is how it should come out:

Ngunit kung nagkukulang ng karunungan ang sinuman sa inyo ay humingi sa Diyos na nagbibigay ng sagana sa lahat at hindi nanunumba't, at ito'y ibibigay sa kanya.

This is what Elder Jolley said:

Ngunit kung nagkukulang ng karunungan ang sinuman sa inyo ay humingi sa Diyos na nagbibigay ng manzanas sa lahat at hindi nanunumba't, at ito'y ibibigay sa kanya.

Here's the difference for you two non-Tagalog speakers - the first means that God gives to men liberally. The second means that God gives to men apples. Oh man haha.

I love this family. Luisa always seems to find a way to jump on my back right before we leave.

This was our last dinner with the Corpuz Family - me, Brother Corpuz, and Benjo.

I saw this in a trike yesterday!
Our last dinner with the Santos Family last night.

 And finally, today. The news. Before all was said and done, the sisters put on a great workshop today comparing our lives to a pencil and called it the "Parable of the Pencil." My favorite part was about how as pencils, when we make mistakes, because of Jesus Christ, we have the ability to erase them. Before announcements, we played a game as usual and the sisters came in in a rally. The sisters for sure are not transferring because they are training, so they made a rally, saying that Elder Crockett and Elder Macas needed to leave, but at the same time that me and Elder Posadas needed to stay. It was way funny.

Literally: Stay Elder Posadas because you have a cute mole - inside joke :).
This is another funny inside joke. Literally: Stay Elder Corpuz because your boyfriend still needs you. Boyfriend? Yeah - gossip holds it that me and Elder Posadas were magka-boyfriend!

And all was said and done. The verdict - somewhat painful. Elder Posadas will be transferring. Elder Corpuz will be transferring. And the shocker, my companion, Elder Jolley, will also be transferring. Our area, Marulas, will be white-washed for the second time, and pulled-out. When I came in, it was a "pull-in" where my companion and I were both brand new, and now it's happening again. The news was hard, and you know me with goodbyes - tears on top of tears on top of tears. Hugs and handshakes all around were really difficult earlier, especially when Sister Drio started crying and me and Elder Posadas gave each other our last hug. It's life though - but there's a beauty to it that I feel I've learned this past week.

After a recap, and a look back at this transfer - possibly even my life - I've come to a conclusion this past week. This past week has been difficult. I think pretty much since last Thursday, I've either not been able to sleep, or fallen asleep suffocating in tears anticipating the transfer announcement and my eventual, removal from the area. Goodbyes. Hard goodbyes. Hard goodbyes to a zone, area, and people that I have grown to love - if not some of the best people I've met my whole mission, and even my whole life. I've thought to myself, why it's necessary and why it's so hard. Why is it so hard to say goodbye to people you love? Why does it hurt so much? Why is this something that always inevitably happens in this life?

It happens, because we let it. It happens because we refuse to see.
I've thought about trust, and a lot of what Elder Quinney, our new Assistant to the President said to me last Friday. I admire this kid so much and have known him since the MTC. It's just all about trust. The hurting is unreasonable. It's natural, but unreasonable, and what I've gained the most comfort in this past week is realizing that if I can just learn to put my trust in God - all of it and not hold back - there is absolutely no reason for me to question, worry, or anticipate whatever anxiety the future may hold, because of this ultimate truth: God loves us. He will not abandon us. He will not forsake us. And He knows what's best for us. Sometimes life hurts, because we don't get our way. When we battle what our Father in Heaven wants, that tends to happen. But if we can just be humble and believe in Him and good things to follow, all pain, doubt, and sorrow that are illogically placed in our hearts, will be removed.

Life is hard, but with God it's do-able. And it's not just do-able. It's fulfilling. 

My goodness, goodbyes will be hard today, tomorrow, and forever - and I will probably always cry. But for now, I'm okay with that. Crying to me is okay, because I know that that's just how much I put into the work here. It's a way for me to say that I didn't hold back. And the best part is knowing that goodbye's aren't permanent. Because with the gospel in our lives, there are no goodbyes. As Elder Posadas' father said in his letter to me, "Friends can be eternal." I know that's true, as long as we do our best to be our best.

Change. Change is coming, but if anything - that's something, if not the only thing, that will... never change. I'm sad, but at the same time excited, because I know that as long as I, as well as anyone, embrace the gospel, blessings will come and are promised. So now it all just begins with trust. Trust in God and believe in good things to come.

Wish me luck. 

Elder Corpuz