Monday, December 19, 2011

The Reason for Miracles.

Dear Mom,
I am happy.

I am so, so happy. I can't believe it's Christmas already.

This week really couldn't have been any more amazing, and the next week and week after, just get better. Especially since I get to see all of you on Sunday. Jason, you have so many emails, I have no idea which one to send emails to anymore, but I hope this one makes it to you!

In review, this week started out on Tuesday with the temple lighting that I told you about. It was such a great, great day. We got there, and I saw people from every area I've been assigned in, except, of course, my first area since that's in a complete other mission now. And of course, after a little more than a week, Elder Posadas and I were able to see each other! He was one of the tour guides with me so we were there pretty early. We got to talk a bit previously and it was so nice to see him again, just like being reunited with family - after all of a week haha. The temple lighting was truly touching. It ended with a video about the Savior to Celine Dion's "O, Holy Night" which was so powerful. And then, lucky me and Elder Quinney, got to sing right after Ms. Dion. It went great though, and I was really happy that Elder Posadas and his companion were able to sneak in to see. I couldn't believe this would be the last temple lighting I will see here in Manila.

On our way to the temple!

The "Tour Guides"

 Friday was our ward Christmas party, and I pretty much went through the Christmas party laughing and crying. I think I'll just pretty much be crying until I leave the Philippines haha. I realized how great it is here in the Philippines. The party was simple, because all that matters to Filipinos is that we are together. We don't need decorations, fancy games, or costumes. We just need each other, food, and music. My companion and I had so much fun, especially with Eduardo, one of the people we are teaching. I had great fun participating in the games, even with the little kids, and even had a chance to sing! After the members came to the temple lighting, they didn't really give me a choice haha. I enjoyed it though, I wouldn't rather be in any other area to celebrate the holidays.

Jason would have loved this, these little primary kids did the "shuffle" for their presentation. It was really, really good!

The epic number that the moms put on.

My favorite was watching Sister Lopez, she reminded me a lot of grandma. 

This was the young men and their little band.

Bishop's wives are always so funny, Sister Tapan just HAD to be in the picture!


Us and Eduardo, the funniest person I've ever taught! I made sure to wear Elder Jolley's tie that day too so he could see the pictures.
I tried to line up with the kids for candy, but the wouldn't give me any haha.

The new married couple! No, that's not their kid haha.

My companion and I made sure to get matching hats!


This was the "snowball" dance. Every time the music stop, everyone would grab someone to dance until eventually everyone, except us, was dancing!

 And then on Saturday, I was able to conduct companion exchanges for training purposes with Elder Putot in his area and then attend their baptism after. I had some fun experiences that day and even learned some Cebuano! The area we worked in was right by my third area in Ampid, which you could see across the river. I sent a picture of me crossing a bridge - or a least a failed attempt. I was walking and fell through the bridge and my knee got clipped between the two trees. It hurt pretty bad, but made a great memory. That's what life is all about, making imperfect memories. The perfect ones are too overrated.

Super ouch.

 Their baptism went great. I remembered when Elder Tengelsen was one of my leaders and how he took time to attend each of the baptisms. It was a small thing, but to Elder Tengelsen, him giving him time is the way he shows his love. I wanted to do the same and emulate his example. These were also the first people I was able to interview for baptism, so their baptism was also really special to me.

Amidst the great events of this past week, and especially with the season and recent events, I've pondered about miracles a lot. I've thought about what defines a miracle, miracles I've seen, and why they happen.

If I had to define miracles, I would define them as things thought to be impossible but made to somehow become possible. They are good things always. They are extreme blessings. And something I've really considered, is that they happen to everyone: good and bad. For most, the realization of miracles received is often what lacks.

I've thought about the miracles I've seen, mostly in just the past week. From simple things, like being able to wake up in the morning or be able to walk. To things like seeing lives change, hearts and people healed from embracing the Gospel. My companion, in particular, has probably made the most impossible change I have ever seen anyone make in their lives in such a short period of time.

So why do these things happen? Why do good things continue to happen to people regardless of their belief or how much they take these things that happen for granted?

Yesterday, I had a really touching experience that I'll never forget. And this was how my prayers and questions were answered as I thought about this this past week.

We had went out of our way to travel a good 45 minutes to pick up this family to come to church yesterday. When we got there, everyone had just woken up, except for one member of their family: Tin tin. Tin tin is the youngest of all of them, a small, shy, nine-year-old girl - innocence to it's greatest degree. When we walked in, she was all changed, showered, and ready to go. We waited for another thirty minutes for others to change, but apparently other plans were made, and despite all the waiting, we left with just one member of a six-member family, and made our trek back to church.

I felt like a failure, and now we were a good hour late to church. I continued to ask myself, was that hassle worth it? For just one little girl?

It didn't take me long to realize the answer to that, and the answer to the questions I had been thinking about all week. Immediately, I recalled a scripture that when recalled, took me over so powerfully that it brought me to tears. The scripture reads:

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

I knew at that point, that our time was not wasted and that our Heavenly Father was so happy. He was so happy because one of his daughters made it to church that day. I don't know her future or her potential, but He does, and I know the she is so important to Him.

When I thought about it more, it all made sense. It is the reason for miracles. Because we are all important to God. We are all so precious. Each and every single one of us. He loves all of us unconditionally and equally, and He gives us miracles, most that we don't even see everyday, because He, as any other loving parent, wants to give all He can to us to make us happy.

Lives are truly so precious, and I had a big wake up call in the mission home this morning with Cherry, our mission-home-house-help. A young-single mother from Montalban who continues to touch the lives of all the missionaries. While I was helping her put together presents for missionaries, she received a phone call and was informed that a friend had been lost to breast cancer. We talked for awhile after in tears with Sister Sperry, and talked about how lives are one of many miracles that people take for granted. Lives and souls are truly so precious. And like Sister Cherry said, we need to make sure to continue after Christmas, as every cliche Christmas song says, and love our friends and family, because we won't be together forever here.

Remembering Christmas, which now is so close that I can almost see it's shadow, truly shows us how important every individual soul is to our Father in Heaven. The miracle of our Savior's birth and the miracle of his atoning sacrifice. The most extreme blessings and gifts that a Father could ever give.

I know that we are all important in the eyes of God. That He loves and cares for each and every single one of us personally. I know He weeps with us when we weep and rejoices with us when we choose to live within the bounds He has set for us. This knowledge that He has helped me to know, is the best gift and miracle I have ever received or seen in my own life.

I know that my life is a miracle. From the great family I have - mom, dad, Jason, and Farah. The great friends, who might as well be family - like the Squires and the Posadas family. To companions I've been with - especially those like Elder Jolley. And experiences I've seen. My life is a miracle, in every sense of the word. Impossible things made possible. Blessings unwitheld. And the worth of my soul being remembered.

Merry Christmas with Love,
Elder Corpuz