This week was a crazy week. We did so much! On Wednesday, Elder Schwitzer (from the 70) and his wife came to do a Mission Tour of the PCM (Philippines Cauayan Mission). It was so amazing to be able to hear from them and I was so spiritually full afterwards, I didn't know what to do with myself. I really loved hearing from them. Before I met them, I was worried that I would be disappointed in meeting them, and that they wouldn't live up to the hype, but the opposite happened: I was amazed! Elder and Sister Schwitzer brought such a great spirit of love and I really felt their testimonies and I could see it in their eyes. They are an amazing pair. I really enjoyed the entire conference, and I learned so much. Here are a few things that struck me especially:
We talked about the parable of the lost coin, and Elder Schwitzer's message from it really touched my heart, and I have reflected on it a lot this week. He talked about the woman "sweeping the whole house," and how she didn't stop looking, until she found her lost coin. His son served a mission in New York, and one time he found a woman who lived in an elevator shaft, who was poor and probably looked like a dirty, measly penny to the world. He taught her, and baptized her, and her life turned completely around. She may have seemed like nothing, but to Elder Schwitzer's son, she was priceless; and in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, every one - every soul! - is priceless. I want to find my "lost coins," or brothers and sisters, wherever they may be here in the PCM. I know that I have been called by a prophet of God to come and find those brothers and sisters - MY brothers and sisters - who are lost in this crazy world. And I need to find them. Elder Schwitzer's message, I felt, woke me up, and reminded me of why I was here, and what I need to think of and do each and every day. I need to search and search! Nothing, not homesickness, stress, fatigue, or fear, can stifle this work, or me. To remind me of this message every day, I took a 5 sento-peso piece from my wallet, they're little and brown with a hole in the middle, and I put in on a chain, and I wear it around my neck every day. It's worth less than a peso, but to me, it's a reminder of how priceless every person is, and to never stop searching for those that are lost.
I also had the opportunity to go on splits with the STL's (who are also our housemates) this Thursday, and I was assigned with Sis Culis. I was so nervous beforehand, but she really calmed my fears just by her strength and kindness. She is great! I learned a lot about teaching and making invitations, and she helped me continue to learn and understand the language. I admire her strength and her capacity to love others. She is a great missionary.
We also got a new Branch Mission Leader this week, who is really great. I am excited to work with him, and strengthen our branch with him. Hopefully we can get everyone in the ward excited about doing missionary work!
I love this mission. I know that angels are by my side each and every day, to bring the joy of the gospel to the Philippines. I have angels everywhere and I can feel them: in the kids that run around me and give me high-fives, in the missionaries that I work with; they are all around me. There's no way I could do any of this without some heavenly help. I know angels and so many others are here, watching me and lifting me when I can't lift myself. You are my angels too. Thank you for being by my side, even though you're not really here, and for praying and fasting for me.
I love you so much and I am so happy to email you today! I love being a missionary, and I love helping people here to find the light of Christ. I LOVE YOU! MAHAL KITA!
Sis Anna Ray Allen
Cute little Filipino girls. This was at our Community Service Project on Friday. We helped a member clean up all the mess from the storm in his tree/yard/dirt area by his house.
Selfie! Hahaha I love this picture. They were all singing and dancing like crazy little girls. They reminded me of Sage and I being crazy together. They kept petting my hair and would smile and say in broken English, "what's your name?" They are so cute!
This is the daughter of the member who we helped. Her name is Jelo. Hahaha, exactly like "Jell-o." She wouldn't tell me what her name was, but I found out from her sister. She wouldn't talk to me, but she would run up and grab my hand and walk with me or just run up and stand by me. She is 2 years old.
A huge spider we found! I thought it was carrying a candy at first, like a giant Sweettart or something, but nope.....that's an egg sac! ICK! But it was cool. I wasn't even scared. Everyone said I was brave for getting close to it hahaha. As long as it doesn't touch me, I'm good. It's HUGE.
Me and Sis Maroket before the Zone Conf. with Elder and Sister Schwitzer. I blow dryed my hair for the first time since being here that day and I thought I was going to die, cause I was so hot. But my hair was pretty, so that's all that matters. Beauty is pain!
What most of the toilets look like. This is at a member's house named Edita. You dip the little bucket in the big bucket and the toilet drains down to who-knows-where. There were sticks and plastic billboard-type fabric stuff about four feet high around it for privacy. Good thing I'm on the short side! Haha
This is a dessert called "halo-halo," which in English literally means "mix mix." Hahaha. It has snowcone snow stuff in it, jello, weird fruit snack-like squishy things, a chunk of "ube" flavored ice cream stuff, a chunk of cheesecake like stuff, sweet beans, and a bunch of other random stuff that i have no idea. You mix it all up and then just eat it. It was actually pretty good! It was the first time I got cold here, while eating it. Freezie-brain! Hahaha