This week has been a good week. I am doing well. I am so happy and I am growing so much. We have been busy - of course! We taught almost 30 lessons this week, which was good! We're moving up. Our goal - and the standard of excellence for PCM - is 35 lessons per week. That's what we're pushing for! Burgos is doing well. It’s been really hot lately because it hasn’t rained in a while, but the weather is basically the same: hot and humid. Right now, the corn harvest has started and the rice is still growing. I ate some corn on the cob this week at a members house, and it was delicious! It was so fresh and sweet. Yum!
Me and Sister Escalante here in the Burgos 1st Branch are doing well and are working together better than ever. Her training is almost over! Time really is going fast. Our branch is getting stronger and stronger each week. Our attendance at church has started to grow. This past Sunday we had about 120 attendees, which is a step up from before. We have been planning with our crazy, but wonderful, branch mission leader to visit more of the less active and part member families in our branch. There are SO many less actives in our branch. Most people we talk to say, "oh yeah, I was Mormon before..." It's a land of less actives! We want to teach the less actives and part members, because as we teach them, we can teach their friends and family members too and they can become our investigators. We were really bummed again this Sunday because none of our investigators came to church. Even though we did all we could to get them there - fellowshipper, ride to church, multiple commitments and reminders - it still didn't happen. Sometimes I just want to shout at them, "JUST COME TO CHURCH!" It's hard to watch people choose not to do things that you know will make them happier and better. But, they have their agency, and we have to respect that. But we will still do everything we can to help them make the right choice.
The best part of this week was when we had “splits” on Sunday after church. I worked with some branch missionaries and Sister Escalante worked with some branch missionaries separately. We were still close by, but we went to different investigators and lessons so that we could cover more area in a smaller amount of time. I was with Lyka and Sister Escalante was with two other branch missionaries. I was nervous to see how Sister E would do because that was the first time she worked on her own without me. But she did great! It made me so proud to see and hear how she did. She really has gotten the hang of things. I am so proud that she has applied all the things that we have been teaching her. She is growing so much. That was the best part of the week: seeing how much my anak has learned and grown.
Another great part of the week was when we had a service project at the family of one of our members, the Martin family. They are building their house, and we helped them clean up the yard and the area around the house. It was fun! I like yard work. It’s exercise and I feel like it relieves stress. Especially when you’re working for someone else ! Afterwards they fed us lunch. As we were eating, Sister Myrna, the mom, basically asked me if I would marry her son who just returned from his mission. She said she really wants a grandchild with blue eyes. Hahaha! I didn’t really know how to respond. That was kind of a weird experience, but the rest of the CSP was nice.
Another great thing about this week: we had a zone activity today! We went to the Ilagan Sanctuary. There’s a zoo, hiking, caves, a long hanging bridge and lots of other fun stuff. It was really fun. We hiked and explored the caves and then had lunch together as a zone: rice, tilapia, adobo, and little coconut cake things. Yum! It was a really fun day. It’s fun just to hang out and have fun.
The worst part of this week was on Wednesday night. (Please don't freak out at this story mom....) Me, Sister Escalante, and Lyka (a branch missionary and the little sister of our BML) were driving back home to our apartment in the kulong-kulong (the motor with a cage). I was sitting on the back of the motor side saddle style, because I was - of course - wearing a skirt. We were going pretty fast and the road was kind of dark, when all of a sudden - WHACK! - the right wheel of the kulong-kulong hit a huge rock and jumped into the air, and I went flying with it. One second I was sitting and the next, I was sliding on my side across the pavement. It happened so fast I didn't even have time to scream. I got some pretty good scrapes and bruises on my legs and arm, but nothing bad. It should have been so much worse! Lyka felt so bad that she started crying, so I tried to be tough and act like it was nothing so that she wouldn’t feel bad. I held it together until we got back to the apartment and then I started crying because my body hurt and it was really scary flying off the back of a motorcycle. Ever since then, I hold on more tightly when we ride and we drive more carefully. Now, I am fine!
I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week and that you are always happy. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.
I love you so so so so so so so much.
xo sister allen
A carabao taking a bath.
At our CSP, we gathered and piled up all this wood for the family to use for cooking their food. The Philippines have a stove-like terra-cotta thing that they use to cook. It looks kind of like a toilet. They put the wood in the bottom and set a pot of rice or whatever on top. Yeah, kind of like camping. They also have gas stoves here, but wood is cheaper than gas. Most people in our area use both (wood and gas) in their house, but if they're really poor they just use wood.
At the CSP, we also swept all around their yard. It is a very big yard!!
At the CSP. We helped a member build his house. It's not finished yet!
The Burgos Zone! We're small in numbers, but we're powerful.
Hiking through the caves. We had to crawl through in some places because it was so small!