So as many of you may be very aware of, Valentines day is coming up tomorrow. Holidays are things that I don't think about a whole lot anymore, the days pass very quickly now and it feels like Christmas was not very long ago at all. But Valentines day is still a thing that a lot of people talk about, surprisingly (or perhaps not) even missionaries. In the MTC they sat all the missionaries down and said "Lock your hearts." They told us to forget about people we may have back home, people that may have said they are going to wait for us. Many missionaries have funny sayings that come out of that talk that we all get. The favorite among them seems to be, "Lock your heart, but keep your eyes wide open." I think it is kind of funny that Valentines day becomes a big joke as a missionary. And the day effects everyone differently including missionaries.
Welp that is enough about that. I had balut again this week but I didn't take any pictures this time. Sorry bout that one. This last week we had transfers, like I said before. I said goodbye to one of my roommates and I got a new one. He is actually really cool and gives some pretty good advice. His name is Elder Narciso and he goes home in only 3 months. He is a very experienced missionary, and he has all kinds of stories. It is nice when I have problems and he is there to give specific guidance.
Sometimes I think a lot about how weird being a missionary is. There are tens of thousands of 18-25 year old men and women running around preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I sometimes think:
Wouldn't it be better if these people were more experienced with the world? Or understood more about what life is? had more life experience? Were just a little bit older?
Now I realize – who better to talk about something that will change your life forever than someone, who at the young age of 18-20, is constantly seeing how Jesus Christ is changing their life? Missionaries may be pretty big goofs sometimes; we are little more than children. But Jesus was only 12 years old when he was teaching in the temple to "learned men". There is power in a testimony that changes and strengthens everyday.
I feel like I do not have a ton to say and this is the point where I normally start rambling about whatever my thoughts are at the time. I will try to not do that right now. I was sick this week, and I will tell you missionary work is pretty hard to do when you are sick – especially the part that involves speaking a different language. The sickness wasn't that bad, but I was really tired all the time and I had a constant runny nose and headache. Sometimes I was still able to talk and teach well, despite my sickness. I have definitely seen the blessings that God gives to you when you put your mind to something and fully commit.
Cultural stuffs: We are back to communication here, because that is still a hurdle for me. There are two words in Tagalog "Ate" and "Kuya": meaning "Big sister" and "Big brother" respectively. These words can be used as the actual meaning, but their other use is to show respect to someone whether they are your sibling or not. A lot of times we refer to people much younger than us as "Ate" or Kuya" in order to show them respect. One of the greatest forms of respect here (in my opinions) that I receive is when someone on the street calls me "Kuya" it lifts my spirits because I have been, in a small way, accepted into the culture.
Tagalesson: I was pretty afraid when I started learning Tagalog that the language would involve gender differentiation. As many of you may know, in many Latin based languages every noun that exists has a gender – either male or female. The glorious thing here is, not only does Tagalog have no gender differentiation for nouns. They do not usually have different words for most things that English does. For example: in English, you have "nieces and nephews" in Tagalog you have "Mga Pamangking". In English we have "brothers and sisters" in Tagalog "Mga Kapatid". Even their word for "him/her" is “Siya”. This can make translation directly from English to Tagalog very difficult. However, I am able to think in Tagalog it so much more smoothly. (Also "mga" is the word for pluralization you put it before any noun to make that noun plural. No exceptions.)
I hope all is going well back home. If you are unaware my sisters Lisa is keeping a blog for me, it is probably much more appealing to read than these emails. It basically is these emails with better colors and better punctuation.
I love you all and wish you a wonderful week.
Pictures this week of:
A recent convert family (baptized Dec 10)
A kitten we found.
My District before transfers.