We had two baptisms on Saturday, and we have another planned for this coming Saturday. Toby and Kyel Esguera got baptized on the 11th and their cousin Stella Gomez will be baptized on the 18th. I got to do the ordinance of Confirmation (Confirming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost). That was my first time doing that. One thing that I know: The Priesthood is power given to people – by God. I could feel the power of the ordinance as I was conducting it. I would not even begin to do something like that if I did not 100% believe that I have the power and authority directly from God to do that, in His name. The same goes for the baptism of Stella. On the 18th, I will be the one to baptize Stella, in the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I would not take part in such an event unless I knew the power of the Priesthood.
We have had a pretty eventful week here in Malolos full of Zone interviews, Long days, and the above-mentioned ordinances. The best days are the ones where you get back to the house, look in the mirror, and say "I did a good job." When you know you put in a good effort, you look at yourself in a different light. That is a huge thing in missionary work. You have a lot of hard days. It is easy to think that it isn't worth it to keep going, or to try your hardest – but it always is.
Life in the Philippines is really cool. Either I am starting to think that it isn’t that different here, or I am starting to forget what it is like in America. I have an American roommate; his name is Elder Meyer. We often talk about restaurants back home and other things like that. It is weird that most of those things are removed from my life now. I find that I don’t miss them all that much. It is hard to miss things when you are so distracted with the work.
Culture: Food. Filipinos eat a whole lot of rice. Rice is a cheap food. We will go to restaurants that provide an entree and unlimited side rice, for only 50-60 peso (which is about a dollar). Then you eat your entree very slowly, and as much rice as you can possibly eat in one setting. It is a great thing overall. Other times, we will cook our own rice and make our own ulam (the stuff that goes on the rice). But that is less frequent. So all of you hoping I would learn to cook here are kinda out of luck (sorry mom)...
Tagalesson: Rice. There are at least 3 different words for rice that you might use to describe where the rice is in the process of making its way to your plate.
"Palay": rice that is planted and very much not ready to be eaten. When you see a rice field (Called a "palayan") that is all "Palay".
"Bigas": I would also not recommend eating this, as it denotes uncooked rice – the kind you might purchase at a store prior to cooking it yourself. If you cook rice at home, you are probably quite familiar with Bigas. A place that sells Bigas might be called "Magbibigas" or "Bigasan".
"Kanin": Cooked rice. We finally made it to the stuff you want to put in your mouth. This is a large portion of the Filipino diet, and it is useless to try to go more than a few days without eating it here.
I hope you feel enlightened in the ways of rice. I am actually kind of thankful that they have 3 words for rice (At least 3 common ones. There are more) because it helps differentiate.
Anyways keep it up back home. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Which is Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) is the plan of God for us to be able to return to Him. He has given to us priesthood authority for us to accomplish His purposes, and He loves us. He wants us to have everything we need to return to Him, and He mourns when we don’t use it adequately.
God is a Father, our Father.