Monday, December 27, 2010

Good morning!

Kamusta! Today we're having P-day with Jerrene and Laurena (both recent converts). They both wanted to come follow us around here while we go grocery shopping. haha, what fun. Today we ate lunch with sister Young and sister Anderson. Tomorrow is transfer awareness day. I sure hope none of us gets transferred yet! :)

On Tuesday morning we had a mission Christmas conference. It was wonderful, although a little strange not to have President Jensen's wife there this year (she's in the U.S.) We watched a hallmark movie called "Front of the class" - very inspirational. I recommend it :) President Jensen gave us all toblerone and mini books of mormon for Christmas. Also on Tuesday was our ward Christmas party. As the ward was deciding on the food, I jokingly suggested that they bring balut for sister Nielsen (which she did NOT want to try). But they actually took us seriously and brought 10 balut (5 for me and 5 for sister Nielsen), and then everyone piled outside to watch Sister Nielsen try it for her first time. Haha, it was very unforgettable. Well, she ate it! the whole thing! And of course, I ate one too. She's such a good sport. We were ecstatic because of how many of our investigators showed up at the Christmas party - around 30 came!

On Christmas Eve, we made chicken nugget lumpia, and then sister Nielsen and I went out on our balcony to read scriptures about integrity, purity, and knowledge with candles (one of her family traditions) and read Luke 2 while we listened to the fireworks. On Christmas day, we Christmas caroled a bit and visited the Agustin family, who fed us "Bilo bilo" (one of my favorite Filipino desserts) and fried rice patties (kind of like scones). Maria Luna, Vicent, and Ray (ages 8, 10, 11) sang us a bunch of Christmas and Tagalog songs. I recorded it on my camera - I wish I could show you, but the email won't let me send videos. We also watched Mr. Kreuger's Christmas with them. It made us so exceedingly happy to see their whole family at church yesterday, and all of the members did such a great job of fellowshipping them and making them feel loved and welcome. Yay! Sometimes, as a missionary, my greatest fear is bringing investigators to church, because of the fear that members won't reach out and make them feel welcome. Sometimes, honestly, it can feel like feeding them to the wolves. But it's so wonderful when members fellowship newcomers. It's made me really realize how much of a difference it can make for just one member to go out of their way to be friendly to a new face.

On Christmas morning, brother Ferrer, an elderly member (around 80 years old) fed us a nice breakfast. We also stopped by the Madayag family (members) on Christmas day and they fed us a whole bunch of fruit salad. The fruit salad here is really interesting: it is sweet, has noodles, flavorless jell-o, corn, and cheese. my companion hates it, and we had to eat it 3 times in a 24-hour period. It was funny. The members here are so generous and kind.

This week we offered to "remove temptation" from one of the returning members who is struggling with quitting smoking. It was great - we swiped his box of cigarettes, and then he told us how he has decided to quit! Hooray!

I love Urdaneta! I'm pretty sure I've been assigned to the best area in the entire mission. We're so lucky -we've got the temple, the mission home, and the world's nicest people here! I love you! It was so great to hear your voices on the phone! My goodness, Jennifer and Jessica, you sound so old! Send my love to Alex!

Inayayet Kayo! (I love you - ilocano)

Love always,

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