Probably the most memorable event this week happened with Spiders. Before coming to the mission, I was terrified of spiders, my little sisters can attest to it. But here in the Philippines there is only one type of spider that is poisonous, the Black Tarantula. All the rest of them can still bite, but rarely do. A common hobby here is to fight spiders, and to keep them, not as pets, more like little playthings. At a dinner at our Branch Presidents house for his Birthday, Elder Gamboa scared me by letting a spider crawl out of his open fist. I screamed, jumped, and ran to the other side of the room.
But I had to conquer my fear, because there are many spiders here, all around. So, cringing, I let him tip the spider into my hand. And while disgusting, it wasn’t so bad.
A few days later we stopped at a store to get a drink, there was a boy with some matchboxes and I asked if there were spiders inside, he nods. Elder Gamboa asked to fight them; the kid popped two spiders out of their compartments in the matchbox and put them on a stick. And sure enough, one became the victor. This kid was probably 12 and had 22 spiders!!! They do things different here.
At our next teaching appointment we told Brother Johnathan, about the fighting spider, and he asked if I wanted one. I said no but he persisted. "What color? Green orange yellow red?" like I was picking out a color for a car. He works in the rice fields and said when they harvest, there are many spiders all around, and he would catch one for me and bring it to church next week. Sooo next week, I might have my very own Green and Red Philippino Fighting Spider.
Speaking of harvesting rice, they’re doing it now. They wack the rice plant on the ground or rack to get the sheathed rice out, then they dry it. The picture attached is how they dry it. Usually on nets, always on the road, but sometimes just on the road. And people walk on it, trikes drive over it, that’s why we have to wash our rice thoroughly before we eat it.
Some questions for Tiegue:
How cold does it get there?
The coldest its been here is probably 65 at night. They say it gets up to 116 Fahrenheit here in the lowlands. Sister Esplin passed out on a fast Sunday last year, crazy.
How is your messenger bag (His strap broke will at the MTC. It’s a bag he uses everyday)?
My bag is good, the waist strap is a lifesaver. Sometimes its a bit heavy, but that’s just because I bring my BOM (Book of Mormon) and bible, pamphlets and tagalog BOM to give away.
What happened with the suitcase and the airline (His suitcase had broken open on flight to Manila and came out on the baggage carousel in a big plastic bag)?
My suitcase, they took it and just redid the zipper. So same suitcase, new zipper, it works.
Last night we taught an inactive family, after the lesson we usually chat, or rather Elder Gamboa does and I sit there quietly. But last night one of the daughters, probably 19 asked for help on her English homework. I was glad to help her, it is so nice whenever I get a chance to talk or teach in English, although even if they would understand, I usually try to struggle through Tagalog in order to learn. But through helping her understand, I realized that American English is really complicated! There are a lot of special rules, and specific ways to say things. Like future present progressive... it took a while even for me to understand it. That was a really nice way to end the day though. If I am asked to help teach English I'll jump at the offer.
Last week the sister missionaries in our branch asked us to bless a family who had been ill. The sisters told us that at their last lesson the little girl had been throwing up constantly, and they'd all been sick for 2 weeks. We finally found their house and gave them blessings, after anointing their heads with consecrated healing oil. They thanked us and we left shortly. I didn’t think too much about it but two days later the sister missionaries reported that the family was healed by the end of the day, and all of the neighbors asked how they got better so fast. The mother testified to all of them about the power of priesthood, and priesthood blessings.
As members of the church, sometimes we have difficult struggles, big decisions, or need extra comfort. We sometimes forget that there are worthy priesthood members more than willing to visit our homes, and be the mouthpiece of our Heavenly Father as they give us blessings of healing or comfort. Like that mother, I can testify of the priesthood, and that there is real power in priesthood blessings. Never be shy or afraid to ask for a blessing, the Priesthood members are understanding and want to help. Non-members also, if you need help, guidance, or have a sick loved one, find a member, and ask them to contact the bishop who will set up a member of the ward to come visit. If you have faith that there is a power that can heal us, it will be a miracle and a building block of faith to your testimony.
As always, I love you all. Thank you for your prayers, for me and all the missionaries of the world.