It's crazy how time flies! I have already been out for over a month, and I have been in the field for three weeks! There is so much to say and such little time to say it. This week, Sister Soriao and I did a lot of service. We were able to clean the U.S.S Missouri on Wednesday with our zone, which was incredible, and we helped a family move. Some things that are interesting about the mission so far:
1. I am learning Tagolog. There are a TON of Filipinos here, so I am learning Tagolog. Sister Soriao is fluent, so she is teaching me. I am teaching her English. Her English is super super good, but there are somethings, like past tense, there are a little difficult for her. It's amazing how many different languages are spoken here. There are missionaries who have to learn Samoan, Tongan, Chukees (Micronesian), Tagolog, and lots more languages. They were all called English speaking, but they ended up in wards that only speak those languages. It will be interesting to see how many languages I end up learning.
2. We had another visit with Rachel. She is getting more and more excited about her baptism. I met her daughter Cameron this week, and she reminds me so much of Aspen!! She is only nine, but she is about Aspen's size. She's a real sweetheart, just like Aspi.
3. We had to go to Honolulu for a meeting, and Sister Soriao introduced me to the most popular missionary restaurant there. The name of it is... Itchy Butt... yeah... I was kind of hesitant at first, but it is actually really good!! Sister Warner (our mission president's wife) hates the name, so she just calls it, "that chicken place."
4. We are getting further with our primary and PMG classes. We talked to the ward counsel, and they are game, so we are going to try to get the other wards on board now. Supa exciting!!!
We are teaching one investigator who we may have to drop pretty soon. He is an older guy, and his wife is a member. He is a real sweet heart, and he loves having us visit, but he is not progressing. The problem is that he refuses to pray. He will read the B.O.M, when he has time, but he won't pray about what he has read. He says that he will "pray when he feels like it." Yeah... It is really frustrating, because we can bear our testimonies and read the Book of Mormon with him all we want, but until he takes the steps to know for himself if what we have been teaching is true, there is no point in us meeting with him anymore. We are going to meet with him one more time, to try to see if we can help him understand that, but it doesn't look to promising. We are praying and fasting a lot.
On a happier not, we are going to the temple tomorrow!! I am so excited!!! I have missed going every week. After the temple, we have an appointment with Miriam and Mark. Mark is a member and Miriam is an investigator. We are going to invite Miriam to be baptized tomorrow, so I will keep you updated on that. Yesterday was so awesome!! Sister Perry, an older lady in our ward, came to church for the first time in months. She is in a wheelchair, so it has been difficult to get her to church. Her caretaker, who is the sweetest lady on earth, took her yesterday. Sister Perry was so happy to be there!! We had an appointment with Rachel and a few other people after church and then we went home and studied. After study, we made dinner. We made, or rather, tried to make chicken. It was pretty disgusting, but at least we weren't hungry anymore. ;)
My testimony and love for this gospel has grown so much, even in just this past week. I feel so blessed to be able to share it with others. The Book of Mormon is so true!! I have seen it change lives, including my own. I know that I haven't been out very long, but I can tell that I am already so different, because my knowledge of the gospel and my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown. The Church is true. Jesus Christ died for each of us, so that we can be cleansed from our sins and can return to our Father in Heaven. I have met so many different people who are facing countless trials in their lives, but they still press forward in the church, and strive to build others, because of their faith in the Savior and Heavenly Father. I've been thinking a lot about the atonement lately, and thinking that maybe instead of just seeing our challenges as things to get through, so that we can become stronger, we can look at them as a sacred opportunity to understand our Savior a little bit more. He felt the pains of all of us, and because of that, we don't have to feel alone when we are experiencing that pain. If we think of our Savior especially during those times we are struggling, we can understand him more, because he went through those same struggles in the Garden of Gethsemane. I know that I have a lot of flaws, and that repentance is something that I need in my life daily. It is painful to do that, because I am prideful, and change is something difficult to do when you are prideful, but I have felt the peace and comfort that repentance brings. A little bit of pain is so worth the change that repentance brings.
I love you all and I hope that you are all doing well. Stay safe and remember to always rely on the Savior.
Sister Sydney Barber