Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Maligayong Bagong Taon!

It's 2015 already?! What?? Sheesh, time is flying!!  I know I say that all the time but it TOTALLY DOES!!  With all the excitement that happens on new years eve, we were asked to be in by 6 pm to keep safe.   My fellow apartment mates and I all played games and I introduced them to roasted s'mores (can you believe none of them had a clue what s'mores were? ah, Americano!) Then at midnight a ton of fireworks started to going off so we went out and watched them in the street. One very funny tradition here, at midnight, everyone jumps up, so they literally jump into the new year. We got so distracted with our games that we forgot to do the countdown or jump. I will make sure to bring that tradition home with me next year though.  One of the games we did play had a penalty if you lost.... the winner got to draw on your face with lipstick. I guess my winning luck has left me, because I lost almost every time.... I look so great, right?!

Because of the early curfew,  I was able to do some reflecting and goal setting. This has been one of the most interesting years of my life and it will be a time I will never ever forget.  As hard as a mission is, I can say, I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. Just one year ago, I was just preparing to leave for my mission.  Before embarking on this awesome adventure, I was getting some last minute shopping done, sewing skirts, and being just plain lazy (yeah, I admit it, I was pretty darn lazy); you really don't know what work is until...

I remember talking with my older brother, sharing with him how nervous I was not really knowing what was to come. He assured me that serving a mission is one of the hardest things we could do, but one of the best as well. This week I was thinking about that, knowing now that a mission is so hard, why would anyone want to do it?  ...and then I remembered the first part in the Plan of Salvation. In our pre-earthly existence, Heavenly Father told us of His plan. He told us we were going to have challenges and tests in this life, but there are greater blessings to come if we choose to accept His plan. Everyone of us that is here now on the earth; rejoiced and choose His great plan. Knowing that we have hard things ahead didn't deter us.  I've witnessed both the challenges and the great blessings throughout this past year and it's been so awesome.  2015 will be full of all new challenges but I know the blessings will also be poured out upon us all.  For those preparing to go on a mission, know it isn't always easy working as hard as we do, or striving for that perfect strict obedience, but I can also tell you, the tender mercies of the Lord, the changes you see in yourself and those around you are some of the greatest things you could ever witness in your life. I encourage everyone who is able to serve a mission, just GO! "If ye have the desires to serve God, ye are called to the work (D&C 4:3)." The greatest thing about a mission and about life in general is that we are not alone in any of it. We have Jesus Christ at our side, always willing to help. I testify that I have felt him at my side every step of the way.

Today as we were on our way back from Banaue Rice Terraces for our Prep Day Activity, we stopped for a second and I saw this sign posted at the top of a waiting shed.

Remember, He is always there. And I testify that the hardest things lead to some of the greatest blessings and incomprehensible JOY.

Maligayong Bagong Taon! (Happy New Year)
Love you all!
Sister Koncurat

PS.  We had a great trip to the rice terraces and I got a new camera for Christmas sooooo...tons o'pics!

duck face selfie! and one of my most favorite people I've met, Sister Akau from Kiribati, Kiribati people are so awesome!
Sis A in our traditional Ifugao tribal hats
tradiontional Ifugao women...they're so cute, right?!

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