Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One Year Down!

Well the summer season is just starting so that means the heat is back ON. For all of you suffering through the freezing cold, I guess you could come here to thaw out, besides, "it's more fun in the Philippines!"

Last Sunday, it rained a ton! Sister Sanchez and I were looking at each other wondering if it would clear up enough for our pday hike last Monday. We made sure to ask for good weather in our prayers that night, and the next day we woke up to a beautiful morning. It was hot, but we were happy that the skies were clear. We met up with our district and began our hike to Bansing Falls. As we were talking to random people asking where we were headed, they all replied about how far that was...and it was far! We hiked for about two hours, almost all of it being uphill and the path was lined with that thick sticky mud because of the previous day. It was a hard hike--I was sore for the four days after--but it was well worth it. Maganda talaga! 

Just like the hike, the best things come as we endure hard things. This week we were able to have another zone conference with President and Sister Rahlf. It was all about our eternal progression and motivation to accomplish hard things. Sister Rahlf shared a quote from President Eyring's mother, who said, "If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill." Enduring to the end requires effort, but that's what strengthens us, and our faith, and will help us find pure joy. To hard things there is always some kind of fear, but we have two options on how we can react to that fear: 1) Face Everything And Run, or 2) Face Everything And Rise.  I think I choose the second option, to rise to the higher ground. It is prettier up there anyway.

Although we come to hard points in life, and we might find it stressful and difficult, there are always ways to find joy within the journey. Buhay ng missionary-always on the go, but we know how precious every moment is. Time goes by fast, and before you know it, you realize you have officially been set apart as a missionary for a full year. (I don't know whether to be excited for that big accomplishment, or sad that I have such little time left...I still feel like a greenie...). 

So as we take advantage of every moment we have, make sure to laugh along the way.  As a missionary, random and awkward things happen everyday and the best thing to do is just laugh about it. One of the terms we use in this mission is OYM, meaning "open your mouth." So one day, as Sister Sanchez and I were walking, we saw these two ladies and we decided we would OYM them. Without even being able to really say hello they immediately started explaining how they were Christian missionaries. They just kept talking over each other that they didn't give us a chance to really say anything. But we were able to hand them a pamphlet about the restoration of the gospel before leaving. As we walked away, I turned to Sister Sanchez with a confused look and said, "I think we just got OYMed!" I never thought I would be the one getting OYMed on the mission... The other side of that is actually doing the OYMing. I can be really awkward experiences, especially if you start talking to someone who starts speaking in another language that is not either Tagalog or English or even Ilocano.

Another funny thing is the reactions of others as they see a white person. Did you know I am famous?! I didn't either.... As I walk past, people whisper quite loudly to look at the Americana walking past. Sometimes little kids scream as if an eleven year old girl just saw Justin Beiber. Other kids just run up to me and ask for high fives, while others just rub my skin as I walk past. But I have to say the funniest reactions are when they yell to their friends, "Americana," and I reply in Tagalog that I am actually Filipino and they all get this mixture of confused and disappointing looks. But I can't lie so I just say "joke lang!" and they are excited again.
I guess one of the things that makes time fly so fast is just enjoying the time that we have wherever we are. It is easy to get stressed, frustrated, or given trials on those uphill journeys, but there is no happy spirit in that. It's all about finding joy in the journey. As someone I love always says, Just Keep Smilin' :)

Have a great week,
Sister Koncurat

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