Remember how last week I was in Manaoag with Sister Lagan? Well, now I'm serving in Manat with Sister Baluyot... Here's how it happened:
We were in our interview with our district leader on Tuesday afternoon when the phone rang. Sister Lagan fished the phone out of her bag and we looked at the screen, saw President Monahan's name, looked at each other, and then back at the phone. As soon as I heard President's voice on the other end, I realized what was going to happen. Sister Lagan was being called to her mission in Tacloban. And I was right. She started crying and didn't stop all through district meeting. So many mixed emotions for her, finally going to the mission she was assigned to but having to leave me, the branch and our beloved investigators. I talked to President too and he told me I would be put in a trisome and staying in Manaoag with Sisters McLain and Sumagpao. But I wasn't worried and I wasn't stressed. Then, President called again on Wednesday while we were at an investigator's house and told me that I would be going to Manat to be with Sister Baluyot whose companion was also going to the Tacloban Mission. And I still wasn't worried and I still wasn't stressed. I felt at such peace, knowing that where I go and whom I'm with isn't up to me; it's up to Him.
So now I'm here in the Manat Branch with Sister Baluyot. Even though we've only been together a few hours, I can already tell we will be good friends :) She is 24 and from Quezon City. She is very happy and laughs easily and plays the guitar. From what she's said, there's a lot of work to do here in the area, helping the members in their callings and beefing up the area book with more investigators. I'm excited to jump in and get right to work! Manat is known for its fish ponds, so I have a feeling I will be eating a lot of fish in the next few weeks!
So it was a pretty weird week... It was quite a strange feeling wanting to jump all in to the work in Manaoag but also knowing that I was going to be leaving...I prayed a lot to try to understand what my role and purpose was in serving there for only a week and I felt that my role was to love- just learn to love instantly. Sister Lagan really struggled with her trainer. her trainer told her she had no trust in leaving the area to her, that she had know idea what she was doing, that she didn't want to be friends with her etc. So from day one, I gave my best to building up Sister Lagan and her confidence and telling her that I love her. If anything I think Heavenly Father just needed me to learn how to love instantly and to always accept His will. I wasn't stressed and I wasn't worried when I learned I would be emergency transferred. There is amazing power that comes from the calling and authority of being a missionary- you feel that you can handle almost anything that gets thrown at you (especially if it's coming from Him, and I know the revelation about where I should be assigned is) because you have Him on your side. so even though I've had three companions and three areas in the last 3 weeks, it doesn't really bother me, because I know that it's exactly where He needs me to be :)
We had a really fun experience last night that I think everyone needs to have in their lifetime- we rode to our appointment last night in the side car/cage of a tricycle that is meant for transporting pigs! We sat on chairs in the cage and Brother Eric (a recent convert) drove us to our appointment. It's quite a feeling, rushing through the night sitting on a chair in a cage meant for pigs, looking up at the night sky and feeling the wind blow through your hair. It's almost like the Philippines version of a convertible :) See the attached picture if my description doesn't quite make sense...
So the Gospel is still true (last time I checked) and it's a good thing too, because sharing it makes me so happy! I am so happy to be here!
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Gustafson :)