Me with Donna and her daughter Ella. Donna was just baptized in May, but she and Ella faithfully come with us 2-3 times per week to visit our investigators near their house! I love them so much!
The APs called on Tuesday morning to tell me I was transferring, so nearly all our appointments that day ended in teary goodbyes. Every time I leave an area, I think that there's no way I can love the people in my next area as much as I loved them, but I always do and every time it gets harder to say goodbye. Heavenly Father is definitely expanding my capacity to love and even though I feel that I leave a part of my heart in each area I am assigned to, I always find that there is more I can give in the next area :) It was so hard to say goodbye to the Rabaras, Donna, Lydia, Corazon, Lala, and so many of the others. You don't realize how much the people mean to you until you have to say goodbye to them.
I'm now serving in the Bayambang 1st ward with not one, but two companions :) Sister Opeda and Sister Yakana. Sister Opeda is my co-STL from Las Vegas. She is full Filipina but was born in the US and has a smile and a hug and a joke for everyone. The members fondly call her their cousin :) She loves hugs and exercising in the mornings and eating veggies and has a huge heart. She goes home in 5 weeks, but I'm looking forward to learning all I can from her in this short time we have to serve our area and the other sisters together :) Our other companion is Sister Yakana from Micronesia, from the island of Pohnpei, which is very close to the island of Yap where they do in fact speak Yapese :) She is my batch and has excellent Tagalog and loves eating canned meat straight from the can, nature, and the color lime green. We are so happy here together!
Bayambang is in the top three largest towns (area-wise) in the whole mission and with 72 barangays, it's a huge change from my last areas. It's a college town and most of the members are teachers. It's such a talented and strong ward and I already love the members so much. They've already started calling me Sister Gus and are so loving. I am so excited to see how we can use all of their skills to hasten the Lord's work here. :)
I'm loving the Lord's work so much and don't want the next 5 and a half months to go by so fast. I just want to stand still sometimes and take in how it feels to be here. I am so happy and am looking forward to a great week of finding, finding, finding and learning the area. Pray for me. I need to learn our areas before exchanges next week. I know Heavenly Father is watching over His work here!
This is called panda pao, it's steamed hot bread filled with chocolate! masarap!!
We attended a birthday party for a little girl in our ward. The kids were so cute and so excited about the party hats we found in our apt. :)
Me with all the new sisters from Samoa,Tonga, Micronesia, and the Philippines :)
This dear sister, Nanay Cruz, is the kind of sister I hope to be when I'm her age. Her husband passed away a long time ago, but she is so faithful. She is 80+ and will always come and work with us. She does her VT every month and serves in the RS presidency. I will miss her!