Letter originally written on October 20, 2014
It's the rice harvest right now here in the Philippines, which means that the unshelled rice covers every flat available surface, spread out to dry in the sun. It also means that everywhere we go our investigators and members want us to try their "bagong bigas", the new rice they've just harvested from their "palayan", rice field. It's beautiful to see the rice fields turning greenish brown and the stalks bent over from so many grains of rice. It's a gorgeous season!
We had a wonderful baptism on Saturday. Despite some anxiety about going underneath the water, Sister Filomina and her two kids, Jhazzmanne (13) and Jhunard (15) were finally baptized. I was reminded of just how important it is that baptism is done exactly right, exactly the way Christ was baptized- completely under the water. An elbow up, the top of the head dry, a few fingers above the surface won't cut it. It has to be completely whole, completely symbolic of our commitment to give 100% to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and start a completely new life as a disciple of Them. Jhunard and Jhazz really are showing their desires to start that new life and are so involved with seminary and the other youth activities here in Bayambang 1. The youth here remind me so much of the family I found in the youth of the Merrimack Ward growing up :)
We had three great exchanges this week. I was able to go back to my first area in Lingayen to work with Sis Ufau, a Samoan sister only in her second transfer. She did so great leading their area and her Tagalog is really coming along. IT was fun as well to see some members from my first area and to see the growth and meet the new recent converts there!
|With Sister Carr|
I also worked with Sis Folau, a super happy and energetic American-Samoan sister on Wednesday. She is amazing at building relationships with the people and I learned a lot from her spunkiness :) Sister Carr was my companion on Friday, a super happy and calm Californian sister in her second to last transfer. She is so spiritual and I learned that the Spirit does not dwell with stressed people- He can only move in one direction- peace and happiness :) We had a great and super spiritual exchange. I love the opportunity to learn from so many different sisters from all over the world!
I am so happy to be a part of this work- the harvest of souls :) He is the master and I'm just His servant! I love this work so much!
I love you all,
Sister Gustafson :)