This week was a rough one. We had a lot of appointments fall through and we could only leave them with a prayer. But we are trying to manage with what we have. We taught a lot of the same families as we do every week...we are trying to catch up on all the referrals still. The church is such a different aspect here...you have members which are small in number and then you have a large number of less active. And it is because they have not been to the temple. So this week has been with a large amount of less actives...some who are really sweet (one of them, Sister Cagunot, reminds me of Grandma Wong...look just like her too!) and some that really don't care to hear from us. Missionary work has its ups and downs and it has its blissful times and some very difficult times. But I had this experience...
This week He really gave me a tender mercy--there is a less-active sister, named Elsa. She has three children, two girls and one baby boy. When we had first had visited her when I first arrived in the area, her baby boy was sick with a respiratory condition. He was having the hardest time breathing and was just struggling altogether. When we had visited her, my companion had asked me to give their family a blessing and to pray for the baby that he would get better soon. In my heart I so badly wanted to give this blessing to them...but my mouth knew not how to express these words to my Heavenly Father. I started to pray aloud, but in sorrow of not being able to express the feelings of my heart, I started to tear up. The other children were making comments--"iyak siya!" (she's crying!)--but I continued with what little words I knew. I left hoping and praying to the Lord that he would see the desires of my heart and forgive me for the lack of words that I had, in expressing my desired blessing upon this family. I had thought little about it, until this week, when we went back to visit them. The little boy is now better...he was running around and was just the happiest little thing I had ever seen. When we went to leave, I went to shake his hand, he came right up to me and put his hands in my lap and stared into my eyes. He did this for a while and then he put his head in my lap and then looked back up at me. This was such a tender mercy to me, because I felt that it was his way to thank me for what I had tried to bless him with, and Heavenly Father was using this child to help me to see His love. The Lord continues to bless me..I must more actively look for them, though...I hope daily that I am doing the things that the Lord would have me to do.
How I wish that you could be here to meet these people. It is experiences like this that give me hope and bring the fire back in my heart. But this week was a hard one with the language. I was trying so hard to express myself...and I was being understood and I couldn't understand either. This was mainly with my companion...and in no way is it her fault. She is from Laguna, Philippines ( I really have no idea where that is) I know that it is on my part completely...but it has been so hard, not having anyone that can understand what I am saying or how I am feeling. I will talk to her and she tells me that she understands, but whether I say it in Tagalog or English, she doesn't understand what I mean. And with that one of the sisters in the apartment was making comments about something and I later found out, through my companion, that it was because I had not filled the water buckets and that she was having to do everything. It just made it really difficult and frustrating because I had no idea...she could have just asked me as a reminder...but I just went through a swing of wondering if I would ever be able to speak the language. My companion was trying to help me to look at things positively and I am trying my best. We taught a lesson with Jasmine (15) and Bernadette (11), who are just like Julia and Ryann...and I was trying to talk to them and they were talking over me and were laughing about my pronunciation and so much more...and at that point I had had it. I was trying so hard to teach them and it was not going anywhere...I feel like this so much...But I felt so embarrassed when we went to a FHE on Saturday with a bunch of branch members and one of the sisters was explaining a game to them in Bicol, but forgot to explain it to me...and I guess I lost but they were all playing and then it came to me and I had no idea what they said or what they were doing and I just walked out of the house, because I just felt so lost and alone. They were really kind to help me to understand the rest of the night, but I just fear of going through that over and over...but that is how it will be for a while as I work to establish my Tagalog and then my South Bicol. All is well and I will continue forward and hope for the best and pray my heart out to the Lord for His help and guidance in my language skills. My companion is helping me some...it is different to have a native speaker teaching you, when they are learning English. This is where the understanding fails on both our parts, because I don't understand her sometimes and she doesn't understand me. But I hope to continue working at it and seeking for the gift of tongues.
If anyone would like to contact Sister Pace, you are able to email her: firstname.lastname@example.org