walang problema po ako (I am without problems) (well big problems anyway) :)

First off! Happy Late Fathers Day to all the fathers out there. I wasn’t able to tell my dads, on the actual day.

kk. So last time I think I said that I would talk about Barangays. So there is a center to every city where there are bigger stores, and the market, and pretty much everything is westernized and super modern. The further you get from the center the more third world it becomes. Barangays are little neighborhoods that surround the city center. They can be close or far from the center. Some barangays are as simple as a long street with houses and huts on either side, then all of a sudden you are in a different barangay. I don’t think I’ve really talked about the area that I’m serving in. I was called to the San Pablo mission, which encompasses quite a lot of area including the island Mindoro and part of Marinduqui. I am serving in the Lipa area. My companion and I have several Barangays that we proselyte and teach in and those are the areas that we are restricted to. There are People who are chosen by the people living in the barangay to be their leader. They are called barangay captains, and they call counselors to help them. Basically they represent the people to the local government, and they settle disputes among people in their barangay, and basically they just do all they can to take care of everyone.

I think that there must be a lot of dalmatian puppies being stolen everyday… because the twilight bark is in full swing every night. GEEEZZ!! There are so many dogs here, some of them are strays and look rather pathetic and it makes me feel bad for them. We are not supposed to touch animals, and these dogs I don’t want to touch. Some of the ones that have owners are cute and look healthy but the ones on the street look like they could die anytime and they are all biting off their fur because it gets so hot. šŸ˜¦ But anyway, every night they start barking and sometimes there are lulls where I am able to fall asleep, but sometimes it gets really loud again in the middle of the night and I actually wake up from the noise. Sometimes I wish I had an air pellet gun…. Joke-Lang!!!! (lang = just) šŸ™‚

So this last week we had a baptism. Brother Melencio, who we call Captain Mel, because he is the barangay captain in one of our areas. He is so funny. He is what you imagine when you think of a Filipino, short, dark, just small. šŸ™‚ He is in his 60’s and says that this Gospel is the best thing that he has ever experienced. He says now that he is officially a member he is going to "flaunt it" so that everyone will know he is Mormon. He wants to get his wife to come to church, and he keeps telling the other Barangay captains that this is the best religion and that they could really benefit from it. And he has talked to some of his counselors about coming to church. He truly has the spirit of missionary work. I wish every member of the church had his feelings and bravery about sharing the Gospel. When members are working with their friends and family it makes those people so much more willing to listen to the message than if they are hearing about it for the first time from a stranger on the street. Referrals are GOLDEN!!! Proselyting gets investigators, but referrals are better all around. So anyway he was baptized on Saturday and it was a great service, there was a lot of ward support and we were really grateful for that. When the ward is involved it makes the new convert feel included and loved and it really helps them to integrate into the group.

We went to San Pablo this week for our "almost one month check up" and we got to train with our mission president on some stuff. And then we all went to lunch and they gave us a talk to read. It was called, "become the 4th missionary". It started out by describing the four different types of missionaries. And I just want to talk about the 3rd and 4th because I feel like they are the most relevant to me. The third missionary serves, he is worthy, he does what he is supposed to and follows the rules, but he doesn’t give his heart or his will to the Lord. As a result many people are converted but the missionary doesn’t grow or learn anything from this experience, he is often unhappy and feels like he isn’t really making a difference. The 4th missionary is the same as the 3rd except gives his will to the Lord and focuses on the Lords work. He puts away his desires, wants, and wishes and becomes a true disciple of the Lord. As a result, many people are converted, and the missionary grows more than he could have imagined. I loved one of the things that was said. I’m paraphrasing a little because I don’t remember it exactly but it basically said that when you do what you want you can grow, but the end result will be that of an ordinary man, but when you give your will to God, he will make you something far greater, he will make you a god. I really liked that, and it’s true for more than just missionaries. The more people let the Lord influence their lives the better those people are and the more Christlike they become. My Goal while I am out here is to be the 4th missionary. Sometimes its hard to forget about my future, some things just spark those thoughts, like when I am reading my scriptures and it talks about the things you should teach your children and I start to thing about my future family. Then I realize that I am no longer focused and try to realign my thoughts. Its really hard sometimes, but I am doing my best, and I will continue to progress throughout this experience.

I love you all and I hope you are all doing well. Thank you so much for your support and love.

Until Next Time,

~Sister Mary Christina Cox


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