Another week has passed in the Philippines! It has been good. We haven't been working a lot since we've had a lot going on with Christmas, and I think that's going to be how next week is too, but that's ok :) Speaking of Christmas, it doesn't even really feel like Christmas here...it's weird, and not what I am used to for sure. I won't complain though because I don't miss the snow haha :) But I am thankful to be a missionary this time of year and I'm thankful to be here in the Philippines this Christmas!
This week I went on my first splits with the relief society president in the Carcar ward. Going on splits means that I left my companion, Sister Minguez, and went with the Relief Society president to teach. Her name is Sister Flores and she is super super nice. She is an RM actually, and she has a really cute family so I got to talk to her about her mission and her family a lot. I was so scared to do splits because my Cebuano still isn't as good as I wish it was, but I was able to speak and lead lessons and so that was a HUGE blessing. Sister Minguez thinks I'm training next transfer, which scares the crap out of me because I don't feel like I'm ready to train yet...but I know that these experiences I am having will help me prepare for that.
Also there were a ton of changes in Sibonga this week...Sister Tueller and her companion moved into a different house, and they pulled the elders out of Sibonga. I will always love Sibonga...I talked a lot about it last week in my email but that place really did change me for the better.
Sister Minguez...she is a funny one guys. Yes she looks like she is about 10 huh :) She is actually 24. She is a convert, she was baptized when she was 20. She is absolutely hilarious and I am learning a lot from her. She has been on her mission for 7 months now. She is so bold with people. This week she took multiple cigarettes from people and smashed them on the ground and told them how Heavenly Father loves them and doesn't want them to put bad things in their bodies. I thought I was a pretty bold missionary, but I am nothing like this! Haha. Something that I think is a problem with a lot of Filipino missionaries is obedience. I don't think we really have the same "vision" as far as obedience and hard work goes, but I am really learning a lot from this companionship.
So on Monday, instead of district meeting, we had our Cebu South mission Christmas party!! The Carcar zone, Talisay zone,and pinamungahan zones met at the temple complex for a really fun devotional and party. We first had a devotional in the chapel and President and Sister Schmutz both gave talks and it was really good. After the devotional, we went to the cultural hall for lunch. It was so yummy! We had my favorite Filipino meal, pancit, and just got to talk to all of the other missionaries and have fun. After the lunch was a talent show. The Christmas talent show here in the Cebu mission is a pretty big deal. I took videos of all of the talents and I will try to send them if the files aren't too big.
So for our talent, the Carcar sisters (me, Sister Minguez, Sister Smith, and Sister Zamora) performed a traditional Filipino folk dance. Sister Smith and I probably looked really out of place doing this dance but it was really fun haha. The bishop's daughter taught us the dance, and a ward member got us these straw hats to wear for the dance, and I seriously could not stop laughing the whole time. haha. We even had Elder Glines announce the dance, it was hilarious. Most of the talents at the talent show were funny things, like other zones performed skits and stuff like that.
Ok so this area isn't as funny as my last area, but there are the few occasional funny moments. Like last Sunday at church, Bishop Sabala gets up to give announcements, and he says into the microphone these exact words: "My announcement is that I interviewed Jacob this week...but I do not see Jacob. Where is Jacob?" Then, the ward members kinda just started shouting out during sacrament meeting trying to figure out where Jacob was. Then, Jacob's mom says that Jacob went camping the night before and was too tired to come to church. Glad they could figure that one out :) Then Bishop Sabala says, "Ok that is all I wanted to know, that is my announcement." and he goes back and sits in his chair on the stand. Haha. These people are so crazy.
Bishop Sabala's family is super great. He has a little daughter, she is 5 years old and she has memorized scripture mastery verses. It's so crazy. His wife is really funny too, she always wears her garments like a "shade shirt" and she only wears a tank top over her garments...haha, we might need to teach her about garments :)
You asked about my plans for Christmas, well Christmas falls on pday, but we aren't having pday on wednesday next week because of Christmas, we are having pday on Thursday instead, so Wednesday will just be a regular day of work I guess! We do have the Carcar ward Christmas party this Saturday, which should be pretty fun. The carcar sisters are performing our dance again, and the relief society is also performing a dance. I am sure there will be food, like at all Filipino activities haha. Other than that I don't have any plans but to skype you guys!
Yesterday before we left the house to go to work, I had a feeling to take a package of Jesus stickers with me, so I did. We get to the neighborhood that we were working in and there were SO MANY KIDS there! I ended up giving away all of the stickers that I had, which was about 70...the kids just followed me and Sister Minguez to our teaching appointments haha. If anyone wants to feel like a celebrity they need to come to the Philippines. I think I am getting more attention now that I have a Filipino companion because I am probably the only American these people see.
So because we haven't been able to work as much this week, and with my companion's work ethic, things have been kind of hard. I opened Sibonga for sisters, and now I am here opening the Carcar C area, so it is a lot of work and I don't feel like I am juggling things very well. On a particularly hard day, the wonderful Zone Leaders brought me a huuuuge stack of letters to our house. I just want you guys to know how much I love you and I am so thankful for the letters I got. I know we email every week but those letters really lifted me up and gave me the strength I needed that day. So if anyone ever wants to make my day, just write me a handwritten letter or a dearelder :)
I'm sorry this email isn't super hilarious, or deep and spiritual...it's just been another week in the Philippines. I'm still loving being a missionary and loving sharing the gospel with these people. It's such a wonderful opportunity that I will only have once so I want to make the most of it while I am here. I have been reading the Christmas story in Luke this week and reflecting on who Christ is to me and I have come up with that Christ is everything to me. I would be nothing without Him. I am so thankful that I get to wear His name on my nametag everyday...and that I get to represent him for the next 14 months. He really does control this work and he has a hand in my life, and your life, everyday. Learn to rely on Him more, seek him out in everything you do.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and I'm so excited to SEE your faces next week!
Sister Joslyn Harris
ELDER GLINES & ELDER MILLAN
ZONE CHRISTMAS PARTY
I LOVE THESE CUTE FACES
SPLITS WITH RELIEF SOCIETY PRES
THEY LOVED THE RINGS FROM THE FAMILY