I hope everyone has had a great Christmas. I sure had fun talking to you guys on Skype! The connection was not the best on my end but I really had fun talking with you. It doesn't seem like it's been 4 months since I was gone...I feel like we just picked right up where I left off from my email last week! :)
I've really had a great week this week! Christmas came super fast this year...and being a missionary it was even harder to focus on Christmas because we are always so busy. On Monday, I realized that Christmas Eve was the next day haha, so crazy how fast time goes on the mission. Sure things are different here and they celebrate Christmas sooo differently, but I couldn't be happier to be here! It has made me really focus on the important things. This year it's been a lot easier for me to focus on Christ without all the distractions there are in America...like the snow, having to buy presents, etc. This year I've really been able to focus on Christ and I am so grateful for that.
Like I told you, the ward here in Carcar has been so good to us for Christmas. I have gotten so many presents, and we have had so many dinner appointments it's crazy. There were like 3 members who wanted me to use their computers for Skype. By the way, the Sabala's LOVED seeing you guys! Bishop was at work, but at least you got to see his picture on the wall! Haha :)
We had our ward Christmas Party on Saturday and it was a blast. I'm sure you've already seen pictures from some of the members who have added you on Facebook :) There was a talent show...and every auxillary presented a talent. So the elders quorum sang a song, relief society did a dance, primary sang, etc. It was really fun. My favorite part was when the relief society did their dance, because the relief society has a few old nanay's (about 70 to 80 years old) Who were just dancing like crazy and having the time of their lives. This particular old lady was wearing some nice hot pink stretchy pants and kept shaking her bum to "Jingle Bells" it was really funny and I had a hard time containing myself. The Carcar sisters did our folk dance that we did for the Cebu Mission Christmas Party...and then the Elders decided to imitate us. Elder Glines and Elder Millan took our hats and started dancing and everyone was laughing super hard. After the talent show, we had a dinner and it was delicious! Sister Weller made pancit with curry powder so it was HOT! But it was way good. We also had lechon baboy (a whole pig) this is my first experience at a Filipino party with a whole pig haha, it was crazy they take a huuuuge machete and just whack the crap out of the pig and guts and juices flew all over the place. The poor relief society room was a mess after but we stayed and helped them clean up.
Before the ward party, Sister Minguez and I did some service and made barbeque chicken. They do this much differently here in the Philippines than they do in America. First, they don't have a grill, they just make their own out of wood and if they can find an old grill from a BBQ they will use that too. They put that in a box, and light the box on fire and that is their grill. Haha. It was so smoky, and my job was to hold a plastic lid and fan the chicken so it didn't get too burnt. I smelt like a campfire for a long time afterwards and everyone at the Christmas party commented on how smoky my hair smelled haha.
There is a teeny tiny branch called the Dumanjug Branch, about 45 minutes into the bukid (mountains) here in Carcar, and there average attendance is about 14. They meet in a member's house. They invited us to their branch Christmas party too. That one was a little interesting and reminded me of good ol' Sibonga (my first area). They had "We are the World" blasting the whole time during the party, they don't have a piano or a piano player, so they just get the media off of lds.org for their hymns haha. The Philippines really is a different world.
So we have had quite a few dinner appointments this week like I told you. The first dinner appointment of the week was on Sunday, and we ate squid. I had a hard time chewing it. Then on Monday night, we had another dinner appointment. This time we got cow liver. Our next appointment after that, I got squid again. Tuesday, we had a really good quiche, and yesterday for Christmas, we had yummy ham for lunch and for dinner we had meatloaf and potato salad at the Weller's, and we had chicken with yummy sauce at the Sabala's. They sure love to feed the missionaries here and I'm getting used to eating a LOT of different foods ;)
Oh! I forgot to tell you that we had a baptism on Saturday. I actually didn't know this was happening until the day before. Her name is Cheri Mae, she is 8 years old, so it doesn't count as a convert baptism and we didn't have to teach her all of the lessons. However, we did teach her the day before her baptism and told her who Joseph Smith was! She is a super cute sweet little girl and we are hoping to get her sister baptized soon too. Her grandpa, Brother Baradan, is a great member here in Carcar.
I went on splits twice this week, which means I left Sister Minguez for the day and did missionary work with members. I went with Sister Flores once, and with Charisse the second time. It was really fun and it forces me to speak Cebuano.
I love my companion. She really is a sweetheart and she does try as hard as she can. I am just here to encourage her and help her work harder too. A lot of the problems we've had with timing and things, I've figured out they are just the Filipino culture and although that isn't an excuse, I am able to see better where she is coming from.
Well, transfer calls are on Monday, and so next week when I email you I will know if I am staying in Carcar another transfer or if I am going somewhere else! My 12 week training is also done too so I could possibly be training a new missionary. Yikes ;) Who the Lord calls, He qualifies. I am on His errand so I will do whatever is needed of me. However I really do hope I get to stay here in Carcar another transfer. We will see :)
Thank you so much for all you do for me, for your love and support. I'm glad everything is going so well at home, and I'm happy (as always!) to be a missionary :) The gospel is true, the church is so good and I have seen it bless the lives of so many people. I'm thankful it is blessing my own family back in good ol' Utah. Take care and always remember I love you!
-Sister Joslyn Harris :)
Home we teach at
Mac & cheese with me
Christmas card from a member
Family we are teaching
First baptism 8 yr old girl
Temple at Christmas
Preparing for the Christmas Party
elders playing with the children