Good news- transfer calls came in and I am staying in Toledo, and Sister Wechsler and I are still companions :) With the 2 new zones that opened in Negros Oriental, I was worried that there would be changes in our area, but there are none. The work will go forward in Toledo 2nd Branch! I'm super excited for two of my former zone leaders- Elder Mingus is opening the Escalante zone in Negros Oriental, and Elder Glines is the new assistant to President Schmutz! I had so much fun and learned so much having them as my zone leaders.
Last Wednesday we had a super fun zone activity and we went to Balamban (about 25 minutes away) to a beach there and hung out at the beach for the afternoon. I am continually amazed at the beauty of the Philippines. I even pulled some old moves out of the bag and did some cartwheels/roundoffs. I was a little rusty but it made for some cool pictures :)
It's pretty fun living in the same house as the Sister Training Leaders, but it's even more fun when you get to go on splits with them! I went on splits with Sister Dustin this week. She is just the sweetest 19-year old sister missionary from Montana. We had the neatest experience. We had just finished teaching a less active, Hazel, when all of the sudden it started raining, POURING. As in it was so loud I could not hear Sister Dustin. We had hired a habal (motorcycle) driver to drive us around, and he was sleeping. We were stuck. There was no way we could get to our other appointments as long as it was raining. So we decided to go to the house next door to Hazel and of course when they saw us two Americans in the pouring rain they let us in. It was an entire family and they were so accepting of us and the gospel. We ended up committing them all to baptism, in the first lesson. After the lesson, we went back outside and the weather was bright and sunny. You would've never known it rained. The most interesting part is that we asked our motorcycle driver how his nap was, and he said he never went to sleep. Then when we got home that night and we told the other sisters we couldn't believe how terrible the rainstorm was, and they told us it was bright and sunny all day and they didn't know what we were talking about. We know that if it wouldn't have rained, we wouldn't have taught and found that elect family. Miracles.
We (me and Sister Wechsler) had another really amazing lesson this week. We were teaching one of our investigators who has a vice about the Atonement, I have never cried during a lesson before, but as I shared with this investigator who I love dearly about Christ and about how much He suffered for us because he LOVES us. I can make sticker charts, and I can put stickers of Christ on their cigarette boxes, but ultimately it is the Atonement that will make these people change. We left the appointment a little bit unsure if this investigator would give up his cigarettes, but we were happy to go back the next day and find out that he went cold turkey and stopped. This is someone who used to smoke 12 cigarettes a day, and was down to one, then none. He looked a little bit tired but we have gone back day after day and I have seen his countenance completely change....to tired at first and now, he is completely full of the Light of Christ. We taught him and his wife again last night and they should be all ready for baptism in April. His wife wants to give me a pedicure for my birthday haha and I might take her up on the offer. :)
I carry around my picture book because people want to see pictures all the time of my family, my home, my life before the mission, etc. And every time people are shocked at how different I look. One investigator told me that it wasn't just that my hair was straight in America, but there was a different look on my face. I am nowhere near perfect but I think I'm starting to finally "get" things. This is why Julie Palmer absolutely radiates. This is why members of the church are so happy. It's because as we live according to the will of Heavenly Father, our countenance completely changes. I feel like I have this overwhelming happiness all of the time. I love my mission. I would never trade these experiences for ANYTHING.
Thank you so much to everyone who has emailed me for my birthday! I can't believe tomorrow I'll be 20, crazy. I was a little sad when I realized that this is my only birthday in the Philippines, but all the more reason to make it fun and memorable. You know me...of course I'm going to be going shopping this afternoon :) Last night our adorable recent converts Sam and Yves put on a mini-concert for me after our lesson and sang me 3 songs. It was so sweet.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for everything.
Love, Sister Joslyn Harris
Me Sam & Yves mini concert for my birthday
At the Beach
Me & Sis Dustin
Still Got It
Toledo Zone Sisters
Me & Sis Tueller
Life is Good