Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Toledo Week 7‏ Easter Week


This week has been great! As many of you have probably heard, people in the Philippines celebrate Easter differently than people in America. First of all, no commercialization. I actually forgot completely that it was Easter, until the Friday before last. I was talking to Sister Agawin about the easter bunny, and she said, "Who is the easter bunny?" There is no easter bunny, no easter egg hunts, no baskets, etc. The biggest celebration was Friday, and it reminded me of Christmas in America because all of the stores were closed and Toledo was like a ghost town. People re-enacted the crucifixion of Christ and from what I've heard from my friends in other missions, it is pretty much the same all over the Philippines. How thankful we should be as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to know that Christ lives! That His life and His ministry didn't stop at his death, but even today, he continues to lead us and guide us. I'm thankful for Him, He is my older brother and best friend.
Sister Wechsler was sick on Friday (during the Holy Week celebrations) and I felt so bad for her! I am not sure what she was sick with, but I let her sleep all day and I made her soup and wrote about 10 letters, so if you've written me and I haven't written back (life of a missionary, I am SO BUSY)...keep an eye out in the mailbox for a letter from yours truly :)
The work is really progressing here and I love the people we are teaching. There is a really wonderful family here, the Avila family. Their oldest daughter is on her mission right now, and the mom is abroad for work. The two kids who live at home are really active, and we have been working with their dad to bring him back to church. After our first visit, we didn't even have to ask him to come to church, he just came! Just goes to show how powerful good influences can be on us, I am positive his children are the reason for this rapid progress and growth. I feel so blessed to witness change like this on my mission.
Fun fact: Children follow us quite often here. As in on any given day, you can guarantee that we will have attracted a crowd of about 20 children by doing absolutely nothing. They are really sweet and honest- if we are looking for someone who doesn't want to hear from us, they'll just tell us the truth. I love it.
After a lesson with the Avila family this week, children came and swarmed us and came bearing gifts! They had picked flowers for us, I'm not sure from where, but all of the kids just had handfulls of flowers. Sister Wechsler and I took just a few of their flowers and headed to dinner. We have been really excited to try this little American cafe here in Toledo.

This will tell you how much I've changed.

I sat there at this cafe feeling really guilty that I was spending so much on food (over 200 pesos). I sat there looking at my alfredo in disgust with myself for spending so much money, and I was really confused on how to eat with a knife. :) But, I couldn't get the picture of the children with the flowers out of my head. Did they have food to eat that night? Were they going to go to bed hungry, like so many people here do? I ended up getting the alfredo for take-out and giving my leftovers away. I wanted something unnecessary, and as soon as I got it, I wanted to get rid of it. It was a great lesson I learned this week about just one more thing that I don't need.
On a lighter note- We had another experience eating dinner this week, however this time we decided to go to a cafe that was a little less expensive, and a little more Filipino :) We were eating in the main dining area, it was about 6pm, and we were the only ones there. As soon as we got there, the employees got pretty excited and tried to give us the "royal treatment". They lit candles, got us fancy drinks in a can, and...turned on the videoke. So while Sister Wechsler and I are trying to enjoy a lovely dinner, we are being entertained by the employees singing "Dancing Queen" in the background. Well, about a minute into the song, the power goes out. Completely out. All I can say is thank goodness for the candles! :) I really wanted to leave, but because of their hospitality, we decided to stay and stick it out and finish out dinner. I was humming "Lead Kindly Light" in my head and I couldn't help but think the line where it says, "the night is dark and I am far from home" totally applied to my life in that moment. We tried to eat as fast as we could, it was like a horrible date night, but luckily I was just with my companion.
I love this country, I love my mission, and I am thankful for all of the experiences I am having...the good, the crazy, the humbling...all of them. It's making me into a better person, and for that I am so grateful!
I hope you all have a great week!
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Joslyn Harris
Poor Duck

Easter Peeps

Washing Keyboards with Rico

This one is for you Mom I'd like to teach the world
to sing in perfect harmony

Crystal and her Dad

Cute Kids

Sister Missionarys

Sam is like my own child

Toledo Beach....

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