Last week we had interviews with President McCurdy and it was good to sit down and talk with him about things and receive encouragement and counsel from him. I have such a great mission president and his wife is wonderful too. I love them so much!
We also went on exchanges in Siaton and I got to work with Sister Icao and it was her first exchanges. She just transferred to Negros from Toledo 2, my beloved 4th area, so it was so much fun to talk with her about Toledo and how everyone there is doing. My whole mission I have been praying and fasting and hoping that Jenn and Rico and their cute family is doing ok. I have only recently heard things about them since Sister Wechsler went home and has chatted with them. But it was so good to actually see PICTURES of them and Kyle and Nicolas Joseph- they are getting so big! I just cried when I saw their pictures because they looked so happy, they have such a light about them, they are doing great! Toledo 2 is by far the area that changed me most as a person and I really grew with Jenn and Rico and Sister Wechsler as we taught them and planned their wedding and baptism. That is one of my most beloved memories from these past 17 months...so it was just a tender mercy to see how happy they are and to know that they are doing ok.
I have been organizing my things and cleaning out my luggage in preparation to come home and sadly there is one thing that I realized I would have to leave behind because I just don't have room for it. That is my quad set of scriptures that Gramp gave me for my mission. I was expecting to bring them home but they are just too heavy and I have collected too much stuff to bring home so I prayed and prayed about it and decided that they needed a new home. I gave them to Sister Lyn Guia, she is the one who always posts pictures of me on Facebook. She is a newly returned less-active and didn't have her own set of scriptures. A few weeks ago her son told me that she really wanted scriptures but didn't have the resources to get them so I figured this was perfect. I surprised her with the scriptures and she was so happy, she cried, I cried...it was great and I know I did the right thing. Her son said he wants to use them when he goes on his mission next year. Her 3 sons are all recent converts and her and her husband just came back to church last Summer when the sons were baptized. It's amazing how much people love the quad scriptures because most of them just have the blue paperback Book of Mormon.
I just got back from a trip to Manila. Some missionaries call this the "trunky trip" as we all have to go through immigration and fill out papers and do fingerprints before we go home. Monday morning early we left from the Dumaguete airport and flew straight to Manila. I LOVE MANILA! I had such a blast there, it is so city, there are so many people and they are all so kind. Nobody pointed at me and called me american or told me I had a big nose it was just like they were used to foreigners. We didn't have a lot of time to roam around because it took a while at the immigration office, but we did go past Rizal Park and had lunch at WENDY'S :) This might not be a big deal to any of you but I haven't had Wendy's for 17 months since they only have Wendy's in Manila. I really enjoyed my frosty. It was 6 of us outgoing missionaries that went and I loved being with my batchmates and talking to them and talking about our missions. We have all changed and grown so much. It was a long, fun, but tiring trip and I am happy to be back in my area. As much as I love Manila it was so apparent to me as we flew back into Cebu that Cebu mission is my home. I love it.
I was just thinking this week about happiness and how my views ? (I can't think of the right words in English anymore, my mind is sooo Cebuano now) on happiness have completely changed over the last 17 months. Before my mission I thought I knew what happiness was, I thought I was a happy person. I had it good...I had a good life but there was so much missing. Coming on this mission I have truly come to understand what true happiness is. I want to share with you all some things that I have learned about true happiness over the course of my mission.
- Happiness is not based on material possessions or worldly things, WHATSOEVER. Some of the happiest people I have met on my mission have also been the poorest in money but the richest in spirit.
- Happiness comes through experiencing trials and struggles because in the end, you realize that you've grown closer to Heavenly Father. Happiness doesn't mean that you don't have trials, it just means that you understand their purpose.
- Just SMILE! My mission president always says this: "Are you happy? Then tell your face!" Or the famous line, fake it until you make it. Just smiling because you can and because you are a missionary even if you are struggling. This has changed my mission
- True happiness comes from forgetting yourself and "going to work". I can remember so many days at the beginning of my mission that I struggled getting up and going out- it was hot, I couldn't speak to these people or understand them, etc. But as I forgot about myself and turned outward to others and focusing on them, a miracle happened, I actually came to find myself and the person I found is so much better and more converted to the Lord that the person I was before my mission.
- I have learned that I am truly a daughter of a Heavenly King- which makes me a princess- I am beautiful, I am special, I have a divine purpose to fulfill on this mission and on this earth. Something I never really understood before.
In closing I just want to share my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 5:27 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." It is my prayer that you can all find true happiness today, this week, and always.
All my love, Sister Harris
Me & Sis Tonga
splits with new missionary
Nicholas Joseph Jen & Rico's baby
Jen & Rico's kids
Singing in the Rain
Learning housewife duties
Goats in the field eating coconut
Sister Tonga opening cocount
Feeding little goats
Cute little girl in her outfit
A trail in my area
Pinklyn with Grandpa's Scriptures
Coming Home Batch of Missionaries