August 7, 2012
Mommy & Daddy,
First of all let me say before I forget, after you send me the package with shoes and hopefully pop tarts (it would have been nice to know she wanted pop tarts before I sent the package), please don’t send anything for my birthday or Christmas (like I’d let that happen). Just send a bunch of letters & everyone’s Christmas family pictures. That is best. Then just put some money in my account so I can get the special things I want to bring home to you all. (Don’t worry. I am not spending too much. I don’t convert the pesos into dollars in my head so even though $2 for some stuff isn’t bad in America, I won’t pay 90 pesos for it here. . .I am stingy).
It is raining like crazy so we didn’t get to go out today. It doesn’t appear to be stopping. Our apartment is close to being flooded. It is up to my waist outside in the road. This has been the longest day.
The fact that you probably won’t get this letter until October doesn’t phase me one bit. Just makes me a little sad is all. I hope it gets there before the end of this month.
I am supposed to email you tomorrow but I seriously doubt that is going to happen. Maybe a miracle will happen and we will get to go out. Sister Dennis is also supposed to be picked up to go home tomorrow. The A.P.s can’t even get here because of the flood. We are just stuck here. And it stinks, literally, because the water is really nasty.
So I have been converted to using baby powder on my body. It is incredible! I love it! I am sure I still smell awful because we use a bucket to shower with Malolos water that turns white clothing yellow unless used with acid that makes the skin peel off your hands. Yes. . .it is that great here. You have to promise me that when I get home, the bathroom is totally mine to hog for a few hours. I want to sparkle! Someone is going to have to teach me how to do my hair and I will need some bangs cut out of this mess. Waiting for a clean body is torture now. I don’t know how I will last. Of course, I will go on.
So. . .these past weeks have been pretty good. There have been way ups and way downs. Last Friday was a way down. First off, we got permission to go to SM Fairview (a mall) with the other sisters, but we decided to stay & go to our people. The other sisters accidentally locked us in our gate and took both sets of keys. Then, when they got back & let us out we got to one appointment & I didn’t share very much because I didn’t know how. Then we went to pick up sisters laundry & our ward mission leader said that I rely on Sister Bird too much. That really hurt because I have been working very hard to be able to talk to people on my own and he just told me I wasn’t doing good enough. So, that night I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father, cried, and missed home more than ever (I haven’t missed it too bad lately).
When I woke up I didn’t feel any better, so I just asked Heavenly Father to lead my personal study to some comforting words and this is what I got:
“Be still, my soul: The hour is hastening on, When we shall be forever with the Lord. When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past. All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”
Mosiah 27: 14, The Lord hears our prayers for these people. We need to just keep being faithful and keep praying. Someday our prayers will be answered and someone will remember their testimony and return to church.
Vs. 31, Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before Him. They shall confess that He is God, and their judgment (received) is just.
Vs. 36-37, “And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea to the knowledge of their Redeemer.
“And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.”
We are richly blessed for being missionaries. I don’t need to miss my mom one wit because I know everything is going to be just fine and this is all going to work out for our good. Heavenly Father has never let me down when it really mattered. He won’t let me down now. Instead of being sad about people not liking or understanding me, I should just remember that the Lord always loves and understands me. I am never alone and neither are our people.
Mosiah 28:1 When you truly know these things you will have a desire to share them with others.
The song “The Test” came on Sister Winger’s ipod today when I came downstairs. That was no coincidence. I needed that song today. That is one of the songs I sang a lot with my mom. Heavenly Father gave me that tender mercy to remind me that He is there. He is listening. I matter to Him.
“At these times of trial I promise you if you will seek the Lord with all your heart, He will fill you with the spirit of compassion, with comfort, with solace, and with the knowledge that you aren on the right path. He will be your guide and you will come forth victorious.”
“These blessings will be answered upon your head if you keep the commandments and strengthen your desire to serve you Heavenly Father and Savior at all costs.”
This was an amazing spiritual experience. I will forever be grateful for it. And I will look to it in times of struggle. I have been so focused on finding things for people that I forgot to nourish myself.
But, this amazingness didn’t end there. In companion study I told Sister Bird and she asked why I felt I needed that. Was I sad? Yes, I was. Why? I told her. “Sister Newman, he didn’t mean it like that. He meant it for all new people. And you just need to get used to the fact that Filipinos are blunt people. That made me feel lots better. Our lessons made it the very best day of my mission so far. We taught the Barredo kids the word of wisdom. It was so fun and I got to participate a lot. The works came, even though I didn’t know them all. Sister Bird helped me. We then went to Balite and taught the Navarro family. They are less active. We planned to share on faith, but because of the fire at the palengke (market), Sister Bird shared about hope and tied it back to faith. Then I finished the lesson about faith. The spirit spoke through me. I felt it. Those were not my words. It was incredible.
Afterward, we felt impressed to go to this active family who had missed church. We didn’t know why we needed to go there. We just needed to. Well, it turns out we were an answer to prayer. The husband lost his job in May. They are running out of money. The wife is pregnant. May sobrang malakas pananampalataya sila. Talaga! (literal translation: They may very strong faith. Really!) They know it will work out somehow. He has had interview after interview and nothing has come from it. His wife crochets so she has started making little coin purses to sell. Sister Bird and I each ordered 12. They are a little overpriced but this family really needs it. They are doing everything they can. And we can’t just give them money, but we can but things from them. It will be awesome to say, “I know the lady who made these. She is a friend from my first area.”
When that lesson was over we went to Brother Jovy’s house (he is the 1st counselor in the bishopric). He made us fish balls again and we taught him and his sons about finding the blessings in our lives and that we are nothing, but through God we can do all things. He just needed a spiritual message and that one felt right to share. It must have been because he bore his testimony about the experience on Sunday.
It was the most amazing day I have ever experienced in my entire life. I have never felt so close to my Savior, the spirit, my people, my companion, and My Heavenly Father than I did on Saturday, August 4th, 2012. I firmly believe that I would not have had such a sweet experience if I hadn’t had the hardship & struggles before.
Well, Sister Bird is going through her souvenirs so I am going to go see what she has. I love you. I hope you are all doing well. I hope to hear from you soon. Don’t hate me for making you wait for this letter to hear this experience.
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX (not in a weird way. . .)
Sister Brittany Nichole Newman