kamusta kayo mga kabsat?
I’m getting better at understanding Ilokano, so that’s pretty exciting. speaking it is a different story, but at least I can kind of get an idea of what people are saying in ilokano.
I feel like it’s been a long time since I last emailed since we spent a couple of days in Manila this weekend. kaya I mean that’s why I don’t really remember what happened when we worked last week. I just know we worked really hard.
(warning: this will be a long email. but it’s worth it, I promise)
I mostly wanted to talk about our experiences in manila, though, because we experienced a HUGE outpouring of blessings from our Heavenly Father. I know it happened because all of us have spent our missions doing our best to be diligent and obedient and to love the Lord and the people, and doing our best to try to help our mission progress and become strong.
On Friday morning, Sis Paetau and I traveled from Roxas to Cauayan via bus and jeepney. we met 11 of our other batchmates there (all sisters) and I ate froot loops at the mission home 🙂 and then we went to the airport to fly to Manila. after we arrived, a van took us to immigration where we spent a good almost 5 hours in immigration getting our exit clearance stuff taken care of. finally we got to the Mall of Asia (which is a massive mall in manila) and we got to spend some time there. Sister Pace and I had mexican food (as close as it gets) and jamba juice, so it was definitely a success. they had pretty lights up everywhere as well for Christmas.
the next morning, Saturday, we were taken to the airport again around 7:30am. we made our way through the maze of the airport and just waited for our flight…and then we learned the flight to Cauayan was cancelled due to the weather. we all celebrated because we were hoping we could go to the Manila Temple. 🙂 so we called the mission office and they tried to get us to fly into Tuguegarao instead. We went all the way around the airport again and had tickets to fly to Tugue and then waited some more. We chatted with some nice people from Utah, with another mission president who was flying back to his mission with his family, ate a lot of really expensive airport food and then learned our flight to Tuguegarao was cancelled as well. now we really celebrated because we thought maybe we would actually get to go to the temple. by this time it was about 12:30pm and we were told to wait until a van picked us up to take us to the Victory Liner bus station so we could take a bus to Cauayan.
At 1:30 the van came and we went to victory liner. about 2:45 we learned our bus would not be leaving until 8:30pm. so we called President Rahlf and received permission to go to the Manila Temple.
The whole ride there was so exciting. None of us had been in over a year and we all had been wanting to go so badly. When we walked into the temple, the peace we felt just walking inside brought us all to tears. I may have never been happier in my whole life. We got there in time to attend the 4pm session, which gave us the perfect amount of time to prepare and then take pictures after before we had to get on our bus.
When we were getting ready, I heard someone say, “Sister Ramos is here!” And I turned around and there was Sister Ramos, my first STL who I have looked up to and tried to be like my whole mission. She and her husband had intended to go to an earlier session but ended up coming to ours. We hugged each other so tight and just cried.
It was an amazing experience inside the temple. I know that peace, true peace, where every burden is lifted and every confusing thing in your heart is eased– is ONLY found in the temples and ONLY found in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the most amazing experience and I realized how much I had yearned to go to the temple, and how much more meaningful our temple experiences would be if we always yearned that much to attend. If we always went seeking that peace that cannot be found anywhere else.
I also learned that when we are focused on the temple, every temptation, enticing or appealing thing the world has to offer loses all of its appeal. the second we knew we were going to the temple and we knew we would be able to feel that peace, nothing else mattered but going there. nothing would deter us, delay us, or sidetrack us.
we should yearn to return not only to the temple or to the Celestial Room, but to the presence of our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. if that is our focus and we eagerly anticipate and yearn to feel that peace and joy that surely only comes in His Presence–the things of this world will lose their appeal, and no temptation will be able to distract us, deter us, or prevent us from entering there.
May we all focus more on the temple and more eagerly anticipate returning to our Heavenly Father again.
“Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.”
It is worth every effort and every sacrifice. this weekend I experienced absolute joy, and I hope you will all have many chances to experience it as well.