Dear Family and Friends,
Well...let's start in the very beginning... it's a very good place to start! I'm sitting in the internet cafe listening to Bob Marley right now... enjoying this New Year's Day :D
Alright...Discovery Hills was awesome! It's like this "super sketchy Catholic playground." It felt like being in Jurassic Park or some zombie movie. Like all vacant and really old...and gorgeous in every way. It was seriously a blast! It was one of the last times my whole zone would be together.
I seriously have the BEST zone and Zone Leaders in the world. Last week we ran out of load (like minutes/texts for the phone) so we can't call or text anyone. A couple of times we've hiked down the hill behind our house to borrow the cell phone of our landlady's husband. But EVERY night, our ZL's have called us to make sure we got home okay. They are the best! My whole zone is just the best!
Which is why my heart is broken! Transfer calls came Monday... Luckily Sister Yap and I are still together and in Lacion! There was a possibility that she would leave because she's been here for 4 months now and I memorized the area already. Luckily we'll be together at least one more transfer. For sure she'll be leaving in February (Sad face).
This week, we had a lot of changes. About half the zone is leaving; including one of our ZL's - Elder Rayos. He's going up to be a ZL in Bogo. Sister Duke is going to Lilo-an, Sister Crowley is going to Bohol to open an area and be a Sister Training Leader! Elder Estrada is going to be a District Leader up in Catmon... and a whole bunch of other elders are all going to Bohol. It will be so different. Back to just four sisters...
But the saddest part was Elder Verano, who received his final transfer call to head home today. In his BR page, I compared him to Nephi. And he still is a TON like Nephi, but I think now, after Monday, he's more like Moroni. Lemme tell ya a bit about this kid. So first we watched a video that his ward gave him as a farewell gift - it was like a slideshow. Then he sat in the front of the room and everyone left a message with him. To All my friends in the Cebu Mission, if you ever end up on Negros, chances are that you'll hear of his legacy. He's like the stuff of legend. Then he bore his testimony. It was so sad. One thing he said really hit me. He said to have held the keys to gather Israel for the past two years and to realize that in just two days, he would have them taken from him was so, so sad.
Elder Verano went on to talk about his conversion story. He said he saw the missionaries for a year before being baptized. He said the first time they came over, he was sitting there wearing only shorts and he had a nose ring and after that, when he would see the missionaries, he resorted to such desperate measures as jumping out windows to get away. But after a year, he converted and he's become one of the most successful missionaries in the Cebu/Cebu East missions. It made me wonder...how many of those missionaries thought that they had failed with him? He's living proof of the ripple effect. Like walking hope. I hope that maybe someday, all the investigators that we've had to drop will enter the waters of baptism and be saved. And I see that hope in people like Elder Verano. Anyways, he's taught me so much. All of my zone has, and I'm gonna miss all of those who are leaving. Like a lot. Chances are I will be in Lacion for at least two more transfers because Sister Yap will probably leave in February and I'm the one who will stay and teach someone else the area.
Yesterday, New Year's Eve, we had our last zone activity. We met up at the church at 5pm, piled all the couches we could find into the relief society room, ate Pizza Hut Pizza and watched Monsters University and part of some movie called like The Most Epic Turkey Movie Ever or something like that. Yeah it was weird to be watching movies while on the mission... but I definitely felt at home with my family. They are so great. Then all the Elders went to Elder Estrada's apartment and Sister Yap and I went to Sister Crowley's apartment where we watched Turbo and waited until the fireworks at midnight. The elders did the same. It was so cool. People go all out here. The whole sky was filled with fireworks. So cool. New Year's here is a HUGE deal. Bigger than Christmas. Many people don't celebrate Christmas, but everyone celebrates New Year's! I'm lucky I get to spend two Christmas's and New Year's in the mission as a sister. Very lucky.
Weird food of the week: chicken intestines! Yup barbecued. It was...different. Not bad, but different.
Quote of the week: "I know it's time to get out of the shower when I start sweating... cuz then I'm like: 'Well, this is counterproductive.'" - Elder Johnson. Ha ha.
The picture is of the zone at Discovery Hills except Elder James and Elder Peterson, who were sick. We were playing this game... it was like a sign game. It was super fun!
Love you all. Best wishes!
- Sister Warner -