This week was very very tough but it was so worth it in the end.
First off, Filipinos know how to celebrate birthdays haha.every single lesson we had pretty much turned into a dinner appointment to celebrate my 20th. Then when the ward found out that it was my birthday they said they should have announced it in sacrament because they throw big parties for the missionaries on their birthdays. Oh well, seyoung (That's a shame). But it was still hands down one of the most memorable days I've had. The entire day was just amazing. We tried pig intestines, dragon fruit, the president and his wife dropped us off cake and pizza. Elder Risenmay and I were spoiled the entire day haha
In the evening we had FHE with the Guillermo family where we ate...more, and had a really really fun time with them. The Guillermo family was the first family I met on my mission so it was really fun to celebrate with them.
But the most memorable gift that day was when Elder Risenmay and I received a call from a part member, less active family before the FHE started. They said they needed us over as soon as possible. So we rushed over there soon after we ended our last teaching appointment for the night and they invited us in. Their younger daughter had a really awful fever for the last 2 weeks and they couldn't afford to take her to the doctor. When we went inside her room she was crying and screaming and just miserable. I felt horrible for the parents and for her of course. They said they needed us to give a priesthood blessing to her. So I was asked to give the blessing. When I put my hands on her head I felt how hot her head was and I was almost in tears with her, I couldn't imagine what she must have felt like going through that for two weeks. I gave the blessing as the spirit directed me and told her "to be healed". When we left their house she wasn't crying, she wasn't sweating as much but she still had the fever.
The next day we walked by their house to go to an appointment in the morning. We saw her Dad outside in their bakery and asked how she was doing. And I'll never forget his reaction, he was so full of joy and said, "She's all right now Elders!" with the biggest grin on his face. That made my birthday the most special birthday just to witness the power of the priesthood on your mission for the benefit of someone else. It was the best feeling I ever felt because I was just overjoyed for her well being. It was incredible.
The rest of the week wasn't as spiritually uplifting as that, in fact, it was probably the hardest week of my life. Every single person that we had planned to teach dropped us and we had no where to go and no one to teach. But the moment when we stopped and prayed for someone to find to teach, we knew exactly which way to go and within the next 10 minutes we were in a lesson teaching someone about the gospel.
We were able to watch the Christmas Devotional this week and it really got me into the spirit of Christmas finally. Here in the Philippines, there's no lights, no Christmas trees, hardly any decorations, but it is still the most celebrated holiday. They start celebrating Christmas in September so it's been Christmas here for a while now haha.
But in that Devotional I realized just how much Christ gave for US. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John) Christmas means so much more when you're in the service of others and helping others out. The message that we share as missionaries in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is about how families can be together forever, the importance of sharing, and serving one another. I'm so blessed to be apart of HIS work during this holiday season in the best country in the world :)
I love you all and hope you all have a great week!!
|Elder Oslund with his mission president and wife, Julius and Lourdes Barrientos|
|Elder Oslund with Elder Risenmay from Kentucky and President and Sister Barrientos outside the Mission Office in Laoag|
|Having fun with some members|
|Making new friends|
|Getting ready for Christmas|
|The Christmas spirit is in the Philippines|
|A taste of home|
|At a meal with members|
|Some of the members in Laoag|
|More cow friends|
|Some rice fields in Laoag|