I have been so lucky throughout my whole mission and have not gotten sick except for an occasional cold. But of course the Philippines couldn't send me home without a little souvenir. Last week I started feeling a little different, I had a fever and a headache, but I didn't really think much of it until Saturday night. I woke up at around 2 in the morning with a splitting headache, high fever, and rashes all over me. I woke up my sweet companion and told her that I really didn't feel well. In the morning we rushed to the hospital and got a blood test and sure enough one of those itty bitty mosquito had gotten me and I had Dengue. For mostly about every creature I can think of a good purpose that they serve (even those spiders the size of baseballs) but I have yet to come up with a worthy purpose for mosquito and this last week supports my conclusion. Through the sleeping, sipping juice, more sleeping, and being confined to our house, I had a lot of time to ponder and think about these last 18 months. In all honesty this sickness served to be a blessing. Throughout my whole mission I have been on the go, working, talking to people, and trying to make the best use of our time. This last week I couldn't really do that, I just got to rest and reflect. I learned a lot through that experience and am so grateful for the many members and people here in San Felipe that visited me and helped me. I am also thankful for my sweet companion who was so kind and sat by my side even though staying in one place is not her favorite thing to do, she served me so well.
The one thing that I have told myself throughout my mission and can only think of right now is, WHAT A BLESSING MY MISSION HAS BEEN! When I decided to go on a mission I really didn't know what to expect and how much growth and learning was coming my way. My mission will serve to be a blessing for me throughout my whole life.
I remember the first day that I came to the Philippines and entered the mission field, It was so HOTT. I thought to myself, "so I will be like walking in this everyday? at least the beautiful scenery will be nice, it looks like paradise here!". And then I saw a sweet young mother with her 2 young children by her side, a baby on her hip with no shoes on and sweat dripping down her face, trying to sell some home made rice cakes for a couple of pesos. That thought that I had soon went away (except for the scenery, it was still beautiful!). From the minute I started talking to these people (in the little bit of Tagalog that i could manage to say) I fell in love with them. The Filipinos are the most happiest, hospitable, loving, resourceful, and resilient people that I have ever met. They are always smiling and talking to everyone they met. They are always inviting people to come into their home and eat with them (even though they don't have much food to give). They are always helping each other out and caring for each other. They can take my garbage and make it into something amazing and beautiful and useful. Nothing can get them down, whether it be natural disasters, no food, or just a bad day, they keep standing.I thought I was coming to the Philippines to help them and teach them, but I soon learned that they were going to be the teachers and teach me and help me far more then I could ever do for them. I love these people so much, and will always have such a special place in my heart for them.
I am so happy to leave my last testimony through email one last time. I am so thankful for my testimony. It has been a guiding star for me throughout my life and throughout my mission. I know that Heavenly Father lives and that we are his children, He loves us. He loves us so perfectly! His plan for us is perfect! I know that Christ lives. I love him so much! I know that his Atonement works. The Atonement changes me, and I have witnessed it change the lives of others. I am so thankful for the Atonement. I know that the only way to have true joy is through living and following the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church. I am so blessed to have been baptized and to be a member of this church, it has given me comfort, peace and strength throughout my life. I know that Christ leads his Church through living prophets and apostles. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet, I love him and sustain him and the apostles! I love the Prophet Joseph Smith and and so thankful for the great work that he did. I know that he is a prophet of God and I know that he resorted the true Church of Christ here on the earth. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon. I treasure that book and the words from the prophets of old that are written in that book. There is so much safety and power that comes through daily study in the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true! What a blessing it has been here on my mission in the Philippines to strength and live my testimony. My heart is filled with so much love and happiness. Even though it will be hard to leave behind these people and country because it truly has become my home and my family, I am so excited to come home to my family and friends that I love so much and am so excited to see you again!
God Bless! Hurrah for Israel! Until we meet again!
With so much love and joy
Some last pictures!
These girls curled my hair by hand!
The Beautiful green Philippines!
Bon fire with the YSA on the Beach!
My favorite little boy, Rayne Rogayan!