Its been a good week here in the Philippines! We had a couple of baptisms on saturday, and that was awesome! It is so fun to get to see people come into the fold of God and recieve the blessings of the Holy Ghost! I have some pictures, but I'll have to send them next week. I forgot the cable at our apartment.
As for differences here in Laoag, the people stay up late! In Banna, if you didn't have an appointment after 7, it was tough. people were asleep, or didn't want to listen because they were home. They weren't opening the door. Here in Laoag you still have people wandering around or with their doors open at 8:30. Thats probably the biggest difference I've noticed. Its still the Philippines. Its still beautiful.
You asked about the differences between the youth here and at home...the youth here don't go out as much. They go to school, and then they go home and help out around the house. Once they become teenagers they are more often at home. They'll go out on the weekends, but other than that, they don't leave too much.
One thing I appreciate about my new companions is that they are always so happy! They always tell little jokes, and that's fun.
This week I have learned a lot about prayer. I have really been strengthened in my testimony of prayers. But I want to start of with one quote from President Kimball.
If one rises from his knees having merely said words, he should fall back on his knees and remain there until he has established communication with the Lord who is very anxious to bless, but having given man his free agency, will not force himself upon that man.
I really like that quote. I have used his advice a couple of times this week. I sometimes at the end of the day, or at the end of my studies, just say some words, cause thats what you do, and then I remember the advice of the prophet, and kneel down again, and try and really talk with Heavenly Father. I try and tell Him what is in my heart, and what I really feel, and then give Him some time to talk to me. I have really noticed a difference in my prayers.
As I have tried to really communicate with my Father in Heaven, I have noticed His answers to my prayers. Sometimes they are really quick. One morning, one of my companions didn't wake up at six thirty. So after my morning prayers, I still wanted to do our companionship prayer, so I asked Heavenly Father to wake him up for me. Right after I finished the prayer, my companion rolled over and looked right at me! Prayer answered.
Other times the answers aren't so quick, or so clear. This week I struggled a little bit with getting along with my companions, so I prayed to Heavenly Father for help, and felt that I should fast. So I started my fast. At the beginning I didn't feel any answers, but toward the middle of the day I started to learn a little bit from Heavenly Father about forgiveness, and that made it a lot easier to get along. This answer took a little bit longer, and some more effort on my part, but I can still say, prayer answered.
I just want to leave with my testimony that God will answer our prayers. He will give us the guidance we need to get through this life. We will be able to hear those answers if we really try and listen, and really try to talk with our Father in Heaven. I promise you that He will listen, and He will answer. So this week try and really talk to Him. Don't just say some words because its prayer time. But really try to talk to your Father, and then really try to listen. It will do wonders in your life.
I love you all!