Weekly emails are the hardest. I never know what to write! But I like to be honest, so here I go:
First, I'm an AUNT! He's adorable. I'm glad his name is Kobe, cause that's what I've been calling him to everyone :) So tell Kobe he's so popular here in the Philippines!
I'm so proud of Kelsey :) She's a trooper, I love her and that I am SO proud of her. She's going to be such a good mother. And Ty's going to be the BEST dad! Haha pretty soon little Kobe's going to be a star basketball player, just like his dad! Note from Linda - (Katie's oldest sister Kelsey had her baby earlier this week) our little Kobe decided he didn't want to wait and made a grand entrance 6 weeks early. He weighed 4lbs 15 ounces, and although he is tiny, he is perfectly healthy. He's been in the NICU for a week, but we are expecting him to come home in the next day or so. For those of you that have been in the loop, thank you so much for your love and prayers. They have worked miracles! Kelsey is doing great and Kobe is healthy and strong!
Okay, so this week, just like every week, had it's ups, but mostly it's downs... I prayed SO hard for help. To be more patient, and to be happy.morning we woke up and went to church, just like normal. We took the sacrament, and went to classes, and everything just felt back to normal. Then we got home and the affects of the Atonement just hit me, and I understood it like never before. We are given a chance to start over every week. When we take the sacrament, we are renewing our covenants and all our sins are wiped clean. Which is just what we've all learned, right? That was the first time in my life that I have needed his help so bad. I focus on the unimportant times that I feel uncomfortable rather than focusing on what I can do to feel the spirit. I can only control myself, and once I realized that, and turned to the Lord, and continued to try my hardest to love and serve, the Lord really helped me out. I just realized, almost 4 months into my mission, and 21 years into my life, that I have the chance to start over and try harder every week. That's a lot of second chances! How lucky are we?? I am SO grateful for the Atonement, for the sacrament, for this gospel. I have never felt such peace as when I got home from church . I literally felt new. I felt no guilt. All I can do is look forward and try to be better. It's amazing what the Lord can do when you are sincere.
So that was my weekend. Today we had our zone activity, which was so fun. So even though home is sounding really good, even now, I am so much more grateful for these little things I'm learning every week. Because I can look back on them and remember the exact feeling I had. What if I wasn't here? Would I still not know the true feeling of repentance? I'm so glad I didn't risk it, and i'm not risking any more experiences! The mission is so hard! I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed. Even if we don't have a lot of work one day, everything out here is emotionally draining. I feel like my brain is open and my mind has just expanded to everything and all this pressure is weighing on my shoulders. I know and recognize everything I do wrong and want to fix it right away. But I can only focus on one week at a time.
I really hope that none of my emails ever get you down. I honestly don't mean to be so open, but it's so good for me to get out all my emotions haha. I'm learning a lot.
Now for a Philippines adventure: We had a bagyo this weekend, or a typhoon. It reached a level 2 on Saturday morning, so we weren't allowed to go out and work because it was supposed to be really bad. Well, it rained for a few hours, and then everything was clear, so we went out anyways. But all the power went out, everywhere. So once the sun went down, the adventures started. There wasn't light anywhere, so all the street lamps were out too. But we had a meeting with President, so we went to meet him at the church. We spent an hour at the church, waiting, and talking to all the members with each of us holding a flashlight. That was my language study for the day :) The members taught me every word they could think of and i wrote and repeated it as fast as i could. It was so fun! Then we went to our investigators house and taught them in the dark with just a candle on their table. We read with them in Alma 32, their assignment, and it was fun to just read, and explain, and talk about that chapter. Then we left, and walked home in the dark and the rain (and dark as in almost pitch black, other than the motor cycle passing here and there). We just laughed on our way home, because there was literally nothing we could do. Our phone was dead too, because we forgot to charge it the night before and we had no electricity. So we attempted to walk the 45 minutes home in the dark, while it was pouring rain. When it rains in the Philippines, not a Filipino is in sight...it's like they all go into hiding. So it can be hopping one second, and the minute it starts raining, the party ends. Everything is dead haha. So we were lucky to eventually get a ride, after about 20 minutes of walking. Then we got home, and our water was out, and I needed a shower. So i filled up the bucket from the bumba outside, and showered with one bucket of water, in the dark. Haha...it's just one of those moments you think you would never have to worry about, but suddenly it becomes your reality. So i just laughed while i showered. Dipped my hair in the bucket, and cleaned myself with half dirty/half soapy water. I don't think i even got cleaned, but it was all i had! And despite the fact that we had no fans that night (my first night without a fan), I wasn't too hot! So it was an adventure for sure :) There's a day without light in the Philippines.
For our zone activity we went down south about an hour away, to this GORGEOUS place. We walked out on this corral reef to this island, which was about a 40 minute walk. It was the coolest thing ever, I'll try to send pictures :) I love the adventures we have here, you can't do them anywhere else :)
So that was my week. And that's about it. Tell the family i love them. I never fail to pray for you guys. One night this week, or last, (I can't remember), I started praying at, and woke up at . I don't even think I got all the way through addressing Heavenly Father before I passed out. My knees were DEAD! Haha but I shook it off, apologized and thanked him for my day, and asked him to bless all of you, and a few special friends too :) and then i fell asleep. So even when I fall asleep during my prayers, I never fail to pray for you all. And now I have an another person to pray for, baby Kobe!! And it's official. Tell him that his aunt katie loves him SO much!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know how to express my love for him. He is SO cute. I am so blessed, and kelsey and ty are blessed too i guess :) I'm so grateful i've been blessed to have a safe and healthy family while i'm away. It makes being here SO much easier.
Be safe, give my love to everyone, especially those who read this email.
Have a good week!
With love from the Philippines,