Hello Beautiful People,

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Okay well I hit my 1 month mark in Urdaneta (actually Mapandan) yesterday. Time has flown and this month has been the most difficult month of my whole entire life, but it has been very rewarding. So first things first, the pictures I sent of the baptism: The two men are Gabriel and Roldan, they are brothers. Their brother baptized them, he converted a little while ago. They have a brother on a mission and a sister in Utah that are members also. So after Gabriel and Roldan got baptized, 6/7 of the siblings in the Abracia family are now members. Gabriel and Roldan were a referral and when we met them, they were just so receptive to the gospel. We met them my first week here and they were baptized within 4 weeks ( you have to attend church 4 weeks in a row before you get baptized here). If we could have they probably would have been baptized sooner. I don't know how to explain when your investigator gets baptized. I guess I imagined it would be like this proud moment where you felt good about what you have done. But of course its not, because the conversion that took place was not because of me or Sister Lavides, the change that happened came about because God was preparing them, the Spirit was testifying to them, and they were making the necessary changes and decisions. So the feeling you feel is more of a pure joy- you are so happy for someone else and the marvelous things that are about to happen to them. It was a really neat experience. Our mission president showed up, and that was intimidating and the baptism started over an hour late, and no one really showed up. But everything somehow went perfectly.

Of course, there was a lot of difficult things this week. We have been teaching this family that is so dear to my heart. I figured this was their time and they were ready. They accepted a baptismal date and everything was going wonderful. Then the other day, they told us to stop coming, and their dad wouldn’t even come out. I don’t know what happened, our last lesson with them was so powerful and then they just wanted to stop. It was heartbreaking. When you really fall in love with the people you teach, it kills when they don't accept the gospel. You imagine how great the outcome will be for them, you see how much it will bless and change their life, but you can’t force them to it. So heartbroken, we accepted their choice and said goodbye. I was discouraged because we have really struggled finding progressing investigators, but Heavenly Father strengthens us in times of discouragement. Although we aren’t teaching them anymore, I have faith that one day, the seed we planted with be ready, and it will be their time. So right now, we are looking for the elect and praying for their family, and still loving their family dearly. 

K, lets talk about the Philippines:
HOT, I just can’t explain it. 
Christmas has started kinda, mostly just hip hop rap, Christmas music mixes. I don’t know. But I make sure that Christmas mo tab is on every morning and its all great. 

I ATE A FROG! and when I say I ate a frog, I ate like the whole body, head and all on my plate, and I ate it. It was actually delicious and I'll probs do it again. And then a bunch of other weird stuff, but frog is the most weird so far. NOT balut* yet, but It is gonna happen soon. 

I'll tell you about the spiders. Yes there was a giant spider (easily the size of my head and I am not being dramatic). Yes I could see its eyes, and Yes I cried. Thats all I am going to say about it.

The Philippines is SO different. For a while that was really hard for me, but now I am just trying to accept it all and feel at home here.  Also, because I am white, I always have people touching me and asking me why I am "maputi" (white) and they also always comment on my "grumpy face" so I have to make sure that I smile ALWAYS.

Tagalog is coming. People are very patient and kind about it. I finally just let the words come out and hope that it makes sense.

I truly, truly love this work. Like heart swelling, so much it hurts, kind of love. I love all of you. Hope everyone is doing well.

Mahal KITa 
Sister Gentry

*Duck fetus


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