It’s been a few very busy weeks in the Philippines and so much has happened. I apologize for not writing the past few weeks but usually when we get home I go straight to bed. I have truly grown to love the Cebuano language. It is so much easier to speak than Waray Waray and the idioms are way more fun to say.
My favorite one so far is "Ulog Ulog" which loosely means "I know your joking/lying." Whenever people call us handsome and don't think we understand Cebuano we respond with "Ulog Ulog! Mas Gwapo Ikaw!" The full phrase is basically saying that "You’re totally lying because you are way more handsome!" Some people have no idea how to react when they realize we speak Cebuano, and they just stare at us. My reaction to that is usually to smile and wave, just like the penguins of Madagascar.
There have also been a few people that have berated us thinking we don't speak the language. The other day someone said "mga kadautan" meaning "the evil ones." I just turned to my companion and in English said, "did she just call us evil?" (I truly thought I misheard). Everyone here understands English and so they were all very embarrassed. Moral of the story, don't assume your safe behind language barriers.
Other than that, the work has been progressing wonderfully! I've seen many tender mercies of the Lord! We've had one baptism the past month but on May 18 we have two planned! The couples that we are baptizing have been waiting for their marriage paperwork and so we get to do a whole wedding/baptism! Talk about a package deal! Watching people's testimonies grow has also been a wonderful experience. When people put in the effort to keep commitments it always pays off. When one acts in faith, the Lord comes with blessings.
This week in come follow me we got to read about the Prodigal Son. During the mission it has become one of my favorite parables because of the pure love that the father has for his son. His son goes off and wastes his inheritance, the love that his father gave him, on a living that was wasteful. He gave up everything he had in the pursuit of worldly lusts. He had abandoned his family, his honor, and his God. When this realization came to him, he became humble, and he felt remorse. He knew he was no longer worthy to be called his father's son. With this recognition, he decided to return to his father and ask to be his servant. He thought his father would despise him and disown him and yet as he walked down the path he found his father running towards him. His father had been waiting. He had never given up hope on his son. He ran without hesitation to embrace the son that he had thought was lost. I cannot imagine the amount of nights he spent looking towards the road waiting for his son to come home. In that moment the son knew of the pure love of a father, even that of the Father in Heaven. For our Savior, Jesus Christ, is keeping watch night after night. Patiently waiting until we humbly and penitently come unto him. In that day he will embrace us, and say to all,
Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
There are many times when we feel alone or unworthy of love, but God is always there waiting for us to come home. All we have to do is act in faith and start down the path. I know that the Savior loves us and will lift us up if we obey his command to "Come Follow Me". I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.