Thank you for your kind emails this week, I love hearing about the happy times and the miracles in your lives. It has been merely three days since I last emailed and so much has happened! May I just say that culture shock is a real thing? Haha! I have not been feeling well, but by sweet companion Sister Lappay is so patient with me! Everything is different in the Philippines and although I already love the culture and the people, it has been a difficult adjustment. As well, I find so much joy in seeing the similarities! In time, I believe that every aspect of the culture will become second nature to me! Everywhere I go, there are kind Filipino people and I am grateful. The church is true! All people need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ! Even in Calape, Bohol!
My companion Sister Lappay is such a blessing in my life. She is an example to me of who I hope to become by the end of my mission. Her service and teaching is pure and genuine. She shines! I hope to treasure every moment with her and every lesson learned. There are adventures in every day. Since I last emailed, we have taught a few lessons and I have experienced what it is like to feel the spirit testify through me. It was amazing! Being practically incapable of communicating in Cebuano, and after testifying in the best way that I could, we visited the Toloy family on Friday night. After teaching a bit about faith in Jesus Christ, I felt somewhat discouraged. I could tell that the spirit was not there. Then later in the lesson, I had a prompting to share a personal experience and testify! So, I am sure by divine guidance, Sister Lappay asked for and examples about faith. I volunteered and proceeded to explain in my broken Cebuano, that this is my second day serving in the Philippines, that I have never left America before, that everything is different and I am scared. Then I said, I am here, serving as a missionary in the Philippines, because I have faith in Jesus Christ. I am very happy to be here with you! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through Him, all things are possible. Tears were in my eyes as I finished and I am so grateful for that experience. My testimony of our Savior was strengthened that day. I love being a missionary. It is in no way, easy. But it is surely worth it! I can see blessings and miracles each day! Afterwards, we began making our way home. It was dark, and I am grateful that we had flashlights. Earlier that morning in personal study, I was studying about faith and I found the scripture, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” in (2 Cor 5:2). It is surely true! I am grateful! Jacob and James, guess what! Last night, I met a spider the size of my hand in the bathroom. Sister Lappay says it is common! Yikes! I will be developing my courage in more ways than I can count here!
I hope and pray that each of you are finding joy in each day! I love you dearly! None of the missionaries near me are from America, and they do not know how to send letters to America. I will send some as soon as I find out how! Have a lovely week! Trust in the Lord! Keep smiling!
Sister Shanna Stanley