Hey guys! This week has been long, but also really enjoyable! We had a baptism this week! I got to baptize Karen..and it was a really cool event. She was happy and her mother came to the baptism who isn't a member but super supportive of her child and anything she wants to do...it reminded me a bit of you mom. Nothing too much has been going on here in Lucban, President Anderson leaves in a few days and I am excited to meet the new president, I have 3 weeks left in my area and I am trying my best to stay on top of everything...but days are moving slower then I could ever imagine..I suppose that's the experience of most missionaries returning home...but once we get home I'm sure I will miss this place desperately. I have a few stories for you from this week and one that probably won't make you too happy but I want to rant about it so bear with me.
We have an investigator by the name of Sister Tita. She lives a 15 minute walk out of town in a small lot of land that is not her own. She lives in house no bigger than half the size of most people's garages. She also lives in a house where the only love she feels is from her two daughters (7 and 11) and crippled younger son who fell out of a tree when he was eight and can no longer walk. Over looking her house is a giant tree that haunts her day and night because of the event that happened exactly 5 years ago this month. If you look past the haunting tree is a veritable ocean of "palayan" or rice fields and in this ocean you can see all sorts of different animals fighting for survival and seeing who can eat the most all under a grey sky that never seems to change it's gloomy colors only when the night sets in and that's when everything turns pitch dark. We've been teaching her for sometime and she finally went to Church yesterday and she was completely glowing! She really had a great time and brought here 2 daughters (7 and 11) and her 1 year old baby. We went to her house after when the whole town was dark because the power went out for a few hours yesterday...very typical in the Philippines. And we talked about her family, Church, and the struggles she had making it today. Her husband didn't really like the fact she was taking all the children, save Marc (Paralysized Son) to Church...she basically said I'm going no matter what and ended up having a great time. She opened up about her passed and her husband I felt really bad for her. She said remarks like, "I hate him", "I wish I could leave with my children" and "He still regrets what he did". That last one caught me off guard so of course because of my inquisitive nature...I just had to know. She started the story about telling us about her oldest daughter. You could see the pride she had in her, and how much she loved her...you could feel the love radiating out of her warm face and tear filled eyes. She was the most obedient and kind of all the children she had, she only wanted to make her parents happy and always was there when times were bad when her husband would get drunk and angry. One night about five years ago, the daughter asked Tita if she could spend the night with her friends and the boy she had her eye on at this waterfall close to their house, and because of the loving nature of her mom she allowed it. About 3 or 4 hours later when the sky grew dark the drunken lush father came stumbling through the front of the wooden house in a rage. He began finding fault with everything, and quickly discovered that his oldest wasn't there. He then began questioning Tita where his daughter was...she tried her best to not reveal exactly where she was...but he got through her and set out on bringing her back home. He shortly found his way to where they were camping, and in front of all her friends and the boy she really liked he cussed her out, said awful things about her friends and her in front of everyone, screamed, and made a huge scene. This was the last straw, years of bottled up temper in an angsty teenage mind decided on the worst possible solution to the problem. She ran away from the campsite leaving her father there, and didn't return home that night. After the father returned he explained everything to Tita and they began searching for her. On Monday when everyone returned to school, no one even knew what happened to their friend with a crazy father. They started a search party and began looking for her..the search only lasted about twenty feet. In the tree that over looks the rice fields and towers over their home hung the body of a stiffened and strangled 15 year old girl. She decided to end it because she couldn't cope with the serious problems she thought she was facing. Needless to say, every since that day 5 years ago the father has never been the same and his drinking has only increased and the lack of love in the home only intensifies day in and day out. Now this isn't the first time I'd experience or heard about suicide or murders in my mission...there has been few times here where I've been only within a few feet of crime scenes. But this one bothered me a lot. Tita is such a wonderful woman and a really kind soul, but she seems to have found her way into a marriage with someone who only really loves them self, or loves their vices more than any other human being. It's a depressing thought, but you cannot ignore what is in front of you..even in the Church Infidelity and Divorce is higher than it should be. However, I am hopeful-or call it naive I know that if the gospel is lived, you kill you selfishness, and be willing to sacrifice everything to have a happy family and marriage things will work out. and that is what I am going to do. Ladies..I'm single and a RM in 3 weeks.
Love you with all my heart,