I've finished my first official week here in Santa Cruz and I guess the natural wildlife here wanted to congratulate me by chewing me up. You could say they left an impression on me (cue joke drum riff). I'm becoming more and more grateful for modern medicine, including the makers of Cefalexin, Deet and 7-11 Slurpies. I guess I need some trial right?
As part of my first official week, I also got to ride my first official bike! It's fun to bike through the dirt roads trying to avoid the pot holes and roaming dogs.
We passed by a local church that was built through funds from a couple in Seattle. It was fun to see my hometown randomly in a place so far away. We traveled to some of the farther parts of our area where it's more rural and water buffalo are more abundant. The countryside here is amazing. Sometimes I'll pause among the guava and coconut trees and look out at the surrounding palay, or rice fields, with the tropical mountains in the distance and not believe I'm actually here. The people here, while lacking in monetary or material wealth, have such a spirit of endurance and humbleness. While I'm still not understanding everything, I can tell that there are many here ready to receive the gospel.
We had a branch (a congregation smaller than a ward or about 120 people or less) activity where we watched the movie, "The Testaments," which is about Christ visiting the people in the Americas after his resurrection. The scripture in Matthew that talks about Christ visiting other sheep that are not of this fold and having one fold and one Shepard, made me reflect on my purpose as a missionary. I too, am helping the Filipino people come unto Christ and become part of his one true fold. I'm so grateful for the experiences I'm having here.