Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 25, 2014 - Transfer Day! (and Elder Dunford's birthday!)

(Trina - Today's letter is short and no pictures were sent.  It turns out Adam was transferred after just 6 weeks in his first area.  He is being sent to the new part of the mission on Negros island that he talked about in his letter last week.  I was able to retrieve a couple of pictures from his dropbox account, but without his usual awesome descriptions.)

Today, for me is transfer day! We received our transfer calls on Monday at the district meeting, and Lawaan C area is being closed because of the new zones I told you about. So I am leaving Lawaan, and am being sent out to Escalante City, in Negros Occidental! We're taking a bus tomorrow, but all the people going to the new areas are going to Lahug this afternoon, and are staying there overnight. And if what I've heard is right, the bus ride should be about 12 hours tomorrow, so yay, fun! I get to see a whole lot more island! And it's technically still my birthday, in the place of my birth! I think that's really how I'm measuring it, because it just didn't feel right yesterday, though it was the 25th here.

So as it turns out, this was my last week in Lawaan, which was rather unexpected for me. I didn't really have time to say goodbye to many of our families and people we met, but I don't really know if that's common practice, anyways, and I don't really like saying goodbye, so that's okay. However, when I heard that I would be leaving Lawaan after just this one transfer, I thought about how I'd miss it. I really have come to love this place, and 6 weeks here just doesn't seem like nearly enough here, especially since I'm still not really able to understand a lot of people, and can't really sufficiently express my own thoughts. But that aside, I am extremely excited to go on to new places and new islands, both for myself and for the mission.

Really the main thing is just that I have no idea what to expect. No one in Cebu mission has been to Escalante, so I'm just going into this kind of entirely throwing into the wind. I don't know what the language is going to be like, since the people there speak Cebuano, that's why it's now in the Cebu mission, since Bacolod missionaries learn Illongo. But I just know that though it's the same language, there's a lot that changes from island to island. And there haven't been Americans there usually, since the Americans are taught Illongo, they only sent native Visayans there before. I also haven't really heard much about my companion except he's pretty old in the mission, so there should be a lot to learn from him. I'm excited for that. I'm really, truly just excited for all things about this. I am expecting to learn and do so much. 

As for my last week in Lawaan, I had written out some really nice, good descriptions of my doings this week in the picture emails, but all those drafts were being bad and are now empty. And I am out of time and need to be moving kind of quick, so I need to be short, unfortunately. But this Saturday, we had a baptism for sister Bianca, a 16-year-old, whose parents are members, but she had never been converted. The sisters before us for a long time had taught her, but she would never go to church or read. But we were able to see some great growth with her, as she made the commitment to go to church, and really begin to grow her testimony in Christ. We were really able to see a small, something-of-a desire to learn grow into faith, and it was truly good. Her father was able to baptise and confirm her, which I know was a wonderful beginning to truly help their family grow. The Abaquitas were also always buotan jud (truly nice) to us, and they would patiently conversate with me and let me really try out my Visayan. 

(I had sent him a package for his birthday) - 
I have not yet received the package, though I will check when I go to the office today. If it's not there, I'm afraid I may not get it for quite a while, since I am in the absolute farthest reaches of the mission!

(I asked him where he would be watching conference) - 
I have no clue how conference is going to work, actually, especially since I'm going to parts unknown.

(I asked him what it felt like to be 20 and what he was doing for his birthday) - 
And I don't know what it's like to be twenty, that hasn't really hit me. Maybe that feeling's got a long layover in Guam on its way over here. But for my birthday, be had a big dinner at the Osores family's house, who were always super nice and fed us a lot. It was fun and good, and hopefully you'll be able to see some pictures! 

I love this work. I love this place, and I'm excited to go see the other side of it, and see what adventures await there. This is truly a good work, and thank you, always, for all you have done for me. Truly, I appreciate it.

Love, Elder Dunford.

(The following pictures I was able to retrieve off his Dropbox account.  No descriptions, but I assume they are from the cave exploring trip he talked about in his last letter.)

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