Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This is what happened during the "silent" days...

I couldn't really believe it! It wasn't really what I was expecting and the Lord really works wondrously. Despite having loads and loads of problems, here I am! No worries in my mission preparation 'coz it's FINALLY HERE! I'm definitely GOING!

Because of the 7.2 Magnitude earthquake last week, I wasn't able to update anything in my blog. During my last post, I mentioned that Bro. Stephen Notarte sent me an email with the DS-160 form for the US Visa application and expected the schedule by Monday.

Monday came but I didn't receive any email but I tried to be patient. There was no dial tone or internet connection that day but was able to check my email at school. Tuesday, however, had no classes so I wasn't able to check my email. But something shocking happened that day. I was lying down my bed when the earth really shook and found out that it was a 7.2 Magnitude earthquake with Sagbayan (some sources say Carmen), Bohol as its epicenter. It really caused mass panic among the Visayans especially from Cebu and Bohol. Classes were suspended for a week and we've been experiencing strong aftershocks.

The next day, a call came at a very unexpected time. I already have my schedule set for October 23. The internet connection was already back so I checked my email and I received a confirmation appointment for the US embassy on that day. Checked my Facebook too and my (soon-to-be batchmate) friend Sister Balledos was already done with the interview. It really made me feel hyped. Things happened fast.

Finally it was Tuesday...
It was my very first time to travel alone by plane. So I was pretty anxious. I felt like crying (but trust me, I didn't cry). So I kept talking to friends and family via text message on my way to Manila the whole day. It really felt weird... I was taking pictures by myself. -.-

So left is an aerial shot... I was seated at row 10F that day, seating beside a foreigner whom I really don't know the nationality. Strangely, I believe in signs but never really took this as a sign that I would have my visa approved. I can't and shouldn't be too confident. But I trusted in the Lord for whatever happens.

By the time I got off the plane, I couldn't believe that I was finally in Manila, that this is really it. When we came to the Philippine Administration Office of the Church, that was where I met Sister Hirro (Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission - my batchmate), Bro. Agtarap (California San Diego Mission), and Elder Arcayan (Macronesia Guam Mission). I already know Bro. Balledos (Sis. Balledos' younger brother who will be serving in Salt Lake City).

I enjoyed Manila despite it was a short stay. It felt like being home again. It's been 7 years since I last came here. But somehow, I kept forgetting that I'm in Manila that I had the tendency to speak in Cebuano to whoever I meet.

So the night before the interview (anxiety is beginning to increase), I prayed that night and make sure I had prepared everything so that when I get there, I could never forget even just a tiny detail. I was reading Acts 21 when I encountered a verse that says:
 14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, Theawill of the Lord be done.
I used to have this history regarding having bad dreams before a major event but then feeling good and calm about it the next day. This verse, out of the whole chapter, stood out as an answer to my prayer especially on the last sentence The will of the Lord be done. The message was simple. I needed to trust in the Lord and He will take care of everything. It surely calmed me down that very moment. I knew everything would be alright. If it was His will for me to serve my hometown a little much longer, I should accept that.

So I woke up very early the next day. I wasn't able to sleep well because of having short waking periods to check up the time while my roommate (Sister Bowen? from Utah who was about to be released for completing her 18 month mission in Ilo-ilo) was sound asleep. I prepared myself and was finished by around 5am to prepare for the day.

So... We finally got to the Embassy of the United States of America... what now? we're really nervous. We were thinking of A LOT of possible questions, and most especially, we were already thinking of the result.

It took as around 1-2 hours to get our appointments and processing done. Each of us had different questions. Mine was kinda heart-pumping especially when the questions to me might lead to my profession which would greatly put my application in jeopardy. So here were the questions... I won't be saying the answers here...
- What will you be doing in the US?
- How long will you be staying there?
- How long have you been a member of the Church?
- Are both your parents LDS?
- How old are you?
- Finished College?
- Single or Married?
- Do you have children?
- How many of you are going there?
My heart went tachycardic by the time I answered the fourth-to-the-last question. I was praying in my mind and heart that I wish he wouldn't ask what course or degree I finished or else the chances of getting that visa will be very, very low, considering that A LOT of FILIPINO NURSES are dreaming of working in the land of milk and honey. Gladly he didn't and my visa got approved in the end.

After talking to my father, he reminded me "See how the Lord works. If it is His will for you to serve Him, He will provide a way and touch the minds and hearts of those around you." Then I thought of the same thing regarding mission. "The Lord touches the hearts and minds of those whom He have prepared to receive the gospel through the Holy Ghost."

This became another reminder for me to always trust in the Lord in His own timetable. He taught me the same lesson 3 years ago after my Nursing Licensure Examination. I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us and that He will provide a way for us to do His will and keep His commandments. We must desire to return to Him for that is Life Eternal. It is the only way we could truly gain happiness.

E. Arcayan, E. Balledos and Me. XD - Going home from the Embassy.
E. Agtarap... :D

Unfortunately, No picture with Sis. Hirro... but I will.... soon. :)
Sister Ngo

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