Halfway through the MTC! Three weeks have gone by so fast.
I love seeing friends in the MTC! Elder Gollaher arrived last Wednesday, and I see him pretty much everyday. (We have the same Meal/Gym schedule) It's funny (to me at least) that Sister Quent and I know all the same missionaries that come in from high school, but we never knew each other.
And YES, I have heard ALL about the typhoon. it's main pathway was across all the districts in my zone. Our Tacloban serving Elders have been relocated to Bacolod, Cebu, and Cebu East, because Leyte (the Tacloban Mission's island) took the worst of the damage from the storm. It's flooded, has the most deaths, and even the mission home was destroyed. Yet all the missionaries are found (there were a few who couldn't get to a phone, and had to walk 40 miles to get to a stake center to contact their mission president.) The Lord does truly protect His missionaries!
This is our Zone's last week at the MTC! They all leave Monday and Tuesday morning! I'm going to miss them all, it won't be the same without them! Our district will be the only district left, so we'll be the ones that know all the ins and outs of the MTC. But yeah, Love the zone! The international missionaries get to have a trip down to the Salt Lake Temple, and it was so QUIET. I really hope the new zone has just as many Islanders as ours does now, or else it is going to be BORING around here. The only reason our district isn't boring is because we have the wonder Sister Kumar to spice things up for us!
Our tri-panionship has a solo Sister (since Sunday night), and she'll be with us until Tuesday until her own companion (another solo sister) arrives. Sister Reilly is headed to Indonesia! Our schedule is the one most similar to hers, so that's why she's with us for now. (We are the fourth group of sisters she has been with. I think she'll be happy when she finally has a permanent companion.)
Sister Reilly! (with a photo bombing Elder Ellis)
Remember that flu shot? I guess it doesn't prevent 24 hour bugs! (or maybe I ate something that just really disagreed with me. . .) Here's the Story. So Sunday I felt queasy from the end of breakfast, throughout the entire day. . .. until dinner time before choir, when my stomach decided to rid itself of its contents the fast way. . . in the middle of the cafeteria. I'm so glad I'm not easily embarrassed! Luckily I'd become friends/acquaintances with the elder sitting across from me (thank you ASL), and he didn't freak out because he was an EMT (or something like that). The sister who often conducts the music during devotionals came over to check on me, and sent me off to get cleaned up when I insisted that I felt better than I had all day. Sister Watkins took such good care of me (because we were on splits for choir).
We went to the devotional that night (in which I pretty much closed my eyes and half slept/half listened, sometimes took a few notes through) We went to a filmed MTC devotional of President Ucthdorf, and I loved it, despite the fact I felt absolutely miserable throughout the entire thing. I think I was praying (read: begging) most of the talk that I wouldn't Suka (that's the Ilonggo verb for "to vomit." I'm sure you didn't actually want to know that.) in the middle of the chapel, nowhere near a garbage can. Heavenly Father answers prayers! when we got to the classroom, I just sat on the floor and starred at the wall, because I could not sit in another chair. I must have looked awful, because Elder Nielsen asked if I wanted a blessing. Normally I would have preferred to fight it off on my own, because I was already over the worst of it, but then I remembered that I am on the Lord's Errand, and he needs me healthy and attentive, so I asked for a blessing.
I think we forget that these young 18 year old elders have the authority to bless and administer to the sick. What a blessing they are! The Zone Leaders Elder Black and Elder Patane-Reupena gave me the blessing, I am amazed and so thankful to them! After that I went to balay (residence) and went to sleep half an hour early.
The day after you're sick, you should just carry around a sign that says, "Yes, I'm feeling much better. Thanks for asking." That extra half an hour of sleep didn't count for anything, because I had to get up 45 minutes early for Service! But we got out of service 20 minutes early because we had to take Sister Reilly to class! So when we had another hour before breakfast started, so I took an hour nap. That felt great. I also half slept through personal study at my desk. Yeah, one of the most uncomfortable sleeping places ever, but you know me, I sleep wherever.
I bought a small sketchbook (5.5x8.5 in) because I really missed mine from home because an Elder was showing me his sketchbook he brought. Now I can sketch that beautiful Panay Scenery! (If I ever get the time on my Pdays). I also had to buy 2 more journals, because the two I brought will definitely not last me the entire 18 months (Yay MTC Bookstore! They pretty much have everything you could ever want/need)
It was so crowded trying to get into Tuesday devotional. There is definitely a reason they don't announce that. He was such a wonderful person to hear from! He updated us all on the situation in the Philippines, and told us a few things that I hadn't known before that. He really emphasized working with your companions, and what a blessing it is to have them. I wish I could say that L. Tom Perry was the highlight of my week (and his talk was great! I was exactly what I needed to hear!) but obviously being sick and receiving a priesthood blessing is what really stood out! Hahaha! Sister Hampson (headed to Cebu) and Sister Watkins also got sick, so hopefully no one else gets it, because it was definitely not fun.
Fun story Nanay! Remember the Elder and his parents we met in the Temple? Well, he gave the invocation for the Tuesday devotional! I finally learned his name (Elder Alonzo), and I realized I do see him around, because he's in the same building as me for class! Haha, I actually missed his name at the devotional, and the next day while waiting for my kaupod outside the CR (Restroom) I was talking to a Sister headed to Bagio, and she was able to tell me his name. Mystery Solved!
Sister Quent told me her favorite riddle, and when I really sat down to think about it and ask yes/no questions, it only took me about 30/45 minutes. I say Only because it took Elder Archibald 4 days. I now have an arsenal of riddles for when I get home!
The word for yes is O-o in Ilonggo (literally two Oh sounds with a glottal stop in the middle) after saying it for three weeks, I forget that it sounds like NO to everyone else! haha, I hope you all can understand me when I get home!
Wanna hear an Ilonggo/English joke? To understand you have to know that the Ilonggo words for Water and Salt are Tubig (Too Beeg) and Asin (ah seen).
"Why can't Salt Water get into heaven?"
"Because it's Tubig asin!" (too big a sin.)
I think it's hilarious. I also think that Brother Speiser, who told us the joke is hilarious, so that might be it. Or maybe because Sister Quent and Brother Hong didn't get it for five minutes, which was really funny too. . .
Home sounds like it's crazy, and the Philippines is full of crazy right now. Yep, it's good to be at the MTC.
Love, Sister Smith