29 December 2014

Letter 61: It's just One of Those Letters

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week was a good one in San Jose. I'm afraid that due to our Christmas skype I'm like Mom. . and I have nothing really to write about. So this is just one of those really short letters. and I don't even have a USB port to upload pictures. Sigh. And I had some good pics to send home!

umm... So I guess some updates are that the Traveling APs came by. So we got to work with my old District Leader. He was happy to be back in Antique (He missed Karay-a). It was a bit interesting because we were in a Trio working both areas (Sister Haun went to Iloilo to the Doctor.)

So some cool Christmas Miracles have happened over here!

1. Rene: He's a part member that comes to church. . .but doesn't really have much desire. BUT YESTERDAY he told Sister Crisanto he wants to get baptized in January. So that was cool. The other missionaries in the Branch have baptisms planned for the 24th. So we were like, "How about the 24th?" he said OK. But then after the lesson he asked if it could be sooner. So looks like we're now going for the 10th.

2. Loren. She's the granddaughter of a member, who, like Rene, is active in the Church but not active in Desire. But she's made a New Year's Resolution to change her attitude. And she's decided the best way to do that is to be baptized. 

3. Roena and Loni. Two Less-actives that came for the first time in a while now. There is a lot of Less-Active work around here, which is really enjoyable when they actually start returning. :)

So.. .. . .

Yeah. That's it. 

I'm good. Life is good. The New year is in. . . 3 days. Crazy!

So the Church is true. 
Love you all, 
Sister Smith

22 December 2014

Letter 60: J Must be My Destiny?

Mayad nga Aga! 

That means "Good Morning" in Kiniray-a. So Big News: "TRANSFERED" 

So where have I ended up this transfer? Well, a PumpBoat, Jeepney, and a Ceres Bus ride later, and I have ended up in the Province of Antique in San Jose de Buenavista. My third (and hopefully my last) Area. 
Leaving Guimaras
Explanation of the title of this letter? Jaro, Jordan, and San Jose. I'm destined to go to places with a Spanish J. I guess I'm supposed to sound really weird when I get home, by the way. Because I say things like Herusalem and Hordan now. 

So my new companion is Sister Crisanto. She's actually Sister Haun's (my companion from Guimaras) Granddaughter. Which makes her my 2nd cousin once removed? something like that. She's 4.5 months or so into the mission. She's super sweet and we're fairly similar in temperament and humor. 
Sister Crisanto and Sister Smith
My housemates are Sister Haun and Sister Fantone (one of the funniest Sisters Ever). This next transfer is going to be FUNNY :D
Christmas Party! and New Housemates:
Sisters Haun, Crisanto, and Fantone
Also, my house here is the NICEST house EVER. It's SO NICE. We have an OVEN, a separate shower and CR. and a CAN OPENER. It's also just recently built (missionaries moved in 4 weeks ago), so it's just super clean, (nice things here just aren't as nice a few years later. . . ) and it's just the best thing ever. The Zone Leaders also live just next door! 

I actually kinda had some culture shock. There is literally nothing in Guimaras, and there is just SO MUCH here. Like, I was so happy to have a Can Opener. a CAN OPENER. What's going to be my reaction to things back home??

More culture shock: I will never do my laundry by hand ever again because the Sessions (the beloved couple missionaries) are kind enough to let us use their washer and drier. 
How does one use this??
I was super happy on Saturday. I thought I would miss a Christmas Party, but San Jose Branch's was Saturday (just like Jordan's)! The branch here is so FUN. And. There. Are. DEAF. MEMBERS. I love them, they are sooo funny. And they love me, (hahaha) because they don't have to start from the beginning to teach me ASL! They say the way I sign is funny, and all the time it's "In America, you sign this way. But This is the PHILIPPINES. So we sign it this way." It's pretty much the same, but of course there are differences. They are all very patient with me with my constant spelling, and are very good teachers. They teach ASL with a hearing member on Wednesday, and I'm excited to go :) 

Speaking of languages. Here in Antique they speak Kiniray-a (also known as Karay-a. not sure what the difference is) it's very similar to Ilonggo. 

Like. . . if you say it in Ilonggo and then in Karay-a
To me: "Sa akon." is "Kanakon." 
Now: Subong" is  "Kadya" 
Good Morning: "Maayong aga" is "Mayad nga aga"
Here: "Diri" is "Dya"

and a lot of Ls are now Rs. 

Nothing: "Wala" to "Wara" 
To Sleep: "Tulog" to "Turog" 

It's very pretty and I'm getting quite good at rolling my tongue. 

and just things like that. Mostly it's the pronouns that have changed. Really the hardest part is figuring out what language Sister Crisanto is speaking. She came from Kalibo (where they speak Aklanon and Tagalog) and has only been Karay-a for a transfer. Soo... needless to say she's very mixed. (or as I would say: Halo-halo.)

I miss Guimaras. . The Tacdoro Family and the red roads and being in the Mountains. But I'm loving being on the beach and having the views of mountains instead. I'll find out if Edmar, Alma, and Albert really got baptized in a few weeks when Sister Haun brings news back from MLC from Sister Glori. 
Last Night with my Family in Guimaras!
We gave them a small bit of Christmas :)
I thought my last area would be in the city (and after 7 months in the city, I wasn't too keen on going back) but I've ended up in an area that's half city half beach. :D Basically, I'm just super happy and doing great. :) 

By the way. I should be on around 8 am my time on the 26th so that will be around 5pm for you on Christmas. We'll be going on splits (Sister Fantone and Sister Crisanto will call together. and Sister Haun and I will call together) the pinays call on Christmas day, and we call the day after, so that it gets to you on Christmas. Soooooo... Sister Haun get's double time to talk with her family because her parents separated (special permission from President) so. . . that means we get DOUBLE time together this Christmas. I don't know how we're going to talk so long. 

I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas. I know that this time to remember Christ's birth should just really be year round. He has completed His atonement, and we can once again live with our Father in Heaven and our Families through Him. I've already seen so much Faith in Jesus Christ here, in one investigator, Hernie, who asked for a priesthood blessing before going to Iloilo for a surgery yesterday.

I love you all,
All's well in San Jose, 

and have a Merry CHRISTmas!

Much love, 
Sister Smith 
My New Apo (Granddaughter).
I'm afraid I've forgotten her name.

Remember how I got a new Umbrella?

I figured I should finally take a selfie
from the land of selfies. 
ps. sorry for all the pictures ;)

15 December 2014

Letter 59: It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Happy Monday Family and Friends, 

(but for most of you. . .it's still Sunday!) 

Another week has come and by here on Guimaras. It went by really fast because on Wednesday were told something very interesting by President Aquino, "Today, do not think about missionary work!" and thus entered in the CHRISTMAS PARTY. It was mostly a trunkie for all the missionaries going home tomorrow. hahaha. But it was way fun. 
Sisters Aquino, Quent, Smith, kag Scicluna
It started out with each Zone with a play/skit/presentation. It was pretty great (The all Elders district from Kalibo totally won. they were absolutely hilarious) We put on "Elder Krueger's Christmas" our ZL was a disobedient missionary, visited by his "dead companion" and they visited Companion Past, Present, and Future. (by Future meaning Future Eternal companion.) the idea being, "The harder and more diligent you are on your mission, the cuter your future eternal companion" Thus, our Sabad (bad) elder had to change his ways, because his Future EC was not cute. 

My favorite part was when they visited the past and we found out why our mean Elder was mean: The Dear John. We used the name of an Elder who used to be Krueger's comp (Elder Rios) Pulled a "Best two years," type of deal. The best part was Elder Rios's reaction, because we didn't inform him. hahaha. 
His reaction  (Far Right)
Played games, Sung 12 Days of Christmas, had a Gift Exchange (got a cute little souvenir. a little house and stuff in a glass Cheez wiz jar. haha) Ate dinner (did not touch the blood pudding.) Some Missionaries sang, and then we watched the David Archuleta Music and the Spoken Word. (SAW DAD FIVE TIMES.) Sister Quent and I were like, "*sigh* Way better live!" The office elders played with glowsticks and fire for us. 

Slept over at the Sister's apartment in Oton, and then went home exhausted. Hahaha. Too much fun. :) :)

After that. . Went back to work! 

Edmar agreed to be baptized on the 25th (WHITE CHRISTMAS) even if Nanay and everyone else has to wait till January. I loved it, Nanay was like, "do it! You be the example!" and a few seconds later she finally said, 'Ok." with a smile on her face. 

Seriously. LOVE that family. They Came to church even though it rained (that's 2 weeks in a row. WOAH.) and Edmar caught the chicken pox.  Seriously. I love this family so much! I'm going to do my best to come back to this place :) 

Lost a dear friend of over a year this week. Payong. (aka. Umbrella) hahaha. fixed it with staples and ducttape over the past 3 months. . but it just finally died. Over 1 year later (that is so IMPRESSIVE. umbrella's last, like. . .3 to 6 months here) I bought a new one, it's one made specifically for keeping out the SUN. forgot to take a picture. It's really girly, I almost can't believe I bought it really. . .
Payong Ko
Remember how I talked about how strong Alma is and therefore trials will be coming?? Yep. they've been coming. It just stresses Sister Glori and I out. AS IN. Goodness. But let's ignore that and move onto happier things. 

Like a picture of a service project! Loving the Yellow Mormon Helping Hands Vests :)
Service
Anyway. I love you all, 
The church is the MOST true thing you'll ever encounter here on the Earth. 
Christmas is almost here :)

Can I say again how much I love you all for your support? Love Love Love you all. (but not you Elders that read this. haha. I just appreciate your friendship. haha)

Sister Smith

08 December 2014

Letter 58: Don't Worry, I'm Totally Fine

Maayong Aga sa akon Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

First things first, I did in fact survive my first Super Typhoon (I've been through over 20 or so normal just rainy typhoons, but it's the windy super typhoons. . .those are the ones that make international news) 

We got a call from the ZLs on Wednesday (during exchanges with my favorite Australian! Sister Scicluna) And were told to "Be Prepared" have enough drinking water for a week, have enough water stocked up for taking showers if our running water doesn't work for a few days, have completed 72 hour kits and everything. Because this New Super Typhoon was supposed to be faster than Yolanda was last year, and was supposed to go over the exact same path or just hit Japan instead. And if it was too hit us, it would hit on Sunday, or maybe Saturday. (According to the area presidency)

It's interesting all the different information that goes out. We were told "it's coming tomorrow, on Thursday" by people listening to the Radio. Others said, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe even Monday. But the most interesting thing I really learned about people this week is how they react to such news. For me, it felt like there was something kinda evil in the air, a feeling that's really hard to explain. . that feeling you get when you know something bad is gonna happen, bala? Anyway, you could tell some where feeling that too. But then there were others, who were treating everything so lightly, like it wouldn't be a problem at all. 

By the way, Guimaras is small island, but it's Mountainous, so normally, if there are windy typhoons, Guimaras isn't that affected because of the mountainous terrain and it doesn't really even flood either. So last year, when Estancia (a place in Northern Iloilo) was completely destroyed by Yolanda, Guimaras was left fairly unharmed. 

So Thursday, nothing happened. Same with Friday. Then we were told it could possibly come Saturday around 6. Never did. We were told to be home by 5 or 6 (before dark) on Sunday. 

But the Baguio never came. Some rain did, but not a lot.

Currently (according to my companion's sister) it's up on Luzon. Down here, it's just cloudy. The Sun peaks through the grey every once in a while too, and some rain comes down every once in a while too.  

It seems rather anti-climatic, (So I didn't really actually experience a super typhoon. go figure.) but I've learned a few things. 

1) You can't trust all information. Just like Prophets, there are false prophets, and then there are 15 true blue, called of God, Set Apart as Prophets Seers and Revelators, holding the Priesthood authority and keys, and they make up the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. They are the ones who say what Christ and Heavenly Father want said. I sustain them and know them to be called of God. They are the ones we should listen too when information is distorted. I didn't listen to any of the news from people on the streets. The Area Presidency was right. The storm came on Sunday, like they said it would. (even if it went more north than expected)

2) Always Be Prepared. Even though the Baguio (storm) didn't actually come, I'm thankful we were prepared. Imagine what would have happened if we hadn't! That's one of the   things that makes me sad, is this week I saw people who didn't listen to council, who just brushed it off as another calamity that wouldn't affect us because we're on "Guimaras." It makes me sad, because in this time, before the Coming of Christ, these storms will continue, and then one day, the people of Guimaras won't be so lucky. 

But despite the bad weather, Nanay Emma came to church! She's overcoming the things that keep her from church. Over the past few months, I've really seen their family change. Sister Scicluna mentioned it when she visited them with me during exchanges, she noticed that their house almost feels like the house of a member. It's the house of a family starting to keep the commandments of God, and can tell something is changing for the better there. Nanay wants to read so bad, but her youngest daughter broke her reading glasses forever ago. I've been watching the Pharmacy for months, waiting for their cheap pairs of reading glasses (for a buck fifty) to come in. They finally did I got her some for an early Christmas present. I probably won't be here when they get baptized. (transfers are the 18th by the way) But I'm so glad I've been able to teach them. :) They've become my Family here on Guimaras <3

I love you all, 
Have a great week, 

Sister Smith 
Lovely view from outside our front gate
How do you get a kid to stop crying? take pictures of him, he'll pose for you!
Angelo
Exchanges!
The Guimaras Zone!
Ps. hit 1 year in the Philippines on Wednesday! how cool is that?

01 December 2014

Letter 57: Thanksgiving in the Philippines

Dearest Family and Friends, 

I must say, I have a lot of things to be thankful for :D especially the 3 other Americans that only live the room over or a 3 minute tricycle drive away. Because we all got together and celebrated Thanksgiving :D
The Pinay and the Australian,
and they're first American Thanksgiving
Of course our Turkey was Chicken, and the stuffing was a little burnt, and the gravy was sausage gravy (which is supposed to go on Biscuits for Biscuits and Gravy for Breakfast) BUT There were mashed potatoes and APPLE PIE (because the Elders live in the Couple's house, and they have an OVEN.) and Hypocritical eggs(they would be deviled eggs, but the paprika, which is what makes deviled eggs look devilish, was on the inside. so it was hidden and hypocritical. haha) it was a good day :) While it rained. :) (literally like. . all day it just steadily rained. Signal One Typhoon and we still go outside.)
Mashed Potatoes and Hypocritical Eggs.
Things are going well :) Alma came to church a second time in row :D and she didn't even have money for Sud-an (stuff that goes on top of rice), but she came to church anyway. She also asked for a priesthood blessing from our Branch President to overcome her Smoking Addiction and to help her health problems. We asked the member that lives just around the corner to accompany us last night to her lesson, and goodness, she is such a good fellow shipper! Right now things are going so well with her. That means trials are ahead (of course) But it's so good to see someone who is already strong. and when trials come, Christ will be there to support.

Nanay Emma committed to pay Tithing immediately. Talk About FAITH. 

Now just to get her to church. *sigh* 

Got a text Saturday Night around 9 (didnt' read it until 10) "Hey Sis Smith, ths is Anthy cn u tlk tmrrow for 5th snday? kthnx." 

My reaction was "Grrr" because I talked last time, so it should have been Anyone but me. . .but I was grateful for it. Basically it was "Do Your Home and Visiting Teaching. Less-Active members don't need Missionary friends. They need Member Friends." talked for a good 15 minutes too. (longest sacrament meeting talk I've ever given in my life. whoa.) Sister Glori says that I chastise people too nicely, and that it defeats the purpose. hahaha. But at least I wasn't Elder Walmer, who never received the text and got 25 minutes of prep time (sacrament time and my talk time. haha)

Ano pa?? (what else) umm.. indi ko sure kon ano dapat sulaton ko subong, . . basi magilonggo lang ako tungod kasadya siya. . . hmm..  (umm.. I'm not sure what I should write right now. . . maybe I'll just ilonggo because it's fun. . . .) 

um... Missionary culture note? Sister Quent and I realized that there hasn't been a new American Sister in this mission since we got here. So in April, there won't be anymore left! 

umm... Zone meeting is tomorrow. But there isn't any MLC this month because the Christmas party is next week. sooo.. we get to make up our Trainings all by ourselves! wahoo. yah. whoopdeedoo. 

Love you all,
The Gospel's true.

Love, 
Sister Smith
Early Christmas from the Relief Society! Thank you!
Baby looking Cool :D

24 November 2014

Week 56: Things are happening

Dearest Family and Friends, 

This week was crazy. As in. What Happened?

This is what happened: So last week we Found Alma. (she's totally awesome by the way. I love her) This week we got very punted by Alma. hahaha. Eventually we were able to teach her Saturday night, (along with her son, Albert and her niece, Beverly). Reviewed Lesson 1, and Gave her a Book of Mormon (which she was so happy to get!). She then BEAT US to church on Sunday! (She got there at 8:40. We got there 8:50) Albert looked just absolutely happy after YM/YW :) Now that we know she gets home at 5 (not at 2 like we thought) the punting will be considerably less of an issue :)

Nanay Emma didn't make it to church. *sigh* 

Met and Taught the Australian whose house I've been walking past on a weekly basis. Let me just say, I now know why I serve in the Philippines. I am generally a mild mannered person who doesn't do well with people with tempers. Filipinos don't really have tempers, Which is nice when you're teaching them about the Book of Mormon and when they don't want to accept it along with the Bible, at least they're polite about it. Goodness, this Australian wasn't very nice about it! (But at least it strengthened my testimony of about everything in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and The Book of Mormon is the Word of God!)

It's crazy how people are taught by the Spirit, but then Satan just comes in. Erluz has been having a lot of doubts these past weeks, and when Sister Glori met her she was like, "Why do you keep visiting her? She's not progressing at all!" but then Wednesday came by, and Erluz said, "Sisters, I've been doing a lot of thinking, about how I've had kulang (umm.. something missing) in church, following God's commandments. You two come here and teach and help me understand, but I haven't been doing my part." So we asked her, "So what are you going to do?" "Go to Church! obviously!" 

But then she doesn't come to church. *sigh* 

But that's why we're patient with people. Patience really is something I've come to appreciate here. learning to be patient with Myself, Companions, Investigators, Members, EVERYONE. It's so important that we are patient. 

Like for example: Joan. Joan is a member on our Branch Presidency's 15 Names. (most the 15 names live in my area, actually) and for 5 months I've walked by her house, she was very rarely home, and if she was home she was too busy to let us in. Then one day Sister Fabella and I saw her on the road, we talked a bit, and she made the comment along the lines of "Maybe it's getting to be time for me to come back." We dont' teach her. We stop by (Sister Glori and I) to visit her Active neighbor (Bico) to try and get some referrals. Bico wasn't home, but Joan was. Shared 3 Nephi 13:31-33 (one of my favorites, by the way) and. . . she didn't come to church. But YESTERDAY. Yesterday Nanay Bico picked Joan up, and they came to church. Joan came to church for the first time in 2 years! 

Been walking by her house for 5 months, stopping by, trying to catch her. Patience really pays off. Charity and Love are so important. "People won't care how much you know until they know how much you care." as my ZL liked to say. 

Anyway. I love you all. (A LOT! I miss you too!)

Have a great week!

-Sister Smith
 "Corn Bread"
Julie's bread-shop labeled this as "Corn Bread." I saw the label and got SUPER excited (I mean, Thanksgiving is coming up, and then cornbread just sounds super yummy.) but then I saw the actual bread. . . Well, I got a good laugh.
Sister Mango
Hey, look what I bought for $1.07! (And we now know why Sister Hallet calls me Sister Mango. haha)

17 November 2014

Letter 55: Finding is FUN!

Dearest Family and Friends, 

So Sad News: Our Couple Missionaries went home. Definitely missing the Taylors. They really inspired me, and I must say, I do want to serve a couples' mission in the future! 

So Cool News: Because the Taylors have moved out, their house is EMPTY. And there are two new inhabitants thereof. The Zone Leaders! So Elder Walmer and Elder Krueger will be joining us in the Branch. 

And since they're here, they needed somewhere to work. So we gave them half of our area, and we took part of the other sister's area. (mostly, the city part of this very small town place) which means we have lots of new houses to visit, and people to share the gospel with! 
Splits with Elder Del Mundo
Our Traveling Assistants came and worked with us. Pretty much got scolded for going into the bukid everyday (not that we had a choice before. just saying) and were told to stay closer to the city. Now we can be in the city. YAY for following revelation?

We had a lot of cool experiences with finding new investigators. One woman, Alma, was SO SO prepared. Definitely a Referral from Heavenly Father. :) We walked down a street, and got rejected a lot. And when we came to the intersection, we were like, "alright. Do we just go right and try somewhere else or do we keep going forward?" The member with us told us she thought we could try a few more houses down the road. Found Alma, Painting her nails :) we joked with her, found out she took the lessons about a year and a half ago or so. Lost her house in that massive typhoon, and then lost contact with the missionaries. Used a deep Ilonggo word I didn't understand that I later learned meant "Immersion." She was totally supposed to get baptized, but just lost contact with the church and everything. We pulled out the Restoration Pamphlet and Sister Glori told her that we had the same message to share that she'd heard before, and she just broke out into tears! 

She then committed herself to get work off on Sunday and Come to Church.

We were an answer to her prayers, and she was an answer to ours. :) Heavenly Father is such a great Dad, isn't he? :)  

Got a cold on Friday. Stayed home on Saturday and slept. (did the cool 1 Missionary and a Member in Each area, and Sister Quent and I stayed home) Coughed through Sunday. (took Cough medicine. I promise) 

to Quote Sister Scicluna, "Sister Smith, does your body know what an immune system is?"

But I'm ok now :) as always. 

The Church is true!

I love you all, 
Sister Smith

ps. Sister Quent and Sister Scicluna found the POST OFFICE. I can send mail again. YAY! 

pps. Sorry. No pictures. I'm convinced this computerhan has viruses. the connection is better. . . but I'm gonna have to go back to the old shop. 

ppps. Woah, did everyone just decide to get engaged an married last week? That's the news I got from everyone! How crazy! (Congrats to everyone :D)

10 November 2014

Letter 54: Hellos are Fun!

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Say Hello to my New Companion! Sister Glori!
Sister Glori Kag Sister Nitura
So this week was really weird. On Monday we went to an FHE in the other area (which is Bawal/Forbidden) but I had to go because we were in a trio. :) Tuesday I went out and worked with Sister Scicluna and Sister Quent. and then on Wednesday we made Sister Scicluna stay home because she's too sick to be an effective missionary. So I made a Plan of Salvation diagram thing! (I've just always used my companion's). I must say it's pretty cute. Kami ni Sister Quent did Sister Scicluna's laba (Sister Quent and I did Sister Scicluna's Laundry) while she slept. Doing your own laundry by hand is fine, but when you add even more clothes, your fingers take a beating (you basically get a rug burn.) But hey, Mosiah 3:17!

Didn't Transfer! (YAY YAY YAY) So Thursday I went up to Iloilo to get her and go to MLC (went by myself. That was WEIRD. The "Never be alone" rule doesn't apply when President just tells you to come by yourself. . .) 

She's from Cavite (Hey, that's where Dad's Cousin is! She recognized the name "President Tye"!)  And goes home the transfer before I do. She just barely got called to be an STL, and she'll be giving her first training tomorrow. (she's not very excited. Very nervous actually) Speaking of Training. . . I have NO IDEA what I'm training on tomorrow. *sigh* it was a weird MLC. 

Friday I was asked to CSP to do some brush lettering on a school wall. That was fun :)
Painting
Our District President moved to Cebu and the Second Counselor in Branch Presidency moved to Kalibo. The The Couple missionaries here will be leaving this week. :'( There will be a lot of rearranging within the next few weeks. Also, because the couple is leaving, our Zone Leaders will be moving into their house until the New Couple comes in January. Last night I made them an Area book for their Temporary area (of about 9 weeks.) It's mostly full of Less actives and Former investigators. We did rearranging on the area boundaries yesterday, and now we have more area to work in! It will be nice to have more members in the area! 

No one came to church. Try Six. We've decided on a cure for this. FASTING, PRAYER, PATIENCE, REFERRALS, and DILIGENCE. I'll let you know how it works. 

Anyway. Didn't work in my area that much because of everything that happened (haha, DL called, "Sister, What happened to our Key Indicators this week?" "Well Elder. . .") I'm gonna start working on my training for tomorrow. (still don't know what it will be. *sigh*) 

the Church is true! I love you all, 

And All is Well :)
Sister Smith 

03 November 2014

Letter 53: Goodbyes are Never Easy

Dearest family and friends!

It's another week gone and done in the Philippines! it's crazy how time flies!

Big news: Sister Fabella went home. Sent her off in a taxi after a last breakfast at Macdo. (her favourite. and there are no Macdos on Guimaras. So it was fun taking her to one in the city before departing.)  

I really admire My lola. She really went the right way. NOT trunkie and working hard just as always.She's awesome, and I hope I'm like her in 6 months. (palangga ta ka sister! halong ka guid so imo bago nga kabuhi!) 
Returning with Honor
Hugs Goodbye
the next stage of Life. haha. 
whoops. I seem to have taken a bit too much time doing other things today. FIVE MINUTE LETTER START AND GO. 

Alright. umm... AH. New investigators are awesome! Eric and Jessa were a referal from the Elders on the end of the island. They are AMAZING. We've been teaching them for about 2 weeks and Jessa has already said yes to baptism and Eric says, "I'm catholic, but I'll support her." they are so awesome. (by the way. Eric is an ilonggo born and raised in Guam. so he's an american citizen who completely understand english (understands and speak ilonggo now too) and I probably understand more tagalog that he does!) The only problem is that they aren't marrried. . .and can't get married until Eric pays his Overstay Fee because his Visa ran out. *sigh* obstacles to come over. 

No one came to church. Is it just because I'm in this area? I can't decided. (this happened last time too.)

So I'm going to be in a Trio with Sister Quent and Sister Scicluna for the next Three days. FUN! Mostly just waiting to find out if I transfer and my area is whitewashed, or if I stay. That's life right now. 

Time's up! Sorry it's short!

I love you!
Sister Smith
In a Tricycle
Cool Tag Shot



27 October 2014

Letter 52: 365 Days Later

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Abaw, Time flies, it's been over a year now that I've been wearing a tag that says mine and Christ's name over my heart. Crazy, no? The Elders of our district called to say "Congrats' and then proceeded to ask if our celebration would consist of cake and ice cream. We looked at each other and had a "You buy the Ice cream and I'll buy the cake!" And that's what we did. 
1 Year na Kami
1 Year pa Ako 
 So one year, come and gone, and another 6 to go! (which is ONLY FOUR TRANSFERS. And if you really think about it. If I stay in this area: New companion. So the transfer doesn't count because you have to get used to them. and then after that's it's a new area, and that doesn't count as a full transfer because it goes by to fast. and then after that it might be another companion, so that transfer doesn't count. and then it's the last transfer, and that doesn't count at all. So in reality. . I'm already at the end!.) (not really. I still have Dugay Pa! (a long time left!))

We went on Exchanges this week. Sister Quent came over with me to my area :) it was kinda funny, because we worked together the day before our year mark. Haha, it's funny how things have changed. We both speak a new language now (She still can't speak Ilonggo. haha. Pure Tagalog siya) and we actually both know how to teach! 

Sister Aquino came and worked with us a day! That was a surprise, so our plans of "No plans! lets to find people to teach" didn't fly. Instead we went to investigators and Less actives that we planned for the next day. Gotta love it. :) Her example was great. My favorite part is when we were teaching, and the lesson was going well, but was starting to end on a sour note, so she just took over and taught the Plan of Salvation! She's awesome. 

Sister Fabella has never gone caving on her mission, and so our district just went (despite that both I and Elder Walmer greatly dislike caving) so now I'm sitting in the Elder's area emailing in very wet pants and it's COLD. 
Caving
Have I ever mentioned that I think 65F is absolutely freezing? 

Anyway, it was fun because we ended with a . . Pruda (?) fight. Basically, you lay rice, meat (fish) and other food out of Banana leaves and all just eat it with your hands. YUM! 

4 Weeks of No one coming to church. Yay. Next week!!!!! 

Went to a Beach Baptism on Sunday. Got Sunburned. My neck and throat and back and head hurt. Been kinda miserable. haha. (I laugh because it's over. YAY.) 

Nanay Emma is Slowly getting rid of Coffee, and we got to teach Tatay kinda one of one. He's never really be seriously interested, so we mostly just invited him to be united with his wife in investigating the church (they literally do EVERYTHING together. But this.)

We're really trying to go out to an area that we've never really been, and find those prepared for us, but our plans keep changing and we can never make it out there. I really pray that we can get there this Friday, so that we can get some solid new investigators. 

Anyway. See you all in SIX MONTHS. 

I love you all, 
And all is Well, 
The Church is true, 
And the Book of Mormon is Too!

Sister Smith

ps. I'm sorry there are no pictures this week. (Sister Quent and I even took a cool "1 Year Na Kami" picture. But. . the Elders advised us NOT to plug our stuff into these computers. . .And I'm not very fond of viruses. both on my camera card and in my body)

(Mom's note: Hannah sent pictures with the next week's letter so I edited this post.)

20 October 2014

Letter 51: Don't Worry, God has a Plan

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

This week was an "Things are getting better, slowly" week. (even if no one came to church. . . again,. . *sigh*)

Today, I think I should just testify that God's Plan of Salvation is PERFECT and True, and how lucky we are that He has not only prepared one Kingdom for His Children, but THREE. That's something I find I've never really written about. Mostly it's "Prophets are True. The Church is true. Heavenly Father loves us." This random testimony probably comes from the fact that our investigator told us that he doesn't like our "Mormon doctrine of Three Glories, and that We should teach it like the bible does with just "Langit kag Imperyno" and that we should be going to people telling them that they're going to go to "Imperyno" unless they join the "Mormon Church"" 

(not that he wants to join the church. Needless to say, he's "Dropped us." Also he believes in the bible and only the bible, but not in 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 btw) 

Anywho, just wanted to say that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that He has better plans then just Condemning His children, and that Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross of Calvary just for us to be able to repent of our sins, and one day have Eternal Glory in the Celestial Kingdom of His Father. (Sa ngalan ni JesuKristo, Amen.)

Other Cool things of this week: 

We taught Nanay Emma about the Word of Wisdom, and she's now giving up Coffee. I wish all investigators responded to the WoW like she did, "Of course it needs to go. I didn't drink it yesterday, and my head hurt. I must be ADDICTED. That's bad!" 

The Elders in our district are awesome and did a CSP at our house.They 
1. Cut down the Branches in the tree with a Machete (there's much more light now. it's less spooky at night and more inviting during the day.)
One of many Scary Spiders that live here. 
2. Lit all those branches and leaves on fire, (yay that's totally legal here.)
3. And made our fence chicken proof. (there were chickens in our yard the next morning) 
Elder Fogavai in our tree
It's funny how it works. They come do the hard labor, we make the food. haha. Somehow it reminds me of the talk by Elder Chi Hong Wong, about the man with Palsy

"His home teaching companion from the elders quorum and the tall and strong full-time missionary would have pushed really hard from below. The Relief Society sister would have reminded them to be careful and given them words of encouragement."

It made me laugh last week :)

Interviews were fun, (Yay Chastisement (or: Improvement opportunities!)) and so was District Conference (I definitely prefer President Aquino giving Improvement Opportunities to the Members. haha) 

The church is true!

I love you all, 
And all is Well, 
Sister Smith

13 October 2014

Letter 50: Rain Rain Go Away

Dear Family and Friends, 

Normally, when I sit here in the Computerhan I think about how fast the week has gone and nothing new has happened, and it feels like just yesterday I was sitting here. But today, I feel like it's been weeks since I've sat at this computer. . even though not much is new. Again. But that Number 50 at the top of this letter is pretty big. . .whoa.
Selfie in a Tricycle
Zone meeting was last week. Once again it comes and goes. Stressing over training comes and goes. Interviews were supposed to be last week, but instead they'll be this week.

So for some big news: I was told for the first time in my mission to "Stay Home, Do Not Go Outside" because of the weather. It rained for 24 Hours, and then rained most of the time for another 24 hours, and then rained a bit more for another day after that.  We actually went out for the first day, and we came home completely soaked to the bone. We got a call around 7pm telling us to go home (which was funny, because I was already home in my sweats and a jacket, heating up some water for a cup of Milo) We got another call the next morning telling us to not go out. And then we were told we could go out around 4:30pm that evening. Saturday we went out in the morning to invite people to come to General Conference, I forgot my umbrella (Sometimes I'm so not smart) and the sunny weather turned into a downpour. Came home Soaked, and then went to General Conference. 

Of course we don't have running water during all of this, but hey, there was an endless supply falling off our roof being caught into several buckets outside.
Catching Rainwater
There are pros and cons to Rain water showers: Cons: it's REALLY Cold. And there's a few twigs and leaves at the bottom of the bucket you decide to ignore. 

Pro: Rain Water is good for your hair. 

Anyway. Now the sun is shining and it feels hot again. Funny how quickly the weather changes

Nanay Emma is doing good (even if she did her Laundry instead of coming to church) We taught the Word of Wisdom, and she said it wouldn't be a problem to give up coffee

General Conference was AWESOME. (I rediscovered that I'm loosing my English vocabulary. I sat there for a few minutes trying to figure out what President Uchtdorf meant when he kept saying "Vistas") 

But seriously, how amazing is it that Heavenly Father loves us so MUCH that He calls 15 Prophets, Seers, and Revelators in this dispensation to help us along our way? I know Thomas S. Monson to be God's Prophet here on the Earth today. I was sad that no instigators or Less actives in our area made it to conference, but hopefully next week, some of them come to church :) 

The Church is TRUE, and Guided by Jesus Christ at the Head. 

I love you all! (a lot!) 

-Sister Smith
FHE at Nanay Bico's




06 October 2014

Letter 49:

Dear Family and Friends, 

Things are going well here in the Pilipinas. I'm in Iloilo right now for our SM day, and goodness, my hands are FREEZING because of the Air Con in this Computerhan. That will also be what I blame my bad spelling and bad grammar on this week :) cold fingers. (but seriously. I'm so cold right now)

This week was a slow week here on Guimaras. We went to MLC so we were MIA. 

Friday we cleaned our apartment, YAY!
.
.
.
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Whoops! My Pinky hit the Enter key and it accidentally sent my letter! I wasn't even close to finishing it. 

anyway.

Cleaned the apartment! Yay! But it's a little difficult to clean when your water decides to turn off.  *sigh* oh well. We cleaned up a lot of the stuff outside, and took Elder Taylor's advice, and called the elders to tell them they should have a CSP to clean up the jungle we have growing in our front yard. (and fix our fence.) 

We also went out with the Taylors to a member that lives WAY far away. Did I ever tell you about the time Sister Haun and I went out there by ourselves and had to walk home for 3 hours out of the mountains? Yeah, it's more convenient when the Couple missionaries are headed out that way anyway, and are willing to give you a ride in their truck :)
The Taylors
I've been super tired ever since Transfers, even to the point of actually going to bed early (not too hard, when you get home at 7pm) But all I needed was a nice good power-nap during lunch on Thursday. I believe in the power of naps! Even Christ took naps! Remember, when he's sleeping on that boat and the tempest is raging? And what does he do when he's awoken? Calms the raging sea! Naps are good for you!

Had some good ups and downs. Down: Our recent convert told us that Alcohol is Bawal (forbidden) except for when your hanging out with friends, so you can take one or two shots so that you don't seem like a kill joy. (we taught him the importance of obedience.)

Up: the General Women's meeting was AWESOME! As in! I loved it. (except for the fact that it made me want to buy a plane ticket for Cebu and go to the temple. and my companion looked at me and said, "I go in FIVE weeks." Palagpat.)

Down: No Investigators came to church

Up: Nanette had her baby and he's ADORABLE. :)

UP: THANKS FOR THE BIRTHDAY PACKAGE!! Dad, what am I supposed to do with so many CD's? Everyone at MLC was like, "Sister Smith, only you would be sent a jacket while staying in the Philippines." and Thank you SO MUCH for the Burt's Bee's! I just ran out of my chapstick (I finished one with out loosing it! I'm sad to see my "Future True Aggie" chapstick finished. (Not that I'll ever be an Aggie anyway)) and was worried about getting a nice new one :) Thanks for Being Awesome. 

All's well, I Love You All! 
The Church is true, and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.

Until Next week, 
Sister Smith
Luke 6:48

29 September 2014

Letter 48: Tigulang na ako!

(I'm old now!)

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

How are you all doing?? I'm doing great! My age also officially states that I've been on this earth an entire 2 DECADES. Weird, no? 

Thank You all for All the Birthday Wishes! 
20 na!
I actually celebrated it twice. On Tuesday because Sister Haun and I were in a "Wahoo! House to ourselves! Let's buy a cake!" mode. And then she transferred. That she wasn't expecting (probably because she did NOT want to leave) But I was pretty sure it would happen. Which left me with 3 new housemates! And then on my birthday, when my housemates found out it was a my birthday. haha. I ate a mango for my birthday present to me. It was great :D
Our Last Companionship Unity Moment
So anyway, I actually guessed two of my new housemates!! I'm with my Batchmate, Sister Quent, and her comp is Sister Scicluna. 

And my New Companion is Sister Fabella. She's my "Lola" (Grandmother) And This is her last six weeks! So it looks like I'll be killing her. There must be some fancy English word for that. She's also my first Pinay companion! She's so Buot (kind) and I absolutely love her. <3 I'm also picking up a bit more Tagalog. I got some from Sister Haun, and Now I'm getting it from Sister Quent and Sister Fabella. My favorite is when Investigators ask Sister Fabella a question in Tagalog, and then they ask me, and I just look at them blankly and have to say, "Indi ako itiendi tagalog. Ilonggo lang ako"
New Companion and Housemates:
Sister Fabella, Sister Scicluna, Ako, and Sister Quent. 
On the Sister's First day I took them out to their area, and the reaction was a kind of, "Umm.. This area is a HIKE!" 'Welcome to Guimaras Sisters!" haha, they're so happy to be here. They already love it. They're an interesting pair. Sister Quent just came from Kalibo, so she's speaking Tagalog, and Sister Scicluna is 4.5 months into the mission and still struggling with Ilonggo. 

I realized just how much my endurance has increased out here. When we get home, everyone else just kinda crashes and sleeps. hahaha, That's how I was my first 2 weeks. 

Anyway, the area is doing good! We had an FHE with our family on Wednesday, and then we had a great lesson with them on Sunday. Nanay Accepted a BAPTISMAL DATE :) She's preparing for November 1. Her son and his wife said they'd pray (Rekim and Catherine) . Tatay didn't have much to say. . and her LA Son's Girlfriend (Bea) is encouraging him (Kim Jan) to go to church again! Wow, I'm praying praying guid that Nanay makes it on the first. 
Our Family
Nanay actually made it on time the Sacrament Meeting this time (they've always been late) but then they were too shy to actually partake of the bread and water. Oh well. *sigh* Next week!

I've been reading Jesus The Christ amat-amat (little by little) again and I've been absolutely loving it! Nothing, of course, beats reading the actual Bible and Book of Mormon, to come to know who Christ truly is to you, or what His atonement means in your life. But I love being able to understand more of the world in which our Savior lived, the life style, the social circumstances. I feel like I understand His words more fully :) It's a wonderful feeling. 

anway. Tha's all. I love you all. I hope you make it a great week, and I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or. . Ang Simbahan ni Jesukristo sang mga Santos sa Ulihing mga Adlaw) Is the one and only true church here on the face of the Earth. 

With much love, 
Sister Smith