31 March 2014

Letter 22: Don't Worry Be Happy.

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

It's been week? How is it Monday and I'm already sitting in an Internet Cafe emailing and reporting my week? This week (this mission) is what I call "Sobrong ka Dasig!" Or: TOO FAST.

So, Last week when I wrote my email on Monday, I was SO stressed. Tried to hide it, probably didn't do a good job (maybe I did) all because of one thing: I'd been asked to give the lesson in District Meeting that Tuesday.

So by the way, I taught in District Meeting. Let's just say my desire of anything other than public speaking made the task really difficult. (I'm not going to say if it went well, or if it didn't. Just going to say I'm thankful to the Elder in my district who decided to save me from having a very short lesson by making several, nice, long comments).

Anyway, Stage fright over, that was a week ago, and now I am STRESS FREE (haha. Mostly. Missionary work is just stress. But it's good stress.)

It's starting to be summer :D I love it! it's so hot, but it's going to get HOTTER! Which almost seems impossible, but it's gonna happen, once we get to the middle of April (and some years, it lasts all the way to the end of May.)

Want to know how you're serving somewhere humid? You take a shower in the morning to clean off all that sweat from running, and then after you dry yourself off: You're still wet! Hahaha. Gotta love it! (no seriously. I love it. I will dry up like a raisin when I get home, and then I'll be frozen too.)

Fun things that happened this week: We got chased by several (two) drunk men. One who insisted that we had to "Converse first!" (Magistoria kita anay!) and another who demanded a tsiko from Sister Massé "Give me one" (and in English) Gotta love being two Kanas in the middle of the Philippines.

I love our new Bishopric so much. (loved the last one too. don't get me wrong) They really want to know how they can help us, and inform us how we can help them. We gave them a copy of our progress record, and it wasn't just a "Thanks. We'll look at this later" it was a "ok, who are these people, and how can we help them?" IT was GREAT.

Short Letter this week. Lots of things happened, but a slow computer which means no pictures this week ): This computer is just deciding not to load anything.




Have a great week! :D

Sister Smith

24 March 2014

Letter 21: Rain Rain Don't Go Away

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan.
Once again. . I sit at the Computer trying to think of what to write about. . .
umm... Yep, Mom, even though you've said that I have an easier time writing than you because "But for you there is so much you can write about, new investigators, the culture, new foods, fun experiences, etc. . . "
What's crazy is that all becomes Normal!
But let's get started on that list.
New Investigators:
She's actually not that new. I wrote about her last week. But I'm just so impressed by Emily. She wasn't able to make it to church because she'd been called into work for an emergency (the poor woman had to work a double shift. and then go in again Sunday night). But she had really wanted to go. Even though last week during Relief Society made the comment that if you're going to take the sacrament you should be wearing a skirt, and  she was slightly offended because she was wearing jeans. (she doesn't own a skirt, we told her she could wear pants, or anything she felt comfortable in) she told us later in the week, (we'd totally missed it. gotta love that language barrier), and we apologized, but she was so chill about it. She really gets that "The Church is perfect, and the members are just trying their best" type of thing. She's just so prepared for this, and is really preparing toward her baptism.
The Culture:
Security System
Standard anti burglar system. Really scary glass that almost looks pretty, but really just looks scary.
New Foods:
Actually. . haven't tried anything especially new this week. OH Wait. I did. Green Bread. I don't remember what it was called, but it was green. . and it pretty much tasted like: Bread. Or, as a Ilongga would call it: Tinapay (Tee Nah Pie) Also, this green pudding (a lot of green in the same day) that wasn't too sweet, but there was just a lot of it, so it was hard to finish. Camote (Cah Moe Tay) is like a sweet potato, and is just really delicious.
I've stopped eating rice everyday. As much as I LOVE it (Like, I love eating rice for lunch EVERYDAY. I really do, this isn't sarcasm, I promise.) when you eat that much sugar/starch (because that's what it is), it's really not that healthy. (unless you're a Filipina and that's how you've eaten your entire life. Rice: 3-5 times a day)

Fun Experiences:
It rained so HARD yesterday! (what's crazy is that it wasn't actually as hard as it gets in the rainy season apparently.) I've never had it where the streets are flooded up to your ankles (and in this picture's case, half way up my calves) My bag was absolutely soaked! And my hair. And my back (because I was trying to keep my bag from getting even wetter, so my umbrella was faced more toward the front of me.) and well, it was just wet :D I loved it. But it's a good thing I keep everything (pamphlets, my BoM, 1 or 2 Libro Ni Mormons, my camera) in plastic bags! It's really the only reason everything survived the event. You gotta love it, all the Filipinos hiding in their homes to be dry, and the missionaries just trekking through the water.
Rain, rain . . .
Relief Society
There was a great RS Activity! We were invited, and part of the activity was going out and "Visiting the One." which was so nice, because now Sister Massé and I know where more Less Actives in our area are! (We've been trying to help the ward with their Rescuing efforts, but we only knew of three less actives in our area. One: Can't walk. Two: Runs away when she sees us coming. (that's a sad one.) and Three: Super Busy student who is rarely home. We're happy that we now have some more LAs we can visit.
We also got invited to Auxiliary meeting for the first time (New Bishopric! They're awesome.) It was really nice, because now we know the goals of the ward concerning Less Actives, and we were able to inform them how much more we would like to be apart of the Rescue Effort.

Sister Massé and I made a deal: I OYM people (talk to new people.) or we run in the morning. I guess we can say that the next morning I walked while Sister Massé jogged circles around me. At least she enjoyed it!
I got my new retainer! Now I know why people who wear their normal retainers (not my old Invisiline one) have a lisp. It's like having a spoonful of peanut butter stuck on your upper-palette and not being able to get it off at all.
And then, once again at the end of an email I think, 'Wow, a lot did happen this week!" haha. Anyway,
Palangga ko kamo gid!
The Church is True!
Sister Smith

17 March 2014

Letter 20: ♪♫A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down ♪♫

Dearest Panimalay kag Mga Abyan,

As you can tell from the Title of this letter, Sister Massé and I were feeling a bit under the weather this week. 

As in, I've never seen Sister Massé give up on exercising and crawl back into bed. We've also never been ordered to stay home for a day (even though we did go out for an hour and a half anyway. . .) 

Also, we had Exchanges this week. And I had the privilege of going to GUIMARAS! It was so Beautiful!. Like, As in! (haha, I say "As In" a lot now. Definitely something I've picked up here.) I loved it so much! 

Isn't it beautiful?
It seriously looks like Stake Girls' Camp! It's so quiet and peaceful, 
it really felt like I was back home in the mountains of Utah. :D
So Many Mangoes! (also, so totally delicious.)
First of all, the Sisters' house on Guimaras is MASSIVE and is so nice. But when I got there. . . The water wasn't working. Haha, Sister Karaponga and Sister Jensen went all the way to the well to get water (and then their neighbors invited them to use their well instead of going all the way down the hill) so that we could all have a shower in the morning. 

I learned so much from Sister Karaponga. I really became aware of so many of my shortcomings and obstacles as a missionary and as a person. But now that I am more aware of them, I have a way that I can improve myself. 

Life is so different there. It's SO quiet. I actually down on the grass for a lesson (haha, no grass to sit on in the city) and there are nearly NO jeepneys (the main way to travel) and Tricycles are really hard to get once it's dark, so the Guimaras curfew for sisters is 7 pm. There is SO MUCH time at night. It was so nice, I didn't have to rush my nightly journaling, and I still had time to talk with Sister Karaponga.

Alright, I have bad news. So on the way back to Panay from Guimaras. . .I lost my retainer. MOM I'M SORRY. Like, I was so angry at myself. BUT I have taken the way of repentance and am trying to fix it. Sister Aquino referred me to an orthodontist, and I went last week to get one made (like, the day after I lost it, so my teeth haven't moved back THAT much) and it should be done tomorrow. (Haha, Sister Aquino probably thinks we're ridiculous. First Sister Massé is sick, and I loose my retainer. Things sure are never boring with us!)

On a happy note. . .Our investigator with a baptismal date came to church! We're so excited for her! We first started teaching her aunt a month and a half ago, and one day we were going to teach her aunt, but Emily was home from work, and we started teaching her as well. She's so great, she was shy at church, but we're really going to try and get some members to work with us this week so that she can have some fellow-shippers.  

There's an American in our ward! He moved here with his wife and has been living in the Philippines 40 days! Hopefully he's here to stay! He was pretty excited to see not just one, but TWO Americans in the ward he and his wife are planning on moving into.

Anyway, it's been a fun/exciting/exhausting week! And I can't wait for next week! 

Love you! 

-Sister Smith
Bridge! You know me, I love bridges (even ones falling apart.)

10 March 2014

Letter 19:

Dearest Panimalay kag mga abyan,
Gusto ko nga ipangita pila ka mga pulong nga makasulat ako sa Ilonggo. Budlay siya, pero gusto ko nga magtinguha.
Sooo.. Ini simana.
haha, Jokes. (That says: I want to find out how many words I can write in Ilonggo. It's hard, but I want to try.. Sooo. This week) It takes too much brain power to try and write in Ilonggo when you can't even think of what happened in English.
Moving on.
So. This week. Not a lot happened again. I'm leading the area, so we have a significantly less amount of "Open Your Mouth" (also known as OYMs. Basically, you "open your mouth" and talk to someone/anyone on the street and try to teach them, or give them a pass along card or pamphlet.) and you know me, I don't often initiate conversations, but I'm working on it!

It was so great this week! We had FOUR members work with us! (normally we just have one. Sister Jay Ann, who is not even from our ward, but she can't work with the Elders in her ward unless a priesthood holder is there too. So she works with us! But this week she was unable to come with us.)
Sister Massé and I don't get fed very often (not complaining, it's just the way it is) But Saturday we went over to a Part Member family's house to teach the daughter, and we found out it was their tatay's (father) Birthday! Basically, they tried to feed us everything Sister Massé can't eat. Noodles, bread, cookies, crackers, cake. We weren't allowed to leave the house until we'd finished the cake. Hahaha, we tried to be polite and only eat half of it, but we were ordered to eat it all. Filipinos are tooooo nice.
We almost got force fed yesterday. One of our investigators was cooking, and we asked what she was making, how to make it (we really want to get better at cooking Filipino dishes), and she was ready to make us try it, but we couldn't! (gotta love it when you're trying not to tell people that you're fasting, but when they put food on a fork and are ready to feed you like a child, well, it's time to say something. hahaha)
Maybe Sister Massé and I are just too niwang. And everyone is trying to fatten us up a bit.
It was Ash Wednesday this week. I'm glad that I learned a bit about it from 8th grade French Class. . . Basically all I could remember is that Catholics go to church to get a cross of Ash put on their foreheads. . Yep, I don't remember much more than that. And when I asked someone about it, I still didn't get it (even though it was in half English) Well, it was an interesting day!
Funny Story: It's REALLY hard to teach someone about Repentance when he insists that he's perfect. Hahaha. Like, REALLY hard. "Brother, we know that Christ was perfect, but we all have sin." "Wala. (I don't)." "You're perfect?" "Yes." "Well brother, we know that everyone has sin." "Wala." haha. I seriously think it might have been the funny highlight of the week.

There have been so many tender mercies this week. No one came to church this week. BUT Three Less Actives did! Two of which haven't been to church since General Conference. (and that was the first time in a long time for them then too) We were SO happy to see them walking in through the doors. I don't know what made them come, because I really thought they wouldn't (they said they'd just try last week when we taught them). But the Lord works in mysterious ways :D
Anyway. Love you ALL. Love the work, Love Heavenly Father.
And of course, The Church is True!
Madamo Pagpalangga,
Sister Smith

 Happy Birthday! When it's your birthday, you wear RED here. 

So Smart is a type of Cellphone plan thing. And these billboards are everywhere. If you start a business, you either have Coke or Smart above your store. This one will make you laugh (at least it should.) Smart's Jingle of "Live More" is just REALLY Ironic when it's over a Marble shop that engraves headstones. (it's really terrible actually. But I laugh a bit every time I see it.)

03 March 2014

Letter 18: Saying Goodbye to My Nanay

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

So this week was transfers. I'm so grateful for everything I learned during my training. Especially from Sister Massé, she showed me that it's possible to converse with a people in a language you've only been speaking 3 months. She's shown me that Trusting in the Lord is all that matters, and if you want to be successful the only way is through honest, heartfelt, diligent prayer. We've been through so much together: Tears, Sweat, a really cold January when both of us were sick, Me having to drink Sister Massé's glass of coke that an investigator has handed us when they aren't looking because Sister Massé doesn't drink soda, trying strange new foods, discovering Puto, loving anything Ube Flavored. Yep, a lot of things.
Which is why I'm sad to have said goodbye to my Nanay, but I'm so excited for my Followup trainer: Sister Massé.
I am completely serious right now. My Trainer, after being trained herself, is now my followup trainer. After a transfer of everyone telling Sister Massé "Bah-bye!" being in one area for 5 transfers is rare, following up training your Bata is Rare. Both together? Unheard of! We thought it was a joke when the transfer text came in! But the next morning we were still companions! Obviously the Lord has a plan for us and our area!
Because we're still together, we've decided that if we really want to harvest all our hard work of the past three months (and Sister Massé's hard work of the three months before that) we're going to have to change some things. But we're excited to be focusing on those who really have potential to be baptized, and we really hope to work around them to get them to church (and then into the font in the church. Tani! (hopefully!))
It's really funny, because we were all SO SURE that Sister Massé was leaving, and we only said goodbye to three investigators, and they were so happy to see us BOTH still companions when we saw them after Thursday. Bishop (now President) and his wife made dinner for us (us and the other sisters in the ward) and then NONE of us left! Hahaha, they were so surprised to see us!
We're super excited, we discovered TWO LARGE areas that are OURS! (we have to be really careful to not go down a different street while tracting and accidentally end up in the area of the other sisters) Now we have some places to tract when our appointments fall through, and these places haven't been touched by missionaries in a long time, which means the Lord has had time to soften hearts, and prepare His children for our message :D
It seems that all the REALLY exciting things tend to happen earlier in the week, so by the time I get to Monday again, I've forgotten about Tuesday and Wednesday.

But anyway, we're so excited for the next six weeks (have I said that already? haha) It's sure to be an adventure!
The Church is True!

Damo Pagpalangga (much love? I'm sure that doesn't actually make sense in Ilonggo. haha.)
-Sister Smith

I TRIED BALUT. You know, that Duck egg thing? Yep. Delicious. Probably because the one I got wasn't that formed. Like, he was TINY. No bones or anything, the beak hadn't really formed all that much either. And the white part of the egg (not the yolk) was hard. But anyway. Tasted like an egg :) But I don't think I'll be trying on again anytime soon. Maybe in six months or so. . and I'll get one where the embryo is more formed. . . Maybe.
Basi (Maybe) I won't become an Electrical Engineer. I think I might just have to stick with Civil Engineering.