28 April 2014

Letter 26:

Dearest Panimalay kag mga abyan,

I have a question, why does the woman that owns this computer cafe keep turning on computer 17 for me? I really am sick of the sticky
L key. . .  Annnnd- Moving on. (but seriously? why?) 

First of all - Got your letter Nanay! It takes a month for mail to get to me! I really loved getting the Smith Family Picture! I got it during district meeting (when we get our cargo) and everyone was like, "Where are you? I don't see you!" "I'm right here, in the bottom left corner." and then they would just look at me, look at the picture, and look at me. haha, I guess I really look different? 

I'm sad to see that picture of our tree! I already miss it. Please to tell me you're going to plant a new one. . . .

 To answer your questions, Mom,

"So how is the Philippines?"
-- Hot. Like, Hot and Humid and wonderful. But really hot. 

"Are your investigators progressing?"
-- Yes! Not always, but this week I was so surprised when I asked an investigator, "H", where she was in her Libro Ni Mormon, and she pulled it out, and she's all the way in Jacob 3! Like, she's seriously reading it. (Still won't commit to baptism, but hey, amat-amat (little by little))

"E" is still working on getting Sundays off. 

"R" didn't get his paycheck, so he wasn't able to jeepney to church.

"G" is awesome and could totally be baptized next week, but we can only teach her once a week. So more: Amat-amat! 

Have a new investigator, "J", who's 18 and awesome. We taught her once, and the next time we came back she asked, "Who's Joseph Smith?" (I'm so impressed when someone actually READS the pamphlet.) then when we taught her about Book of Mormon, we told her that she would receive an answer it was true, if she prayed. And before moving on to the part of the lesson about how the Holy Ghost answers us, she asked, "How? How will I receive an answer?" She's seriously awesome. 

"How is your companion doing with the language and the mission?"  
-- Sister Taufanga is GREAT! She's learning her Hiligaynon from mine (which is, of course, incomplete) through English, her second language, and she learned Tagalog in the MTC. It's a challenge, but I've really seen her improve in three weeks! She's so good with the mission. She LOVES teaching. And she loves this work, she loves talking to people, even if she doesn't understand a thing they say to her. I'm (overall) very humbled to be her companion. 

"How is it having to be the one leading your area?"
-- Ayos Lang (just alright)  Sister Massé actually made me lead the area last transfer. So it's not too bad.

"In general how is missionary life?"
 -- Hard. But rewarding and good. 

A lot of things happened this week. We had exchanges (hahaha, my STL used to serve in my ward! hahaha, So many people were surprised to see her!) learned a lot from her. Loved teaching with her :) 

Zone Training was awesome. Actually have STLs in our zone now, so we got some training from them, instead of just the Zone Leaders. Gotta love the getting pumped up for the work!

For my Six Months into the mission, I was rewarded with a Less Active saying (in the words of his daughter) "Not very favorable words" to me. Used to the Non-members not always liking us, but not a member. But hey, this work is a bed a roses, it's great and beautiful, but sometimes you get some thorns. 

The other sisters in the ward had a baptism on Saturday! I love going to baptisms! It was great to see Brother Cesar get baptized, it was such a struggle for him, but he came to church about 10 times in a row, was really warmly welcomed into the ward, and is now there to stay :)

It was National Service Day on Saturday. So we went to the Plaza (park) and picked up trash, and cleaned up the Elementary school too! 
Rockin' those Yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests! You know, sometimes at the end of the day I look at my tan line and think "Wow, I've gotten so tan!" but then I see a picture of me with a group of people, and I just think, "Yep, still puti gid. (really white)"

I did good and wrote some letters last Monday to send during the week (so they wouldn't be late to the US) but then the Post Office was closed. . oh well. Looks like I'll just never truly get the timing down anyway. 

Anyway, Signing off!

Palangga Ta Kamo! (or is it Palangga Ko kamo? I really need to ask someone)

-Sister Smith

Gotta love the graffiti they come up with :)

21 April 2014

Letter 25: What a Holy Week

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

(last week I named my letter Week 24 instead of Letter 24. Whoops. hahaha. Realized that AFTER I'd sent it. Also, I am once again on the computer that has the sticky L key. *sigh*)
Anyway, moving on. This week actually wasn't that Holy or anything for me, but because I'm dwelling in a Catholic Country, you'll be interested to know that Catholics don't care much about Easter Sunday (the Day Christ came BACK TO LIFE). No, they care more about the previous days of the week. *sigh*  

Holy Week is HUGE here, It's great, because everyone is remembering the Atonement of Christ and remembering that he died for us. But then everyone is at church Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. *sigh* 

So it's a bit difficult for the Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to not have their appointments fall through. PERO! Due to a loving Heavenly Father and His Mercy, Sister Taufanga and I were still able to have a good week :). 

Easter doesn't feel like Easter. Holidays just come and go for me, they don't really mean much when you're serving Heavenly Father. Souls to save are much more important than a holiday. :)

The hottest week of the year is supposed to be Holy Week. But what did it do? Rain. All the Filipinos were confused. 

Sister Taufanga is great :) 

She was a bit homesick this week (and by homesick, I mean that she REALLY misses her family (she is the oldest of 12), but still really wants to serve) I am forever grateful to worthy priesthood holders. Our District Leader and his Companion stopped by and gave her a blessing. Then about half an hour later, President Aquino called (The missionary Chismis (That's Ilonggo for Gossip. I also have NO idea how it's supposed to be spelled.) travels FAST. hahaha.) Anyway, he called and asked if we wanted to come down to talk with him. 

It was just what Sister Taufanga needed. :) It's so nice that our mission president is so aware of all his missionaries and their needs. (it's also nice that we're not too far from the mission office.) 

Trying to get used to having not as much proselyting time (loving the 2 hours of Companion study. Also, Sister Massé and I were instructed to not have studies on Sundays or Tuesdays, but now that I'm training, we have studies on those days again. And I we just do NOT have as much time to proselyte as I'm used to,. Slowly getting into the flow of it.) 

SIX MONTHS IN TO THE MISSION. Can you believe it's been that long? Can you believe I have ONE YEAR LEFT? Only a year! That's way too fast! 

No Pictures: Pasensya. (sorry) I left my camera cord at home. . . whoops. 

Lovin' the Mission. 
Lovin' the Work
And of course, Love the Lord. 

See you in a year! (Way to fast! Where did that time GO?)

Love forever,
Sister Smith

ps Is it bad that I'm sad I missed the Earthquake? Oh well. I'm sure I'll experience one eventually. 

Anyway, I have to hurry and order a Tongan Preach My Gospel before Sister Taufanga sees. (haha) 

14 April 2014

Week 24:

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,
Hello from HOT Iloilo (but actually not today or yesterday. There's a storm somewhere down south, so it's been cloudy and a little chilly.)
I literally don't think I can get everything I want to write down in this letter in time. As in: so much HAPPENED this week.
Una: Monday. Went pedal go cart racing as a zone activity. (man powered go carts :D with bicycle pedals. it was pretty awesome). Won some Mangoes with Sister Massé as a prize for OYMing the most people in 15 minutes. But We split it with two other sisters because they beat us in numbers, but they missed the time limit.
 i AM ILOILO! From Gocarting

 IkaDuha: Got followed by a Buong on Tuesday. (Buong means "Mad, Crazy," or as I prefer to say it, "Not in the right state of mind.") He definitely was not in his right state of mind. He followed us all the way from the church down the road, through a neighborhood, where we hid at an investigator's house. Yeah. there's a lot more to the story, I promise. Ask me to tell it to you one day.
IkaTatlo: Around 7pm Wednesday night, while Sister Massé and I are in a lesson, we get a call. Strange number: ignored. 15 minutes later a text. (don't bother looking at it. texts are ignored while in lessons) the phone vibrates again with a call. I look at the number again while Sister Massé teaches, because calls tend to be more urgent, and this person obviously is trying to get a hold of us. This time it's a number I recognize: President Aquino.
Here's something I didn't tell you last week. While at interviews Pres. Aquino pretty much told me things along the lines of, "You're training is done. You're a good missionary. You can hold your own." but the most important thing he said was, "So just wait for our call." Well. His call came.
I excused myself from the lesson (haha, I just walked like, three feet away.) answered, told President we were in the middle of a lesson, and he told me to text when we're free, because he wanted to talk to Sister Massé and I.
We finished our lesson, texted President, and waited for him to call. I answered, and our conversation was very short. It went along the lines of, "Sister Smith, tomorrow I would like you here in Aravelo at 7:30 in the morning, because you're going to be training a new missionary."
(He then asked to talk to Sister Massé, and from the look on her face, I knew he was telling her that he was extending a call to become a Sister Training Leader. Like EVERYONE had predicted. hahaha.)
So the BIG news of the week. I'M A NANAY! And this (picture attached!) is my Bata, Sister Taufanga. She's from Tonga (lucky for me, she speaks very good English.) and was trained in the Manila MTC where she learned: Tagalog (not so lucky for either of us).
 Sister Taufanga, Me, Sister Massé, and Sister Fabella.
Four generations of trainers and trainees!
 (there could have been five,
but Sister Orani wasn't at Transfer meeting)
A lot of cool things happened at Transfers. Elder Swan is training: Elder Swan (it's seriously the best thing that happened at transfers. they aren't related at all.) And they're opening up a new area. (two elders with the same name, let loose on an area that hasn't had missionaries in it before. They will have way too much fun). A fellow, "Just finished training" missionary, is also opening up a new area. A lot of our zone was closed, and we're now the smallest zone in the mission! (Smaller than Guimaras zone. which is crazy.)
Our District sang at transfer meeting, Have you heard "Come unto Christ"? yeah, it's stuck in my head ALL the time now.
IkaApat: General Conference: was AWESOME. Saturday seriously was calling the world to repentance, Sunday a day of Comfort and Possibility. One of our investigators came on Saturday because she hadn't been able to get Sunday off. Grr. Work is the worst.
Alright. About Sister Taufanga. (Tah OO funga. I guarantee you aren't pronouncing it right. NG is N, but not with the tip of the tongue, the back of the tongue against your soft pallet. Like when you say, "Sing, or Ring" But there's no hard G sound) She's the youngest Sister in the mission (Guess who's been the youngest for Three transfers. OH yeah, me.)
Unlike me, she's not shy. But like me, she's fairly quiet. But she's making my job as a trainer very easy because we express our feelings similarly, and she isn't afraid to open her mouth to testify and teach, even if it's a mix of English, Tagalog, and the small bit of Ilonggo she knows. I'm already a "Proud Mom" hahaha. I get to teach her how to cook just like how I had to learn how to cook. I no longer have my Ilonggo Books because she's using them (eventually it will get to the point where we can share. but she needs them more than I do right now. Maybe I'll borrow her Tagalog books and learn that.)
anyway. Crazy Crazy Week. Love the Work, Love the Lord!

Sister Smith.

07 April 2014

Week 23: Miracle of Miracles - Investigators at Church

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

SUMMER IS HERE!  Everyone says, "ahh, it doesn't really start getting hot until April or May." Well, it was April 1st, and it was suddenly MUCH hotter than it was before!

With the heat being more prominent in everyday life, so is NAP time. I've learned that I really don't like Siesta, because it starts around noon, and ends at four: other wise known as Prime Proselyting time. 

This week was hard with how hot it was, and how uninterested the people were (or how much they slept. or were just out of town because summer vacation from school just started) we were PUNTED. (Mission Lingo for: Lessons falling through.) 

Pero, there were so many tender mercies and miracles this week. 

First. Gina. She's the Bishop's (now stake presidency member's) house help. She's back from being home sick on Guimaras for a month. She read her Book of Mormon while she was gone (but she was too far away from the church). But she's back and still has the desire to be baptized :D 

Second. Toffee: (Pronounced: Toe Fee, not Tah Fee) We lost track of Toffee because he went out of town for work for a month. We had an appointment with his neighbor at 10 in the morning (we mixed up our studies just so we could go to her) but she wasn't there. So we decided to take a wild try and at least TRY his door. And he was THERE, and is still the earnest seeker of truth he was before (he watched the Joseph Smith Restoration video online, before we ever taught him about Joseph Smith.) Where he lived is now his work, and luckily his new house is Still in our area! (though it took us a bit to find it. . . but now we have new places to tract, because we didn't realize that our area went past the other side of the highway!)

Third: Got invited to watch the Women's Session of General Conference. It was so NAMI! (*nice) I loved it so much, and it was the spiritual uplift I needed :D (also, All Conference Sessions are a week late here. So I won't be watching General Conference until this Saturday and Sunday. But I'm glad you all enjoyed it!) 

Fourth: Interviews were this week Can't believe it's already been three months since the last time we had interviews. That went by WAY fast. Gotta love seeing President and Sister Aquino. :D. kag nakilala iban mga missionaries (Kilala meaning: to be acquainted with another person. which is different from Kabalo: which is to "know a truth or fact" or ihibalo. Actually. To Know is a very strange verb that I still haven't figured out.) or in English: To know/talk-with other missionaries.)  

Fifth: As we were on the jeepney, headed to church on Sunday, I thought to myself. "Self, you and Sister Massé have had such a hard time this week. 15 lessons less than you normally do, almost No OYMs, how crazy would it be, if everyone just decided to come to church?" and about 45 min after church started, we got a text. Roni came! (we've taught him once! Last Sunday night) and he brought 5 of his nieces and nephews.  (4 of which are between the ages of 9 and 13. Though that was a bit stressful, because the primary teacher showed up 25 minutes later than they did, and they were already 45 minutes late. Gotta love Filipino time)
Roni with his nieces and nephews
Toffee came! (though it took him a bit to find the church, and he didn't have his cell phone to call us or ask us for directions again.) 

And Gina was, of course, there! It was crazy! We had 7 investigators at church! It was one of the most stressful things ever, trying to help them ALL feel welcome, when all of them had different needs. But it was a good stressful :D.(even if all Sister Massé and I did was sleep for our hour of lunch after church. haha, gotta love Fast Sunday) It really goes to show that Heavenly Father really is a God of Miracles, and that He works in His own time, and in His own way. But it just goes to show that this is truly the Lord's work! 

Anyway. Palangga ko kamo! Kabalo ako nga matuod ang simbahan!


-Sister Smith
Sister Massé and I found a coconut! We've still yet to try to open it. . and it's probably gone bad by now. Well, maybe we'll just throw it on the concrete to break it open. (or crack the concrete?)  also, an Indian Mango (they pronounce it Ain-jen). Which are everywhere, a little sour, and if it's on the ground and not gone bad, feel free to take it home and eat it!

Last week when we went to the Public Market! It was pretty awesome (and so cheap. Like, I bought six small tomatoes for 4 pesos.). I trusted the veggies (which were delicious) but I stayed FAR away from the meat.