30 June 2014

Letter 35: Time Flies Like an Arrow, Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Where to start. . .oh yeah, the Letter Heading. Haha 

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

Guess What?? I've been living in the Philippines for SEVEN MONTHS. Crazy how time flies, isn't it? (We've switched to our new planners, and now I can't go through my old one because I totally left the old one at the house. oh no.)

This week was a great one, way more member present lessons than I've had in a long time! 

We had a member take us to some of her distant family members, and . . .not many of them are interested (hahaha.) But, there is one who has great potential. He had a Near Death Experience two weeks ago and is looking for answers and meaning in life. (Well sir, we definitely have that!) 

We went back for a return appointment yesterday, and all the grandchildren were like, "Gusto namon nga mabati sa imo nga magInglis!" (We want to hear you speak English. or they said somethings along the lines of "What does your English Sound like?") and I started to reply in Ilonggo, and then halfway through switched to English. Haha, they were mesmerized. 

We had a "One day mission" with the ward. It went Okay. I think it was really just to show Bishop what he needs to do for next time, how the activity can improve. The idea was great, and the intent was pure, just needed a bit more preparation. Like Preach My Gospel Says, " The Members know What to do, but the Missionaries know How to do it."

Woah, where did the time go? I only have Five minutes left!

Sigi, Fast typing. . . GO!

Alex is doing great! Two weeks coffee free and he's in Mosiah 2 of the Book of Mormon. He's really progressing, and we actually have an appointment with him this week on wednesday (I'm praying we're not punted) Which really needs to happen so that we can teach him ALL the lessons before he's baptized. (and they just made a Change to PMG that I just read. We have to teach him Lesson five before baptism, instead of just after. . .making things more complicated for us. But! - The Lord's ways are higher than our ways.)

sorry. . . kinda short letter this week. . too much to do! 

And no pictures ): Sorry. . again. (I'm terrible) Remember how four weeks ago we moved and were temporary homeless staying an hour away from our area? Well, I accidentally left my camera charger at that house.. and didn't realize that until I couldn't find it this week when I saw that my camera battery was getting low (my camera battery lasts a long time. . .) . . The other Sisters did find it, but forgot to bring it to church. . . So I've been camera-less for the past week. (which is sad, because I'm leaving this place in three days) Now it's going to be an interesting adventure of getting it before transfer meeting. . *sigh* I miss taking pictures. . .

Love ya'll

The Church is true. 

-Sister Smith

23 June 2014

Letter 34: Updates

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

It's Monday (for you it's still Sunday. haha) AGAIN? Where does the time go? it's just WAY too fast. 

Let's see what things I can remember, and try to spew it all into this email. 

The Bible Update: I forgot to mention that last week I finished the Old Testament! It was FABULOUS. And Now I'm in Matthew! The hard part about reading Seven pages of the OT everyday was that it gives you a headache. The hard part about reading seven pages a day of the NT is that there's just too much to soak in. And I started reading Jesus the Christ along with it. Seriously, I'm so glad we were challenged (and then later ordered) to read all four standard works. I've never understood doctrine so well, or felt so close to Our Savior. 

The Alex Update: Alex is doing great! He quit drinking coffee. Just went cold turkey! And we only have contact with him once a week! He's going to be baptized at the end of July or beginning of August. (his lessons are a bit slow.) The Bishopric wants to know what's going to happen to him after I transfer.. . Yeah, that's going to be an interesting thing. . No Members here sign. . only a few of the missionaries. (there is usually at least one missionary who signs near by, because there are deaf Members in Antique, so they pick up ASL or FSL.) That will be an adventure. Maybe I'll just serve here my entire mission. 

the Weather Update: The rainy season is starting. It rains every other day or so now. And almost every night. I like it, It's nice and cool (but for everyone else: Still hot. not too hot, but hot.) My umbrella is great, but when it rains, I still get wet. I might buy one of those huge ones. . but then I'm reluctant to carry it around, because I can't stick it in my bag like the one I have now. . Choices, Choices, Choices. 

How long I've been in the Area Update: 201 days. (yes. I'm counting.)

How long I've been a Missionary Update: 242 Days (this number may or may not be off. I'm not sure. . Because I lost a day in the flight here. . but will get it back on the way home. . .) 

How many Days I have Left Update: 302 (or so) 

A Sister Taufanga Update: We're almost done with TRAINING. Whoa, that went by fast. We're behind on the 12 week program (emergencies happen, and our companionship study suffers.. .) but are pushing forward. Week 12 (this week) is just fun, we get to watch The District 2. Which is always fun. 

Laundry Update: I'm too lazy to do my laundry by hand now. I do my whites by hand still, but I take the rest of  my clothes to the Laundry shop. So totally worth the 90 pesos, because I'm LAZY. 

Funny Story of the Week Update: President came by, accidentally drove his car into the channel/ditch/sewer. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture. 

Allergy Update: Don't know why, but My Allergies are acting up. Or maybe I'm getting a cold again. The rain here is NOT clean, and WILL get you sick. 

Me Update:  I Eat Mcdo (mcdonalds) here more than I ever did in the states because Filipinos love it. I'm happy. I can't speak English anymore. (I'm sure my letters are full of terrible grammar and simple words because I can't remember words like 'serendipity" anymore.) I love here. 

I love you all. (I say Y'all now, when speaking in English because Ka and Kamo mean You and You (plural) and it matters to me now.. . .)

-Sister Smith

We've been playing volleyball every p-day morning for like.. . the past four weeks. One of the reasons I haven't had time to do ANYTHING. (no letter writing, my journal thinks it's Friday. I really need to clean and organize my desk. . . no time at all.)

From Exchanges last week! Two exchanges in one house = FUN. 

16 June 2014

Letter 33: Change. Change is Good.

(I can't keep track of Letter Numbers anymore. Budlay!)

Dearest Family and Friends,

If there's something I've learned on my mission, it's that CHANGE is a Good thing. That Repentance is real, and that anyone and everyone can change, including me. 

Back when everyone wanted to know why I would be serving a mission, I always said, "I want to grow up with the Lord by my side.' I didn't realize at the time, that that would mean making changes for myself. Haha, isn't that a part of growing up? Changing? 

I've been reflecting the last 6.5 months here. It's been a long time. (I may or may not be a tiny bit area trunkie) Actually, with everyone asking me, "What? You've been there 5 transfers? Aren't you trunkie yet?" Has only helped me realized just how much I LOVE this place. At times, I'm ready for something new, but then I don't want to go. 

The same with me. I've been wanting to change, be more Christlike and more mature. But just like I told our Investigator on Sunday, Change is Hard, but that's why we have Christ to help us repent and become someone worthy to be called His Representative and His Disciple. 

I actually was in an investigator's shoes this week. My housemates tried to force me to change. I did a little, but after more force, I became very stubborn. I've really learned something about Inviting. As Missionaries, we Invite. And sometimes I think I forget I'm not here to push others into a Baptismal Font. (haha) 

Needless to say, for me it's been a really enlightening week. 

We Dropped Reynier. That was an interesting lesson. Also about how we need to change. (like I said. Enlightening week. sometimes I think lessons we teach investigators are really for me) Basically, it was, "You can't go back to being the same person you were after baptism." "Well then I don't want to get baptized." oh well. 

Alex committed to stop drinking coffee! That was such a good lesson. At first he was like, "NO WAY." but after promising blessings, talking about how it's a commandment, and just overall testifying, he committed too, signing that he knows he needs to to be closer to Heavenly Father.  Talk about Awesome!

We moved! YAY!! NEW HOUSE! it's nice. I like it. I'd send pictures. But this computer doesn't have a USB port (thank you Liesl, for helping me recover my English.)

Had Exchanges! That was super fun! one of the companionships in the house I went to also had exchanges, and I got to hang out with Sister Lewis! (my first housemate). It was a blast, because everyone had at least already been companions, housemates, or served in the same area as someone. It was a great time reminiscing, talking about the people in previous and current areas. Sadya gid. (super fun) 

Well, now I'm off to SM. We have to copy the house key, so that the other sisters don't have to wait for us to come home anymore. 

Love you all! 

Have a great week! The Church is true! 

-Sister Smith

09 June 2014

Letter 32: Nagsaylo Kami!

To my Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

Nagsaylo kami sang mga balay is Ilonggo for "We moved!"

So an update that I haven't bothered writing about: For the past two months there has been DRAMA at our house. (let us just say that our electric bill was unfair. (unfair as in: double than what it should have been.)) After Drama drama drama, we got kicked out of our apartment (because our taggiya (Or: Owner/Caretaker) was unwilling to let us stay another two weeks, and our contract ended.) and our new apartment is not vacant until the 16th. 

So Here's how our week went. 

Monday: P-day. Everyone else started packing while I worked on my lesson for district meeting. (no time. so much stress. Not happy at my district leader for giving me about 4 days notice, and then I haven't had any time to prepare) Cried because I didn't feel prepared at all (haha. Me, stress, and public speaking don't go well together.)

Tuesday: Taught district meeting. (haha, that feels so long ago) My housemates saw just how unprepared I was and how nervous I was, they pretty much participated and said a lot of comments. It went well. Grateful for them. 

Got home, and was like, "We have to move tomorrow. I haven't packed ANYTHING." We got permission to pack the house for two hours. I now know that I can pack and get ready to leave for transfers in about an hour and fifteen minutes. However, dismantling beds, moving fans, desks, mattresses, chairs, and vanities takes. . much longer. We ended up packing ALL day. (went to one appointment) We also stayed up past 10:30 (with permission.) Our district leader and his companion (who live like. . .8 minutes away by walking?) helped dismantle the beds and everything. It was pretty much exhausting. 

Wednesday: MOVED. Because our new apartment is not vacant yet, we have been guests at the cute (Read: Small) house (condo?) of 2 Sisters about. . an hour away. Exhausting. Was seriously so tired when we went out to work, and while we were out I had a crazy headache. (lack of sleep) We now have to leave our area at about 7:15 instead of 8:00 to get home on time. and it's So Expensive. *sigh* I've been living out of a suitcase for the past week. And we've been eating lunch at a members' house everyday (we've pretty much been paying for lunch, but she's been cooking. So Nice!) because we don't want to be even more of an inconvenience to our hosts. 

After that, it's kinda been. . Normal. We've adjusted. It was funny, we went to an investigator, and she was like, "What happened to you two? You didn't come by on Tuesday OR Wednesday!" "ah, sorry sister, we moved!"

And then we just found out yesterday that instead of moving on the 16th, we will be moving TOMORROW! YAY! (we found this out, after the office elder joked with us, saying we'd be staying until July. That's probably why I'm so happy, because I totally believed him.) After Zone Training. It will be so nice to be living in our ward again (we still won't live in our area. It's our housemates' area. But the new apartment is three minutes closer to our area, and has access to both the main roads we use, instead of just one.) 

Let's see. . .What else happened? 

After coming to church 6 times in a row, we TAUGHT ALEX. It was such a great lesson. It was simple (of course) I taught, and I interpreted for Sister Taufanga as she testified (we'll figure out how to get her to teach too. so that it's just not me) haha, I was like, "In English." So much easier to interpret English. because in my head it's English -> ASL. Instead of Ilonggo -> English -> ASL. And he accepted a Baptismal Date! He says (signs. for those of you that are critical) that he knows it's true. and I'm so excited. :)

This week has been so great. This area has been SO Challenging (six months. No baptisms. and most of our teaching pool has dropped themselves and we've been having a hard time finding solid/interested new investigators) But it's been so rewarding, I've learned so much. and I'm so thankful for everything I've learned here. I know I'm here for reasons and for people. (ie. Alex) and I just LOVE this Mission, and this country. But Most of all: My Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Love you all, 

-Sister Smith

P.S. The Church is true. 

P.P.S. Sorry, No pictures. This computer doesn't have a connector thing. . . plug? outlet? What's the English word I'm looking for?

02 June 2014

Letter 31: We Believe in Meetings, We Hope to Endure All Meetings

(isn't that how the 14th Article of Faith goes?)

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

Lots of Meetings this week! On Tuesday we went to District Meeting, and basically three minutes after it ended we left and headed to the Mission Office for Trainers and Trainees Meeting! And then on Thursday, we had Zone Conference! (which thankfully was just 3 minutes away in the chapel down the street, instead of the mission office. Which is 40-60 minutes away (depending on traffic)) So last night when we were sending in our numbers I was like, "Why are they so low? . . . Oh yeah. We didn't proselyte very much." 
Our (not so) New District. Actually, we're exactly the same, just added on two Elders.
Trainers and Trainees was fun. There were 18 Elders and just Sister Taufanga and I. Yeah, it was really different from my batch to come in. Just three little American Sisters. I haven't felt so short in a long time! (like seriously, are people really that tall? I think I might get squished like a bug when I get home) 

Zone Conference: Got me motivated to invite EVERYONE to be baptized. As is every single first lesson. It's taking some courage, and I haven't invited all new investigators, but I'm working on it. I really want to be that Challenging and Testifying Missionary. 

Also, President Aquino's Training "The Doctrine of the Family," would be better labeled as "Marriage Preparation." (no jokes here. I'm completely serious) I thought it was great. Haha. Lets see if I can paraphrase some of my favorite things he said: 
-"Right now you are missionaries. This doctrine is for your Eyes only. No Practicing." 
-"And just like in your mission, every week you'll have "Companionship Inventory. Friday nights you'll go out on a date! Even if it's sitting on the front porch (with the door locked) and you talk while enjoying some soda and crackers."
- "Be Patient. Or else you will become a Patient." 
 President Aquino is really funny :D

To answer everyone's question: No, We STILL haven't taught Alex. (but he has come to church five times in a row. Maybe next Sunday we'll just prepare the font for him ;] )

Reynier stopped smoking (now let's just pray he can keep it up for 4 weeks. I really really want to have one baptism before I leave this area in July) And was actually on time enough to church to make it to Elders Quorum. 

I've gotten really bit this week. I do NOT like mga Lamok (mosquitoes). Or the GIGANTIC red ants. I've also got a ton of Freckles! Like, seriously, I've never had freckles this dark on my legs before! (my knees are still blindingly white. hahaha.) 

It's weird to think that school is ending over in the states. Public school literally starts TODAY here. (Private/nicer Schools start next week instead) 


Love you all. The Gospel's True. Thank you for all your testimonies and examples always. 

Love Forever, 

Sister Smith

Ps. To Kristin Massé: I don't know your Email, But thank you for the mail! Especially for the CD. I've missed music! 

Sister Taufanga had never seen a monkey (amo') before.