28 July 2014

Letter 39: It's Your Hump Day Shout HOORAY!

Dearest Panimalay kag mga 'Migo,

This week was VERY eventful. First of all: We didn't have water in our house for over 48 hours. (haha. That's a fun adventure.. . .) yeah, the minute we got water again we CLEANED. A house gets dirty FAST.

Second of All: I hit my HUMP DAY! like, WHOA. Where did that time go?? Dasig gid siya! (it's so FAST) Can't believe I've had 9 Months here in the mission! (I can't believe I've been on Guimaras almost a transfer. What?) 
The Picture I drew for the 23rd. CRAZY!
Sister Haun and I will be going home together (she extended.. but doesn't tell people. . shhh!) So we celebrated together with Homemade Banana Bread (it actually turned out really well, we made it in our little toaster oven.) with NUTELLA! (Thank you Sister Nielsen. haha, she sent it to me my last week in the MTC, and I'd been saving it!) We talked and talked and talked. Actually, come to think of it. . That's all Sister Haun and I do. No wonder I can never get my journaling done.


Sister Haun and Sister Karaponga were pretty much the ones who taught Darwin, I just got to be there to reap the rewards.

So yeah, it was great! Getting there was a bit of a struggle, mostly because some of the leaders were like, "Are you sure he's ready?" and we were just like, "YES. If you would take the time to get to know him, not just the silly teenager attitude you see, you'll see he's ready and wants to be baptized."

Saturday was great, our Branch President went and picked up Darwin (he lives too far away from the church, he can only afford to go there once a week for Sunday.) and everyone came super early for the service. (8:00 is early, but there was a meeting at 9, so we moved it forward an hour) Even the Elders in our district, who traveled 40 min or so to get there. (Our District leader was so happy, his first Baptismal interviewee got baptized.) Everything went smoothly, it was happy and great, and Darwin's testimony was awesome!

And then. . . Later that night, we were reviewing his Baptismal Record.. . and we realized that his baptism was WRONG, because we'd mixed up his middle and last name! hahaha, we were so shocked. We were like, "We thought he was baptized. HE thinks he's baptized. oh NO." So basically, we texted the branch president, asked him if Darwin could be baptized AGAIN before church. He texts back, "Yes" and we get on a tricycle, pick up Darwin, he was so confused. The conversation went along the lines of:

Us: "You name was mixed up."

Him: "Yeah. I know, you messed up!"

Us: "Why didn't you say anything?"

Him: "I forgot!"

I guess he was just too carried away in the Spirit.

Anyway, Elder Taylor baptized him ("If you need to get the job done, then do it!") and, and there were two more Priesthood holders there to witness. hahaha (even the 3 church early birds came and attended. They thought it was hilarious.) 
Darwin's Second Baptism. . . hahaha. I like this picture
better than the first one from Saturday. hahahaha. 

So basically, No one knows what happened but Darwin, His Uncle, Our Branch President, Three RS Sisters, and a Brother. And now all of you. (and Darwin's BR says the 27th instead of the 26th too.) But Sister Haun and I are determined to never tell anyone currently serving in the Iloilo mission. (Because we will never live it down. NEVER. sshhhhh!)

I'm sure when he goes on his mission, he'll enjoy telling that story. It's a good one to tell his kids in 20 years. "You know children, I got baptized TWICE."

Let's just say things are never normal when Sister Haun and Sister Smith are companions.

Besides being eventful, this week has been so spiritual. We want to work through the members, but we don't actually know where they live. . so we've been so blessed in just running into them, or the one LA is like, "yeah, I know where 3 people on that list live. I can show you them on Wednesday if you'd like." We've been seeing so many blessings and tender mercies, that only the Lord can be the master of all of it.

I must say, these past NINE months have been so amazing, and I've been loving it all so much. There come times when I slow down a bit and just go, "Whoa, where did the time go? That happened so long ago, but it was just yesterday!" There have been to many experiences, and too many wonderful miracles. It's been so CHALLENGING. And I know I'll be different when I get home. Heavenly Father really is moving His work forward, and I'm so thankful to be apart of it.

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be the One and Only correct and true church here on Earth.

I know Joseph Smith and all his successors to the prophets of this dispensation. I know the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.

I know Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer, and I know that He is Hastening the Work of Salvation.

I know Salvation isn't easy. I know a mission isn't easy.

But it's worth it.

I love you all.

All's well in Guimaras,


Sister Smith

ps. Went to a Beach Baptism for the Elders in my District. Cool, debala?

Got to visit my first beach! (haha, there haven't been any beaches in my areas, and the beaches I've been to have been rock) Which Constitutes a cool Picture.

Companions <3

21 July 2014

Letter 38: It's the Joy of Motherhood.

Remember that song? The one from 'Honk!'?

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

This week was a wonderful week in. .  The house.

So Monday was a grand time, we went out to the other Sisters' area for a Family Home Evening. Haha, I thought our area was bukid, no. My area is hills, the other area is MOUNTAIN. I'm Lucky I didn't slide down the mountain side. And we had to cross sketchy bamboo bridges to get there.
Bamboo Bridge. A little Sketchy, but still safe. 
Tuesday: Had Zone Training! Which means. . .I trained! Talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is the ONLY thing that sets us apart from other Religions. Others have Prophets, dead and/or living, others have temples, others have baptism, claim (just as we do) to have authority from God. 

But only we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, have The Book of Mormon. 

So why are we not using it to it's full potential? 

That was pretty much it. :)

And then after working that day, Sister Haun broke out in a fever. . . .

And we've been home ever since. And I've been feeling a little bit like a mother taking care of a sick person. (let's just say I don't really want to do that again for a while. It's exhausting.)

We had interviews with President Aquino on Thursday (he sends his love, and says, "Thanks for letting us have Sister Smith"), and Sister Haun got a blessing from him. 

I've been studying a lot. Reading a lot. I'm still behind in my journaling (I journal every day, yet I can never finish. . .) And Sister Haun and I have been talking A LOT. We've gotten to know each other very well :)

And our housemates were kind enough to go on splits with us on Saturday, and then both companionships split with a member on Sunday, so that Sister Marticio could stay behind with Sister Haun. 

haha, on Saturday I got a bit lost. Sister Punsalan was like, "Don't you know how to get there?" 

"Well. . . I've actually only been working out in my area 8 days, because we got stranded in Iloilo, and just . . things. . And I don't have a sense of Direction!" But The Lord definitely guided us to where we needed to go. 

Not too exciting. . . 

I'm sure next week will be better,

The Church is True!


Sister Smith
Rambutan: A weird fruit. But yummy. It looks cool too :)

14 July 2014

Letter 37: Stranded?

Dearest Family and Friends, 

You know how last week I made the joke that we might not be able to get back to Guimaras because of the weather? 

Well, on Monday we made it back safely, but weren't so lucky on Wednesday. 

So basically, I left Panay only to go back to Panay for four days. 

Monday: P-day/SM day. The only day we can take out our support because there aren't really any ATMs over here. 

Tuesday: District Meeting was great! Our District Leader was just trained, and is now Training and became a district leader (haha, the poor kid, he's been here 3 months. But he's figuring it out.) 

We went to one appointment and then headed out to the Mission Office for Missionary Leadership Council! MLC was great! We had dinner, the Zone Leaders accounted for the past month, and then FHE. (haha, so much fun.)

That night we got to sleep in the Mission Home, (which is like sleeping in a nice hotel.) and President and Sister Aquino are so nice. It's a great time, we got ice cream and treats. The next morning we got a warm shower. 
I also got to hang out with SISTER MASSÉ! It was great seeing my Nanay again! She got so tan and her hair got so light, I almost didn't recognize her.

Wednesday: MLC training! It was SUPER inspirational. Like, I seriously felt so pumped to just go out and work, becoming a better missionary, and bring people closer to Christ. 

It was also freezing, because my assigned seat was the only seat where the air con directly blows. And people thought I was crazy for bringing my brown jacket to the Philippines, I wore it the entire time. 
THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE! Especially the Candy! Sister Haun and I are like, "Let's eat Healthy," and then we both get a package stuffed with good American candy. (and some Japanese. You know me so well, I loved the Pocky! and the Big Hunks, and the Reeses Pieces. Seriously, THANK YOU.) It got here super fast. I think the thing that makes it slow is it has to go through the office and cargo, but since I was in the office, I got it dayon. (umm.. dayon = immediately.)

President Aquino gave us a ride out to the wharf. . and the last pump boat left just as we got there. (and the sea was so rough anyway., . not something I would have traveled on) so we got to stay an extra night in the Mission Home! hahaha, we got to keep a Sister who has been sick company for the night. And we had packages full of candy. Yup, it was a grand time. 

Thursday Morning: FINALLY Left Iloilo. (got to wear that new blouse from the package! Isn't Heavenly Father's timing perfect?) 

The Taylors gave us a ride home from the Wharf. (Elder and Sister Taylor are the Couple Missionaries serving here, and they are absolutely wonderful.) And then they picked us up an hour later to head out to a less active's house who lives far away. My children will never complain about getting into a car to drive three minutes to get to church. His wife hikes out early every Sunday morning to get to church on time. Gotta love Sister Taylor, hiking out to this house in her nylons and crocs. 

We had a great District (not district as in missionary district, district as in branch is to ward, and district is to stake) Correlation. Our District President has a great Vision for Guimaras, and he has the faith to pull it off, but he just needs the cooperation from the missionaries, and we're willing to give it. 

Inspirational thought: Also in the package, thanks for the CD's, Dad! Actually, I was asked by someone if I would be willing to burn them and give them some, and I was like, "umm... My dad hates violating copyright laws, and so I'm going to try hard not to. . . so no. . "

And then Sister Huan and I were talking about that, and I was just like, "Why would I insult my father by abusing a gift he gave me?" and internally the Spirit was like, "Apply that sentence to your Heavenly Father too." and It just hit me, This time is a gift from God, our Father in Heaven. Don't abuse it!

Also, I'm so thankful for Sister Haun, she's a fireball of testimony and inspiration, and she's just what I've needed. Sometimes I feel like that's why I became an STL, just so I could be her companion. I didn't realize just how much I needed her example, testimony, and sense of humor. 

Well, Times up!

The Gospel's true. 
Palangga Ta kamo. 

-Sister Smith
Eggplant anyone? (I seriously have no idea why they do this. but it's hilarious)

I am definitely in the best area ever. I mean, come on, MANGO RESEARCH? How cool is that??

07 July 2014

Letter 36: Sister Smith the Snail Snatcher

How's that for an. . . alliteration? Or is that for vowels only?? 

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

It's been a nice, relaxing, calm, uneventful week here in the Western Visayas. 

Haha. Jokes. So. Much. Happened. This. Week. 

1) Got a call on Wednesday around 7:00: I'm transferring. Haha, Didn't see that one coming. After 7 months it was like, "GOODBYE!" (I love my old area. Never ever think I didn't love it in Iloilo. It was fabulous. I grew so much from everything that happened.) 

2) Got a second call around 9 or so. . . This one I was not expecting. Well, I was called to be a Sister Training Leader? Haha, the minute I saw President's Name on the Caller ID I was like, "Oh no. OH NO." Because I knew that would be the only reason he'd be calling. (and I knew Sister Taufanga wouldn't be training, because our house mate Sister Orkin is, and they would have told Sister Taufanga at the same time). Well, anyway. Accepted the call and was like.. . . In shock?? 

3) Stayed up until about 11:30 packing, and then stayed up another hour because I couldn't sleep. haha. 

4) Got up nice and early to go take Sister Orkin to Trainers' Meeting. And then had my interview with President Aquino. I don't remember much of what was said. I was too tired. (I'm terrible.)

5) GOT MY CAMERA CHARGER BACK. And some things I left in the other Sisters' apartment back when we had exchanges. (and then Sister Taufanga and Sister Marticio brought more things from home.) I'm too forgetful. BUT now there will be Pictures attached to EVERY email! YAY. 

6) Got called to.. . . . GUIMARAS. Remember how I went on exchanges to Guimaras a couple months ago? Well, I'm BACK. And I'm soo happy to be here. 

So about Guimaras: (for those who don't have access to a map, I'm now on an island below the island I was before.)

I'm companions with Sister Haun. (I'm replacing Sister Karaponga) She is absolutely HILARIOUS. As in. I also feel really short again, because she's like, 5'9. 

Our area is as mountainous as it gets for Sisters. Needless to say, I am EXHAUSTED. For several reasons: Starting out the transfer with little sleep, we do T25 every morning (Sister Haun and I are determined to get rid of ALL the rice weight we've gained here), we walk home from our area 45 minutes every night, my area is hiking/walking all the time. 

Thanks for that Picture of the weather report, Mom! I've been wondering why it's been so cold and rainy! It actually rained on us on the way to Guimaras. The Channel (is it a channel? not sure) was so rough, and then as I walked down to the pump boat, I got a nice wave that decided to give me a big hug. (so wet and so cold)

[Speaking of rainy, I'm actually back on Panay today. It's our SM day to withdraw money and such (there aren't any ATMs or banks around were we live. . .) and we're not sure we're gonna be able to get back.. hahaha. gotta love typhoon season. Don't worry about us. The rain was stopping. .. . hopeful it stayed that way. We're also coming back to the city again tomorrow for MLC (Missionary Leadership Counsel) haha, I just left here and I keep coming back!]

We had a CSP! I never knew so much work went into planting rice! We went "Golden Snail" Hunting in the rice fields. It's was great. I was just walking around barefoot in a rice field, picking snails out of the mud and water. It was a blast. We also got to smash the Snail eggs, which was gross, I left that to the other sisters, and I continued to hunt for mga kohol (snails)

Anyway, A lot has been happening. I'm probably going to go buy a jacket. Remember how three months ago I told you how hot it was? Well, now I'm freezing at 75F. (oh man. I'm gonna freeze when I get home). 

Love you all! 

-Sister Smith

Snail Snatching
My New Housemates! haha. SISTER MARTICIO AND I ARE STILL HOUSEMATES (Totally forgot to mention that. After 7 months together, we will have another 2 before she goes home in September. hahahaha) Sister Punsalan, Sister Haun and Me.

Guimaras Rice Fields
 Gotta love my new area. (there are just so many houses! haha)