25 August 2014

Letter 43

Dearest Panimalay kag Mga abyan,

It's been a good week here on the little island of Guimaras! So This week was Zone Conference! It was great! I got to see my BATA! and my APO! Sister Taufanga actually transferred to the. . . other room in the house and is now finishing the training of her housemate. hahaha. She's still in the same ward! 
My Granddaughter (Apo) is awesome. She calls me Lola
Good News from my last area: The old Couple Sister Taufanga and I tracted before I left got BAPTIZED. WOAH AWESOME! The Less-active married her boyfriend, her new baby is healthy! My Returning family is Returned and active and PREPARING TO ENTER THE TEMPLE! When she told me that, I almost wanted to cry I was so happy. 

haha, remember how I mentioned that we would be giving training? It actually went really well. :) It was on "Teaching with Unity" which was really ironic because that was something Sister Haun and I struggled with for a long time (as in. We're best of friends, but have completely different teaching styles.) haha, REVELATION. Heavenly Father does have a sense of humor. It was really fun. We started out by playing that song everyone knows. . the. . I don't remember the name. But that one that takes to people to play it and it's from a musical. I taught it to Sister Haun and we showed how you can either do your own thing, or "play" (teach) with your companion in unity if you try!. 

Gali (whoops) I used a bit too much time reading letters today to have time to write. hahaha. 

This week was full of awesome times. We extended baptismal dates to like, a lot of people! And a lot of them accepted!!!! (and then didn't make it to church. haha. Heavenly Father blesses you in one way and makes you struggle in another!)

We've gotten into this weird flow of something big happens every week. Whether is sickness, MLC, Zone Training, Zone Conference, or FHE. . . something is always happening around us! (especially this week! I'll tell you about what will be happening. . . next week :D )

Tender Mercy of the week: I lost my planner. It fell out of my bag, and it wouldn't have been a big deal, but I had a lot of sentimental value for that thing (Sister Massé actually personalized it with spiritual thoughts and memories and sent it to me) and then on Sunday (I lost it Tuesday) Sister Haun hands it to me! Our investigators had found it on the road and gave it to her. 

anyway. Yeah, Time's up!

I love you all. Like, As in! I Pray you're all doing well, and I hope life is great, trials are small (and if they're big. . remember, God loves you and wants you to grow and become closer to Him!) and the blessings are many. 

-Sister Smith

Sister Sclicluna
Did I ever mention how much I adore Sister Sclicluna? She knew me in the "Pre-Mission Life" (aka, she found my blog and read it before she came here. hahaha.)

18 August 2014

Letter 42

Dearest Family and Friends,

First of all. . . KEATLEY! Congratulations on the BEAUTIFUL BRACES (aka. torture device) SMILE! Gwapa gid sa imo!

Well this week was a good one! (Question: When is there a bad week in the mission? Answer: umm... NEVER)

I'm trying to think of what to write about. . .Umm... it started raining again. Which means I have to hang my laundry inside the house, and it takes forever to dry. 

Sister Punsalan transferred (the only one from the zone to transfer. . . ) Sister Marticio is now with Sister Tarantan, A part-time missionary from Kalibo. (she actually worked with Sister Haun when she was assigned there! How fun is that?) She's waiting for her call, which should be coming before the end of the transfer. 
Saying Goodbye to Sister Punsalan
We had an AWESOME FHE on Monday with the Family we're focusing on. It was super fun! I've never seen a family of investigators so . . into playing the games and laughing and having fun. :D And it wasn't just all fun and games, we really saw the rewards. The next time we came over for a lesson, the men joined in on the lesson, not just the women in the family! It's been so great! Sister Haun and I adore them. Then later we got to do some BRTing (Building Relationship and Trust) with the Less active son later in the week. He's opening up to us, and is starting to listen to the lessons now too! 
 FHE! Is seriously the Best.
This week Sister Haun and I realized we've been slacking off. It's crazy how even the slightest bit of disobedience can stop blessings. After coming home a little late, not making that extra effort to make it home by 7:30, when we really needed those miracles of a tricycle coming by- they wouldn't be there, and we'd have to walk and then be even later. We're working on it again, making it a goal to NEVER be late for curfew ever again. To be more diligent, be more obedient and hard working.

Erlose said she had a great time at church! (except for her distracting 8 month old baby) And she came again a second time! So did Grace! (Nanette didn't make it. That baby should be coming really soon. . .)

Zone Training was on Tuesday. And Zone Conference is going to be this Wednesday. :) Headed to Iloilo, and I get to see my BATA! She's training, by the way (she adopted. Because it's the second transfer of the new Sister) So I'm a Grandmother! (haha, I'm a Lola.).

In Awesome News: Darwin Passed the Sacrament on Sunday! :D I felt like Mom, when she tells that story of when Sam first passed the Sacrament. :)

My Zone Leader of 4 transfers is now my AP.

I'm behind in reading the Bible. I'm actually supposed to be done with it (and be reading in 1 Nephi. .) But I'm still in. . 2 Timothy. Whoops.

This letter is quickly becoming one of 'Bullet Points of things that Happened." Much like my Journal entries. .

Life is great. I shower with a bucket. I still think Rice is delicious (even though it's tasteless and I don't eat it much anymore) Sister Haun and I killed a spider bigger than my hand with phentermine the other day. (hahaha.. I unfortunately did not get it on tape.) I fall asleep while praying at night usually once a week, and Sister Haun has to wake me up. I'm picking up a tiny bit of Tagalog from Sister Haun too. I've decided that if my children ever complain about having to do their laundry, I'll have them do it by hand. My bad eating habits are starting to come back, which is bad, because I've been feeling so healthy.

The AP just called. Sister Haun and I are giving training at Zone Conference on Wednesday. *sigh* I feel like this is my life now. training training training. Looks like this supposedly relaxing P-day where I was going to get things done (finish the Bible. . Not write Letters because I still have no idea where the post office is) is turning into a stressful P-day.

Anyway. Palangga ko kamo guid, Palangga kita sang Diyos.

The church is TRUE!

Much love,
-Sister Smith

Santol Jelly is Sister Haun's FAVORITE.
But in this picture, we ate it like a hotdog. haha
MORE SANTOL. We're gonna be making the Jelly out of these :)
Darwin just climbed the tree and shook the branches,
and gave us a sackful. haha, And then we carried it around proselyting!

11 August 2014

Letter 41: When You've Got Lots to Do, You've Got No Time

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Hey, I've gotta make this letter faster than normal, because we had a zone activity this morning, and we've got an FHE in a few hours (and we need to make some treats still. . so. . . I'll be as fast as possible, and try to have good Grammar. . . And this letter won't have pictures. . sorry! No time to wait for it to load.)

Anyway, so this week we went to Iloilo for MLC! It's weird to have two MLCs in one transfer, but it was fun. Several ZLs and STLs weren't there (either released or they're going home tomorrow. . ) and there were several "Guests" *wink wink* 

I've been eating so healthy the past few weeks (I gave up rice, because Sister Haun doesn't eat it. And went back to veggies not soaked in soy sauce. I've felt great actually.) but that MLC food was a little too rich for me. (and we also got some wonderful cashews and pistachio ice cream! YUM!) 

It was a great time :) Spiritually enlightening, and a lot of chastisement. (a lot)

A lot of miracles happened this week (again!) The Tacdoros came to church! (they were more on time this time! next time they'll make it for the Actually passing of the Sacrament.) and the mga Atti came to church too! The Atti are pretty much Pure Filipino, and are so dark (I almost feel like I'm in Ghana with Elder Bautner when we go their their houses.) They're super shy, and of the three friends that came, one is very pregnant. What a trooper! She made it through the first hour, but her baby was kicking so hard, that they had to leave before class. 

I got a cold this week. We didn't work on Saturday. (haha. My body was present. But my Brain hasn't been. haha.) I'm still recovering. I'm at the point of "Still tired, throat is a little sore from all the mouth breathing, but the headache is gone and so is most of the runny nose." 

Sunday we had a Super long meeting with our District President. (expectation: 1hour. What happened: 2.5 hours.) but it was good. All meeting. "Are you ok Sister Smith?" "Yes, I'm just tired." after about the third time asking Sister Haun was just like, "She's Sick." his response was "ah. Kalu-oy sa imo." (directly translated that means "Mercy on you." kinda like, "oh, I'm sorry.")

On top of being sick. . IT'S BEEN SO HOT. You all got hail in August. . . yeah, it's been hotter than it's been in weeks/months. It doesn't feel like rainy season. And normally a hot front means a cold front and a storm will follow.  . .

Answers to questions: I still don't know how Alex is doing. . Sister Taufanga has yet to write me. . . The RC lessons are going great! DARWIN AND DANILO GOT THE PRIESTHOOD!! We both pitched in to buy them each a tie (the branch is getting them white shirts)
And yes, I did have Electricity and Water this week. (the water went off on one day. but we have a barrel full of water for emergencies. It's enough for everyone to take a shower).

So much has happened. But no time! 

Palangga ta kamo gid! Tani maayo kamo, bisan diin kamo. Magpangako ako nga iload ko ang mga kodak sa sunod simana.  (I love you all. I hope you're all well, where ever you are. I promise to load pictures next week.)

Halong sa inyo tanan! (Y'all take care)

Matuod Gid an Simbahan! (the Church is very true)

-Sister Smith

ps- My English is going to be getting much worse, by the way

Reason: New House Rule: Ilonggo (or Tagalog or Kiniraya. if you're in Kalibo or Antique) for the Foreigners. English for the Locals. 

Hope you all enjoy my decaying grammar!

04 August 2014

Letter 40: Miracles and Muddy Days

Hello Family and Friends! 

Over here in Guimaras, it's been a fabulous week! (week 40. . . What??) 

We had exchanges this week! I got to go to the other Sisters' area and trek through a muddy field. Sister Punsalan is such a wonderful missionary (we're actually batchmates going home! We Foriegners get one less transfer than the locals, because we have a transfer in the MTC, so even though she's a transfer a head of me, we go home together.) 

Last week on our Announcements Email, we were told, "No more Pamphlets. Teach only from the Book of Mormon." Sister Haun and I were like, "WAHOO! We've been doing that for 2 weeks!." but Sister Punsalan had some doubts. It was great being able to talk to her about it, and after a few minutes, she was determined to put all her faith and her testimony into using the Book of Mormon only. I'm excited for her :)

I learned a lot more about how and why I need to change this week. Sometimes you think you're doing great, but the Heavenly Father decides to cut you down so that you can grow ("Thank you Mr. Gardner, for loving me enough to cut me down.") You know me, sometimes I don't like to open up to people, and when you're a missionary, that's not allowed. I'm still working on it, becoming that person He wants me to become. Amat-amat lang (just little by little)

This week we went without Electricity from Tuesday Night until Saturday Night. It. Was. Awful. I actually started to get scared of our house. And you know me, I'm not a superstitious person. . . But 4 nights with no light in a big house. . yeah. . it wasn't fun. Sister Haun and I didn't walk upstairs at night. And if we did we didn't go alone (yeah companionship!). And then there were a few nights where we didn't have Water either. (luckily never in the morning, so we were still able to take a shower) and Area Book by candle light? Fun every once in a while, but not every day. 
Planning and Updating the Area Book by Candle light. 
But then Saturday night we got Koriente (electricity) and we've been just peachy ever since. 

We were so sad when 9:00 came 'round on Sunday. No one came to church. But then Sacrament meeting didn't start until 9:15 (someone forgot to bring the bread. haha) and a less active came in around 9:10! He's one of the Branches 15 Names!! We actually visited him and his wife on Saturday, and they didn't make any promises about coming. But then they DID! The Branch was so happy to see them! 

Then, when the meeting was almost over, the Tacdoro family came!!! They'd had someone visit them that morning, so they left the house late, but they made it to Sunday School and Relief Society! It was so great! There was so much support, we didn't even ask anyone to fellowship them, one Sister knows the mom, and she went right up to her and showed her to class, and sat with her! The kids loved Primary, and the Daughter in YW wants to go to the YW activity they're having on Saturday. 

Basically: It was a Magical Moment. :)

Later when were were teaching them that night, Nanay (Mother. Often, we use Nay and Tay in replacement for Sister and Brother for those older here. It has more of a. . Respectful? Loving? feel. Basta it's just more nice.) was just saying how much she loved church. 

Like, WOAH! The Spirit that is felt if someone goes to church within the month that you meet them. It's so much more powerful. I know she'll be coming next week (we'll be doing everything we can to NOT let Satan ruin those plans.) 

Anyhoos. Love you all! 

The Church is True,


Sister Smith

PS. The adventure we had this week! There's this warehouse along the road, and we were told that there's a Tsunggi (a tsunggi: a home owned store where someone decides to sell things they buy from the store. Totally illegal in America, but there are several on most roads here.) behind the warehouse. (By the way, it belongs to the Less Active, who's on the 15 Names of the Branch.. .) 

At first Sister Haun and I were like, "Back there?? No way!" But after we tried, lo and behold, there it was. 

But the only way to get there? To trek through some mud. . and well. . . I sank. 

Sister Haun was laughing too hard at me to get a picture of me actually stuck in the mud, but the after picture (with the mud half dried) is still enjoyable. 
Muddy Feet