29 September 2014

Letter 48: Tigulang na ako!

(I'm old now!)

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

How are you all doing?? I'm doing great! My age also officially states that I've been on this earth an entire 2 DECADES. Weird, no? 

Thank You all for All the Birthday Wishes! 
20 na!
I actually celebrated it twice. On Tuesday because Sister Haun and I were in a "Wahoo! House to ourselves! Let's buy a cake!" mode. And then she transferred. That she wasn't expecting (probably because she did NOT want to leave) But I was pretty sure it would happen. Which left me with 3 new housemates! And then on my birthday, when my housemates found out it was a my birthday. haha. I ate a mango for my birthday present to me. It was great :D
Our Last Companionship Unity Moment
So anyway, I actually guessed two of my new housemates!! I'm with my Batchmate, Sister Quent, and her comp is Sister Scicluna. 

And my New Companion is Sister Fabella. She's my "Lola" (Grandmother) And This is her last six weeks! So it looks like I'll be killing her. There must be some fancy English word for that. She's also my first Pinay companion! She's so Buot (kind) and I absolutely love her. <3 I'm also picking up a bit more Tagalog. I got some from Sister Haun, and Now I'm getting it from Sister Quent and Sister Fabella. My favorite is when Investigators ask Sister Fabella a question in Tagalog, and then they ask me, and I just look at them blankly and have to say, "Indi ako itiendi tagalog. Ilonggo lang ako"
New Companion and Housemates:
Sister Fabella, Sister Scicluna, Ako, and Sister Quent. 
On the Sister's First day I took them out to their area, and the reaction was a kind of, "Umm.. This area is a HIKE!" 'Welcome to Guimaras Sisters!" haha, they're so happy to be here. They already love it. They're an interesting pair. Sister Quent just came from Kalibo, so she's speaking Tagalog, and Sister Scicluna is 4.5 months into the mission and still struggling with Ilonggo. 

I realized just how much my endurance has increased out here. When we get home, everyone else just kinda crashes and sleeps. hahaha, That's how I was my first 2 weeks. 

Anyway, the area is doing good! We had an FHE with our family on Wednesday, and then we had a great lesson with them on Sunday. Nanay Accepted a BAPTISMAL DATE :) She's preparing for November 1. Her son and his wife said they'd pray (Rekim and Catherine) . Tatay didn't have much to say. . and her LA Son's Girlfriend (Bea) is encouraging him (Kim Jan) to go to church again! Wow, I'm praying praying guid that Nanay makes it on the first. 
Our Family
Nanay actually made it on time the Sacrament Meeting this time (they've always been late) but then they were too shy to actually partake of the bread and water. Oh well. *sigh* Next week!

I've been reading Jesus The Christ amat-amat (little by little) again and I've been absolutely loving it! Nothing, of course, beats reading the actual Bible and Book of Mormon, to come to know who Christ truly is to you, or what His atonement means in your life. But I love being able to understand more of the world in which our Savior lived, the life style, the social circumstances. I feel like I understand His words more fully :) It's a wonderful feeling. 

anway. Tha's all. I love you all. I hope you make it a great week, and I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or. . Ang Simbahan ni Jesukristo sang mga Santos sa Ulihing mga Adlaw) Is the one and only true church here on the face of the Earth. 

With much love, 
Sister Smith

22 September 2014

Letter 47: Goodbyes are Never Easy

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

hmm... Where to start? 

This week was an interesting one.

We went out to a member who lives somewhere between 3 and 4 hours away from the church if you decide to walk it, because her husband is LA, and we try them usually about once a transfer. her husband has yet to speak to me, but that's ok :). So anyway, we went out by tricycle, and got the tricycle driver's number so that he would come get us in an hour. . . but then he never came. So we walked! . . and took a wrong left turn. Haha, WHOOPS. Gotta love getting lost in the Mountains! yeah, we walked around for about 3.5 hours, before we got service to ask the Couple missionaries to come and save us in their truck.

So this Saturday we had a "Family Week" Celebration (it's a holiday here! How awesome is that?) with the District! It was super fun. Everyone dressed in Red/Green/Blue/Yellow (depending on the branch or Group.)  But the Missionaries wore our cool new gray T-shirts :) played some fun games, got some good food, and spent time with the district. It was a grand time. 
Flour Games
And it all ended with a Baptism from the other Sisters' area! They are baptizing a family from the mountains, even if it's one by one. Nanay has 11 Children, and several grandchildren who think it would be great to join the church :) Sister Marticio finally got to teach and baptize "A family" a dream of her mission.

Speaking of Sister Marticio. Said Goodbye to my housemate of 10 Months about three hours ago. 
Sister Marticio <3
Crazy how time flies. It's hard to believe that 10 months ago she watched me be "Born" into the mission, and I just watched her "die." Seriously gonna miss this Sister, I learned so much from her! (and Kon nagpanginta ikaw 'ni, Sister Marticio, HI! Palangga ta ka, kag Hidlaw ta gid ka! Halong gid ikaw, kag tani ibaton ko ang wedding inviation halin sa imo dugay-dugay ;) ) (Note from mom - The Illonggo here is a note to Sister Marticio.) 

Anyway. Time's kinda already up, and it wasn't too big of a week. (yet it was. . .)

I love you all! The church is true!

And next week You'll all know who my new housemates are! (Sister Haun and I have our Big Scary house to ourselves until Thursday. yay.)

And I'll be Two Decades OLD. Whoa. 

Take Care, 
Sister Smith

15 September 2014

Letter 46: Challenges are Good for You

Dearest Family and Friends, 

That sentence is what Sister Haun and I have been telling ourselves for the past week. 

It's crazy how you can be doing so well, and your area and investigators are progressing wonderfully, and then in two weeks it all just stops and goes backwards. 

But let's not be Pessimistic, let's look at the good side of things :) This is a Challenge from Heavenly Father! And like the title of this Letter says: Challenges are Good for You. They Help you grow and refine you to become the person you want to be. 

Zone Meeting was this week, and that's kinda what we all talked about. (well, three out of four of us). It was definitely one of my favorite trainings I've given, and something I've really learned out here on the Mission.  I referenced my watercolor painting hobby in high school. Remember when I wasn't able to paint? But then I decided I wanted to paint as well as Casey does, and then I finally got better! Goals are important. If you don't have goals, you won't get Anywhere in Life. You will never reach your potential. Jesus Christ gave us a goal we are to achieve, "Be thou perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is Perfect." Talk about a life time goal that will not be achieved in one day! But that's why we have each day, to work for it and improve each day. Repent, Come unto Christ, and try a little bit harder each day. :) The Refiners Fire hurts a bit, but it's worth it in the End. 

(Did I mention that the APs decided to walk in our Zone meeting as it was starting? Grabi, at that sight I was like, "NOOoooo" in my head. Haha. Just wanted to mention that.)

Had a Fun CSP in the rain at the Elementary school on Saturday cleaning up the school yard. Funny 'Sister Smith is such a Klutz story' So I was walking down the sidewalk, and then Slipped in the ONLY puddle. Grabi, I did the entire "Heels coming off the ground, back taking it's place" thing. I was soaked and covered in the moss that made the puddle slippery. Haha, luckily no one saw but Brother Nester. And I didn't even understand a word of what he was saying, because he's from Manila and only speaks Tagalog. `
CSP time!
This week really wasn't out of the ordinary (except for the "Our investigators and Recent Converts are struggling.) It's cold and I'm wearing the Rain Coat I bought (that looks like it's from the 90's. one of these days I'll take a picture of it) because there's a bagio somewhere up north. Our gas ran out and so we thought we'd be stoveless for a week and a half (my housemates refuse to buy new gas because Sister Marticio is going home, so she doesn't have money, and neither does Sister Tarantan because she's only a Part Time missionary. And Sister Haun refuses to buy some just in case she might transfer.) but then the District President said we could borrow the Church house's ELECTRIC ONE for a week. Blessings from Heaven. also, we had water this morning even though it's been raining really bad (they turn it off generally when it rains, so that the sediment doesn't get into the system)

Anyway. Biskan may mga pagtilaw, (whoops. Even though have trials,) Heavenly Father will always help and tender mercies from Heaven are Miracles in our life. 

I love you all! The Church is true and everything that goes along with it! Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God, and one of my heroes. Heavenly Father Loves us and wants us to return to Him. Yes it will be difficult. Yes there will be Mountains to climb and Rivers to Cross, and a Devil to defeat and temptation to overcome. But in the End, Christ will Reign, and through His selfless Atonement, we have the chance to be there with the righteous at Judgement day. Sa ngalan ni Jesu Kristo, Amen. 

All's Well, 
-Sister Smith
The Cutest little Ati. She used to be scared of me,
but I won her over with Candy :D

08 September 2014

Letter 45: Had a Great Time in. . . ILOILO

Dearest Family and Friends, 

I must say, I had a great time in the mission field out here. . . Not in my area.

It was actually a super BOMB week (and a challenging week all at the same time.) As in. 

So Monday we're in Iloilo to buy the things you can't find on Guimaras. (and I'm sick as we walk around SM. Not the funnest thing ever)

Tuesday: Teach one lesson (which was a spiritual disaster. blech. you win some you loose some) and then head off to Iloilo again for MLC. 

MLC: Awesome. Spiritual. Got a Cold from the Air Con. 

Wednesday: More MLC. It was funny, actually. Everyone is dying from the heat because of a Brown out, so we have one fan going because of the emergency power thing they have, and it's blowing on me, so I have my jacket hanging on my shoulders and a lot of tissues in my hands. . .

MLC actually ended early for the first ever "Sisters in Excellence Conference." 

What is a Sisters in Excellence Conference, you ask? Well, If I could describe it in five words. . 'Girls' Camp for Sister Missionaries." would be the words I choose. 

All the sisters in the mission (all 44 of us) came down and were all gathered in one place at the same time! (thus we finally were able to get a picture of our five generations of Trainers and Trainees before Sister Fabella goes home in November!) 
Five Generations
We went to this place where they do a team building program. It's also a little family resort too, if that's what you're going for. Got to stick my feet in a pond and have little fish eat the dead skin off, and have a bonfire, complete with skits just like the ones from Girls' camp. Did some mending of a skirt that I ripped forever ago. . .

Thursday: Did the Team building activity. I was so tired from being sick, but I really enjoyed it (Note. A mouse just ran across the top of my shoe. and I didn't scream when i saw it. Congratulate me.) and it all ended with a testimony meeting. It was wonderful and I was sad when it was over 

Got HOME. And had enough time to visit one person. 

Friday Saturday and Sunday were us trying to get back on our feet from everything. The past few weeks we've been doing so well, but now it's just turning into a time of trials. We're growing because of it. And hopefully our investigators grow because of it too!. I gave Sister Haun my cold. again. 

Got to go on a hike this morning to Balaan nga Bukid (holy Mountain) That was fun!

anyway, I've lost track of time again, 

Signing off!

-Sister Smith
No bridge? There's wood just lying there on the grass?
MAKE ONE! (there's that civil engineer in me haha)

01 September 2014

Letter 44: The Life of a Missionary

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

So many things happened this week, it was great. 

First of all: Went on Exchanges with Sister Marticio! That was interesting, housemate of 10 months and we finally worked with each other! She was in the beginning stages of a cold, and I'm that person that has an easier time in my own area then in another missionary's area. . . Something I'm working on! (sometimes I'm still just a little too huya (shy)!) 

The big thing this week was something Sister Haun Proposed to me, and then we Proposed it to our District President last month. President named it "Missionary Life," and we went on splits with 4 Prospective Missionaries from the Branch :) They slept over and had studies and everything. It was super fun and awesome. Our companionship actually ended up in a trio because my member-companion bailed on us for a job interview in Iloilo (No hard feelings, it was a life time opportunity for a GOOD job.) 
Missionary Life. Three Future Sisters
That was Friday Morning until Saturday. And then on Saturday Afternoon we had a fireside. Talks were spoken, Testimonies were given, and the Spirit was awesome. (the only downside was the Member attendance. . next time! President is determined to make it a quarterly thing.) 

I got sick again. There is just something about this island, I swear! haha, it's actually super funny, I'm exercising better, eating better, getting good sleep, being HEALTHY, and then yesterday I break out into a fever (or a Lagnat. I believe that's Tagalog. . not sure) during Sacrament. (which meeting I gave a talk in, by the way. Fifth Sunday is "Missionary talk" Sunday) Of course class goes over half an hour and I'm just sitting there, absolutely miserable. President was like, "You're sick again." "Yep." "This is your life, isn't it?" "Yep."

Went home, ate food, got some sleep, then went out to two appointments. (Not my wisest decision, because we ended up walking home, and it started sprinkling rain.) But don't worry about me, I'm taking Ibuprofen and will rest when we get home from Iloilo. 

Church was awesome, even though I was sick for it. The Tacdoro Family made it (after two weeks of absence) which was awesome. I think Sister can really feel the difference it makes in her life when she comes. Grace made it (she still yet to stay for all 3 hours. There always seems to be an emergency going on and she has to go home.) and BILLY (a new investigator of one day) came. Billy is awesome, we met her last week, she's a former investigator of the two sisters before Sister Haun and me, and is now back from Bacolod. We had an awesomely spiritual lesson about how God gives us trials because He knows we can handle it and we'll grow and become stronger and closer to Him because of it. She's so small (I think she's about 4'6. . or shorter.) and absolutely the sweetest. Palangga ko sia :)

Cool thing this week: ATE HALO. Not sure what it is in English. . The member that cooked it for us isn't sure. But it's a LIZARD. (monitor lizard. . .she said. yeah, I don't know what that is) it was AWESOME and tasted like Chicken. Her husband just kept singing this little tune, "Chicken in Disguise!"

Anyway, times up!

The Church is TRUE!

Christ is our Savior, 

And I love you (all.)

-Sister Smith

Apparently I have a Filipina twin? (according to everyone)