26 April 2015

Letter 78: Thoughts of an RM

Maayong gab-i!

Hannah here, so .. . . yup, it's a weird thing to say! I'm home!
Mom was kinda excited
 It was crazy, going to Iloilo on Monday, having that last interview with President Aquino. I'm happy to see that when he realized that I'm STILL 20, he actually said, "ahh.. Still young. You don't need to get married right away." (Hallelujah, Praise the Ginuo)

We bore our last testimonies to the Office Elders and they gave us a farewell song, and President gave us one last Book of Mormon to give away before being realized (I gave mine to a nice woman in the airport, Sherry, moving to Florida to join her parents. It was nice, to give away one last Book of Mormon as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

We got up on Tuesday and did NOT go to Manila in the morning so we could go to the Temple >:( You might say that I'm still a little tiny bit bitter. Just a bit. So instead we went to a Career Meeting. Helpful. . . . but I got the exact same help from LDS employment center here on Thursday. (which is why normally only the Filipinos go to the career workshop, and the Foreigners go to the TEMPLE. . . ok. I'm over it. I promise.)

So we left in the afternoon, and we all headed to Manila. I sat next to an Elder who turns out to be my Bro in the mission (my first district leader is his trainer. which makes us family.)

and then we waited. . . and waited.. . borrowed a cellphone. . and waited some more for a car to come get us. Sister Quent and I decided that it just had to happen that way, because that's what happened the FIRST time we came to Iloilo, hahaha.

Eventually the car came, and we went to the hotel so that we could leave in the morning. All the missions in the Philippines with the same transfer day as us were there. . except our MTC district of Bacolod. Another thing that just made Sister Quent and I annoyed. We wanted to see Sisters Moser, Kumar, and Watkins. . . but noooo....

And then we left for Tokyo 9:30 am 22 April, left Tokyo 2:30 pm 22 April, and got home to Seattle 9:00am 22 April. How's that for a time change? Might as well paint the plane blue and call it a Tardis, because I went back in time! (Doctor Who joke, anyone?)

And then Seattle to SALT LAKE CITY.

No words now. . . Just pictures


Mom and Dad

Grandma and Grandpa

The Bytheways
I can't believe she got
 so tall and gorgeous!
My Favorite Nieces made me signs!
She surprised me!
This little boy did not
want anything to do with me
But after an hour or so of
Babysitting, we became friends :)
 So yeah. Went home, got released and all that good stuff. I've been to LDS Employment Offices (I'm so bored, oh my gulay I need a job. actually. I just need a schedule again.) I babysat my nephew, went to my sister's Madrigal State thing. it was great to hear chamber music again, and had to go buy new jeans because ALL MY OLD PANTS ARE TOO SMALL. It was a terrifyingly sad moment that I knew was coming. There is no way that after 18 months of daily rice intake and walking for hours would dare let me fit into my old jeans from highschool. *sigh*
 
Also, It's weird to wear all my old clothes again. (also, why do I have so many clothes? goodness, I'm glad I'm used to going without and I can just hand them down now) I feel like I've woken from some weird dream called a mission, and I'm just Hannah again. It's really weird. I'm trying REALLY HARD not to turn into what I was before (a useless couch potato that does nothing and should get a life) it's definitely a trial.
 
Scripture study is good. :) Future RMs, you hear it all the time. NEVER STOP STUDYING. Praying is really good. Talking in Sacrament was just as nerve-wracking the first time, but that helped too.
 
I'm doing good with adjustment to Babylon, I really think the hardest thing is not knowing what to really do with myself. (still have to unpack that last suitcase. . ahem). I think I might have thought of it as truly a dream, if it weren't for this missing piece over my heart (literally, it feels like physical yet emotional thing. I'm so AWARE that there is no more tag)
 
Don't know what I want for a job, just want to work. I'm thinking of going to SLCC for the summer. :/ I'm sure I'll have more of my life figured out next week I've only been home 4 days you know. . .
 
So yeah, this will be the last time this blog will have a post, thank you for all who have read these, and thank you so much for all the prayers.
 
I love my mission, and I will always carry it in my heart. It was truly God's plan for me, and I know I did the work He sent me to do.
 
The Church is True.
Christ is our Savior.
This Mission is the BEST 2 YEARS (or 18 months. ahem) truly and undeniably.
 
I love you all.
 
Love,
Hannah

20 April 2015

Letter 77: Happy Trip and a Final Testimony

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

Guess what? I'm in Iloilo typing on an iPad!! Technology. The couple missionaries are letting me borrow it because there isn't any time to go to a computer shop , and they want to take us out to lunch right now. 

It was a great week, I feel like I accomplished my goal: to preach repentance unto the people of Roxas with loving boldness. I really want to talk about everything. . . But no time. Rumpella got confirmed. :)

I already am done with my interview with President Aquino, and I leave for Manila tomorrow. TEMPLE trip. I'm way excited. Then off to Tokyo and Seattle, and I'll be home before I left, so let's just pretend that airplane is a police box, haha. I really can't say more, so I'll end with a final testimony.


Hiligaynon Version: 

Gusto ko nga ipaambit ang pagkamatu-od ko,

Bal-an ko nga matu-od ang Libro ni Mormon. Mga pulong sang Diyos siya para sa aton, kag nagabulig siya sa aton nga makilala ang aton Maluluwas nga si JesuKristo. Bal-an ko nga biskan ano ang mga problema naton, ukon kon may pagtilaw kita, makabulig ang Libro ni Mormon sa aton mga kabuhi. 

Bal-an ko nga Matuod nga propeta si Joseph Smith. Ginpanumbalik sang Diyos ang Ebanghelyo niya paagi kay Joseph Smith. Bal-an ko nga nakita niya ang Aton Langitnon nga Amay kag ang Iya Anak nga Si JesuKristo. Bal-an ko nga ginlubad niya ang Libro Ni Mormon paagi sa gahum sang Diyos. Bal-an ko nga paagi sa iya may priesthood kita diri sa kalibutan subong. 

Bal-an ko nga Buhi nga Propeta si Thomas S. Monson. Bal-an ko nga kon magpamati kita sa iya mga pulong, magpamati kita sa mga pulong ni JesuKristo kag aton Amay para sa aton subong nga adlaw. 

Bal-an ko nga napatay si JesuKristo para sa aton. Ginpayad niya ang mga sala naton para makahinulsol kita kag mangin matinlo kita kag makabalik kita sa presensya sang aton Langitnon nga Amay. Kag nagbanhaw siya, ti buhi na siya, kag ginagiya niya kita sa ulihing mga adlaw

Palangga ko si JesuKristo, kag malipay guid ako nga nakamission ako para sa iya. Salamat para sa inyo supporta sa akon diri sa Iloilo Philippines mission. Palangga ta kamo. 

Sa ngalan in JesusKristo, amen.

Si Sister Smith


English Version:

(Which may sound a little weird at times. . .because I'm translating it from the Ilonggo. . . . )

I want to share my Testimony, 

I know that The Book of Mormon is true. It is the Word of God for us, it helps us come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that whatever our problems are, or if we have trials, the Book of Mormon can help our lives. 

I know that Joseph smith was a true prophet. God restored His Gopsel through him. God restored His Gospel through Joseph Smith. I know he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. I know that through him we have Priesthood here on Earth today. 

I know that Jesus Christ died for us. He paid for our sins for us to be able to repent to become clean and to to be able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. He was resurrected, and at He lives, guiding us in these last days.

I love Jesus Christ and I am so happy to have been able to mission for him. Thank you all for your support to me here in the Iloilo Philippines mission. I love you all.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Smith.

Sorry,  this is short. Low bat. And I'm getting a little frustrated because this iPad keeps turning my ilonggo into English. . . . So it's kinda annoying. And there are no pictures. . . Because I'm using an iPad. . . Yeah. .  I don't think I can get over this using high tech technology thing.

I love you. See you soon :)

Joke lang. a picture. The AP let me use his computer :)
Last moment with Sister Robertson


13 April 2015

Letter 76: Q&A with Sister Smith

Dearest Family and Friends,

I hope you're doing well :) This Q&A is provided by Mom (and a few from Elder Simmons). Thank you for your participation. 

How was your week?
It was great! I loved it :) We lost a few days because of choir practice and running errands for moving houses. But we still had good things happen (also. I've requested to my housemates they they just move when they become a trio next week. They've agreed. it will be way easier for everyone)

What was your favorite day this past week?
I really liked Wednesday because we had exchanges, and I got to spend one more day with Sister Scicluna (and I got to lead the area. so that was fun) But this time she's the STL. haha. She gave me some great advice. "Just be bold! You've got one last week to cry repentance, do it boldly and with love."

And Conference was WAY good on Saturday. I loved it

But Friday wins :) because Sister Rumpella got baptized. She's a Child Not of Record (as you could say) and it was a pleasure to teach her. She'll be confirmed next Sunday, and really I think the reason she was baptized Friday instead of next Saturday is because her Dad needed to be there to witness it before going to Manila. 
Family :)
What are you doing today?
Later today we'll be Singing in the Capiztahan Festival. I'm excited to get it over with. It has been so drama-drama and all of the missionaries in the choir are just DONE because it's been eating at our proselyting time.

What are you doing this week?
Finding. Teaching. Picking up Rumpella for church to make SURE she gets confirmed. Write letters to RCs and LAs from old areas. Also  Packing (ugh. I want to die). How is it that I feel like I'm giving everything away but I have so much stuff left? (souvenirs. . haha. ) And books are heavy. More ugh. I'm sorry if I have heavy luggage fees. 

What are you doing next Monday?
I'll be in Iloilo and I really have no Idea. I think I email one more time? I'll be hanging out with my Batch. I think I have my final interview with President. I really have no idea. Everyone else going home with me is in Iloilo. . I'm the only one far away! If I don't get time really to email, I'll ask my friend (the AP :]) to give me five minutes to send a "See you in a few days!" on his computer.

What was your favorite thing you ate this week?
Sister Menor makes a really Good Sinigang. yumyum. Also had fried rice for breakfast this morning (talk about healthy haha)

What's the best native food you've had?  
EVERYTHING.  Ube. Langka. Sinigang, Mongo kag gata. Saging. Menudo

What's one of your favorite Ilonggo words?
Basta. it means . . . "Just as long as" like if your at a food court and you're companion doesn't know what to choose, and you're just like, "I don't care what we eat. Basta Food." there are other uses. . but their hard to explain. like. . when it's hard to explain something and you're just like, "Basta it was nice." Like saying. . "Basically" 

Or Palagpat. It's like Ridiculous. or annoying. or kinda like having a rebelious streak in your personality, you can be palagpat. 

Tell me 5 phrases in Ilonggo
"Indi sia basta-basta" It's not something to be taken lightly!
"Palangga kita sang aton Amay sa Langit" Our Father in Heaven Loves us.
"Ta!" Let's Go! or in Tagalog "Tara!"
"Ambot Sa imo!" I don't know about you! (you're a little weird. or I don't understand you)
"Te!" It's like "See, I told you so!." 

Who was your favorite speaker in conference/ favorite one liner?
ALL OF IT. As in. I absolutely loved it. But Elder Pearson pulled a great one on me "To all missionaries past and present: Elders and Sisters, you simply cannot return from your mission [and] do a swan-dive back into Babylon." I did a sort of salute to the screen and was like, "Alright. Noted. Thanks For the Warning"

What miracles did you see this week?
Had a great lesson with an RC gone LA about Repentance and Change. It really followed the Spirit. And then he came to conference on Saturday :)

Tell me about some of the people you visited this week
The RC/LA mentioned above has a great brother that I love teaching. He's absolutely Hilarious. Unfortunately he's stopped progressing :( and I don't think he'll be baptized soon. . . but he knows the church is true. He just needs more time. 

We normally visit Rhodey, and he's way great and interested in the Gospel. I loved what he said after he finally came to church. "I Liked it! and I've started so I might as well keep going" but this week he was sick, so we haven't seen him.  :( but......  He'll be baptized in May :)

What made you laugh?
When you're companions with Sister Robertson. . Everything is funny. :) 

Actually, whenever we're home I love it. Sister Scicluna is a great story teller, Sister Menor and I just mess with each-other, and Sister Robertson can make anything funny. Sometimes we'll be out walking, and we'll see something humorous, but then Sister Robertson thinks is so funny she can't even continue walking. I love it. :)

What made you cry?
The Talk "Waiting for the Prodigal" made me tear up.I'm sure the crying will come on Sunday when I get on a Ceres and head for Iloilo. I dunno. Maybe on the plane.  

What were your successes?
This week? not loosing my patience at choir practice. This Transfer? Cleaning out that hideous area book. My mission? Learning what it really means to become converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What's your favorite part of missionary work? 
Everything. EVERYTHING. I love the Schedule (our schedule actually changed. No more Language study if you're long time in the mission. out by 11am not by 12nn. and then Pday ends at 5 instead of 6) and just the consistency of two hours of study. Having to do lists, and to be lists and stuff. I used to hate planning, but now I love it. I even don't mind exercising now. haha

What things do you not want to forget?
Ilonggo. The people I've met, the Spiritual moments, the Companions, the Things I learned, just how much I LOVE being a missionary and being on the Lord's Errand. 

What's one of your favorite things you've seen?
I've loved seeing people changing their lives for the better. :) Seriously, it's so cool to see someone go from being addicted to smoking and then never want to touch a cigarette again. Or to see families become more united just because they start going to church together, or because they're praying. 

I've also loved seeing changes in myself too. I hope I'm a bit more Christlike now :) 

Thank you! Now that was a much easier letter to write :) hahaha. 

Anyway. It's hard to think how fast the time has flown. 

See you in. . I don't know how many days. Ya'll can do the counting. I'm not gonna think about it. 

The Church is True

I love this Work, 
I Love the Lord, 

Mabuhay,
Sister Smith
You know I love Sunsets

06 April 2015

Letter 75: It was Holy Week

Pinalangga nga Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

It's been another week in Roxas, and things are going as . . normal. . .

I'm gonna make a request. I seem to have run out of things to tell you. . . so I'm requesting a Question and Answer for next week's letter :)

So some things have been happening. Apparently there was supposed to be this monster super typhoon that was supposed to come and destroy us all. . But that never happened. Don't know what happened to it. hmm.. (and yet it was Last Week that I had to wash my clothes a second time because they got rained on while drying)

Also, We have somehow been pulled into the Stake Choir? There is going to be some sort of festival on the 11th or 12th or 13th (date still in discussion) and different religious groups have been invited to have a choir of 30 perform. Which is why the missionaries have been asked to participate. We probably sound terrible. . .but whatever :) music is music, and it's the spirit that counts. 

Sister Menor found a "Friend" outside our apartment and we decided to take it to choir practice and scare the American Elders. hahaha.
This is my Friend the Horned Beetle (that's my hand, bytheway)
Speaking of Apartments. . we have NOT yet moved. President Aquino has been busy, our financial secretary is training the new FS, and is therefore busy, so because of all the busy-ness in the office we still don't have a down payment on the new place :P which is annoying. we wanted to move Wednesday or so. . but now it might be Friday, (which is ANNOYING, because Sister Robertson and I have a baptism then) and if it's on Saturday we'll just have to wait till next week because Conference is Saturday. And if we move next week I'll just be annoyed that I don't even get to enjoy the New place for more than a week. But at least we're moving soon. 

Speaking of Conference. Women's Conference was great! I love that it always has a theme. Temples last time, families this time. It really gets you thinking deeply about one subject. 

I've reached the point where Holidays are just another day now. Easter came and went as nothing special, probably because everyone in this country focuses on the death on Thursday more than the Resurrection of Christ on Sunday. (which, in my opinion, is a sad thing)

It's been great though, having extra time to really ponder about the Atonement and what it, and Jesus Christ have done for me and my life. I'll be eternally grateful for My Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ. 

The Church is True. 
I sure do love ya, 

Love, 
Sister Smith
"Please don't throw trash here." hehehe. I love irony.


30 March 2015

Letter 74: I just don't know what to say.

Dearest Family, 

first of all: CONGRATS ON THE NEW BABY RACHEL! I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET HIM!

Second of all: To answer Mom's Question: We have found a BEAUTIFUL new apartment, for a wonderful price in a great spot in the middle of the two wards (Robertson and I are in 2nd ward. Our housemates are in 1st) we just have to wait. . . for President to approve it. He said he had to pray about it first. . I prayed that Heavenly Father would answer YES. So we should know by tonight if we're moving. I just want a new closet. 
Life Problems
Third of all. . . I literally don't know what to write about. Life is normal and I love the members here. There are times I just get frustrated because a lot of the time the even the members have a hard time changing their culture for a higher and better Gospel Culture. . And as missionaries we try to help with that, but we can't force anyone to change. It's interesting how investigators have an easier time changing than members. That's definitely been one of my struggles here. . Not only trying to help the investigators progress. . but also the wards and branches.

We're working on finding investigators. Sister Robertson found a lot before I got here. . but then the area caught fire. . . ahem. . . so yeah.. .everyone has been relocated .  so we're starting from scratch again. 

Funny story: So I have gotten sick this transfer (13 for 13. way to go sister smith) but not with a cold. I've actually had too much earwax in my right ear and I've gone kinda deaf. Sister Menor had the same problem in her left (but more extreme with swelling and some infection) so we both went to the doctor and got it checked out. I can hear again, but the past week has been funny. At the doctors I sat on her left side in the waiting room, but then got up and sat on her other side, "Sister Smith, what are you doing?" "Our hearing ears should be by each other, not our deaf ones. or else we'll be "Eh? what did you say?" all day. 

I find myself reflecting on just how much time is left. The Song "The Time is Far Spent." is so . . . appropriate. Sister Scicluna keeps asking me to extend. . but I'm afraid the request is a little late. 

Anyway. I love you all. 
Sorry this is short. 
Love Sister Smith 
FHE!

23 March 2015

Letter 73: Manila and Roxas

Dearest Family and Friends, 

Everything is great in Roxas (that is a . . Spanish X or something. it's an H sound, by the way. so ALL my areas still have an H sound in them!) 

But it feels like I haven't really been here because. . . Monday I headed off to Iloilo, then Tuesday morning at around 6 we were on a plane headed to Manila to the Bureau of Immigration for fingerprinting. It should have been just Sister Haun, Sister Quent, (my former companions) and I. . . . but I think President just wanted to get it all over with and sent everyone who hasn't done fingerprinting yet. (like my Bata Sister Taufanga!) Now missionaries get fingerprinted when they come to Manila from the MTC. which is much more convenient and a better use of time and money.
My Bata and Sister Roteman
So we arrived signed a lot of papers, took some face shots (the kind where you're not sure if you should smile or not), saw my passport that has way more stamps in it than when it was new, and got my fingers scanned about three times. 

and then, we went to the Mall of Asia and got about 3 hours to just wander around (it should have been 1. . but the APs were with us :) and they got permission to stay longer). We ate Subway and Coldstone, (also, I learned that after over a year of not being able to have real milk, my stomach doesn't like it as much as it used to. Little by little. But the Ice-cream was SOOO worth the small stomach ache.) and bought a shirt that said Manila on it. (touristy. I think yes) 
SUBWAY
Also. My Tagalog is awful and I'm sure I sound ridiculous to the Filipinos in Manila. All of us were like, 'Salamat guid. ah. gali. ummm. pala. Salamat po." (Salamat guid is Bisayan for Thanks very much. Gali is a word you say to express surprise, which is pala in Tagalog. And Salamat po is the polite way to say thank you in Tagalog.) Basically. . . . yeah, and then people see you're a missionary and they think you can speak their language, and I'm just like, "I'm Bisayan! Not Tagalog, Please just speak to me in English." 

But at least my Ilonggo is back. except I cannot stop saying Wara instead of Wala (no) and Huod istead of Huo (yes). I think it's stuck.  Also, in Filipino there tends to an emphasize sometimes. like. . in Ilonggo you might say Hou (yes), or, Hou Ey. The Ey is like adding a spoken exclamation mark you could say.  funny fact about  Capisnon, they love to say "Kag" (and) after sentences or statements instead of "Ey". It's very sassy. 

Moving on from my language facts. Got on a plane and came home. slept over in Iloilo, and was home by lunch Wednesday afternoon. I pretty much just crashed and slept for three hours before we went out to work. (I would have slept for the three hours going back to Roxas. . but moving vehicles and I don't get along for nap time . .)
I do in fact Love Roxas City
Anyway. So now I'm back in ROXAS. I love it here. I'm afraid I don't really have much to say. Worked Thursday, and then Friday we spent half the day searching for an apartment. (blech. it's harder to find a new apartment than it is to find a new investigator.) 

We teach a lot of RCs, and stuff. . . And we're trying to get a list of the less actives so we can go visit those priesthood holders. . . yeah. 
My last Filipino Caving Trip
We went Caving earlier today (which is why this letter is later than normal.) It was fun. :) I got to meet the Roxas zone and go climb around rocks... but it also means I'll be very tired later today. Worth it :)

That's it. The Church is True, 
And I love you!

Love, 
Sister Smith

16 March 2015

Letter 72: Well That Was Unexpected

Sa akon Pamilya kag mga Abyan, 

So we got a call from the AP on Wednesday Morning. And the Unexpected happened (I Thought it would happen NEXT transfer) Sister Crisanto, my beloved companion, is Training. 

And since there's a new bata in the house. . .I got kicked out. 
All Packed in San Jose
We could say that I might have stomped my feet (I mean this literally) because I was kinda (not really kinda. more like absolutely) on the upset side of the idea of leaving San Jose because I had already totally set my heart on finishing my mission there. . . by Wednesday night I accepted God's plan for me and was ready to face my LAST area (whoa. I now officially have 4 areas. I never thought that would happen) and mentally and spiritually prepared myself to make a name for myself and be a fireball missionary by working hard like it's my first area again!

So at transfers I saw my old housemate, Sister Scicluna, and we started talking and were like, "Hey, we should be housemates again."
My FAVORITE Sister Scicluna
AND IT HAPPENED. We've gone to Roxas City :D and instead of me being her STL, she's MY STL, isn't it fun how things change?:D  Also, we went shopping for food, and she had culture shock like I did when I left Guimaras. Seriously, that island makes you forget what it's like to have luxuries. You learn to live on the bare necessities. (insert Mogli and Baloo singing here)

I'm back to speaking Ilonggo. It was WAY easier to switch back to Ilonggo from Kiniray-a (which is technically a different language, despite the similarities) And Capisnon (the language here) is almost exactly Ilonggo. It's just . . like 10 words different, but they totally understand those 10 Ilonggo words. . so it's no big deal. 
My Killer ;)
My new Companion is Sister Robertson :) She's Sister Quent's Trainee, and my great granddaughter by adoption (Sister Taufanga adopted Sister Cortina, and then Sister Cortina adopted Sister Robertson when Sister Quent transferred to Guimaras to be my housemate) So I'll be killed by family. Kinda like how I killed my Lola, Sister Fabella. So. . .I'm happy :)

She's Samoan (wasn't I with an islander this time last year? Yea, I was) And absolutely LOVES to LAUGH, our fellow missionaries call her Jollibee (which is the Filipino Mcdonalds) and the Members call her Kamatis (that's filipino for tomato) because of the Haka. You know, the "Ka Mate Ka Mate" thing? It sound like Camote (which is the sweet potato here that is delicious) and for some reason the members decided they like calling Sister Robertson a type of veggie :/ basta they really like to joke. And so does she, I don't think I've stopped smiling since I got here. It's really funny because everyone told her she'd be going (because she's been here 4.5 months, and she just got a new companion (Her old Trainer, Sister Cortina)) But instead Sister Cortina went to Iloilo, and and Sister Robertson looked through her yearbook and thought, "Hey, maybe I'll kill Sister Smith." So yeah, she had some revelation that I would be coming here.

She's done great work here in Roxas 2nd Ward. The area book is a little crazy, this used to be an Elder's area less than a year ago, but then in July it was taken over by some sisters for three months, closed for only a transfer or two, and then reopened by Sister Robertson and Sister Lauti 4 months ago. Yeah, so it's all just a bit mixed up in everything. Have I ever mentioned that I really don't like the area books of Elders? No offense to those Elders reading this. . . but I do not like your rushed updating. But I shouldn't expect too much from people who get home at 9pm. (yay 8 pm curfew for Sisters!)

My new residence reminds me of my first apartment. Small, kinda dirty, and old :) I missed it. It really helps you appreciate the blessings you've got, and that it doesn't matter if you are living in a house with 6 rooms or 2, a toilet that flushes or doesn't (instead you pour water into the bowl to flush it. yeah, it's more fun in the Philippines) just be thankful you've got a roof over your head. 

So I unpacked. . but We're moving the first week of April because we NEED a new house. (orders of stake president. orders of zone leaders, orders of mission president. The sisters have lived there too long, so we have to go. If missionaries live in one place too long, people start to realize that there are valuables like emergency funds and cameras inside. . . so we've been broken into and have to go) So my housemates will be searching later today. So I'll pack again. . get to a new house. . and probably not bother unpacking a second time. :/ 

Anyway, so my head still kinda hurts from the three hours from Antique to Iloilo, Three hours from Iloilo to Roxas. . and surprise, I'm going BACK to Iloilo in 4 hours to sleep over in Arevalo, and then Fly to MANILA tomorrow to go put my finger on a scanner . . and I think maybe sign some papers so that I can leave this country legally. I should be back in Roxas. . Tomorrow night. I'm pretty sure. Maybe Wednesday morning. depends on the flight plans I know nothing about. 

Basically I'm in the New Area adjustment stage, not knowing any one's name, where anything is, and just. . going with the flow. Life is good and so am I. :)

The Church is True, 
And everything attached with it. (The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Plan of Salvation. The Whole Shebang. all of it )

I love you lots!

Love, 
Sister Smith

ps. My last week Monday in San Jose, these three wonderful boys opened their mission calls! They're going to Australia Sydney South, Philippines Botu-an, and Australia Melbourne. They leave in June and July. Just wanted to send them a shout out of "Good luck! Man-an ko nga Matuod guid ang simbahan, kag Pinaka astig ang missionary work!"
Future Elders

09 March 2015

Letter 71: The Start of a New Planner

Kanakon Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

Alrighty, where to start? I think I'll just right things down and see if anyone can make sense of what I'm trying to say.

So Monday. . .FHE! I love Family Home Evening, can I just say it is so much fun :)
MORE Family Home Evening!
Tuesday we had Zone Meeting. I learned my lesson. I wore a nice sweater/jacket to Zone Meeting to fight against getting sick from the Air Con :)
Zone Training! I learned my lesson and wore a JACKET
Sister Crisanto and I have been going on a search for the Less Active PRIESTHOOD in our area. We visit plenty of Relief Society women, but we received revelation that it's time to go find those men and try to help them come back.

There's a member family in our area that has a restaurant, and they sell ice cream. WELL, it's a small world, because they were talking about how they used to sell ice cream in Iloilo, Me: "Where in Iloilo?" Them: "oh, In Jaro" Me: "Where in Jaro?" Them: "Near CPU, next to BengBeng store." Me: "Are you Serious?! That was my FAVORITE, I wanted to cry when you closed!!!" So, small world. who would have thought that my favorite Ice cream place in my first area was actually owned by some members in my area in Antique?

Sister Fantone and Sister Fepuleai had a great baptismal service :) great spirit. And I absolutely love their RCs, they are the sweetest!
The "F Sisters" and their Beautiful RCs!
umm. oh yeah, we had an FHE last night with some of the Deaf Members in the Ward. It was SO MUCH FUN. Have I mentioned how much I absolutely love them? I think I'll just say it again :)
FHE with the Deaf
It was actually really funny, because Monica (she's kinda like their adopted Aunt. She's way awesome, If she finds out a deaf person has been rejected from their family, she takes them in, and shares the gospel with them. And then they all work together to save money to go to the temple as a group of 9 or so when they get enough money to go) told us to go over at Six, it was already getting dark, and we had a find a way to set up some lights, because the deaf can't communicate in the dark. The entire time Monica kept saying, "I told them to do this hours ago while it was light outside, but they Didn't!" it was funny, a good lesson of "Be Prepared" or "Do not Procrastinate (the day of your repentance)"

We cleaned our house this week (YAY for Celestially clean living space) and rearranged :) We sleep upstairs now, so that's different. Also, went through the clothes that previous Sisters have left behind, and I found the cutest skirt. I felt like a fairy. haha.
Sometimes. . .You Rearrange your house on a whim.
My New Fairy Skirt
Also, I started using my new planner, so to get over the sadness of it being the last. . .I made an Avatar the Last Airbender joke.
Zuko is in my Planner :)
So, We've been reading the Bible like we did last year, and we've been reading in Samuel the past week. The Story of David is so striking, isn't it? He's such an amazing kid, he kills a lion and bear to protect the sheep, becomes the king's armor bearer and . . .the person that sings and plays the harp to make the king not stressed out (is there a title for that?) then he slays Goliath like a boss, but doesn't take any credit and ALWAYS gives it to the Lord.
(See 1 Samuel 17:45-47 "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.")

He then doesn't consider himself worthy to become the king's son-in-law, has the BEST FRIENDSHIP WITH JONATHAN ever (Don't get me started about Jonathan, I absolutely love that man, he is so amazing.) pulls the Robin Hood thing and becomes an outlaw with Saul trying to kill him, but refuses to kill Saul himself. Eventually becomes King of Judah and then Israel

and then he goes walking out on his roof and see Bathsheba bathing. Now he could have walked away, it could have been nothing, but noooo he had to inquire, "Who is that?" It's kinda like walking off of the beach into the ocean, before you know it, his head is under water, and he's arranged for the death of Bathsheba's husband to cover his sin of adultery.

It's amazing how, much like Saul, David is the best of the best, but then Satan is finally able to get that flaxen cord around his neck, and then comes the strong chains.

It goes to show that no one is Perfect (except for our Savior Jesus Christ) and that if we aren't careful, and don't watch ourselves (see Mosiah 4:30) how we can fall into the temptations and tricks of Satan.

But, there is always those wonderful scriptures like Mosiah 26: 30 " Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. "
or Doctrine and Covenants 58:42 "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."

Isn't the Atonement of Jesus Christ an amazing thing? The Lord WILL forgive us for our trespasses and sins against Him, 100% Guarantee, Lifetime Warranty. That is definitely something I have learned here, how to repent, and how to use the Atonement to not only become forgiven or clean. . but to become better. To be as Christ would have me be. Christ's Grace is his Enabling Power of the Atonement, to become and to change, not just use the cleansing power. I studied about "Grace" a while back. It was way cool. Thanks for giving me the name Hannah, because it means "Grace" it's a good reminder to always be thankful for Grace from God. :)

I know Christ is our Savior, and that through Him we are saved :) He showed the way for us, and our job is to follow, and be as He is (see 3 Nephi 12:48 " Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. :)

I know the Church is true, and I'm ready for the best and greatest transfer ever. I love this work, I know it to be for the Salvation of Souls (my own included)

I love you. Yeah, A lot :) You're in my prayers.

Love,
Sister Smith

This Cute Kid turned Five :)

02 March 2015

Letter 70: It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Summer

Dearest Family and Friends, 

This week was a VERY fast week. So Tuesday morning we found out that our beloved couple missionaries would be going home that afternoon, instead of in September. They said a quick farewell, and then left for Iloilo. Definitely missing them, and not just because I have to do my laundry by hand again. I promise.
The Sessions
Laba Time
We proceeded to have our district meeting, and then the Air Con gave me a very bad cold. . . So I didn't leave the house Wednesday or Thursday.  .. . Because my fever lasted all day Wednesday (I prayed that the Elders would come home from Iloilo faster, which is probably why their Ceres bus drove so fast it made them feel sick. . . That's the power of prayer!) and so Thursday was recovering. 

Rachel told me in a letter I always sound so happy. . .but so sick in all my letters home. . .Probably because that's what I am. . .A Happy Missionary who always catches a Cold. Actually, a lot of people here get sick when the weather changes, and it has been HOT. Goodness, It's way hotter than it was last year! 

Then Saturday was the Adult Session of District Conference, which made the day go fast. And then District Conference was really good and I think it was what a lot of members needed to hear about not just Believing, but Living the Gospel. 

Funny Story. So the President of the Philippines is President Noynoy Aquino. The President of Philippines Iloilo Mission is President Jaime Aquino. We absolutely love telling people that President Aquino will be coming to San Jose to attend and talk in District Conference. "REALLY? President Aquino? He's a member?" "Yes. Of course." "I can't believe it." "It's true." *five minutes later.* "So I really get to see President Noynoy?" "Nooo...." and then they get really confused. I'm pretty sure it beat my favorite joke of "alright, now we'll sing hymn 342"

Despite not working a bit, we had good lessons and saw people keep commitments and progress. We're doing well :)

The church is true, 
Love you all, 
Sister Smith
Butong!!

Walking walking walking

23 February 2015

Letter 69: Duro Natabo

Dear Family and Friends, 

That means, "A lot happened." It's been a busy week.

Monday we go out to work and then get a call from AP South, "Where are you? We're here in San Jose and Sister Aquino is inviting you for dinner."  and we were in the middle of a lesson with Brother Hernie who was asking some of those deep doctrinal questions that RCs tend to have. So we had to finish our lesson, and get all the way to the plaza from our FARTHEST area. Dinner was great :) I love eating with President and Sister Aquino :)

Tuesday we had interviews with President, we pretty much sat at the chapel all day (which was actually fine with me because I woke up with a fever that morning.) the newer missionaries in the mission cooked lunch (yay free lunch!)

Then we spent more time at the chapel because Shek (pronounced Shake, btw) got baptized! There are NO kids jumpsuits in San Jose (because all the other branches have borrowed them and not bothered giving them back). So we had to have some creative pant and sleeve rolling, but it was ok :) She also gave her Testimony!!! I was so so impressed, because Shek really is a shy kid, but she got up and could say that she knows the Church is true and that Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson are prophets of God in front of everyone :)
Shek and Manang Itik
Got invited to Lunch at Kiko's house. So happy about that (not about the food) because it means his LA mom is REALLY starting to open up to us. :)

Saturday we cleaned the chapel, and decorated for the one week late Valentines party. Elder Magno and I folded SO many Paper Roses. 
E. Carnahan and E. Magno
oh yeah, Went on Splits with the Traveling Assistances on Saturday too. :) Elder Carnahan joined us and I learned a lot from him :) especially about teaching people, not lessons. 

The Relief Society is getting it together and went on a Visiting Teaching Bragade on Sunday! I went out with Sister Melly and Josephine. Melly is 73 and went out ANYWAY! She kept bearing her testimony about things not related to the topic. . . :) but that's ok :) She's so sweet. 
Visiting Teaching :)
Hopefully it will get to the point where we don't have to go out with them, and the sisters here can stand on their own :)

There's more news. . . but I'm too lazy to write it all down. 

Love you all, 
The Church is true


Love,
Sister Smith
Cool Kids at Church

16 February 2015

Letter 68: Happy Heart Heart!

That's what they say instead of saying "happy valentine's day!" Happy heart heart!

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan, 

How are you all? I'm doing good. I had a wonderful Single Awareness Day (actually, wasn't even that single, I had a companion the entire day :D )

At first, it felt like one of those weeks in which we were just punted all day all week, but then by the end Sister Crisanto and I added up the numbers and were surprised that we hadn't really been punted at all! It's wonderful how Heavenly Father will always 

Crisphine is doing well in Mandurriao. we met with her on Sunday, and she's already in 2 Nephi. she loves that when she reads at night it eases away her stress from OJT and helps her sleep to be ready for the next day. Her testimony truly inspires me. We've agreed to extend her baptism to March, so that we don't rush the service, or make everyone stress over having it all thrown together. 

Shek will be baptized on Tuesday. She's excited, but says she's too shy to give her testimony. Well, you can't force a kid :) 
Shek and her brothers
None of these cool kids could keep a strait face!
 Things are going well. An on and off active/ less active member gave us four referrals on Saturday. The one we met is very interested. sister Erena has a wonderful testimony of referrals, she herself was one :)

Scary story: Nearly got attacked by an angry, barking, crazy dog! But luckily there's this thing called a missionary tag that's like a shield and protects you from danger! (so don't y'all worry. My heart went missing for a while cuz it ran away, but I'm alive.)

Horror story: I got an Evil email today from the office. I'm going to Manila in March! (background: If you are a foreign missionary serving in the Philippines, you have to have an x-ray done in Manila before you go home. So. . . my beloved batch will be traveling soon!)

In honor of Valentine's day: a big Palangga ko kamo! (I love you all!) 
HAPPY HEART HEART DAY!
If anyone out there is having a hard time loving people. . .Go on a mission! You'll find Charity (the Pure Love of Christ) truly enter your heart <3

The Church is True, Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, 

All's well in San Jose, 
Sister Smith
SUNSET.

09 February 2015

Letter 67: Blank

Dearest Panimalay kag mga Abyan,

I'm afraid it's one of those days when I just don't know what to say. I'm doing what I'm always doing: Missionary work. 

We did some good work :) We've pretty much taught Crisphine all the lessons in the span of about ten days, and she passed her Pre Baptismal interview with flying colors (now just to schedule her real interview) now she's in Mandurriao (near the chapel there, actually. So if she needs some help, the Elders there could find her easily) and we won't see her till Sunday, and only on Sunday until the middle of March. So yeah, it's like a long distance relationship? 

Also from the Loscin house again is Steve. He's reading and likes the Book of Mormon, believes Joseph Smith is a true prophet. . he's just having a hard time givin' up that cigarette and cup of coffee in the morning. 

This week we had Sister Grace work with us! She's an awesome RM and she gave us some tips :) it was nice, especially in helping us understand a bit more about the culture here that is different from Iloilo.
Sister Grace
 So. . . yeah. That's life. I'm good. I'm getting really good at walking up and down hills. 

Story: So an RC from August, Robelyn,  was sick this week, and she was texting us and we went over and visited, and then we mentioned Priesthood blessings, and her response was. "Oh yeah, I forgot about those!. I was given one a few months ago, and they're SUPER effective!" Needless to say she requested one :) 

I think I'll just bare a quick testimony that Priesthood is such a great gift from our father in heaven, and that I'm so greatful for worthy priesthood holders who give blessings and bless the sacrament, and act in the name of Jesus Christ. I know that only this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the acting authority and power that comes from the Priesthood. 

yeah. that's it. 

I love you all, 
All's well here.
Sister Smith
Some Creative juices exploded on my wall
Selfie on the Baybay
Superhero masks can be made out of Sprite bottles.