30 March 2015

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

Dearest Family, 


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 

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) 
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!

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!

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.

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

Walking walking walking