Dear family,

This week went by really quickly! We had another week full of good things, and I have been growing more excited about the work here in Tuguegarao.

First, we went to Cauayan last Wednesday, to the mission home, for ‘new missionary training,’ aka, an excuse for the new missionaries to see their batchmates (that’s what they call people who come into the field at the same time) again after 3 weeks, so that was really fun. Cauayan is about 2.5 hours away, so we had a lot of driving time….we took a bus down there, then came back in a really overly crowded van. I’ll tell you more about what we did in Cauayan in a bit, but I just wanted to say before I forgot, that I finally was able to get all of your dearelders! I think I only get them at transfers, when somebody brings them all back from the mission home. So that’s why I haven’t been responding to those. haha I had like twenty dearelders, it was great. I also got a couple letters!! One from Sister Sarah Eden and one from two of my loovely lacrosse girls :) :)

I’m in the city, so…we don’t really walk through water. it doesn’t really flood here where we are. Our street floods some, but just enough that we can still walk around it in the mud. The other streets are cement or asphalt besides the little back and in-between streets. I bought rubber shoes here that I wear every day because we take our shoes off going into people’s houses and undoing straps on shoes every half hour got pretty annoying. I sometimes wear my other shoes on pday or if I know I won’t be taking my shoes off, but usually I just wear my rubber ones. Also, my black flats I took to the MTC got stolen by our lovely local neighborhood dogs and chewed up. They also stole one of my sandals and the back of that is all chewed up, too. I reeeealllyyyyyy……..pretty much hate those dogs. There are tons of them. everywhere. Snd at night, there are always like 30  of them barking, and that’s not an exaggeration, haha. So we keep our shoes inside now (we have a gate, but if it’s not locked (and we can’t keep it locked during the day because…we’re too short to open it from the outside. We tried that once when we were in a hurry and locked out. I had to reach up through the top of it and pull the handle…standing tippy-toe on the ledge, but when I unlocked it my weight pulled it open backwards and I was hanging from the gate from my arm until I could get pushed forward to get my arm out…haha it hurt. My arm was bruised for a week but it’s fine. kaya (that’s why/so), we don’t keep our gate locked besides at night.) The dogs will come in and steal our things.

Aight, so this week we had some great lessons with Jovic, Jane, Jamayla, and Jomel (the last three are siblings and jovic is their cousin). They are really fun to teach. lots of questions, lots of discussion, and…it’s just super great. They all kept their Book of Mormon reading commitment this week which was soooobrang masaya! super happy! We also had a great lesson with Gail and Angela, teenage children of LA members. It was the second or third time we taught, and by the end they started asking questions about what they needed to do to get baptized and it’s pretty great to extend a baptismal invitation by saying, ‘…gusto mo ba mabinyagan?” haha…”do you want to get baptized?” And they were like, opo! haha so that was really unexpected, but great. our other sister with a baptismal date…haha it’s tricky because she just gave birth this week, so….that’s all crazy.

Going to Cauayan was so fun. we had to get up at 4:30am, though, so we’d have time to shower and eat before we left. got on the bus around 6 with a bunch of the other missionaries in our zone, and drove. I got some pictures on the drive. it was really cool to see more of the Philippines. really beautiful, but different perspective now that I have lived here for almost a month. We got there pretty early for the meeting, so we walked over to Jollibee to eat something (Jollibee is like…THE food chain restaurant in the Philippines. Macdo is all over the world, and that’s really popular, but Jollibee is just in the Philippines I think. It’s just funny because no matter what fast food place you go to, they have spaghetti, fried chicken, and rice, and then whatever the food place’s ‘specialty’ is. so even at Macdo you can get fried chicken, spaghetti and rice. That’s just the typical thing.) we had a meeting, and then had lunch with all the missionaries. So fun to see my whole MTC district, and great to know they are all doing well and have had their own funny experiences.

This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and studying during personal study about missionary work and what I can do as a missionary to be more effective. I have been learning SO MUCH, and that is what has been super motivating this week. I have been having a lot of ideas of how we can work with the ward better and more effectively. I love thinking about the way things are at home, because I learned so much from going on splits with the awesome sisters at home and learned a lot from them about working with church leadership. And I’m learning more and more like President Hollingshead said at mission prep — “The key is working with the members.” I also read a great talk, “We Are One” by president Eyring today from the last Priesthood session about missionary work, and I’m realizing more how important unity between leadership, members, and missionaries is. I’ve also been really, really wanting to start working more with the youth, because I feel like the Youth are the biggest link for especially the less active families. If we can get the youth to bring back the less active youth, then you have a link to bring back entire less active families. I really believe in the power of the youth, and I hope they never underestimate what they can do RIGHT NOW. It really just takes being a friend. The unity in missionary work comes from love of God and love for the people around us–in this way we will really want them to have the gospel because we know it will make them happier. And people are sooo much more likely to listen to the missionaries when someone they already love and trust is saying, ‘I want you to have this in your life because it will make you happier/help you with your specific trial/etc.” Iinstead of us just saying “ang buhay ninyo magiging mas masaya at malakas” to everyone we talk to. Be neighborly–get to know your neighbors and be their friends. Know your family and love them. The more you love people, the more you’ll want them to have the gospel. And theeen have the missionaries help with the rest. Missionaries are much more effective as helpers to the ward than the other way around, with the ward helping the missionaries. we only have so much time in a day, and we don’t know the area very well or the people, we don’t know who’s ready, and sometimes they can’t even speak the language very well (like me). as members, you each have your own lives and it’s busy and crazy..but you have so much more influence on the lives around you than you realize. Don’t be afraid to talk about the gospel. People need this. The missionaries want to help you, but until you start doing something, they are trying to do it all by themselves…and that is when a missionary’s life starts seeming overwhelming. there’s just no way the two missionaries we have in our area at home can find and teach every LA family in the three stakes they cover. teach, maybe, but not if they have to track them down on their own. Three stakes is a looot of people, plus investigators. and the ward here, there is simply no way Sister Barril and I can cover Caggay, Balzain, Centro, and Tanza on our own. We’re two people. A ward is much more than us. That’s why as helpers we are more effective, because the work is brought to us, and we don’t have to waste time figuring out where we should go or what to do, and we don’t have to go home at 8:20 because we don’t have a set appointment (that’s the rule here, if you don’t have an appointment set already you can’t just go around knocking that late).

So we have a lot of work to do here to try and become the helpers and get everyone unified, but I know for sure that once that happens, the work will truly hasten and miracles will happen here. Pres. Eyring tells a story in his talk about a stake he helped build up while he was in college, which stake he later visited and the stake president showed him a place and said, “Isn’t that a great place for a temple?” and now there is a temple there. I have no doubt that if the work got really hastening here in the Philippines, more temples would start being built, and they wouldn’t have to travel so far to get to Manila, and maybe they could have the same privilege I had of going every week.

Missionary work is really exciting, and it’s bigger than any of us truly knows. I’m just glad and grateful to be a part of it.

Love you all!

Sister Carr

 
PS I have a lot of pictures to send but the computer is being stupid….so I might just send them next week. sorry :(
PPS nakakapagpabagabag is a real word….it means something like….”that makes me feel guilty/gross/bleh” or something like that, haha. it’s a mouthful.

 

(Excerpts from second letter to me, Amber’s Mom)
My trainer thinks I will become a trainer after only 6 weeks. we are getting a huge load of new missionaries with a lot of new sisters, and they just don’t have enough other sisters to cover it all….it’s not a for sure thing, just something she keeps saying she feels like will happen. Which apparently, she’s been right about other things like that very often in the past. that’s kind of scary and intimidating to me, because it would mean my trainer would be transferred (probably) somewhere else, and I would get someone fresh from the mtc (probably a filipina). I wouldn’t have any problems with that except for that I can’t communicate very well with anyone. I feel like all the relationships we’ve built in the ward are mostly through sis Barril because she’s the one who can talk to everyone. I just kind of stand. especially with members, she doesn’t translate as often when we aren’t in lessons, so even though I might know things about investigators, the members I don’t know very much about. but I know that whatever the Lord calls me to do here I will be able to do….it’s just a big responsibility.

And yes,  I ate the eyes on the fish, haha. and to everyone who asked, banana ketchup looks exactly like regular ketchup and the only difference is it tastes sweeter. but it’s really good.

Mosquitoes, it depends on the area. If we go to Balzain they are usually worse. But we’re in the city so mosquitoes aren’t a huge problem for us. I hear it’s a lot worse in the Bukid areas. (rice fields.) I still usually wear repellant, unless I forget.

laundry is handwash, but we got permission to pay other people to do our laundry, so we just wash our garments and we pay our neighbor to wash the rest of our clothes. it works out nicely for us, haha.

Things are good here, though. I still can’t really wrap my brain around the general living conditions here….our house is probably….at least fifteen times bigger than most people’s homes…plus air conditioner/heating, plus not so many bugs, plus a lot cleaner…plus no lizards on the walls. I almost feel guilty a lot of the times going into people’s houses that are so small knowing our house is so big and comfortable.

Yeah, I got attacked by the goose outside, haha. We teach a lot outside, in front of people’s houses. Also I had to get a dead lizard out of the sink this week. We saw it in there at night and it was still there in the morning….bleh. It died in our sink. yaay. so I had to flick it into a cup and throw it outside. I don’t really want to do that again, haha.

Hoy!

Dear family,

 
This week has been crazy. We worked really hard and saw a lot of miracles because of it. The first thing I came to know this week is the power of goal-setting. PMG (Preach My Gospel) says that goal setting is an act of faith. We do our regular goals every week, and we’ve been seeing a lot of blessings from setting goals first and then planning. We met almost all our goals this week, including referrals, church attendance, and baptismal dates! also, I made a language study plan and started setting goals and have felt a lot more help from the Lord with the language as I’ve started to work harder on it. 

 

 
We met a lot of new people this week, and had a lot of great lessons. we even had 6 investigators attend church! which was seriously a miracle. Getting people to go to church here is really hard sometimes. Okay, so some miracles from this week.

 

-We have 2 sisters with a baptismal date! Crazy miracle, because we went looking for a former investigator we just picked from the stack, and accidentally found them instead of the people we were looking for because they have the same last name. but we’re hoping they will be prepared to be baptized in September.

 

-Jovic came to church, so hopefully he follows through on his other commitments and maybe will have a baptismal date this week! we were really excited to see him at church yesterday because he kept promising us all week he would go.

 

-We found several new families that we were able to have really good lessons with, where they were attentive and had questions. it’s so great when they ask questions because you know they’re listening and seeking understanding instead of just listening politely.

 

-We texted a sister to followup on an OYM (Open your mouth) we did, to see if we could come teach her. she said sige(OK), 1pm. so we went to her tindahan to teach her (her little store…like…everyone has them here, I’m pretty sure. every other house has one and they all sell the exact same things, so I’m not really sure how that all works out, haha.) and as we started talking to her, she told us how when we texted she was going to reject us at first, but then she said she felt in her heart she needed to listen to us. so we were able to teach her and she was really receptive, especially because she had already recognized the Holy Ghost in her heart.

 

 
I’m sure there are more, but it’s hard to remember all of what happened last week.
 
I have been learning so much this week about the gospel, and about the Lord’s ultimate vision for missionary work and for His children. Can you imagine what the world would be like if every home was built on the foundation of Christ and His gospel? it’s a pretty awe-inspiring thing to imagine when you consider the huge difference in feeling in a home that is established on Christ and one that isn’t. That is what God wants for all of His children.

 

 
Connected to that, is how important missionary work is. and this isn’t just for me. This is for everyone. Heavenly Father is placing a looot more responsibility on the members to do the finding in missionary work. We OYM/tract a lot now, but the sister training leaders told us this week that soon we will no longer be allowed to OYM, and we can only teach from referrals. I think that will be hard at first, but if the members step up, the difference will be HUGE. At district meeting last week, they gave us these statistics for our area: the odds someone will be baptized from an OYM are 1:269. 1 person baptized for every 269 people we talk to. Ghe odds someone will be baptized from a referral are 1:8. 1 out of every 8 referrals. If we only focused on referrals, we would have about 33 times MORE BAPTISMS than we currently have. Member work is so important. Help the less actives. Get to know your neighbors and your friends and just work to help them. The gospel is the most beautiful thing in existence, and we have it in our lives. We need to share it. All it takes really is either giving a referral of someone you love to the missionaries, or for a while even just not being afraid to bring up the things you’ve been learning spiritually in conversation. Yeah, it’s harder to be like, let me tell you about my church. but it’s easy when someone says, how was your weekend? Oh great, I did this and that, and I went to church and learned____. or great, I learned _____-. Tell people about the miracles in your lives through the gospel and people will want it in their lives. 

 

 
People just need to understand WHY the gospel is IMPORTANT.
 
Because if they really did, they would never fall away.
 
Never. ever. 
 
One more thing I learned is about the importance of the Book of Mormon.
We read in 2 Nephi 9 a powerful message about what our fate would be had the Savior not completed the Atonement. 
“Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement–save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

 

 
O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

 

 
And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

 

 
O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death o the body, and also the death of the spirit.”

 

 
That is what every person’s existence would be without the Savior. Then I connected this to Helaman 3:29-30:
“Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a straight and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked–

 

 
And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.”

 

 
It’s the word of God, or the scriptures–especially the Book of Mormon–that will protect us from evil in this life, and also lead us across the ‘everlasting gulf of misery’ which is what 2 Nephi 9 was talking about. the scriptures testify of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Through the scriptures, we can always continue to build and center our lives on Him, and stay on the straight and narrow path. the scriptures are so important. that is why the Lord commands us to study them, individually and as a family. He knows we will be stronger.

 

 
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
love,
Sister Carr
 
ps I ate a fish head this week. see pictures. haha it was pretty good. that fish was sooo good, though!ImageImage

 

Week 2!

Well, I feel like I’ve been here for months already. Haha I’m not really even sure where to start, so I guess we’ll see how this goes.

To answer your questions–
Emails are a great way to communicate because we don’t really have a time limit like I did in the MTC. But Dear Elders would be really nice to get, too :) we get dear Elders and any mail once a week, on Tuesdays (so that means the ones I get tomorrow will be the ones you sent last week) at District meeting. so…both is great, haha :) the mission office is 2-3 hours away from Tuguegarao. Tuguegarao is one of the northern areas in the mission. Yes, everyone just calls each other Brother/Elder/Sister. Except with a Filipino accent, haha. Trycies—pronounce it just how it looks. tricycle, except the shortened version. Trycies never drive more than 40mph and probably average like 20 in general. But the pace of life here is way slower so I never really notice that we’re going so slow. Tuguegarao–tug-ee-guh-r-ow (ow as in…ow, that hurts.) (and the r isn’t an english r, it’s more like spanish.) And yeah, the trycies all have different pictures or logos on them. Lots of them have like…either a religious one, or I see a lot of adidas (the adidas originals symbol) and sometimes Nike… With the temperature, I haven’t noticed a whole lot, besides that my hair feels great. It doesn’t feel ‘hotter’ here, I just sweat a lot easier. I’m always sweating like I just finished a cross country race in August. but the heat itself I don’t usually notice. apparently it gets hotter here in the summer–which is April-May here.  I haven’t had any issues with food here at all. I know some from my district have been, though.
Last Pday we emailed and then went to the palengke, which is the market. after Pday ended, we went to two FHE’s with some members and the stake president, and those were both really fun. and we had two dinners. Here, people always tell me to just keep eating and I’m always so full.
Tuesday…Tuesday we had a miracle! :) pretty much the highlight of my week. all of our plans for the day fell through, so we were trying to decide what to do. we split up and prayed personally, and I kept thinking we should go to Tanza. So I told Sis Barril we should go to Tanza, and she said, okay, let’s go visit this less active family who lives there and then we’ll OYM (Open Your Mouth – street contacting) there. we show up to their house, and they’re standing outside talking to each other, plus their cousin who lives a few houses over. we asked if we could teach (the Elders before us had been teaching that family) and they said yes so we all went inside, and they push their cousin in, too. We start teaching lesson one to Janet (Less Active), her daughter,  Jane (nonmember) and their cousin Jovic (nonmember). Jovic is 19. The whole time he was super attentive and asked a ton of questions about the Godhead, Jehovah….lots of things. When we would answer him, he seemed to think that everything was starting to make sense to him. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to pray about Joseph Smith. But the lesson was GREAT. For me, I really liked teaching him because most of the time in lessons, I feel like the things I say don’t matter because they’re so broken and most people can’t understand my Tagalog when I do speak it, anyway. Which is frustrating, because whenever they are expressing thoughts or asking questions, they are looking at Sis Barril because they know she understands them. Besides the language barrier, it makes it harder for me to figure out what they’re feeling because they’re never looking at me. As well as Filipinos don’t express emotions on their face nearly as clearly as Americans do. Their expressions and body language are totally different, so I have a hard time reading them to begin with. Sis Barril will say after a lesson, wow, they seem really receptive! And I had no idea if they were receptive or bored or what. But Jovic is just very engaged in the lesson and I just understand a lot more of what he says and how he feels. And I’ve never had a better lesson with my tagalog than that lesson. He is really busy, though, and he wasn’t there on Saturday when we showed up to teach, and I was kind of bummed out. Well, on Sunday the families we planned to visit both weren’t home (scheduling appointments and following through is a struggle here) so we went over to visit a nonmember+LA(Less Active)  that lives kind of next-to-slash-under the Calluengs, the LA family we taught with Jovic. She wasn’t there either, so we asked where Jovic lived, and we found him, and we had a lesson. He hadn’t read the Book of Mormon yet, but he said he prayed about Joseph Smith and still didn’t know for sure, and wanted to learn more about him. We asked him what he felt during the last lesson, and he said something like..(I don’t know the words he used,) a lot of good feelings in his heart, and happy. We told him that was the Holy Ghost. Then we watched the Restoration DVD in Tagalog. After we asked what he felt when he watched it, and he definitely felt the Spirit. We invited him again to read the Book of Mormon, and to come to church next week and he said he will, so hopefully that happens. He seems to be really receptive and willing to learn. Sister Barril said that he is concerned about the welfare of his soul, so I think during the Restoration video he was able to kind of connect to Joseph Smith’s situation. so it’s just great :)
We had some other good lessons, some with a family who lives by us. they have the cuuutest little twin boys who are probably no older than 1. I can communicate better with them than everybody else here, I feel like, haha. the mom is a returned missionary, and I think her oldest son is baptized (he’s like sam’s age – 11), but her husband isn’t a member. She really wants her family to be sealed in the temple, so we’ve started teaching her husband. I really hope he joins the church, because I can definitely see him as a future priesthood holder and I want their family to be able to be sealed.
It’s hard to keep track of people here. Our plans fall through almost every day because people tell you what day they are ‘available’ or what time for the next lesson, and it almost never works out. It’s kind of frustrating for me because I want to be able to teach people, but they either are never home or they come up with tons of excuses to avoid you.
So, other differences I’ve noticed here–
–There are lizards in everyone’s houses. little lizards, like no longer than 3 inches, but still, they just crawl around on the walls. this week I saw the first one in our apartment. I’ve seen a couple more since then.
–All the food here is sweet. I think part of the reason I like eating peanut butter so much is that it tastes salty, which is an aftertaste that is almost impossible to find here….opposite of America, haha. even if things start out tasting savory(salty) or spicy, it is always, always a sweet aftertaste. We went to Macdo’s  the other day (McDonald’s…but everyone calls it Macdo (mac-doh) here.) and I got fries and they were sooo great. But you can also buy rice and chicken and spaghetti at the Macdo’s here and their hamburgers are super weird from what I saw.
Oh, also, supposedly there was a level 4 typhoon that was supposed to come in at 5am today, and now it’s 2:15pm and we’ve just had regular rain…I don’t know how it’s been in the rest of the mission, but it reminds me of that blizzard warning we had a couple years ago, haha.
I love you all! Always remember how important the gospel is.
Love,
Sister Carr
PS this was my lunch today. mm. masarap. (delicious) :)DSCN0290

First week sa Pilipinas!

Hello family!

It’s pretty great here–we don’t really have a time limit on email, which is perfect for today because there is so much I have been wanting to say.

Traveling to the Philippines took FOREVER. The flight to Japan…I felt like we were on the plane sooo long. and it was worse, because we chased the sun, so I didn’t experience night until wednesday(well, whatever night it was) night in the Philippines. It felt like 2pm all day. We finally got to Manila and we were so happy to be off the plane! However, we got there at like 10pm and didn’t get to the hotel until parang (like) 1am. It took a really long time to get through customs and then a really long time to get taken to the hotel in a  van. we got to the hotel and they assigned out room keys and we weren’t with our usual companions, so I roomed with Sister Nosler. The hotel was SUPER nice. we hurried and went to bed. But my alarm didn’t actually get set, so we woke up right when we were supposed to be leaving. so we hurried and got our stuff together and got in the van to go to the next airport. We waited around in the airport for a few hours, and the flight to cauayan was really short. We were picked up by the mission president. Flying into cauayan…it was soooo beautiful. Rice fields everywhere, so green. The airport in cauayan is teeeeny. our plane was the only one–the actual ‘airport’ was smaller than the bountiful bowling alley.

The mission home is really nice. We had lunch there and kind of had some orientation, then went to a meeting where we were assigned to our new companions. My companion is Sister Barril, from Laguna Philippines. She is great! She is really good at english (I think she’s been learning it since kindergarten) so that’s helpful when I need to know what Tagalog words mean.

I am assigned in Tuguegarao, the biggest city in the mission, which is also the hottest place in the Philippines, haha. We also live in the nicest apartment in the mission [hot shower]…[except not quite like you're thinking. just assume everything I say is nothing like how it is in the states]. I’ve been told many times to enjoy it while it lasts, haha. All the floors here are either cement or tile. nobody has carpet. The chapel in San Gabriel (which is beautiful) has carpet in the chapel and relief society room, and when we saw it, Sister Ramos (our sister training leader) got really excited because it’s so rare to see carpet here. people’s homes here are like you’d never, ever expect. I wish I could take pictures with my mind and show you but I can’t, because it is crazy. I live in a city, and the homes are all really small, and usually have cement walls and tin roofs. they’re kind of all crammed together, and usually hidden back behind a row of…’stores’. because behind that row of stores is dirt pathways and lots of trees and just…cement bahays. usually one or two rooms big, maybe with a couple curtain dividers.

the ‘city’ is nothing like an American city. there is one traffic light in the Cauayan mission. there are asphalt roads, and lots of them have lines on them, but the lines aren’t strictly mandatory like the states. the lines are more like guidelines. especially when you get into the city city, traffic is just finding a gap to go through  to get where you’re going. Traffic is mostly trycies and motorcycles, and some cars. Trycies drive really close to each other and just fit themselves through weird gaps. there’s no such thing as right of way and no such thing as jaywalking. you just walk through traffic because you’re part of the traffic. you’d think there’d be tons of accidents all the time, but I think it works just because it’s assertive driving and not selfish driving. it’s chaotic, though. then when you get into a palengke (market) area, there are a tooon of pedestrians. we ride the trycies everywhere.

most of my mission is rice fields, but I’m in pretty much the only city area, haha.

the people here are sooo great! so kind and especially this ward, they are so willing to help with missionary work. the leadership in the ward is a lot like it is in the centerville south stake, how motivated they are about missionary work and how much they want to work with the missionaries and get us referrals. it’s awesome. we also have dinner appointments eeeevery night! so we never have to cook dinner, which is great :)

Sister Barril and I are the first sisters in this area since 1998. It’s just been elders since then. Also, the ward got split into two areas, so Sister Ramos and Sister Wilkins, the sister training leaders, are the missionaries in the other half of the ward. The stake I am serving in is supposed to be used as the ‘model stake’ for the Philippines for missionary work, so I am in a great area with a lot of great people.

I’ve met many wonderful people here already. It’s frustrating not to be able to participate more in lessons and conversations because I really want to. People are always trying to be courteous and tell me just to speak english because they can see I struggle with tagalog, but that gets really frustrating as well. I know they can understand some of what I say in english, but I know many of them don’t quite understand it as clearly. and many times people don’t really understand my tagalog, either, so, it’s just kind of frustrating. but according to several people, I’m pretty advanced for the first few days in the field, so it should come with time and I’m just trying to be patient with it.

There is this nanay in this family who lives near us, members who we have dinner with sometimes, and she is soooo cute and so funny! she’s 75, and she is really thin and wrinkly and has no teeth. so cute, and has kind of a sassy attitude, haha. their family is great. the little boys are a little younger than tom and sam and they watch this weird filipino cartoon that looks similar to pokemon, but it’s in tagalog, haha.

We had a lot of OYM’s(open your mouth…basically tracting) this week, and so we’ll be following up with some people this week. We taught four lessons. The family who lives across from us are really nice. We met two of them waiting for a trycie one day and then we taught them the first lesson yesterday. they seem really interested and receptive and the lesson went well, even though I couldn’t say much. We are excited to go back. We taught three other lessons, and it’s hard for me because Sister Barril will let me talk but two things are hard about that—I can’t understand always a ton of what she says, so I’m never sure where to begin, and then I don’t know how to say it either. Mostly I just try to smile a lot at people because I can’t really do anything else.

other random things from this week–
–the toilet in our apartment doesn’t flush, we just keep a bucket of water by it and you dump water into it to flush it.
–they have hot dogs here but they are nothing like american hotdogs. they look less like real food than american ones but taste more like real food, haha. I like them better. my kasama looooves them.
–banana ketchup. soooo good, haha. (btw, banana ketchup still looks like regular ketchup.)
–milk here is gross.
–I haaate the dogs here! we were trying to go to one family’s house the other day and got swarmed by like fifteen dogs that came out of nowhere. they are mean and we don’t like them, haha.
–this city is really confusing and we would get so lost walking around.
–people don’t knock here. everyone’s windows and doors are open, but they have gates and fences around their houses. so you just stand outside the gate and shout ‘tao po!” and people will come out.

This first week has been hard, but I am really happy to be here and am excited to continue working. The gospel is real and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to teach people about it.

I love you all!!

Love always,

Sister Carr

 

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Flying into Cauayan

 

 

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First Apartment in Tuguegarao

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Kitchen in Tuguegarao Apt.

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City street in Tuguegarao

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Trycie – Amber’s most used transportation

Sister Carr’s Arrival

Amber made it!!! I received a phone call about 8pm on Wednesday, July 31 from Sister Rahlf. (Wife of Amber’s Mission President)  Amber arrived as expected in Cauayan on Tuesday.  They sent me this email, but Amber gave them the wrong email address so it bounced back.  Sister Rahlf called to let me know that everything was ok and to get the correct email.  I was very relieved because I knew it had been more than a day since she should have gotten there.   Anyway it was fun to talk to Sister Rahlf and know her a little bit!  Thank you Sister Rahlf for calling.  It was so wonderful to get news.

Amber’s Mom

This Letter was received on July 31, 2013

Dear Carr Family,

This morning we welcomed Sister Carr with open arms and grateful hearts to the beautiful Philippines Cauayan Mission.  We wanted to let you know as soon as possible that she is safely here and already busy in the mission office and home preparing to enter the field with her new companion.  We will send you additional information about her first area and companion quickly and you can expect your first email from her on Monday (or your Sunday, depending on time zone). 

We hope your day is a wonderful one.  Ours has been.

Love,

President and Sister Rahlf

 

“It’s a great day to be a missionary!”

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Reap while the day lasts!

pamilya ko!
I can’t believe I’m flying out to the Philippines in just two days! Today is super stressful trying to get everything packed and such. I have a bunch of stuff set aside that I’ll be sending home today. I’ll definitely be able to make the weight requirements for my luggage, even with my books.
Thanks for all the DearElders, I really enjoy reading those! Daniel says you are keeping a list of Tagalog words? haha, that’s great. It’ll probably get pretty long. and then it will be funny when I come back to see what you’re actually saying right ;)
Yesterday was in-field Orientation. It lasted from 8am-5:30pm. It was super long, but really informative and helpful, I think. We did a bunch of different things.  We learned about goal setting and planning. We also talked a lot about working with members and finding people. Most of all, I just learned over and over that with a good attitude and complete dedication in your heart and mind, any missionary can accomplish soooo much in the mission field.
It’s to the point where people are starting to get nervous. Sometimes really nervous. We’re all keenly aware that we don’t know very much Tagalog. Yes, we’ve learned a TON in six weeks, but it’s still really hard to start a conversation let alone maintain one, and we’re not going to be able to understand very much anyone says because when our teachers speak at regular filipino speed, I can only catch words here and there. Generally I can understand a lot more in a gospel context, because that’s what most of my vocabulary is. So I don’t really know how life in the Philippines is going to play out, but the Lord promises us that “the Lord knoweth all things of which ye stand in need of” and that we should “take no thought” for our food, our clothing, etc, because if we are in the service of the Lord, even if it is by a miracle every day, we will be taken care of.
Mostly, we just have to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ to motivate us to open our mouths and try our best from the very start.
And the very start happens the moment we step out of the MTC and head to the airport.
I saw my friend Kyle Lemperle in the bookstore last week (he went to Portugal and teaches Portuguese here now) and he said that it takes a lot of mistakes to learn a language, so the faster and sooner you make them, the faster you will learn the language. That advice has been really good for me to rememeber, and I think it’ll really help me in the field. In order to learn the language, I have to make the mistakes sometime…so it’s either as soon as possible by just opening my mouth when I know nothing, or dragging out the process and taking a lot longer to learn it.
Most of all, I am so excited to go to the Philippines! I already feel so much love for the people. Some days I feel like I just love every single human soul on earth and just want to talk to everyone and share the beautiful message of the gospel with everyone I know and everyone I meet. I’ve been noticing that that is what happens when you let the Savior change your heart. You just love people. You just WANT to love people. You just want everyone to be happy and have the joy that you have. I can’t wait to go tell everyone in the Philippines, “Mahal po kayo ng Diyos!” God loves you! Because that’s one phrase I know I will never forget.
I still can’t believe that this is my life. Reality since last October has never been the same. And there is an urgency in the church and in the gospel like I’ve never felt before–can you feel it, too? it’s almost tangible. I learned that when a wheat field is “white,” it is at the point where it needs to be harvested quickly, or it’ll go bad and die. the field is white, and needs to be harvested NOW. It is such an honor and a privilege to be a part of the missionary force at this time.
I love learning about how our mission calls were foreordained from before the foundations of the world. It’s so true. But I never could’ve anticipated it. I never expected to go to the Philippines, to one day be fluent in Tagalog, to meet these people I”ll meet, and that I have met in the MTC. The Lord has directed my life in so many miraculous and wondrous ways. when I was in Jr. High and even High school, and I thought of where I’d be in five years, everything I am already is far from who I thought I would be, and it is immensely better than I ever imagined. I got to coach an amazing group of girls in lacrosse, of all things. I am in the MTC. I am going to the Philippines. Life is such a crazy adventure, and yet none of it was my plan at all, and that is why it is so much better.
I know Heavenly Father has a plan for each of our lives. If you let Him stand at the helm, you will find miracles and miracles and miracles come into your life.
I love the gospel and I love the Savior. I pray for you all every day. I hope all of you can strive to come closer to the Savior every day. It will change your life, even…or especially, when you don’t think there’s much change that needs to happen.
Love,
Sister Carr
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I had the best teachers ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. In case you were wondering.
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 Sister Hafen’s drawing of our district (I love my district!)