Fliiiight Plaaaanssss!

DSCN0189                   I GOT FLIGHT PLANS!
Yesterday. It was almost as exciting as the actual mission call for everyone just because this, like the mission call, makes the whole situation real. A lot of us feel that at the end of 6 weeks the MTC people will just be like, okay, thanks for coming to the MTC, have a great life! and send us home, like some giant EFY. But nope. We have flight plans. I’ll send you the specifics in a separate email, but essentially, we will be flying from SLC to Portland, and from Portland to Tokyo, and from Tokyo to Manila! I don’t know yet our travel plans from Manila to Cauayan, but we will be arriving at 10pm in Manila, so I’m assuming we’ll be staying somewhere that night and flying to Cauayan the next day. I’m really excited!
This week we had some good lessons, and Tagalog is coming along, although I did get kind of overwhelmed this week because you start realizing how much you don’t know and that soon we’ll be in the Philippines where people are talking a lot faster and not intentionally using vocabulary you know or using
Taglish words like mag-switch. we had an English fast on Thursday, so English was bawal (forbidden) all day. It was hard, but I knew more than I thought I did. I do have a hard time SYLing when it’s not an English fast day just because I hate not being able to express myself. With my limited vocabulary in Tagalog I have to find roundabout ways to explain things and when the English-Tagalog translation is already weird, it just doesn’t always get the point across very well.
That’s the other thing I’m noticing, is that I think part of becoming fluent will be coming to understand how they express the same emotions that I have in a different way than I would. Sometimes they have words that don’t translate over to English, or sometimes they have one word with multiple English translations. But I know that they are still people and still feel human emotions and spiritual feelings, they must just express them in a different way and I don’t really know how that is yet. Once I get over there I think it will be really difficult, but really nice to be able to start understanding the way that THEY use Tagalog as native speakers, instead of all of us trying to communicate with each other with English sentences translated to Tagalog…trying to put English connotations with Tagalog words that have different connotations…it’ll be interesting.
I’ve been studying the Atonement a lot this week because Sister Maddock and I are teaching a lesson on Sunday about it to our district (in English. but we still have to all write talks for sacrament in Tagalog. Did I mention that we do our sacrament meetings in Tagalog? I probably didn’t, because by the time I get to Saturday I forget all the things that happened on Sunday because it feels like 3 weeks ago. Our branch presidency all know some Tagalog, but they’re not fluent, so they use Taglish. but the hymns are Ttagalog, the sacrament prayers are Tagalog (aka they are really looong compared to English) and the talks are supposed to be Tagalog but are usually Taglish. still, it’s interesting.) On Sundays we have breakfast earlier than normal and then we study while the elders are in priesthood meeting, then the sisters go to music and the spoken word broadcast in 19M and then to relief society. after lunch we have sacrament with our little branch. I think the sacrament prayers take longer than it does to actually pass the sacrament, haha, but I like the Tagalog meetings. Then we go back to our class and as a district have a lesson, which is what we’re teaching this Sunday. and then we do a temple walk/take pictures with departing districts (every 2 weeks), and then we go to dinner. after dinner, we study and then go to the Sunday devotional. then we go to another room and watch a recording of another devotional or like the Testaments movie or the Joseph Smith movie or something. Anyways, I’ve been learning a lot about the Atonement, and I’ve been focusing my study on how we can gain strength through the Atonement during times when we want to quit. So far, at the MTC, I’ve been really emotionally stable and I haven’t felt overwhelmed or overly stressed. Lots of people have. But I know that even though I don’t feel like it’s super hard right now, that I have a loooot of what will probably be some of the hardest times of my life ahead of me in the Philippines. But I know that with the Atonement, we can push through any trial or difficulty that comes our way. Sometimes we try to use alternatives to get us out of those hard times. But really truly, the only way to REALLY overcome trials is through the Atonement. That might mean spending a lot of time on your knees, but that time will strengthen your relationship with Christ and carry you through. And I KNOW that that is true. I remembered a quote I love by Joseph Smith: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause?” and I love that. and it’s so true. This cause is great. It is the greatest cause in existence. we are all a part of it. Shall we not go on?  Other people don’t have the Atonement to carry them through trials. They need it. They need it badly. Just as much as we do.
That’s awesome that Amanda got to go on splits!I learned soooo much by going to one of those stake meetings on splits and those meetings are CRUCIAL to missionaries. Those meetings can be full of revelation about the people in the ward or stake that need the missionaries and helps the members and the missionaries work together and accomplish a lot of good. Not a lot of people have the chance to go to those meetings before they are the actual missionary, but I was able to learn so much about missionary work by going to one of those. every work she will do on splits will prepare her for something in her life, even if that means she went finding for several hours and nobody let them share a message. it all matters. God wouldn’t waste His own time. and if you’re not wasting yours, He won’t let you waste it.
Haha, something funny that happened this week was when we were having district prayer at the end of the day. one of the sisters was praying, and said, “paki-basbasan po ninyo kami ng kapayapaan at kasalanan” and we all just cracked up because she just blessed us with peace and sin. aaah man, so many great misinterpretations here at the MTC, haha. there are so many stories like that that happen every day, but that one really made me laugh. We all just laugh with each other over mistakes because we all make so many of them. if we didn’t laugh about them, we’d be really discouraged, I think.
Thanks for all your love and prayers.
alam ko po na totoo ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo. Alam ko po no kailangan po namin ang Pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa Pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. alam ko po na mahal po tayo ng Diyos.
mahal kita!
ingat po,
Sister Carr

may sakit po ako

This week was really kind of strange. Mostly because I’ve been sick for the last two days. Today I feel a lot better than the past two days, though.  I asked a couple elders in my district for a blessing, which I think helped a lot. I think it’s really cool how the Lord trusts these 18 year old elders with His Priesthood authority and that they are worthy to hold it. The Lord has always blessed me with the Priesthood easily accessible in my life, even when I was at school. I am really grateful for that this week.

Last week we did our first TRC, which is basically just sharing a message with someone who speaks Tagalog. It’s pretty fun! We just get to know the person and share a message. Haha, last week it was really funny though, because Sister Hardy was doing TRC and was sharing one of her favorite scriptures. But she accidentally turned a page too far and instead of reading Alma 29:10 she read Alma 30:10, only in Tagalog, so she didn’t catch on that she was reading the wrong one. not usually a problem, but in this case Alma 30:10(the one she read) was about how when people murder, they are punished, when they commit adultery, they are punished…and the guy just gave her this funny look. Ah man, it was too funny.
 
We’ve been learning a lot this week about the importance of being bold. We have the authority as missionaries to say, “You NEED to read this book. You NEED this in your life,” instead of just saying, “If you want, you can read this.” As the Lord’s representatives, we must be bold with the message we are sharing. We’ve been working on that a lot this week as we practice teaching. I think as Latter-Day Saints, we are all disciples of Christ, and we all need to be more bold than we currently are. Sometimes we get afraid of offending someone by being bold and inviting them to come to church or an activity, or even standing up for your own beliefs. The world is being pretty bold with thier beliefs right now, and we need to not be afraid to stand up for the Lord and our own knowledge and beliefs. We know the truth, and we need to share what we know. We NEED to.
 
After the Sunday devotional, we go to another room where they show…basically a recording of another devotional. They keep us so busy, haha. Well, this one was super awesome. It’s called “The Character of Christ” by Elder Bednar, and if you can find it somewhere, you HAVE to go read it or watch it or something. It’s something really humbling, at least as a missionary, but surely it would be for anyone. He discusses what the Character of Christ is and how to better understand how to take on that character in ourselves. I realized I have a long way to go, but that it’s about consistently striving to make steps in the right direction.
 
Tagalog is still coming along. we learned a lot of helpful things this week, like the grammar for questions and different question words, and some more verb conjugations. long word for the week: mga pangangailangan. it means “needs” as in “needs that you have.” also, pinakamakapangyarihan means ‘Almighty” or “all-powerful.” Let’s just say I’m going to be really good at tongue-twisters when I come home. Sometimes I feel dyslexic because a lot of the words are so similar. ‘pinsan’ is cousin, but ‘pansin’ is a verb that means something else, and “pasanin” …or “panasin”, i can never remember, means ‘burden.” they are easy to confuse and a looot of words are like that.
 
Another thing I’ve been learning a TON about this week is the importance and power of prayer. SOBRANG mahalaga ang kapangyarhian sa panalangin. I just wish I could tell everyone I know how crucially important prayer is. Prayer isn’t just ‘something we do’ in the church. I think especially when we grow up in the church it feels that way, and we know all the right things about prayer, that we’re speaking to God, that He hears and answers us…we know those things. but we don’t apply them. Prayer isn’t just something we do. I can’t say it enough. The second you decide you truly want to understand your relationship to God as His own son or daughter, your prayers will change. Once you understand that, suddenly, your prayers will be a whole lot more like Enos’. I’ve read Enos I think at least 10 or 15 times this week. Pay attention to the things he does and says. PMG says that prayer is a form of WORK, and it is. If it’s not, you’re probably not doing it right. We can all pray a little better every day. If you pray to have the Spirit guide your prayers, you will be able to pray more sincerely. If you ask the Lord to teach you how to pray, really pray, He will. And once your prayers change, YOU will change, because everything about the gospel will become real, and true conversion will begin to happen within yourself.
 
mahal po kayo ng Diyos!
 
mahal kita!
 
Sister Carr

magandang sabado!

This letter came on July 6, 2013 – Officially caught up!
 
pamilya ko,
 

Thanks for your letters. yes, I would actually much prefer all the letters to be sent via DearElder. DearElders are delivered twice a day, so I will get them super fast and be able to actually read them thoroughly instead of skimming them. Because email time is kind of intense, an hour really isn’t that much when you have a week’s worth of things to say.

I hope you all had a wonderful araw ng kalayaan! day of freedom, or independence day! Being at the MTC instead of doing the normal traditions was kind of weird. Mostly it just didn’t even feel like a holiday. We still went to class and did all of our normal things, except, due to the national holiday, there was no mail, and so we’d all be like, oh hey, is it mail time yet? and then remember there was no mail. that night, though, we only went to one hour of class instead of three, and then we all went to 19M (the big gym) and watched 17 Miracles. It ended around 10pm, and then we got ice cream and got to stay up and outside and watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. So that was pretty good! haha lots of people were really tired yesterday though from being up so late, since we still had to get up regularly for class.
 
We learned a tooon of stuff this week. a whole bunch of different verb conjugations. conjugating verbs in tagalog is incredibly different than anything I’ve ever seen before. In spanish and english, it’s generally about changing the endings of verbs, and that’s generally to indicate the tense, or in spanish, who you’re talking to. In tagalog, the verb conjugations determine everything else about the sentence. it indicates where the focus of the sentence is, and then if you mess up the focus indacator (ang or ng) your sentence can change from “pinatay ng mga tao si Jesucristo” or ‘the people killed Jesus Christ’ to ‘pinatay ang mga tao ni Jesucristo’ or ‘Jesus Christ killed the people.” also, if the rumor I heard is correct, dad might kind of find it funny to know that the verb for ‘to go’ (ir) in tagalog is ‘punta.” and a little about the weirdness of the verbs–if I was conjugating ‘punta,’ then the command/past form would be pumunta, the present would be pumupunta, and future would be pupunta. So the conjugations happen by adding things in the middle of the verbs. it’s weird. but pretty cool.
 
we have two new investigators. one is named Jay. he’s frustrating. he’s angry at God and so it’s hard to teach him. (by the way, our investigators aren’t actual investigators, but still, we treat it that way). we’ve just been trying to get to know him and get him to trust us. our other one is named Aira, and our lesson wasn’t super great the other day and we probably really confused her. we do TRC tonight twice, so we’ll be teaching two people we’ve never met.
 
I’ve been learning the importance of teaching from the heart. the way you teach will directly influence the way the message is received and the way the principles are implemented into their lives. if you teach by rote presentation, they will apply things that way, like prayer, or scripture study. but if you teach from the heart, they will apply the principles with their hearts. like if you’re teaching how to pray, it’s not all about “1-2-3, amen” in steps, but explaining why prayer is important, why it is important to me, and why it can be important to you. explaining how YOU feel about prayer will help them understand that it means something to you.
 
I don’t really know what else to write, but I did hear Sis sadie anderson bear her testimony in Mandarin the other day, and that was pretty awesome. 🙂 we have a lot of extra time today because the Provo temple is closed until after we leave, so we have like 3 extra hours today.
 
Mahal kita!
 
Sister Carr
 
p.s. Here are some fun tagalog words for you:
 
pagpapakumbaba — Humility
pananampalataya — Faith
ngiti — smile
sigi — ok (say when you’re agreeing to something)
ok lang — (when asked how you are, if you want to say, just ok”
nanay — mom
tatay — dad
lola –grandma
lolo –grandpa
there are no words for ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ they just say ‘sibling.’
 Image

sabado masaya!

This letter was sent on June 29, 2013
Kumusta pamilya ako!
It’s been a long week. I seriously feel like I’ve been here for 2 months. We all do, haha. The good thing is that people laugh a lot here in the MTC. I don’t know if it’s just that we think everything is a lot funnier than normal because we need to laugh, or if it’s actually funny. But it’s probably a good thing, because if we didn’t laugh, we might just all go crazy.
We’ve learned a lot this week. We started learning grammar so I think the language is really starting to pick up.  We learned what the grammar markers ng, sa, and ang mean, which is really helpful. tagalog has  a pretty straightforward grammar, and once we learn how to conjugate verbs, we’ll be pretty set to start learning a ton of things. Verb conjugation basically does all the work in tagalog sentences, because that’s what indicates tense, the focus of the sentence, and a bunch of other things. It’s been cool to be learning it and they really push ‘SYL’ here, which is Speak Your Language, so we try to say as much as we can in Tagalog as possible. Mostly that means we say a lot of ‘joke lang’ and add ‘po’ after a lot of english words, haha. po doesn’t even really mean anything, it just indicates formality and respect in a sentence.
We taught Joy a couple more times last week, and committed her to be baptized. She was sick for our last lesson. Then we learned two days ago that Joy is actually going to be our evening teacher now! Her actual name is Sis. Sharp. So we have 3 hours of class with Bro. Trebas in the morning and 3 hours with Sis. Sharp in the evening. Between, we have an hour of personal study, some time to exercise, language study, TALL time (the language learning program) and meals. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your brain working that hard that long, but things are good.
I’m learning a lot about teaching and how to teach the gospel to people. We also spend a lot of time on the ‘fundamentals’ and this week’s focus was the Doctrine of Christ. We also spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to remember our purpose as a missionary, which is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentence, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Staying focused on the purpose and centralizing our minds around Christ helps us to have a greater spirit with us in the lessons, which we need desperately as our lessons are still really choppy with the language. But when the Spirit is there, things go fine.
We went to the big worldwide broadcast on Sunday, which was awesome, called The Work of Salvation. If you haven’t seen it, you should go watch it, because it’s not just for missionaries–it’s for everyone. Members are crucial to missionary work and we desperately need members to get on board with finding and fellowshipping people so that we can teach and not tract. It’s not hard. If we are always looking for opportunities to serve the people around us, that is generally all it takes to befriend someone.
But it’s a great place to be, and the people here are great.

First Letter Home!

This letter was actually sent on June 22, 2013.  I am Amber’s Mother and am just learning blogging.  Hopefully I can keep up with the wonderful way she writes.

 

Tagalog is a really cool language. It’s pretty cool how quickly we can learn langauges here in the MTC (Missionary Training Center). It’s awesome to walk around and hear a ton of different languages. Yesterday when Sis Maddock and I were practicing testifying to people, we learned how to say sister and elder in Russian. I have no idea how to spell it, haha, but it always surprises the Russian speaking elders when they hold a door open and we say, Salamat, (Russian word for elder). It’s also funny because our name tags are in English because of how many languages are in the Philippines, and so when other people hear us speaking Tagalog they get way confused. I think we start learning grammar next week. We haven’t spent any time on that yet, because we’ve just been immersed in the basics of prayer, testimony, and committing people to do things. I was able to remember last night how to commit Joy to reading the Book of Mormon, which was about the only entire phrase I remembered. Most of the lesson was a lot of saying ‘pananampalataya” (faith), “Jesucristo” “ang aklat ni mormon” and pointing, haha. We shared a couple of scriptures with her, too, which was good, I think. One mission president the other night was talking about how important it is to use the word of God when teaching people, because it is more pure and brings the Spirit more quickly than essentially anything we could say on our own. The Book of Mormon is an incredible tool in conversion. I was reading today and in 2 Nephi when Lehi was talking to Joseph, and he was prophesying how the people who were writing the Book of Mormon’s words were weak, but their faith would make them strong. We pray every day for kaloob ng mga wika (the gift of tongues) and for help with our teaching. I hope that even though our words are weak, that the Spirit will be able to be there to breach the huge barrier between us and our investigator, like PMG (Preach My Gospel) talks about in ch 7

Hermana Jess Reid was my host sister!!!! Basically the best thing ever. On our way around, we ran into Sis Sadie Anderson, and there was some screaming and a huge hug with the 3 of us. I’ve seen both of them around since then. Hermana Reid leaves to San Jose on Monday. I have also seen Elder Bradley Hintze, Elder Brantley Thomas, Elder Aaron Vaughn, Elder Tanner Smith, and  just a few minutes ago ran into Elder Tanner Howell! There are a bunch of people here I know that I didn’t even know were here. It’s just really funny to run into people.

lam ko po na Diyos ang ating Ama sa Langit. Mahal po tayo ng Diyos. Alam ko po na Jesucristo ang manunubos ako. alam ko po na salita ng Diyos ang aklat ni mormon.

 
Being a missionary is awesome. I love and miss you all! Mahal kita (I love you!)