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!
(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.