Another Week

Hello, family!

This week was a looot better than last week. The only thing is, Sister Barril is sick now, and so I’m not really sure how this week will play out, but I guess we’ll see.
I really loved being able to go back out and work this week, though. It was frustrating at first, because I hadn’t really spoken much Tagalog for four days so getting back into the language was rough. But the Lord is incredibly generous and I had one lesson in particular this week where I was able to talk for quite a while and say the things I wanted to say, more than I’ve ever said at once before. The other great thing is that I’m really starting to be able to understand people better–I almost understood all of sacrament meeting, and now I can generally respond to people’s questions better, and so that is really great. 🙂
This week we had some cool miracles. One day, some of our plans fell through and we had to decide where to go. There is this investigator we have who hasn’t really been progressing, and we’ve been prioritizing a lot of other progressing investigators over him and haven’t been for a few weeks. I suggested we go there, and when we did, we had the best lesson we’ve ever had with him. We think finally, he might actually stick with the commitments, which I am super excited about. The next day, more of our plans fell through, and then all of our backup plans fell through. We were like oooookay…and we decided to go to this LA family we’ve been trying to contact. We got there, and wala sila, nobody was there. It was pouring rain, and we just stood in front of their house under a porch-thing for a while while we responded to some texts, and by the time we finished the texts and were about to leave, the mom pulls up in a trycie and we were able to talk to her! Super great. right after, we decided to go to an investigator’s home, even though we couldn’t reach them by phone. Same thing: we showed up, nobody was home, and as we were about to leave, the whole family pulls up in their van. yay!! lesson. We got into the lesson, and this family has two craaazy 1 year-old twin boys who are always jumping all over the dad, who is the investigator (the rest of the family are members). We were teaching about the Atonement, and even though the atmosphere was crazy, I knew that at the right time it would all turn out right, because one time I was on splits with Sister Cope at home, and we were teaching someone who had theeee craziest kids, but right as we talked about the Atonement, they all ran outside and the atmosphere was such that the spirit could touch the investigator’s heart, and after the moment passed,the kids ran back in screaming. I knew if He could provide a way in that situation, surely He could here, too. And He did. And the next day, the brother attended church for the first time, and we were so excited.
I have been taking the advice of my mission president and spending a little time each day to specifically think about Christ. It’s making a huge difference in my testimony and in my relationship with my Savior. I know that if I were to do that at home, even just for three or four minutes, it would really have made a huge difference. It’s something to try 🙂 the way I do it is when I write in my journal, I try to think of one thing about Christ, one thing of what He means to me. It’s really helping me.
The mission is a crazy, hard, but wonderful and miracle-filled place to be! But I want all my older cousins to know how much their examples mean to me. It brings me comfort on difficult days to know I have cousins, as well as aunts, uncles, grandparents, and Dad–who were able to accomplish their missions and love them. I am grateful to all of them and I love them so much!
I love you all!
Sister Carr
(Excerpts from other letters)
– Amber is talking about the Chikungunya fever she had last week
It’s good that you can really only get it once…although I heard that it stays in your system for a long time and that it can have a tendency to relapse. but who knows, I feel like everything medical here is rumors. I had really ugly rashes all over my body for like 3 days. face, arms, legs. Yuck. I hated that. even my palms were super ugly. But luckily they went away, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Thanks for the recipes! We eat good food at members’ homes each night, but I don’t think living off of hot dogs, rice, and fried eggs the rest of the time is very good for me. I have been trying this week to be healthier….but it’s hard. I eat dad’s mission-style oatmeal for breakfast every day, because the cereal I can buy here isn’t fantastic. One thing that has helped me a lot is spending a little more and buying higher-quality bread. Before I was eating this super cheap cream bread stuff and now I am buying wheat bread. That has helped my digestive system out a toooon. It’s definitely worth the extra money. The only thing is, wheat bread isn’t consistently available, so I might still have to eat cream bread sometimes. Bread here really isn’t all that great. Sometimes I get pandesal though, which is really good. I mostly just feel really unhealthy no matter what I eat because I don’t like eating rice twice a day, and we eat out probably two or three times a week for pday and district meeting, at least for sure. Iv’e been trying to have more fruits with my meals and I try to eat lots of vegetables at members’ homes. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself once I get transferred somewhere I’m not consistently fed, haha. For lunch we usually have hot dogs, but the other days we either eat leftovers from the members, or my companion makes chicken or pork to eat with our rice. chicken and pork is the most common thing….grocery shopping, even in the actual grocery store, kind of freaks me out because like…the meat is in sections. There’s a little section for chicken, where the attendants are there to help you. But they hand you a bag, and the people just kind of pick through the meat with their hands and then continue shopping. So people go around touching tons of other things with raw meat germs all over their hands. Also, it’s not super common for people to wash their hands after they use the bathroom, which is still something I’m trying not to be super grossed out about, seeing as I shake hands with people on a regular basis. I use a lot of hand sanitizer.
Still just not a huge fan of so much rice, haha.
I haven’t heard anything about a typhoon. I know there was like a signal 2 storm that was supposed to come through the other day..it rained a lot this week, but nothing extreme. I don’t think the storms usually hit Tuguegarao too hard, which is nice. Usually they hit other areas more.
It’s good to hear everyone is busy and happy. I am glad things are going well for everyone!
I miss you all and love you so much!
Love,
Sister Carr
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A new week

Dear Family,

 
I am reeeeeeeally glad last week is over now, haha. Like I said last week, I had a huge headache. Right after emailing, we hurried to the store to buy some groceries, went straight home and I just laid on my bed…tried to sleep, but my head hurt super bad. That night I got a blessing from the stake president. I remember it was good, but I don’t really remember what he said, because it was in Tagalog. I can usually understand a lot from it, but the problem is I spend so much brain power trying to understand in the first place that I usually can’t remember what people said too long after they finish speaking. Anyways, we weren’t able to work Monday night because of that.
 
Tuesday we went to Cauayan for the departure fireside of the missionaries who went home this week. I sang at it, it was good….kinda makes you want to go home, but it’s also fun to see my batchmates.
 
Wednesday was transfer day, but Sis Barril and I are still together in Tug 4. Sis Ramos got transferred, though, and we miss her! But Sister T (Iiiii don’t remember her whole last name. it’s samoan. she is from california, though) is awesome! She and Sis Wilkins were companions in the MTC so it’s already been really fun for them. Except the trycie drivers charge them a ridiculous amount because neither of them are Filipino and even though they speak Gagalog they have a hard time trying to drive the price down. We worked a lot on Wednesday and it was great. We taught 7 lessons and they were all awesome.
 
Buuut the next day I felt bad. We went to zone meeting and I started feeling really bad–like fever and tired..bleh. So we went home and I slept…and basically we didn’t leave the apartment until Sunday. I really hated that. It’s really boring to sit in your apartment for three days straight. Apparently I had ‘shigungunia’…. or that’s how it’s said, nobody has any idea how to spell it. (Chikungunya) It’s basically like Dengue but not as bad. fever…headache…slight rashes…fatigue. Today I’m doing way better though, after resting a lot last week, so I’m really hoping that I can work all this week.
 
We had a greeeat thing happen this week, though!!!!! We have an investigator with a special case, whose case was so difficult for the baptism standards that he has been investigating since 2007. Since then, his whole family has been baptized–immediate, as well as his wife and kids—but not him. He was stuck. Interviewed with the mission president this week, though, and finally got clearance to be baptized! It was so exciting, and he is so happy. As we taught him we always felt his testimony. I’ve never seen or felt true repentance like I’ve felt teaching him, because he is truly a changed man, and he knows it. Really exciting.
 
I learned a lot about trusting in Jesus Christ this week. Christ wants us to have enough faith to recognize that we are in the same ship as Him, and that because we are, He will never let our ship sink, no matter how bad the storm becomes. Sometimes we panic when the storm starts to rage and we feel like our prayers are not being heard–sometimes we cry out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” and sometimes, we even abandon ship, fearing it will sink. But Christ will always answer those reactions a very loving way– “why are ye fearful, o ye of little faith?” He simply wants us to trust Him, that as long as we are on His ship, it will sail on. It will not sink. That He will still the storm in His time, and not necessarily when we demand it. But He always will still the storm at some point. We just have to be faithful knowing that He will.
 
I love you!! have a great week!
 
Love,
 
Sister Carr
 
The following are excerpts from other letters sent home:
 
Hey, so….for your questions, and to respond to people’s emails…

 
Vegetables are on our grocery list. I eat them at people’s houses but we don’t eat a ton at home…mostly we actually eat a lot of rice and hot dogs (gag). I have no idea how to make food here. The problem is, they don’t have most of the vegetables that our family eats on a regular basis. Salads don’t exist here, because lettuce doesn’t exist, and the tomatoes are usually green and super small. And we don’t have an oven…and so between not having food I”m familiar with combined with just a stove and a microwave….I have no idea what food to make here. So if you could recipe hunt a lot…that would be really nice. because I can’t keep surviving off these cheese-filled hot dogs haha.
 
Dad, we were walking to this investigator’s house last week, and cut through this field area by the bishop’s house. There aren’t a lot of like..’field’ expanses here that aren’t covered by corn or other things like that. This one was just like grass and a couple cows. So you know for sure that I am your daughter because the first thing I said to sister Barril when we walked into it was, “This would be a great place for a soccer field.” hahaha. It’s pretty much the only place I’ve seen that’s even somewhat suitable for that purpose.
 
I love you all and hope you will continue to be happy. 🙂
 
Sister Carr
 

Pambahira!

Hoy, magandang hapon po! It’s another rainy P-day already here in Tuguegarao City! Also, still very hot and sweaty. Mainit! (hot)

 
Sige, so first off, this week is transfer week! I am already done with one cycle (6 weeks) in the field! And it’s great because as soon as Wednesday happens, my batch won’t be the babies anymore in the mission. Almost babies, but not completely, haha. Anyways, neither Sis Barril or myself is being transferred this week (I still have 6 weeks of training), so we will continue working as usual. But Sis Ramos is being transferred aaaand we’re pretty sad about that. Sis Ramos is probably one of the best missionaries in the entire world right now. She goes home in 6 weeks…supposedly. We’ve heard rumors about extension. But that wouldn’t be a surprise, because she is just an absolute rock here. Such a great missionary, such a great friend. We’re hoping she doesn’t get transferred too far.
 
This week went by really quickly. I’m not entirely sure what we did this week. All the days start blending together and it’s really difficult to keep track of. I was sick last week, last pday, so that was not so fun, and Tuesday I was really tired as a result of that, so I think after district meeting we went back to the house and I fell asleep so fast and was out for a couple hours. Then we went and taught a couple lessons and it was good. 
 
We continue to work on unity in our companionship, which can be difficult at times, but every time we choose to work something out, miracles follow. I know for sure that part of the reason we are companions is to figure out how to work together despite our differences and to learn to love each other. We work on it every week and it is improving and becoming easier. It absolutely amazes me how much I’ve been learning about relationships with other people here in the mission, but it’s definitely a lot easier to see your weak spots, and even better is that due to the difficulty of the mission, you’re generally humble enough to recognize and fix the weak spots as opposed to being blind to them the same way I might be at home. and when it comes down to it, the only person I really have out here is Sis Barril, so if our companionship tanks, the overall quality of life goes way down because I get lonely really quickly.
 
Jessica and Eloiza, both about my age and attending school, accepted the baptismal invitation this week! Really great. We had a lesson with them in the morning (which is unusual) and the spirit was really there as we discussed the Atonement. They both want to be baptized to be able to really begin to apply the Atonement in their lives. Even better, that wasn’t the only miracle that happened that morning. On our way to the lesson, we OYMed this lady who happened to be in the trycie with us. She’d heard of the church before through their wheelchair charity thing they’ve done. We went and visited her on Saturday, and taught her and her nephew and niece. She had a ton of questions, and our answers really helped her to clear up a lot of confusion she’d had about religion for many years. she is really intelligent–she has 3 degrees…IT, Law, and something else–but has been really confused about religion because she’s heard from so many different religions. And then they came to church the very next day. She is really prepared to receive the gospel. 
 
We are being blessed with many people who are incredibly receptive and willing to actually listen to our message. Angela and Gail also have a baptismal date, and so do Rowena, Carol, and Romel. hopefully Jovic and Jomel will have dates soon, too. They know it is true, but they are still working some things out for themselves, I think. I’m never entirely sure of the situation because I miss a lot of the conversation, and a lot gets lost in translation, but we feel they are really ready. Jovic has been to church 3 Sundays already so he just needs one more before he can get baptized! (the rule here is 4 consecutive Sundays before they can be baptized) and even better, he brought his sister with him yesterday to church 🙂 We were really excited about that. If things continue to go well with our investigators, we ought to have about 9 baptisms the first week in October. Really exciting. 🙂
 
I continue to love the people here more, especially the ward 4 members. They work with us every week for member present lessons and we are beginning to receive more and more referrals. They are very kind and friendly and we love them very much! Dinners have gotten a lot more fun for me because I understand more of the conversation and the banter that goes on and can catch onto more of the jokes. And Filipinos joke aaaaalll the time, haha.
 
There is a great quote by Pres Ezra Taft Benson that I read this week that says essentially, “The world world works from the outside in. The Lord works from the inside out. The world tries to take people out of the slums. The gospel takes the slums out of people and then the people take themselves out of the slums.” I love that, because it’s really true. The purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ is change and progression. It can change our hearts, and then we change our thoughts, words, and actions as a result. We change our environments to match the environment of peace and light inside us. Every principle of the gospel enlightens and empowers us–individually and as families. It’s truly beautiful, and we are so blessed to have it in our lives. Many lives here are very dark from their trials and the worldly things that are everywhere…but the gospel brings them out of that dark place and into a life that is far more hopeful and beautiful than the place they were before. 
 
I love you all and I am so grateful for the wonderful family I have been blessed with! I am always praying for you.
 
Love,
 
Sister Carr
 
PS Pambahira is a really funny term that’s used in similar situations as like…”ooooh my gosh”….like “oh, you forgot your umbrella at their house!’ “ay, naku! pambahira!” and…naku is like “dang!” haha. lots of funny expressions, but I enjoy it. 🙂  

Hello!

Sounds like everyone had a crazy getting-back-to-school week. making me a little nostalgic! haha.

This week was crazy. and exhausting and I am not even sure what I remember about it.

Well, Monday we went to a fun family home evening that was combined with four families, the other Ward 4 missionaries and the two sets of sisters from Penablanca as well. And these people were….really rich, so dinner was great, and then they drove us home through the bagyo (big storm). It was pouring rain, and since the rain falls so fast here, there is a lot of standing water. On top of that, the driving situation in the philippines is crazy. There is no set speed limit, and so people go however fast they want and pass people whenever they want on whatever side of the road they want. So for me, actually, the drive home was pretty awful, because I got a lot of anxiety due to the wreck last December. I always forget that happened until there’s inclement weather again.

Tuesday we had district meeting…..oh, and that night was kind of frustrating because people got confused with the dinner calendar and we had two dinner appointments. we tried to work it out so one set of sisters went to one and we went to the other, but we could tell it would offend them if we all didn’t show up. It was frustrating to me because we had to reschedule two appointments that would have been really great lessons.

Wednesday caught us by surprise, as we received a text after companionship study from the Sister Training Leaders (aka the other set of sisters in our ward, and the sisters we do everything with on Pday…and have dinner with every night, haha) Sister Ramos and Sister Wilkins, saying that they were coming over to do splits with us that day. So we spent my language study time figuring out who would visit which investigators and creating a new plan. Splits were great, though. I went with Sister Wilkins, the American sister that I love. She has been out for a little over a year, so she is fluent. I learned a lot from her about teaching and actually, just a lot about life. I love talking to her and working with her. Lots of our lessons fell through, so we spent a lot of time OYMing, but the two lessons we did have went really well. They stayed at our apt to observe nightly planning and our study the next day. after our study, they taught us a lot of things. One thing I learned the importance of was punctuality. For the most part, sis barril and I are actually pretty punctual in terms of study and getting out of the house. but sis. ramos is all about being exactly on time. she said, “if you’re one minute late for your personal study, you’re on verse one and the spirit is on verse 7. if you’re ten minutes late getting out the door, you’re about to leave, but the spirit is already on the tricycle going to the lesson.” Basically she said, the spirit is on time, the spirit isn’t idle, and the spirit doesn’t frown. If we are the opposite of any of those, we can’t have the spirit with us. We also learned a lot about our companionship.

We had some good lessons over the weekend, and HOORAY because Jovic and Jomel came to the full block of church! All the Calluengs and Jovic all know that it’s true, we just need to set a baptismal date and work through some other concerns. We are really excited about them.

We had a crazy miracle this week. on Thursday morning, I felt great, and then as soon as I started PS (personal study) I felt really anxious, like I needed to do something else. So I tried a bunch of different things and couldn’t shake the feeling. So CS (comp study) starts, and I tell her what I’m feeling. So she thinks and says…okay, let’s go for a walk. Oookay. So we go outside and walk up our street and she says, let’s go visit sister glenis (the woman we teach who owns the tindahan on our road) and so we go there and buy some juice. There is this woman there waiting for a trycie. We start talking to her. Apparently she was supposed to be baptized ten years ago, but moved suddenly right before and it never happened. It also turned out that she is the same person as this referral we’ve been trying to contact for a few weeks! Then she got on the trycie and left. If we were there even a couple minutes later, we would have missed her. It was awesome.

The language is still hard, but still improving. I’m starting to get the hang of this dialect thing they do– “yung”. My MTC teacher told us about it, thank goodness, or else we’d be super confused. ‘yung’ means the same as ‘ang’ and they use it all the time. I’m finally starting to be able to use it sometimes instead of just ang.

The other sisters had a baptism on Saturday. So they get there early, and there’s no water in the font. and somehow the tap isn’t working, so they start using buckets to fill it up. The tap worked on and off and it wasn’t full for an hour and a half. There was a bagyo coming in, so there was a brownout.(blackout). I guess usually those don’t affect the church, but this time it did, so the whole time we prepared, the electricity was spacey. and then during the service, we were singing Nearer My God, To Thee right before the baptism itself, and the lights go out. and then we’re like, “darkness be over me..” and kind of chuckled at that one. The service was great, though.
 

Good luck with everything that is going on at home! It’s always kind of funny to realize that life at home is still life at home, and that life here for me still seems relatively normal most days. Occasionally I think, whoa, I am in the Philippines. But most of the time, it’s just normal, haha.

I love you all! Good luck with everything.

Sister Carr

Oh! and here is a fun fact for you:

The youth of the ward here took a trip to the Manila temple to do baptisms…..for 3,200 names. Each of them was baptized for about 180 names!!! Can you believe that? so crazy, but so awesome. 🙂

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