Hello my blessed family!
Can I just say how much I love you all? Like a lot!
This week has been more of a roller coaster of emotions then I've ever had in my whole life. Honestly it's been a bit ridiculous. Thank heavens I've been able to pull myself together. Since Saturday, it's like I've finally gotten over that first wall and been able to get set in the mission mindset. Thank Heavens!!!!!!
So here's what I found out this week. There are 21 missions in the Philippines. Tacloban is the hardest one of them all because there is a different language or different use of the languages in every zone. I also found out that Allen, the area in the Catarman zone is the hardest area in the whole mission because everyone speaks their own combination of 4 different languages - Tagalog, Cebuano, Waray S, and Waray H (For your information Waray S and Waray H are about as far apart as America is from the Philippines). Guess where your lovely daughter is serving?
Thats right!!!! Heavenly Father or the mission president or someone has an insane INSANE amount of faith in me because I am currently in the hardest area in the hardest mission in the entire PHILIPPINES! Ha, I'm still in shock.
One thing I've thought a lot about though is what our teacher Brother Pasikala said to us in the MTC. He drew a circle on the board and inside it wrote "comfort". Then he drew a larger circle around that and inside it wrote "growth". There is no growth in the comfort zone. It's so true. I am mostly out of my comfort zone I'd say about 98% of the time I'm awake. Even when I'm asleep, I'm sweaty and dirty and think a bug is landing on me everytime the fan blows a hair on my arm. Let me tell ya, the struggle is real. What's helped a lot is just knowing how much farther I'm going to be in the language when I get out of this area. Hopefully I"ll know a good chunk of all 3!
Out of everything, being here has made me realize really how much I have to learn. About everything! About the world, about myself, about Heavenly Father and the gospel, about other people and what they're going through.
Our daily schedule pretty much consists of waking up, showering with a bucket - hoorah, eating rice and bananas - yum, getting ready, one hour of personal study, 2 hours of companionship study, 1 hour of language study, lunch, and then proselyting - walking all over the place, talking to as many people as we can, and teaching lessons. Most people are home during the day, and though most people have phones (which is another weird thing because they probably have hardly enough money to pay for food since most of them live in houses with dirt floors), we don't set up appointments ever. Just show up and hope they're not sleeping. I still haven't figured out how most of them get their money cause they're always home.
This week, my favorite experience happened on Wednesday. For the most part, I speak hardly at all. Sister Mortenson does most of the talking because I have absolutely no idea what anyones saying 93% of the time. On Wednesday though, we started talking to this family on the side of the street and they had a ton of little girls over playing in front of their little house. While Sister Mortenson was saying who knows what to the Nanay - mom, I knelt down and was trying to talk to the little girls. Then it started to rain, so we stayed under their little covering for about 15 minutes just talking. Hahaha I taught the little girls how to play patticake and they loved it! It was so cute, they were trying to say "patticake" with their thick Philippino accents. It was adorable. They were probably like 3-5 years old. When we got up to leave they all grabbed my hands and were tugging on me and saying "upod upod upod", which means "again". Adorable. 2 of them we've seen a couple times since and they just love us. Their names are Princess and Precious. They have really different names here haha.
Tomorrow is going to be super fun because we have zone conference, so I'll get to see the people I know from the MTC that are in my current zone and one of them is Sister Rex! Yay! Tomorrow, hopefully I'll get the package too. The zone leaders pick up the packages from the Mission office, so if they don't have it, then I'll have to wait for the next zone meeting which could be for a couple more weeks. :(
1) How are you feeling? Are you healthy? Has the food been bugging you at all as in making you sick??
-I got a random cold this week and my throat swelled up. So that was weird but it's pretty much gone now. I wouldn't say I'm healthy though and may never be. All we is is rice and meat with the rice and bread- they have a lot of bakeries here. Usually I have a banana at least once a day so that's good. Sometimes mangoes. Veggies only a couple times a week:/ But I'm taking the right vitamins so that'll help a little at least.
2) Are you using the oils for anything? I love the oils!!!!! Could you email me though about ones that would help my back?
3) Will your companion leave before Christmas?
-My 2 Philippino roommates will leave before Chrstmas, but my companion doesn't leave until after our 12 weeks together, so late January. Each new missionary has a 12 week program for the first 12 weeks and then could possibly get put as a trainer for a new missionary after that, but usually gets a new companion who does another training program with them for the next 6 weeks.
4) Do you have access to a CD player? Do they give them to everyone?
Yes we have a CD player for each missionary in our apartment. The only thing we really use it for is Sister Salamancas music which is a BLESSING! I MISS MUSIC! The music rules for our mission are really slack so it's nice cause she has a bunch of fun Christmas music and EFY music we listen to during meals and while getting ready. She's gonna give it to me to put on my Flash Drive because you can just plug it right into the CD player, so that's cool.
5) What are you eating? Do you cook everything yourself or do you go to members houses for dinner?
Most of the meat includes pork or chicken, sometimes fish. Mostly just a lot of meat and carbs. Great. We cook everything ourselves, well, specifically Sister Lucero. We all pitch in for the food and she loves to make it for us. There aren't many meal options because all the grocery stores have really is bread and pastries, rice, meat, and then fruits and veggies. Today is p-day, so I'm gonna make sure I buy a ton of fruit and vegetables. We have plenty of money. Everything is so cheap here.
Side note: When I get home, I'm literally going to run for the hills if you ever try to feed me rice again. Also, you know how in the movie Signs, Boe says the water tastes old? Yeah, I know what that means now. Haha, nothing anyone said about the food tasting good is even a smiggen true. It's motivating me though to get really good at cooking when I come home! And, I'm also probably going to be sleeping on the carpet for a week because it is a luxury I never knew I had before.
Love you all to pieces! Can't believe Kacie won 21 pilot tickets, hurrah!!!
Love you all, think about you every day!