Monday, February 1, 2016

The City of Calbayog

Hello Family!!!
Well, I am in Calbayog! I've been here for almost a week now, and let me tell ya, it is exactly the opposite of little baby town Allen.
After seeing the city of Catarman for zone meetings, I absolutely did NOT want to get transferred to a city. Catarman is a mess and is dirty and everything smells weird and it's so ghetto and I loved Allen compared to it.
Calbayog is definitely a city and...I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!! It was a bit overwhelming the first couple of days after coming from Allen. Hahaha, one of the first days I was here, I said a prayer for comfort that I could get over the newness of all of this, we walk into a cafe, and after a philippino song finishes, Taylor Swift's 'Out of the Woods' comes on. That made my heart melt. Heavenly Father answered my prayer with TSwift; I'm tellin ya, it's possible. What is so great about Calbayog? It's the first thing here that reminds me of America:) For being in the Philippines, it's a fairly clean and organized city. There is music everywhere, they have a laundry mat here, our apartment has a microwave, and we go out to eat at restaurants every lunch and dinner and not all of the food is served with rice!!!! We found this cafe called Isla Cafe - it is a blessing in my life! They serve everything from yummy sandwiches to crepes to shakes that actually taste like shakes, AND, they have cheesecake made of real cream cheese - who knows where they got that. 
The best part of the whole thing is my amazing Companion!!! She's a Philippina, my first! 

Human of the Week: My new companion - Sister Erandio: from Manila, part of my batch (meaning she came to Tacloban with our group from the Manila MTC), she's 22, already finished college and majored in accounting, is almost perfectly fluent in English (thank heavens!), and absolutely cracks me up. Because English is a second language to her, the way she words things is so funny. She's like my Philippina other half. We have a lot of fun together. 

Elder Camiling - Jimmy's cousin is in my district and is also our zone leader, so that's really fun! I see him all the time. Also, his companion looks EXACTLY like the prince from Princess and the Frog hahaha.
The language is coming fast. It's really helpful to have Sister Erandio too cause I speak it more with her than with Sister Mortensen. It's like there was absolutely no progress the entire duration of my mission up until 2 weeks ago and then it hit me like a wall.
The people we teach here for the most part are much better off than those in Allen. There's still slums here though. It's just unexplainable how humbling it is. I was talking to Sister Filau - in my district from Park City - and she was talking about how a friend emailed her. She said, " This friend emails me about all the problems in her life and how her Dad promised her a Mercedes but instead bought her a Toyota, and in the meantime, my investigator is struggling to buy rice!" It's almost not even funny how true this is. People here definitely have different problems than I've ever experienced and though I feel I've always been a very grateful person, it takes living in the Philippines for 4 months before it truly hits me. We are so lucky.
So my challenge this week is to try to be more aware of that. All of the blessings in our lives. There are probably more than we realize.
For example, carpet. That is a blessing. Enjoy it for me!:)

My Apartment

The weirdest thing happened this transfer. A ton of people from my batch were paired up with eachother. Sister Prudencio even got Sister Davis as a companion - they were companions in the MTC together. Haha, I'm sure they're loving that. We're all paired up with our batch and everyone in the mission who's not in our batch says it's crazy and it's never happened before. We all aren't quite sure what President's thinking, but we think it might mean we're gonna train.
There is a giant group of missionaries who go home after this transfer - in March. He might be putting us all together if there's a big group of missionaries in the MTC right now so that we can be pushed more to learn and grow so that we're prepared to train. Who knows whats gonna happen. Just have to wait and see what the future holds!

Love you all! Thanks for all the emails! I miss you and pray for you every day. 
Love Sister Russon