January 31, 2016
So..Let me get you more caught up on my life as a missionary in the Urdaneta Philippines mission, Aguilar 2B area. I’ll start with life “sa bahay” (at the house).
[Do you have running water? How do you shower/bathe?] Yes I have running water, but.. It is not purified. The first 3 weeks we had to go buy 5-gallon purified water jugs because one of the sisters threw the filter away. I’m not exactly sure why but I guess she thought it was broken. Anyway, Elder Lind, being the kind Zone Leader he is, gave us his water filter when he and Elder Raguin came over to do apartment checks. We do have a water pump thing too though, but we don’t use it.
We also have a normal shower, kind of. Haha. We pretty much have to shower while standing on the toilet. There’s not much of a division between the shower and the toilet, but oh well at least the toilet is always clean! (; The water is also freezing! I don’t know how since it’s a million degrees outside, but it takes me about 5 minutes just to talk myself into getting my whole body wet because it’s SO COLD! But of course when it comes to drinking the water it’s not cold at all. I swear there’s no winning here! (;
Okay, that’s enough about water. Haha. Lets talk about food now.
[How often do you eat at home? What do you prepare/eat?] So! After being told to make the rice for dinner one time…lets just say I haven’t been asked to make it again. ;D Apparently they like their rice white. Haha! Who knew!? (; Needless to say, I got fired from cooking duty. Now I am a full-time dishwasher! (; I’m going to have biceps the size of dad’s when I come home from all the things I need to do by hand now. With that said, moms be grateful you can just put your clothes in a machine and they come out clean. It’s a hard life now being a machine! (;
Anyway.. I have some AWESOME news! I finally hit my turning point! So..what does that mean? It means I’m finally my normal happy self again! Now with that said… Yes the first three weeks of being in the mission field were quite miserable. I had the hardest time adjusting to the culture here. It’s literally so opposite to life in America it’s even to the point there’s more left-handed people than right handed…I’m pretty much an alien here. (; But lucky for me Filipinos love American aliens! Haha!
I’ve also learned that Filipinos don’t like sour things. Just a side note for you. Haha. I don’t know why but they don’t.
Anyway! When I first got to my area I had no idea what I was doing (and lets be honest, I still don’t). It was so frustrating for me having to learn sooo many new things all at once. AND in a language I don’t understand or speak. It’s hard for me to learn how to start a lesson and gain the skills to discern needs and build a relationship with people when I can’t understand anything. I still don’t know how to start the actual lesson after we do all the “How to Begin Teaching”, “Build the Relationship”, follow up and things like that. But I’m getting better. But the first couple weeks I was so focused on myself. All I could think about was how bad I am at everything, and my Kasama [companion?] doesn’t help with that very well either. Even when we would get done with a lesson that I thought I did pretty good at, Sister Latorre would just tell me I don’t smile enough or make enough eye contact and that the scripture I shared she didn’t like. Ouch. I’m sure her bluntness will help me in the long run, but I could have really used a lot more encouragement when I was having a hard time. With everything being shoved in my face all at once I just felt like my best was never good enough. It got to the point that I liked getting punted so I didn’t have to feel bad about how bad I am at teaching, let alone in Tagalog.
Pero! [But!] On January 26, 2016 something just clicked. I don’t know what happened/changed or how it happened but I learned something of great importance. It’s not about me. None of this is about me. I am here to help others take the first few steps to receive Eternal Life. I am here to help OTHERS find eternal happiness! Why the heck was I focusing on myself!? None of this work is about me! It is my promise and testimony that when we focus on others and their needs, we forget all about our problems; our emotional burdens are lifted and we find true happiness in serving others.
Also last night Sister Latorre and I got a phone call from Elder Sabiano, an AP, and he told us we're having an emergency transfer.. WHAT!? I've only been in the mission field for a month which is less than one transfer and I have had to send home two Sisters I lived with, be in a tripanionship, and now be in an emergency transfer and get a new trainer. I honestly didn't expect any of this to happen to me let alone all in my first month. Yikes.
I do get to stay in my same area though which I am SOOO thankful for! And luckily I'm a genius and saw on my missionary portal who my new companion is and I actually know who she is. Her name is Sister Cuenca and when I met her I thought she was a lot of fun! She lives in Manat with the STL's [Sister Training Leaders] so I met her when I went on exchanges there. She's Filipino and I'll actually be "killing" her after she's done training me. (Of course I'll be sending home ANOTHER Sister. Haha.) I'll write you more about her when I actually know stuff about her. But she will be my new companion later tonight.
Life is SOOO good mom and dad! I'm finally my normal happy self again! :DDDDD
And food.. I actually eat intestines a lot.. And I don't like to admit it, but I like them.. I think it's because It's finally a new texture to eat. I've also had to eat pig blood which was today actually. What's sad is I had no idea.. I thought it was like ground pork or something. NOPE! After I finished my plate of it they all told me what it was. Once again I was disgusted with myself because I actually enjoyed it. My father has given me a curse of liking food no matter what it is. ;D Sometimes I'm very grateful I can't taste anymore. (;
[Did you cook last Monday for FHE? What did you cook?] And yes, I did make dinner last Monday for the Villenueva Family. I ended up making American spaghetti because the stores here don't have sour creme or really any of the ingredients I needed to make beef stroganoff and no one has an oven so I couldn't make lasagna. But everyone liked my spaghetti which made me feel good. (:
[How is the dizziness? You still taking Betahistine?] Yes I am still dizzy, but it's less often throughout the day. And no I don't take medicine anymore. The dizziness doesn't bother me very often, but when it first started I was concerned because of my head injury. No problems though so don't worry. (:
Also this Sunday was AWESOME! We had three Less Active Members that Sister Latorre and I visited come to church for the first time in years! We also got to work with Elder and Sister Jensen, from Nevada, to help us reactivate some more less actives. In Aguilar 2nd Branch only 16% of the members are active.. It's my goal to reactivate all these families, baptize the part member families, and make it be Aguilar 2nd WARD. It's going to happen, just you wait! (: Also Luzviminda came to church again so she will have her baptismal interview on Saturday! :D She also brought her daughter Maurice with her that came up from Manila for the weekend! Maurice is a 21-year old teacher down in Manila, but will be moving back to Aguilar in March and you bet your butt I'll be all over that opportunity to teach her when she moves back up here! I was able to giver her an Aklat Ni Mormon and she was really excited to read it. (: Man, I'm so so happy Luzviminda has found the happiness that comes from the gospel and wants to share it with her family. Life is SO good. (:
I love you guys a lot!