Well Kumusta everyone!
Can’t believe another week has gone by. The days are really starting to go fast which is crazy because everyone says that the first transfer seems like forever and then time speeds up. So I’m sure my next transfer is going to go by even faster, but I’m getting close to the end of my first transfer! This week we had Zone Conference which was soooooo fun. The only downfall about Zone Conferences is we miss proselyting time but besides that it was so great. We were in the airconned stake center all day and they fed us lunch and snacks! It was especially good though to hear from President Bliesner and to feel uplifted to work even harder. And I got to see some of my batchmates!! And guess what?! A mission is hard for everyone! Struggling with the language, companions, culture, heat, homesickness, food, bathrooms and just everything is totally normal! But we all agreed that even though it is hard, it is so great and so rewarding. Not only have I survived these weeks, but I have really started to love missionary life in the Philippines. So some things we found out at ZC, there is an elder from China coming to our mission in June or July! He knows some English but that’s pretty cool. I think I might have mentioned this in one of my MTC emails, but mission presidents are now going to call “Sister Training Leaders.” They will kind of act like AP’s in the mission and they will go on splits with all the sisters. The increase in sisters has really started to change things but it is exciting!
So life really feels normal now, but when I think of culture differences I still want to tell you guys about them. So there’s KFC and McDonald’s here in Naga so last Monday, I felt like I really wanted just a little something from back home so we went to KFC. Totally not KFC. They had Halo-Halo, the KFC bowls was just rice and chicken 😉 and almost everything comes with rice. Not mashed potatoes or macaroni in sight haha. Oh and I’ve heard McDonald’s has spaghetti which I guess is pretty common but it is really different than American because the sauce is sweet. Brown outs are common here (exactly same thing as a black out… not sure why it’s called a brown out). Totally fine when the lights go out but when the fans go off and we’re home studying, that is when it gets hot! Oh so there are little bakeries everywhere! At first I just ignored them but then I tried some of the super cheap baked things they have and they are soooo good. There’s this one thing called “pandecoco” which is a roll with I think brown sugar and coconut. Masirap! Mice running around my room during studying is a totally normal thing now. Doesn’t even phase me. Oh and seeing an American is not a common thing at all. Now when I see Americans I find myself staring at them! The other day I saw this younger American guy and I said, “Amerikano!” I’m really becoming a Filipina.
I had my first cleaning check this last week. It was nice to get our apartment cleaned up more but goodness, I have never sweated so much from just cleaning! We got a perfect score. My kasama and I got chased my dogs… Sister Simbol was smart and got her umbrella out but I just ran away screaming haha. Next time I’ll be more calm about it. Thank you mom for telling me how hot it was this week because wow it was sooooo hot on Friday I think it was. 92 degrees but with humidity 125 degrees sounds about right. When the Filipinos start complaining about the heat then you know it is hot. It rained/flooded last Monday but the real rainy season hasn’t hit so still waiting for that! But like I’ve said, even though it’s been hot it doesn’t bother me NEAR as much as it did the first few days. For like the first week I was taking showers in the morning and at night because I just had to cool down. Luckily I’m fine with just a morning shower now. So yesterday for church I had to play for sacrament meeting and relief society with no warning. I actually did it last week too! Just sometimes the pianist just doesn’t show up so I’m the fill in now:) Some hymns have been worse than others, but for the most part I can play most without warning and be able to get through them alright. I’m so glad I know how to play though! Sister Simbol was asked to speak 5 minutes before sacrament meeting and she did great and talked about missionary work. Totally know that will happen to me sometime. I just hope I can get my Tagalog a little bit better before that happens. So Bishop Silos has spoken 3 times since I’ve been here. (I’ve been here 4 Sundays and one Sunday was fast Sunday). I finally asked Sister Simbol if he just plans on speaking every week haha and she said that no he doesn’t but it seems like they have a hard time getting people to speak and to actually show up.
Okay so the work! Things are really going well. We lost one of our investigators and will lose another soon because of moving away for various reasons, but we also got 3 new investigators this week. We did a lot of contacting this week so we should have hopefully at least 2 new investigators next week too. We’ve had to move some baptismal dates back but hopefully we should have one on June 1st and one on June 22nd. We have a couple other investigators that are really ready so hopefully we’ll commit them this week too. We had this really powerful lesson yesterday with one of our investigators, Sister Rose (17). She has been saying that she wants to be baptized but every time we teach her, her real intent and following up with commitments like reading the Book of Mormon and praying just wasn’t happening. Well yesterday we asked about her desire to be baptized and how she thought it would bless her life. Well she started crying and at one point all three of us were crying because the spirit was so strong and we saw some real intent! She is moving on June 3 so we’re really hoping to get her ready before she leaves so she can be baptized on June 1 and confirmed on June 2. (Most people don’t say 1st they just say June 1 or June 2 or whatever haha).
Anyways… my call last week to the family was so fun! Thanks everyone! The elders that walked by a million times thought you all looked so good. One of them, Elder Salas (one of the AP’s) said you looked like the “Perfect Mormon Family” haha so that was cute. You really are the perfect family! Love and miss you guys so much. I pray for you all the time and don’t think about you too much so I can focus ;). Enjoy cool air and yummy food for me.
This church is so true and so incredible. I would not be doing this if I had any doubt in my mind. I am here because I know what a blessing it is to have the gospel in my life. And not even to just have it but to live it. We are all focused on our goal to return to our Heavenly Father because He loves us more that we can comprehend. I am so glad I have this wonderful opportunity to serve a mission!