August 15, 2010

1 Week = eternity

Kumusta Kayo!!
So like the subject states, it's only been a week but if feel like it's been soooo very long!!  Things are getting better each day haha, I didn't realize how many emotions were connected with a mission!  I am able to understand a little bit more as the days go on...I just have to remind myself that i've only been here a week.  I tend to get a little frustrated with not knowing the language or what's going on around me but that is perfectly okay because of coarse that stuff wont come for a little while!  Anyway, it's really has been good...I like it here, it's growing on me :)  I'll start with the crazy funny things that have happened before I get into the spiritual growth i've experienced in just one week...
First, let me just talk about the transportation for a little about extreme go-carting!!!  So mostly when we need to travel a longer distance or get somewhere in a hurry, we take a tricycle...a motorcyce whith an attachment.  There are no street lights or stop signs or's all open ground for anyone to drive anywhere haha!  There's the occasional dotted line down the center of the street pero, that's only a suggestion.  Everytime I ride in the tricycle I feel like I am on the go cart ride of my life!! It's like dodgeball mixed with go carts-- no joke!  It's actually quite fun!  There are also horse drawn buggies everywhere, i have yet to ride on one but really want to!  And of coarse the jeepney'--which are just like the pictures on google!  They are awesome!  Most of the time though, we walk everywhere.  Everyone is really close that we teach except for a coule people live out in the bundoks!  Which is BEAUTIFUL!!!  I took some pics today and hopefully can get them sent out either this week or next week!  It is so so so green and full of plants of all kinds with HUGE leaves and colorful flowers.  Seriously family, you have to come pick me up!!!!!   By the end of the day though my feet are swollen and blistered--i wouldn't have it any other way :)
Doing laundry is interesting...the natives do it so well and make it look so easy, takes some skill which i will need to acquire!  I like doing it gives me time to think about things!  My clothes feel funny when they dry though and so do my hands...then they peel!  So let me just say that my hopes of losing weight here...not gonna happen!  These Ilocano's know how to cook and it is sooo yummy and soooo fattening!  Everything is fried and I definitely eat rice at every meal!  I am going to have to tell Sis rivera that i'm only going to eat rice once a day because i am already gaining weight!  Haha i weighed myself at our investigator's house (three 9 yr old girls) and it said 60 kilos which i don't know what that is in pounds but they were like "oh sister you are heavy!!"  Awesome!  So please let me know what that converts to :)  It's funny, the people here say what they think about you not intending it to be offensive but they are just very blunt and open. 
There is  A LOT more english than I expected...most everyone understands at least a little english which is both a blessing and a curse.  I am grateful because we can understand one another most of the time, but i also dont want to rely on english...i really want to learn the language and have to use it!  But for now, during my part of the lessons its about 5-8 minutes of english and 1-2 min of tagalog! They conjugate so many english words too its quite funny.  And everyone, whether they are members or not, calls each other brother and sister.  It's pretty cool.  Anyone we meet we call them brother or sister and everyone knows us...i feel like a celebrity!  All i hear is "hi sister!"  It's so cool.  Everyone is so nice.  And one thing that I will need to get used to is there sense of time....basically, they don't have any!  Time does not exist, we will plan on specific times to go to people's houses but that all goes out the window, we just show up whenever and they are usually always there just chillin.  Church always starts late and ends late but no one seems to notice or care.  It's soooo different.  I always want to be right on time and efficient but it really wouldn't do any good! 
The rain is so sweet!!  I just want to walk everywhere in it.  Sis rivera always tells me to get out my umbrella but i never want to haha.  it really hasn't rained too much yet, it's only the beginning of rainy season.  The weather hasn't bothered me much, it does get hot but i really dont notice it.  My skin loves it but my hair is so crazy!!  A few days ago we were teaching 2 the first lesson and it started to rain so those 9 year old girls were holding our umbrellas as we taught--that was so cool!!!  And that same night, I definitely got peed on by a little boy lol!  I was standing on the porch and noticed my foot was the only thing getting wet and look down and yeah there was the little boy going to the bathroom!  I just had to laugh. 
Interesting fact: I counted how many times we pray in 1 day just for fun....we say 16 set prayers while we are in the apartment and then add to that 2 prayers for every lesson which is anywhere from 2-10 lessons a day....needless to say, a mission is 1 long prayer.  it's quite amazing, i can feel the spirit really directing my prayers.  The first time I heard sis rivera pray i was like holy cow that was really long, what did she even say and who was she praying for?!  Now, I can see that there's no way you can just get on your knees for 2 minutes and accomplish everything that's needed in one prayer.  I love praying!  And I really love and value my morning study time.  We do personal study for an hour, then comp study for an hour, then language study for an hour...that's a lot of studying and it goes by way to fast!  This morning I was remembering the time I put into studying when I was home, some nights I'd read my scriptures for 2 minutes and call it could I ever think that was sufficient to learn all that the Lord had in store for me.  I LOVE reading the scriptures now and can truly see the fruits of my efforts in studying for that amount of time.  I have learned so much.  2 days ago I was studying about unity and happened upon D&C 35:13-15 ( i think those are the verses)  and it talks about the Lord calling upon the weak things of the world to thrash the nations by the power of his spirit.....oh boy Heavenly Father definitely knew that I needed to read that.  I have felt so weak and so unlearned ever since coming here but I realized from that scripture that the Lord has called me in my weakness and that's how He wants me.  He promises me that he will be my support, my shield, and will preserve me...and then that the meek and humble will have the gospel preached to them.  That was a big confidence boost.  I am nothing of myself, but with the Lord, I am everything He needs.  Then yesterday I was studying unity again and came upon another verse that had the phrase "weak things" --He really wanted me to get the hint haha.  You know, before coming here I had full confidence that I would learn the language, I wasn't worried about it one bit.  However, it has been the hardest thing to keep that mindset.  I find myself thinking "how am i ever going to learn and know what to say??"  it almost seems impossible at times.  I want so bad to express myself to the people we teach and for them to understand.  As I was thinking that yesterday the scripture "trust in the Lord...and lean not unto thine own understanding" came to mind.  My own understanding says I can't do this, it will take forever...but the Lord's understanding is that he called me to this work so he will provide a way.  So as long as I remain humble and seek his will with the language and not my own, the language will come without even realizing it.  I thought that if I prayed for the language to come quickly only because i wanted to be a better instrument in the lord's hands, He would see that i had a good desire and grant it to me.  But my mindset has been changed.  I realized that maybe it isn't the Lord's will that i learn the language quickly, maybe it is his will that i struggle with it for 6 months, or a year, or the whole time i'm here.  I really wasn't seeking his will at first, i was seeking my own.  I know i've only been here a week haha but i don't want to make any excuses for not being productive and for not being diligent.  Now, I am going to accept whatever will come...I was thinking that this is my first area for a reason, im not supposed to be fluent in tagalog here for a reason.  maybe there is someone who needs to see me struggle.
This hasn't been an easy week, but from a quote by elder holland "how could we think this would be easy when it was never, ever easy for [Jesus Christ]"  --not a direct quote but something along those lines.  Im grateful to be here and can't believe I still have 16 months to go lol!!  I am looking forward to the many great experices ahead.  We are teaching a 14 yr old girl and in her closing prayer (which was in english) this is one line she said that i'll never forget "I promise that I will be a good child to you"  She is getting baptized in a few weeks and has the strongest desire to learn from the book of mormon.  How impressed i was with her simple prayer....she is only 14 but she truly knows her relationship to her Father in Heaven, that God who created her.  She is an example to me of a disciple of Christ, it is my prayer that I can be like her and promise that Lord that I will be a "good child" to him.  
So....I failed to mention that I only get mail like every other week, including mom, the best way now to communicate with me is through email, not dearelders haha.  I wont get mail till this wednesday :)  Everyone else can write me dearelders but mom i'd like to hear from home every week lol so you can email me--i have an hour now!  And sorry if i don't write to people very much, my pday's are limited on time since i now have to hand-wash my clothes :)  I will really try and get a few letters out though every now and then!!  Thank you all soooooo much for your prayers and support.  Oh and ps what is kiki's email address?!
Mahal ko kayo nang sobre!!!!!
sis carroll
Thank you for sending my email to bishop jones, im sure he appreciates that and he is able to send it to other members of the ward!!  And can you please get me the recipe for no bake cookies :)  and maybe some other simple food recipes that i can make for sis rivera and give her a taste of america!  Also, for a package which doesn't need to be sent right away...rubber gloves and floride rinse from the ortho office, have kiki get me some please!

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