There is so much to say, so little time!! (and I forgot my journal darn it! I write in it what I need to remember to tell you, so sorry if i am more vague).
~Riding the bus to the mission office~
Let me start with WOW! This place is amazing! It is the coolest, most beautiful place I have ever been.
Let me start with Thursday...
Thursday we hung out with our batch mates that all arrived together and had some meetings, interview with mission president, and we all learned to hand wash clothes in a bucket, mission rules, and then spent the afternoon at the beach. It was absolutely breathtaking. This was my most relaxing day I have had in the mission yet. Our mission pres and his wife are the kindest people.
And now the moment you have been waiting for...Friday, or in other words, THE REAPING. Friday morning we were assigned our area and trainers. My new trainer is Sister Spjut, from Kentucky, and we were assigned to the San Fernando D area. Its a brand new opening area, so we are basically starting from scratch, which has been difficult, but we have been making some progress. Sis S is a doll! I love her, I couldn't have gotten luckier! She is a great trainer and is so patient with me. She came from La Trinidad, so she is also new to the lowlands so we are figuring out things together!
Friday night we had our first dinner appt. with the ward mission leader Bro D and another member whose name escapes me. So far the worst thing about the Philippines is the food is DELICIOUS.
IMMA GET FAT. haha
But really everyone here feeds you, we have had dinner AND lunch appts. every day so far. After dinner (on the roof, so legit) we played family home evening games, which was so fun! They were all clapping games, etc.
When the members invite the missionaries to eat here, they include all the missionaries in the ward. There are 8 missionaries in the ward so we all go to lunch and dinner appts. Normally they feed us pansuit, lumpia, RICE, hotdogs, ect...dad i ate pig.
On Saturday at a lunch appt they had a full on pig head at the table and the sister offered me some and you can't say no, so I totes ate it....hahah super chewy. You have to finish your plate or its rude..hehe I haven't been hungry yet...
Btw my district leader is Elder Matt C. Tell Heidi that, he is from Mapleton and played bball with Parker. How ironic! Super nice guy!
We also met our bishop and his family. Favorite people ever wow, so nice, his wife is pregnant and is due in like a week and she still had us all over to eat. We had spaghetti and it was sooooo goooooddddd... the spaghetti here is different than U.S. Its super sweet....ya know on Elf when he pores syrup all over his pasta? Its like that. Really tho. Super sweet and sugary...hahaha
So far my favorite days are Sundays. I feel a lot at home at church. Its such a familiar feeling there. The gospel will always stay the same where ever you go, and that is so comforting to me. The members are so poor and so humble and their faith builds my testimony even more.
It is such a culture shock here, everything is different. (language not so much because guess what?! Everyone speaks English here! Especially if your a foreigner they want to speak English to you!!! its terrible! But I'm still practicing!)
Want to know what it feels like to be a celebrity? Color your hair blonde and go the San Fernando. Totoo (true). My name here is Sister Barbie, that is what the members and missionaries call me, and the people on the streets too. Everyone.
~Riding in a Jeepney~
I love the transportation - we ride jeepneys, but most of the time, me and sis j just take a trike (look on Google Jeepney, trikes, and San Fernando...most likely what pops up will be exactly what they look like.) Its super cheap so its pretty easy. We walk for hours everyday doing "preach by the way" which I love. We currently have no PI's (potential investigators) because its a new area, so we are trying to find some now. Our first legit lesson was last night and the whole family is members except the father. The mother, Sister Fransico, is the Young Women's president and is the sweetest women I have met here. The father has taken many lessons before, but has many questions. He is really receptive tho. The hardest part is getting them to go to church..he has been once. During the whole lesson, C.J. their 4 year old daughter, (cutest girl ever) just stared at me and then finally came and sat by me and started touching my hair. Her mom said she has never seen blonde hair before.
The members here are SO willing to work with us! It is great. We work a lot with Sister Liahona, but she is going on her mission in two weeks. :/ But she has helped us so much, shown us around the area and tells us where to go and not to go.
(you can take this part out i don't say this to sound conceded it just is life) Everyone here just stares at us. Seriously. we are in (to me) an extremely poor area so the people here have never seen a foreigner. They all take pictures of us constantly, stare, point, call me barbie, and it seriously took a toll on me this week and dumb as that sounds. I'M TRYING TO BE NATIVE HERE!!! I AM TRYING TO BECOME A FILIPINO!!! hahah I just have to sing, "I am a Child of God" or "I Am His Daughter" or something in my head. haha I'm a daughter of God. When the kids do it though, its cute and really funny. There will be lots of kids playing in the dirt and they will come up to me and some will ask for money and you just have to say wala (none). Its sad but you have to do it. (I have seen so many naked little children playing in the dirt you would not believe!!) Some just ask my name and ask where i am going and they all just tell me i'm beautiful. haha they literally will just follow us down the streets....i don't know where there nanay (mother) is.....hahah
Don't worry mom I have never been afraid tho, I am safe.
It is super humid here still! I am definitely not in Baguio! It is super hot and humid but I am already used to it. At night I don't sleep with blankets or anything and we always have fans going everywhere because there is no a.c. ..Its nice because in the morning we get to take a nice ice cold bucket shower, which is surprisingly refreshing.
It really is great here. I have been humbled so much already. I love this gospel more than anything. I was called on to bear my testimony at the transfer meeting and in sacrament (Being blonde makes you get called on a lot...for everything...at every class and every meeting...) and normally I have time to ponder it before hand and think about what i'm going to say. It was amazing to me feel how much my testimony has grown as I spoke. I remember when I didn't want to go on a mission and I remember thinking, WHY do I have to do this? Heavenly Father, why are you asking me to do this? But now, I can't imagine NOT being a missionary. This work is INCREDIBLE. I love this gospel more than anything. I love being a missionary more than anything. I love seeing how the gospel can change lives. ITS AWESOME. Ah I can't even describe.
I LOVE YOU ALL MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!!! I hope you are all doing well.
Mom, don't worry, I am GREAT. This is the hardest thing I have ever done mentally, physically, and emotionally, but God truly is helping me and giving me strength. I know it and I feel it.
Love, sista go
i love you so much dad. thank you for that one dear elder you sent. i got it the day i got here and i have read it like every day for encouragement. it really helps me. the people here are so poor. literally living in little shacks with dirt floors. you would NOT believe it. like honestly it blows my mind but the members are so sweet, so kind. there are kids running around naked on the streets playing in dirt. like it breaks my heart. our apartment is nicer out of all the areas. its the nicest. still bucket showers etc. but we are lucky.
ps what day do you want me to skype you?
love you more than anything. mahal kita
love sis go
ps don't worry i am workin hard