Monday, December 2, 2013

Week Walo: Two-faced Trouble‏

Fair warning. My shift key is sticky. So this might not be a perfectly edited letter. So sorry in advance. Okay. Second week sa Philippines, second week of adjustment. Just a note to everyone who sends me dearelders - they are printed in Manila and they aren't on a schedule. They aren't delivered daily or even weekly. I haven't gotten any yet. So if you've been communicating with me by dearelder, email is probably now the more reliable way of contacting me, especially if you've been telling me news and stuff. This majorly applies to Tiffany, Jasmine, Natalie, and mom. I'm sorry if you've been telling me stuff. I'm sure I'll get them soon, but as of today, a big zero was waiting for me.

This week was harder for me in so many ways. Sometimes it was so hard to keep a good attitude. I was homesick a lot this week - for the first time in my mission. Probably because of the lack of mail. I read a bunch of old dearelders (BIG mistake) and I sort of wallowed in annoying self pity. I always feel like I'm made of two people. One is sad and discouraged, and the other is screaming at it telling it that I knew this would be hard. I knew that there would be tough days. But I also know that this will all be worth it. I know that my mission is a fraction as hard as the Savior's was, and even a fraction as hard as the first missionaries' were, but the other part of me sometimes gets so down on herself that it's hard to stay focused. And it's hard to stay focused as it is - keeping my mind trained on the work is hard when a lot of the time I don't understand what's being said. It's easy for me to zone out, and then I get frustrated with myself for messing up and not keeping my mind single on the work. And on top of that, I missed my mom a lot this week and that just made everything harder.

The peak of this upsetting attitude was Thanksgiving morning. I knew I should be thankful for everything, and believe me, I was, but it was just so hard to stay positive and focused when I was so tired and discouraged. And the fact that I was frustrated was stressing me out more because it ws THANKSgiving. That morning, I didn't want to go out to teach. I was too down to be happy around others, even though I knew for a fact that that was the only thing that would make be feel better. The sisters sensed my ill-covered and distressed panic attack and talked me down. Sister Donato ran and came back with a little piece of paper that someone had given her. It says "Take one day at a time. Do not think too far in the future. Just do as the day requires." You could say that became my motto this week, during so many difficult days of no success and frustration. I'm working on doing just as the day requires, just the Tagalog I need for the day so I don't get too stressed, just not thinking about the future when that is so far away. I still struggle in some moments, but hopefully I get better at thinking positively. 

There are a lot of ants here. They anger me on multiple occasions. Pesticide is now my best friend here.

Wednesday was just a flop. Nothing was working - out of our six lessons planned, only one was available, and they were two rowdy children who were not very interested on focusing. We were able to talk to two other investigators for about five minutes, but the day was definitely a bust. But in the midst of failing tracting, we found a family of four in the street eating. We talked to them briefly and invited them to church, and then continued on our way. Four hours later, while we were despairing, we got a text from this young family telling us that they would come on Sunday. Ugh, it was the first good thing that had happened that day. On Sunday though, they didn't come, so that was sad. They apparently had to work. In fact, none of our investigators came to church, even though we were expecting at least four. 

Two of those investigators are Imelda and Precilla, who are supposed to be baptized on Dec14th. On Tuesday, when we arrived at their house, who should we find but Imelda, who quickly hid her hand behind her back and waved us to go in without her with a cough. We could see the cigarette smoke trailing out behind her back. So that was sayang (too bad). We are still hoping for the 14th, but we don't know anymore.

I got to ride a Jeepney for the first time this week. We usually walk, but it was dark and it was raining, so we rode. It was way fun. The driver was laughing at me because in the empty back benches, I was sliding all over the place with a gleeful grin plastered on me face. 

The rain was crazy this week. It didn't rain for the first half of the week, which was gross for me since the heat was nearly unbearable a lot of the time, but then when it finally did rain on Friday, it poured to the point of flooding. We waded through a lot of puddles this week. During the downpour on Saturday, I think it was, I heard the first thunder and saw the first lightning I had ever experienced here. Rain is usually quiet here - which was so odd to me the first time I really noticed it. Anyway, thunder and lightning. And my mind snapped to Sister Richmond, and I hoped she was okay. Are you okay, Sis Rich? 

This week has also been weird health wise. For the past few days I've woken up with stomach aches that stay until lunch time. I think it might be dehydration, but then again, I could have a parasite. In my tired state the other day, I started to brush my teeth with unfiltered water, only to wig out and rinse my mouth out. Everyone makes fun of me because of my obsession with my filtered water bottle. They say that I won't get sick if I just cut loose. I don't believe them though, because I know that I WOULD be the one to get a parasite. So hopefully my stomach just feels better. 

We taught a new investigator this week. Her name is Chelo, and her daughter is Elisa. Elisa is a sweetie who's twelve and she asked what she had to do to be a missionary like us. I love saying Chelo's name because I always say "Chelllooooooo, you gotta bass!"

Sister Jayasekara and I, after receiving our bimonthly support money, went to Bigg's Diner. I walked in and laughed. It was so Americanized! There was a singer, who actually had a decent belt, who sang Adele and other stuff, and there were pictures of Charlie Chaplin, Elvis, Audrey Hephburn, and about a BILLION pictures of Marilyn Monroe on every surface. Sister Jaya said that with my long curly hair (which I had shown her pictures of), I looked a lot like Marilyn Monroe. I laughed and told her thank you even though that is simply not true. Haha. I had a burger and fries at Bigg's - which was good if you remember that the burger is exactly a common thing here. It was as good at the Philippines would get a burgers anyway. Their carrot cake was actually rather tasty.

Hahah, sorry if my emails seem scattered. I never know what to include. I tried "coffee" this week at a member's house. Turns out it's just roasted rice with cream. It's delicious. I was so confused though, as you can imagine.

Thanksgiving! That's something. I had a good Thanksgiving, considering that they don't celebrate it here. Our apartment did celebrate though, since we have two American sisters. Sister Pace and Donato cooked us an amazing meal with chicken, beans, rice, little potatoes, and french toast for dessert. I told the story of Thanksgiving with Sister Pace, and then with the colored paper I had purchased, I taught Sister Donato and Jayasekara how to make their first hand-turkies. We colored them on a mattress in our living room and wrote our names on them in our left hands to look like kids writing to complete the image. Our turkies are hanging up on our wall. Sister Donato, who loves "The Star-Spangled Banner" way more than a lot of Americans I know, sang it with me. I am so blessed to have the girls in my apartment! I love them, and they are such comforts to me.

On that note, Sister Jaya is my hero. We were tromping along in the pouring rain when we heard a horrific sound, a piercing wail that hurt my ears. The funny thing was, I had heard that sound before, only deeper in pitch. My mind immediately raced back in time to when I was living in Springerville, and I was only about four or five years old. My sister and I were playing outside when that sound filled the air, one we mistook for a prehistoric creature. We found out later that it was a dog caught in barbed wire. I felt like Indigo Montoya from The Princess Bride (Is it Indigo? How do you spell his name?) and I was quoting him, "That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound...yadayada." Well Sister Jaya and I rounded the corner and lo and behold, it was the same sound I had heard when I was five because it was the same situation. A puppy not much bigger than both my hands was caught in barbed wire. I stopped, not knowing was to do, but I insisted that we halted to help it. Sister Jaya grabbed a stick and tried to help the puppy out, while I stood with my hands over my mouth, near sobbing and pacing around. Whenever the puppy screamed in pain, I wailed with it with a "Oh no, baby, oh no, puppy, I don't know how to help you, stop moving, baby puppy baby." I obviously wasn't much help. I attacked a passerby and frantically asked in english if they had a pocket knife, for the puppy's neck tie was caught, making it have to put its head and paws of the wire, but the person didn't understand me. I can imagine their confusion as a soaked, frantic American girl nearly screamed out a demand at them. Oh dear, I do make good impressions. But Sister Jaya finally freed the puppy, and I have since thanked her at least seven times. She was magnificent.

Onto the spiritual highs. I had some good ones this week, although some were a tad unexpected. One was with the lady we met in that store last week, who I affectionately call Shampoo Lady. Oh my goodness, I was not expecting what happened. We were welcomed to sit down, and we just started talking about the Restoration pamphlet. Although we talked in the shop, so she had to get up a lot, we had an amazing experience. About fifteen minutes in, this woman got up, got a notebook, and started taking NOTES on our lesson, writing down every scripture reference and every list of doctrine we mentioned. I got to speak a lot of English with her, and she listened patiently to everything we said. She asked a lot of questions too, including about the signs of Christ's coming with the typhoons and stuff, which I was able to answer for her. At one point she said, "So with Joseph Smith's time, there were many churches..." and then she grabbed a nearby mirror and held it up, "But I want the FULL church!" Ah, it was so incredible to see how much the Lord has prepared this woman. She was so anxious to learn, and after an hour and forty five minutes of discussion, going into doctrine that wasn't usually mentioned in the first lesson, like "So what happens to the people who didn't come unto Christ when he comes again?", I asked her to pray about it. She said she wouldn't until she read the newest pamphlet we gave her, but she said that something told her that all of what we were saying was true. WHHHAATTTTT. Ughh, it was so amazing. A miracle to me when we've had such a tough week. We have an appointment with her on Wednesday, but that's exchange day, so Sis Jaya will have to tell me how it went.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week. I miss all of you, and I hope that your lives are just going swimmingly.

Mahal kita!


-"Kindle my Heart" that song from A Little Princess that always makes me bawl
-"Emma Smith - Never had an Ordinary Day" also makes me sob.
-"I'm Gonna Fly" - Kiki's Delivery Service
-"It's Time" - Imagine Dragons (or is it Fun? Can't 'member)
-"Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" (whose mighty hand hath made me whole <3)

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