Busy week, though, to be honest, it seemed a lot of the time to be really unproductive. The problem with our area is that it is SO big, the biggest in our zone, and it's right in the heart of the city, so it's very busy too. It probably stretches three miles in every direction from the middle, and while that might not seem very much, we walk back and forth a lot. Investigators tell us a "set" time for an appointment, so we walk all the way to their house, and then they cancel or aren't home, so we have to walk all the way back to the other side of our area for the next one. We do a lot of walking. My legs are beastie.
We had exchanges this week with the Sister Training Leaders (my roommates). I had to lead the area and show Sister Pace that I'm a competent missionary. I tried my super hardest to walk tall, say hi to people, and talk in Tagalog as much as I could with confidence instead of fear. It was fun with Sister Pace, although I think she got frustrated with me when we spent most of language study with her trying to help me get the difference between kaibigan and kaibigan. Yeah. They're the same, right? But apparently, the meaning changes depending on how you stress the i. This was the subject of our study because apparently that morning, when a woman we tracted said she knew a member of the church, I was trying to ask, "Is she your friend?" but apparently I asked, "Is she your lover?" Luckily, she didn't hear me. But after forty minutes of practice, I've got it down. I think.
Sister Lang and Sister Gardner, two american sister from the Masbate area, an island in another zone, came to visit since they had a meeting in the city. We exchanged with them for the evening, Sister Lang and me splitting and taking on half of the area while Sister Gardner and Jaya covered the other. Sister Lang is really really good in Tagalog. We tracted one house, and before we even opened our mouths, the girl waved us in with a grin. Sister Lang, who had previously told me the difference two Americans can make, learned over and said "Two whities, I'm telling you." The girl we met was Leernie (not sure on spelling, there), a sixteen year old that talked super fast and welcomed us with open arms. She told us about being visited by elders before, and she answered our questions with ease. At the end of our lesson, we easily set up a return appointment with her, and she took pictures with us for her Facebook.
The Masbate sisters ended up staying with us for four days, since there was a storm in Masbate and no boats were leaving. We ate at Cena Una, my favorite fancy restaurant here, where the food is dang good, the desserts are divine, and the service members basically stand around you table (sometimes awkwardly) and give you everything you could ever want. The mango crepe and the choco-punch boulder desserts are my favorite. When I someday come back the the Phillies with my fam, guess where we're going every evening?
Though most of the week was full of disappointments when it came to consistent lessons, Sister Jaya and I did have one, really great experience. Now, the reason for my title is actually a woman named Sunshine. We met her early this week while tracting; we found her and this couple chilling having a good Sunday afternoon. We taught them all the first lesson, and then set up appointments with both of their families for separate days. Yesterday, we found out the Karrin and Ryan don't want to hear from us anymore, a major bummer since they had shown interest, but this story is not a sad one!
Moving on to the good stuff. Sunshine's return appointment was first. Sunshine's house is up a literal mountain, quite the trek for us, but oh my gosh, what a lesson. Especially in the midst of our disappointments, Sunshine's lesson was amazing. We had only planned to teach about prophets, but the spirit was urging Sister Jaya and me to go on, so we didn't even have to confirm to each other the need to continue. We taught prophets, Christ's earthly ministry, the apostasy, and Joseph Smith's First Vision. During which, Sunshine listened carefully, her eyes trained on us. She asked clarifying questions and told her children to be quiet so she could here. She offered the closing prayer, which literally made my heart feel like it was too big for my chest, and like my soul was jumping for joy. Sister Jaya asked her how she felt afterward and Sunshine just put a hand over her heart and said that she felt warm and happy and that God was talking to her. It was so beautiful and moving. She gave us hugs and kissed our cheeks. We're teaching her again on Tuesday, and I'm so excited. There is Sunshine in my soul today!
Today was really fun. It was our district activity, so we all (minus Sister Jaya sadly, she flew to Manila to do visa stuff) traveled by jeepney to a place called Embarcadero, which is a mall on a pier in Legazpi. I finally got to see the ocean, which was ultra exciting for me. We took pictures and tried to go bowling, but the place was closed. So we ended up traveling again to Cagsawa, a famous park that's featured in a lot of google images when you search for pictures of Mount Mayon - It is the ruins of a bell tower that has been transformed into a national park for tourists. We took pictures, played games, and I had my first "Buko", which is just fresh coconut. It was really weird, and somewhat gross, but the elders said that I'll be addicted to it by the end of my mission. Today was also the hottest day yet on my mission. I'm not keeping it crisp, folks. Though only February, the "coldest" months in the Philippines are now over.
This week was a mix of bad and good, a mix of discouragement and happiness, weakness and finding strength. I'm always learning something new, always discovering something about myself that I didn't know before. Things that I used to stress over don't seem important as I feel myself giving over to the mission a little more. The other day, I read my first name on a piece of paper and I wrinkled my nose at it. Shannon? Is that even my name? Who the freak is that? I seriously was having an identity crisis, wigging out to Sister Jaya that I couldn't believe that people call me Shannon. I said the weird name fifty times in a row and I just couldn't imagine anyone calling me that anymore. I'm Sister Green right now. I literally can't imagine anyone calling me anything else. I can't believe I'm almost done with training. One more week and Sister Jayasekara will be going home, and I'll have a new kasama, a new adventure. My training is coming to a close, I'm a "real" missionary now. I'm excited for change. I can't believe I've almost been out four months now. Fifteen more to go! Seriously, this mission will be gone before I know it. Insane in the membrane.
I love and miss all of you. Sorry for being a little short this week - I'm sure next week will have more "oomph" to it, di ba? I'm doing good for those who might worry about me. I'm just trying to progress a little more. Time to push harder!
I FEEL NICE, WITH SUGAR AND SPICE.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
"Pocket Full of Sunshine"
"I Feel Good" - James Brown
"Love is for the Birds" - Taylor Olson
No pictures because the internet is being idiotic. Which is super sad, since I had some good ones! Ugh! Next week, promise!