This week was a LOT better than last week. I feel like I'm adjusting more to the sights, smells, humidity, heat, food, people..just everything!
Last Monday was awesome! We went to Guysano...a mall to do our shopping, and all the missionaries were there! It was SO good to see people from my district in the MTC, and even missionaries i've never met--there's just something about seeing people that have the same purpose as you, you know? And that fact that i went from being surrounded by hundreds of missionaries 24/7 at the MTC to just my companion. don't get me wrong, i love my companion, but it was nice to see people like Sister Smoot and Sister Van Slooten. :) We ate together at Pizza Hut (yay for American food!) and then went shopping at the grocery store. I was amazed at how many things they have that we have in America so that made me feel better! :) Afterward we went home and washed our clothes---it's gonna take me a while to get used to doing all this by hand. haha After our p-day ended, we taught Sister Marjolette Consejeros. She's living with Doug Chua and they have two kids. They are getting married July 13th and she's getting baptized the same day!! I'm so excited for her! She is so incredibly sweet and I hope so badly that they can save enough to go to the temple next year. :)
Tuesday we had exchanges. It was my first one and I was scared beyond belief. I hadn't even been here a week and I was supposed to show Sister Portugal where to go and what to do in our area. Yikes! It was a tough day...I had never been to the area we taught in, but luckily Sister Marilou, a member missionary, came with us to show us where everyone lived. Sister Portugal is Filipino, so I couldn't understand her English very well, and I couldn't understand anyone we taught. I felt like a failure at the end of the day, but sister portugal told me my nanay (mom, or trainer--sister mciver) would be proud. On Wednesday, we were still having exchanges and during companion study, SIster Portugal actually helped me a lot. I guess after the trial come the tender mercies, right? She gave me a lot of encouragement and even wrote me a cute little song. She told me just to forget myself and work work work. President Lopez told us that the cure for everything is work, and in PMG it says work will prevent homesickness, and it's so true! As I've focused more on the work, it's been easier to adjust and not feel so homesick. :) Sister Portugal also taught me how to cook a filipino meal and eat it filipino style (with my hands). It was fun! Even if i was scared to do exchanges so early in my mission at first, it turned out to be a HUGE blessing. Sister Portugal helped me out a lot. She's an amazing missionary and I hope to be like her someday.
Thursday we taught a few less active members and a new investigator! Her name is Sarah Mae and we taught her about God's love and how the Gospel blesses families. Hopefully we can teach her again next week! That night we stayed with the sisters in Alihis--Sister Bushman and SIster Ulusasa, because the next day was Zone conference and we wanted to be closer to the chapel so we didnt' have to travel as far. Sister Bushman is from utah and went to USU and sister Ulusasa is from Samoa--they are great!
Friday, the Rasmussen's, a senior couple in our mission, were so kind and drove us to zone conference! Oh my goodness, zone conference was amazing! It was just the boost I needed to get motivated to WORK! We watched the worldwide leadership broadcast and and president lopez taught us a lot of inspired things to help our mission grow. He told my zone (the Bacolod South Zone), that our zone is the model stake/zone of our entire mission. Crazy! I feel like that puts a lot of responsibility on me..to learn fast enough in order to keep our zone progressing and stay the model zone. SIter mcIver is awesome though and is helping me a lot. Presdient says he expects a lot from us in this zone. I feel humbled that he trusts me, so hoepfully I can live up to his expectations! It gave me that much more of a boost to be better and strive harder.
Saturday we had our weekly planning and Sunday was wonderful! We didn't have a brown out (where the power goes out) this week, so that was good, and the AC worked in the chapel--a nice plus. ;) Sacrament meeting is always so wonderful for me, to just ponder and remember the covenants I've made. We had an RM speak, so that was neat! I thought about myself being in that position someday, and I actually got a little sad--i really will miss this place! the people are so easy to love! After church we met with the Bishop and Brother Ryan(ward mission leader) to disucss goals for our ward. I love our bishop---he is so willing and ready to help us work. I think it will help us a lot to succeed!! He is awesome. and so is brother ryan. That night the bishop fed us. I cannot believe how much we are fed here. I thought i'd go hungry, but we definitely don't! the members are so kind to us. try this for a dessert sometime---corn, shaved ice, sweetened consensed milk, brown sugar, corn flakes, and cocnout jell cubes. mix it all together and you have a filipino dessert! it's actually pretty good!
Well, I've gotta go, but thank you SO much for all your prayers this week! They truly have helped me get through the tough times and I'm so grateful for the love and support I have back home! I love you all so much! And Rebecca...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I love you so much! I hope you have a fabulous birthday week. :)
EVERYONE calls us, "Sis."
Filipinos in this area LOVE karaoke.
Tiangee's are awesome and Piaya is the best dessert I've tried here (a pastry with brown sugar in the middle).
I saw a cat the other day jump like 10 feet and grab a lizzard off the wall of someone's house. Welcome to the Philippines! :)
"Pizza hut! It's in Guysano--the mall we go to to get groceries and eat lunch on p-day. It was so nice to finally have AMERICAN food!!! And to see so many missionaries and sister van slooten! It made my sore heart happy. :)"
"Eating dinner at the Ledesma family's house."
"the big grey building is where they have the 'derby' or cock fighting. it's HUGE here, so the arena is very large. don't tell rissy about the cock fighting though. it's sad. :("
Jessica's first cooked Filipino meal. She even ate it in Filipino style--with her hands!
Doing exchanges with Sister Portugal
"one of the houses along our way to someone we visit"
"blurry pictures of the streets we travel. it was at night and we were in a senior couple's car coming home from zone conference, so i felt safe taking out my camera, even if it's blurry. :)"
A coconut tree
"colored chicks. yes, they actually dye the chicks. Pink and purple!! crazy!! i think they inject the coloring in the egg before they're born or something. i don't actually know but it was crazy!!"
She also said that the kids are kind of scared of her beautiful blue eyes because they have never seen blue eyes before!
"grove of trees we walked through that sister mciver calls, 'the sacred grove.' :)"
"a gross snail as big as my hand. yuck!!"