Monday, February 14, 2011

Love, Kristen - Week 16 (Doing better, and not sick! Yay!)

Hey Everyone!

Happy Valentines Day!! :) Haha, or Happy Single Awareness Day whichever you may choose. Yep, they have Valentines Day here in the Philippines. Lots of love songs playing around here, which is actually nothing new. They love soft rock/soft pop American love songs over here. It's hard too, because I love that sappy kind of music too. Very tempting to listen too. Haha. But it's all good. We had a Valentines Party with about 8 elders in our zone today. We made them lunch and they brought us ice cream. We made Sangaling or something like that. The elders enjoyed it, and we all loved the ice cream they brought. I'm not sure what kind it was, but it was delicious!! Like moose tracks/rocky road combined, but way better.

That brings me to this subject: I really like the food over here. I'm seriously going to have to find an Asian store when I get back so that I can make Filipino food. Or just Asian food period. It's delicious. Plus their fruit is amazing. There's this one that I really like, and can't remember the name of. It's small though, with a green skin like an orange's. When you peel it back, it looks like an orange too. You bite into it, it tastes like an orange, but then it goes sour like a lemon, but not disgustingly sour. It’s just really good. It’s like a warhead but opposite. Then there's ube ice cream. I have no idea what ube is, but it's delicious. It tastes like a Snicker Doodle Cookie, but better. They put it in Halo-halo which is my favorite dessert. It's amazing! Look it up. I love it. They also have a dessert called Buchi which is like a chinese donut, but again, better. I get both of those things from Chow King, which apparently they have in Seattle, so I may drive 5 hours when I get back home just for Halo-Halo and Buchi.

This week was really good. We had one investigator tell us that she no longer wants to meet with us, but her husband and daughter are still interested and would like to continue with the lessons. I was blessed to be able to teach the Book of Mormon Introduction to the daughter, with Sister Sablan's help, and the help of the member who was working with us that day. Normally we just read a couple paragraphs of the introduction, but this time I really felt strongly like we needed to read the entire thing with her. So we did, and at the end, I had this feeling of peace like that was exactly what we had needed to do, and there was light and happiness in the girl's eyes. She's about 13 years old, and pretty quiet, but very interested in our message. We have another family that we're teaching, where the mom is a little harder to teach, but her daughter, about 11 years old, is soaking everything in, and reading the Book of Mormon whenever she gets the chance. It's great to see the faith of these young children. We had two investigators come to church this week and they seemed to enjoy it. Both have baptismal dates for the first week of March and we're going to help them work towards that. I'll let you know more as they progress. We are also teaching an elderly man who knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, and has a desire to come to church, but has a lot of health conditions that keep him from coming. He went to Roxas on Sunday to see if they could operate on his knees, but they couldn't. I'm not sure why. We're going to see what we can do to get him a priesthood blessing, and possibly see if we can get an exception from President for him, on the number of times they need to attend church before they can be baptized. We'll see. We're teaching another man who is progressing quite well. We ran out of Book of Mormons one night when we went to check on him, so we told him to read the part of The Restoration pamphlet that talks about the Book of Mormon. When we visited him on Saturday, he pulled out his pamphlet and said, "Where's the book?" So we pulled one out, taught him about it, and then gave it to him. I couldn't understand everything, but Sister Sablan says that he's developing a testimony about everything and anxious to learn more. The faith of some of our investigators really touches my heart. They deal with persecution, some of them, perhaps all of them, but most of them continue to press forward and pray and continue to learn more. The spirit during some of our lessons is just amazing. This really is the Lord's work.

A couple more fun facts about the Philippines: I'm tall :). Seriously. These people are so short. There are some Filipinos who are taller than me, but for the most part I'm either the same height, taller, or just a little shorter. It's kind of fun :).

The bridge to Mobo is undergoing a lot of repairs right now, and we get to a point where we're basically crossing it on two planks of wood :). Yeah, it's a little scary, but we're always just fine. The Filipinos sometimes just cross over on the thin metal slabs or whatever...beams...that's the word. It's crazy. They're entertained when I cross over on the wooden planks. I'm getting faster though, and they're starting to be impressed haha. But it's taking them a long time to fix it because they're doing it all by man power. In the US it'd probably be fixed in about 2-3 days, but here in the Philippines it's going to take about a month, maybe a bit longer, which is actually quite fast for the kind of work that they're having to do. It's all man power though. Occasionally I'll see them with a fire thing to cut steal, but that's about it. I'm really impressed.

The picture of me in black on the dirt road is in Mobo :)

I'm really working on my voice intonations, and am actually starting to have more of a rise and fall in my voice (Ilonggo accent) even when I'm speaking English. But I'm still off sometimes when I speak Tagalog/Aklanon/Ilonggo--it's starting to become a mixture of languages, which is actually good. Anyways, I never thought that I had such a thick American accent but apparently I do. I'm working on it though. I'm also starting to read from the Tagalog Book of Mormon during language study to get better at it. I've gone back and forth for months now about whether or not I should do so, because people tell me it's so deep, but then I'll read it, and I’ll be like "But I use some of these words all the time!" Plus I’ve felt sometimes like it's what I need to do. I finally talked to about three Filipinos during district meeting, and they told me that I should, that if nothing else it'll teach me sentence structure and how they say certain things. So I've been doing that, and Sister Sablan helps me know which words are a little deeper and more scriptural. I've learned new vocabulary, and am working on sentence structure. Scriptures are a little more complex in structure, but it's all good. I feel like it's definitely helping me.

One last thing I want to say is that P-Days are awesome. We have district meeting from 8-10, interviews with DL from 10-10:30, then we'll all go out to eat, and email, and shop and then usually hang out. Somehow Elder Waggoner and I always end up in the same place too, so me, Sister Sablan, Elder Waggoner, and Elder Pipit will always do stuff together. It's way fun for all of us. Last week we played pool at the top of Gaisano (mall here) and then went to FHE at the Stake President's house. Or, we went home, wrote letters :), and then met up again to go to Stake President's house. Us missionaries all bore our testimonies about the importance of missionary work, repentence, the atonement...whatever we felt like, and the spirit was really strong and powerful. The members then fed us spaghetti. One of their kids, Matt, is really, really shy, but I started talking to him. I found out that he's 8 years old, in grade 3 (if I remember correctly), his favorite subject is history (because it's easy, haha) and that he's really likes to play chess. When I found this out, I was like, "Oh really?" and challenged him to a game. He got out the board and we played. Elder Waggoner took a picture of us, and I'll send you the picture when I can. The kid was good though! Strategic little thing. I was going easy on him until I realized how good he was, and then I started playing harder. He was so funny. When I started going harder on him and cornering some of his pieces he would say things like, "Wala akong pag-asa." (I'm without hope). But then when he'd get one of my pieces, he'd say "Patay!" (Die!). Haha. When I beat him he was really good about it and said that he just needs more practice. Super cute. He sent me word this week that he's practiced and can beat me in 8 moves. So we'll have to have a rematch :).

It's so humid here that my envelopes are starting to seal themselves! Crazy, huh?

So I'm really starting to adjust and love it here. Satan is still here, but as I rely on the Lord I can feel of the Lord's power to help me resist the bad moods or the temptations. It's great. This week was fantastic. It had its ups and downs, but it really was very good. No sickness this week, and I just kept on working to align myself constantly with the Lord's will and hand all of my problems over to him. I just don't have the energy or time to deal with them, you know? So I just hand them over.

All right, I hope you all have a great week, and a wonderful Valentines Day! :) Or Singles Awareness Day, it's all good :).

Love you!
Sister Danner