Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love, Kristen - Week 21 and a half - Discharged from the hospital!


I was discharged from the hospital a few hours ago.

Diagnosis: Sinositis with Labyrinthitis, Allergic Renitis, Asthmatic Bronchitus

They did a second blood test on me last night. The only concerning things were my iron levels and potassium levels (Potassium--1st time 3.4. Second time 3.3 even after Potassium pills and bananas. Normal is 3.5--5.1. It's not severe, but it is concerning). I'll be given potassium supplements and iron supplements.

The doctor believes that my condition is mostly due to allergies--pollens and pollutants in the air. Dr. Patrimonio is working on getting it under control though so that I can go back to life and work as usual. She tells me though that it may take some time and that we need to be patient, especially since she believes that I've had this condition for a long time (possibly 15 years). I didn't notice as much before because although I would get a little sick at season changes, especially spring, I thought it was normal. The symptoms were not consistent until I came to the Philippines and was in a completely new climate, and with new vegetation. That's what she believes at any rate. The chest x-ray showed nothing significant, but she is not surprised by that, and is still giving me the clinical diagnosis of asthmatic bronchitus.

Note from Mom: Kristen gave us a list of several medications she is taking currently. Our Filipino doctor here in the USA did reach Kristen’s doctor in the Philippines last night. In short, he feels comfortable with all she has done and is doing for Kristen. They actually did some of their training at the same place in the Philippines and knew some of the same people.

Follow up Appointment:

April 1, 2011. Will call the day beforehand to schedule a time (scheduling with Dr. Patrimonio is a little different). Will do another blood test: CBC, Platlet count, K+

Current Plan:

Dr. Patrimonio wants me to stay in Iloilo for awhile. There are only 27 sisters in the mission currently, and only so many areas that sisters are allowed to go to (we are almost always in cities, in the safest part of the city), so that makes it a little difficult especially this week with transfers. President and Sister Pagaduan visited with me in the hospital this morning before I was discharged to discuss the options. President has not had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Patrimonio one on one and only has what Sister Pagaduan has told him, and the AP's, so he was really needing information to make the best possible decision. Right before I was discharged though, Dr. Patrimonio insisted that I stay in Iloilo just so that I am closer to her. She does not want me traveling a lot as she feels that it will only aggravate my condition for now. She wants to see me again on April 1st, and after that appointment she will determine how often she feels she needs to see me. If it is not too often (once every two weeks or longer between visits), President will send me back to Kalibo, and Sister Sablan and I will continue to travel to Iloilo when needed. That is all dependent on next week though. President recognizes that an emergency transfer may need to take place and is preparing for that, but for now everything is still temporary.

So the temporary plan is for me to stay in Iloilo with the "city sisters," and Sister Sablan will travel back to Kalibo on Friday with the missionaries who will be transferring up there. Dr. Patrimonio has given strict orders that I do not work for at least five days. I can go out and buy what I need for today, but other than that I am to stay home and rest and recuperate. There are four city sisters, one who I know from the MTC--Sister McDonald, and three others who I have met before. Two will be transferring this Friday, so whoever comes in will have to be informed of the situation, but that's a minor detail. Anyways, they are all very understanding and cooperative. They are happy to help out. I felt very bad about the situation because I realized that the time each companionship would spend in their areas would need to be cut in half because they'd have to be in a tri-some for at least 5 days, and take it slow the four days I may be able to work, unless perhaps they can get someone from the local ward to stay with me. Sister McDonald reassured me though that they do not mind and that she actually feels this will help them manage their time better. So that made me feel better. It'll all work out. This is what Heavenly Father wants after all.

The sisters back in Kalibo are packing a suitcase for me to have for this week. The zone leaders in Kalibo will bring it down tomorrow night. I'll just live out of that for a week, and then go back to Kalibo or have the rest of my things sent to me if an emergency transfer needs to take place.

Sister Sablan and I are still companions for now, but will be separated of course for at least this week. She'll be in a tri-some up in Kalibo with Sister Budge and Sister Villaester.

Hospital Stay:

I was nervous to stay in the hospital in the Philippines, just because I had no idea what to expect. I found it though to be a really good experience...or at least as good of an experience as a hospital stay can be. The staff was extremely friendly and patient. They took their time to explain things to me and never minded answering my questions. Sometimes they would get a little intimidated and feel that they needed to speak English to me and so they'd get flustered, but that was only a few nurses, and we would just tell them to relax and speak Ilonggo. I'm decent at understanding Ilonggo, although I can't speak it very well yet, so I was still able to communicate and understand. Sister Sablan is fluent, so she was able to help me understand whatever I couldn't on my own. About 90% of the time though the doctors and nurses just spoke English to me and it was excellent, especially Dr. Patrimonio's. She's actually Chinese/Filipino. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Anyways, the hospital was very sanitary, and the room was very comfortable. Sister Sablan and I took pictures yesterday. I'd send them to you, but they're on her camera and she does not have her USB cord with her. So I'll have to get those to you at a later date. You'll see once I send them though what I nice set up it was. I had air-conditioning and a warm shower too :). The first time I showered it was with a bucket still though because I could control better where the water sprayed and not hit the I.V. It was great once I was able to take a regular shower though. 

Because we were paying with cash, our situation was a little different after about day 2. They had charged as much on the bill as they could for cash-only paying patients. After that Sister Sablan would have to go to different departments within the hospital to pay for medicine, I.V. fluid, lab tests, etc. because of the hospital's policy for those who do not have insurance--they basically want to make sure you can still pay. It was funny the first time because they woke her up at about 2 in the morning on the 2nd night to ask her to go to the pharmacy downstairs to pay for the antibiotic or something. Haha, poor girl. I didn't even know until the next morning. Just an interesting thing I thought I would add.

Ummm...what else. Everyone was very fascinated by us. We were in a Catholic Hospital, and probably the only patients in there who did not take communion each morning. Besides that, we also got several visitors, President and his family, the AP's, Office Elders (for money), and local ward Single Adults (Sunday for Sacrament). We wore our nametags, didn't watch T.V., studied, chatted, and were always happy and pleasant when the nurses or doctors came in. Every day we were asked questions about what we do and what we believe and it was fun for us to be able to answer those questions. We couldn't proselyte of course, but with at least a few of them we felt a strong spirit. Perhaps in a simple way, Heavenly Father used us to help prepare them to receive the gospel down the road. The nurses were always happy to hear that we don't party (smoke, drink, party hard) and told us that they don't either. The nurses were about 25-26, at least those who's ages we found out, and so they enjoyed being with us as our ages were close, especially the female nurses. The male nurses were friendly although seemed very business oriented, but they were nice, and so we still had a good time.

I loved my study time in the hospital. I read a couple Ensign articles, and focused my study on 1 Nephi 8-14. Oh I loved 1 Nephi 13! It's so fascinating...Nephi was shown so much. There's no way Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon! It's just too...for lack of a better word right detail, in emotion, in....I don't know...It just makes sense! It was also fun to find where the Book of Mormon starts in the Bible (2 Kings 24-25) and read what was going on in Jerusalem before, during, and after Lehi and his family left. So that was a real blessing. I also read some good quotes in the Ensign...or scriptures quoted in the Ensign rather. They gave me comfort and hope. They are Ether 12:27 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

Oh, while in the hospital I learned that Tatay June (man learning about the church in Kalibo) went to church on Sunday for the 4th time. He can be baptized :). He also went to a priesthood activity on his own :). We'll probably push his baptism date back a little, since we don't want to rush the finishing teachings with him, but it's great. I don't know if I'll get to see the baptism or finish the teachings with Sister Sablan, but I'm very happy with his commitment and desire to follow the Lord. I very much admire him.

I know that this is a strange situation. I never, ever expected this to happen to me in my young adult life, let alone my MISSION! Not at all. But, the Lord has a purpose for it. He has a plan, and I'm actually slowly beginning to see it unfold. There's so much I'm learning from all of this. To first, relax and know that He is God, to know that He is there. To know that He is watching over me and cares for me and will never leave me alone. During this whole ordeal, before, during, and now after hospital stay, I was never left comfortless. He always provided the help I needed, whether physical or emotional, at exactly the time I needed it. I don't know exactly why I was sent here to the Philippines, or why I was even meant to go on a mission. Missionary work can be so hard sometimes, and I recognized this morning that if I wanted to, I had the perfect excuse to go home--medical. However, I knew in my heart that that would be a lie. My condition is not so severe that I need to be sent home. It can be taken care of here. So I decided to reassess why I was really out here. What was giving me the drive to keep going. What was my motivation. And after some time of contemplation, it came down to this: "I'm here on a mission, because I know that there is so much that I can gain from it, and also so much that I can give." The more I gain, the more I can give – the more I give, the more I gain. For now, that is my motivation, on top of it being what the Lord wants.

I love you all. Trust in the Lord. Be happy :).

Sister Danner

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kristen's little friend who has stayed with her when she was sick, and some other Filipino friends.

Love, Kristen - Week 20

Hi Everyone!

Well it sounds like things have been crazy in the world what with the Tsunami in Japan and everything. I was told that it reached the coast of California too. Wow. I really only have what people tell me, so please send me information on what's going on. Here people have just been talking about it. I'm in no danger down here in the Visayas. Actually, my island, Panay, is probably the most protected island in the Philippines. So no one here is worried about it hitting. We have been getting a lot of rain though, and people here are just flabbergasted, because it should be smoking-hot summer right now and it keeps raining! They say it's very weird. I guess the weather is just doing strange things all over the world. Keep praying for the Japanese people though. I can't even imagine what they must be going through right now.

It's been a strange week in the mission. I haven't told you all this because I thought it was nothing, but about every week so far I've been sick at least one day. For awhile Sister Sablan and I thought I was just adjusting, but it's steadily gotten worse. It's very strange though--I get dizzy, and then I'm not dizzy. I get a fever, but it comes and goes. I get a stomach ache, then I'm fine. I'm super, super tired, and then I'm fine. We've been working with Sister Pagaduan, and she finally told me that I need to just go to the doctor.

Here's the thing though. She's been telling me that for weeks and I haven't listened because I've been scared of the doctors here. I had to stay in the MTC for three extra weeks because the doctor in the MTC told me that health care here was so bad that the church had to build a hospital in Manila. So they kept me. So, if there's no good health care why would I want to go to a doctor here? I'd rather just suck it up and try to get better on my own.

Finally though I had to. So Tuesday I decided to go to the doctor and see what it was like. I went in with a skeptical attitude. When I met the doctor (just sat in her office and told her what the problem was) I wasn't impressed. She told me it was poor nutrition and I told her that I eat all the time. She asked what I eat and I said bread, rice, fruits, and veggies. And I eat a lot of them. She basically told me to eat more rice and wanted to do a couple blood tests on me. I said no way and paid for the consultation and walked out. (Note from Mom: Kristen fainted during a blood draw last summer...she is terrified of them...seriously)

The next day Sister Sablan and I headed to Iloilo. Sister Pagaduan is a nurse back in Manila and she's gotten to know some of the doctors here, so I felt more comfortable with that, plus I've heard good things about the hospital in Manila. When we arrived though, instead of heading straight to the doctor's President Pagaduan wanted to interview Sister Sablan and then me. He was concerned about why I was not trusting the people in my own area. When he interviewed me, he told me that I might not have all the conveniences I like, but that the people here are still alive and so the doctor's must be okay. I told him that may be true, but then explained what the doctor in the MTC told me about the church building a hospital in Manila. President was shocked. I said, "Yeah, that's why they kept me there three extra weeks!" He took a few seconds and then gently said, "There is no truth to that at all."


"No. I've worked in the church for many years now in engineering. The church does not build hospitals. Who told you that?"

So I told him the story. He thanked me for telling him and then said he would clear up that rumor as soon as possible and asked for the doctor's name. President then started talking about how there are so many misconceptions about the Philippines, and I have to say he is entirely correct. He dislikes the Missionary Mom site and says that many misconceptions that he hears about stems from that site. Toilet paper for one thing--- it is true, some businesses do not have toilet paper in their bathrooms. That is probably to save money. People buy their own toilet paper and carry it around. They have cars here in the Philippines, and nice houses too. Not everyone lives in nice houses--there are very poor people here. I don't have time to paint a complete picture, but President and I talked about the misconceptions, and I left the interview feeling much more confident about the doctor's appointment.

The next day I went to the hospital in Iloilo and was impressed with everything I saw. My doctor alone was extremely competent and confident. Sister Sablan thinks she's worked in places besides just the Philippines, but regardless, she knows her stuff. I walked in and she said, "I think you have Sinositis."

"You haven't even asked me a question yet!"

She asked me a series of questions, checked my breathing and my heart rate, looked up my nose, and said, "Yes, I'm certain you have sinositis." She then explained exactly what that is.

Apparently the maxillary sinus on my left side is clogged and she believes it has been for years. It has only gotten worse now because there is more pollution in the air, especially in the city part of Kalibo. She explained that since the fluid cannot properly drain from my sinus, it is using another route, and emptying into my ear, which causes sudden dizziness because my equilibrium is suddenly off, and sudden fatigue as well. She says people with this condition generally have dry eyes (yep) and a random, though consistent, cough (yep). She says people with this condition are often suddenly irritable (yep) and dislike hard foods (i.e. meat--I dislike the texture. Except chicken. I just hate the taste of chicken). She explained everything clearly and concisely and I was very impressed. She answered all of my questions. It all just makes sense. So she prescribed me with an anti-biotic, nasal spray, and something else. I don't even know what it does, but it must be working because I'm feeling much, much better. It's taken a few days for the medicine to kick in, but today I can breathe. I don't know how to describe it. It's just so much easier to take in breath. I didn't even know I've been breathing funny, but apparently I have been. So it's all good, no one worry. I'm going back to her this Thursday for a follow up check-up. She says she's going to cure me of everything. I said if she could cure my dry eyes alone I would love her, and she was like, "Okay, let's do this." By the way, her English was excellent. She had me do an x-ray (state of the art machine, totally fine, my wrist would have been FINE, but it's okay I was where Heavenly Father wanted me to be), and yep, it definitely looks like Sinositis, although she'll wait two days for the official lab results from the....what do you call it...x-ray doctor.

So like I said it took awhile for the medicine to kick in so after arriving back in Kalibo, I was still not feeling up to going out to work even though I really, really wanted to. But every time I tried, the dizziness and fatigue would hit again. So Sister Sablan got people to stay with me, one of which was Ate Herjane again. She is awesome. I wish I could have more time to tell you about her. She just loves everyone unconditionally though, and she has a great desire to help the missionaries. She wants to be one herself someday. She drew me a picture of the penguin when I was feeling a little sad and useless as a missionary, and made me feel so much better. After that, I said, "You like pasta?" and so we cooked some pasta together. She chopped up the veggies and I made the sauce. She thought our knife was too dull though so she quickly ran home across the street to get a hasaan (or rock to sharpen knives with). She was gone maybe two minutes and I watched her out the window. I was fascinated by this and took a picture. Later that night she drew a picture of all of us missionaries and I included that one too. She's so cute. I told her I have lots of cats so she drew, "Bahay ng pusa ni Sister Danner," (Sister Danner's cat's house). Sister Sablan has a dog so that's what the other house is of.

Another person who stayed with me was Nanay Edith. She stayed with me twice. She's so sweet. She made me salted green mangos to cure my fever and stomachache (it actually worked too!) and then the next day she brought me Sprite and Oreos. The first night, her daughter and some friends showed up. It was quite a party. I included a picture of everyone. Ate Herjane had just gotten back with Sister Villaester, so Sister Villaester took the picture and Ate Herjane sat next to me. I prefer the first picture (the brighter one) and dislike the contrast in the second one, and was about to delete it when I noticed that Ate Herjane was doing something distinctly Filipino to me. She was giving me the "gwuapo/guwapa" sign. It means "Handsome" for a boy and then "Beautiful" for a girl. Haha. She's so funny.

Sunday I was able to go to church and also work one appointment. Then we had to go home because I was going in and out of dizziness during the appointment. But I was feeling better. Tatay June was at church again. Third week in a row he's shown up on his own. He's so strong. He lives in a rough part of town, but he's determined to make this change for the better. One more week at church and he can be baptized. I have no doubt he'll do it. I hope I can have the health to go visit him this week because he is just awesome. Nanay Sol was not at church because she was feeling pains. She's 61 so it's a little rougher for her. She's still progressing wonderfully though and I know she'll be baptized someday.

So basically, it's been a crazy week, but I'm still learning lots and still seeing the tender mercies of the Lord. For one thing, he lead me to President who cleared up the misconceptions I've heard, and then he lead me to a doctor who can cure me, and then while waiting for that doctor I was actually feeling really bad about being sick and not working when I had a feeling of peace come that told me I was once again exactly where Heavenly Father wanted me to be. Right after that, a lady came up and read my name tag, asked about our church and I got to teach her!!!! Sister Sablan helped, but I was mainly the one teaching. Right there in the hospital. It was fantastic. She lives in Antique, but I gave her a pamphlet, answered her questions, Tagalog seemed to flow naturally from my lips, and it was just a miracle. The lady spoke pretty good English, but I just kept replying in Tagalog for some reason, and then she started speaking in Tagalog back because I was speaking well enough that she trusted me. I was so happy. Then, after the doctor I've been blessed to be able to be with people in my home who speak Tagalog/Aklanon and help me practice the language. I've gotten to know a couple ward members better, had more time to study, and really think about my purpose as a missionary.

President Pagaduan knows I'm facing a lot of trials right now with the work (we're opening an area) and with the language and with my sickness. But he told me in our interview, "Someday you'll look back and be grateful for all of these trials that you're going through right now, and you will understand why they were necessary. It may not be for many years from now. It may not even be until the next life. But someday, you will know, and you will be grateful."

It's true. We don't know why we have to go through certain things sometimes, but Heavenly Father does, and I'm telling you all, all we have to do is put our trust in Him and everything works out. I've never received help so quickly as when I just put my trust in Him and know that He is there to support me and that He wants me to be happy. He wants all of us to be happy because we are His children and He loves us!

So let's be happy. Even during the hard times. It's our choice. Yeah, it can be tough to be happy, it can be hard to find the joy (believe me, I know), but there's always hope. The unfailing source of our hope is Jesus Christ and what He did for us through His atonement. Let's look to Him and live (here in this life, and in the next).

Press forward with faith. And I'll do the same.

I love you all!
Sister Danner

Monday, March 7, 2011

More of Kristen's apartment...

Kristen's apartment!

Photos of things Kristen sees every day in the Philippines (described in email below....)

Love, Kristen - Week 19

Hi Everyone!

Real quick, here are some more pictures of the Philippines. Only one is of me, but the others are just some of the things I see during the day. Actually, they're all of things in Mobo. Bakhaw Norte is a little harder to take pictures in, although I have included pictures of that place in the past (walking through that giant puddle/boats/bamboo bridge). One of them is of the heart of a banana tree. I didn't even know they had hearts! So pretty cool. Apparently they chop it up and mix it into soup. I haven't had it yet, and neither has Sister Sablan, but we both think it's pretty cool when we see one. Another is of a dog of one of our investigators. It's super protective and barks like crazy when we go visit her. Growls too. We were pretty scared of it at first, even though it's pretty small. Now I just think it's funny. You can kind of see in it's eyes though what a protective dog it is. Another is one of my favorite flowers. Then just a cool looking duck and some goats. Pretty simple, but pretty. (Note from Mom: I am not sure all of these photos came through. I will post what did.)

All right so on to this week. This week was honestly hard. I won't go into details, but it was just one of those weeks where things go pretty well, but Satan still works on you really, really hard. I got very discouraged with the language this week and worried about my relationship with investigators. They like me fine I think, and I can teach them simple things, but I still depend a lot on Sister Sablan to convey the message to them completely. I've been getting down on myself about this for weeks and it's started to just steadily get worse each week. We were also a tri-some for three days with Sister Budge because Sister Villaester went to Iloilo for some leadership training. So that threw us too, and Sister Budge seemed so much more comfortable with the people than I did, and she's only been here three weeks, and so I started comparing myself to her. I'm very hard on myself already, so this extra bit really got to me and I stressed myself out pretty bad. So as a result, I got sick for two days :(. Just a rough situation. However, things will get better. I've talked to a lot of leaders and even got a priesthood blessing from one of my zone leaders this morning after Zone Meeting. I just felt like I needed one. I was blessed with a new determination and peace of mind and comfort, and was told that Heavenly Father is happy and pleased with my progression. So basically, I just need to RELAX and focus on what I AM doing right, and not so much on all the things I need to improve on. So yes, I'm feeling better, and ready to just start over in a sense, with my new determination.

So, you may be thinking, “What??! I thought she was fine!” Yes, I am. There are wonderful things that happen each week and so many blessings that come. The language is coming and I am sometimes very blessed to be able to communicate effectively what I want to convey, but really, most of the time, I do struggle to understand them still, and often stumble over words trying to find the right one to say. You see, never before in my life have I had trouble communicating what I feel--exactly what I feel, exactly what I want people to know. But a mission in the Philippines has completely humbled me in that respect. I still have my talent of speaking and writing, but now, I need to develop it in another language in the Lord's way and in His own timing for the Filipino people. And for me, that's really frustrating. I want to be able to communicate now, and so I rejoice when I can understand one meeting with one investigator! And it's good that I rejoice, because it means I'm progressing. But then I'll get upset when I can't understand the next one, and Satan will work on that "upset-ness". When I talked with the Zone leader this morning he listened carefully as I explained what I was feeling, and then reassured me that everything I was feeling was okay and normal and that in fact, I'm supposed to be feeling this way right now. It's all part of the process and experience. He's American too (been out 11 months), and so he understands what it's like in the beginning and how frustrated I am. But he also knows there's a purpose for it, and gave me the advice and encouragement I needed to keep pressing forward.

So basically, what I email you all is true, but I always try to keep my emails optimistic because I try to stay optimistic. Everything I write is what I really feel, and this week, it was just a more trying week. People always say that "A mission is hard," but I'm telling you, no one has any idea what that really means until they get out here and do it. It's not only physically exhausting, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Never before have I realized my weaknesses so much. Sooo much. But then, on the other hand, never before have I been given so much strength to overcome them. The Lord doesn't give me that strength right away though. What would be the point? He needs me to learn and to learn how to overcome. But He always provides a way for me to receive the strength I need at the exact time that I need it--no sooner, no later. Sometimes I really, really want it sooner, but He has a perfect plan, and I'm developing trust right now in that plan and in Him, more so than I've had before than at any other time in my life. I'm being humbled, sooooooooooooo humbled, and it's hard, but I'm okay. I'm okay because I know that He knows that I can do this, and that He'll always give me the strength and support I need when I need it, in whatever form I need it.

All right, so that is that. Rough week, but I'm okay. This week will be better :).

Now for the good parts of this week :). Bishop is really starting to trust Sister Sablan and I a lot. He took us around his neighborhood the other day and introduced us to all of his friends who aren't LDS and then took us to people who even he didn't know. It was so funny. We walk up to this house and he says, "I don't even know these people!" but he knocks on their door anyway (which here in the Philippines is rude if you don't know them), and introduced us to his neighbors because he so badly wants us to teach people in his neighborhood. It was funny. We didn't have any success really with the people he didn't know, haha, but with his friends they were very friendly and said we could come back to teach them. We received 8 referrals total that day from Bishop, and went back later that night to teach one of them. That one owns a boarding house, and four of the boarders listened in on the lesson too. It went pretty well. We felt the spirit, and were invited back, so we'll go back this week. We're excited and so happy that Bishop trusts us so much! It's so important to have a relationship with the members, especially Bishop.

We have two more investigators with a baptismal date! One of which is Sister Sol (the woman with the chunget, and who's husband has a cow). We've spent about three weeks with her just discussing the Restoration. She's smart, but learns at a slower rate because she wants a full understanding and needs the details. She finally prayed though and receieved her answer that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. We committed her to baptism on Wednesday, and she came to church with us this Sunday. She's such a cute lady. She's one that I feel trusts me too, so much that she'll talk to me even though she must know I can't completely understand her. I asked her how Sacrament Meeting was before Sunday School started and she gave me a full description of how she felt. I understood some of it, but not completely, and she was about to explain something to me again when class started. But anyways, I'm glad that she's starting to really progress now. The other is Tatay Jun, a man we met two weeks ago, and taught lesson 1 to briefly. He came to church that week though, and then came again this week. Both times all on his own! He says he wants what we have, but he did express concerns that he may not be able to have it. He says he hasn't committed any big sins though, so we'll find out what he's so worried about and address it and help him overcome it. He's so great though. Super confident--he used to be a cop-- and has already made a friend in church.

THAT by the way is SOOO important!! Fellowshipping is so key to bringing people into the gospel. They are making so many changes in their lives and they need friends to help them do so. They need encouragement. Missionaries can do that, but missionaries leave eventually. Members though stay in the area, and so it is sooo important that we as members do all we can to make investigators, less-actives, and recent converts feel welcome. Ask the missionaries what you can do to support them and help them. I know it seems hard, and you may have to go out of your comfort zone, and even I wasn't the best at it before my mission, but that is completely going to change when I go back. We all have a responsibility to help people come unto Christ and help them into His true gospel.

Okay, anyways, also when I was sick, Sister Sablan got a member to stay with me so she could still go out with the other two. It was a 14 year old girl named Herjane. She's very, very mature though, and was pretty fun to talk to. However, although she's taken 8 years of English in school, she refused to speak to me in English because she knows that American missionaries are trying to learn the language. So for 4 hours we communicated in Tagalog and Aklanon. She--Aklanon. Me--Tagalog...and some English :). She taught me lots of Aklanon words though, and Tagalog too actually. People here are very, very good at Tagalog. They understand Ilonggo too, but really can't speak it. Some only speak Tagalog too because they moved here from Luzon. It's interesting. Anyways, that was really good for me though, and I really appreciated her doing that.

So anyways, basically, being a missionary is tough, but it can be lots of fun too. There are hardships, but there are blessings, and there are people all around you who are your friends and who are willing to help you at a moments notice. I'm grateful I have so many amazing people in my zone. I'd tell you about more, but I'm out of time, and this email is long enough :).

The church is true. No matter how tough this work gets, the church is still true. I know this for myself, and I cannot deny that fact. I love you all! Keep the faith! :)

Sister Danner