Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 8 - 3/25/2013

Maupay na Kolop!

Well, This is going to be much shorter cause I have less time, but things are going great! And I even have some pictures!! Highlights: The Ordonez Family got baptized on Saturday! Yay! And we are just making sure they have their sights set on the temple for next year. So, it's interesting, I feel like I know the language pretty well considering I've only been here like a week, but whenever I have the chance to talk, I just smile because I don't know what to say! Not because I don't know how to translate it, I just literally don't know what to say haha And everything I can think of saying is not worth translating haha so I need to work on that. The baptism was pretty crazy because it was supposed to start at 4 but it didn't really start until 5 and even though we told the Ward Mission leader to organize the program (who is speaking and everything) a few days before, literally 5 minutes before it started he was asking people. And then they jokingly asked me if I would talk and I laughed and said "No, I've been feeling sick" and I don't know anything and I thought I was off the hook. Nope, they start and call me as the first speaker. WHAT?!?!?! Luckily, Sister Somera is a saint and took over me because I literally felt like a was about to fall over. And I could've said something, but I felt like they deserved something better than 5 sentences for their baptism. But in church they asked me to bear my testimony and it went really well! They said it was perfect Waray-waray and I definitely have the gift of tongues because they've never seen someone pick up the language so fast. I just really feel like it was a result of the change in the MTC program because even though it's a different language, the grammar was the same and a lot of the gospel terms are similar and I had a really firm foundation in that coming out of the MTC so it's been really good. Today, we went to beach! Most of the time, I forget we are on an island so close to an ocean, but it was so beautiful! Hopefully my pictures to it justice. I honestly don't think it's that hot here, there is always a nice a breeze and we are in the shade most of the time. I really don't think I'll ever get sun burnt ever. It has rained quite a bit this week, and it comes down HARD, but it hasn't been too bad. Filipinos avoid rain like the plague, it's kinda funny. I don't think I mentioned this before, but people stare at me all the time! We were teaching a lesson to a recent convert this past week, she was like 17 and she told me I was beautiful then just kept staring at me through the whole lesson haha It's pretty great especially since I wear no makeup and my hair is a mess all the time. I basically discovered braids are the only way. And the other day we were walking down the street and this little boy yelled, "Hello Sister Pike!!" And I looked at my companion and said, "do you know him?" She said, "Nope, looks like you're famous!" haha Hmm... I love talking to my companion cause I never realize how blessed I am. She asks about how close the temple was and if I've ever seen the prophet. When she found out I've been to General Conference like 4 times and went to the temple every week for years, she always says, "you are so blessed!" She had never been to the temple until she went in the MTC in Manila and received her endowments. And she didn't learn any language at the MTC so even though she knew illongo and tagalog, she had learn the languages here! And she was telling me about her other companion that was from Pakistan and learned English, all the characters, Cebuano and Waray-waray all in the field, no formal education at all! I cannot even imagine!!!! I feel really blessed! Nahigugma ako sa inyo!!!! 

Sister Pike

Leftovers from the MTC

Our Elders with our teacher, Brother Elmer
Our whole district with our teachers, Brother Pasikala and Johnson
Our District goal: "Don't let Pike shoot the 3 in your eye."
With a few other sisters from our zone headed to Iloilo, Hiligaynon speaking.

The last time I'll see Sister (Kristin) Ricks for 16 months!

Now Entering the Philippines!

Staying at the hotel in Tacloban

View from the hotel, didn't really do it justice! The whole sky was bright pink!

My MTC companions on the day of transfer

Our batch of new sisters

Sister Somera and President and Sister Andaya! They're just the greatest.

Ordonez Family with the Elders in our district and the sisters in our apartment.

The Ordonez Family baptism!!! They are just the cutest.
Revelation and Elton John Ordonez, can you believe he is 9?!? They are all so tiny!

Sister Somera and I, so pretty!

Jumping pictures, can you believe it wasn't even my idea?!

Sister Somera and I at the beach
Nahigugma ako sa Dios (I love God.)
Sister Somera and the outside of the trike. It's pretty tiny! On the way to the baptism, we fit the Ordonez family of 10 with us in one that size! It was crazy! Luckily the kids are pretty small so they packed in.
The girls in my apartment in one of the little trike things. Like a car but it's a motorcycle with just a shell of a car over it.
Doing my laundry this morning! No washboard or rocks, just our hands and tubs of soap haha

Week 7 - 3/18/2013 - Greetings from the Philippines!

Hey guess what?? I'm actually here! I still can't believe it. So we left the MTC at 4 am on Monday morning and we arrived at our mission office 8pm Tuesday night, but it was 11 am Wednesday in the Philippines. Talk about tiring! But it actually wasn't too bad. And weird, I feel like I'm already pretty adjusted to Filipino culture even though I've been in my area for two days! And I haven't had any trouble at all adjusting to the time, I can always fall to sleep perfectly each night and when I wake up at 6:30, it's so bright I feel like I slept in! I haven't used an alarm clock all week! So when we got to Tacloban on Wednesday morning, we were interviewed by the President Andaya and we ate at their house for lunch and dinner. It was SO good. Definitely love the food. Lots of meat and rice and pineapples and bananas. Our batch was all there together, 13 from the Provo MTC and 4 from the Philippines and they were from Bisaya so they already know Bisayan(Cebuano). The sisters stayed in a Hotel with aircon and hot showers so it didn't really feel much different. We stayed there for two nights while we had orientations and stuff then Friday morning we were assigned our trainers and found out our area. So I knew the possibility of me learning Waray-waray was high, but I had no idea how high! 7 out of 10 areas are Waray-waray and there are 3 different dialects S,R and H. And the other 3 are Cebuano but one is Cebuano J which replaces all the y's with j's. Kinda strange, anyway... I have been assigned in...Catarman! Speaking Waray-waray S!!! So you're telling me the language I spent the past 6 weeks learning is not the same as what I'm speaking? Yes, but turns out, they are pretty similar and I'm picking it up pretty fast. Friday we had transfer meeting and we were done by 11 then we had to travel to our areas which I found out Catarman is the farthest area north and is a 7 to 8 hour drive. We rented a van, but we didn't leave until 6:30pm so we got there around 1am, long day! And that was the most crowded van ride of my life. We fit 10 people +driver with lots of luggage, you could not have fit a single thing more in there if you tried. It was quite the adventure. And since then, we' ve been just living regular missionary life! 

2 days I've been here in Catarman, but it really feels like at least a week, but it's so good because I'm very well adjusted. We take cold bucket showers, today I washed all my clothes by hand, we don't have air conditioning and we have a one bedroom apartment and it's pretty tiny, but compared to others, we are so rich! Sister Somera is my Nanay (mother in waray-waray aka my companion who is training me) and she is the best. She is 27, 10 months into the mission and she has trained before and she is Filipina. She is so sweet, a whole head shorter than me, very soft spoken and the nicest person ever. She speaks waray-waray all the time to me so I can pick it up faster and in 2 days I can already tell a huge difference. Oh and she is a great cook, she promised to teach me how to cook some Filipino dishes, I really don't know what I would do without her. We also live with Sister Nelson (from my batch in the MTC but not in my district) and Sister Karagdag and they are so nice and also love to cook so I am basically spoiled. 

Once again, I really can't believe how well adjusted I am to the culture! I feel like I never even had a culture shock! Filipinos don't use toliet paper not because it's not available, just because they don't believe in using it at all ever and I'm kinda surprised how fast I accepted that haha. We ride around the city in petty cabs which are basically guys that ride around on bicycles with a little sidecar thing attached and you can go anywhere in the city for 5 pesos. I love them so much cause they are super cheap and you just get to ride, enjoy the city and the breeze and spend less time traveling! I would totally up for bringing this idea to the US except no one would probably be willing to work for so little. 5 pesos=1/9 of a dollar (1 dollar=45 pesos) It's crazy! Yesterday was stake conference and guess who played the piano? Me! Can you believe it? Cause I still can't. 2 weeks ago I got so nervous playing in front of like 5 people that I messed up so much, but when I played yesterday it was almost perfect. Plus, they told me to play a song that I had never heard of EVER and so I sight read it, practiced for like 5 minutes before and it actually went really well! If that is not a miracle I don't know what is. And it's funny cause no one even knew how big of a deal that was for me, but I knew! Stake conference, in the Philippines, I'm still in shock. Later that night, we went and taught 4 families and it was so great! The Ordonez family has 8 people getting baptized this Saturday! Wow! Lucky me. They have been taught by the missionaries since December and they are so great! They have the cutest kids. Get this, their names are Edmund, Analyn, Dimple, Darling, Ed & Mund (they're twins), Gwen, Revelation and Promise. I thought it was funny they had Edmund & Gwen! Reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa Homer. We also taught Nanay Gregoria who was Catholic and 76 years old but we just taught her about Baptism last night and asked if she would get baptized and she said yes! There is a rule here that they have to attend church 4 times in a row before they get baptized to make sure they stay active which even then it's hard. So her date is set for the April 20th, I really hope it goes through and I'm really looking forward to teaching her more. She has been taught a few times previously I think. I think the house that shocked me the most was Pablio and Eva. They have 3 kids and when we got to there house and walked in, it had a dirt floor and you literally could not stand up, but we then climbed a ladder to the second level which had a TV and a hammock and all the kids were playing. My first thought was this is a pretty neat setup but then I remembered, this is a house! Not a tree house that little kids play in for fun then go home! I can't even imagine raising three kids in that tiny little room, but tons of people do it everyday. Not to mention in every single lesson there were so many other noises because they lived right next to the street and basically on top of the houses next to them so it is difficult to feel reverent peace however they all showed such a firm desire to be better and listen to what we were saying despite the distractions of the world around them. It really is a miracle. They are progressing, our next goal is to get them married so they can be baptized. The work is going well! We planned our schedule for the week and we have lots of teaching appointments, I'm pretty sure we never tract, mostly referrals from members we might street contact but I'm not really sure. Well I have to go, even though I now have an hour it would seem that's not enough time! But good news, I can email ANYONE now, including friends and other family so if you want to post my email that would be great because letters take FOREVER. I love you all and I want you know that I am doing very well in the Philippines! My companion said by the end of this week I should be able to talk to anyone and by the end of the month, I should be pretty fluent. Crazy. But I've progressed so much already, I believe it! I will try to send pictures next week! 

Sister Pike           

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Week 6 - 3/9/2013

Hey, guess what!?!!

Last night they changed all of our travel plans and we are leaving Monday morning at 4am!!! Crazy! So today is now the day to prepare for everything and it's been a little crazy, but I am so excited nonetheless. Now our plans are from Salt Lake to San Fransico to Tokyo to Manila so get ready for a call pretty early that morning. I basically get to talk as long as we are in the airport so it will be a good amount of time. I still can't believe it! We've been appreciating all of life's pleasures like hot showers, flushing toliets, air conditioning while it lasts cause we know just around the corner we will be without it! But I'm excited for an adventure. Another Sister in our zone has a boyfriend serving in the Philippines so she had some pictures and it is absolutely goregous! I am going to miss the MTC so much though, I have such an awesome family here! I can't imagine how it could have been better. Funny story, some elders in my district have discovered that when they say, "Don't Smile", I try to hold it in for like a second then I crack and burst out laughing. Needless to say, my days have been full of laughter and happiness and I love it. Another funny story, An elder said he would pay another $20 if he could eat 10 biscuits and gravy at breakfast. For those unfamiliar, after about 3 you want to throw up. Elder Young made it to 9 and gave up unable to eat the LAST biscuit! It was pretty intense. 

This week has definitely not been normal, but it's been really great! On Tuesday we decided as a class to talk about the Plan of Salvation and prepare to teach it better then devotional that night was all about it! It was the greatest! It was given by Marcos Aidukaitis of the Quorum of the Seventy and something he said that was really awesome was "You don't want to surprised where you go after you die so make your decision now! Go home, write it in journal big and bold so know one will ever be able to doubt your intentions and make every single decision in your life with that in mind. Think, 'Will this get me to the Celestial Kingdom?' When we have a goal in mind from the very start, it is much easier to keep your eye on the prize and end up where you want to be." So great! Wednesday, we hosted for the new missionaries which were coming in. AKA we just showed them where their room and classroom is and explained some things which is always really fun. Thursday, we had the best TRC ever! We taught someone about getting more out of church and at the end he was SO thankful! He said, "Wow, I didn't even know I had that concern when I came in and I just felt I was able to trust you Sisters with that and that helped so much!" There was a time in a lesson when I said something really long (sa Cebuano) and when I finished, He said, "I think you are exactly right! That was the perfect answer to my question!" And I literally had just forgotten everything I said. Coincidence? I think not! I definitely felt like I was totally guided by the Spirit and it was the coolest thing ever. I can't wait until I am able to experience teaching people on a regular basis and able to have this experience more often! It definitely feels so good to feel like you really helped someone with a problem. 

I think that about covers it! I feel like my emails look really short, but I really can't think of anything else to say! I'm sure I will have MUCH more to report next week from the PHILIPPINES! I know this church is true. I'm so grateful for the oppurtunity I have to share something that has been so wonderful and comforting in my life to everyone I see. Even though it can be kinda scary to think I'll be going to a foreign country on the other side of the world where I know no one and just started learning the language a month and a half ago, I'm not really scared at all because I know I'm good hands. I know that everything will be okay. I know I will love it and it will change my life forever. Nahigugma ko ninyo! Start sending your letters so I can get them in 2 weeks! haha 

Sister Pike

Oh and I totally forgot! On Thursday  we had Tamale night! Sister Schaap's sister volunteered at TRC so she showed up at our room with legit tamales! It was pretty awesome. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 5 - 3/4/2013

Kumusta Pamilya! 

Wow, this has been an amazing week, I don't even know where to begin!! #1 guess who has a plane ticket?? We got our travel plans for Tuesday the 12th and we are leaving at 8am flying to Seattle then Tokyo then Manila and I don't really know what the plan is after that but I am SO STOKED. There will be 14 of us traveling together and it will be the greatest cause I love them all! Have your phones next to you because although I can't see anyone, I'm allowed to call so I'll be getting a calling card and such. But it's also like the biggest mixed feelings ever cause I'm going to miss the MTC SO MUCH. I love it here. The people, the food(yes I know I'm basically the only person on the planet that feels that way), gym time(aka playing basketball everyday), the classes, the devotionals... I really don't know how it could have been any better! I love our whole zone and I'm gonna miss them all so much. Especially the Sister from Samoa who I will basically never see ever again. We are all just living this week to the fullest cause it will be gone before you know it! We said goodbye to some sisters in our zone last night that are heading to Hong Kong which was really sad, but they've been here for 12 WEEKS so they were more than ready to leave. With the new 6 weeks, I feel ready and excited but not overly eager. I still love my companions and my whole district, they're the best. The language has been progressing quite nicely, I've been working super hard and it just amazes me STILL that I can go into a lesson with zero notes, Cebuano scriptures and teach for 40 minutes. We'd probably teach for longer if they let us! This week I got to memorize Moroni 10:4-5 in cebuano and the missionary purpose and it was actually super easy cause I can actually understand it all! I feel SO BLESSED. 

Moroni 10:4-5 
Ug kon kamo makadawat niini nga mga butang, ako moawhag kaninyo nga kamo mangutana sa Dios, ang Amahan sa kahangturan, sa ngalan ni Jesukristo, kon kini nga mga butang dili ba tinuod; ug kon kamo mangutana sa kinasingkasing, uban sa tinoud nga katuyoan, nga may hugot nga pagtuo kang Kristo, siya mokapita niini nganho kaninyo pinaagi sa gahum sa Espiritu Santo. Ug pinaagi sa gahum sa Espiritu Santo kamo mohimo nga masayud sa kamatuoran sa tanan nga mga butang. 

Yeah, I just typed that from memory and understand every word. Crazy? Of course! Hmm... don't really know what else to say... Oh Elder Ballard gave an AMAZING devotional on Tuesday night, we had mission conference yesterday so we basically had 7 hours of sitting and listening to various speakers, but it was so great! And I love that when we hear something we could be doing better as missionaries, both of my companions immediately turn to me and say, we're going to do that. Cause they're the greatest. Saturday we had a no English day and it was actually really fun! I was surprised how much I could communicate what I needed and it definitely made me feel better about leaving in a week. I've spent a TON of time with flash cards so I have a pretty large vocabulary and so everyone asks me random words constantly and I actually love it cause it helps ME remember so much more! I laugh constantly...but what else is new? haha 

Oh and RACHEL JONES IS ENGAGED?????? AHHHHHH!!!! She better DearElder me STAT with all the details! That's so exciting! And Cami Davis got engaged!!!!! I'm told by Brianna Boyd who works at the bookstore and I expect something from her too!!! That is so exciting! 

That about covers it, I love this gospel, I feel like the most blessed person ever, I LOVE being a missionary, I love Cebuano and I love you all! 

Sister Pike