Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week 17 - 5/26/2013

Hello family! 
I'm so excited I got to see you and talk to you!! Mom, if you sent me headphones, I'm pretty sure it still wouldn't have worked. I was pretty convinced that the universe was conspiring against me talking to my family. Especially what happened when I was trying to call from the airport on the way here...grabi! Craziness. But it really does feel like a dream! haha It was great. I loved how you were playing charades and I will never forget David dancing on the couch in the background. This week so adventurous! I'm actually really happy I got to talk to you on that specific day so I could tell you the crazy story about eating shark and being locked out. We were finally able to return to our apartment thursday night (we were locked out tuesday morning) and we were so happy! On Thursday I also showered in the rain. As in I literally stood out on the roof (UEP Sisters apartment) and they gave me shampoo and I washed my hair in the rain. It was raining hard enough that it got wet, but to rinse, I had to let a bucket fill up. All the while Sister Nelson and Sister Robinson were just watching from the door laughing and Sister Somera was cooking like "oh it's no big deal" haha Friday was unique because we stayed inside until 6 and did nothing but clean. I don't know how often this happens, but it's not very often. We even bought floor wax and waxed the floor.

Saturday, we went on exchanges! And Sister Karagdag was my companion! I know her really well so it was pretty great. She's so funny. I told her it was my goal to learn Tagalog as soon as I knew Waray-waray and she said, "You can start now! You know waray-waray!" haha that's funny. Cause I don't. I am able to understand a lot but there are still sometimes that I just stare at them blankly and wait for Sister Somera to explain it to me. She explains it Waray-waray gihapon but for some reason I'm able to understand her and not them... anyway, we taught a ton of lessons together and it was a really great day of work! And we had lunch with a member in Catarman 1st ward. That night, there was a brownout (no power) from 6 to 10!! It was so hot!!! You'd think it'd be okay since it's at night so it cools down, our apartment was so stuffy and we ate and planned via lantern. My catch phrase for my mission I've decided is, "It's like we're camping!" haha I seriously say it so much! It's hilarious.

Sunday was a really good day even though like zero of our investigators came... I played the piano in sacrament, it's truly amazing how it isn't even a big deal to me any more! Two of the songs I didn't know at all but I'm okay with playing with just one hand. I have come SO FAR. And then we were invited to a birthday party of a little girl who's dad is inactive and we just met them yesterday so they had tons of delicious food. Always a bonus and they LOVE missionaries. Then we went to a lesson of an investigator, we invited two ward missionaries to join, when we showed up, there were 5! It was a little crazy with so many people but after we were able to sent half of them to visit someone who needed them and then we went with the others to another investigator and they invited her to a Singles Ward Retreat! It was like every missionary's dream come true! Then we went to visit the Ordonez Family to find out why they weren't at church, Sister Somera's so worried they are going inactive, but they've just visited relatives the last two weeks. We taught them a lesson then at the very end, Nay walked in with a Sting ray and we asked if we could try it so we joined them for dinner too, it was so fun! I love playing with their kids. And this week I ate shark and stingray. "It's more fun in the Philippines" haha And that's about it! Me and Sister Somera have one weekish left as companions which is crazy! But nice because usually you don't know, but since we do, we are able to make every second count. We are going to spend this time getting to know all the members so that we will be able to work with them with my new companion. And I also realize that I better start figuring out what I'm gonna cook. I'm going to try to figure out how to make French Toast this week for them and thinking of what other American things I can make for them without an oven, cheese, and all the other little things that you don't even realize. And that's my week! I hope to hear from you all! Mark, you should tell me about your experience in the temple! and use this time to email me before you are as busy as I am in the mission! And I love you all! 

Sister Pike

During the brown out:
Eating outside during a brownout in UEP

Showering in the rain - I have shampoo, but it wasn't as sudsy as I had hoped. And it's pouring rain, though you can't really tell. 
At an eating appointment this week

Eating during the brownout

At a birthday party
 Hanging out with the Ordonez Family and a sting ray:

Me and Sister Somera with the Sting Ray

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 16 - 5/20/2013

So this is going to be really short cause I sent all those pictures which basically described my whole week in a nutshell! And I get to talk to you on Wednesday! Woot, woot! The work is going really well, I'm doing great. I'm trying the learn some tagalog right now because SO MANY people here talk just tagalog. Especially in lessons since we read in Tagalog, so they answer the questions based on the scriptures... kinda crazy. And everyone assumes that I know tagalog because if a foreigner came here, why would they bother learning waray-waray first when everyone in the whole Philippines speaks tagalog and only a small amount speak waray-waray S? That is a great question people haha So language number 3 has begun but it will be much slower because I need to master waray-waray still. And much more difficult because it is COMPLETELY different from Cebuano and waray. It's kinda crazy how many different languages are spoken but most people don't even notice because they just know them all so it makes no difference. But I know that I have the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues so I can do it! The other day I realized I spoke waray-waray all the time, even in the apartment. haha I didn't even notice! It's awesome but I still have a lot of little random words to learn the problem is figuring out which words are important but I don't know. But I've been reading the Waray-waray book of Mormon even though we don't use it teaching and it's been pretty great. My goal is to read the Book of Mormon in 4 different languages (Waray, Tagalog, Cebuano and English, of course!) in my life. At the rate I'm going, it will probably take about a million years, but it really is such an amazing book. How many other books are like it? Zero. Some people might say the bible, but can you read and pray about the Bible and know the true church of God, that we have a living prophet today, revelation is continued in our day and Jesus is the Savior of the world? Didn't think so. It's awesome. I love you all!

Love, Sister Pike
Me with Elder Baker (ZL), Keate (DL), and Banawan at lunch at a member's house
Tanan (all) the missionaries at lunch
One of our investigator's Nanay died so we stopped by to comfort him. We visited with his family and helped them make flowers for her funeral

His Tatay with the coffin, and the flowers. They leave it out and people stop by for like a week. During this time, the family is not allowed to wash their clothes - fun Filipino culture fact.  I love his tay, he doesn't say much but he is so nice and hospitable. 

The kids of our investigators, Abby and Joy. Unfortunately, because they are really small and so many, it makes it hard for them to go to church, mahal (expensive) and noisy, but we're working on it! Abby has been taught for a really long time and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon but she isn't married yet, and we just met Joy (her sister in law) through her and we've been teaching her. We committed her to baptism too and she has a desire, but she isn't married yet either. So it will be awhile, but they're so maupay! (great)

Sister Somera with the kids.

Baptism of Nanay Natalia for the Elders! I love going to baptisms, they're so great. Especially because you get to see how happy they are and hear their testimonies.. Love it.
Later that night we had a dinner with the Ordonez's kay (because) it was Tay's and Darling's birthday! They are so awesome.
 Today for our activity we just went to this garden place and walked around and we played soccer and volleyball for a bit. It was great. They had an ostrich. And looking through these I realize even more how green it really is here!

Our District Activity today! I love our district (plus the UEP sisters) My eyes started watering like crazy so it looks like I was crying... kinda ridiculous. 

Sister Somera! They had statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with random mushrooms.. haha random. 

Sister Nelson on the side of a pedicab. Me and Sister Somera both sit in one but only because she's so tiny, so for Sister Robinson and Sister Nelson, both Americans, they have to squeeze pretty tight. But Sister Nelson loves to ride on the side when she can and all the Filipinos love it. I did it the other day and it's pretty great! and everyone smiles when they see you, I felt like I was in a parade or something!

Waray-waray (Libro ni Mormon) Book of Mormon, I don't know if you can see but it skips from Alma 12 to 32. Many are missing but I love reading from it even though it's a different dialect.

These are what we give to recent converts!
At Zone conference in Calbayog, we had a mini MTC reunion! It was great to see these awesome sisters!
Sister Bingham, one of my MTC companions! She is so great.

Some of my fans haha They are so cute.
With some kids we were talking to - As soon as we pulled out the  camera they all jumped in!

The kids with Sister Somera, There were originally 3 in this picture, but they all jumped in like a second before and she was getting trampled haha 
The cutest little puppy at one of the less-active houses we visit. So cute! There are so many tiny kittens and puppies, it's adorable. And all the older dogs look like they are about to die.. pretty big difference. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week 15 - 5/12/2013

Hello family!!! 

So I will talk to you all tomorrow, hopefully it works... I did not forsee all the cafes with good connections being closed for the election... oh well. Not much to say this week, not much work actually. Even though I love spending time with other missionaries doing other activities, I kinda hate it cause if we don't visit them, they don't go to church and it's just sad! Last night we spent the whole night visiting everyone that didn't go to church that we have been visiting. 14, and there were more but we ran out of time. Crazy! The most frustrating are the less-actives cause when we visited a few of them and ask them why they didn't go to church, they aren't even guilty in the slightest. It's just sad, but we can never give up on them. I just hope we can help them somehow. But this week should be normal hopefully. But a good thing about this week was we had zone conference and I got to see my companions from the MTC!!! It was SO great. It was so crazy talking to them in Waray-waray and thinking wait, just 8 weeks ago we were all speaking Cebuano! crazy. We rode in a van to Calbayog where the conference was held and it was a pretty fun trip. The most curvy road ever and we were basically at constant acceleration (as in constantly changing speeds, either fast or slow) so no sleeping or reading or writing as I usually do but it was really cool to see the palm tree forests and be out of the cities. It's amazing that I've lived her for so long and not seen it! And on the way home, our entire zone sung hymns/ primary songs the whole hour and a half trip, it was so great! I have a truly awesome zone.

And then, Saturday we went to a mother's day musical presentation and then us, with 6 other missionaries, were invited to dinner at a member from the other ward who is from, guess where? Logan, UT. That's right, he's American! I didn't catch their whole story but he met his Filipino wife on a Single's website and he travels back and forth and works in Utah. I'm not sure how often, but it was kinda crazy! He just got back from Utah this past week and so he brought a package for an elder who is from there. Most exciting contents? Cheddar Cheese haha he was SO excited. He also is going home in like 2 transfers so he has been without for quite awhile. I thought it was pretty hilarious. The night consisted of me with two other American elders talking with the American and
all the Filipinos talking to his wife. Even though it hasn't been that long, it was so weird especially since he is very American. He doesn't know the language at interesting. And we also helped the other Sister's move and I made a delicious banana-peanut butter shake. Oh and Last night, Sister Karagdag taught me how to make manga float, I think I mentioned it before, but it is SO good! And now I know how to make it! Score!  And that's about it. I love you all! 

Love, Sister Pike

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 14 - 5/6/2013

This week was actually just really fun. Full of adventure. On Tuesday(?) All of our appointments fell through, actually just all our investigators weren't home so we decided to try something that they taught us in Zone meeting. Finding in English! Crazy, right? They said they've actually seen a lot of success in going to the bigger houses and speaking english because you are more likely to find professionals that will help to build up the church and they are more receptive because they actually have to focus on what you are saying and they always like to practice. So we went to literally the biggest house in Catarman, it is HUGE! and we maupay'd (it's like knocking) and we taught this old super rich, super catholic all in english. It went really well actually. She is still very catholic but she wants us to return so we're teaching her again tonight. It's amazing how teaching in English is not even hard cause I don't even have to think about it like in Waray-waray. She has had the discussions before, I'm hoping we can find more people to teach through her. We've just been teaching the same people, but many aren't progressing as they should be so we're using this week to see if we should drop them or not, which is sad but there are people ready for us! So we'll see. Then, Since last week when Sister Robinson transferred to UEP, she has drawn a few hilarious comics depicting various funny stories so we've started doing that too and it really is so fun! I love it! Unfortunately we don't have too much time for it, but Sister Somera is really keeping a comic strip journal with the highlights and it is hilarious. every time we are with other missionaries, they ask how we are doing and we just show them the comics haha it's awesome. And we found out we have to move again... we only have one light in our apartment and we've had problems with the consistency of water and such so we're house hunting again so we honestly won't have much time for work this week. And today was so fun! For our zone activity, we all went to the beach and took jumping pictures, and did handstands, cartwheels, attempted to build sandcastles, dug holes, partially buried me and got very sun-burnt  It was so great. It really felt like a normal day at the beach. And they cooked some fish and pork on a fire they made from things on the beach and the grill was held up by coconuts and to eat it they just spread it all on 2 huge banana leaves, rice too and everyone just dug in with their hands. It was great! I seriously love my zone so much. Sister Somera says some pretty funny things that I wanted to share but I always forget! Oh, on Friday I had a stomachache and she said, "oh no, Sister you have an ulcer because we skipped a meal yesterday!" "We didn't skip, we had peanut butter on bread!" " If there is no rice, it is not a meal! just a snack!" "Sister, I have lived my whole life without eating rice at every meal and I've been just fine" "But now you are in the Philippines!" haha so don't be surprised if I eat rice at every meal when I get home. And that's about it! Oh, and I've been reading the infinite atonement by Tad Callister and it is amazing! for real, everyone should read it. There is so much I didn't know, or just didn't think about. And I can't remember if I wrote about a Marvelous Work and Wonder last week... I finished that too and I loved it! Especially since I learned about where the Pearl of Great Price came from. Why have I never learned this?? It's a legit story! And Why I have I never wondered?!?! My mind was seriously blown open. My favorite part is summary about how this gospel is truly a great and marvelous work that will continue to fill the whole world. It talks about how amazing the growth of the church was and it was written in 1950, it has grown SO much more since then! It's amazing to apart of this great work as we sweep the globe with knowledge, peace and happiness. You should read it. And your scriptures. Love you! I get to skype next week, but they have told me nothing!  Have a great week! I will literally see you next week! Yay!

Sister Pike
Birthday Party at the Beach

With the Birthday Girl!

Fanning a baby during the lesson, It was so hot!!

This is the house I went to for my first appt. ever in the Philippines.

All my fans- We got a ride from Tay Ordonez and when we parked all these kids crowded around to shake my hand, it was so hilarious. Like 15 really.

With Sister Robinson (the other "child" of Sister Somera (*the trainer is called the parent and the child is the trainee, the grandparent is the trainers trainer, etc..)) and Sister Nelson. "Aren't you so proud of your posterity?" (because Sister Robinson is the "nanay of Sister Nelson, technically number 2 cause she is finishing her training which lasts 12 weeks total.)

On the way to the beach we rode on the side of the motorcycle and it was raining and they had a little curtain. So nice!

Practicing our Asian squatting, it is so hard! But I am determined!

Beach Day!

That's a jeepnee, never actually ridden in one but I hear it's an adventure!

Just some cute girls walking

You know that old sewing machine at Aunt Debbie's and we're like "whoa, that's so ancient!" yeah, that's what they use here. I've seen it in many people's houses. 

This is a wedding announcement. Kinda bizarre, no? Very functional!

Since we don't have couches, they just, you know, sit in the laundry baskets. I swear I was born to be here haha.

Delicious pastry, they're the best. We have a bakery right around the corner and I love trying new things all the time.

Sister Somera creating her comic strip journal, it's really the greatest.

This is where she takes naps, and people thing I'm weird for sleeping on the floor! Love her

Yeah, that's cheese flavored ice cream. It's actually pretty good! It even has chunks of cheese hahah.

It's a mini pineapple! I'ts just a flower, but isn't it so awesome!

At the beach today - Legit cooks!

Our Zone, haha Elder Banawan with the bag on his head, seriously Filipinos will do anything to avoid the sun.