Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 22 - 6/30/2013

Good news! We have an investigator! Not only that, she has a baptismal date of July 13! She is so prepared, it is so incredible. I feel like I didn't even do anything! So that's been super exciting. And we're working a lot better with our ward leaders, they've been SO busy lately that I feel like nothing has been able to happen, but things are moving forward and it's so great. Inday is her name, she's 18, speaks tagalog mostly, and has a 18 month year old daughter. We had a FHE with the returning members that got married the other week and they invited the whole neighborhood almost to hear our message because they are so happy to be living the gospel again. Inday was there and she had been to church 2 sundays and she told us she wanted to get baptized and have her daughter blessed and a copy of the Book of Mormon all before we taught anything.  And she has read everyday this week and believes it all we just tell her to pray so she can be extra sure. I was kinda worried that she would be too reliant on Weng to go to church because that's who she always goes to church with, but on sunday we showed up and she was waiting for us. She said they were going to be late and so she just decided to go without them. And then we invited to her to a broadcast that night at the church and she came and she got there late because she walked all the way with her little girl because they didn't have money for a pedicab. It is not close... probably at least a 30 min walk. She is so great! 

And that's about it. Saturday there was a typhoon so we were ordered to stay inside our apartment all day until it passed, apparently that doesn't happen super often, but it was raining SO HARD. And it was good to have some study time. Right now I'm making a list of English, waray s, waray h, Cebuano and Tagalog words so that I can have a book full of every language I will ever use on my mission. It kinda blows my mind that I have a book full of 5 languages, but I'm so excited because it will be super useful! especially since there is no waray-waray dictionary. I have so many words written, but it's just in my planners, in the margins, random places and not organized so  this will be really great and other missionaries can use it too. The other sisters in the apartment decided it was time that I started learning tagalog so now they all speak all Tagalog, and it's kinda messing with my mind! but it will be good. 

This week, we found a box of kraft macaroni and cheese and then I taught my companion to make smores in our toaster oven and she is addicted, it is so funny. We had some left over marshmellows so she used saltine crackers and peanut butter to make some more... haha not bad actually! I love sharing with them american food. Then I made spaghetti American/Italian style and they ate it then added a bunch of sugar and milk and turned it into pinoy style which I also like. It was pretty funny. 

I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time on my mission and it was so great! I love the book of Mormon! Everyone should read it. There are so many verses that I would read, why have I never seen this before?!?! And now of course I have started over. I actually read it backward started in Moroni and ended in 1 nephi just for kicks and it is so cool reading about the prophecies of Nephi and how true they are! 2 Nephi 28-33 are some of my personal favorites. 

I love you all! Thank you for your support! 
Love, Sister Pike

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week 21 - 6/23/2013

Ahh!!! Mark is getting set apart (as a missionary)! That's super exciting. This is going to be crazy week, for sure. As for me, this week has been the weirdest week ever. Literally zero lessons. hala! I'm not trunky, I swear. So Monday, we packed, Tuesday we moved and unpacked, Wednesday we went to Tacloban for our all sisters meeting and it BLEW MY MIND. Number 1, I got to see all my batch from the MTC and it was the greatest thing ever! Number 2, we went to the mall in Tacloban and I felt like I stepped into America. It was so bizarre. And I bought a really nice camera there because mine finally died on monday. It was actually pretty perfect timing, and I was pleased. I bought my new camera for 8,000 pesos lang! That's really cheap for how legit it is. And it now only reads micro SD cards so I received my card and extra memory cards and I just gave one away/ I'll use it for storage if I need it. The next morning, we went to MCDONALDS! That blew my mind too. Then later that night, we went to Shaky's a legit american pizza chain in the mall and they also had a grocery store (in the mall too, weird) and it had tons of american chocolate. It was so great. We traveled back that night and I got to ride with Sister Schaap and Sister Bingham because their area is on the way to ours. They were both my MTC companions and they are companions again! Crazy! But it was soooo good to talk to them and catch up and it made the 4 hour bus ride go pretty fast. Then we drove two more hours without them and we arrived at1am. So tiring. Also crazy news, I met my supposed to be MTC companion. But, get this- she couldn't report on time because her family was stuck in CANADA! Isn't that the most bizarre thing ever? They were moving from Alaska to Washington and their car broke down and they stayed with this random family (non-members) for a whole week so she missed her entrance date and came 6 weeks later and that is why I was in a trio! So bizarre, and yet we all know it was no coincidence. 

Then Friday and Saturday I get slept all day because I was soooo tired. And on Saturday afternoon, we went to the doctor (our landlady) because it was getting ridiculous and it turns out I had low blood pressure. So she told me to eat vegetable and fruits and vitamins (which I also do anyway) and it to take it easy and rest for 2 days. She said it was caused by stress, and I thought, "what? I don't have any stress." Then the next day when we were figuring out what to do because our wml (ward mission leader) couldn't come to church until September and then our bishop didn't plan a sacrament program so he asked me to speak while my companion is giving her talk, even though I spoke last week, then we had to give a training for all the ward missionaries in mcm (missionary coordination meeting) on the spot... I realized missionary work actually is really stressful. Especially since my companion is new and doesn't know what she's doing and the elders are new to our area so they don't know... so it's basically all me. But it's all good, I don't even notice it except when we have crazy weeks like this were we travel so much, irregular sleep...but this week should be back to normal.  

And Saturday was super exciting because WENG AND ABEL GOT MARRIED!!!! Finally! I definitely equate this to a baptism in my book because we have worked so hard and so long and now they are able to come back to church without any guilt and they are free from sin and it's just so wonderful. And they brought their investigator friend even though we still haven't taught her. But she's waiting for us! I'm so excited. We actually have a lot of referrals to contact this week which NEVER happens. We just get them all the week we don't work... that's cool. This will be a great week. 

Due to Mark entering the MTC, I would like to write a journal entry of mine from when I first got here, a letter to all new missionaries:

March 26, 2013  (one week into my mission and now approaching 4 months!)
Dear Future Missionaries,

For those ready to go into the MTC; I would like to say, the MTC is so great! You will love your time there IF you are prepared and know what to expect. I didn't have a hard time adjusting at all, from the second I got there, it was the best thing ever, but talking to my district later, I was the only one. I would say, prepare to work very hard and be a little uncomfortable. Especially if you are learning a language. From Day 1, your  teachers talk in only your language and by day 3, you teach an investigator completely in your new language. By saturday, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed at how much you don't know. But, it gets better! And as long as you remember that from day 1, you can get through anything. There will be days that you spend hours and hours in the same classroom(most actually) but just be ready to work! And remember that its just like cramming fro a test you will call your life in the mission field in just a few weeks. And even though the first week feels like a lifetime, the rest flies by in a second. I feel like I was really able to adapt to the classroom situation because I had so much previous experience in college studying for hours on end by myself, but most didn't. One of my companions had a REALLY hard time the first week or so adjusting. By week 3, she was the happiest missionary ever with the greatest love for the MTC. I asked her what she would tell new missionaries coming in how to avoid her situation. And it's not something new or profound, but she said, "I wish I had worked harder from day one. The first few days I just thought about my family and boyfriend and how much I missed them and I went through the motions and I was miserable. But as soon as I took a more active role in my learning and focused on the reason I was there and my purpose as a missionary, everything changed. Now there is no where else in the world I would rather be!" And now that I am in the mission field, I s so GRATEFUL I was able to work hard from day 1 because this language is so hard, but I know I did EVERYTHING I possible could have and not only do I have no regrets, but I have also seen amazing blessings come to me and I definitely picked up the language faster than others who it took longer to figure out. In the mtc, I had a pretty large vocabulary and one elder mentioned, "man, I swear you hear a word once and remember it forever!" True I have a good memory, but I also made 4 sets of flash cards and would quiz myself and those around me at every chance I got and it definitely paid off! I don't think he made that connection though... haha You are told countless times the key to success is obedience and work and it's the truth! I have seen its results even in the MTC. 
And now in the mission field; I did not have any troubles adjusting, but once again, I was just about the only one. But I think what has made the difference is attitude. America and the Philippines are pretty different, as you can imagine, but I didn't focus on the differences. I basically came here with a clean slate mind and with the thought I'm in their culture where their way is the right one. So everything they do, I do without question. Everything they eat, I eat without question. I don't think of what I'm craving from America and it's been great! Not only have I had zero homesickness, the people love you that much more for loving their culture and accepting it so readily. even if you are going to somewhere in the US, people do things different all over the place. Don't compare, just accept and you will be so happy. And always remember why you are here and always live so you can leave with no regrets knowing you gave the Lord your all. I haven't quite made it that far yet, but I live everyday with that in mind. Although I am so exhausted at the end of each day, I am so happy! 

Love, Sister Pike
District Lunch

They got married!!!

Shaky's - legit American food

MCDONALD'S!!! Blew my mind.

District/Zone Basketball this morning

My companions! Who are now companions!

Sister Karagdat-maguli na siya! (She's going home!) Sad. She's so great.

Sister Guy - my supposed to be MTC companion.

The map of our mission with me pointing to CATARMAN!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 20 - 6/17/2013

Hala!!!! Craziness this week! So you know how I got a new companion? I have another one! Yeah. Sister Cornillez still needed to process her passport and visa and realized she wouldn't have much time if she finished the 6 week cycle, so I have Sister Pedong! Also preparing for a mission, waiting for her call, native waray-waray speaker and from UEP oh 19, turning 20 in July while we will be companions , one ward over the other direction. By the end of the week, Sister Cornillez and I had just gotten our routine down and teaching styles then enter Sister Pedong, but I'm really grateful because I'll have even more training for when I train! And it's nice having a practice run on natives because being a missionary is hard enough when you don't need to help them with homesickness and freaking about the language, food and culture gihapon. Also, it helped prepare for whatever personality because they couldn't be more opposite! But it's great! She's very well-adjusted and sometimes I feel like she's training me! haha 

So I know I said we would basically have no work last week because Tacloban and moving... turns out it was a big lie! They texted us we weren't going because there would be too many people and Sister Robinson, Nelson and I were SO SAD. Seriously, could not focus because we were looking forward to it so much! Then our landlord told us to move tomorrow instead. So we worked all week and it was really great! We decided to start asking for referrals (we always needed too, we were just horrible at remembering) and we got so many! Like super prepared people too! And here's a miracle- in March, we started visiting a less-active couple who needed to get married. They have been less active 8 years and really had a desire to return, but it was really hard because they felt because they weren't married, they would be judged... or something like that. So we have been visiting them for 3 months! And They bought their marriage license now and preparing to get married! Woohoo! Not only that, when we visited we had an awesome lesson about how reading the book of mormon has helped them (because through our visits we have helped them establish a habit of reading every night as a family and praying together) and they both bore strong testimonies of how awesome reading the Book of Mormon is and how it helps them keep there life in perspective. After, we asked for a referral, and she said, oh yeah, I have a friend that has been asking to go to church with me when I go! I'll go introduce you! And we set up an appointment for her to be with us while we teach her friend. Then on sunday, GUESS WHO WAS AT CHURCH?!?! Abel and Weng AND their friend who we will start teaching this week. It was the greatest sight ever. Not only have we worked with them for 3 months, other missionaries before us have been working with them for at least a year and FINALLY it is all coming together. So great. 

In other news, the Catarman 1 elders had a baptism and none of the speakers showed up so they asked me to give a talk on the Holy Ghost with like zero preparation and guess what? tanan waray-waray! Marks the exact 3 month mark from the Ordonez Baptism when they asked me to talk, but I was too sick/ didn't know a single word of waray-waray. Wow, I've come a long way! And I gave I talk in church the next day- all warary-waray too! It feels so great. I still have some ways to go, especially with conversational, but it's so cool to see how fast I have progressed and through me, our whole ward is able to see how truly powerful the gift of tongues is. Seriously! From what I'm told, this never happens. Everyone asks if this is my second area. I know I could not have done this on my own. 

And this week, we really are going to Tacloban with all the Sisters! Yay! So excited. And we are moving tomorrow, so for real not very much work this week. Today, we had a zone activity at the beach and it was so awesome! I can't believe I live in paradise. We rode a jeepnye and then a habul-habul (motorcycles with an extended so 5 can fit) and it was so fun! We rode the habul-habul through the jungle and along the coast, just gorgeous. Then we went to the beach and climbed a bunch of these huge rocks and ate and just had fun, played games. It was the best. I'll include some pictures, for sure. And I think that's about it! I'm doing so great! I love you all! I don't miss America! but really... Thank you so much for your support!

Sister Pike

Zone Activity on the Beach
If you look REALLY close you can see a person in a red shirt.. and that's me!

Ninja Destruction at the Beach

My new companion! Sister Pedong

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Week 19 - 6/9/2013

So... no one emailed me! (from the family) Fail. Luckily I got some pictures from other missionaries serving around the world. So, so much has changed this past week I can't even believe it. Number 1, Sister Somera got transferred all the way to... Catarman 1st ward. That's right, we are in the same apartment hahaha I loved telling everyone in ward that, they just laugh and it's soooo weird that we still live together but aren't companions. And my new companion.... Branch Missionary!! AKA she is from Bobon(in the same stake) and she will just be serving for this 6 weeks in preparation for her mission in Canada in August. Really, it could not have worked any more perfectly. I get to learn from a native Waray-waray speaker (which is basically impossible because this is the only mission that speaks it) and I get to train her how to be a missionary and teach her English for her mission! It's so great! Not to mention, she was a very active ward missionary in her ward so she basically knows everything anyway. So I guess I am training in a way, but this is awesome preparation because I can train without having to worry about the language and understanding everyone. Oh, Her name is Sister Cornillez and she is not under the same restrictions as regular missionaries so she can get on facebook. 

Also, We got elders in our ward!!! This is exciting because we split our area so we can visit more people and help our ward grow and get the members excited about missionary work. And our elders are pretty great and hard working so I think we will see great things happen. Also, they are our new district and we've gotten more missionaries in the zone so I'm excited to get to know everyone. 

This coming week is SO exciting because we are going to Tacloban for a meeting for ALL sisters and trainers and missionaries under 6 months, so I get to see everyone I know in the whole mission! I am so excited! MTC reunion. especially since they just changed the ways transfers work, instead of everyone going to the same place, there are 3 different transfer points so the likelihood of seeing each other is very slim. Also, we are moving into a new apartment! And it is 50x better. We will actually have running water everyday! And a shower! (though I honestly don't know if I'll use it, we'll see) and aircon! and it's just really nice. So that means Sister Somera and I will have lived in 3 different houses together in the same area. I'm pretty sure that never happens. And I'm pretty sure this is the last.

And, I almost forgot, I got my hair rebounded! AKA permanently straight. It's so crazy, I didn't even recognize myself! It's pretty nice, but I found out that you aren't supposed to put it up or do anything with it for at least 3 days, preferably ever or else it won't last long. As in, no buns, ponytails, braids, basically how I wore my hair for the past 3 months. It is so hot!!! We'll see how long that lasts, I survived the 3 days but probably not much longer. I still can't believe the difference, it is so smooth and straight! And can last up to 6 months! hala! I'm surprised I've never heard of it before! I'll send some pictures. 

And that's about it. We've had some good lessons this week, especially about the restoration and one of our investigators Liezel (17), shared her testimony about how the Book of Mormon has changed her life. Yesterday, Sister Cornillez said before we met her, she said she was a drug addict. We've been teaching her 2 months ish and we didn't know it, but looking back, there really has been a huge change. We are getting the youth involved in inviting her to church and hopefully she will be able to get baptized in a monthish. Last time we checked, her Nanay was against her getting baptized, not because she doesn't like us or the church, just because she believes in only getting baptized once. We've been praying, we'll see. And we taught Regina the Book of Mormon. She still hasn't come to church so we need help with that. She expressed that she has faith, it is just really hard for her to act. I really want to get her friend (the member who referred her) involved to help her make the necessary changes. 

And that's all! The weeks fly by SO fast, but I am really enjoying it all. Last night I was so tired, I just fell into bed backwards (with my pillow at my feet) and just didn't wake up until my alarm went off. It's tiring, but it's very rewarding. I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here and I'm grateful for Sister Cornillez, I think we make an awesome team. Until next week! 

Love, Sister Pike
Last P-day adventure with Sister Somera- she deleted all of her pictures from her memory card. They were recovered, but we had to change the name, one by one. all 1230 of them. We were in the computer place for 2 extra hours! Good-bye P-day!
Oh and I'm wearing make up for the first time EVER here becuase Sister Somera wanted to see my hair straightened with make-up and contacts once before she left haha psych! But it was soooo weird! I hardly recognized myself!

We had zone lunch and the Elders bought us ice cream because we beat them in basketball! Yeah!

Our last night, we had a birthday party for the Ordonez twins and we treated them to cake and ice cream.

Our companionship shirt - aka the coolest shirt anyone has ever seen. We made it for like under $5 and I designed it. It's a comic strip of one of our adventures. And literally everyone (missionaries) that sees it is so jealous. haha I'm pretty proud of it. It's so awesome.

All the languages we use. An Anklat ni Mormon - tagalog (what the investigators read from), An Libro ni Mormon - Waray (what we speak) and then of course English! (what we read from during lessons!)

Getting my hair rebonded.

Rebonded hair!

Sister Somera and Sister Ariola yesterday - haha Missionary work is tiring.
I almost forgot to take a picture of my new hair and companion! So I just took these. It doesn't look very good right now because I'm really sweaty, but this is how it dries without my doing anything! It's kinda crazy!
Me and Sister Cornillez