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!

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