Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 26 - 7/29/2013

It was so great to hear from all of you! This was a really great week! We just worked so hard and taught tons of people, we were so exhausted, but it was so great! Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, if it rains, that's a legitimate reason not to go to church. And you're probably thinking, you live in a tropical jungle island with two types of weather, rain and heat. And isn't it rainy season (June-February) so it rains like every other day? yes. So our attendance was oh so low, sayang! But it gives us plenty of work to do this week. This week was cool, because it was the first week of my trainee, Sister Doud, and we just set a really great pace and worked our hearts out and taught 17 lessons this week! I had to tell her, yeah... this isn't exactly normal... but it's funny with training, I just feel like I have such a great responsibility to help her become the best missionary so I'm stretching myself and growing like crazy so I can help her reach an even higher height. And I just love new starts so I can set a new standard for myself and constantly strive to be better, it's so great! 

This week, we taught Kate and her asawa (not married but live in) and Marife (Kate's mom). We've taught them for quite some time and when we started teaching Marife, begining of June, she just said, I'm just searching for the truth! And we said that's great because we have it! So we kept committing her to read and pray. She always wanted to continue, but she never felt like she had received a for sure answer. One lesson, we mentioned temples and how families can be together forever. The next lesson, she said, "all for us talked about it and we want that! We all want to get baptized and I know it's true because, I guess, through the Holy Ghost. I believe what you've been teaching us!" It was the coolest ever. Then we taught more extensively about temples and what they  need to do to go there. And they were so quiet and just hanging on my every word and now we're just working on getting them married so they can get baptized. It has been SO cool to see the differences in their lives. Now, they ask for all of our pamphlets and books so they can do all the additional reading and studying and they are just so great! And Kate just had her baby yesterday! They haven't been able to go to church because Kate has been so pregnant that she can't even walk so I'm just hoping that she will be able to take the baby to church too. But they definitely have their eyes on the temple and that will make the whole process so much easier because they have a goal! And they want it so bad. Before, we were worried to teach they had to get married because they are kinda poor, but now, they just accepted it as one of the things they need to do to achieve their ultimate goal. 

If everyone could just keep their eyes on the their ultimate goal, or our ultimate purpose in life, everything just becomes so much more clear. I know that Heavenly Father gave us this beautiful plan and so many helps like the Book of Mormon and church and prayer so that we never get distracted from it. I love you all!

Love, Sister Pike
My "family" in the mission - daughter, mother, sister, niece. Haha this never happens that we're all in the same area but it's so fun!

Sister Robinson paying up the 1,000 pesos for my terrible night's sleep.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 25 - 7/21/2013

Another crazy week but so great! I went to Tacloban and got my new trainee! That's right, I'm training, after 4 months and I'm still in my first area. I'm pretty sure that never happens ever! It was so fun to take her to church yesterday and see everyone's face like- "what? You just got here and now you're training?!?" And get this- My trainee is so awesome. Sister Doud from provo, ut. She studies engineering at BYU too! What are the odds? She's super smart and picking the language up well even though it's been 2 days and she eats all the food, basically a trainer's dream haha And she's really good at the piano and she loves to sing so we've had fun making music together. It's really great! I still can't believe we're just two americans walking around the Philippines with me leading everything, but so far it's been really great! The past 2 days we've taught a bunch of lessons and even taught 3 families for the first time! And Tuesday, my last day with Sister Pedong, was so great too! we worked so hard all day and all the lessons were so good- I couldn't stop smiling! And we got a new investigator with a baptismal goal of August 10 and she came to church, she is so awesome!  She's so prepared too. I'm so glad I didn't transfer yet because so many great things are happening! 

And of course the trip to Tacloban was so fun because I got to see all the sisters from my batch! And 4 Sisters are training after just 3 months! The work is being quickened and we are definitely having more responsibility placed upon us but it also gives us a huge opportunity to grow! Even these past two days have been really great and it's amazing to see that even though I'm not perfect at the language, I am able to teach and help people and watch as my mouth is filled with things to say. 

And today I taught her how to laba(laundry) by hand and it's just really fun explaining all the cultural things that I was shocked about when I got here, but that seems so normal now. Like climbing a ladder into a members home and sitting on the floor or saying hi to everyone as you walk down the street... just asking some kids their names then their parents invite you in and you teach a lesson. I love the Philippines! Until next week! I love you all! 

Sister Pike

There's a story. Sister Robinson was ready for bed and I made my bed on a mattress on the floor and she looked up and said "Sister Pike, I will give you 1,000 pesos if you sleep on those metal bars tonight." We just laughed like, haha - that's ridiculous. Then I thought, I actually want to see what that would feel like! So I climbed up there and laid down and decided it wasn't that bad so I did it! For the whole night. I look at that picture and still can't believe I did it.  Am I crazy? yes. But I am 1,000 pesos ($20) richer and a crazy story. So worth it. And we had to get up super early anyway because this was in Tacloban when we were figuring out training and stuff.

McArthur Park! Those statues are basically the symbol of the mission

President and Sister Andaya with my new anak (trainee)! It wasn't long ago that I was the one there!

8/10 of my batch sisters - that came with me - are training now! Wow! So here is all of us with our new missionaries! After just 4 months! I am surrounded by some amazing people

TEXAS PRIDE NEVER DIES! I thought you (all the Texans) would appreciate this - An elder going home from Texas gave me his TX flag! They have a tradition - I'm the 3rd - where you hang it up in all your areas and sign your name and when you go home, you pass it on to another Texan in the mission. It's so great! Only Texans would think of this huh? It's awesome!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 24 - 7/15/2013

So good to hear from you, This week was packed. I can't believe it went by so fast and at the same time I'm amazed how much we fit it. Number 1- Jenny "Inday" got baptized!!! Yay! It went pretty well, but it was a lot of work, that's for sure. I had no idea! And many things kept falling through, but it all worked out! And I am so happy for her, she is so great.

We also had mission tour with Elder Teh, we don't tour the mission, he just tours our mission and meets with the 3 areas because he is in the area presidency. He also said, "Your stake president says hi!" So that was cool. Monday, we stayed in Calbayog with Sister Schaap, Bingham, Nelson and Robinson and it was SO fun! When we got there, they weren't expecting us yet so they had an FHE planned (my two companions from the MTC) so we joined them and it was so great! So cool how far we've come- from teaching cebuano in the MTC to fake investigators to having an awesome FHE with a few of their investigators in the Philippines in waray-waray. Wow! and then all 6 of us slept on the kitchen floor- 4 on two mattresses, 1 on a piece of cardboard and 1 under the table. I got a picture and it is priceless. The next day, lots of van rides and meetings and just hanging with our zone, they're so great. 

Sunday- Sister Ariola left to go home! And Sister Pedong received her patriarchal blessing! And our bishop wasn't released! Apparently he wants to be released, but the Stake President said he still had some work to do so we're actually having ward council next week! (which has never happened) and planning activities to help missionary work move along! Exciting times. And Transfer announcements come on wednesday. I'm pretty sure I'll be staying here and training a new american but transfers are so unpredictable that anything could happen! But I know for a fact I'm training( which never happens) because Sister Pedong was talking to President Andaya about serving another short term and he told her,"Well, it would be with a different companion because your companion is training" Wow. So ready or not, here it comes! But I feel pretty ready, I've seen it coming for months so I've tried my best to be prepared, not to mention this past transfer training 2 branch missionaries with opposite personalities. I'm going to Tacloban this week to get my anak! (child/trainee)

Funny story- I don't know if I mentioned this before, but there is an airport strip between Catarman and where the church is. The gate was always open but a month or two ago they closed it but they left a small gate open where just people could climb through. Well this week, they closed that gate too (5am-2pm)! So we were getting a small keyboard to the church for the baptism and the gate was closed and the way around is super long and kinda expensive so they showed us a different way... through a barbedwire fence and under this whole in the wall- it was crazy! With a piano. Adventure for sure. That's how our investigator got to church on sunday with her small child... It's more fun in the philippines! 

Also- today we went on an awesome hike through the jungle- so intense! One part, it was raining and super slick and we basically climbed like legit rock climbing up a mountain. After like an hour in, we saw some guys climbing coconut trees and cutting them down. We jokingly said, they should get some for us too! Someone asked, and they actually did! It was so delicious! The coconuts here are so different, green and the juice looks like water with a soft white meat inside. At the end of our hike, we walked to the beach, cooked lunch and just had so much fun! Pretty sure I got sunburned, but it was so great! We built a sandcastle of the Salt Lake temple, pretty legit! Just an awesome day.

I'm really excited for transfers, but kinda sad at the same time because I love the missionaries in our stake! And something is changing for sure. But I always love the new missionaries, so I'm sure it will be great. Much to report on next week! I love you all! Thanks for all your support!

From our hike today! It's kinda hard to tell how steep it was here, but it was sooo steep!
Catarman and Calbayog Zones!

With Sister Nelson and Pedong - we give those I am a child of God mats to all the converts! Cool, huh?

Sand castle - or should I say, Temple?

Sister Robinson, my sister in the mission! (because we have the same Nanay)

Si Jane a recent convert we were walking home with. In the background - Inglesia ni Cristo - a HUGE church right across from our building. And you can see the traffic in the background

Our way to church! It was crazy! luckily we don't need to every sunday!

Jenny's Baptism!

My companion and I!

Our sleeping arrangements - yes I slept between Sister Pedong and Nelson on the mattress. Yes, it looks like there was no room.. haha

Fitting 3 in a motorcycle

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Week 23 - 7/7/2013

Hey guess what? We have a baptism!!! This Saturday and I am so excited for her. She is so golden, we really didn't even do anything! The week before, the District Leader interviews them and after her interview, he said to us, "Wow, she is amazing! We asked her what why prophets were important to us and I'm pretty sure she quoted scripture." haha it was so great. Last week my companion opened her mission call! How many missionaries can say that? haha She is going to Philippines Naga Mission and we went to her house in UEP and it was really funny how anti-climatic it was. She wasn't even excited! I told her she needs to work on that before she goes. Naga is the closest mission just north of us so she jokes that she could just ride a boat for an hour at any time and just go home! haha It's so funny too cause anyone with that call in America would be SO stoked. But here if you got a call to... Idaho or something, the adventure would begin! It's also her birthday today! So we'll celebrate probably by making s'mores because since I introduced them to her she has been obsessed. We get along so well, I really love her. It was also Sister Ariola's birthday on July 4 so all the missionaries in Catarman went to a restruant for lunch and Sister Somera bought a cake and decorations, she is so thoughtful! It was really great.

Tonight we are traveling to Calbayog (1.5 hours) and staying with Sister Schaap and Sister Bingham!!! whoo!! Because the next day we are traveling even farther to Catbalogan(2 more hours) for a Mission Tour! I've never experienced it, but I hear nothing but awesomeness. I'm so excited.

Other news, we're getting a new bishop next week! And Ward Mission Leader! And Assistant Ward Mission Leader! I'm really excited, because though it's nice to have experienced people, It's also really nice to have new people that are just excited to work and start off on a good note. It's been really nice having elders in our ward too because it means we need to be much more organized and coordinate and I still don't know what I'm doing half the time because I'm still new! The organization of the mission is just so inspired and I feel like I could never really mess anything up no matter how much I don't know...It gives me confidence that I can do anything needed of me. It's wonderful.
Our new apartment is great. We have a shower..that I don't use. And we have AC... that we also don't use. haha Before when I heard of people having AC but not using it, I thought they were crazy! But it turns out if you have aircon then walk outside, the humidity and heat hit you like a brick wall and it's just really unpleasant because most the time we don't even notice anymore! And we have fans that work just great. And it's very expensive. And the shower is still cold water so it turns out I prefer the occasional shock of cold rather than constant. And The water pressure isn't very good either. But I like bucket showers. So it's all good.

It was SO good to hear that Mark is just rocking the MTC. I am so happy for him! I know he will be an awesome missionary. You learn so much here, especially what you really need to do as member when you get home so you can really help change the world. Hint: Missionaries will love you if you feed them, but a hundred times more if you invite them over to your house to meet your friend that wants to learn more about the church. And so will your friend when they accept the truth and their lives are changed forever. If you don't have a referral for the missionaries, find one. Members are 1,000X more effective at finding good people to teach then missionaries. It's crazy! Basta, I'm doing so good as usual and I hope you all are too! I love you!

Love, Sister Pike

We went to visit this one family after a rainstorm and it was flooded and pitch black, definietly an adventure.  Someone put tires across and there was also some scaffolding that we had to climb through, they call me Sister Spider-man haha And also, si Sister Jean, a member working with us that night.

Legit Filipino meal. Chicken intestine, liver, eggs and balut! And that little black thing off the plate is the chick inside the balut which I also ate. Marasa!

Cute little puppies came into our apartment when the door was open.

Sister Cornillez, my other Branch Missionary Companion
My companion put KETCHUP on her CAKE and FROSTING on her EGG. And people think I eat weird things...