Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 30 - 8/26/2013

Greetings from CATARMAN!!! That's right, I'm back in my area with my anak (trainee) and these past two days have probably been the happiest of my life. Crazy right? But honestly! This week was just roller coaster! So, let's start in Manila, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were just crazy because Monday and Wednesday were holidays and the doctors weren't there and there was crazy flooding in Manila so on Tuesday there weren't any doctors either. So it was so chill, we just stayed in inside and Tuesday and Wednesday we got to go to the temple! Yeah! When I got there, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to because it was closed and it's basically every missionary's dream haha so I basically lived the dream. And it was just unreal how close everyone became at the Missionary Recovery Center- I literally viewed Sister and Elder Wood like our parents and it was just amazing the love and care they showed for each one of us. On Thursday night, I slept over at a hospital for a sleep test! Talk about weird! They hook you up to like a billion wires and I was pulling glue out of my hair for days. Quite the experience. Tapos, Friday was really awesome/ crazy. We went to S&R with the cook to get groceries aka COSTCO! It blew my mind! And they are so nice that they even treated us to the pizza and ice cream- literally exactly costco. And there were about a million white people, it was so freaky! Then I went and helped out at the MTC with some office work then that night, Elder and Sister Wood went out to dinner for their anniversary and another senior couple came and babysat us. haha But really! We ordered pizza hut pizza then played dominos until the other senior couples and they brought us back J.Co donuts- so good! I realized that all my time in manila I have kinda been treated like a child and it's kinda the best! For my sickness, I don't really need to be watched over, but for some, in case of emergency, there really needs to be someone there. And they also told me that afternoon that I would be going back to my area! He said, "all your test results don't come back until next week so rather than you just sit around here all week, we'll send you back and slowly ease back into missionary work. And if it doesn't get any better/ gets worse, we'll figure it out from there." Seriously, ecstatic! I've missed my ward, all the missionaries, and just missionary work in general so much! Even though it was kinda hard to be out of missionary work for a whole month, especially not knowing my fate, I am SO grateful for this experience because it will make me appreciate every single day of my mission SO much more. Not to mention the power and prayer and to be able to feel so much love. 

So saturday, I boarded a plane to Tacloban! and got there in the mission office at. When I arrived, it was like people didn't even know I was coming back! But they were all so happy to see me and to ask about Manila etc, then I saw one of the Sister's living with Sister Doud (my companion)- I asked, "doesn't she know I'm back?" "No! We knew nothing!" So... one of the office elders called her to come get me and she got the shock of her life! She was starting to think I wouldn't be back until after transfers! (which is this wednesday) By 5, we hoped on a bus back to Catarman! And since, I've just been so happy to be reunited with all the people I love so much! I really couldn't stop smiling! It was awesome. Especially at church, so fun! It was really like coming home, I felt so much love and concern from all the members, I'm just so glad we have elders in our ward now so they could somewhat keep everyone in the loop. And on Sunday, we took it really easy, only taught one lesson and visited another family of investigators- she had her baby right when I got sick and I can't believe it's already been a month! She's so big now! And they haven't been able to come to church because the 3 months we've been teaching them, she was really pregnant so couldn't go any where and then she couldn't go while the baby was still new so without us even saying anything, she said they would all go to church on Sunday! WOOHOO!! I just hope they actually do! And it was kinda funny because when we had mcm(missionary coordination meeting), there are 3 ward missionaries who are preparing for their missions so they love working but they haven't been able to with us gone so they were so excited so scheduled a ton of times, especially on sunday. Then I got home and sat down and thought, "What am I crazy?! Have I already forgotten they said, 'take it easy'?" So we cancelled some of our appointments and rested and made a goal not to have more than 2 lessons a day hahaha weirdest missionary goal ever! But I just know if I don't set a goal like that, a limit, I just can't help myself and I'll push myself too hard! It's so weird though. 

And it's been so good seeing all my missionary friends in the zone, they are just the best! And maybe some of them will get transferred this week so it's SO good to be back now. And then, right before I left for Manila, I got my FOOTBALL from Jenny! I was so happy but so sad at the same time because I didn't know when I would be able to use it! So today, they had a zone of activity of sports and it was so awesome because we got to use it! I really like football because you just stand there and throw it so I could do a sport I love, but not kill myself. At first it was so funny because all the elders played volleyball and we were teaching all the sisters to throw a football...usually it's opposite, no? But later the Elders joined in and everyone loved it. So happy:) So thank you so much! It's basically my prized possession. I'm actually so shocked I didn't even play basketball even a little! So we just played outside a chapel, talked with other missionaries and ate lunch that some members cooked- bodulbodul style aka no plates and you just eat with your hands off banana leaves. And it was just the best! Perfect last zone party/ reunion for me. And that's about it. Seriously so good to be back and a missionary again, it's the best feeling in the world. Thank you so much for all your love and prayers- hopefully I'll be a full working missionary soon:)

Love, Sister Pike

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 29 - 8/18/2013

Greetings from Manila! I still can't believe I'm here! And honestly, it has been really great. I'm staying in the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center) which is in the same complex as the MTC here in Manila and right across the street from the Manila temple! Such a great view. The temple has been closed, but when it opens this week, we go twice a week so I'm really excited. I feel really grateful to be here because it is basically a perfect setup and it's the only one of its kind in the whole world. We just live in an apartment with 5 or so rooms and a kitchen, living room, computers and TV with a senior couple- Elder and Sister Wood from Canada. And we just hang out with them, studying/resting/ watching church movies until we have appointments at the hospital with the doctor and they drive us and take care of everything and they are just so great! When I got here, there were 8 of us- 4 elders and 4 sisters but one by one they're returning to their missions so after today it will just be 3 sisters and 1 elder. And I love them a lot, it really does feel like we're a family! We eat home cooked meals together and the food is so good! On the weekends, Sister Wood cooks so it's very American and SO good. Then on the weekdays a local Filipina- Divine- comes and cooks and it's so good. I feel so spoiled! Not to mention we have aircon, I'm actually really cold cause I'm not used to it!, and hot showers and washers and dryers, I actually think I'm not even in the Philippines anymore. This week, I just had a bunch of blood tests and have talked to 3 doctors so far and every single one- "you are just a huge question!" but they're trying everything and so far all my results are normal. Next step is a sleep test then MRI and we might need to wait awhile to have those scheduled. 

Meanwhile, I found a Tagalog grammar book so I'm learning that and it's so great! I feel like I'm in the MTC again and all the other missionaries are from Tagalog speaking missions so I hear it all the time, I think this will help so much! Not to mention I've read like 50 Liahona's (church magazines). One of the hard things about being sick at "home" aka Catarman  was we didn't really have anything new to read or study, but here, it never ends! So I'll never get bored. Not to mention the people are so fun, I love these missionaries! And they have a piano so I get to play all the time so it's basically the best! 

I have two more "small world" stories- I can't believe even here in big ole' Manila! The other day (friday) we went to the distribution center- which is like right next door and I was talking the cashier which asked which mission I was from. When I said Tacloban, he said, "oh that lady sitting outside is from Catarman!" "No way that's my area!" So he called her in and we talked in waray-waray and it was so awesome! I didn't realize I missed it so much! It's weird still being in the Philippines and no one knows my mission language. Most of the missionaries here haven't even heard of it! So she's from Catarman 1st ward and is here on vacation and is heading back this week. We took a picture together and I told her to say hi to all the missionaries for me if she beats me back. Then on Sunday, in gospel principles, we were talking to the missionaries assigned there. One elder came up to me and asked which mission I was from and he's from Catarman 1st also! When I saw his name, Elder Pedrola, I guessed he might be because that's the name of our stake president and it's his son! So we talked a long time in waray-waray too and I gave him updates about all the ward members his age, he goes home in January. And once again, it was so great to speak waray-waray! It's especially crazy because Catarman has a different language than all other places so even if they had been from the Tacloban misison, we wouldn't be speaking the same language but TWO from Catarman. And This Elder is the AP and it was their first Sunday in this ward because they just moved areas. And it was awesome because the whole time we were talking, he was just shocked, "It's so weird to see an American speaking waray-waray! You are so good! You're way better than I am!" Because he's been speaking nothing but Tagalog for 18 months haha It was pretty awesome. He was so amazed, especially when he found out it was my first area still. Who knew my one area could have so many connections! And then later, his companion from Utah asked me if I knew Elder Keate. "Do I know Elder Keate? He's only been with me my whole mission! He was my District Leader and he's assigned in Catarman 1st!"( which is his companion's home ward) so I showed him a picture of him and we took a picture of all 3 of us to show Elder Keate when I get back. I was seriously so happy.

I've really decided that Manila is a totally different world, there are SO MANY skyscrapers and cars...the traffic is crazy. They have all American food and restaurants. We had a blizzard from Dairy Queen the other day and Elder and Sister Wood took us to the grocery store to help them get our food and it just blew me away. And you can basically speak English to everyone, such a different world from Tacloban. But something I also learned here was I appreciate Tacloban so much more! Because when I was talking to the elders, I showed them a picture of us at the beach and they said, "you got beach, you're so lucky! We just got pavement!" When I got my call to the Philippines, I thought of course I'll see beach because it's just a bunch of islands! But there are so many missions completely landlocked but in Tacloban, there are very few areas that aren't beach because even though there is a lot in the middle, it's mostly forest and not very many people. Most of the areas are all along the coast. Not to mention I love learning 3 languages! Even when I get together with people from other parts of my mission, we talk about and  compare our area's languages. You can't do that here in the north because it's all Tagalog! And that's about it! I just feel really blessed and have been able to see so many tender mercies from my Heavenly Father. I thank you all so much for your prayers, it means so much to me! I know this will all work out  the way it needs. 

Love, Sister Pike

p.s. It's ironic that the time I have the most time to respond, no one emails me! People did, but not very many!
Blizzard with Sister V

My MRC family - These people are so great!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 28 - 8/12/2013

So, not much happened this week... I'm in Tacloban! And We're just waiting for some test results. I've been good... pretty much the same but definitely not worse. I have zero other symptoms, just tired and sleepy which I can definitely handle. Probably the best sickness ever except for my poor companion is running out of reading materials. We've been staying with the Tacloban sisters just sleeping in their living room on mattresses which is so fun. There are 6 of them so it's been fun getting to know them, they are soo nice. Sister Schaap, my mtc companion, is assigned there so that's been so fun. We had no idea we would be staying here this long so we are so ready to go back to Catarman so hopefully everything will be figured out soon. On the plus side they live super close to the Robinson's mall which has some really good food like Shakey's (really good american pizza) and KFC so we've been spoiled.
Yesterday, we went to church here in Tacloban witht the other missionaries which was a really cool experience. #1- their ward has 5 sets of missionaries!!! Granted that includes the Sister Training Leaders and Assistant to the Presidents and office elders which are like part time missionaries because they work so much with other missionaries all over the mission... but still! And the first speaker started by telling a story about her sister's children. She said her daughter's name is Kian- and I thought, that's kinda weird when names are used cause you don't REALLY need to know them for the story to make sense... then she said and her twin sons name Tiny and Laki- and I thought, wait, I know twins named tiny and laki and those aren't exactly normal... then she said and their other sister Jerra- then it hit me, that's the magalang family from the Catarman 2nd ward!!! I know them!!! So here I am in Tacloban right when she tells a story about a family that I know more than 6 hours away... crazy small world!! We talked about it after, I felt pretty cool. What are the odds... and also the Sisters there have a new investigator that came to church but isn't from here and is going home at the end of the month who is from... you guessed it, Catarman. Our ward too which is even crazier considering how many missionaries there are there.
It was SO weird not being in church as a real missionary- not needing to worry about attendance and those who you visited, your investigators/ less actives- but the elders kept us updated on who wasn't there and what we need to do, I can't wait to get back to the work and back to Catarman, I miss everyone so much! Hopefully it won't be too much longer...
Funny story that just happened... We just ate at a filipino- italian restraunt which is SUCH a weird combination to begin with, but it was actually really good! Right when we finished, in walked 5 white people which is SO weird. As american missionaries, we think it's so weird when everyone stares at us for being white until you see white people and can't help but stare! Any way, it was whole family which is even weirder because if you do see an american, it's an old white rich guy with his tiny, young filipina wife, anyway... then they started talking German! It was so bizarre! We just looked at each other and started laughing like- is this really happening?
I would just like to thank everyone so much for their thoughts and prayers and I feel so incredibly loved. This week I was able to have some really cool revelation and I know that no matter what happens, it will be for the best and it's God's plan for me and as soon as you can realize that, life is SO much easier. I don't know where I would be without the gospel through this time, I have been strengthened so much through my prayers and especially reading the book of mormon. I'm really grateful for this learning experience and I know it's made me a better, stronger person already and it's not even quite over yet! I love you all!

Sister Pike

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 27 - 8/5/2013

I have a wonderful haiku written just for you to describe this week. Mostly for dad.

Sister Pike is sick.
sick sick sick sick sick sick sick
Sister Pike is sick. 

And that about sums it up! haha When I am sick, I usually try not to focus on that and just tell you about the work that we did do but I have literally slept every single day this week! It's not even bad, I'm just sleepy and tired constantly and that is my only symptom, but hopefully we'll figure it out this week and fix it! 

But no matter how sick I am, It never ceases to amaze me how blessed I am and how much I can learn from the few hours I am awake each day. I would like to share my experience with priesthood blessings. Wednesday I woke up REALLY tired. So I just tried to take a short nap to sleep it off but before you knew it, I was in bed all day. I thought it was just tired from working hard because missionary work is just hard work so I just thought sleep and vitamins and I would be back to work in no time. I briefly thought about getting a blessing but I thought, "it's no big deal! I'll be fine tomorrow!" The next morning when I felt the same- the idea came into my mind again multiple times so I arranged for my district leader to come over and give me a blessing. I thought since the thought prompting was so clear that maybe there was just something I needed to hear in the blessing before I got welltomorrow. The blessing was pretty standard, but I wrote it down nonetheless trying to figure out what I was supposed to get from this whole experience. Everyone thought FOR SURE I'd be back by Friday but when 2 days turned into 6... everyday those words of that blessing mean more and more to me especially the promise that I will be able to work with all my heart, might, mind and strength at some point... haha 

And I have lots of really awesome people caring for me- my companion, my nanay(sis. Somera), Sis. Cabrera, my district leaders, zone leaders, Pres. and Sis. Andaya... Every morning they text, kumusta(how is) si sister Pike? the same... so I just sleep. And I really wish I could say more! But that's been my week... Sis. Doud is a trooper and has used this time to finish Jesus the Christ. for those not familiar, this is an incredible feat! ngan we always stay laughing and inventing smoothies... new smoothie of the week- mango float smoothie! mango, ice, sweeten condensed milk and graham crackers... highly recommended except for the fact that there are no good mangos there... for shame! we go through about 6 kilos of mangos every week. so good. 

I love you all, thanks for the emails and hopefully I'll be able to get back to my purpose in life as missionary one of these days... until then don't worry about me, it's all in God's hands and a part of his plan. Who am I to question? 

Sister Pike