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!

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