Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 39 - 10/27/2013

So, this week I hit my 9 month mark, scary huh? I can't believe how time flies! This was a good week because Aneliza and Mary Ann got baptized! And they are just the cutest. We had their program(talks and such) at the meetinghouse then we all piled in the truck and drove to the beach about 10 minutes away and they were baptized then we drove back and heard their testimonies, it was so cute. They actually had the program all printed and ready a week before which is unreal! but then we started 45 minutes late and not a single person on the program was there. When it's up to you, it's so stressful and frustrating! But President Ang, the branch president, took care of everything and we didn't even worry about a thing so that was so nice! Their testimonies were so cute. Most just say thank you but theirs was a real testimony. Super simple but you knew they believed every word. My favorite was Mary Ann (10) said I know Thomas S. Monson is the living promise and I promise that he chooses where the missionaries are assigned to serve through the power of the Holy Ghost. haha They had asked the other day how we decided our missions so we answered, she is so smart! Then we taught the english class which is so hard because so many members are so interested and they say they're coming but then they don't! There are a faithful two but we can't teach just them, they're needs to be others so it just gets complicated, but whoever is there it is always fun even if it takes up our whole night waiting for people. 
I think that's one of the hardest things about being here is as missionary, time is so important! But there are days you spend 3 hours just sitting waiting and if you had known it would take that long you could have been finding and teaching! but to come late just encourages it to continue. And a quote from Sister Estes, "Filipino time is never on your side." Whenever you are late, they start on time, when you are on time, you sit around forever! But there's nothing you can do, but learn patience haha. So that was our day yesterday- waiting for 2 hours to help the branch with the choir and then they ended up cancelling. And then it's too late to teach anyone! such is life. 

I'm trying to think what else has happened but I think that about covers it! Our investigators have been disappearing for various reasons so we're basically starting over and finding! all the time! It's definitely a first for me, we never really found before, they kinda just found us! But I'm excited to get better at it. This area is harder because a lot of the referrals from members are ready to accept our message but they live so far away that it's basically impossible for them to go to church. It's such a big area and includes so much of the mountains so it's soo different from Catarman, but even then it was so hard for them! 

Oh, we went to Ormoc(2 hours) for zone conference and I saw a bunch of missionaries from the MTC! It was great seeing everyone and getting the training's from our leaders, they always help so much! So that took a full day but it's always fun to switch things up. And that's about it! I love you!

Sister Pike

p.s. we fit 8 sisters in this tiny trike.we were so squished! 
p.p.s. elections are today so we can't go out again tonight but I love seeing all the political posters because they literally look like fugitives. All of them. What a different world! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 38 - 10/21/2013

Well,  it was an extremely adventurous,  and that's saying something! Wednesday we went to Tacloban for my eye appointment! And our goal was to back in time that night to teach our investigators who NEED to get ready for their baptism but  by the time I got to my appointment after waiting an hour... there was no way. Then we went back to the mission office and found out they had zone conference with 4 zones! Aka we got to see and talk to lots of friends! It was so great! and we barely made it to catch the bus to Naval and paid and everything when a bunch more missionaries showed up to travel back to their area then they got a text from the AP's saying not to travel because the roads were too dangerous so we got to stay in the sisters apartment and talk to everyone  else who was stranded for like 3 hours and it was the greatest! We woke up early the next morning and got to our apartment at 10am but we never have water until 2pm and we weren't there to fill up the buckets the night before like we do every night so we were just in our gross clothes and planned, we were so tired! That was a long day. 

On Morning, the power went off at 6 and we both woke up instantly because it was so hot! We thought it was just a brownout and it just happened to be the hottest day ever! We came home that night surprised to see that we still had no power but all our neighbors did! It was too hot in the bedroom so we pulled our mattresses out and slept on the living room floor with all the windows open even though their was very little breeze. and that's how we lived until right before we came when we just asked a construction worker working on the house behind us to help us figure it out and he did! People are so helpful here. So we have a smelly refrigerator full of spoiled food, learned that it is SOOO quiet at night with no power and that we are SO grateful for power. Showered in the dark a few times, and cooked by flashlight being held in my chin and was so hot- basically camping for real. haha oh the adventures! Last night it rained so it cooled down a ton so that was so nice but the worst is trying to sleep in the heat without a fan.  

       Our cute little investigators got interviewed for their baptism this week and it was awesome. We were kinda rushed at the end in teaching them everything they needed before they got baptized so we kinda focused on the commandments that have a lot to remember like Sabbath day, word of wisdom or Law of chastity(we teach a lot about modesty, good music, movies, etc.) so as we were waiting for our ride, we were reviewing and they said they hadn't prayed about Joseph smith or the Book of Mormon yet! Uh-oh, that's important! So we told them to pray about it that night and hoped they would get their answer before their interview or they can't be baptized.Sometimes it's like a process! They believed it was all true and doing everything they needed they just hadn't specifically asked. When we saw them the next morning, we asked about their prayer, the were basically jumping out of their seats, "It's true! I prayed and was kinda scared I wouldn't receive an answer then I just felt peaceful and happy and I know it's true"- this is from a 10 and 12 year old! Heavenly Father hears and answers everyone's prayers. So their baptism is this Saturday! Should be soooo incredibly different then my baptism in Catarman because we don't need to do anything but show up and we don't have a font in church so we're going to the ocean or a river or something legit like that. I'm excited!

And a bunch of members worked with us this week and it was just the best! I just really love the members here, they come from a lot more humble circumstances but they are always willing to work and help the work move forward. It makes a huge difference.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 37 - 10/14/2013

Family, this week was wonderful! Not too much craziness so I can talk a little bit more about the spiritual stuff. Oh and I'm staying with Sister Estes! Yay! Which is good cause I don't know the area very well and we just work so well together. Our strength is for sure that we both know we have a long way to go (far from perfect) so we set goals everyday and help each other become the best people/missionaries we can be! Cool experience- we taught our investigators Aneliza (12) and Mary Ann (10) who are getting baptized on October 26Aneliza's parents are returning members who were inactive for years but they are so strong and their faith just astounds me. Anyway, we asked them this week why they wanted to get baptized and they said, "So I can be member of the true church and go on a mission." It was like the single cutest thing ever said! And they are basically the best investigators ever! Her dad(grandpa) reads the book of mormon ever night outloud so his wife with bad eye sight can listen and the went to both days of general conference ALL day long!!! I was talking to Sister Estes, what did we do to deserve to teach these little girls? We didn't find them, they just came to us. It doesn't feel like it, but we are changing their lives by teaching them all the lessons and we will forever have the great blessing of being "their missionaries" It doesn't feel like it because everything we teach they just accept without any problems and are just so pure in heart... so cute. 

We all rode together to general conference (like before with all the chairs in the truck) and left at 7 am. We get there and there's a brown out... boo. then we get to watch two talks from the priesthood session then all the others which was awesome! But at the same time we were so sad because they are all in english and someone told me they had bisaya and tagalog options but there wasn't and it was just depressing because here is this awesome family (the Rosales who I was just talking about) who dedicated their whole saturdayto come and cannot understand a word. It's hard enough for young kids to focus on general conference! So that was a bummer. Then the next day we went again- same time and this time so many people came! We fit almost 50 in the back of the truck, they made me so proud- good day to be a missionary. We were still sad it was english especially since there were even more who couldn't understand anything then we go to the bathroom during the first 30 minutes and we see a classroom with a TV in it. Could it be? YES! They have a room for Tagalog and Cebuano translation! Score! So we missed the next few talks going in and out showing various members of our branch where to go and I was just so happy! And our other investigator (Josephine) who is not married and is ready to be baptized but needs to wait until her husband comes back in December to get married showed up with her 5 little kids all dressed and ready to go. She is amazing! We tried to help with them and keep them entertained so she could focus on the messages and it was exhausting but it was good. And conference was just amazing as usual. Both days we didn't get home until like 4pm so it definitely takes your whole weekend, but I was just so proud of all the members and their dedication. Especially when they thought it was all in english! 

I was just amazed at how much I felt like I was at a zone conference and it felt like they were talking to missionaries! Do you realize that you have been called to work and now the standard is raised and everyone is supposed to actually act exactly like a missionary. Teach like one (in church), follow the spirit to find, pray specifically for opportunities and have faith and open your mouth and talk to everyone... they're treating you like missionaries! It's such a cool time to be out and just to see the incredible changes that are happening in the church. I also love how they talked so much about the Priesthood and gender roles- with the world's views changing so much and so fast, it's definitely something that we needed to hear. I feel so blessed to be here in my own little bubble away from the "world" and cultural views and it is now that I can study and the things I need to do and the ways I need to act just come so clearly and so uncomplicated, but that will definitely affect my entire life. 

It was also fun to see all the missionaries that are new in the zone at general conference! Both days we went and ate lunch with all the sisters in the apartment closest- it's just down the street and Sister Robinson- my mission sister- transferred into the zone! I still can't believe it, 3 transfers in Catarman together and now here? She's following me everywhere! haha but it's so great. I just feel so blessed! My cebuano is coming just great, every time I go to a different area that's waray-waray (biliran or tacloban) I need to switch and it's so hard! I was there for 6 months! My hope is that by the end I'll be able to switch more easily haha Thank you for everything! Enjoy the ability to watch general conference as many times as you want!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 36 - 10/7/2013

Hello family! I'm doing great! I'm trying to remember what happened this week... it all just blends together! #1 I worked all week! And this week I go back to Tacloban for an eye appointment, I still take lots of drops and they're just slowly tapering off so it's been really good! Sometimes people ask if I'm all better yet and I think, "what I was sick? Ohhhh yeahh... that... It feels like so long ago and so far behind me now, I just feel so blessed! That is why journals are important because those days of being sick are filled with some pretty important stuff that you just forget as life gets crazy and back to normal! This week was crazy because NOTHING went according to plan. Usually one day a week you take 3 hours to plan the whole week but everyday they would say, oh, you have to go to this! And this! and pretty soon your whole schedule is filled up and you hardly can teach anyone! And that's how this week will be. Haven't watched General Conference but this weekend!!!!!! SOOOO excited. It's basically Christmas for missionaries. We thought we would have the chance to see the Relief Society session but it was in Biliran (30 min) and we could only go if we had an investigator but it was too far so we gave up hope. Then the day before they told us the church would pay for anyone to go and they were all traveling together! So we had hope! But then we visited everyone and they couldn't find anyone to watch the kids, just short notice so we couldn't go... but we are for sure seeing it all next week! And we started to teaching an english class which is really fun. We just started with the basics and a bunch of members came. It was kinda hard at first because they were all at such different levels but we ended up splitting them into groups and my favorite was the Elders Quorum Pres. is just this older man and he was writing everything so diligently, just soaking it all in- it was adorable. He was so humble! And then sacrament meeting was soooo wonderful. It was fast and testimony meeting but they had everyone who went through the temple the week before come up and speak and it was so good. Just so different from my last ward- so many RM's and married in the temple but the sacrament meeting were still such a struggle but here, they are so humble and they are SO appreciative of being able to be an eternal family and just so full of faith and just willing to do whatever it takes- Just so great! 

Today we had a zone activity in biliran and everyone appreciated my football and basketball. It was fun but so hard to get everything we need to done! not to mention so hot! This week is going to be CRAZY and no work basically but it's nice we have an FHE (dinner) scheduled like four days in row which is nice to be fed but our time to teach our investigators is so limited! There are not enough hours in the week to visit everyone we need to! What a problem to have... Thank you for all your support! 

Sister Pike
Sister Remedius - less-active member who is just the best and just makes me and Sister Estes laugh forever - she is just the cutest!

A little boy hanging off the back of a pedicab that we just rode behind.

Sister Garcia who is going home! She is so great.

Something got into my empty pepto bismol box..

A view from the house that we teach at. The seaside breeze feels SO good.

Analiza (12) and Mary Ann (10) - our investigators with a baptismal date on October 26! They are the cutest ever. They are the child and grandchild of a less-active family that returned to full activity and they are just the best! Analiza has the voice of Copper from Fox and the Hound and Mary Ann is so smart and just ready to learn! They fed us lunch and just went and chopped off coconuts from their tree outside. So nice!

FHE at Pres. Ang's house. Every week he has us over for dinner and his house is super nice. He's just the best!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dear Future Missionaries

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