Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 57 - 2/23/2014

Wow, I can't believe it's monday so soon! This week just flew by but at the same time when I was thinking what to write, I thought, wow, it was just a normal week! I won't even know what to write! That's a first! and then I stopped for a second to remember...turns out it was crazy! 

The good news of this week is that we got to work in our real area 2 days! wow! The elders in our area are SUPER busy teaching all of our investigators and we're just stuck in the middle of nowhere finding new investigators to give to the sisters we're living with... It will really make us appreciate having a real area! But we got some good lessons in. One was a less active that we visited right before the storm that really wanted to come back and she did! Not because her house was destroyed, cause it wasn't and she was so happy to be back! And then I was surprised last week when she wasn't there! So we visited and she said one of the members- I don't even know who she was talking about- said that she only came to church to get help cause it kinda did look like that with the timing but not at all true! And we were there with Sister Rosales, a member who returned when I first got there in September and she was just perfect! It was a really great lesson and Borronda (that's her name) really recognized the emptiness in her life with out reading and going to church. She said "I pray always but it just isn't enough!" And she really desires to develop a relationship with God so it was a really great lesson! Also she said that she has expecting visitors for 3 days because she dreamed that 3 special visitors would come and then me and my companion and Sister Rosales showed up and she said you were the special visitors! It was actually pretty cool! So we've only had 3 real lessons in our area, but they've been good ones! We really need to choose wisely how we're going to use our very limited time in Naval! 

And we've had workers renovating our house while we're out working so we've been living in a construction site which has been crazy! our dishes in the living room, cement dust covering everything, we can live anywhere! And then on Thursday, we come home and the other sisters said that someone is coming to inspect our apartment tomorrow so the workers need to work through the night and so we need to go stay with the Sister in Cabucgayan, the next area over. It's like pretty late but we pack up and find some motorcycles to take us to their house and it's so fun! The whole time we're just laughing and trying to take pictures of the other companionship on the motorcycles, our arms full with our overnight stuff. So luckily the other sisters live in this huge nice house and all 8 of us fit perfectly! It's like a mansion! Especially compared to what we've been living in. and the craziest thing is it is the cheapest rent in the whole mission. So it was so fun to stay with Sister Kramer, Mier, Henshaw and Ralph and catch up then Sister Kramer made cookies from a pkg. she got and cooked them in the toaster oven for sister Pettijohn's birthday! It actually worked really well! 

The next morning, we were waiting for the people come to inspect the house when a member from Balaquid called and said Sister Robinson and Sister Somera were here to visit! I screamed, it was so exciting because they both went home and they are like my best friends. They've been living in a church in Tacloban helping to rebuild houses and stuff and they went back to their areas on Biliran island to visit all the members so we met them for lunch and then they were at the dinner appointment we went to that night at a members house. It was so crazy because the last time I saw them was in Manila then they went home to Luzone and America and I literally saw them before I saw the other missionaries in Tacloban mission who went back to different areas. It just worked out so perfectly! And it was so weird to see them not as missionaries...they just looked like they were in their p-day clothes! And then we went back to our apartment and it was beautiful! they painted the whole inside purple and the outside and finished tiling the whole sink and it was clean finally...So now it's great! Huge difference from before... I just hope they can find an apartment that meets these standards in Naval soon so we can actually work! 

And Church yesterday was great, we had an attendance of 163 (before it was always less than 100) and all the classes were overflowing. We got kicked out of the investigators room- there was absolutely no room! And we had to sit outside the door of Relief Society which was weird because we were literally in the room they did Priesthood so we basically ended up going to priesthood because that's all we could hear. But I'd rather me not be able to hear than the investigators! We are in desperate need of a church here... Hopefully it's not too much longer! Our zone leaders said 147 investigators attended church on this little island- that's so cool! that's 5 branches... The work is hastening. I love you all and hope you are doing great! 

Love, Sister Pike

Kitchen Before

Kitchen after

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 56 - 2/16/2014

So this is the week that like no one replied because p-day is on Monday again! It's okay, I forgive you. This week was pretty uneventful, we are staying in Balaquid, an area about an hour bus ride away in the middle of nowhere so we haven't been able to work in our area at all because the rides are so limited that we would need to come back at like 4 pm so we just stay in the other sisters and find! And walk and walk. Have never walked so much in my whole mission and I even got a little sunburned. That never happens! But it's super cool being in their area because it is beautiful!! lots of mountains, the view right from our apartment is the ocean with great views of 2 other islands really close. Every time we travel to email, we just get 1 hour of the most gorgeous scenery. We decided this was where they should film like Jurassic park and such. The other day we rode a habul-habul (a motorcycle) because it's the only transportation available in their area and it's like paradise. 

We went to church in Naval yesterday and it was so great to see all the members!!! They all missed me and asked where sister Estes was. There were tons of less actives that we had visited and visited before that did not want to come back that were there! And there were literally people sitting outside the door because there was not enough room inside. Everyone keeps saying there are many investigators but I didn't meet very many! And its hard cause we can't visit them yet so hopefully soon! But they were all so happy to have missionaries finally back and we just feel so appreciated! it's great. But I think it is cool that I met a few that want to get baptized as soon as possible and have been going to church for a few months now! We as a mission will break the number of baptisms in about a month when all these people are actually being taught. Such a unique experience! 

Also kinda funny that they are upgrading all the apartments like making them require flushing toilets and showers, but we all prefer bucket showers still and before our sink was just a concrete basin with a big hole for the water and this week the tiled the counters and put a metal sink with a drain and we don't like it! It's way harder for the water to go down. Sister Albatara who is pinay and lives with us was laughing because we were all complaining and she said, you know this is fancy right? And here we prefer the old ways... the ghetto ways. It's just funny. And it's funny they made flushing toilets a priority because that was the least of our concerns! Before we would still have a toilet bowl with water and instead of pressing a flusher, we would pour a bucket of water down and it would flush it. also, I live with Sister Pettijohn, Albatara, and Adasme(my companion) and LOVE IT! They are so hilarious and fun to be around and we all speak cebuano constantly despite being 3 Americans so it's so good! And now we're trying to teach Sister Albatara English and we tried to explain swag this morning. Hilarious! Life is good! Kinda still in limbo with no area but it will hopefully not be too much longer! Love you all. 

Love, Sister Pike

Trip Back to Tacloban

 President and Sister Schmutz

Mary's Email and Address

Mary can now email anyone including friends!

Her email is:

For snail mail or other packages her (updated updated) address is:

Sister Mary Pike
Philippines Tacloban Mission
511 Maharlika Hwy.
Fatima Vlg., Tacloban city
6500 Leyte

She would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 55 - 2/11/2014

Greetings from....drumroll please... Naval, Biliran!!! That's right, I'm back in my 2nd area! Still Cebuano! I have no idea why, but I did not see that coming. Like at all. But this week was so good! The definition of bitter sweet but I feel so lucky that I had so much time to say goodbye to everyone and even had one last Sunday to take pictures and see everyone, that never happens! So I feel really blessed. 
Sunday at 3 I left by ocean jet to Cebu- usually we just take a bus and are on a boat for like 30 minutes and drive the rest but this way is by boat the whole entire way, 10x more expensive so I thought would be WAY faster, but isn't at all! So that was crazy. The next morning, we hung out in the office- Sister Anderson and I were the only ones going back but 3 others are done with their missions so we hung out until Pres. and Sister Schmutz came to talk to us. With the other two batches of people leaving, they knew exactly what area and who their companion was even in Cebu! but with us, there was just a list of 22 names so we were so curious! We had no idea. President thought they would tell us in Manila...nope! We left at 1 for the airport, waited for two hours till our flight left, even though it's a 1 hour flight, we didn't get to our hotel in Manila until 9pm. And then we had a reunion with all the other Tacloban missionaries from other missions heading back! Sister Kramer, Pettijohn, Adasme, Mier, Ralph, Henshaw, Baylon, and 2 more that I forgot. Elder Davies, Carlson, Ma'asi, Banawan, Parsons, and I forgot the others. I thought for sure we were going to Catarman kay it was untouched and hasn't been opened yet and there were 22 of us which is pretty big! Some people thought Biliran because 4 of us are from the original Biliran zone but our zone was only 16 so I thought we were too many so I thought, no way! We ate dinner and talked. It was SO cool to hear about how everyone loved their other missions so much and their mission presidents and it was so hard to leave. We all got so close to so many of the missionaries we served with and it was really cool to see that even though each mission is So different, rules, regulations, styles of mission presidents, etc., They're all good! And everyone loves it. We all stayed in a hotel in Manila and the next morning at 7, we flew into Tacloban! 
The airport was pretty ghetto to begin with but it still definitely had the effects of the typhoon. No walls, just a roof and they unloaded all the luggage by hand. All of us were SO excited to see Pres. And Sister Andaya, even thought we were so tired from traveling the day before, none of us could even sleep that night. When we saw them waiting outside the airport for us with the office elders, it felt like we were coming home! It was so amazing. We were all piled into the vans they rented with our luggage and we drove to Fatima Chapel, the chapel right next to the mission office and home. Tacloban was up and running, but there were so many tents set up among the rubble and life just seemed to move on! It never really felt real to me because I never saw it so it felt good to see it with my own eyes. We had an orientation type deal in the chapel, after they fed us, and as president was talking to us, it felt like we had never left! It felt so right like nothing had even happened. And I forgot how funny he is and how much I missed him! They announced our areas and companions- I'm with Sister Adasme in Naval and they opened another Sisters area with us- Sister Ralph and Henshaw! I thought it was amazing that they were opening areas, but because the attendance has just boomed! We talked to a member today who said our attendance was 200(before was 80-90) and in Biliran (over 500 before 150 and there are only 400 something members on the directory) WOW!!!! We have work to do and I am so excited! We are staying in a different area right now (balaquid) for the time being because they haven't finalized our apartment yet (we moved because they are stepping up the standard of all housing) so we'll be working in their area too. And it's so bukid (not the city at all and a beautiful view). And they loaded us up and took us to our apartments! When we were driving there, I forgot about the crazy windy van rides and the amazing views. My companion is so excited because she has always served in the city so she said, "I finally get to serve in the Philippines!" Like the other areas weren't.. haha Yep, this is definitely as Philippines as it gets and it's so good to be back :) 
We were all joking that they need to all reteach us how to be Tacloban missionaries because each mission has different rules and ways of doing stuff so we've all forgot! A lot can happen in 3 months! I'm sure we'll figure it out soon. OH and they said, the goal is to get every missionary back within 60 days and they're taking about 20 every week. I wish I had known that! And all they need to do is find apartments with power, water, cell service and access to food so our mission should be back and fully running in no time! When we met in Tacloban, the church was still pretty broken, lots of missing ceiling tiles and you could see into the rafters. I love you, excited to report how the work is next week! 

Love, Sister Pike

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 54 - 2/4/2014

BIG NEWS!!! I just got a call from President Schmutz about an hour ago, I'M GOING BACK TO TACLOBAN MISSION!!!!! When he was telling me, I was just shaking but I'm SO excited!!! I have no idea where my language is or area but I'm excited. Transfer day for this mission is on Thursday so I basically stayed the whole time but I leave to Cebu on Sunday and fly to Manila to meet up with all the returning PTM missionaries and then go to Maasin I guess on Tuesday or something. I always secretly wished I would be returning to Tacloban on my birthday, That will most likely be my first day back- BEST birthday present ever!!! I love this area so much but I feel SO blessed to have a few days to say to goodbye and a Sunday because my streak has been pretty bad... haha Also, literally I will have gone to Manila between every area that I've served in... that's so not normal!! haha I think it's hilarious!

And this week was pretty great. On Monday, a bunch of our appointments fell through so we were thinking of where to go and I thought about this girl (Marjorie, 19) that I talked to a few weeks ago while I went on exchanges. She was born again but was really open to going to church! She didn't go to church, and then she wasn't there when we went to visit so we never got to follow up. So we went and she was there! She really was sorry she didn't go to church because she was shy-I don't blame her, I didn't talk to her for very long- but she was ready to listen nonetheless. I LOVE her apartment because it's at the end of this long dirt road and SO quiet. Usually the motorcycles are SO loud or random people are blasting music, it's just always a very noisy atmosphere but it was so peaceful there. We taught the full restoration and when I told the story of Joseph Smith and his first vision, the spirit was SO strong. It just filled me up from head to toe and was just pulsating through my whole body and lingered so much even on the walk to the next appointment. She said she could feel it so strong too and she knew it was true. She said she felt like Joseph Smith cause first she was Catholic and now Born again but really just wanted to know. She was so wonderful!!!! I'm really excited to hear about the progress she makes! It's so interesting that we teach the restoration so much, and we don't really change but the spirit depends so much on the people we are teaching. When they are so elect and prepared, it's such a sacred experience and so amazing.

And Crystal came to church! She is the sister of Ronaldo (the mullet guy who also is really progressing) and the Single Adults were the most AMAZING fellow shippers ever!!! The invited her to their class and their valentines dance this Saturday- Efren and Daniel or VERY progressing investigator and recent convert are very involved in institute and the activities and they all just love it! There is an institute building connected to the chapel and it's just the place to be and just hang out! It's so great. And it makes me so excited for Marjorie to come and get involved in it too. It took longer for Crysta to come I think because she was so involved in her own church and activities and choir, etc. but if she really gets involved- which she has already started- she will just flourish!

And I just felt like this was such an amazing week because I really focused on having really meaningful prayers to start personal study and then I had so many amazing spirit filled experiences in my study that just stayed with me the rest of the day! The Holy Ghost is truly an amazing gift from our Father in Heaven to not only to help us choose the right, but to give us taste of what our entire eternity could feel like if we continued so we're not working so hard for something we don't know about. Tinuod Kalipayon. True Happiness. And I have experienced this true happiness only when I give fully of myself and forget all my worries and problems as I focus on the needs of those I love. I love missionary work! But this true joy is not limited to us, you know. Be a missionary, and experience joy you could only dream of. I know that we have a loving heavenly father who knows all of us so individually and perfectly and he really does answer prayers. Thanks for all your love and support! Next week, I'll be in my new area, with my new companion and maybe speaking in a new language- with no fear because this is God's plan! And I trust it always.


Sister Pike