Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 66 - 4/27/2014

I can't believe I've been back in Tacloban for 3 months! And I can't believe I only have 3 months left! Time, where does it go? This week was fantastic. We were on fire! And then Saturday I got a bad cough and just slept... but it was still a wonderful week! Highlights:

We went back and taught Bom-bom and Ja-Ja before they went back to Catarman and they were amazing!!! We were a little bit later than we expected and they were there waiting for us, SO excited and were studying the reading assignment we gave them all together. Is this real life? And we taught them about baptism and it was just such a fun lesson full of the spirit! They want to be baptized but we aren't sure if there are missionaries in their area yet so we committed them to keep reading the book of Mormon and seek out the missionaries wherever they are. It was so sad to say good-bye to them. 

Went on exchanges with STLs, sister Nelson is my batch so that was a fun reunion. The award of the week goes to Sister Bayani. She's been giving us TONS of referrals lately and every time we go to her house to walk with her to contact the referral, she literally stops every single person she knows and asks if we can visit them! We got 3 return appointments! She is just on FIRE and she loves helping us and working with us. She's the coolest. One of those return appointments was on Saturday and he was so great. He was a teacher (so potential leader which we really look for in these areas where the church is still pretty new) and he had tons of questions of the soul. You know, every missionary's dream because we have all the answers! Why are there so many churches? Which interpretation of the bible is correct? If God really loves us, why is there so much suffering in the world? He was actually the first person we've taught that questioned our ability to get answers and we are both SO excited to come back and teach him about the book of Mormon. He loves reading the bible and we think he will just eat it up!

So this past 40 days, Sister Brown did this thing, "how to become a sanctified missionary" so she gave up some things (fasted basically) like talking about worldy things, just things to make her more focused and bring the spirit more fully into her life and she really inspired me! I really want to finish my mission strong and I only have 3 months left so I'm going to step everything up so it's like a rededication to avoid getting trunky! I'm pretty excited and it starts this Wednesday. The hardest thing about it is going to start an English fast! No English ever except during our studies and missionary meetings because we're supposed to. It's so hard when you're with Americans all the time, but I figured, I would totally be doing this anyway if I had Filipina companions so why should I short change myself this experience. I only get this time to speak these awesome languages once in my life! And the other just involve being EXACTLY obedient and relying more on grace for strength and help to become the missionary I need to be. And I'm telling you so I'll be held accountable. Woo! 

Later today, we are traveling to Tacloban for mission conference tomorrow! SO STOAKED. So look forward to a bazillion pictures of me and all my favorite people. Hope you have a great week! Learn from Sister Bayani and give referrals to the missionaries :)

Love, Sister Pike
I was cold.. and trying to look like Mary. Sister Vea said I looked like a homeless woman.

Tracting at the big houses...

Sister Brown guarding her food while she prays because she learned from experience that Elders like to snatch it... haha

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week 65 - 4/20/2014

So, I really just wanted to send you a bunch of fun pictures from this week cause they really are the best! but my computer doesn't like me today so... it's lame. I got some to work! Wow, never mind. This week... Tuesday was a really excellent day! Mission conference was postponed until next week so we went finding and I really have just learned to love it! Definitely have the funniest experiences. Then we planned on teaching a less active but she wasn't there so we decided to go an active member and follow up on a referral she gave us. Her referral was a teacher and they're still busy doing their after school reports (it's summer and school is out) BUT her granddaughters who were visiting from Catarman were there (18 and 20) so we got to teach them and it was a really awesome lesson! It was sooo weird to hear Catarman waray-waray but super cool. I'm getting to the point I just understand everything everyone says and the only way I can tell it's a different language is if my companion who hasn't served in those areas yet has a look of confusion on her face. It's not too horribly different, just random words. They are returning back home this week but it's our goal to get them in a great position to be handed off to the other missionaries in their area! They were so awesome though. Definitely not a coincidence that we happened to visit that active member completely unplanned. 

Did not feel like Easter AT all but all in all a great weekend. We had district conference so the other missionaries came and stayed with us and the area authority and 2nd counselor in the mission presidency with his wife spoke and they were all the funniest people ever! Seriously, never laughed so hard in a meeting. Also, fun fact, one session, one talk was waray, one Cebuano and one Tagalog mixed with English. I understood all but most don't know Cebuano or  very much English, it's really cool how much we all rely on the spirit so much to understand. This was a very typical meeting and it never ceases to amaze me! One night after planning was soo fun because Sister Vea lives in our house with us and she is from Tonga so she was teaching us Tongan hymns! So cool. So I will come home from my mission having studied 3 Filipino languages but singing Tongan songs. haha they are so legit though! I don't know if you knew this but we sing all of our songs in English. Never in any other language, it's so interesting! but it's so cute with their different pronunciations. I love getting to know so many cultures from all over the world! And we all are united in the gospel. So great. Who knew missionary work was so much fun? And of course, so incredibly rewarding. I love being missionary. Thank you for all your emails and support! 

love, Sister Pike

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 64 - 4/13/2014

Hello family! Today was one of those lucky days the internet was SUPER fast! So could upload a lot of pictures which leaves not much time to write. This week was CRAZY busy but soooo wonderful. We basically did no work but had lots and lots to do. We were supposed to have zone conference but word a typhoon came so it was cancelled so they decided to have a different zone meeting in Calbayog (2 hours away) but on the way there on Tuesday, we found out it was back on! So exciting because we get to see Cataraman, my old zone but bad news because if we had KNOWN we could have brought all of our stuff to just sleep in Calbayog that night instead of traveling back and forth... It was pretty kapoi- tiring but fun to talk with everyone in our district cause we traveled together. I never ever got car sick in America but here is a COMPLETELY different story and have gotten progressively worse on my mission which is unfortunate but we usually just talk to each other to distract ourselves from our nauseated state and it's pretty good. And we got to memorize some of D&C 4 in Tagalog! So that's always fun. Those bus rides aren't good for nothing!

Zone training meeting, we meet as a zone and the stls, sister training leaders gave us training than our zone leaders and it was the most spiritual meeting yet! It was all about service and patience and becoming like Christ. And then when we came back on Wednesday for zone conference, best zone conference ever! Also, Sister and President Andaya's last and maybe even my last! That's super sad. But it was the best so I'm okay! President and Sister Andaya's trainings were so hilarious. Sister is always so sweet and happy to see us, she always says, "I may still be young but I really do think of all of you as my children! It was so hard after the storm and you were all reassigned and it was like I lost all my children were lost at once and I'm so happy you're back!" And then she gave us the training she usually gives at the departure devotional for leaving missionaries but she won't be here! So she wanted to give it to us now. It was adorable and you really saw the love they have for each other. So cute! And then the AP's Elder Landingin and Munoz gave an excellent training on patience again and did the funnest role plays you have ever seen! I felt like the whole time I was at a comedy but I learned so much at the same time. Comedy actually helps people learn so much more, it's a great teaching skill. 

And then, of course, GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! It was pretty sad when it was over realizing that was my last one as a missionary, but it was so good! I love how Elder Ballard committed EVERYONE to read preach my gospel and report it to their missionaries, hint, hint :) I love preach my gospel and I have so much to learn from it still! My favorite section as of late has been the Christ like attributes, I encourage all to read! And the theme I kinda got overall was be nice!! Stand up for your beliefs, don't ever compromise, but no matter how you are treated, what persecutions come your way, react like Christ, be the example. It's hard for sure, but a necessity for our happiness as well as the happiness of others. Also, we saw a bit of the world news report and it was really cool to see our story! All the missionaries I know and love. And then Elder Teh's talk was the coolest cause I know him! He came and spoke to us last July and I could completely relate to everything he said about the people of the Philippines and what we can learn from them. Their hope and happiness even after the biggest destruction ever. Their complete happiness amidst poverty. I love general conference! The spirit was so strong and I can't wait to read and reread all the talks and find something new each time. There is so much to be learned! Love you all, don't forget to study Preach my gospel and general conference!

Love, Sister Pike
President Andaya's kids - we had lunch with them when they came to our branch a few weeks ago. 

My companion Sister Brown!


Our name tags.. companionship unity - Every time Jen/Kristin send me a letter, they put a sticker on it for me!

Sleeping on the roof

Mga mahusay (beauties) in our branch

We showered in the rain, it's a once a year tradition I guess! Sister Brown did it first and then I kinda wanted to but it was too cold. Then round two of the rain storm came but it didn't last as long so I had to finish my shower inside. So fun!

The cutest little boy on the planet! We all call him gwapo and he constantly smiles. Literally my whole zone was just staring at his cuteness. How do you get 16 missionaries attention? Miguel.

All of these were when we were together watching General Conference.

My Catbalogan District

The Filipinos and their umbrellas...

Squishing in a tricycle

My Catbalogan Zone

Zone conference - the lunch was SO fancy, it literally looked like a wedding reception!

My batch! (the elders and sisters I arrived with)

I was matching Sister Andaya!

Traffic after zone conference...

FHE! (Family Home Evening)

District Lunch at Jollibee between sessions of General Conference!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 63 - 4/7/2014

This week was wonderful!  Didn't work as much as we would've liked because I took a few rest days.  I've been doing pretty good but occasionally I need to crash especially since it's hot season and we walk a lot and my body just wears out faster than the average human!  Which I'm very used to and it's wonderful because Sister Brown is so incredibly patient and understanding and we just have a great time all the time!  When I'm asleep she just studies and listens to my general conference talks which she is in love with!  Definitely getting us pumped for general conference this week.  This week, she discovered our roof because she got tired of sitting in our house and we went up there at night just to talk and the weather was so beautiful!  like perfect!  not hot at all with the most beautiful breeze so we decided to move our mattresses up there (we always just sleep on the floor anyway) and slept and we even woke up cold the next morning!  We loved it so much that we've done it the past 3 nights in a row.  Luckily, it hasn't rained on us and we are definitely counting our blessings.  My favorite is in the morning, the wall blocks the sun so we don't wake up too early and if you look over the wall, it's a perfect view of the mountains.  Literally feels like we're camping and I just feel 100x better about getting out of bed in the morning! 

What I love about Sister Brown is that we are such good friends and can talk about everything and anything but can also work hard to do our best as missionaries.  Even though we didn't teach very many lessons, each had such a special spirit that was so fulfilling!  And we've been finding a lot because we have like 1 investigator and I was really bad at finding at the beginning of my mission, but now I love it because you meet so many weird/funny people.  Even when we get rejected, I just walk away laughing because it was hilarious.  I'm sure we'll find some great investigators soon.  One huge success was that our investigator (who is the wife of one of the counselors in the branch presidency) finally came to church!!  They live 45 minutes away and they have a motorcycle so it should be pretty easy but we've had to work for a few weeks, but she came!  And I love our relief society, there are actually quite a few relief society sisters and they are all very welcoming.  It's so exciting when someone new comes to church and you can tell they feel so welcome. 

Also, we got to see Women's conference which was so exciting!  In the past we haven't been able to.  We invited some less actives who said they would come but when we showed up at the start, there were literally just 4 of us sister missionaries but a few more showed up late at the end.  But it was so cool to be able to see that very first women's conference, Sister Brown was like crying the whole time, it was hilarious but such a special spirit that gives you the recharge you didn't even recognize you needed!  Definitely looking forward to all General Conference which will probably just be in English which I feel bad for those that can't really understand but they feel the spirit and the love of the leaders of the church for us which is better than nothing!  It's so sad thinking this is my 3rd and last general conference here, time flies so fast!  I love you all and think and pray for you often. 

love, Sister Pike 

p.s. cool story, while finding, we met the cutest old lady who doesn't understand a word of English or waray-waray so I pulled out my Tagalog I've been studying and it was so great!  My companion (who had the biggest nosebleed of her life-> a Filipino phrase which means their brain was working so hard that it bled and comes out the nose) just stared in awe like, since when did you know Tagalog!  It's fun.  But now I need to focus on learning waray-waray more in depth so I won't be able to study as much.