#1 I'm so glad you got the video!!! Isn't that the coolest? I kinda looked the grossest ever because we had just been riding on a bus for a few hours and I had a really terrible sick voice but that was such a cool experience that I am so thankful for! It's actually pretty crazy how it happened. Last Monday, we left at about one to head to Tacloban. Our zone leaders said to BE THERE at 4 so we thought it was a big deal, like the whole mission would already be there and we would have a meeting or something. So we show up at the church in Tacloban exactly on time and no one else is there! Just a bunch of members cleaning! So we think, are we at the wrong place? Are they all at the other chapel? So we're just standing around outside all lost and confused when a car drives up with two Americans! That is NOT normal. So they get out and talk to us, they're looking for President Andaya and the AP's and they soon find out that we know absolutely nothing. And then one says to the other, do you just want to interview them? And that piques our interest. Turns out one of them is David Perry who is a world renowned videographer who is here to catch some footage for a video about Tacloban to show to youth of the church and such. So we volunteer and they set up the camera and such. At first we thought they were going to do all 8 of us, just little short clips about our experiences and how much we grew. The others were pretty shy kay they're Filipino and shy about their English so we went first. They asked us to share our story and weren't really sure how long he wanted us to go so we just went and waited for him to tell us to stop but we went and went, wayy longer than we expected but it was a really cool experience. Especially since I'm COMPANIONS with someone who shared almost the exact same experience as me. What are the odds of that. When we finished, he loved it! And we said, we hope you can find something to use! And then he said, if nothing else, I'll send this to your family and it's a great thing to have on record to share with your friends, family and even future family! By the time we finished, the other half of the zone got there and he did a few short clips of what they learned and how they grew from that hard experience. So it turns out, we had absolutely no reason to be there at that time, no one else ever showed up. Are tender mercies real? Yes. I'm so grateful for that!
(The video Mary is talking about was sent to our parents - it will be made into a documentary for viewing later)
#2 Mission Tour!!!! For the first time ever, Tacloban mission was gathered all together and it was just the best ever. 168 all together- 56 sisters, 112 elders. We were smaller than I'm used to but we still barely fit inside the chapel. President Nielson (area president of the Philippines) and his wife came and spoke to us and it was such a great experience. We had studied the talk "mountains to climb" in preparation and we talked about not only using typhoon Yolanda as a personal testimony builder, but putting it in a place where we can help others learn from it too. Also, they talked about how we can use this situation to help others who suffered recognize the miracles and use it to bring them closer to Christ. One thing that he said was many people said, "We need to repent. That happened because of wickedness." But he emphasized that these things happen, natural disasters, terrible situations, etc., not to call us to repentance but to show forth his power. And both Sister and President Nielson made it very clear that while everything was going down, especially the rescuing of missionaries, they knew they were witnessing nothing short a modern day miracle. It was really cool to hear their testimonies especially now that it's been 6 months, the work is continuing, Tacloban is very progressing and it's all looking up but just to be reminded of the miracles we've all seen.
#3 it's transfer week! So I probably will stay but it's exciting to see what happens for transfers. It is likely that Sister Brown and I will not stay together which is pretty sad; we’ve had the best time! I'm so grateful for her. My English fast is going good; I didn't expect how hard it would be! Especially when we meet with the zone, we all speak so much English... I definitely felt was it was like to be a Filipina- to know English but maybe not well enough to keep up with fast paced Americans. I've slipped a bit but I'm definitely getting better. Progress! And Skype- siyempre I will speak English haha! But as far as I know, there are no elections next week and I for sure can only do it on Monday. I will MAKE SURE to be online at 11am my time. Hopefully Mark can get on too! That was basically the saddest moment ever when I found out he got special permission, I thought there was no way! But now I know to be PROMPT and we will search for a good internet cafe with Skype this week (google chat). I love you all, thank you for your support! See you next week! The last time I will talk to you before I see you in person... weird.
Love, Sister Pike