Friday, July 25, 2014

Adjusting to a new culture and a new life

Me and my companion, Sister Pau 

My view outside my window 

Sister Pau, me, and our roommates: Sister Makaneole and Sister Te'O.

My district in the MTC (her classmates who are there learning the language with her)

Oh my heavens I am so happy to be e-mailing you guys right now!! It has been SO WEIRD going a whole week without being able to talk to you!  I know that you haven't been worried about me at all...which is good because the MTC is great! 
The 1st 2 days were definitely really hard though.  I had no appetite. I was SO exhausted from the time change and the thought of being away from home for 18 months was so terrifying. At night I couldn't sleep and I just laid awake and cried. I just prayed and prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father that I would have the strength to do this.  Then, from the lack of sleep probably, I got sick.  It was just a bad cold, but the nurse made me wear a mask!! It was quite embarassing. That day I had my district leader give me a blessing, and the next morning I felt soo much better both physically and spiritually.  So, since about Monday, I have been doing so well!
My companion is Sister Pau and our roommates are Sister Makaneole and Sister Te'O.  They are all Samoan and so we are always laughing and having such a great time!! Last night the Sister training leaders actually had to come into our room because we were laughing so much that apparently the whole hall could hear.  That's okay though, I love feeling like I have best friends here with me!! It's only been a week and we've gotten so close! My companion is perfect for me.  She is such a hard worker, and she is always so positive.  She has picked up what we're learning super fast, which is good because she pushes me to keep up with her. Sister Te'O will be serving in the Manila mission so hopefully we'll be able to be companions again in the field!  I got lucky with a really awesome district. We work really hard but also know how to have fun and relax too.
The food here is....nuts.  We eat hotdogs and rice for breakfast. dogs.  And the other night they served us a fish with the skin and head still on it!! I'm trying really hard to eat new things, but its hard sometimes.  I think I've finally figured out the perfect freshman 15 diet: its called the Philippines MTC diet! lol  But today we got to go to the store and so I bought pringles and chocolate and some snack food so I won't go to bed hungry anymore.
This morning we got to go into the city of Manila to do our visa stuff.  It made me SO excited to get out into the field!  My casaba (companion) and I gave away 3 passalong cards in the hour that we were there!! Everyone we talked to spoke English, but we tried to use Tagalog as much as we can. Let me tell you, the koloob ng mga wika (the gift of tounges) is real. Its only been a week and we have taught 5 lessons to our investigator!! I am learning so quickly, and it is so much fun to go into lessons and use all the new words that I've learned.
I think if I could sum up what I learned this week it would come down to the word humility.  At the beginning of the week when I was missing home and struggling with Tagalog, and not able to eat any of the food here, and not being able to sleep at night, I prayed so much.  I think those couple of days were the first time in my life that I've truley felt alone and have had to turn to my Father in Heaven as my only friend.  I felt like at home I had so much potential to be a good missionary, and teach people everything I know about the gospel, but that here I wouldn't be able to do that because I can't say what I want to say in the language!  But guess what, Heavenly Father didn't want me to speak English or Spanish, He wanted me to speak Tagalog.  He didn't want me to be able to easily teach everything that I know, but instead I need to learn to humble myself and rely on Him. This mission is going to be hard, and learning the language is going to be difficult, but I know that as long as I'm being obedient and relying on the spirit, I will be just an even better missionary than I could have been if I was telling people all I knew about the gospel in English.
At the beginning of the week, 18 months seemed almost suffocating.  All I could think about was how long that was without good food and without my family.  But as the week has gone on, I am starting to feel so excited for 18 months!  It seems shorter to me now and I want to make every day count.  I have grown so much closer to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ in just a week, I can't imagine how much more I have to learn and grow over the next 18 months.
I love you all so much and I hope everything is great at home!! DONT WORRY ABOUT ME!! I'm great, I promise (:

ps. A few more random things:
they gave me a water bottle with a filter on it so thats good!
I play basketball with the Elders during gym time!!
I'm getting off now but I will talk to you next Friday!! Next Friday we get to go to the temple!

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