Friday, August 29, 2014

Change of post dates

Hello everyone!  This is Laura, Kayla's mom.  I'm the one who posts Kayla's emails and photos that she sends every week.  Please check back on this blog on Monday.  We are assuming that her "pday" (day off) has been changed to Mondays now that she has left the training center.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ

"Jeepney" is common mode of transportation. I rode in 3 this week. 

The ice cream cones were weird... it didn't taste like real ice cream 

On my bed with my companion (kasama), sitting on Dad's blanket from his mission in Honduras. 

"Trike" is also another common mode of transportation.  I've ridden in them.  They are small. 

Hello Family!!
I once again feel like I have so much to tell you and so I'm sorry if my e-mails seem really scatter brained!
A few things... you remember Samantha Tesh who came and stayed with us after Zion's Camp? My teacher, Sister Balota was Sister Tesh's companion!! How crazy and cool is that?? There really are no coincidences!
Umm I killed 3 cockroaches a couple minutes ago...nbd.
I'm working on memorizing the first vision in Tagalog!!
We went proselyting again this week!! It was in the Manila mission this time! My kasama was from Tonga.  She was so sweet and we had a really good time! The poverty was still really bad but it didn't horrify me as much this time.  I was able to really just focus on the people we were teaching rather than staring at the craziness that was around me.  We rode in 3 Jeepney's to get everywhere we had to go! That's the most common form of transportation here.  They play really loud music in them and everyone is crammed so tight together!  Its really fun.  I talked to everyone on the Jeepney's and practiced as much Tagalog as I could! Luckily, most of them could speak English so when I ran out of Tagalog things to say they would just start speaking to me in English.  The first person I met on the Jeepney was an English teacher! She really enjoyed talking to me, and I gave her a Restoration pamphlet and told her a little bit about what I'm doing here! When I got off of that Jeepney I was just overwhelmed with the spirit and kept thinking that so many of the people I talk to everyday are people Heavenly Father is putting in my path so I can teach them!  My favorite person we taught was this 70 year old woman.  She was SO CUTE! She lived in a pretty nice home that had a piano! She asked me if I could play and then she asked me to play a song and sing for her!  I played and sang Love One Another, and she was just so happy! She gave me a big hug and told me that I played and sang so beautifully. Everyone here is so kind!! Another person I met that really touched me was a 15 year old girl named Carla.  She came and sat next to me on the Jeepney, she was on her way home from school wearing her school uniform.  I said, "Hello! Ano po ang pangalan nyo?" (What is your name?) She told me her name was Carla and then she said, "You're really pretty."  My heart just about melted!! I told her that she was beautiful and then we talked the whole way to our destination.  She's on the swim team for her school and rides that Jeepney home everyday.  I asked her if she believed in Jesus Christ and she did!  I told her a little bit about our church and gave her a passalong card.  It's the simple moments like that that I will never forget!!
I loved loved loved being in the city!! I smiled and talked to everyone I saw.  Its such a crazy adventure!! I feel like a celebrity because everyone just stares.  Sometimes when I wave, people will tap the person next to them and point at me hahahaha. 
We had some more really great devotionals this week!! One was by President Uchtdorf (on tv of course) but he told us a story of a missionary who woke up everyone morning and looked in the mirror and said, "I fear no man."  He always remembered who he was, a disciple of Jesus Christ.  He shared with us 3 Nephi 5:13 and said, any time you feel weak, or fearful, remember who you are! Not only are you a child of God, you have been called to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  It was really powerful.
In other news...I GO TO THE FEILD THIS WEEK!!! That is so so so crazy!! I am so excited to share what I know and help as many people as I can, but I'm also way sad to be leaving my kasama and amazing district and teachers.  They have all been such a blessing to me. Sister Te'O my kasama dos, her Dad is a Mormon actor!! He's in that one movie, Forever Strong, where he types on the keyboard with his middle fingers hahaha. Also he's in the RM.  And my kasamas quote Nacho Libre all the time. I'm pretty sure its like a requirement if you're Polynesian to love that movie.
Oh yeah, I got 7 letters this week!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I by far have the greatest family and friends in the whole wide world. I got letters from Marmee and Grandpa, Erica, Julianne and all her kiddos, Mom, of course, (it had the necklace in it, thanks!!), and BRAD WILCOX! He sent me a letter of encouragement! How cool is that?!! Seriously, I don't understand how I got lucky enough to be in his mission prep class. Tyler emailed me!! Ive also gotten emails from Nannette, Grandma, and Maddie (:
Is it possible to send dr.pepper? I haven't had one in a month! I'm pretty sure they don't have it here because every Filipino I ask has never heard of it.
But if not, its totally fine!! One thing is the cheese here is really weird... and the chips we eat are kinda gross haha. But I'm really great! I can't think of much I need but I'll let you know..
oh..maybe another flash drive.
My mission president has already emailed me and they seem SO wonderful!! He expressed how much he loved me and I feel so excited to meet him this week.
I really do feel calm and I know that the Lord is going to take care of me, so you should feel the same!!
I love you Mommy!
Oh and ps. funny story...the church building we met at before splits had NO toilet paper and we all went to the bathroom haahaha. So even at church they wipe with their hands apparently. But like Dad said in my blessing, I am just finding humor in the gross stuff! So its all good!
I love you! ps. tell J thank you so much for the letters! I'm going to write her kids back when I get to the field!!
Well I love you all so much!! Don't worry about me this week, I already know I'm gonna love it!!
XOXO Mahal Kita!
Sister Lockwood

Friday, August 15, 2014

First experience in Manila!

 with Brother Alcibor, a favorite MTC teacher

 with Sister Balota, a favorite MTC teacher

 "I ate this and actually liked it!  Crazy, huh?"

 What a party at the MTC!

 with my awesome companion!

birthday poster at the MTC

Hello Family!!
I am SO jealous that you guys are partying in Florida this week!! But, I also get to live in Paradise here so its okay.  Its always warm and sunny, I try to go outside every chance I get!! Even though its really hot, the heat doesn't bother me.  The Ohio and Utah winters have made me appreciate every piece of sunshine I can get.
Well I feel like I have so much to say this week, so sorry if this is super choppy!!
First of all, WE WENT PROSELYTING!! ON Wednesday, we went on splits with the missionaries serving in the Quezon City mission.  I got put with Sister Oyler.  She's from Utah and it was such a tender mercy to be with her!! We were the only 2 white sisters and I am so happy that they put us together! We taught 3 lessons in the 3 hours we were together and I feel like I learned a ton in that short time!  She also spoiled me and bought me a Spanish roll from a street vendor and an Orange Fanta from one of the side shops.  It was so funny, when you buy a drink they pour it into a plastic bag and then you drink out of the bag!  We rode on a tike, which is basically a side car attached to a motor bike.  It was so tiny!!! Both of us had to squeeze so tight to get in.  Everything here is made for small Filipinos!! One of the guys we were teaching literally asked us the question, "Why are you both so big?" LOL
But seriously, you hear about how poor this place is, but until you actually go out working with the people and go into their houses, it is uncomprehendable.
We started out in what is called the "squatters".  Basically its the "neighborhoods" that these people live in.  Its tons and tons of houses that look like forts little kids would make, and they squeeze sooo many people into each one and they are all piled on top of eachother.  I remember walking through the alley way through the squatters looking around and seeing a naked woman peer behind a curtain that she used for her door, and seeing a toddler screaming crying with no site of her mother anywhere!! ):  I'm also pretty sure the sewers just run down the alleyway because it smelled really really bad and there were flies everywhere.  But we taught a 14 year old girl who lived in the squatters!! I was so happy because we got to teach her how to pray!! I remember telling her in broken Tagalish that she was a daughter of Heavenly Father and that he knew her by name and wanted her to pray to Him!! I was just meeting this adorable girl, but I felt so much love for her and wanted her to know like I do that God loves her so much!!  
 The second lady we taught was named Baby Asia.  When we got to her "house" she was sleeping on what looked like their kitchen table, but its more like a little coffee table.  The entire house is seriously the size of Mom and Dad's closet. No joke.  She has 10 KIDS!!! I honestly have no idea where they all sleep.  The house was like basically 4 walls of cinder blocks with a tin roof.  No door, no actual windows on the window holes.  They also had 2 dogs that I was seriously so terrified they were going to bite me. But anyways, we talked with her for awhile and she informed us that her brother and brother's daughter had died earlier that week. ): She seemed so sad, and then told us that their bodies were laying down the street on the neighborhood basketball court. My heart seriously broke!! I was just absolutely dumbfounded that people actually live like that!! So so sad. But, the good news is that we got to teach her about the Plan of Salvation! We told her that she could see and live with her brother again, and that they were in a better place now. We asked her to read in her Book of Mormon and pray, and then we left.  I couldn't say much because my Tagalog is kind of rough, but I simply bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and encouraged her to have faith in Heavenly Father's plan for her.
The last woman we taught lived in a house with only a mattress on the floor.  She's 20 and was holding her son as we taught her... Her baby had horrible bites all over him, even on his face.  We asked her what they were and she said that the ants bit him. Ahh, so sad.  But we opened that lesson by singing "I Am a Child of God".  I started tearing up as we sang because I looked at this woman, and her small son and thought of the poor circumstances they live and but realized that they are specifically known and loved by Heavenly Father just as much as me.  They are both children of God and I get to be lucky enough to be the one to teach them that! 
I could go on and on with the details of my very first day really out in the Philippines.  I was so overwhelmed with sadness for how these people live, but more so I was overwhelmed with love for them and the desire to teach them the gospel!! When I get sad and think things like "ah, I wish I could take them to America" or that I wish I could give them a real home and food, I just have to remember that I get to give them MORE than that! I get to give them something that is going to last through the eternities and can bring them even more joy and happiness than a better life here on Earth would.
So that was my day in Quezon City!! Pretty crazy, huh? Believe it or not it just is making me so excited to really be in the field!!! I want to have adventures like that and get to help people every day!
The rest of my week was good. I still love the MTC! I still love my kasamas and we still laugh everyday. One quick lesson that I learned this week from Elder Bednar... He talked about how as we are obedient and live worthily of the spirit, the spirit will prompt us and we won't even know it.  He said,  "The overwhelming majority of promptings you receive, you will not even recognize as a spiritual prompting from God."  Heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end, and he uses us as instraments in His hands every day!! It reminded me of my experience with my massage and Brother Guthrie. Mom didn't think "Oh, I can feel the spirit telling me I need to schedule Kayla an appointment at this place at this time at this day"  Rather, the spirit prompted her without her even knowing it.  Everything really does happen for a reason and if we look, we can recognize God's hands in our lives every single day. 
The new batch of missionaries came in today.. I love meeting all the little Filipinos!! I'm getting more and more used to things everyday.  I think it might take a couple weeks to adjust to the field and the craziness that it will be, but even after proselyting I feel peaceful and excited.  Of course nervous too, but for the most part I'm just really pumped!! Pray I get a good first kasama in the field!! That's what I'm hoping for
I'm still the only white girl here lol!  I am getting sad to leave the MTC!! I love it here so much and its going to be so hard saying goodbye to everyone.
Oh, please don't be mad but I gave away one of my journals to a girl who didn't bring one....
I knowwww you told me not to give things away but they didn't have any she could buy! ): And I've already written so much in my journal, I can tell I'm going to need more. So do you think you could send me some when you send my next package? I really like those ones from Barnes and Noble but any of them will be fine (:
I hope everything is going well back home!! I love you all SO SO MUCH!!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Lockwood

ps. I leave the MTC 2 weeks from this past Wednesday, whatever that day is.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Halfway there!

Sister Toai and Sister Ufua

This is a lava lava given to her by her companion

Hello family!!
I am over halfway through the MTC! Can you believe that?! It was an amazing week!! I was so spiritually fed  and have been coming a long way with Tagalog! I feel like I'm understanding what it means to feast upon the words of Christ for the first time.  Even though I spend all my time reading Preach my Gospel and the Scriptures or learning Tagalog, I feel like its not enough! At home reading scriptures for 10 minutes everyday was a struggle sometimes, but now at the end of personal study I want more!!
We had 3 AMAZING devotionals this week.  Sunday we watched an old devotional by Elder Bednar that was so good for me.  He talked a lot about faith and how faith means acting BEFORE we can receive assurance.  He gave the example of the children of Israel when Moses parted the sea, they had to step in first and get their feet wet before the sea parted.  We as missionaries are the same way.  Before we can see the light, we have to take a step into the darkness. He also said, "God trusts you to learn the lessons that He is giving you through the trials you will experience." I am going to go through hard times here, but they will all be for my good if I choose to learn and grow from them!
On Monday Elder Bowen came from the area presidency and spoke to us.  I loved it all but here are a few things he said, "Are you the kind of missionary your mother thinks you are?" "In the next 18 months, you don't have the luxury of having a bad day." I am a representative of Jesus Christ! So it is my job to let the world know just how happy He makes me!  I want to always smile and radiate the light that Christ gives me.  The last thing I said that I loved was "We are nothing, but with God we can do everything."  As a missionary it is so vital that I am humble, and recognize that alone I really can do nothing.  But its also mahalaga (important) for me to remember that I find my strength in Christ and because of that I CAN DO ANYTHING.  When I really wrap my head around that I just feel so confident and ready to take on all the challenges that Manila is gonna throw at me the next 18 months.
The last devotional that we had was by Brother Mills, the director of all of the foreign MTCs.  He told us that this week's weekly missionary report reported 87,206 missionaries. Whoa! So any time I'm feeling alone, I can remember that I am a  part of a HUGE army!  We really are the army of Helaman and we are so strong.  He also showed us before and after pictures of missionaries, from the beginning to end of their missions.  The difference in the happiness of these missionaries was unbelievable!! They had such a glow and confidence in who they were that was visible in their pictures.  His message was how are we going to have this change? How are we going to create this happiness and glow in us throughout the next 18 months or 2 years.  He said, "The trick to being happy, is to stop thinking about being happy!!! Focus on bringing other people happiness, and that is where you will find true joy."  He shared the scripture "He that saveth His life shall lose it, and He that losesth His life shall save it."  It was such a good reminder that I am going to become a great and happy missionary by forgetting myself.  The next 18 months I get to focus my whole self on other people's happiness, and believe it or not that's how I am going to find joy my whole life!!

I just loved everything that we learned so I had to share it with you.  Other than the devotionals, it was a great week!! We went to the temple again because it is now closed for the month of August.  It is Sister Makaneloe's birthday today so we decorated her bed and are gonna have lots of fun! The food is getting better everyday and I'm still kicking when I don't wanna kick when it comes to learning the language!!  But I'm really coming a long way with the language!! One of my teachers thanked me this week for how hard I've been working and told me that its showing because I am advancing quickly. 

I got 4 letters in ONE day from Mom, Marmee, and Grandpa!!! Wow, I felt so loved! You guys are the greatest.  I'm now kind of the district joke because I'm the only one that has gotten more than one letter and most of them haven't gotten any yet ): I feel so bad! But they tend to make jokes like "Oh Sister Lockwood, you actually got 8 letters today from all your fans back home." But thank you so much for all the love and support!! I'm the luckiest!!

I really feel so blessed to be here.  I have the most amazing teachers, and I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else in the world but here at the Philippines MTC with all the Filipino's and my wonderful casamas.  Oh guess what!! After this Wednesday I will be the only white girl in the whole MTC! LOL! Most of the Samoans here are from Western Samoa, but there is 1 from American Samoa who knows Pele's parents!

I'm starting to tell people that I'm half Samoan because I have a Samoan aunt and all my kasamas are samoan.  Sister Pau gave me a lava lava this week!! How sweet is that?! Well I love you all so much and pray for you everyday!!! Thank you for all of your love, I feel it everyday.

Its funny because here there is literally no such thing as reverence.  Like before devotionals people sing along to the prelude music and then at night they scream and laugh all the time.  Its definitely different from American culture.

PS Thanks for the info on the mga isip!! (Isip is cock roaches and you put mga before things to make it plural) The cock roach count is up to 4!! I picked them up with a napkin alive and put them in the toilet this week. I'm getting braver by the day!!!  Except we had one scary experience where one RAN OUT OF THE TOLET AFTER WE THREW IT IN!  Needless to say the bathroom was full of screaming girls lolol.  I feel like my mission is gonna be "The adventures of a white girl and her Isips"

Wanna hear a Tagalog joke?
There were 3 people in an elevator, 2 Filipinos and 1 American.
The Filipinos were talking and said to eachother, "Bababa ba?" "Bababa."
The American said, "Wow, your language is so amazing!! You can speak with only one sound!!

Haha, you'd have to know Tagalog to get it, but bababa ba? Means "are we going down?"  And Bababa  means "We're going down."

Mahal Kita!!
Sister Lockwood

Friday, August 1, 2014

I love the MTC!

 Me and my companion in the rain!  (It literally rains EVERYDAY)

 The LDS temple in Manila, right across the street from the MTC.

 Spaghetti was the treat for celebrating birthdays

 With my roommates 

I can't believe another week has already passed. The days here are flying by! I wake up in the morning and before I know it I'm going to bed. I'm pretty sure everyday here has gotten better and better.
Everyday I think "ah this has been the best day so far here!" And then the next day tops it.  Today especially has been fabulous! We went to the temple this morning! It was so much fun to be there with my favorite
casamas. (I call my casama Sister Pau and both my roommates my casamas.)  It was so spiritual and such a bonding experience.
Let's see...I don't even know where to begin exactly! Every day we go through pretty much the same schedule.  We have personal study, then language classes, lunch, companion study, language study, TALL (our
computer assisted language classes), then gym time where I usually play basketball with the Elders, then dinner, some more language classes, teach investigators, spiritual classes, and then daily planning
and then bed. My teachers are absolutely amazing!! Brother Alcibor and Sister Balota are their names and they are SO CUTE. They both are always so happy and are so positive and helpful.  Brother Alcibor is a convert and told us this week a story about when his Father passed away.  The spirit was so strong in our district room, and it made me so thankful for the Plan of Salvation and for the peace and knowledge that the gospel brings.
I also spoke in church on Sunday, mom!! Every Sunday they call on random people to speak and I was one of them!  I spoke on agency and the Plan of Salvation.  Luckily, only the beginning and my testimony had to be in Tagalog but I felt really good about it!! Its so fun that we both spoke on the same Sunday (: (:
Elder Packard is in my district!! He says he's pretty close with Aubrey Dyer and her family,. small world.
BIG NEWS! I killed my first cockroach this week!! At the beginning of the week I was feeling super anxious about the field and wondering if I was really gonna be able to do it... But then on Sunday night we had a devotional called "Master, the Tempest is Raging."  It was all about how the Savior can bring us peace even when the crazy storms and typhoons happen around us.  After that I was feeling super pumped and decided to overcome my fear of the field and specifically the cock roaches. I thought that I'd make it into a game and count how many cockroaches I kill and try and kill as many as possible over the next 18 months.  So on Thursday there was one on the stair case and I ran up and smashed it!! I was so excited I announced it to my distrct and to Brother Alcibor. To my dismay, however, they told me that when you smash a cockroach IT LAYS EGGS!  So apparently, rather than killing a cockroach, I just created like 5 more.  HA.  Also, Brother Alcibor told me that at night they come and bite your eyes! And then it swells up really big. So, my fear of cockroaches is back in full force.
The food was better this week! We still had some crazy things like eggplant for breakfast...But we got to eat spaghetti and pizza one night to celebrate birthdays.  And last night we were talking about how much we miss french toast, and guess what was for breakfast this morning... FRENCH TOAST!  Tender mercies happen everyday.  I also drank a coke today which was so kahangahanga (amazing.) 
Sister Pau and I are working hard to try and give 100% everyday.  In the missionary devotional I went to when Elder Holland spoke, he told us of a famous swimmer who was asked how he became so great.  He responded that he lives by, "Kick when you don't want to kick.  Stroke when you don't want to stroke."  So we translated it to Tagalog and we say it every day when we start to get down or tired!! It's "Sumipa kapag ayaw mong sumipa. Kumampay kapag ayaw kumampay."  We try really hard to stay on task and spend every minute learning Tagalog. 
Some fun words I've learned that will show you how crazy Tagalog can be.... pananampalataya- faith kagalakan-joy nakakapinsala- harmful  mga pangangailangan-needs.  Crazy huh??? I'm getting better at pronunciation and I am learning to love speaking the language!!
The language is 20 percent Spanish.How cool is that??
I always accidentally start speaking Spanish... like today, a new group of missionaries came and I was like "hola!!" hahaha "Oh wait, wrong language!" I also talked to some Filipino kids today in the store!! So much fun.
Our lessons with our investigators went super well this week!! We have 2 investigators and 1 less active that we Tagalog. I can always feel the spirit in the lessons and I can feel the Lord blessing me with the language as I work hard everyday.
Even though I am far from you, I feel your love every single day!! I am so grateful for how blessed I am with such an amazing support system back home.  I don't know how I got so lucky with the best family and friends in the world?!!!
Mahal Kita!!!
Sister Lockwood
Ps. I opened the greenie package from Sister Withers last Monday.  Tell her THANK YOU!! I sent a thank you letter today that is hopefully on its way (:
Pss. I also got the blanket package from you yesterday, mom!! THANKS FOR THE CHOCOLATEEEEE! And youre the best ever! (This is confusing to me, Laura, because I mailed the package to the mission office.  She is not supposed to get packages at the MTC.)  I think my casamas can even tell that I am so blessed with the best family and friends.  They were like "you got a package and a letter?!" And then when I opened the greenie package from Sister Withers they were like "Wow! I wish I had friends like you do."
SO COOL that Hunter is going to Japan.  He's totally gonna rock it.

I hope youre not worried about me at all because I'm not lying when I say that I LOVE IT HERE!