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.

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