Sister Toai and Sister Ufua
This is a lava lava given to her by her companion
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."