Eating fish head!
Tatay Rogelio's baptism
On the beach of Palawan
Filipina Ako means I am a Filipina! I have been starting to jokingly tell this to people when they ask me where I'm from and they always laugh. I really am becoming more and more like a Filipino though! Last night Nanay Montillia fed us dinner, which was dried fish, and I ate it all with my hands, just like the pro Filipino that I am. She was quite impressed, and Sister Parina told me that I'm her only American companion who knows how to eat fish! I also ate the fish head! Yes, like the eyes, mouth and teeth...the head. It actually wasn't that bad. Nay Montillia was way impressed and agrees that I am a Filipina (;
This week was so amazing! Have I mentioned that I am the luckiest sister missionary in the whole world? If not, I totally am. This week I went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leader, Sister Cooper. She's from Utah and we went to her area, which is in Puerto Princessa. I'm assigned in Santa Monica, which in our 1 little branch we have 8 missionaries.. 4 sisters (my apartment) and 4 elders (which is our district). Our branch and the STL's branch are the only 2 branches on Palawan that have sisters in them. And their branch is city! Unlike Santa Monica, which is a lot of jungle and dirt roads and right on the beautiful ocean, their area is a lot like Manila with concrete everywhere. Also, our apartment is like 100 times nicer than theirs! When I was there, her kabahays (roommates) told me that I live in the nicest apartment in the mission! Whaaaaat! Its so true though, their apartment has rats and frogs and is way smaller. It was kind of fun showering with the frogs though, lol. Basically, I just can't get over how LUCKY I am!! I got put in the only branch in the whole mission that is not city and is so beautiful AND the best apartment. I AM SO THANKFUL!!! Every night when I pray, I just thank Heavenly Father for giving me this amazing opportunity and letting me be in Santa Monica. I am so happy!!
This week was also amazing because Tatay Rogelio and Jasper were baptized!! Tatay is like 80 years old, and his younger brother (probably 70) who has been a member of the church for a long time, baptized him. There is literally nothing cuter than an old Filipino man getting baptized by another old Filipino man. Ah, I love them so much!! We started reteaching him on Sunday night, and when we asked him to read a scripture and he started looking for it with his Book of Mormon upside down, with his cute glasses on, I laughed and was just so filled with love for him. I never knew it was possible to love an old Filipino man so much, but it totally is. I was the pianist for 2 baptisms this week! Both Tatay Rogelio's and Jasper's AND when I went on splits, for a baptism in their branch.. I'm doing pretty well but definitely wishing I would have practiced more in my younger days.
We did experience a little bit of opposition this week, we are teaching a girl named Cherry and her cousin Leo, and they live in the same apartment type of thing as the Bascongadas (the recent converts/nonmember family we work with a lot). Well on Sunday when we went to pick Cherry and Leo up for church, I guess the Baptist pastor who owns the apartments and lives in the front house, said that we weren't allowed to come back! When Nanay Bascongada told Sister Parina this, Sister Parina was like (in Tagalog) "Well we are called of God, and representatives of Jesus Christ to share His gospel, so we are going to keep coming back." Ah, she is so hilarious sometimes. So I guess we're gonna keep going back!
Life is so great here! We will watch General Conference at the Malvar chapel one week late. I'm not sure if we'll get to watch the Women's Meeting but I really hope we can!! This week we have zone conference on Wednesday which I am way pumped for.
Sister Garcia ordered pizza this week! Ah IT WAS THE GREATEST DAY EVERRRRRR! For her, it doesn't charge her card to make direct purchases, only at ATMs.. Anyway, I probably will do something like that and put it on my debit card for my birthday. Also, I want to send a Christmas package home! Are there things here you or anyone else in the family want? Let me know!!
Oh, guess what I learned this week? The Church has only been on Palawan for 18 years! THATS YOUNGER THAN ME! How nuts is that??! I have such a huge responsibility here to help strengthen my branch and ward. The church in the Philippines spreads so fast. The work really is hastening and I am SO lucky to be a part of it!
This week I also started studying in the New Testament, and I am just so thankful for this opportunity that I have to really come to know Jesus Christ better. In his life, He taught so much about missionary work, and that is what He did His whole life. I really am trying to understand His will for me, and come to know Him in this precious time I have here in the Philippines.
I love you all so so so so so much!!!
Here are some of Kayla's answers to my questions...
Yes, we order pizza on the phone.
I can exchange money at the pawn shop without having to buy anything.
We eat with members of the church about once a week, usually with Nanay Montilia and the branch president...last week with the Relief Society President too.
I have not seen any live snakes..I HAVE seen rats..gross. The dogs still chase me but I'm really not scared anymore. I read your "open on first baptism" card and pictured you hugging me and smelling my hair and squealing with excitement with me.
I got a card from Mom and 2 letters from Grandpa this week.