Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello from Palawan!

 Visiting an American cemetery in Manila

 Reducing down to 1 suitcase weighing less than 44 pounds!

Fun with MTC roommates (last day together)

I'm writing you from an internet cafe on the Island of Palawan right now! Let me start out by saying I am the luckiest missionary in the whole word!! There are only 10 sisters who get to come to this island, and I was lucky enough to start my mission here!! There are 2 zones on Palawan, and the other zone sisters are not allowed. I am in Puerto Princessa Zone in Santa Monica ward.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL! It is literally jungle, and we are right next to the ocean.  My nanay and I walk every morning to the edge of the water and I love it so much.  Seriously I am in heaven here!! And to top it off, my trainer is an angel!! She is the cutest little Filipino, her name is Sister Parina but I call her nanay which means mom because she is my trainer (: Sometimes she calls me her anak because I'm called her child.  She is probably half of my size but she really does protect me.  Like earlier this week a dog started chasing us and I just closed my eyes and grabbed onto her and she shewed it away with her umbrella.  I really don't know how I got so lucky with the most amazing area AND the most amazing companion to start off my mission. I AM SO HAPPY! Our apartment is also way nice too. We have a water filter that we get all of our water from, a SHOWER, which I hear is way rare, and a water heater which I guess is even rarer.  We live with 2 other sisters, one of which is American so she keeps toilet paper in the apartment, thank heavens! We have a stove and a rice cooker and I'm learning how to make all sorts of new things! Life really is wonderful here!
Let me back track a little though since you haven't heard about the end of the MTC and how I got here! I was really sad to leave the MTC and all of the great friends I had made there. It was hard to leave my teachers and go back to not knowing anyone all over again.. But the morning we were leaving the MTC and everyone was sad, President and Sister Ostler came and picked us up from the MTC! I remember seeing them up on the steps and just feeling so comforted that they were right there to pick us up.  They are wonderful.  They really are just like my Mom and Dad here.  Apparently the old mission President's huge focus was obedience, and now this new mission president's is LOVE.  That could not be more perfect!! I really again feel so lucky to be starting my mission right when they are starting theirs!  I was the very first person to be interviewed when we got to the Ostler's home. The interview went well and I felt great love from him! About an hour later, he called 5 of us into his office and told us that we would be the ones to go to Palawan.  And...wait for it...LEAVE OVER HALF OF OUR STUFF BEHIND!! Yes, I left 66 POUNDS IN THE MISSION HOME! To fly to Palawan you are only allowed 1 44 pound bag.  But, believe it or not, I didn't freak out and actually didn't have too hard of a time cutting my luggage in half.  I just felt excitement and peace that whole day.  Me, one other sister and 3 elders all from my batch at the MTC flew to the island of Palawan!!! Woo!
My first day I was so exhausted but my nanay pushed me to work all day and meet many members and investigators.  I wrote in my journal that night something like "I dont think I've ever been this tired in my whole life". I felt pretty overwhelmed and nervous, but the next day I felt so much better.  The days are already going by fast and I'm learning to work hard every hour that I have!
I feel like we have TONS of investigators, but according to my nanay our area was just split and so our numbers are low right now.  We meet new people every day and it seems like they are all interested so I think we will quickly be increasing the amount who we teach!!
My first Sunday yesterday went really well! I bore my testimony in Tagalog and lots of people were surprised to hear that this was my first that's awesome! I think they might just be being nice though, I'm not sure.
I'm already starting to love the people who we are teaching, especially the ones who we teach almost everyday.  They are so kind to me and patient with my struggling Tagalog! 
Last night we went to a funeral. It was totally nuts! It felt like I was in a scene from Nacho Libre! There was a HUGE cross with Jesus hanging over the casket and there were candles everywhere. It was outside and literally in someones back yard.
Also, the food. I have been so brave and have eaten so many new things! I clear my plate every meal, even at member's homes.  One of our recent converts who was feeding us fish and algae said "wow she'll eat anything" CRAZY RIGHT? I also tried fish head this week.  We eat with our hands, and we pretty much eat fish every day.  I make myself Ramen, scrambled eggs and PB and J in our apartment though :p
A lady comes and does our laundry once a week (: YAY! 
I'm sorry this email is so scrambled but just know that I am so happy!! I really am growing so much personally and in the gospel.  One thing my mission president told me that I am trying to live is that the people here are like a mirror, if you are friendly and kind and love them, they will love you right back.  However, if I act scared or shy, they will do the same.  So, I smile at everyone and wave and attempt to let them know that I love them! I'm really hoping that I can quickly gain friendships and love with everyone here (:
If there is one thing I've learned this week, it probably goes back to fear and faith. With Heavenly Father, I really don't need to be scared of anything!! As I put my faith in Jesus Christ and give him everything that I have, I will be an instrument in His hands and ultimately be so happy.
Your office looks way cute mom!! And so happy you all had such a great experience at the temple! 
Your Sister Lockwood (: 

 My trainer ("Nanay" meaning "Mom") Sister Parina

 Every morning we walk to the water's edge

Nanay Montilio, she is the "mother of all missionaries"

With children in Manila while on "splits" (with another companion for the day) 

With Sister Oyler with whom I spent a day in Manila

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