Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Actual Jungle to Concrete Jungle

With my "Anak" 

Rose Estrella in Palawan. She is an amazing woman, who was such an example to me. It was one of the many really hard goodbyes to say ): 

We made sweet pancakes on Valentine's Day 

Saying goodbye to Palawan 

There's also celebrities in Makati 4th ward. This guy is a celebrity here in the Philippines on a day time TV show! haha, Sweet, huh? 

My new companion, Sis Dewan, from New Zealand 

Sister Soifua and I at the temple (this morning)

Hey mama...
We just got back from the temple and we just have a few minutes before we have to be out at work tonight.  The temple is such a blessing..I am so glad that I got to do that today. I am still working with Sister Soifua (another missionary in her apartment)...hopefully by the end of this week I'll be working with my companion, Sister Dewan.  3 areas for the 2 of us isn't exactly the most ideal thing. 
It's really funny... when I got called to train Sister Teo, I was convinced that that would be the hardest part of my mission.  How could it get harder than being in the field for 12 weeks and having to train someone who couldn't speak the language either, right? Well...wrong! Moving to the city and being thrown into 2 new areas with a struggling companion is definitely the hardest part of my mission yet. The stress is so real, and so I'm having a hard time sleeping at night and my back is in pain from the knots that are forming. Its not easy leaving behind 3 of your best friends and all of the amazing people from Santa Monica either. Sister Teo was my best friend and its so hard not having her to talk to! I miss Sister Vaka and Sister Falgui as well. The branch was hard to leave, and I just felt so much love from all of the members.  However, I know that I will soon feel at home here and that I will grow to love the members so much. 
Here's a little bit about my areas...
Makati 3rd is like the 2nd richest ward in Manila next to Makati 4th.  The ward is AWESOME and branch missionaries have already signed up to work with me all this week! Hallelujah! The bishop is awesome and guess what-THERES A DINNER CALENDAR! And people have signed up like every night!! Ahhh!! There was no such thing back on Palawan. The sisters before us in Makati 3rd I think were pretty disobedient and didn't give us a ton to work with.  The area book doesn't have hardly any investigators for us to go back to.  While that's super frustrating, its also a really great opportunity to turn the area around and excersize faith in finding new people.  It will be an adventure for sure!!
Makati 4th is the English speaking ward and is all foreigners.  The area Presidency goes to church there every Sunday along with the Ostler's! (No pressure or anything! haha) The boundaries for this ward literally cover the entire mission.  So that's pretty crazy, but its really fun because all of the investigators come directly from the ward itself, and not from tracting.  We already went to dinner with a sister who lives in a condo in Makati! We had pasta with THE BEST view of the city! We also went to ward council before church and it was awesome! They started on time and had an agenda and everything! The bishop is also really great and is pushing for more missionary work in the ward.  That ward is also gonna be providing all sorts of great dinner appointments in air conditioned homes. hehehe (: 
Let's see what else... The apartment is really tiny and there are baby cockroaches everywhere. I am determined to find the nest soon so that we can get rid of them. Yesterday Sister Soifua's desk drawer fell out and like 10 cockroaches all came running out.  Of course, I freaked out and all the other sisters were like, "Do you have a thing with cockroaches or something?" I'm like, "Uhhh, do you NOT have a thing with cockroaches?!" hahahaha! I dont know that I'll ever really get over that one. 
But our apartment is really safe and there's security guards and an elevator and a basketball court out front that we work out on in the mornings. 
I opened my old suitcase that's been in the mission home for 6 months!! Haha, its funny how I didn't miss anything that was in there. I found some Pringles and chocolate though so you know that made my day (:
I haven't gotten your package yet but I get to go to the chapel that is attached to the mission office twice a week every week so yay!! Bring on the mail and packages because I get them every week! Haha, just kidding. (but not really)
SO..amidst this madness I'd say the biggest thing I have learned is gratitude.  If I think too much about how much I miss the Segovia's or about my back or about the mess that is my area right now, it can be really overwhelming and I just want to cry.  But, thankfully a few days before the transfer I felt like I should fast to be blessed with the gift of gratitude amidst the big changes.  Making a conscious effort to look for things to be grateful for has made these past 3 days not only okay, but really enjoyable! 
Here are just a few of the amazing blessings that I am SOO thankful for..
1. Sister Soifua, the STL (Sister Training Leader) who is saving me by showing me around the city and teaching me how to ride jeepneys and what guys you probably shouldn't OYM (initiate contact).
2. The TEMPLE! Walking into the temple today was like instant peace, I never wanted to leave the celestial room. Not being able to go to the temple for 6 months, and then getting to go at a time I needed it so badly was such a blessing.
3. The CITY! I go to church in what reminds me of downtown NYC. There are skyscrapers, and McDonalds and Starbucks and taxis and huge shopping malls. It is SUCH a blast! Now, next week after working in the "squatters" or where my investigators will actually live, I may have a different attitude, but as of right now I am so thankful for this awesome energy that comes from living in a huge city!
4. The wards! The wards here are SO amazing, and I literally have been blessed with the 2 best areas in the mission. Today at the temple an Elder said "You went from Palawan to Makati?! You're the luckiest missionary ever!" Which, I really totally am. 
5. I am so thankful for you! Despite the changes that come like crazy here on the mission, knowing that I have a support system at home that is praying for me means the world.
6. Of course, my Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel.  HE is the reason I am here, and HE is the reason that I am going to work hard in this new area. And HE is the only way I am ever going to succeed. I know that He is there always for me, and even though sometimes I feel like this new responsibility is impossible, all is possible through Him.
Some days on the mission I'm like "ahh did I really sign up for this?! What was I thinking?" But I know that Heavenly Father is giving me this opportunity so that I can learn and grow and be better.
I love you TONS and TONS! Have a great week!!
Sister Lockwood

ps.  Next week I will send pictures of the apartment and the city.

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