y dearest family!
Kumusta kamo? How are all of you? I hope you are not melting into puddles with the heat wave there. Stay cool!
It has been a good week. The first week was definitely rough--culture shock, adjusting to everything, homesickness. But now I am great. The language is still hard, but I do what I can to use what I know, and I know it will improve with time and study. I am able to understand, or at least get the gist of, most of what I hear, so that is good. In the lessons, my companion mostly teaches, but I can explain a scripture and testify and pray, so it is good. Many people know some English, so sometimes people say "It is okay Sister, we can understand, English." haha, I usually just keep trying with the Hiligaynon though cuz the gospel will be preached in every tongue, right? ;) My companion is great. She is silly and sweet, and she is a great example of sharing the gospel with everyone and having charity for everyone.
So, I don't have an address for where I live, honestly I don't think they really have specific addresses here, just streets (so make sure you put the name of the mission on every letter you send). But I live in a little compound type thing. There are three little houses that share a pretty yard all surrounded by a concrete wall. For your Google mapping, my neighborhood (barangay) is called "Cagbang". Our house is pretty nice. I live with the Sister Training Leaders for our Zone, Sister Butler and Sister McClellan. We study a lot, then go out in the afternoon to teach. We are working with a handful of investigators, but a lot of the time we go teach less-active members (there are a ton in the Philppines). We are constantly inviting people back to church, they have so many excuses, but little by little I am sure they will return. There is once recent convert, Arnold, who still needs to be confirmed. He has been late to sacrament for a few weeks, hopefully he will come on time so he can finally receive the Holy Ghost! I surely love the Philippines lack of time management.... It is a blessing and a curse.
So, most of the places we go are city-ish, but there is one barangay called Lumbayao that is so pretty. It is the jungle I expected the Philippines to be. There are bamboo homes and bamboo bridges and rice fields. I don't have any good pictures of it yet, but I will soon. :) I love the Filipino children. They are so cute! They can be super distracting in lessons--I am trying so hard to listen and understand what is going on (which is extra hard because everyone speaks very softly, and there is a lot of background noise)--but I still love it when they are there. On Saturday, there was a youth activity about mission preparation. After it, two of the Young Women, ages 17 and 13, came with us to teach some less-active members. They were so great. It is one thing for a missionary to invite someone to church, but it is so wonderful when a member invites them. We got to watch the MTC broadcast last night. Wasn't it so wonderful? I love the MTC. I am so glad to be in the heart of missionary work right now. I loved the broadcast because I really hope everyone takes it to heart. Members are so powerful in building up the church where they live. I definitely did not really realize that before my mission, but I know my work will not end when I go home. If anything, this is just preparation for the rest of my life as a missionary.
President and Sister Aquino arrived yesterday!! It was good to meet them, I think they were a little overwhelmed and tired from their flight, but I know they will be great. Also, they said they stayed with someone in West Jordan while they were being trained at the MTC. Cool, huh? President said: "I think it was 3200 West, there are so many chapels there!" haha, so true!
I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week. Pray for missionary experiences and think of the people you know who need the gospel or need a friend to help them come back. Thank you for the emails. I think it takes like 3 or 4 weeks for letters to get here, so sorry that it will take so long. haha
Love, Sister Winward