Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entry Into the Mission Field: Sumulong 2nd area, Whitewash, and our First Baptism Commitment!!

Hello everyone!!!

Wow this week has been insane!!  At the MTC, we went tracting with the Manila missionaries, which was fun but difficult.  Wednesday I got to meet President and Sister Revillo, and get assigned my new companion, and my nanay in the mission field!!!  

This is us at the temple this morning.  That's Sister Alfoja and Sister Latu, our kabahays, and Sister Arcangel and I.  She's so cute!!  And she's an awesome companion.  And yes, she really is that short.  Just to give some perspective to anyone who hasn't stood next to me recently, I'm 5'2" if I've been eating my vegetables and stand up straight.  I really am on the average-tall scale here, and it's really trippy.  There's an elder in our zone who's 6'3", so I'm wondering what it's like for him lol.

It's been a week of firsts though, that's for sure.  I rode in a jeepney and a trycicle (sidecar on a motorcycle) for the first time (which was fun but slightly scary--traffic is INSANE), I got my first Philippines bug bites, ate orange watermelon (which tasted regular), had Spam for the first time (and it was NASTY), and also had anchovies and pansiw.  Pansiw is a dish in which a fish is fried basically whole.  It was my first time eating fish with the head on, and I have to say, it was actually delicious.  Notice the fork and spoon.  Filipinos don't eat with knives, they just use the fork and spoon to pull food apart if it's too big of a bite.  

I've also gotten a lot more attention than I'm used to.  White skin is beautiful to Filipinos, and since I'm almost albino white (yay for redhead skin), it really gets their attention.  Most of the time it's not a big deal, people just stare and a lot of kids will gather round if we stop to teach.  But I have also been spoken to by men in a way that I've never been spoken to before, both in Tagalog and in English.  No matter the language, it's easy to get the gist.  But that's why we have companions, and why we aren't staying out after dark.  I don't like going home early, I always wish we could talk to more people, but I know God doesn't want us to be dumb, and we always make sure we're safe.

When I first walked in the door of our apartment, it was honestly kind of terrifying.  Our area was whitewashed, which means that they transferred all the elders that were here before us, and we're all new in this area.  So I'm learning how to be a missionary, how to be a Filipina, and trying to learn how to speak Tagalog, all the while trying to figure out an area that my companion doesn't know either.  It's been interesting.  Anyways, when I walked in the house, I panicked.  It was DISGUSTING.  I'm pretty sure the elders who were there didn't clean once the entire time.  We went right to work and it was clean in no time, so that was good.
This is me cleaning.  Don't I look attractive? LOL

Our apartment is really big, so that's fun.  The stairs are ridiculously steep though, it's almost like climbing a ladder.  I swear that angels have caught me at least 4 times when I'm climbing down the stairs so that I wouldn't fall and break my neck.

We got to our area in time to witness the baptism of a dad.  His family is all members, and he has a daughter on a mission and an RM son, so it was cool to see that.  It's been hard to do the work here because we don't know the area, so we've mostly been focusing on learning the area and developing relationships with members, because we need them to work with us.  But even with all that going on, we still have found some people to teach, and Sis Arcangel extended a baptism invitation yesterday to a mom we've been teaching and she accepted!! I hope it will pick up soon so we can start teaching more people.  We walk almost everywhere we go, so I get really cute dirt lines at the end of each day.  I wouldn't mind so much if it was just dirt, but we walk along crowded streets a lot so it's grime and pollution and all that stuff.  Oh well.  That's what showers are for haha.

I have 2 quotes for this week.  This first one our shuttle driver told us as we were watching the way pedestrians weave in and out of traffic: "People are hard to hit here because it's the land of coconuts."

This second quote is from Sister Trask, the Philippines MTC President's wife: "If the Lord does not bless you voice, He blesses the ears of those around you."  People around me get lots of blessings in church then!!!

My scripture comes from Mosiah 24:15  "...The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."  I have struggled a little bit this week with homesickness, and lots of stress about my area and the language.  But I'm learning to put my trust and faith in the Lord.  I am so insufficient for this work, and completely inadequate.  But with Him on my side, I am enough.

Well, I love and miss you all and hope that everything is going well at home.  Mahal ko kayo!!

Sister Pectol

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Welcome to the Philippines!!

Well, I'm finally here in the heat and humidity!!  It only took about 21 hours of flying plus layovers, but whatever XD
I was able to call home from the airport, which was amazing!!  It was so good to hear everyone's voice!!  I will admit though, I was a total baby about it.  I thought I would be just fine, but when I heard my family's voices, I just lost it.  People must have wondered what was going on--an exhausted girl sobbing while she's talking on a payphone.  But, it was fun.  We managed to sleep according to the schedule here in Manila, so it hasn't been too much of an adjustment.  On the way from Tokyo to Manila, we rode in a GIGANTIC plane.  It was one of those double deckers, and it was huge.  So that was definitely an interesting experience.  I wanted to stay up and talk and be a missionary at least a little bit, but I was so tired I basically passed out for most of the plane ride.  I managed to give away a pass along card on the plane to the guy sitting next to me, but I'm pretty sure he took it just out of pity.  But, I passed it along, so I think that's being successful.
The bus ride from the airport to the MTC was probably the closest near-death experience I've ever had.  So, in the Philippines, there isn't really such a thing as lanes.  If the car fits, people drive.  So, that actually was a lot of fun.  I wouldn't enjoy driving in it, but being a passenger was definitely the experience of a lifetime.  President Trask is amazing, and was so welcoming, so that was really nice too.

The heat and humidity here are already ridiculous, so I guess I just better get used to it.  But I am so excited!!  I feel like I don't speak any Tagalog and I barely understand it, but that's ok.  I honestly am not even that nervous, I am just so excited and happy to be here.  I love it!!
Well, until whenever I next get to email, mahal ko kayo and have a great day!!
Sister Pectol

Breakfast was good, no idea what I ate!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Final Days at the MTC!!

Hello everyone!!

Well, today's the day...my last pday here at the MTC!!  It completely blows my mind that I've already been here for basically six weeks.  We leave for the airport at 3:30 in the morning on Thursday, so that's going to be oodles of fun.  But even though I'm not necessarily looking forward to the 21 hours of flight time we have (plus layovers), I am super excited to get to the Philippines!!

Last week there were guys in the class building installing something in the hallway.  Well, come to find out, this plaque is from the Philippines and was brought back by a missionary.  He recently passed away, so his parents donated it to the MTC.  Isn't it so cool?

We had district inventory this past week, where we basically just went around and said our favorite things about each other.  It sound kind of sappy (and it was) but it was also really beautiful and touching.  It's so crazy how close we've grown in less than 6 weeks!!  It's kind of funny, because all the sisters in our district are completely opposite from their companions.  It's so cool to see how much we've all grown from that though!

So, this past week Sister Latham got to experience the joy of hearing me sing "And IIIIIIIIIIII will always love yoooooooouuuuuuu!!!!!"   By "joy" I mean she stood there looking in pain waiting for me to be done, and by "sing" I mean a sound that was somewhere in between a cat being kicked and a goat giving birth.  My family has experienced this joy many times, and has given up on telling me to be quiet.  They just sit there and endure until I'm done telling them how much I love them XD hahaha.  Well, I hope she at least felt the love, even if she didn't enjoy the music lol.

Every Tuesday there's a devotional in the evening, and the speaker this week was Quentin L Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve.  It was so cool!!  He talked about how important missionaries and missionary work is, and it was really cool to be able to be here for that.

So we actually got to talk to real investigators this week!!  There are people walking around the MTC that have gold tags that means that they're investigators, and we ended up talking with a couple this past week and actually set an appointment with them for Thursday.  It went so well!!  And it is so much easier to teach in English.  We had to go to class, but we have another appointment with them this upcoming Monday, so I am so excited for that!!

Guess who got to host this week??  That's right, this sista right here!!  It was so much fun!  I only got one girl though...and I took her to the wrong building at least two different times.  Welllll, navigation has never been one of my talents.  At least she'll have something to remember, right?

I have learned the gift of tongues is very real.  And before you go getting all excited and saying "OMGoodness she's fluent!"  let me tell you, I'm not at all.  But God really wants me to teach the gospel I guess, because when we're teaching (aka role playing with our teachers) I can speak Tagalog well enough to bear my testimony and get the things across that I want to, with minimal Taglish.  And I know it's the gift of tongues, because I can barely speak Tagalog any other time.  It's frustrating to not be able to speak it decent all the time, but I love that I receive the help I need when I'm trying to teach with the Spirit.  It's really cool :)

We had a small in-field orientation with our branch president this past week about the Philippines and the things we'll need to do there, so that was really cool.  And we had the official in-field orientation yesterday.  It was basically all day, but it actually was super helpful and informative.  AND IT WAS IN ENGLISH!!!  (You learn to appreciate things like that)

Thanks to all those who have sent me packages and cards and letters!!  I've loved getting them (who doesn't?) and they've been super fun parts of my day.  I'm working on notes to send back before I head to the Philippines, so you'll be hearing back from me soon :)

The scripture of the week is Alma 7:13 "Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh."  Brother Egget told us in choir that Christ could have known what we went through just through the Spirit, and He didn't actually have to suffer to understand.  But He chose to come to earth and to experience the pains He did, in the flesh, so that He wouldn't just understand how we feel, He'd know how we feel.  Isn't that so powerful??\

The quote of the week comes from The Spoken Word last Sunday: "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement...fail successfully."  Sometimes it feels like all we are doing is failing, but  if we can at least learn from our mistakes, we are failing successfully.

I love you all!!  XOXO
Sister Payton Pectol

Saturday, March 7, 2015

1 Month Mark & Travel Plans!


This week has been super fun.  We got snow at the beginning of the week, and it was so pretty!!  Sister Latham is from California and hates the snow, so I was making fun of her for it.  But it was super fun to see it on the mountains :)  I'm definitely going to miss the Utah mountains once I'm in the Philippines!

WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS!!!!  We will be leaving the MTC on the 19 at about 3am, and flying from Salt Lake to Oregon to Tokyo to Manila.  It's going to be such a long trip!!

It was fast and testimony meeting this past Sunday, which was really cool.  I was able to bear my testimony, and a bunch of people from the districts leaving did too.  It was an emotional testimony meeting!!  Our roommates and Elders Bray and Eyler are the ones that we got close to.  They're going to do so awesome, but I'm definitely going to miss them!!  The sisters in our room stayed up til past midnight finishing up packing, and we got up and helped them haul their luggage down from the 4th floor.  Sister Latham and I were soo tired the next day!!  

This is what our volleyball games look like :)  They're so much fun!!

We all have journals that we pass around for everyone to sign (kind of like a yearbook) and it's so fun to learn everyone's first names.  It's kind of weird though...I've gotten so used to being called "Sister Pectol" that first names just get confusing.  I mean, come on...who has first names these days??  :)  I was told that I look like a Payton though.  That doesn't really make sense to me...what does a Payton look like??  Is that a compliment...??  LOL

Me and Sister Latham were talking about some of the things that we were missing, and she went on about a cute pair of high heels that she couldn't wait to get home and wear.  I looked at her and said that I couldn't wait to get home and wear my cowgirl boots, and go horseback riding and shooting and playing in the mud....Talk about opposite personalities!!  It's been interesting for us to try and understand each other, but we've gotten so close, and have really been doing good at working as a team.

So, just to give you an idea of what some Tagalog words are like:  maaalaala means "will be abe to remember."  And that's just one of about 10 different ways to conjugate the root, alaala, depending on what the focus of the sentence needs to be.  Any wonder why I feel like it goes right over my head?!  Lol oh well, I'm learning to be patient with myself and trust in the Lord's timing.

We found out today that our solo elder will be getting released due to some medical stuff.  We kind of knew it was happening, but we are all so sad to see him go!!  We told him that he'd gained 8 sisters who supported and loved him and who hoped that everything will work out.

Sister Weston's mom sent her a letter this week, and called all us missionaries the "navy seals of the church."  It was so sweet!!  It was like a one-line pep talk.

I've had bad days and days when I've missed home, but this week I had my first really bad day of being just totally homesick.  James had given me a note before I left with the instructions not to open it until I had a rough day.  Well, that was a rough day, so I opened it, then just sat there and cried.  I literally have the best brother in the world, and just generally the best family.  It has been so hard for me to leave them, but I know I'm doing a good thing, so having a little note like that one are what makes it ok for me :)

Quote of the week:  "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself."  (Preach My Gospel, p. 11)

Scripture of the week:  "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace.  For I am with thee."  Acts 18:9-10

Mahal ko kayo!!

Sister Payton Pectol