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

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