Sorry about the pictures...I will see what I can do to fix that problem. The picture is of two girls that are daughters of a mother we teach. They just found it so amusing that there was a white american in their yard.
I am glad to hear that you received the pictures from the mission president. The other missionaries in the picture are all Philippino and I am the only American coming in at the time...for some time, until February.
The living conditions are living conditions. It is very simple here. We are not in the best, but it all works. Consists of two bedrooms 1/3 the size of ours at home with a bunkbed and a closet. Then there is a living room/hallway/kitchen. And then a porch where we do our laundry. Oh...and a bathroom with a toilet that does not flush and not working shower. It has been an experience. But not too bad. I am trying to send some pictures to you in this email. The one with all the kids....that is the front where we hang all our laundry to dry and where we put all our shoes. The kids were caroling to us for Christmas. It has been going well on the adjusting to the climate...the humidity is something that I feel that you have to deal with whether you are use to it or not...so that is a daily issue ;) However I was eaten alive for the first week by bugs...it was really bad...there were bug bites all up and down my legs and arms. But I got some lotion and anti itch cream for it and they are starting to disappear. The area of Sorsogon is part forest, part city and everything else in between. It has been really interesting to be in a city one moment and them be traveling through a jungle the next moment. But the priceless part is it never gets old, seeing the shock on a Philippino's face when they see a american female and she speaks Tagalog.
This week was a struggle on some terms. I hadn't written in my journal for a couple of days, because of how busy we were...but we had so much going on. My companion taught me how to wash my laundry by hand...and that has been a really fun experience :) I actually really don't mind it! It was definitely interesting going out on our P-day and being out the whole day just to get groceries and everything else. On Tuesday we had a Community Service Project as a district and we went out and built a house for a family. It was a really great experience. I will try to send some pictures of that later :) At the beginning of the week we had planned for four individuals to be prepared for baptism on the 29th. They are four youth--Arjay (11), Jospeh (16), Jasmine (15) and Bernadette (12). They were all doing well in the lessons and we felt that they were going to be great. So Wednesday we went out and taught as many as we could but ran into problems and found back up lessons and the day ended up good and bad...over all sucessful for we taught a less active. Thursday was our Christmas Party with the Mission President, so we traveled for two hours by vehicle to go to another city to participate. It was a really great experience and I really enjoyed the things I learned. I met all the other missionaries that are in the South Naga Mission. There is one other American Sister...Sister Christensen. She is from Utah and has been our for four months. All the missionaries were really friendly and kind, especially since I couldn't understand most of them. I also received my scriptures...it was really like Christmas :) ( When we left the mission home the first day, I went in one vehicle and my scriptures went in another ). Friday was another day filled with teaching and learning...however the evening, at the Branch Christmas Party, we lost three of our potential baptisms. We were practicing in the chapel for a baptism that was going to take place the next day, and I was singing for it. Three of the youth came to the party because we invited them, but they got offended because we did not go out to see them immediately. It was very sad to see three of them just walk off and say that they no longer wanted to be baptized and said that they liked the previous missionaries more. I felt bad, but I know that my job is not to establish a friendship with these people, but to help them to see their need for the gospel in their lives. We are sad to lose their baptismal date, but it helped us to see that they are not ready to be baptized. Saturday we had our one and only baptismal interview for Arjay...it was so amazing to be there during part of his conversion, because I could see how happy he was about the decision he was making. When we had taught him earlier that morning we taught him about the word of wisdom...and he had read the pamphlet and we were going to review it. When we asked what he thought, he started to cry, because his family drinks coffee, because it is a cheap and easy drink here. We told him that he would not be able to drink it any longer. But as we told him that God would help him along the way and bless him, I could see his faith growing. He was so willing to do his best to prepare for whatever was required of him. Sunday I gave a talk in church, in Tagalog, even though most speak Bicol. That has been the struggle...and it might be for a while. It is tough to be trying to learn Tagalog and speak Tagalog, when everyone around me speaks Bicol. I have felt like I have not been able to do anything right and that I am not good enough for it. I felt so many times anguish in my heart as I was not able to express the way I felt in Tagalog. And I had Arjay sitting next to me, speaking to me and asking me a question and I couldn't answer him...I just started to cry, because I wanted so badly to talk to him and I was unable to. And that is my struggle....I want to so badly share with others the wonderful news, of the restored gospel, with others....but I am unable to. But I have learned that I truly must take it one day at a time and have faith in myself and in others. For I may not be able to do all now, but through God all is possible (Matthew 19:26).
Thank you so much for everything...I wish you all could be out here to meet the people here...they are so wonderful! Julia...I love your smile...it is so beautiful! And tell Sadie that she did a good job on killing the gingerbread man :)If you get the chance, can you email this out to the rest of the family? I hope that you all have a wonderful time celebrating and hopefully I will get to talk to you soon!
Mahal Kita at ingat po!
Mahal Kita at ingat po!
|Sister Carrasca and Sister Pace|