This week has been sooooo good! The language is coming along really well, and it's so neat when I'm able to understand pretty much everything an investigator or teacher says. I just can't put sentences together fast enough to respond all the time, but at least I can understand what's being said :) I love learning Tagalog in order to teach, it's a sacred and special process as you learn the Gospel in another tongue. My favorite word is "Pagbabayad-sala" which means the Atonement. So so special and so so sacred :)
Something that's standing out to me more and more this week is the power of keeping the rules. There's a bunch of rules here at the MTC and out on the mission field, but I love it because it just means more blessings if we keep them! They seem like small things, like not eating in our rooms, go to bed at 10 pm, spend only an hour on email...but they make a HUGE difference! I know the lanugage is coming so quickly because I'm being obedient. We're told that our loyalty lies to the Lord, to our mission president and THEN our companions...it's just the same in the real world- we answer to God and His commandments before we should worry about the world. I promise there is power in being obedient, otherwise why would the Lord ask us to follow them?
I love my district!!! We're the "Ammon District" and bascially spend every waking minute with each other (in class, eating, gym, the temple...). I LOVE them!!! It's only been two weeks and I'm so excited that we get 4 more together!! There are two companionships of Elders and two of sisters. Here is a list of everyone, where they're from, what mission they'll be serving in and a little bit about them:
- Elder Masih, Australian (But half Samoan, half Fijian), Angeles Mission. He's like the litte brother of our district!! He is so sweet and sincere and tries to hard! He loves the scriptures and has memorized 146 verses! He's very generous and is always offering to get me ice cream at dinner or buy me something when we go shopping. Love that kid.
- Elder Ortega, Balitmore Maryland (full Filipino), Angeles mission. This kid is a crack-up!! Super, super funny, and super handy to have around because he is basically fluent in Tagalog already.
- Elder Rameka, New Zealand, Angeles mission. Love him!! He's super cool and is a great example to everyone in the district. We have a crackin' time at gym because he loves basketball too. He loves to laugh and eats heaps!!!
- Elder Wallace, Dallas Texas, Angeles mission. Kid's a crack-up too! He's super sincere and tries so hard, but it's kind of funny- he doesn't stand a chance when it comes to playing ball with all these Polynesians! Elder Rameka loves hearing him do a redneck accent, and so he'll go around saying things like "I'm gunna buy a new tracter" and "I et a rock wence..." stuff like that, makes no sense, but we have a good time haha.
- Sister Ioluoulo, Australia, Olongapo mission. I totally butchered her name, but she's a sweet girl. She's 20 and loves her family. She's got the prettiest laugh I've ever heard!
- Sister Havea, New Zealand, Angeles mission. She's so funny!!!!! She's super sassy but so sweet and would do anything for anyone!
- Sister Olive (my kasama!! -companion), Australian, Baguio mission. She's crazy, she's loud, but she's got the biggest heart and is so brave. She's the only member in her family and was baptized two years ago. We have some major differences but I look up to her a lot!
So that's my district! I'm super grateful that almost all of us are going to Angeles mission!! That will be so neat and I'm grateful that I'll be able to spend this next month with them- they're incredible and we have so much fun together!
The coolest thing this week is I feel like I can finally say: "I LOVE being a missionary!" The MTC president told us to say this every day, but honestly for the first week I wasn't sure if I could say that sincerely. But this Wednesday, the senior batch of missionaries left for the field and it was sooo hard to say goodbye!! We looked up to them a lot and just as we were getting to know them, they had to go. But we all went to class feeling really sad, and I was saying to myself, "You know, it's a hard day already, I deserve a day off, I just won't really get into learning today." But THEN, I was like "You know, there are investigators waiting for me that need me to be spiritually and language(ly???) prepared. So I'm going to push aside my own problems and I'm going to work hard, because I love these people and I love the Lord." it was like BOOM! As soon as I said that, I was so incredibly happy!!! And since that morning I have been so happy all day, even though things are hard. This life is great...missionary life is great, but it's so great because we're living for the Lord and living for someone else. I'm excited for the mission, but I'm excited for life afterwards as well-I know we can all be happy if we just live the commandments :)
Well, sorry, my hour is up! (actually it was 5 minutes ago and here I am preaching about obedience...eek!) but I love you all and I'm grateful for the life I had before this. I miss a bunch of random things like the Muppets, Western stuff, California and Spain. SUPER random I know, but memories and the associations you have with them are a thing of their own lol!
Mahal kita!!! If you're ever feeling sad, the answer is to serve!!! Forget yourself and just do what you know you need to do! :)