I'm serving in Angeles City and....I LOVE it!!! My trainer is awesome- her name is Sister Caoile and she's a Filipina. Out on the mission we call our trainers "Nanay" (mom) and I'm her "Anak" (child). That is quite literally what it's been like this week- not only does she show me all the ropes of missionary work and the local area, but I've also come to the embarrassing realization that I don't know how to cook anything besides salads, chopped vegetables and oatmeal!!!!!! hahahahahahaha! In our apartment (there's two companionships), we eat "kabahay meals", meaning that one person cooks the meals for all of us to share. So now not only will I need to learn how to cook, but it actually needs to be appetizing to people who enjoy normal food! (If you're my close family or friends you're probably laughing at me...you're right- not everyone is into granola and vegetables haha;). But it's been fun and I enjoy riding jeepneys and trikes and walking around our areas.
Our areas are awesome- I love them already! We work in both Cutcut and Xevera, and it's quite the adventure! Tin roofs, winding alleys, sari-saris all over the place...in the evening I feel like I'm camping in the neighborhood- it's just lantern light with families gathered around fires with family and friends just laughing and enjoying time together. It's helped me feel more comfortable here:)
The ward is great as well- most of the members know English, but I was excited that I understood the majority of the Tagalog in lessons! It's so neat! The ward members are super sweet and welcoming- it's really funny because there are the same personalities and Mormon cliches in this ward just like any other ward I've been in! It's just like home :) We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday and the food was great! Lechon, rice (of course), spaghetti...they feed us well:)
I love the families we're teaching! They are so loving and welcoming! This Saturday we'll have a baptism for two siblings- Kim and JV. They are 11 and 9 years old, and are so sweet and adorable! They can't speak English, and I can't speak Tagalog, but it's amazing when friendships and love can extend past language...you realize that most often it's not what we say, but how we act that builds relationships:)
Speaking of which, the biggest thing I've learned this week as we've taught is that even if I don't know the language- our example and what people see in us, even as we just walk past them down the street, is HUGE! A smile, a simple hello, being polite and dignified at all times is so important!
Holy cow...I don't even know how to describe my feelings right now! We're so busy with reports and planning and studying and just thinking about other people that I haven't even had time to analyze my own feelings! But it's been a great blessing because I know that as soon as I do I'll start missing home and family again! So it's definitely a blessing!
Out here on the mission I've come to see and appreciate the tender mercies of the Lord every day! There's so many things that happen that are no accident, and that just help me feel the love of my family and of my Heavenly Father that help me get through the day. They're little instances, but they mean a lot! Like the other day when we were planning our grocery shopping, I wanted to buy trail mix and some healthy snacks, but didn't have enough (don't worry though, I am NOT starving so don't panic!). But then I just took a peek in the Christmas package my family sent and what would you know? They sent almonds and raisins!!! They are so awesome and I can only imagine how happy Heavenly Father is in planning all this out! Really, when you think about it, God has nothing else to do other than making us happy- all day He prompts, plans and sends people to bless one another's lives...what a great life that would be!!! An eternity of service:) I'm so grateful for my Heavenly Father, for Him being my friend and watching over me. I used to think I was such an awesome person, and getting out here I've realized I'm just a 19 year old girl who literally has NO IDEA how to get around here! But Heavenly Father is helping me so much, and really, I'm ok with being a little girl again and letting Him lead me by the hand throughout the day! It's nice to not have to be alone:)
Love you all and have a great Christmas!!!!! I'm thinking about you and praying for you and I'm just so happy for you all!!! :)
Thanks for everything and do something kind for someone else each and every day! There's nothing better!!
Sister Allen :)