Magandang hapon po! Ako si Sister Allen at kasama ko si Sister Olive. Alam ko po na totoo ng ebanghelyo ni JesuCriso. Alam ko po na mapagmahal ng Ating Ama sa Langit.
hahaha! Translation: Good afternoon! My name is Sister Allen and my companion is Sister Olive. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and I know that Heavenly Father is loving :)
This week has been incredible! I can't believe it's only been a week! It feels like I've been here forever!
I don't even know where to start...I don't feel overwhelmed necessarily, our days our just packed full of emotions and activities and it's hard to keep it all straight!
A little explanation about the Philippines MTC: first of all, it's an amazing place. There's a feeling of love, safety and sacredness in everything we do. It's also tiny, I think there's less than 100 missionaries here right now, and so I know everyone already! It's so much fun!
There's two types of missionaries here- Language Training Missionaries (LTMs) and Regular Training Missionaries (RTMs). The RTMs are all Filipinos that will only be here for 12 days (just like a stateside missionary in will only spend a couple weeks at the Provo MTC). The rest of us are here for a good 6 weeks. The LTMs are mainly from the South Pacific and the United States. There's only 2 girls from America, and the rest are Aussies, New Zealanders, Samoan, Tongan. They're kinda of crazy, but I love them:)
My kasama (companion) is Sister Olive, from Australia. We're basically as opposite as we could possibly be, and that's a super good thing for me! I was gently reminded again that I can be a little too controlling and prideful in what I think is the right way to do things, and so this has definitely been teaching me patience and acceptance haha. It's going well though:)
I love the food...Filipino food at every meal! We've had all my favorites too: Nalaga, Adobo, and lots and lots of rice! You hear that everyone gains weight at the MTC, but I'm losing it! We only eat at meal times and then are working out and everything all day, and so I have to fix my skirts so theyr'e not falling off lol!
Anyways.... I love the Philippines so much already! Today was the hottest it's been, but I loved it! I've seen everything you hear about the Philippines being like- crazy traffic, street vendors, horse drawn carts, coconuts, it's CRAZY here but so fun! I wish I could send pictures because some of the places the people live in are unbelievable. It definitely makes you look at your priorities and what really matters again.
Onto the spiritual stuff: Within the first couple days of being here we got our first 'investigator'. The way we are to prepare and learn for our investigator is amazing and so inspired by God. The process goes: Daily planning to Personal Study to Companion Study to language study to finally teaching by the spirit, with the whole goal in mind to bring others closer to Christ. Since I'm going to be teaching in Tagalog, you wouldv'e thought language study would be preliminary to all of it, but it's last!! Some of the LTMs who were here before told me to "follow the schedule exactly, and even if you want to study the language during personal study time, DON'T. The language will come." And it's so true! The most important upon most important thing you could do during a lesson is bearing PURE TESTIMONY. Regardless of the language, your relationship with Christ and with God solves all of that. I know with all my heart that that is true.
Probably the coolest thing that's happened so far is learning how to pray in Tagalog. We have handy little grammar books that walk you through very nicely how to pray in Tagalog, but I didn't want my prayers to just be memorized. So I studied the outline for a litte bit, and then very slowly and carefully began to pray in Tagalog. You start off by saying "Ama ko po sa Langit", which is "My Father in Heaven". When I thought about what I was actually saying, instead of just throwing out a memorized phrase, not only did I remember it, but the most beautiful feeling came into my heart and I felt so close to my Heavenly Father. I know that if I remember why I'm learning the language and who I'm doing this for, the language will come...it's kind of hard to describe I guess, but I know with assurity that it will come:)
And now... funny story! We get gym time every day, which is basically my favorite time of the day...haha jokes lang! All of it is my favorite haha. But anyways, we were playing basketball which was SO much fun and I was soo happy! It's pretty fun when you're one of the only girls playing and I'm guarding this super tall Fijians and New Zealanders! One time though I went in for a layup and it was going beautifully, but as I went up Elder Koy, a super tall Fijian elder, went to block me and hit me right IN THE FACE!!!!! I was ok though:)
Well, I love you all and even though I'm still trying to sort this all out, I'm so glad I'm here! It's a little rough, but it's meant to be like that- it's helping me grow :) The best advice I could give to anyone heading out on a mission soon is to start getting ready physically- I'm so glad I did, because some of my District is really struggling with being tired or hungry and you can't feel the spirit when you're physically weak. But I guess, the most important thing for ANYONE is to gain a personal and strong relationship with your Heavenly Father. THAT'S most important and will carry you through companionship, family, school, lesson problems.
Love you!!! :)