Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Magandang Hapon - or I guess for you Gabi. Weird.

Hello po!!!

First, I will tell you a little bit more about the culture here and then I will end on a spiritual note.  Haha.  So first let me just explain how I wake up 5 times every night to the chorus of roosters and dogs outside my door - they literally don't stop all night.  Haha I honestly don't mind at all but it is just funny.  The other night I woke up because I thought there were a bunch of people screaming outside... nope.  Just the chickens and dogs (plus the occasional moo from the baka). 
EVERYONE here has dogs.  But most of them are chained up all day or are in the saddest conditions.  Super dirty or skinny and dirty.  You can see the fleas and flies all over them.  And it doesn't help that my companion is DEATHLY afraid of dogs.  Seriously though.  Every time we walk past one she squeals and clings on to me.  She was attacked really bad when she was younger so I don't blame her. 

Everywhere we go I can hear people say ohhh Americana Siya!  haha and then they will scream things to me in English like "where are you going?!" "What's your name?!" and all of the guys just scream "I love you!" hahaha sometimes it is so outrageous I can't help but just laugh.  Haha and the people here lovee their music.  They play loud everywhere we go.  And their favorite thing is kareoke.  You can often hear an off-tune voice in the distance singing an American song.  They call it videoke.  So funny.  My companion and I often sing songs to start our lessons - mostly with the members.  Last night I couldn't help but just laugh because I didn't know the hymn at all we were singing and everyone was singing so loud and off tune.  But I love it.  I think these quirky things are what I will miss the most.

This is at my Bishop's house, me with Sister Orchola (pilipino) Sister Ika (Tongan) they are both the Sister Teaching Leaders  and Sister Hangano

One of our member's is in the chicken business and a truckload of chickens on chickens pulled up to her house.  It freaked me out to see them all stacked on top of each other like that and they would just throw them into a cart to weigh them.  It makes me realize how much of an ignorant American I am - so out of touch from where my food comes from.  
Anyway.... It is the tail end of the cold season here so it really hasn't been that hot and actually I get cold sometimes.  I wish I had brought more warm clothes!  Especially when we ride on the tricycle home at night - malimig!! grave! (cold...the worst).

Here it is respectful to say po and so you often use it in all of your sentences.  My Tongan companion was explaining to me that po is not a nice word in Tonga.  Haha in our area, there is a little bit of a different accent and sometimes they say ho instead of po.  Haha we were laughing because everyone here says hello po or hello ho (which isn't a good greeting for girls in America).  Anyway...
My favorite word now is daw.  You say at the end of something if it was said.  uhhhh I don't know how to explain.  For example.  Someone might text us and punt us and say they are busy so they can't have a lesson.  So my companion will say no lesson.  busy daw.  or busy "it was said".  Kind of meaning they're probably not busy but they just said they were.  Anyway, I don't know if that makes any sense but yeah.

This is my favorite elder - so funny. Elder Tabbilos & Me
On Saturday we spent the whole day in a certain Barangay trying to track down less actives and seek referrals and it went really well.  In the last hour of the day we were searching and searching for this one family and couldn't find them.  We kept getting conflicting directions from people on the street.  Finally my companion said we need to turn down this one street and right as she said, "no wrong way" we found them!!!  We were so grateful.  They were really happy to see us and they have 4 children that are not baptized yet.  We had a really fun lesson with them and we hope to complete their family. 

Me and Sister Ott looking out over the valley
Then, as we were riding on the tricycle home I started talking to the driver.  I started testifying about the restoration to him and I could feel the spirit so strong.  He was silent for like 20 seconds and then he just asked me, when can you come over to my house and explain your message more?  Music to my ears:)  I know it is just a small victory, but it really made me feel like I really am a missionary.  I'm not sure where it will go... we're meeting with him tomorrow but I have faith.
I love all of you so much.  Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat.  
You're in my prayers.  Ingat and kita kits next Monday.

Sincerely, Sister Rasmussen

More Pictures from our Dinner at a Member's Home

where banana leaves were placed on a table with rice and toppings on it.

At the top of the mountain we sang all of these songs and did little skit things with our zone.  Haha it was pretty cheesy but you just have to embrace it. 

The Hike
Sister Ott & Me

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kumusta po kayo lahat?!

Kumusta po kayo lahat?!
Sister Hingano & Me
I can't believe that I have been here three weeks already.  It has flown by.  Nuts.  Well this has been a really good week!  I have learned a lot - that's for sure.  Once again, I have really learned the importance of faith.

I have also learned how important it is to work with the members.  Yesterday was so awesome.  The Rosario Branch officially became a ward, and we had two inactive families come to church, and three of our investigators.  But the ward seemed so appreciative and happy to see the fruits of our labor.  We are finally gaining our trust.  The bishop spoke and said when he heard that he was getting four sisters in the ward, he was worried that they would have to focus on protecting us and that we would be more of a burden.  But because we have been working really hard to show that we just want to help them, he said that we are a blessing and he is grateful.  This was very good news for us because the first people that you need to build trust with are the auxiliary leaders.  We just want to help them as much as possible and help Rosario become a strong ward - a new jerusalem :) 

We taught two investigators, a couple named Jason and Marylyn, earlier this week that were dropped by the last missionaries.  They said that after they stopped meeting with the missionaries things were different in their lives...hard.  They just had a baby about a month ago, and Marylyn thought she and the baby were going to die.  They prayed and prayed and miraculously they are both healthy.  We went through the baptismal interview questions with them and their testimonies are so strong.  They are ready.  They aren't married yet but they have all of their license stuff now and so we set some dates with them.  That is the problem haha... all of our investigators that are really interested aren't married haha so it is a process.  But I am so excited for them.

Sister Hazel came to church yesterday and she is keeping her commitments and is really interested.  Her boyfriend is the son of Sister Ajeda who is a super strong member who always works with us.  Her boyfriend is inactive so we are trying to work with him but sister Hazel really wants to get married.  She is so sweet and open to the gospel and through faith I know that they can get the money that they need in order to be married so she can be baptized.  This week we will be focusing on the temple with them.  Even though I can't completely understand the language, I love to see the change that occurs in these people's countenances as we continue to work with them.

The highlight of this week though was Friday, my companion and me got to do splits with the Sister Training Leaders.  They are absolutely incredible.  Not only are they incredible missionaries, but you can see how they have developed such Christ-like attributes.  So selfless and humble.  They have allowed the principles that they teach to become embedded in their hearts.  I hope that over time I can allow that to happen to me too.  I was paired up with Sister Ika who is from Utah and she is just so sweet.  We had a lot of fun teaching and I learned how to better teach people not lessons.  We had so much fun and found out that we are so similar.  We found out that we feel like we have the same weaknesses, we are both deathly afraid of rats, same sense of humor, and at the end of the day we were evaluating and she said she wanted to share her favorite scripture and turns out it is mine too! Ether 12:27.  Haha anyway... she is the best and I look up to her so much.  She said that the most important thing is to focus on becoming Christ like - so that you can be lead by the spirit to those you need to teach, have a good companionship, and automatically become a better teacher.  As your faith grows, you can more easily learn the language.  She told me that my language is a lot better than most missionaries in the beginning, but I know I still have a long way to go!  Haha and I still can barely understand anything that they say.  Most of the time, it sounds like one word to me haha.

I felt so bad though because I went to one of our appointments with her and we went through this alley way to get to the house and she got bit by their dog!!! She said that was the first time that has ever happened to her but she was nervous because all of the dogs here are in a really sad state.  Their super dirty and sickly looking.  Luckily it was just a superficial cut but it freaked both of us out.  One of the younger girls that we were teaching just got out of the shower and she had ants all over her!  All in her hair and on her arms... I felt so bad and it was hard not to get to distracted.  I kept being paranoid that there were ants on me.  It really is such a different world here.

I feel bad because sometimes I think we just get into houses because I am a blonde American.  I get stared at constantly haha it is the weirdest feeling.  But I just smile and try to look at it as an opportunity.  I am just hoping that even if that is the reason we get into some houses that it will still spark something inside of them and they can feel of the truth of our message. 

I have met a lot of people that speak at least some English - including our Bishop and his family which is really nice.  I am really lucky that there aren't any other dialects in this area so I can just focus on Tagalog.

I met Sister Brown!!! She is so darling.  She seems like a great missionary.  And Sister Ott and Sister Dicen I like a lot.  I love Sister Ott... she is kind of crazy but she likes to laugh and makes me feel like I can be myself.  Sister Dicen is very quiet and all of this is new to her - before being on her mission, she had never been in a car, let alone an airplane, had never met an American, and she said she has never dealt with this much money in her whole life.

 Our House
Sister Hingano, Sister Ott  & Me
This morning was sweet!  It was our zone p-day and so we had to wake up early and ride a jeepney to Lipa.  We met their at 7 and took another jeepney to the base of a mountain and we went on a beautiful hike.  It was the first time my companion had EVER done anything like that.  I didn't know if she was going to make it but luckily she did haha and she felt pretty accomplished after.
Elder Pulido, Elder Sinilong, Elder Magaule, Sister Valdez,
Sister Brown, Sister Seastrand, Sisiter Ott & Me
      At the top of the mountain we sang all of these songs and did little skit things with our zone.  Haha it was pretty cheesy but you just have to embrace it.  This kind of stuff only happens on your mission.  The view was beautiful.  You could see sooooo many palm trees in the valley.  So pretty.  I have heard that Rosario is one of the more beautiful areas in the mission.  So I am lucky.  

Zone P-Day
Afterwards, we went to this member's house and they laid out banana leaves on the table, poured rice all over the table, and had different toppings.  

Eating Filipino style
Then everyone just dug in and ate with their
 hands.  I can't believe this, but some of the elders were eating dog.  I couldn't handle it.  I don't think I will ever eat that.  It looked pretty gross but I ate a little bit of the chicken.  Haha I am trying to become as immersed in the culture as possible.

My bedroom
The Stairs

For breakfast I always eat oatmeal, an egg sometimes, and I like to buy this stuff called energen which is chocolate with a tiny bit of cereal in it and I use it to sweeten my oatmeal.  Basically for lunch every day we cook a stir fry kind of thing with some vegetables and either chicken or pork and then rice.  And we usually don't plan for dinner because we are working.  Sometimes people give us food but not that often.  We did actually eat at a member's house last night and we had fresh coconut water?  I think water with pieces of coconut in it which are actually soft because it is a young coconut.  SUPER good:)  And then spaghetti - it is like their favorite thing here but it is sweet, bbq chicken, and watermelon.  That was like the best meal I have had.  They love meat, rice, noodles, and anything fried.  Haha so not very healthy.  Anyway, sometimes we just have to buy snacks at these little Tindihan things that are everywhere on the side of the road, but they usually only have like white bread, or these weird snack things.  I am trying my best to eat healthy but it is hard haha.  

Sister Hingano & Me
Oh and last night was awesome.  We went to this inactive member's house with three other members.  We trekked through this forest to get there and sadly they weren't there when we got there!!  We decided to wait a little longer and while waiting my companion, me, and a member found and taught a new investigator.  The lesson went really well and I always feel the spirit so strong when we talk about Joseph Smith.  But, finally the nanay of the inactive member came back and we taught her.  My companion and I felt inspired to share a certain scripture with her, and afterwards she was super quiet and said she felt like the scripture was meant for her.  It was really sweet.  I am always grateful for those small miracles.

Anyway!!! I love and miss all of you.  I pray for you all of the time.  I am sorry if my thoughts are kind of all over the place.  It is hard to organize everything.  I love you.

Sister Rasmussen

En route to the Philippines

En route to the Philippines
Me, Sister Johnson, & Sister Ramsey

Sister Temwaaka, Sister Ramsey, Sister Johnson, & me

More Pictures from the MTC

More Pictures from the MTC.

Me and Eliza Glauser :)

Random Temple Shots

Working Hard

Sister Temwaaka, me & Sister Johnson

Sister Patolo and me

Me, Elder Wooden & Elder Williamson

Me & Elder Wooden with Sister Ramsey in the back

Me, Sister Anderson, & Sister Temwaaka

Me & Sister Temwaaka having fun
with Sister Johnson in the back J