Kumusta Po Kayo!!!
Wow this is nuts. I can't believe that I am actually here. So we left the MTC at 2:30 on Monday, and we didn't arrive to the mission home until like 4:00 pm Wednesday. It was definitely a long travel but it was fun. It was fun to be with my District as we were traveling... I will definitely miss all of them. And I had to say goodbye to Sister Patolo and Sister Carter because they are going to the Cavite mission. The flight from L.A. to Hong Kong was grabe (the worst) haha 15 hours!!! My ankles swelled up so I had some gnarley kankles. Haha and we were probably the only white people on the flight. I don't know if I had ever been with that many asians at once. And I am definitely getting used to the feeling of being a minority. Anyway, so we got to Hong Kong and we tried to get a calling card for Sister Temwaaka so she could call her sister but it wouldn't work. I was so sad for her. She was pretty bummed.
When we landed in Manilla, poor Sister Ramsey lost one of her luggage. I felt so bad for her.. but hopefully she will be able to find it. We left the airport and two Filipino’s approached us and had us follow them to their van - super sketchy. Haha. We then proceeded to go for the absolute craziest car ride I have ever been on in my whole life. I don't want to freak you out but seriously I have never seen driving skills like they have sa Filipinas. We were winding in and out of lanes so close to buses on either side of us - I couldn't help but laugh my head off the whole time it was so outrageous. Then we got to a bus stop where we rode for another 3 hours to the mission home. Every stop we took, vendors would come on and try and sell me peanuts or gross looking treats haha. Sister Johnson and me were stared at hard core - blondes are very rare here and the reactions that we got were so funny. People on the road would laugh and point and grab their friends. So funny. I love it.
When we got to the mission home we met the president and the office elders and then had a delicious, authentic Pilipino meal. Sobrang masarap. We had a tour of the office and then met with the President. We met with him has new incoming missionaries and then had personal interviews. He definitely is strict but such a good President. Very inspired and spiritual. He reminded us that everything we do from this point on is out of love - we wake up early every morning because we love the people and want to bring them to salvation. We love our companions no matter what. We love our Heavenly Father. Everything must be out of love.
We then went to a hotel down the street for the night. There was a cockroach and a Lizard on the wall immediately haha, and I had a nice cold shower. I won't have a warm shower for the next 17 months. The next morning we woke up early to go have breakfast at the mission home - french toast and delicious fruit (especially the mangos....yummm). We had a meeting where we bore our testimonies and they gave us information about the mission and how to stay healthy. We got to know other missionaries in the mission - all of them are amazing. Seriously. So happy. We went into a meeting where we sang our mission song and then one at a time they announced which greenie would be with which trainee. Soooo climactic. My new companion is Sister Hingano. She is from Tonga and she has been serving for 6 months. She is 20 years old and incredible. I am so thankful for her - such a good example to me. She is so obedient and faithful. She told me last night that her family does not support her at all. That since she has been here, she has not received one e-mail from them. Nothing. She worked and saved up to pay for her mission. She is so faithful and willing to align her will with God's will. I truly am so lucky. We are also living with Sister Ott who is from bountiful Utah and then Sister Dicen who is Pilipino.
We are assigned to Rosario which is an area that we have to completely re-open. The last missionaries that were here did not leave any investigators or anything so we are starting from scratch. I don't know this language at all - seriously have no idea what's going on when we meet with people. But I have faith that we can truly make this a successful area. That we can share the precious gift of the gospel with them and bring them to repentance. I'm not going to lie...these first couple days have been hard. It's easy to feel like - how will I be able to do this? Am I really going to learn this language? Am I really going to become a good teacher? But I know that through hard work and faith...line upon line...it will happen. I just need to keep up my faith. Luckily the Branch President is super organized and willing to help and the members of the ward are amazing. It is pretty small and definitely different from church at home :) On Sunday, they didn't have anyone to play the piano so I just started playing. Hahah it was pretty bad but better than nothing I guess. Our apartment is UNREAL - it is probably the nicest in the whole mission. We are really lucky. I am nervous though because I don't want to get spoiled! Haha it is huge and clean and so nice. I will have more pictures to send you next week. I also washed my clothes by hand for the first time this morning too and it wasn't bad at all - a lot better than I expected.
We ride these little tricycles everywhere too. They are tiny and hilarious. I will send pictures next week as well. Anyway, it is beautiful here. It hasn't been too hot yet and it hasn't rained once but I know it will - my mission President said there are two seasons here - hot and hotter and wet and wetter haha so I guess I better brace myself.
I know that this church is true. I really can't deny it. I just need to increase my faith that the people here will really accept the truth. Keep me in your prayers and I keep you in mine. I love and miss all of you.
Kita Kits! Ingat po kayo!!!