Monday, August 31, 2015

Miracle on Ice (well, more like flood waters)

I've officially survived my first transfer (6 weeks) here in the Philippines! We have a new sister here in Sta. Cruz who is from Tonga. It was fun to greet her by saying "Fefe Hake" and having her reply "Sai pe." She is also being trained so now I'm not the only one who doesn't understand Tagalog! 
Lots of great new foods this week! I bought some barbecued chicken feet and intestines and it was actually really good! I also had this sour fruit that you apparently dip in salt. The best food though this week was ice cream from a street vendor, especially since it was extremely hot. 
As the title suggests, this week was full of miracles! From discovering new families who earnestly desire to hear our message to others who we learned have family members who are members of the church and are preparing to be baptized, the work in Sta. Cruz is wonderful. Even our main investigator, Mary Joyce, who is 11 and needs permission from her parents in order to be baptized, experienced miracles. Her father has worked in Saudi Arabia for the last 3 years and happens to be returning this week, so we'll be able to ask him for permission. Her grandma, or lola, who lives with her, also accepted the invitation to be baptized and desires the rest of her family to learn about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ too. I testify that God is preparing these people and more to come unto Him and become part of His church. If you've ever wanted to know more about your purpose here on Earth, or simply want to know more about the church, don't hesitate to talk with missionaries. We're not scary people (hopefully haha), and our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ and teach about His gospel. I'm so thankful to be here and be a part of this work!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Master the Baguio's Raging!

It's weeks like this one that I'm grateful that I bought an umbrella! A baguio (or typhoon) came through Manila, and we experienced just a portion of the real thing. You could say it was a baby baguio! The flood waters only reached about 6 inches, so my stylish crocs were super useful. 
We had a branch activity where I got to help make sticky rice, using a giant wooden rod to smash the rice into a pasty consistency, which you then put on a banana leaf with some brown sugar and enjoy! We also played some games where if you lost, someone got to put lipstick on your face. When it was my turn, I choose to get a lightening bolt on my forehead and become Sister Potter. 

I also got to attend the baptism of Nanay Elvie and Rochelle, two investigators of the other Sisters in Sta. Cruz, but with both I've developed great friendships. It's amazing to see the power the Gospel of Jesus Christ has on people's lives. I'm so grateful to be here in the wonderful Philippines even through the physical and spiritual baguios that I've endured. As you continue to develop faith in Christ and His atonement, sunshine will always come. 
Sunshine will always come

Monday, August 17, 2015

Missionary work ain't no Monkey Business

So while teaching an old couple a monkey randomly sauntered in and at first I thought, "Isn't anybody concern that a potentially wild animal is within a biting radius?" Then the nanay (grandma/mother) picked him up and began giving him kisses like you would do with a new born kitten. I found out that the monkey is actually her pet and he has no teeth, so no need to worry about acquiring rabies! 
New foods this week includes a plethora of interesting bread flavors. If I had to choose between "ube and cheese" or "black forest" flavored bread, I'd eat the later, mostly because it has some chocolate in it. I also had squid! While it was better than the canned squid I ate once some years ago, let's just say I'd rather eat "ube and cheese" flavored bread instead. 

When teaching investigators and members here, it's easy to become frustrated and impatient with them when they don't follow through with commitments (going to church, reading scriptures, etc.). But I think it's important to remember how patient and loving God is with us in our own weaknesses. I have a firm testimony that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of us can become completely clean and receive peace and comfort to endure all our trials. God will never leave us alone, rather, it's our decision to turn to him and enjoy the blessings of His gospel.

  Word of the Week: Char! --- expression for when you are being facetiously sorry

Monday, August 10, 2015

Like Taylor Swift, Shake it Off!

Sometimes we'll have meetings in places 4 hours away and need to take one of the many coach buses that travel to far places. On one such trip, basically the only music that was played was Phil Collins-esque Filipino songs and Taylor Swift. To try and ascertain some spiritual truth from this experience, I would that ye follow the example of Taylor Swift and when sore trials come upon you, simply shake it off. Exasperated at Tagalog? Shake it off! Investigators not coming to church? Shake it off! Mosquitoes relentlessly plunging their fangs into your flesh? Literally shake it off! Immediately too, as several missionaries in my zone contracted dengue fever this last week. Hopefully I don't get it too. 

As always, I'm experiencing many exotic foods. This week was rambutan, which is similar to lychee, Ice Candy and the most famous, Halo-Halo. Rambutan has the funkiest skin, but the fruit inside is way yummy. Ice Candy is like otter pops, but sweeter. I like to have it on hot basically everyday haha. Halo-Halo, which translates to mix-mix, is a shaved ice desert that has candied beans, pineapples, gelatin chunks and ube (purple yam) ice cream. It sounds weird when I describe it that way, but it was very masarap! 

A highlight this week was the baptism and confirmation of Katherine, a 14 year-old, who lives with her aunt and uncle. It was so sweet to see her bear her testimony after her baptism. I know that when we exercise our faith in Christ and follow His example by being baptized by someone holding His priesthood power, we can become thoroughly clean and feel God's love more prevalent in our lives.

Monday, August 3, 2015

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today! (And it's harmful UV rays too...)

This week has been full of beautiful sunshine and not so beautiful watch tan lines. I'll have the most stunning tan lines when I return that even the farmers will be jealous. 

I've had a lot of good service opportunities this week. The other missionaries, branch members and I went to the home of an old lady who is an investigator. She is so poor that she can't afford to patch all the holes in her roof, so when it rains she sleeps sitting up holding an umbrella. Despite her poverty, she prides herself on her garden, which we colloquially call "The Garden of Eden." To help her, we fixed her roof Filipino style! We "melted" Styrofoam in gas and it formed this putty thing that when dried deflects water. It was definitely one of the more interesting service projects I've done. 

I also began teaching English and it was so refreshing to talk about past participles and superlatives. I also taught them the word pulchritude and it's so funny to hear them randomly say, "Sister Morgan is a pulchritude!" 

The highlight of the week was the baptism and confirmation of Cykey, who is the 9-year-old we've been teaching. It's amazing to see her testimony grow, even at her young age, and her desire to follow the example of Christ by being baptized. Even though so many of the people I interact with lack temporal means, their spirituality and readiness to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is so vast. 

Word of the Week: Pangit -- Ugly (Opposite of pulchritude haha)