Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm Leaving TODAY!!!!!

This email may be a little scattered. Like my brain right now. We're trying to get everything all ready for our flight tonight--trips to the bookstore, weighing bags, leaving some things behind, sending some things home. Momma, this is hard without you. You've always been such a help to me with these sorts of things. It's all working out fine, just know that my brain is not all here right now cause I'm thinking of a million other things.

Kamusta nanay ko! Kamusta po kayo? Kamusta ang linggo mo? My week has been great. The district has just been getting ready to leave. (I LOVE MY DISTRICT) We've been attending health and safety meetings, departure devotionals, asking final questions about Tagalog grammar, and we had our first culture day in class on Friday. I guess the teachers like to keep us focused on our purpose (weird) and they stay away from telling any personal stories or things about the Philippines for the duration of our time here, except for the last day. So Friday we talked all about what the Philippines were like for our teachers (granted they both went to the San Angeles mission) and they brought us pictures and told us stories finally about people they taught and places they went. It got me a little more pumped. I'm excited to ride jeepnes and tricycles and teach beautiful, humble people about God's love for them.

I realize more and more every day that I am to be a window through which people can see God's love for them. I am to act as my Savior would if He were here. It's tough and I am so imperfect, but I am committed to do my best.

General Conference was amazing. I'd never watched it the way we watched it here. I mean, I'm used to waking up, staying in my pajama pants and sweatshirt, cuddling up to a pillow or two, maybe eating some of Pop's cracked wheat pancakes during the first song, taking notes in my sketchbook while drawing the prophets and apostles faces, bathroom breaks, snack breaks, sleep breaks. Here we all woke up the same time as every day, had breakfast in our Sunday best, and watched General Conference on plastic riser seats. We all stood when the prophets and apostles came on screen, which is another thing I never thought to do before. It was so lovely though. I never noticed before how much the missionaries were referenced in conference, as well as the basic doctrines that we teach as missionaries. Duh, Aly. It was so neat to be included in the phrase "missionaries throughout the world." I am a missionary. Still, it hasn't completely sunk in that I am a messenger of Jesus Christ. I'll wake up sometimes and forget that I am in the MTC...ON A MISSION. All those times when I was younger I thought the missionaries were so old and wise and spiritual. I am one of them.

One theme that kept coming to me throughout General Conference was, "Safeguard the sanctity of your mind and your home." Right now, to me, kind of being out of the world for a little bit, this seems easy. But I think of my past self, listening to music and texting and facebooking. None of those things are bad, but they are difficult to regulate. Life is about sincere human connection--loving others and serving others and learning about others. It's about connecting with our Heavenly Father--praying to Him often, reading our scriptures often. It's so easy to get lost in the superficial, the artificial, the counterfeit. It's such a gift that I am able to gain this perspective from being on a mission. General Conference helped me see exactly what I want in my future, starting now.

We leave TODAY! I get on a plane TODAY! Can you believe it!? In about a day and a half, I will have a new companion (who will probably be a native), I will be eating foreign things, meeting my mission president, and speaking to people in Tagalog.

Alam ko na dito ako dahil may mahalaga na layunin. Mahal ng Diyos ang mga tao niya at tutulong ako nila makita ito. (Long way to go.) I love you so much and will speak to you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooon!!!!!!

I got your package.

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