Sunday, October 16, 2011

GENERAL CONFERENCE a Missionary Spiritual Vacation :)

Dearest Momma!!!!!!!
And OMG! I am so oooo jealous you and poppa are going to a concert!!! Please take pictures and send them to me! I would totally have loved to go with you two.
They don’t celebrate Halloween here. There's maybe one store I saw with Halloween decorations, but they don’t go out and do trick-or-treating or anything. There are actually more Christmas decorations out now. And we're singing Christmas hymns in our meetings and lessons. It’s pretty crazy how early they get Christmas going here. But if you think about it...there's no Halloween or Thanksgiving, so why not?
General Conference was a missionary spiritual vacation. Sister Martinez and I have been talking about it, for the past two weeks, how excited we are for general conference. And now its come and gone. Nooooooo.
We watched GC at the chapel down the street on hard, wooden benches. I learned so much. And was touched in the most intimate ways. President Uchtdorf's talk basically blew my brain cells, and my mind was so opened to an eternal perspective (4 months left in my mission is nothing). I loved how he said that we are nothing compared to God, but to God, we are everything. We are why he's created these majestic and beautiful things. We are why there is a plan and a Savior. I just wish I could have the words of his talk burned into my brain and heart and spirit, for the times here in the mission that I feel like what I'm doing is useless. It's hard sometimes when you don’t see baptisms or people coming to church, to feel that you are doing something good as a missionary. You can be as obedient and as prepared as ever, but have no tangible or visible fruits from your labor. President tells me my calling is to bless lives. When I step back and think of how simple my calling is and how all I need to do is my best, I am comforted. But the challenge is stepping back every now and then.
I LOVED Elaine S. Dalton's talk. I cried about 3 times during it, and actually wanted to bawl, but withheld myself from doing so. Her talk was about how fathers should raise their daughters. By just loving their mother. Sigh. This is sooooo true. I hope that every father out there listened to that and will try to do that.
We had two investigators come to the first session of conference on Sunday. Kristian Laylay was one of them. It was amazing, Momma, to watch conference with his needs in mind. His questions and concerns were answered perfectly. After the session, he was beaming, and he said it was so good and inspiring. This was his first time to come to church. Can you imagine your first time coming to church and hearing prophets and apostles speak. We taught him after and he said he felt like all the things they said were true. We are really working on the Laylay family--helping iron out their concerns and answer their questions. They are such good, good people. And so Catholic. They ask me about your conversion a lot, and what blessings we've received from the gospel. I’m so glad that I get to share your story with so many, and it has such an effect on their understanding and thoughts about the gospel being true. At least it helps them want to find out for themselves.
As we were watching general conference, Sister Martinez turned to me and said, "There’s no way this church isn't true." It's so true. This general conference, I've felt my mind expanded and my mortal eyes peeled to catch just a small glimpse of who God is and what His plan is for us. I wish it could be general conference every day.
President told us we could ride on the ferris wheel here in Atulayan a few weeks ago. I've attached the pictures. I also took a picture of the feet of a cute lizard on our curtains.
We ate fresh crabs and prawns last Saturday at a member's in San Gabriel. But for lunch, Sis. M. and I eat a lot of tuna and bread. We still exercise every day. What else what else....
I LOVE seeing my family! Send me pictures!
Okay well. I love you so much. And know that I think of you often and love you so muchhchchchchchchcch sosoosoosososossoso much. We’ll get to talk in about 2 months! Yayyyy!
I have nothing else to say really. Tell people I love them and kiss them all for me. Especially all the babiessss, I can't wait to see them and squeeze them and play with them! I love you all and miss you very much!
Sister Fort

Sunday, October 9, 2011

GOOD TIMES, GOOD PEOPLE to share with :)

Dearest momma, my sweet family, and dear friends :)
Its fiesta time here, and besides the big ferris wheel in Atulayan, the townspeople here have strung streamers made of old cellphone adds all over the streets. One night, OCT 1st at 4:00am, a woman on a loud speaker said repeated prayers in ybbanag and her voice sounded like the lady at the Disneyland haunted mansion ride. Yeeee it was creepy.
This week has been a fun one. We had our last district meeting of the short, weird, 3 week cycle and Elder Goobie was going home, so he gave me a huge box of mashed potato mix his mom sent him, and Sister Martinez a huge box of knorrs sidekicks pasta mixes.
On Wednesday, Sister Sajol left to go home. We did laundry in the back as she packed her things and she said goodbye to us in a rush. We hugged her all sweaty. Sister Martinez and I cleaned the entire apartment when they left (I’ve attached lots of picures). We found this old cabinet in some locked hidden room, dusted it off, and shuffled it into our room to put our clothes in. We mopped and rearranged our kitchen and cloroxed just bout everything. We tried to make waffles for dinner, but the waffle maker kept making the batter stick to it. Then we tried pancakes…same thing. We ate cereal instead.
Transfer day was supposed to be Thursday, but it was rescheduled due to storms and things. So Sister Dhikao came home with two other companions. Sister Adino and Sister Lumauag! When Sister Adino saw me she freaked out and hugged me about 20 times. She told me how much she missed me, that I got skinny, and she left me a note with stationary on my desk before she left in the morning. We ate dinner by candlelight at the Luis family home.
So our apartment got dirty again. Sis. M and I wanted it to be clean for our new housemate, so we did some touch up cleaning again :)
Our new apartment mate is Sister Galang! She is Filipina and has the sweetest, softest voice ever and wears turquoise skirts with polka dot shirts. I hear Sis Dhikao and her giggling at night in their room and the feel of our apartment is so peaceful and sweet.
Our sink was clogged for three days in a row. We tried plunging it with a plunger, pouring hot water down it, and using drain cleaner. Nothing worked so we called the super. He came and plugged it with his hand and started beating on it like he was doing cpr. Sis M and I gave each other crazy looks like…he thinks that’s going to work? He did it a few more times and then it started to drain! We laughed in amazement. Then we showed him something that was wrong with our doorknob upstairs (whenever we shut the door, we’d be trapped inside and opened the door by grabbing the lock with scissors and manually pushing it back into the door).
Jeanann Laylay is one of our investigators! Before one of our lessons this week, she told me that she messaged you on facebook and I was happy cause I knew you’d worry. Actually, the last typhoon that hit here last cycle was so much worse here than the two that went through this week—when we walked through flood waters to get to our investigators. We are so safe and I don’t feel in danger at all.
We had three investigators come to church on Sunday yayy! Cecilio was one of them. He’s about my age and lives with the patriarch and the patriarchs family here. He has been our investigator since May, but he’s struggling with cigarettes. We made him a calendar, where he sticks smiley faces on days where he’s decreased his intake. He actually got a few smilies now, and we are so so happy he came to church! It just means he has a desire to change. He wanted to leave after sacrament because he was shy about his t-shirt and jeans, but Sister M and I tracked him down, practically pulled him into the priesthood room, and he stayed all three hours. We went to his house later in the afternoon and shared about repentance. He listens so intently and is so sincere in his desire to change, I feel it.
We are still doing all we can to prepare our lessons well. We are now trying to be more specific and bold with our commitments to investigators. And our companionship studies are amazzzzinnnng. We quote prophets and scriptures and learn so much from one another.
I don’t know what else to say….I love you all and miss you all and thank you all for all that you do for me. Keep me in your prayers, you are all in mine. I love you Grandma!