This week has been so very busy and I hope I can fit in everything that I want to say! :) First of all, in case you were wondering, it is so hard to sleep on the planes. The flight was long, but I got a good chunk of the way through Jesus the Christ (hear that, Aunt Kris?) Anyway, we finally got to Manila and we "slept" at this little hotel right there. We left early the next morning for the MTC and now we are here! My companion is cute Sister Nielson. She is 21 and she's from Cane Beds, Arizona, which is just over the Utah border. She is super sweet and has an amazing singing voice. We have lots of fun, but don't worry, we are getting a lot of work done.
We are in the Helaman District here in the MTC, and we are the only sisters in our district. There is Elder Jensen (District leader) and his companion Elder Loy, Elder Callister and Elder Bartel (both from Idaho), and Elder Lotoaniu and Elder Paia from Tonga. I absolutely love our district. Everyone is so spiritually in tune and we just help each other out.
Let's see, you'll be proud to know that I have definitely tried shrimp (on the plane) and some fish stuff here at the MTC. We have fish about two or three times a week from what I hear. We really do eat rice for every meal, even breakfast. But the food is pretty good and I'm eating well. The mango here by the way is absolutely the best!! We had just plain mango today and a couple days ago we had mango tapioca, yum.
Anyway, we have two teachers, Sister Marila and Brother Comenta (I think). But only Sister Marila has been teaching us this week, because we have been teaching Borther Comenta as an investigator, Brother Kevin. Our second day here, we ended up teaching a lesson in Tagalog. But we really weren't able to teach that much because we hardly knew anything. We taught him five times this week, and it actually went really well. The language is hard, but I'm learning a lot. I can't believe that we have learned as much as we have in just one week. Magaling!
You are probably wondering about my dear friend, Sister Poki Gonzalez from Oakcrest! She is my roommate, although we are in separate districts. Its been wonderful to have her here and has definitely helped me a lot not to feel as homesick. But we are so busy and focus on the work, so that helps a lot too.
On Tuesday night, we got to meet Elder Neil L. Anderson from the Quorum of the Twelve. He came and shook everyone's hands and talked to everyone at the Philippines MTC. He talked a lot about being patient with ourselves and it was like he was speaking right to me. I learning really well, but I keep wanting to lkearn more and probably faster than I should, so it was like he was speaking right to me. So I need to keep reminding myself of that, but I think it's also a good reminder for everyone. Be patient with yourself. Things will work out. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect, He only expects us to do our best.
We have gym time everyday, and I have now discovered my new favorite sport is badminton. It is SO much fun. We either do that, play ping pong, or I watch Sister Nielson play basketball. I'm really enjoying the Philippines MTC, I feel like I am learning a lot more than I would if I were in Provo. AND there is even this stuff that is kind of like chocolate milk. But not really. But close. It's actually kind of gross, but it works. About every other day, we get to have soft serve ice cream so that makes up for it. I will try to send as many pictures as I can but I can only take picture for about half an hour a week, just on P days. This Morning, we were able to go to the Manila temple, its absolutely beautiful!! I love the celestial room, and it's so small, about 20 people or less per session. But it's fun.
Just outside the MTC in Manila. The new missionaries wait to enter. This brings us comfort knowing we see plenty of suitcases. I Love seeing this army of missionaries. You can also see the Manila Temple in the background. Absolutely beautiful.
This kind sweet man. Brother Santos works for the church in the Philippines, Aunt Lavon who communicates with him for work, mentioned to him that Sister Holmes was going to be entering the MTC this day. Came to greet her. How sweet and kind of him.
This young man is Brother Santos nephew. He was also entering the MTC today. Brother Santos brought Sister Holmes some beautiful roses to greet her. From this picture also we find that Sister Holmes has not lost her passport (WOOHOOO!!!) and she knows we love her. ( She is wearing a necklace we gave her) These pictures made my day!
We just received word from Callie. Thought we would share it with you.
Well, it's been an exciting journey of firsts! First time in the Philippines, first cold shower, and first missionary experience actually as a missionary (In the McDonald's at the Detroit airport!!) We are able to write a short message and let you know that we made it safely, FINALLY. It was the longest flight of my life. We stayed at this hotel last night and then woke up really early this morning to arrive on time at the MTC. My P-day is Thursday, so I will probably get to write a longer e-mail then. Manila reminds me of India kind of, so I love that! Anyways I love all of you and am so excited to share my experiences with you!!
It's crazy to me that in just a couple of days, I will be in Philippines! I feel like I have had to wait forever and now it's finally here! Don't ask me how nervous I am though because I will probably throw up on you (sorry, was that too much?).
I guess it never hurts to write a little something about myself. Right?
Well the biggest question I have gotten besides "are you excited to eat dog?" is why I decided to serve a mission. I think about the age of 16 I decided that I was going to go on a mission if the timing was right. When the age announcement came out that I was able to serve when I was 19, I was excited, but I was also conflicted.
If you know anything about me, you know I like to have a plan. And at that moment, my plan was to finish school, get my degree, and then go on a mission. I would be 21 when I finished and everything would work out perfectly. So at first I thought, well sisters can still go when they are 21 right? I'll just stick with my plan and everything will be perfect! Nope.
So I signed up for housing for fall semester with some friends. Well, the time to register for fall classes came around and my schedule would just not work out and I was getting so frustrated. I wasn't terribly excited about the place I was living and I just felt kind of stuck.
And then it dawned on me, I wasn't feeling great about my plans because those are the plans that I had for myself. I should have realized sooner that the Lord's timing is perfect, while mine is not. And maybe I had to experience that to realize that I need to trust more fully in the plan that Heavenly Father has for me, because it is far better than anything I have planned for myself. I may not know exactly why I got called to the Philippines Angeles Mission, but I am sure that over the next 18 months, I will find out.
It's amazing all the little things that have made me feel like I'm supposed to go to the Philippines. So many tender mercies for me. I was so excited to have a camper this summer (I worked at Oakcrest LDS Girls Camp) who had a dad from the Philippines! She taught me a few phrases in Tagalog. It was a blessing and continues to be a blessing to have another counselor from Oakcrest with the same mission call as me. She is a wonderful person and such a spiritual strength to me. I love that Floresa Thruston is from an area in my mission! I loved talking to her about the Philippines and she even made me a Filipino meal! Yum. No dog even ;) Many different experiences have helped me to know that I am supposed to go to the Philippines. That's where the Lord needs me, and I am beyond happy to serve there.
Here is the address for the mission home and also some instructions for pouch mail! I would not be offended if you wrote me or sent me a package. I will do my best to reply! :)
Mission Office Address: (this is also where you send packages!)
Sister Callie Marie Holmes
Philippines Angeles Mission
F. Tanedo Street
Barangay San Nicholas
Tarlac City, Tarlac 2300
(Include phone number if
you are mailing a package)
Phone: 63 045-491-0587
OR: You can use pouch
mail!! Exciting stuff.
Pouch mail leaves Church
Headquarters every Friday. Only postcards or one page correspondences written
on one side of the page can be sent.
Instructions: Lay the letter blank side
down. Fold into thirds and secure the long side with two pieces of tape about
one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. In the top left corner
write your name and complete address. Attach postage in top right corner and
address as follows: