Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just another day in paradise

Apparently, as of this past week or so it's been "cold" here in the Philippines. Surprisingly, I do find myself cold at night but that just about it. :) It's really nice weather though. Cute Sister Ganancial is literally freezing on our trike rides home though. Last night, she told me she was the coldest she had ever been! I can't even imagine that. I feel like if it snowed here people would have no idea what to do. 

Let's see... this week we had exchanges again! Wow. I led the area this time and it went really well. I was actually with another American and let's just say we got some bizarre looks. We were OYMing (aka talking to a random person) and he was literally shocked and was like "wait, where did you learn Tagalog? Who taught you that?" It was really funny, but I think it was good because he was a little more open to our message. SO funny though. Oh man, and all the kids... that's a whole other thing. 

Our work was so good this week. I have literally never been so tired in my life. We ended up teaching over 40 lessons this week... and let's just say I do not have a hard time falling asleep at night. Although, all of my dreams are now strangely Church related. Like... the other night I had a dream I needed help moving a piano so I prayed and I knew it was going to be okay. And then there were some pioneers to help me move it. Weird. Seriously. 

Anyway. We have an investigator who is golden. She's so ready to be a member. But of course there's always something. We are hoping the first week of March she will be baptized :) Yayy. 
There are so many miracles in our work. Heavenly Father helps us meet our goals by something as simple as seeing a member on a way to a lesson who isn't who can come with us so we can have one more lesson with a member there. Just so many things like that. Amazing!

Literally. I just realized I basically live in paradise. And not just actually weather wise. I have the happiest job in the whole entire world. :)

I love you all! And I'm praying for you!!!!
Sister Holmes

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ang Mga Adventures Ko sa Philippines

Living in the Philippines, there's always something interesting going on. Always new surprises, new adventures. And I absolutely LOVE it. We were teaching an older lady last week and I'm pretty sure something was living in her ceiling while we taught. I was just a little distracted. Karaoke is also a big huge thing here. I still don't quite understand it. But literally ANYONE will sing karaoke. Even if they can't sing... :) Our neighbors just got a new karaoke CD or had a birthday or something because for the past three days they just sing all morning and into the afternoon. Super distracting while I'm trying to study. Inconsiderate ;) 
Also this week, we ran into another American and so we started to talk to him and have an appointment to teach him this week. We will see though. I'm just nervous because we will teach in English... which is a skill I'm not sure I have anymore. Don't mistake that meaning that I can teach in Tagalog though. Because I'm just kind of in this limbo (is that even the right word??) state between English and Tagalog. If I think anything in English, I try and translate it in Tagalog... probably incorrect Tagalog. But it's just a struggle. I still have a hard time speaking, but I understand a good chunk of what's going on. Usually. I think by the end for language study I will still have to study Tagalog, but I will also have to study English. 
Anyway enough of my language adventures. 
One thing that I really learned this week is how important this work is because Satan is trying his very best to frustrate it in every way. Meaning, we had a more challenging week, but it just means it can only get better from here!  I'm really looking forward to a new week where we can work together as a companionship to make things better and to further the Lord's work. It's comforting to know that if our work is frustrated for a little bit, that in the end, the Lord will always triumph and His work cannot be frustrated in the long run. But it really reiterated to me the importance of this work. 

And sympre, MAHAL na MAHAL ko KAYO (aka I REALLY love you all!)
SIster Holmes

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Busy Week

Sooo. This week we had five bajillion things going on. My companion and I had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, and we also had a Trainer and Trainee's meeting. So much good stuff, but let's just say I'm glad it's P day.

First of all, on Monday, we went grocery shopping at the HyperMarket and they always play this really loud music. And guess what song came on? That "I love you" song... i think it's Donna Lewis or something. And I almost started crying in the middle of the store because I remember sitting in the car when I was little with Lindsey and my dad and singing that song. Anyway, tender memories. 

Let's see. Oh YES> Exchanges. So I went up to Tarlac and went on exchanges!!! One thing that was really cool was that we did Baptismal Interviews with the investigators and it was just amazing to see how the Lord had prepared these people and I could tell how much they had change since they had begun their process. Amazing. Part of it was that we fill out a Baptismal Record Sheet thing and we put all of the names of the children and their birthdays. One of the families, the little girl's name was Girl. Literally. Super interesting. But it was a good experience and I really learned a lot from the Sister Training Leader. She was super good. 

Ahh. This week we explored a new area, and found some more potential investigators! We were asking for directions and met this lady who runs a barbecue thing... I don't really know how to explain it, but she is really nice and we are going to follow-up with her this week. But from her place, I tried this thing called a bananacue, which is like caramelized and barbecued banana. SOO good. Literally probably my new favorite treat. 

I'm so excited with our work! It's getting better. We have two investigators with A LOT of potential. With both of them, we went to visit them (they live in different areas) and they weren't home so we started going to another appointment, and on the way, we ran into them! So the Lord provides a way for us to accomplish the things that we need to :) 

Anyway, I keep having this thought of, "Tagalog is hard. If it were English, I could do it so much easier." And then I'm like oh duh. I could do it in English. And Heavenly Father knew that. That's why I'm learning Tagalog. Not to say that a mission in English is easy, because I'm sure it's not. There are different challenges for all, but this was the lesson that I needed to learn. 

I'm grateful for a mindful and loving Heavenly Father and a perfect Plan. I know He knows us and truly knows what experiences will help us grow the most, even if it's hard for us. 

Mahal na mahal ko kayo :) 
Sister Holmes

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 December

December 2013
 Wrapping Eternal Salvations
Last Sunday 2013

Fake Guns and Fireworks

So there's this thing in the Philippines where New Years is absolutely crazy! Literally. We had to be in our apartment by six because there's so many fireworks that it's dangerous for us. A lot of the members brought food to our apartment though and we even cooked a lot for ourselves! We watched some church movies and just kind of hung out at home... which was really weird. We went to bed at 10:30. But literally at midnight, it was so loud there is no way I could have slept through it. I kid you not, literally EVERYONE in the whole Philippines must have had fireworks because I have never seen so many in my life. And we had a good laugh at our neighbors dancing on the street outside.
There's this other thing where every single kid got a fake toy gun for Christmas. And sometimes it scares me a lot when they pretend to shoot me. Literally, I fear for my life. But the kids here.. super cute. In the Philippines, you bring the hand of an elderly person to your forehead to show respect. But in this area, kids will do that to anyone to show respect. The other day, there was this huge group of kids just hanging out and all of the sudden I hear "Americano, Americano!" We were just discussing with a member a referral she was going to give us and a group of about ten kids come and stand across from me and are literally just staring at me. One of the older ones called me Ate (said ah-tay), which means older sister as a sign of respect, and asked if it was okay if they could bless (the hand thing). Super funny. So they all just got in aline and brought my hand to their foreheads. Fun de ba?
Also, kids will mostly call American Elders, "Joe" because it's a common name. So I got that one for the first time this week.
Also Tatay, you'll be proud to know that I ate more fish this week. And yes, I liked it. FYI i won't be able to eat anything without rice when I get home. It's too strong without it. But this fish is literally like a whole fish and they just fry it and you eat the meat right off the bones. It's way awesome. It still has eyes and creepy little teeth and everything. There's nothing like having your food just stare at you. :)
Also, special shout out to my Rama/FlowerPro girls! Thank you thank you for your cute notes! Don't worry, I got them after Christmas, but it was at least before New Years ;) Seriously, I could not stop smiling. I'm pretty sure my companion thinks I'm crazy for how hard I was laughing.
And last, but not least. Our week was AMAZING. We found four new potential investigators and I'm so excited to teach them again this week. At first, my expectations of missionary work was so different from what it actually is. When you first think of missionaries, you think of them going door to door passing out Book of Mormons right? It is so much more than that. It literally is changing peoples' lives. I have seen the changes that people go through because they are bringing their lives in harmony with the principles of the Gospel. And it's hard, and it's a painful process, but they are so happy because of that. And sometimes I wonder how I can make a difference in the lives of these people because I'm just a little girl still. :) But I know that being set apart as a missionary, I have the authority and the spiritual power to be able to do this work. Without that, there's no way I could do more than half of the things I'm doing. Being a missionary is hard. But it's the most fulfilling and rewarding thing I have ever done.
Mahal na mahal ko kayo!
Sister Holmes