So this area is real good. It's just the right size and I love the members here. We have so many dinner appointments (I promise that's not the only reason I love it here). I promise you I will not be a picky eater when I get home. As in. I eat lots of weird stuff... And this week maybe my companion tried to feed my balut. If you are not familiar with that, it's like I don't really know. Basically it's a chicken egg that's kinda old now and then you eat it. But there is definitely a chick inside. The kind Sister Salde bought has like a soup... I don't know what the word is in English. I couldn't bring myself to eat the chick, but I drank the soup stuff. It basically tastes like chicken noodle soup, but not. Anyway... that happened.
We also had our mission tour this week. The Area President of the Philippines, Elder Ian S. Ardern visited and we had a zone conference. I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot. I want to share one thing I learned with you and that is about scripture study. We need to spend time every day reading the words of our Heavenly Father. It is what we help us and enable us to endure to the end. But President Ardern talked about how we should study the scriptures and I have been trying some new ways to study my scriptures. I have been really stopping and taking time to think about each verse, each verse has a purpose, and after every verse, I try and apply it to myself. I know it sounds so simple and probably I should have done it before, but I am learning so much in a way I never did before. Amazing.
Also, a little while ago, I took a Tagalog test. As in, they tested me on how well I could speak Tagalog. Maybe I was a little bit scared and they would be like "Sorry, Sister Holmes, you are not qualified in Tagalog. We are going to have to send you home." Of course that did happen and I was actually surprised. It was actually a good experience even though when we were in the internet shop, everybody was just staring at me lik "What is this American doing speaking Tagalog?" Some of the questions were hard, like compare this and tell a story and make them feel like they were there. Stuff like that. It was hard, but it helped me feel more comforatble with my Tagalog. I think if I was still new, I would have cried. Buti na lang. :)
Anyway. I love you all, I'm grateful I'm here and for those that have helped me get here.
So, Transfer week again! I am now here in my third area in CAMILING 2nd BRANCH. And my cute new companion is Sister Salde, from Bacolod. Sh'es newish in the mission, she just finished her training, so I'm her second companion. We have a good companionship already because it's just the two of us our apartment! We each have our own CR (Bathroom) so that's real awesome. It's a cute little thing, but it's a bit old and the floor is just cement, but I like it. We have lots of dinner appointments here! I am now a pro at eating with my hands (I always seem to talk about food in my emails... sorry). Speaking of food, guess what I ate this week??? Frog. Yup. I ate frog. And for reals, it just tastes like chicken.
It's interesting being in a branch instead of a ward though. It's pretty small, and the whole sacramnt meting is Tagalog. In wards, they use a lot of English. Good thing I can understand and it's not my first area anymore. I meanI wouldn't say I'm compltely fluent in Tagalog, as I there are still lots of words I don't know and sometimes I have a hard time explaining myself, but I feel confident in my Tagalog. It amazes me how fast I picked it up. At the time, it felt SO SLOW, but now the time is just flying by and I can't handle it. :)
Anyway, there this thing here where they do spider fights. As in the make their little pet spiders fight each other and it absolutely terrifies me... and when they found out I was afraid of spiders it made it even worse. So I'll let you know if I'm still alive next week. But as for now, I love you all and I can't wait to tell you more about the new area!!! Mahal ko kayong lahat!
I realized I am acquiring a lot of really useful skills here on the mission... I can wash my laundry by hand (pictures to come... next week probably, just to keep you excited), I can cook some filipino food now, and I'm really good at eating rice. I actually don't feel full if I don't eat it.
Another thing- I used to get really offended because people always tell me I getting fatter, that I got fat or that I used to be skinnier here. One thing I have learned about the culture here is the whole fat-skinny thing is just part of the culture. For all of your information, I am now in the "getting fatter" stage. Thank you Ward 1.
Most likely, I will be transferred this week. If not, I will be embarrassed.
Today, my nanay in the mission went home. :( :( I'm sad, but also excited for her! We suprised her with a t-shirt that has a quote on the front and our names (all of us in our house) on the back! But for sure I will miss her, but I can't wait to see all the great things in store for us. We would always joke about her "next companion." which of course, her eternal companion. She didn't like that much, but I'm grateful for all that I learned for her and the good start she gave me here in the mission.
This week, I have never been more "punted" in my life, but I learned a lot about the things Heavenly Father expects of us. Even when it's hard, and hot outside, we need to keep going. My patience was tested this week, as well as my diligence. Heavenly made a way for us to do the things that we needed to do though. I've seen the difference that effective study makes in the work. Even if we are rejected at every appointment, as long as we do our best to keep the Spirit through our obedience, I know that Heavenly Father will let us see the bigger picture. I realized that when we have trials or problems and it's hard, it's because we don't quite see the big picture- or the plan or reason Heavenly Father sees. Yes, it's hard, but with His help, we can do it.
I am loving it here despite the constant rain! As in, every day! :) It's pretty humid and my hair is going crazy, but in spite of everything, I'm still loving it.
One of my favorite things I realized is that people here have really funny excuses for not doing things. For example, these are all the things I have heard for people not to pray at the end of the lesson:
-I have a cough (even though they were okay the whole lesson) This one including an unconvincing cough.
-I'm not good at talking. (What?)
-I haven't prayed for a long time, so I don't know how anymore.
-My kids need to learn more than I do.
While some of these are actually quite convincing (in part), I don't buy it. :) haha
I had a funny experience this week. I don't know if I call it funny yet, but it was interesting. So this one time when it's rainy season, you don't sweat as much. So I really had to use the CR (Comfort Room- or as we call it the bathroom!) because I'm not sweating my water out anymore. So we figured that this one member's CR would be real clean. Wrong. Here you just flush using water and to my great surprise and for your amusement, there was no tissue. Since I have been here awhile in the PHilippines I always have tissue in my bag. Of course, the day I need it I forgot it. So I just sat.. or squatted really (Because there was no toilet seat and i was NOT touching that) trying to figure out what to do. I know this is gross, but what happens in the Philippines stays in the Philippines, right? So I just manned up and did it Filipino style. I'm not going to go into detail what that is, but now you know. I have never used so much hand sanitizer in my life. On tp of it all, there was no light inside, but maybe that was for the best.
Other than that, I want you to know that miracles are happening everyday, and they do for each of us as long as we take the time to look for them. Usually, the miracles we see in our lives are just a bunch of small blessings put together. :)