Friday, January 31, 2014

Mahal kita!

Hey y'all! Just another P-day here at the Manila MTC. Only twelve more days until I have my first assignment and I'm officially an in-field missionary. I'm super excited and crazy nervous. Today we got 30 new arrivals, the smallest batch ever to come to this MTC.

This week we were all studying with about ten minutes to bed time when the fire alarm went off. We all filed outside, including several elders and sisters who still had shampoo in their hair. As we stood and waited for the all clear, we sang hymns. It was a beautiful way to pass time during the chaos.

On Wednesday our senior batch left, it was sad to see some good friends leave. That same day I got the opportunity to go out and teach with the sisters and elders in the Quezon City North Mission, my own area! We met at the chapel and met our kasama for the day, mine was Sister Collins from Samoa, she's been out for nine months and her Tagalog was nearly flawless. We started off the day with planning, deciding who to teach and what to teach them, then we headed out. We walked about 1/2 mile then hopped on a jeepney (you should google what these look like)  and rode for about 20 minutes, then walked for about 3/4 of a mile to a little cement home. It was a two room house, each room about 5x5 feet made of cinderblocks with a light hanging from the ceiling. It was swelting hot as we taught the Rigor family about the blessings we can recieve through prayer and church attendance. They agreed to come to church on Sunday. After that we walked another 1.5 miles to the Alvendia home where we taught a couple (the husband was an RM and the wife not baptized, both innactive). The husband's English was flawless because he does phone reservations for Vegas hotels. We taught them about building strong foundations as their little five year old boy, Howard, sat and played with my hair. In both homes I was invited to bear my testimony. As long as I didn't focus on how outrageously nervous I was, it just came. It was comforting to be able to communicate with them, even if it wasn't very good. On the jeepney ride back to the chapel my teacher challenged me to talk to as many people as I could. I sat quietly, too nervous to start a conversation. There were about 12 people on this small bus-like jeep and I just couldn't find the courage to open my mouth. I know, of all people, I was struggling to talk to others. The woman sitting across from me pointed at my badge and asked why I wore the name of Jesus Christ. I almost died. First from terror and secondly because I understood exactly what she asked me. Pretty soon the entire jeepney was engaged in listening to this nervous little white girl explain why she was living in the Philippines and learning Tagalog. It was an amazing experiences. I wish I could explain everything I saw. Not even photographs could really capture it. The poverty, the pollution, all of it was so much to take in. These people though are amazing; they are genuinely happy. They sit on their dirt floors in torn clothing with so little to feed their children and they bear their testimony to me of the presence of God in their life. I already love this people so much. I cannot wait to get to know them better. This is why I am here, to love the people with all that I am. To love them the way their Savior loves them.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Mahal kita!

Sister Cork

Friday, January 24, 2014

Toilet Ice Cream and Head Lice

Hey y'all!

Here is the Philippines we've had the coldest day in 7 years, 76 degrees. It was absolutely wonderful. There's not much to say, my days are all about the same. I love the MTC, I'll be sad to leave in TWO AND A HALF weeks! Time has flown by.

So, my stories for the week. Last Friday my kasama and I were walking home and she saw a man with a little ice cream stand, which was really just a metal box on wheels and an umbrella. She insisted we try it, even though I was not enthused. We got "ice cream sandwiches". Which is three golf ball sized scoops of ice cream on a hot dog bun. Silly. It was pretty awful. No sugar. Tasted like dirt and milk. We were eating it and we get back to the MTC and a teacher said, "Oh no, why are you eating the sorbeto bano?" Literal translation: toilet ice cream. Thankfully we haven't gotten sick, but I told Sister Paasi she can no longer make decisions about what we eat. Later in the week she was sitting in bed and she said, "These lollies (candy) I got from the store are so awful, American candy is the worst!" I looked up and she had eaten almost half a bag of Halls cough drops. I love that girl, she keeps me laughing.

If you need an uplifting project for this week, check out One in 8 Million by the New York Times. It's an amzing photo/video project. It's truly inspiring. We watch one of the short videos and then we talk about how we would tailor the teachings of the gospel to fit the needs of this person. It's a great activity.

Everyone on our hall this week excluding the four American girls, got a serious case of headlice. I washed so many heads of hair I thought I was going to smell like lice shampoo for the rest of my life. But, thankfully, I think we're all okay now. I washed every stitch of bedding in our room.

The language is getting easier, I say hesitantly. Maybe not easier, I'm just beginning to understand it more. My English and my spelling are getting worse. My lessons are going well and one of my investigoators has agreed to be baptized the week I leave. I'm so happy for him. I know the gospel will bless his life endlessly. Tagalog words to know: magsisi (mahg see see), to repent, people say this anytime you've done something to be ashamed of. Joklang (joke lahng), like "just kidding". If you're playing ping pong and you whiff, you yell, joklang or if you tease someone you smile and say joklang. The missionaries and teachers alike love this term.

Have a great week! Thank you for all of the emails. Love you all!

Sister Cork

Friday, January 17, 2014

Life at the MTC

Firstly, if you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you ever have questions or don't understand a term I use, check out,, or ask a member of my family. Thanks!

So I'm finally getting used to buhay ng sa MTC (life at the MTC). The schedule is exhausting at times: awake by 5AM, three hour class blocks three times a day, and only a few short breaks. But, I'm learning to love it. The language is really hard. This week we started learning about grammar structure and it was just plain tough. Tagalog is so backwards sometimes. At times I get stressed out because I feel like I should be learning more because the class moves so fast, but then I realize I've learned the equivalent of nearly six weeks of material in two weeks. I just have to be patient with myself.

Teaching is going well. My kasama and I are now teaching two investigators and one less-active, all in Tagalog. The first few lessons I would write a detailed script and read it word by word. Now, all we take into our lessons are our scriptures. Mixing Tagalog and English, Taglish, I can usually teach just fine. When those we teach talk to fast or use a word I don't understand, we just work it out. I've gotten really good at the phrases "Will you please repeat that?" and "What does that word mean?" and "I don't understand". It's a huge challenge learning such a complicated language in such a short amount of time, but the work I'm doing is so rewarding.

Here we are split up into three batches, new batch, mid-batch, and senior batch. On Wednesday morning the senior batch left and we became the mid-batch. Pretty crazy, I don't feel like I'm ready to be the person who answers other's questions. This morning we were in charge of welcoming the new batch, 86 Phillipino natives, 9 Cambodians, 2 Samoans, 1 Fijian, 1 Togan and 3 Americans! Two elders from Arizona and a Sister Valerie Morgan from Utah. We actually talked a lot on Facebook before she got here, so it was so fun to see and meet her! I was in charge of explaining (in Tagalog) what each person needed to have before they entered the MTC. It was easy, until they talked back...but I figured it out. I'm excited to get to know them and help them around the MTC. 

So I've become good friends with the head of the kitchen, Brother Garcia. He's 24 years old and has tons of English knock-knock jokes to share. He found out I'm a vegetarian and he has cooked me a meal himself every day this week. We're best friends now. So, I'm not nearly as hungry as I was last week. I'm thankful for his attentiveness and kindness.

I'm so thankful to be here. I love the work I'm doing, even when it's hard. The testimony I am gaining of our Savior, Jesus Christ is something that I will treasure for all my life. I am so thankful for all of my friends, family, teachers, and leaders who have supported me and helped me get to where I am right now. Alam ko po na totoo po ang ni ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo (I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth). Nagpapasalamat po kami para sa pamilya 'nyo. (I'm so thankful for my family).

Trust in our Heavenly Father. He knows you and he loves you. Until next week,

Sister Cork

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I believe

As I was preparing for my first day of college tomorrow getting my notebooks and materials together, I found a poem Lindsay wrote back in 2010 for a Young Women's lesson in what she believed in.

I believe in life.
I believe in hope.
I believe in therapeutic car rides and late night chatting.
I believe in Christ, my Savior and Lord.
I believe in practicing what you preach.
I believe in the wisdom of grandparents.
I believe in chocolate chip cookies with cold milk. 
I believe in broadening my knowledge daily.
I believe in service.

I believe that I can change the world.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finally P-Day

After staying up until three in the morning every night to be there when Lindsay emailed us we finally got one!!

Hey y'all! Kumusta! It's finally here! This P-Day has been a long time coming. I don't even know where to start.I met five elder in the airport in Detroit. Our flight to the Philippines got cancelled by six hours so we really got to know eachother well. Four from Utah, all above Salt Lake and one from Houston. The flight was long, I thought I'd lose my mind. We got into Manila on Friday morning at 3:30 and had to be dressed and in the jeepney (white van pictured below) by 6:00am. So I decided to stay up instead of going to sleep. My roommate at the hotel was Sister Paasi and next door was Elder McKellar, both Aussies. I loved them instantly, we stayed up all night and chatted. We then loaded in these tiny vans and drove to the MTC. When we got here we checked in and had to do a self guided tour, kind of like a scavenger hunt. Getting shots, x-rays, tuberculosis tests, giving information, having interviews, etc. I got my name tag and found out Sister Paasi (pronounced Pah-See) was my companion! I love, love, love her. She's so kind and patient. She has a great personality and sense of humor, we get along really well. She is Tongan and lived there until she was 14, then moved to New Zealand, then to Austrailia. Because she speaks Tongan, the language tones & phonetics come easy for her. She is so helpful. My teacher is Sis. Mayores, she is really sweet. I am in Mormon district, which includes two of the elders from Utah (McKinney & Olsen) and a companionship of a Samoan & a Fijian (Pailate & Petero). I really love my district. The American elders are struggling with personality differences, but they are nice boys. My kasama (companion) and I share a room with a trio, a Tongan sister, an Indian sister, and a Samoan sister. They're personalities are very different from ours. They are late every day by at least half and hour and don't like to talk about the home or how their day was. We pray together as a group every evening. Oh and the first day we were here, the MTC president's wife called my name over the intercom along with Sister Paasi to come to her office. She had a short interview with us and sent us on our way. Later that day we found out that we've been called as Sister Training Leaders, like a District Leader for sisters. There are only three sets in the whole MTC, and we're one of them. We have lots of extra responsibilities. I'm glad the Lord thinks I'm capable, because some days I wonder.  

A standard day is waking up at 5:30, roll call on the front lawn at 6:00, breakfast until 7:00, then language classes until 11:30, then lunch, then language classes until 3:00. Gym for an hour, then a half hour for showers, then dinner at 4:30. After dinner we have personal study, then companion study, then we teach our investigator, then review, language study, homework, and quiet time by 9:00, bed by 10. I usually fall asleep as soon as I touch my bed, usually 9:15. We have taught our investigator four times but just yesterday the man we were teaching as our investigator became our teacher. It was a little frustrating to find out he could speak English, after spending hours of preparation to teach him in Tagalog. Today we will begin teaching two new investigators, Grace a freshman in college, a Fillipino language major and Kyle, a 20 year old construction worker. It is challenging work. The schedule is demanding. At all of our meals we have milk, white rice, vegetables, and a meat. I just eat a little rice and lots of vegetables. The meat is usually really fatty or unindentifiable.  There's a picture of my breakfast below. Bread and eggs are the closest I get to home. Today on my P-Day I will be able to email you, have personal study time, clean my room, go to the temple (the Indian sister I share a room with is going for the first time today!), and walk down the street to the grocery store, Rustans. The campus is beautiful. There's a garden court in the middle where we sometimes have our lessons, it's a great break from the classroom. If you ever need a massive challenge in your life, try learning Tagalog. It's by far one of the most mentally challenging things I have ever done. It's just plain hard. I really have to focus all my efforts on learning, memorization, and using all of the vocabulary in my daily speech. I can say basic words and phrases, bear my testimony, and pray in Tagalog. If I HAD to teach a lesson without any notes, I could almost do it.

I love being a missionary. I miss you all so much but I have never found so much joy in doing something that is so difficult, it's the craziest thing. It's exhausting and frustrating but it is so rewarding and wonderful. Every day I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here, the people that made it possible, and all of the love and support I have received. I hope to cherish every day I have as a missionary because I know my time will end all too soon. I love you all so much. (Mahal ko kayo) Salamat po (thank you) for all of the well wishes.

Magadang araw! (Happy day!)

Sister Lindsay Dru Cork

Friday, January 3, 2014

Officially Sister Cork

Yesterday Lindsay landed in the Philippines after an extremely long day of layovers and reported to the MTC. She called to tell us she arrived safely and to say goodbye on the phone until Mother's Day. Momma was sick that she wasn't home when she called. She emailed all of the family this yesterday:

"Hey guys! As a part of my MTC training today I have to send you a quick email letting you know that I've arrived. I am so tired, I can't wait to hop in bed! But, things are so exciting. I have my name tag and all of my books, ready to learn. I'll talk to you again on P-Day. I love you all!'
 -Lindsay Dru

Our family has already started tracking her mission with this cute little sticker chart from Deseret Book.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Journey Begins

Today was the day. Lindsay left at five this morning. With teary eyes, we had a bittersweet goodbye. Lindsay only had words of comfort to all of the siblings as she hugged them goodbye. I still am in shock. My gorgeous, amazing, oh so talented sister, is flying half-way around the world to help those she's never met for a year and a half. Her courage and faith in our Heavenly Father's plan for her is remarkable. Every week I'll post her email she sends out with any pictures attached. Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts as she is traveling today.
Laney Cork