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

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