Hey y'all! It feels like I haven't emailed in a month, yet it's only been ten days. This email is going to be pretty lengthy, sorry about that.
My last little while at the MTC was pretty hectic. The last few days I was there were really emotionally trying. Sister Fue's ten year old brother died on Tuesday after being hit by a truck. Sister Maualuga's father passed away from pneumonia on Friday morning. As sister training leader I had a lot of work to do. For most nights I just held girls, sitting on my bed as they sobbed until they fell asleep and I'd sleep on the floor. It was a week of puffy eyes, sore backs, and full hearts. It was hard to leave these girls on Wednesday. I've grown to love them so much.
So, I've been assigned in the Fairview Zone. It's right in the middle of the city. Loud, dirty, noisy. I live in Samaka subdivision, we rent a free standing two-floor apartment from the landlords whose house connects to the front of our building. My trainer is Sister Plame, from Cavite. She is 4'6 and weighs 68 pounds. She is absolutely teeny-tiny. Because she is a native, it's hard to understand her. She talks so fast and quick. The Tagalog I learned in the MTC was very basic, formal, and slow. So, it's been extremely humbling. Each morning we wake up at 6:30, but I usually wake up before that because of several reasons: we have two cats that routinely get in horrible fights each morning, the coconut tree above our house drops coconuts on our thin metal roof all night long, the rooster farm down the street is always loud, loud, loud. So until I get used to all the noises, nights will be time to just think. Our windows have screens, but no glass. We have running water from 6AM-noon then for two hours at night. There is no toilet paper in the Philippines. So...yeah, that's been interesting and demanding of my creativity. The toilet has no seat or anything on it. My shower is a faucet and a blue bucket and the water is absolutely freezing. I don't know if I'll ever get used to that. But showers at the end of the day are my favorite. It's hard to describe the circumstances here. Most homes are made from cement bricks with cement or dirt floors. They're usually about six by six feet although sometimes smaller. Most families share a mattress and eat strictly rice. I can't describe the poverty. In the United States, we have no true understanding of what it means to be poor, none. People have so little, yet they thank God every day for their lives. Their faith is amazing and humbling to me. I have so much to learn.
A ten year old boy, Joppriel, was baptized on Saturday. It started about and hour and half late. I was assigned to give a talk on the Holy Ghost about ten minutes before it started, in Tagalog. It was...rough, but I did it. I also spoke in church on Sunday. The Lord is truly testing my faith in him when that happens. Tagalog is so hard. It takes all of my focus, patience, and determination. Most times I have no idea what's going on around me. I love the Philippines. I love Fairview already. The work is so challenging, but I love teaching people about the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It's amazing to watch them feel a kind of love they've never experience. Their lives are changing and I get to witness it.
All of my love,