Monday, March 31, 2014

Awfully Accident Prone

I'll be honest, this was the most hectic week since I've arrived. Heavenly Father gives us trials to smooth out our imperfections and prepare us for things down the road, I sure do wonder what he's preparing me for. Sometimes I asked him why he decided to send someone so accident prone to the Philippines. But things here are great, I love it!

- On Wednesday we said goodbye to our old kabahays and welcome Sister Miner (St. George, UT), Sister Hafen (Caldwell, ID) and Sister Romero (Bacolod, PHL). The next day though, Sister Hafen was taken to the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center). She's been struggling with her health and she has been there several times. She eventually made the decision to return home. I wish we could have gotten to know her better, she was super sweet and had a great personality. I hope she feels better soon.

- Sister Plame and I had to go contest an incorrect electrical bill this week. I thought that it'd be a short trip, but oh I was wrong. We stood in line with nearly 400 people for about three hours. When we arrived at the front they told us that the computers had been shut down for maintenance. They wouldn't budge on our bill and the mission office agreed to pay the extra. The woman told us we couldn't pay their, but had to go to a billing center, then go to a copy center and photocopy our receipt and return it to her by 5:00pm. We ran all around the city and we were exhausted.

- This week we went three days without any water. It happens occasionally in the Philippines that the water is just randomly shut off. We bought bottles of water to drink and cook with, but we really needed to shower by the end of these three days. Finally, we texted the president's assistants asking what we should do. In twenty minutes they showed up to our house and took us to the mission home to shower! It was so awesome. I'll be honest, I stepped into that big, hot, running shower and I cried my eyes out. Mostly from joy of just being so clean. I don't think I'll be that clean again for the rest of my mission. It was the best! They sent us home with a few jugs of filtered water. I am so thankful for my mission president and his wife, they take good care of us. Our water was turned back on the next morning.

- We did a service project this week and we had to clean out a pigpen full of trash, at the bottom we found three dead cats! Wow, it smelled bad. I probably won't ever forget that. 

- Lastly, while walking to a teaching appointment this week, a group of little kids ran by and one had a sharp, rusty piece of metal in his hand. I got a nice big cut on my arm, following by a nice big tetanus shot. So now I can check that off my list too. Trouble just seems to find me!

I love teaching people about Jesus Christ and his gospel. It's so easy and simple. We read in the Bible and the Book of Mormon that Jesus taught the children and it's because his gospel and teachings are so simple and easily understood. I'm so thankful too, because my Tagalog is really simple too. It's so wonderful to see how the gospel changes peoples lives. This week we got to see Brother Mike be baptized and it was such a treat! He's a great guy and we know the gospel will really bless his sweet little family.

I hope you have a great week! 


Sister Cork

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Summer is here in the Philippines. It is hot and wet. There's always a mist in the air. You never really know if you're wet from sweat, the air, or something else. It rained for about 24 hours straight this past week and afterwards everything was covered in mud. I'm used to everything being clean after a rain storm, but it was all pretty yuck. Walking through the mud and water all day was exhausting, I was happy to go home and take a shower that day.

This week I turned 20 years old! What an amazing thing to spend my birthday in the Philippines as a missionary. Only one birthday left in the mission! The day before my birthday we ended our appointments early because it's dangerous to be in that certain area when it's dark. My companion needed some things so we went to the grocery store. We spent about two hours there. I was so tired and just wanted to go home and do our planning. We finally went home and I opened the door and the lights flipped on, my kabahays planned a sweet little birthday celebration for me and Sister Lavador who turned 21 the week before. We cooked lumpias and chicken balls and macaroni soup and ate chocolate cake. It was so thoughtful and sweet. I loved it. We stayed up late (10:30) and talked and laughed. On my actual birthday I treated myself to a day of hard work and ended it with a hot shower. That's right, I boiled water for my shower. It was awesome. I felt so clean!

Yesterday we had a transfer meeting and we found out that our kabahay's (housemates) would both be transferred and replaced with three new sisters. Today they came and installed a new bed and desk in our house. It's pretty cramped with two recliners, a couch, five desks, and five beds. It's going to be cramped for a while, but we'll make it work. I'll miss the other sisters so much, but I know they'll do great things in their new areas. 

A fun story for the week...As we were walking down the street there was a man in front of his house who was pretty drunk. A few feet away was a little black kitten. My kasama and I saw it and said "Aww" and walked away. The man picked up the kitten and followed us for about 1/2 mile trying to give it to us. He was calling our names and waving the little kitten above his head. Finally Sister Plame turned around, snatched the frightened little cat from him, stuck it in her big leather purse, and marched away with a firm "Salamat po." (thank you) We turned the corner and she put the poor little kitten down. It was pretty amusing. Every time we pass him now he asks how our pet cat is doing. I think he's a little crazy.

Anyways, that's life here in Fairview. Have a great week! Pray often and look for little ways to feel God's love in your life each day.


Sister Cork

Monday, March 17, 2014

Birthday Week!

Hey y'all,

Sending lots of love from the Philippines. It's been hot here and the humidity really seals the deal. I'm a little jealous of every person enjoying nice Spring weather right now. I'll be 20 years old on Thursday and I'm praying for a tiny drop in temperature.

As a missionary I've had the opportunity to realize how clumsy I am. Last week we were going to a teach a family. The entrance to their home is a little hole, about 3x3, in a cement wall about eight feet off the ground. To get up there, there are plastic buckets stacked to make stairs. As I was climbing I was so focused on my feet, I didn't look up to see a huge wooden beam. I smacked my face so hard. My nose bled and I had a big huge goosebump on my head. It was pretty embarrassing. On Friday we were walking a playful little puppy grabbed my skirt and was pulling it. I reached down, pulled it out of it's mouth and it bit me, hard. But after several rabies booster shots, oral medication, and bandaged fingers, I'm doing just fine. Trouble just seems to follow me. My companion laughs because crazy people always seem to find me. This week a woman told me her son left the church because their neighbors are witch doctors and they used voodooism on him. She invited us to dinner and said we had to wear white so the witches could not control us. We politely declined. She followed us for about two hours then gave up. It happens pretty often.

This week we visited a member and she took us to the area behind her house and introduced us to all of her pets. She has fifteen pigeons, a mama pig, four piglets, six dogs, four cats, eight ducklings, and about sixteen chickens. We helped her feed all of the animals. The little pigs are so cute! I love them. After which she gave us popsicles made out of milk with fruit and gel inside. My companion ate hers fast, but mine was so salty I could hardly eat it. I asked her if it was supposed to be salty and she said no. She asked if I knew what the word salty means and I told her of course. She tasted it and asked the sister why it was salty and the woman told us that she froze them next to a basket of fish, so that was probably why. I just laughed, what could I do? If anything hopefully life in the Philippines will give me a stronger immune system. 

Hope you all have a great week! I love you lots and I'm so thankful for any & all support you send my way. Check out my blog for pictures!


Sister Cork

       This is called "fire rain" or ulan ni sunag. It's amazing and beautiful. It was incredible to watch. 

             Zone Activity, EcoPark
It was so nice to get out of the pollution for a few hours. The air was so clean and nice

Monday, March 10, 2014


Hello from the hot, hot Philippines! I hope you're all having a great week.

My word of the week for you is nakakapagpapabagabag, which means the highest level of worry. It's quite a tongue twister, but luckily I don't have to use it very often. I do have to use pananampalataya (faith) though and it took a lot of practice.

Today we woke up at 2:30AM and went hiking with our district. We went hiking in Timberland. Look it up, it's beautiful. It was exhausting and I'm already sore. It was so steep that most of the hike used both our hands and our feet. When we finished we were covered in orange dirt. I have never been so thankful to take a cold, bucket shower in my life. It was so nice to be out of the city for a little while. It was so calm and quiet and peaceful. We got to the top right as the sun was coming up over the mountains. We could see beautiful, lush valleys to the east and sprawling cities to the west. Our Heavenly Father has created such a beautiful world for us!

This week I met more families in our ward and went to their home for dinner. Two of the families have autistic children who function at varying levels. I have become good friends with both of them and love giving them my attention. There are so little resources here for children with disabilities. Many parents have no idea how to handle them and often are told that it's a result of their sins. Here they refer to them as "special children". It's been a wonderful experience to talk with several parents this week of the blessing of raising our Heavenly Father's children. 

When I get back home I don't know how I'm going to every eat without using a spoon again. We eat with a spoon in the right hand and a fork in the left, used only to push food onto your spoon. I've gotten so used to it I can't eat with one utensil anymore! But, I definitely won't miss hand washing my clothes. It will be so nice to toss my clothes in the wash when I get home. 

The work here is good. It's busy and demanding but I'm so thankful for it. It's changing who I am and reminds me every minute of the day what I stand for. Thank you for every bit of love, support, and prayers on my behalf. I surely do feel them.


Sister Cork

Humble Circumstances

One of the hardest things about living here is seeing people suffering. I see children that are starving for food and parents who cannot feed them. There are so many children who are sick. We teach a 16 year old girl with a two month old baby. Her baby has RSV. As we taught the baby just laid there in the hammock, barely breathing with glassy eyes. It was so hard for me. We taught about how the gospel can bless her family and I could hardly keep from crying. Two weeks ago one of the families we teach got really sick, the mother pleaded in her prayer for one of her little boys not to die. It was one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had. He had pneumonia, that's it. In the United States that's no big deal, just a pain. But here, children die from it constantly. There is a less active family with three small children, ages 7, 5, 3. The whole family was just diagnosed with tuberculosis and we're no longer allowed to teach them. It was crushing. It weighs on my heart more than I can explain. It's so hard for me sometimes. I cry tears as I ask Heavenly Father to please bless these people. I really have to rely on the Spirit to protect my heart while I'm here. It drives me to share the gospel with people. I can't heal their sick bodies, but I can give them the opportunity to experience the healing power of the gospel to their weak souls.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy March

Hey y'all! How are things back at home? Hopefully the weather is not as hot as it is here. Everyone says it's still mild outside. I don't know if I'm ready for not mild. I may just melt. Living here is sort of like camping, even in my home. All windows and doors are always just screens, sometimes not even that. We live with the dirt and dust and all the little critters and it's just become normal. Our bathroom is full of little pink lizards. At first it was weird but now it's just life. Sometimes I wonder what it will be like to go home and breathe clean, unpolluted air, to hear someone say my first name, or to experience silence. I wonder if it will be weird to go places along after having a companion by my side literally 24 hours a day. I guess we'll see. 

So I am 5'4. Not tall at all by American standards, yet here I am HUGE. I am the same height as most men and I tower over women. It's hard to get used to. My head bumps into everything as I walk down streets. Sometimes my head is just below the room of people's homes. I can't imagine what it'd be like to be taller and live here. 

Our area is split into two parts: Fairview 1 and 2. The others sisters are in Fairview 2. Last weekend they were headed to an appointment. They had just stepped out of an alley and started walking down the road when they heard screaming and running. They turned around to see a man with a gun run into the alley they had just let and started open-firing. They were in tears when they got home. They spent a lot of time talking to the Mission President and church security. They cannot return to their area until they are told so. The Filipino sisters we live with said shootings happen often. One happened in the mall in the middle of my area last year. I'm thankful for the protection and guidance of the Spirit in our lives. 

I've had several people ask about birthday gifts. The best thing you could send me would be a letter with a stamp inside so I can write you back and a picture of your family. Thank you, thank you!

The work continues here in the Philippines. It's hard, hard work, but it is oh so good. Thank you for all of the love and prayers. I love you all so much!

Sister Cork
Duck embryo=Dinner

Lost in Translation