Marami salamat ko po kayo para sa sulat! (Thanks so much for the letters!) Mahal ko ang lahat! (I love you all!) So this is it... I'M HEADED TO THE PHILIPPINES!!!!!!!! Is this real life?
This letter is going to be a little short and sweet...
I don't have a whole lot to say about this week as it was week 5 of the exact same schedule, but the difference was we are doing everything for the last time. Still so wierd. But my whole district is feeling pretty ready to get to work in the Philippines. It will be so wierd going from seeing/being with them almost 24/7 to not seeing them until we are home. My companions and I are the only ones not going to Naga this week out of 26 missionaries headed to the Philippines. That means it is just the 3 of us sisters headed to Hong Kong and then to Manilla. It is going to be an adventure for sure!
Tagalog is coming SLOWLY, but its coming. I really feel so blessed to be learning this language. It is so beautiful and the people who speak it seem all the more beautiful. I CAN'T wait to serve them. I already told you this Mom and Dad, but it definitely is easy to get discouraged learning this language. In our Relief Society devotional on Sunday, Sister Mary Edmunds spoke. She is AMAZING, unmarried and has served 4 missions. She was one of the very first sisters to serve in the Philippines which made it all the more meaningful. When she was serving in the Philippines her mission home was all the way in Hong Kong!! Anyways, she said the following, "This is worth EVERY sacrifice you have made and every one you will make. Give yourself to the Lord. All you can do is the BEST you can do!" She then quoted Elder Maxwell who said, "God, who knows our capacity perfectly, sent us here to SUCCEED!" I just keep reminding and rereminding and rerereminding myself of that everyday! Seriously, sometimes I just sit there at look at the missionaries in my district and my companions and think wow they are missionaries! And then I look down at my nametag and remember so am I!! How lucky are we!? I am dreading the day I have to take that nametag off, but try not to think about it too much seeing as I haven't even left the MTC yet :)
Every week we are supposed to prepare a talk for Sacrament Meeting and then President will answer who is speaking after the opeing song/prayer. Well this week I got called up! AHHHHH. I was so scared. I love speaking but sa Tagalog is a totally different story. It ended up going well though. I was surprised how much I could say. It was my first time testifying about what I know to be true in church, in the language I'm going to be speaking for the next 18 months, which was super special (and the week before I got to pray sa Tagalog for the first time in Sacrament meeting too). I was lucky too because the topic was learning to recognize the Spirit. I already whet over that in my email last week, but the MTC is probably the greatest place to learn how you do just that.
Well I'm basically just going to overload you with pictures and call it good :)
I just want to leave you with my testimony the best I know how sa Tagalog...
Alam ko po na totoo Ang Simbahan ni Jesus ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa ito. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa pagkakataon nagiging misynero na magbabahagi po ako ng ebanhelyo sa mga tao sa Philippines! Alam ko po na nagbubuhay si Jesuscristo at mahal niya tayo. Nagpapasalamat po ako niya at mahal ko siya! Alam ko po na mahal ng Diyos tayo at ng plano ang Diyos para sa akin.
Translation: I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and share the gospel with the people in the Philippines! I know Christ lives and loves us. I am so grateful for Him and love Hime! I know God loves us and has a plan for us!
MAHAL KO KAYO!!!!!!! So long from the U.S. Next week you will hear from me from the Philippines!!!!
P.S. The last day I can get mail is this Saturday morning and then I head across the world Monday afternoon!
Elder Lapana ALWAYS waunders off so we made him sign a contract to stay with us for our last Sunday Temple walk.
MY DISTRICT!!!! Love them all!!!
My mga kasama. They refuse to be normal!
We have a LOT of fun! I am so lucky all 3 of us are going to the same mission, so we don't have to say goodbye for the next 18 months. LOVE THEM!
Me with my brown people. That is the face Elder Lapana makes EVERYTIME I talk to him. He pretends he can't understand me but we ALL know he speaks excellent English.
This is Elder Stepherson. He is from Boise! We tried to channel our inner hicks. Wasn't too hard to find :)
All of us sisters share a room. They are all the very greatest!
Jared and Janeses- This is an elder in our district and our Zone Leader. He reminds me SOOOOOO much of Big D. It is crazy. They look quite a bit alike and act so much alike. It is the greatest. He is an awesome elder. He is only 18 and sent in his papers right after the announcement.
And this is Elder Stepherson during additional study time. Haha he is also 18 and struggling with the early mornings, but he works so hard and is currently our district leader.