I always love hearing from you and hearing about whats going on with Kristy’s travels. Tell Evan I say Happy Birthday! In regards to the MTC, they have been teaching us so much. They have told us numerous times to become friends with the investigators and to teach according to their needs. So some of our lessons with our investigators are a bit rough sometimes. I know it will get better and I love the people here. I know I will love the people in the Philippines just as much as I love the Sisters and Elders here.
I have had some really interesting conversations the past week with various people. One of which happened yesterday. I had the opportunity to host new missionaries again on Wednesday and we hosted international missionaries that arrived early in the morning. There weren’t very many so we got to stand and talk with the people in charge of hosting. That was Brother and Sister Peers. One of the missionaries that arrived that morning used a US Military issued duffel bag as one of his suitcases. I got to talking to him and I found out he is in the Navy, and they let him go on his mission. But that started a conversation with Brother Peers and I told him about thinking about military after this and he said, “You would do great in the military, I think you are going to be the first female commandant of West Point.” He had it all figured out. I get off my mission go into the ROTC program at BYU and then officers candidacy school and then become an MP, because I “command respect when I look at people”. It was a really interesting conversation and it stuck with me all day. I also talked to the MTC president’s wife, Sister Martino, yesterday. She gave a bit of advice to all of us going to the Philippines (she was Mission President’s wife in the Philippines for several years). She said, Laugh at anything unusual, challenging, or difficult. I wrote that on the inside of my planner. I have so many good quotes from devotionals the past four weeks and I have almost completely filled one of my journals. The one I got for class notes, is full of everything and anything from Sunday and Tuesday devotionals and reviews of them, to Class notes, and lesson plans, and notes from Relief Society and our District meetings. I even had to color code and tab the sections so I can find things easier.
In other news I have managed to have to go to the clinic twice so far, both because my companion was hurt. The first time was because her ears were hurting her the first week and the second most recent one, was this Saturday, she got hit in the face with a softball. She just had to get ice but I feel like I’m in there all the time now.
Sunday was very busy for me, I had to conduct the music for sacrament meeting, and then I sang with the other sisters in a special music number for the intermediate hymn, and then I gave the Benediction. So I was up and down all sacrament meeting. Then we gave the Relief Society lesson. That went really well, Both me and Sister Stucki were really happy. After that we had the temple walk with the new districts and the Fountains were on! We all got really excited and the new districts were kindof confused. But today I went to the Temple and did a session. I got up really early so I could get ready and we still were almost late. We wanted to go to the earliest session so we could go with people in our zone. We got to see all of the new sisters and some of the new Elders there so it was really cool.
Monday was Pioneer day. Nothing really big or exciting happened but we heard and saw some fireworks in the distance when we were returning to our residences. Tuesdays devotional was really cool, it was by a Emeritus General Authority (all of them have been so far, up to this point we have heard from F Michael Watson, Bruce C Hafen (Brother Higgins was really jealous about this one, he really likes Bruce C Hafen, It was a really good talk too) Paul E Koelliker, and Don R Clarke) I got several pages of notes from the devotional by Don R Clarke. It was about focusing on investigators and making and keeping commitments and you making the decision to be happy. And Sister Stucki said he reminded her of President Hinckley.
On the topic of Devotionals, I have been singing in the choir on Sundays and Tuesdays for Tuesday Devotionals, and the director we have had the past few weeks has been hilarious. We decided that he sounds exactly like Matthew Maconaghey (SP?). He says the funniest things when his mic goes out during sound checks. The first time it happened he made it look like the mic hadn’t been turned back on and then in a really deep voice he said BEHOLD… we all cracked up laughing. And the most recent time it happened, the lights were being weird and cutting in and out and while the mic was still out he said is this the second. then the mic cut in and really loud we heard COMING? nope apparently not.
We haven’t taught many lessons this week because Brother Higgins was on vacation and Sister Mcgrath was busy with substituting in a new district. Brother Higgins got back on Monday night so we got to teach Jesse again and he had some really good questions about the Holy Ghost. And In our lesson with Jane last night we did a lesson where we just read the Book of Mormon with her. We read it all in Tagalog (reading is way easier than making up sentences) and she had some questions about why the Book of Mormon talks about the people in the Bible. (We read 1 Nephi 10) we didn’t finish the chapter because she had really good questions. I love that I am able to do lessons without notes now and I can answer some of there questions. (Depending on the topic of course because of vocabulary) I still need to work on Speaking my Language (SYL Speak your language) outside of the classroom and in everyday life, but im getting better at that as the other districts are being challenged to do English Fasts where they aren’t allowed to use any english for certain periods of time.
The new districts are amazing, even though I miss the old districts. Its kind of weird though because they all seem so young, even the sisters. I know the Elders are only 18 but they seem younger than that, and the District ahead of us that left last week seemed so old compared to us, they knew everything. And I know thats how the new districts feel about us but its quite odd. I don’t know if i told you in last weeks letter but there are two Elder Palmers in the new districts. They are in the same district and every time I hear Palmer I look over but more often than not they are talking to one of the Elders. Both of the Elder Palmers are really nice but I’ive only gotten to know one of them and his companion Elder Crane. (We think Elder Crane likes Sister Stucki but thats just assumption and totally against the rules but its funny to the other sisters in the zone.)
Overall I have been really busy recently and its crazy to think I’ve been here for an entire month. I should get my travel Itinerary next week I think.
Because we are getting so close to the leave date our teachers keep telling us stories about when they were on their missions (about a year ago give or take for most of the teachers). They told us stories about the giant spiders as big as your face (and they provided pictures as well) and the rats that they dealt with. Sister Mcgrath drowned a rat and she set a spider on fire with bleach and a match. Brother Higgins first companion was a big 6 foot something samoan guy with a pink umbrella and the first day Higgins went to the apartment he was like so do we have a key to get in? And his comp said nah watch this, and he kicked the door open and started whacking at rats with the umbrella and said that is my favorite part of the day. Brother Navarro told us a story about chasing a spider and spraying it with permethrin. Just about all of the spiders and rats in the stories die but they said that none of the spiders are poisonous and people just knock them out of the way, so im guessing they aren’t like the spiders in Missouri that will chase you. I was just looking through my notebook and written in the margins is “Philippino Jails are the best!”-Sister Mcgrath I have no idea what context that was in but that was super funny.
This letter is getting really long and I have to go to gym so I’m going to end this here (and post a few pictures as well) but I love you and I miss you! I can’t wait to get to the Philippines in two weeks! I’m definitely going to miss the MTC and the people here but I know I will have so many more opportunities to help people when I leave.
Ingat po! Mahal kita!