(It was so good to get her letter today.. Just to hear how happy she is has made this long week a little easier.. Here it is!)
Thank you so much for the letters, love, and encouragement. I love you all so much! Landon, I found the note you wrote me in my scriptures, and I loved it, you're so awesome :) Mom, thank you for the temple picture, card, & valentines day candy! Kelsey, thank you for the Dear Elder you wrote me. Oh & Brandon I got the note you wrote me too. Your words of advice have seriously helped me so much and have motivated me to work a little harder every day.
So here are some details about my very different life. It's crazy to think that a week has gone by. Every day is sooo long here haha, but I think it will pick up. My companion (kasama) is Sister McNaught. She is also 20 years old, and is from Brisbane Australia. We get along so well, and we have a lot of fun. I'm lucky to have her as my companion. There are 11 people in my district. 5 of us going to Cauayan, and the rest going to Olongapo. I will be the only girl in the batch going to Cauayan. As a district we have a lot of fun, but we struggle when it comes to focusing. Haha, sometimes I feel like I am a mom in that class. The MTC is such a different world. Besides our P-day (which is still very busy) our only free time is when we eat and when we get ready for bed. I'm starting to get used to the schedule. I don't know if I slept at all the first couple of nights, but I'm good now. I think I've seen everyone here in the MTC that I thought I might run into here. It is so fun running into friends.
Tagalog is intense. We cover so much material so fast. Hopefully some of it is sticking. I think those Audio lessons helped me, I wont be able to use them at all while we're here though. We won't actually get to use our ipods and speakers until we go to the mission field. But any who.. So far I can pray and bare my testimony in Tagalog. Two days after we got here we had to teach our first lesson with our "investigator," in Tagalog. I don't speak tagalog haha. It didn't go so well, my companion and I were very worried about the language. I also have this problem of laughing at the worst times. I 'm trying to change :) but my companion had a REALLY hard time at the beginning with the pronunciation, and on top of that she speaks very loudly when she speaks Tagalog. I have to be very careful to not burst out laughing. Haha. There is so much to learn. They say it is like drinking from a fire hose, with all that we have been learning, and they are right. I can't believe we'll be going to the Philippines after only being here 6 weeks.
So I'll just say that it didn't take long to figure out that a mission is NOT easy. I have been praying like never before. I have to rely on Heavenly Father so much more, and it has really been strengthening my faith in him. I know that he doesn't call his missionaries to fail. He knows that I can learn Tagalog. When I get discouraged I think of the night I was set apart and of the words that President Wangsgard said. It's hard to imagine now that I will be able to easily be able to communicate someday with the people in the Philippines, but I know it will happen as I do my best and work hard.
Getting letters here is like Christmas morning. It makes me so happy to hear from you all! I feel so supported by you guys and I hope you all know how much I appreciate all that you've done for me. Things are getting so much better for me now, and I am working so hard. I read Helaman 10:4-5 yesterday morning, and it has motivated me to work hard and learn all I can with "unwearyingness." Yesterday my companion and I prepared all day to teach our "investigator" for the second time. We did SO much better. One of our teachers told us that he has sat in as an "investigator" for missionaries here learning English, and he said that it didn't matter if the english was so broken and terrible as long as he could feel their love and concern for him he felt their message. We used this same idea, our Tagalog still stinks, but we got our message across, and at the end of the lesson we felt like we should teach him how to pray, so I taught him how to pray in Tagalog! Kind of crazy, because I just learned how to a couple of days ago. It was such a great experience for us, and we felt the spirit so strong. Heavenly Father definitely blessed us for our hard work. And it just made me want to work even harder and see what else we can accomplish here as we work hard. One thing we talked about is that we are all struggling to learn this language, and it is through this struggling that I'm already developing a love for the Filipino people. I do love them and I want to learn their language so that I can fully express myself to them. Yesterday we watched a cool talk from Elder Holland, he said that we need to be our first convert. We need to remember that all the things that we want for our investigators the Lord wants for us as well. Time is up, I love and miss you all!
Oh i just remembered a story I wanted to tell you. First of all gym time is so great, it made me so happy when we finally had our first gym time. It gets a little boring cause you have to run around the track 10 times for it to be One mile haha. but on with the real story. So we were in our first gym time and I saw two Elders walk in and they were the only ones in there with their suits on instead of Gym clothes. The first thing that popped in my head was, "Hey it's the missionaries!" and then I realized all of us there were missionaries. I am a missionary!? haha it was funny to me.