Sunday, May 20, 2012

She's in the Philippines!


So the Philippines is crazy. Man I can't believe I'm actually here. The flight went well, we actually stopped in Guam to refuel, but didn't get off the plane. We talked to a couple people and everyone stared at us haha. I'm guessing I'll get that a lot. I have had everyone staring at me and if I smile at them they just stare longer, so I don't know if I should smile? We got to LAX and took forever to find the international terminal. When we finally found it we had to stand in the longest line to get our boarding pass (like an hour i think) and there were a million filipinos all speaking tagalog and lugging these huge boxes and bags around. It looked like all of them were moving their whole lives. I talked to one lady and she said they were probably all bringing gifts back to their families in the Philippines cause if you don't it's rude. I asked her if the line was always this long and she said, ya I don't know why but everyone wants to go to the Philippines!
haha anyway I slept pretty much the whole flight and Sister Winger kept calling me Maka Mohe. But I still feel tired. We came out of the airport and some random Filipino was waving at us. I was like, that looks sketchy, but Sister winger and Elder Christensen went right up to him and let him take their bags so I just followed. I was like, Um where are you taking us and then he said, don't you wanna go on your mission? We got to this huge van surrounded by a ton of skinny filipino guys all staring at us and looking us up and down. I was pretty nervous but I guess they just hang out there to help with luggage and get paid. So we all got in the van and then finally the driver told us his name. I was like, This guy could seriously be anyone and we'd have no idea! But turns out he was the right one thank goodness and he drove us to President Sperry's house.

We went through a gated community with grass and really nice houses. The mission home is amazing! Everything was like glass and marble and it was so cool. I couldn't believe it was like 90 degrees F at 8 in the morning. haha it's 1:20pm now and it's SO hot! It reminds me of the middle of summer in Texas though so I kinda like it. I just feel super bad for the elders wearing black pants. Poor Elder Christensen was sweating like crazy! Anyway, President Sperry let us shower and change and freshen up which felt super nice. It was just like in the Hunger Games how they go to the really fancy capital and eat a ton right before going into the arena. haha i felt like Katniss a little bit. Then we ate pizza with some of the elders that have been here for about a year and a half. They were really fun and nice and asked us how our tagalog was. Compared to theirs, pretty much nonexistent. They were talking so fast! So we ate pizza and then drove with them to the chapel where some of the sisters were waiting for us.

The way people drive here is so insane! There are no traffic rules and everyone cuts in front of everyone all the time, no right aways, people jay-walking, everything! I just closed my eyes and tried to sleep but sister winger was freaking out and kept gasping and screaming like, we're going to die! Lol. We met up with the sisters and it's their p-day today which is the only reason we get to email you! But they are all Filipino. Me and Sister Winger are the only Americans. So we're in the internet cafe right now and I'm sweating but I'm super happy that I got to email you!

The Philippines is overwhelming and scary and I feel so huge cause everyone is small. But so far everyone has been really nice and I'm excited to get better at Tagalog! The sisters that I'm with said that we'll probably go teach some people tonight and I will need to bear my testimony and help with the teaching a little bit. I'll do my best I guess! haha but that makes me really nervous. All the signs are in english and the elders said that pretty much everyone speaks taglish. 
We had some filipino food on the plane that was really good. there was like this bread thing covered in cheese that almost tasted like a donut so that was good. Then for lunch they gave us a warm roll filled with some kinda pork i think? That was okay...Tonight we're staying at the mission home and tomorrow we find out who our new companion is. I'm really excited! I honestly think I'll feel safer if I get a Filipino sister haha. I've already seen a few scraggly dogs and cats and had a bunch of people ask me if I'm half Filipino because of my last name :).

Mom-I feel like your grandkids are pretty much going to be the luckiest grandkids in the whole world! Your trip to Utah and maybe CA sounds so fun! I keep wanting to say, come see me while you''re at it! haha but i'm across the world now! that's so weird. It's like surreal, like i'm in a movie or something! haha I'm sure i'll get used to it!

Sorry we didn't get to talk longer on Mother's day, Mom, but I want you to know that I am so grateful you joined the church and were so brave to go on a mission. You are the person I think of when times get hard because I know that if you could do it, I have a chance of being able to do it too. I love you and I admire everything about you. You're the woman I hope to be someday! Don't ever feel unappreciated cause I'm thinking about you and thanking Heavenly Father for you every day! I love you!!

Love, Age

P.S. we get an hour for email every pday and it's only 10 pesos! (whatever that means)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fifth Letter from the MTC

Hey everyone! How are ya'll? How's life in Tx? is is blasting hot yet? so i have tons to say today: Last tuesday Elder Russel M. Nelson came! and his new wife of 6 years. he talked about the doctrine of the church and how it's just the doctrine, not doctrines. it brought everything back to the basics, which is exactly what we're teaching, so that was really cool.

I was talking to my teacher about my job in austin and how i get really paranoid in big cities and i don't feel safe. she said that there is something about being on a mission, she never felt unsafe the whole time she was in manila. and she had faith that the lord would protect her. a lot of times she would get the feeling not to go somewhere or to take a different route. it comforted me to know that as long as i'm doing my best, the lord will watch over me. it is going to be weird to go from the safe bubble of the mtc to one companion in a huge foreign city tho.

so our lessons and tagalog are getting better and better! there are ovservation rooms where we can watch someone being taught, like watching someone be interrogated and we can hear and see them but they can't hear or see us. it's really fun but nerveracking if you're the one being observed. so the other day we were observing sis. vaenuku and mgalogo teach their invesitgator, Gigi (our teacher) and gigi told them her baby was sick in tagalog and sis. v said, oh mabuti! (oh good!) haha. and then before they left gigi said will you bless my baby in the closing prayer? and they said, yes but they didn't do it! so gigi said, why didn't you bless my baby? and they didn't understand until the third time so when they ginally got it sis. v goes, next time we will bless her! and gigi said but shes  sick right now. so they were like okay and thy knelt back down to pray and gigi pointed at the spot where her pretend baby was and said don't forget to bless her and sis. m thought she was pointing for her to kneel there so she walks over to where the baby is and kneels right on top of it! gigi looked horrified through the whole prayer. oh man we were laughing so hard in the observation room and going, no! don't do it! it was like watching a movie and you want to help the main character so bad but you can't haha.

Anyway, two days ago at dinner elder callaway asked me if i got punched in the eye. i was super embarrassed cause i knew i had a red mark under my eye but i really thought it was just from being tired and my skin being dry. but i started noticing other pink-eye ish symptons. so i went to the health clinic and yep! my eye was infected. so i got to leave the mtc and get my eye drops at the byu health center but it was only $10. the worst part is i have to wear my glasses for 8 days, and buy all new eye makeup. the doctor said i was lucky i caught it when i did because wearing contacts makes it worse and can burn holes in your retina. he said it could've had a drastic effect on my eyesight too! scary! so then at dinner elder eagan suggested i ask for a blessing, which i hadn't even thought of! i wasn't going to but then i remembered what you said dad about how we need to use the priesthood as much as we can. so i asked my district leader and all five elders in my district stood around me and elder kehler gave me a blessing of health. it was such a peaceful moment and the spirit was so strong. my love for those elders grew so much because they were all so willing and ready to give me a blessing. the respect these elders have for the priesthood is very admirable and i'm so lucky to have had a worthy priesthood holder available to me my whole life. :) i really love my district they are like family. sometimes i can't wait to leave the mtc but other times i wish i could stay forever with the same people.

There is this tongan sister here, sister huni, who loves to take people's towels when they're showing and then laugh when they have to run naked to get it. she is this big tongan sister too and she thinks it's the funnniest thing in the world. i told someone i was scared of her and she found out. so the other night she was like, sis. garcia are you scared of me? and i said, only when i'm in the shower. and she (acting all innocent) was like, why? and i said, cause i don't want you to take my towel! and she said, don't worry. i won't do that to you, but if it happens don't scream. and then she did this evil chuckle and walked away. now i'm more scared than ever! the next morning she asked my companion TWICE if i was in the shower so the next day i showered in a different bathroom. let's just say i'm learning to take fast showers and i might feel safer in the philippines lol!
i learned some tongan words like, shut up, i love you, you're fat, i want to sleep, too much sleep, and i hate you. so all the important ones haha. They say these things to each other constantly. they think it's hilarious when i say something in tongan. i'm just stocking up on vocab so i'll have stuff to say to sister huni when she takes my towel, haha. 

i miss shoppng with you and elena-but i actually got 3 new skirts lately.i bought a purple one for fun from the international sister store and 2 tongan sisters gave me theirs saying, i got so gat it won't git .you wear, it look cute on you." haha i love them. i will probably send a big box of stuff home-is that okay? or did you want me to give it away? Thank you everyone for your letters, I definitely feel all your love and support and i'm praying for you every day! if you are reading this and haven't written me, why not?! i want to hear from ya'll! Love you all! Have a great week!! Love-Age

Adrienne's Fourth Letter

Note from Elena: I am sorry I did not post this letter from Adrienne earlier! She sent this to us on April 24th.

Surprise!! P-days got changed to Tuesdays. So expect mail on Tuesdays now. Sorry about that, but let me tell you it was amazing to have a Pday on Friday and then another one on Tuesday! Today has been the most relaxing day ever and I almost remember what it feels like to be completely rested. I am tired all the time-but somehow I still manage to do everything. I think it's cause I have to. But you always get more done when you have to right?
Anyway, on Sunday I was randomly called on to give a talk in Sacrament meeting! It was scary and my heart was pounding. But luckily they said you didn't have to give the whole thing in Tagalog. So I went up there and said, "Mundungus Fletcher Brothers and Sisters!" haha just kidding. I said, " Magandang Hapon po Elders and Sisters" and then I gave the rest of my talk on the Holy Ghost. My voice was shaky but I told about my experience with listening to the Holy Ghost to come on a mission and everyone said I did a really great job afterward, so that was nice!

It was funny because I borrowed a skirt from my roommate, Sister Vaenuku and she said i could keep it. I was like, "Why? It's so cute! you don't want it?" and she was like, "no everyone here has that skirt!" and I was like, "well i'm gonna wear it" so i wore it and as soon as i got to breakfast, 2 other girls in my zone were wearing the same skirt! haha and we didn't even plan it! Everyone was commenting on it and we took some pics so I'll send those to you. But it was kinda fun to match them without even planning it. i guess it is true that everyone has it. Sister Vaenuku thought it was hilarious!

Anyway, one of our districts left yesterday and it was so sad to see them go. It seems like I've known them forever. Elder Saaid from Australia was bawling, he was so sad to go. And we took a bunch of pics with them. The mtc will not be the same without them. But seeing them go was kinda cool too because we all sang "God be with you till we meet again" and then all the New Zealand Elders did the Haka. Best Haka I've ever seen! I mean I was actually a little bit scared of them.
Anyway, Ann M. Dibb, The prophet's daughter came and talked to us in Relief Society! That was  really neat. She told us a lot of stories about her father and I cried a lot. as usual. She said that all he wants to do is be the Lord's servant and that's how we should be too.

So there is this thing here that everyone does where everyone has a journal and we all sign in before we leave. it's kinda like a yearbook signing! I'm super glad because there are a lot of people I would love to keep in touch with that I may never see again, especially the international ones. We're getting 17 new missionaries tomorrow and we heard that most of them are going to Quezon City North! I can't wait to meet all of them! I really feel like we have a family here. All the polynesians call everyone, "my sister" or "my elder" and I love it! It makes you feel so good. So I'm gonna try to be like that. And every time I see Sister Huni from Tonga she yells my name really loud, sometimes from way across the mtc, "SISTER GARCIA!!" and I always yell back, "SISTER HUNI!!!" and we both laugh. It reminds me of yelling, "HEY YOU GUYS!" or "HEY!"across Byu campus to Britt and Jenny. lol so fun! Sometimes I wish I was polynesian, they just have such a loving culture.
Dad-thanks for your awesome emails, they are very inspiring and I love hearing about your life!
Thank you Sister Gallup for your weekly treats and letters! I look forward to them every Wednesday!!
One of the counselors in our bishopric told us a story about a woman that he baptized. She told him that she would slam the door in every single missionary's face, but when she saw him, she let him in. She said that if he had never come, she never would have been baptized. The Lord knew that she needed a certain missionary, and it was him. How cool is that? I know that there is a specific reason that I was called to the Quezon City North mission in the Philippines. If it was just to meet the amazing people I already have then I'm fine with that. But I really feel like there is someone out there waiting for me, and I can't wait to find them!
I really appreciate all the love, support, and prayers from everyone back home! You have no idea how nice it is to hear from ya'll after such a long day. My district is always like, "Good mail day, Sister Garcia?" Because I'm always smiling so big and laughing when I read the mail. It doesn't even have to be anything funny, I just love hearing about your lives and imagining your faces and voices when you're talking. Also send me pictures of yourselves, I can't stalk you on facebook anymore! :) I miss you all so much and Elena, Ben, Nat, Mom, and Jenny there are letters coming your way!
Until next week!