it is so weird that i have to email to talk to you now! but it is ok! i have been so excited to email since last night when they told us our pday was today.
ok. so here is the scoop. everything is so good. have i cried? nope. have i been sad? nope. not. at. all. i am way happy and so glad to be here. so mom, no more crying! i am happy! whoever it was that told me that time passes slow was right. i feel like i have already been here a million years!
on the first day my cute host (also turned out to be my sister training leader- not a coincidence!) dragged my stuff all around (bless her heart) while I went in and out of buildings, getting my name tag, books (like a zillion of them), etc. Fun fact, one of the volunteers at the MTC is the Olivers’ neighbor, Joelle Slade. So she took a pic of me which i think she was going to send to you via Lisa. Then my host showed me my room, we dropped off my stuff, and she took me to my classroom. So i get to the classroom and there are already people there. the teacher looks me in the eye and starts speaking straight up cebuano! i was like, uhhhh what? but then i realized, this is the mtc of course they will throw us right into it right off the bat! we learned how to introduce ourselves and then we left to go the big new missionary meeting.
at the big meeting I got a shout out! mom and dad remember that lady in deseret book? She is sis. roach a wife of one of the mtc presidency counselors. when she spoke she said, “I want to introduce my friends” and then had one girl she is related to stand up, and then me! so that was kinda fun. after that we had dinner (at 4:15!) sidenote, i wouldn’t complain if you sent me some snacks for before bed because i usually get kinda hungry by then 🙂 we have a microwave but no fridge. after dinner we did some training stuff and met our zone leaders. let me tell ya about my comp. she is the most adorable person i’ve ever met! she is from kiribati! ever heard of that? it is a 3-4ish hour plane ride from fiji. her name is sister taungea (not as easy as it looks to pronounce) and she hardly speaks any english. let me tell ya, the language barrier is real. but really it is not too bad. probably because i speak with my hands so much anyways haha. anyways. there are a few missionaries from her country and i am not sure, but wonder if the church is making some big efforts there somehow. she went to a high school/boarding school called moroni high that is a church school. anyways, all the missionaries at the mtc from kiribat (pronounced kiripez) have been provided clothing by the mtc. interesting. anyways. she is absolutely darling and is finally opening up a little more. it is very cool to see how we compliment each other already. she is helping me learn cebuano better because in her language they pronounce the nga sound that my sad little american mouth has never attempted! and today for our pday i taught her how to do laundry (she has only ever done it by hand) and how to use an elliptical (is that how its spelled?) she is obsessed with it now. Also she is freezing all the time. so mom, it was a good idea that you had for me to pack my northface jacket! anyways i will try to send a pic but these dang mtc computers are all locked up so idk if it will let me. i’m probably more than a foot taller than her! she’s adorable too because instead of saying “uh huh” for yes, she says “nuh uh” and so it took me a little bit to realize that she really means yes haha. i feel very honored and privileged to be her companion. she copies everything i do. seriously. like its taken a few meals in the cafeteria for me to convince her she doesn’t have to choose the same food i do haha.
so yeah, cute sis wilde isn’t my companion! in fact,she isn’t even in my district. there are 2 districts of people going to tacloban and cebu. so we are all mixed up. but i see her around a lot which is fun! in my district there are 6 girls and 7? boys. i share a room with all of the girls. they are cute and fun. one is a sassy samoan girl from australian who is hilarious. the other girls besides my comp are from the u.s. and are pretty young haha. for some it is not hard to tell that they are 19. which i am finding slightly frustrating because i’m realizing i’m the only one in my room who tries to be exactly obedient. especially with bedtime. i basically run around like a chicken with my head cut off to be in bed at 10:30, but they seem to not be in a rush. as for the boys in my district, there are a surprising amount of polynesians. ok, well 3 (shout out to kristen!). the rest of the boys are nice white boys from the u.s. haha.
so about cebuano. whoever it was that told me that cebuano is similar to spanish…lies! there are a few similarities, but not really many. it is a pretty tough language and although we’ve only been here a few days, we have to teach a lesson in cebuano tomorrow. so that will be interesting…i’ll keep ya posted on how that goes. so far i know how to say a few things. this is how you say, I know that the church is true: nasayud ko nga tinuod ang simbahan. Does that look like spanish at all? nope!!! but i am getting along just fine. surprisingly fine. my only frustration with the language is that i want to fill in spanish with cebuano words i don’t know. i guess my brain just turns to non-english mode because i keep telling people hola haha.
another thing that has been fun is that i keep seeing people i know. so far i’m averaging 2 people per day. i’ve seen brynn erdmann from a distance (didn’t get a chance to talk to her :(), jonathan and tammy from the dietetics program, and then 2 guys from my singles ward who work at the mtc. its been fun! i am always looking for who i might see next haha. that reminds me, where is uncle david’s office? i know where the health clinic is…but i have no idea where i might find him. is he still ok with me dropping off some stuff at the end of my time here?
ok i have to email an update to my branch pres. that we met last night.
i love you all! don’t cry about me mom because i am doing fiiiiiiine. really. i cried all summer so that i wouldn’t cry here at all. haha ok i didn’t plan it that way but that is how it is turning out 🙂
love you all. the church is true!
Sister Jennifer Brereton
Philippines Tacloban Mission
September 2014 – March 2016
***NOTE: Jen’s preparation day while in the MTC is Friday, but will likely change when she arrives in the Philippines. If you’d like to email her while in the MTC, please email before Friday so she can see your message. If you have any questions about receiving Jen’s emails, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. – Ryan***