My First Area Is SO GOOD!

so last i emailed we had just arrived at the Manila MTC! which was a reallly nice place. i liked it. but it was TINY compared to provo. less than 200 missionaries compared to 2000ish at provo. so definitely a different feel. but good nonetheless.
the day i emailed you, we went proselyting with missionaries in the Quezon City North mission (philippines mtc is really in quezon city right across the street from the temple). it was really cool! i rode for the first time in a jeepnee, which is a refurbished jeep left over from the war that they’ve converted into a bus type thing. they pack people on them like nobody’s business. i went with a missionary to an appointment. It was so unreal because we were in a neighborhood like in the movies. super poor. kids just in the streets. it was nuts. we went into a home to teach the people and it was just crazy to me to think that i was really in the Philippines! they had 3 dogs that kept trying to lick my feet and skirt, and a cat that just jumped up on the table part way through the lesson! it was a good lesson, however, the quezon city mission is tagolog speaking so i literally had NO IDEA what was going on. but the spirit was there and that’s what matters!
Sunday at the MTC was just a normal sunday! nothing too exciting. monday we had classes
Tuesday we went to Manila to get our Visas. it was really sad to drive around manila ( at least i think it was manila!) it was super poor, people in the street sleeping, kids that look like they had no parents, etc. really poor. worse than what i saw in guatemala (however we were in some of the better parts in guat). anyway. at the immigration office they took our pictures and our finger prints. that was it! on the way back to the mtc we went to the philippines/USA cemetary. it was really pretty, really cool. i will send pics. dad would have loved it and would have read every plaque šŸ˜‰
We were supposed to leave the MTC at 4 am Wednesday morning. but we were woken up by a knock at the door at 2:20! it was the PRESIDENT of the mtc coming to tell us that our flight plans changed and we needed to leave ASAP. so in a fury the tacloban sisters got ready to go! we were supposed to travel to cebu with the cebu missionaries so when we found out that we were going before them it was really sad for all of us. really really sad. it was hard for me to leave them! we hugged each other and cried a little outside the bus, then went on our way. it was also sad because we didn’t get to say goodbye to the cebu elders. i was on the bus fighting tears because it was just rough to leave the people i had spent SO much time with, and because the mission was getting real. we got the airport and found out that more weird stuff happened and that our flight was delayed. i was in the airport, so mad. it was like 5 am and our flight wasn’t leaving until 9. some elders were totally rude to me and i about lost it when a senior missionary couple came up to us and said that they were going to tacloban too! it was a tender mercy to talk to them. they are serving in the self reliance center in tacloban. anyway. 2 hours later i heard someone say, “its the cebu missionaries!” i looked and sure enough here come our cebu missionaries! i ran to meet them and was SO happy. it was another tender mercy on a very emotional day. turns out, we were on the same flight and could have left the same time they did. HAHA.
we all flew to cebu. my seatmate was another missionary who poured out his whole life story to me on the 1.5 hr ride! at the cebu airport we had to really say goodbye to our cebu-ians, but it was ok that time! their mission president+wife was there, and a bus was there to take us to the ferry! the ferry ride was about 3 hours. there were seats and a movie playing. its like it wanted to be a plane. it was nice than i thought though! i just read my scriptures and the white handbook. the ferry went to Ormoc, a city 2.5 hrs from Tacloban. When we got off the ferry Pres. and Sister Maurer (pronounced more-a like in cumorah) were there and they put all of our luggage in a bunch of trucks and off we went to the mission home! i was so tired at this point. we had dinner and then slept at the tacloban area sister’s apartment. i just realized i need to hurry writing this and be less detailed!
thurday we had interview with the president and proselted to in the tacloban area. we had a testimony meeting that night. Friday morning was when we went to McArthur park and we got assigned our trainers and area! they had us all stand in a circle. they would call a missionary name, they would walk to the front, then they’d announce the area and trainer. the whole process was agonizing! i was the 2nd to last name to be called! but it is ok because there are tender mercies all around!
So my trainer is the sweet Sister Samayla (like smile-a kinda) she is Filipina and has been out for 15 months! i will kill her, meaning i’m her last companion. I LOVE HER. she is so great and so smart. she is native cebuano speaker so that is very helpful to me! and here’s what’s cool: she was companions with my friend sister estes! we are in the Sogod East area (pronounced so good!) and we are speaking Cebuano-J. let me talk about how BIG of a blessing that is. Lots of people were assigned to Waray speaking areas. Most were in fact. But i guess Heavenly Father knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it haha! I feel SO blessed to be speaking Cebuano. At least i have my MTC training to go off of. With Waray i only know like 6 words haha. Some people thing that Tagolog and Cebuano and Waray are just different dialects but they are TOTALLY different languages. so i feel very blessed to be speaking cebuano-j which is a dialect of cebuano. however its not too different from regular cebuano so that is good! i am so blessed. i am so grateful. grateful to the point that i cry when i think about it too much haha.
our apartment is totally fine mom! not ideal but its the philippines afterall! i am so fine with everything. we shower with the bucket and dipper. its fine though because the bathrooms are designed for it (drain in the floor, all tile) and the water is room temperature (not glacier water!) and so its quite refreshing.
how hot is it? SO HOT. but Sogod is cooler than tacloban because its off the ocean and less humid. plus it cools off at night a little. its REALLY hot but i am adjusting. i look sweaty/greasy all the time but there’s nothing to do about that! i am getting used to everything very easily.
warning to all bugs that enter our apartment: I will find you and i will kill you! we actually haven’t had that many thankfully. knock on wood. however, yesterday when i was thinking that to myself, a lizard (yes i know, not a bug) scurried across the ceiling. but he is scared of people so we usually don’t see him. but we named him Mushu obviously he needed a name.
we are whitewashing our area so that makes things kinda hard. they pulled the sisters out before us because they were always sick or something and didn’t get but done. apparently. that’s just what i heard. so we don’t have many people to teach right now. but we will find them!
i have loads more to say that i will skip because i’m running out of time. but yesterday i had to give a talk at church! talk about a welcome to the ward! i spoke on loving one another. it was about 75% cebuano and 25% english. not bad for a first time. then last night we taught 3 lessons! i can’t contribute much so i just bear my testimony.
i have to go. but bottomline i am doing GREAT. continue to pray for me and my health. i have been fine so far but it would be miserable to be sick here. THANK you for all the love and support! i will try to write more next week. LOVE TO ALL!!!!

love, jDSCN2858 DSCN2892 DSCN2900

Picture 1: With a Sister missionary friend that went to Cebu

Picture 2 and 3: Jen’s new apartment in the Sogod East area and the view out the back door

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