Grow where you are planted! 11/24/14

even if the place you are planted feels like you’ve been locked in a sauna and someone threw the key away!

ok..that was dramatic. actually i’m totally surviving in this climate… more on that later!!
so hello! glad to here you all got the letters i sent out! to be honest, i’m relieved to hear that you got them because sending them was pretty sketch. the post office here is a one room operation in some random building that you access through an alley…and the lady sending the letters seemed to just decide a random amount for me to pay haha. so i’m glad that they made it to america! thanks for all the emails and letters and packages! i love you all! its makes life so much better.
so i actually don’t have a ton to report on like i usually do! so i will think of more things to tell you to compensate 😉
  • so. about the subject line! that is my way of saying that i am finally feeling adjusted to my life as a missionary and that things feel “normal” now. as normal as things can be here! i realized that today is marks 1 month of being in Sogod. so its probably right about time that i am used to this life i’m now living! but yeah, things are good.
  • last pday i found some of that bug lotion that i wanted you to send mom. so don’t send any of that, unless you already did then that’s great! and i also found contact solution BUT its a totally sketch brand i’ve never heard of and so i don’t trust it. so i’m not dropping the $7 on it!
  • this week was good! time is going pretty fast! i now understand the whole missions go fast thing. not that i feel like mine is flying by, but i am starting to understand how losing yourself in the work makes you lose track of time and then BAM you’re going back home! anyways.
  • i get called ma’am like ALL. THE. TIME. “hello, ma’am” etc. it cracks me up because when i think of “ma’am” i think of a 60+ lady haha. but its because i’m white honestly. the whole fascination with white people continues to crack me up. i get called barbie a lot because i’m tall. and when we go to stores (sidenote anytime you go to a store here they have security guards to check your bag before going in or going out to make sure you don’t bring something crazy in the store, or steal anything on the way out) they don’t check in my bag. at first i thought it was because we’re missionaries and they trust us, but then i started entering the store before my companion (previously she always entered in first) and they would check her bag but not mine. HAHA hilarious.
  • This weeks special menu items: squid and pig feet! i make myself try these things because, come on! but i seriously only eat one bite. squit is chewy. and the members think its funny that i have one bite and i’m done
  • can someone google how much mercury is in tuna fish? i have been having tuna fish sandwiches a ton. and i don’t really want to o/d on mercury, ya know? how much canned tuna is safe/week? and to answer the question you are thinking, no i haven’t bought fresh fish myself. too scared.
  • also can you tell me what the symptoms of athletes foot are? i DON’T have it. i am just curious.
  • mom, ask gerie pugina about the friend she has in the philippines, alma junsay. she gave me the name and address before i left and i don’t know if its a referral or she’s a member or what? the lady isn’t in my mission though but i can pass the referral along. also there is an elder junsay in our district from the same place so i wonder if they’re related.
  • go to the temple for me!!!! we’ve been teaching about the temple a lot lately and it made me really miss it! i wish there was a temple near to us and that’d we’d get to go sometimes. so go for me! i can’t wait to be able to go again!
  • mosquitoes still love me. but i use bug repellant like nobody’s business so i rarely get bites now! thank goodness. but i think that a spider or something got into my clothes because this week i randomly had 4 bites on my shoulder/upper arm area! but get this. the bites are where my shirt covered, but NOT where my garments are. the everyday person would think i didn’t get bitten where my garments are because its 2 layers of clothes there. but i know that is not why!!! cool, right? garments protect us.
  • speaking of food: i am eating a ton. so don’t worry about me! i eat A TON for lunch and then A TON for dinner. unless we’re eating with members i only eat a little to take it easy ya know. i don’t want to get sick and i’m so grateful i haven’t.
  • the mission takes care of us. this week we were hand delivered a toilet seat my president and sister maurer! haha. on thursday we got a text from the missionary couple in charge of the apts and missionary supplies, asking if our apt needed anything. nothing came to mind to either me or my companion. one minute later we got another text that said “maybe a toilet seat?” haha. i honestly have forgotten that we didn’t have one. so we said yes! it shows that they really keep track of these apartments and know what they are lacking! also, we talked to our land lady about getting screens on our windows so that we can have them open without mosquitoes piling in to party it up. so soon we’ll be getting screens! happy day. we are very taken care of by the mission and i’m SO grateful to them!
  • this weekend was district conference! that’s why pres and sis maurer were here! it was really wonderful to see them and to have our zone all together! sis maurer came and inspected our apt to make sure it was good, and then she went with us to teach a recent convert. having her there to bear testimony, even though it wasn’t in cebuano, was powerful! i LOVE the Maurers. They are so wonderful. President Maurer is like a cool dad that you can just joke with but if there was anything serious to talk about it wouldn’t feel uncomfortable to discuss it. we all LOVE him.
  • i’m surviving the heat. i wish that someone had told me that it cools off at night! then i wouldn’t have been so scared!!!! the nights are cool and nice. still crazy humid but not blazing hot at night. the days are very hot but the sun goes down by 5:30 and it stops being crazy hot by like 4 so its totally do able! its a huge blessing from the lord thought that i am surviving the head just FINE. i am so grateful!
  • we were super punted this week. Punted= we get stood up or we get to their house and they don’t want us to teach them for whatever reason they have. so that is annoying! but we’ve had some cool lessons this week. we are teaching a couple who is very interested. the guy had a dream the other night that said “buhata” which means make it happen or do it and so he thinks it was a sign that he needs to join the church. we’ll see what happens with them!!!
  • i am so grateful that i’m not homesick anymore. i was definitely homesick. i’m sorry for the probs depressing emails that i sent haha. it used to be that i’d be reading in the scriptures about the promised land and i’d start crying! or we’d be watching the district dvds for training and the missionaries would be wearing coats and sitting on couches and driving cars and i’d tear up! but its all good now. being trained is just a very uncomfortable process, its hard. the learning curve is very steep. but its good! i’ve got a good comp and we are 1/2 way through training! she goes home after she trains me!
overall, things are really good. the language is still really hard for me. thank you for praying for me in general, and for specific things! i am so grateful to you all for your support. missionary work is exactly that: WORK. i am tired at the end of the day. and i’m finally sleeping really well. at first i didn’t but i am now! i just feel so blessed by all the tender mercies of the Lord each day. there are SO many. SO many that i start to lose count. the Lord is so gracious and merciful to me. i am so blessed.
love you all so much! my email time is up. never stop reading, praying, going to church! we have TONS of less actives here because stopping the small and simple things brings less activity to pass. it starts small and ends up huge. in fact, we have stopped by 2 LAs this week who were smoking when we first got there 😦 sad.
but yes, i am doing well. please continue to pray for me and my health! i know that it why i have been fine so far!!!! i love you all!
love,
sister brereton
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(wo)man can not live my bread alone

and that’s why i ate a ton of rice this week!!!!

k sorry ya’ll i don’t have loads of time to write this so i’ll just give you the general deets.
  • we were fed a lot this week and so i had lots of rice! i’m getting to be a real fan. i hope i don’t get rice cheeks/belly. its a like living in a carbohydrate world. so when we’re not at members i focus on protein.
  • this week we had zone training meeting. it was really good! good to see our whole zone and speak in english haha. its crazy we are losing one of our elders because he is from sri lanki and did you hear? they just reopened that mission! he got called directly from the prophet to leave this mission and open the mission in his home country! crazy cool but we’ll miss him!
  • i am so grateful that i have had good health here. honestly its the biggest blessing so thank you for your prayers  . i can literally fell them pushing me along. this week we ate a members. they have a bunch of little girls who were like all over me haha. to me i am just a sweaty, pale looking girl. but to them i must be like a unicorn or something hahah. so yes, i got smothered. it was cute though they’re darling girls. so they fed us. we had rice and noodles and kfc! i thought oh my i would never eat kfc in america but now i am so happy to eat it! so i chowed down on fried chicken while thinking that my companion and i are stupid for not knowing there is a kfc in our town! at the end of the meal the brother said, “did you like the chicken” i said yes and explained how kfc started in utah and how happy i was! and then he said, “well good, because it came from cebu.” talk about my heart dropping into my stomach which was digesting the bacterial mess of chicken i had just eaten. i was so worried. but acted otherwise! once we left i asked my comp how far away cebu is. she told me it was a 5 HOUR drive. i know too much about food safety mom, too much. but i try to shush that side of myselft. and here is the miracle. i didn’t get sick. i am so so so so so so so so grateful. i don’t know how to describe how grateful i am!!!!!!
  • this week went fast because we had something different each day. one day we had splits with the sister training leaders. they came to our area and we taught our investigators! it was cool to be with a different companion and learn a different approach/style of things.
  • the language is HARD. i was prideful before, thinking that since i conquered spanish this language would come quick. its hard for me to learn it! its a differnent way of thinking. i can’t express myself like i do in english because there aren’t words for it. cebuano only has simple words. there is only one word that means all these words and more: awesome, cool, beautiful, wonderful, fantastic, sweet, etc. its frustrating to me because i use lots of words! so i have to really think simply, then translate it to cebuano. its super hard for me to do. i pray each day for the gift of tongues and interpretation, but its still a gradual, frustrating process. i am learning patience for sure!!!
  • i had a little moment where i cried in gratitude (this happens often) for the Lord sending me to Sogod. its a pretty big town and so there is a real store, shops, a real town. i just know that i would have had a meltdown and totally crumbled if i was in the bukid, like some are, without an actual store, just a public outside market, etc. i am so grateful and know that the Lord is SO aware of me and my situation and worries and concerns.
  • sometimes i just can’t believe i’m here. its like, i have been waiting my whole life to go on a mission and now i’m here and i’m like WHAT. its real life. sometimes i have de ja vu moments where I KNOW that i had a dream about a certain moment i’m in. lots of times i remember when the dream was and it was back when i was in high school. its really cool. i know i’m exactly where i am supposed to be!
  • i love how much we pray as missionaries. i don’t know how many times we do, but i will count. its incredible to have such open communication with the Lord and report constantly on our efforts, worries, and concerns thorughout the day.
  • its hard to stay hydrated. its hot and very few bathrooms when we are out. i try to load up on water in the AM when we are home and i’ve got free access to the potty. and then i try to drink lots at night when we’re home, but then i have to wake up in the night to go to the bathroom and that is just a pain.
  • speaking of sleeping. i don’t sleep super well. its not because i’m hot because we have fans and i stay at a nice temp. i think its becuase i’m kinda stressed here at the beginning of this adventure. and becasue i’m so not used ot 8 hours of sleep. i wake up at 5ish every morning hahah! i guess i am still on the hospital schedule haha!
  • our daily schedule: wake up at 630 and exercise for 30 min. i do yoga. 7 i have my bucket shower, get ready, and eat my daily oatmeal that i stir peanut butter into. we have personal study at 8, companionship at 9, language at 10, lunch at 11. i eat a lot of tuna fish and mangoes for lunch! and chicken and potatotes too. at 12 we do the 12 weeks program which is training for new missionaries. at 1 we go out to our teaching appointments! sometimes our day gets pushed back if we have a meeting or whatever. but then we go home around 730 or 8 and then plan, eat dinner, and do whatver until 1030 bed.
  • our new investigators have a pet monkey. no jokes. i WILL get a picture and i’ll send it asap!
  • “why are you white” i am usually asked this about 1 time/day by some bold, brave, little filipino child
  • i have to duck down a LOT when we are walking in between houses. or else i will get clotheslined. literally. literally clothes lined
  • we had our first bible bash yesterday! actually it wasn’t really a bash. i sat there and was grateful that i wasn’t a fluent speaker or else i would have to contribute to the discussion. here’s the story. a member of the ward has pastor friends who are interested in the church so we started teaching them the message of the restoration but the second my comp referred to jesus as being a prophet they jumped all over that looking for scriptural evidence. luckily the member is way good with the bible! and answered their questions. and they want us to teach them again….so we’ll see how that goes!!!!!
i am out of time! but i love you all. i can’t express how grateful i am to you all for your prayers in my behalf. i have been so blessed thus far and i know that the Lord will continue to take care of me as i strive to do my best and as i go to Him frequently in humble prayer. this gospel is so true! if it wasn’t i wouldn’t be here because i wouldn’t endure these things if it wasn’t true!!! haha.
love you all!
love, j
p.s. pics attached are me wearing my glasses: proof that i occasionally take a break from my contacts, a beautiful everyday seen, and happy birthday adam!!!!!!!!!!!
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So far, Sogod! 11/10/14

hello!

this week went by really fast! and for that i am grateful! i forgot myself and went to work! i’m sorry if my email last week sounded depressing. its been quite the adjustment living here. but now that i’m in a routine, things are good!
here is what happened this week:
  • the big news of the week….drumroll please….or should i say drumstick? I bought chicken!!!!! this was big for me. i’m a germaphobe as you know and my knowledge of foodservice and food safety has made me a paranoid crazy person in this place. but we went to the store right after emailing last week, and the meat was all fresh! it was still frozen. so i snatched up a few chicken breasts. they were good, and as a bonus didn’t make me sick! so yeah, good news!
  • in other food news, we have eaten at member’s houses quite a bit this week! i have never gotten sick (knock on wood).  i think my immunity has been built up. but i’m always careful with what i eat. if something looks like it was a leftover i avoid it. and i’m just not dumb about stuff. haha. so far we have had pancit, something i don’t remember the name of, something else, something else, milk fish (super delicous), rice, rice, rice, rice, rice, and for the real kicker: PIG INTESTINES. yes, that happened. i had one bite and didn’t need to have anymore. it was fried and it was ok…i just know too much about anatomy and the physiology of intestines to be able to enjoy eating them. so yeah! things with food are good and i pray it continues that way! i rely on the spirit to tell me if something is unsafe to eat.
  • we’ve killed 4 cockroaches in our apt. i can do bugs. but i don’t do cockroaches. luckily my companion is a hero with the permethrin and they meet their maker within minutes of us spotting them!
  • i have never felt unsafe here in the philippines. what a blessing that is! we walk around at night (not very late because it gets dark early, like 5:30) but that is the power of spirit! it was cool, one night we were trying to find an old investigator. we are walking into a part of town we’d never been before. it was probably like 7pm. not late, but it was dark. both my companion and i stopped dead in our tracks at the same time. we both looked at each other and said that we shouldn’t go on! it was cool! and that is the spirit for ya!
  • i am getting used to the staring. kinda. i mean, i know i’m super white. i’m even super white for americans. so to them i’m like blindingly white i guess hahah. my companion says that in this part of the philippines they’ve seen white people before (probs other missionaries) but its still so uncommon that they STARE. but people are respectful. there are sometimes a few whistles and “i marry you!”s but for the most part no one is creepy or rude. in guatemala i always felt creeped on haha.
  • i have been told more funny things this week. for one, i was told i look like a porcelain doll…again. hahah. ok, ok i’m white, i get it! haha. a member girl who was recently married told me, “when i have a baby i want her to look just like you. so come and see us everyday.” there is a filipino belief that babies look like who the pregnant mother has seen most throughout the pregnancy. so she wants to see me everyday hahaha. I was also told “your voice sounds like a general relief society president. or young women’s president” haha. its just so funny to me!
  • my companion is great. she is a great trainer. but its so funny to me her perceptions about america. she thinks that americans can wear ANYTHING and pull it off (def not true hahah) and that they are always pretty and beautiful or “guapa”. its funny.
  • oooo can someone google some stuff for me? i have lots of random stuff this week. 1) there is a nutrient deficiency that makes peoples hair turn a red color. can you look up what the nutrient deficiency is? i can’t remember! it happens a lot in africa but i’m seeing it here as well. 2) how effective are the norwex cloth rag things against germs? i read once you can just use water to clean with them because the silver is so effective. but is that true?
  • some americans lose their hair here apparently. and go home with very little hair. i don’t know if its because of the diet change, stress, pollution, etc. its not happening to me! please pray that that continues to be the case! thanks!
  • i smile like its my job! for one, because it is my job. and for two, because i remember what president shaw said in my setting apart! mom/family do you remember what else he said in my blessing? i only remember thinking that I was gonna be FINE but i don’t remember specifics but wish i did!
  • its hard to have a trunky companion. i love her, but she talks about home a lot since she goes home after training me! normally it would be fine to talk about home a lot, but since she does it reminds me that i am far away and just got here and still have a lot of mission time to go! so thats hard, but its getting better!
  • i miss cheese. i just miss it. that’s all.
  • DAD thank you for the flashlight! the little baby one. its a lifesaver. i use it all the time when we are walking home at night! and the other night our power went out for a few minutes and i used it because i could find it since i always keep it in my bag!
  • i had 2 stalkers this week! the first, the saddest dog that hangs around in our neighborhood. he is so homeless its sad. and when we come walking to go out/come home he follows us kinda aggressively. but he doesn’t bite or anything. he is just sad and lonely and needs a friend haha. my 2nd stalker was a 7 year old named juanito. we were looking for an investigators home and we passed by this kid. he was so happy to see an american! he was super cute. we kept walking and a minute later i realized we had a shadow. we kept going (this sometimes happens and they eventually just go away, its always kids that trail behind don’t worry haha) and even crossed a road and i realized he was still behind us. we decided to stop at a members home to ask if they knew where the person lived. we went inside their house and i forgot about juanito. but he didn’t forget about us! we was outside the screen door and since we seemed to have forgotten about him he started singing christmas songs! haha. the grandma of the member who we were talking to told him to go home! haha it was funny! but he didn’t listen, and she eventually gave up. a minute later he started saying, “i love you americana! i love you tooooo much! toooooooo much!” and then he made kissing noises hahah. it was SO FUNNY. but i guess after he realized that the feelings weren’t mutual he left hahah. it made my day. its was SO funny!
  • friday was one of those days where i thought, “wow. Heavenly Father is REALLY looking out for me” i mean, He ALWAYS is. but this day especially. you see. for the past few weeks all i have wanted is to sit on a couch! people don’t have them here becuase they are expensive. they just have wooden benches, plastic chairs/stools,etc. so we always sit on those, or the floor when we are teaching. anyway. we went to a LA member on friday and they had a COUCH! she works at a private hospital. i was so happy to sit on a couch! and all that day i was starving! and they fed us a snack (fried bananas and sprite, common here) after we taught them! it was just so awesome!
  • ok. so i know i seriously never actually talk about missionary work. because i always talk about the culture and stuff like that. so here i go. we have a cute, 76 year old progressing investigator named Tatay Cosmi. Cosmi is his first name. “Tatay” means dad and is a term used on any man, 50+. women are “nanay”. anyway. sisters have been working with him since april! but he is finally ready to be baptized. Nov 29th! so that is exciting!
  • we’ve been focusing this week on finding investigators from before. we are whitewashing the area, so we’ve been trying to decipher the area book and figure out where the previous sisters’ investigators live. its a hard task! addresses aren’t a thing here. we only know their neighborhood and general area of where they live, and then we ask around until someone knows them and where their house is! anyway! a few weeks ago sister samayla wanted some balut (duck egg). i’m not brave enough to try it yet (or ever!) so i just watched her eat it! but we started talking to the lady who sold it to us and gave her a restoration pamphlet. we planned to visit her the next day. we knew she lived in zone 5, but that was all. at the time we talked to her we didn’t realize that the day we planned to visit her was a holiday (all souls day..its a catholic holiday nov 1st and people get crazy drunk) and we were supposed to stay close to home that day. so that ruled out going to zone 5. and we didn’t get a chance to find the balut lady, merlinda for about a week. but she was on my companions mind. however, on friday we were searching for another lady in zone 5. and we couldn’t find her so we were asking around. there were big trucks driving along the road that kept blowing dirt so we kept stopping to cover our faces while they passed. it was while a truck was passing that i looked over and saw a lady in front of her house with a lot of eggs. i looked closer and grabbed my companions shoulder and said “its the balut lady!!!!!” there she was! at her HOUSE! it was crazy. we went to talk to her and she was so happy to see us! and we taught her the restoration and was super receptive. she willingly prayed at the end. and that willingness is not common. i’m excited to see what happens with her! the Lord works in mysterious ways!
  • we taught another investigator this week. we were outside, on a bamboo bench type thing. she is a 12 year old named sarah jane. and all the neighborhood kids flocked around us. by the end of the lesson there were 21 kids! i counted haha
  • anyway. i’m out of time now! things are going well! i’m grateful to be in this area! pray for me and the language, its harder than i thought it would be! these people talk SO fast!
love you all! keep praying and reading! the gospel is true!
love, sister brereton

Mosquito bite count: 1 million

hello all!

so the mosquitoes love me here! i have a lot of them, despite trying to use bugspray. i will get better with that! but the little blood suckers just love the taste of my sweet, american blood. let me think of the answers to your questions. i emailed back and forth so now i don’t have loads of time, but i’ll do my best!
  • the biggest news of the week: There is a legit grocery store! i kid you not, my companion thought i was a crazy person when i wiped a tear off my cheek as we walked through the door (i’ve been very emotional lately haha). when she said “let’s go to the market” i was thinking of an open market, not like a grocery store!!!! i found jif pb and jam and bread. so i’ve been living off of that and eggs and oatmeal. this week i’m working on diversifying my diet haha and being braver to try new stuff. my inner foodservice self is just TERRIFIED to eat some things. like the meat. the meat counters are sketch. the meat is placed in a cooler thing, like the ones that have an open top and have frozen foods in them at like walmart. but the meat isn’t frozen and its SELF SERVE. people with communal tongs grab a plastic bag and place individual pieces of meat and then give it to the person to weigh. i also have watched the workers slice the meat and i just can’t bring myself to buy it yet. so tuna fish has been my source of protein lately haha. i’ll get braver soon. i’m just letting my digestive system work up to it haha.
  • is there a new david archuleta song? i heard it in a store the other day and just sighed and held it together like a strong person haha
  • big deal alert: i’m pretty sure i found the fruit from the tree of life! its called a mango! people told me that mangoes here are incredible but i seriously underestimated how delicious it could be. SOOOOO good.
  • sometimes our apt smells like smoke. not to worry, its just the smell of our neighbors cooking. most people cook over an open fire here. no joke. its crazy to me. we’ve been blessed to have a little propane stove thing though, so i’m glad i don’t have to deal with a fire everytime i make eggs!
  • ok so i don’t know how else to say this. so i’m just gonna say it. everyone LOVES me. ok, rephase, they don’t love me, they love my skin tone! hahah. its hilarious. everyone here wants to be white! in fact. all the beauty products in the stores have whiteners in them. so everyone just loves me because i’m white! haha oh how different it is in america! on tuesday we had a following of 3 girls who kept trailing behind us. i didn’t know what they were saying but they kept trying to touch my arm. they told my companion over and over how much they liked me. haha its because i’m white. its so hilarious to me!
  • things i have been told this week: “you look like a doll. do you sing?” a guy in the store walking up and saying “you are so beautiful” haha and a member who was talking about my skirt randomly said, “i love your color” and i said “oh thanks i love coral too!” thinking she meant my skirt. but then she told me that she was talking about my legs hahaha. SO FUNNY
  • i sleep ok here but i wake up in the night a lot. its annoying. but i’m not tired in the day and its not slowing me down, so no worries!
  • the weather has been so much cooler than i expected. i’m grateful for it because its rainy season and cloudy a lot. i will die when june/july comes and its full on summer. pray for me to have endurance in the heat!
  • in fact, each day i pray a LOT and i always pray that i won’t get dengue fever, i won’t get sick from food, to not miss america, and to endure in the heat! and my prayers have been answered.
  • here’s our adventures of the week: 1- sometimes our water in our apt randomly turns off. so we have a bunch of water bottles of filtered water that we fill up. and we keep our shower bucket full always so we’re prepared. it always comes back on! 2- we went hiking to find a investigator’s house. but couldn’t find it. saw a crazy view of miles and miles of palm trees and i wish i had my camera!
  • i have been called fat 2 times this week. once by a member kid and once my another missionary from my mtc batch who says i look like i have rice cheeks. rude. and not true, i definitely haven’t gained weight here. and i’ve hardly had any rice HA.
  • i’m out of time. but i love you all and know that this gospel is true! our work has been slower than i’d like but we are plugging along! i love this work!!!!
love you all
love,
j
p.s. pics attached: happy halloween! we just worked all that day! and a frog that was chillin on our outside trash can!DSCN2920 DSCN2916