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