hello! that subject line really sums up the week here in sogod: very punted!
how are you all? thanks for all the emails! i love you all! thanks for your efforts in emailing me so diligently!
we’re going to tacloban today! and we’ll be there until tuesday/wednesday, depende. my companion goes home in 30 days and so she has to go to manila to do fingerprinting. i’ve already done it- we did it when at the manila mtc. but they didn’t start doing it like that until lately, so she still needs to do it! so i’ll be left in tacloban while she goes to manila with some other sisters! i will work with the sisters in tacloban although i won’t be much help because i don’t speak waray! i guess now i’ll get to learn some!!! i’m excited!
this week was kinda rough. because we hardly got to teach at all! that’s what we call ” being punted” i don’t know if that is a term used in all missions, or just in ours? anyways. there was a day we didn’t even teach any lessons! but its ok! my companion and i are having a good time, despite seeing few fruits for all of our efforts. for example, this week we re-wrote the mission song to describe our feelings about losing thousands of hairs, instead of what the song is really about: saving thousands of souls. haha we make our own fun! but this week was good overall! i’ve never had a bad week and i never plan to! here are the highlights:
- awesome: we had zone interviews with president on monday! he is so wonderful and so approachable. i talk to him just like i talk to you mom and dad! its really cool. he’s awesome. i got advice from him about what to do with some of our investigators (more on that later) and he asked me to work hard in our branch building good relationships with the leaders here since my last companion burned some bridges in a serious way, aka saying “i don’t know care, i’m going home soon” when they didn’t like her opinion and a branch council meeting, and then saying to me, “come on sister, let’s go we have an appointment now” and storming out of the room with me embarrassingly leaving to follow after her. so yeah. my new companion and are being missionaries/PR people now haha.
- awkward: being a repeat outfit offender. i wore an outfit at district meeting, then wore it again 4 days later in another district meeting…didn’t realize it until later. oh well. i’m not here to be fashionable! although i do kinda miss wearing normal clothes, jewelry, statement necklaces, etc. but my best accessory is my missionary badge!
- heartbreak of the week: our investigators showing up to church (we just happened to be there because we were having district meeting) and asking us for $$$. i was so sad. one of them has health challenges and needs an operation. they then said “we’re willing to become mormons” but they just want money. the branch/district presidents talked with them and were able to help them a little bit financially. we’re still teaching them, but relying on the spirit to help us discern if their intent is real or if they’re just in it for the money 😦
- happy of the week: my companion and i are having fun! we just joke and laugh a lot. i feel waaaaaay more like myself with this companion than i did with my last companion! its nice not to be walking on egg shells all the time!!!!
- i encountered my first rotten egg this week. i cracked it open and it started to cook in the pan before i could stop it……GROSS.
- i’m still losing hair, but trying not to think about it!!! when i interviewed with president he commented how my hair is different than my mission photo (no bangs) and i agreed and casually mentioned “and its falling out too! i guess that’s a thing here in the phils” and he said, “its only a thing if you make it a thing” so i’m working on not thinking about it and not letting it get me down! i seriously can’t believe its happening but there’s nothing i can do right now. so like he said, i’m trying to not make it a thing despite the fact that my hairbrush looks like 2 weeks of hair is in it after 1 day of brushing. my hair is waaaaay thinner now. its so sad. but my goal is to not make it a thing!! anyways.
- this week was good for exploring our area more! we found lots of secret paths and cool shortcuts that will save us time now that we know about them! don’t worry mom, they’re totally safe, but we still don’t go on them when its dark 🙂
- random question: when will the city center temple be completed?
- the language is FINALLY COMING! i am so grateful! i can understand what people are saying now! and that is such a blessing. i can’t say everything i want to say yet, but soon i hope. let me just say the gift of tongues is very real. and it works according to our efforts. zero effort, zero gift. lots of effort, a lot of gift!
- food. its good. i’m so grateful for my physical health everyday. i’ve been cooking hardcore the last few weeks, trying to each more vegetables. i make what i like to call “faux-dobo” my own version of chicken adobo becuase i’ve never officially learned how to make it haha. boom. still punny. last night we were fed TWICE. it rocked. usually we are fed 3-4 times a week but last night we had 2 appointments. we went to the first dinner and i ate like normal. then we went to the 2nd and i ate like normal. packed in two meals like a champ. it was both awesome, and delicious.
- wow i can’t think of much else to say right now. i know there is more.
- here’s something. i really love my companion! she is samoan, but its like she’s an american kinda. at least theres waaaay less cultural difference than with my last companion. so we just relate to each other a lot better. we were talking the other day about our families and how much we miss them! we came to the conclusion that we aren’t homesick, no way! but you just NEVER stop missing your family. its so true though. i’m not homesick at all, but i just miss you all a ton! its a good thing that families are forever, right?! ok i’m getting cheesy and starting to tear up, i’m stopping now! love you!!!!
ok, ok. i gotta get going now! just know that i know that this gospel is TRUE! i love that i can declare that all day everyday to the people here in sogod!!! its an honor and a privilege to serve!!!!
love you all!
love, j/sister brereton
pic 1: buying eggs on the way home
pic 2: a funny sign on side of the road
pic 3: action shot of me getting head butted by a cow when trying to get a photo by it hahaha!
pic 4: our investigators little girls: siren and daisy
i spent the morning being cinderella and scrubbing mold off of our toilet with a toothbrush 🙂 so that was delightful!
this week was good! things are so the same, yet so different with my new companion! its good though. she is very clean (a stark contrast between her and my last comp) and so we actually cleaned our apt this morning! my last companion would never let us…meaning she’d schedule our day to include shopping rather than cleaning haha. so now our apt is all clean and sparkly!
here’s what went down this week. and honestly i’m getting into a routine and not making a list of cool things to tell you about (so little time!) and so this email might be short. jokes. i could never really make a short email. it’ll probs still be just as long.
- awesome: this is the best thing that has happened to me thus far as a missionary! remember me mentioning how i’ve been trying to find joann? a lady who evacuated to the church with her kids during ruby? WE FOUND HER! she’s been on my mind everyday since the typhoon and i just KNOW that i HAVE to teach her. so after asking around about her for WEEKS on tuesday we actually found her! she was so excited to see us. i was just as excited to see her! we taught her the beginning of the restoration, then scheduled a time to come back. so on friday we went back! when we got there she ran off to go and get her friend who has a very “big problem” (she said that in english haha) who she thought our message would help. we were like SWEET THIS IS AWESOME. she brought her friend back, who recently found out she has a tumor on one of her ovaries and is so scared about it. her husband left her when they found out she has a big medical expense. so sad. we taught them about the book of mormon, the healing power of the atonement, lots of random things. it was so cool! and i forgot to mention! Joann was so excited about the invitation to pray during the last lesson that for this lesson she had written down her prayer because she was afraid she would forget what to say! she asked to say the opening prayer. my heart was bursting! my face hurt from smiling after this lesson. it was one of those moments when i thought to myself, “i am fulfilling my purpose as a missionary!” SO COOL. and on sunday, guess who showed up to church! yep! riza (the friend), joann, and her 3 little girls, siren, daisy, and apple (how cute is the name apple for a little filipina baby, right?!)
- awkward: texting in cebuano. its like trying to decipher reformed egyptian haha. there is so much lingo that i just DONT understand haha.
- so my new companion! so opposite of my old comp! but she’s good. she goes home end of feb. i just keep killing off these companions! she is from western samoa, was here during yolanda and went home after it because of trauma! but came back! how cool is that? she has been in waray speaking for most of her mission so cebuano is new to her as well! she has bells palsy and half of her face is frozen. anyways. she has a history of texting elders apparently. so i am instructed that i have to have the phone at all times (normally missionaries switch off every other day). so yeah. interesting. she is pretty easy going, can’t make a firm decision. so i decide everything haha. we’re doing good though!
- my hair is still falling out. not as bad though. i found some other vitamins in our apt and i’ve been taking them. so maybe that’s what’s helping? but i’m still washing my hair only every other day just to play it safe. my hair is WAY thinner than when i first got here 😦 can’t wait until the resurrection and every hair i’ve lost is restored to my head haha!
- yes, there was another bagyo (storm/typhoon) but it didn’t affect our area, mostly just tacloban (sorry, pope!). it was just way rainy for a few days, but hey that’s normal anyways. i’m getting to be like the locals when we hear about a storm. its like, “oh its only level 2? ok, normal day” haha
- i realized this week that after this cycle ends i will reach my 6 months mark. when i realized this i was like, “WAIT, WHAT?” because i feel like such a baby in the mission still. pray for me and this language- its still so hard for me to understand people. i can speak ok but understanding is hard! they speak so much slang and the cebuano-j dialect is surprisingly different from the cebuano that i learned in mtc.
- this week we were punted like crazy. i might have mentioned before, but punted=people not home when we go to visit them. there was one day we only got 1 lesson. it was so hard because then we have no where to go! its easy to say, just go finding! but once you’ve already been finding for hours, its hard! but hey, salvation is not a cheap experience so that is why missionary work is hard!
- what else happened this week? trying to remember….i’m making friends with the neighborhood kids. every time they see me they say, “AMERICANA!” and then i say, “filipinos!!” its pretty funny actually haha.
- i know more things happened, but i can’t think of what they were! this is why i make lists usually haha
- i got more mail from christmas. thanks for the card burgoyne side of fam (thanks colleen!)
i love you all! thanks for your support. the days are starting to fly by for me. how about for you? i still can’t believe i’m here sometimes haha. in the philippines! who knew. i am so grateful for this opportunity to serve. its HARD. but its worth it.
love you all!
1-preaching to a caribou
2-me and my companion in the midst of chickens!
3-oh hey, i’m a giant
4-a dead pig. he’ll be put on a spit and turned into lechon haha
hello all! i can’t believe that another week has passed. this one went SO FAST.
thanks for all of your love and support, as always. i really appreciate it so much more than i can express in these emails.
thanks to the Hodsen’s and the ward for sending me mail! i finally got mail this week that was from NOVEMBER. haha. thanks!
i usually write a really awesome list of stuff i’m going to write you all about, but this week was such a blur that i didn’t get a chance! i will do my best to remember the significant things that happened. i’m starting a new thing where every week i write awkward/awesome stuff. one thing in each category that happened this week. here we go:
- awesome: finding knock-off crocs in my size! for like 5 bucks. so if my crocs wear out, i’ve got these puppies.
- awkward: our 9 y.o. investigator randomly saying to me in PERFECT english, “wait, so you’re not going to be model once you go home?” HAHA. nope, definitely not.
- big news alert: i think i can call myself a filipina now. because i got cold! i repeat: i got cold! in fact, the last few days have been so rainy that i pulled out my blanket and used in the night. it was so awesome. #officallyacclimated
- i was really blessed this week. like every week. but this week i ate some pretty sketchy food yet my digestive system was FINE. major blessings. i’m so grateful
ok now for what really went on this week!
- this week was transfer week!!!! i so did not want to be transferred. i prayed i wouldn’t be and BAM guess who is staying in her area? i’m so blessed. i love this area!
- my trainer is gone! or as we say in cebuano, nag-uli siya! she left early this morning to tacloban and then gets home on wednesday after its all said and done. once we worked out our differences we became really good friends, and i’m REALLY gonna miss her. i already do. but hopefully she will come to america in the next few years! she is 70% sure she will haha. her sis lives in san diego. anyways. we planned that i would travel with her to tacloban and then wait until transfer day and come back with my new companion! i was so looking forward to this because there is a mcdonalds in tacloban! i’ve been dying for a hamburger. BUT game changer: found out that my new companion is in our zone! so she just traveled to sogod and now she’s here with me! her companion will be training this cycle, so she traveled to tacloban instead!
- so, my new companion, Sister Gaono (pronounced ngow-no. like now-no, but with the gutteral ng sound). she is from samoa! and will go home at the end of this cycle! she has been in waray-waray speaking areas for most of her mission. she only was in a cebuano area starting last cycle. so we’re not good at the language and we’ll be doing all in our power to qualify for the gift of tongues!
- i’m leading this area now! which is crazy to think. but i’m not alone #spirit and i know this area! we will be fine! the language is the real barrier.
- my hair is still falling out like crazy. i only wash my hair every other day because of this and its helping. but i for sure have lost about 1/4 of my hair since the hair loss started. its sad, but i’ve accepted it.
- i know there is more that happened this week but i can’t think of it!
- pray for me and this language! its still really hard for me! so different from what they taught us in the mtc.
i love you all! thank you for your support for me! i am sad that we can’t email back and forth anymore, but we have to follow the council of the prophet!!!
i am so grateful to be on a mission! i can’t believe i’m here sometimes. its like, i planned for so long to go on a mission but now that i’m here, its unreal! but it sure is a privilege to serve!
1- when desert girl sees ocean
2-my cebuano triple combination that got moldy just from sitting on my desk these past few months
3-how my name was spelled for the agenda at our last training meeting haha
4-my and my trainer! i love her
and by that i mean that my hair is falling out in chunks. its depressing. i understand why cancer patients just shave their heads. there is something very emotional about watching your hair fall out. BUT don’t worry because relief is on the way (thank you mom!) and i know what to do. apparently its a mineral deficiency. so i’ll address it ASAP.
and that is a depressing way to start an email. sorry.
this week was way good! it was week 11 of my 12 weeks of training. my companion goes home a week from today! its crazy. so yeah, now i’m on week 12 of 12. this time next week i no longer have the excuse of “i’m a trainee” when i don’t know something. which means that i’ve got to master this language, and fast! but i have seen the MIRACLE that is the gift of tongues. its truly incredible. there have been lessons this week where i say things that i KNOW it was not me saying them. and that’s how it is with missionary work- i’m just the messenger/instrument. its not me that converts these people. its not my companion. its the SPIRIT. missionary work is so cool!
here are some highlights of the week/things i want to tell you:
- i could possibly get transferred. i thought that i would for sure be staying in Sogod after my training is done, BUT because of logistics and stuff i could get transferred. which makes me sad because i FEEL like i need to stay here still. i have work that i need to do still! we just received the list of all of the people who evacuated to the chapel during typhoon ruby, both members and non members. there was one lady, Joann, at the chapel with her 3 little girls. and i feel like i need to teach her! so i am so grateful that we are now in possession of the list so that we can find these non members who humbled themselves enough to admit that their house would not make it through the storm and evacuate to the church! and they were able to feel the spirit there and interact with us missionaries a little. i am so excited to find who the Lord has prepared! so i hope and pray that if it be the Lord’s will i won’t get transferred!
- shoutout to ryan! a kid played with my calc watch and now everytime i press a button it beeps. its so annoying i can no longer calculate in secret haha. do you know how to turn off the beep? THANKS
- thing i learned this week: mold is very real. very real. and it loves to grow everywhere. for example: on my suitcases, on our toaster oven, on shoes IN my suitcase, on mattresses, randomly on the wall, etc. i am continually cleaning up mold. i am so excited to come back to utah and live in the DESERT!
- just curious: what time is it at home right now? i don’t really know the time change. its almost noon here.
- fun fact: on days that i’m having a rough time, or something lame happens and i’m bummed about it. i give myself “what would mom say” pep talks. i am getting so good at it! it usually goes along the lines of “i know, i know its so hard. but you’re smart, you can do it” “i know, some personalities are just hard to get along with. but how cool is it that heavenly father knew you could deal with that personality and that’s why she’s your companion” “you’re right” haha basically i just validate myself with what i think mom would say haha so far so good. sounds like crazy talk but it hasn’t led to a mental condition yet!
- the other day a lady came to our apartment asking for money. missionaries are not allowed to give money though so we turned her away. but i didn’t feel bad about it because this is what she said in cebuano of course but translated to english, “hey. i don’t have any money and i want to buy a thing. so could i have some money?” after we said no to her “it doesn’t have to be a lot. there’s just a thing i really want to get” haha she had NO shame. it was so funny.
- i’ve started a list in my journal called, “mission mini miracles” because there are little miracles that i see everyday! for example: when buying mangoes the mango lady dropped the bag when handing it to me but NONE of the mangoes were ruined/damaged at all! also ants climb all over my study desk but NEVER will touch my scriptures. its so cool
- if anyone ever doubts that the tower of babel is real, they need to take a trip to the phils. there are SO many languages. SO many dialects
- fasting as a mission is HARD. but sacrifice brings blessings
- this week was also hard because our investigators are literally being taken away. i don’t know what’s happening. our most promising investigator randomly moved to cebu to work without warning. our other promising investigator who texted us everyday to tell us how much she loves the book of mormon is avoiding us and won’t talk to us, our recent convert didn’t come to church last week and now he’s gone for the next few weeks for work. i don’t know what is happening! but we are working hard to do our best
- i think i’m over the culture shock because each week i write less about the culture haha
i’m almost out of time. but thank you for your love and support from 8,000 miles away. i couldn’t do it without you all! thank you mom and dad esp. and thank you for teaching us the gospel from day one! i see that NOT happening here a lot its so sad. so thank you for teaching us the gospel! its like in 2 nephi 4:5 if ye are brought up in the way ye will not depart from it. those who do not teach their children will have it answered on their heads. goodnes gracious i’m grateful for wonderful parents!
till next week
love, j/sis brereton
and to think the next time i email it will be 2015! crazy
hello all! i am so glad that we were able to skype this week! such a blessing. a total tender mercy. not many missionaries in the mission got to skype. but i got to. i am so grateful!
- i am so sorry i was so scatter brained and talked so much about random stuff during skype. i dominated the conversation (if it can be called that since it was so one sided!) so i’m sorry about that! but it did make me so happy to tell you some things that i haven’t been able to over email. i am glad that i got to meet shelbie too!
- that reminds me. for the cardboard cut out, does it matter how my hair is? or will you photoshop my good hair onto the cutout? also, what about my shoes? should i be barefoot in the pic? thanks for making it. i want to “be” at the wedding
- i am losing my hair. really bad. i thought i was spared from the epidemic that attacks foreigners, but my nutrition has not been optimal ever since ruby. so i am losing heaps of hair. its so sad. please pray for me that i will keep my hair. its like an emotional thing. like i have a little empathy for cancer patients now. i cry about it. i’m trying to eat enough protein but mom will you please please send me some protein filled things. like a lot of protein. or protein powder or something. pb m&ms and pb won’t cut it. thank you
- update on the preachers. or should i say creepers? remember how we are teaching 2 pastors? well, they started to bring their friend to church. i told you about how they took pics of/with me, right? well, the newest preacher keeps calling and texting us. stuff like “sisters i need help plz help plz” and weird stuff like that. we asked what he needed help with and he said “love life” so yeah…the zone leader told us to block his number. but since then he’s called us from different numbers. hahaha. its kinda hilarious really. the zone leaders have taken them over as investigators now! but don’t worry, i don’t feel worried, unsafe, or threatened. its just a bunch of 50+ pastors who like americans, right? haha so funny!
- we had exchanges this week! i worked in another town and it made me so grateful for my area! not to say that Bato is not a good area, i just LOVE mine. its so clean and nice. i love it. i learned so much from sis nunez who i worked with too.
- don’t send me anymore contact solution. i should be FINE. for the rest of my mission! i bought out the entire stock (6 bottles, wow!) of contact solution that an optical had. you should have seen their faces when i told them i wanted to buy all that they had. in cash. haha. hilarious! so yeah, don’t worry about sending me any! i am good! and i was able to explain to the optical girl that yes we do celebrate christmas because we believe in jesus christ and i gave her a pamphlet! BOOM oym!
- how old do i look? be honest. people are shocked when they find out i’m 21. one person thought i was 15. really? really? this is the curse of having a baby face i guess haha. i better look 50 when i’m 80 haha.
- i ate goat. yes its true. a member was excited for me to try it haha. it tastes like beef, just tougher. not a great texture, but ok!
- will someone look up the side effects short term and long of msg? i can’t remember….. THANKS
- sorry for the short email! i don’t have much to report this week
i love you all so much! thanks for your support and prayers in my behalf. please pray for my hair. sounds dumb, i know, but it is a really big deal to me. thanks. i am so grateful to be here despite the cockroaches, mold, and other little and big daily challenges. i am learning a lot everyday. mostly about how real the atonement is and how present Heavenly Father is in the tiniest aspects of each of our lives. He loves us so much. i love to teach people these things because I KNOW they are true. and i can say them boldly because i have no doubt that what we teach them is TRUE! i love this gospel!
and i love you all! i pray for everytime i pray! which as a missionary is a lot 🙂
love, j i mean sis brereton 🙂
pic 1: this one i like to call “buying all of the contact solution that an optical had” haha.
pic 2: exchanges with sis nunez. i don’t have that much hair anymore 😦
pic 3: us with one on my fav families here. they’re now less active returns!
pic 4: ummmm the best day of my life basically. haha thanks for the package!