the days seriously go by so fast. its crazy. april is almost over! wow!
so i forgot my list of things to tell you about! so i will do my best to remember. right now we’re emailing from Ormoc (1.5 hours away from our area) we had a zone activity this morning going to a pretty lake. ok here is what is on my mind:
- i love my mission. i really do! i am working hard to just embrace EVERYTHING. food, sweating, rice, the language, the culture, the customs, etc. i’m only here once. may as well make the most of it- there’s no use fighting it. there are so few foreigners left in our mission that i rarely see one. so its good that i’m embracing the culture! i was flattered when my companion told some people this week that i’m like a filipina. i’m working really hard to do just that!
- speaking of foreigners. we had interviews with president this week and the rumor is confirmed. no more foreigners at all coming to our mission. i had heard that just sisters weren’t coming anymore, but apparently its all foreigners. no one knows why. but someone did mention that years ago when pres hinckley was here he said that someday only filipinos would serve in the philippines! so maybe this a prophecy being fulfilled! i don’t know! does someone want to check out if he really did say that? regardless. i am just honored to be here. my batch is the last foreigner sisters. i just feel grateful/blessed to have “made the cut” so to speak. such a 360 change in attitude from when i received my mission call one year ago. can you believe its been a year? wow.
- speaking of that. i wonder if they are not sending foreigners anymore to cebu and cebu east as well. mom maybe with your connections you can find out! i’d really like to teach at the MTC when i get home if there are still jobs there! i guess they’ll x the cebuano dept though if no more foreigners go to these 3 missions!
- we have a new investigator that randomly breaks into speaking some other language that neither my companion or i understand…so not cebuano, not spanish, not tagalog. we think its latin. its funny because his wife just sits there shaking her head and saying, “they don’t understand you” to him haha
- did i mention that our area is crazy! so far the bamboo bridges are holding up just great. i’m going to take pictures some time to send to you. you won’t believe it. i legit say a prayer in my heart everytime that we go on them. so i am saying a prayer in my heart all day long basically haha
- pray for me and the language! i have been so abundantly blessed with the gift of tongues. now my goal is to master the language. i know i’ll be better able to teach with power and authority if i master the language!
- i will now again mention how our area is crazy! every night when the sun is going down, around 6pm, BATS fly around!!! i kid you not. there is an island not far from our area where they live. at night (nocturnal of course) they leave to go to the bukid to eat fruit. they’re HUGE bats. i joke that they will swoop down on us and grab us! so far so good 🙂 its quite shocking though. bats. bats, people! apparently, before yolanda, the sky would darken a bit when they flew to the bukid because there were so many of them!!! but since yoland destroyed so many of them (and their habitat) the sky doesn’t darken haha. now they’re on the endangered list. but that doesn’t stop people! they put bait on kites up in the sky to catch the bats. then they EAT them. yep, its true. the other night we walked by some people roasting what i thought was a chicken….not so…it was a bat! unreal, right? wow i love this crazy place!!!
- i can’t remember what else was on my list to tell you! just know that i’m doing well. loving life. working hard. eating lots of rice. striving to be perfectly obedient. striving to be a good missionary. striving striving striving always! its a hard work to do. but i can’t imagine NOT doing it. i’m having experiences everyday that are irreplaceable. i’m meeting people that i know i was meant to meet. and most importantly i’m doing the best work EVER! its hard for me to remember my life before the mission sometimes. it just feels so.far.away! i’m focused on the work and i’m SO happy! and so tired haha. i’ll sleep when i’m dead 😉
i love you all! thanks for the love and support always. i couldn’t handle the challenges of missionary life without knowing i have cheerleaders on the other side of the world! i love you!
1 // our investigators who i love SO MUCH. p.s. can anyone spot the tanline? haha the struggle is real
2 // me and sister arais
3 // our zone activity this morning
4 // riding to the activity in a multicab
1 // fhe
2 // can you read the sign? at an “american” resturaunt
3 // gen conf
4 // i really do! p.s. we got to listen to gen conf in english! so lucky
because our area requires us to have good balance! more on that later.
holy guacamole i can’t believe we’re almost halfway through april already! wow. i just realized that as i typed the date. and also realized that i could totally go for some guac right now too. haha.
hope you all are doing well! sorry if i didn’t get to respond to your emails this week. experiencing technical difficulties on these filipino computers haha. this week was really good! i love my companion! i was worried to be honest. after coming from my mission bestie as a companion, i was worried that i’d never be satisfied with a companion again. but i am so blessed, so lucky to have my comp, Sister Arais! i love her dearly! she’s a great missionary, we have lots in common, we help each other a lot! its a blessing. i’m so grateful to have a good companion. having a hard companion is a trial, it really is. anyways! this week was good! we finally got to see general conference. i like the bullet point thing. so here we go:
- general conf: the best ever, diba? i love it. i was so excited for us to finally see it! we are a week delayed. we traveled an hour and a half saturday to the chapel that had the broadcast! it was so awesome! in between sessions we went to get lunch but were late getting back. so can someone update me on the opposition during the saturday afternoon session? never got that full story. thanks! on sunday we traveled in a bus that the faithful saints of palompon rented. people were shoved everywhere in the bus. so cool to see so many faithful members who will sacrifice to hear the words of a living prophet, the words of the Lord, really.
- gen conf thoughts: i really loved elder ringwood’s talk! about not aspiring to position or prestige. sadly there are a lot of people on the mission who aspire to hold leadership positions. its sad to see. for me, i want to be a regular missionary my whole mission haha. its so not about training or being an stl or whatever. i just want to work hard everyday doing the Lord’s work! anyways. i really liked his talk because the part about doing selfless acts of service without praise or accolades. made me think of my wonderful parents. i surely have been born of goodly parents. also, i laughed at elder cook’s talk because my watch has 2 time settings so i have one on phils time and the other on utah time! so many good inspiring talks. of course. gen conf just gets better and better. i forgot my notes though…so thats all i can remember right now. loved elder hollands as well too- that story he told. wow.
- awesome of the week: my companion and i have a surprising lot in common!
- awkward of the week: i literally eat twice as much as the filipino elders. whenever we go out for lunch after meetings or whatever i am reminded of this. no wonder why they are so small! haha
- my dramatic subject line: it really truly is a good thing that i do yoga because our area is crazy! remember how last week i said that i had heard there were lots of bridges? in my mind i was imagining hanging bridges. what i was not expecting was us walking on bamboo sticks over the ocean to get to these houses. the houses are literally built on stilts and so we walk on the rickety, bendy bamboo “bridges” to get to the houses. its incredible. i didn’t really think that people lived like this! i thought it was just in the movies! and its totally unsafe. so i kid you not, pray for me walking on these bridges! our whole area is like this! and in one part, instead of the ocean beneath its a swamp of mud, garbage, and nasty. if i fall into the ocean that’s one thing, but if i fall into the nasty, that’s another! its a good thing that my yoga has given me good balance because really, its like walking on a balance beam always. i will try to send pics sometime! its crazy. welcome to the phils!
- my leg: is so good!
- food: the only place to buy meat here is at the outdoor markets. so we did. and i didn’t get sick from it. what a blessing! it has been so hard to find the balance between eating meat and not risking my life haha. ok thats dramatic. but really, its been hard to suppress my food service knowledge haha. but don’t worry i’m fine!
- this morning we rented bikes and then went on a mini hike and then down to the ocean to have breakfast! so fun! i’m all about district/zone activities. its the only chance i’ll get to explore the phils like this!
- i love my mission. i really do. its the best! this gospel is true. love you all!
love, sister brereton
1 // susette a member. leaving on a mission soon
2 // our district activity this morning!
3 // happy bday ryan!
4 // happy bday ryan!
1 // the last of the foreigner sisters
2 // my and my new comp!
3 // new area!
4 // new apt!
pic 1 // fhe we had before i left. 2 LAs attended! it was so happy! we played a game that’s why there is stuff on our faces!
pic 2 // some of my fav members in sogod
pic 3 // roxanne. member. love her. we speak english because she served her mission in idaho!
pic 4 // “sister brereton and sister malu say goodbye to the best cycle ever”
pic 1 // at our zone training meeting. my last one in sogod zone!
pic 2 // baptism of hannah!
pic 3 // members of the branch. our bml, his finance, sister necer
pic 4 // our zone happy birthday greeting to pres maurer
coming at you live from my 2nd area!!!! I once again have been so blessed and so favored of the Lord. I am currently in Palompon! my new companion is Sister Arais (pronounced, arise) from Bohol (near cebu.) I am so blessed!!!
- this week was literally a whirlwind. we knew for sure that i was going to be transferring. I was in my first area, Sogod, for 6 MONTHS. apparently that’s a pretty average time for most missionaries to be in their first area, but for Pres. Maurer, that’s a really long time. I feel so blessed to have been in Sogod for so long. I was born there as a missionary and i love it so much. Telling people this week that i was transferring was one of the saddest things. there were a lot of tears this week. lots from me, lots from others. its really sweet to have had these opportunities to meet and teach with the wonderful people of sogod.
- i’m attaching lots of pics! don’t worry!
- it was so nindot because we had a baptism on saturday before i transferred!!!! hannah, a nine year old from a part member family. we started teaching her when i arrived in october. and now she is a member in april right as i’m leaving! it was so happy!
- transfer day was yesterday. so sorry that i didn’t email! our area is about 3 hours from Tacloban and so we arrived in our area last night and didn’t have time to email. better late than never! transfer day was rough. sister malu and i knew that we’d only have one cycle together and so we tried to make the most of it! i think we did, but i will still really miss being companions with her! she is still in sogod and will continue the work there! i’m so grateful to have someone i trust so deeply to continue the work among the people i love so dearly there is sogod!
- funny story: this week when went to visit a long time less active woman in sogod. we were standing outside her house, the door was open and she could see us. i called out to her, and she promptly slammed the door on us! i was so shocked, but at the same time thought it was so funny! sister malu and i were cracking up after we walked away. i guess its good that we laugh at rejection, right? haha
- my new area: i am SOOOOOO blessed to be in a cebuano speaking area again! the odds were really stacked against me when it comes to the language, meaning, there are more than double waray areas than cebuano. but i’m so blessed to still be in cebuano! i can cement in my cebuano this cycle with my companion….
- ….Sister Arais! she is a native cebuano speaker! so she’ll help me a lot. and i’ll get to help her with english as well! she is really sweet, just finished her 12 weeks. so i’m her follow-up trainer. her trainer is the mission is going home and is literally a legend in the mission. so its a really great opportunity for me to learn from her what she has learned from her trainer. even though i’m older in the mission, i think i’m going to learn more from Sister Arais this cycle than she will learn from me. She is so good! i’m so excited to work with her!
- apparently our area is cool. that’s what i keep hearing. we haven’t been out to work yet, thought. cool apparently means that there are bamboo hanging bridges to cross, and stuff like that. so please pray for the bridges that i will be walking across this cycle. that they will be strong hahaha! or that i will be light haha just kidding. speaking of my health..
- my health: its so good. don’t worry mom. i’ve been really blessed with good health and that is truly a tender mercy. with the exception of my leg, everything thus far in my mission has been good. and now you can officiallly stop worrying about my leg. its totally healed. i have a crazy awesome battle scar. who knew that i’d come home from the mission with a literal battle scar?! haha
- i got the packages mom! and i’m so happy! so is my cute companion. she is from cebu area and said that you can buy herbalife stuff there…who knew, right? anyways. thanks for the stuff to make pizza and the brownie mix and things! i’m so excited to make it! its so meant to be that i got these packages in this new area…the apartment is SO CUTE. and we have a big toaster oven that you can actually cook stuff in. in my old apt we wouldn’t have been able to make the brownies or pizza. so the timing is totally meant to be! Heavenly Father is really in the tiniest, seemingly insignificant details of my life!
- now i just want to take a minute to talk about our apt in this area. its so cute! and i love it! i thought my old apt in sogod was good, but this one is even better! its just way cute. and has 2 bathrooms! i’ll send pics!
- here’s something crazy: heard word that NO MORE foreigner sisters will be sent to our mission…no one knows why. they are still being sent to cebu and other phils missions, but not tacloban. i don’t know why but it makes me sad. could be possibly because this mission gets the most typhoons. there are 13 foreigner sisters in our mission currently, 8 from America. 200 missionaries total. roughly 60 sisters. my batch is officially the last foreigner sisters here. its so sad. but its also a privilege to be here. all the elders keep saying that we must be the “strong ones” because we are here. i know i’m not strong haha. but i do know that i can get through any challenges that i encounter here with the help of our Heavenly Father.
- i am so grateful to be on a mission. i legit never thought that i’d love it as much as i do. everyday something hard happens, everyday something weird happens. but it really is the best work to be doing. each day i realized that all the RMs i’ve ever talked to about missions are totally right about everything. can’t believe that i ever doubted them haha.
- this gospel is so true. its really the only important thing. its such a blessing to be able to share it with others!
pic 1 // huge lizards on walls. its a thing here! not in our apt, don’t worry!
pic 2 // saying goodbye to my first recent convert, tatay cosme! remember him, the first baptism when i first arrived? he’s so good. funny story though. i told him after a lesson, “tomorrow when we come back, we are going to take a picture!” he agreed. the next day when we showed up, his hair was BLACK, normally gray. he dyed his hair so that he could be more “gwapo” for the photo. i was dying. SO FUNNY.
pic 3 // yes that’s me holding a lizard. a baby one. after our zone training meeting an elder asked me “hey can you hold this?” i instinctively held out my hand and he dropped a lizard into it!!