living on a prayer and a little bit of coke // 11.23.15

hello!!!

we’ve had a crazy busy week this past week and i’m still tired from it! but caffeine is surging through my veins and i’m feeling good. hahah (don’t worry i’m taking it easy on the coke, mom)
we had a week full of traveling. i am keeping track of how much time we travel this cycle because its seriously so crazy! so many exchanges, meetings, etc. i’m.so.so.so.tired. travel here is not the same too because we’re packed in vans with crazy drivers. anyways. still alive so all is well!
  • awesome: having exchanges with sister folau (and totally forget to take a pic sorry) anyways. she’s from park city and i love her to death! she just was companions with sister malu so we spent 1/2 the exchange talking about how much we love sister malu! haha sis folau is so great. she’s batch with my anak, in fact i thought that i was going to train her! but the Lord had a different plan and so now i get to go with her on exchanges in stead! she’s so awesome, so strong. love her.
  • awkward: being able to form my hair into a bun using 1 bobby pin #bald (haha so many of my “awkward” things have to do with my hair, don’t they?)
  • this week we had ZTM! my companion and i gave a training about how we can use our time wisely through the enabling power of the atonement! it went well. hope it will be helpful to the missionaries in our zone. i sure learned a lot studying and preparing for it! we have so many new missionaries in our zone that i hope they went away with the resolve to use every sacred moment of the mission wisely! haha molding young minds….jk. can’t believe i’m so old in the mission
  • i’m so exhausted from our exchanges! after ZTM on tuesday we started our exchanges with the san joaquin sisters (sis.folau and sis.garcia) then after returning home on thursday morning, i showered, packed new clothes and sister asug and i traveled to have exchanges with the sisters in borongan, 4.5hours away. (i literally didn’t sleep in my own bed from monday-friday! ) anyways we had a great exchange with them! they’re so awesome! i love exchanges but the travel wears me out!
  • which brings us to this. hours spent traveling this week aka van time: 12 hours
  • shoutout to adam who was 16 and went on 17! you better believe that i’d be singing that song to you if i was there! happy birthday! you can go on a mission in just one short year!
  • sorry i don’t have much to say this week! the work just continues to go forward. nothing too crazy to report! i’m sure grateful for this gospel and the opportunity to be a missionary and prepare the way for the second coming!
love you all so much! don’t worry about me i’m doing great!
love,
sister brereton
p.s. is there a typhoon? heard there’s one headed for eastern samar…
p.p.s. happy thanksgiving!

pics // 11.23.15

seeing friends at MLC

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see friends at MLC

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ponderize

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ice cream sundae (soup) that i ordered…haha salamat

 

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sister asug

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cutest baby

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zone activity

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somewhere over the rainbow

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ZTM

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csp in the bukid harvesting coconuts

 

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coconuts

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haha

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so pretty

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the pic while waiting in the van. stuck in the bukid when trucks crashed

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happy birthday adam!

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things just got real // 11.16.15

because i just got my trunky letter. yeah..that sure snuck up on me. still processing it all. march 9 release date. still loading. still buffering. still feel like a just got a handle of this whole being a missionary thing. can you believe it?

anyways. sorry to be emailing so late! we worked in our area this morning, then traveled to have a zone activity! our zone leaders are hilarious. they rented pedicabs (the tricycle type things used to go around town in) for us to race with. then we had water balloons and threw them at each other! like real life mario cart! super funny and fun! so now its late and we’re emailing from a sketchy little computer shop that i don’t trust enough to plug in my memory card! sorry the pics will have to wait until next week! sorry for the grammar mistakes i’m sure i’m making. i am so so tired. like all the time haha
  • awesome: eating LOTS of seafood (hope the mercury levels are low in these fish!) and then my hair not falling out as much. so yeah my inner nutrition nerd is gonna research the nutritional properties of squid when i get home. hair is still falling but not as bad πŸ™‚
  • awesome 2: hands down the best decision of my mission was taking my laundry to the laba place to have it be done for me! thanks to being in the city now. i forgot how nice (and normal) it is to not have to wash each piece of clothing by hand!
  • awkward: people telling me that my eyes are gray and NOT blue. is it possible that your eyes can fade color or something? its kinda true that my eyes don’t look as blue as they used to…
  • awkward 2: how incredibly tired i am. all.the.time.
  • we had MLC this week which was really good. especially fun because now my good friends sister arais and sister wilde are STLs now and so i got to see them! had a fun sleepover the night of MLC too! had a hilarious time with sister wilde trying to use a butcher knife to unlock the bathroom door handle that broke haha. anyways super funny. but anyways actual MLC was really good. really uplifting! we talked a lot about the enabling power of the atonement! its so incredibly true that HE can lift the burdens from us the weigh us down. it doesn’t mean that He takes it all away, but He helps us to carry the burden one day at a time. i testify that that is true
  • the funny moment of MLC was the counseling part when its open discussion about mission rules, if there should be rules eliminated/added/changed/or whatever. the discussion came up about, should the mission invest in washing machines to help missionaries save time. they asked us to raise our hands if we thought it would be a good investment. a good portion raised their hands (me included). sister wilde and i were cracking up because only the americans raised their hands, no filipinos hahaha.
  • apartment updates: the rats don’t come as much which is great! but still no luck on the apt search.
  • ponderize: alma 26:12
  • my email to president: Hello President, I apologize for emailing so late! We’ve finished a really great zone activity and are finishing out the day with email time. I was shocked to see my “trunky letter” in the inbox of my email today. Its unreal. Still feel like I just got here and just got a grip on things. I think of Jacob talking about how, “our lives passed away as it were unto us a dream.” I couldn’t agree more! I’m grateful to have a few more months to have this wonderful time to serve. Its such an honor, such a privilege. We had a really good week! We planned our 8 exchanges for the cycle, and began our first exchange with the Catbalogan 2 sisters. I had the opportunity to work with Sister ….., who is just fantastic. She’s a wonderful example of letting her light shine to others. Everywhere we went she smiled and greeted the people we passed with such a delightful disposition. No wonder she always finds so many new investigators! I’m sure that they are curious to find out what makes her so happy. She is doing great as a missionary and trainer. I feel so lucky to have been able to work with her πŸ™‚ Sister Asug and I continue to plug along in our area! I feel really blessed that although we really don’t get to focus all the time on our area, that we when actually get to work in our area, the work is really good. We’re so blessed to not get punted. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father being so mindful of us! I love my mission. I am so tired all the time and sometimes just out of steam. But i’m grateful for the reminder at MLC of the enabling power of the Atonement. Endurance is only possible through relying on HIM. Thank you for all that you and Sister Maurer do for us. We love you! Love, Sister Brereton
  • i am LOVING the new americans in the mission. they are SO AMERICAN. haha like they talk about stuff that i totally forgot existed. and they sound so american when they talk. its cracking me up to see them grow in the mission! they reference the MTC all.the.time because its the only experience they have to draw on so far. every sentence beginning with, “in the mtc…” Β i just crack up about πŸ™‚ i’m like half american half filipina now
  • by the way can someone enlighten me on what’s going on with same sex stuff (besides that gay marriage is totes legal now. yucks) and child baptism? sorry kinda living under a rock here haha:)
  • well i’m just about out of time! love you all to pieces! sorry for not getting to respond to everything. my email time is cut short tonight! next week Β πŸ™‚ thank you for your love and support of me! i’m so grateful to have this chance to serve! i know the gospel is true!
until next week,
love you all to the moon and back,
sister brereton

oh babylon we bid thee farewell // 11.9.15

hello! how is everyone doing? sorry for not getting back to all of you this week! i’ll try to answer general questions right now! things are going great here in catbalogan! we’ve actually had a really good, fast week! i’m loving how things are going this new cycle! i’m still with my same companion, sister asug. she’s from bikol. we’re batch going home so we’re already planning to party in tacloban before we go home because our bdays are both in march! so yeah we continue to work this week! with a nice 2 week streak of no travel! that streak gets broken tomorrow though when we travel to tacloban for MLC. which i’m super excited about actually! i really like MLC its very uplifting and fun at the same time! love the maurers. i’m really looking forward to this cycle! there is some awesome stuff lined up!

  • awesome: the new batch of missionaries arrived! and theres 27 of them! thats the biggest batch since my batch arrived 1 WHOLE YEAR ago! crazy right! the best news is that there are AMERICANS! i prayed that this cycle i’d be able to help them adjust to the filipino life (remember how homesick i was? i wanna help them through it) and my prayers were answered when 3 American sisters got put under me and my companion’s STL stewardship! YAY! so excited! πŸ™‚ i’m the living proof to them that they can survive! haha
  • awkward: lots of the new missionaries already “knowing” me. i’ve been told that lots of them researched my mission blog before entering the MTC and that it really helped them to prepare! so i’m grateful that i could help in that way! even though its weird that they know all about me and my mission when i’ve never even met them before! haha
  • awkward 2: had a tough time fighting against babylon this week! found myself in the waiting room of a dentist’s office while my companion had an emergency tooth fix. trying to tune out the tv in the background talking about the music industry! even though i did quite well at tuning it out, overheard some things/music that made me realize i’ve been in the mission bubble A LONG TIME. i love it! i’m totally out of the wicked, wicked world.
  • i LOVE seeing the new missionaries. they sound SO american when they talk! makes me realize that i kinda really do have an accent now. and i say things in such a filipino way now! i’m not super american anymore (i mean of course i am but i’ve just developed so many weird filipina quirks!) so its so fun for me to see the ones that are FRESH from america and FRESH from the MTC. they can’t speak these languages and so i’m having fun making simple vocabulary lists for them to start to get a handle on things. I’m having so much fun!!!!! for the first time in a YEAR i’m not the only american in our district! πŸ™‚
  • ponderize scripture: d&c 90:11 i have to learn this crazy language, waray waray to fulfill the promise of the Lord!
  • back to how much fun i’m having this cycle! i’m having so much fun! our zone leaders are my batch mate as well! i’m surrounded by americans this cycle and that has never happened to me before so i’m LOVING.IT. haha
  • moment of bravery: i really stepped up to the plate today when i killed a HUGE cockroach with my shoe instead of using the permethrin. #oldinthemissionnow
  • excerpt of email to president: Hello President! How are you? We’ve had a really great week here in Catbalogan! Its been nice to feel like just regular missionaries this week and having the chance to totally focus on our area. The new batch of missionaries has sure caused a lot of excitement throughout the mission. I am so happy that there are now more foreigners in the mission! And I’m even more grateful to have the opportunity to interact with the new missionaries in our zone. Its especially for fun for me to see the foreigners navigating the first few days in the field. It takes me back to about a year ago when I was in the same, awkward boat! But I love the chance to be able to help the missionaries too, to be able to testify to them that even on those days when they are questioning their choice to come on a missionary, that they really can do it, but only through the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am proof of that. Without the enabling grace that the Atonement provides, I would have gone home long ago. I am so grateful for this assignment to serve as a sister training leader, especially now that I have the chance to help other foreigner sisters through the culture shock! I am so excited about this cycle and the exchanges we have ahead of us. Although my waray waray is far from perfect, I continue to strive to learn the language so that promises in D&C 90:11 can be fulfilled. Thank you for all that you do for us President Maurer! We sure do appreciate you and look forward to seeing you tomorrow! Love, Sister Brereton
  • we continue to look for an new apartment. the members are looking for us too! members keep telling us horror stories of this apt flooding during rainy season when other sisters were here! so yeah…the search continues!
  • i’m continuing to love this work of the Lord. i feel so blessed that we have some really good progressing investigators now. some people who are really yearning for the truth! its such a blessing to be the messenger of such a life changing message. a message that has changed my life. i know the church is true. heavenly father loves us. jesus christ IS THE CHRIST. the second coming is sooner than we expect, i think. the book of mormon is true. pres. monson is THE prophet. listen to the watchmen on the tower!
thank you for your love and support of me! i’m so grateful for the love and kindness of all of those who keep me in their thoughts and prayers all 8000+ miles away!
love,
sister brereton

pictures // 11.9.15

thief broke into the church to steal a computer 😦 bars fixed now

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members making native brooms

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the cutest little baby crab!

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my fav members here

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my leg is taking a beating on this mission. adding a huge bruise and weird bites to the scar haha

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sunday

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cooking squid! so much ink haha

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fhe with our RCs and investigators

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fhe with our RCs and investigators

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ponderize

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after a year of washing everything by hand, finally throwing in the towel (haha get it?) and taking some of my laundry to the laundry place. the best 86 pesos i ever spent! this was 3.1 kilos worth fyi haha

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a week and a half later // 11.4.15

hello! sorry its been so long since i’ve emailed! all is well here, our week just got rearranged. transfer day was on tuesday and so they moved pday to today, wednesday! but no transfer here! me and my companion are here to stay for another 6 weeks! we thought she might transfer, but nope! i’m glad that we’ll be together still! we’re learning a lot from each other. its been a good week, but it feels like forevs since i emailed last! funny because its usually the opposite! here’s a quick run down of the week!

  • awesome: i literally had a dream come true! i dreamed that my old companion whom i love to death, sister arais, became a STL in biliran zone of the mission. how shocked was i when i heard that news that she is now the STL in biliran! WOW. in other news, mom and dad i dreamed that you came to pick me up from the mission…is that dream going to become true too? haha πŸ™‚
  • awkward: being given a religious pamphlet by an AMERICAN. he came from lebanon, ohio to warn the philippines of the end of the world. literally the weirdest thing. we were in jollibee when he just came up to us and started handing us flyers. he handed my companion and the other filipina sisters fliers in tagalog, then said to me, “oh and here’s english for you.” oh thanks so much! so racist haha. how does he know that i even know english πŸ˜‰ haha i forgot to take a pic of the pamphlet to send to you. its about the world ending. also, my companion and i have joked about teaching him the proper way to OYM because his strategy of giving fliers wasn’t very effective. it actually made me realize how important it is and how good it is that we talk to people and get to know them a little before just handing them a pamphlet and going away!
  • ponderize: jacob 4:10 how often do we seek to tell Heavenly Father what WE want, instead of asking that HIS will be done? what is your ponderize scripture this week? email it to me πŸ™‚
  • we had exchanges this week! and i got to work with my batch, sister maico! she’s so awesome! now she’s transferred and is training!
  • my email to president this week: Hello President! How are you? Hope that you are doing well! We had a good week here in Catbalogan, and I’m grateful that neither Sister Asug and I were being transferred! Although we missed being in Tacloban for the excitement of transfer day, I’m grateful that we were able to stay here and work in our area. We really do have a wonderful area with lots of potential. Last week we had exchanges with the Catbalogan 2 sisters. I had the privilege of working with Sister Maico. She is diligent, hard working, a strong desire to be obedient, and is really a model missionary. I was so happy to hear the news that she will be training! She will be a wonderful example, influence, and teacher to her trainee. This week my testimony has been strengthened of the potential we have, as children of God, to progress in our journey. Sister Asug and I fasted for a few of our investigators this week, in hopes they will progress. We have been so happy to see the immediately blessings of our fast. Many of our IBDs who were floundering before have found great strength in reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. As I look back on my mission, I notice great differences in myself. However, the changes come so gradually and discretely that they are almost undetectable over a short period of time. Sometimes I wonder how different things would be if I was the type of missionary earlier, than I am now. However, as I was reading Jesus the Christ this week during my personal study I came across a passage that really intrigued me.Β  I was grateful to learn that even Jesus Christ didn’t fully comprehend the full magnitude of His calling and purpose right at the beginning. This passage reads, “Christ’s realization that He was the chosen and foreordained Messiah came to Him gradually…a comprehension of the full purport of His earthly mission developed within Him only as He progressed step by step in wisdom” (chapter 10). I wish that I understood the missionary purpose at the beginning, as much as I understand it now. But its part of our progression in life to slowly and gradually learn and grow. Ultimately we will become the people that Heavenly Father wants us to become. But for now we just continue in our journey, progressing step by step as we gain more knowledge and wisdom. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve. As the cycles pass by, my resolve to become a more dedicated, consecrated missionary only increases. I love my mission. Thank you for all that you do for us President! We sure do love you! Love, Sister Brereton
  • the senior couple the andersons came to look at our apartment this week! brought us a rat trap, and took inventory of what’s going on here! they’re happy for us to move if we can find somewhere else to move! everywhere we want to make has 0 vacancies. so pray for a miracle for us! the 4 of us sisters included finding a new apt in our fast this past sunday! i know we’ll find one if its what is meant to be
  • update on the rats: don’t let this freak you out mom. i actually considered not telling you this so that you don’t panic. just know that we are FINE! the rats are constricted to a small area of our apt. they can only get access to our bathroom and laba area. there are 3 of them, they exit in and out of the roof and drainage area. i’ve seen them and they are really big! its so yucks! i’ll try to get a pic for next week. they come in the night and chew on the wood in our roof and leave poop everywhere. its awesome! haha
  • update on the spiders: i’ve literally killed 4 of the biggest spiders this week. the sisters i live with here have a ron weasley attitude towards the 8 legged beasts so i find myself being the one to kill the spiders. and to clean up the rat poop too. the sooner we can move, the better! i don’t mean to complain by the way! its all totally fine.
  • as for the work: our work here is good! i’m finally getting the hang of waray waray and speak it pretty ok now. thanks to the gift of tongues. its the only way that any of this missionary work is possible! we have really been blessed to have progressing investigators this week. hopefully they’ll be able to enter into the covenant of baptism soon! its really cool to see the spirit work on people, to really change their will. the spirit works so subtly and quietly on these people that sometimes they don’t realize how far they’ve come unless we point it out to them! i’m sure heavenly father thinks the same thing for us!
  • food: i’m learning to cook filipino food. so get the rice ready for when i come Β home. i can’t go a day without rice!
  • cool experience of the week: had a man call out to us “sister, sister!!!” on our way home one day. we were going a different route than usual. usually i don’t respond to this because its usually just someone who’s drunk hahah. but this time we stopped. the man came running up to us, explaining that he is member in a different stake but lives in catbalogan now for work. has been inactive for a long time. he started tearing up as he told us he needed guidance in his life. how happy were we to tell him when church was! said he had been searching for the church here in catbalogan but didn’t know how to find it until he saw us. so cool to see that heavenly father really puts us in the right place at the right time!
  • i love my mission. as the days go by i realize how important the gospel is. it truly is the only that matters. i know the church is true. god loves us. jesus christ atoned for us and his atonement is infinite. the book of mormon is the best book on earth, the most correct, the most uplifting, the most perfect. thomas s. monson is called of god and has the priesthood keys to lead and guide us. i love this gospel. i love being a missionary! its worth every bit of hair loss, every bit of sweating, every rat, every spider, its worth EVERYTHING. i love it!

love you all so much! thanks for the love and support!

love,
sister brereton

a week and a half later // 11.4.15

the rat trap set. peanut butter as bait! however, unsuccessful so far! we often find the pb eaten and the door cage closed, but no rat. my theory: the rats are too big to fit inside! they’re seriously huge! these are the types of things i feared when i got my call to the phils. so grateful that all this is happening when i’m old in the mission, and not new!

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our district. once again the only american haha story of my life! its ok. i love my filipina/filpinos!

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the hair loss is still very real haha

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we had cleaning day on monday. i cleaned this apt from ceiling to floor. pretty sure it hasn’t been deep cleaned in YEARS. the sooner we move the better

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district dinner the night before transfer day! all these missionaries are going to train this cycle! except for me and my companion

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so pretty

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