another notable valentine’s day // 2.15.16

hello!

i just love emailing every week! its so fun to hear what you are all up to! thanks for the emails and love and prayers and everything! hope it was a great vday. we did absolutely nothing for it here…boring haha. except it proved to be yet another eventful valentines day of my life…more on that later!
  • awesome: that my hair is getting thicker! so you won’t get to witness me looking like a bald person..too bad πŸ˜‰ i’m so grateful that my hair has stopped dropping like its hot and that there’s some great new baby hairs making an appearance #thankful
  • awkward: our water was totally not working the day of valentines (for some unknown reason). and we had already used our reserve water! so what did we do? well, thanks to the goodness of our RC who lives across the street, we hauled water from her house to our 3rd floor apt so that we could shower haha. these are the joys of living in the ‘ppines. i’m so grateful for our RC!
  • awkward: let me paint the picture first. i was on exchanges with sister russon (an american p.s. i love her she’s the bomb) and we’re walking down the road. who do we see walking towards us on the other side of the street? the american peace corps girl i met last week. we smiled, waved, and said “hey” all casually just as if we were walking down the hallway at school in the good old u.s. of a. haha who would have thought that literally the only white people in all of catbalogan would run into each other right at that moment! so funny
  • email to president maurer:Β Hello President,
    How are you? I am excited for the Specialized Training this week. Each training we receive seems to provide the exact kind of strength and reminders I need to continue on with our daily work! It was a fast week, as usual. I am still not feeling well unfortunately. Some days I am just dragging. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is week. I’ve found the need to rest up for a bit some days in order to be able to go out to work. I’ve never experienced this feeling before. I think it may just be an end of mission bump in the road that helps me to increase my reliance and dependence on Heavenly Father and the enabling power. I’m grateful for this time to learn, but also would love to have my normal energy level and return to my usual physical capability. But I continue to take it a day at a time, and do my very best!
    We had two exchanges this week. First the lovely Calbayog sisters came. I had the chance to work with Sister ….. She is so wonderful and I’m excited to see how she’ll continue to blossom in the mission. We worked a lot on finding, since its something that she’s not as comfortable with. She is doing really well with the language, with teaching, with everything. I’m impressed with her wonderful attitude. She is so humble and teachable. She really wants to improve and is striving to do so!
    Next we had exchanges with the Catbalogan sisters. It was so fun for me to work with Sister…, since we’re batch! She is such a powerhouse of a missionary. I learned so much from her. Sister …. is good hands with Sister …. as her trainer!
    Overall, its been a good week. I love being a missionary! We’ve been trying to build stronger relationships with our branch president and our relief society president. It is paying off as we’re seeing some less actives return and the sacrament attendance increasing. Its really true that as the auxiliaries and missionaries work together so much more can be accomplished.
    Thank you for all that you do for us President. It is an honor to serve in the Tacloban mission!
    Love,
    Sister Brereton
  • life continues to be great here! we had 2 exchanges this week, and that was awesome. i always learn so much from the sisters! this week we have a training meeting. which will be great. my comp and i give a training in the morning and then the zone leaders and then pres and sister maurer. so we’re praying big time for some inspiration. good things are in the works. i’m grateful for the holy ghost in my life.
  • its been a really rewarding week to see lots of less actives returning to church! its great to work hand in hand with the auxiliaries to help get these wonderful people back to church. i wish i would have utilized the auxiliaries more often throughout my mission. but thankful to be able to learn now.
  • sorry for the short, lame email. hope the pics make up for it.
  • just know that i love this gospel. i love my mission. i love the Philippines. and although the idea of coming home is so exciting…its so bittersweet as well! i will miss everything here. but its ok the church is true wherever you are in the world!
thanks for all your love and support of me. i appreciate it so very much!
love,
sister brereton

pics // 2.8.16

does our RC have a rabbit as a pet? yes she does and i’m loving my life haha

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our district right now. #headcutoff

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umm yes

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branch vday party

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branch vday party

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outside of our apt

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our tiny room

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its like a studio apt basically

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our kitchen

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the bathroom…way better than the old one!

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the rooftop

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view from rooftop

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my emails are getting boring // 2.8.16

which is a definite clue that i’m old in the mission! haha.

thanks for all the love and emails this week! still panicking slightly at the fact that i have my flight plans and date for speaking in church…weird. but its exciting too. but honestly i’m gonna cry like a baby when i leave the mission. i don’t want to stop being a missionary! yes of course i’ll be a missionary my whole life…but i’ll miss this time of being a full time missionary with an eye single to the work only and no distractions of the world and having the calling and authority and speaking these crazy languages, etc. anyways. i’ll miss a ton of stuff! but all good things must end. all missions for sister must end after 18 months haha
oh before i get into it, just so ya’ll know i’m totally recovered now! turns out i don’t even have dengue….see “awkward” haha
  • awesome: getting to go to mcdonalds in tacloban. in america you would never find me there hahaha…but here in the middle of a rice filled country, mcdonalds is such a pleasure haha
  • awesome 2: our church attendance yesterday! we’re working to grow this branch and bring back the LAs. had 13 LAs at church yesterday…and so many of them priesthood holders. just what this branch needs! an elders quorum with more than 5 active members πŸ™‚ direct blessings from prayers and fasting!
  • awkward: i don’t have dengue! or at least not the kind they tested for. we went to tacloban early. and on tuesday i got my blood drawn. the test was negative! so either a different strain, or a different virus. anyways. all is well. so much for “the dengue diaries” videos that i made during the whole process (which are dramatic video segments i made during all this which you will surely enjoy when i show you someday haha)
  • awkward 2: that i literally cannot remember english expressions.
  • awkward 3: finding out that so many of the missionaries know about my mission blog and read it before they came to the field….
  • we had MLC on tuesday and wednesday. so that was a good time. and a good time to rest my body and not work in the field. it definitely helped with the recovery. by friday we were back to work.
  • my email to president: Hello President!How are you? I hope that things are well for you and Sister Maurer. Things are going well for Sister …. and I here in Catbalogan! It was wonderful to see you in Tacloban and I’m so grateful for all the things that I learned from MLC. MLC is always uplifting, powerful, and motivates me to work harder and strive to be a better missionary and person. Also, thank you for calling on Sister … during the counseling! She often has great ideas, comments, concerns, etc. to share, and she’ll share them with me. But when I encourage her to raise her hand she is more than just a little reluctant. So thank you for recognizing she had a thought to share and calling on her πŸ™‚ I was shocked to read the results of the dengue test, “negative.” Sister Hansen and I both really thought that I had dengue! I am grateful that I’m not a member of the “dengue club,” but also a little curious about what sickness I really did have! But all is well, I’m feeling much better now. Some of my joints still ache even now, but by Friday we were back to our usual hard working schedule. I’m thankful for the days of MLC that helped me to recover a little bit too. We had a great Sunday. Before my mission I really didn’t like fasting. Probably because I didn’t have much of a testimony of it. But I’ve really grown in my understanding of the purpose of fasting and grown in my testimony as well. I love fasting now and look forward to fast Sunday every month! This Sunday was an especially rewarding Sunday as we had so many LAs attending church! So many of our LA priesthood holders. We had 13 LAs at church! And I counted that there were 27 priesthood holders (or potential priesthood holders) at sacrament meeting. Which is super exciting because we’ve been working to build the priesthood here in Catbalogan 1 since we only have about 7 or 8 active priesthood holders on a usual Sunday. This once again builds my testimony of Heavenly Father truly answering my prayers and fasting. I don’t want to go home. Of course I’m excited to see my family, shower in a real shower, eat American foods, etc., but I don’t want to stop being a missionary. I don’t want to stop preaching the gospel at every waking moment. I know I will sorely miss this. So I’m working to give even more of my heart, might, mind, and strength to make these wonderful days of my mission really count.I’m so grateful to serve. I love my mission. I love this gospel. Thank you for all that you do for us. We love you!
  • sorry i forgot (again) to take pics of the apt. p.s. sorry for lack of pics this week. i’ll do better next!
ummm i’m out of time. sorry. just know that i’m healthy now, that i love my mission, and i love this gospel. i love being a missionary!!!!
the church is true. heavenly father loves us!
love,
sister brereton

the dengue diaries // 2.1.15

happy february everyone! january sure ended unexpectedly. time is just way too fast. we’ve had a roller coaster week here in catbalogan! i’m emailing earlier than usual today because we’re going to tacloban later…more on that later!

  • awesome: that i didn’t transfer! 3 areas, 2 languages, 7 companions, 18 months. that’s my mission. i’m so grateful to get to finish out my mission in this wonderful area!
  • awesome 2: we finally moved! yes i know its hard to believe that after all of my false alarms, saying that we’re moving. but its finally happened! thanks to our great sr. couple missionaries and the elders here! we started saturday morning and it was quite the ordeal. especially taking down the bunk beds (which were put together incorrectly to begin with!) and reassembling them in the new apt. did we encounter trials while trying to move in? yes we did. aka the doorknob somehow broke and we couldn’t get into the apt, after all of our things were moved in. ironic, right? so we found ourselves at the hardware stores while the good old polynesian elders broke into our apt so we could replace the doorknob! by the time all was said and done, it was about 8pm, and we were dead tired! but all is well because we’re now out of that old smelly apartment down the street from the slaughter house! so no more rats, no more sewer smells, no more leaking roof, no more fears of flooding, no more cleaning up rat poop, no more killing cockroaches and mosquitoes every morning, no more rats, no more rats, did i mention no more rats?! our new apt is a lot smaller, but it doesn’t matter because its so much better πŸ™‚
  • awkward: met an american who is here for some peace corps thing. so weird to see an american. i almost felt defensive like, “umm excuse me why are you here? i’m supposed to be the only american here…” haha
  • tuesday was transfer day, and since there is officially no more transfer meeting in tacloban, we spent the day coordinating the travel for all the sisters coming to and from our zone. stressful! and crazy busy. but i was so happy at the end of the day when all of our sisters arrived safely in their respective areas!
  • wednesday i did not feel good. body aches and just slept the whole day.
  • thursday and friday, back on my feet and we had good days of work!
  • saturday was moving day
  • sunday. we went to church, but other than that i was down for the count! sister hansen (mission nurse) and i both think i have dengue due to the fact that all my bones hurt and i feel like i have arthritis, and because i have red dots all over! so yeah i’m a polka dot mess but i’m keeping it all in check with tylenol
  • that’s part of the reason we’re going to tacloban…to get a rapid dengue test before MLC on tuesday and wednesday. mom don’t worry about me! i’m actually totally fine. i always heard that dengue is the worst pain ever felt, so miserable, etc. in no way do i recommend having dengue (if the test confirms thats what it is), but its really not even half as bad as the hype makes it sound like it is! so yeah keep me in your prayers. but i’m totally fine. already had a priesthood blessing as well πŸ™‚ (did i want to hear the words, “be thou healed” or “arise, take up thy bed and walk” in that priesthood blessing? yes i did. but i unfortunately wasn’t blessed with that haha. so i guess i will continue to just have a normal recovery and our poor investigators will not be visited for a few extra days!)
  • also, in the spirit of full disclosure i am telling you about this whole dengue thing so please (mom) do not panic and think that i’m just candy coating everything and that really i’m dying. because i’m totally fine! really. its just a little test of my faith here at the end of my mission. but nothing i can’t handle through the enabling power πŸ™‚
  • so yeah. life is good. hopefully we’ll be back to work after we come back from tacloban on wednesday! i plan to have a full days work on thursday! i just want to work!

thanks for all you love and support! i sure do love you all. and i’m so grateful for all your prayers in my behalf! next week i’ll send pics of the new apt πŸ™‚

love,

sister brereton

pictures // 2.1.15

district lunch

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moving day. sis. clerigo, my batch. love her to pieces

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moving

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now that we’ve moved, here is our old gross bathroom πŸ™‚ its like a cave. doesn’t even have a light. we just used a lantern haha #reason1formoving

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the smelly drain that the rats go in and out #reason2formoving

our leaking roof πŸ™‚ #reason3formoving0-4.jpg

our leaking roof πŸ™‚ #reason3formoving

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