the very last one // 3.7.16

hey world!

thanks for the love via email! its crazy to think that this is the last time i’ll be emailing from a little sketchy internet shop in the middle of the philippines! wow. time flies. 18 months flies! i have so much to say…but yet so little to say too! its a mix of emotions that i feel about going home! sorry for emailing later today! its been a busy day. just had my exit interview!
  • awesome: all of my luggage being the exact weight πŸ™‚ no luggage fees for this sister!
  • awkward: being hugged and literally kissed goodbye by the ladies at the laundry shop when i picked my laundry for the last time! so funny. they couldn’t believe that i’m taking the clothes that they washed all the way back to america! haha
  • well. i’m just trying to think of what to say! this week was good. we had MLC on tuesday and wednesday in tacloban! then returned home in time for our weekly planning on thursday…in which we didn’t plan…just made sure that our area book is updated and i wrote like a million sticky notes of extra notes to the future sisters bless their hearts for whitewashing our area! i’ve been down that road before so i hope the other notes will make the whitewashing process as stress free as possible! friday was ZTM in which we gave a training that i hope turned out ok. about creating miracles in our mission! hope it was good. then saturday was a normal day of work until we had branch fhe that night which was fun. then sunday was sunday! i bore my testimony but still i don’t feel like i’m going home!
  • thoughts on going home: it doesn’t feel real to me. i feel just like its a normal day, everyday. not that airports, luggage, and flight attendants are all in my future this week. but i feel ok that i’m coming home. i know a lot of missionaries struggle, they don’t want to leave the mission. i love my mission. i loooooooooove it. but i know that its part of the deal, when you go on a mission you have to come home too. so i’m mentally prepared for it! and i’ve had a strong impression that i’ve done exactly what Heavenly Father has needed me to do. so there is a lot of satisfaction in that. if i was asked to stay, i’d stay. but its ok that i’m coming home as well! i will be over the top excited to see all of you! to shower in a real shower! to use a washing machine again (i’m going to need to be trained on that haha), and dishwasher! wow!
  • ummmmm what else……yeah i think i’m just in denial about going home! because i just can’t wrap my mind around it! doesn’t feel real!
  • anyways. sister wilde and sister malu are sitting here waiting for me to finish emailing……
i love this gospel. i love my mission. i love the philippines. i am so grateful that i have had this 18 months to serve! i will be coming home with joints aching with temporary arthritis (that’s the diagnosis by the way), hair half the thickness that it once was, a huge scar on my leg, and my face freaking out. haha. and despite all of the physical hardships (if that’s what you wanna call it.) (and the other hardships too!) i’d do it all again. i’d do it a million times over again. this gospel is that important, that wonderful, that beautiful. i love this work. it has been a privilege to testify of Jesus Christ all the time, in this capacity. i will miss it like crazy!
thank you for your love, support, emails, thoughts, happy vibes, letters, packages, everything this past 18 months! i still can’t believe its over!
i love you so much! see you on Thursday at 5:14pm. when you see an exhausted, haggard looking companion coming down the escalator with Sister Wilde, its me. haha!
love you!
sister brereton
p.s. sorry if i don’t sound excited in this email…i’m so excited! i just still can’t believe its really true!!!! see you soon!!!!!! πŸ™‚

the second to the last // 2.29.15

hello!

how are you? can you believe that this is my 2nd to the last email? that sure went fast. i will hit my 18 months mark this week…and have my birthday. lots of milestones in just a week. i’m sad to think that my mission is coming to a close. it has been such a rewarding, uplifting, refining, defining time of my life. I will always look back on it with fondness and love. the thought of leaving these beautiful people and this wonderful work is what breaks my heart the most. the thought of NOT being a missionary, and not walking around all day in the heat trying to find people to whom we can teach this wonderful message, is what makes my heart really sad. i love this gospel and i love being let loose in the streets of the philippines to find anyone and everyone who will listen to this message that will surely change their entire life, and allow them to have eternal life! i will miss this!
ok. i so didn’t keep track of what happened this week so let’s see how this goes:
  • awesome: feeling good again! so i’ve still got the weird joint pains like a 98 year old, but now i’m on meds that are helping! so i can work again without being completely miserable and that’s a blessing! πŸ™‚
  • awkward: riding the night bus. on our way home from tacloban last week, the only means of transportation was a sketchy bus! literally felt like i was on the night bus of harry potter! the ride of my life haha
  • we have some really great progressing investigators right now! and less actives returning. and recent converts continuing to be awesome! so that will make leaving even harder as well!
  • umm what else! this week will be busy and will just fly by. tomorrow we leave for tacloban again for MLC. then we have ZTM on friday. its just all to fast. i’m doing my best to soak in every.single.minute. because i know it will never come again!
it is such a wonderful privilege and blessing to serve the Lord. As i look back on how much has changed in the last 18 months, i think that my attitude is what has changed the most. i’m the classic story of the girl who DID NOT want to go on a mission, to now the sister who does NOT want to go home! of course i want to go home. but i also just want to stay here for longer and continue to part of this amazing, marvelous work!
hope my pictures make up for my lack of writing! thank you for all of your love and support of me! even though i haven’t said much in my email, you can know that i will continue to work and serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength until the very end. i love the gospel. i know its true!
love,
sister brereton

the second to the last // 2.29.15

my comps bday the other week

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investigators

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our sketchy bridge haha

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with the beautiful sister folau

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this is our rooftop!

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look at me, ma!

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i just love this bunny haha

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spiderweb

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our beautiful area!

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our district

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from up on the mountain shot of our area

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can’t go up the stairs in the rainstorm

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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