Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mabuhay Pa!

Ashley Mecham <ashley.mecham@myldsmail.net>
10:39 PM (18 hours ago)

to me, Amanda
Dear, sweet Pamilya,

Oh man, I hope everything is well with you! I am still alive! Palawan is still beautiful and the people are still speaking Tagalog!

So let's talk about some things. My companion tells me to be confident when I speak to strangers, so that is something I've been working on. However, because of my confidence, people don't question what I said when it is completely not what I meant to say. For example, last p-day after I emailed you, we went to MacDo (australian) and I wanted to order meal number two. Instead I order two meal number two's. So, maybe I will get fat here after all because I ate them both. Also we we were riding home in a trike and I accidentally said, "Dito" (which means here, like RIGHT HERE) and pointed to our house in the distance. So he confusedly kept driving to where I pointed and I realized my mistake so I said, "Oh, hindi, DOON" but by that time he was already there and it was dito now and he was just so confused. That's my life. 

Last p-day I experienced my first grocery store trip which was INSANE. Picture Wal-Mart on the craziest day, but the cashiers don't care about getting you through the line quickly at all. They take their time and pack (like, really PACK) all of your groceries into one bag (which I actually really like). But they have the strangest selling tactics. One lady came up to us and said, "Do you want to know what is on sale today?" "Uhh sure..." "Then reach your hand in here and touch." "Excuse me?" "TOUCH MO BA??" So we reached into a mysterious box and there was just a purse inside... very strange... So the groceries here are tiny. Everything here is tiny. I feel like I'm living in a dollhouse. Everything is individually packaged - wala costco. 

Oh, cute. It was my birthday! The members here are the sweetest and everyone was texting me happy birthday and hugging me and singing to me even though I had only been here for like a week. Also, happy birthday to me, this is funny. We were standing waiting for a trike and I hear, "Ma'am, excuse me, ma'am". So obviously they're talking to me. I turn around and there is a man in the bushes and he says, "Excuse me ma'am, what is your height?" And I tell him and he says, "Thank you" and walks away. Alright, cool. I ALWAYS forget how different I look to everyone here. At least until Sister Hunt points out that everyone is staring. Awkward...

So we have this new investigator who sells balut (which is bawal for missionaries here, thank goodness). But he is such a sweetie and always tries to give us free balut. But he taught us how to make is so maybe I'll make some for you when I get back! Not. I will not do that. 

Our branch president, President Somera, has been working with us on Fridays and Saturdays and it is so helpful. Plus... he gives us rides in his sobrang fancy car (which I'm not sure is allowed, but his whole family is always there too... I'll look into that...) And buys us food. So it's not a real missionary life when he works with us. But it's so nice for our investigators and less actives to see how much he cares about the work. The branch presidency should always be involved in the work.

Anyway, we have too many investigators for me to explain to you, but they are all the best. One of them is a Tatay who is trying so hard to quit smoking because he wants to be baptized so badly. And his wife is a recent convert and she wants him to be baptized so badly so they can go to the temple. I don't know if I told you this, but the Church sponsors the RCs here to go to the temple in Manila for the first time which is sobrang astig. But she gets so emotional when she talks about it and so Sister Hunt and I just end up in tears, too. 

Man, this work is hard. But it's so rewarding to see people make changes in their lives to come unto Christ. So many of our investigators are sacrificing so much that they think is important or that they have always been doing in order to be baptized. Ah, it's a beautiful thing. 

From my studies this week: One thing that I have really noticed is the reason people do not follow the prophet, read the BoM, etc. So I'm reading in Ether right now and one thing that I keep thinking is, "Why don't these people just listen to the Prophets? They've seen that the Lord will bring famine upon their land if they don't repent, just as the prophets say. So why don't they listen?" But then I thought about how that is still happening today. Such a small fraction of the world believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and a fraction of that fraction actually follow him. So, the people don't follow the prophet either because they don't believe he is a prophet or because they don't fully understand his role. I think the latter is the issue that our less actives are having. And that's where we come in. This principle can be applied to anything - reading, praying, going to church, etc. We need to make sure that our investigators, less actives and recent converts fully understand the importance of these things. Because if they aren't doing them, it means they don't see the importance of it for their lives. Our goal is to make sure everyone we teach understands that importance.

Anyway, my p-day is Monday, in case you haven't noticed. Oh... I don't know what time it is where you are. We usually email at around 11:00 so if you email me before then, that would be beautiful! I love to hear how everyone is doing!

I don't know if the pictures I've been sending are working, but here are some more. The little boy is Francis, one of the kids of our golden RCs. Then there's me last p-day at the bay - looking pinakamaganda after running. Then some others, I don't remember what I put up there. I'm going to try to send you a video that I took of the cutest kids singing a song for me my first week. Let me know if it works. 

That's all, fam! Let me know if there's anything I can do for y'all. Missin' you every day! I LOVE LOVE LOVE you all!

Ingat kayo,

Sister Mecham the Tall.

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