Monday, December 23, 2013

Jessica's Eleventh Email! December 22nd, 2013


AHHHH is there anything better?! Umm... NO! I am so excited, I have been waiting for this day for so long. Congratulations to her! The pictures you put up on Skydrive and the ones Amy sent me are awesome! Looks so great. So glad everything went well. Oh and happy 18th birthday to Emi :) So great. Happy birthday to Aunt Shauna too... almost!

Okay so this week was good! We went down to Naga and let me tell ya... the city life is the good life! Ahh it was such a good time. SO we went down on Wednesday morning. It's about a two hour bus ride... talk about car sick! But miracles of serving a mission... I somehow still haven't thrown up since I got here. Christie's witch oils are actually helping I think. But anyway... we went down to Naga for the new missionary workshop. It was so fun to see my batch-mates (the missionaries who came in the same day). There were 2 different workshops so there was only half of my batch there. Four of us from the Provo MTC. So we did that on Wednesday and then Wednesday night... SLUMBER PARTY! Haha we stayed at some other sisters apartment in Naga. They had extra mattresses luckily but we just put them on the floor and it was a good time. After the workshop though, the assistants drove Sister Taylor and me to SM because I needed to get a new bag (yep... livin that fanny pack life now. you gotta do what you gotta do). So anyway they drove us to SM. The only way I can explain it is HEAVEN! It's a mall, like a real life mall. Stores and restaurants, and Christmas music, and the whole shabang. So we got Pizza Hut obviously. Only real cheese I have seen in the Philippines. So after that we went out and did splits just for like 2 hours with the sisters who we stayed with. I went with Sister Sanft from Hawaii. Figured I'd ask her what island. She told me and then I thought may as well ask if she knows the Cravens. THEY ARE BEST FRIENDS! When we got back to the apartment she showed me a ton of pictures on her wall of Natalia! And she knows Mark and Sharlene and Valerie and Malia and just the whole gang! So fun. Mormon world really is so small. So anyway... we went out and taught a few lessons. We got back to the apartment and you better believe Sister Taylor and I booked it to McDonald's. Sooo delicious. Haha. So let's just say on Wednesday we got ice cream 3 times and leave it at that. Then! On Thursday we had a mission Christmas party. With the whole ENTIRE mission. There are over 200 missionaries. It was so much fun. This is the first time they've ever done something like this. It was great. We mingled and met a ton of missionaries. Then we watched a MOVIE! Like legit... It was Johnny Lingo, which I think is a church movie. But it was so good. We just sat there, watching a movie, not thinking for like over an hour. It was insane. We ate and had a talent show and then a gift exchange kinda thing. A spiritual message and some good stuff like that. Such a fun day. Oh ya! Oh Wednesday after SM we stopped by the office with the AP's and they gave me a few letters. Haha mom I finally got the dear elder you sent my first night in the MTC! I guess you sent it to the mission :) and I got one from Emi. SO great. Ahh She is so solid. And I got a package from Kari Rich! Such a great surprise! So many great snacks!!! Like those little squeeze apple sauces and fruit rolls ups and the works. We seriously have the best ward ever. Oh my. Did you get the Rich's Christmas card yet?! HAHAHHAH next level. I opened it with the Ap's sitting right there and they were laughing so hard. I love that family so much. Their Christmas card never disappoints...

Oh Christie! One of my batch-mate's trainer knows you! Haha in the workshop he heard that I was from San Diego and saw my last name was Richmond. He asked if I knew you. ummm yessss!!! haha Elder Hausia? I will put a pic on skydrive that we took so you could see who I'm talking about. He is on the BYU rugby team. Haha I asked him if he has ever stayed at our house since there were like 3 times that some of the team came down. But he hasn't haha that would've been funny.
Let's see... what else? On Saturday the other sisters in our ward had a baptism! 5 people got baptized! So exciting! We went and the 6 missionaries in our ward sang. It was neat. Not like baptisms back home, but the spirit was there! Most definitely!

This week we didn't teach a whole lot because of our Naga trip and weekly planning and the baptism so I don't know what to update you on. We still have some really great progressing investigators. Jessie Lou and her husband are still preparing to get married so they can be baptized!!!!!! Jenavie is still so solid. I reaaaly love those 2 ladies. They have such hard lives but still try so hard and have such great faith and they are just wonderful!

I have thought of a few things to tell you though.

1- I have finally decided what it sounds like when all these guys try to yell to us in English. It's just like Mad Gab! Haha I'm gonna be so good at that game after trying to figure out what they are saying for a year and a half! So you all can expect an intense game of mad gab when I get home. Dibs being on Dad and Christie's team. Anyone who hasn't played that... DO IT!!! Best game ever.

2- The bread stands here are such a temptation. They are just everywhere with fresh bread and ahh it's so good. And it's only 1 peso for a little piece, that's like 2 cents or something. I stop a few times a day haha. They are small I promise! But that's one thing I already know I will miss! Having little snack stands everywhere! So convenient.

3- Speaking of convenient... if you are a BYU student... get ready for fall 2015! Sister Taylor and I have already decided we will be opening a padyak service on campus haha. They are so convenient! You're just walkin down the road and decide you need to go somewhere that is kinda far to walk, yell padyak, and you have like 5 people bike over to you and drop you wherever you need to go. So nice. And it's only 5 peso! Maybe like 10 cents in America?? No not even. I can't do math right now. 43 peso equals a dollar I think. Either way... CHEAP.

4- When we walk down in Centro, like the town part of Tigaon, we always have EVERYONE yelling to us or waving. Half of the time we don't even know where the voices are coming from. For sure use the slogan from Madagascar, "smile and wave boys, smile and wave," and I think it's working out just fine!

5- Tin roofs and rain are a terrible combination when trying to teach people. Especially when it is raining sooo hard. That's all I have to say about that.

K one quick story. There is a guy in our ward and he is so funny. He has some mental issues and I never really knew what but we were talking with him the other night and he told us. When he was 12 he fell out of a coconut tree and was in a comma for 3 months. So sad. But he is seriously like the happiest guy you will EVER meet. Always so excited to see the missionaries. We saw him when we were meeting with a less active. He came in and was telling us this and then we were all just talking. He is so blunt haha. He asked the less active "Why haven't you gone to the temple with your husband?! Don't you want your family to be sealed for eternity???" haha And he was speaking in English so just imagine that mad gab edition. She just started laughing luckily or it could've gotten way more awkward. Haha I am really getting to know and love a lot of these people in our ward.
Well that is all I got! haha I know. Too long. Sorry! Just such a fun week!

I hope everyone has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Remember what this season is all about! I know that the Savior paid the price for all of us. It is through Him that we can return to live with each other and with God and Jesus Christ again. There is no greater gift than that! I know that Christ lives. He is our older brother. He knows EVERYTHING we are going through because he has been there. We are so lucky to have this time to focus on him and remember all that He has done for us.This IS the true church. I have been so blessed through my membership in it. I couldn't think of something that gives us so many blessings. I am grateful for all that I have been blessed with, which I am realizing is so much more than a lot of people can even imagine. I have such an amazing family and I am grateful to all of you for your amazing example and love and support. I CAN'T WAIT TO SKYPE YOU IN 2 DAYS!!!!! AHHHHH

Merry Christmas!
Love, Sister Richmond

1- Emi's baptism
2- Naga trip
3- Emi's baptism
4- Package from Kari
5- Daniel emailed me... finally!
6- Christmas week!
7- Emi's baptism
8- Progressing investigators
9- Skype this week
10- Ice cream!

Jessica obviously isn't home so she unfortunately 
wasn't able to be at Emi's Baptism, but she asked 
me to put these pictures up on the blog to celebrate 
what an amazing blessing it is that Emi 
was able to be baptized today! 12/22/2013

Jessica's Christmas Card!

FHE. They go hard.

Just your average pot of pasta

We did an FHE at a less-active's house and they invited so many people! So fun.

Playing some Filipino game called handa kilos.

My homies

Corn fields! We run past these every morning.


First ice cream of 3 in our day in Naga

Some of my batch at new missionary workshop

The elder who knows Christie and his trainee, Elder Denning from my MTC district.

Some members who worked with us in Naga

The sister who knows the Cravens




Never been so happy with my happy meal!

Slumber Party in Naga!!!!

The California missionaries at the Christmas Party!

My whole Provo MTC batch at the Christmas party!!!

Cutting onions is just as painful in the Philippines!

Watching the district... but that's as close as we get.

Practicing for our ward Christmas party. Missionary Performance!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jessica's Tenth Email! December 15th, 2013

Hello!!!! Wow this week seriously FLEW by! I feel like I was just emailing you. It wasn't superrr eventful, but I have a few things to tell you.

First of all, it sounds like the funeral went well. I am so glad. It was a kinda rough week not being with you all after hearing about Grandpa, but I have again realized how powerful prayer can be. I am trying to work in a way that would make Grandpa proud. I know that this is where he would want me and he has ALWAYS been such an example of a great missionary.

So the other night, maybe Tuesday?? Sister Taylor and I were in a lesson. The phone started ringing and I pulled it out to silence it. It was president! Haha I didn't know that was out of the ordinary but Sister Taylor said that has never happened. So after the lesson we hurried and called him back but no answer. The next 15 minutes were VERY long until he called back haha. We were thinking of all the things that could be wrong. Not a good idea haha. But when he called back it was to see how I was doing because he had heard about Grandpa. It was so nice of him! He and his wife are seriously so thoughtful. I love them so much!

Then on Thursday night we had a family home evening planned with this family. They live SUPER far away. We stopped and got some tinapay (bread) for the treat. So we got there after about 30 minutes on the padyak. It was such a creepy ride over there cause it's just this long dark road with jungle on both sides. We knew this guy was gonna drop us off and we'd be walking back in the dark for like an hour. I hate to say this, but luckily they weren't home haha. So we called the padyak driver back and got back on. We felt really bad cause it was gonna be like an hour of him biking round trip. So we decided to offer him some of the bread. Me being the American that I am, not really knowing Tagalog, offered him some pinatay... death. Sister Taylor was laughing and was like NO NO tinapay!!! haha... this language. SO I had said, would you like some death?? As if that ride wasn't scary enough to begin with. Good going sister Richmond.

I have decided what the hardest rule from the missionary handbook is to follow... no holding babies!!!!! Ahhh I can't tell you how awful it is! Especially when we teach Jenavie. Her baby tries the whole time to get on our laps and she is so precious and ahhhh. It's rough. Hope all the babies back home are doing well. I miss them so much!!!

Did I tell you that I am getting eaten ALIVE out here?!?! Cause I am!!! Part of me really hopes it's not mosquitos because of the diseases they carry, but part of me really hopes it is because the thought of me sleeping and having all sorts of weird spiders crawling on me makes me want to cry. Either way though, I wake up with so many new bites every day. Mostly just on my legs and feet. And yes, I do use that terra shield stuff mom haha.

So yesterday on the way to church we had this old padyak driver. He was probably in his 60's (If anyone over 60 is reading this... I don't think you're old. It's just old to have your career be biking people around all day). So the whole way to church he kept pointing to us and yelling as we would pass big groups of people, "beautiful girls in my sidecar!" haha it was so funny. Apparently they think that in America a padyak would be called a sidecar so they always yell that to us, or taxi. These people are pretty funny haha.

OH MY! Let me tell you about yesterday. Miracle central!!!! Haha so first was church. We had some of our investigators there again!!! Jessie Lou and her kids, Jenavie and her kids, Rizza and baby, and twins who are like 12 or so. Super exciting!!! The kids weren't as crazy this time haha so that was good.
Then the Christmas Devotional was broadcast at our stake center. It was last week in America. If you didn't watch it, watch it! It was so good! And so fun to hear English haha. So at church we invited Jenavie and Jessie Lou. We told them we would walk by and get them on our way to the church. Our bishop is a jeepnie driver so for stake stuff he always drives everyone for free which is so nice! So we stopped by and got them. They live right across the street from each other. Jenavie just had her baby and Jessie Lou had both of her kids. We were heading to the church when Jessie Lou's husband rode up on his padyak and asked where we were going. We told him and he asked if he could come too. Ummmm YES!!!! Haha we were so excited. So their whole family came! It was great. It was in English but they were loving it. They wrote down all the speaker’s names and were asking where the temple was and all this stuff. It was AMAZING.
Ok let me back up a little. We have been teaching Jessie Lou for about 3 weeks. We've taught her husband once too. Well earlier last week we found out her husband isn't actually her husband. It was just her when we found out that they had never been married and so we asked why and she said she doesn't want to. MIRACLE: We taught her and her husband the next day and she said she decided to get married and is excited because then she can continue preparing for baptism. Um does it get any better than that?! We have a wedding to plan! Haha sooo excited. They are going to be sealed, I just know it. I love that family so much.

Last night we got to the Devo almost an hour before it started. Jessie Lou and Jenavie started talking to the sister missionaries in front of us and they (Jessie Lou and Jenavie) were literally just like bearing testimony to them (Other sister missionaries). It was unreal. They (Jessie Lou and Jenavie) were saying that they are so much happier now that they go to church and their lives are changed. They were ranting about how much they love us and how we are angels in their life and all this stuff. After about 30 minutes we felt bad that our investigators were being so perfect in front of the other sister missionaries so we kinda tried to change the subject. But I think it's safe to say they are excited to get baptized haha. I love them both so much!

Alright. Well that's about all I've got this week. I love you all so much. I pray for you all the time. I hope you are all happy and healthy. Have a great week for me!!! Kill it on finals everybody!!! I LOVE AND MISS YOU TONS!!!!!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Christmas devotional
2. Found a really yummy bakery
3. Golden investigators!
4. Didn't wake up till 5am today!
5. Wedding planning comin up
6. Zone training
7. Christmas is in 9 days
8. Emails from all of you
9. Found the cutest and cheapest baby item for Christie's future baby (Hint hint.) (Just to clarify, I am not pregnant! haha She put in a letter to me that it’s for when we have our first baby. -Christie)
10. The work is BOOMING here! 6 new investigators this week


 Takin care of business

Legit HUGE

 Took this one for Elder Jamas Wible party boy. 
Pretty sure they just have party bread to hide the mold.

 Gettin festive in da Philippines

 Sister Taylor and I have scary similar handwriting. Did a little test.

 Going to Christmas devo in the bishop's jeepnie


 Classic jeepnie ride

 Random young women in the stake

 Our investigators who came to Christmas devo with us! 
Jenavie on the left and Jessie Lou and Ronal on the right.

 For anyone who is like I was a mere 4 weeks ago... 
This is what it looks like to hand wash all of your clothes.

This guy was less than excited about his SAN DIEGO shirt! 
He probably just bought it at a resale place. 
Oh well. Made my day!

Pictures from Sister Taylor's Camera: