Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jessica's Seventh Email, FIRST EMAIL FROM NAGA, November 24th, 2013

Hello family! I live in the Philippines. So insane. It is crazy here!! So fun that you all are together for Thanksgiving!! Isn't it in like a week though?? How did you all get out of so much school? Haha nice work. Welcome home Stephen! The homecoming festivities all sounded fun! Tell him I said congrats! I hope Audz is having a fun time up at the cabin!

So I will start with the travels! It was a way fun time! I was with Sister Moulton the whole time. Some others in our travel group were not having as good a time, but we made it a party!! It was so good to talk to you at the airport mom and dad!! So after Salt Lake we went to Seattle, Tokyo, and Manila. All our layovers were like less than an hour but don't you worry! I still managed to get good food at every stop! So we got to Manila around midnight I think. I don't know. The day's time was all weird. But we got to Manila and went to a SUPER nice hotel! I shared a room with Sister Moulton. Driving there was the scariest thing of my life! Lanes here mean nothing and I am yet to see a stop sign or traffic light. On the way to the hotel there was a 5 lane round about. SO SKETCHY! Haha I legit thought I was going to die. But anyway, slept, then got up and headed back to the airport the next morning to fly to Naga. Our flight was delayed so we had a nice long wait in the airport. I started talking to this nun by us and in no time we were BFF's. By the time I left to get on my flight she had a pass along card in hand haha. So funny. Great lady.

So then we flew to Naga on a very awful little plane. I got so sick haha. At the Naga airport the office elders were waiting for us. They drove us to the mission home, again thought I was going to die. We got there and the new missionaries from the Manila MTC were there finishing up orientation stuff. We met President and Sister Reeder and they told us to just rest until dinner. So much down time. SO nice! So then the Manila MTC missionaries left and it was just the 7 of us from the Provo MTC. We ate dinner with the president and his wife and their daughter and her husband who were visiting. After dinner they let us send you those videos. I had just been saying my mom is the type who would probably call the office a lot to ask different things. Right then you replied to the video I sent so it was pretty funny. After that we went to bed at like 8. The next day we had orientation stuff and then we ate lunch with all of the trainers, but we didn't know which was ours. I said a prayer that mine was Sister Taylor. Not really sure if that's good but.. Prayers are answered! She is soooo awesome! She is from Montrose, Colorado. She went to a year of BYU also but is a year ahead so we just overlapped Fall 2012. She has been out 8 months. I love her!! My first morning she made me pancakes and she lets me eat PB&J a lot!! YAY! So we met our companions and then we left. Our area is like an hour and a half or a 2 hour bus ride from the mission home in Naga. So we took the bus, then a Padyak. (Like the bike/bench type things they have at the stadium but a lot more ghetto!) We got home and President told us to just rest and unpack then go to bed early. So that was Thursday and since Friday we have just been living the missionary life!

The living conditions are so different. When you see the pictures of our house you will probably think it is awful. It is not. We are SO blessed. Other than the mission home, ours is the nicest I have been in since getting here. We have a bedroom with two bunks because another companionship lives with us. Then we have 2 rooms, 1 for each companionship. That's where we keep all our clothes. It's like a private dressing room when I'm being positive haha. Our bathroom is.. hmmm. We have a spout with cold water and a bucket. This is our shower. I don't know if I'll ever get used to cold showers but the bucket thing isn't as bad as I thought it would be. The toilet is just like the bottom part of a toilet so to flush you take the shower bucket and pour that water down the toilet. It's not as bad as it sounds. Most of the houses we teach in are cement floor, wood and makeshift walls, maybe one mattress, and that's about it. It's so sad. We live on a paved road but most of the neighborhoods are just a thin dirt path that kinda winds around with all the little houses randomly throughout. So to get to some of our investigators we walk on a log across a stream or walk through mud and we pass these pigs everyday that smell so awful. So the living conditions are much different but we really are SO fortunate with our house.

Less fortunate are the chickens that are EVERYWHERE! They are so loud night and day which makes teaching hard. I don't sleep much anyway. I'm hoping it's just jet-lag. I fall asleep super quickly but then I wake up at like 4 and can't sleep again. I get a lot of dishes done and crunches and stuff so it's not all bad.

Sister Taylor has been in this area (Tigaon) for a while so EVERYONE knows her. They all yell when we pass heyyy sisters. SO many people stare because we are two Americans. It is absurd. They call us sister barbies haha. So funny. Oh! If you want to look at her blog it is and I'll send you her Skydrive link in case we have different pictures.

Yesterday was stake conference. It was so great because they talked a lot about members helping missionaries! So hopefully that helps us get more referrals because we really need to focus right now on finding how to increase our teaching pool. But before church we were doing personal study and someone knocked. We went to get the door and there were like 10 little kids haha. Like really young. Some probably like 5. It was like the neighborhood gang hahah. Sis Taylor said they used to always ask them to teach them so they came over to go to church with us. We told them it was far away because it was stake conference. They left. Half way through stake conference the mob of little kids came in haha. They had taken the bus or a jeepnie or something all the way alone! That's how it is here though. There are always like the youngest kids just walking around. I'm still not sure how they know how to get home. Luckily though stake conference was already chaotic enough so nobody noticed them. Every seat was taken and there were like 30 people standing along the walls and outside and stuff. And this was no small chapel! I was shocked. I thought it would be so small. Sister Taylor said our ward is, but the stake is HUGE.Our bishop and some of the ward members are jeepnie drivers so they all just met at the church and piled in their jeepnies to get to stake conference. We had to go early so we took the bus but on the way home we went in one. Haha it was so packed. I love it.

Teaching has been going well. For now I have mostly just been listening, trying to keep up. Sister Taylor is super good about translating for me! And she has me testify a lot and stuff. The language is hard but I know I will get it. Yesterday I asked one of our investigators to be baptized and she said yes! The date is Jan 30 so we will see! She is a really cute girl. I think like 9 or so. We went to see a less active family. A ton of people here have a Tindihan and then live behind it, so that's what they do. It's just like a little shop that sells food and stuff. Throughout our lesson people kept on coming in and stuff so we'd have to stop haha. Then some people came inside to eat so there were like 5 men listening to our lesson. Kinda weird, but that's just how it is. It's a fun culture. So much going on. All the time! And families all live together like grandparents, cousins, everyone. SO it's fun.
If anyone was wondering, diet coke is not allowed in this mission haha. So that's a challenge. We drink tang a lot, dad, your favorite!!! Haha I told Sister Taylor your traumatic tang story. I laugh every time I drink it.

Ok!!! Well I hope you all know that I am happy! I love it here. I love being a missionary. It's hard sometimes, and I am still adjusting, But I know that the Lord will help me through it all! I loved reading all of your emails today so thank you. You can send Dear Elders and they print them here in the office and give them to us! The mail is reliable here, it just takes awhile. Like 3 weeks usually. So feel free to send letters! :) Okay, I love you!!! Have a great week and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I am so blessed to have the family that I do. You're such a support to me.

Love, Sister Richmond

Train station in Provo


Sis Moulton and Stettler

Japan Bound

That's me kneeling on the floor asleep with my head on the seat and Sis Moulton sleeping on my head


Headed to Manila

Classy Christmas - Manila edition

Fancy Hotel

Manila Hotel

Leaving for Naga

That's the whole thing

Almost to our house!

Pancakes for Breakfast!

Riding home from Adult Session

I made her a birthday chain from the chain thing from Sister Galvin!

Our House

Neighbor's house

Living Room

I don't know why this is in our house haha

Dressing room. Risked my life for this picture.

During a teaching appointment they thought it was a good idea to bring out
 their pet mouse that they caught in their house.

Right by an investigators house

Walking to an appointment. SO PRETTY.

No Clue

Rice Fields





Other companionship's study area

Dining room

This is how all the electricity is here... wish me luck

Up there is the two changing rooms


Our desk area