I was feeling pretty down on Thanksgiving feeling badly for myself because you were all together eating real food and all of that. We went to teach this nanay (mom/ grandma) and she was blind in one eye. She is Catholic and we were talking to her about prayer. I can pick up on some Tagalog and I heard her say that she is so grateful for the trials God has given her. She is blind. I cannot even imagine how hard that must be when you have to walk through muddy hills and trees and all sorts of things just to get to her house. I realized how blessed I am and she's the one thanking God for her trials. This is when I realized I need to suck it up. These people don't get to leave in 16 months and go back to La Jolla. This is their life. These things that I feel like I can't get through (showers, bugs, etc.) are thing that they deal with everyday and will continue to deal with. I'm grateful that God is placing these people in our path and I really am learning so much from them.
We did, however, make the most of Thanksgiving here. Sis Taylor and I made a feast and the other 2 sisters in our house are from Fiji and Manila, so they didn't understand haha. But we taught them all about Thanksgiving! And we kept up tradition by going around the table and saying what we are thankful for. We made mashed potatoes, green beans, chicken, and bought soe rolls. It was the best!!! AND, for dessert, I had a pumpkin bar that Heidi Hachtman sent me in the MTC. Almost like a nice slice of pumpkin pie haha. Almost. While we were eating there was a brownout. Same thing as a blackout but they call them brownouts here and they happen all the time. Luckily it only lasted a few minutes so we could get on with the feast!!! There have been like 8 maybe since I got here. They are annoying haha. There was one the other night and Sis Taylor and I both woke up cause it was so hot without the fans. Like SO hot. Didn't really matter though cause I haven't had a full night of sleep since I got here. I usually wake up at 5 and do some dishes or something. Hindi Mabuti (not good) but hopefully it doesn't last for the next year and a half! I'm soooo tired haha.
Okay there are a few things here that I know would kill you dad! There are cross-dressers everywhere!!! It's horrible haha. You would also not be pleased with motorcycle safety here. Nobody wears helmets and there are whole families on one motorcycle. Like a dad driving, then a mom just holding a newborn, and a few kids stuffed between them. It is insane. And lastly, the dogs. Ahh they are the worst. Worse than Molly! They bark at us all the time. It's terrifying.
So as I mentioned, my Tagalog is struggling haha. I have said some embarrassing things. Two that happened during lessons were especially bad. I was trying to say that my family is the most beautiful gift I have been given. Kindaaaa forgot the gift so we ended up with something like I have the most beautiful family. Hopefully they just can't understand at all because of my accent. Another was a closing prayer of a lesson. I thought I said we love you very much... turns out I said we love us very much. So I guess Tagalog is just making me really conceited or something.
There are a few culture things I have noticed that I'll tell ya about. One- for some reason everyone will be talking totally normal but then the second they start to say a prayer they start whispering so quietly. I just have to sit and watch them until they stop talking so I know when to say amen. Another thing is the nursing. Oh my! The moms just start nursing anywhere, anytime, in front of anyone. It's kind of awkward sometimes haha. The poor elders!! Another thing is that not everything translates over so nicely. We went to a member’s house and his shirt was the most inappropriate shirt I think I've ever seen in my life haha. And he had no idea. The whole play on words thing was missed I think. Everyone in the town yells at us because we are the only foreigners in the town, it's a pretty small town too. They try to use English so they say one of these things, seesterssss!!! OR good morning! (No matter what time of day it is haha) or they just yell I love you babyy!! It's funny. When it gets annoying I just remember, at least they're not spitting on us or something! Another thing they do here is bless older people. So sometimes when we go to shake a kid's hand they grab it and touch it to their forehead to bless us. It's pretty cute haha.
We stared running in the mornings!!! There is the most beautiful little road that we run out on with nothing around but green fields and beautiful trees and all sorts of pretty plants. I love it! Hopefully it will make it so I don't get fat from only eating carbs. OH! We did laundry for the first time.... washboard, bucket, clothesline. Like for real. Haha I love washing machines so much. I never knew hand washing was so much work. When your tag says hand wash only, ignore it! So not worth it haha. And it takes forever to dry here. But it's all good!! I think I'll be a laundry pro in no time!! The other day we were walking down the street and I heard a rebelution song! Ahh it was so nice haha. Usually we just hear like Miley Cyrus or dumb music, but hearing that was nice.
So yesterday was my first Sunday in the ward because last week was stake conference! They had me bear my testimony haha. Short and sweet!! I really gotta learn Tagalog! But the ward is no 7th ward, let me tell ya!! I know that it will grow on me but it's hard coming from such a strong ward. I recognized almost everyone from our less active visits!! To give you an idea of what I mean, the "returning members" include the elder’s quorum president, relief society president, and counselor to the bishop (and he's the only counselor). The young men and young women's presidents are both around 17 or 18. It's so different. But I know that if we work as hard as we can, we can strengthen this ward! And that is one reason we are here in Tigaon! We have been working really hard. We taught 23 lessons this week and that's after a lot of people punted us (had an appt but they weren't there). A few weeks ago in Madison's email home she wrote about how Sunday is like the playoffs in missionary life. You work so hard during the week to get people to church on Sunday and then you just gotta wait and see who shows up. SO true. Well let me tell ya, we lost BAD yesterday haha. It was so disappointing. We had so many people commit to come to church and nobody did. It was sad. They will come, you'll see!!!! Mom! One of our investigators is named Jessie Lou! That's what you always call me so it was funny when she introduced herself. We just started teaching her on Friday. I think she's a promising one!! She's awesome and she actually read like she said she would. Nobody does that!!! Another investigator is Phillip. He is from Australia but is married to a Filipino. They wanted us to stop by their daughter's first birthday party the other day. His wife's mom is less active so we went cause we could meet her and it would be perfect. Well we got there and there was a little bit of drinking going on so we turned to leave but Phillip called us over. Okay there was a lot of drinking haha he was quite drunk. He started saying all this stuff about how we can't give up on him and how he's not silly, he knows we want him to become Mormon, and how we should keep coming to teach because he will come around eventually hahahha. He doesn't remember anything from the party, he told us the next day. Greatttt. But don't you worry! We're not going anywhere haha. Chris! We have used that wood plan of salvation thing you gave me a few times! It's a big hit haha. Thank you so much.
Okay 2 more things about Sundays. Church is a mixture of English, Tagalog, and Bicol (the dialect here) so that makes it even harder. And, I have realized these last 2 months that I am a big believer of Sunday naps! Haha It just doesn't feel right being awake on a Sunday afternoon. Oh well. It's good! We get to go teach so that's better.
Mom and Grandma! We decorated for Christmas! Thank you both for your decorations!! I love the Santa head from Grandma and the advent calendars are so fun mom! Thanks!!!
Okay quick story from last night. We were going to contact a referral and there was like a full on rave in the middle of the neighborhood! But all little kids. Then the next neighborhood... and the next. So weird. Just your average Sunday night raves I guess? But when we finally got to the house it was too loud to teach. Sis Taylor was talking to the lady to reschedule so I was standing right behind her. About 30 kids just came up and circled us and were just staring. They were asking me all sorts of things in Tagalog and I just stood there. Then I went to shake one of their hands and not even exaggerating, all 30 of them grabbed my hand haha. It was a mixture of really cute and really weird. All I can say is good thing I've always got my hand sanitizer!
A lot of you asked about the food. We just eat at home, never at member's houses or anything, so it's not too bad because we choose what we eat. We mostly eat eggs and potatoes, or pasta with this really good basil sauce Sister Taylor makes. We'll find more things I like I hope, for her sake at least haha. I'm trying! I promise!
Okay I was reading a conference talk and found this and really liked it. It's president Uchtdorf, "First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." Really though! It's easy to get doubting why you do certain things but just remember what you believe and the rest will come easier! And the M. Russell Ballard quote I mentioned a few weeks ago. From Oct 2013 conference, "Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities." Such a good one. Sharing the gospel can be scary but I really believe that this is true. I have never prayed so much as I have these past 2 weeks and I know that is what is helping me love the work.
I totally forgot top 10 last week. Sorry!
1. Thanksgiving dinner
2. The kids
3. Sister Taylor's help
4. Rained a few days so it wasn't too hot
6. Jessie Lou- new investigator
7. Emails from all my favorite people
8. Learning my way around Tigaon
9. Getting to know investigators better
10- Deep cleaned for 3 hours this morning so the house doesn't creep me out as much now!
Okay I love you all so much!!!! Thanks for your love and support. You are the best!
Love, Sister Richmond
So we were going to take a way cute Christmas picture but totally covered the tree.
And we tried self timer but some man came to our rescue. Fail of a picture.
I ate it. Eww never. The other two in our house did though.
One of our investigators, Maricar, and her kids and mom
Here Piggy Piggy
Smelled so bad. We walk past this every time we go to Mary Jane's.
Mary Jane's House
A boy climbing a tree to get us some fresh coconuts haha
Dad and the boys would be in coconut heaven
This is how we get to one of our investigator's houses. Killer when it's raining!!!
Keeping track of my bites haha
Legit how people get around. This is called a Jeepnie
Their form of security. Glass shards cemented to the top of a wall
You buy drinks in the bag here
The other 2 sisters we live with. Left- from Philippines. Right- from Fiji.
Big fans of Thanksgiving.
Narrow barb wire fence lined pathways, rain, and a wide umbrella make for some struggles.
Church building 5 minutes later... bipolar weather
Sister Taylor is playing for the primary program so we had practice yesterday haha.
First ride on a tricie. Its a motorcycle with a little side-cart.
Risking my life to rid our house of the awful spider webs.