Monday, January 27, 2014

Jessica's Sixteenth Email! January 26th, 2014

This week FLEW by. I can't believe it's already p-day.

I got packages from mom, Christie, Brit Man, and Aunt Shelley!!! The AP's told us on Friday they were passing through and had dropped our packages at the Zone leaders apt. So Saturday morning for exercise time we ran there. It's a little farther than the normal run, SO WORTH IT!! Haha oh.. and we ended up padyaking home :) Couldn't carry all of our stuff!!! Brit sent me the funniest shirt that says, "sorry mister, I'm a sister," and a great CD. Also the cutest pictures of Junie and Everett and caramels and ahh it was perfect! Aunt Shelley sent me the cutest pillow case!!! I've never seen anything as well-made in stores so I'm gonna assume she sewed it. It is incredible! Ahh we have such a great family. Can't wait for more antique shopping days while Mads is at work again one day! :) Dad. Your sisters are so talented!! There were also cute craft things and valentines cards and I was not left out of the notepad club!! I have my very own Richmond notepads. Thank you Aunt Shelley!! Mommmm. Your package. Oh my! Everything I could hope and dream for. Cookie Butter. The best!!! So much good stuff in one box! I love how you wrote Tagalog on the box! So magalinggg!!!! Christie! Angel! Thanks for the g's and oils and ahhh so much more. So pumped on those American flag hair ties! Just discrete enough to rock em!!! Haha and I was just saying the other day how I miss my little whiteboard because it's so convenient. And bam! Now I've got one. You are the best. Thank you all so much! I also got Christmas cards from the Heaps and Neris! All the Christmas cards this year have been so classy! Love them. Sister Bertha is always so great about sending Dear Elders. So fun to read! And a few more from missionary friends. Such a good week! Sister Taylor's mom is a genius! She sent pizza crust and pizza toppings and sauce and even string cheese!!! So last night we had a pizza party, it was the best. Forgot how much I love cheese!!! JK- I think about cheese everyday :)

Okay so this week was INCREDIBLE. We worked SO HARD. Like hardly took any time for lunch and dinner. We were just going the whole week! I think that's why it went by so quickly! We decided to change our daily goals this week. We made them more realistic and it really pushed us to meet our goals! We set goals we knew were reachable, and promised God we would work our hardest to reach them! And guess what, he made them happen! We actually surpassed our goals! We had 28 lessons and our average is usually around 19 probably. Also 5 new SOLID investigators. I have really big hopes for them! These people who usually hide from us invited us right in and let us teach them. We made a promise and God made miracles happen to reach our goals. So fun to see. We were walking the other night after being shocked at how much we were able to teach this week and we said, power week. Power miracles! I want to make every week for the rest of my mission a power week! We were even blessed with more energy than usual! It was great!

Another amazing thing! Our investigator Jenavie had her baptismal interview yesterday!!!!! Her baptism is scheduled for this Saturday! She is so amazing. She has 4 kids and has really just embraced this gospel. It is fun because I have been here since lesson 1 so I have really been able to see the changes she's made. I love her! So hopefully next week she will be a member of this wonderful church! She has a testimony and she is ready! Please pray that all goes as planned! :)
There is a scripture that our mission president quotes a lot. It is Jacob 6:12 and it says, "O be wise, what can I say more?" The scriptures are so full of simple scriptures that can have such an impact on people! Be wise everybody, it's that easy!!!

This was such a good food week! Not only did we have the pizza party, but we had so much other good food! Made homemade salsa. We are addicted to making roti, like a homemade tortilla. This morning we enjoyed pancakes with peanut butter and nutella. YUM!!! We had breakfast burritos one night. Ya... not the same without cheese, but still so good!!!!

Have I told you about the dogs here?? Terrifying! They are everywhere! Oh my gosh. We always hold our umbrellas for protection cause ya never know when they're coming! They are vicious. Dad, I know Nugget has really taken your heart, but I think you will still be pleased to hear that I will NEVER have a dog. Sorry in advance to my children. Haha don't worry Christie. I love Nugs! But these dogs have really made me hate all other dogs. Really scary!

One more thing I randomly thought about this week. I think one thing I miss the most is sewing! Sometimes we see people sewing and I just miss it so much! So Casey, you're in luck cause you might even be able to talk me into sewing more shop aprons when I get home... maybe! Haha

Hmm what else. Okay this email is just a bunch of random stuff haha. Sorry. Yesterday the whole time we were at church there was a brownout. Luckily is was a cool day so it didn't matter that the fans were off! But it was so different without a microphone haha. It's still weird to get used to the power just shutting off for hours at a time sometimes.

I think this about sums up my week! Lots of hard work and lots of miracles! Thanks for all your prayers and support! I am a lucky girl to have a family like you! I miss you all soooo much, but I know this is where I am supposed to be! And how much greater will be our reunion! Don't worry. I promise I'm not thinking about that! haha. I am so happy to be a missionary! I love you all. Hope you had fun in Colorado, Casey and dad! Have a wonderful week!!! Read your scriptures, serve others, and strengthen your relationship with our Father in Heaven who has given us EVERYTHING!!!!!

Love, Sister Richmond (JRICH)

Top 10
1. Packages!
2. The handwritten cards from everyone in the family!!
3. When Sister Taylor and I sing God Bless America for companionship study.
4. Started reading the B.O.M. in Tagalog. Hoping to finish by the time I come home haha. It's way longer!
5. Our new matching dresses.
6. Got Sister Taylor re-addicted to chapstick so I'm not alone with my problem!
8. Jenavie should be baptized in 5 days!!! Ohhh whattttt?!??!
9. Great food!
10. I am a missionary and get to wear the name of Christ on me everyday!

 Trying to be friends with these animals.
 I think they were like lambs or goats or something??

 FHE activity at the Malates!

 Gettin into it. This is the counselor in the bishopric and his fam.

 The former bishop of the ward and his wife.

 We had a contest

  Our FHE was quite a hit

 Part way up the volcano, Mount Isarog

 hahah cheesy pic by a beautiful flower

 Spreadin the good word!

 Homemade tortillas, called roti. And homemade salsa!


 My lil friend

 This one's for Casey. Coke Zero HOLLAAAAA. 
Not diet coke.. but next best thing??

 Busy busy busy. Hah my letters that have been accumulating. 
Time to send!

 Just being really cute companions haha. 
Found these matching dresses for a bargain deal. 
Less than 5 American dollars! Whaaa Whattttt

Tried to capture Centro while being discrete. 
Here is the main road in Tigaon!

 Padyak and our favorite bakery in the background!

 Shopppin centaaaa. Kinda like the mall?? haha

 After a nice long run to the Zone leaders to pick up our mail.


 My room isn't normally so messy! I swear!

 Shirt from Brit hahah

Amazing pillow case from my amazing aunt! 
Thanks Shelley!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jessica's Fifteenth Email! January 19th, 2014

Hello! It was such a wonderful week here in beautiful Tigaon! I really do love it here more and more every week. Although this place is wonderful, there are of course things I am not crazy about. Mostly just the animals. This week's horror stories are about rats and mice, my favorites! :)

SO on Monday night I believe, Sister Taylor and I were walking to an appointment down this dark street. I felt something under my shoe right as I heard the squeak. Not a good combo!!!! I kicked off my shoe and sprinted (as fast as you can go hopping on one leg) down the street screaming as we saw a huge rat run away. Not cool! Quite traumatic actually haha. Sister Taylor was laughing saying how all the bad stuff always happens to me. (Shall we reflect on the LIZARD falling on my foot?!) Haha But I pulled myself together and we continued on. Just had to remember what I had read in mom's emails earlier that day about how brave I have become. Haha not true but trying to live up to your expectations!

Well... later that night disaster struck again! The 4 of us sisters all got in bed, 10:27pm. After about 2 minutes of us laying there with the light off there was a very distinct squeak. NO!! Haha Sister Taylor said, "What was that?" Then I said, "What was that?" And lastly Sister Prakash said, "What was that?" Once we realized it wasn't any of us joking around we rapidly used our cell phone as a flashlight. It sounded like it was coming from under my bed so I quickly did some acrobatics and managed to get over to Sister P's bed without touching the ground. Sister Taylor managed to get the light on and sure enough, our little friend was under my bed. Probably trying to get to my bin of snacks from the motherland! Don't worry, sealed up real nice! So then Sister Ronquillo (The Filipina) managed to get it out of the room. We set some traps and woke up to 2 mice in them. We have caught a few more since then. We will win this fight! I hate them so much haha. So that was quite the exciting night.

Now before I walk into any room in our house I always stomp and clap and stuff to warn the mice and lizards to go away. Sister Taylor said I'm like the step mom in the parent trap when they are camping with the sticks haha. Better safe than sorry though!

So this week we had exchanges and zone conference! Exchanges were good. I worked here in Tigaon with one of the sister training leaders, Sister Horst. She went to BYU also! She was fun. I was leading the area that day which was cool. And we had two sisters, Ruth and Rebecca work with us. I love them! Their testimonies are amazing. Always such a strength to our lessons. Rebecca worked with Sister Taylor and I again later on in the week. So fun. I missed Sister Taylor during exchanges though and realized how much I need to enjoy these next few weeks! It was a good time though and I learned a lot from Sister Horst. Always good to see different perspectives on ways to teach and all of that.
The next day was zone conference so we just met back up in Goa. President and Sister Reeder and the Assistants were there. So fun when all the missionaries are together! SO powerful. The conference was good. We learned a lot and we are really going to try to focus on teaching more families! The Philippines needs more priesthood holders! Zone conference means Mail time!!!! Oh my. The best! I had a package from Hanna Watkins!! SO sweet of her! And Christmas cards from the Murphys, Circuits, Hachtmans, and one from Hunter's grandparents! Cutest families ever! Oh my. They are all hanging on my wall. I don't know how to say this except for 7th ward is legit haha. I love our ward! So fun to see all those cute kids everyday. Can't wait to see them all again one day! I also got some letters from missionaries! Madison, Megan, and Elder Rock! Oh my. I love reading about their stories. The work really is hastening. Almost all of my friends are on missions right now. Such an exciting time! Also at zone conference the Assistants gave me some awesome souvenirs that I had them get for me in another part of the mission. They are for the boyzzz of the fam. Get pumped haha.
This week we had the elders go with us to one of our less actives house for a blessing. It is kinda a trek over there but we made it fun haha. We were singing hymns cause it's in the middle of nowhere. Tried the EFY medley. Didn't really work haha. The priesthood is such an amazing thing. I am so grateful for all of the times that the priesthood has blessed my life!

This week we got a ward mission leader! We haven't had once since I got here. He just turned 21 last week. He will be great! Really dedicated to helping out the work! Callings here are so different haha. Wasn't Phil Wing the ward mission leader in our ward before he went to the single's ward bishopric? Who is it now? Do everything you can to help them out!!! :) They need the member's help!

We did 2 service projects this week! The first one Sister Taylor and I organized and our whole district came so there were 12 of us. It ended up being pretty legit! We went to the palanki, or like the public market down in centro, and we cleaned all the gutters which contain fish/meat parts, trash, and all sorts of awful stuff. Mostly Sister T and I did a way good job taking pictures and fetching tools for the elders hahaha. We tried to help but they are just too hardworking! Based on the fact that every person in centro was just staring at us, I think it's safe to say we raised community awareness of the missionaries! haha. It smelled so awful, but it's always fun to serve! The elders loved it because normally the service projects aren't really legit and planned out. And the guy we coordinated with gave us snacks at the end :)

The other service project was this morning! It was Sister Taylor and I and then 4 elders from our district. We went to one of their investigator's houses and planted a field of seeds. He said they are going to be some sort of vegetable I think. It was fun! We all rode out there on a tricie! It is a Motorcycle with an enclosed side cart thing and you just pile as many people on as you can. We had us plus the driver and one other guy. I looked at the motorcycle and it said Kawasaki CT100. From my knowledge of motorcycles (which isn't much) I really don't know how that thing can go like 30 MPH with all of us on it. Usually they sound like they are struggling big time. But still! I took some pictures to try and capture what they are like, but I don't think they do it justice. The driver has to like sit on the gas tank because 2 people sit sideways on the seat behind him. It's kinda sketch.

Last night we were at a lesson and they fed us the greatest merrienda after! My favorite like roll thing. I think it might be like a banana bread muffin or something. They also had royal (orange soda) and this sticky coconut rice stuff. We were loving it, then we got superrrr full haha. I finished and thought I was gonna throw up. Sister Taylor still had a little left of both. When the mom looked away she grabbed the rest of her roll thing and quickly set it on my plate. haha I was like ahhhh no haha. But she was so funny and sly about it that I couldn't stop laughing. Luckily the baby was making funny faces so the mom thought I was laughing at that! Haha. A few weeks ago a lady gave us like a mayo sandwich thing. Two pieces of bread just smothered with flavored mayo. I told Sister Taylor I couldn't do it and I would do area book if she would eat it haha. When the lady wasn't looking she grabbed mine and charged it like a champ. So at least when I covered for her it was delicious food! Haha the joys of our companionship, everything works out somehow!

K one last thing. The weather! It has been so nice! But I will be honest, there have been a few times when Sister T and I have gotten a little chilly. Karma for making fun of everyone last week I guess. I even borrowed her hoodie during weekly planning! We haven't used our fans in like 2 weeks. It's pretty weird. But anyway, a lot of people are getting sick. And here a fever is called a lugnut or something like that. People keep saying they have a lugnut and I get so confused because I'm pretty sure in America that is like a mechanical part or something?? Not really sure but it takes me a second to realize what they are saying! Oh Tagalog...

Okay I have a friend serving in Manila and last week he was emailing me about how the Philippines is like a dirty version of Disneyland. His description was SO funny and SO accurate. I don't know if you will get it but maybe someone who has been to the Philippines will read this and appreciate how funny it is. Here it goes:
They have Jeepney's and trikes which are like the rides, I was thinking like Indiana Jones.
They have a bunch of places where you can get food.
They have fireworks.
They have people in costumes (The students).
They have parades (Funerals).
Green Trees and weird animals.
The homeless people that sweep the street are the workers that clean up trash.
And there are a bunch of people you can't understand.

Haha alrighty fam. Sorry, kinda a long email :) I love you all so much!! Read your scriptures! Think of ways you can be a member missionary! Thanks for your love and support! Have a wonderful week! I love you all so much and miss you tons. But I love being a missionary and wouldn't want to be anywhere else! Have fun in Colorado!!!!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10:
1. Austin has had his permit for over 4 months now and my family is still alive! (Joking audz. How is the driving going though??)
2. Mail from some of my favorites this week!
4. When Christie signs her emails -LaKrust
5. Zone conference
6. Ward mission leader
7. Service projects
8. Our ONE investigator who came to church. At least there is always Jenavie :)
9. Best merienda yet
10. I live in a beautiful country

Members working with us. 
Ruth and Rebecca. LOVE THEM!

 Exchanges with Sister Horst

 MAIL!!!! I have the best friends!

 When the ATM only has 100's. HOLLAAAAA

 Christmas wall lookin good!

 They <3 stickers!


 I think they're like potatoes!

 Yepppp... actually got cold in the Philippines

 Our fave cake

 Thanks Kari!!!

 One of our many little friends

 This is what happens when people ask us to teach their kids. 
WHYY?! That boy under the blanket is supposed to be our investigator.

 This is how I feel about him

 And this is how Sister Taylor feels

 And then there is his younger brother.


 On our way to service. 8 people on 1 tricie.
 It's like a motorcycle with a little sidecar.

 Zone Leaders spot on the tricie

 My fanny pack. 
Yep I really wear this everyday. The life

 Plantin a fields of seeds

 The man whose field we planted