Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jessica's Nineteenth Email! Third Transfer! February 16th, 2014

Hello everyone! It was quite the week here in Tigaon. Sister Taylor is down closer to Naga I think and I have a new companion. Her name is Sister Simpson. She is 20 years old. From Fiji. Really happy... all the time... about everything. Which is so shocking to me because she just lost her dad a few weeks ago. She is a good example to me about dealing with hard situations and I think I will learn a lot from her. She is my follow-up trainer. But since I was in Tigaon, I am leading the area. Which is a lot harder of a task than I thought haha. Obviously she doesn't really know too many people yet, so I have to lead all the planning. Have legit backups for every hour of every day. And know how to get around to everywhere we need to go. Kinda stressful at times but it has been such a good learning experience for me. I have had to learn to rely on the guidance of the spirit so much more in the last week. I miss Sister Taylor and this has been a hard adjustment, so I have prayed more than I could imagine for help, charity, and patience. I am really seeing the blessings from God so clearly. It's so powerful when you pray with such real intent knowing that the absolute only way to keep going is through the help of the Lord and His atonement. I have learned that the atonement is so powerful in so many ways, not just when we mess up. Christ knows all the little things that we go through daily. He knows when your companion says "oh my goulie" (vegetable in Tagalog) just a few too many times and you want to cry haha. He knows it all. He has been there. And He has been there for me and for you and for everyone. I am so grateful for Him. It's really the only way to go through life and learn to "endure to the end". 

Okay so on Monday night, my last night with Sister Taylor, we decided we had to eat Balut... (Partially developed embryo in the egg that you eat with the beak and all.) I had promised I would before we were split up. She already has once before but she's awesome so she did it with me again. And the other 2 sisters in our house. It was horrible. Got a 5 minute video of me gagging for you. Shocking, I know. Internet here is horrible though so my guess is that you will be seeing that when I get home haha. But hey, now I never have to eat it again! Sister Taylor just kept saying "4 minutes of pain, and an eternity of fame!" Haha oh Sister Taylor...

Mom she also told me that I am the best shopper she knows, so I figure that will make you proud. She said if I want something, I will go to all ends until I find it. Haha I am probably not a good influence on her, but when you can buy a hammock for 2 American dollars, I mean... come on! You just gotta!

So on Tuesday morning we headed down to NAGA for transfer announcements. On the bus there was this guy like 3 rows in front of us. We were in the back row so it's like a foot higher than the rest. He whipped out his iPhone and switched his camera to be like the selfie way. And he literally held it up and zoomed in on us and started taking pictures. Ummm soooo creepy hahah. We were like waving like hello! We can obviously see you! But that didn't stop him. So I had plenty of time to get my own camera out and capture the moment. Haha sometimes being a white person in the Philippines is just really weird. Especially because now that Sister Taylor is gone I am 99% sure that I am the only white female living in all of Tigaon. It's funny.

So we got down to Naga and had some time so we hit up PIZZZZZA HUTTT. You know the one... like with the CHEESE?!?! (They do not have cheese normally in the Philippines at all, so she never gets to eat it.) ahhh dairy. It will be such a sweet reunion. K ADD. So we ate and then headed to the church. Really stressful when you are like the 5th to last name to be called. So you stand up and they say your companions name. And apparently it's switched up on the paper. So President and both the AP's stand up and are like wait! That's wrong. So they have a little pow-wow up front trying to figure out who my companion is! And meanwhile I was just super awkwardly standing in front of everyone... in the front row... alone because Sister Taylor had already gone to sit by her companion. And you would not believe the tension in that room. Haha already such a stressful 30 minutes. But then! After like a minute they sorted it out and yep... Sister Simpson!

Okay so the bus ride back was crazy. I was speaking Tagalog! I started talking to the guy next to me, a dad of 3. Got his info to give to the elders in that area. My Tagalog has gotten way better this week from leading! I think just because I've had to be the one to start all the conversations with all the people who we teach because I know them. But the gift of tongues is real. I feel so much more confident now in my Tagalog! It's insane. In just one week. And I am now officially out of training! That means only one hour of companionship study now instead of 2 which is nice because we have more time to teach. We got a crazy amount of lessons in this week. It was fun to teach a lot.

Also this week I finished reading the Book of Mormon!! Yayyy. Such a powerful book. It blows me away the difference that prayer can play in reading the Book of Mormon. I got so much more out of it this time than ever before and I know that it is because I prayed earnestly before every time I read for an understanding and a love of the book. I know that my prayers were answered. When you read with real intent and do the things that it says to do in Moroni 10:3-5 I know that Moroni's promise is fulfilled. Even as members of the church, if we follow the outline given to us in those verses, our testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon will be strengthened. It's so awesome.

Okay one quick story. We had an appointment with a less active. Trekked through some rice fields to his house only to get to the house right beside his and see him so drunk. Wearing this like camo trench coat thing. Dancing. Then he saw us and quickly turned around and pulled the top of the coat over his head like trying to hide from us. But just stood in the same place. It was so hard not to laugh haha. So we started talking to the neighbor whose house he was at and he seemed like he could use the gospel in his life because duhhh... everyone can. So we started to teach him... he was so hard to teach. Just tried to Bible Bash the whole time. So after a little while we figured we had wasted enough time so we just said we would come back another time and then we left. The whole lesson though our drunk little member friend was like yelling "oh yes! Praise the Lord!" "He is Risen!" and all these things that I think they would yell out in other churches haha. It's clearly been a while since he went to church. Oh ya and he's like in his 60's. At least it was a good laugh afterwards.

Last transfer we didn't have ANY changes in our district. This time, every single companionship changed. One comp stayed and one left in each companionship. Our district is way fun now! Especially with our new district leader! It's Elder Hausia! The guy Christie knows from BYU! He is so funny. Our district meeting was like a stand up comedy act. There is also an elder in our district now from Sandy, Utah. He went to the same high school as some of my good friends from BYU and knows them super well. The Mormon world is such a small world haha. I love it.

Church yesterday was good! We left our apartment like an hour early and just booked it fast-walking all around Tigaon at a ton of less active and investigator's houses to remind them about church. It paid off because our less active count at church was way high and we even had 5 investigators at church. Such a miracle. I was also fortunate enough to give a talk at church. Eight minute warning before sacrament meeting haha. It's a good thing they don't print programs here because you really just never know... But I spoke on strengthening families. I think it went OKAY for no preparation haha.

Overall it was a good week! Change is hard, but that is just the life of a missionary and I will just have to learn to live with it!! Thank you all for your love and support. You are in my prayers. Stay safe and share the gospel! You will be blessed. I PROMISE!

Have a wonderful week and I think you have the day off school tomorrow so enjoy it! LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!

Mahal Kita,
Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Finished the Book of Mormon
2. Out of Training
3. Started a new diet plan so I won't be fat anymore
4. Ate Balut so I never have to do that again
5. Church attendance yesterday
6. Tagalog is improving so much more
7. Most of the week was pretty bearable weather
8. Found some solid new investigators
9. Pizza hut
10. Transfer announcements- always fun to be in a room full of missionaries!

 FHE with two of my fave neighborhood girls

 Jeanavie's kids

 Another successful FHE at the Abay's

 She is the reason that not holding babies is hard <3

Nanay Abay

 Last time teaching with Sister Taylor


My lil' pal

 You can't even see most of the people in this picture haha

 Accidental self timer shot.
 But I thought I'd put it on here for proof for 
mom that I really ate Balut.

Heading to Naga

 Sketchy being on the back row cause it's elevated. 
Coulda slid right out!


 American snacks make the world go round.

 And then the elders hopped on board about 40 minutes into our journey. 
What a nice surprise!

 Bus ride

 The creepy guy "discretely" taking our picture

 Pizza Hut

 Pure Joy

 The biggest store I have been to in the Philippines. 
Like a real life grocery store!!!!

 So insane

 Elder Davis in his final moments as AP

 Biggest transfer announcement in Naga Mission History!

 Sad Moment

 Sister Taylor and I with our new Companions

 Even got president in the background

 Meet Sister Simpson!

Goa zone with President and Sister Reeder, and the Assistants at Zone training

 The bus ride back with the Elders

 They go all out for the 1st birthday!


 Rizza, one of our investigators.
 And her son at his birthday

Yep... I ate it. Nope... I have no idea what it is

At the Bongats

 Valentine's day

Valentine's card from my little friend Erica

 The new district!

 Another uki uki find. The same as one American Dollar

Long story... This picture was for sister Taylor

 Scary when Brother Gerald has you eat at his house!

 Brother Gerald and his creation. Yum?

 A family we just started teaching

 The Zape's came to church!!!

The twins... back at it!!!

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