Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 39: What time is it?! Summer time! And everyone is on vacation.... Except the missionaries. Woohoo!

So yup. The subject of this email basically sums up the whole experience that we had this week. 

Monday: P-DAY! honestly I don't know what I would do without p-days. I just might go craaaazy. Thank goodness for p-days. We had an FHE and that was super fun. We played a game and me and Sister M. lost and the punishment was that everyone got to throw baby powder in our faces. fun fun. But they were worried that it wouldn't show up on my face because I'm "so white" haha. good joke. 

Tuesday: Ok Tuesday was awesome and it also feels like it was a bazillion years ago. One of the new mission rules is that the Sister Training Leaders are in charge of the workshop every third Tuesday of the month. That means that me and Sister L. got to have some fun. Our workshop was on using time wisely. But we were soooooooooo tired of the cliche practice teaching that we felt like mixing things up. So we did a boot camp. And it was AWESOME. We split up the districts and then gave them a list of 10 things to do and told them that they had 20 minutes to do everything. The each zone leader was in charge of a district and they were like the drill sergeants and their job was to actually slow down the districts. So it was super fun. They all succeeded and they learned a lot in the process. The other requirement, not only did they have to do everything in 20 minutes but they had to be unified in everything. Needless to say, that was the awesomest workshop ever and I have no idea how we're gonna top that next month… 

But the work afterwards was a bit of a downer because the punted-ness all started up. We went and taught Sister Le. and then we walked and walked and walked and walked.... aaaaand walked. Because no one was home and because it was so hot, no one was outside. The other appointment we had that day was with Brother B. and that was a good lesson too. Patay. 

Wednesday: We went out and worked in the morning and taught C. who is a recent convert. He is a dancer and he's really good but because of that he can never go to church. So we'll see what happens with him. In the afternoon we switched up our normal plans to see what would work. We went and taught Sister P. first and that was fun. And then we went to visit Sister E. who we hadn't taught for a while. We taught her and extended a goal date to her and she accepted. Then we went and taught Sister Li. And then we taught Sister D. M. and the P. family. And we didn't ride in a tricycle at all. We just walked and walked. You know you've done a lot of walking when the members start saying that you've lost weight. Which they totally do here.

Thursday: Another punted day but that was mostly our fault. We decided we were gonna spend the whole day finding. We didn't plan on it being hotter than ever. But we did find a new less active. His name is N. and he's 20 years old. He was baptized back in 2007 and he became less active because all his friends went less active or moved away. So that's what happened. We're gonna try to get him to come back too. We also went and taught Sister Le. again and then went and taught Brother B. again.

Friday: We finally had a member come work with us. And we went and taught Brother T. He's the one that we don't know if he's a member or not. And that lesson was the funniest thing ever. We tried to teach him the Book of Mormon intro and he kept trying to translate everything we said into Ilokano bahaha super funny. The look on Brother A.'s face was hilarious. We went and got punted again and then went and taught Sister D. M. again. And then were just punted until the end of the night. Woohoo.

Saturday: We went and taught P. and M. again and told them to go to church. Then we went and crashed a birthday party. We didn't know anyone there. We just walked up to a group of 20 year olds and stood there awkwardly smiling at them (Elder C. style) and they told us to come in and sit down and eat some spaghetti. Ok sounds good. Can we teach you as well? Of course! Yes hahaha sounds good to me. We got 7 new investigators out of that one hour and it might have just been because I'm white but they did actually listen. And then after that lesson we went to 7/11 and got slurpees as a reward haha 

We then went and taught Sister F. and then went to the church and attended the baptism of Sister J. and Sister V.'s investigator. It was good. And then we had a meeting right after that and during the meeting, the rain started. And not just sprinking. Pouring. And we didn't have umbrellas. but that was ok. We just were stuck in the church until 9 and then we went straight home. That was it.

Sunday: We did everything we could to get investigators and less actives to church but! it wasn't enough. They didn't want to come. And so i've decided that Sundays are the most stressful days of the week. Missionaries have to worry about EVERYTHING on Sundays. The members, the investigators, the less actives, the stats, and sometimes to top it all off we have to give surprise talks or play the piano or be the chorister. Man. It's pretty exhausting. But that's ok. We worked after church and went to Sister Le.'s again and shared with her and then went and taught Sister D. M. And then we went to one appointment and got two new investigators, Sister P. and Sister Lei. They're awesome. And then ended the night at the Po.'s and they fed us pancit. It was a good day.

The whole week was fun and interesting but in the end we learned a lot. So yeah. But this next week is not gonna be like that. I refuse to be punted again... So yeah :)

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. 
Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 38: Just stare at the ground and keep walking. Or look up! that's an even better option. Just don't look straight ahead because it is Holy Week here in Bataan, Philippines...

This week was very very interesting. It was also very successful but yeah. Holy Week is an interesting thing here… 

Monday: monday was my companion's birthday. So it was a lot of fun. We did our normal p-day thing. Partied it up, you know. At 5 we went out to work just like every p-day and we went to Brother C's house and taught him. He's an interesting kid. If you didn't know, filipinos are really really good at dancing. And Brother C is a recent convert who is on a dance team. And because of that, he doesn't have any time. After the lesson to Brother C, we went to a family home evening at the home of our recent convert, Le. It was a ton of fun. And then we got to eat a ton of food :) I love the Philippines.

Tuesday: District meeting! That was a lot of fun. i like our zone. After district meeting we went and got Shawarma. Remember on the Avenger's at the end when Iron Man says that he saw a Shawarma sign and he thought they should go get some after the big battle was over? Well Shawarma is actually a filipino food and it's super yummy. It's kind of like a pita wrap but nevertheless, they are delicious. I ate two :) yummmm. After that we actually got the chance to meet up with the Cobb family. Brother (used to be Elder) Cobb was
wearing weird normal clothes and his mom was super nice and gave us all hugs and we all took pictures with them. I'm sure you've all seen them by now. They're a very sweet group of people. Then we went home and took a 15 minute nap and went out and worked. We first went and visited Sister Li. We taught her about the plan of Salvation. I love teaching that to recent converts because it has so much more significance to them now. They know that it's true and that all they need to do now is endure to the end and then everything's gonna be ok. it's awesome. And then after that lesson we were super punted. Dangit. but that's ok. We just went around and talked to everyone but EVERYONE was BUSY. Patay. But we did get to teach Sister P's daughter and son. Her daughter's name is Pr and she's 21 and her son is M and he's 20 but honestly you'd think he was 16... he's super immature and loves joking around. But we taught them anyways and now they both have goal dates for baptisms. Woohoo!

Wednesday: We went out in the morning and taught Brother J who is a die-hard Catholic. He's also a member of the Catholic church's choir. He's invited me to join them multiple times. Not gonna happen but thanks for the invite. Anyways, we taught him the word of wisdom and he was funny about it because he said he would live it. That's the weird thing about him. He knows all the stuff we teach him is true but he doesn't want to become Mormon because he's Catholic. Or that's what he says... Interesting. 

After teaching him we went back home and ate lunch. And then went right back out into the heat. 

We visited Brother T who is someone who contacted us on the street and said he was Mormon when he was a little kid. So we said we'd come back and visit him. And we finally did. We taught him Lesson 1 and he said he vaguely remembered it. He's kind of old and we're still trying to figure out if he's an actual member or not… 

Then we went and visited Sister Le again and taught her. She fed us fish balls which are super duper yummy. Then she brought her neighbor, D over and we taught him. He's super nice and wants us to teach him. So we did. And he said when he knows that what we teach is true, he'll be baptized. ok sounds good to me :)

We then went and taught Sister D M who is another recent convert. That lesson was interesting. After that we walked to the next appointment and taught the P family. 

Thursday: If you're ever here in Bataan in Holy Week you will see decorations of huge crosses. You will also see people crawling around in the street with bandannas covering their heads, shirtless, and people hitting them with a rubber strap. You will also see more men walking around shirtless, with a bandanna on their head, tied to a cross. And last but not least, more men walking down the streets, shirtless, whipping themselves and getting blood on everything.

But anyways, Thursday was another punted day. But we still got some lessons in. We found Sister M J who thinks that the only people who go to church are those that have sins. We also taught Sister Li again and Sister P and Brother M and then we went and visited Brother B. 

Friday: Good Friday. Me and Sister L went to Balanga for a leadership meeting. Yes! And the meeting was really good. I learned a lot. Then we came back and worked and I've got to speed this up because we're almost out of time. We went and taught Sister Le's husband D and that was interesting because he was drunk haha but it was fun. And then we taught some other lessons

Saturday: good good good

Sunday: It was fun and we got to teach Le's daughter, J and she was good too.

So yeah. Sorry. But this week was interesting and I'm so glad that I'm here. I love this work and I love the Filipino people when they're not doing crazy things to themselves. Yup.

Thank you for everything. Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess 

Week 37: I am now a member of Sunset High School..... hahahaha juuuust kidding. That's never gonna happen. Even though I'm now in Apollo ward, once an Aloha Warrior, always an Aloha Warrior :)

Man oh man. Lets just say that sometimes transfers are a very very very good thing.

I am now in a different city. And my new companion is Sister M, a Tongan from Alaska. I've got my first American companion! WOW! It's super fun but I've realized just how Filipino I've become. It's pretty weird.

So my week in review...
Monday:We had p-day and it was really fun. Last day with all four of us and so we went and had fun together. We did a family home evening and yup. Just had fun.

Tuesday:This day was interesting because we were all really preoccupied with the idea of transfer calls. We went out and worked and both W and D worked with us. We visited some investigators and I honestly don't remember the whole day. But at the end of the day we ended up in Balintabog with those crazy kids. On the way there both W and D told me that they had the feeling that I was gonna be transferred. But I didn't feel anything so I just shrugged it off. And then Sister T kept texting us and freaking out because we hadn't got the text yet and I was freaking out every time she texted because I thought it was the ZLs. And then they finally did text. And I got transferred :) I wasn't sure how I would feel about it but the initial reaction was just a big YES! and then I sighed a big huge sigh of relief. I think if I had stayed there one more transfer I might have gone crazy... So we headed home and I started packing and didn't get to bed until 12:30 that night.

Wednesday: We got up at 5:30 and headed to the victory bus station. We got on the bus and rode all the way to Olongapo. Then we got off that one and rode another bus. And then we got on a trike and went to Pizza Hut. Man oh man I miss American pizza. It was soooooo good. Then we went to the apartment. We went out and worked and taught Sister L who got baptized on Sunday. She's super sweet but all the people that we visited kept saying that they miss Sister Ma a lot. I don't blame them. She was here for a really long time. But the people here are really nice. This area is way different from my last ones because it's kind of like a city. But it's cool.

Thursday: Went out exploring the new area again. I got to meet Brother H Z who is the son of L. He's really funny and he told me that I need to only speak Tagalog to him and he will only speak English to me so he can have practice. Ok sounds good to me :) His family is great too. We also taught G, one of our 17 year old boy investigators. He's super funny. The whole day, everyone was shocked by my Tagalog. 

Friday: We went back to Sister L's house and visited some less-actives too. The less-actives here are really progressing which is weird but awesome and they're all gonna return next month :) yesss. 

Saturday: First session and second session of General Conference. i looooove General Conference. I learn so much every single time. 

Afterwards, we went and visited the B family who are less-actives too and are super funny. Brother B is a college professor and super smart. We talked about the different languages here in the Philippines for a while. Did you know there are more than 97 different languages in the Philippines? it's super awesome. 

Sunday: General Conference again. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk and Elder Bednar's talk. Soooo good. After church we had L's baptism. She was super happy and so are we. And now I'm sitting here writing all of you.

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ and I know that families can be together forever in this church. I love this work so much and I can see how much it has blessed my life. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. I love you all

Mahal ko kayo! Ingat kayo palagi!
-Sister Hess

Week 36: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Honestly, this week has been the hardest week of my whole mission. And I thought the 12 week training was hard.... Nope. Apparently, Heavenly Father still thinks that I'm not humble enough and that I need to improve faster.

I guess I didn't really tell anyone about my week 40 either. I'll just say it was good and that I learned a lot. If I say everything that happened this email will take me 3 hours to write. 

So week 41.... it was super interesting. 

Monday: So for March we had a goal of getting 200 baptisms or more in the whole mission for the whole month. We aimed high but we didn't hit 200. Instead we got our mission standard of excellence. We have 188 missionaries in this mission and we got 188 baptisms. Woohoo! So we all got to go the mission home. Every missionary here. It was so happy. We had a giant water fight and watched 17 Miracles and ate Lechon Baboy which is one of those giant pigs that they roasted on a spit. It was a lot of fun. And we didn't get home until 9:00 that night so we didn't work.

Tuesday: This was technically our p-day. Kind of weird to have a p-day on a Tuesday but it was ok. We got everything done and went out to work. We got to teach J R, one of our recent converts. He's super funny and I honestly think of him as one of my little brothers. Then we went and taught B who is one of our recently returned less-actives. He's bi-polar I swear. He was feeling really stuck up that night so we just teased him the whole time. It was quite entertaining. 

Wednesday: We had MLC finally. Got to meet up with everyone again at the mission home. And I learned a lot. It was a lot about recognizing our weaknesses and working harder than ever before because this is the work of Salvation and Heavenly Father is hastening his work so we need to work harder too. We then went home and got to go out and work again. We went and taught Sister J again. She's really funny and doesn't really realize that a lot of the things she says are really really rude but at least it's entertaining to teach her :) Then we went and taught C (one of our investigators). She's really really quiet but promising. She just has to realize that the Born Again church isn't the true one... Then we went to teach Brother D. This is where my week started going downhill. Brother D has recently been hanging out with a whole bunch of his friends that are skaters. Not sure what exactly has happened but he doesn't want us to teach him anymore. He says he's happy he met us but he says that it's probably not his time right now to become Mormon so he's going to return to how he used to be and wait until he's ready. WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Why did I just spend all this time caring about you and praying for you and fasting for you and teaching you, just to have to throw it all away? And then I got really sad and mad at the same time. 

Thursday: Still pretty mad and steamed up. But I got through the day. We went and contacted a bunch of referrals from the zone leaders. They weren't actually home but we got to teach members of their families. They're all so awesome and so promising and I'm so excited to teach the actual referrals haha We also taught L and he's doing pretty good. He still has a coffee problem but we're working on that with him. Then we went and taught the Balintabog kids and played with them again. 

Friday: We had a district meeting and this one was fun. And afterwards, we went to this burger place and got Yolanda burgers. Those things are HUGE. It's a three layer bun with hot dog, ham, two patties, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, egg, and a bunch of other stuff. The bun is maybe 6 inches across. And I finished that thing in 20 minutes :) hehe yessss it was so good. We went back out to work and contacted more referrals and had more fun.

Saturday: We got to go watch the women's broadcast and it was really good. I learned a lot from that too. Then we went out to work but we were sooooooooooooo punted. We taught the S family and that was fun but now our area is nearing the finals of their basketball season so EVERYONE was at the plaza watching the game. So we wandered and tried to find.... Unsuccessfully.

Sunday: I love sundays. Went to church and it was fine. Got to do a MCM afterwards. We then went out and actually got to contact one of the referrals. She just wants us to make her mormon right here and right now. YES. That's what Im' talking about haha so yeah. And then it started pouring rain. So yup. Completing my day in the best way :) (no that's not sarcasm). 

That was my week. Now that I look back it wasn't that bad. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts. I love you all. Keep smiling. 

Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess

Week 35: A personal email to Mom

Hello Mother dearest.

No I am not breaking any rules but yes, we are here in a computer shop on a Saturday night.

Just because we got 200 baptisms this month and we are going to have a MISSION activity on Monday so they told us to email now.

This week has been good. I probably won't be getting transferred. Please pray for me. I've got a big job ahead of me.

So yeah. And no D didn't get baptized this week. I'm not giving up on him.

So yup. That was a very very short recap of this week. Everything's good. Still working hard. I love you all.

Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess
p.s. you'll get more info in two weeks haha :)

Week 34: I almost got a pregnant cat thrown on me and I saw a spider the size of my hand. No joke.

Well.... Good morning everyone. How are you all? How is life over there (wherever you all are)?
This week has been interesting and... yeah... interesting. That's all I'm gonna say about it.

Monday: P-day. Just normal. No one was home so we went and taught E, our recent convert and that whole lesson just swatted at mosquitoes so they wouldn't bite us :P 

Tuesday: We headed to the District Meeting and then I got to hold a meeting with the ZLs and the DLs too. So after that, we went out to work. And I was on exchanges with Sister T. I love that girl. She's so awesome. We went straight out and started finding right away. We found one part member family and taught
them and they're very promising. We then joined up with our Branch Mission Leader and kept finding. It was so much fun. We also went and taught the O family and D and also the S girls. It was just a good day and super fun. And at the end of the day when the ZLs called to check in, I got to tell them that we got 3 new
investigators. Woohoo!

Wednesday: Me and Sister T went out in the morning and taught Sister P. Then in the afternoon we went out and found again. We found a new investigator named J and taught her and her 91 year old grandpa. That was fun. Then we went and found another member of the T family that we hadn't taught yet and we taught her. Evey time we go over there to teach them we find another member of their family that we haven't taught yet (all the others are mysteriously not home) and we teach them. Now we've taught 4 members of that family and there are more that we still haven't met yet. Then we went and taught the So. family again. The kittens all tried to follow us out again haha We walked to Balintabog and taught the little kids there too.
Brother D was home so we went and taught him too. He's starting to realize that his baptism is coming up really soon. He doesn't seem too excited about it. And he won't tell us why. 3 new investigators from

Thursday: Went back and taught the part member family that we taught on Tuesday. They're super receptive. They have an old lady that lives there and her name is S G. She is the funniest little old
lady ever. On Tuesday, it turns out, she had actually been there, just sitting in the other room, because she wasn't feeling good and listening. And then she let us teach her and we extended all of them a BGD and they all accepted. We then continued finding and found two other older ladies and taught them. After that we taught D again and are trying to get him ready for his baptism too. That day we got 4 new investigators.
Friday: We went out in the morning and taught J D who is an old less-active. He's the funniest little old man ever. We went back later that day and taught J. Her aunt was there and she would not stop going on and on about how cute I was and how good I was at Tagalog. And then she said she wants me to become her
daughter-in-law.... Oh dear... And then she admitted to us that she was drunk. hahaha man oh man that was a funny lesson. We taught her and her daughter and J and her grandpa. I've never had anyone offer their sons to me before... that was an experience. We then went to visit Sister G. Now this trip was really annoying. Sister G is my baptist friend who is married to a Canadian and thinks I'm a tourist. Yup. We've taught her before but apparently she didn't listen because whenever we go over to visit her she doesn't want to be taught. She just wants to compare America and the Philippines and tell me all the English swear words that she knows... Ok, sounds good. We won't be going back to visit you though. We then went and taught the So. family again and went to Balintabog again. Super fun. 3 new investigators again.
Saturday: Saturday wasn't as productive as the rest of the week because we got invited to a wedding of the older brother of our branch mission leader. And Filipino weddings are soooooooooooooo fun. And
there's so much food. But we still got to teach some lessons. We taught Sister M and Sister G S again. Then we taught L, one of our referrals. We also went to visit D to teach him and his mother told us that
he couldn't be baptized. What?! Apparently she could give permission for him to be taught and permission for him to go to church but he couldn't be baptized without the permission of his dad. Dangit. So
that's one baptism that's not gonna happen this month. Then we went and taught the S girls again. And then went on over to Brother D's house.

We got over there and reviewed the baptismal interview questions. Then we gave him the BCR and asked him to sign and he asked what it was and when I explained that he was giving us permission to baptize him he adamantly exclaimed that he wasn't going to be baptized. He said that he's not ready yet and then still wouldn't say why.

Sunday: We went to church and there was Brother D. We attended and I texted the ZLs and told them that they shouldn't come to the church because Brother D wasn't going to be baptized. Elder R. our ZL asked to talk to him on the phone and he did and the verdict was the Elder R would be coming anyways to interview him. So he did. And then we found out afterwards that the reason why Brother D wasn't ready to be baptized. The good news is that he can still be baptized soon. Woohoo! So yeah. and work was good too on Sunday.

That's a total of 14 new investigators in one week and on that happy note, I'm going to say goodbye until next week and ingat kayo palagi.

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Hess

Week 33: Just keep swimming just keep swimming.... wait. I'm halfway done?! WHAAAA?!

Well... This week has been very interesting. As I've started to realize every week is in San Agustin. 

Monday: As you all know, we got the chance to go to Mt. Samat which was awesome.

Tuesday: We had our half kind of p-day and then got to go out and work. We went out and were soooooo punted. We only got to teach one appointment to D and that was fun and then we went and visited Brother D. And guess what?! He had stopped smoking on Saturday and hadn't smoked since! YES! He learned that if you really want to do something, it's not that hard to do it. And so yes, he is going to be baptized on the 29th. 

Wednesday: We decided that if we were going to be punted we were going to contact all the referrals we had received the week before (and there were lots of them). We first we contacted was Sister R and her friend E and E's 14 year old daughter M(1). They're awesome. We just did how to begin teaching to them and set up a return appointment and they were very receptive and I'm very excited to go back and teach them. After that we went and visited the S family and they're still doing good. They have 3 little orange kittens. The littlest one is like my best friend and I call her my baby. She sits on my lap during the lessons and just purrs :) After that lesson we went and contacted our other referral and she's awesome too. Her name is M(2) and she actually was taught by the elders back when she was 17 years old. She is now 29 and she really wants to find the truth. Good thing we're there, because we've got it :) Then we went to Balintabog and taught all the little kids there and then played some games with them. I love all those kids. They're all recent converts and they're all so strong in the church even though they're only 11-14 years old. They are the future of the church. 

Thursday: We had our cooking demo and mission president interviews. The cooking demo was good and fun and we got to do interviews with President Q and with Elder and Sister D. My first interview was with the D's and they asked a lot of really good questions and it was super cool because I got to see how much I've grown here in the mission. I've been out for 9 months and I'm now halfway done and even though that is such a short amount of time, it's amazing to see the improvement. My interview with President was good too. He just basically encouraged me to keep it up and keep doing my best.He's such a great guy. After that was over we went out and worked again. We were punted again though.... So we went and taught D about LOC. That was fun haha because we're 20 year old girls and he is only a 14 year old boy that is very shy haha And then we visited the Su girls who are less-active. They're coming back to church though so that's great :) They're sooooo funny. I love them and love visiting them.

Friday: We went and visited the S family again and I almost got to take my baby kitten home with me (it's not allowed... Dangit). Then we went and taught Sister M(2) again. She's so amazing and prepared. I extended a baptismal date to her and she accepted, no questions asked. And then we went and taught Brother D lesson 3. We ended up I2L-ing his older brother who likes to talk to us all the time and then we got him to let us set a return appointment to actually teach him. Woohoo! We're just convert their whole family, I think :)

Saturday: We went to the Adult Session of District conference which was awesome. One of the members of the quorum of the 70s was there and he spoke. It was great and we learned a lot. Afterwards we all went back out to work but our stomachs hurt really badly so we stayed at home for a little bit and then went back out. We taught Brother D's older brother JC and it was a lot of fun. I really like that family because they make me feel like I'm at home. They're all quirky and weird and hilarious. 

Sunday: We went to Liozon for District Conference. It was a lot of fun and all the youth in our branch had gotten a choir together. They were really good but they refused to smile because they were told to focus on the music. They looked so bored and even angry and because we were sitting in the front row, I spent the whole time trying to get them to smile. It was really fun and I succeeded with a few. YES. haha And then we went home, ate dinner and took a super quick nap and then went back out to work. We taught Sister B and she's fine. Happy like she always is and a little bit shy but she's warming up to us. And then we went and taught the Balintabog kids again. We also got to teach three of their little friends. Super fun. After that we went to Brother W's house and got to eat dinner. His mom is an amazing cook. I love Filipino food. 
So yeah. That was this week. Fun and successful and just fun. 

And now I would like to announce that I am officially halfway done with my mission. It's gone by so fast and I'm still super happy here. I love you all. Thank you for all your love and support and prayers. Have a great week!

Ingat kayo! Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess