Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 15: How Can I Keep from Singing?

Man I am so happy right now. Thank you for all the birthday wishes and prayers. This past week has been hard and rewarding all in one. There is always room for improvement and there are always opportunities to improve. I'm so thankful for that. 

I'm also thankful that Heavenly Father protects his missionaries. In case you didn't know, there's a super typhoon going on right now in the Philippines but it's not in my mission. The other day we were at a signal 1 which means that there's only really really strong wind. In other places in the Philippines it's at a signal 4... Super scary stuff.

So anyways, this week has been fun. As we've been striving to be as obedient as possible, we've been able to notice the little miracles that Heavenly Father has seen fit to bless us with. I've realized that my ability to keep a positive attitude is a great blessing in this work.

This last Saturday, we went to teach Sister I. again. Her nephew, R., has been listening to the lessons too but it's like pulling teeth with him because he always goes and hides from us because I'm white and "scary" haha so we haven't taught him in a while. But he has a girlfriend named, M., who is 18 and we've never taught her before.
When we went there on Saturday, Sister I. told us that M. wants us to teach her. I was pretty shocked, let me tell you. So we taught her the first lesson and she was super receptive. Sister L., because she's awesome like that, invited her to be baptized and she accepted. Whaa?! No concerns or anything. I was shocked again. Heavenly Father definitely prepares people for us.

We've taught her two more times since and every time Sister L. has reextended the BGD just to make sure that she was still willing to be baptized and every time she's said yes. Whoa. And! She came to church on Sunday with Sister I. I love being a missionary :)

There are many other little miracles that we've seen here every single day. Sometimes it's hard to count all of them but when we do we become more grateful and really just a lot happier.

I am so grateful to be here on my mission and to know that Heavenly Father loves me. I can tell by the little ways he takes care of me.

Hmmm what else can I tell you. Yesterday was super fun because both Sister H. and Sister E. worked with us. Sister H. is 57 and a branch missionary here. Sister E. is her 20 year old daughter. Sister E. is going to serve a mission hopefully next year and she's gonna be amazing. I keep teasing her that she's gonna get called to America and then she's gonna have to perfect her English. She is actually really good at speaking English but she thinks she has bad grammar so she sticks to Tagalog most of the time. But her testimony and her mom's testimonies are so strong. Sadly they can only work with us on Sundays because they work every other day of the week. I know that members are so important to the work. They are essential.

I know that Heavenly Father is preparing people all around us for the gospel. All we have to do is open our mouths and try to help them come unto him. Remember, if you share the gospel in the spirit of love, people won't get offended.

I love you all. Thank you so much for all your prayers and love and support. Have a great week!

Until next week,
Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

p.s. Let's add "Taylor Swift" to the list of names people have called me here haha

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 14: You're never fully dressed without a smile :)

This week has been really fun. We've been working hard and it seems like everything has re-emphasized to me how important families are. 

We've taught a lot of lessons to families this week. Sister E's husband is in town and we've taught him 3 lessons and he went to church with her on Sunday. He's told us multiple times how grateful he is for the Gospel and the blessing it's been for his family. He's not even a member yet! Hopefully he'll get baptized but it probably won't happen for a while because of his job. 

We also taught the S family this week. Sister S is a less-active and they have a really big family. 9 kids. We've been teaching them and this week we extended a BGD to Brother S and he accepted. He said his greatest dream is that all his family will be part of the same religion. 

Sister and Elder D's family came into town this week. They have twin sons, E and C. They're 9 years old and the remind me so much of my ten-year-old brother. 

Anyways, at church yesterday, both little boys bore their testimonies. It was so sweet. 

I bore my testimony too. Not sure why but I started crying at the pulpit. That never happens. I bore my testimony about families and how important they are. Namimiss ko talaga ung pamilya ko (I really miss my family) but I know that missionaries leave their families for a short time so other families can be together for eternity. I'm so grateful for the chance to serve and help other families. I love the people here so much and all i want for them is for them to be together with their families forever and experience the joy I experience through the gospel. I know that this is the true church on earth. Their isn't a doubt in my mind. I know that the Gospel blesses families and we all need to share the Gospel with our families. 

Alam ko na totoo ung simbahan ni Jesucristo. There isn't a doubt in my mind. Everyday I testify to people and strive to help them return to Heavenly Father. Shall we not go on in so great a cause? 

Thank you so much for all your prayers for me. I can feel them everyday. I love you all so much. Onward, Christian soldiers, Keep going and sharing the Gospel. The end is coming and we all need to be prepared. Kaya natin yen! (We can do it!)

Mahal na mahal ko kayo.
Until next week, 
Sister Hess

Week 13: I'm training I'm training I'm training! (Oct. 28, 2013)

So this week started out the way it normally does. P-dayworkingteaching

Tuesday - Working and anticipating finding out what's gonna happen. The text was supposed to come at 6. 6 comes around, no text. 7, no text. 7:30, text! Eeep! Freaking out over here. Sister Ja and Sister C are being transferred and Sister Je, Sister Ja, and I are all training! We walked home very fast and began packing. Sister Je and I were both freaking out. We just finished our 12 weeks and we're already training?! Paano yen?

Wednesday - We get up at 5 and travel to the mission home. In Iba, Sister C gets off at the Victory bus station. She is now a Sister Training Leader. We then continue to the mission home. Surprise surprise, Sister S, Sister T, Sister P, and Sister W are all training too! :D Happy day. Family reunion at the mission home. It's amazing to think that all of us just finished our 12 weeks and we're training already. Astig talaga yen. Sobrang masaya kami. We got paired up with our trainees. Sister L is my trainee and she is awesome. She's happy all the time like me and she learns so fast. She was quiet at first but now we're really good friends and she's not quiet anymore. 

Wednesday -  first day of work. Because I'm the trainer now, I have to do all the talking. Everyone is amazed that I can speak the language as well as I can. They always ask me how long I've been here in the Philippines and then they're shocked when I say only 3 months. Hahaha I love the looks on their faces. I am so grateful for the gift of tongues. I'd never be able to do this without my Heavenly Father. 

Thursday and Friday - pantid days, meaning that no one is home because there is an election going on right now. I learned yesterday that the candidates go from house to house.... Wow. 

Saturday - Baptism! Sister E got baptized. Before the baptism we asked her how she felt about it and she would always say "normal-lang." but after her baptism she said she felt really happy. YAY!

Sunday - We were worried that Sister E wouldn't get to the church on time because she has two little boys and she is usually late. We prayed so hard that she would get there on time and when we got there, she was already there. Heavenly Father answers prayers and she knows that the church is true :D Happy happy day

So yeah. That was this week. Hopefully this next week, people will be home. The election ends today.
I'm still happy and so glad to be serving my mission here. Missions are the most awesomest things ever :) 
So yup. Yun lang. 

Inaro kata mo haliban (I love you all in Sambal. I'm trying to learn Sambal. There are a lot of different dialects here and Sambal is what the natives speak here. Pretty darned cool)

Have a great week! Thank you for all your prayers and support.
-Sister Hess

Week 12 in the Philippines (Oct. 21, 2013)

My training is almost over! :D I cannot tell you how excited I am. 

   This past week has been good. Yes, I'm still happy. Yes, I'm still working hard. The food is still really good. The people are still really nice. And yes, I'm still really really white.

   So this week, our focus has been Sister E. She is a investigator and she is fabulous. She has two little boys and they've both got crushes on me. A is 7 at P is 5. They remind me of my little brothers. Sister E is married but her husband is working in a far away city right now so it's just her at home. It's really hard for her because not only is she running the single mom scene right now but she's also pregnant. Sobrang mahirap sa yung mga nanay dito sa Philippines. When I become a mom I'm never going to complain because I know how hard it is for moms here. And our focus has paid off. She's going to be baptized this next Saturday :) Sobrang masaya kami.

   Lets see... What else to tell you... We have transfers on the 23rd. We find out what happens tomorrow. I could either be training or have a follow-up trainer... I'm excited to see what happens.

Ummmm ano pa.... Oh! So you know how we have planning and evaluation every night? This is when Sister C tells me what I did right and what I need to improve. There were three times this last week when I didn't have anything to improve! Whoa... I think my training's almost over :D Yay yay yay yay! :D I'm so happy. So what else... Mom asked for lots of details so I'm trying to think of some...

   Hmmm  nothing else for now. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now and I'm so excited to see who I become from all my experiences. Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you all.

   Mahal na mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess (Barbie)

Week 11. "Its More Fun in the Philippines." (Oct. 14, 2013)

Hello People of the world! 

   Sister Hess here with your news from this last week here in the beautiful country of the Philippines.

   Working hard always and striving to ignore all the stares still and all the calls of "Barbie! Barbie!"

   This week has been harder than usual because of course missions are definitely not sunshine and butterflies and unicorns always. This week we didn't get to teach a lot of people because they aren't ever home. It's really frustrating but we're happy anyways because we trust in Heavenly Father and know that he will support us and that everyone will hear the Gospel in it's fullness eventually here on Earth.

   We got to watch General Conference this weekend. There were a lot of talks that I didn't get to hear but the ones that I did get to hear were amazing. I definitely agree with President Monson when he said that this was the most inspirational conference he's been to. I learned so many things. My journal is almost full of amazing quotes and inspirational things. Can't wait to get the Liahona.

   The best part of conference though was the feeling afterwards. It renewed my desire to help these people and share the gospel with them.

   So not much new to share and my time is almost up. Thank you for all your prayers and support.

   I love you all. Until next week!
-Sister Hess

Week 10. Just Keep Swimming (Oct. 7, 2013)

Magandang umaga po so inyo lahat. 

   Nagpapasalamat po ako sa opportunidad to email you all tungkol sa yung work ko dito sa Filippines. hehe
So this week has been good. Lots of work and walking.

   On Monday, we taught a referral from one of the members here. His name is Dr. N.T. and he's actually spent a lot of time living in America, in New Jersey to be exact. He is actually paralyzed in the right half of his body and has had surgery on his heart. He's an older guy. It was fun to teach him because I got to say some of the lesson in English. But at the same time it was so weird. I never thought it would be weird to say the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm just so used to saying Ang Panunumbalik ng Ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo. How odd...

   Anyways that was the fun part on Monday.

   On Tuesday, we found a family that the last missionaries had been teaching. We looked for them for forever and we finally found them. It's the E family. We taught the mom, M and her daughter, K. They're so smart and open. We asked them to be baptized and they said yes. Sana may maraming binyag on November 9th, Happy Birthday to me :) Hopefully this is the time for them to be baptized.

Hmmm what else.... Nothing absolutely amazing has happened this week. It's kind of been the same as always. We just keep working hard and sharing the gospel with everyone. Everyone still calls me Barbie but I'm used to it now. I just accept it.

   The language is still coming. Earlier this week, I did language study with Sister D, one of the senior missionaries here. I always forget how complicated Tagalog is. There are so many different ways to conjugate the root words. Wow, I am amazed that I can speak it at all haha

   So yup, that's this week. The work is so fun and so worth it. Serving a mission is the greatest blessing ever. It's so hard but it's definitely worth it.

   Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts. I love you all

   Until next week, Kapayapaan sa labas <3
-Sister Hess

Week 9 in the Philippines (Sept. 30, 2013)

soooooooooooo I love it here. The Philippines is one amazing place to be.

   This week has been really good. Kaunti lang mahirap dahil walang tubig sa apartment namin pero we just keep smiling :)

   The work is always fun and now that I'm becoming more comfortable here it's easier for me to be my crazy old self. Trust me, I'm not crazy all the time... Just when it's ok ;)

   Two really good parts of this week are this:

1. Sister V got baptized! Sobrang masaya kami. And right after church yesterday, she went out and worked with the other sisters in our area. She's already becoming a missionary. I'm so happy for her.

2. We had exchanges again and I got to spend the day with Sister J. She's the sister training leader and she's so awesome. She is very easy-going but she has this power about her that makes everyone respect her. I hope I can become like her. Anyways, we had exchanges and she told me that I will probably be training in the next transfer. EEEP! Scared and excited at the same time.

The language is coming at about the same pace. I can't wait for the day when I can understand everyone around me and be able to reply just as naturally. That's what I want most right now to just be fluent in the language. And I know it'll happen. Just gotta be patient.

   So anyways, this week has been really great and I've learned a lot. It constantly amazes me how much I've learned so far. I've only been here for 2 months but I can honestly say that I'm not the same person. I'm better than I was before and I can't wait to see who I become. Every time I talk to someone in Tagalog I think about my family being here and when I would sound like to them hahaha It always makes me chuckle. You'd think I was speaking gibberish. I love my language.

   So yeah. That's this week. The food is still super yummy, the people are still amazing, I still love my mission. Yup. Same as always.

   Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you all!

   Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Week 8. Ano bayan?! How fast time flies... (Sept. 23, 2013)

Tello :)

   This week has been fun. I've learned a lot and really felt myself stretching and growing. I've really been improving on the language and it's coming more and more easily.

   We've taught a lot of new investigators and really been able to help people. There have been disappointments (a couple of our investigators have told us that they can only be taught once a week because they're "busy." And one of them has a baptismal date....) And happy moments too (hearing that one of our investigators will do anything that he can to become a member because he knows that it's for his salvation). I am constantly amazed by these people, whether for good or for bad.

   The best part of this week has been when we've worked with the relief society president, Sister E. When people ask me where I'm from and after I tell them that I'm from America, she loves to tell them that I'm a Filippino now :) She says that when I get home I need to go find some Filippinos and talk to them in Tagalog and tell them that I'm a Fillipino too :) Sobrang masaya ako.

   The language really is coming easier. It just takes a while to learn it. Every day I just keep learning new things.

I've learned this week that when I forget myself and the things that I want to improve in myself then I become truly happy and the work is more fun. I actually truly want to help these people. I want them to be happy, as happy as I am, and the only way that can happen is if they have the gospel. And luckily for me, I'm authorized to teach them :) So I can really help them.

   I absolutely love being a missionary. As a missionary, we desire the salvation for all people. And through our message we can help them.

   We work every single day as hard as we can. Kahit sobrang ulan o sobrang mainit. No mattah. We will be out there.

   Oh another funny story. We went to visit Sister A and her family (Brother A is the branch mission leader) and Sister A had her nephew climb a tree and picked these ginormous fruits that are like grapefruit but not as sour. sister A told me this, "Remember this your whole mission, Sister Hess, All work and no play makes you ugly." bahahaha definitely not gonna forget that.

   And sadly no baptism this week because Sister V's daughter had her baby so she was at the hospital all Saturday. Hopefully this next Saturday she will be baptized.

   I know that the church is true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. He gave us the gospel to make us into the best people we can be.

   Mahal ko kayo. Salamat po para sa lahat support at love binigay nyo sa akin. Salamat din po para sa lahat panalangin.

   Until next week,
-Sister Hess
a.k.a. Filippino Barbie ;)

Week 7 already?! Ano bayan...? (Sept. 16, 2013)

Magandang umaga po! 

   Sister Hess here ulit ulit :)

   This week has been very eventful just like it is every week. So on Monday, we moved into our new gorgeous apartment. If you want to see pictures, ask my mommy :) It's probably the most amazing and nice apartment in the whole mission. We are definitely going to enjoy the next six weeks the best we can in case we get transferred. We are most definitely spoiled here. We're living right next door to Elder and Sister D, the senior couple here and they are so sweet. Sister D even offers to do our laundry since she has a washer and a dryer. Man, we are a bunch of spoiled kids over here :)

   So we also had transfers over here. And some big changes were made. There are now 6, count 'em, 6. As in S-I-X missionaries here in Masinloc. There's us four sisters and now we have two elders too :) They moved into our old apartment. The work is progressing and no one can stop us. The elders are Elder To and Elder S. Elder S is from New Zealand and has the coolest accent EVER. He and I are pretty good friends :)

   Because there are now six of us we had to split Masinloc again. So Sister Je and Sister Ja moved more north and our area is in the middle. The only part of our old area that we got to keep is Santa Rita, which is very sad because that means out of the 6 investigators with baptismal dates that we had, we now only have 1... But that's ok.

   The elders get to take over every muddy place down south. Sad for them but happy for us :)

   Oh and because we got a new area and because we are being obedient and working diligently, blessings will follow :) So for the past couple of weeks we haven't had any investigators come to church. But yesterday, we had 5 investigators attend church. Man oh man we were so happy :) Blessings will follow if we are obedient. 
The language is still coming, slowly but surely, And the food is still really really good. I haven't had to eat anything really weird yet.

   No problems over here. The church is still true and I still love being a missionary.

   Thank you for all your prayers and support.

   I love you all. Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess

Week 6: Psst... Hey Barbie... (Sept. 9, 2013)

Soooooo this is the 6th week already. It's gone by so fast! 

   I've learned a lot this week. And there are transfers tomorrow and who knows what's gonna happen. 
So this week we've taught a lot of lessons. Siempre. We're missionaries, that's what we do. We go around and share the gospel with all of God's children and try to get them to change their lives. Sometimes it's hard for us because they don't understand the importance or they don't want to change. "As missionaries, we desire the salvation of all of God's children."

   We've been teaching L.F. for the last couple of weeks. She's so smart and receptive. Sobrang mabait. Pero, as we've taught her she's become less and less interested. She has a BGD pero she won't come to church and we don't know why. She just isn't as interested. We still continue to teach her and try to help her because that's our job and we are very very very stubborn.

   But on another note, we received and referral from the district next door to ours, Candelaria. The referrals name is R.A. His mother is a member and she wants him to receive the gospel. He's never been married but he used to have a live-in which is normal here. We taught him the first lesson and I extended the BGD to him (I'm not scared to ask people to be baptized at all and Sister C's always surprised when I do because I never tell her I'm going to do it, I just do) and he accepted. He knows that the only way he can receive kaligtasan (salvation) is through our message and following the commandments of God. Yesterday, we taught him the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom because we felt that that would be his biggest concern. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't. He accepted them as commandments of God and is going to follow them. Wow. Amazing. Out of all of our investigators with BGD's he is the one that shows the most promise right now.

   I love being a missionary. This is the hardest thing that I've ever done but the most rewarding thing as well. It's also super fun. Going out and finding the people that Heavenly Father has prepared for us and helping them come unto him. It's so  rewarding to see the improvements in their lives because of what we've shared with them.

   I know that this is the true church on earth. There isn't a doubt in my mind. I know that through His missionaries, Heavenly Father can bring about salvation for all men. This is my testimony. I'm so grateful for my decision to serve a mission. Greatest thing ever. I will never regret it.

   I love you all and I'm so grateful for all of your prayers and support. Keep it up :)

   Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Week 5: Here Comes the Sun Do Do Do Do :) (Sept. 2, 2013)

Well Hello there! Long time no talk hehe

   past week was Waaaaaaay better than last week. Last week was really frustrating because everyday my list of weaknesses and things to improve was getting bigger. There was something holding me back. it was like I had an invisible barrier in front of me and I had no idea what it was. But good news! I got it figured out and now I am so much happier. 

   I'm still striving to become more humble and teachable and forget myself. It's becoming easier and easier to focus on other people. I love that I can forget myself. 

   This past week, it rained for maybe the first two days. But then! The sun came out. Hallelujah! And it also got hot but that's ok cuz I love it when it's hot out. I have already started to get an awesome watch tan hehe

   Everyone still stares but the other day I saw a white old man that wasn't a missionary and I stared at him too so I guess I can understand how the people feel when they look at me. It's gonna be so weird to come home and be surrounded by white people. 

   One of the pieces of advice that Sister C gave me last week really stuck with me. She said that I need to stop thinking of myself as a foreigner. I am a Filipino now and I need to remember that always. I really am striving to become one of them and as I do so I can understand them better and know what they need. 

   I love the people here so much. All the people we're teaching have different problems and I love that we can help them figure out those problems through our message. It makes me so happy. 

   I love being a missionary. Greatest decision I ever made. At a past missionary meeting, Elder A said, "You must have done something great in the pre-existence to be called to the Olongapo mission." I really do feel blessed to be here. I love the people and I love my mission. I know that this is the only true church on the face of the earth and I know that it is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father.

   Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you all!

   Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Week 4: Weekly Email from Barbie (Aug. 26, 2013)

Magandang umaga po!

   Sister Hess here with your local news from Masinloc, Zambales, Olongapo, Philippines :) 
This past week has been very interesting. I've learned a lot. The language is becoming easier to understand but when I speak it, my grammar is horrible.... I am constantly working on it....

   I've really tried this week to really listen to the people and try to understand. It really is becoming easier. 
There hasn't really been any flooding in my area. We're high up. The only adventures this week has been more mud. But! I bought a pair of pink rainboots to I can walk around without any problems now :) YAY! I love those boots.

   So this week, we had follow-up training. I got to see all my sisters from my district in the MTC and it was amazing to see them. We've all grown so much. It was kind of like when Alma runs into the sons of Mosiah to see them again.

   It's crazy to think that we've already been here a month. It's gone by so fast. But I'm still loving it and still working hard and because of that I can feel Heavenly Father's hand in my life. I've never felt closer to them than I do now. I know that they really help their missionaries.

   The people are still so amazing. I really want to become like them. They care about EVERYONE even if you're a different religion or just are different in general. I really hope that can rub off on me.

   Sister C and I are working hard together. She still tells me ways to improve every night and I'm really working hard to make sure that those things happen.

   So today, we have a zone activity :) I'm so excited. I get to wear jeans! Sister C thinks I'm crazy because wearing jeans is my favorite thing ever. I just hate wearing skirts constantly.

   The food is still amazing. I eat everything. Even if I don't know what it is. The food is definitely not a problem for me :)

   Ok so yup. That's this week. Thank you for all your prayers. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now and I know that the church is true. I love you all!

   Mahal kita!
-Sister Hess

Week 3: Weekly Email!!! (Aug. 19, 2013)

   So this week, because of the flood, EVERYTHING is muddy. On Tuesday, We decided to be geniuses and visit the investigators in Santa Rosario which is full of rice fields.... So! We had to march across the rice fields and I am a extreme klutz here so I kept getting my shoes stuck in the mud and ended up walking barefoot for most of it. It was actually really fun. A definite adventure if I do say so myself. 
We had mission prez interviews this week. They were fun. I love President Q. I know that he is called of God and I feel the spirit every single time he testifies to us. He's an amazing man. I'm so grateful that he is my mission president.

   Yesterday, I had to give a talk in church. Totally impromptu and it was about praying with faith. One of the sisters came up to me afterwards and thanked me and said that it was very inspirational. Cool :) 
It's very interesting here. We try to teach families but the couples are usually not married. It's very hard for people to get married here because it's so expensive. It's very sad for them.

   Yesterday was weird in the teaching department. We taught a man who was so prepared for us. That was really cool. I asked him to be baptized and he said he would! YAY! But after we went and taught two other investigators. The first is a 14 year old boy. We asked him to be baptized too and he say maybe. The last people we taught was the weirdest. They were very friendly but they were also very into their religion. They're Baptist. We tried to teach them but one of the men kept interrupting us and wanting to teach us the words of the Bible. He was very well versed in the Bible. He didn't want to hear what we had to say. He just wanted to debate. It made us very sad. I hate when people are hard-hearted and close-minded. We just keep praying for them.

   So yup. That was this last week. The food is still amazing and we're still good and happy. The main thing that I'm learning is that I have a lot of things to improve on in myself. I am proud and stubborn and I have a very strong personality. I am working on becoming more humble this week and more teachable. I'm trying to become more patient. I am constantly praying that I will be able to be humble and start focusing on the work right now. I need to learn to forget myself. So that's what I'm going to work on this week.

   I know that this church is true with all my heart. I know that Heavenly Father will help us with whatever we ask him for.

   I love you all and I miss you!
-sister Hess

Week 2! (Aug. 12, 2013)

   Sorry this is coming so late but it's kind of been flooding over here. We were told to stay home so we kind of got a day off... but not really. 

   Since we stayed inside I wore a t-shirt and jeans that whoooole day. It felt so good :)

   This might be really short but I'll try to make it as full of stuff as I can.

   First of all, the language is coming along pretty well. It's still really hard pero because I'm immersed in it I've learned more in the last week than I did my whole stay in the MTC. My kasama is really helping me too. She's pushing me and that's really what I need right now. We trade off in taking turns talking in the lessons. Most of what teach is in Taglish but that's ok because my kasama has my back. She takes good care of me and is always pushing me to talk to EVERYONE. Everyone stares at me. I'm so white! They think I'm beautiful. They will randomly come up to me and tell me that and they always want to touch my hair. The boys here are the funniest though. They will stop what their doing and just stare with their mouths open. Sobrang funny.

   Sister C says that if she had my beauty she would have thousands of investigators.

   It's been a bit frustrating this week because a couple of our investigators have decided to stop listening. I hate Satan. He always finds a way to bug us... Pero I know that Heavenly Father is in charge and he will make sure that everyone gets a chance to hear his gospel.

   Ummm what else. The food here is still good. It's raining a ton. I miss you all so much. I hope you have a great week!

   I'll talk to you again on Monday if the rain permits :P

   Mahal kita! The church is true, just so you know ;)
-Sister Hess

Week 1 in the Philippines (Aug. 5, 2013)


   How is everyone? Happy p-day :) I'm finally here in the Philippines. We're in this little internet cafe thing right now in Iba.

   I'm serving in Masinloc at the moment. It's my first area. We're in the Santa Cruz zone.

   So. This week has been pretty crazy. Our flight to San Fran was delayed by an hour so we didn't get to hang out in Cali at all. They were very nice and held the plane for us. The flight to japan was really fun. Elder A, our travel leader, okayed Disney movies so I watched Lion king and Aladdin :) It was so nice to not think for a while. We only got to stay in the Tokyo Narita airport for an hour :/ and it wasn't the one that I thought we were going to stay in... Darn.

   The flight to manilla was really bumpy cuz we were in the back of the plane. But somehow we all slept through it. That was the only sleep I got the whole time. In Manilla we stayed in a hotel. We landed in Manilla at 9:30, got to our hotel at 10 and then we had to be ready to leave for the mission home at 3:30 in the morning. We slept for about 2 hours in the hotel.

   Needless to say, when I got to the mission home I was about ready to break down. I was so emotional! I've never been that emotional I think. our mission president and his wife are so nice. apparently our mission is the strictest in the Philippines so guess what? I'm wearing a dress right now. no jeans :( saddest thing I've ever heard. I'm gonna forget how to wear them.

   So when it was time to leave and go to our areas and I had to say goodbye to my sisters I was crying... Not fun. Everyone probably thought I was a bit baby.

   My kasama is Sister C. She's 4'9"! Ha! And she's never trained a foreigner before. She speaks very good english but she's always pushing me to speak Tagalog. Good thing too because I need all the pushing I can get. She's also learning a lot of patience from me.

   Our apartment was disgusting when we first got there. We're white washing here so Elders lived there last. We spent the first night cleaning. Good news though! We have an actual shower. I haven't had to shower out of a bucket :)

   The food here is really good too. Last night we had dinner at our neighbors house. They are the E's and they are an amazing family. Yes they are members. Sister E made spaghetti for us! Oh it was the best spaghetti I've ever eaten. reminded me of home.

   We've taught a lot of people. They are all so amazing. They live in the most humble circumstances but they are so happy. They are also really friendly and they think I look like a lifesize Barbie :P

   We stay out until 9 at night and by 8 i'm just exhausted. Every single night when we go to teach our last lesson, my eyes won't stay open. There have been a couple of times that I've actually fallen asleep for 30 seconds. It's really bad.

   We've ridden on every single form of transportation that we can. Jeepneys, trikes, and buses. And people always stare at me just cuz I'm so white. It's really funny.

   but I love it here. I really do. I love the people and the culture and I don't even notice the living conditions anymore. It's just what I'm gonna be in for the next 17 months.

   Sacrament meeting yesterday was fun. It's funny to hear the people try to sing. Yes they hold sacrament meeting in english and we sing english hymns. Hahaha these people can't really sing.... but it's nice of them to try :)

   My favorite part is when we walk around and they blast american music. Yesterday we were walking around and I hear What Makes You Beautiful. Oh it made me so happy :)

   Ok i think that's everything.

   I love you guys! Talk to you next week.
-Sister Hess

p.s. we only get mail and dear elders every 6 weeks :/ sad day. 

MTC Week 6 (July 27, 2013) - Last in the MTC

Life is great. We have less than 48 hours left. Man I'm so excited and so terrified at the same time.
Last night for the last hour of class, our substitute, Sister L, told us about her time there. She told us all these disgusting stories about bugsMypoor kasama is TERRIFIED of bugs and she almost started hyperventilating right there in her chair. I felt so bad for her.

And yes, I am definitely ready to "blow this popsicle stand." It's been great but I'm ready to teach REAL people and share the gospel with them. I'm also excited to actually become fluent in Tagalog. It's such a cool language. It's really hard for me to focus sometimes in class and I get super spazzy and start teasing the elders (doesn't help that they make it easy for me). Also I feel sorry for L. The Japanese speakers have to stay here for 9 weeks now... :P 

We got the package from that adorable sister. It was like Christmas over here. We are all so grateful to her. And yes we all wrote her a thank you letter and signed it :) We're such good girls haha

No, I haven't gotten your package yet. I've been praying so hard all yesterday and today that it'll come today. If I leave before I get it then they will forward it to me but I won't need that blanket in the Philippines.... Oh man I just keep praying...

I'm so glad A. likes the shirt. Do you think it helped him?

And no the other kids aren't gonna get shirts anytime soon but I'll make sure to get them stuff in the Philippines.
Super quick question. Did you send me a new debit card? I haven't gotten one at all and I'm getting a tad bit antsy. I don't really want to go to the Philippines without a way to get money. That just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Nice to know that T. is the next Harry Potter hahaha

 so Yeah, now i'll tell you about this last week. Monday was our last day with one of our teachers. Sister S. was flying to California to be with her family for her Birthday. We were all so sad that she had to leave us early. She seriously was an amazing teacher for us. We were definitely blessed with the teachers we got. We all know that they were meant to teach us. Oh! and my amazing kasama let me go play the piano for an hour and 15 minutes. Greatest day of my life. I played all of the songs that Sister S and Sister P had haha On Monday morning, Sister T and I taught J, our male investigator. It was the most amazing lesson ever. I invited him to be baptized and he said yes! Oh also, our female investigator is committed to be baptized too :) I forgot to tell you that last week. Seriously, I am constantly amazed that Heavenly Father is willing to take me, one of his flawed and unworthy daughters, and turn me into one of his servants and trust me with the rescuing of his children. I will never not be amazed I think.

Tuesday was our last devotional. It was good. I don't really remember much from it. I'm gonna have to go look up my notes...

Wednesday was hosting and the teaching experience. Both were really fun. Sister T and I got to teach a Japanese man. He looked just like Mr. Miyagi! It was crazy. But it was also really funny cuz he kept calling us cute and then he said that his friend that we received the referral from told him that we were going to sing for him. Ha! In his dreams :) But it was seriously so fun and sobrang nakakatawa.

Thursday, Brother C had us teach him as a class. We were stressing because we thought it was going to have to be all in Tagalog but it wasn't. He told us that he feels so insignificant sometimes and that he wants to give up certain things. We pretty much all went around the room and told him how much we loved him and what an influence he's been in our lives. It was so amazing. We made him cry hehe We also got the package from Sister Smith on this day too. Happy day for all of us.

Friday (yesterday) was in-field orientation. That's where you sit in a classroom from 8-6. A whole day. It was interesting because it felt just like EFY. How odd. But it was still fun. One of the teachers was from France and he had the most amazing accent ever. Also, all the sisters decided that they want to marry him hahaha

So this morning everyone's rushing to get packed and weigh their suitcases. At the beginning of being here I kind of wished that I'd brought more stuff but now that we're leaving I'm so glad that I don't have that much stuff. I'm pretty sure that both my suitcases will be less than 50 lbs but that's probably just cuz I'm sending home a lot of stuff to you guys. It's just nice to sit and relax while everyone around me freaks out hehe

Hey, can you possibly send me a bunch of those things that I don't have to the mission home in the Philippines? (you know... those things?) It would be really nice to have them....

Mahal kita! I think that's everything I wanted to tell you guys.
-Sister Hess

P.P.S. Elder F (he's sitting next to me and he's going to Baguio) says hi :)
P.P.P.S. He says he misses you
P.P.P.P.S I'll be calling the home phone on Monday morning. Not sure exactly what time but make sure that everyone's home, ok?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

MTC Week 5 (July 20, 2013)

Kumusta mga Pamilya ko!
   How are you guys? Life here is just plain awesome. Wanna know why?! I got my travel plans!
   We're flying from Salt Lake to San Fran to TOKYO! :D We get to spend TWO hours in TOKYO! I'M SO EXCITED! I'm going back to Japan :) Seriously I'm overjoyed. I'm gonna go eat a bunch of jumbos and a bunch of their chocolate bars and yup. That's how it's gonna be.
   So on Tuesday, all the girls in my district played the funniest prank on my kasama. Sister W\ pulled her shirt halfway over her own head and had her super long hair hanging out of the bottom and it looked like she had a beard. She makes the funniest faces ever. So while my kasama was in the shower, she went and sat on her bed and got under the covers. She was sitting on Sister T's pillow and was hiding behind the closet door. We turned off all the lights and sat by the door at the desk with the desk light on. Sister T finally showed up and put her clothes away and then turned to her bed. She kind of looked at the head of her bed for a second and then Sister W chuckled and Sister T jumped back a foot and then screamed. It was the Funniest Thing I have seen in such a long time. Both Sister S and Sister W laughed so hard that they peed their pants. Oh man I'm still laughing about it and it was days ago.
   The other night we wanted to talk so Sister P, Sister S, Sister T, and I went out behind the MTC and talked and stargazed. It was awesome. We almost felt normal again for a second.
   We're learning so much. We've kind of started reviewing things since we only have 9 days left here. It's crazy to think that we've already been here for a month. It totally flew by.
   Every day we either have gym time where we go work out butt off or we go play piano. I'm kind of starting to wonder what the point would be for you to send me the music since by the time it gets here there's only gonna be a couple of days left... Why'd you have to take so long...? :/
   Oh, I'll be buying a calling card and I'm gonna call you guys in when we're at the Salt Lake airport so be sure to be home on the 29th in the morning. At like 9-ish. Our flight leaves around 11:15.
   And when is that debit card getting here? And! I'll be sending home stuff I don't want to take to the Philippines with me this next week, ok? So if you get a package from me, that's what it is.
    Our whole district gets to host the newbies this next wednesday and Sister P and Sister S and Sister T and I were chosen to be part of this teaching experience that they do ever wednesday night for the newbies. They put all the newbies in different rooms but in huge groups and they have an "investigator" in there (they're really just converts that have interesting stories) and then a companionship comes in and starts the discussion with the "investigators" and then the newbies take over. It's gonna be awesome. And all the companionships that are chosen are recommended by their teachers. So that means that our teachers like us a lot and think that we'd be good examples for the new missionaries. No pressure or anything. Oh and another thing. We get to do it in English... pero we've only ever taught in Tagalog so we don't know how to do it in English! hahaha we'll see what happens. It's gonna be so fun.
   Earlier this week some of the sisters and I got priesthood blessings from our elders. i'm so grateful that we're surrounded by the priesthood here. it's awesome. And that all these elders are worthy to hold it is pretty incredible too.
   I love you guys and I miss you and I hope everything's going good at home.
   Mahal kita!
-Sister Hess
p.s. I'll send you pictures of everything. Including our classroom, the drinking fountain in our building, and the bathroom.
 Kumusta mga Pamilya ko- hello my family
Kasama- companion
Mahal Kita- I love you

MTC Week 4 (July 13, 2013)

    Okey dokey. So this'll be my weekly email. I seriously wish that we could just email all the time because then I'd never have to write a letter. I'm seriously getting caluses on my hands from how much I'm writing. My pinky has left a permanant indent in the palm of my hand :P

   So to answer your questions. Brother C's little boy, A, is adorable. He showed us pictures of him. So stinking cute. About the blanket. I talked to the girls and we all decided that that is a genius idea. You can just send it to me and we'll give it to him. We're the last group that he gets to teach dahil you can only teach at the MTC for three years. It's very sad.

   Can you get the Prince of Egypt sheet music from K and send it to me with the rest of the music? It's called When You Believe. All of us wanna sing it so badly.

   Thanks for ordering the card reader. Hopefully it'll get here soon. I'm attaching a pic of my name tag because D wanted it.

    Speaking of name tags, we only get the ones we have. We will be called Sister in the Philippines and the church is called the English name sa Tagalog because that's how it's spelled on the church buildings... Kinda lame but it's ok.

   Yay! I'm so excited to go shopping. All of us over here are already sick of our clothes. Wearing the same things week after week is soooooo dumb. And I know that once I get back I'll be shocked as to how much we have. It usually takes a while for missionaries to get used to living the American way after coming back from a third world country.

   So our other teacher is Sister S. She's been off her mission for about a year and she is awesome. She's so sweet. Oh and she's 6'2" and blonde. Ha! Imagine her being over there :)

   Are you allowed to just show up at the Portland airport to see me? Is that okay? It would be amazing to see you guys but I don't want to break the rules. Oh and the district older than us leaves on Monday and then we'll be the old ones here. We get our flight plans on this next Friday. I'm so excited! So I'll let you know where we're landing next Saturday I guess.

   I am sobrang jealous about 7/11. Seriously we were all sitting in class and were like Dangit! It's 7/11! We all started making plans about how to get a free slurpee but honestly we couldn't think of a way that wouldn't be breaking the rules. So... no slurpees for us. Darn.

  And of course I use smiley faces! How on earth would you know how I'm feeling otherwise? :)

  Yes, we SYL. I try to do it a lot but it's really hard to get my brain to translate from Tagalog into English. It hurts my head sometimes. But it is getting easier.

   Ok so this week has been fun. Nothing really big has happened. Just a typical week here. The food's still amazing. The spirit is still strong. The people are still awesome. And the church is still true. Yay! haha

   Oh we're all becoming really good friends with the new elders that came in last week. They're all super funny. We call one of them Elder Teddy Bear because he looks like a big teddy bear and his companion is Elder Idaho because all he talks about is Idaho. They're so fun to mess with.

   And I think that's everything I wanted to tell you. I love you guys and I miss you but it's all good cuz I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now.

Mahal kita!
Kapayapaan sa labas! (literally, peace out :))
-Sister Hess

MTC Week 3 (July 6, 2013)

Ok so I've learned so much this past week.

I realized that the MTC is a lot like the military. They tear you down every single day only to build you up and make you stronger.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that this mission isn't about me. It's that I can't do anything without the Lord. Alma 26:12 comes to mind. "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things..." In Tagalog there's a saying that says, "Kaya ko makasama ang Diyos." That means, "I can through God." It's pretty much gonna be my motto for my whole mission.

This week was fun. We all really bonded as a district. We got some newbies. There's 8 new sisters and 16 new elders. So many! But they're all awesome. It's so funny to walk around and look at the elders and be like "oh you're 18 and you're 19 and you look like you're 25." hahah so many of them look like they're 12!

Last night there was a HUGE thunderstorm. It was the coolest thing ever. Our teacher said it was preparing us for the Philippines. We went out and danced in the rain. It felt like home. And I was wearing my Crocs so I got to jump in the puddles. It was the funnest thing ever.

We all went to the gym yesterday and worked out. Sister P and I did a bunch of workouts for our abs and legs and now it's hard to move. And then this morning we got up and did them again. I might be dying tomorrow. I'm sobrang sore!

Our teacher, Brother C, left class early on Thursday cuz his wife was going to have her baby! She had him on Thursday night at 9:30 pm and his name is Arthur. :) Brother C's probably gonna come back and teach us on Monday and he promised to bring pictures :) It's such a happy thing.

I think I've told you everything. The language is coming slowly but it seems like it's coming. We won't really get it until we get out of here I think.

Ok gotta go.

Mahal kita!
-Sister Hess

MTC Week 2 (June 29, 2013)

Ok So I'm gonna try to reply to all of your questions and to say everything I want to say but an hour is soooo short and a bazillion people wrote me.


So this week (starting on Sunday) had its highs and lows. Everyday switched off.

Sunday was the devotional and that was obviously amazing. Sister P (yes, mom the one that i'm friends with on FB from Cali) and I saw President Monson from our window in the building. We seriously spent the next 2 hours squealing :) We weren't in the choir because we got there a week to late otherwise all of us would have been in it just for fun :)

Monday was good but sobrang uneventful. Nothing really to report.

Tuesday, we had a devotional and that was probably the greatest thing ever. I've never felt the spirit that strongly. Sister Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us. That woman is sobrang amazing. She has so much spunk for a woman her age! I hope I get to be like her when I grow up. We sang so many primary songs with her and she made a new version of the EFY medly but made it missionary style. She rewrote As Sisters in Zion and made a missionary version. Oh man I can't tell you how much I loved it.

So funny story that happened. Sister Perry told us the first thing that her husband said to her. She was warming up her clarinet reed for an audition and he tapped her on the shoulder and she was like "what? I'm up next." and he said "Those lips look like they were made for something better than playing the clarinet." HAHAH! And when she told us that he got up out of his chair, came over to her, and right in front of all of us, kissed her right on the lips! Oh man we were laughing so hard. All the elders started clapping and cheering and they even stood up. Sobrang hilarious.

Wednesday was another down day. Not much happened. Oh! but we did finally get to go back into the cafeteria and eat normally. Before, because of the new mission presidents, we had been eating in the gym. It wasn't as fun. The new kids showed up. Let me tell you, it is soooo nice to not be the new kids anymore. We actually know more than some people now!

Thursday was the last time we taught our investigator. She wasn't a real one, turns out she's our other teacher. But it was a really good lesson and we really felt the spirit. And yes we did speak Tagalog to her :)

Friday, yesterday, was pretty good too. Finally got a letter from L telling me where he was going. I seriously think I jinxed him because I was so convinced that he was going to go Spanish-speaking. Heavenly Father just decided to be like "Oh joke-lang. He's going to Japan where he already knows that language." Sobrang jealous...

And finally today. We were all going to get up and do the yoga class that they have for the sisters at 6 am but when the alarm went off, one of us got up to turn it off and then we all just kept on sleeping. We slept until 7:15... It was so nice though. All of us needed it. We're going to the temple today :D We go do a full endowment session with all of our zone and it's so amazing. I seriously love having p-days on Saturday, it's like having an actual weekend.

So mom asked about the food. Some of it is good and some of it is not so good. Sister T and I have learned to skope out the cafeteria before we pick what we're going to eat. Last night they ordered Papa John's pizza for all of us. It was soooo good. Wednesdays and Fridays they have ice cream from the BYU Creamery. Oh I love it here :)

Oh! Sister So (a sister in my district) showed me an awesome Ezra Taft Benson quote and I want to share it with you guys.
"I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works he will get the spirit; if he gets the spirit he will teach by the spirit; and if he teaches by the spirit he will touch the hearts of many and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time, and talents, and interests will be centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."
Oh and I should probably tell you that after a week all of us are becoming quite awkward. We don't touch each other at all and we saw a couple of people walking around the MTC holding hands. It was so weird and we all looked at each other like, "Is that ok?" hahaha can't wait to see how we are after 1.5 years.... :)

Ok so Mom, in that package that you send me can you put a bunch of my sheet music in it? I want all the Les Mis and Phantom and my disney book and my Jon Schmidt book. And Only Hope and the Transformers theme song and Hallelujah please :) If you could do that that would be awesome.

Time to go write some more people back.

Mahal Kita!!!
Have fun and be safe. The church is true!
-Sister Hess