Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter

Meet Miles.  Isn't she wonderful.  Don't you just love her just by looking

at her?






This punk tried to sell me one of his spiders for 5 pesos.  HA as if.  I

will pay you five pesos to get the existing spiders out of my life.



Me battling a cockroach.


Another Jeepney picture for my Brayden boy.


This week was really hard, but good at the same time.  Let's start at

Wednesday.  So Holy Week just threw us off all week long.  Seriously it is
ridiculous here.  There's Holy Thursday and Good Friday and I don't even
know what else.  Ultimately, everything was just closed all week long.  So
I wasn't able to send my package to Brayden until last p-day.  We got on a
jeepney and went on an adventure to the post office.  It's about 25 minutes
away, we had to get permission to get out of our area.  So as we are trying
to get to the post office, we are so lost.  The jeepney knows where it is
going, but we don't.  We get off and start walking to the post office and
Sister Rugg and I were just like...are we by the ocean?  Does it feel like
we're by the ocean?  We were so disoriented.  Then we ended up on some
random historical site?  Fort San Pedro?  We couldn't check it out, so
Brady, go ahead and check that out for me and update me.  There were some
cool cannons there.  Then we finally got to the post office, and they took
forever to send my package.  It was empty, but they had me wait in five
different lines and it took us over a half an hour haha.  And then as we
were walking to go catch a jeepney, we look over and through the buildings
there is the ocean!  The post office is literally on the ocean.  So we ran
over and took some pictures in front of the ocean. I may have cried because
I saw the ocean for the first time and I felt so accomplished because of
the whole beaches and mangos thing, you know?
Thursday was cool.  We had zone interview workshop.  President Schmutz got
our zone together, and he gave us this really cool workshop on the doctrine
of the light of christ.  He's a genius.  He is so smart and so spiritual.
 I probably learned more there than at the entire six weeks in the MTC as
far as doctrine goes. I swear, he is going to be an apostle one day.  He's
incredible.
Friday was hard.  It was good friday, so that meant no mail, and no people.
 We were scheduled to have our interviews with president that day.  We only
get to meet with him once every other transfer unless there is an
emergency.  He sits down one on one with us for half an hour and just talks
to us.  I was so excited.  It was going to be my first and last one with
president because he goes home in July.  Well, then he had an emergency on
the other island so he had to cancel and now we'll have that NEXT WEEK.  So
on top of no mail, no people because everyone was doing good friday things,
we also had no interviews.  We did a lot of walking around that day,
attempting to find people.  It was discouraging.  So naturally, we went
home feeling a little defeated, and we ordered macdos.  We were too tired
to even go.  We just sat in our kitchen and waiting for our big macs to be
delivered.
This week was really hard because I think that it finally set in that I'm
in the Philippines.  I've been here for a few days short of a month, and so
things aren't really new and exciting anymore.  They're just kind of a
routine.  Don't get me wrong, there are new and exciting things every day,
just little things.  But as a whole, I realized that I was just kind
of...here.  And then I realized, oh freak, I'm here for a really long time.
And I miss my family a lot, and this food is kinda weird, and wait, it's
really hot and I want a good shower.  I got kind of down and homesick this
week.  I just think it really hit me.  But my companion was talking to me
and she said something that really stuck out to me.  She told me how lucky
I am to be homesick.  She told me that it's so cool that whenever I talk
about my family, I talk about every single one of them as if they are my
very best friend (because they are) and then she told me how lucky I am to
have a relationship with each of them enough to be homesick.  You know, she
has a really good point.
So Saturday, we went out to lunch with one of our investigators named
Charmaine, she's really funny.  She bought us Jollibee, it's a fast food
chain here.  She was so dang excited she even put it on facebook.  It was
so nice though, because dinner appointments are so rare.  At that point, I
had only had two thus far.  Charmaine is set for baptism on the 17th.
 She's solid.  She is dating a man from France who is coming to baptize
her, and then in June they're getting married and she's moving to France.
 It's all very exciting, and we're so happy for her.  And then as we were
walking around a magical thing happened.  We hear music all the time, it's
always being blasted, but it's always just super popular pop music.
 Suddenly, I heard country music.  Twangy, perfect, feel good country
music.  I nearly wept.  No one likes country music here.  It was beyond
perfect haha.  I may have walked just like...a little slower...so I could
listen.  I'm sorry, don't judge me I'm still human!  Oh and I also mildly
got hit by a car on Saturday?  This truck was cruising through the tiny
streets in the barranguy, and I was over as far as I could be, and he just
sped past, literally so dang fast and clipped me with his side mirror.  I
have a nice bruise on my arm, but all is well.  It's a good story to tell.
 We had a meeting with the other missionaries we work with in our ward, and
they so happen to be zone leaders. I asked one of them if he could give me
a blessing just because I was struggling.  It was a really neat blessing.
 Sometimes being a missionary is really cool.  And then as we were walking
again, one of the members (the kalipapas.  the ones who always give us
water and a bathroom and who are finding hotels for mom) stopped us and
told us to be at their house in an hour for dinner.  WHAT!  Tender mercies!
 Blessings from heaven!  We never have dinner appointments!  It was so
nice.  They're really sweet people.  And it was delicious.
Sunday was Easter.  It was very different from the Easters that I have
known.  We went as usual to try to fetch some of our investigators, they
punted us.  It's frustrating.  We get to church and Miles isn't there.  We
went to relief soceity and I was just crushed.  And then suddenly, we look
out and she's walking in the halls.  She has a fellowshipper in the ward
who even though her husband was sick, brought Miles, paid for a jeepney,
and then once she dropped Miles off to us, she turned around and went home
to take care of her husband.  That woman is getting blessings for sure.
 And Miles, oh Miles.  She is so golden.  She wasn't in Relief Society for
more than ten minutes before she raised her hand to share.  She basically
bore her testimony.  She talked about how she had been looking for
something more in her life.  About how she was researching seventh day
adventists and what not.  And then she talked about how she had no idea how
we found her because her house is hidden in the back of this dark winding
alley, and it was dark.  And then she bore her testimony of the book of
mormon.  How she feels so much peace when she reads it, and how every time
we come and talk to her, she just feels something different than any other
time.  Seriously, Miles has been so prepared.  You know that story "I Found
My Friend"?  (If you don't, google it now and cry)  I definitely feel like
Miles is "my friend" and that we found her.  She loved sacrament, she cried
after taking it for the first time.  And after church she talked about how
excited she is to come back next week.  She's so so great.  Baptism is the
17th for her as well.  Also we finally had a breakthrough with the
bishopric.  They had been calling me sister bayer for weeks now.  And they
keep asking me how to pronounce it and I would tell them beyer and they
would say bayer.  It isn't a problem, it's just funny.  So Sunday the
bishop calls me sister bayer and my companion just laughs a little.  He
asks me AGAIN how to say it and I tell him Beyer.  He gets so frustrated
and just says "WHY!"  So I take my tag and cover the b and the r and ask
him what word that is.  There was an audible gasp of understanding from the
ten men in the room.  Now, they understand that it has "eye" in it, so it's
pronounced "beyer" It was so dang funny.  And then we were so spoiled
Sunday night.  One of the senior missionary couples invited us over for
dinner.  We thought they had a referral for us or something, because
they'll usually do that for missionaries every once in a while.  Nope.
 They just wanted to have easter dinner with their family, but since they
couldn't, they chose to have us over.  She had peanut m and m's all over
the table for "eggs" and she cooked funeral potatoes and salad and veggies
and a cake.  We were so spoiled.  It was so great.  They are Elder and
Sister Sorenson, they are from Fayette Utah, and they know Karen Olsen and
her husband.  Their son and Brian Sorenson are friends and go hunting
together.  Small world right?
Monday we went to district meeting and and Elder in my district named Elder
Pettibone told me that he knew the Schwitzers!  Small world right?  How am
I finding people I know in the Philippines?  We were talking to a man the
other day in front of the temple.  He's a Filipino and he asked where I
grew up, I told him Magna, and he said "oh! I used to drive 7200 every
day!"  WHAT.  HOW.  He lived in Utah for a while, and used to drive 7200
and 4100.  I was just like "oh.  same".  Sister Passey, one of the STL's in
my apartment sat and talked to me for two hours on my bed that morning.
 She is so great.  She's such a good missionary.  I'm really glad that I've
been able to meet her and live with her.  She's so dang loving.  When we
all went to lunch after district meeting, one of the Filipino elders told
me to try some of his food.  It is really popular he said.  lie.  It is
really good he said.  lie.  You will love it he said.  also lie.  It was
BLOOD PUDDING.  Blood.  Do you people know how I react to blood?  I pass
out.  It literally tastes like you cut your mouth. I gagged.  It was
terrible.  I did not pass out, but it was close.  I will never trust him
again.  I should have known though, he continued to tell me that he loves
balut as do all americans.  He liiiies!  As we were walking around the
crazy streets of the Philippines later, there was a twenty something
shirtless tattooed Filipino playing the guitar.  As we walk past he plays
You Don't Know You're Beautiful by One Direction.  So naturally, I turn
around and stand by him and just sing.  We sang the whole song together
haha.  We also had a little bit of a crowd.  It made my day so much better.
 After we finished singing I introduced myself and we talked a little bit
about missionary work before leaving.  It was fabulous haha.  And then that
night I called France haha.  We needed to figure everything out with
Charmaines boyfriend/fiance to make sure we could solifiy what day he was
coming and what day she was getting baptized.  So she just handed me her
phone and had me call France.  He is a very nice man, and we had a lovely
conversation.
Yesterday, I saw a Joe for one of the first times.  A Joe is just any
American or white person.  They call them Joe's because of World War II and
GI Joe.  We were walking (as per usual) and I saw this blonde girl in
shorts and a t shirt, she had a nice little tan.  And I just stared at her
and was like "who are you! you don't fit in here!  you're so white!  why
are you here?  do you speak this language!  what is happening!"  And then I
realized that I look exactly like her in real life.  And then I knew what
everyone thinks about me haha.  I forget that I don't fit in here.
 Filipino just looks normal now.  I forget that I don't look like these
people until I see pictures.  You see, we don't really have mirrors in our
apartment haha.  So it isn't until I see pictures.  It was such a confusing
thing. I don't even know how to handle seeing white people anymore.  And
then last night we went to dinner at the Fabroas.  Well, kind of, not the
same Fabroas, we went to their son and his wife's house.  Romel and Shello.
 They bought us pizza!  It was delicious.  Seriously, this many dinner
appointments are so unheard of.  I think God is blessing me a lot.  They're
so great.  We had a lot of fun.  It was exactly what I needed.  And then
this morning, I got to try out my rain jacket from Brady.  I woke up at
6:30 to do our laba (laundry) but it was pouring rain.  But we NEED to do
our laundry.  So I sat out in a rainstorm in my jacket doing laundry.  Good
news, it works GREAT.  All the other missionaries in our house were
laughing at me, but hey, they were wet and I wasn't.
And now for some miscellaneous items.  Stace, you officially win.  The
sisters I live with all told me that I am the most fashionable, and I have
the best clothes in the mission.  And the girls/ladies at church have
already started asking me if they can have my clothes when I leave.  They
are fighting over who gets certain shirts in 15.5 months.  So I would say
that you succeeded in making me a "fab missionary".  #blessed.
Remember how my original availability date was January 1st and I changed it
on a whim last minute?  Well I met the missionaries who came out one
transfer before me.  Guess what day they went into the MTC?  You guessed
it, January 1st.  I don't know why I changed it, I had no reason to.  It
just felt right.  I think I needed those extra six weeks.  And I think I
needed to meet the people in the MTC that I did.  AKA, Sister Anderson,
Sister Storey, Elder Lafaele, and Elder Swan.
Also remember how back home I used to sleep with my rat dog Olive and
cuddle with her?  Don't worry, I literally cuddle with my frozen
waterbottle.  I woke up cuddling it against my chest the other night.  What
is my life.  It was so hot the other day and I wanted to sleep on my side,
so I took the tie from my bathrobe and literally tied frozen waterbottles
to my body.  Think about that for a minute.  My life is madness.
Also they don't refridgerate eggs here.  Ever.  And that concerns me
greatly. As soon as we buy them we put them in the fridge.  Between the
boxed milk and the eggs that both don't need to be refridgerated, I'm
highly concerned.  Sometimes, I miss America.  And cheese.  And real milk.
Oh and one fun fact about the Philippines.  People are ALWAYS clipping
their toenails.  I kid you not, someone was clipping their toenails on a
motorcycle the other day.  In lessons, in the street, in restaraunts, its a
very random very common occurance.
And one last fun thing.  In the Philippines it is respectful to walk up to
someone older than you and touch their hand to your forehead.  Little kids
ALWAYS do that to us and I love it.  It's for "blessings" or something like
that.  There are a few little kids who see us and come running yelling
"BLESS KO!"  Which just means like, "bless me" and they will run past any
Filipino we have working with us, because they just want it from us because
we're American.  It's hilarrious.  I love the kids so much.  Anyways, I'm
out of time.  I'll try to send some pictures real quick.  I love you so
much.  Love, Carlee

oh p.s. I forgot to tell you.  We had to stay away from all Catholics
because they do live crucifictions.  yes.  you read that right.  They take
volunteers and nail them to a cross and have them carry it around for a
while and whip them.  It's an honor.  We have to stay faaaar far away from
all that jazz.  I told you, Holy Week is nuts.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Welcome To The Crazy


 Sometimes missions are hard and you need some boxed princess chocolate milk

drink.  (it has a label telling you it is chocolate milk drink, because it
isn't actually milk.  I'm not sure waht it actually is haha)
The only way to get through Weekly Planning.  It is three hours of planning
every aspect of your entire week.  Mangos, cucumbers, water, lays potato
chips, and that weird Dr Seuss fruit is called Rambutan

 Sometimes, I live in a really beautiful place.
 One more for good measure.  Our investigator had to go and find a woman so

we could teach him.  So we were just hanging out in his house by ourselves

taking selfies.  It's fine.  #missionprobs.

Yeah, you could say my hair is a little curly here.
 Mom I'm sorry it was raining and I was tired and sometimes you have to

touch dirty disease ridden kittens.  I promised I sanitized my hands
afterwards.  :)


One of Haroldenia's babies.  His name is Junjun.

Welcome to a rainstorm my friends.  this was just from running to one house
to another.
For Brady, Brayden, and Greyson.  Some dang huge caterpillars

This week has been ridiculous.  Literally ridiculous.  Firstly last p-day
we went to go pay our bills.  So we were on a jeepney for like twenty
minutes.  We get off the jeepney and Sister Rugg grabs her purse and
realizes that her wallet is missing as we see the jeepney drive down the
street.  So we look at my walet and I only have 700 pesos, which is plenty
to get by but not to pay for our bills.  So we get back on the jeepney, I
pay for it we drive all the way back, get her wallet, go to the bank and go
all the way back to pay the bills and then grocery shopping and then we
carry all of our bags of groceries home.  By the time it was all said and
done, our p day was over.  So much for relaxing.  Also to get into a
grocery store we had to be frisked, which was fun.  And Sister Rugg talked
to a nice man in the grocery store who seemed very interested in the
gospel.  So Sister Rugg gave him our number.  HA.  MISTAKE.  He started
texting our phone about how Sister Rugg is really nice and really t ouched
his life and he knows that we are missionaries of God, but how can he deny
the feelings that he is having.  She told him that it was inappropriate and
to please stop texting her.  Well he did not, and he calls and we just
always ignore him and his texts.  But yeah, my companion has a mild stalker
named Josh.  God bless he doesn't know where we live or where the church
is.  Seriously.
Thursday we gave our first temple tour.  They are really neat, its kind of
fun serving here because I kind of get to be a visitor center missionary.
 Also, so many random Filipinos are adding me on facebook haha.  Have you
accepted them?
Friday not much happened, we went to a wedding of  two people in our ward
and I got Mormon food Filipino style.  Not nearly as delicious, but still
delicious none the less.  :)  And I got to see one of my favorite members
Mikmik.  I feel like she could just be one of my best friends from home.  I
really love her.  And she always teases me, so it feels like home haha.
Saturday I woke up at 12:30 in the morning to our landlords kids SCREAMING
Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus for one hour.  One hour.  I nearly lost it,
but I couldn't do anything about it because I don't speak the language, and
they are my landlords children.  We woke up that morning and the four of us
sisters decided to make a big conference breakfast just like we did at
home.  We made pancakes and egg and sausage and peanut butter syrup.  It
was heavenly.  And it was my two month mark!  Conference was great.
 Different for sure, but it was so great.  I took ten pages of notes!  The
senior missionaries made all of us lunch, chicken salad sandwiches!  It was
devine.  And I got mail!  Yay!  Remember how I told you that I loved the
Choir director at the MTC?  He was the one who directed the choir at the
Saturday session of conference!
Sunday was great too.  I felt like every speaker of conference was talking
directly to me.  It was really cool to be sitting in the chapel in the
philippines while Elder Teh talked about his experience in the Philippines.
 Truly, that describes it perfectly.  The people just sat in the chapel and
cried during his talk.  Also, no one would believe me that my hair is
curly, so I decided to take one for the team and let my afro go crazy.
 yeah, it was a hot mess, and now everyone believes me that this is real
life curl haha.  We went home that night to find that Harold, maybe isn't a
Harold, but a Haroldenia, we have dozens of baby lizards all over our
apartment.  But they are nice and they combat all the bugs, so they can
stay as long as they like.
Monday.  Oh Monday.  So after District meeting we eat lunch and then our
zone leaders came up to me and tell us that we are going on splits today.
 EXCUSE.  I have only been here for twopointfive weeks.  I cannot go on
splits.  I am a tiny american who does not speak this language, I do not
know how to navigate jeepneys, nor do I know how to navigate barrungays.
 These aren't nice little subdivisions, no, you have to go through alleys
and they wind and turn and addresses just don't exist in the philippines.
 So I went out with Sister Valensco and it was the most stressful day of my
life.  She didn't know any of these people, so I had to find people to talk
to and teach, and then figure out what to say and what we were going to do
next and oh my gosh I nearly died.  Once we got back to the chapel that
night I just sat on the curb and looked at the temple and cried.  It was
such a stressful anxiety filled day.  When the Sister Training Leaders
found out about it that night in our apartment they were so mad!  They were
like "you never do that to a greeny!  holy crap!"  But life is alright. Oh,
and I had a woman tell me that she couldn't meet with me at that time, I
said okay when can we come back?  And she said "actually, could you please
never come back?"  Oh.  Okay.  So that's one less investigator haha.
Yesterday was an interesting day as well.  So Sister Rugg and I are walking
down the street when this woman gets off the jeepney and walks towards us.
 You can tell that she is homeless, and maybe not all the way there.  She
tries to grab sister Rugg's waterbottle out of her hand.  This isn't some
cheap waterbottle, this is the nice, expensive one that they give us that
is a water filtration that will last us our whole mission.  It is necessary
that we keep this for survival!  This woman starts trying to wrench it out
of her hands.  I am just sitting there trying to figure out what to do.  I
don't have a waterbottle with me for some reason.  They are arguing in
Cebuano and both of them are pulling on the waterbottle.  Then the woman
tells her that she needs the water or she will die.  She just keeps yelling
"I'm dying!  I'm dying!"  So I go and pry the womans hands off of this
waterbottle.  PRY them.  And then Sister Rugg and I walk quickly away as
the woman chases sister Rugg and takes a swing at her!  She misses and
takes another swing!  And then she just gave up and turned around.  I have
no idea what was even happening.  My life is madness.  We also experienced
our first really bad rain storm.  It was literally raining buckets.  We
were drenched, and we didn't dry all day long because it was so humid.  It
was so humid that my glasses were fogged up all day long.  And then we got
home to find four cockroaches in our home.  Update:  they fly.  These
things are surely going to be the death of me.  And that is my crazy week
summed up.  It's also Holy Week this week, so everyone is super catholic
this week, and no one wants to talk to us.  It's been an adventure for
sure.  Enjoy Easter for me!  (Mom, I'm sorry I won't be there working with
you!)  Pray for me, I hear Easter is real crazy here.  I love you all!
 Love, Carlee