Sometimes you are in internethans and there is a brownout and all the computers just shut off and you have to start over. These are fun times. Mainly, I just feel really badly for the woman in charge of all the computers haha. Oh Philippines, how I love you. We had an eventful week full of adventures. They go as follows!
Wednesday: Sister Bateman somehow convinced me that we needed to buy a Christmas tree, because it is the "Ber" months, which means it's almost Christmas. So we bought a little Christmas tree for 100 pesos, and it is on display on our kitchen table. She goes home the first week of December, so I'll let her win and celebrate Christmas in December. We took it home and Sister Minguez breaks out Christmas lights of all things. I have no idea why she has them. But they are shaped like snowflakes. The light in our kitchen only works half the time, so we eat dinner by the light of our Christmas tree. And then to make it even better, Sister Bateman found a peppermint air freshener, so it is full fledged Christmas at our house. We came home after emailing to find Sister Wilcox had mopped the floor, and to make mopping more fun, she put soapy water all over our tile floor, and then would brace herself at the back door like a swimmer preparing to dive, and launch off while laying on a towell. We may have made a slippery slide and mopped our whole house that way. Sometimes, you just gotta make things a little more fun. They also made macaroni salad, which is a Filipino favorite. It has canned fruit, huge macaroni noodles, condensed milk, and cream in it. It's obviously very healthy. I'll make it for you back home and you'll all die over how good it is. I also got a bunch of birthday cards in the mail last Wednesday. Thank you all so much. I got one from Grandpa and I opened it up in the store and immediately started crying. In six words, that letter became my favorite letter I've received on my entire mission. And, I tried chocolate carribou milk on Wednesday. Surprisingly very, very, yum.
Thursday: I think I have mentioned the red ant situation, but it is completely out of control. Red ants just flock to me. My feet are always covered in red ant bites. It is the strangest phenomenon. I swear, they don't bite anyone else other than me. But I'll take it, because my entire mission I've only gotten maybe five mosquito bites, and everyone else just gets eaten alive by mosquitos. Mosquito bites itch way worse, and you can't get dengay fever from red ants. The mosquitos here carry the deng. So, I'll accept my fate of death by red ants. We were teaching a woman for the very first time and we were teaching her about the Book of Mormon. We asked her at the end if she would be willing to read it, she said absolutely. We committed her to read it and pray to know like it says in Moroni 10:3-5, and then we asked her if she received her answer if she would be willing to be baptized. Mind you this whole lesson is obviously happening in straight visaya, and this woman looks up at us so sincerley and seriously and says "yes. 100% yes." In english! Sister Bateman and I just broke into cheesy grins. She is a really solid investigator. The only downside is that she is really busy and it's hard to teach her. But her faith is so strong already! That night we taught a lesson to one of our investigators about Joseph Smith. I had this realization of just how much I love teaching about Joseph Smith. My last transfer in Carcar I kind of accidentally studied a lot about Joseph Smith, just by the books and conference talks I was reading. I really love teaching about Joseph Smith. Especially in Visaya. It is just so beautiful to me. Of course I had a testimony of him before my mission, but I really grew my testimony of him in Visaya. And to me, it's just so much more beautiful. Sometimes, it just feels so dang good to be a missionary. We went and visited the Quiros that night and after we taught them, Sister Quiro said she had something for me. She brings out this HUGE shell. HUGE. Her dad lives on a small island pretty close to here called Sipaway. He is the man who I talked to a few weeks ago about diving, the one who said that I was a diver and that I understood? Well we have obviously been bonded for life because he dove down and got me this shell, and then brought it back to Sister Quiro to give to me. This thing is my prized possession. I have got to figure out a way to get it home!
Friday: I am a self proclaimed chef master in the Philippines. I am the cook in the house, and I cook most of the meals. I'm starting to get creative. I made adobo last week! I'm so dang proud of that. I was making a kind of sweet and sour chicken last week, and I went to make a rue to thicken up the sauce, but our flour had bugs in it. So I substituted pancake batter instead. The sisters all thought I was crazy for making a rue with pancake batter, but let me just tell you they stopped teasing me about it once they tasted it. I'm basically a professional chef over here, watch out for when I get home and have millions of ingredients at my disposal! In the mornings I'm always the last one to shower, so when I got out of the shower, I see them all standing in various forms of polka dot clothing. They inform me that today, we wear polka dots, and it is part of our housemate bonding. I don't do polka dots. I don't really like polka dots. I found the one article of clothing that i own that has polka dots on it and put it on. Thank heavens that Sister Passey left me a shirt with polka dots on it. Who knows what would have happened with the house mate bonding!
Saturday: We went out to a part of Guadalupe we hadn't been to yet, but we had a referral out there. We have to walk about ten minutes along the highway. It was a good lesson. And then on the way back, some men were going past with motor cycles and pulled over to give us a ride. The two of us jumped on back, riding side saddle and went to our next area. Dad, I fully expect you to take me to church on the back of your motorcycle. I'm pro at riding side saddle in a skirt now. We taught Edgardo that day and he is ready for baptism! The last thing we were working on was his drinking! But he stopped drinking and he is ready! His baptism is this Saturday. It's going to be so good. This man has changed so incredibly much. I'll tell you his whole story next week. But this man has flipped his life totally around, and I'm so dang proud of him.
Sunday: We went to church, same old same old, and then came home and Sister Wilcox and Sister Minguez were both being really weird. They told me to go into my room. I walk into my room and they had covered something on my bed with a sheet. I pull off the sheet and I had two packages from mom! The Zone Leaders had just dropped it off. They all just crowded around me while I opened them up. Treats on treats on treats! Best birthday package ever! I don't even care that the mailman took over a month to get them to me from the original date. We each ate one treat (sometimes you have to ration just a little bit) and went back out to work. When we came home that night, we decided to celebrate because it was the twenty first night of september (cue earth wind and fire) and we wanted to be able to remember it. So I made mac and cheese. I thought I had made a sufficient amount, but it was so delicious that we downed it in about three seconds flat. So I promptly made another huge batch of mac and cheese. Salamat mom.
Monday: We had an awesome district meeting that came from a workshop that President McCurdy gave that I'm going to have to share next week. (the countdown clock and I are fighting right now) I got a ton of really great letters from people. All of you who are sending letters, I promise you that you're getting some serious blessings. Heavenly Father gives very special blessings to people who write missionaries who live very far away. And Sister Robidillo sent me a present! It didn't come with her letter she sent me for some reason, but it is a little elephant figurine made out of tiny tiny shells. I looove that woman. I miss her so dang much. We also had an FHE at Sister Po's house that was just lovely. FHE's are so much fun here. Filipinos are generally pretty shy, but get them playing games at the end of FHE and they are a hoot. There is always dancing.
Tuesday: Not a ton happened, Sister Bateman has had a pretty bad cold that is kicking her butt, and all she wanted was a pizza. So we went to this pizza place in Gaisanos (which is like Walmart) for dinner. We no sooner finish dinner as we start walking back to work when the Elders text us and tell us that they forgot to tell us that a member invited us over for dinner, and they had been waiting for us for ten minutes! So we book it over to the house, and ate dinner with the members and the elders. We each ate an entire fish, literally the whole thing, head, eyes, scales and all (who am I?) and a huge amount of rice and chicken. We were stuffed beyond all belief. And that was the week. It was crazy busy. But it was really good.
I wish I had a spiritual thought that I could quickly share, but I'm totally out of time. I just want you to know that I'm happy. I'm doing well here, I love being a missionary. There are few things cooler than teaching people about the Book of Mormon and watching them change so much. I know this is true, there's no way I could be doing it if it wasn't. I love you all so much. Stay Strong!
Sister Carlee Beyers