Greetings lovelies. The weeks just fly. I swear, the days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like days.
Wednesday: we always go out and try to eat something good on Wednesdays. This week we went to a restaraunt that was ok ra man. It wasn't the best. But they had cheesecake. So because we are fancy and we deserved it, we ate blueberry cheesecake. We got in a little petticab, (the bicycles, with side carts that people peddle around) and as we are going through the city we both see it. Glaring at us through a window of a store. Just shining so bright. The most amazing t shirt to ever touch the planet. It was the american flag in t shirt form. We both saw it and just started at each other in amazement. And then Sister Bateman yells at the bike driver "stop the trike!" he just starts laughing and immediately slams on the brakes, we get out and run into the store and both purchase these ridiculous shirts. We came home and ran straight into our room and put on our america pants and shirts and then went running out into the kitchen where Sister Tandiman and Sister Minguez were. That little Indonesian and that Filipina had no idea how to even handle all of our patriotism. I think they both almost fell off their chairs from how hard they laughed.
Thursday: Sister Bateman made me get up at the crack of dawn and go jogging. It was great once we were out and about. There is a random park that is kind of close to our house, which is strange because parks don't exist in the Philippines. So we ran to the park and went jogging. It's gorgeous. We had apartment checks that day by Elder and Sister Anderson. Sister Anderson made us real honest to goodness bread. From scratch. It had seeds in it and everything. Now, I'm not a huge whole grain fan back home, but this 9 grain bread I was eating tasted like heaven. Sometimes, I'm certain I will die from the amount of rice I eat, it felt mildly healthy and amazing. We went out and worked that day, and of course, I forgot my rain jacket. It wasn't a big deal, because it was a sunny day. And besides it hadn't rained in days. Well, as my wonderful luck would have it, rainclouds approached fast. All of the sudden we hear a thunderclap, it was like a freaking movie, the rain just started pouring in buckets. Sister Bateman grabbed my arm and we started sprinting. Mind you, we were walking in the middle of nowhere in between two of our areas. We were walking along the ocean, and there was nothing there except a tiny little bamboo hut a little ways away. So we sprint to this dang hut and wait the rain out for a minute. It was only about five minutes, but it was cool to just sit in this bamboo hut on the beach in a giant rainstorm. New rule: Always have the rain jacket. And then that night Elder and Sister Anderson took me out to dinner for my birthday. We of course went to Burgers and Beer. Sister Bateman and I shared a taco salad (!!!!) and a chili cheese dog. Firstly, mexican food doesn't exist here, salad is non existant, and so is cheese. So it was an amazing little treat.
Friday: I was able to do weekly planning completely by myself! The area is officially mine. :) For lunch we had one of my favorites, canned corned pork and scrambled eggs over rice haha. We worked with Veloria that day, I love that adorable nanay. We got on a trike and these little kids had this bag that they were playing with. Mind you, these trikes just cram people in. They fit 11 people in this trike/motorcycle. So you're real close. I keep looking trying to figure out what these kids are playing with. It's the spiders! Remember that youtube video of fighting spiders? yeah, these kids have a bag of them. And then they take them out and start playing with them and letting them fight and run on their hands and their arms and I just about lost it. It was horrifying. We were walking around and we started talking to someone and they looked at me and just said "you look german" well, that would be correct. But I don't know what about me looks German haha. As we kept walking, we were going through this really tiny alleyway in between bamboo huts, and there was a chicken in front of us. I kicked a rock, and the chicken freaked out, flew directly over my head and charged into Sister Bateman. Sister Bateman screamed bloody murder as this chicken is just charging her. And then there is Veloria and I sitting on the ground trying to breathe because we are laughing so hard. Sister Bateman hit me with her umbrella a couple times, which made me and Veloria laugh even harder. I deserved it. But I really didn't mean to! We taught one of our investigators Edgardo at a members house. They are so great. They live right on the ocean, it's completely gorgeous. Sometimes we teach three or four lessons at their house if there aren't women around becuase we have to have a woman present at all times. They're really great. Their names are Raybie, Vangie, and Churchilla. We teach in this little bamboo gazebo type thing right on the beach. It started pouring rain as we were teaching, it was really so cool. So we finish up the lesson and go to head home when we see that all of the paths are flooded and are now rivers. Veloria, that little 65 year old stud just goes tromping through the river, I follow suit, but Sister Bateman was worried about her shoes and her feet or something, I'm not sure. The point is, I turned around and made her jump on my back and I gave her a piggy back ride through the river, it was a long walk hahaha. Veloria was once again laughing hysterically at the two Americans in the river, and I got companion of the year award. I really love Sister Bateman.
Saturday: We got punted like crazy all day long! It was unreal. But these are the days where you really see the tiny miracles, and you see how slowly but surely, you are being led to where you're supposed to be. Everything happens for a reason. Those days are hard days, but you learn a lot in them. That night we taught one of our less active members. I love them so much. We teach them every week. And they decided to dress me up in traditional filipina clothing. I looked way too fabulous for my own good. There are some really amazing people here. I love them.
Sunday: I love my five year journal. I write in it every morning. Sunday morning I had some time to think, so I read through my "everything will be okay" book and just looked through my family scrapbook. Sometimes Sundays can be bitter sweet. But man, I am so blessed. I have the best family in the world. And the best friends. I have the best support system rooting me on. We went to church and lo and behold Teabing came to church! We have been trying to get this woman to church for weeks now! She was all gwapa'd up and she just glowed in church. I love her. We were waiting for relief society to start, and in walks Ivy, we haven't been able to teach her yet. She came in and said that she couldn't stay for church, but she would come back at 3:00 and we could teach her then. This woman, there is something so special about her. Edgardo also was at church on Sunday and so were so many less active members! Church can be the biggest pay day sometimes. It just makes it all so worth it. We have a man who is in the branch presidency here. He is in his 70s, and always wears a rockin white suitcoat even though it's hot as heck. He has fabulous english, he informed Sister Bateman that he reads the dictionary every day, he is on the letter d currently. This man makes sacrament way too much fun. For instance, let me give you some samples of his comments. "thank youf or leading the music at the level of absolute perfection" and "our concluding speaker, i present to you without the least bit of delay..." he says everything like he is announcing a football game. Sometimes you have to try really hard to not laugh. We went back to the church at 3:00 to teach Ivy, and ended up waiting until 4:15 and she never showed. We don't have a way to contact her. It's a really hard situation. I was really sad, I don't know how I'm supposed to help this woman, or what I'm supposed to do. But I just feel so strongly about her. Also, it has officially come back, all the little kids here have started calling me Elsa again. And when I walk they just sing part of Frozen. Sister Bateman is completely astounded by it every time it happens. It's just like some giant Philippines wide joke.
Monday: We got up at 5:30 again and played ultimate frisbee with the branch. I'm learning to like frisbee haha. Everyone is so excited because it's September. Which means its the "ber" months. Which apparently means that we start celebrating Christmas. Everyone is singing Christmas songs. It's fabulous hahaha. I was able to finish the New Testament on Monday. I loved it. I love the New Testament. I love reading about Our Savior. I love learning of Him. I may have cried my way through it a time or two.
Tuesday: Not a ton happened yesterday. We taught a lot of lessons. We taught Edgardo, we taught Boy and he's doing great too. He loves the Book of Mormon. He told us how proud he is of us for spreading the good word. He always just asks us to keep coming back and teaching him. He is so smart, sometimes he's too smart for his own good. But I adore that man. I don't know if I've ever mentioned how incredibly blunt Filipinos are. If they see that you have acne, they ask you about it. If you are white, they tell you. If you are tall, they tell you. Skinny, white, tall, overweight, just anything at all, they'll tell you about it. And it's not rude, it's just stating a fact. Well, they also do that with visaya haha. Sister Bateman is about to go home, so she has really good language, so they'll tell her that she has really good language, and then they'll look at me and tell me "yours isn't that good yet" hahaha it's so innocent! You can't even be offended by it! I love this dang culture. Last night a magical thing happened, it cooled off enough that I put a sheet over half of my body. Before my mission, I had to have a blanket. There was no other option. It was impossible to sleep without a blanket. Well, that habit has left. My alarm clock has a thermometer on it, and I have the blanket situation down to a science. If it drops lower than 87 degrees in our room, the blanket goes on because it gets chilly. Last night it got down to 86, and I thought I might have to put on a sweater or something. Send help for when I go home! I'm going to perish.
Well, that's about it for this week. Transfer calls are on Monday, I have no idea what is going to happen. I've never been with a companion for more than one transfer, so out of habit, it just feels like Sister Bateman will transfer. But it's awkward because she's been here two transfers, and only has two transfers left. So if she stays, her last transfer will randomly be in a new area and then she'll go home. So we don't know what's going to happen. This transfer freaking flew. I swear it was just transfer calls in Carcar. Anyways, it'll be exciting to see what happens next week. I have one study I want to share, hopefully quickly because I"m almost out of time.
So I read Ether chapter six. And I fell in love with it. It felt so relatable. In ether 6:3 it says "the lord caused stones to shine in the darkness. To give light unto men and women and children that they might not cross the great waters in darkness" What are these stones in our lives? The light! The gospel of Jesus Christ. In ether 6:5 I love that it says that there was a furious wind that blew them towards the promised land. A FURIOUS wind. There is a really cool footnote that takes you to Ether 2:24-25. I started to think about this and what the furious winds were in my life. Fear, doubt, insecurity, anxiety. And you're right, they are furious winds, it isn't a calm walk in the park. It isn't a glassy day on the lake. We all have FURIOUS winds that are upon us. There are mountainous waves that will crash on us, but remember, they are all leading us directly to the promised land. We are promised that we ill bring us up again from the depths of the sea. And he prepares us, for he knows that we surely cannot do it without him preparing us. He prepares us against the waves, the winds that have come and the waves which still shallcome. But he asks us, what will ye that I shoudl prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea? We are never alone, no matter how deep the sea is. In ether 6:6 is says that they were many times burried in the depths of the sea. Many times! This was dang hard. In verse seven it says that they were buried in the deep, but no water could hurt them, because their vessels were tight, and they did cry unto the lord and he di bring them forth again upon the top of the waters. Our vessels have to be tight? What are our vessels? It's the Savior. If we cry unto him he'll bring us to the top of the waters again and again and again. I love verse eight. It says "the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land" The wind will never cease. Life will be full of trials. But it's always pushing us towards that promised land. In verse ten it says that "they did have light continually, whether it is about the water or under the water" They chose to see the good in their trials. They made it a faith building experience. And in verse twelve I believe, it says that they made it to the promised land and they wept with joy and grattitude. Their trials were dang hard! And they were long. But they were grateful and so faithful. We are expected to cross some dark waters in order to get to the promised land. But we are given the light of the gospel. We are given the assurance that if our vessels are tight, the water will not hurt us. The velssels are jesus christ. There will be furious winds, but they are pushing us to the promised land. It won't be easy, the waves will be big. But we have been prepared. And we will continue to be prepared. The wind will never cease, but if you can cling to the gospel, and remain grateful and faithful in all circumstances, you will have light above and below the water. And you will be led. I love you all. I miss you buckets. Stay Strong.
Love, Sister Carlee Beyer