I love you all! What fun stories from everyone!
Dad, Santa Catalina is also in our area, and there's definitely a lot of sugar cane. I'll be sure to remember the history. We haven't had sugar cane yet, so that can go on the list. We ate at MangInasal last week, and had Halo Halo. It's still an interesting taste experience, and Sister Rugg had a fun time trying it.
We've eaten at member's houses a couple of times this week, and had fish and rice, which was delicious. We see fisherman all the time. We also tried bokchoy with the dried pork rind, it's all lami kaayo! (very delicious- this is an important word for a new missionary) The little bake shops with different Filipino breads are also a treat. At home, we often eat toast because that's what my Filipino trainer likes- go figure. But we eat rice, and mangos and corned beef, and canned corn (but not with cheese ice cream!).
Oh, there's so much to tell you! Life here is always fun. Everyone stares at us all day long because they never see American women, ever, and tells me that I'm gwapa kaayo- I'm going to have the best self esteem by the time I leave here. But it's a good opportunity to talk to people. We have a program in the mission for English tracting- we've been asked to teach the rich and learned to help the church grow in the Philippines, and one of the best ways to talk to them is in English. Yesterday, we went up to one of the really big houses, and before we even said anything, they were inviting us in. Filipinos love to speak English (one of my favorite activities is to respond in Visaya to their English "Good evening" and then listen to their giggling or whispering about how I can speak Visaya- and it'll be even more fun when I'm fluent and can surprise them more). We got to teach those two sisters in the big house a lesson, and they told us all about their families, and their Catholic worship. I don't know how much they really like our message, but maybe! I know the Lord provides a way.
Let's see: we had our member missionary work fireside here . The branch has been weak in missionary work in the past, but they're really getting on board. I really love these members. Everyone here is considered a less active under our rescue mission, and most really are less active. But there are incredible people here, with testimonies of this gospel. I'm especially impressed by the youth. Many of the parents have become inactive, going back to ways of the world, or being "busy"- I hear that word from everyone here. It's hard to see people losing the Spirit, and not being able to feel the light of the gospel, because I just want them to see that this is the way! But many of their kids, the youth are still so strong. There's seminary every evening and I love to see them. We got to work with a couple of them who are preparing for missions, and it was an invaluable blessing, because they know about inactives that we've never even heard of. We got to teach one of them, and while she wasn't receptive, her neighbor was so willing to hear us- so that's exciting for this week.
We had another member work with us- the seminary teacher, Sister Ana Mae. Her testimony and ability to connect with the members was so crucial. And then after all of our teaching, we got to teach her family and her cute kids. I got to see and feel the Spirit of their home, the joy that comes from living the gospel and from raising kids in the gospel. Thank you so much Mom and Dad for all that you taught me- Grace, Isabel, Olivia, Lamont- we have the greatest parents. In visaya, joy is actually Perfect happiness- it's the title here, and I think that's so accurate. As we feel true joy, we feel a bit of what heaven is like.
We get mail on Mondays at district meeting, usually, and I think I did get a letter, but my district leader forgot it, so ! We have zone interviews with President Schmutz, so we get to leave tonight and take a two hour bus ride and stay with the Dumaguete sisters. And yesterday, we had our Sister Training Leaders with us, and we got to go on splits. Sister Prasad is such a bold missionary and I learned a lot about the real truth of this gospel.
It's so true. There's so much perfect happiness, and hope for perfect happiness in this work. That's the message that I get to tell people. I'm hoping this is a good glimpse of my life- what do you want to know specifically? I'll try to answer questions as best as I can.
I love you! Have a great week!