Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mga Gwapo!

Dear family,

I thought I'd tell you about some of the more mundane typical moments of my week, and then you can know what I'm doing lots of the time. But if you have any requests for information, just let me know!

I got mail this week Thursday- your Dear Elders, so that might give you an idea of how long it takes.  We get mail when our Zone Leaders or district leaders go to Cebu to the mission home, so that's maybe every 3 weeks, or month or something. And I love letters! We had a Zone training meeting, so we were with our Zone on Thursday, learning all about accountability for every single action on our mission. That's the kind of missionary I want to become. We have district meeting every Monday in Siaton, which is an hour away on the bus. We ride this bus and they play the weirdest American music, and we're a real sight- all 5 of us missionaries from Bayawan (had I told you that we have elders in Bayawan as well? If not, we do! It's cool to get to work with them, and we never have to give up investigators.) Our district is actually the entire newly formed Bayawan Zone, so we always have our Zone Leaders and District Leaders with us. I'm always excited to learn from these other wonderful missionaries.

I keep forgetting to tell you about laba, and that's  mundane and constant, so here goes! We get to wash all our clothes by hand in buckets. We sit on our back porch and wash and rinse and wring things out and hang things to dry and just hope that it doesn't rain. It's a new experience, and hopefully it stays new and fun and not tedious. 

Inevitably, it always does rain. I broke my first umbrella due to the winds here. Bagiuo was one of the first words I learned here- it's a typhoon, but mostly, even though it's technically a hurricane, we just call it rain. It'll be super hot, like 5 times Laie in August for two hours and then it will pour for hours on end, and then be a little chilly for an hour, and then back to normal, like 3 times Laie in August, until it builds up again. As a missionary, I love the rain- it's cooler, and we're walking anyway, and my shoes are wet anyway, so rain is good. It's not as great when the rain starts coming sideways and we still have to go to PEC, and I'm entirely soaked, but that's life in the Philippines

I hope I haven't sent this picture before- but this is definitely typical. This is Christina's house, a recent convert, with a younger sister who's a member. She's referred her whole block- that's everyone in the picture, and we're teaching 3 of them seriously, (a few of these are inactive members, so that was cool too). This means that we're in her house or her neighbors' houses very often. So this house is very much a part of missionary work here in Bayawan. We ate dinner here the other night- her mom loves the Spirit that we bring as missionaries, and promises that she'll never get baptized, but we're working on it. When we came it, we helped them tear some leaves, I thought for medicine or decoration or something, but they boiled them with some lentils, and then we ate that, with mais rice- it's like rice, but actually made of corn. This is what everyone eats here- enough that it's called Vinisayan utok. So leaves for dinner!

More typical: the scriptures are opened to me. It's crazy. I've been working on memorizing some scriptures, and those are always a verse that I need in the lesson. Or I'll open my scriptures, and the verse is right there that I'm supposed to share. And there's so much more to learn! I've been reading about Ammon and Aaron and their missionary journeys and I'm so inspired to be able to rejoice in the Lord like they can. 

We meet wonderful loving Filipino people. That's every day here, and I love it.

Visaya is hard every day. But I think I'm getting better, and even when it's not fun, it's functional. I guess I just have to be patient, and it'll come, really slowly. 

Let's see: funniest moment from this week- we're teaching a less active family, with a maybe 70 year old grandpa. Before we even say the prayer, he's asking which chapter, even though he never reads the Book of Mormon. Then, he starts talking about the resurrection in the middle of our lesson about repentance, and tells us all kinds of crazy thoughts- like the Spirit world is 2500 square kilometers- who knew? We were all just trying not to laugh, and then he said "You know why people can't stand in Christ's prescence? It's because he's just too handsome." I tried really hard to not laugh at that one, but I was definitely grinning. 

Mga gwapa is also what we're called in one neighborhood- but don't worry, we tell them all that we're all beautiful children of God.

In the mornings, we get up, and exercise (Gracie, I'm putting your little paper to good use), and eat breakfast- usually rice, but sometimes oatmeal, and personal study, and our two hour companion study because we're training, and then language study- which I need so much, and lunch- usually rice, but sometimes other things- and then we work! And visit our investigators and less active families and talk to everyone and try to find people who want to know more about Jesus Christ. That's really every missionary's experience, but that's what I do every day, so you all get to know now. I'm out here, being a missionary, so I do what missionaries do. I'm being Christ's representative for these people, and I'm working everyday to do the things he'd do for them. Mostly, I have a message that makes me really happy, and it's the way to salvation, and I want to share it with people and invite them to make the changes in their life that allow them to live with their Father. When it's hard or humid or I feel inadequate, that's what I need to remember, that it's not about me at all. I get to disappear in this work, and let it be about those people, and our God. He is my God. He's my Father, and as he empowers me, I can claim him more and more as mine. 

Thank you so much for your support! It's such an incredible strength to me every day. I'm so grateful for the blessing of a wonderful family and inspiring friends. To all of you, have a great week!

Sister Tueller

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