Someone in the Philippines liked the idea of I <3 NY shirts, but it doesn't work with so many letters, so they just put this on shirts, with strange colors.
But this week, I wanted to tell you some reasons that I <3 Bayawan!As a background, this week, we were told that every companionship in our mission would have some changes this transfer because of the 30 new missionaries who are arriving today. We had to brace ourselves for the change, and then it didn't happen! Something with the housing in a prospective area didn't work, and so we get to stay!
Reasons I love Bayawan1: Maayong Hapon- everyone greets us all the time. Often, they try in English, and I reply in Visaya and it makes my day all the time. This week, one man was so excited to meet us that he introduced us to his whole street. On this same street, we started teaching a lesson on the porch and all the children in the street came and stared at us while we sang "Families can be Together Forever"- like this is 25 children. But what a sublime moment, as awkward as it seemed at the time.
2. The Boulevard. It's lined with lamps, with a grass median in the middle of the 2 lanes. We walk up and down it every day. I think we've met all the regulars. Actually, I think my favorite thing about Bayawan is that I've become one of the regulars. We walk and watch the ocean, and the boys playing basketball, shooting into hoops built into the trees, and all the boats along the drive.
3. The animals! There are a million cute cats and puppies, and these confused birds that circle in a certain area. And yesterday, we saw the biggest pig I've ever seen. Baboy- that's a great word for pig.
4. Our Ceres bus. We take an hour bus ride to Siaton every Monday for District meeting, and we had to go to Dumaguete (2.5 hours away) twice this week for training and district conference. But the bus is just really cool. I don't quite know how to explain why I like it. I think I like seeing the different towns, and fields, and ocean, and cliffs, all in this time. It's a little bit like the drive from Kaneohe to Laie.
5. GK. Oh, it's a special place. It's a village of cement houses made for the houses that were torn down when the Boulevard was built- one room, with some curtains usually. We spend lots of time there, and all the children love to see us. It's so cool to walk by and see all these lives going on. The drunk old men, the kids playing jump rope, the little saray saray stores, the lights- it's just fun!
6. Rain in Bayawan! Walking the Boulevard in the rain is so fun, and not hot, so that's nice.
7. Of course, the people. It's hard to know what to tell you about them, but they are so incredible. Our youth are so strong, and some of their parents are trying so hard. We have some people who aren't even baptized yet, but they've committed to prepare for the temple. We have the cutest family who has been prepared by God to receive us, and they're reading the Book of Mormon every day. We have some people who don't want to hear us, and it's sad, heart breakingly so.
Language: Sister Yanga is native Tagalog, and she also understands Ilocano. In our apartment, we usually still speak English, but we're transitioning to Visaya- English is a second mission language, so for our studies, we're supposed to use English. We also have to understand some Ilongo because we're very close to Bacolod, and many people here speak Ilongo natively. Outside of our apartment, the goal is to speak only Visaya, or at least try in Visaya first. Thank you for your prayers. I do feel like I'm understanding a lot more- I'm rarely completely lost anymore, and I can say things that come to my heart, not just limiting to the things I think I can say. It's still frustrating, and I have to continue to have faith everyday, but it comes.
So kana ra for this week! Times up. I got Dear Elders this week, I think I probably broke a record for my district, so thank you for the updates of my cousins, and thank you to Olivia for her letters. Thank you also to Aunt Carrie for the pens- what a wonderful gift- they've already been put to good use. I love you all more than I can express now!