Monday, August 15, 2016
KUMUSTA! Woah, everything is crazy. Also sorry sorry for the super rambly email last week haha I was trying to fit everything in and it kept freezing and I was panicking. I'll try harder to sound like an adult this week haha. I'm literally having so much fun. Obviously it's really hard adjusting to everything and being so far away from friends and family and I've had multiple little rough moments, but OVERALL I'm loving everything and everyone and wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.
Haha the language is coming very slowly but surely. I'm very grateful for the 6 weeks that I had in the MTC because even though it's really hard right now, I can understand WAY more than I would have without it. I can understand people when they're talking about religious things pretty well, I just have a hard time responding and putting my own thoughts and sentences together. I have a much easier time understanding people who's second language is Hiligaynon- so people who learned it either from Tagalog or English, because it's harder for me to understand native people's accents because they talk so fast (haha karma for me for talking so fast my whole life). Comprehension of regular conversation and small talk is wayyyyyyyy worse. I can sometimes get the gist from picking out some words that I know, but usually I'm just really confused. My companion is a true friend and translates for me though. Basically, however many people there are in a conversation, I'm that number wheel and I just try to listen really hard and figure out what's going on. I literally have this exact conversation at least once a day:
me: "kumusta! ako si Sister Rainey, Taga America ako, bago gid nga misyonera ako"- hi I'm sister Rainey I'm from America, I'm a new missionary
person: intyende ka ilonggo?- do you understand ilonggo?
me: uhhhh jiutay lang, una semana ko sa Philippines- just a little, my first week in the Philippines
person (to my companion)- intyende sia!! sagad gid sia!- she understands! she's so talented!
Then they keep talking and I have no idea what's going on. They are literally so impressed by my ability to understand that one sentence and it's so funny, little do they know that that's about it that I understand. Haha it's super fun trying to learn though, I've definitely gotten a lot better since I've been here with the full immersion. I just need to work a lot on my accent because even though my words will sometimes be right, it's still hard for people to understand me sometimes because my accent is so thick. I get made fun of because I still have a hard time putting together sentences so sometimes when people ask me questions I just say "nami gid!" with a really big smile and a thumbs up. I'm still really bad at teaching lessons, but I'm slowly getting better. My companion leads and I just fill in the gaps whenever she wants me to with whatever comes to mind. Gift of tongues is so real because I say so much that I didn't even know that I knew. It's so cool to be able to feel the spirit so often even when I have honestly no idea what's going on.
Sipalay is so pretty and I'm so close to the beach and I'm so excited to do some hikes and see stuff next week. The past 2 weeks we've had meetings in Bacolod so I've spent my P-days taking 6 hour bus rides up to the city which is fun. And I washed my clothes for the first time this morning! Haha domestic gid. (gid is just an emphasizer, it's like very or really). Ummm yeah, the little timer thing is telling me it's time to go. Love you all so much, hope everyone is doing well. The mission is really hard but I wouldn't change it for the world, I"m so blessed to be here with some of the most incredible people in the entire world. It's cool seeing people come unto Christ and improve their lives and grow closer with their families through our message. Love you all!!
Holy what. What a week. I've been in my area for 3 days and it's already felt like maybe 10 years. Haha you're all lucky that I'm sending this today instead of on Thursday because the 3rd world culture shock was real. Haha it's all fun and games in the Philippines MTC where there's hot water and soap and toilet paper and air conditioning. Fun fact: the rest of the Philippines is not like that. Okay I have like 0 time because I'm at a cute little internet cafe and I have to pay by the hour and it's super glitchy and annoying. I'm going to try to sum everything up as fast as I can sorry in advance if it's rambly.
WAS SO FUN. All of the Filipino Elders and Sisters were literally the nicest people that I've ever met and it was so fun getting to know them for just 5 days. Everyone referred to Sister Fawcett and I as the water sisters which was really cute and we made a lot of really cool friends. The highlight was when we got to go out proselyting in Manila with Tagalog speaking missionaries. Sister Fawcett and I were paired with Sister Fidow and during our first lesson we just spoke in English really slowly but for the second lesson the lady ended up being from Bacolod and knowing Hiligaynon and it was so cool because we got to bear our testimonies in Hiligaynon and kind of communicate with her and after we talked to her she started talking to the other Sister in Tagalog and was smiling and laughing and looked so happy and the Sister translated for us that she was just so happy because she never thought that foreigners would take the time to learn her native language and she loved hearing us speak it even though it wasn't perfect. So so cool to be a part of bringing the gospel to the entire world in people's native languages (even if no one knows they exist)
For our first day in Bacolod we did a ton of training with the 8 of us that came from the Manila MTC together with the Mission President who is super nice and I love so much. That night we stayed in a sisters' apartment in the city (with Sister Schneider!- a friend that I met a couple of months ago in UT that is 6 weeks ahead of me) and that's when it hit me that we were in a 3rd world country because there wasn't running water and it was so hot and sticky and gross.. but I've adjusted since then so no worries! On Thursday we met our trainers and had a little bit more training. My trainer is Sister Hermosura and she's from Cavite (like 45 min outside of Manila) and she's the sweetest. She's doing a really good job of helping me learn the language even though I'm high key helpless. She's very patient with me which is awesome. I'm in the Sipalay (GOOGLE IT) area and IT IS SO PRETTY. When I told some older elders where I was going they all said it was incredible and "para-iso" and IT IS. It's right on the coast and the beaches are gorgeous and there are rice fields and palm trees every where and I'm so happy. THE SKY IS BLUE (hallelujah I'm not in the polluted city) and it's super rural with lots of very humble and nice people. Haha it's only downside is that it's a 6-ish hour busride south of Bacolod... it's almost at the very bottom of the mission- there are only 2 other areas below me and only elders go there because I think they're more sketch. Literally dream area, wish I could stay here my whole mission
It's been a little frustrating the past few days just because I've never felt so dumb in my entire life and I literally just sit through lessons and try my hardest to understand what's going on but the speed and accent throw me off so much. Probably the best thing that's happened to me since I've been here is when I bore my testimony on Sunday in front of my new ward and I started with how I was sorry I wasn't very good at Ilonggo but I was trying my hardest and then I said what I could and when I sat down afterwards these two little 8 year old girls that I love so much put their arms around me and said "tudloan namon" which means "we'll teach you" and my heart literally melted. Haha later that day we were at their house and I had like 6 little girls surrounding me for my Hiligaynon lessons and they would point to things and tell me the word and if I said it right they all applauded and hugged me and it made me so happy. They are so sweet and I love them so much. The young women are also the best and the 12 and 13 year old girls help me try and have conversations and when I say words right they nod their heads really hard and get so excited for me. Everyone is so nice and compliments my Ilonggo even though I have no idea what's going and they're all so supportive and helpful it's crazy. Filipinos are literally the nicest people I've ever met in my whole life, I haven't met an exception.
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES
-It rains on the daily... it will be sunny and then 2 seconds later just POUR. Haha people here like rain puns even more than in America and they're always applicable because it rains so much...So I get lots of comments on my name
-ITS SO HARD TO NOT BE DISTRACTED DURING LESSONS BECAUSE 1.I DON'T KNOW THE LANGUAGE AND 2. THERE ARE BABY CHICKS AND PUPPIES AND LITTLE KIDS WITHOUT PANTS RUNNING AROUND AND SOMETIMES GIANT CARIBOU/COWS JUST WALKING AROUND. But it's so fun and it keeps things exciting
-Trikes are my new favorite mode of transportation we literally take them everywhere
Shoot I had so much more to say but I'm out of time. I'll try to attach pictures but who knows. Just know that I feel SO blessed to be here. I'm so grateful that I get to serve here and I'm so happy that this mission isn't about me because if it were about me I think I'd be in a much worse mood with the weather and the living conditions and just about everything because I am VERY out of my element. But I'm so happy for the opportunity to be here serving the people of Sipalay right now- they are some of the most special people that I've ever met and it's only been 3 days! Can't wait for the next 16 months! (this Wed I've been gone for 2 months- what?!) Also I don't have time to respond to everyone's emails but I'll eventually catch up. Everyone write me snail mail- I think my mom might have the directions for pouch mail or I'm sure you can find it on the church website somewhere.
SO MUCH LOVE FROM THE PHILIPPINES HOPE YOU ARE ALL DOING WELL<#
KUMUSTA FROM THE PHILIPPINES!!! Haha I was hoping one of you would be on so we could email back and forth but word on the street is that it's like 4 in the morning in America right now, so nevermind. Holy cow this has high key been the longest day of my life. Good news is that I got to see the sunrise in Hong Kong this morning, so I can go ahead and check that off the bucket list AND got to spend an entire 13 hours on a plane crossing the Pacific Ocean so that was pretty fun. BUT I'M HERE NOW. Haha there was a split second right before the plane landed in Manila from Hong Kong where I had a panic attack and was like "what the heck am I doing, where I am, I want to go back to VA right now please" but then as soon as we hit the ground I remembered how excited I am to be here and serving the people and I don't even care THAT THE HUMIDITY IS HORRIBLE- LITERALLY LIKE WALKING INTO A BRICK WALL GETTING OFF THE PLANE and everything kind of smells weird. I already love everyone that I have met so much and Manila is one of the coolest places that I have ever been. Literally NoVa has NOTHING on Manila traffic, at one point we were on a street with literally no lines on it and probably 7 lanes of traffic and then suddenly it turned to 3 and it's every man for themselves with lots of honking and swerving around, meanwhile there's like a million motorcycles weaving through everyone and people on the sides of the street selling stuff and it was insane but SO COOL.
Haha everyone says that when you go to your mission, the first thing that you say when you get off the plane is "this isn't what they taught me in the MTC" because the accents and speed are so much different. Except that's even more real for me because everyone here speaks Tagalog which is cool, except I can't understand them. It's like in Madagascar when the penguins are like, "Just smile and wave" -- I mostly just smile and nod a lot when I have no idea what people are saying. I don't know a whole lot of Ilonggo, but what I do know isn't going to be super helpful until next Wednesday, but that's okay. And tomorrow we get to go out for a couple of hours in Manila and proselyte which should be fun! I think/hope they'll pair the Ilonggo missionaries with Tagalog ones so it's less confusing, but apparently a lot of people in Manila also speak enough English that you can use Tag-longlish and they'll understand. I'll let y'all know how that goes next week.
But yeah, super excited to be here and having so much fun and even more excited to fly out to Bacolod on Wednesday! I won't have a p-day this week just with how everything works out, so I'll be off the grid for a little bit, but you'll probably hear from me next Monday-- maybe Wednesday or Thursday but I doubt it. Anyways, so much love to all of you, keep me updated with everything, I promise I'll respond it will just take a little bit of time haha. Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!
(pasensiya no pics... camera is somehwere in my bags and I don't have time to find it. also jet lag is hard, my brain is so confused)
HANDA. KANTA! (We sing an Ilonggo hymn before every class and since there aren't a lot of pianos and instruments at churches in the Philippines, the director just sings the first 2 meters alone and then says "handa, kanta!"- which means "ready, sing!" and everyone joins in. Except we didn't start conjugating and using handa in any other context except for that for the first couple of weeks so now when ever our teachers ask "handa?" for any activity- we all respond "kanta!" So that's how I'm currently feeling about the Philippines TOMORROW. As handa as I'll ever be and stoked out of my mind to serve all of the incredible people that I'll meet there. We leave tomorrow night and land in Manila sometime Friday morning and because of time zone changes we basically lose July 28 which is kind of sad BUT when we fly back next Christmas- I'll get an extra day of Christmas so I'm pretty excited.
The last week has been insane because it has FLOWN by (just like the other 5 weeks) and our room is trashed right now because my companion and I's stuff is EVERYWHERE because we're trying to pull everything together before we leave the country for 17 months. We made a trip to the book store last week and I spent WAY too much money because we both had mini heart attacks about being in a third world country for a year and a half and I bought maybe like 4 things of toothpaste which probably was unnecessary. But it's whatever, no regrets. The coolest thing about this past week is that we've spent a lot of time just going over all of the things that we've learned during out time at the MTC as our classes wrap up and we prepare for the real world. On Friday the MTC runs a thing called "Infield Orientation" where ALL of the missionaries that are flying out the next week meet together and have classes and workshops all day and it was AMAZING. There were so many good points but one of my favorites was the importance of raising our expectations. If we don't think we're going to make a difference- we probably aren't. They talked so much about how important it was to set goals and try our hardest every single day if we want to achieve our full potential and bless as many lives as we can.
My companion hosted (helped her around on her first day) a sister from Thailand a couple of weeks ago and she's in a trio with another sister from Thailand and a sister from Brazil who are all here learning English together and we've all become great friends and they are some of the nicest people that I've ever met so whenever Sister Fawcett and I have free time we like to go visit them at night because they are literally the happiest people I've met in my entire life and I wish I had a picture of them but I should have one by next week so I'll send it then...
Still love my district and my zone so much- so many incredible people and I love them all so much and I made them all promise that we'd have lots of reunions at BYU after our missions. Also when we leave tomorrow THIRTY ONE elders and sisters come in to replace us- that's basically 4x as many as us. It's insane and we're SO excited for the zone, in the time that I've been here it's grown from 8 people to 46 and in the next 3 weeks there will be more than 50. Exciting things are happening in the Philippines right now!
Also my district found out how bad I am at geography and everyone makes fun of me because apparently the rocky mountains go all the way up into Canada (who knew?), also I thought Malaysia was above the Philippines, and every time we watch anything with a picture of nature everyone goes "hey, that looks like Virginia!" because I apparently do that... oops.
ANYWAYS. Out of time because have to go pack and do my laundry (last time with machines!). I love each of you so so much you have no idea. Thanks for all of the emails and letters and support you have no idea how much it means to me. ALSO I haven't gotten any mail since Saturday morning because of a holiday in UT yesterday, but I should get everything tonight and I'll respond next week, so don't be offended.
Kabalo ako nga palangga kita sang Dios kag mga bata kita niya. Kabalo ako nga matuod ang Simbahon ni Jesucristo sang mga Santos sa Ulihing mga Adlaw. Kabalo ako nga ginpanumbalik sang Dios ang ebanghelyo paagi kay Joseph Smith kag propeta si Joseph Smith kag pulong sang Dios ang Libro ni Mormon. Kabalo ako nga ginpadala sang Dios si Jesucristo para sa aton kag paagi sa pagbayad-sala ni Jesucristo, makatinluan kita sa tanan mga sala naton kag makabalik nga magbuhi upod sang Dios para sa walay katipusan. Nagapasalamat ako para sa mabuhi nga mga propeta kag apostoles kag makabaton sila sang pagpahayag halin Dios para sa aton. Nagapasalamat ako para sa opportunidad ko nga magtudlo kag magalagad kag palangga sang mga tawo sa Philippines tungod kabalo ako nga buligon sila paagi sa ini ebanghelyo.
(I know that God loves us and that we are his children. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint is true. I know that God restored the gospel through Joseph Smith and that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that God sent Jesus Christ for all of us and that through Christ's atonement, we are able to become clean of all of our sings and are able to return to live with God for eternity. I am grateful for living prophets and apostles that are able to receive revelation from God for us all. I am grateful fo rthe opportunity that I have to teach and search and love the people of the Philippines because I know that they will be blessed through the gospel)
LOVE YOU SO MUCH. KEEP IN CONTACT WITH ME PALEHOGGG (PLEASEEE) I'LL STILL HAVE AN HOUR-ISH TO EMAIL EVERY WEEK WHEN I'M IN THE PHILIPPINES. MUCH LOVE,
GINABUHI ANG KABUHI (Another very rough translation- LIVING THE LIFE)
KUMUSTA FRIENDS! Miss and love all of you so much, but having so much fun. First off, I have officially been here for more than a month! WHAT?! It's gone by so fast and it's so weird that I only have 17 months left of my mission (which for some reason seems a lot smaller than 18)... ALSO IN EIGHT DAYS I'M LEAVING THE COUNTRY. So that's cool. I'm a fun mixture of scared out of my mind because I don't think I'm adequately prepared for 3rd world life and I also speak the language mediocre at best... BUT I AM SO EXCITED because I'm kind of done with the MTC and I want to meet and teach real people and IT'S GOING TO BE SO FUN. I'm low key panicking that I'm leaving America so soon so I've been trying to enjoy the little things as much as I can- mostly hot showers with running water and cereal and milk. Apparently they only have powdered milk in the Philippines and cereal is SUPER expensive. Sad, right? It's okay though because all of the other incredible things about the people and the culture make up for it.
DAMOS MGA MISYONERO GID (So many missionaries!)
There are so many missionaries here right now! It's insane. I'm pretty sure there are more than 2400 right now and there are so many of us that we don't all fit in our big auditorium for meetings anymore. We get 600-800 new missionaries every Wednesday and Monday through Wednesday the dorms are crazy because there are tons of missionaries packing and weighing suitcases before they fly out to make room for the incoming missionaries. I don't know how many missionaries have come and gone in the past month since I've been here but it's a lot and it's so cool to be a part of something so huge. I literally love every single person that I have met and feel so blessed to know so many incredible people that are literally ALL OVER the world right now, doing their best to serve others and help them come unto Christ. Big things are happening and I'm so happy to be a part of it.
DAMOS GID PAGTU-ON (So much learning!)
Good news! The language is coming! I'm still not incredible, but I'm trying hard and I'm definitely improving. I'm actually really annoyed because I've been trying hard to get better at putting my sentences in the right order and now that I'm writing in English I have to put them back in the right order and my brain hurts. Also whenever I've started making a lot of weird mistakes when I write in English, especially if words sound similar so sorry in advance if this email sounds like trash. Fun fact about Ilonggo of the week: We found out why all of their words are SO long. There are a bunch of root words but then you use a bunch of prefixes to change the words entirely. Honestly the hardest part about Ilonggo is that it's so much more simplified than English that it's sometimes hard to wrap your head around because it doesn't have a lot of the dumb filler words that we use. Like for example, tindog is the verb to stand but then patindog means to cause to stand so it actually means to establish and then if you throw a maka on it you get makapatindog which means to be able to establish or nakapatindog if you want to say someone was able to establish. So basically Ilonggo is the greatest language ever and I would 10/10 recommend that we start teaching it in high schools. It literally makes 10x more sense than English and sounds cooler. Stoked out of my mind to get to be in the Philippines next week so that I can learn it even more through full immersion. I think the first 3 months will be super rough and the next 3 months will be medium rough, but it'll be worth it if I can communicate almost fluently for the other 12 months. I'M LITERALLY SO EXCITED. Can you tell?
MALIPAY PANGHUNAHUNA SA SEMANA (Happy thought of the week)
ELDER BEDNAR CAME AND TALKED TO US AND IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Every Sunday night we have a devotional with all of the missionaries and then they show movies in different buildings around campus and we can pick which one we want to see (and when I say movie I mean an old devotional that they recorded). And one of the most popular movies is called "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar and he talks about how we can more fully turned outward and serve and love those around us as we strive to develop the Character of Christ and think less of ourselves. They told us we were just going to watch the movie and then when it ended Elder Bednar just walked in and led a question and answer session for an hour about the character of Christ and it was INCREDIBLE. (Also I just realized I'm the worst because I always use weird words in these emails and I forget that some people have no idea what I'm talking about... Our church is set up in the exact same way as the church when Jesus Christ was on the Earth so we have a living prophet (Thomas S. Monson) and 12 apostles who lead the church and Elder Bednar is one of the apostles... Sorry I'm annoying, if you have any questions about anything check out mormon.org or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)..
. fun fact- I haven't ignored a single email yet, so I promise I'll respond:) Anyways, the take away was how important it is to truly love the people where we're serving and to FORGET ourselves as we think of how we can help bless people's lives as we help them come unto Christ. Elder Bednar talked a lot about how in every example of Christ in the Bible and the Book of Mormon he turns outward when the natural man would turn inward and think only of himself. The real life application for me and my companion was to try and not be as much of perfectionists because as we focus too much on learning the language perfectly or learning the lessons perfect or trying to teach perfectly, we're not being selfish but we're sure as heck being self-centered. Our new goal is to focus completely on loving, serving, and listening to the people that we work with, and have faith that all of the other stuff will come as long as we're trying our hardest. I'm grateful for the opportunity to forget myself for the next 17 months as I strive to love and serve those in the Philippines. I've got a long way to go, but I'm excited to keep working on loving everyone more as I think of myself a little/a lot less.
Once again- didn't proof read this so sorry. Also special s/o to whoever actually read this entire email. Impressed gid ako. Sending so much love from Provo, hope everyone is well. Email and write me! It makes me happy!
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
KUMUSTA! T-MINUS 2 WEEKS UNTIL THE PHILIPPINES. Our district got our preliminary travel plans this morning and it's starting to get so real. We're flying Wednesday night to Friday morning Salt Lake to LA to Hong Kong to Manila and then we'll stay at the MTC there for a week while our visas process before we fly to Bacolod. The time has gone by so fast, it's blowing all of our minds BUT WE ARE ALL SO EXCITED to actually be in the Philippines! This Thursday we get to start doing skype TRC which is basically that members from the Philippines volunteer to skype us so that we can practice teaching people with real accents in a closer to real situation, we're super excited to see how it goes and practice our language. My kaupod and I have gotten a lot better in the last couple of days at really trying to SYL and use the right grammar order and it's really hard but we're for sure improving. The good news is we know more than we used to, the bad news is everyone says that as soon as you get off the plane in the Philippines you can't even recognize what anyone is saying because they're all talking so fast and with accents BUT it's okay because we'll have a whole 18 months to try and figure it out there. So we are all very aware of our weaknesses, but we are still SO excited to leave in 2 weeks, it's going to be so fun!
Haha it was so hard saying goodbye to the Cebuano district last week, I literally cried when they left for the airport because I was afraid I would never see most of them again. I made them promise that they would come visit me in Utah/Virginia and I promised that I would come visit Kiribati/Australia. PLUS yesterday our favorite district of people left for Fiji which made us so sad for the same reason that a lot of them are from Kiribati and we might never get to see them again. But in the words of Sister Cherry, "ees okay ees okay" because they're going to be incredible missionaries and bless so many lives. The new missionaries are so fun. We love all of the Sisters and Elders so much. Sister Pito, Sister Cherry, and Sister Togagae are so fun and make me laugh so much and we're all already such good friends after knowing each other for a whole 5 days. The elders are all straight out of high school and are super cool too. One of them is from Florida and I was talking to him about how cool the East Coast is and one of the UT elders rolled his eyes and said "here we go"... apparently I talk to much about Virginia and the East Coast and all of the poor UT kids don't even know what they're missing out on. It's okay though they said they'd maybe visit one day so they could get a tour of the best state.
SADYA (FUN) STUFF
The days are all starting to run together and I can't remember what happened this week and what happened last week since we low key do almost the same thing every day. (eat, study, class, eat, class, study, eat, study, sleep, repeat). Ummmmm we had a spike ball tournament with our district with a bracket and everything to pick new seats for class. Sister Fawcett and I and 2 of the elders rigged it so that we could get the best seats. It was a good time and Sister Fawcett came in 2nd... except somehow ended up in the same seats...The other day we were bored and waiting for class to start so we started playing hangman in Ilonggo, except plot twist it wasn't even fun because once you guess p,g,n, and k literally all of the spaces are filled except for vowels and it's super easy....We met 2 elders the other day, one is from Haiti and one is from Samoa and they're both here on their 6th week learning English before they go serve in different places in the United States. And at the end of the conversation, they were both like, "before we came here, we didn't know how to speak English, and now we can even understand you when you talk really fast." People who speak English can't even understand me half of the time, gift of tongues is real everybody.
MALIPAY PANGHUNHUNA SA SEMANA (HAPPY THOUGHT OF THE WEEK)
PISPIS KA BALA?
There's a scripture somewhere in the Book of Mormon that I can't find right now and I'm super annoyed about it... JOKE LANG (JUST KIDDING) FOUND IT. 3 Nephi 13:26- "Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" Our teacher told us about it in class and basically it talks about how much God loves all of his creations and takes care of all of them, but how much more he loves each of us because we are his children. Our teacher showed us what she had written in her Ilonggo copy of the Book of Mormon - "pispis ka bala?"- are you a bird?? If Heavenly Father is willing to take care of even His smallest creations like birds HOW MUCH MORE HE WANTS TO TAKE CARE OF US AND BLESS US SINCE WE ARE HIS BELOVED CHILDREN. Sorry for the rambly-ness of this email... I have like no time and my memory is horrible, but just know that God loves each and everyone of you and knows your trials and what you're going through and is always there to bless in times of need.
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! SALAMAT FOR THE LETTERS AND EMAILS AND LOVE. DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO WITHOUT YOU. Much love from Provo<3
2005 N 900 E Unit 36
Provo UT 84602
^use that for dearelder
p.s didn't reread this before sending so pasensiya (sorry) for all of the mistakes
OY! TUNGA DALAN DIDTO KAMI! <--very literal and probably super inaccurate translation of "ohhh we're halfway there"
What the heck I have been here for an entire 3 weeks and can't believe in another 3 weeks I'll be flying to Manila! Time goes by so fast here and I can't believe I'll be in the Philippines so soon! The Cebuano district in our zone LEAVES TOMORROW! I'm so so sad because I love all of them so much but I know they'll be incredible and I can't wait to hear about all of their adventures in Cebu. Haha the other day we were all sitting in our dorm room and Sister Matautia was like, "Sister Rainey, would you ever marry an Island boy?" and I was like "ummm heck yes." So the current plan is a post-mission reunion trip to Australia Summer 2018 and she said she'll introduce me to some Samoans. Plus a quick detour to Kiribati BECAUSE ALL OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE LIVE THERE. They are literally the nicest, funniest people that I have ever met and most of them are leaving tomorrow and it makes me so sad. One of the sisters from Kiribati runs up to me and my companion every time she sees us and says "MAGHANTA" which I think I just spelt wrong, but means beautiful in Tagalog and she's low key the most incredible person that I've ever met.
Since the Cebuano kids are leaving tomorrow, another 15 are coming in! They just reorganized the zone and I get to be the sister training leader AND we're getting 3 new sisters - one from Tahiti, one from Arizona, and one from Samoa. We're so so excited to meet them and all of the elders (a couple are from Australia, but most are from West Coast U.S). It's going to be so fun
Our district has been working really hard this past week on SYL- speaking our language ALL THE TIME. For the most part we just try to use conjugations and the right grammatical order even if we don't know what the verbs or nouns are in Ilonggo. We're still not even close to perfect, but we're for sure improving a lot and I love the language more and more every day. One of the Elders in our district is the Ilonggo police and if he catches you talking in English he yells "Oy! Ilonggo!" so loud. He scared me so bad one time I literally almost fell out of my seat because I wasn't expecting it. Nice to have a constant reminder. Haha on Friday they brought in a bunch of volunteers from around the area that speak our language so that we could practice talking to people. Sister Fawcett and I got to talk to a lady that was actually born in Bacolod and lived there for most of her life and speaks Hiligaynon fluently and after I said my first thing she busted out laughing and said she was sorry because she could understand what I was saying and I was using the right words but MY ACCENT WAS SO BAD. I literally can not roll my r's if my life depended on it and I sound so dumb when I talk because even though I know a lot of words I can't pronounce them anywhere close to right. Ilonggo is super sing-song-y and sounds SO pretty when a native person speaks it, so I guess I'll just keep trying. Hopefully it will be easier when I get to the Philippines and am fully immersed. The good news is that she said my accent was "very cute" so that's cool I guess maybe the people in the Philippines will think so too.
I LITERALLY LOVE THIS LANGUAGE
We had a lesson last week about how you really can't understand a culture until you understand the language, and that's why it's so important that we do everything that we can to learn the language the best that we can. Our teacher was talking about how you can learn SO much about the people just by learning the language. So cool things about Hiligaynon- 1. If you want to say tomorrow you just say "buas" but if you want to say today you have to combine the word for right now with day and it ends up being long and annoying and my teacher told us that as a culture Filipinos can sometimes be procrastinators (I am literally so happy because that means I already have so much in common with them) 2. There aren't very many negative words, most of the time if you want to say bad or sad you just say not happy or not good because the positive words are SO much more common and then my teacher talked about how positive Filipinos are as a people and so happy and IT MADE ME SO EXCITED TO MEET PEOPLE IN BACOLOD IN 3 WEEKS. 3. And the other thing I love about this language is that so many of the words are combinations of other words in English since they don't exist as a single word in Hiligaynon. For example atonement is pagbayad-sala (payment of sin), charity is putli nga palangga (pure love), eternity is walay katapusan (without end), agency is kahilwayan sa pagpili (freedom to choose), etc. It's been so cool to learn all of the different words and how they connect to each other and how to use them correctly in a sentence and I'm so excited/nervous to get to actually use them in the real world soon-ish. Literally everyone go learn Ilonggo, it's the best.
OTHER FUN THINGS
We got to clean the temple again this morning and we spent 3 hours polishing the crystal of the chandeliers. I didn't realize that chandeliers were made up of tons and tons of tiny rods and chains of individual crystals. We had to take them all off and then polish them and then put them back and it took forever but it was so fun. The lady in charge told us that they were imported from Europe and the nicest type of crystal in the world. I've never been so scared to touch anything in my entire life, but me and my companion spotted each other really well and we didn't end up breaking anything so it was good.
Learning the Kiribati song has been going well and I can sing the whole first verse from memory now even though I have no idea what it means in English. Since Sister Terririke taught me her song, I'm teaching her the song "Glorious" and we practice every day and it's so fun. Haha the first time I sang it I was just messing around and was pretending to hit a high note I for sure couldn't reach and had a voice crack and she looked at me and was like "Sister Rainey- you like Celine John?" We almost died laughing and she thought it was because I didn't like Celine Dion but then we had to explain that we do like Celine Dion, but she is just a talented singer and I'm not. It's whatever though, at least one person likes my singing.
Everything else is going well, I'm learning so much about the language and the gospel and God's love for me and everyone else and I couldn't be happier. Our district's motivational panghunahuna (thought) of the day yesterday was "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." An olympic runner said it at some point, but it was quoted at a devotional this past week. Working so hard to do my very very best so that I'll be as prepared as possible for the Philippines in t-minus 3 weeks and to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.
Anyways, out of time, sorry this is long, but I'm sure at least my parents will read it. HOPE YOU'RE ALL DOING WELL! Love and miss you all so much:) Also, I haven't gotten mail since Saturday morning so sorry if you sent me something and I won't be able to respond until next Tuesday. Love you, thanks for all of the love and support. AND HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!
2005 N 900 E Unit 36
Provo UT 84602
^use that for dearelder
p.s I just reread this before I sent it and there were a lot of mistakes I didn't get a chance to fix so sorry but I speak Ilonggo now so excuse the bad Ingles
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
MAAYO ANG KABUHI! (Life is good!) Hi hi hi everyone! Love and miss you so so much, but still having so much fun. Haha I'm so overwhelmed and have no idea how to condense this past week into one email, but I'll try my hardest, sorry in advance for the rambling.
Every 3-ish years new mission presidents replace about half of the old ones (at least that's what someone told me) and they have a seminar at the MTC where they have lessons and receive training. This past week over 150 mission presidents were here PLUS all of the 12 apostles (at different times). My kaupod and I got to see Elder Bednar and Elder Oaks from a distance and even though we never got to meet with any of them, it was really cool knowing they were just one building over. Spirit on campus was crazy strong and makes me even more excited to teach the people in the Philippines about the restored gospel! Also, the Prince of Tonga was here this morning for a tour of the MTC, so that's pretty cool. Who knew there were princes in Tonga/that they were Mormon and would want to come visit the MTC? Haven't seen him yet, but I'll be on the lookout for the rest of the day.
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK
So challenge of this past week is that I realized that I am lazy as heck. All of our teachers keep encouraging us to SYL (Speak Your Language) as much as we can inside and outside of our class so that we can better learn vocabulary and grammar, you're basically supposed to use whatever you can and then just fill in the gaps with English but IT IS SO HARD. I have so much to say and I want to say it fast and it is so frustrating when I have to think about every single word that I say and then listen really hard for the response. Our teacher encouraged Sister Fawcett and I to pick one meal a day to speak only Ilonggo without ANY English to work on our speaking... We started this morning with breakfast and it was the worst breakfast of my life. Haha we literally just sat there in silence and then occasionally would say "maayo" (good) or "indi maayo" (not good) pointing at different foods. The goal is to learn more words so that we can do a better job tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes... I have a really bad habit of whenever I get annoyed and can't think of what to say in Ilonggo, I just say it really fast and quietly in English and pretend it didn't happen and then switch back to Ilonggo...My teachers don't like that... I'm trying to be better though:)
CULTURE ON CULTURE ON CULTURE
This is lowkey the most culture I've experience in my life and I LOVE IT. In our dorm room we speak a weird mixture of English, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Tagalog, and Kirabati. Sister Teririke is from Kirabati AND IS MY FAVORITE PERSON EVER. In any free time we can find she is teaching me a sweet song in Kirabati that has something to do with love but she can't translate it to English so I have no idea what I'm singing. Haha she wrote it down for me and whenever we practice she goes "Wow! You have the gift of tongues!" which is hilarious because first off I'm literally reading off of a piece of paper and butchering every word, and second she came to Provo only speaking Kirabati 4 weeks ago and had to learn Cebuano and English AT THE SAME TIME because the Cebuano teachers only know English and Cebuano and now she can speak both and it is incredible and she inspires me so much. Last night she was thanking me and Sister Fawcett for learning her song because she said us learning Kirabati was an encouragement to her to learn Cebuano and English. WHAT THE HECK. I am so humbled by her willingness to learn and serve and I really don't think she has any idea how seriously amazing she is (even though I try to tell her everyday.) On top of that we have lots of funny moments when we miscommunicate things or try to explain what things mean in a different language. Lots and lots of fun.
We got to clean the temple this morning which was SO FUN. The elders ripped up carpet for 3 hours and the sisters and I scrubbed walls and baseboards and bathrooms for the same amount of time. One of the ladies who was telling us what to do was like "if it looks like gold, it is. don't mess it up with chemicals" So i avoided any thing that looked shiny because I didn't want to be that person. Ummmm what else... I've gotten really good at spike ball and played it almost every morning last week. (also to clarify when I say really good, I mean kind of mediocre). Haha to keep things interesting we up the stakes and gamble for seat position//I really wanted to move seats and my District Leader wouldn't trade with me so I played him and his companion for the seat... We lost like 3 times so that was cool. Still chilling in the same seat. Good news is I found a new partner- Sister Matautia is from Samoa (but lived the last few years in Australia) and IS SO GOOD at spikeball, so I'm ready to wreck some people this week. (Sister Matautia is also the Sister Training Leader and is maybe the nicest, most caring person that I have ever met, lots of good qualities besides being good at spikeball).
Anyways, sorry this was long. Just know that I'm having so much fun and learning so much. I love my district and zone with all of my heart and I'm so sad that the Cebuano kids are flying out to the Philippines next week. This email is mostly just a lot of fun facts about my life, but in all seriousness my testimony has grown so much since I've been here and I feel so much closer to my Savior and get more excited each and every day for the opportunity that I have to serve the people of the Philippines in just 4 more weeks! So so nervous to have to actually speak the language in real life, but also beyond excited. Love all of you, let me know how you're doing! Thanks so much for the letters, emails, and dearelders. They're my favorite part of the day! (besides all of the learning, ofcourse) LOVE YOU!!!
2005 N 900 E Unit 36
Provo UT 84602
^use that for dearelder
Saturday, June 25, 2016
KUMUSTA KA!!! <--Can you tell that I've been learning a foreign language for a whole week?? Hi hi hi, love and miss you all so much but having SO much fun at the MTC! (also I feel like I didn't make this super clear to everyone- but I'm in Utah right now learning Hiligaynon/Ilonggo for the next 6 weeks before I fly out to Manila and then Bacolod in 6 weeks... So not in the Philippines right now, but still having a lot of fun)... p.s this might be super long and annoying so sorry in advance, I promise they'll be shorter in the future but so much has happened and Raineyg123 herself asked for a full description of my first few days... sorry:)
I LOVE MY DISTRICT/ZONE
My kaupod (companion) Sister Fawcett is the greatest! Haha we are super different and have kind of opposite personalities but we work together great and I love her so much already. She's crazy smart and dedicated and last year worked 2 jobs while getting her associates degree at Weber State. I low key drive her nuts because I stop to talk to people like every 2 seconds and she has to come with me everywhere I go (Literally everyone from BYU is here and I've run into SO many people that I love, it's so so much fun), I'm working hard on not being the annoying companion, but pretty sure I am. oops. Our first fight was on Saturday when we were memorizing vocab and she was quizzing me on translating english into Ilonggo and she said "all of us" and I said "Kita" and then she said "know" and I thought she was saying I was wrong so I kept saying "kita" and she kept saying "know" and we went back and forth until I spun on her because I was so mad and was about to punch her in the face and then she pointed to the word in her book and we finally understood what was going on and laughed for like 5 minutes. We're the only sisters in our district but there are also 7 elders, one is from Connecticut, one is from South Carolina, one is from Canada (but was born in the Philippines), and the rest are from Utah. All except one just graduated from high school literally a week before they came to the MTC and I love them all so much. Sometimes they're annoying 18 year old boys but most of the time they're super sweet and have such strong testimonies and are so obedient and we've all become such good friends in the past 5 days. Half of the people in our district are going to Bacolod, the other half are going to IloIlo, but we're all learning Hiligaynon/Ilonggo. The other half of our zone is a district of 2 elders and 2 sisters that are learning Cebuano and going to Cebu. The sisters are from Australia and Kiribati and one of the elders is from Guam and the other is from California. They're the best and so fun to hang out with, plus they tell us how to do everything so that's cool.
I AM LOW KEY IN LOVE WITH THIS LANGUAGE. Learning it is BUDLAY (budlay=hard, fun fact- ay sounds like eye so on the first day we all thought he was saying Budlight and were super confused for a while until one of the Elders asked and they explained it to us. We have 2 3 hour language classes every day except Sunday and it's like a giant game of charades because our teachers aren't allowed to speak to us in English. Gift of tongues is so real I can't even explain it. On Friday, after just 2 classes We all had to teach a 20 minute lesson with our companions without any notes. IT WAS SO HARD. But so cool that we were semi-able to teach a lesson and communicate with someone. We've taught 2 more lessons to the same guy since we've been here and they just keep getting better and better as we learn more words/phrases and are better able to work together and feel the spirit. We also had a testimony meeting on Friday with our district and we all bore our testimonies 100% in Ilonggo which was SO cool. I am so impressed with the improvements that all of the elders and sisters in my district have made in less than a week. It blows my mind, can't wait to keep learning the next 6 weeks.
Fun facts about Ilonggo (Because no one has ever heard of it and I'm sure you're all wondering:)
-All ilonggo before 1600, LOTS of spanish influence after 1600, all new words after 1900 are in English (like skype, computer, etc)
-Everything sounds so funny and I LOVE it! So many k's, n's, m's, and p's in places where they shouldn't be... but good news is that there aren't really any silent letters so you literally just pronounce everything that you see even though the words are crazy long
-the words "the" and "is" don't exist... so that's cool. If you want to say I'm happy, you literally just say "malipay ako- happy I" keeping it simple, I like it
-We just started learning grammar yesterday and it is WEIRD. You have to arrange sentences verb-subject-object-location/
receiver AND THEN use words like ang and sang and sa to explain the focus and nonfocus, etc. Plot twist- if you mix up sang and ang you can change a sentence like "The people killed the Savior" to "Savior killed the people" OR "We believe in Joseph Smith" to "Joseph Smith believes in us"... we were all freaking out but our teachers told us it was okay because 99% of the time people will be able to kind of understand even if we mess up a ton... so the goal is to just avoid that other 1%
I LOVE THE MTC
The spirit here is so strong it's crazy. I'm so busy (we leave our apartments before 7am and don't get back until 9:30pm or later) and so tired and lowkey stressed about learning this language, but I'm so so happy and excited for the next 18 months it's unreal. Even though our schedule is PACKED we get an hour of exercise in the morning which is awesome, I run 3 miles on the track while memorizing stuff with flashcards and then I spend the rest of the time wrecking the elders in knockout and four square) I'm running out of time and I'm so so sad because I have SO much I want to tell everyone, but just know that I'm having fun and loving every second of it. PLUS thanks for all of the emails and dear elders, they make me SO happy! (if you go to dearelder.com you can send me an email that will be delivered THAT day, so I don't have to wait until Tuesday to respond) Love you all so so much, let me know how you're doing, hope everyone is well, sending all my love<3
Kabalo ako nga palangga kita sang Diyos kga Kabalo ako nga ginpadala sang Diyos ang Jesucristo sa aton kag nga paagi kay Jesucristo makbalik kita sang Diyos. Kabalo ako nga manluluwas namon kay Jesucristo. Kabalo ako nga matuod si Libro ni Mormon ka nagapasalamat ako para kay Joseph Smith para sa pagnamubalik. Sa ngalan ni Jesucristo, amen (I know that God loves all of us and I know that God sent Jesus Christ to all of us and that through Jesus Christ we can all return to God. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I am grateful for Joseph Smith and the restoration. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen)
NAGAPASALAMAT AKO PARA SA NINYOS<3 (So grateful for all of you!!)
^proof that I'm actually learning something, all from memory... promise I know more, but out of time. LOVE YOU ALL
also @byu kids coming to the MTC, brace yourself for cannon center round 2 (except maybe a little worse? it's okay though, sometimes they give us pizza or chikfila) can't wait to see all of you!
2005 N 900 E Unit 36
Provo UT 84602
^use that for dearelder
Monday, June 13, 2016
Pouch Mail Instructions
"Items sent by pouch mail use the USPS from your location to Church headquarters, where they are forwarded to the missionary by a private courier along with other church mail. Pouch mail leaves Church headquarters each Friday. Items received after the pouch has been sent will be held for the next week. Only postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the page may be sent through the pouch. Notebook or other light-weight paper will not process through the USPS machines. Photographs are not acceptable.
Lay the letter blank side down. Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease. Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease. Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. Write your name and complete return address in the top left corner. Affix first class postage in the top right corner. In the middle write the missionary address:
Sister Sarah Rainey
Philippines Bacolod Mission
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150