Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Who needs an alarm clock?" Waray Waray Area Letter 09/01/2013

Hello Family,
Greetings from the Philippines. I am alive and hanging in there. These past 4 days have been some of the most emotionally trying days I have ever experienced. Remember that scene in "The Best Two Years" when he says "That's not the language they taught me in the MTC..." That pretty well describes my first few days because I have been assigned to a Waray Waray area. The funny thing about this mission is that we are trained in Cebuano but the language/dialect changes with the area. So every transfer I will have the privilege of learning a new dialect.
So we left the 26th and basically skipped the 27th and arrived in Manila on the 28th. We stayed the night in Manila and then flew to Tacloban on Thursday. We spent a couple days receiving training at the mission office and we met our trainers on Friday. My Trainer is a good missionary but he doesn't speak very good English because he is a native Tagalog speaker which is good for me to learn the language but it's hard because I can't really express how I'm feeling. I know I'm not alone and I find a lot of comfort in prayer but I have felt pretty lonely these past few days since it's just him and I in our apartment. The members in my area are really friendly and everyone speaks a little English but things are super unorganized in the church and that makes it super hard. The Ward missionaries are really good though and they do a lot with us. This is mine and my trainers first time to this area and so we don't have a lot of records and the area book isn't very detailed.
Our apartment is interesting... I don't really know how to describe it. The last elders left it kind of a mess. It is super hot and our only AC is fans. The best part however, we live across the street from a pig slaughter house(if you can even call it that). So Guess what I wake up to every morning around 5:30? I woke up to a sound Saturday morning that I'm pretty sure nobody should ever have to hear. These pigs let out the most blood curdling squeels that not even I can sleep through. Because it's so hot the cold showers feel really nice, but I could do without the cockroaches. I think we are going to find a new apartment soon though so that will be good.
On Sunday we taught a few investigators with the members and they went well. I felt the spirit even though I couldn't understand anything. One of the members, told me that I should smile more. She said, "you should smile more, It fits you." Church was good. I only had to bear my testimony and they understand English so I was able to mix English with Waray. And then another member said at our dinner appointment that I reminded him of Elder Bednar. I took the compliment but was really thinking, "if only!"

I would be lying if I said I absolutely loved it here. I don't really get home sick but I have had my fill these last couple of days. However, I know that it is time to forget myself and get to work I know you as well as all the first world amenities will be there in two years. Just like anything new, once you get into the routine it gets easier. I find a lot of strength in the story of Abinadi as well as Alma and Amulek. I know there is a work for me to do here and that I need to not stress because the Lord is with me. I think I psyched myself out in thinking I would get everything the first couple days. There is no way I will do this with out His help. It's easy to say that you will do better when circumstances are better or different but you will never improve if you don't do your best and work your hardest now and so that is what I am trying to do. Prayer and Fasting have given me so much comfort and I am so grateful for your prayers and thoughts. They are felt. Whenever you get discouraged, sing a hymn. I love and miss you all. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey. No matter what challenges come my way I know this mission is shaping me into something that I didn't know I could become. From what I understand, it will be a long three months but a short two years.
Love Elder Lowe
P.S. It hasn't rained yet which is kinda weird but it will I'm sure and will let you know about it when it does.

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