Live from Urdaneta!!

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I am alive and safe here in Urdaneta!! I got here on wednesday after 5 days in the Manila MTC. It has been a difficult past few days. I was fortunate enough to get a filipino trainer, Sister Lavides, I love her. She has been out for 17 months so this is her last transfer. We were assigned to the Mangaldan Zone and we were assigned to open a new area. Opening an area is a bit more difficult and Sister Lavides has never done that before so we are trying to figure that out. My apartment is very different. WE DO have a floor and flushing toilet so that is very good. Pero, in the philippines they dont have running showers, you have a bucket that you just fill with tap water, and a little scoop that you use to pour on your head and body. Its an adventure, and its not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I have found myself unbelievably homesick these past few days and it has been very hard. After our first night of proselyting, I was very discouraged about the language and the task at hand. They speak two other dialects here, Ilocano and Pagasinan, so sometimes they'll speak that I already struggle a lot with understanding tagalog. My first night I was overwhelmed and really questioned whether I could do this for the next 18 months. But the next day, we were out proselyting, we were teaching a less active family, and started to sing "Be still my soul" and I was overcome. The Lord was comforting me. Then a member shared a scripture with us, Alma 26:27 and I knew everything was going to be okay. THere have been many many experiences these past few days that have confirmed to me that things are not only going to be alright but they are going to be wonderful. The filipino people are AMAZING people. The members that are active are always more than willing to work with us and teach with us. They help me with my tagalog, because most members speak english, one nine year old boy (recent convert) prayed for me yesterday. He asked God, "please help this american sister to get better at tagalog" I stand out A LOT here. EVERYbody stares at me and points and talks to me. Its kind of uncomfortable but its a good tool to get people to listen to the Good word. 

Yes, it is very very hot here. I am always sweating but when it rains, IT POURS for a long time... then it cools off. The whether at night here is SO PERfect. but this is the winter season, come february, thats when it will be REALLY hot so I will let  you know then.

My RBF is still present and its something I have to work on. People keep telling me, "Sister SMILE!" Members always ask me if I am okay. and yesterday we were teaching a new investigator (GOLDEN INvestigator))) and he told me, "SIster, you are a lot nicer than i thought you were going to be. When I met you, I thought you were mean, but dont worry you are nice." So I have to work on that. 

I have so much to tell about, but even less time than I have had in the past. So keep writing everyone and I will keep trying to respond. You have no idea how much I love hearing from all of you. I hope everyone is doing well!!! 

LOVE LOVE LOVE all of you!!!!


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