Hi Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have survived one transfer in the mission field! I have endured a lot this first transfer opening a new area, an earthquake, battling being a sicky with Vertigo, and a HUGE tornado, but all is well and work moves forward!
First of all, thanks for the pkg!! The little white box with ALL my favorite American candies and stuff! I was soo happy and it was a little overwhelming seeing so many of my favorite things in the same place. :) It was just so great! Just an FYI, the Christmas pkg is at the mission office, However, Elder Glines and Elder Blount are physically unable to get it to me since they don't have a car anymore and it is apparently KINDA BIG! :) The AP's are going to be bringing it in a van to me from the city, but I will have it before Christmas. Elder Glines was like, "OH MY GOSH Sister Harris, you just got the BIGGEST box I have ever seen and I wanted to open it so badly, but I didn't." I am excited to see this box. I am soo happy it made it on a ship all the way to me. It took a long while, but it is here!! I should get it very soon, and now I am known as the missionary with the biggest Christmas box. :)
This is transfer week and yesteray I got the news that I wasn't being tranferred! YAY! Sister Tueller and I are together for another transfer! I was so worried, I am so not ready to leave Sibonga yet. The people are so cute, and yesterday they were asking us if we were leaving and we told them no and now everyone wants us over for Christmas. I am way excited to be here another transfer! The work continues!!
Speaking of Christmas, MOM, and anyone else who is crafty, this is for YOU! We have a primary teacher now, and she wants to do a spiritual Christmas craft with the kids. Do you have any ideas or can you look on pinterest or something for something cheap, but cute. We have craft supplies here and they have a budget, we just need some ideas for easy crafts for kids. Let me know!! Thanks!!
It is really amazing to be here in the Philippines. My life is so crazy, so different from anything I could have ever imagined. But, I am so happy. So So Happy! I am serving God, how could I not be happy? I didn't really understand happiness before I came on my mission. I now kind of understand what it truly is. To see such poor people literally these people have nothing compared to our American standards. They are soo happy though. They don't care what clothes you wear (or even if you wear clothes haha) they don't care if I'm not wearing make-up or if my hair isn't straightened, they don't care about those things. They don't notice that I need to paint my nails, they don't care about the material things at all. I've learned a lot about how many things were important to me at home, don't really mean that much. They don't even have cars here really, I should have been more thankful for my non AC car at home and the little things I had.
I realize I probably worried youa lot last week and I want you to know that I am sorry and we are completely safe here and I don't want you to worry about me so that is why I didn't tell you some thing that were going on. But, I will tell you this, we are safe and I can't even imagine the devastation in Tacloban we are so safe. The only real problem we had here was the people live day to day off of the money they make each day and so with the typhoon people were out of work for a few days, so we had some hungry people in Sibonga. The elders took care of the people who needed rice and things to eat. Everyone is fine now. When we went to check on the members who were evacuated to the church, they only had one pot about the size of a med pot at home of rice to serve 30 people. And what did these people do? They wanted to feed us first. It was really touching, we of course didn't let them feed us, and we were hungry because we didn't have hardly any food for a few days because the store shelves were empty from everyone stocking up for the typhoon. No worries, we did get food, and now we have plenty. :)
I don't say enough about Sis. Tueller in my emails. She is sooo good! I love her so, so much! We are completely different but our differences balance out perfectly and we work really well together. I am so happy I get to be with her another transfer. I have already learned so much from her! We get to have Thanksgiving and Christmas together, I am so excited! We do fun things like making bananaque, riding crazy buses, and today were going to have a "spa day" and wear crazy filipino clay masks and put cucumbers over our eyes. I am so glad I have a companion who wants to make the mission life fun.
Crazy food of the week: It's not that crazy but I had sardines for the first time! They were mixed with some odd mystery meat and it was really runny like watery. I am not sure what I ate, but another odd thing to add to my list of foods.
Update on Investigators:
Sister Estellioso is doing so good! She came to church on Sunday and last night we went to visit her and she was making snowflakes out of cigarettes boxes, she either threw away or gave away or sole the cigarettes. Her sister is a member and so she comes with us and helps us teach, it is so nice and helpful to have a member with us.
LakLak, yes, that is really his name, Lak Lak. So, were were walking down the street and this guy comes up to and said, "hey sisters, can you teach me at 2:30 pm?" This NEVER happens. Everyone talks about us and nobody comes up to us but he did. He has a wife/girlfriend and an 11 month old daughter who is sooo cute. He is so elect and I can't believe he found us. I was so thankful to be in the right place at the right time so we could meet him. Part of the reason I am glad I am staying in Sibonga, so we can teach him and his cute girly friend!
Marlo & Katherine: They are both less actives, and both ver y opinionated and loud about their feelings. They don't like each other and are neighbors. It's like middle school drama between the two of them and they roll their eyes at each other and all that good drama girl stuff. However the other day we went to visit Marlo and who was she talking too?? Katherine! We went to teach another lesson, and an hour later, they were still talking! And they were being nice to each other. This made us sooo happy. To see these two people getting along. As a missionary, you play so many roles with these people. You are a teacher, counselor, mediator, etc. and it was just nice to not have to worry about them getting along.
Here is some more exciting news! I got my first marriage proposal in the Philippines! hehe, it was terrible! It is the neighbor of our branch pres and he is a little, old crazy Filipino man that thinks he can speak English really good, (He can't) he calls us mam Harris and mam Tueller. He told our branch pres wife that he "wants to marry an american like mam harris." and he took a wrapper of a piece of candy I ate, and he put it in his pocket, and said he would keep it to remember me. hahahaha these people are so funny!! Things like this happen a lot. Sis. Tueller and I are always laughing and giggling.
I have so many "friends" here in this town. This town is so small and everyone knows us. As we are probably the only two white girls to ever live in the small town of Sibonga. (it's not even a city) It's tiny and the Elders saw us the other day at the market getting a lot of attention, and they told us that they thought it was super funny how everyone was whispering about us and stuff.
A lot of these kids haven't ever seen a white person before so sometimes we actually scare them. It's sad and cute. Everyone wants to touch my arms, and my face and and kids want to hold my hand. It's so so cute.
MOM, here are answers to your questions from last week:
Yes, a lot of people drink alcohol here. Mostly men. It's interesting because they will budget for cigarettes and alcohol and then live in a shack, with a tv. Their priorities are interesting.
I LOVE Pres and Sis Schmutz. I don't see them all that much, but I love them and we are in regular contact with them.
I am eating well. Lots of tuna, who would have thought that!? I am sick of rice though. I don't think I will want ANY more rice when I get home.
I am happy, very happy, and even though last week was rough, it is MUCH better this week! On a scale of 1 to 10 of my mission being hard, the living conditions, etc, I would give it a 10. It IS hard! But it's also the most happy I have been. I have had to learn to adapt to my living conditions. I miss a hot shower and a long nice bubble bath with soapy suds from Bath & Body, but I am doing it, and I am trying not to grumble as much in the mornings. I am just accepting that this is what it is for another 15 months. The people seriously MAKE my mission great. If it wasn't for the people...hmm that would be a hard one I don't even want to think about.
I don't need anything. I have all that I need right now. I can't even imagine how much money those boxes cost to send me. Thank you sooo much! I feel so loved. When I logged on to the computer, I had 36 emails today, and I was overwhelmed with love and feeling special. Lots of family and friends and missionary friends thinking of me after the horrible typhoon. I am happy, and I am good, and I am safe.
Life is good and I love you all. Thank you for all your prayers in my behalf, I truly feel them and thankful for you all and your love. Sorry for no pics this week, I left my camera at home. I will send tons next week. Keep on keepin' on, I love you all!!!