I love you all so very much! I hope you have the happiest Christmas and wear festive socks and pray together with your families.
magandang umaga po!
hello, how are all of your beautiful faces? "sobrang maganda kayo, mukha kayong unggoy."
This week was really good! Everything about my area in the Cabanatuan Ward 2 is amazing- my beautiful nanay, the members, our investigators, the food. I'm seriously so blessed. But it's also really frustrating. The way everyone talked about missionary work and baptisms in the Philippines, I pretty much expected that people would be running to the baptismal font and dunking themselves in the water because they were so excited about the gospel haha. The field is ripe here but it's definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. So please continue to pray for me lots!
I love you all, love the philippines, love this gospel, & love my calling as a missionary. ♥
Sorry I'm awful and have no time to write a group email again this week. But here's some pictures to let you know that I'm alive and SO HAPPY. Look at these beautiful humans that I get to be surrounded by every single day, how could I not be happy?!
Ingat! I love and miss you all!
hello my dear mga kaibigan,
Just wanted to let you all know that I am still alive. Life here is a lot different than back home but I'm adjusting and doing really well.
So much has happened that I don't even know what to say. I'll start with the most shocking news of all time- I'VE GAINED SO MUCH WEIGHT HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES. Would anyone believe me if I told you I've gained 13 POUNDS in the short amount of time I've been here?! What?! Everyone was convinced that I'd die from starvation here but I'm actually becoming so fat. And the Filipinos are not afraid to let me know this fact haha.
But besides from putting on weight like no tomorrow, I promise I'm also working really hard. There's really high expectations for the missionaries of the Angeles Mission and sometimes I feel really overwhelmed. There are 4,495,881 beautiful Filipinos in the Angeles Mission boundaries, and 4,460,881 of them have not yet accepted the gospel in their lives. That means that if the 102 companionships that we have in our mission baptized weekly (which is what is expected of us here) it would take us 911 years and 1 month to get everyone baptized! Ah, just thinking about it makes me stressed. I have so much work to do! We have a lot of investigators and many people are willing to listen to our message, but it's hard to keep them progressing. But I'm finding so much joy in getting to share with them the testimony I have and the knowledge that they have a loving Savior and that through them they can be with their families forever. I have the happiest message to share, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to share it every single day here in the Philippines.
My Tagalog is still really bad and it's really frustrating but it's all good haha. I'm trying my best and leaving the rest to the Lord.
Sorry I don't really have any amazing life changing stories to share with you but I'll leave you with possible my favorite picture I've taken so far, just because I have SO MUCH LOVE for everyone there. Even though most of the time I have no idea what anyone is saying, the love I have for my investigators is unreal.
Ingat. I love and miss you all so much.
hello friends & family!
Since this will be the last time I email you from the comfortable air conditioned room of the MTC, I figured I'd bless your life with a list of all the knowledge I've gathered during my stay here.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE AT THE PHILIPPINES MTC:
1. always take your vitamins.
2. love everyone, even annoying elders, and even when every single hair on their head is brighter than the sun.
3. buy every single bag of caramel puffs on p-day; they're only like nine pesos and taste like heaven.
4. write in your journal EVERY DAY, especially if your memory is as bad as mine.
5. don't assume that just because something is explainable by us, that it's not explainable by God. just believe, hope, and trust. [1 Nephi 11:17]
6. australians call cotton candy "fairy floss". how cute is that?!
7. also, australians say all sorts of weird things that don't make any sense.
8. also also, I really love aussies, specifically the one by the name of sister prado.
9. it is human nature to grow accustomed to the wonderful things in life, to forget to be grateful for the eternal truths we know- DON'T DO THAT. always remember how sacred and important those things are.
10. people from utah are inevitably awkward.
11. do not stop at the first floor, or second, or even third floor, president uchtdorf's wife is waiting at the fourth floor- last door.
12. uchtdorf & his wife are relationship goals; "she truly is the sunshine of my life".
13. filipino elders are FEARLESS and don't waste any time. they'll ask for your email and then plan what temple you're going to get married in the very first time you meet.
14. no matter where in the world I might go, everyone will still always think I'm mexican.
15. become a missionary, don't just go on a mission.
and that's about all I have to say. Love you all!
Can you believe that it's already October 12th?! Tomorrow it will be exactly ONE MONTH since I left home to come to this beautiful place. We finally watched general conference (which was the best) and seeing all the shots of the Salt Lake temple made me miss home real bad. Especially seeing those fall leaves on the trees. I'll miss those chill fall days back in Utah but nothing can beat the rain here in the Philippines!
But enough about the weather, guess what! I went proselyting last week and it was w i l d. We had planned on teaching 3 of my companions progressing investigators but they were all gone or sleeping. Honestly, most of the time was just spent traveling because the traffic here is CRAZY. But I rode on my first jeepney and trike, which was so much fun! We taught a cute little family we walked by and I tried my best to get a couple words out in Tagalog. I wish it were easier for me to share my testimony with these lovely Filipinos but I know it will come.
I don't have the mental capacity to write a very long letter today but I thought I'd share a brief update real quick.
There are currently only six missionaries in the entire Philippines MTC. All the Filipinos and the senior Language Training Missionaries left us this morning and it sucked. I wish everyone could just stay at this lovely place forever. I love being here at the MTC more than I ever would have guessed. The spirit felt here is insane and I wake up every morning feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to serve a mission in such a beautiful place with such beautiful people.
The new batch of missionaries comes on Friday and I'm so excited to meet all of them. Me and my companion were called to be the new Sister Training Leaders for our tiny little district. Also, I'm going proselyting for the first time tomorrow. I'm absolutely terrified because my Tagalog is still terrible but I know it will be a good experience. We still haven't watched general conference, I think we watch it next week. So please don't send me any spoilers! Anyway, just lots of exciting things coming up!
Hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe and remember how much you are loved!
I had another great week here in the Philippines MTC. I love my district more and more each and every day. Growing up in Utah I pretty much just interacted with a bunch of kids who had also lived in Utah their whole lives. But now I spend every single day arguing with the crazy Elders and Sisters from Australia and New Zealand about the correct way to pronounce things and all of our different culture differences. I love it! Also, my super cute Australian companion is always singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and I think it's so funny. They also all make fun of me and Elder Brown for saying "super" way too much. Honestly, I just love everyone here. They are always so kind to me, even if I sound like a total idiot trying to speak their language haha. So far I've been told that I look like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and a fairy. Not really sure how any of those make sense but I'll take it. Everyone in the batch of missionaries we came in, as well as the senior LTM's, are all leaving next week and then it will just be our little district of 6 here at the MTC for 2 days. It's going to be so sad to see them all leave! I never thought I would actually like it here so much. The food here is actually really good. We have rice with absolutely everything, every single meal. It's good for now- but I can assure you that I'm never eating rice again when I get home. We had burgers and fries for dinner last Thursday and I was seriously the happiest person in the world. It wasn't quite the same as back home, but I still loved it and it was the first time I went back for seconds.
Anyway, sorry that was just a bunch of random stuff that probably didn't make sense. Just wanted to let you all know that I'm still safe and happy. I'm so grateful that my Heavenly Father trusts me enough to be a representative of His son and share His gospel to His children. I have two investigators that I have to teach in ALL TAGALOG. It's so hard because I have this amazing message I want to share with them, but I don't know how to say it in their language! It's so frustrating, but I know I'll be able to do it one day and I can't wait!
I'll leave you with the scripture we memorized in Tagalog last week- Moroni 10:5.
"at sa pamamigatan ng kapangyarihan ng espirito santo, malalaman ninyo ang katotohanan ng lahat ng bagay." I just wrote that whole thing from memory, are you so proud of me?! Look up that scripture so you can know what it means in English, I promise it's true!
Love you all so much,
I'm actually in the Philippines and I'm alive! I seriously still can't believe that I'm actually here- it kind of feels like a dream. Time here is so weird... I feel like it was forever ago that I went on that crazy airplane journey to get here, but at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday. Getting here was probably one of the craziest things I've ever done. When I was set apart as a missionary by the stake president I was blessed to have angels watch over me on my mission. At the time I pictured those angels to be my loved ones who have passed on watching over me from heaven, but on my way here those angels were my two amazing neighbors (that just so happened to be going on my flight to California as well ). They helped me get on the first part of my adventure and then the rest is history haha.
The very first human interaction I had in the Philippines was with a bunch of guys in charge of the Hertz cars at the airport. I was really worried that they wouldn't understand me but they were all so nice and one of the guys said, "OH, Miss Sierra? Beautiful name... and beautiful YOU!" And that is the story of probably the first and last time I'll hear my first name in the Philippines. So pretty much everyone here is SO NICE. And oh my goodness, don't even get me started on my companion! We're pretty much the same person and we have so much fun together. Our days are full of so much laughter and singing high school musical songs. We only have 6 people in our LTM (language training missionary) district. My companion and one other sister is from Australia. The other sister is from somewhere in the Marshall Islands I think? And the Elders are from New Zealand and... UTAH! And he is also going to the Angeles mission so I'm pretty excited about that. I love everyone in my district so much and I'm already dreading the day when I have to say goodbye to them.
The first couple days here I was really worried about my family back home and was feeling really guilty about leaving them. All my prayers were pleas to my Heavenly Father that they would be safe and watched over and that prayer was answered in the form of a scripture: D&C section 100. The whole section is revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney while they were away from their families and worrying about them. And one of the first things it says in verse 1 is "your families are well; they are in mine hands." That brought me so much comfort and strengthened my testimony. God loves you. He cares about you and wants you to pray to him so that he can answer those prayers.
Learning Tagalog is SO HARD, but I'm trying my best. Please send me lots of love and words of encouragement, I could definitely use it. I love you and miss you all so much!