Mount Samat
I know it's starting to get old that I start every letter for the week, with "I just love the Philippines" or "I'm still loving my mission," so I'll just skip that part because it's still true!  Obviously missions are hard.  My emails home obviously highlight the funnest, best, and most exciting parts of the week.  There are hard times, sad times, and times that quite frankly I don't want to be a missionary.  Sometimes obviously I am sad, there aren't a lot of people that like the missionaries here and people let us down a lot.  But a mission isn't supposed to be easy.  Life isn't meant to be easy.  Heavenly Father didn't send us to earth to relax and just have fun.  Life is meant for us to grow and to gain experience, to become like our Father.  Obviously it's not easy to become like Heavenly Father.  But He did promise us joy in this life and one of the main purposes of this life is to have joy.  My mission is hard.  I grow and stretch everyday to do things I don't think are possible.  But just like life, I have come to realize true joy that comes from the gospel, true joy comes from a good attitude and relying on Jesus Christ to pick me up when I just can't do it anymore.  As truthfully as I can say how hard this is, I can also truthfully say that I have realized true joy, happiness that can't come from having stuff or friends, but mind blowing, soul filling joy.  

With that said, I present my favorite stories, people, and happenings from the Philippines!

Mount Samat
So, P-day last week.  Mahal na mahal ko P-day.  After we emailed, we got to go to the Ukay store, which is the US equivalent to Salvation Army or second hand store.  And everyone at home knows that pretty much my entire existence relies and comes from second hand stores:)  So I was a pretty happy girl to not only get to go shopping, but at the ukay!  The second hand stores here ARE EVEN BETTER THAN IN THE STATES!!!!!!  Isn't that a crazy thought?!  All the clothes fit me because obviously the Filipinos are really small and it's all super cute.  I walked out of that store with probably way more than I should have bought.  And I walked out with a smile on my face the size of Texas.  I was a happy happy girl.  We go to the market to buy all our food (by market I mean tables set up under plastic with fruits, veggies, and still alive fish on them) at 6am because it's still fresh.  We clean our apartment, take naps, and do other various things that only sister missionaries would find entertaining.  Oh and wash clothes.  Haha it's kind of a joke.  It's all by hand in big basins in a dark room in the back of our apartment.  The even bigger joke is trying to get it to dry after you hang it up, because it's either always raining or humid.  With those kinds of things, I just laugh.  

Mount Samat
Which brings me to the weather.  Can I just say I have never been so amazed by the weather in my life.  I also realize what people are talking about when they say "the rainy season" in the Philippines.  Pretty much Heavenly Father decides to dump all his water in Heaven on the Philippines in 3 months.  Everyday, all day, all hours it is pouring rain.  Last week, it would rain for a couple hours a day, stop, and everything was fine.  I thought that was what they meant by rainy season here.  And then came this week.  NO sun ALL WEEK.  Just rain and thunderstorms.  And I have never seen storms like these.  It rains so hard it comes down sideways and drenches every part of my body.  It rains so hard that when I'm inside, you can't hear anything people say (it also doesn't help that all the roofs are metal).  The lightning turns the sky into a bright purple at night and orange in the day.  The thunder literally shakes that houses.  These last two days, the roads have all flooded, there are no more sidewalks that aren't under water, and people in our ward are starting to wake up with stuff floating in the water that has come into their house.  And everyone here keeps telling me that this is just the beginning.  All I have to say is it's a good thing I have my jelly sandals (more uses now than just looking cute).  Sister Tanielu and I were walking home on Saturday night, umbrella in one hand, purse and skirt in the other hand, wading in water up to our knees trying to get to 7-11 to get a doughnut (the only 7-11 in all of our zone is in our area:))  It was such a funny thing to see and experience.  This never happens in Utah, or anywhere in the US for that matter.  

Our toilet and shower aren't working because of the rain (not that they even worked really before then) so we flush the toilet with water from the kitchen sink and shower literally with a ladle and bucket right now.  Best experiences ever.  I love it all.  

Another investigator story for this week.  

Barecante Family:  So in the Philippines, multiple families live in one house, debah?  With this family, it's the Grandma and Grandpa that take care of all their grandkids while they their children work abroad (most people work in Dubai as maids).  So 2 really old people, 5 kids under 5 (one in the hospital).  No one can work and their kids can't send home money.  So this family literally has no money.  The grandma goes out everyday to the school to find money to get rice for a day.  We have been teaching their family for probably 2 months now but they are really stubborn and are slow to progress.  We went over to their house last week and the grandma told us she had a dream that Jesus Christ came to her during the Resurrection and that after, she knew the church was true.  They both have strong testimonies and a strong desire to be a part of the church.  In order to be baptized though, they have to come to church 4 times but because they literally have no money, they can't come.  We have no idea what to do to help them and we know that their situation is in Heavenly Father's hands.  They definitely need your prayers this week.

We have a baptism coming up next week, two kids (both 10 yrs old) that their families are less active and so we're hoping that by them getting baptized, it will reactivate their family.  Sister Tanielu and I found them when we were teaching their friend and I can't wait for them to be baptized!  

Funny story for the week:  On Tuesday night, we ate at a less-active member's house for dinner.  She lives literally in the middle of nowhere, it took us about 20 minutes of walking past lakes and more lakes along a tiny path (and because it was dark, I'm pretty sure I squished a couple of frogs).  This lady kind of reminds me of the blind witch lady off of Princess and the Frog.  She looks exactly like here and is a little crazy and old just like her.  So we're eating dinner and the ulam to go with the rice looks a little weird but obviously I take it anyway, glad for the food.  After a couple bites, I realized that I was eating something with eyeballs still in it, about the size of a quarter, that smelled awfully similar to frog.  When I realized that, it took literally all I had not to puke it up.  I couldn't keep eating it, there was no where to drop it, and I certainly couldn't just leave it on my plate.  Stealthy, I dumped it spoonful by spoonful into one of the pockets of my purse so no one would notice, zipped the pocket up, and pretended like I had finished my whole plate.  Yaaaaa... not one of my brightest ideas for sure, but I was desperate.  As we walked home, I emptied it little by little onto the ground so my trainer wouldn't notice either (why I didn't want her to know beats me).  Moral of the story- always carry a plastic bag with you.  

Have a good week, lots of love sent to you from the Philppines!

Inkgat po,