Monday, October 26, 2015

I get stared at a lot

Dear Family and friends,

I arrived in the Philippines on SATURDAY, so I have been here for a week and a day.  I arrived in my mission field on WEDNESDAY, and it has been crazy ever since.  I got to the Cavite mission office early in the morning and then we had more classes! We were instructed on more practical side of things like money, bills, food and clean water.  Then we went across the street to the ward building and went upstairs (they are all 2 story ward buildings) and I met my new companion! Her name is Sister Dacalcap! She's a Philipina which has made everything so much easier.  She is so very sweet and helpful.  I also really love my house mates. They are so sweet! Sister Marano is Philipina and Sister Devi is from Fiji. There is a really interesting blend of people here.  From all over the world.

Everyday, IS HOT. No Air Con in any buildings, so I sweat lahat araw, every araw (all day, every day).  It's fine.  Everyone has electric fans here, which makes the greatest difference! I bought am umbrella as well which also helps.  When you send me a care package, if you ever do, PLEASE SEND LEMON BUG SPRAY! The one Dad has.  They don't have it here. In fact, I have yet to see bug spray.  I bought a bug repellent lotion stuff that kind of works.  Anyway it looks like I have chicken pox on my legs because I am being eaten by mosquitoes.

We ride tricycles everywhere, which I don't have a picture of because I have yet to talk a lot of pictures. But they are essentially just a motorcycle with a little carriage on the side.  I don't ride jeepney's that often.

My first area here is Novelta! Sister Dacalcap and I are Noveleta area A.  We are in Novelta ward. The other 2 sisters are Noveleta B and are also in our ward. 

I get stared at a lot. We walk down the street and everyone stares.  I haven't seen another white person here yet.  I saw them in Manilla, but not here.  It's totally fine, I love these people, but they do stare.  They call me beautiful and say I look like a barbie doll.  But that also I am fat. Hindi ko alam.  I don't take it personally.  It's strange. (*note* According to Scott's Philippine coworkers being "fat" means you are an affluent-you have enough money to buy food, clothes etc. and when his coworkers go home their family call them "fat like an American" too)  

I like teaching. It's hard, but I like it.  It's harder to focus because I don't know what everyones saying but  when I really take time to listen, and hear them and help them, it's a really cool experience.  On Saturday, Sister Dacalcap and I were tracting and we stopped and talked to this woman who agreed to hear our message.  More of her family came out and joined us.  After reviewing the Restoration lesson, we asked them to baptized and all 3 of them said yes.  COOLEST MOMENT EVER.

It is hard to see the extreme poverty here.  These people have absolutely nothing, but what the create with what they have is amazing.  They make the most of everything.  It's not much, but it's something.   And they are so kind and willing to share.  Truly, all of them are prepared to hear the gospel.  They already have developed many Christlike attributes, now they just need the keys and way.

I miss you all so much! It's so hard to be away from you.  But my period to be here is very short.  I don't have a lot of time to share and serve here, so I have to make the most of it! I've already been out for almost 2 months! It'll be 2 months on November 2!  THAT is scary! 16 months left! So much to learn and do and so little time. 

I love you all!  I miss you!
Have a great week!

Sister Zimmerman 

*Note from Mom*

In a separate email she responded about the typhoon and with a typical Florida attitude she said it was just like a hurricane; wind and rain, rain, rain. So that's Teal...her mission is so much more exciting and cool (3 people she taught want to be baptized her FIRST WEEK) it was not even worth the mention.  :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Here is What I Know-She is on an Adventure!

This is Teal's Mom.  A lot of people have been asking me if I have heard from her yet and I understand their concern so let me see if I can help ease everyone's nerves.  So, here is what I do know.

She did arrive in the Manila MTC in the very early hours Saturday, essentially the middle of the night. They got to sleep in, had a rice, meat & veggie dish for breakfast which she said was an odd breakfast but very yummy.  She was very excited to be at the Manila MTC and told me how much she loved it already and how nice everyone was. This was from a quick email she sent me on Saturday.

I also know from her previous schedule that the beginning of this week the plan was for her and the others to take care/finalize immigration etc and training and by Wednesday she would be heading to Cavite, her mission.

Now, we all know that Sunday a typhoon rolled across Luzon and changed a lot of plans. Did that changed Teal's plans? I don't know.  From the news reports I've read it sounds like most of the the severe damage was north of Manila, but does that mean that the government offices were open for immigration and visa? Or do they just take this in stride and keep on keeping on? Or was the flooding in Manila bad enough that it closed down? (One report I read said that the streets were closed to all but military and heavy equipment)  I do know that I lot of local people have been evacuated and so the government is focused on shelter, water & food.  I'm also willing to bet that power and internet are spotty or non-exsistant and not as high on the priority list as shelter, water, and food. 

She might very well be out there doing service work helping to clear, clean, feed, or serve in some way.  Whatever she is doing I'm sure she will have a "tale or two to tell" when she does get back online. From the very beginning of her deciding to serve a mission I've pictured her as Bilbo running with her mission call in her hand saying "I'm going on an adventure!" 

And as one last bit of comfort...the Manila MTC is a nice sturdy building.  It's not a grass hut on the beach or something.  They are prepared for this type of weather, they are prepared to take care of large groups of people.  Here is a link and they have a picture gallery on the page.  Take a look, it will make you feel better if you have a worried "mom" heart like me.

Teal's next Pday is Monday and I bet I'll be posting something from her by then.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"That was the coolest thing ever!"

Kamusta mga pamilya at friend!

I have had SUCH an amazing week!  Last Sunday we had a special devotional and guess who came!?  BYU Vocal Point!  It was so awesome!  Youtube Vocal Point-Nearer My God To Thee
They sang that song and several others and it was so good! I felt the Spirit so strong, plus got to enjoy some cute guys singing beautiful hymns.  A great Sunday.  Tuesday evening we had devotional again and it was Linda K. Burton who is the General Relief Society President and her talk was amazing! But even more so was the MTC Choir (Which I am in!!) and we sang an arrangement of Sweet Hour of Prayer.  THAT brought SUCH an amazing spirit to the whole evening.  I almost cried over it.

SATURDAY- TODAY.  I have SUCH A COOL STORY IT LITERALLY MAKES ME SMILE SO MUCH!   About 30 mins ago, my companion and I were walking out of the Provo UT Temple and we saw this group of young adults who were sitting outside the Temple on the steps, just talking.  My kasama and I had a REALLY strong prompting to go talk to them, and so we both stopped and shook their hands and got to know them.  They were really surprised that we had stopped because "we look so scary!" referring to their numerous tattoos.  We told them that we didn't think they were scary and introduced ourselves.  We then asked them if they were members and they said no, we asked if they were familiar with our church, and they said they had grown up here.  We then asked if they had any questions that we could answer about us and they all got a little awkward and then this one young man named Russell said that he had a question about pre-earth life and agency.  We got to help him understand that and we explained agency and individual worth (because he struggled with that). He then started asking us about prayer, and said he thought it was selfish to have to depend on something divine to help you with every little thing. He said it was just like depending on your parents to give you everything, and he said he thinks you should work and try for yourself.  Then I looked at him and asked him if he had ever prayed and given gratitude, and expressed feelings of thanks.  He said he was atheist, but that he thought gratitude was important in general and that he expresses it in meditation. Anyway, there was a lot more to this whole exchange, but I am running out of email time.  It was such a cool experience! We committed them to pray tonight, and we taught them how.  And then we prayed with them, and thanked God for them and thanked Him for the opportunity to speak with His wonderful sons and daughter. They all said they would pray tonight, and really try. It was a really cool experience.  They were giggling at us, and kinda making fun, but they seemed to have legit questions and were serious in their responses.  As we walked away we heard Russell say "That was the coolest thing ever!" and we smiled and kept going. It was such an amazing thing.  I felt the Spirit, and if I felt it, they had to as well.

I LOVE being a missionary for the Lord.  I know the church is true! I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that all of you are children of God, and that He knows you personally, by name, and cares about you.

Being a missionary is the single greatest experience of my life thus far, and I know it's only going to get better.  I love Jesus Christ.  I love my God, Heavenly Father.  I love the prophet, Thomas S. Monson.   I know with all my heart that I am doing the Lord's work, and that is why I am feeling successful.

Have a great week!  PRAY OFTEN! EVERYDAY!  Read the Book of Mormon.  Do those simple things, and I promise you will feel an increase of love and peace and happiness in your daily lives.

The next time you hear from me, I will be in the Philippines.  I have 5 days in the Manila MTC, and then I am OUT in the field! Not literally a field, but my mission area.  Which could be field but I kinda doubt it.  I love you all!

See you in the Philippines!

Sister Zimmerman

Teal & Vanessa (a friend from her YSA branch) at the MTC

Trying on her Kasama's glasses

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Next week is my last week, so get pumped!

Kamusta po Kayo!

This is my fifth week in the MTC!  I only have one week left!  My whole zone got their flight plans yesterday.  I'll be sending those to Mom and Dad so you can see if you can watch my flight progress.  I'm actually pretty nervous about being on a plane for THAT long, and traveling that far, and loosing luggage. 

It's kinda scary.  Send some Dear Elders or something with tips on long flights and how to not want to go crazy. 

Pero, ("pero" =but) I am SO excited to be finally getting out of here.   I have loved the MTC, and in some senses, I don't want to leave dahil sa ("dahil sa"  = because of) of all the experiences that I have been growing from.  I realized, though, that I wanted to leave when I started to get really jealous of my teachers, who I would watch leave after class ended, exit out the gate and get into cars parked across the street and then drive away. 

I was like "They get to LEAVE! And be in the real world! AHHH" Basically, I love missionaries, pero, I want to talk to someone who isn't a missionary.  Is it bad to not want to talk to missionaries for a while? hahaha

I really love the MTC though.  I have decided that when I come back from my mission, and hopefully get into BYU, that I would like to come back and teach here at the MTC.  How fun would that be?  My teachers say you make enough to sustain a BYU education.

This week was a little harder, pero I am still learning and growing.  I've said this before, but I am being really forced by Heavenly Father to stretch and grow my patience, personality, faith and testimony.  Stretching hurts! Ah my golly gee whiz.

Anyway, I am really excited to leave for the Philippines.  I can't wait to be there.

OH! NEWS!  Not really news, pero, something great.  This week I skyped with someone in the Philippines and taught them a lesson! It was a member of the church, and she was so sweet! It was hard to understand what she was saying.  I understood about 5 out of 20 words that she would say, pero it was so great! We get to do it again this week.  Another member for 30 minutes on skype.  What a blessing! 

Well, this week was another... week.  I love being a missionary.  It's such a privilege and honor and I am reminded of this often.  I love dedicating my life to this cause.  I know that I am only here because I know that this church is true.  I know it, and so I live it and I can't be constrained to just passively sitting by with this knowledge in my head.  I know we are being so abundantly blessed because of this knowledge, and I am so grateful to have it.

I love you all!

Next week is my last week, so get pumped!

Sister Zimmerman  

District at the the Provo Temple

Goofy Girls

A moment to relax in the sun

Flight Plans!