Tuesday, December 27, 2011
LAHAT KAYO! Merry Christmas!
Christmas was great here and it was SO GOOD to talk to all of my family! It didn't really feel like Christmas here with all the heat and humidity, but it was still really great! Our ward Christmas part was on Friday, from ONE to NINE! They LOVE Christmas here. We were only there for the last couple of hours but we played some games and fed us (photo of food :) On Christmas eve had curfew at six, so we ate at a members house and then went home and I was able to write a bunch of letters.
Christmas was GREAT! I talked to my mom and fam and then went to church. During the phone call we talked about how I still don't know the language and how it will be easier to be here once I feel like I can start making a difference. After church there was an investigator who came with a friend. His name is Jerwin and he is 19. He wanted us to start teaching him right then and so we did. He know SO much about the bible and is really interested in the church because he read the testimony of Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon his friend gave him. He speaks pretty good English and I was actually able to teach! Half way through the lesson we had to go outside because they were locking up the church. As we were walking he turned to me and said, "Sister Morton, I want you to teach me all the things today, so that I can be baptized." He is so eager to know and it is so great to be teaching him. I had to explain that it will take some time and that he needs to keep reading, praying and coming to church. It was a good day. After the lesson we had dinner with the senior sisters who live next door. We had sloppy joes and it was MASARAP! It is so nice getting homemade american food every once in a while. The senior sister are so great and they take such good care of us. I was able to skype my dad and fam this morning to finish off all the Christmas festivities. :)
Even though it is hard to be away from home this time of year I am so grateful I have this opportunity to be here. I have learned that it doesn't matter if you know something if you don't do anything with that knowledge. I know that our Savior lives and I am so grateful for His birth, life and the Atonement. I know that this gospel true and I am happy to be sharing this wonderful message with the people in the Philippines. I love you all and miss you so much, but I know that I will be home before I even know it!
PINAKAMAMAHAL KO KAYO!!!!
Monday, December 12, 2011
I miss you all so so much! I wish I could call you each day and tell you about all of my crazy experiences, but at least I get this email once a week to tell you some of the highlights. This week has been easier than my first few days. My body is starting to adjust to the heat and to the food (Thank Heaven!) I've decided that it is going to be basically impossible for me to lose weight here because the members are so great and love to feed us. My predictions were also correct in that they do expect me to eat a lot. I get called mataba and malaki (chubby and big) all the time. It's a complement here though. They call me"healthy" when they are speaking English to me. :) It's so funny. I also get called so tall and maganda (beautiful) so that off sets the fat comments for me. I love it! The heat isn't too bad either. It's supposed to be the dry season- which is the cool season, but it hasn't been dry it has rained almost every day. On wed I had to hold my skirt up because we were walking through shin deep water at times. Crazy...
The people here are so so nice and helpful. The little kids LOVE me! I seriously get stalked by them. When we are walking through a neighborhood I'll say kumusta to a couple of little kids as we walk by and then a few minutes later I'll look behind me and there will be dozen kids just tagging along with us. They are so so cute! I wish the adults wanted to talk to me as much as the kids do. It would make this mission thing a whole lot easier :)
Funny story for you- On Tuesday we met up with a member, Brother Felix. He had a referral for us and was going to come and show us because it was out in the jungle. Like real jungle - walking through a very muddy path for at least a half a mile. It was great! I just kept laughing because I could see myself walking through all this mud in my crocs and in a skirt. It would have been much better to have hiking shoes on, but I made it without falling. As we were walking I was concentrated so hard on the ground and not slipping. I then felt my face go through a spider web. I instantly went into crazy ninja mode. I seriously felt like the giant spider from Harry Potter was going to jump on me for a second. After a few seconds of pure panic I realized that there was no spiders on me and I made it though the web ok. I looked back at what I had just plowed through and there was a spider about the size of my palm, about a foot from the hole my face made. It was black and blue and if I could bring myself to say a spider looked pretty I would...but I can't:) It kind of looked like the yellow and black spider in the photo. Luckily the spiders here aren't poisonous.
The work is going well. We have about 20 lessons a week. The hardest thing I have found is that our area is far from the church and a lot of the investigators don't have enough money to make the trip. It's really sad. A few really want to be baptized, but it is so hard for them to make the sacrifice to come to church. There are definitely people that have been prepared here. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!
Hanggang sa susunod linggo!!! (Until next week!)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I made it to the Philippines!!! Wow... That is all I can really say about it. It has been quite the experience/culture shock so far. It's just like I imagined, but now it's real. I've heard it takes a few weeks to a few months to adjust to everything. I hoping I'm one that only takes a few weeks.
It's hot here! I thought it would be a lot worse though, so the first few hours I thought "Oh this isn't so bad. I think I can handle this." I was then told it was a nice cool day, and that it was the begining of the cold season. I am so grateful I was able to come during this time of year. The end of the "cold season" is end of March, so I have some time to adjust. I don't mind feeling hot and sweaty when we are walking around because it is so beautiful here!
I LOVE my mission president and his wife. President and Sister Peterson are THE BEST!!! The five us who came from the provo MTC stayed at the mission house the 1st two nights. We arrived on Wednesday and then transfer day was on friday. It was a good couple of days. The elders and I would go out to the road and talk to the neighborhod kids (photos) They are the cutest!!!
Transfer day was on friday and I met my new companion SISTER ROMUA (ROME-WA) She is great! and yes I do feel like a giant!!! It is her first time training and she is doing a great job. I seriously don't know any Tagalog I feel like. I can kind of understand what is going on in the lessons, but when it comes to speaking it my mind goes blank. All of the filipinos keep telling me how good I am at speaking it, but I'm pretty sure if I was a foot shorter and brown they would be saying something different :)
My first area is in San Pablo. President and Sister Peterson dropped us off at our apartment on Friday night. There is a shower....kind of. :) I was hoping to be out in the jungle but out apartment is in the middle of the city. It is right across from the stake center and the senior sister's apartment is next door. We live in a "gated community" ha ha. it is nice having an extra locked door. Saterday was my first day working. I then found out that our apartment isn't even in our area! we have to take a jeepney because our area covers the outskirts of the city. We rode the jeepney out to Santa Monica. I can't really see out the windows because I'm so tall, so when we stopped and I stepped out I was shocked to see rice feilds and JUNGLE. I really am blown away. It still doesn't seem real. It is so maganda!!! The 2 teaching appointments we had weren't home, so we started walking. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE stares at me. I try to say hello to everyone, and some people don't even respond, but I'm pretty sure it is because they are so shocked to hear me speaking Tagolog. I'm having a lot of fun with that. We had another appointment later that day. The investigator is 21 and has three little kids. She lives in a shack, literally. I cannot believe the living conditions here. Her home is smaller than our shed at home and the roof consists of a tarp and some boards. It is so sad, but she is so so sweet and loves it when we teach her. It is hard because she doesn't have any money to be able to take a jeepney to church and it is too far to walk. I'm already frustrated with this situation. It's really sad.
Sorry this email is so scattered. I've had so many things I wanted to tell you all. A couple of quick things that are important:
#1Use this mailing address-
Sister Megan Rae Morton
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Brgy San Juan, Alaminos
It is the address of the mission home and I will get mail faster than it going to the post office box
#2 Don't use FedEx, use USPS. FedEx charges us here when we pick it up- some stupid fee or something.
#3 Family! You can email me! I don't know why I didn't get to hear from you today!!!! My pdays are on monday and We are 15 hours ahead here. I better have something to read next week :)
Well I am out of time but I love you all!!!! I am safe and happy and sweaty!!!!
Friday, November 18, 2011
KUMUSTA PO KAYO?!?!?!?
Wow... That's really all I can say. I have 10 days left here at the MTC and I couldn't be going through more emotions. It amazing and ridiculous all at the same time and I am loving every second of it. We (Sister Allen and myself, because lets be honest, she is my other half at this point :) are so excited to be going and so excited to help the people in the Philippines. We are also nervous, feel like we don't know any Tagalog and are realizing that we will soon be without the comfort of toilet paper. All in all though we are fantastic and know that the Lord will be with us every step of the way. 13 days I will be sitting on a concrete floor teaching someone about the gospel and the blessing it has brought to my life. I will probably be hotter and more uncomfortable than I have ever been in my life, but I am so incredibly excited.
This week has been one of the hardest and the greatest weeks of the MTC. It is amazing how many things you can learn in one week. I have realized that the best things come right after the hardest trials if you fight through the trail and rely on your Heavenly Father for help. We are here to go through things to make us stronger and more like Him. I am so grateful for this. I also really think that trails are to test us to see if we are ready for the next set of blessings that Heavenly Father is ready to bless us with. I have felt this in my life multiple times this week. I really cannot do this without His help and I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to learn to rely on Him more than I have ever before in my life. Thank you all for your prayers love and support. I can feel it blessing my life. I am so thankful to be a missionary. Behold I cannot say the smallest part of which I feel- Alma 26:16 :)
Mahal na Mahal Ko po Kayo LAHAT!!!!!!
Friday, November 4, 2011
November 4, 2011
Kumusta po ang mga pamilia ko?!?
Well, surprise, surprise I don't have much time to write again. :) This week was incredible! Sobrang Mabuti! So many amazing things happened and I have felt the Spirit so strong. The language is coming along too.
As I was thinking about what to write and reading my super cool journal that I have been putting all my spiritual stuff in I decided to just copy what I had written. It was from Sunday night. On Saturday we had a really amazing lesson with one of our "investigators". While I was studying to get ready for this lesson I found, (and by found I mean I was totally prompted) a scripture that was what JD needed to hear. It was the last 3 verses of 2 Nephi chapter 31. It really was exactly what JD needed to hear. The scripture was also an answer to things I have been thinking about as well. Here is part of what I wrote in my journal the next night- "The more I have thought about this scripture the more and more I have felt the Spirit. I know that this gospel is the way- THE ONLY WAY, to return to our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for the Spirit and the truth that it brings. I know what my purpose is, not only for my mission, but for my life. I need to always remember how important this is and to be an example of what I know. I know that the Spirit is capable of anything and I need to strive to be worthy to have the constant companionship of it each day for the rest of my life. I know that God lives and the He loves each one of us. I am so grateful for this knowledge."
I hope that you have been able to feel even a part of what I have felt this week. I cannot even describe how grateful I am for our Savior. Thank you all so much for your love, support and prayers. I love you!!!
Mahal na Mahal Kita!
Friday, October 28, 2011
October 28, 2011
Wow, this week went by so much faster than all the other weeks. We are half way and I cannot believe it!!! This week has been really great. We had two new sisters come into our zone, so we're not the newbies anymore. It's been so fun having them here and it's a blessing to be able to realize how far we have come in four weeks. I feel like I am so close to having everything start to click with the language. It's really exciting and I am so excited for when all the things I have learned will start to click together.
This week was uneventful for the most part. I am feeling much better and am so grateful for blessings. They really do work and I am grateful for all the worthy Elders in my district. They are so great and always so willing to help Sister Allen and I.
Well I am already out of time. Sorry this is so short, never enough time to get all the emails done.
Alam ko po na totoo po ang Simbihan ni Jesucristo. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa ebanghelyo at pakakataon magmissionero. Alam ko po na natatanggap po ko ang pahahayag sa pamamagitan ng panalangin na sa pamamagitan ng pagbabasa ng Aklat ni Mormon. Salamat po kayo para sa pagiibig. Mahal Kita!!!
(I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is true. I am thankful for the gospel and the opportunity to be a missionary. I know that I am able to receive revelation through prayer and through reading the Book of Mormon. Thank you for all you love! I love you!!!)
PS- this is my companions blog if you want a more detailed description about our week- www.lifeeverclear.blogspot.com don't judge she is the fastest typer I have ever seen and she just writes one email :)
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Oct 21, 2011
I cannot believe it has been another week already. Everyone that told me the days felt like weeks in the mtc and the weeks felt like days was right. It is so crazy how time works here! I am almost half way through my MTC stay- CRAZY!!!! This week was really great. Elder Richard G.Scott came to talk to us on Tuesday, I love having Sister Allen as a companion and the language is coming along more and more each day. I'm finally starting to feel better too. (It feels like I have been sick forever when each day feels like a week :)
Elder Scott is my FAVORITE! He was the speaker at our devotional on Tuesday night and it was so great. He talked a lot about prayer and it was just what I needed to hear. He also talked a lot about how we are called to exactly where we need to be. I know that I am supposed to be going to the Philippines. I am so excited! It is really interesting getting to know all the other missionaries who are also going to the Philippines. We all seem to have similar personalities- fun loving and kinda laid back, and all of us tend to goof off probably a little more than we should. Don't worry though- since I'm the grandma I'm pretty good at keeping our elders in line :) Elder Scott talked about what our goals should be when return home from our missions as well. He said, talking to the sisters, that we will all be blessed for serving missions and our future families will be blessed more than we can know because of our missions. It was so sweet and so great to hear. He also gave all the missionaries an apostolic blessing over the pulpit- so amazing.
Sister Allen is the best! I love having her as a companion. We are on the same page and it's so nice having someone with me all the time that has the same goals. We are getting the hang of teaching together. Yesterday was great. We taught our "investigator" and it went well and then to the TRC last night and it was amazing! We are finally able to (kinda) put sentences together, and even though it is in really choppy, horribly pronounced Tagalog it is coming! We were excited to say the least and our feed back from all the volunteers was really encouraging.
Thanks for all the letters and packages I received this week. I feel so loved and all the Elders are jealous that I get so many packages. They love it too though because I all was share, because we all know that's what grandmas do :) Well I'm out of time, but I love you all thanks for all your love and support!!!!!
**I just did spell check and WOW my spelling is getting worse and I'm blaming it on the Tagalog!
October 14, 2011
As usual I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to let you all know that I am still doing great! I started feeling sick yesterday, but with an awesome blessing from 8 elders yesterday and some extra sleep (the power was shut off for some construction going on so they "made" us go to bed an hour early :) I am feeling a little better today. I am loving it here. It is so nice to just be focused on one thing- becoming the best missionary I can so I can help those in th Philippines! I am learning so much! It really is amazing how much we are able to learn here in such a short amount of time.
The language is coming along. I feel like I am getting worse at teaching, but I figured out why. We have had to teach in Tagalog every time we have taught, which started on day 3, so the first few lessons we would plan everything out, find where we could read it out loud in tagalog from preach my gospel and some of our other language books and then try our best to not butcher the pronouniation. Well it seemed to be going great and we felt like we were getting better. This week we have 2 new "investigators" to teach and started the TRC (where volunteers who speak the language come in to have us teach a lesson to them- kinda scary :) This week I felt like I was a thousand times worse. I realized it's because I am now able to understand what the investigators are saying to me but I usually have no idea how to say what I need to say back in Tagalog, other than scrambling some words together. So the first lessons went so well because they probably would say "how can this help me?" or some other question I would just smile and say "mabuti" (good) and move on like an idiot :) Oh well, it's really funny and really cool that I am starting to understand. The sentence structre is crazy but I'm able to write the lessons down in my own words with help from the books and dictionary. One step closer :) I am so excited to be able to express the things I feel in Tagalog. We have learned to say simple prayers and testimonies and that is really cool as well.
Another big thing happened this week- I have a new companion! Starting today Sister Allen is my companion!!! I am so excited! I love Sister Funaki and we were finally starting to get on the same page, but President Stott (our branch president) was worried about Sister Maiava (Sister Allens comp) She is from Samoa and doesn't speak english and it is hard enough to learn Tagalog from your own language. Sister Funaki is able to communicate with Sister Maiava, ao President Stott thought it would be best to switch us up. I am so excited because I know the Sister Allen and myself will push each other to be better and really get the most out of our last 7 weeks here- I cannot believe it's only seven weeks til we are in the PHILIPPINES!!!!
Time is up but I will try to get some letters and pictures out today. We are not able to email pics from the MTC :(
MAHAL KAYO!!!! (I love you all!!!)
PS-Thanks to everyone who has sent letters and packages!!!! You have know idea how much it means to get them!!!!
October 7, 2011
Wow! I cannot believe how fast the days go by here! So so busy. I'm sorry if my spelling is hideous. It seems to be getting worse and worse as I learn more Tagalog. It is crazy how fast we are all learning it. I sometimes feel like I am not learning as quick as I should be but then I realize it has been nine days and I am praying and bearing my testimony in Tagalog and starting to learn how to form senteces- so that's actually pretty amazing. They changed the ciriculum so we actually never teach a lesson in english. We have had an "investegator" since our third day and we have taught him four times. It hasn't gone too bad, but it is really hard not being able to understand 90% of what he says. I have learned a lot about how important it is to just focus on building relationships in order to help others the best way possible. This is coming from all aspects of the MTC though, not just the classroom. I have learned so many valuable life changing things so far and I haven't even been here for two weeks. I can't imagine what it's going to be like after 18 months!
The schedule here is really tight and it was so nice to finally have our first preperation day today. Unfourtunately I poped a rib out of place yesterday schooling the elders at basketball so I had to go to the chiroprator off campus and it took three hours, so sorry if my other letters home are short. But other than that today has been nice to get things done. Speaking of elders- I love my district! It's like I have ten little brothers. I was worried that they were all going to drive me crazy, but they have been so much fun to be around. Every once and a while they will call me Sister Lola (grandma in tagalog) it's kinda cute actually and I can tell that some of them real value my opinion. I love to see how spiritual they can be one moment and then how funny they are the next. A few of the other sister in my zone have played college sports as well and it's so fun to hear the elders brag about how cool their sisters are to other people. We were playing softball this week and I kinda dove to catch a ball and all the elders jaws hit the field when I caught it. So funny.
Sister Allen is still my bestie here. We have to help each other be patient :) I am so grateful for the relationships I have been able to build here so far. My companion and I are still getting to know each other (she is so so quiet!) but I think it is getting better. My roommates sister sharp and sister ycmat are great! We crack up every single night. We all have so many inside jokes that I can't keep them all straight. I'm glad that all of the sisters, and most of the elders too are so laid back and fun loving. I think it is a quality that must be common in the philippino people. I'm excited to find out even though it is going to be so sad when I leave the MTC and all my new friends. I am the only sister here that will be going to San Pablo.
Well I don't have any time left. :( I love you all! and miss you a ton!
Monday, October 10, 2011
I actually just sent you a letter yesterday because I thought we wouldn't be able to email until next Friday (which will be our preparation days will be on from now on) But SURPRISE I can email you today! I am doing good, really tired and my brain is overloaded, but really good. I cannot believe how fast the language is coming. We had to teach our first investigator yesterday in TAGALOG! Yup day 2 and a half and we had to try to teach in Tagalog. It was really rough but we were able to get through it, and if you ask me I think we did a pretty good job at it. So we is myself and my companion (kamasa) Sister Funaki. She is from Tonga! There are a few cultural differences that are taking some getting used to, but she is so sweet and very caring. We are trying to get used to the schedule, which is proving to be difficult :) I feel like I am rushing around everywhere and we have so many books and papers I am always misplacing things. But things are really good and I'm so happy to be here! The sisters in my zone are so fun and I have already made some good friends. The Elders are great too! We will have really spiritual meetings and it's only later in the cafeteria when I hear them talking about Star Wars and Top Gear that I remember how much younger they really are. For the most part everyone in my zone has a strong desire to serve the Lord and strive to do their best. It is great!!!
We have had so many am zing opportunities to feel the Spirit. I have never felt the Spirit so strong and it is so comforting to know that I am where I am supposed to be. I am so so so grateful that I am one of the oldest here. I've realized that my experiences have, and will be able to help others I meet along the way. Because I am older and it has taken me so long to get to this point it is so much easier for me to be obedient and have a positive attitude because I realize just how precious this gift of being able to be a missionary really is. I am so grateful for my Savior and the love I feel from Him. I didn't realize that when I put on my name tag, I would be instantly receiving the extra blessings of discernment and guidance. It really is incredible to feel myself being guided by the Spirit. The first full day I met Sister Allen. She is the only other Sister in our zone with an international companion but her companion is Samoan and doesn't speak English and she is from Cedar Hills! I could tell that she was struggling and so I gave her a hug and she just started crying. She is doing better now and she so great! Our companions can communicate with each other so we have spent a lot of time together and she is becoming a great friend and her first name is Kimberly ha ha :) I guess it was meant to be. I've just wanted to be able to call everyone I love and tell them how amazing it is and how that the Spirit is so strong! I have to go but I love you so so so so much!!!! Thanks for all your love and support!!
MAHAL KITA! (LOVE YOU)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
One week until I'm outta here! My mom will be posting all of my emails for me while I am away. I am so excited and grateful for this experience. Hopefully I will be able to get everything that I need to this week because I am sure it is going to fly by!