Saturday, May 2, 2009

Email April 13th, 2009 "Transfer to Darasa"

I have spent my mission life separate from the city and the busy traffic and now I'm very near it. We are still in a little town a ways away but the main street of the town is a part of what seems to be the highway into the big city so there is plenty of traffic. It is a ward here and so far seems to be very established. We don't know too much about it yet, besides meeting the Bishop's family and a couple of ward missionaries because we spent Saturday and Sunday in Lipa for general conference. Today we are here in Lipa again to buy things for our apartment because it's greatly lacking in necessary items, meaning all the plates are covered in mold etc. Oh, by the way...the reason we don't know much about the area yet is because the Elder's were taken out and sister's put in -- because we are opening the area again the assistants and Elder Cheney (my batch and office elder) took us home to Darasa.

This was actually Elder Cheney's first area, and he was there for NINE months so he was very excited that his "batch" will be opening it up again and hopefully getting the work going strong here. My new companion is straight from the Manila MTC but as the few members we have met say "hindi halata" which means it's not recognizable that she's new...she is also 22 and the youngest of eight, the fifth to serve a mission. Oh yeah, so when the Elder's got to our apartment and opened it up Elder Winn said "wow, did they TRY to make it dirty!" and all of them immediately started sweeping up trash etc. it was kind of bad news. We in turn spent much of our first day cleaning then visiting some members, especially the Bishop to get to know the ward. The next day was conference and also the next and today is Monday, preparation day. Tomorrow our work will really start and we hope to get to know our area quickly and also quickly add to our investigator pool. Conference was very good. Elder Holland's talk was like a revised version of exactly what he said to us a little more than a year ago at the MTC and where my batch got the saying "Don't you dare abandon the Savior." He added some aspects and made his talk fit better for a general audience and it was amazing to hear again. I also continue to love listening to conference while on my mission because our prophets are missionaries. Elder Uchtdorf taught the entire lesson three that we teach "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" and it was so familiar to me, everything he said, plus I learned good things that I can use to teach it myself. I most especially liked how serious and stern our Prophet was in his last speech about avoiding certain evils that will destroy our lives and spirits and the lives of those around us -- I also have come to find myself teaching these same things with gravity of heart and deep sincerity for the importance of strictly following these principles in our lives and staying far from temptation.

Back to my companion, her name is Sister Garcia, pala. She had graduated from college (they graduate very early here -- ) and is now a professor of IT at the school she graduated from, something that most cannot become without a masters, she feels very blessed to have gained that job and provided also a way for her to serve a mission. As for the Moriones festival, I thankfully was not there for Friday - Sunday. As much as it might seem like a great memory to have seen the festival itself and the people who practice self harm for forgiveness and reinact the torture that our savior went though, I have no desire to see it or have a better image of it in my mind because I do not believe in that practice. We saw the soldiers and I even took some pictures but the main things happened Friday. We experienced it in a sense due to trying to travel that day -- everything was closed! People are quiet and don't do much. I never knew that what they believe is that Christ dies again each year and then lives again, and thus a day of mourning and a day of rejoicing to follow.

I know -- we'll just have a family gathering with food etc. and then you can do a question and answer session. I figure everyone individually will want to ask me some kind of question and probably I will repeat myself about some things so instead they could just ask me when we're all together and I'll answer to them all -- who knows maybe they won't have any questions -- anyway that's in a long time so whatever you plan I'll just follow along I don't think there is much else I can do, hopefully I still won't have jet-lag.

We're really busy today with buying things for our apartment and trying to finish cleaning etc. and tonight we'll have family home evening with the bishop and then start our work tomorrow so I'm going to leave my email here for now. Oh yea, since I'm here in the city area and very close to the mission home compared to my other areas I might get my mail more often, but I don't know. Also, your package came. I actually knew that last week but still didn't have it. President called us to ask permission to open it because something had broken inside -- that would be the salsa! Oops, but thanks for the effort, don't worry I'm appreciative of the rest and was able to give the ties directly to the people who will give them to the soon to be missionaries because we were all there at transfers. I am also here where there is a mall so I just bought myself some salsa and will make myself some beans and salsa, hooray! Anyway -- that's about all for now.

Love, Britney