I am truly the blind leading the blind! I still feel like I have no idea what in the world I am doing! Talaga, I have no idea how in the world I have gotten through the last week. It's all just relying on the Lord and going for it. I've never done anything so hard nor rewarding in my life! President sent me an email today and said this: That he knew he was giving me a really hard assignment and that it would be ok, I just need to not run faster than I should and risk my health to doing it. I know that he must be really stressed out right now, obviously cause he's got a million foreigners like me running around the Philippines trying to spread the gospel, but also because I know multiple missionaries who have gotten sent home in the last few transfers there have been multiple. I know of four from my batch that have gone home and more as well. It is crazy! I'm sorry if this is really random today, normally I write down what I will talk about in my emails (I know, I’m a little weird) But it helps. But today I am actually coming straight from hiking in the jungle! I'm a little muddy, but also with a great big smile on my face!!! IT WAS AWESOME! AND WE GOT TO HIKE IN THE WATER THAT FELT WONDERFUL!!!! I'm actually starting to enjoy cold showers in my new area, because I have never sweat so much in my entire life! Apparently this month is the second burr month. Which means it is cold like burrrrr I’m cold. It's weird; I’ve never been so hot in my life. If I die during the real hot season, don't be surprised! Jokelang... jokelang..... (Mom, don't freak out, it's ok. I haven’t gotten close to dying yet I don't think)
Also I found a spider as big as my hand. An elder put it in his bag to keep after our hike. It was disgusting.
Anywho. About my week I'm sure you are just dying to hear about how this oh so very puti (white) girl who everyone just calls barbie and then won't talk to me about the gospel that I want to share, has survived in Batangas. First off my ward is just awesome. They work with us a lot, and Bishop is also really pushing them to. The ward Auxiliaries work with us which is great! (Such as Relief Society President, Bishopric and their wives, Primary Presidency, YW president, ect.) IT is soo awesome! They are just working so hard with us! I love it! It rings true to whoever said (I know it is in PMG somewhere) something about how wonderful it will be when the members of the church around the world stop praying for missionaries success around the world and start praying for opportunities to spread the gospel in their own area. That would be a wonderful day. But right now I am just very grateful for what I have. I never want to leave Batangas, I’ve never even heard of a ward who works so much with the missionaries!
We just do the work. We try our best. We have miscommunications. We fail to understand. BUT... we follow the spirit. We talk in Taglish, we work with members who can explain tough concepts to investigators. And we just find the people willing to listen to our pangit tagalog because they feel the spirit when we testify, and know that something is different.
D got baptized last Saturday and it was just wonderful. A member brought their violin for me to play at it... yikes. After no practice since May.... It was horrible. But the member’s enjoyed it!
(Next time I will just give a talk and let sister Williams play, her major was violin performance at BYU)
Brother R is sobrang ready for baptism! I'm convinced he has a stronger testimony of the truth that multiple members I have met. He knows the Book of Mormon is true, and he knows that because god loves us he has restored his true church that was lost after the suffering of Christ on the cross, and the death of his apostles.
The Book of Mormon is evidence that this restoration has happened. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. I read it every day! And it's a great book! It teaches me everything! And is really what gives me guidance and comfort in this rough time in batangas.
Apparently my tagalog amazed a member enough to tell the elders in ward one that I am really good at tagalog. I just think that she only heard me bear my testimony in church my first week and hasn't tried to have a conversation with me. Either that or the spirit told people something other than what I did! Jokelang... but really...
It is sometimes hard to train. Well......always. But it just brings back feelings of homesickness and anxiety over the language and other things to see someone go through it that I care about when I was just getting over the worst of it for myself. I fear that I cannot comfort her enough, it is hard. We eat chocolate a lot, but the chocolate she brought from America is gone now so now I have to either buy not delicious Philippines chocolate or extra expensive American! (Ok, it's usually about the same price as in America... but i'm in the 3rd world country spending a dollar on a chocolate bar is like a once in a year kinda deal. Sister Williams also has an immediate family member struggling with an illness right now, and that brings feelings of thinking about my sister more than ever who is also struggling. So that is hard. But maybe the Lord needed me to train her so that someone else could understand somewhat more of what she is going through.
The work must go on, so I hope you are not only praying for me but for opportunities to serve with me (just not full time). I'm not really sure all of what is gonna happen this week. But I just take things one day, sometimes just one hour at a time and worry about what will happen when I get there. It sure is hard. All my weaknesses are slapping me in the face like a hot iron would feel on my hand. But I also have never worked so hard in my life or felt happier or felt more blessings from the lord either. My abilities at Tagalog are a miracle. And I never thought I would make it through this last week, I still don't really know how to get around my area so I still have more room to get lost in!
But it was so nice to relax and get to hike. I just love hiking! And it was just more beautiful than the pictures I am sending to mom can describe. I am making many new friends. And it is always fun and just a relief to talk to another American (that isn't my companion) about nothing in particular at all and realize that I really have overcome many obstacles (though I have many more to adventure)
I hope all is well with you and that you enjoy anything but heat where you live!
(Also, did I mention my apartment is one of the three in the mission that has a microwave the rumor is! It is pretty much the greatest thing of my life.) (If only I could get rid of the ants on my clothes and in my closet and all the ones I find in my bed as I go to sleep!) (Although these ants don't bite like in my last area so it is more ok)
I'm also super excited to get to see conference this next weekend!!! I know all you Americans already enjoyed it... so I’m excited to join you in your new knowledge!!!
Much Love, Sister Hellewell
Much Love, Sister Hellewell
Us in the jeepney... this is how I get around all the time. I wish the elder had a better picture of the whole thing... but aayos lang... I will get a better one next time
Williams first trike ride too