Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!!

note from mom--Sister K didn't get a lot of time to write this week since she got to skype with us on Christmas Day.  She did send a few photos she took with her new camera we sent her.  I expect some great photography next week when she visits Banaue Rice Terraces again. 

[Christmas here in Nueva Vizcaya]


Sister K

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HE is the GIFT!

Merry Christmas to All!! 

In my personal study, I am studying the life of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. I love the story of his birth. As I think about the work of the angel that came to tell that Christ was born and proclaim peace and good will for all mankind, I liken it to the work that I am doing here. In a way, missionaries can be like those angels spreading the good news of the gospel and being a proclaimer of peace. I feel so blessed to be here and be a part of this great and marvelous work, bringing that love, joy, and peace to all as we testify of our Savior Jesus Christ.

This past week was pretty great. We were able to go to Santiago for a Christmas devotional. Sister Rahlf talked about the music of Christmas and President Rahlf talked about the gifts of Christmas. When we really think about what the true meaning of Christmas and the real blessing it is in our life, it becomes so much more special. He showed us a picture of one of his favorite paintings. It was a room full of toys and presents, yet the two kids were completely focused on the little nativity set. For anyone who hasn't seen the "He is the Gift" video, I challenge you to watch it and this Christmas really think about the gift of our Savior and His example to us all.   [please watch the link below]

Even with Christmas coming up, missionary work still goes about as normal. This week we had kind of a funny experience. Last Sunday, a member introduced us to a couple that lived close by him. We taught them that day and they were excited for us to come back. We set a return appointment for a specific time and everything. Even the day before we saw one of the the family members and confirmed that we would see them the following day. So when we showed up at there house for the appointment, their house had been completely abandoned. All the walls were stripped of the bamboo frame and there was nothing left...GONE...VANISHED!! Sister Garcia and I stood there puzzled, thinking that they must have ran away from us as fast as possible. Turns out they didn't. They just had to move for a problem with the land that they were on, but for a while we were so confused. It was a great laugh afterward!  ; )

Hope you all have a great week and a very Merry CHRISTmas!!  Remember, HE is the gift!

Love you all,
Sister K

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I hope I'm always a "Lifter"

Ten more days 'till Christmas!!! Meaning ten more days until I can Skype the fam!! The countdown begins!

I got quite a few questions this week from various people so here are my answers...

So this week was pretty great. The most memorable thing was last Thursday we got to go back to Santiago to hear from Elder and Sister Bowen. When President Rahlf introduced them, he explained how they were "lifters." They are the kind of people who lift others higher, rather than "leaners" that tend to not necessarily bring others down, but make things heavier than they should be. So I ask myself, "Am I a lifter, or a leaner?" There were so many great things about what they talked about, so it is hard to say it all, but I testify that the spirit was very strong.

The times I probably feel the strongest spirit, though, is when I am able to testify about the reasons why I am on a mission. We have a less-active that we taught a couple days ago. She is a young mother of 2 and her husband currently is living abroad for work. She hasn't been to church in over a year and in the past had no desire in coming back. This week as we were teaching she ask why we would leave our family for so long, and if we were worried about them. What I was able to tell her was that I wouldn't be this far from home if I didn't know that this church is true. I testified of how I was sent here to help families learn what my family has been blessed with my whole life and that I am not really worried about them because there has been a promise that as we serve the Lord, our families are being taken care of. The spirit was undeniable. This Sunday she came to church with her two kids. Miracles, I tell ya!

One tradition, I've learned here in the Pines that I will bring back with me. Is "Sopas Sunday." I love sopas. It is like this macaroni soup with cabbage and carrots and pretty much whatever you want to add into it. We make it a lot on Sunday because the title just fits. They other thing is curry so that is something I will probably make often when I get home too. They're all great for student cheap eats!

The streets are crowed. There are a ton of different kinds of vehicles and it is always soooooo loud. Motorcycles are the most popular form of transportation. So it sounds like a dirt bike track most of the time. There are a lot shops along the streets and BBQ street vendors too. And it doesn't really matter where you walk. Most people don't really walk on the sidewalks anyway... But you have to be careful because there is no such thing a traffic lane,  people just drive wherever they want.  

Hope that answered your questions. If anyone has anymore feel free to ask!  I would love to hear from you!

love you all!
Sister K.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ruby, Ray, and Nanay

For anyone who heard about Ruby (Typhoon Hugupit) coming our way here in the Philippines, just know all is well here in the Cauayan Mission. Thanks to many prayers, we didn't even get a drop of rain. We did, however, get some dark scary looking clouds, and some nice chilly air.[when she says "chilly" she means 75˙down from 95˙]  From what I have heard, other parts of the Philippines where worse off and experienced flooding etc, but luckily Ruby didn't take as hard a hit as Yolanda from last year. A tender mercy for sure.

This week, for us, went about pretty normal. We did manage to stumble upon this little park last Monday and let our inner five-year-old out for a second and spread a little Christmas spirit.

Tuesday we had our last district meeting for this cycle. It is amazing how inspired these meetings can be. We talked about creating an atmosphere were the spirit can come and teach through us, even when there are so many other distractions. Little did we know, one of our teaching appointments happened to work out like that. This person is a less-active member that we went to visit. She is a mother of 2 small children and her husband is working abroad. As we were teaching, her older child was running around the house and the younger was climbing all over the couch and following her older brother. They were cute, but super distracting not only for us missionaries, but for her as well. But we really tried applying what we just learned and it did give way for us to feel of the Holy Spirit, which is the real teacher. Even when there are so many things that can drive out the spirit, just remember keep calm and love one another, then the spirit will really come to testify. 

On Wednesday, Sister Garcia and I were able to attend the New Missionaries/Trainers meeting. We were in Cauayan all day, but it was another effective meeting that definitely helps us in our work everyday. It was also nice to see other missionaries is the different parts of the mission that we don't get to meet with often. I even got to see my Nanay, Sister Lamac again! We took a family picture :)

Thursday morning, our district moved some dirt. Not a big deal. We are pretty hard working. 

Friday, Sister Garcia and I went on splits with the Sister TrainerLs. I stayed here in Bayombong, while Sister Garcia went to Solano. That day, Sister Barney and I went around and got punted from almost every appointment. But what I have realized that being punted sometimes leads us to unexpected opportunities. The Lord has a plan in store. Sometimes our plan is not His plan, so He makes it possible for us to complete what He would have us do. Funny thing that day, one of the recent converts we visited has a rice farm and right now they are harvesting. After that appointment, he gave us a HUGE bag of rice. It was kind of heavy, but Sister Barney and I took turns carrying it around the rest of the day. As I was holding it like a baby, I named it Baby Ray...like Ray Rice. I know I am so clever. :) Baby Ray made my fellow housemates pretty happy. Their diet consists of rice for every meal of the day...I'd rather stick to my morning toast though. [note from mom--to Erin's defense, she of course, knows nothing of the Ray Rice fiasco, but it was still very clever ;)]

Saturday was when it really started to get chilly around here, but it made our weekly hike pretty nice, not having to be completely exhausted after hiking in the heat! Thanks Ruby! Even though we weren't really able to teach very many people there, we were shocked when one of our new investigators that we didn't even get to teach this past week made the journey down the mountain, over the river on the boat, and to church for the full three hours. Blessing do come! 

Hope all of you have a great week!
Ingat lagi!
Sister K

a week late but...

Happy December my dear family and friends! Can you just explain to me how it is already December !?!

For any of you that may be wondering what it may be like for us missionaries to walk a day in Bayombong, it goes a little like this...

We walk out of our little apartment and out the gate with umbrellas in hand, whether rain or shine. As we walk down the street, often we get weird stares, and by we, mostly me. If not stares, then we get calls from people saying, "Hello sister!" or "What is your name?" or "Americana!" Yep, I'm famous.
Because this is a city area, along with the shout-outs from the people, often we hear the honking of the jeepnies and tricies. As we get more into the neighborhood streets, the sounds turn into karaoke, the Filipino's favorite pass time....oh and barking dogs.

As for smells, mostly smells like car exhaust. Not the most pleasant, but it is a lot better than some of the other unmentionables!!  bleh...

Christmas has been going on here since September, but now with December finally here, it is full blast. Christmas music blasts from the brand new grocery store in town. But at night it is the best. Christmas lights are all over the town center, with a star at the top of the center tower.
By the time we finally get back into the apartment in the evening, everything starts to settle down, we hear the sounds of the kids riding their bikes around selling balut, dogs continue to bark (really, it never ends), and the occasional rooster crowing, (I've really grown used to those). I keep thinking when I go home, it will be strangely quiet, but that is also a long time away. For now, I'm happily enjoying it down here in Bayombong. 

Love you all!
Sister K

P.S. Sorry to hear about the Trim family. Special prayers are being sent their way. We are so grateful to have the blessing of temples and eternal families.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

my mom is a noob!

Note from mom...    Somehow, I have lost Sister Koncurat's blog post this week.  I have searched the cloud high and low without luck!  But, a sister in her area just "friended" me on FB and posted a few photos of her at their family home evening...  Don't you just love mom stalking!?!  I'll have Erin resend this weeks blog on her next prep day and post two next week.  For now, enjoy this cutie.  : )