Monday, 26 August 2013

Worms and miracles

So this week was straight up incredible. First think that happened, we get flooded into our apartment, so we had to stay in allllll day. We were all getting serious cabin fever but I read like two whole books and a ton of Book of Mormon and language study so the day wasn't lost! The rain lasted a solid 3 or 4 days which meant minimal proselyting so we were worried about our numbers, BUT miracles do happen. So they have a rule here that for someone to get baptised they have to attend 4 weeks of church in a row without missing one or they have to start again, and last Saturday it rained hard and we barely got to meet anyone to organise lifts to church, so we got there on Sunday and there was NOBODY there. It was heartbreaking for us and the other sisters in our ward whos investigators all had to start from scratch again. So this week we were stressing we weren't gonna have enough time to visit everyone and help them to get there, we basically had enough time to see all of our most important investigators once and hope for the best. On Sunday morning it was sunny and beautiful, and we get texts all morning from people making excuses why they couldn't come. Everyone we tried to pick up on the way there wasn't home and we seriously thought we had nothing to work with. Until halfway Relief Society our less active walks in, and shes brought her two sons who she wants baptised and tells us she wants us to teach her husband! Then we get to Sunday school and it was like everyone we'd ever taught was in the room. We almost cried. Then more and more people walked in. The people who said they couldn't make it walked in one by one. We get to sacrament, and this less active lady who only a few months ago said she didn't want anything to do with the church is sitting in the pew, and she brought all the less active ladies from her area. It was the most amazing thing, I sat in church and couldn't believe what had happened. Its moments like last week that are hard but make you wanna work harder, and moment like this week
that make it all worthwhile, and make you wanna work harder. We have one baptism scheduled for next weekend, but she lives with her partner so they have to get married so its tricky. She says shes going to do it, and we have the faith that she will. We're holding on hope, but she never leaves our minds because we want this so much for her!
This work, is amazing. I write in my journal every night about how happy I am, how much I'm glad that I actually did this, and how I can see how much my entire life will be blessed because of this. I love it, I love it, I don't ever wanna come home! But I love you guys so I will, eventually :-)
This place is beautiful, the people and the scenery, the storms, the houses, I'm obsessed! Except we found worms growing in our dishes the other day, I wanted to die. There is a real reason we bless the food before we eat in!

Love you all, I feel your prayers and I know that there are so many people thinking about me and praying for me. Take care of the missionaries in your wards, they need you, and your missionaries out in the field, they need you even more!
Send me pictures, like basically anything you snapchat just email it to me straight from your phones! I wanna know whats going on. Love you guys, you're the best
Sister McKim

Sunday, 18 August 2013

"This is the place!"

Hello po!
So I’m gonna try keep this quick so I can reply to as many people as I can! This week was great as always, typhoon came and went with no hassle, and we were missing the rain. That is until it rained for 3 days straight non stop and nobody was on the streets to talk to, and NOBODY was at home! We had so many lessons planned and struggled to find anybody to teach. But we had a couple little miracles. This one day we couldn’t find anywhere to go and we remembered this Catholic lady who was more interested in us than the church, so we went off and she was home. We started with the restoration and when we got to the apostasy she was like, hang on, what?? So we told her all about it and she was reading the pamphlet at lightning speed like she couldn’t get enough. Then asked WHAT ABOUT NOW? So we talked about Joseph Smith and translating the record. Shes like, WHERE IS THE RECORD I WANT IT! So, we whip out a Book of Mormon and she was SO HAPPY ! She cried and said she really thought it was true. It was raining so hard on her tin roof and we were sitting so close and talking so intensely, it was an awesome lesson. All because of the rain! Pero, we got flooded into our apartment yesterday and couldn’t leave. The streets are like rivers, the kids literally swim in the streets, I call it Little Venice. We’re walking shin deep in this putrid poo water but its all worth it. Life here is hard but so so happy.
So many stories I could tell but all I wanna tell you is that the church is true. Honestly, why does anybody not want this. They just don’t understand. And its so frustrating when people know its true and they don’t come to church. We prayed hard and fasted for our investigators and we really honestly thought we would have like 7 investigators at church yesterday. Then it rained and only half the ward showed up, and none of our investigators showed up. But one just came out of nowhere and appeared that we hadn’t even thought of to invite, and that’s sign enough to me that shes our next project. I love this work. I really really love it. A week ago I was craving a message from President to say stay inside today so I could just have a break for a moment. And then come Saturday we got that message and were like, nope, this is way too important to give in. These are peoples eternal souls on the line. I love it, I love it.
AND Elder Ramsay is better, he got flown off to Manila to the hospital there, but hes back today and ready to work! Miracles do happen. We just keep going here no matter what. This morning I was exercising and I went and puked in the sink, and I was like, nope no time to be sick, work to be done. Who am I haha who would have ever guessed I’d say that.
I love you all so much. I don’t think about home a lot at all to be honest but when I do its about how great the people are in my life and how much you all have helped me to get this far. And I can’t stress to you enough, anything you are doing in your life that isn’t furthering the work of the Lord is a waste of time and stop doing it now. Write me birthday letters. Love you so much
Your favourite Sister,
Sister McKim

PS Everyone send me pictures. I forget what you all look like. My pictures don't work here so I'll send some when I can.

Initiated to the country

Hello po!
Where even to begin this week! So many stories I could tell you but I can’t be here all day so I’ll try keep it quick. First of all, Elder Ramsay is in hospital L He has denghei (nobody knows how to spell that) which you get from being bitten from infected mosquitos. When I saw him on Thursday he had been puking for days and could barely walk after he scoffed a ton of Pizza Hut, but him and one of his housemates have gotten it so now were all extra careful of mozzies. Its like pure death every day, but apparently it goes away in like a week so if everyone prays for him it should be fine! We also just got released from Typhoon lockdown where we’ve been stuck in the apartment waiting for a level 3 typhoon to pass, which turned out not to be as epic as it could have been. Also there is a Philippino child right behind me unashamed staring at my white face, really all up in my personal space. Philippines right, love it.
So. We had our first dinner appointment the other day and it was going so well. The family was amazing and they understood a little English so we were cracking all the jokes. Whenever we eat at members houses they always tell me I’m not eating enough and tell me to eat more, even though I’ve eating more than I thought humanly possible. So I go for this chicken that’s smelling kinda sketchy, and I taste it and I’m thinking, this isn’t meat. But gotta appreciate everything that’s given to me because these people are sometimes giving us their only food so I put on a brave face and got it down. Was so proud of myself til we left and Sister Storey told me that they were intestines and my worst fears were confirmed. Its pretty much confirmed that the bit I had was mostly cooked poo. Yep. Philippines man! I laughed about it though, while taking meds to make sure it was all legit. Its cooked, right? Haha. But the other night we heard these people singing happy birthday, so we called for them to come outside and they were so excited to see us, invited us in and gave us pizza and drinks and talked with us for an hour about their lives and miracles. Moments like that keep us going, so many happy times!
So we have a ton of new investigators which is amazing. Everyone sits on the street outside their houses all the time so we just talk to people all day and they are so unbelievably nice. Everyones keen to listen to our message and have us over all the time but the problem is getting people to keep their commitments. When I got here we basically had no progressing investigators to work with so we can see how every single day we get better and better and make more and more progress. This week we only got one investigator to come to church but a ton of our less actives came which was a serious blessing. We worry sometimes especially because the mission standard is to get two baptisms a month that were not doing good enough, but since Sister Storey has only been here for 10 weeks and me for not even two, I think we’ve done really well and already come so far. I love studying so much, my Tagalog is coming along really well and I already feel like this is my home. I know that I was sent here for a reason and Sister Storey and I firmly believe that we will bring miracles to pass here in San Nicolas. Most days I will have a moment where I think it would have been so much easier to stay home, but every day we have amazing moments where we think that there is no way we would ever trade this experience. The mission is amazing. Nothing in life will ever give you the experiences you can out here in the field so if you can, get out here now! I feel my Saviour’s love every day, and I know that through Him I am already changing lives.
Trying to attach photos, in a sketchy internet café so see what happens. Also I'm probably not in any of them because we haven't had a day where we felt beautiful enough for pictures yet. Also, I don't have time to reply to everyone now but I print off all your emails every week so please keep them coming and I'll reply when I can! I appreciate every little thing. One more request, its my birthday September 22, so if anyone who loves me, which should be all of you, wants to send me a legit letter in the mail, that would be the worlds best birthday present. We only get our mail occasionally so send them asap to get here on time!
Mahal po kayo!
Sister McKim

Thursday, 8 August 2013

That REALLY ain't the language they taught me in the MTC.

Kumusta po kayo!
Ah you guys, I'm gonna try make this quick because I seem to have less time than usual now. I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Laoag with my trainer the one and only SISTER MEG STOREY and the rest of my district including ELDER SCOTTY RAMSAY! What are the odds, when they told me I cried. Let me just say, for the last four weeks since Elder Ramsay left the MTC people could not stop talking about him. Everybody was sad, and everybody just talked about their favourite Elder Ramsay memories. And then I get to the mission office and I hear his name only a hundred times the first day. Even President was raving about him. Someone tell his family, he is loved here. Only time I cried though because I don't cry, unless its for investigators but I'll tell you about that after.
So the short rundown is, left the MTC on Wednesday and we were the last to go and the place was literally empty. I went to my District room and cried like a child, sorry po thats litereally the only other time I cried. And then we got on the plane to Laoag which is the worlds most beautiful place so it was all better then! Stayed the night in the mission home, President Barrientos is THE MAN! He is the most hilarious person ever, I can't imagine a better mission president. He is awesome and wants us all to be happy, as long as we work hard so we have high standards but its all good. So our toilet in our apartment doesn't flush, the shower is like a straight up hose and I sleep on a roll out thing on the floor, but in all honesty, its nicer living than my house in Vermont so nobodys complaining! It is hot here. So hot. And I unpacked all my stuff to find a lot of things missing, including a lot of my clothes. Nobody knows where they are, probably taken by other girls on the floor, and then when we did our first load of bucket laundry the other night, yes, in a bucket, outside, handwashed, most of my other clothes got wrecked. PERO (Tagalog for but) we can shop today, PERO I had to spend most of my leftover money on another girls baggage at the airport so I'm going on poor. We will see how this goes haha.
The work! So we don't even leave the house until either one or four in the afternoon depending on the day, and we have to fit in at least 4 to six lessons depending on the day. We have zero progressing investigators and in the three months Sister Storey has been here she has had zero baptisms. So the work is tricky but we have faith were going to be the ones to turn it around. Umm so, I've seen a lot of weird stuff already. People washing themselves on the street, as in not wearing clothes washing themselves, as in REALLY OLD PEOPLE. So thats weird. We taught this family the other day, the mum saw us across the rice field and started calling us over. It took us about 20 minutes to figure out how to get over the rice field, with the help of two men who are now investigators, hehehe, we finally made it across the worlds sketchiest field/bridge/pipe thing and got to their house. Turns out shes an inactive member and wants us to teach her daughters! They were so nice and committed to baptism, PERO they didn't come to church, PERO that seems to be what happens all the time here so we're gonna go back and sort them out this week. In other news, one of the daughters had a four year old son who apparently absorbed his twin in the womb and had four nipples. It was possibly the weirdest thing I've ever seen. HE HAD FOUR NIPPLES! I cant even describe to you some of the other weird things that go on here, everyones just chilling in the streets all day every day going about their business so we're bound to come across the weird ones. Also there is the worlds scariest man who comes to the chapel to stalk the sister missionaries. We were leaving the other day and he tried to talk to us and then proceeded to try follow us home. Sister Storey was dragging me up the street singing primary songs. Its all good though, hes probably harmless, if we ever really feel unsafe we will talk to President about it, so don't ever worry, its so safe here really!
I'm also not sure I have ever been this tired in my life. Every morning is a struggle to wake up, but once were up and studying its all great. The language is coming ok, I've had a few people I could talk to in English which is good, pero most people here speak straigh Ilocano which is really fun between our Tagalog skills. Pero Sister Storey sounds fluent to me so we are working hard so I can be at her level in 8 weeks since rumour has it I'll probably have to train then. Gah! But I know if thats what I have to do then I can do it.
Short on time, just know I love you al and I love this work and I'm so so happy to be here. This is where I belong, Sister Storey and I both know that we are here, together, right now, for a purpose and we are trying to find it. We will further the work here because we know how important it is. No camera cord today so photos next week, and we look way too hids today for pictures, will try harder next time!
Love you all, I am so happy to hear that you are all doing so great!
Miss all of you from home and my MTC family, only a little bit though :-)
Mahal po kayo!
Sister McKim