Monday, 30 September 2013

Oh it is wonderful

Hello po everybody!
So this will have to be a quickie. Basically what I do with your emails is copy paste and print so I don’t read them til later, and last week I got a ton because of my birthday and was SO excited to get home and read them. Get inside the apartment, and no papers. Realised I’d left them in the tricie and died a little bit inside. People who have served missions will understand, a week without emails is like a week of struggletown. You NEED them to keep going, and I was more than a little depressed for a minute there, like almost not wanting to work depressed, but, as we do on our mission, I prayed that I wouldn't let it be a distraction for me, that I could forget about it. NNext minute, I had the thought to go outside, and on the street I see these mangled pieces of paper which had been run over by cars and I realised that it was my emails, and got more depressed. BUT THEN I realised there was only three pieces of paper and started searching the streets. I enlisted the help of a bunch of neighbourhood kids who are obsessed with us and spend all of their time waiting outside our apartment for us to come out, and got them to run around the neighbourhood tracking them down. Turns out a local hooligan had found them and run away, but the small children tracked him down and sorted it out and ten minutes later they rocked up on the doorstep holding a super wet and mangled pile of papers, that with a huge amount of effort I was able to pry apart and read a couple words off a couple people emails. I didn't even care anymore, I was happy beyond belief! But then I realised it was the answer to my prayer. Pero it means this weeks time has been dedicated to reprinting your emails so I haven't read anyones from the last two weeks yet!
Our family is doing amazing, the dad is future stake president, hes filled up a whole notebook from our lessons and church, his wife prayed in church for the first time ever in public and even the kids manage to sit quietly in church long enough to sing the hymns. We love them so much. I was thinking this week about other peoples emails I've read from their missions and they talk about their amazing investigators, and then its usually like skip that, get to the funny bits. But really only people who have experienced this will understand, this family we are teaching now are probably the most important people to me, we think about them all day every day and we truly love them. I cant even describe how happy it makes me to see their family grow in happiness as they progress in the Gospel. Its a feeling like nothing else. We also have been teaching their whole little neighbourhood which is all of their cousins, siblings and whatnot. We have about 12 other ladies up there who are seriously interested investigators so the next step is teaching their husbands and really getting them to progress. We went up there the other day to watch the Joseph Smith DVD and all our ladies saw us and came and watched it for the second time. At the end I saw the dad trying to hide that he was crying. We got him to bear his testimony and by the end of it I was crying. He's amazing. They're all amazing. We had 9 investigators at church this week, and a bunch of our less actives came. We sat at the back and babysat about 8 kids so all the parents could sit and listen at the front. Church was amazing, favourite Sunday so far. Our Gospel Principles teacher had everyone loving it, he is the absolute man. He told us that they invited him to go to Utah to translate the Book of Mormon into Ilokano but he had to say no because his family needed him to stay. Dedication, the man!
There is nothing like a mission. This is the best thing in the world.
Have to run now but know that I love you all and appreciate every email and letter, I can feel your prayers and know that I pray for you all too. Work hard in everything you do in life, because maybe for the first time in my life I'm truly working hard and I love it.
This church is true, which means we have to do everything it tells us to do.
Go baptise your friends.
Love you all,
Sister McKim

Monday, 23 September 2013

If in doubt......pray

What a week!
So first of all, thanks for all the birthday messages! WOW so this email is going to be really quick since I just spent literally half an hour copy pasting them to print them for later. So thankyou for everyone, when I read them I'll try reply or write letters home for you all, but keep the love coming I really appreciate it! I know a bunch of you have sent letters, and we had our letter day for the month on Wednesday and I was dying for the mail and then when it finally came....I had one. The office elders hadn't had time to get them for a couple weeks so hopefully soon I'll finally be able to get them and start replying!
Birthday was great, the older you get apparently the less you care though haha. All I wanted for my birthday was my family we're teaching to come to church, because if they miss a week their baptisms get postponed. They live a long way away and they can't really afford to get there so its always a struggle for them. So we sit outside church and wait for the first half an hour, and nothing. Were freaking out, a little. Then just as were feeling devastated, the mum walks in to Relief Society with a bunch of the ladies, I wanted to cry I was so happy. Kids are in primary, they're loving it, its all good, but no dad. Nobody knows where he is, he didn't come with them and Bishops getting involved, getting him on the phone and whatnot. All the leaders are hard out helping us with them because we know that the dad is seriously going to help the church because hes going to be a strong Pristhood holder. So were in the hallway, because the littlest kid is scared of primary, hes crying, the mums getting upset, Bishops furiously making phone calls, were praying like crazy in our heads, and like a movie, the dad walks in. And like superman he walks over and dries the kids tears with his shirt. Primary finishes and the kids walk out and everybodys smiling and happy. It was like a movie. I'm thinking IS THIS REAL LIFE? Haven't got the whole epic rundown of the story yet but sounds like his bike broke halfway to church and he WALKED THERE, apparently for like 2 hours. Nobody knows. Ah man. This mission.
So we have also been rocking some pretty wicked typhoon weather this week that kept us indoors a lot which sadly ruined all our teaching goals, but was more distressing for the other sisters in our apartment who had a baptism of three people on Saturday afternoon, which even if it went ahead, nobody would be able to come, and probably not even us since when it floods we are literally flooded into our apartment by a deep river outside the house. Everyone was stressing, one of the boys being baptised was home with a hectic fever, there was no power in the neighbourhood, nobody knew what to do. And then, an hour before the baptism, the rain stopped, the river sort of went down, and all the committed people made it there on time. And then it typhooned again the whole time, and stopped just for us all to get home. Whoever said there aren't miracles on the earth now aren't Mormons. If you're not Mormon, get Mormon now because you're missing out!
I could tell you a hundred funny stories from this week but I'll have to save some goodies for later. So we were at this important investigators house for dinner who we love love love, and they serve us cooked livers. I'm not sure if it was the taste or the consistency or the thought but I was struggling. I finally chuck a huge chunk in my mouth which my body immediately rejected and I was any second about to send it back out over the table. I was struggling to keep it down, I had tears coming out, I was really terrified about what was about to happen, and I'm PRAYING that something happens and next second a random DOG immerges out from under the dinner table in this persons house, which has apparently been there the whole time and everyone starts freaking out trying to get rid of it, as I'm over here crying and praying and trying to eat the livers and so happy nobody is looking at me. Ah man, moral of this story is, prayers get answered.
This week we had a huge zone training with 116 missionaries and President gave a training about declaring repentance that basically changed my life. I don't care what anyone else says, I have the best mission president in the world. He's equally as genius as he is hilarious. I can't imagine life without this mission. One thing that I really realised that people need to get through their heads, and is obviously taken me a long time to get to this point, is that hard work brings happiness. Even when we die, heavens not all sitting around on recliner clouds, we will be WORKING. Really hard. But those of us who learn to love the hard work in this life will be loving life then, and those who don't...not really sure whats gonna happen to those people but I'm pretty sure I don't wanna be one.
This church is true. The Book of Momon is the most important book in the world. And if you read it and pray every day and go to church, you will be so so happy. Four hours of Gospel study a day isn't enough anymore.
Love you all,
Sister McKim xxx

Cleaning the sister missionaries shoes, with toothbrushes.


Monday, 16 September 2013

VIP's, kidnappings and other missionary tales

Seriously, p-day again, it was p-day yesterday!

So this week, insane as usual. On Tuesday morning we had a lunch appointment with our rich neighbour across the street. They're straight up millionaires and live in Hawaii and just come back to their mansion in San Nicolas whenever they feel like it. So we walk over and theres literally the whol neighbourhood standing outside, plus a parade, a marching band, all this crazy stuff doing on. Turns out its San Nicolas day! Something to do with the saint who this place is named after. Anyway the neighbours put on this huge street party and they had this classy buffet thing serving to all the locals. We walk close and theres one our investigators working it, so she pulls us out of the crowd and sits us down on one of the shaded tables in the VIP area where its all the rich people from town, which were loving. So chilling waiting to get served, our other investigator is working security at the door and comes and gets us from the table and takes us into the SUPER VIP area inside the house, which were loving. Basically because were white everybody knows and loves us. The mayor spots us and waves, so excited to see us, usual stuff. So were making besties, handing out pamphlets, the whole shebang and we go in to get food and its CHAOS. It was like a mosh pit in there, you couldn't move your arms, and there were so many people crammed into the kitchen that people couldn't lift there arms enough to actually get any food. This is like the towns elite, the mayor is in there, the millionaire family and all old ladies in heels and pearls and all the biz. Old ladies are mercilessly shoving me into a wall to get rice and I'm really just trying to resist the uge something not very nice, but it was all good. Eventually we got out of there and our rich landlady spots us and puts us on an even better VIP table and scores us extra drinks, genius. Local celebrities I swear, but at least it helps in the work :-)

So were teaching the worlds best family right now, and our whole hearts and souls are going into them because they're a family and they are so hard and so important to get! At first they didn't seem that keen but the dad came to church two weeks in a row and suddenly got super keen, but his wife said she was really happy in her church and refused to come to the lessons. This week we took our secret weapon, the mission prep teachers whos whole life revolves around missionary work. We get to their house, and he gets the mum involved. The dad commits to baptism but says the mum won't budge. Then our secret weapon starts talking, nobody knows what he said because it was Ilokano, pero next minute they're LOVING IT and they COMMITTED TO GET MARRIED THIS WEEK AND BAPTISED! And were sitting there like, jaws to the floor, thinking is this real life. So the whole family in the space of less than a week is coming to church, reading and praying as a family every day and working towards baptism. The dad literally went to get the marriage papers the next day but theres problems with birth certificates so the Bishop and him are sorting it out and there should be a wedding any week now. I can't believe it. I'm praying like crazy that the baptism will go ahead. The dad answers every question in gospel principles, he reads everything, I swear he could be the next Bishop. This week we're planning on working harder than EVER because we need this for them, so excited, so so happy!
So I'm kind of falling apart this week, I'm rocking some pretty wicked leprosy type disease that is slowly eating me alive and nobody knows what it is and is not really going away, should be right though. And the other night I was cooking and burned my finger on hot oil which burned halfway through my finger. At first it was ok, and then it kinda hurt, and next minute I'm crying myself to sleep while Sister Storey is running around trying to take care of me, bless her heart. Its a pretty wicked injury. It hurt. So much. But nobodys got time to sit around and worry about it, theres too much work to do.
So in other news this week, we had a near kidnapping experience, sort of. Ah dear. So we were out in the jungle and caught a tricie home, which is like a motorbike with a little sidecar thing. We tell him where to go and he all of a sudden darts off the road into this sketchy jungle path to apparently nowhere. Sister Storey starts freaking out and yelling at him no no Baranggay 13! He ignores and shes like STOP STOP HINDI PO HINDI PO! He doesn't. And she turns to me and shes like we're getting kidnapped right now. I'm starting to believe it, I'm like, should we just jump out?? SHOULD WE?? I sort of really just wanted to jump out, woulda been fun but he was going way fast. She starts screaming at him again and out of nowhere he pulls back onto the main road and towards home and were like, what actually just happened! Nobody knows. The moral of the story is, we weren't kidnapped. But hilarious.
Ah man, theres a million stories I could tell you from this week. Elder Ramsay and I will give you all the full run down when we get home, we see each other at least twice a week so were always having the greatest of chats possible in a legitimate Elder/Sister kind of way.

Anyways love you all, the church is true. Every day of this mission just gets better and better, people are put in our way that need us and we do things that shouldn't be humanly possible sometimes, but we do them because were set apart by the Lord. I love this mission and this work and I love you all. Thanks for all the birthday wishes, can't wait for Sunday!

I barely ever take photos so I'll get better. These ones are our neighbours dog which some kids destroyed, so sad but kinda hilarious. The worlds sketchiest bridge, which is now even sketchier since it was destroyed in a storm and half collapsed but we still have to use it and the marketplace. I'll do better ones this week.

Sister McKim

Monday, 9 September 2013

Is it P'day already?

Hello po family and friends!

I can't believe its P-day again already, its always P-day.
Where to even begin. So this week was full of ups and downs as usual. We attended a funeral of a little boy on Thursday which was a really sad but humbling experience. We were asked to sing at it and I really felt the spirit strong, and I knew that the family were comforted that day. One of the bishopric gave a talk as he always does and his life basically revolves around missionary work and he literally gave us a ten minute shout out at the funeral which was super awkward for us, we sat up the back pretending it wasn't happening. Then just to make it more awkward after the closing prayer everyones preparing to go to the cemetary and he jumps up and announces that everyone still has to go to mission prep tonight. He is, so committed haha we love him he really helps us with the work though so hes great.
We had Stake Conference yesterday which was a while away so the church hired out a jeepney to transport us and all of our investigators there who couldn't afford it. So we go round them all up the day before, and one of our investigators has been heaps sketchy and avoiding us, but she seemed pretty keen to come. So in the morning we meet her there and shes got 3 friends with her so were thinking sweet, new investigators! So we get there and the four of them will not come inside, they're like go on ahead and we'll come in later, and we're thinking, it starts in like 2 minutes you gotta go sit down. So we turn our backs for a second and THEY'RE GONE! And we see them hiding across the street, and by this point we've got all the other missionaries involved so we all trek across the street and make them sit inside. We had to sit at the front because we were singing so we told the Elders to keep and eye on them. We got up to sing ten minutes in and they had already bailed. We were pretty gutted, and angry. So when its over we head back to the jeepney and they're inside! They make up some excuse about sitting at the back, which they didn't and it gets real awkward for the rest of the ride, especially when we have to pay for them. The worst part about it is she was telling us about her husband who works in Manila who was visiting this week, and when we see her holding hands with the man were like OH ITS YOUR HUSBAND so excited! And then he tells us his name and were like....thats not your husband. So we basically brought them on a free shopping trip to Paoay and harboured an affair. Great. But we had the worlds most solid investigator come so thats the plus side. The nicest man in the world, and he always makes his kids listen and always reads more than we ask him to and comes to church even though its hard, the only problem is his wife isn't keen, and they're not legally married yet so he can't be baptised unless they do. Story of our lives. Nobody here is married and nobodys that keen to either.
My favourite lesson ever was this week! We just find ladies on the street and they let us in and invite all their friends so they can hear us speak English. So we do that and are chilling with this lady and she invites us back. We walk in and shes keen to hear it until her drunk auntie waltzes in, expensive liquor in one hand and cigarette in the other and starts professing her Catholic beliefs and how she won't even touch the Book of Mormon because  she is so faithful she doesn't need anything more, which is poisoning the mind of our nice lady who suddenly isn't so keen and starts getting really rude. She says she will listen to our message because we were already there, but she will not ask questions because she does not want to appear interested and she will not be convinced so we shouldn't even try. These lessons are my favourite, because in Tagalog I can get as far as saying basic things like Joseph Smith was a prophet and basic doctrines. So she reluctantly agrees with everything we say until the apostasy, which is when she started to realise that the underlying message was that our church is the true church and hers...isn't exactly. So she starts firing off questions, and doctrines and bible scriptures are coming to my mind like never before. She starts trying to trick us, and I'd be like, thats fairly close but you see it says in the bible that....My favourite bit was when I'd just finished talking about how the other churches changed the doctrines and we said how it says in the Bible that Jesus was baptised by immersion, and she talks about how its ok to do sprinkle baptisms instead of immersion now, so I'm like I understand that your church believes that but in the Bible it says this, and OUR church believes in the Bible. That made her go quiet. So we finished up and she was speechless. She knew it was true and she couldn't deny it. So we were like, we know you said you didn't want us to teach you again so thats fine, we won't, and she can come back. SUCCESS! I've never done a post lesson fist pump so hard!

Ahh so, this work is fun. I can't get over how much fun I'm having teaching, and how happy I am when people progress. I learn something new everyday that is going to help me in my life later and I can't imagine how much harder my life would have been if I didn't come out here. This is necessary for me to become the person I want to be, I'm so changed already and so so happy!

I love you all so much! Keep sending the photos and the updates. The photos attached are of our Zone birthday party for September, so me and Elder Ramsay celebrating together as usual, and the other one is when Sister Storey couldn't find the keys and we were locked out of our apartment and trying to break in with bobby pins.

The church, is true. Which means we all better step it up in life, otherwise eternity is gonna be rough, and I'm finally starting to realise just how long eternity is.
You're the best.

Love Sister McKim 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Friends and floods

All is well in Zion

Hello po!
So this week has been a big one, apart from spending two entire days flooded inside with never ending rain. The flooding outside our house got thigh deep this week and it rained for about 3 days straight, but by some absolute miracle our house was saved. Other people in the area were not so lucky though which is really sad because its mostly the poor people that suffer the most.
So this week. I ate snails, it was the grossest thing ever. I spat it up twice before I could get it down, and it also came to us soaking in rotten milk to make it even more fun. Theres a video of it which I'm sure some of you will have the pleasure of viewing one day.
There was also the really sad event of a young boy in our ward passing away. One of the strongest families in our ward, 9 children and sealed in the temple which is rare for here as its so far away. Their only son when he was 10 years old became sick and they took him to the hospital where the doctor gave him the wrong medication. He then became very weak and wasn't able to walk or do anything for himself from then on. He's been inside his house mostly unable to go anywhere for 5 years now until on Thursday without any warning he died at the kitchen table. We visited with the family several times this week and although it was obviously devastating for them, they are taking comfort in the fact that they are sealed and they know that he has gone to a better place. We sat with the mum for an hour while she laughed and told us stories about all the funny things he used to do, and all the sneaky things he used to see in the house because he was always around and nothing got past him. Last night we had a service with their family where we placed flowers on the coffin and had hymns together. It was pretty hard to see, Bishop sung Families Can Be Together Forever to the family and the dad broke down really hard. They have a tradition here also where they have the body on display in their houses until the funeral, so we were able to see his tiny body which hasn't grown since he was ten, which was a little hard to see since its not something we see all the time at home. The funeral is on Wednesday and were going to sing with the YSA. We've been praying really hard for the family. One of the hardest things about it is they don't have the spare money to pay for the funeral and the parents are all still having to go to work this week, but the ward is helping them out so much which is another reason why its such a blessing to have the church.
We had our first baptism scheduled for this weeked, on of our favourite investigators to visit. The only problem was that she and her parter had 2 kids together so they had to get married, which they at first didn't want to do and over the last few months have got more and more excited about. Shes been taught all year now and we finally thought she was going to do it until she told her parents about the wedding and they forbid it, so were no longer allowed to visit them, which is kinda devastating. This week we had a lot of discouragement from those were teaching who have stopped progressing, but we've also had a lot of good progress from new people we have a lot of hope for. I won't give up on anyone though because I can see how happy they will be once they finally make the change, its just getting them to see that which is the hard thing.
Despite the hard times, I am so happy. We are changing lives here even though sometimes its hard to see the benfit. But all is well in zion. And I'm finally attaching photos for you!
So one is Sister Storey and I, then Elder Ramsay and us all at district meeting, theres 6 people in our district and three of them are us! The green ones are the tapeworms that live in the water, this is our clean dishrack so if we dont watch it every day the worms get HUGE! So if you eat one, you die. Maybe not die, but maybe. Also a flooded street, not even the worst of it. We tract in shin deep flooding but when it gets real bad its straigh up bawal. Some missionaries in the Philippines got electrocuted two weeks ago because a broken power line was in flooded water, so thats why they're so strict! And the best bridge ever, this one was only kinda sketchy, usually theyre jsut a thin concrete pole and we are at any second likely to plunge to our deaths coz were crossing in ballet flats and skirts. This work man!
So to set the record straight about missionary work, the hard bit isn't getting up every day at 6.30am, or not being about to hang out and do what you want, or having to work and study all the time, I love all of these things and I couldn't care less about what everyone else is doing on a Saturday night. The hard thing is when people who know the truth won't commit, and miss out on blessings that would change their lives. And when people don't listen because they don't want to be better, and when you feel like you've done everything you can and nothing happens. But know that the blessings missionaries recieve far outweigh the hard times and life is so good here, I wouldn't trade this for the world.
Love you all!
Sister McKim xxx