Monday, 24 February 2014

This is trunking me out of my mind

So first of all, I'd like to apologise to anyone who has to read my
emails every week. I've read back the last couple and they sound like
the scribblings of a crazy person. But to be fair, thats kind of how
it gets on p-day, you're so busy and so focused all week when Monday
rolls around you don't have time to get a rational thought out.
But, sana you all still love me!

So this week was another week for earthquakes. Theres apparently so
many now that about 10 times a day I think theres an earthquake and
have to check if anyone else is freaking out, and they're not so its
fine. Mondays was big. Sister Baguio was grabbing my arm and shaking
me while I continued to type incase they were my final words....haha
nah its was fine. But we were on the second floor of a big concrete
building so if any were to go down it would have been us, except I
would have hoped to walk out Alma and Amulek style. Its for the best
that were all safe. There was another big one on Tuesday when we were
walking across a bridge. Sister Baguio always notices them first
because shes little and closer to the ground.  Oh speaking of, random
strangers are constantly referring to me as the 'tall American'. So,
theres that haha. I never thought I'd be referred to as the tall
anything in my life.

This week we had our interviews with President and the AP's and the
main thing they told us to focus on was helping the progressing
investigators to progress, and giving baptismal dates to everyone. I'm
still not all the way to humble, so when they tell me I have to give
out baptismal dates to every investigator first go I think I know
better and that I'm gonna wait until I wanna do it, but since I'm a
little more humble now I only thought this for a second and then just
took their advice and did it. At the beginning of the week we had 5
investigators with baptismal dates and now we have 20, so I really am
developing a greater testimony of just doing what I'm told, especially
by geniuses like President Barrientos :-) We've been trecking it back
and forth to the far away chapel for meetings and the van that takes
us has the most random selection of great music playing at all times.
Everything from the classics to Celine Dion live to the latest stuff
from when we all came out. Every new song that comes on is more
excellent than the last and everyone screams out NO! and covers their
ears and tries not to sing it. I forgot the real world was a thing.

It also happens to be Antarctica here. Its so cold, there are some
warm moments where is nice, and then bam its like living in a freezer!
It wouldn't be so bad except I just don't own the appropriate clothes
for this weather and theres no way to escape it. Its just an extra
trial of obedience for us because its a rule in our mission that you
have to shower twice a day and its like sweet sweet torture because
you have to stand there in the cold shower hole and tip buckets of icy
water on yourself. But, obedience is obedience, and obedience brings

I've also been working hard on learning Ilocano since up here its the
more common language, but learning two languages at once is
rediculous, but I'm doing surprisingly well at it! Except I'm
apparently not good yet as this morning I went into a bathroom in a
store and the lady told me in Ilocano not to shut the door and I
didn't catch it and shut the door. So I was locked in the worlds
skechiest bathroom and there was no way out because the windows were
barred. They pulled out the vents in the door and the tiny store owner
crawled through the hole and her friend was pushing her butt and
trying to shove her in. Redic. Immediately after she got inside the
door opened by itself. Lol indeed. I know that whenever I have these
moments after I walk away they just judge Americans. Lucky I'm not
American hey!

My love for our investigators is growing here every day. We had a less
active lady come to church yesterday after being inactive for 12
years. She talks a million miles and our and doesn't let us say
anything and never does what we tell her because she still thinks shes
a good member even though shes been going to the Catholic church for
12 years, and finally we got a word in enough to commit her to come to
church with us. We couldn't believe it when we saw her walk in with
all her kids. We went to visit her at night and she told us in a
million miles an hour that she felt the Spirit as soon as she walked
into Sacrament, and during the hymn, and when she drank the water, and
she thought angels were going to come out of the sky, and she was just
SO HAPPY, and she was like wow I should've just come the first time
you told me to. Yep. So were like, we're going to teach your husband
now, run outside and make him sit down and she tells him they're
mormons again. Love it when things go right!

My study this week has been edifying to say the least. I've been
focusing on the Atonement, and I just love the relationship between
Peter and Jesus Christ, and how Christ just loved him despite his many
weaknesses. I've really come to see how Christ would tell the Apostles
over and over again that the time would come when they too would have
to take us their cross and it scared them, but when the day came that
He was gone, they stepped it up, and they went and preached, and Peter
became one of the most amazing missionaries in the history of the
world. I just keep thinking about my life if I didn't come here. I
just can't even describe to you all. just serve a mission,
just get married in the temple, and just convert everyone you know!

I love you all,

Sister McKim

Monday, 17 February 2014

Grabi naman!

More adventures in Cagayan and life just gets weirder here the every day!
We had to travel the other day at the crack of dawn for Zone Meeting
so we were all in this van and all of a sudden this huge Australian
man gets in with his little Philippino wife. I like couldn't get over
it and we were talking the whole way about Australia, he was from
Penrith so he had this thick NSW accent, wicked. It was super random
because we were literally going from jungle to jungle, but great
times. The best thing is when we got out of the van at the chapel and
he goes to kiss all of us goodbye and the two American sisters just
let him do it. I managed to push him off and give him a handshake. Our
DL didn't know what to do, he looks at them and goes don't you ever do
that again. Then we got inside and a pipe had burst and we literally
spent an hour mopping out the flooded chapel. Great times.

I'm probably going to regret telling this story but its a pretty good
one. So the short version is, we were fed something there that had
obviously been sitting outside of the fridge a little too long, and
certain members of our household were a little bit poisoned by it. We
have two toilets in our house and one of them has been broken for
months so only one gets used. So the next day its bad times for
everyone, because the other toilet breaks. So by some miracle two guys
come to fix it, and their commentary on it was like nothing else. One
of them got on his motorbike and went home to get more things to put
on his face. One was smoking in the house so I had a really big
confrontation with him about it, and he was like, its mabaho. Its bad.
So this home time were studying out in the front yard while they try
to fix the toilets that have months worth of problems. We also have
out neighbours dog thats decided it lives at our house now which is
also subsequently starving to death and bleeding from its face all
over our front yard. She finally took responsibility for it and said
she was gonna send someone over to get it. So a few minutes later this
lady and shirtless man rock up with a ROPE and ask to see the dog.
They take one look at it and bail. Sister Copeland recognised him as
the neighbour she saw carving up a dog for dinner the other day. Oh I
forgot to mention, its dog meat season. The restaurant on our street
serves it cheap!

We had 3 baptisms this week in the pouring rain and the freezing cold.
It was so good. We had two kids who are solid little BOM readers, and
a 20 year old who asked us if after he got baptised if he was allowed
to serve a mission. Thats really what you wanna hear! The girl who has
the old boyfriend told us that shes moving down to live with him so we
can't even keep teaching her, and the parents completely support it.
We could tell she was sad she didn't get baptised with everyone, but,
we can just hope for the future everything works out for her. We also
had one of our investigators who was meant to get baptised in two
weeks move to Manila. His brother called him on Saturday and he packed
up and got straight on a bus down there. Rough, but hopefully he keeps
up with the missionaries down there. And another moved to Laoag. Plus
our most converted investigator, grabi shes amazing, she asks the
deepest doctrinal questions I've ever had to answer and she is a real
honest seeker of truth, she told us that shes on a scholarship for
university that requires her to be active in her other church. A lot
of blows this week but we don't give up on her, she will be baptised
whether now or later, and we still have a ton of golden people in the
works so things are still good here. We met this lady the other day,
we had 20 minutes til lunchtime so Sister Baguio grabbed the first
lady we saw and made her take us to her house. We told her she should
come to church with us, and she asked where it was because she wanted
to go to a far away church. We like yep, its pretty far away! So we
come back the next day and her husband said shes not allowed to come,
so we tell her to pray and we'll come get her on Sunday morning. So we
arrive at the house, and shes standing there talking to him, he sees
us and RUNS into the jungle, so of course we chase him in, and we
chase him for ages until we realise hes still holding his machete so
we stop and we lose him. Then we realise were standing in the middle
of a jungle village, proper jungle people, and they are just staring
at us and have no idea what to do.

I also just want to make the point that through all the funny things
and all the great times, I am truly coming to know my Saviour more. As
I just finished the Book of Mormon again this week and have been
studying Jesus the Christ this week, I have come to recognise the
answers to prayers and see the will of the Lord in all that happens.
The more I seek the more I find, and the more I love it. This church,

That was a good full minute of earthquake.

I love you all.

Sister McKim
This little girl, shes so cute, shes a member. We went to her house
and her parents weren't home and she was sitting on the porch
surrounded by puppies. I couldn't handle how sad she looked, it was
too cute! But shes fine we gave her candy.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tales of earthquakes, waterfalls and elopements

So we just booked it over to the computer shop from the bukid today
where we decided to go jungle trecking. A member from our ward took
our whole district up to this waterfall up a mountain. The clouds were
black all morning and it was raining before we even left but we still
went anyways. Everyone shoed up hardcore except me and Sister Baguio,
we went Philippino style in thongs. Scaling the mountain was alright,
except for the Elders at the back as someone had the genius idea of
bringing real lunch instead of like sandwiches or something, so
they're carrying plastic shopping bags with a rice cooker, curry and
plates and cutlery. Kawawa, sad for them they had a rough time. The
member that took us rocked up in his business clothes and fancy shoes
from work and stayed in them except for a sneaky pair of gumboots. He
stops to chat to all the mountain people on the way and hes like this
is my brother, this is my cousin, and were like uhh sweet haha. It
took us ages to get to the top because half the group wandered off and
got lost and walked for half an hour in the wrong direction, but we
finally got to the top and it was wicked! This amazing waterfall and
we found coconuts and the elders cut them open with machetes and we
sat and ate them. So legit. Then all of a sudden came a torrential
downpour as we start to climb back down the mountain. It was hectic,
the path turned into a river, both my thongs broke so I carried them
in one hand and walked barefoot. We got given massive palm leaves for
umbrellas except after a few minutes I realised mine had ants on it,
and my whole filthy body was covered with a swarm of ants. The other
sisters had leaches, everyone was falling over and covered with mud.
Survivor style. Philippines.

So in other news, we had two earthquakes this week. One was on Tuesday
night when we were planning, I thought Sister Baguio was rocking the
table until Sister Storey started screaming that it was an earthquake.
It was my first earthquake that I ever actually felt as I have a habit
of being in them and not noticing. So on Friday night we were sitting
in our coordination meeting when the whole meetinghouse started to
shake. It was HUGE. Sister Baguio literally jumped out of her chair,
and we just had to wait there for it to finish. I'm not gonna lie, I
did not like it. The mission has been going crazy about having 72 hour
kits, everyone thinks they're something coming, so.......they're
better not be. We have a sister in our house who came here from
Tacloban so odds are she won't have to escape death twice on her
mission...I hope.

In other other news, we taught 50 lessons this week, plus found 24 new
investigators. It was rediculous. We literally were teaching non stop
for the entire week. The district leader said it was the most he'd
ever seen (and I know Elder Armatage is reading this thinking he does
this every week no big). Plus we have so many new people set for
baptism who are really gonna do it, plus we have 3 baptisms coming up
this weekend. Sanchez Mira really is a promised land, and it doesn't
hurt that my comp is amazing too!

In more news, we had one more investigator set for baptism and I have
been so worried about her. As much as she wanted to get baptised and
as much as she did all the right things I was really worried she
wasn't ready, but I didn't feel like I could tell her she couldn't
because I didn't really have a reason for it. And then on Sunday when
her baptismal interview was meant to be, she didn't come to church. We
asked her neighbours why and they said she 'nag-asawa', meaning she
moved in with someone. We'd been at her house two days earlier and she
was talking about this boy she'd been hanging out with who was her
age, but turns out it wasn't him. She's 16, and she moved in with the
48 year old cousin of her mum who'd come up to stay to scope for a
wife. Yep, that happens. I was praying that she wouldn't get baptised
if she wasn't ready, so I guess it was kind of a weird answer? I don't
know, we're still gonna go try fix it, I don't like that thats a
thing. We also have a 75 year old less active lady with a 25 year old
boyfriend. That's apparently a thing too.

So I love you all, sana there's no more earthquakes or torrential
jungle downpours this week, but if there is, its all part of the
experience hey. Just remember always to be physically and spiritually
prepared for everything. Haha, I love it here.

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister McKim

Monday, 3 February 2014

Welcome to the Jungle!

Greetings from Cagayan!
I already love this place, it really is a whole different world out
here! In San Nic it was kinda like living in the suburbs where there
was a mall and a city and everything you need and working out in the
fields where people live in bamboo houses. Here its kinda like a
little country town literally out in the middle of absolute nowhere
and I LOVE it, but having said that I haven't tried to buy anything
yet so I'll see how I go later on today.

So last Monday night we did the rounds and said goodbye to as many
people as we could but just really didn't have enough time, didn't
even get to say goodbye to most people which was sad. But we finished
off with all our RC's having a little FHE which was amazing. At the
end they all took it in turns to tell me their testimony and how we
had truly changed all their lives. We all cried, we hard out cried,
but the worst thing was the day before we'd had a little run in with
one of the dads the day before and he didn't come to say goodbye. We
went by on the way home and the kids said they'd gone to bed. Oh I
cried so much more, I was truly devastated to leave them on that note,
but sometimes thats just how it is so I really hope they're doing ok.
I cried so much that day (man I am a pansy now) that when I rocked up
to the bus station the next day I could barely open my eyes because
they'd swelled up to the worst kind of fat. Everyone was like wow, you
literally look horrible. Great. The bus ride up was great for a while,
the scenery is amazing. The road is beach and countryside and
mountains and valleys, windmills, everything. Until I started to feel
real sick, and I was praying real hard that I wouldn't throw up
because there was nowhere for it. I literally prayed for about an hour
until the inspiration came that I had a bag of Mentos is my bag, so I
tipped them out and went for gold. Then sat there for the next hour
and a half holding the vomit bag. Primitive.
When I got here it was raining, and its rained a lot since, and its
probably not going to stop raining. There are 6 sisters living in our
tiny house and it is absolute chaos in there, plus we just got two
elders in the branch too who live on the next street. 8 missionaries
in one branch! Basically calls for almost weekly baptisms. Plus all 8
of us have had dinner appointments together every single night this
week so were already getting really close. My companion is Sister
Baguio and I wish I had a picture of her, next week, but she is
literally a Disney princess. She is the cutest thing that ever
happened to the world, shes from Tarlac in the Philippines and she
speaks Tagalog, English, Cebuano and Ilocano, so were basically good
whoever we teach, which is good because were out here now where its
all Ilocano. And shes a boss at teaching, she can teach deep doctrine
while acting like a game show host, I love it. Went out to the jungle
and met the mountain people, they look exactly like aboriginals and
live in little hut communities. These kids were playing basketball and
they literally stopped and dropped the ball and stared. I don't think
theres been any white girls out here before, let alone a little
blondie in a dress and a name tag.
So just to make life a little bit more primitive, this morning I
washed my clothes, cleaned the bathroom and took a shower all out of
the same bucket.
Love it.
So I'm probably going to retire here and live by the beach and sell
something, maybe bananas or shell necklaces and just be so happy. This
is the best place in the world.
So I love you all, and I really hope you are all doing your bit. Its
our duty as members of this church to build up the kingdom, and if you
don't, read the Book of Mormon, it'll tell you what will happen if you
don't :-)
Be safe, be happy.
Maraming salamat sa inyong pagmamahal sa akin. Mahal ko kayo!
Sister McKim x