Monday, 24 November 2014


This week takes the cake for being the most rediculous week of my mission so far, and I won't be shocked if it just gets more wicked from here on out!

So being companions with Sister Willson is excellent, to say the least. I don't even know where to begin with this. Ok so, arrived at the bus station Tuesday morning, Sister Willson, me and the AP Elder Paasi who is also from Aus just met up in a circle and literally instantly our accents came back. We had a wicked 3 way fist pump and all confirmed that this was going to be the last transfer of our lives as were all about to die next month. I saw President and asked him just where he thought he was going with this and he just laughed and was like, 'yeah, I knew you'd love it'.

After one glorious morning of work we got the text, pack your bags youre going to Manila - TOMORROW. I realise no matter how I tell this story its just not going to be as exciting to anyone else as it was to us. But were missionaries and were easily excited. We stroll into the airport, a group of about 20 white people which just shocked the locals who probably aren't used to 20 people in general being in the tiny airport, so we were the focus of attention. SO not to waste an opportunity we just jamming out and start an impromptu baby tabernacle choir in the terminal which got everybody interested to stay the least.

Hit the airplane and rolled out of the Manila airport like high rollers, suddenly we seemed to fit in a little bit more dressed in suits and business skirts, everything seemed to make a little bit more sense. Climbed in a van and asked the driver where we were going. He gives us the little eyebrow wiggle and goes 'TEMPLE!' Needless to say a cheer was heard as far back as Laoag itself. Sister Willson and I clutched each other as we came into view of the MTC and our temple that we loved so so much. I shant go into the details of my experience inside except that I haven't cried like that in a long time. Nothing feels more like going home than walking inside the temple for the first time in 15 months. Rolled into the hotel and spotted Mormons in the hallway - including one lone Elder that just had no idea what he was doing. We walked up to him to try sort him out, he flew in by himself and they told him he was at the wrong hotel and wouldn't check him in or tell him where to go, plus he didn't speak Tagalog because he was still on his way to the MTC and had no food or money. After a minute hes like, 'wait, I know you guys!' Hes from Sydney and we used to be in the same chapel and him and Sister Willson were in trek together. Basta it was a beautiful moment where we saved him and found out where he was going, gave him all the food we had and we said goodbye to our new little brother. We're a sweet little team. I was more than excited for a hot shower since I also haven't had one of them in 15 months. Water was cold. I sucked it up, but turns out that we were the only ones that didn't have hot water. It hurt my heart a little bit but its ok, I'll have one again one day....

Friday morning we hit immigration to get some fingerprints done, and what should have been a half hour adventure turned into a 6 hour frustrating time in our lives, which meant we couldn't go back to the temple like we had planned. Sad. So we did the next best thing - we hit the MALL OF ASIA! It was the biggest mall I've ever seen, and they had every store I've ever seen. It was Babylon. But it was beautiful. It was overwhelming to say the least and I didn't know where to start, but something told us to look up, and we looked up, and right above us was a Max Brenner chocolate shop. I'm not proud of the scream that came out of my mouth, but it was so so happy. Bonding with the batch was the ultimate joy of the weekend, and the fact that we just happened to see 3 of our favourite sisters from this mission who had already gone home to Manila. It was amazing. Then we came back.

So we get back to Pasuquin and get into weekly planning. All the investigators here just moved, what do you know, so the work here is hard to say the least. The missionaries had been having trouble getting members involved and getting much done, so we tried to figure out what the plan was. We both go home at the same time and then our area is getting pulled out from the lowering number of missionaries, so we decided we could either die together with Pasuquin, or we could resurrect it and go out with a bang. We started talking about how we didn't want to leave with any regrets, and I remembered this idea we had a while ago that we never got to do. Basically we want to change the way we do missionary work here. Every one of the 843543 times I've watched the Restoration I see how they have town meetings and everyone comes out in droves to listen to the missionaries, and I wish that we could do that. So we thought, WHY CAN"T WE? By the end of the night we had all the missionaries on board and had personally spoken to every single one of the Barangay captains in the Pasuquin area, which are like the mayors of each little neighbourhood and set a time with them. Basically every night for a week were going to run town meetings where we preach the word to all who will come and hear it. The next day we got the whole branch presidency on board and in two days we have the whole thing happening. Pasuquin's not gonna know what hit it. The Mormons are coming. They better get ready.

Then just to top of our perfect week, white people appeared at church on Sunday! They're from Utah and the wife was born here but grew up in America and they were just incredible people. They invited us over for dinner and referred her whole family to us. They cooked us pizza. Like, organic pizza, with real cheese, I don't even know where they got real cheese from because its not even available here. He's a director/composer who has worked on a ton of my favourite movies. We sat there with our pizza in awe of his every word, and at the end they gave us their card and told us to look them up when we're in Utah. We will. Plus one of the nieces is about to go to BYU and is so excited to be taught so were gonna try get her baptised soon, and the grandma has just been waiting to come so we could invite her to church with us. She is excited to say the least. Best week ever.

So all is well. We are very happy and are driven more than ever to work hard and give it all we got. I love this mission. I love my life. I love you all.

See you all in Babylon!
Sister McKim

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Final Countdown

So the text we all knew was coming, Sister McKim is getting transferred for her last 6 weeks. And in the absolute shock of the century, my companion is SISTER WILLSON, the only other Aussie sister in the mission. Its also an answer to prayers because I wanted someone who was going to work super hard and knew what they were doing so we could just get straight into the work, and also have the funniest transfer ever, plus someone who understands my jokes, who understands my English, and who understands when I talk about my life, plus to serve close to Laoag, but not in Laoag. So I had a lot of requests, but I am not disappointed. Were in Pasuquin which is about 20 minutes out of Laoag. I can't think of a more perfect transfer. And I couldn't feel more blessed. Sister Willson is probably the loudest person I've ever met, so its going to be a wicked transfer!

We've been working out the details of our Waters of Mormon mass baptism and our district president is the fire behind the dream, and hes probably one of the most motivated people I've ever met in my life, and hes only 30. We were having coordination at the chapel when he kept sticking his head in and out throwing out ideas. Then he came in, gave us a list of part members and former investigators that hes been talking to and has found answers to all their concerns, and committed them all to be baptised on that date. He gave us the names and told us to go make sure they get taught the lessons. THAT, my friends, is how missionary work is supposed to be. He is one incredibly inspired man. He told us stories he'd heard about missionaries back in the day baptising whole neighbourhoods, hundreds of people, he said, in one day. He walked out and we all sat in silence from his incredible speech. Then one of the RM's piped up and said it was all true because President was the missionary that baptised them all. The man. I have been inspired to say the least.

Any other memories I have from this week went out the window last night when I was pacing back and forth on the kitchen tiles waiting for transfer texts. All I can say from this week is, after being without power for a lot of it, and having no water, and having to march up and down the stairs to our second story apartments with buckets of water that we pumped from the well a million times a day, as sad as I am to leave theres some blessings too. Plus our bathroom hasn't drained in 6 weeks, so it'll be nice not to have to stand ankle deep in thick grey and black water every time I walk in there. Ending the routine of having to shower AFTER coming out of the shower. Its all blessings.

I gave a training this week about diligence which really made me think. The main inspiration that came to me was about talking to everyone and inviting them all to come unto Christ. I thought, if someone could see the future and tell me that if I talked to every single tricie driver that picked me up my whole mission, that just one of them would get baptised, then of course I would do it, all that work but only one baptism is still worth it. So it would only make sense that because we ride with 100's of different drivers on our mission that by odds alone, and because some of them are probably prepared, that at least a few would get baptised. So I made it my goal, that I'm going to talk to them all. And what do you know, almost all of them have been taught before, or have a cousin whos a member, and are just super happy to have us come and teach them. That was a lesson for me about being more diligent for sure.

So next week I'll surely have 1000 stories for you all, until then, love you!
Sister McKim

The pictures!
Me and my baby Sister Razalan. Shes not actually my baby, shes a trainee in my apartment but I love her and shes my baby.
We made Graham cake and Australia just magically appeared on top of it in cherries.
Ferdinand, a member in our branch who is the most involved member of anyone ever. He has no arms so he does everything with his feet, hes the man.
These our our kids, its just them and their 80 year old grandma in their family so they all have to work hard. She had the kids chopping wood. They're young but they know their way around a machete!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

For the journey is long

Hi Team,

So this week was basically the best ever. Started with a wicked MLC with President, and then because we had the meeting in the morning we had p-day at night. So...for a whole night we all just walked around the city shopping and eating and checking out the sights. It felt like vacation. It felt like it shouldn't be allowed. I've never just wandered around for a night hanging out before, felt like normal life again. It was weird. But I loved it. But still not excited to go home and do it again. Then the next day was real p-day and that was even less real. All the leaders got in vans and we just took a wicked sightseeing trip up the coast. We all met for breakfast and the wicked adventure began. 

It all started at the salt refining factory, which sounds like the least exciting thing in the world, and probably would be if I was a missionary, and we don't get out much, so it was pretty exciting. They ship that salt to Australia. It was pretty special...haha. Then we hiked up this wicked lighthouse on the edge of a cliff, went to some wicked rock formations, the windmills, a waterfall, and just chilled on the side of the road. Doesn't sound as cool as it was, but what was cool was that I was getting worried that its getting to the end and I haven't even seen any of the scenery of the Philippines yet outside of the regular little towns, so it was a blessing to go and see all the cool stuff along the way. The best part of the day, we went to this place called Hannah's Resort, which is this massive famous resort. They have a HUGE zipline over the ocean, which hurt me a little bit inside to not be allowed to go on it, and a huge swimming pool inside the worlds largest witch cauldron, I guess? Haha basta it was cool. We ate in a fancy restaurant and drank out of fancy glasses which was a blessing in itself, I can't remember the last time I drank out of a clean glass let alone a fancy one. Then we ran around like crazy, they had every cartoon character you can imagine and we took a million and one pictures and just played. President and Sister just watched us run around like we were in a candy store, they were loving it. We found a trampoline and all just piled on and did backflips. Then we all hit the beach and played beach volleyball, someone bought a huge cake and we just kicked back. It didn't feel real. But it was cool. Blessings for hard work for sure.

Then came the bad bits. After four 6 hour road trips, and 3 days of getting up at 4 something and a couple more days of 5 something, and then some exchanges, I am thrashed. My eyes can't open all the way. The blessing is I can still teach, my mind is in focus as ever but then as soon as I walk out I go back into zombie mode.

Speaking of, I have been ravaged by poison mosquitos, I don't have dengue thank goodness, but I do have what looks like leprosy. Whenever I walk into a room the first think people ask is what happened to my legs! I always say 'kinagat ng zombie' or 'I got bit by a zombie'. The older kids think its hilarious. The old people and children become alarmed because they don't know what a zombie is and get scared its going to get them too.

Other favourite memory of the week, the other night it was about 10.25 at night, we were having a sleepover with about 10 of us because we were staying down in Laoag, and we were all just about to hit the hay, when we see a SNAKE come slithering into the apartment! Everyone starts freaking out and screaming as its a room full of girls and nobody knows what to do. One of the sisters upstairs, Sister Rodelas, who is basically the chillest woman who ever lived, probably more chill then me, just takes a sneaky peek over the balcony, sees the commotion, comes downstairs with a massive bamboo pole I have no idea where she got, and starts bashing the snake to death. Then once his little snake corpse has lost all signs of life, she gets him on the end of the pole and flings it over the fence onto the road. What a woman.

The work!
So we've been tested hard here over the last two transfers, and since the Rocero family baptism we've had a lot of golden investigators come and go. It seems like every time we find a solid person, they come to church twice and then MOVE AWAY. Its happened more times than I can even believe. So its been hard, but were finally seeing the fruits of our labours, and in the next couple of weeks we will have a family of 5 baptised, a grandma and her granddaughter, and all going well the husband of a recent convert, and maybe a couple more. The sad part, transfer calls are in 6 days and I almost definitely won't be here. But even though its a little sad, its ok because I know I was here for the hard parts and they're gonna do it whether I'm here or not, and I can use that time to go help someone somewhere else. So, blessings still. Its always a good feeling to leave an area way better than you found it. I'm excited for the future.

In spiritual news, I gave a training about the Rescue, meaning the saving of souls who have gone less-active in the church. And nothing in this world makes me happier than bringing someone back who was lost, its even better than baptising sometimes. And on that topic, we had an awesome miracle this week. We've been working with a less-active family who used to be so strong, the dad even used to be the branch president. They've made a lot of progress lately but still just had a really hard time coming to church. Yesterday the whole family was there at branch conference, and the dad got a calling! It was awesome, and it was so good to see the whole branch rallying around them supporting them. I definitely wont say it was us that did it, because it wasn't, but every little part made a difference, which was the whole point of my training. I shared my favourite song from the hymn book, Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy. I talked about how our Father is in the lighthouse, and its His light that does all the work to bring home His children, "but to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore'. We are just those tiny lights to bring those people that last little part of the way to make sure they don't crash when they hit the harbour. Our role is small, but if its not done, they can't make it in. So if we're just willing to be that one little light, and do that one little part, 'some poor fainting, struggling seaman' we may rescue, we may save.

I love you all,
Sister McKim

Monday, 3 November 2014

Happy Days

Hi Team!

This week was just all over place but so so good. This week Satan did not want me to think I was a good missionary, and he was pretty persistent, and almost had me convinced for a second there. We had interviews with President and he looked me in the face and asked me if I was obedient and I hesitated for a moment. The rest of the day I was thinking hard about why I couldn't just say that I was, because I had always thought of myself that way. I guess the name of the game in missionary work is that we never stop progressing and growing, and we have to keep the momentum going so that were continually growing faster and stronger, otherwise Satan will try to overtake us and slow us down. Or rather we will slow ourselves down, which in some ways I think I was doing. Still progressing, just not as fast, that 'all is well in Zion' attitude. Thats the slow killer. So its a blessing really that I'm being made aware of all my weaknesses at once so I can sort them all out before this chapter of my life is over, and I can honestly tell you I have more than a few. 

I have no pictures as my camera is still being ravaged by a deadly virus from little hole in the wall computer shops. But I just wanna add, that every one of the 6 is times now that I've gotten a virus on my camera, the Spirit has always prompted me to go to a different computer shop, and I've ignored it. Good to know I'm being look out for even in the little things, and also good to recognise that I need to pay attention to those little things too!

Had a wicked MLC today with President and that man is just loading with inspiration. Last night we had a Philippines area broadcast by Elder Oaks and some of the area authorities, and President felt inspired to just drop the whole plan for our training and base it off of that instead. Elder Oaks was so inspired. Basically he was the area president here 10 years ago, and he said he was basically going to repeat everything he said back then all over again because the Philippines is still experiencing exactly the same problems. My favourite thing that he said was something I'd never even thought of before. He talked about the commandment that says 'in six days shalt thou labour', which makes us always think about keeping the sabbath day holy. But the spin he put on it was that its a commandment that we LABOUR 6 days a week. And I guess if youre sitting around lazy all day every day your sabbath day isn't really going to be that holy anyway.

President Barrientos quote of the week: "The reason why we are few is because the church is true... and the truth hurts."

K thats all I have time for, not super funny but the work is getting done!

Love you all team,
Sister McKim