Mission Time In Cebu

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ist Month Done

Note from Cari's mom: I got to "chat" with her tonight. It was wonderful! She asked me if I wanted to know about everything she has gone through and I told her yes, so she shared another scary experience (Yikes):

OK so there was a shooting in our area on Sunday! While we were there, One of the ward members sons got shot and killed, during our lesson we could hear gun shots and everything. sooo crazy, she was wailing in tears and crying, we did;t know what to do. But yet I still didn't feel unsafe, crazy. I feel this special protection over me, everyday and dirty old men rub my arm as I walk by and drunk men are everywhere at night. I feel this shield of protection, its pretty amazing


Kumusta Family!!

I want everyone to know that I appreciate the dear Elders SOOO much kaayo!! They really help me know that I have people out there who support and love me...it means soo much!! Each letter I really cherish!

Things I need...more CDs, and that's about it, I'm in an area that I can buy whatever.

I would think this week should of been VERY discouraging but for some reason I just feel a fire to work harder. You know how I always love a challenge.

Sis. Charlene decided to back out of her baptism ( did she ever friend you guys on facebook...I know she wanted to be your friend. All the Filipino girls think Scott is sooo handsome!) But I felt like crying during the lesson, when she said although God told her to be baptized she doesn't want to be separated from her family. Well. I found a good scripture for her in Matthew 10 but she hasn't been home since, so we are going to try again to night. I want so much for her to be baptized I have prayed and fasted for her often, but no luck so far. We had several other investigators tell us to stop coming. Even though they know its true they are too busy with work and nothing we do can change their mind. Our spirits in our lessons are sooo incredible but we can only bring the spirit unto their hearts, it is up to them and their agency to let it in and open their hearts.

On Thursday I rode my first hobble-hobble (motorcycle) into the bukids (mountains) sooo fun!!! and beautiful!! I was working in Talamban b/c Sis. Person had one day left of training, I just love being in the nature areas and I know b/c I am learning to love my city area and working hard I will one day get an area in the beautiful area of Cebu. Patience, patience...haha.

Thursday night was completely crazy!!! Sis. Person and I were in a lesson and she felt very sick. We decided to leave b/c she said she was soo sick, and it was dark and we were walking and she said "Sister I cannot walk" So I decided to carry her, my backpack, and her bag in all!! It was crazy!! I was glad I had been doing push ups everyday....so here I was running through these houses and people, holding her until I couldn't hold her any longer and we went through the sewer area her holding onto me b/c she could barely walk. then we got to a field and I picked her up and carried her again ( I felt like super woman...haha. the elders were jealous cause they said they haven't even got to have a story like that yet) We got to the end of the field and I couldn't carry her any longer so we just laid down...she could barely lift her head...so she just laid in my lap. I didn't know what to do, then these men gathered around us and I asked for them to call a taxi but a taxi couldn't come to where we were so a man just picked her up and started running away with my companion! YIKES!! So I quickly gathered all our stuff and ran after them til we hit the street and got a taxi...Sis. Person kept throwing up and crying b/c of the severe pain. We called the zone leaders and they came and gave her a blessing. Hurray for the power of the priesthood and sister persons faith b/c shortly afterwards she was fine so we didn't need to go to the ER. The next day they made us stay inside and lets just say we were itching to get out of the apartment and preach the gospel.

Sunday, was crazy...their was a festival going on and a huge cock fight!! Lots of blood, injured roosters and rowdy people. Of course I wanted to stay and look for a second, but smart sister person just kept quickly going by. So far I have seen a couple cock fights. CRAZY! That night we had a fireside. Amazing, everyone from our district came and we sang armies of Helaman...the spirit was soo strong and I felt honored to be a missionary. It is amazing how much our ward is being strengthened, Sis Person said last time we had a fireside, only 4 people showed up. This time we had a very good number from our ward. Success!!

Monday, Sis. Erwin said yes to Baptism and I wanted to jump for joy and hug her on the spot. The spirit was soo strong, she has a long way to go before she gets baptized, but I pray for her every night!

Sis. Person and I have been working very very hard and I am loving every minute of it. Yesterday we had 57 I2L's and 6 new investigators. We were soo stoked!! I love my mission...it is soo hard, man its hard! And yesterday I accidentally told an investigator that God has death for each of us ( instead of purpose...oops!) haha funny gyud! But I pray and think of all of you often. Again...thanks soo much for your thoughts, prayers, and letters I feel soo blessed about all the people that are writing and I will write back!

Tell Courtney to keep me updated and Scott and Brooke on starting school!

Ayo ayo!!

Love, Cari

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kamusta Family and Friends!!!

This week, is still difficult. There are days where I have no idea if I can do this and there have been times where I just want to be home. But I am trooping it out and life is good. The area Mabolo is very difficult, it is usually a Elder area, and the people are always busy and we will have lessons where the spirit is sooo strong and they will feel it and then the next visit they quickly forget and don't want us teaching anymore or back out of their commitments or baptismal dates. But Sister Person and I are starting to turn around the area, strengthening the ward and inactive families, we are working really hard.

Wednesday I went to the Cebu temple, and it is gorgeous inside, except I was too big for all the temple clothes...I even had the dress on and it still didn't cover my arms all the way....haha. these people just think I am this giant. They all say I look like I am from Hollywood and I look like Brittany Spears. Also they sing the song "hey Mrs. Robinson" all the time to me, its soo funny!

I love the food here, so far I have tried squid balls, intestines, chicken feet (not my favorite you just eat the skin), banana ketchup (that's all they have here, well tomato is really expensive). The bread here is sooo good, I love it!

I have developed a strange rash so I went to the doctor on Monday, it’s all over my entire body and I also have a cough....but its okay, I've been taking medicine and both are improving.

On Saturday we went to the Primary Stake activity with two investigator children and their friend Sister Chona who is 20, they had fun and the kids did a bunch of cultural dances....it was cute.

We have been having the WORST thunderstorms at night, so loud I have literally jumped out of my bed. The lighting lights up the whole room, so I don't really sleep at night.

It has been training this week for the trainers so I have been working in the Talamban area, a lot more rural then my area-BEAUTIFUL! Yesterday though we were teaching a lesson on the law of Chastity and it was raining soo hard you couldn't even hear a word we said. I'm sure they got a lot out of that lesson. We trugged in mud all day up to our calves. It was soo much fun!! I've been praying to the Lord a lot asking him why he put me here in the city when I love stuff like trudging through the mud and getting dirty, and he told me that in time I will have my time and I will get to go to a beautiful place in the mountains. So I am being patient, and I know that I am learning sooo much and being stretched sooo much from being in this area. But, it is hard, everyone has told me they would not want to serve in our area.

I am really trying my best to be a good missionary, we work hard everyday...It is soo different working with a Sister. Although I have learned soo much from my companion, with my Elders we did things soo differently, so its hard to completely change how I am and the way I deal with conflicts and learning. Before I thought patience wasn't a big deal, I realized my lack of patience but I didn't think it would effect me. I am now completely valuing this attribute and being slow to temper and frustrate and I am thankful for my experiences with a new Filipino companion whose culture is different and attitude is different. I am thankful for being in an area no one wants to be in b/c I am learning to be patient with the Lord and trust in his ways and time and not mine. I am learning to forget myself and go to work. I appreciate all your love and support soo much!! and the growth of my testimony!

I sent some pictures, hope you like them. This is such an adventure, I feel so close to the Lord everyday and I always think about everyone who this mission is blessing. But I know it is especially blessing me and my future family, there is soo much I didn't understand about missions and missionaries until I actually became one. Everyone said it would be sooo hard, but I had no idea. I now realize why missionaries can't give up talking about their missions and speaking the language all the time. Its because it becomes a part of them...it becomes a special part of who they are. I know my mission is shaping the rest of my life...already the things that were the most important to me before don't seem to matter as much and the things of the Lord are the very most important because his love is the only love that can change a person's heart and life. One thing I've learned is that we are all missionaries, as soon as you get baptized you become a missionary and a representative of the Lord...so share the Gospel with everyone, by the way you live and never pass up an opportunity to talk to someone and share the Gospel....no fear!! 2 Nephi 22:2 "for the Lord is my strength and my song"!! I love you!!

Love, Cari

Week 2 In Cebu - Mabolo

Maayong Buntag!!!

Thank you for all you emails of love and support, they really mean the world to me!! Tell Dan I think of him often and love and miss him too, I always think of what it was like for him since he served in a third world country as well, it made my day that he thought of me! I pray for all of you back home and love you all and think of you often (when I am not working). Anyone can mail letters to the mission home and dear elders get here, two weeks after being sent. By the way, no one can email me except for my immediate. I need to be obedient as possible. And that would be awesome to get in touch with Elder Johnson's mom so I cant get updates on my Elders, I pray for them every night and think of them often. So thank you!!

So let me tell you about my area. I am in the most downtown poverty-stricken area of the city. No mountains, no nature all the other parts of the city have nature and mountains-not us! haha I am serving in Mabolo, Cebu City and it has been a challenge for my companion and me to love the area b/c most other missionaries are serving in beautiful paradises, but we have learned to find joy in everything we do. We laugh at all that happens to us and are learning to love the area, not b/c of the geographical circumstances but the people. I want you to tell you how truly humbled I am by these people, they are the kindness, most generous individuals I have ever met. I already love them with all my heart, my love keeps me going strong. For example a newly baptized family, the Sevilla family, they live in a one bedroom hut by a sewer and have very little. But they find joy in everything about life and love life and their family, they are soo kind and last night they fed us dinner and made us take home the left overs...which really touched me seeing what they had. They told me about all the exotic food i need to try-rats, snake, frog legs, intestines and they said they are going to by me beluit for me to eat ( dont worry Ill take a video for you ;) ) I'm trying it this week!

So far I found over 10 cockroaches, one on my leg in the middle of the night, and they are ginormous-but I dont even care anymore. Our house apparently is one of the worst conditioned houses in the mission so we have been looking with the zone leaders for a new one.

Sis. Carlene is 19 years old and I tell her she looks like Pocahonatas from the Disney movies, too bad she has never seen it. haha. She is committed for baptism on Sept. 11 and she is progressing-pray for her! she went to church this week and the spirit is always very strong in her lesson! Sis. Person gave me a huge compliment the other day, she told me even though I can't speak the language this spirit is soo strong when I testify. I hope these people can see how much I love them and how hard I am working to help them find the happiness I feel everyday from this gospel. Families are a very big deal to them and I always testify to them that even though I am sooo far from home and my family, I have great comfort and happiness that no matter what I will be with my family again forever!!

I LOVE LOVE the food here ( and yet I still have lost 6 pounds...haha) The Bishop fed us fried bananas the other day-soo good! and the Senior couple treated us to Filipino food last P-day. Bread here is amazing and the whole time I'm proselyting I just keep smelling these wonderful smells, b/c everyone cooks on the street.

The dogs here are disgusting!! Always violating each other, hairless and diseased- Seriously I am finding dogs that rival Jack on the ugly scale.

My Cebuano is coming-slowly but coming, still a little frustrating but I know the Lord is making my weaknesses strong! and I'm remaining diligent and obedient.

I have found days where all our appointments have been cancelled, and everyone has turned us away but I remain happy b/c I am doing my best, and if I continue to do my best and reach my goals no matter what and work hard, then there is no room for discouragement. I remember, before I used to think to myself-WHY? why couldn't I serve state side? Why couldn't I serve English speaking? Why couldn't I be serving at least in a beautiful area of Cebu? But now I think I am soo grateful for all of this!! (Not that I want to stay here for my whole time) but b/c of this opportunity to learn this language and be in this area I have never felt closer to my lord and my savior, I turn to him in everything and am learning to trust in him no matter what! Its amazing what I have learned and the spirit that I can feel, I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough.

We have had investigators in tears b/c of the spirit in our lessons, there have been whole families becoming reactivated that haven't been to church in 6 months and I am excited!! Even though, actually our success is pretty low, this area, an area with very low success is strengthening and becoming stronger, I feel it everyday b/c God loves his children here.

Next week is a new training program for the missionaries so a new sister will be staying with me, meaning Sis. Tatipu (my hilarious Tongan roommate from the older Cebuano district in the MTC) will be staying with me and she gets to be my companion for four days while Sis. Person is in training! I am soo excited it will be fun, even though we both don't know the language.

I just wanted to let you know that, this mission, has been the most amazing experience and gift in my life. There have been times where every part of me wants to quit, and go home. I have felt more pain that I ever have in my homesickness and my desire to go home...but I would not give it up for anything b/c I look back at who I use to be, the faith I use to have and I feel like it is nothing. I remember there were days where I would briefly read a chapter of the Book of Mormon and say a quick prayer, just to say I did. I would never do that again, I would never abuse these wonderful and amazing gifts God gives to us b/c they are the power and we can receive God's actual words through our faith in prayer and scripture study. I am soo thankful for my trials and every hardship I have experienced even for having to wash my clothes by hand, and endure exhaustion and ridiculous heat temperatures (more than I have ever experienced!) I'm even thankful for the cockroaches...haha!

Well I love you and tell Grammy thank you for her wonderful email, I have definitely found everything she said to be true. Don't worry about me, I am happy and I laugh everyday and have found joy in the work!

Naghigugma ko kanamo!!



P.S. I sent home a CD of pictures, so hopefully you get them! Most you have seen, but still fun di ba?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Week In The Philippines

Maayong Buntag!!

K best way to write me is dear elders...and I NEED letters of love, I am having a VERY hard time :(

I still cannot believe I am here in the Philippines. No one prepared me for how hard this was going to be. I am assigned to the city, which is very dirty and is destitute poverty, it is really hard to see and it is not the beautiful Philippines you saw in pictures, very sad. We are teaching a woman that lives on a bench with a sheet over it. No one has a nice house and it constantly smells of poop. My apartment is pretty humble. Lots of lizards and cockroaches visit us everyday. And yes I shower with a bucket of cold water and a ladle. Every morning I am woken up at 4 am by several roosters that cluck until 6 am so lets say I don't sleep much, especially b/c of the heat. Every night, when I come home I literally have to peel off my clothes from being drenched in sweat.
My companion is great. Her name is Sister Person and she is from Bagio, Philippines. She really helps me with the language and she is a great teacher. She has a lot of patience with me b/c I am absolutely horrible with the language, even though she and all my investigators say how impressed they are. I am lost all the time in the City, I never have any idea where I'm going. People stare and point at me all day and I feel like a stupid, tall american all day. They all call me guapa though which is flattering b/c I am sweaty without any make up, but I have had dirty drunk men touch my arm which is really gross.
The kids are adorable though and they love me b/c I'm a very tall american (by the way I am super super tall to them, they comment about my height all day) and they bless me all the time by taking my hand and putting it to their head, they are really the cutest kids ever! That is one thing that is not hard about the Philippines, the people. They are soo kind and not hard to love! As I attempt a very jumbled lesson or testimony they always listen and are attentive even though I probably make no sense. I've actually have had some pretty cool experiences so far. On Sunday we went on splits with the members and I went to visit a less active family. I didn't have any idea what was happening but I was prompted to bear my testimony about how hard it is for me to be here, but if I continue to trust in the Lord I will be strengthened and have joy.....

email continued...

the spirit was sooo strong in that lesson and then her neighbor had overheard our opening song, "Families can be Together Forever" and was super touched b/c she has come from a broken home and is a single mother at 20 and has lost hope. She was crying and I bore my testimony on families, and got a return appointment Sunday.
So I pretty much feel like inadequate dead weight right now though, its really hard for me to be here. I always want to give a testimony or experience but I can't in Visayan and so I become frustrated. I constantly miss and worry about my Elders b/c I cannot write them and it was very VERY hard to leave them. I cried like a little girl saying goodbye and so did Elder Johnson. I worry about him a lot and he got sent to a very hard area where they speak very fast and don't speak any english also their cebuano is a lot different from what we learned in the MTC! So if you want to be a very kind soul to me and him, please please write him and see how he is doing so I can know if he is safe and happy. He got me through a lot of hard times in the MTC and I miss him and the others a lot.
So I just want you to know that although, right now I'm pretty much dead weight and VERY weak, I am continuing to grow stronger as I am being pushed beyond my limits....This is what I wronte President Hansen:

President Hansen,

I still cannot believe I am in the Philippines. It has definitely been an adventure, but it is a lot harder then I could have ever expected. Sister Person is wonderful and soo helpful. I feel like a burden though, although she says my Cebuano is really good and that I'm doing a great job, I am not use to feeling like dead weight. I become frustrated as I want to share a incredible experience or a testimony in a lesson, but I can't find the words to do it. I find myself missing my district and MTC experience, and that I was able to have 5 other people that were going through the same exact thing as me and now I feel a little alone in this city. Its hard not having that foundation here of support that I had in the MTC and I struggle not having someone to talk to that understand b/c I cannot write anyone that was in my MTC District. I wish I could know how they were doing so that I could know that they are all safe and well, I find myself worrying about them often. I also been really trying to trust in the Lord and his will for me, I never ever have felt like a city is home for me so this area has been trying, but I have prayed and I know I am here in this place for a reason so I am keeping my hopes up.

However, despite all these worries and feeling of inadequacy and loneliness, this is a time where I have really grown closer to my Father in Heaven b/c even when I think that I have no one here that completely understands I turn to him b/c he knows me and he knows I can get through this. I pray to him all day, all the time to give me the strength to overcome my many weaknesses and I am continuing in my obedience and diligence. Its hard sometimes b/c the pay off is very slow. But if there is just one thing I have gotten out of this so far is a very close friend-Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I thought that I really came to understand the atonement in the MTC but my testimony keeps growing as I am being stretched beyond anything I have ever handled before. The lord tells me everyday that he is just working to mold me to be that person he wants me to be. The people here are soo kind too, they always listen attentively as I give jumbled lessons and testimonies, but at least I know they can feel the spirit as I speak, I am learning that that is a world wide language.

I feel inadequate all the time but as I pray I feel comforted as the Lord lets me know that I am doing whats write and eventually he will allow me to be a effective missionary if I continue to do that things that I'm doing. Sister Person is also a gift to me and helps me understand that I'm doing a good job and not to be so hard on myself. The Lord has also given me other little blessing I see through out the day to let me know that, he know this is hard and he is here to lift me up. I keep a smile on my face everyday and decide that once I leave the apartment I will show everyone the joy this Gospel gives to me by my smile. Even if I can't speak to these people I want them to know that they can have the same joy that I have from this Gospel.

Thank you for everything you do!!

Love, Sister Robison

Everyday the Lord has to assure me that I am doing the right thing, but I know I am. I thought I was a strong person and that I challenged myself but this is literally the hardest thing I have ever done. I continue to think to myself how much easier life would be if I just stayed home. But I know that I wouldnt be who I am now with out these experiences and if I can overcome this I will be able to overcome anything in the future. I sent you a picture of me smiling this is really the only sword I have right now to help these people, my smile and I know they can see the love that I have for them and that I am willing to go through anything to help them.

So here is some funny things about the Philippines- They LOVE karioke, they sing it all day and all night. Also their driving is crazy!! I ride in jeepneys all day and I cross busy roads, I really hope I don't get killed. Everyone is soo small and everything is soo small, I feel like a giant and don't know what the elders do that are taller than me. haha.

Oh and Elder Schenk is in my district!!!! That was probably the happiest day of my mission is that I got to see him, but the little stinker lives in an air condintioned apartment with and oven and hot shower no wonder he was soo smily when I saw him...haha. But he moves out today so he will have a rude awakening soon. Also sister Fluerry is in my district (in the older cebuano district at the MTC) soo good to see her but shes having a rouch time too. she said there has been times where she has literally fell on the floor to her knees in anguish...hope it doesnt get that bad for me.

So every night I come home exhausted!!!! I have never worked or been soo tired in my life, but I am keeping diligent, I speak little english and I am continuing to trust in my Heavenly Father. I love you all!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Here!!!


I am emailing you from the mission home, and I am safe and happy. Tired, very tired but safe. I love you all and loved talking to you on the Phone today!



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Final Day In The MTC!!

Kamusta-Ulahing Adlaw!!

Our last week in the MTC!! This has already been an adventure. I leave for the Philippines in about an hour, I am excited and a little nervous, but mostly excited!! I can't wait to teach the people who have been searching for the truth and have been prepared by the Lord. I feel prepared and I have no regrets. I just wanted to let you know that I might not have internet in some areas, so pray that my first area has internet, or I wont have contact for a loong time :(
I will always look back on my MTC experience with fond memories and remember it as a place where I really began to know and love my Savior personally and trust in Him and His will for me. One Elder from our new English district came up to me and said, even though he didnt get to know me well, I was an example to him of what a missionary should be. He said he saw something special about me and that I will really touch the people I meet. That meant a lot to me, especially coming from someone I hardly know. I feel soo much love for these Filipino people that are waiting for me, I don't think I have been more excited for anything in my life.
Elder Seupule will be delayed a week but he is handling in like a trooper, pray that its no longer that a week :( It must be hard for him to see us all go but he is strong and optimistic!

I want to bear my testimony in Cebuano-

Nahigugma ko niining ebanghelyo. Napasalamat ko niining oportinidad sa pagpaambit so ebanghelyo sa ginoo uban sa iyang mga anak. Nakabati ko sa gugma sa atong amahan so langit para so iyang mga anak. Pinaagi niining MTC kasinatian, naka-ila ko sa akong manluluwas ug sa gahum sa iyang pag-ula para so ato. Naa ang iyang gugma sa gahum so pagusab so kinabunhi sa mga tawo. Naka-ila ta ni Jesukristo pinaagi sa Basahon ni Mormon. Nakabati ko so kahayag ni Jesukristo kon nagbasa ko sa Basahon ni Mormon. Nahigugma ko so akong manluluwas ug langitnon Amahan. Sa Ngalan ni Jesukristo, Amen.

Gugma ko Kanamo!!

Love, Cari