Mission Time In Cebu

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!


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