Friday, September 27, 2013

Week three in the MTC

Kumusta y'all!
    Another great week has come and gone! I am currently sucking on a delicious push pop that the Permenter family sent me in such an awesome package! I have to admit, I didn't quite share it with the people they told me to. It was mostly shared with myself, and my mga kasama hahaha. Pasensiya! But thank you for both your package and the package from the Oahu family!! I really couldn't have asked for more perfect things. You guys know me so well! The mac nuts were perpekto! Arare was delish! And obviously I am enjoying the push pops and all the other treats. Oh and the sweatshirts and sweatpants are def being used. It's probably like 50 degrees over here already and it rains freezing cold rain. There is snow on the mountains already! It's cray. 
     So this week was pretty busy like the entire time. A typical day for me consists of waking up before 6 to get ready for choir practice. We perform this Saturday! Idk when you guys will be watching it but look out for me! Unfortunately the blue shirt I will be wearing is like the same as half of the other girls :( but I will have my hair straightened with my bangs pulled back in a braid! And the shirt is a bright blue. I am a 1st alto. I don't know if that will help with anything but yeah haha. Look out for me! The songs sound sooo good. I hope it can come across as beautiful through the tv. Or computer? Haha have we gotten a tv yet? Okay anyway back to my typical day. So I wake up, eat breakfast, go to choir, have 3 hours of language/gospel class with Brother Soderquist. Then an hour of personal study. Then lunch, and then gym time, TALL (technology assisted language learning) a language learning computer program, another hour of language study on our own, then dinner. Then another 3 hours of language/gospel class with our second teacher Sister Stonick. Brother Soderquist is the best ever. He is a little haole guy but he sounds like a Philippino haha. He served in Baguio! And he even studied Tagalog in college. He is really patient with us but we learn a ton each class. Sister Stonick isn't so sweet haha. Jk she is awesome. She just sets a very high standard for us. But that is good because so does Heavenly Father. And she just wants us to get to be the best missionaries we can be. 
     With such a crazy schedule every day, it can get kind of overwhelming. But before every choir practice a member of the Relief Society General Board shares a little message with us. One of the Sisters shared a message about how we cannot let ourselves feel overwhelmed or defeated. It was exactly what I needed to hear. As missionaries we are expected to set a goal for what we want to accomplish in the day. The goals are supposed to challenge us to do even more than what we did the day before. But some nights, when I look at my planner and see that I actually did even less than the day before, it can get pretty frustrating. I start making excuses like "if they didn't schedule something for us to be doing every second of every day, then maybe I could get more done". Or the most common, "why in the world am I not going to Japan??" haha our classroom used to be on the 3rd floor of the building and Japanese speaking was just the floor below us. I would hear their conversations sometimes and just think about what it would be like if I were going to Japan instead. But like I mentioned last week, there are people that I have met, and things that I have done that I know are meant to be. There is a reason that I am going to serve the people in Baguio and I am going to speak to them in their native tongue. It's beautiful. It's difficult, frustrating, scary and many other things. But it is maganda (beautiful) and I am so blessed to be able to do it.
     Okay this is my last bit for this week! I have a ton of pics I want to send so the email won't be too long with time. But also at choir practice this week, our director, Emily Hadley had to stop our singing and just share a thought with us. She asked us what she thinks other girls our age, members of the church or not, were doing right in that moment. I thought of that for a little while, but then I decided to look around at the 360 Sisters that I had around me in that moment and of course, I cried haha. Just in that room there were 360 19-21 year old girls who have chosen to serve their Lord for the next 18 months. Were they forced into it? No. Are they getting paid to do it? No. Yet we choose to leave our families, our homes, our friends. We choose to endure jam packed days 7 days a week for 18 months. I'm sure each Sister has a different reason as to why they go, but what we all have in common is that we love our Heavenly Father and brother Jesus Christ. We know that we are loved by them. And that love is what causes us to take the actions that we do. And we want to give these 18 months our very best for them. 
     I love you guys. Sorry if this is terribly written. But as always, there are tons of thoughts going through my mind.

Picture time!

Here are Elder Sagario and I on his last Sunday! I'm not really smiling. So embarrassing haha.

These Elders...they are from the district that is two weeks older than us. They are cray. Oh and that is Elder Loitz in the suitcoat. They were striking those poses for no camera. That's just how they were sitting so I asked if they wanted their picture taken and they said yes with no hesitation haha.

I saw Sister Lopez! She was one of my roommates freshman year. She is going to Brazil!
 I also saw Elder Davis! He is the Whiting's cousin! Could you send this picture to the Whitings? I think he is going to Thailand.

I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures with Sister Char yet! We have class like a couple doors away from each other but we got a pic at the temple :)
 This is Elder Clark! You guys remember my friends Jared and Gabe from freshman year? This is Gabe! Such an awesome surprise because he was supposed to go to the brazil mtc but his visa hadn't gone through yet.
This is the district! I just wanted to send a better picture. Hopefully you can see us a little better!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week two in the MTC

Kumusta pamiliya at priends!
     Yes, I spelt it wrong in my last email. Rookie mistake. Also I don't think I know how to say friends yet. So that is just friends in a Pilippino accent hehe. Anyway, well once again there is so much I want to share I don't even know where to start.
     Well, I have a cool experience I would like to share with you guys. I had the opportunity to be in the choir for the devotional on Tuesday night. We sang a beautiful rendition on Joseph Smith's First Prayer. Our director, Brother Eggett is amazing. He breaks down every single word and note of the song to be sure that we are telling the story all the way through. Especially with a song like Joseph Smith's First Prayer, it was important for us to paint the picture of the grove and such. A part that I really liked was we went acapella and sang "Joseph," pause "This is my beloved, hear Him." pause "Oh how sweet the word!" This was to make the fact that God was calling Joseph Smith by name that much more significant. And then we paused after hear him because then the narrator comes back in and says oh how sweet the word. I didn't even realize that! I totally imagined Heavenly Father saying oh how sweet my words are haha. But now that the director pointed that out it made so much sense and made telling the story way easier and clearer. Lastly, at the end of the song we sing "For he saw the living God." and then we repeat "Oh how lovely was the morning." in beautiful parts and stuff. But the best part about that was Brother Eggett told us to imagine Joseph Smith walking out of the grove of trees. Still a 14 year old boy. He didn't walk out of the grove suddenly a prophet preaching to everyone he saw. Brother Eggett is like a master at church history and so he described what happened after Joseph left the grove. He went home, leaned up against the fireplace, and placed his head on the wall. His mom came in to the room and asked him what was the matter. He said something along the lines of "Oh nothing. But I know now that I will not join any of these churches that I have been learning about." And then his journey began. This may not seem to significant but it hit me pretty hard during our choir practice. It brought me to tears actually surprise surprise. But it was silly to cry about it. I couldn't help but think that it was the spirit testifying that what I was singing about was true. Joseph Smith did kneel down in the grove of trees and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did appear to him. I know this to be true and I am so so grateful that it is.
     Okay, before I forget let me recommend that you all watch the General Relief Society Broadcast this Saturday because they have put a Sister Missionary Choir together and I am in it!!! I am soooo excited! We had our first two rehearsals yesterday and today. After the rehearsal yesterday I was just crying like a baby. I don't even know why. I think it was partly because I thought of you guys seeing me and I wouldn't be able to see you and that made me kinds sad. I also thought about how much music has affected my life. I am so glad that I grew up singing especially church songs. I love that whenever I heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir I think of mom and imagine her crying because that's just how it works. And lastly, I imagined you guys being able to see me sooo ridiculously happy, surrounded by hundreds of other ridiculously happy sisters because we are here doing the Lord's work. We choose to wake up at 6:30 every morning and go to class all day where are brains are fried, learning Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portugese, and the list goes on. I'm sure we all wonder at times why we are doing it. And we all have the same answer. It is because we know that what we are about to do will change multiple lives, all of them for the better. And that makes us so happy. You will be able to see it shine through all of us as we sing on Saturday
     Hmm, a lot about music huh? I guess that can be the theme for the week. But I have a little more to share! We had our first night time class the day before yesterday. It was pretty killer. We already have 3 hours of class in the morning and then an hour or two of personal/companion/language study on top of that. So to sit down for another 3 hours and have more class time is more of a struggle than I even thought it would be. I could barely keep my eyes open! That doesn't even happen to me! But it did. But! It got better for sure. Our teacher is Sister Stockin. She actually just so happens to be our progressive investigator that we taught our first week. I told you guys about Joan didn't I? Well she was our first investigator and she turned out to be our teacher! She is a haole girl but speaks sooo fast she sounds like the natives we listen to on our language programs. The trippiest thing about the language to me right now is that all of the "K"s are soft. So it sounds almost like arabic! Like kumusta po kayo is how are you. She asked that to us during our first discussion with her and I was like huh? Are you speaking Tagalog? haha. But yeah so she is our evening teacher, bless her soul. She gets the worst of us thats for sure. But her lessons are really inspiring. You can tell that she worked realllly hard at personal spiritual study in order to be able to work realllly hard at companion study in order to work reallllly hard at language study and become as good as she is now. And she expects that from all of us. She had us set goals for this coming week. I set mine to be to learn 5 new phrases in Tagalog. When I told her she kinda just looked at me. And then wrote on the board that the ideal would be to learn 30-50 new vocab words a day. And 15 phrases a day. Haha! I almost died. So we set new goals obviously. And then we set our daily goals. And yesterday I learned 40 new vocabulary! I was really proud of myself and I understood now why people get so into setting goals and making lists and stuff. It is such a great feeling to accomplish what you set out to do. 
      I love you guys! I know this gospel that I am learning more about with each day is true. I know that I am meant to be here right now. Oh yeah, idk if this is sac-religious but I totally get dejavu multiple times a day here. I feel like I know the people already and I feel like I have been in these classrooms. Its so strange! But it obviously means that I am meant to be here. I love all of you guys. Thank you for your Dear Elders! They definitely brighten my week. I will get better at writing you guys back during the week! I miss you all but I pray about you guys every night and it helps me to feel closer to you. Hope you have a great weekend and great week ahead! Ingat po! Take care!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Sawada

Pictures, pictures, pictures

So the first one is of my mga kasama. Sister Bangerter and Sister Anien and I at the temple on our pday. It was Sister Anien's first time! In the Marshall Islands their temple is technically the Laie Temple. So she didn't have the opportunity to get her endowments taken out before she got here. Crazy huh? I thought the 45 minute drive was long. But anyway, Sister Bangerter and I got to be her escorts! Such a cool experience that I will cherish forever.

The second picture is Elder Loitz. The life/deadness of the classroom hahaha he is either super energetic or dead to the world. This was one of his more dead times. After the devotional on Tuesday night our branch president and his wife came in and asked us to bear our testimonies about what we learned tonight. Elder Loitz's was about how he has really struggled being here in the MTC but the words tonight made him realize why he was there. These were his words to the best of my memory "I know this gospel is true. I wouldn't be here if it weren't. I love my family way too much to do that." It made us all cry pretty much. Such a sweet and simple testimony. But you could tell it was coming from the heart.

So this first one is of my district outside of the temple on our temple walk that we have each sunday. From left to right on the top is Elder Waldron our district leader. Then his companion Elder Loitz. Then Elder Rujke. Pretty cool to think that people from all over the world are gathering here to move the work forward. Dude I'm so cheesy but it's true! Then there is Elder Rasmussen who is amazing at the piano! I am going to audition to sing a musical number in some meeting here and he looked at He'll Carry You and pretty much played it right then like it was nothing. He's awesome.
Then there is Sister Lowham, Bangerter, Me, Tapusoa and Anien

The second picture is kind of blurry and creepy! But it's me and Sister Carlile! I didn't see her for the first like 3 or 4 days and now we see each other all the time! It makes me happy

So this first picture is Elder Loitz's language book. He can't pay attention for too long so he doodles, and then he makes them somehow connect to the phrase he is trying to memorize. Not sure if its the most effective way, but it keeps him occupied which is important hahaha. He's such a character.

Then the second one is a picture of what Elder Waldron drew when he was really bored one day. It's the philippines with all of our missions divided up and such. Pretty fun huh?
hahaha so this first picture is of Sister Tapusoa and I. She hates getting pictures taken of herself but I told her I had to show my family how we are best friends. So this is our best friends picture. We look super happy together right? hahah

And then another picture of my and my mga kasama. In case you wanted more hah


Had to show you guys my notes because I work so hard on them and they are pretty dang beautiful. Gotten tons of compliments on them. Nbd.

And then some more of Elder Waldron and Loitz. And Sister Bangerter with the photobomb haha. I tried to get one of Rasmussen and Rujke close up but Rujke doesnt like pictures haha. Okay this is the end of the pictures! Love you guys! Hope you like them! I hope to hear from you soon! If you can, dear elder me so that I can read from you guys and then respond here! okay ingat!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14, 2013

Alright, Kumusta friends and family! I have made it safely to the MTC and I can't really believe how much I love it here! So far my mga kasama (companions) and I have woken up at 5:45 each morning but I have no trouble with it! First, I get so excited to roll out of my bed and get on my knees and attempt a prayer in Tagalog. Then I remember all of the classes and studying that I have ahead of me and although it makes me pretty dang tired, it makes me even more excited! Also, on the first day here I met an Elder from the Philippines and he (not even knowing I am going to the Philippines) asked if I was Philippino! I said no but I am serving there. And then I said "How are you" in Tagalog "Kumusta po kayo" and he was like, "You sound like a native!" so yeah that got me pretty pumped too. You may have noticed I put a "mga" before kasama which makes the word plural. Yes, I have 2 mga kasama. We are a tripanionship :) and I love it! One kasama is Sister Bangerter. She is from Texas, Dallas area. She is half hatian have haole! Crazy right? She is BEAUTIFUL inside and out. She and I are actually pretty similar haha I just realized how conceited that sounds for me to say that after I have said how beautiful she is. BUT, I mean more in ways of personality. We are very go with the flow but want to follow with as much exact obedience as possible. She also went to BYU for her freshman year and now she is here! My other kasama is Sister Anien. She is from the Marshall Islands! She is soo good at English though! But it is still her second language and now she is learning Tagalog! It's crazy, I can't imagine. But of course the Lord has and will continue to qualify her. My district is by far the best one here at the MTC! There is Sister Lowham from Montana. She is tiny, but she is the oldest of all of us. She sets her alarm for us each night and even reminded me about my typhoid pill! (Even though I already took it because I am so responsible:)) But yeah, she also keeps us in line with the rules because we haven't finished reading the Mission Handbook yet. We are to finish reading it by tomorrow. Her kasama is Sister Tapusoa. She is from St. George but she was born at Castle Medical Center! She is Samoan, Japanese, Philippino, and a ton of other stuff haha. But she's really easy to get along with and she was actually in the MTC in May! But then she tore her ACL playing basketball and was sent home for surgery and physical therapy and is back now. She knows quite a bit more than us because she was here form 3 weeks before she got sent home. But you would never guess that she was so good because she is so humble about it and patient with us during language class.

       I love my language class!!!! Oh wait first, the Elders of my district! There is Elder Waldron, our District Leader, Elder Loitz, the funniest kid ever, Elder Rujke, from the Marshall Islands as well, and Elder Rasmussen! They are all from like less than 20 minutes away from the MTC besides Rujke. They are all such great guys! They keep the district laughing haha. I don't have that much time and I want to share so many stories! Especially about Elder Loitz, he's a character. But I don't have much time. But I will share one funny story that will kind of put the MTC experience into perspective. This happened on Thursday, our second day at the MTC. Elder Waldron was telling me about how he saw the Elder from Hawaii that was in the series The District. It's funny how he's like a celebrity around here. So I was freaking out and I was like "You saw him in the MTC??" And he was like "Yeah! I saw him like last week!" And I was like "Elder, we have been here for 2 days." hahaha but it's so true! The days feel like weeks here. Somewhat because they drag on in a mildly torturous way, but mostly because we are doing something every second of every day! Our first night here we had the opportunity to teach investigators already. Luckily it was in English. And it wasn't just me and my mga kasama but it was a big group of missionaries that just got into the MTC that day. It's kind of hard to explain, but we were really able to put what teaching investigators will be like into perspective. It was really a wake up call to me because I can't just testify that I know these things are true and automatically cause others to know it is true too. I learned that the most important thing that I will be doing in the Philippines is not preaching His Gospel. It is listening. Listening to the needs of those that I meet with and seeing what I can do, to improve their lives. This is such a scattered email and I apologize for any typos, or things that just don't make sense at all. I am hoping to get into the habit of writing better journal entries so that I can have a better idea of what I want to share with you guys in my emails.

       The last thing I want to leave with you guys is something that my mga kasama memorized after like an hour of studying haha. But it is our purpose as missionaries in Tagalog. It is to imbitahin ang iba na lumapit kay Cristo, sa pagtulong sa kanila na matanggap ang ibinalik na Ebanghelyo, sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya kay JesuCristo at sa Kanyang Pagbabayadsala, pagsisisi, binyag, pagtanggup ng kaloop na Espiritu Santo, at pagtitiis hanggang wakas. That's right, I just typed that all from memory haha. But seriously, I know that the only reason my mga kasama and I could learn this so quickly is because it is important. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I know that if I let this be my focus, I will have Espiritu Santo working along side me and I can be the missionary that I have always wanted to be. Sa pangalan ni JesuCristo, Amen.

 I will share more about my teaching experiences when I have more time. But for now, ingat po! I love you all! And life is awesome. We are so blessed.

Family, keep reading your scriptures! I have been reading reading reading and I have never felt so close to God and my brother Jesus Christ. I know that they are with me each minute of the day as I work here with so many other amazing Elders and Sisters.