Sunday, December 15, 2013

MY WEEK!! Christmas Conference and... transfers!

Oh man. I cannot even describe to you how crazy this week has been. And, I'm running out of time anyway, so it's going to be a very digested version! 

We had Christmas Conference! It started Tuesday, with half of the mission having games and sports all day, then their performances and gift exchange on Tuesday night. Since that was Sister Storey's group, Sister Ai'i and I got to go to their performances and stuff since Sister Storey and I were dancing. It was so fun! So creative, and we just had a blast. Sister Storey did beautifully, but I watched the video of our dance, and it was the worst dancing I have ever done!! haha. I really am losing it. :/ sayang. It was fun anyway. :) Tuesday was pretty nuts too, because there were so many missionaries staying at our place since they live too far away. We had a total of 12 of us in my apartment, 10 in the apartment above us, and about 20 Elders that stayed in the apartment next to us that used to belong to the Senior Couple that just went home. And they all needed to use OUR key! We had to cut like, three hours total out of proselyting just to let people in and out and play hostesses. Man, it was stressful. Wednesday morning was devotional for ALL OF THE MISSIONARIES in the whole mission. Total, I think 227 of us? In one chapel. It was a tight fit! It was insane. My trainee, Sis. Dollete, gave me my christmas present! She has this ring with her name on it, and I remember once telling her I thought it was cool. So, she told her little sister to have one made in her hometown with my name on it and mail it to her so she could give it to me. I LOVE HER! Sad that I can't wear it for 10 more months because it's my first name, but it's so awesome! So, after our big devotional, we ate lunch and then the second half of us went and played sports. we went to a local college campus, and it was so fun. I ended up playing soccer the entire time, and I wasn't too bad! I played with Sister Wood, who plays on the BYU women's soccer team, and she told my I should try out after the mish. haha! yeah, right. After sports, we had our performances! Our zone did our "itik itik" dance, and then after that we gave President and Sister Barrientos some Polynesian lava lava's and some candy lei's and had them dance with my Samoan companion. it was pretty funny to watch! Our skit went over well, and there were some pretty funny things going on. I loved it. After that we had a gift exchange! We just numbered everything, drew out a number, and that was what you got. I got this awesome vintage-y mickey mouse photo album! I'm pretty happy about it. That night, we got home at 11:00 and were all in bed at midnight. The next morning was rough, that's for sure! So worth it though. 

The next big thing- I'M BEING TRANSFERRED! Again. I'm going to Camalaniugan, which is in the middle of Cagayan, the other province in my mission. It's going to be cold, and I'm going to miss my fast food and flushing toilet. It's going to be culture shock all over again so I'm told, so we're going to McD's one more time today to prep for it. :) Also... I'm a Sister Training Leader!! I don't know if you remember much about when that came out, but basically it's like a Sister Zone Leader. There are one pair per zone, and we go on exchanges with all of the Sisters and do cleaning checks for everyone's apartments. My new companion is my trainer, actually. It'll be weird to work with her again, but at least now I speak Tagalog! haha. I'm really excited, but kind of nervous at the same time. So, we head off tomorrow morning for a 6-7 hour bus ride along the beach out to the middle of the rice fields. SO excited!!! And I should probably go now. Gotta finish packing! Or try to, anyway. I hate packing. 

Well, I love you all. Thank you for the support, and the prayers! They are felt, and used. Stay safe, and enjoy the snow! haha. I miss that stuff. 

Sister Amy Porter

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Saved by a Baptist..

Hey! How are you all?! I am so glad to hear about all of your adventures in California. Thanks for the pictures! You all look smashing. So, this week was fun! A little crazy, but that's just how things go I suppose. Mostly, one thing in particular happened. 

We were "Saved"! By a Baptist. It was nuts. we were teaching a Less Active, and her friend that I guess used to be a member but will "Be Baptist till the day she dies". So I thought, "It's okay, we'll just teach about Jesus." So we share this nice little message, and she just says, "Can I ask you one question? Where is your soul going if you die right now?" All this is in English mind you. So I pull out a Plan of Salvation Pamphlet, and just decide to give it to her and leave. Well, she wouldn't have any of that. We start to say something about the Spirit World, and she says, "I am NOT asking about your SPIRIT, I am not asking about your RELIGION, I AM ASKING ABOUT YOUR SOUL." Jeepers. So, we got this whole lesson, and man, it was scary. We didn't really know what to do, so we just sat there. But let me tell you, there was NO Spirit there. It felt so gross inside. She eventually asks us to say the Sinner's Prayer to get automatic salvation, and we just said that she could say it. So, she said this Baptist prayer, and was sweating since she got into it so much. Wowzers. Well, we're saved I guess. woo! It was even thanksgiving! Which, by the way, was great. We had broccoli cheese soup, stuffing, idaho mashed potatoes, and jello! One of the Sister's mom's sent it. It was so good! Also, random fact, Sister Storey called me on President's phone and said that President's wife wants her to dance ballet in the Christmas Conference, but she doesn't want to do it alone, so now I'm doing a ballet number with Sister Storey too. ha! Love life. 

Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for everything. :) Masayang Pasco!!! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The latest weather report from the Laoag Mission..

Just so that you all know, we had no ill effects from the Super Typhoon that came through the Philippines the other day. All is well up here, and life goes on as normal. I, however, have gained a new perspective. I remember when I was at home, and I'd hear about something like this happening, I would think about how cool it sounded, and how crazy it must have been to see. Now, serving here with these amazing people, all I can think of is if the people I'm teaching were affected, how would I react? I am amazed at how much love I feel for the people that were affected, rather than if it looked cool or what. Anyway, we're fine, but that's my testimony. :) We are all children of God! He has control over everything, and if we trust Him, we will be fine. 

A very safe and very dry Sister Missionary, 
Sister Porter

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Alright, this week. Has been insane. And I will try to tell you about it in the little amount of time I have left! :) 

We got SLAMMED by a typhoon. I don't know if any of you keep up with the weather here, but it was pretty crazy. We couldn't go out all thursday, and thursday night it got really crazy. The wind was screaming through the windows and under the doors, and just ripping everything apart. It was so loud we couldn't sleep. I probably slept for maybe three hours. The power was out for about 12 hours, and wow, it was just bizarre. So scary. BUT SO COOL! But I'm grateful the wind has died down. It didn't really affect much here since it's just city, but it was still way intense. I guess there might be another one on it's way? Pray for us!

This experience was a first and hopefully a last- We were proselyting and met this man who was interested to talk to us. We talked for a bit, invited him to church, and exchanged numbers so we could set up an appointment. Nothing super different. But, we get a couple texts from him later that night, asking how old we were and stuff. He called twice in the middle of the night. We get more texts the next morning with him telling us how he was sorry, he was just "fallin in love with sis. porter". uh... yikes. He said he wanted me for his wife before I go back to America, and in all his looking for an American wife, I was the best he's found so far. So, we obviously tell president, and he just says to ignore him. But, then we get a text from this guy saying that he's definitely coming to church. AAAAAAHHHHH... I have never been so scared to go to church in my life. luckily.. he didn't show up. But wow, I was so scared. Still kind of am a bit. But... 

I'M GETTING TRANSFERRED! so it doesn't matter, haha. Totally a surprise! I mean, I've only been here for one transfer with Sister Diamond. And I LOVE it, and am way sad to leave. Luckily, i'm only being transferred to the Laoag 3rd ward instead of the 1st. haha. I move apartments, about 5 minutes away, and my new companion, Sis. Copeland, is currently the companion of my MTC companion, Sis. Hansen. And.. Sister Diamond is our new Sister Training leader! So, I'm transferring from the second nicest apartment to the nicest (they call it the missionary mansion), I'm still in the same district, and I get to see/go on exchanges with Sis. Diamond!! It's pretty great. :) though, I still have to pack and say goodbye to people, which is way sad, but I'm still close enough to see them. Yay, blessings!! 

Anyway, that's about where we're at with things. :) I love this work! I love this country, especially during the "Christmas season", haha. This place is great. :) I love you all!! 

Sister Amy Porter

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Transfers! Livin' it up in Laoag

Hello all! Gotta love how CRAZY life gets during transfer week! I can't even describe it, like, really. It's so frustrating! I just want to say everything that I have experienced but there really isn't even words. I'll try, haha, but wow, it's such a weird transition. So here are some of the things I actually remember from the past few days: 

  • Our apartment. Is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It is brand new, never been lived in (not counting the bugs of course) and is huge! Two stories, complete with a balcony on the second floor that would be PERFECT for yoga.There is a stained glass window of Japanese cherry blossoms and blue birds in the bathroom door. I don't think I will ever live in as nice of an apartment in my life. Granted, we don't get running water until about noon, there are frequent brown outs, and the bugs are massive, but hey. Can't really complain. Plus, it's just Sister Diamond and I, so it's just great! There are five units in the building, and four of them are rented by sister missionaries. I think there are.. 14 of us that live in the building. and out of that, I think there are 4 Filipinos. So crazy!! So many Americans in one spot! It is so different from my last area. 
  • So our area is about 6 streets wide, and not very big at all. I think there are 5 barangays when in my last area we had about 30. We are also in the very heart of the biggest city in the mission, so we have everything we could want in our area. Pizza places, McDonalds, KFC, Huge grocery stores, literally everything that you can think of. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but just about. We walk everywhere, of course, since it's so close. We don't even live in our area! Also, the church is right down street from the apartment complex. It's a shorter walk than it was going to church at BYU! 
  • The members here are so wonderful!! They literally walk up to us and ask when they can come work with us. They are so excited about missionary work! The Ward Mission Leader is an RM, and his wife is too. They met on the mission actually, I guess that's sort of common out here. There are 8 missionaries in the ward, us, and the 2 pairs of office elders and the AP's. As well as President and his wife! We see them every week! So weird. But great! I love them so much. 
  • Tracting here is so great! Everyone is so open, and since it's a rich area, they aren't really weirded out to see Americans. We still get treated kind of funny, but it's a totally different atmosphere. We had one older man wave us over and told us all about the time he and his wife vacationed in Utah. He said they went to some place called Angel's Rest? I think that's real. Anyway, he had pictures and everything! It was a bit surreal. We are not having a very hard talking to people at all. I can anticipate some problems with where they live though, there are a lot of people who visit Laoag or who commute everyday. We will probably get a lot of referrals for other areas, especially since there are about 20 to 25 areas just in the city itself. 
  • We met this one member, she has two children. One named Anti-Nephi-Lehi, and the other named Diati De Dieticus. I know I spelled that horribly, but it's the Greek translation of Doctrine and Covenants. That threw me for a loop. All I could think of was that poor child in kindergarten learning how to spell her name. Cute kid though. 
  • We even got a brand new refrigerator. So nice! But.. well, I don't even know how to describe what happened. I was rinsing something off or something and went to put it in the freezer. Well, my finger brushed the bottom of the freezer and totally stuck. IT HURT SO BAD. I have this little circle of frostbite on my finger tip now, and it is unbelievably painful. I don't really know what to do about it though.. But I have such a deeper appreciation for the pioneers now. Thinking of crossing the plains with frostbitten extremities sounds so much worse than it ever did before. Kind of a stupid experience, but it resulted in a stronger testimony. Kind of cool. haha, no pun intended. 
  • Our landlady has a pet eagle. It's so scary. It's a crested serpent eagle I think? We accidentally locked ourselves out, and went to ask for keys, and it just stared at us from it's cage. I guess it was a gift to her? So weird and just.. terrifying. 
I know that's not it, but that's all I can put into words. Really, it's the weirdest feeling. I am having such a good time here! Our lessons have been really good from the start, and it is a good feeling to feel the Spirit testifying of truth everywhere you go. I am so excited to be here working with Sis. Diamond! Wow, this mission. So fun. 

I love you all! Thanks for everything. :) 

Sister Amy Porter

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Well, in rolls September, and with it, the official Christmas season! Masayang Pasco to you all! 

Here are a few highlights of the week: 

  • Exchanges! We had them 2 days in a row, one for our companionship and the next for the other companionship in our apartment. Both days we couldn't go out and work because of the monsoon rains. So much rain! May mga baha kahit saan! (floods everywhere!) We had to get pretty creative while sitting in our apartment. So much language study, my poor Tagalog brain is fried. 
  • Bats, bats and more bats! Except this time, they were about as big as seagulls. WHAT. so scary, and they just fly super low and you can hear their wings flap and it's GROSS. I guess there's this superstition here about witches that split themselves in two and become two bats or something? Way creepy. 
  • Ward activity! SO FUN!! We had a talent show, and the missionaries were supposed to put something together. I taught the other sisters the Hawaiian chant that Mom and I learned in choir, and we sang that. Then, I played Song of the Ocean by Jon Schmidt. It was way hard since the piano was so out of tune, and little kids kept running back to the piano and watching super close, but I did it! And, we won the most unique award for our Hawaiian chant! Yeah! haha. Our prize was some snacks wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. :) 
  • Christmas! Yesterday, a woman brought her dog to church dressed as Santa Clause. Haha, I'm excited to see how much celebrating actually starts. How you can celebrate one day for 4 months is beyond me. I'd run out of things to do! 
  • Speaking of dogs, we hit one while in a tricycle the other day. Just bumped it since it wouldn't move, but I still felt WAY bad. :/ It was sad but a little funny at the same time because it looked SO confused, haha. 
I think that's about it for now. Sorry this is short! I love you all, and am so grateful for all the support! We're going to go shopping in Laoag now, we're allowed to go on the first week of the month. Yay, field trip! They have some American food there, which I am grateful for! 3 cheers for Special K and Nesquik strawberry milk! haha. :) Ingat kayo! 

Sister Porter

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Monday, July 22, 2013

From trainee to trainer..

I'm sorry I haven't kept this as updated as I should! I wish we had more computer time than we actually do. Ah! Time goes so fast! But here are some of the highlights of the past few weeks: 

One of the Nanay's in our ward (Nanay = mom, but you use it sort of like Mrs. here as well) invited us to her house for lunch. Of course we agree, so after church we head to her house. Here are the things we learned about her. 
    • Her name is Lucia Valdez. 
    • She is 95 years old, still comes to church every week and is quite a spitfire. 
    • She is an internationally acclaimed artist. 
    • She has traveled the world many times, with her husband, who was the Philippines ambassador to about 20 different countries. 
    • She usually stays in Manila under the personal care of Fidel Ramos, a former President of the Philippines, who is also her cousin. 
    • She is related to the famed Ferdinand Marcos and is close friends with his equally famous wife, Imelda. 
    • She has a wonderful garden, some of which she donated to the Manila Temple grounds after she was converted (30 years ago)
    • at age 75 she served a mission in New Zealand, just because she could. 
    • She is currently writing a couple of books, because she stopped painting 5 years ago. 
    Um, WHAT?! All the Sisters here studied about this woman in their History classes! She is so amazing! She has a book about her life and her work, entitled "Colors of Light: Life Story and Paintings of Lucia Najera Mangapit Valdez" or something very similar. You should definitely look it up. She's a rockstar. And she took us out to lunch! To a restaurant. On Sunday. Haha, it was bizarre, but we couldn't see a way out! This woman is all alone, can't cook, and needs food. Wow, that was an experience. 

    WOW TRAINING IS HARD BUT GREAT. This past week has been insane. For the first few days, Sis. Lopez and I worked together in both areas, which was so hard because there were so many people to talk to and to teach! Plus, I definitely didn't know the way to half of the places we were going. So.. I can officially that I've gotten lost in the Philippines. We all knew it was going to happen though, so it's probably not that much of a surprise. :) Anyway, Thursday rolls around and we have a District meeting with our new district! We sang America the Beautiful and The Star Spangled Banner since there were two Americans and it was July 4th. :) Nobody else knew the words or the tune, haha. But us two sang loud and proud! In summary, here is what happened after. Sis. Lopez and I went to Laoag! We met with the other trainers in the stake center and had our trainers training. I was scared to death. Then, all the new missionaries came in, and we were told that we were to go proselyting in the city of Laoag for an hour and a half with a new missionary. So, this sister named Sis. Ellis picked me, and we go walking around Laoag. I WAS SO SCARED. I don't know Laoag very well, and we didn't go proselyting when I came!! But, we placed a pamphlet and two copies of the BoM  because as we were talking to one man about it, another came up and said, "Ma'am, can I have a copy of that book?" um, YES. But he took it and just walked off so we didn't get a name or anything. :/ still pretty cool. We go back to the stake center, and have dinner! It was catered, and absolutely wonderful. it's still weird to see entire cooked animals on the table though, I couldn't really look at the table because of the pig face looking back at me. then, we go into the chapel and get our trainees!! My trainee is Sis. Dollete (like dolyete), and she is from Roxas City in the Philippines. She is so wonderful! She served a short term mission a while ago, like two weeks I think, so she's pretty pro at updating and teaching already. We are working well together! It's real crazy to be in charge though.

    Here are a few of what I like to call OITP's, or Only In The Philippines: 

    1- IcyHot translates into LukewarmHeatofpurgatory. 
    2- Two minutes is the recommended teeth brushing time, but may be extended to three if a mosquito flies in your mouth while brushing. 
    3-Roosters do NOT only crow in the morning. 
    4- Applying nutrition facts to your diet can be mildly hard when they are measured by Thai Recommended Daily Intake. 
    6- When the power goes out, it is called a Brown-out, not a Black-out. I will let you interpret that as you will.
    7- All of my 'Hand wash cold, line dry' clothes are lovin' life! 

    I just want to say thank you for all of the prayers and support! I can really feel it over here. I've heard that before from many people, that they can 'feel your prayers', but I always thought, "no way, that's so weird." haha, joke! It's true. Based off of what I have experienced so far, I want to say a couple of things. 1) GO TO THE TEMPLE. I don't get to here, and I miss it so bad. You have no idea how blessed we are to have access to a temple. 2) Read your scriptures. Enjoy them! They are so funny and great! Also, study about Gideon. He doesn't get mentioned as much, but he's officially my Book of Mormon hero. 3) talk about the gospel. All the time. It is THE ONLY THING in our lives that is important. Let people know that. 

    Thank you all again, wish you were here!! 

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

From the Philippines!

Sorry it's taken so long! Emailing time goes so fast! Here are some things from the past couple of weeks: 
  • We had this super crazy rainstorm, complete with a blackout in the ENTIRE city. I guess that's pretty normal, but for me, I was essentially freaking out. It was pretty cool though, except for the fact that no power means no electric fans! haha. But it was cool. The blackout didn't last very long, but I was very grateful for my flashlight that converts into a "candle"! 
  • We had an earthquake!! It was the COOLEST thing ever. I guess it was pretty strong, a 5.4, but it was a lot less dramatic than they make it seem like it's going to be in elementary school. Mostly, we just sat in our apartment not entirely sure what to do while everything shook for about 30 seconds. It was a pretty weird feeling, but mostly it was awesome. :) President told us though that next time, we should probably leave the apartment since it's not very structurally sound. oops! 
  • Haha, this is funny. We were tracting, and a tricy driver stops us and asks us where we're tracting. Well, that's not a very common question, so we ask if he's a member. he said he is, and points to his tricy. Sure enough, in the middle of two gangster looking gothic dragon decals is a giant decal of the Angel Moroni. HAH! So hilarious. Good for him. :)
  • Um, we were teaching a lesson, and a couple of lizards just fell from the ceiling to the middle of the floor. Um, okay. Let it be known that the sound of a lizard hitting the floor is one of the funniest sounds there is. 
  • Speaking of crazy sounds, there are so many bullfrogs here! And the big ones sound like cows mooing. no joke. 
  • They love families here. This week, we went to a "Happy 7th Month" party for this little girl, and they went all out! Catering, giant cake, party favors, wow it was cool. I guess it's common to do that every month for a baby's first year. Wow!
  • I. FIXED. OUR. SHOWER. yayyyy!!! I finally just took a few minutes one day and cranked the handle REALLY hard, and lo and behold, the shower works! Oh man, I just about started to cry tears of joy. I told the other sisters, but it's not a big deal for them since they're all used to the bucket method. One sister said "oh, I knew it worked. I didn't know you wanted a shower." um, WHAT. aaahh! I could have had a shower the whole time!! Anyway, it is now functional. and I love it. 
  • We went on exchanges!! I worked with Sis. Boekweg for a day, and Sis. Iraola worked with her companion, Sis. Quiles. Sis. Boekweg has been out over a year, is from Utah, and is the most humble, shy, wonderful person ever. We worked in her area, and the other sisters in the city are Sis. Storey and her companion! So I got to be with them for a day! It was wonderful to be around more Americans. I love my Batac Sisters, but it's not quite the same. Plus, Sis. Boekweg has American food from her mom! We had Alfredo, and it was delicious. 
Essentially, the Philippines is beautiful, hot, and very different from Utah, but that's what I signed up for! I am learning a lot from my trainer, and I hope that I'm becoming the missionary I'm supposed to be! 

Oh! My address for my ENTIRE mission will be the mission home address that's on this blog. Please use it, haha! Mail is so wonderful. :) I love you all, and keep the faith! 

Sister Porter

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Off we go!

OH my heavens, I cannot believe it's just about time to leave the MTC! I'm just about freaking out, riding the biggest emotional roller-coaster that was ever created *insert roller-coaster face here*. Goodness, it's such a scary thought! But at the same time, it doesn't feel like much to worry about. It's like my natural man and my spirit just sit on my shoulders like the angel and the devil and argue ALL DAY. It's quite annoying actually, haha. Well, here are some highlights:
  • Our district has gotten really good at getting good seats for the devotionals just so that if someone really important shows up, we're not stuck in the overflow, and this week it paid off!! Our speaker was Elder Russell M. Nelson! Oh my goodness, he is so ridiculously funny. He and his wife (I didn't know he was remarried) talked about family history and how we can pray for our ancestors by name or characteristic to help us, or how the ancestors of the people we will teach are praying for us all the time. Pretty cool. Anyway, my favorite quote from Elder Nelson: (he was talking about something with the international MTC's) " He (pointing to a guy on the stand) is the Director of the International MTC's actually. My job's to be a prophet. *grin*" bahaha, it was hilarious. Or he was telling us a story of someone he baptized when he was a dr. in the army, and he showed us a picture. "I'm the guy in the middle in the red tie. The same tie I'm wearing now actually..." haha, as if we don't all have pictures of him up in EVERY room on this campus. It was pretty great.
  • WE SKYPED WITH SOMEONE IN THE PHILIPPINES. So, yup. Completely freaked me out. For TRC, we're running out of room for everyone to get a chance to teach regularly, so they've started asking teachers for people they know that are native Filipinos and have access to skype. Most of the people in my district were skyping with people that were living in California or Utah, but when we asked our person where he was from, he said some crazy name and then "Manila". Sister Storey just paused and said, "Ngayon?" which means "right now?" He just laughed and said yes. AAAAHH. It was horrifying. We ended up just reading off what we'd "prepared", (we were supposed to do it tonight, so we hadn't prepared yet but they changed the day suddenly) and hoped for the best. He didn't say much, but still. He was in. the. Philippines.
  • So yesterday, we did In Field Orientation! Woo! Holy Cow, it was nutso. We just went back and forth between two room sitting and learning and practicing for 9 hours straight, with a 30 min. break for lunch. Wow, it was rough. It was really cool though, and they made a really big effort to make it entertaining and fun. I guess they call it the "Disneyland of the MTC", which sounds dumb, but it really was kind of like that. There was this one teacher who used to be Athiest, but about 7 years ago was converted in France and he is VERY proud to be a Frenchman. I would be too if I had an accent like that, but still. It was pretty funny. There were some really cool things we did though- like practice how to share about with someone at the airport, or practice how to just briefly give a one minute overview of some doctrine if you meet someone in a park. It was very cool, but afterwards, my legs hurt so bad!! It got me pretty excited, until we went to class and I had to teach in Tagalog again (IFO was all english) and I felt SO inadequate. This next week will be quite an adventure! haha. yikes. Pray for me.
  • We heard about President Monson's wife. Oh, how I love them! I know things get hard, but this Gospel is true!
I am so excited to go teach the people of the Philippines! Everytime I get scared, I just have to remember that the Lord knows what he's doing and it's such a good thing he does! I know this Church is true. Alam ko po na totoo!
*If you want to write to me, plese use the Laoag Mission Home address now. I'll get my actual address up when I can! Emails are always welcome, but I don't know how likely it is to get an email back. I'll try very hard to write back though!
Sister Amy Porter

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Travel Plans!

First things first! We got our travel plans!!!! OH my goodness, it was so hard to focus yesterday. We fly on Monday the 20th from Salt Lake to Seattle. Then, from Seattle to Tokyo, and from Tokyo to Manila. It sounds so simple when you write it down, but it's NUTSO!! We've made friends with some of the Japanese elders, so I had one of them write down some basic Japanese phrases for me so I can at least ask for help and explain that I don't speak Japanese, haha. I'm pretty excited regardless. :) Now some highlights:
Best. Thing. Ever. Okay, that might be a minor exaggeration, but seriously. I bought some poprocks at the bookstore a couple of days ago, and I went back to class and was eating them to keep myself awake. Well, Elder Simiti (the one from Samoa) came in, and it donned on me that he probably had no idea what poprocks were. So, I offered him some. :) He looked kind of skeptical, but said he'd try some. I gave him a fair amount, and he just took the biggest one, popped it in his mouth, and crunched down on it. Well, we all know that ruins the fun, but he didn't. So I just told him to put the whole little pile right in his mouth. After some persuading, he did. Oh man, it was the funniest thing ever! He made a "what-is-going-on" sort of face, and then started giggling. A huge, 22 year old Samoan man was GIGGLING. Ah! It was so great! He kept turning to his companions and just opened his mouth and said "you hear it?!" It was so great. SO great.
Devotional this last Sunday- Chad Lewis!!! The BYU football player that went pro for 8 years and then became the NFL ambassador to China because he spoke Chinese from his mission. Um, that was the best thing ever. It was like one, wonderful, giant pre-game pep talk. So great.
Another "Amy" moment for all of you- I was putting my mascara on the other day and for some reason I didn't register that I needed to scoot my face back away from the mirror to turn the brush around. Consequently, I gouged my eyeball. Like literally, gouged it. Not just a little poke, like dragged the tip of the brush across half of my eyeball. MAN. It hurt so bad. I went to class, and literally couldn't see for a bit. Then my eye hurt so bad and I couldn't even focus it to read something. It was a very pathetic morning. It ended up hurting the entire day, and even going to sleep that night I'd have to close my eyes, and then open them after a few minutes because keeping them closed was uncomfortable. Never fear, I woke up and have been fine ever since, but it was real dumb. One of the Elders, Elder Hall just turned to me the next day and said, "Oh. I thought you were just having a really spiritual experience." Well, alright. If that's what you want to think, go ahead, haha.
Okay, on a more spiritual note. Yesterday, mga kasama ko were having a bit of a rough time because of getting travel plans and missing family, etc. So, one of them asked the Elders for a blessing. So we go into a classroom, and she gets a blessing. Then, the other one asks for one at the same time that Elder Simiti asks if he can give her one. Very cool. Anyway, he still has really broken English, so he told her he was going to give the blessing in Samoan. She was sort of skeptical, but in the broken English he does know he said, "Many countries, one God. You don't know in the Samoan, but God knows in the Samoan. He know the blessings I say, and give them you. You no know in the Samoan, and I don't know in the English. But one God." It was so extremely powerful, I couldn't even say a thing. He proceeds to ask for her full name and give her the most beautiful blessing in Samoan that I have ever heard. That language is so beautiful anyway, but when the Spirit is so strong and the language unites with the language of the spirit, it was so unique and touching and just so GOOD. I don't even know how to describe it. Needless to say we were all in tears. That Samoan Elder is so strong, it is amazing! I heard his "life story" yesterday, and I just realized that my life has been so easy! We've gotten three new districts (yay!) in our branch, and it's been so fun to see them all come in and be excited and be able to give them advice. But there is one Tongan sister, and she shared with us her story when we had a little testimony meeting. I guess her dad left when she was born, and moved to America. She never met him. When it was time to come to the MTC, she was having visa problems. They told her to write to her dad in America and ask for help so she could list a family member on the papers so getting one would be easier. So she asks this father, whom she's never met, for help. It all works out, and she meets her father for the FIRST TIME the day she enters the MTC. WOW. I have been humbled many times lately. I knew how blessed I was, but I didn't realize it, if that makes sense. Wow. Just Wow.
Be grateful today for what you have! We never know how much we have till someone else tells us they've never had it. Thank the Lord today! Love you all!
Sister Amy Porter

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Illness, anyone?

Well, I haven't been feeling well lately. Not fun, I'll tell you, not fun! But, I've had some pretty funny experiences because of it, and here's my favorite.
So. Last Tuesday I started to get a cold pretty hard-core. That much has been going around pretty fast. We all think that it's some crazy Australian virus that Sis. Milsom brought over, because she had it first and was not as sick as the rest of us are. I guess our poor little American bodies can't handle some crazy Outback disease. Anyway. So I was just dealing with a pretty hefty sore throat and major aches and a stuffy nose but on Sunday during personal study, I started to get the chills pretty bad and my body said, "oh, this is a fever." Well, I went back to my room and sure enough, I've got a fever of about 101. Well, I lead the music in church, so I still went to sacrament meeting, but I just kind of shivered and then lead a hymn, and repeated that three times. After that, we have temple walk, but I really couldn't function very well. We do some "splits" so that Sis. Milsom, who had already had it, was staying with me. I take my temperature, and i'm at about 102.5. I sleep for an hour or something (I honestly have had no sense of time for a week) and when I wake up my temperature was still rising. Well, that's a problem. I send mga kasama ko to go see if the health clinic was open, whilst meanwhile I guess I'm saying some pretty funny stuff. They come back, and I open my eyes and there is a man standing in my bedroom. Then the loudspeaker comes on and says "Attention, sisters. There is a MALE WORKER entering the floor." Well, he's standing right there, and was present to hear all the girls squealing and yelling "Shut the door!" It was pretty funny. Anyway, there aren't any doctors on campus, so they have me talk to a doctor on the phone and he tells me I should probably go to the Instacare.
So, Sis. Milsom and I get changed, and get my purse and go get on an "MTC Shuttle" which is really just a giant van. He drives us to the provo instacare which is BIZARRE, because I feel like I'm just going to go back to my apartment and go to class at BYU. Sis. Milsom is freaking out this whole time because she's from Australia and apparently we drive on the "COMPLETELY wrong side of the way" and she thinks we're going to get in an accident, haha. We get to the instacare (it's sunday still, mind you) and The Voice is playing on the TV and it's probably the WORST song that could ever be playing. It was horrible. We go see the doctor, and after another strep test (i had one on tuesday. i sure hate those things) he comes back and tells me he doesn't really know what is happening. He says that it's acting the most like pneumonia, so that's what they give me a prescription for. So, on a Sunday, and I'm not even wearing a dress, we go to Rite-Aid to buy drugs. AH, it felt so wrong!! Anyway, we get in, and I'm waiting for my medicine, and there's this mom and her little girl. The mom eventually asks, "Can she say hi? She wants to talk to the missionaries." Aw, of course we let her, the little doll. She tells us that she's four, she's sick, and she wants to serve a mission in Brazil like her daddy. It was pretty cute. Oh, she also STRONGLY emphasized the fact that she likes light pink, but NOT dark pink. She's got on a long skirt, but she shows us that she's wearing leggings underneath (and they're pretty bright metallic blue sparkly leggings). I didn't really know what to say, so I told her that they're beautiful and that it's pretty tricky that she's got them on under her skirt. Well, she runs over to her mom, and it looks like they're about to leave. But Sis. Milsom and I hear them kind of arguing, and next thing we know, this little girl has dropped her skirt in the middle of the store. The mom is mortified, grabs the skirt and tells the girl they're leaving, but on the way out, the little girl comes over to us, and very proud of herself says, "Look missionaries! I'm Tricky!!" It was pretty hilarious.
Luckily, I'm feeling a lot better, but I haven't been able to go to class much in the past week which is a little frustrating, but I'm catching on to the Tagalog I've missed pretty fast. Really, it's a fairly simple language, but the words are just so funny! Our favorite from this week is: Pagpapakumbaba! It means humility. :) It's so hard to say and not want to dance! Haha. Well, till next week! Mahal ko kayo!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Turning the Tables...

First, guess what I learned!? This is an entire conversation in Tagalog: "Bababa ba?" "Bababa." The root word 'baba' means down, and when you conjugate it, (in the -um actor focus future tense, in case you were wondering) it becomes 'bababa'. Plus, to make something a questions, you add a 'ba'. So it literally means, "Are you going down?" "Yes, going down." We definitely ask each other that when we go downstairs just to say it! haha. Just say it. It's so fun.
Anyway. The tables have turned!! This week, the investigator we were teaching became one of OUR teachers. Talk about bizarre. He just walked into class and we were all, "Kevin?" and he said "Sino si Kevin?" which means, "Who is this Kevin?" Haha, weird. He's been a really good teacher though, he uses a lot of repetition which is good for me. Plus, the teacher we've had from the beginning just became a new investigator, and the Not-Kevin-Anymore-Teacher is becoming a new investigator as well. Woo, teaching! It's a bit bumpy still since we have problems speaking/understanding, but it's amazing what the gift of tongues can do. We were teaching one of the new investigators (Patricio) and he asked me how families can be together forever. haha, oh boy. I said something like "Gusto ang Diyos ng masaya sa namin" (God wants us to be happy, in very poor grammer) and a crazy combination of "mga pamilya namin" (our families) "masaya po ako" (I'm happy) and "walang hanggang" (forever, or literally, "without an 'until'"). I think he got the gist of it, but I have no idea how! Oh wait, yes I do. Ng Espiritu Santo!!
A lot of my friends that I've run into left for the field yesterday. Ay! I'm so jealous!! I can't wait until it's my turn. One of the districts in my branch left, which was hard. Oh, also, just another testimony of the crazy situations I find myself in- I got my leg stuck in the bathroom door yesterday. I was walking out, and it shut faster than I thought and my left leg just didn't follow my right one I guess. Turns out it's a REALLY heavy door. My whole district laughed at me a lot, which is understandable, but I've got a couple of parallel line bruises on my leg and foot. My teacher proceeded to say something in Tagalog, and when we asked what word he used, he said, "hmmm, it's like pitiful?" Hahahaha. Poor guy was telling me that it's a shame that that happened to me, but wow, we couldn't stop laughing.
Well, until next week! Keep the faith!
Sister Porter

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Holy Baptism By Fire, Batman!

KUMUSTA FROM THE MTC!!! Kumusta means hello and how are you at the same time, so it's a little confusing walking down the Tagalog hall when people talk to you. I never know when they're just saying hi and when they actually want me to respond! haha, mildly awkward.
Well, I'll tell you a little about my district.
  • Sister Taufa and Sister Doucette. Goodness, they are the sweetest people on this planet. They are total opposites visually- Sister Taufa's Tongan (though she was born in UT), and Sister Doucette is short and very caucasian. But really, they are the examples of how to be a companionship. So loving and spiritually focused.
  • Sister Morrell and Sister Milsom. Ay, are they crazy. Sister Morrell is the one that I met in Salt Lake, and she is very much a girl. She always looks so good, and so tan, and just GORGEOUS. She's not ditzy, but just very... California girl. Sister Milsom is from Australia. Wow, she's a handful. She loves talking about how much she dislikes Americans and America, and how our cheese is too plastic-y and how our fruit is bland and how our money doesn't make sense. She's funny, but I've learned that Australians are VERY sarcastic and can be a little rude without thinking about it. I've gotten to know her though, and it's fun to dish it right back to her. From her I've learned that the public toilets in Australia have lids, there IS a difference between a tomato and a tom-ah-to, and that koalas and kangaroos are not cute and cuddly but could scratch your face off or kick you to death quite easily.
  • Elder Hall, Elder Simeona and Elder Simiti. There could not be a more different group of mga kasama. Elder Hall grew up in West Valley (He knows Jameson Woolf, actually), is very American, and is just naive but in a good way. Elder Simeona is 1/4 Japanese, 1/4 Hawaiian, and 1/2 something else exotic. He's a bigger guy, but he's the youngest. He is kind of quiet, but just sits in the corner and listens. Elder Simiti is from Samoa, and is so awesome! He's 22, and always talks about how blessed he is for being called to learn 2 languages instead of just one (his English isn't very good). He loves to talk about his country, and I told him about the Saniatu ward and how I know a little Samoan. Actually, there are about 7-8 Elders in our area that are Samoan, so it can be hard when they're talking/singing to know what's Tagalog and what's Samoan! They call all of us sisters their pepe's, which is Samoan for butterfly. It's pretty funny. They're just so loving and touchy-feely that it's hard for their mga kasama, especially Elder Hall. But it's so fun!
So, the language. Oy! It's not too bad, but since our teachers raretly teach in English it's a bit rough. I'm getting it though. I can pray, bear testimony, and I know enough to kind of answer questions from our investigator. We also just started working on grammar, and it's so simple! They don't have the verb "to be" though, so that took some getting used to. For example, the sentence "The missionary is emailing her family" would be structured "Emailing missionary family". Pretty basic. The words are just a little crazy though. We've taught our investigator (Kevin) three times already! The first time was day 3. Mostly we're still pretty scripted, but this last time, he interupted Sister Hansen and asked us how we know it's true. We tried to improv and talk about the Spirit, and we threw in Moses 1:39 and Moroni's promise and such. It went well! He said if he gets an answer to his prayer he'll be baptized. We're not really sure what to do after that though! But I suppose I'm here to learn, or something..
So, I was a little worried about Gym Time since I don't really exercise, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I play volleyball every time! But not on the Samoan's Court. YIKES, you've gotta be good if you're going to venture over there. Elder Simiti told us that we should play with him, and I just told him in really simple English that he is so strong he'd kill me. He just laughed. So I play on the "just for fun" court with Sister Milsom. Wow, we laugh so much, especially when she does her American accent. SO funny!
So, here are the things that have happened so far that  are an integral part of who I am but my district is still learning is part of just being me.
  • I have almost fallen over multiple times. One elder even offered me his crutches.
  • At the temple this morning, I was shaking my umbrella out the front door, and I didn't realize that it was an automatic door that was shutting. It definitely shut on my hand while my umbrella was still open outside. It was kind of Mrs. Incredible style.
  • The TALL program- learning the language on the computer. I logged on at first, and the program was all in Spanish. Apparently they had me in the computer as a native Spanish speaker. So.. we went and got it "fixed" but then I was an English speaker learning how to speak English. SO FRUSTRATING. But hey, it's me. We knew something like that was bound to happen!
Hmmm... what else. The food is decent, but it's just too... too. If that makes sense. It's good, but wow, after an hour or two you just don't feel like doing anything. Oh, mga kasama and I are the only ones in our room! Very unheard of. We'll probably get some more roommates tomorrow, since it's a six person room. Scratch that. it's a four person room with an extra bunk bed. But hey, it's cozy! Plus, we've discovered that there are Narnia holes everywhere. Anywhere stuff can be hidden, there is usually something there. We just found a giant drawer chock full of candy, and I found a temple recommend holder behind an outlet cover on my desk. Yay free stuff! Ah, I wish I could remember everything!
Oh, I'll write my testimony in Tagalog. :) (totally memorized!)
Alam ko po na totoo po ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw. Alam ko po na mahalaga po ang Aklat ni Mormon, at totoo po ag Aklat ni Mormon. Alam ko po na buhay po si Jesucristo, at mahalaga po ang pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. Sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, amen.
Well it's not much, but it's a start, right? haha. I love you all! And please tell people to write!
Sincerely brain-dead,
Sister Amy Porter

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Laoag, The Sunshine City

I know it's cheesy, but here's a video my family and I found about the beautiful city of Laoag. Thank you to my sister for reminding me how much of a cinematic gem it was and telling me to share it. :) In all honesty though, it's got some gorgeous pictures. And everyone looks so happy!!


Receiving My Call

Once upon a time, President Thomas S. Monson changed the sister missionary age. And I decided to serve. A couple of months later, on December 5, 2012, I got a big white envelope in the mail. And this is what it said. 

Dear Sister Porter, 
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Philippines Laoag Mission. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Tagalog language. 
Sincerely, Thomas S. Monson

And so it began. The moving, the shopping, the sewing, the preparing, the attempts to understand the language, not necessarily in that order. Next week, I leave everything behind to serve the people of the Philippines for 18 months. Some people ask why I'm sacrificing so much time and money. Well, the word 'sacrifice' implies I'm leaving something I have for something I want less. That could not be farther from the truth. 

So ready or not, here I go. Laoag or bust! 

(Soon to be Sister) Amy Porter