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