Monday, October 25, 2010

So this week was a bit interesting. Sister Rifareal was sick this whole week, and I got to see the inside of a hospital here. Shesh I hope nothing bad happens to me. I think i'd be better off laying half dead on the road, than inside a hospital. Sis had to get an x-ray on her chest, and I was calmly sitting in the waiting area, when I looked to my side, and there was a pile of trash and a sign above that read " INFECTIOUS AND PATHOLOGICAL WASTE PLACE HERE" I had to take a double, triple er quadruple look just to make sure thats what it really said. Then the x-ray machine was held together by, no, not duck-tape, but scotch tape. I walked outta that place having a headache, and I’m not quite sure if it was from the pathological items I sat next to, or the fact the x-rays were probably squirting out every which way of the machine. I'm pretty sure I got x-rayed too, I just don’t have that nifty x-ray sheet paper to prove it. Although I was pretty impressed with the creative process they used to develop the x-ray paper. The doctor went out side, simply laid it on some bushes, and let the sun to the rest.

Anyway, I’m safe, its been raining because of the typhoon, but that’s nothing new. I'm always wet here. Whether its from the rain, or sweating from the scorching sun. I'm surprised the Philippinos haven't evolved and spouted gills yet. I guess they wouldn't be in the image of God anymore, so that’s why.

Any way, I'm sorry I don't have much time left. But I love you all. Take care!

Sister Hancock

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deep fried Quail Eggs
Pakbet is my favorite. It has squash, string beans, orcra.
Wow, 200 huh? (today was Rachelle’s 200th day on her mission.)Has it gone by as fast for your guys has it been for me? well...about 365 left. I think I'll be staying until Oct 19. but that’s just a guess. maybe I’ll stay forever, if they'll let me. That’s funny Skyler gets poked and squeezed in Mexico. I get the same reaction here. I'm not red, just white. and they love white skin. All the women here have whitening lotions and do weird things. Almost Michael Jackson-ish here. Hey when did you send the camera? I looked at the packaging from the old camera and Naga got the package 7 days after you originally sent it. I have zone conference in a week so if I’m Lucky just maybe if the office knows, and has it, I might get the package. Okay so I will answer your questions!

Have you heard from sister Cluff? I have been thinking about her lately.

Yes, I heard from sister Cluff. She got reassigned and is serving in California. English speaking. She’s excited to get back out and working. She had Mono before but has recovered now.

When you go to Naga, how do you get there?

 When we go to Naga, we have two options. We can go by bus...which is like a large Jeepnee. Although that takes about 4 hours because the bus stops and people load on and off along the way. Or we can go by van. If van, it takes about 2-3 hours. We go to a terminal, and wait for a bunch of random people to gather, then we all carpool straight to Naga. I have a debate in my mind which one to take each time, because ones really long, and the other is extremely claustrophobic. By van its like a clown car. Actually I take that back. Everything’s like a clown car. If you can see air, there is always room for more people. I've had kids and random things placed on my lap, for the whole trip. haha. Cory would die here. (But I’m still hoping he gets called here). Claustrophobia does not exist. Neither do social bubbles. Each time I withdraw money from the ATM, everyone and their dog is interested at looking at the screen with me. Definitely a lot of social culture differences, but that's fine with me.

What kind of meals do you and your companion prepare, and who usually does the cooking?

Ours meals consist of Rice and meat at every meal. they use red onions, garlic and soy sauce in almost everything. Honestly the meals are not that healthy, lots of carbs and cholesterol. In my other area in Daet, I was teaching 6 people who had a stroke. High Blood is a sever problem here. A lot of the meals consist of fried things. Fried fish, fried eggs, eggplant...fried anything. I've been trying to promote vegetables and fruits in our home. Although, for some reason they don't like to mix a lot of different foods because they think they'll get a stomach ache, so fruits and veggies depend on the meal. Well I should say veggies. Honestly the fruit world here is completely different. I thought they would have American fruits as well, but they don't. If they do, they are imported and extremely expensive, and old tasting. I enjoyed tasting all the different fruits here...but to be honest American Fruit win by a Landslide. Although I hear in the South Philippines they have completely different fruits that are more tasty. Here in the Bicol Region they are known for spicy food. they cook chilies in almost everything. They have this big chili, that is actually the main ingredient in the meal. They cook it and eat it like a vegetable. Spicy, but I like it. Some of my companions from different parts of the Philippines can't really handle the spiciness. I had an Illokana companion, and her cooking was by far my favorite. She cooked Pakbet and Paksiw. Pakbet is my favorite. It has squash, string beans, orcra....sorry, they have different vegetables here as well. and I don't really know their names in English. The Bicol region also has a lot of coconuts. So sometimes instead of oil we will use coconut milk. Although all this food takes time to prepare, and usually we run out of time. Sometimes we eat on the road...I like quack quack. Deep fired quail eggs, and some random sauce. oh yeah, Balut...its not a delicacy.. Its a street food. Cheap, quick, dirty and always available. But I stay away from that. I still cant get over the fact there's a beak and feathers.

Did you translate the conference talks for the non-English speaking members?

At conference I sat next to my investigators. I didn't say much, Because I wanted to keep the peace. Although after wards at their homes I recapped what was said. All my investigators were so touched by the Tabernacle choir. They all talked about their hearts burning with love.

Do you live in an house or an appt.?

I live in an apartment. Made out of cement and painted pink. We have no air conditioning, just fans. We have a wash room out back, and that’s where I slave over my clothes for 3ish hours each Monday morning. Although this morning.....I played tennis!!!! I was so happy. Last night my companion and I were walking in this neighborhood, took a short cut, and found a house with a tennis court. I guess its their business. It felt great to get some exercise, none of my companions really like to exercise, or from my perspective, its not really apart of their culture. I played 3 Philippinos, and they kept trading in and out, and they were shocked I still had energy.

On average how many lessons do you teach a week?

Lesson averages in our mission depend on where you are at. In my area, the averages are a bit lower because its more province and I have to climb mountains and trudge rice fields to get to people. But this is our average work - Lesson w/ member present-8 Lesson to recent convert or less active-9 other lessons- 18

What to you miss the most from home? (besides chocolate)

Hmm.. what do I miss from home? I miss dairy. Its rare to find a cow here. So there is absolutely no dairy. No milk, no yogurt, no CHEESE. They actually do have imported ice-cream, although its extremely expensive. As missionaries we have to take calcium pills. They do have powdered milk, so usually I’ll drink hot milk with sugar. I miss good bread. the bread here is like a bagel. Really heavy and stale because its usually imported. But I hope you asked me what I miss just for laughing purposes. I don't need any packages or things like that. I'm becoming a Philippino. and perfectly fine depending on my resources here!

Although all these things may change in my new area. I hear rumors of fresh milk in Goa. and I think there is a pizza place in Naga. Food, people, language, surroundings change in each part of the Philippines. I've seen differences in my companions too. My companions from large cities definitely view life differently than ones from provinces. President told me I’ll be transferred in 4 weeks to a new area. So we'll see what the Lord has in store for me there. Although for now I’m enjoying Daet, and taking in everything while it lasts.

Love you all, thanks for the questions. If you have more, I’m an open book. I may be sending more pics. Take care, until next week!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Family!! I love love love yaaa all. Thanks for everything, especially everything you guys have done to help me to get this wonderful opportunity to serve a mission. I got the wonderful opportunity this past weekend to watch conference. Yes, a week late. You cant expect much more considering I live in a 3rd world country located in a small strand of islands in south east asia. I got teary eyed seeing the strength of the church on the screen. While the Mormon tabernacle choir sang, I saw thousands of people gathered together. This truly is Gods church in the last days. " The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Thanks Joseph Smith for the quote. Your words are being fulfilled now.

I got to say all the talks were incredible. Although my absolute favorite was in the saturday session, given by Todd Christofferson. AWESOME. I've often thought about the covenant I made in the temple of living the law of consecration. My MTC teacher told me that my mission is the only time I can fully live the law of consecration. Give 100% of my time. That advice has pushed me to work hard here, prove to the Lord my love for him through my service. Although I've often thought how can I live the law of consecration after my mission. Elder Todd Christoffersons talk gave me exactly what I was looking for. He talked about 5 key points of a consecrated life to the Lord. Purity, Work, Service, Integrity, Respect to Ones Body. Even though after my mission I will be tossed into the world of schooling and working, I am determined to fully consecrate my life in showing my love for the Lord in those 5 ways Elder Christopherson speaks about. Absolutely beautiful talk.

Mom, you filled me in on a little of the controversy of the talk Elder Packer gave. I just want to add my two cents in on the matter. It all depends on the softness of your heart. Just like Nephi says in 1 Nephi 16:2-3 If they were righteous they would be willing to harken to truth.

The people with hardened hearts, will reject the messages coming from Gods messengers. The people with soft hearts will gladly welcome any advice on how to perfect their lives, in correspondence with the Lords standards. I have a perfect example of seeing a mighty change of heart here. There is a recent convert in my ward here. She was told ever since she was little she was a "tomboy" a lesbian, because she loved playing with the boys and liked her hair short. In her teens, it was so ingrained into her, she experimented with the same sex, and then soon claimed herself as lesbian. Well almost a little over a year ago, the gospel was introduced into her life. Her heart was incredibly soft, due to some humbling hardships. When she heard about Law of Chastity, she knew it would be hard to change the life she knew. But because of her willingness to have a life in the standards of the Lord, she gave up the 'natural man'. It was hard for her, although as God promises in Ether 12, we CAN make weaknesses into strengths. This sister is not only strong in her personal life, but she recognizes truth of the gospel, and has become a strength in the church here.

So I would like to invite any one who took Elder Packers comments offensively, to step down from your pride box, evaluate your life, and read Mosiah 4:10-13 -then take King Benjamins advise. As humans we can observe human behaviors, and make our own educated opinions on why there are sex confusions. OR we can trust in Gods knowledge, humble ourselves, and pray to God to understand.. "and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true" I would hope every member is supporting Elder Boyd K. Packer. He is a servant of the Lord. Called to rebuke all to righteousness. If you take the truth hard, the only medicine is what King Benjamin advises, as repentance. You better be on your knees begging God to soften your heart to understand him. If your prayers are not enough, read the proclamation to the World. Then ask yourself how God views families and the sex he ordained you to be. How is it possible for us to complete Gods plan of salvation, without the creation and strength of families?

Alright that is all for now. I gotta go save some souls.

-Sister Hancock

Monday, October 4, 2010

I wont be able to write this week...I’m downloading pics from transferred elders.

I’m in Daet for another transfer!! yippee! I’m happy because I’m with an amazing companion and our work is rocking and plus they only speak 15% Bicol....I went to Naga last month and they spoke 75% Bicol and I wanted to cry haha. the further south you go the more the language changes. My companion came from Iriga and she had to learn Rinkwanada, and then her former area was Albay, and they spoke a different dialect of Bicol.