Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas phone call
Kylee: how do you drink the water in the Philippines?

Rachelle: In our apartment , there is a filter system that takes the water through three containers. When the water has passed through the filters it is OK to drink. However sometimes I just drink the water, without the filter.

Kylee: have you eaten any more pig fat?

Rachelle: (laughs) yes, and worse. They love the fatty parts in the Philippines, in fact for Christmas dinner I was served chicken neck. …it is very fatty.

Kylee: have you seen any sharks?

Rachelle: no, but I have eaten a lot of octopus and squid

Kylee: have you ever been cold? Or are you always hot.

Rachelle I am actually adjusting to the heat. It is cooling down in the evenings and I have actually worn a jacket. I sleep on the floor on mats, no blankets because it is way to hot., but I have started to wear a jacket to bed. I’m sure when I come home in the fall, I will freeze in Utah.
Dad; Tell us about your investigators.

She then tells us about the wonderful families she is teaching. Rachelle gets emotional as she is talking about the people, you can tell she loves them very much.
Grandma: how do you get your mail?

Rachelle: Mail arrives into the mission home in Naga. They it is sometimes passed from missionary, to missionary, until it is given to us. Or when we go into Naga we can pick it up. We will actually be gong to Naga for Christmas because our zone won the cleanest apartments contest. So we got Christmas dinner in the mission home. Because our area is the furthest away, my companion and I also get to sleep in the mission home.

Grandma: How is your Bicol coming?

Rachelle: I can understand pretty much what is being said, but I can not communicate in Bicol. My companion understands and can speak for me.

Mom: Where exactly do you live in Sipocot?

Rachelle: Right by the church, if you google the church, you will be able to see where I live.

Mom: Describe your house.

Rachelle: The kitchen has a propane stove top, kind of like a camping stove, that is where we do all the cooking. We also have a fridge. We are very lucky because hardly anybody has a fridge. The locals also do not use propane, they cook with charcoal brickets, in a little barbeque.

Mom: Do you have a calling in your ward?

Rachelle: No, they like to have all the members have the callings, it keeps them active. We are asked to speak in church a lot. The ward has about ninety members.
Shay: Do you sleep good?

Rachelle: I do. I work so hard all day long, that I am very tired when I get home. I climb up hills and walk through the jungle all day long. It is very tiring.

Shay: Have you ever been afraid?

Rachelle: yes. The area I am in now you have to cross bridges that are made of a thin bamboo and a rope to hold onto. You walk across the bamboo, holding onto the rope, it can be a long drop if you fall. I always get a little afraid when crossing. I guess it is a fear of heights.

Shay: Have you seen any weird animals?

Rachelle: In our washroom, we have a lizard living there that is as big as my forearm. It is called a Taco, Taco because early in the morning the lizard makes this taco, taco sound. I am told if the taco lizard jumps on you , the suction grip on their limbs is so strong, if you pull them off you will also take off your skin. There is also a large spider living in the washroom. It is as big as my hand. When I wash my clothes, I keep a close eye on both of them. There are also wild dogs everywhere. They are the ugliest dogs I have ever seen.

Shay Is there any candy?

Rachelle: they actually have quite a bit on junk food in the Philippines.

Cory and Rachelle get to talk for a few minutes and catch up on what their friends are doing. then……CLICK the line goes dead! We try and try to reconnect but no use. Do you think we can get a “do over”?

So nice to hear Rachelle, she sounded happy, and loving what she is doing. We missed her this Christmas, but also knew she was where she is suppose to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This week was great. I've been on a spiritual high. I had a neat experience about hearing the promptings of the spirit clearly. So I found out a couple days before Sunday that I would be one of the speakers this past Sunday. All Friday and Saturday, I gave deep thought about what I would speak about. I prayed earnestly to God to help me be able to know what to speak on. I didn't want to choose something that I was comfortable with, I wanted to know exactly what the members needed to hear. Even If I would help just one person. I just wanted to make a difference in someones life. I asked God to make it clear to me, what I needed to say, even if he had the message directed for just one. Well, when I woke up Sunday morning, The first thing that popped into my mind was virtue. At first I was a bit surprised, because this being Christmas Sunday, I knew everything would be based on Christs Life and Atonement. Although I could not stop thinking about Virtue. My mind was filled with thoughts about the Law of Chastity, and how we can live a pure life. I tried thinking about other topics that involved a Christmas theme, but everything else was just a blur. I asked my companion if anyone in our small branch had any problems with the Law of Chastity, and she said not that she knew of. Well that morning at church, we sang Christmas songs, the other speakers gave beautiful messages about the Atonement, and I prayed right before I went up to the pulpit to confirm my topic of Virtue. I felt so confident about the topic, and so impressed, that there wasn't anything else I could speak about. While speaking, I shared about how to become clean and full of Virtue, I recalled several scriptures about how to become more God like. I had the overwhelming thought to share the story of the Lesbian from my former area in Daet. I shared about when she heard the gospel, she trusted in Gods ways, and knew she was a child of God, and God knew her better than she knew her own self. And how she was able to change her actions, because she knew God wanted her to have a family of her own. ( I was actually surprised I was sharing the story, for I had completely forgotten until that morning) I then shared about the pattern of how thoughts lead to action, and how we need to school our thoughts. I shared about the love Christ has for people who are suffering from serious addictions, like sexual sins. After I finished my talk, I had such I warm feeling in my heart. My companion turned to me and told me to look 3 rows over. She told me of a members sister was in town for the Christmas holiday. She was an inactive member, who turned away from the Church and became a lesbian. This was the first time shes gone to church in a long time. My companion said my talk was inspired, as if it was God speaking to that sister. I may never know what will happen to that Sister, or if she will change her ways, but I do know for a fact that God answered my prayers, and gave me the opportunity to try and reach out to at least one of his children. There are opportunities to help our brothers and sisters everywhere. Sometimes we just gotta ask God where they are and how we can help. Christmas is all about helping people, and showing Christs love for others. I hope we all can include God in this Holiday season, and open our eyes on how we can be Gods hands and mouth this Christmas. Even if its just for one person... Don't be shy family, you all are missionaries too. When we all were baptized we took Christs name upon us. Meaning that we are his representatives. Look for opportunities to make differences. I testify they are everywhere.

Love you,

Merry Christmas!

-Sister Hancock

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mom, thank you for the letter!

Eeek Im so excited for Cory! I hope he gets called to the Philippines. If he gets called to Naga, maybe I will see him before I go home! Then we can use tagalog and bicol after our missions.
I’m not sure about the phone call. I will know this Wednesday because we have zone conference. We just got a cell phone though, first in the mission! President thought it would be best for us to have a cell phone, because our area is so remote and dangerous if anything happened. So I may be able to call from there. I will find out soon, but I guess just find out on your end what would be less expensive if I called the home or cell phone.

So I finally received your thanksgiving letter. I actually wouldn’t have received it until next week, but my companion and I made a trip into Naga today, to check the NSO- national statistics office for a marriage certificate for an investigator of ours. (Divorce is against Filipino law, so its hard for baptism and temple marriage if the investigator has a former marriage. But sometimes their records are no where to be found in the yeah.
So I got food poisoning this past week. Spend the past few days puking and only eating sky flakes (saltines) Too bad an imperfect body has to slow down such a spiritual work. I thought I was made of steal. But seems like all the unsanitary conditions finally caught up with me.

Man time is just flying. I'm getting kind of scared. I hope I’m doing all I can, in the time I have. I have problems feeling insufficient or ineffective sometimes.

You know, this place can sure break your heart. We live near this little family, I’m not sure where the father is, but the mother works full time all the time, and leaves her 7 year old daughter to cook and take care of her 4 year old twin brothers. The seven year old uses burning wood to light a fire, and places a pot of rice on top to cook. Rice, that’s it. morning evening and night. I’m actually not sure if they even have a home, because they are always outside. I think I’m going to walk a way from this place with permanent scars on my heart, to help remind me there is other people in the world besides me. Money is a blessing from God, and its meant just to support your needs, and then to give the rest to give to others needs. The soul purpose of it is to serve others, but selfishness seems to blind us all. I think we can all do without a few soda pops and extra pairs of shoes, just so others can have a comforting blanket at night, or at least a meal to get them through the next day.


Much Love,