Monday, October 26, 2015

I'm Here!

Well, I'm officially in my mission! I am in an area called Pakil. It is beautiful here. It's close to this mountain, very rural and very green. The people are so nice! My trainer is Sister Cornaby. She has been here for like 8 months, is from Utah, and is really nice. We are reopening the area so that has been really hard. We don't really have any investigators, we don't know the ward that well, and we get lost a lot haha. But it's ok, we will figure it out. We have been talking to a lot of people and our ward mission leader is very helpful. I know I will grow to love this Branch.

We spent a day and a half in the mission home. It is really nice. San Pablo is beautiful!! So green and pretty. And it's hot and humid but really not that bad. President and Sister Mangum are soo nice. They are quiet but I feel very safe and comfortable with them. The AP's are also so nice and helpful. Luckily the AP's drove us to our new area, because it's far. The drive was so beautiful!

My first day in Pakil was really hard but I am lucky to be here. Our apartment is really gross and old. Elders were the last people to live in it and they didn't clean it at all. Ants everywhere, it smells disgusting, and a rat just ran across the table when we were making dinner. But we are trying hard to clean it and make it feel like home.

I hand washed my clothes today! It was pretty fun. And I have taken a lot of freezing cold bucket showers. I really didn't ease in to this Philippines life haha I was just thrown in and I feel like I either have to swim or drown. Luckily, the mission is trying to help us find a new apartment because they know it is really bad. We are trying to find a 4 person one so we can live with the Sisters from the next area over. We are in the same branch and they are really nice Filipinos. They came over yesterday and cooked us lunch. I really, really hope we can live with them in a nicer place.

So since we are reopening we basically just walk around and ask people if they know any Mormons and try to find members. We have met a tonnnn of inactive members. We are going over to one of their homes tonight for FHE. I'm amazed at the way people live here. They have so little and their homes are small however they are so humble and happy. 

This has been really, really hard. I get so frustrated when everybody is speaking in Tagalog around me and I can only catch a couple words. I feel really useless. I know the language will come and I just need to be patient but that's easier said than done. In Pakil, they use really deep Tagalog and only a couple people really understand English and they are all afraid to use it. So I really need to learn Tagalog if I am going to make much of a difference.

Pakil is one of the hardest areas. I know that God sent me here for a reason. I have just been praying so hard all the time for strength and comfort. I am incredibly homesick and that's really hard. I feel really alone but I need to remember that Jesus Christ is always there for me. I know He is walking these streets with me. I can feel angels around me, lifting me up. Whenever I break down and really want to quit, I think of all of you and I think of our family in heaven and I know that all of you are praying for me and I know I have angels literally helping me walk these streets and get out of bed in the morning. 

I know I will adjust to the Philippines mission life soon so don't worry about me. I know that this is hard, but it's worth it. I know these experiences are helping to shape me into the person God wants me to be. I love the Filipinos and I know that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! 

I am safe and meeting lots of nice people. I love you all so much. I'm lucky to have all of you praying for me and supporting me. President told me that whenever I feel discouraged I need to picture mom and dad's bedroom and picture them kneeling by their bed praying for me. Then he said now picture all of your family and friends kneeling by their beds praying for you. It makes me cry all the time. I'm actually crying right now in this little internet cafe and these Filipinos are staring at me haha. Thank you for your prayers. I will try my best to make you all proud!! I know I am lucky to be here so I am going to keep forcing a smile on my face and turning out and serving others. I am going to forget myself and go to work. I hope you all have a great week.

Sister Giles

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