First week in the Field

So we left the MTC on monday morning and got to the Philippines around 11:30 at night on Tuesday. We stayed the night in Manila and then drove down to San Pablo, we had to wake up at 4:30 for the ride down, so we got just a couple hours of sleep. We just about died. 🙂 We stayed at the Mission home for the night and then left for our areas on Wednesday. It was hard to say Goodbye to all my sisters. My companion is Sister Taobure from Kiribati. She likes to speak english a lot which make it a little difficult to continue learning Tagalog but I am doing my best. I Love the people here. They are really funny. They are so honest. Everyone calls me fat. But they say it so nicely that I can help but laugh. And compared to them I am fat. Lots of them always tell me I am beautiful as well. Which, I’m not going to lie, I kinda like 🙂 haha. We were teaching an investigator about the law of tithing and he looked at me and said randomly, "you are not pretty, No… You are veeerrrrry beautiful." In the philippines there is no v in the alphabet so they use b instead. So what I hear was, "You are Beeerrrry Beautiful.” It made me laugh so hard. And I don’t get why they think I am beautiful, they are such a beautiful ethnicity. And their children are just gorgeous! It’s probably just because I am white. Sometimes tho, when I look at these people they make me think of the Native Americans. I swear I saw a little Philippina lady who looked just like my grandma.
The people here are so humble, some of them have next to nothing and live in huts out in the forest, others have concrete houses, only some of them have doors on their homes. When I saw these wonderful people it made me want to do everything I possibly could for them. I can’t give them money, I can’t buy them food, or clothing, or build them a home, but I can help them come closer to Jesus Christ.
And there is a common misconception about the philippino people. Everyone thinks they are short and skinny, well its true that most of them are short, but they come in all shapes and sizes just like everyone else in the world.
The shower was a different experience…. I’ll talk more about that some other time I’m just about out of email time. I hope you are all doing well and I hope you are remembering to read your scriptures. 🙂

Until Next Week.
Sister Mary Christina Cox

cox.mary

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Last week @ MTC

So happy Mother’s Day this last week to all you mothers out there. I was able to send letters home to my two mothers and I hope they got them… 🙂 I want to say thank you to all who have sent me letters and packages since I have been here, they were all greatly appreicated. We are leaving this next monday, its amazing how fast time goes by. If you still wish to send letters I will post the address and mailing instructions next week. And there is always the option to email. Love You all!
OK! So a lot has happened this past week. We got to listen to some rather remarakble talks and got to participate in some fun activities. Last Sunday in Relief Society we had the pleasure of listening to Sister Janice Kapp-Perry. For those of you who don’t know who she is, she is an amazing woman with lots of musical talent. She has arranged and composed many many songs. Some of them that members might be familar with are "As sisters in Zion" and "A Child’s Prayer". As sisters in zion she just wrote the music not the lyrics, but the does write both. And she wrote new lyrics to the As Sisters in Zion tune, she wrote about sister missionaries and we were the first group to get to sing it. It was a beautiful song and I almost started crying.
Shane Littlefield came and spoke to us for the sunday devotional and he was trying to help us understnad that the culture of a mission depends on us. What kind of Mission culture are we working for? One of service? One of Hope? One of complaining? One of happiness? It really got us thinging and realizing that our attitudes affect so much of this experience.
And my favorite talk this whole week was given at the Tuesday evening devotional. Russel M. Nelson and his wife came to speak with us. He was the second apostal we have had since we have been here and we were so glad that he came for our final tuesday devo. I loved listening to him and his wife. Sis. Nelson said: "Pray to be led to those who’s ancestors are praying for us. People beyond the veil want their work done and are pleading for their posterity to recieve the gospel." It seems a little convoluded at first but when you really think about it its a beautiful statement. Elder Nelson spoke about a lot of things. Some of the things that I really liked were, "Be obedient to the laws and commandments throughout your life and you will be blessed", "Have Character, Don’t be one", "We are the link between who people are and who they can become", "Have a ‘How can I help you’ attitude", and "Abide by the lessons in Preach My Gospel for the rest of your lives." I felt like most of this advise applied to everyone not just missionaries. And if you haven’t read preach my gospel then you totally should. There are so many wonderful lessons in it that can bless the lives of everyone.
So one of the fun things we got to do this week was to help train teachers in the Philippines MTC. It was done over web cam. Our teacher, Brother Langer, was really the teahcer and we were just demonstrating what he told taught us. It was pretty awesome. It was the first time that a training was done like that and we all felt very lucky to be a part of that.
This last week was probably the hardest week for me. Tuesday was an esspcially difficult day for me. Sometimes the things I say are indelicate, I say things that I think or as I see them and it can sometimes be recieved in a abrasive way and that is something that I have always struggled with. And it was something that I really wanted to work on when I got here. And I felt like I was doing better. And then in class, some of the sisters asked for my help and I was helping them and I was getting a little impatient with them but I was trying very hard to help them, and one of our elders called me out in front of the class and said, "Sister Cox, You need to be nicer to them, you can’t say things like that." And I felt like I had made no improvement whatsoever. I felt like I was a failure, and to top it off I was a little embarrassed because he said it in front of the whole class. I was already feeling a little down because I don’t recieve much in the way of mail and sometimes I feel lonely. So when he said that I just about broke down. I didn’t say much for the rest of the day, I felt like it was better to stay silent than to say what was on my mind and end up saying something that I would really regret. So I was silent and alone with my thoughts and I felt my self and my spirit slipping into unhappiness and self doubt. One of the sisters in my district took me aside and we talked for a while and I did break down. I hadn’t realized how alone I felt until that moment. I don’t open up easily and I don’t share my life with others readily and as a result I was excluding myself from the wonderful group of sisters surrounding me. And when I was able to talk with this one sister it made me feel a little better. Then we went to the devotional and as soon as Elder Nelson came into the room I felt my spirit lift just a little more. But the real comfort and lifting came later that evening when I was kneeling down to say my personal night time prayer. I prayed for comfort and almost immediately I felt my Savior’s love flooding through me. I was so overcome that I started to cry with relief. I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of us and that he can help us with anything that we might be struggling with, we just need to ask for his help.

I hope you all have a wonderful week,
~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary

Shout out to my mom! Thanks for the packages! And I also want to thank you for teaching me to chew with my mouth closed, there are so many people here who don’t have table manners and it drives me up the wall. But I am greatful to have learned them from you!

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A week and two days to go….

KUMUSTA!!!
We just got our travel plans yesterday! We leave in 9 days. AHHHHHHH!!!!! We all had a little excited freak out moment when we got our papers. It is so hard to believe that we have been here for over a month. And it’s even harder to believe that we will be leaving so soon. I am really going to miss my MTC district. The Elders don’t get to travel with us, but all of us sisters will be together until we reach Manilla, and we will separate from there to our respective areas. It will take us about two days to get there, part of the reason is that we will lose hours during travel and because we have several hours of layovers. Oh my gosh! I almost forgot, we get to touch down in Japan for a couple hours. We won’t get to leave the airport or anything, but still, totally cool!
So guess who came to the MTC last Sunday… Chad Lewis, thats who. Ya that NFL player who is a member of the church. He and his wife came and talked to us. The basis of Chad’s talk was about not giving up. There will always be difficult things in life and on our missions but the Lord will see us through.
We are learning more and more of the language every day and we are all trying to Speak Our Language as much as possible, but sometimes it is super difficult. I have found that when I focus more of the spiritual side of things the language comes easier. When I am closer to the Lord he is able to help me more. So everyday I read my scriptures, I pray, I read Preach My Gospel, and other church liturature. To any church members out there who do not read their Book of Mormon everyday, I invite you to start. It will act as a guide and protection to you and will improve your life in every aspect. And if you are going through trials I know that the Book of Mormon, accompanied with prayer can strengthen you enough to overcome anything with the help of the Lord. Just don’t forget to do the little things, they are what matter the most. You have to do the little things before you can do the big things. One of our teachers told us something the other day that I really liked he said, "God sees us as the Glorious Beings we are capable of becoming. Sometimes it is hard for us to have faith in ourselves, but when all else fails, have faith in God’s faith in you." I know that if you are struggling with anything the Lord and our Savior can help. Our Savior is esspecially helpful because of the atonement. He suffered for our sins, for our pains, for our trials, for our tears. It was an infinate atonement. He knows how we feel. He knows what we are going through. So don’t forget to ask for his help, guidence and strength. He loves us and wants us to succeed. We were not sent to this earth to fail.
On that note, I would also like to say that I know this Church is true. I feel it everyday. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and that through it you can recieve personal revelation. I know that our Savior loves us, and that God wants us to return to be with Him, and that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ it is possible for us to return to our Heavenly Fathers presence. It will take a lot of work, but we can do it.

Love you all.
~Sister Mary Christina Cox

cox.mary

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Three and a half weeks… What?!

Kumusta po Kayo?! (How are you)
I can hardly believe we have been here three and a half weeks already. It’s crazy to think about. We are all trying to immerse ourselves in our language. We do this thing called SYL which stands for Speak Your Language. I carry my grammer book, dictionary, and a small notebook with me everywhere so I feel comfortable enough to make sentences. And if I don’t know how to say it, I write it down in English and figure out how to say it in Tagalog. We also teach lessons to "investigators" in Tagalog and every week we get to talk to other people in Tagalog for practice. It’s difficult but it’s easier is everyone is doing it. Haha that sounds bad. Everyone is doing it… so should you!
So I don’t have any totally awesome spiritual stories this week but I do have stories. There are several Samoan Elders who are in my district, and it would appear that most of them rather like me. One of them told me he loved me and that he wants me to be his girlfriend. And while I was flattered that he would single me out, I had to turn him down. I am not looking for a relationship right now and he shouldn’t be either. So ya that was fun.
And somehow I keep getting injuries. Small ones. But injuries still. While playing Volleyball I did something to the first knuckle on my right hand. There is a rather beautiful bruise there. And I have spots of bruising on my right arm, also from volley ball. I have bruising and scabs on my knees and I rolled my left ankle the other day. And I have no idea where they came from but I have lots of little knicks and cuts on my arms and hands. It’s totally random.
So our estimated departure date is the 20th of May. We should be getting our travel plans at the end of next week. It’s crazy to think we only have 16 days left. I can’t believe the time is going by so fast, I can only imagine what the next 17 months will feel like.
And I just feel like saying that I am so greatful to be here. I love all of the sisters in my district, and I love our elders, they are truely amazing. I love that I can serve the Lord for a year and a half of my life, it seems like such a small price to pay for everything that he has given me in my life. I am greatful for the opportunity to learn a new language and to take the Gospel to the people in the Philippines. I feel very blessed every day. And every day here is a humbling experience where I learn so much about myself and it’s great. I do miss my family, but I know that they will be alright without me for a while.
Love you all, I will write again as soon as I can.
~Sister Mary Christina Cox

if you would like to write me you can @ cox.mary I would love to hear from you!

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