24 June, 2013 06:02

So this week…. I’m gonna go all cliche and talk about the weather. 🙂 When I first got here the Mission President said that there are four seasons. Hot, Hotter, Wet, Wetter. I got here towards the end of the Hotter season and things are moving nicely into the Wet season. We get rain almost every day, sometimes just a sprinkle and sometimes the sky is dumping buckets on us. It’s pretty awesome. I love the big storms, the lightning is so beautiful, my companion thinks I’m crazy for liking it so much, but that’s ok.

OOOOooo…. And there are these awesome Second hand stores all over the place called Ukay-Ukay (pronounced OOk-eye) Thinks are super inexpensive and when I find something I really like it just awesome!!! Speaking of clothes… We wash all of our clothes by hand. The first week my hands and wrists were so sore from wringing the water. But it gets better every week and now I’m getting pretty good at it and don’t have any pains from it. It’s pretty amazing how different life is in different parts of the world.

So… Investigators and recent converts. Captain Mel was baptized the other week and since that he has been referring everyone he can to the missionaries. Most of the people he has referred are other Barangay Captains. Not all of them are in our area so he is working with the other missionaries in our district and zone. He says he is going to get his wife to come to church with him and he talks to everyone in his Barangay about "The Mormon Church that changed his life." We had the opportunity to teach his wife once this last week. She was talking about how different Captain Mel is since he met the missionaries. She says he is just a better husband, he works harder at everything he does, he takes better care of their house and yard. It’s amazing how this Gospel can change people so much for the better.

We have also been meeting with an older woman we call Nanay Mimi. She reads, she prays, she has a testimony, but she doesn’t often make it to church. It’s so discouraging and so hard for me to understand. This is the true church and we gain so much when we attend the weekly meetings. We make new acquaintances who help us to strengthen our faith and we in turn help them to grow.

Another investigator we have been focusing on is Brother Vermon. His girlfriend, Sister Regine, is a member who is less active, and she referred us to him. They live together and have a little two year old girl who (even tho she sat by me and peed on my skirt) is so cute! Anyway. Brother Vermon grew up baptist. He knows the Bible very well. He has lots of questions that we don’t always know the answer to, but it made us so happy and so grateful to the Lord when Brother Vermon told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true. Before he can be baptized he and Sister Regine either need to separate or be married. They are both in favor of getting married. So they talked to the bishop and they are going to have him perform the ceremony, they aren’t sure when but sometime within the next month. Brother Vermon has expressed his concern that his parents won’t like them to be married by an LDS bishop and he is afraid that if they get married at the church his mother will not attend. We said that they could choose a different location and he was happy about that.

I am so grateful to be here. I learn so much every day. Thanks to all my friends and family who have written me this past week, I really appreciate the love and support. Hope you are all doing well. I wish I had more time to write you all!

~Love, Sister Mary Christina Cox

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walang problema po ako (I am without problems) (well big problems anyway) :)

First off! Happy Late Fathers Day to all the fathers out there. I wasn’t able to tell my dads, on the actual day.

kk. So last time I think I said that I would talk about Barangays. So there is a center to every city where there are bigger stores, and the market, and pretty much everything is westernized and super modern. The further you get from the center the more third world it becomes. Barangays are little neighborhoods that surround the city center. They can be close or far from the center. Some barangays are as simple as a long street with houses and huts on either side, then all of a sudden you are in a different barangay. I don’t think I’ve really talked about the area that I’m serving in. I was called to the San Pablo mission, which encompasses quite a lot of area including the island Mindoro and part of Marinduqui. I am serving in the Lipa area. My companion and I have several Barangays that we proselyte and teach in and those are the areas that we are restricted to. There are People who are chosen by the people living in the barangay to be their leader. They are called barangay captains, and they call counselors to help them. Basically they represent the people to the local government, and they settle disputes among people in their barangay, and basically they just do all they can to take care of everyone.

I think that there must be a lot of dalmatian puppies being stolen everyday… because the twilight bark is in full swing every night. GEEEZZ!! There are so many dogs here, some of them are strays and look rather pathetic and it makes me feel bad for them. We are not supposed to touch animals, and these dogs I don’t want to touch. Some of the ones that have owners are cute and look healthy but the ones on the street look like they could die anytime and they are all biting off their fur because it gets so hot. 😦 But anyway, every night they start barking and sometimes there are lulls where I am able to fall asleep, but sometimes it gets really loud again in the middle of the night and I actually wake up from the noise. Sometimes I wish I had an air pellet gun…. Joke-Lang!!!! (lang = just) 🙂

So this last week we had a baptism. Brother Melencio, who we call Captain Mel, because he is the barangay captain in one of our areas. He is so funny. He is what you imagine when you think of a Filipino, short, dark, just small. 🙂 He is in his 60’s and says that this Gospel is the best thing that he has ever experienced. He says now that he is officially a member he is going to "flaunt it" so that everyone will know he is Mormon. He wants to get his wife to come to church, and he keeps telling the other Barangay captains that this is the best religion and that they could really benefit from it. And he has talked to some of his counselors about coming to church. He truly has the spirit of missionary work. I wish every member of the church had his feelings and bravery about sharing the Gospel. When members are working with their friends and family it makes those people so much more willing to listen to the message than if they are hearing about it for the first time from a stranger on the street. Referrals are GOLDEN!!! Proselyting gets investigators, but referrals are better all around. So anyway he was baptized on Saturday and it was a great service, there was a lot of ward support and we were really grateful for that. When the ward is involved it makes the new convert feel included and loved and it really helps them to integrate into the group.

We went to San Pablo this week for our "almost one month check up" and we got to train with our mission president on some stuff. And then we all went to lunch and they gave us a talk to read. It was called, "become the 4th missionary". It started out by describing the four different types of missionaries. And I just want to talk about the 3rd and 4th because I feel like they are the most relevant to me. The third missionary serves, he is worthy, he does what he is supposed to and follows the rules, but he doesn’t give his heart or his will to the Lord. As a result many people are converted but the missionary doesn’t grow or learn anything from this experience, he is often unhappy and feels like he isn’t really making a difference. The 4th missionary is the same as the 3rd except gives his will to the Lord and focuses on the Lords work. He puts away his desires, wants, and wishes and becomes a true disciple of the Lord. As a result, many people are converted, and the missionary grows more than he could have imagined. I loved one of the things that was said. I’m paraphrasing a little because I don’t remember it exactly but it basically said that when you do what you want you can grow, but the end result will be that of an ordinary man, but when you give your will to God, he will make you something far greater, he will make you a god. I really liked that, and it’s true for more than just missionaries. The more people let the Lord influence their lives the better those people are and the more Christlike they become. My Goal while I am out here is to be the 4th missionary. Sometimes its hard to forget about my future, some things just spark those thoughts, like when I am reading my scriptures and it talks about the things you should teach your children and I start to thing about my future family. Then I realize that I am no longer focused and try to realign my thoughts. Its really hard sometimes, but I am doing my best, and I will continue to progress throughout this experience.

I love you all and I hope you are all doing well. Thank you so much for your support and love.

Until Next Time,

~Sister Mary Christina Cox

cox.mary

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LOVING THE PHILIPPINES

So I have been keeping notes all last week about things that I can write about. Most of them aren’t stories or anything they are just funny little things that I found interesting. Ok so #1 People in America are obsessed with being tan and people in the Philippines are obsessed with being white. The woman all carry umbrellas pretty much all the time to keep the sun off of them. And many of the people here use a lotion that is supposed to whiten their skin. I have decided that I am just going to be happy with myself the way I am, tan in the summer, kind of tan in the winter, and I’m not going to worry about it anymore. I am just going to take care of what I have been given.

#2 There is this concept of "American Time/Filipino time". When some one says they want to you be somewhere "American Time" it means they want you to be right on time and to not be late. However, Filipino time is just the opposite, if someone tells you to be there at a certain time but does not say "american time" it gives you about a six hour window with three hours in either direction. Crazy right?!

#3 To flush the toilet you have to dump water down it. Sometimes the toilet consists of a little porcelain bowl that stands less than a foot above the ground so you have to quite literally pop a squat and go. It’s not to terrible.

#4 This last week I had Zits galore. The worst break out of my life. And people were still calling me "Maganda" (beautiful). I didn’t understand it so I just went with it. I’m really ok with being called beautiful all the time. It’s gonna be hard to come back to America and not have that boost. haha.

#5 the modes of transportation around here are called Jeepneys and Tricycles. The Jeepneys are supposed to fit about 20 people, and that’s when people are squished in pretty tight, but they will fit as many people as possible and it can get a little claustrophobic. Tricycles are motorcycles with a side car attached. The side car is pretty small and sometimes they will fit up to four adults in it. Two on the seat, one on a seat by the drivers leg, and one person sitting on the feet of all the other people. When they do this to me I am basically sitting in a fetal position and if its a long drive I start to lose feeling in my legs. I prefer to sit outside with the driver. We sit "side saddle" and its much more comfortable. Although sometimes I am afraid I am going to loose my Kneecaps when we go around a tight corner or come to close to another vehicle because my legs stick out so much.

#6 Ok one funny story. One of our investigators is an older gentleman. He is the Barangay Captain…. and as I’m saying that I realize I have said nothing about Barangays…. ok I will talk about that next week. So anyway he is basically a leader of a little community. We call him Brother Mel. So this week Brother Mel asked if he could read my palms. I said ok. And he proceeded to tell me "my life story". He told me I came from a broken family and that I had dealt with difficult problems at a very young age. He said that I gave up a big dream when I was very young. He also said that there was a time in my life when I chose to turn to God and it saved me from much misery. He said that I have loved two men, the first when I was 16 and the second more recently. He said that I will travel to a new country within a year of my return home. And I will return to the Philippines in less that five years of my return. He said that I have not yet met my spouse but I will meet him in or before 2015. He says I have a lot of dreams and I am going to make a name for myself and become very successful. He also said I have a strong heart.

I was pretty impressed with his accuracy of my past. I’m not so sure about the "giving up a dream" but everything else was spot on. And I’m not so sure about the future, I guess we will see. Oh happy thought! Brother Mel is getting baptized this Saturday. We are so excited for him. 🙂

Love you all!!!

Sister Mary Christina Cox

cox.christina.1992

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week two in the Field

Ok so I think I promised to talk about the shower situation. The shower consists of a spout, a bucket, and a ladle. You fill the bucket with cold water and use the ladle to pour the water over yourself. The first time I took a shower it was really hot outside and the cold water felt really good. LOL. On days that it is really really hot you are so warm that by the water reached your legs and feet it has been warmed up to your body temperature just from running down your body. It feels weird sometimes. I really like the cold water, especially in the mornings when I need to wake up. My companion hates it though. She is from a little island that is similar to the philippines in weather and she bathed in warm water at home, so everything she comes out the CR she looks like she is about to shiver out of her skin. oh, CR stands for Comfort Room, which is what they call bathrooms here. I finally got some bug spray this week! And I found this stuff that helps with itch. It’s this kind of menthol rub and its awesome. HAHA. Ok so I laugh at my companion because the shower makes her freeze and she laughs at me because the mosquitoes love me! To them I am Masirap (delicious). She hardly ever gets bit but I am getting bit left and right, well not after I got bug spray. I don’t have any new bites. But Bug spray is so expensive, I am really going to have to budget well to get it as often as I need it. And I do need it, cause I really would love not to catch Malaria.
And oh my goodness I LOVE THE WEATHER HERE! so most of the time it’s just hot and a little humid. But it changes so fast, one minute you are sweating your face off and the next the sky is dumping buckets of rain on you. We even got hail for a couple of minutes the other day. The rain really cools things off. And I love it because it makes everything smell better. It gets rid of the exhaust and cigarette smell. Speaking of smells. I think my nose is becoming adjusted rather nicely. The first time I went to the Palengke (market) I just about threw up from the smell. It smelled of rotting vegetables, meat, and human excretion. Now when I go I hardly notice it and I’m good at picking out delicious smells. And the food here really does smell delicious. Most of the time anyway. OH! Speaking of food. On of the members says that I need to come to his home for dinner so I can try Balut. Which is a duck egg…. that has been fertilized, but not hatched. ewww…. I think I might try it once. just once. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.
So this last week we had a baptism. Her name is Sister Lanie. Her husband is a less active member. They have three children. Her baptism was on friday and it was great. We were able to get a lot of support from the ward and lots of people showed up. We also had two progressing investigators come. They are both going to be baptized later this month. After her baptism, Sister Lanie bore her testimony for us, I didn’t understand everything that she said, but I understood the Spirit. She has a strong testimony and it will bless her family.

So I think that is just about it for this week. If you have any specific questions or topics that you would like me to discuss, please email me! I love hearing from all of you even if you don’t have questions, so thank you to all my aunties and uncles that have written me, I really super appreciate it. Oh and I love hearing from my mother, cause she is awesome and is going to run another marathon. 🙂

~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary

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