Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

So like I said last week, on Tuesday was our Christmas Zone Conference. It was lots of fun, and very enlightening as well. We did a gift exchange, we were supposed to spend 200 piso, but I think some people cheaped out. I gave 8 pkgs instant noodles, a mug with 6 pkgs hot chocolate and instant milk, and a roll of toilet paper. 🙂 Not super original, but hey, what missionary doesn’t want food? hehe, I got three wash cloths which actually turned out to be just what I needed. Christmas was basically a whole lot of food and visiting with members. We got one lesson with one of our investigators. In the evening at our last members house, I really could not eat anymore, and Brother Duane said, "Sister, Eat! Tis the season to be Chubby!" Oddly enough I don’t seem to be gaining a whole lot of weight, I think I put just a little on, but hardly anything. I feel great, most of the time. 🙂
This week we also got a "golden referral". Her name is Jizel, she is the niece of the Elders Quarom President and lives with them. She has been coming to church for over a month now but we didn’t realize that she isn’t a member. GEEZ, so we started teaching her this week and she is super receptive. She accepted a Baptismal Goal Date for the end of January. We are really excited.
And even better news! Do you remember me talking about the two young women who want to be baptized but can’t because we have to teach their parents first? Well we have been teaching the mom and she is ok with them being baptized, and the dad was ok with them being baptized but refused to listen to the lessons. But this week, we had the opportunity to share the message of the restoration with him. He was listening attentively but would not ask questions and would not accept most of our invitations, but he did say that he would pray about what we told him. He also said that we could come back to share the rest of the lessons with him. I can tell you that my faith in fasting just increased. It’s been a great experience.
This week has been good. I hope it has been for all of you as well. So Happy Late Christmas, And Happy Early New Year, I love you all.
~Sister Mary Christina Cox

Merry Christmas to you, Happy Birthday to me.

I can hardly believe that it is almost Christmas. It just doesn’t feel the same when you are a missionary. Haha and when you are in a country that doesn’t have snow and it’s almost 90 degrees outside, and when your family is on the other side of the world, and when you are so busy that you hardly remember that it’s almost Christmas anyway. haha, ya. Pretty much. Tomorrow we have Zone Conference that will last pretty much all day. I’m excited for that. I hear the Christmas Zone Conferences are the best. Then there is Christmas, and we are meeting with a lot of members that day. Should be fun. I’m trying to avoid telling people that my Birthday and Christmas are one and the same because then everyone is so excited… and right now I’m ok to just chillax.
OOOOoooo…. Cute story! Sister Malig, my trainee, called me mom the other day. I was sitting on my bed and she was looking for scissors in my desk and she said, "Mom, where are the scis……. Wait, did I just call you ‘mom’?" Haha, we got a good laugh out of that. I really enjoy having her as a companion. Like I said before she was a few weeks late because she got dengue in the MTC. When she got her she was really super skinny and looked a little sickly. I am happy to report that our efforts to fatten her up are succeeding. A couple of her skirts are getting a little tight and she is looking better everyday. 🙂 I make her eat good food, including veggies and fruits, and we are actually eating really well, haha most days anyway. She is a wonderful companion and I am really enjoying this opportunity to train her.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, I will email again before New Years, so I will hold off on expressing those sentiments.
Love you all!
~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary

language.

Don’t really have a whole lot to talk about this week so I will talk about my language frustration. I am getting worse at speaking English. I am starting to have some filipino type errors. In Tagalog there is no distinction between he/she/it, It is just one word so a lot of the people mix up pronouns and I have caught myself using the wrong pronouns several times recently. And then I sometimes mix up sentence structure. And there is one thing that really gets me, in tagalog to negate a question word you have to put the word "kung" in front of it, kung literally translates into "if" so example. "Ano ginagawa mo?" What are you doing. "Hindi ko alam kung ano gawin." I don’t know what to do. The difference of questions and statements. So when Filipino’s translate they say, "I don’t know if what to do." This is true for all interagatives, Where? What? Who? Why? How? So the are always saying "if where", "if what", "If who" and so on, And I have caught myself saying it too! O_o…. weird.

And some people have been asking if Christmas is celebrated here. The answer is a resounding yes! They started playing Christmas music on the first of September, it is very much anticipated holiday here. We have a Zone Conference on Christmas Eve. And we are going to have dinner with our stake president on Christmas. We also have curfews both nights and also new years eve because there will be a lot of people drinking. Should be fun.

Love you all, hope you have a great week.
~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary

It’s almost christmas, oh joy… to the world.

So ya, everyone is getting super excited about Christmas, but I’m finding it hard to "get into the spririt" because it all seems like, buy this buy that, This is what I want, eh. It’s great. I should just grin and bear it, and I will, it’s almost worse when ward members know that my birthday is one Christmas. I don’t know why, but it is. This week was good. We spent time adventuring around our area, we had a training check up meeting to see how all the newbies are doing, Sister Malig is great. 🙂 and all the foreign missionaries had to be fingerprinted to make sure that we have not committed any heinous crimes here in the Philippines. hehe. Oh no!
Yesterday we had a really touching experience with some of our investigators. They are two teenage girls. They have been taught by the missionaries for some time now, and I guess we have all been trying to get them baptized and then it is postponed for some reason. The reason this time was that our mission president says that we have to teach both of their parents before they can be baptized, we are teaching the mother but the father refuses to listen. So this week was the 4th time that it has happened to these poor girls and last night they really opened up to us. They said they are very disappointed that’s understandable, and that they don’t know if they can wait until they are 18 to be baptized. They are afraid that they will be more busy then and that maybe the missionaries won’t return, or that they won’t feel the same way they do right now. We tried to reassure them and make it clear that if the church is true now, then it will be true then as well. We are all going to fast together this week. Just before we left we hugged the girls and I started crying when one of them started sobbing on my shoulder. I am not a crier, but it came to easily. We all just cried for a few minutes. We are really hoping for a way to teach their father, and if not then we want them to have the strength to endure.

Anywho, I hope you’re all wonderful and enjoying the holidays. Love you,
~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary

*Sniff Sniff* I just realized that I missed Thanksgiving….. :/

No, it’s true, I really just realized that I missed Thanksgiving. I missed the turkey and the stuffing and the mashed potatoes and gravy and the cranberry sauce and EVERYTHING. It is wasn’t even on my mind this week because we have been so busy. Awe… There is no thanksgiving here. I missed it all! *Sigh* guess I will just wait till next year… :/ So my new companion, Sister Malig, is just astig. She is really great at teaching, sometimes she is a little shy but she is very sincere. She has been working with missionaries in her home ward for the past couple of years so she is fairly prepared for the teaching part of missionary work. She is really funny, she is making me laugh all the time. She says, "poof, it became coco crunch" all the time and she says it at just the right time, it adds a lot of comic relief. And then the other night she was mimicking the hair style of the Tongan sister in the apartment by wearing her hair in a bun directly on top of her head and she said in a little girly voice, "Look! Now I’m tongan too!" We all got a good laugh out of that. She is a happy little thing and seems to be adjusting to missionary life pretty well. She actually calls me Nanay, which means mom. Its kinda cute.
This week was mission tour. We got to listen and have discussions with with Elder Neilson of the 70. It was amazing. We all were enlightened and got some wonderful ideas to help us in the work. There is one talk that we were asked to read before so that we would be prepared, It was about the saviors atonement, and it was amazing, I will send a link to all of you because it is definitely worth reading.
So our teaching pool is still minuscule but we are really going to be focused on "finding" this week. We also have three investigators with a Baptismal Goal Date for December 14th. They are all young women, and they are all so amazing. One of them is only 8 or 9 years old, so the Book of Mormon is a little deep for her to understand, but she tries to read it and if she really doesn’t understand then she reads from the little children’s Book of Mormon, She really likes the pictures. They are all coming to church and reading and praying and super exited that their baptism is so close. We have been teaching things like making and keeping covenants to help them understand that they are really making a promise with God and that it lasts for eternity, not just for a year, or just until they get to the temple, but for our whole lives, and they say they are ready.
I’m doing well. I feel better this week than I did last week. I feel a little less tired, and I feel more patient and I have just felt an increase of love for everyone around me. I love this feeling.
I hope you are all doing well. I love you and I miss you and I miss delicious Thanksgiving day food too. 😀 Hope you have a wonderful week.
~Sister Mary Christina Cox
cox.mary