|Sister Turtal and Sister Ralph|
Mom, I'm not writing a legit email. I'm not sure what you want to hear.
Mom: Tell us what you have done since you arrived. What it's like where you are. What you eat, what the differences are from where you were.
Sister Sarah: Mom ok, I am here in Bacolod Mission. My area is Escalante. I am speaking
Cebuano and Ilanggo. My companion is Sister Turtal she is Philippina and ahhh!!
Mom... am I not being strong if I cry??
Mom: No, crying cleanses the heart. You are strong but the Lord is stronger and He will help you.
Sister Sarah: ok, I agree. But every time I cry people tell me to be strong and it kind of makes me sad that they think I'm not being strong. Apparently I cry a lot more than most people.
Mom: They don't understand your feelings. You are strong and tears can be a strength. Don't worry about people telling you to be strong, they haven't experienced what you have. BTW, Your batch mate and ex-companion, Sr. Sousa, is living in the apartment with Laura Nielson in Cebu.
Sister Sarah: OHH!!! I miss her! I love Sister Sousa. That is crazy. I don't know. We are opening an area so we have literally just been following members around to houses and trying to get to know people. It's more like a city here. There is no ocean (for me first time without ocean)-sad. There is tons of sugar cane fields here. People are richer... it's weird. I eat the same thing...rice. We haven't done any food exploring yet. The difference is that there are TONS more mosquitoes here and they invest our water a lot. I don't know mom... I'm still new and trying to figure out where I am all the time.
Mom: Dad says he can see that (speaking of your directional challenges). Don't eat too much rice - it makes you FAT! haha
Sister Sarah: Haha I know. I'm still pathetic in terms of directions. I don't have much of an appetite since being here actually. I will do my best not to get fat.
I actually had super bad Last Area Sickness for the first two days I was here in my area. I just miss and love them so much, Mom. I just want to be with them. But I prayed and cried and prayed and prayed harder. And Heavenly Father literally changed my thoughts. I know it was not me. He would not let me think about them. He put into my soul this ability to smile and continue. I KNOW my Savior is aware of me and Our Father in Heaven and I am so blessed. I know they are supporting me, and I am falling in Love more and more with the Book of Mormon. How blessed I am.
Mom: We love you so much Sarah. Thank you for sharing some of your feelings. We can tell that you are still very tender and grieving. That is very understandable. We also grieve with you but we realize that at some point the Lord desires us to move ahead. Let us know when you are ready. Our prayers will always be with you.
Sister Sarah: Thank you mom. I am just trying to get my feet on the ground.
Mom: We looked up Escalante city and it appears fairly close to the ocean, not on it but close. Is there a chapel there?
Sister Sarah: Yes, there is chapel. I think they want to make it a stake this next year. We are moving next week again.
Mom: Are you serving in a ward or branch?
Sister Sarah: I'm in a branch.
Mom: Are you living in the city of Escalante or outside of the city? You mentioned sugar cane, is there a lot of farm workers in the area? Is your companion a "greenie?" Are you both opening this area? Have there been any Elders there? You have a branch and a church building, are you in a district?
Sister Sarah: I think we are in a district. There are elders here. There are lots of farms. We live... I'm not sure... I would say in the more city part. Like 2 min walk from the terminal in habitat is what it is called. My companion is not a greenie. She has been out a few weeks and got an emergency transfer to be with me. We are moving to a old computer shop that belongs to a member next week.
Mom: Did you get to your new area last Monday? Have you been there a week now? Is your P-day on Monday? You mentioned an emergency transfer for your companion, when are transfers usually?
Sister Sarah: I don't know when their transfers are. I have been here since last Tuesday. P-day is Monday. I was told by my president that I will probably finish my mission here... in this mission.... slightly breaks my heart... But I will go where He wants me to go.
Mom: We know that you will go wherever the Lord sends you, you will say whatever language He desires you to speak and you will be what He wants you to be. We also know that it will be challenging but you are worthy of His help and blessings. Dad wants to know if Ilanggo is similar to Cebuano? Are you teaching in both?
Sister Sarah: I am just trying to speak Cebuano now, Ilanggo is a straight mix of Cebuano and Waray... at least to a small extend. It's very different. I just really want to go to Carigara again.
I don't know what I want though. I think I will need time to fall in love with these people before I do or say anything ... what or what not
Mom: You have time. I know that you want to see those loved ones you left behind. If that is to be it will happen. I also know that your heart is great enough to love the people that the Lord wants you to serve now. I don't know if this helps or not but I want to mention something that Ben mentioned a few weeks ago. He was asked why He was on a mission. There are lots of good answers but the right one is because you love the Lord. That was very profound for me and for him. He has changed in his perspective, not getting upset when people don't accept his message because he is there for the Lord not for himself or even for the people he serves. Does that make sense?
When you love the Lord, where you serve does not matter. Who you serve does not matter. What matters is doing what He wants you to do. I hope that message helps.
We love you so much.
Sister Ralph: Man, my baby brother is all grown up-- yet another reason for me to cry hahaha. Thank you. I will remember that. I love you all so much. I am going to go now, but know that I love you and am soo grateful for all your prayers and love. I do love the Lord and will do my best to serve him with all my heart might mind and strength.
All My Love,
|Gifts from people in the MTC|
|Countryside in Escalante.|
|Me and my companion, Sr. Turtal|