Monday, June 30, 2014

29 June 2014 - My little Brother is HOME

Sorry I can't get the card reader going. And I apologize I do not have any inspiring stories this week. Please be patient with me. Opening an area is.... slightly stressful but we are doing our best.
This last Friday we had a random CSP (community service project) that we had not even heard anything about. We showed up expecting it to be a normal CSP and wanting to help. They then told us that the there was an artist slash congresswoman coming to the church and the church was working together with her program to give 2000 atops or roofs or shelters to Non-members in the surrounding areas. They wanted the people to see members and missionaries working together so they would associate missionaries more with the church and not with separate people.

So what we did is from 8 AM to almost 8 PM we were outside in the blazing heat picking up metal rooftops and bags full of nails, hammer, saws etc. and placing them along the church and the people who come in and get a little pep talk from the Artista and then they would file in along their new rooftops and we would then help them tie it all up and carry them out to the road or where ever they were going.

The thing that you don't see is that the metal we were carrying around is SHARP!!! AS IN!! SHARP! So every single person got cut multiple times. At the end of the day I counted mine... total 30 (=
During the second batch there was a lady that was tying her things together and she sliced her hand. Blood just flowed and I saw the whole thing. I ran to her and grabbed her hand and held it tight with pressure and held it high and took her to the bathroom. There is not much for cleaning supplies in the Philippines but eventually we got her cleaned up and bandaged. Right after that I suddenly felt like I was going to faint and throw up (like Father like daughter ) and had to sit down for a bit. But after that all happened the members saw me and started calling me Doctor Ralph.
That really says something when I was the best medical aid there was to offer. But so it started. I can't tell you how much blood and nasty I saw for the rest of the day, but it was enough to be glad that I did not go into a medical field. All I had to work with was cotton swabs, alcohol, tape and iodine. But we did what we could. The scariest was one lady that DASHED her knee. We had to cut her pants and her fat from her knee was pouring out. We cleaned it, bandaged it and she was off...... These people can't afford a doctor. You should have seen how courageously they all handled the pain.
A selfie right after the CSP, check the skin color....
We did get a few referrals from the CSP but they wanted us really just showing that example and helping the people to see the good we were doing. They were so grateful. This CSP KILLED Me! Bishop calls me his IDOL because I was out working most of the Brethren there and did not get tired for the longest time. I LOVE WORK! I love using my hands, it's refreshing and I enjoyed every single minute. But I have to say... I have never been in so much pain in SUCH a long time. I went from SUPER WHITE to RED in one day and my shoulders are yellow and purple from carrying the roofs on my shoulders. My hands are covered in cuts and cleaning other wounds with alcohol was .... OH SOO FUN! By the end of the day, I physically could not do what I Was doing earlier. I tried to pick up the roofs and couldn't. I went home and tried to take a bath and you know how we use those little ladle things to pour water on us to bathe... I couldn't do it. I had to use both hands. Literally I was a puddle. Hahaha, BUT I LOVED IT!!! We should have more activities like that.... but with REAL doctors, hahaha.
The picture of me is right after the CSP and this is a
baptism from two days ago.
Do you see a difference in skin color from last week? hahahahha

I've got a question...can you get herpes from blood to blood?

Well.. I had lots of blood to blood contact this week and then all of a sudden this weird thing popped up on my lip. I really hope it's not a cold sore.

This is where we buy our fish on P-day.
I love the sleeping lady. They all sleep right there.
We got a good laugh. I LOVE the Philippines!

This is our area. We have to walk across this rice field to get there (=
Its soooo green I LOVE IT!
The rice fields

You might not be able to tell. But I'm soaked to the bone. Hahaha We are opening an area and it's been hard getting members to help us because they are busy so we get lost A LOT and it just happened to be that the rain and thunder decided to join us this day. Oh, the adventures of missionary work.
Last p-day, we got home and look who decided to be a guest. HE IS a BIG one let me tell you. You can't tell in the picture but he is bigger than my hand. I killed him......eventually, haha. 
Benjamin is HOME! I want to be there with him so bad. I'm his big sister. He is my baby.... Gosh I was not expecting this to hurt so bad. It's ok mom, don't bug him. He is fine. Are you throwing a party now?

AHH! Yea,,... it just kinda of makes the tears come again. But thanks. I love him too. Mom, go enjoy yourself. YOUR SON is HOME! I will be fine. (=

AHHH! I wish I Was there!!!
Oh wow. HI BISHOP!!! Mom did Benjamin get a blessing with his release? WOW! I'm grateful to feel loved... but I'm slightly stressed haha

I'm still learning this whole TRUST in God thing.... please be patient with me. Sorry I did not have any inspiration stories but I love you mom. I love you sooo much! Be safe! Tell Jon I love him and I will watch his kids for them when I get home.

Sister Ralph

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

22 June 2014 -- Transfer 7

Transferred...Yes. I left Sister Bray. I am now in Ormoc Zone, a different kind of Cebuano and a Philippina Companion- Sister Tierra. She is great. Just change, change, change. And we are opening an area for my 6th time.... what are they trying to teach me that I'm not picking up?
   So funny that you told me to get checked up this week mom because I spent a lot of time in the hospital this week, but not for me, haha, for my companion, Sister Bray. We left the computer shop last week and right away before even getting on a Jeepney or tricycle, my companion was saying her back hurt. We drove somewhere to shop and get food but we walked in and I noticed my companion was being all weird... almost zombie like. I was confused and asked her what was going on. She told me her back hurt really bad and she could not feel her body weight. We went to get in line to get food to see if food would help but she could not last a minute in line. She had to sit down. She said her body was going numb and she felt like throwing up. So while she cried her eyes out with her head on the table at this restaurant in the mall - I called the zone leaders and Sister Andaya. 
 This picture is in the mission office!
YES! its back! and so nice after the storm now.
That is Elder Quinco, he was my zone leader,
and now our AP. Love him! He loves me too,
whether he admits it or not hahah

     We ended up going to the clinic and waiting these for hours after they took her BP and it was normal and her sugar was normal. We went in to see the doctor who said she needed tests done. I was NOT impressed with the doctor at all and so I was grateful the ZL's were there to keep me calm. She started burning up too and could barely walk without me helping her. The three test results came back and said she was fine other than a slight urinary infection. She was just sooo... out of it and really started burning up. The AP's without me even knowing left Tacloban to come and get us. So within a few hours they were taking us to Tacloban because the doctors in Sogod are.... basta.
   We got to Tacloban at night and just pretty much went straight to bed.
   We went to our beds but there was no sleeping. Her back was killing her so I tried to rub it out and her fever would come and go so I tried to keep liquids down her and do whatever but it was a rough, rough night.  
Elder Burton entertaining Sister Bray.

   After that we just chilled in Tacloban- they wanted to just see how things mulled over for a day. Oh yes, she did get a beautiful blessing from Elder Lum right before coming to Tacloban. And so we hung out with the Tacloban zone- by hanging out I mean we sat in the back of their zone meeting. Sister Bray laying down on my lap, me checking her temp and helping her drink water. It was an adventure. The APs were amazing and brought us bananas and medicine that she ate out in the hall. I got to see my Ward Mission Leader from Carigara while we were out in the hall- sweet tender mercy. Within an hour from the medicine-her fever was gone and she was getting color back, by the end of the night she was walking around and talking.
 Her back was the last thing to get better but we literally just chilled at the mission office for a number of hours so she could be monitored and cared for. I enjoyed myself because I got to play nurse/mom and secretary because the office elders let me help organize papers and get the office more in order. At least I was being productive with time. Towards the end of the night Elder Burton and his companion were put in charge of us and they did a fantastic job keeping Sister Bray smiling and fed- they personally made mashed potatoes and chicken soup. We are loved (=
This is JesNeph (Jesus Nephi), a little member boy who I love.
He is so cute!  The name got beat...
I met a family here who named their boy "Christ"
and he has NO nickname- unlike all Filipinos.
Sister Tierra and I call him "Baby C", haha.

A school with a bunch of kids practicing a dance performance.

This is my favorite little boy who I taught how to make this
cool popping noise with his lips. We are best of friends. 
   So the news finally came and yes I was transferred- so unexpected, hahaha, please... I'M ALWAYS transferred, 7th area now (= So I came in perfect timing for the District Conference with President Ardern! I saw him in the chapel and went straight up to him and told him how much I loved him and how I nearly was in tears when I heard him pray in conference knowing how humble and how he truly is a hero for me personally (he is the one that got us from Tacloban) I did not realize after I left him that I grabbed his arm! I'm SOO BAD!! I just grabbed the arm of my area president!!! Seriously Sister RALPH!! REALLY? I'm such a doof!
Elder Ardern
The picture below is of Sister Johnadee-our investigator in Sogod. I'm so sad I will not get to see her progress. She is one of the sisters that came to church and my last day there, we taught her, and you could see her love and amazement for the Book of Mormon in her eyes. She was already making applications to her own life and recognized the spirit as she read. She is a convert to the Book of Mormon and I am so excited for her. (= I love being a missionary!
Sister Johnadee- our investigator in Sogod with a 
RS member Maryjane in the white- she is incredible!

So now my companion is this cute little Philippina -Sister Tierra, She is about a year into the mission and is from Bacolod (= We get along great and I am so excited to get to know her. She has a strong testimony and she is helping me cook (= YES! Love her already. She is Ilango and Waray-waray but the Cebuano will come quick to her.

Below are a few pictures of Ormoc.. It's a huge zone.

Scene Llang. It's a beautiful area. We are assigned to the city but it looks like we will be spending most of our time out here in the more bukid part. We have a great bishop and they said that the storm really did miracles for the Less-active members here and the retention is awesome. We are excited to see what miracles come our way as we are exactly obedient and rely on the Lord. Oh the Joys ahead!! Today I have 4 months left- no time to waste! I have soooooo much to learn and do before I go ANYWHERE! (= I love missionary work!
Sister Tierra and me in Ormoc zone.

Yes, Ormoc is the city.

I apologize I look terrible in the pix but it's all I got. I was a big of a disaster this past week and most of the pictures were taken right after sweating my brains out trying to clean our apartment or something like that. So I apologize. Also my wardrobe is so little now . The labahan in Sogod stole like half of my shirts... no joke, haha. Love the Philippines.

Please don't leave out details for when Benjamin comes home. I wish I could be there with you all. I love you so much! Take care. Be safe.

Love ,
Sister Ralph

Monday, June 16, 2014

15 June 2014 -- Happy Father's Day

Ok, this is my zone. It's changed now though because our zone leader just left to become AP. AHH!! Weird

Hahahahahaha They are ALL things I LOVE ABOUT HIM!!!
 Sooo.... I know this man and as you can see in the pictures he is a man of many, many talents and quirks. He can take anything broken and in what seems an instant.... it is fixed.

And with a cute and very contented look on his face... he finishes the job. (=

He is brave, courageous quick and strong as can be.... but when it comes to blood. Just let him be.

We always want him with us..... Except in the Kitchen....

Every ones favorite is "Joy to the World". But he has a unique way of singing along....

With all his quirks and talents he is also the man that I turn to for everything. The man I look up to and respect, a humble father, a loving husband and a Man of God. HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!! I love you so much and reflect on your example constantly. You have done more in forwarding the work of God here on this earth than you can possibly imagine. I Hope you had a wonderful day!!

This is at an FHE with the Amerila family who we love!
Ok Here is my week:
     So we have this investigator who is in her late thirties. Her name is Inday Dizone and we have taught her a few times and the progression has been slow but the potential is obvious. She has read from the Book of Mormon but still not comfortable with coming to church. We are really trying to focus on her getting that testimony for herself through prayer. This last week we had two sisters from the ward come with us and they talked LITERALLY for 2 and a half HOURS! I don't know if I can paint this picture clearly... Filipinos do NOT talk like Americans. In America if you interrupt it's rude and you are not really listening. Here... if you don't interrupt... it's weird. There is no silence or quiet between's almost, I would say, a talent how they make these transitions and still make sense of everything even though they talk over each other. My companion and I just sat and listened happy at least that they were fellowshipping and that she would hopefully feel more comfortable coming to church with knowing these two sisters. Two days later.... we go back... AGAIN!! Another hour and a half later.... of PURE chicka chicka,... talking, talking. But the second time was so amazing to me. I was able to step back and evaluate what was going on. Yes, we could have gotten more appointments in, we could have talked to more people, but here two white spoiled medjo selfish young American girls left everything they love behind-- half way around the world in order to sit on the floor in the BLAZING heat, sweating bullets, thirsty, hungry, and struggling to understand the insanely fast Cebuano about payments and loans and laundry... in order for this woman to feel that she is loved, in order for this ONE PERSON to know that she has a Savior and to learn of the Message of the Restoration. I was able to truly find holiness in that hour and a half. I love being a missionary. He truly opens our eyes to see what is truly beyond what our eyes can comprehend.
     This week was actually FANTASTIC!! Things are finally coming together!! We got nine new investigators and we are meeting professionals!! yes! Heavenly Father is Answering our Sincere Prayers!! We are soo happy! We were THRILLED when two of our investigators came to church, two sisters who brought their kids. They stayed all three hours and they really inspired the members to get involved. Members kept coming up and saying how nice it was to see new faces in church. And they were fellowshipped and it was everything missionaries live for. I Love being a missionary! My testimony of the power of members just accelerates every single week.
     I think one of my personal favorite classes of people to teach as a missionary are less-actives. It sounds terrible but I always feel the spirit guide my tongue and the scriptures from the Book of Mormon ALWAYS ALWAYS have exactly what they need to hear. It's incredible. I wish I could just have you all there with me when we teach but we walk into these houses and we know they are not super excited to see us but they let us in any way because they are Pinoy and they are hospitable. We chat and talk and their concerns come out... it's too cold in the church, they don't want to go to church without their spouse, they are offended, No one will force me to go to church.... We have heard it all. And yet... the Book of Mormon is filled with promises and reminders that just seem to make everything seem so unimportant. How I love the Book of Mormon. It really, truly is the key stone of God's religion. It has helped me in my OWN life to see how Satan has thrown darts at me. But slowly I'm throwing back darts his way as I study the scriptures and pray for guidance. Man... I just love everything about the Gospel! Everything makes sense! Everything is soo... REAL! Being a missionary is the best!
     Ohh, One other thing I want to share. So I had read a few weeks ago President Monson's talk this last conference about love and being kind. He said, "may we all look for opportunities to be kind".... We were leaving a Less-active's house and it was getting late. In the corner of my eye I saw this woman just sitting by herself on the side of the road. I looked deeper into her face... her eyes and she just had sorrow written into her face. I literally heard President Monson's voice come into my head... look for opportunities to show a little kindness....
      I grabbed my companion and we just took 20 minutes to talk to this woman and find out what her concerns and worries were. She teared up and we shared the message of the restoration with her. We were getting ready to leave and she just had this huge smile on her face and she said she was so happy we came and talked to her. There was no number we could take credit for in our key indicators for the day but the satisfying feeling... knowing we had done good in the world was beautiful and lasting. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ- a religion of kindness.
     Transfers are this week.
     YES Ma'am! I will do everything to be safe and healthy mom. I bought TONS of fruits this morning(= Thank you for your concern, I love you too! I'm going to go eat and I will talk to you next week. In the mean time, focus on Dad... its father's day! Give him a Kiss and Tell him I love him! I love you soo much mom! You are the BEST MOM in the WHOLE WORLD!! All my Love!!!
Sister Ralph

Monday, June 9, 2014

8 June 2014 -- Pictures worth a thousand words...

Ok Mom, here is your late Mother's day gift... a billion pictures. Sorry not much to say but a picture is worth a thousand words so... technically I'm speaking ALOT.
 Tacloban Mission Conference
This is us in Tacloban getting a pedicure (=

Ok those three explain what me and Sister Bray did while we waited in Tacloban before our service project.

That was Wednesday. Thursday morning was the project.
Service Project cleaning a special park.
The entire mission met at MacArthur Park but this place is special to all Tacloban missionaries because this is where you come and get assigned your trainer and language and where you are going when you FIRST come into the field.
This next one is my awesome zone before we get to work.
This is Elder Burton.... He misses my sass in his district
but as you can see he continues to work hard
with his wizard skills in Tacloban zone. Haha luv the kid

So we were separated into zones and then just went to work. Some had to pick up trash. We were assigned to pick up rocks and pile them... I'm still sore... it sounds easy but my legs... are dead,haha. LOVE IT, others had to clean out the pond, some weeded... we just tried to beautify the place really and it looks so much better.
This is Elder Panganiban working hard.
He is a great missionary and has a
beautiful voice. He is a lot like an's weird.

It was a treat for many of us because a number of RM's and our MTC teachers were there.

The picture with the Sister by the statues is Sister Lindsey-
she was in Tacloban during the storm. She is an angel.

This is Brother Pasikala my MTC teacher and my companion. He taught both of us and when he found out we were companions he said "wow, that's a dynamic companionship" hahahaha not sure what that means but people love us, soooo no one's complaining (=
This is a picture of Sogod zone... with our matching t-shirts. "SOGOD" on our shirts is made of little things that kind of explain our life as missionaries in Tacloban and its really cool, I will show you when I get home (=
This is my Batch! We love each other and have a lot of fun. It's really cool because this day happened to be our ONE YEAR MARK!!! ... in the Philippines.... so we thought we would celebrate (= 

This is Sister Fotofili and Sister Agreda and Elder Murdock my zone leader from Borongan!
Sr Fotofil, me, Sr. Agreda and Elder Murdock
I miss and love them very much. Elder Murdock took over our area there and so it was good to get caught up on what is going on and how our investigators are progressing. The Calos family are getting baptized!!! YES!!!

Elder Carling (secret but I hope he is the next AP)
he is a terrific example of what a consecrated
missionary should be like. He is from Montana....
random, hahaha.

Elder Quinco made them, my zone leader now. Can you see the pictures?

Ok, that's all you get for the service project. We need a huge group photo but I think they sent it to everyones email and I will find it and send it to you.

So this was the devotional after the CSP. The devotional was beautiful. The Andaya family sang "Helaman's Army" song and all the missionaries joined in on the last verse. I bawled like a child. It was soo good to listen and be able to say Goodbye to president and Sister Andaya. I love them so much! They changed this mission!! We all cried and just felt the spirit and after it was all done we took pictures and the islanders did the HAKA for us... which you see below.

This picture at first looks inappropriate but you have to understand. This Elder was in Bacolod with me. He went straight from the MTC to Bacolod and then later finally came to Tacloban where he was assigned. (this was due to the storm). We were in the same zone and then he comes here and I don't know if you could see it but he did the HAKA and he is from New Zealand. He got INTO IT!! He was soo intense everyone wanted to shake his hand afterward ... his tongue is so big and was even MORE out there when he did the HAKA. So this is a shout out and a Respect to Elder Anderson.

This is Sister Estes and Sister Agreda...two of my favorite people.
The big group is all of the missionaries in Tacloban mission that Brother Pasikala taught. He is a legend. I am grateful I was able to talk one on one with him and get some really good advice. I'm older than him but he is soo full of wisdom and the spirit. It was so good to talk to him and he told me that he could see in all of our eyes how happy we are. It's true... I AM SO HAPPY! (=

This is Sister Hogge- she is my STL. or my Sister Training Leader
and I love her to death. She is so humble and just so much
fun to have around.

Elder Burton and Elder Stead. I love these two so much.
Elder Stead was my district leader and out of all Elders
in the field that I have met, I have learned the Most from him.
I'm excited that we are going home batch!

Elder Lum- from Hawaii. .. he is my zone leader now and we have lots of fun together. He is a recent convert to the church and another example of how the atonement really can change people, if they want it more than anything else. I love this Elder! He has one transfer left! AHH!!

Last one... Sister Nelson. Another STL, she goes home in one transfer too. She is a sweetheart and a volleyball player. All of these people have impacted me and changed me for good in one way or another. Missions are amazing!

Now this is on one way home. You get to see the mature side of the Elders in my zone hahahaha, They are actually all very good dedicated servants of the Lord. They talk to everyone and just have fun doing it. I'm going to miss them (=

     Moving on!! So this is the wedding of Sister Daylin (our investigator). They needed to get married before she could get baptized and so Saturday was an exciting day for everyone! Though I have to admit, I am happy that my wedding will be in America. As sweet and simple as it was. TEMPLE!!! But this was a beautiful baby step for them in the right direction of becoming an eternal family. (=

More wedding pictures. This is at our chapel

Next exciting event is the baptism. 2 hours after the wedding was Daylin's baptism. Ok.... I have to tell you this. So Elder Lowe is my district leader and of course at first he thought I was weird and quoting from him he said "The first two weeks I was your district leader I was like 'what did I get myself into?'"... but of course.. now he loves me, hahaha. But any way, so he was the one to baptize her. The first time she kind of freaked out when he put her under the water.
So they did it again, /// again... she freaked out. Third time her feet came up. After the fourth time when she came out of the water they lost balance and it looked like they were doing water aerobics... I accidentally laughed so loud. It was like a Jessica laugh. I promise it was an accident but I just could not help it. FINALLY on the 6th time... she was correctly and completely baptized by immersion. It was so memorable. Elder Lowe of course heard me laugh from the font after the fourth time and he told me afterward that he thought to himself "I'm never talking to Sister Ralph again!" Hahahahhaha! But we still talk and he still loves me. District unity. We just laugh and joke about it all the time now, 6 times, hahaha. Good times in the mission. (=

Hot chocolate with ANTS!
The orange picture is me and Sister Bray my companion this morning before we climbed Isang Lubi. It's the highest mountain around here and at the top is just ONE coconut tree. It's pretty cool. So we are drinking a hot chocolate (only 5 pesos) and I had drunken half of it when I looked in and saw all these floating things....hahah. YEP... lots and lots of ants. Dead now. I'm sure many more are safely in my tummy, but we drank it, haha. Welcome to the Philippines (=

Hubble hubble rides
Don't judge any of these pictures huh.... it was early morning haha. So this was our hubble-hubble ride up part of the mountain. But crazy enough I actually had to switch hubble-hubbles and ended up riding with the Elders, which was completely inspired because the sister's hubble-hubble actually crashed on the way up. If I had been on that bike I would have gotten hurt- I know it. None of the sisters were harmed because they were more in the front and are light weights. But we being big and in the back would have flown. God is so good to me!

This is me on my first attempt to climb isang lubi. It's not as easy as it looks
Ok this is my Birthday Email for JENNA, BEKA and GRACIE! Ok, so I might have to explain this picture but hopefully not... the coconut tree is the candle on your birthday cake and I am on the candle. I brought a picture of each of you up to the top of this hill which that in itself was an accomplishment and then I climbed this tree and ripped open my foot for all of you. I was going to take a picture with your pictures and me on the tree but it's scarier than it looks. The first time I did not get so high. I had to face my fears and try again to get up higher... after much more blood, tree burns and sweat and shaking muscles I hope you all know that I did it for you and I love you all so much!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I wish I could be there with you all but please know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers and especially on your birthday I hope its memorable and you feel and know how truly loved you are!

Love you all,
Sister Ralph