There once was a girl named Eldredge who wanted to be a missionary. She traveled to the Philippines and now glows in the dark. Yo Eldredge, your a Mormon! babababa bababababa Eldredge goes to batac she meets Aquino and Arcayan, Sister Gabut requires she does splits her first week! Its goodbye to Sarrat and hellow to Batac, all the ilocano I learned is destroyed by their accents! (If you didn't sing that to the tune of "Harry Potter 1-7 in 99 Seconds" by PAINT i cry fro you) That was just my little tribute to Harry Potter as the 1st of September is the day of Harry Potter 7's Epilogue and I wanted to celebrate it somehow. Maybe I'll eat the Jelly Slugs and Berty Bots Every Flavor Beans my mother sent me.... anywhoos...
Its goodbye Sarrat and Hello Batac. So I thought I was being sent to just the other side of the river but nooo. I'm a good 20 minutes drive from Laoag, which makes me a good 30 to 45 minutes from Sarrat (I think, I didn't actually time it.) My new companion is Sister Gabut who just happens to be the same sister I first went on splits with back in my first cycle (a cycle is 6 weeks long) She has been in Batac for 2 going on 3 cycles now which is about the average length of time a missionary stays in an area, so I may only get this one cycle with her- I certainly hope not as she is hysterical and I love being her companion. Due to living with three other native Philippians there are bound to be some differences. For instance they all speak Basaya- a dialect from the southern half of the Philippines- so sometimes they'll just go off in Basayan and i'm sitting there like wat. its fun, I now get to learn Basayan! which doesn't sound like a language... anywhoos I think it has rained everyday since I got here in Batac but it is super fun. (Don't worry about my health or my foot i'm feeling great and so does the foot) My first night we met with a family who has a daughter out on her mission. We were greeted in a way that reminded me of how my family greets the missionaries and at first I thought they may be a multi-generational member family and while we were teaching them the power went out (due to the storm) and I felt right at home. It was awesome.
My body seems to want to go back to American time as all last week I would be so tired during the day and unable to sleep at night, but luckily that has changed. I was almost going to fall asleep during my personal scripture study and so I said a little prayer asking God to help me stay awake and then I read this scripture:
2 Nephi 1:13 Oh that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea even from the sleep of hell...
It made me laugh so hard I was able to stay awake for the rest of my study time. It just goes to show that God has a sense of humor. Speaking o humor- I now share an apartment with one other companionship- who just happen to the the STLs for my new Zone- and we (sister Gabut and I) happened to get home a little before they did so we turned out all the lights and were going to jump out and scare them when they opened the door. But they reached through the open window and scared me! I leapt back absolutely terrified- I thought the screen was engaged but apparently not- and they were laughing so hard they fell over. So yeah, no worries with me not being able to get along with all the new sisters.
I also met two crazy cat ladies this week, one who had cats on basically every surface available and one who just did cat needlepoint and had two cats. It was quite funny, as soon as the first one opened her door and I saw that she had made a cat needlepoint welcome mat I knew she was a crazy cat lady. I've decided I'm not going to be a crazy cat lady im gonna be the crazy lady at the end of the street with too many Doberman Pinchers and that makes cookies all the time. Did I mention we have a toaster oven? glorious baked goodness...
I have come to realize that no matter how much I tan I will still glow in the dark.
And there is nothing I can do about it. I've offered to trade skin with a few of our investigators who want to be white but i cant seem to pull it off... any suggestions? ha ha I'm kidding. But it is a little unnerving having people call out to me as I walk. I've tried teaching them but usually those who call out are on motorbikes and are guys who are not interested in hearing the gospel... so, its fun. The kids also swarm wanting to 'upear' or high five me so that is fun, but the beggars also seem to think that i'm made out of money as I'm white... so we just offer them pamphlets and pray with them if they are willing. It will be funny as when I go back to the states I'll expect guys to still pay attention to me but it'll probably be back to 'why is that potato walking down the street?' ha ha ha.
We also had a 1 day mission my first week and a baptism! it was the STLs baptism but its still fun and i still sang. It's becoming a tradition- me singing at baptisms I attend... anyways the 1 day mission was scary (I had only been in the area for 4 days and they wanted me to lead a group of youth in how to find and get referrals from less active and active members) but it was a lot of fun and the two girls I got to work with were super enthusiastic. This ward is missionary crazy. They have two RMs (Return Missionaries) that have returned from their missions this year and all the youth preparing to go on missions are just as enthusiastic. After the service on Sunday all four of us missionaries got swarmed by the youth asking when we would go on splits and teach. When we told them we had to go and study first and prepare the lessons one of the youth said 'sorry, we just love missionary work!" Instead of youth saying their busy or they have to study for w=school it's the other way around here! it's so strange. I love it.
I miss Sarrat. Apparently it's a 'hard area' whatever that means so when missionaries find out i'm from Sarrat they always seem to react to that funny. I am constantly worrying about my old investigators and the branch members and wonder how they are adjusting to the new missionaries in their area and how the less active are that Sister Hermosa and I had been working with are doing... I don't think this will ever end. I will always wondering how they are doing as they are written on my heart. It sounds cliche but when I left Sarrat I felt like I was carving their names on my heart and it hurt- but a good hurt. Luckily some of them travel to Batac for school or work so hopefully I will be lucky enough to run into them. I simply pray every day that I will get to finish my mission there...
As for investigators here in Batac we have a few families that when I first met them I thought they were recent converts, but they have been taking the lessons on and off since October 2015! When we got there the mother and father called out to their children who all gathered around with their book of Mormon's and the baby (age 3) sat quietly and played with some paper flowers her older brother made for her during the lesson. After the lesson we went and visited a recent convert family and had a great discussion on the plan o salvation and resolved questions and just in general had really great conversation. I feel like I can talk 5x better now and nothing has changed about me but the fact that I'm in a new town. It goes to show you know more than you think and if you just try you never know, you might surprise yourself.
From the Sister who is technically a city kid but spends more time out in rice fields,Sister Eldredge