Saturday, March 14, 2015

FINALLY in the Philippines!

Note from President & Sister Rahlf:

This is a wonderful mission and we are grateful to have Sister Ethington here.  The new missionaries always bring with them an exciting and special spirit.  Please know that we will watch over her with great concern.  We have been praying for her for several months now and have looked forward to serving together.  We know that with your support and encouragement, she will progress and strengthen beyond your expectations and develop a great love for her fellow missionaries and the precious people she will serve, teach, and bless.

Sister Ethington and President and Sister Rahlf

Sister Ethington and her kasama - Sister Elivera

Week 7:

**Mom's Note** Carlee just emailed from the MTC in Manila. Last night they arrived in Manila at 10 pm and got to the MTC at 11:30 p.m.  They went right to bed. They're are going to let them go to bed at 8:00 tonight because they are all so tired. She said the MTC is a lot smaller but is nice. Today they have just been doing some orientation stuff. At 2:00 they are going proselyting with other missionaries until 6:00 p.m. She said they're all really happy to be there! It was so good to talk to her!!

Kumusta ang nanay ko! I miss you!! It was so nice to hear your voice and get to talk to you! Especially while I was traveling-that was really fun for me! 

Oh my goodness! I love the Philippines so much already! The people just stare at us haha. They are so cute and so nice!! I can't wait to actually to get to my mission. When we got to the airport, our cute MTC president was there and two other guys who helped us. SO MUCH LUGGAGE. The MTC president gave us a huge hug! And always hugs us all the time here! He's so sweet and so genuine. The MTC is smaller here so I think it's easier to be that way with less missionaries. It kinda feels like a hotel! The beds are SO comfy! And there's a shower and bathroom in our room so that's really nice! I'm super excited to just go out and teach people!!

Okay, driving here is nuts!! I thought I was going to die at least 17 times on the way to the MTC. There are lines but everyone, and I mean everyone (buses, jeeps, motorcycles, tricycles, cars) drives wherever they want! They just move around wherever there is space!! No blinkers no nothing! I'm surprised more people don't get in accidents but I guess they are used to it!! Everyone honks but no one does anything about it. I don't think driving will be as crazy in Cauayan seeing it is country and everything but yeah!

It's very warm!! When we got here I was like WHOA BABY. The MTC is air conditioned thank goodness! And my curls are out and about and there's nothing I can do about it! Ha but it's fun. I feel oddly at home here! I can't wait to bring you back, Mom!! We will definitely have to return in awhile :) Thanks for everything! I love you SO SO SO much!! Can't wait to talk to you again!! Love you!!!

Week 6:

Kumusta nanay ko! Mahal kita! Our last sunday at the MTC! So nuts! I'm gonna miss all my teachers and other missionaries so much! It hit me the other night in class and I started crying randomly... haha it was super weird! Oh well :) #sistermissionaryprobs I'm super nervous... for everything. But also haven't ever really been this excited before either! I know God will help me. 

Random...wanna know what the word is for annoying?? Nakakapagpabagabag. No joke. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

So a super good quote from a talk by Elder Holland that I loved this week: "With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. 'Cast not away therefore your confidence.' Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you." Dang he is good!! 

Also, one time when President Hinckley went to the Philippines, he promised the members if they would pay their tithing they would always have enough for food and clothes. One of our teachers said that will be one of the hardest things we do - asking these people who have nothing to give a tenth of what they have. But I know God loves them just as much as me and will bless them for their obedience.

Elder Eyler gave me a blessing last night, it was so good! I was just getting nervous and just felt like I needed one, even though President will give us one. He mentioned how you will be taken care of at home, and I know that's true :) as long as I am diligent. So I'm gonna be givin em Heaven over in the Philippines and you have to promise me you'll give em Heaven at home okay!? I love you. The church is true. Totoo ang simbahan ni Jesucristo. Mahal kita!!!

Week 5:

Next week is our last full week here! I'M FREAKING OUT! Ha so excited! But definitely nervous! Probably won't understand anyone for months! Wednesday night. Sister Hayden (teacher) gave me a cool challenge. She had me read Moroni 10:7-8 which are awesome and she promised if I spoke Tagalog until that Friday morning that I would see a miracle in my language. And it would be a big faith builder to me, but only if I really gave it all I could. And spoke Tagalog as much as I could! And I did it! It was amazing! In our lesson with Karen (investigator) on Friday morning, I didn't even use any notes! And all in Tagalog! The grammar is starting to make more sense, and I know it's all from God. I definitely couldn't be doing this on my own. Definitely not fluent yet but it's coming and I'm so grateful!

SOOO I have the first vision down in tagalog finally! I think i got it down earlier this week. So I'll be sure to recite that to you over the phone! It's so crazy! Crazy AWESOME! Magaling! Something else kinda funny-instead of like knocking at the door they just do a tiny knock and say "Tao po!" Which is like "people!" and they said sometimes people will actually say like "wala tao" no people! Obviously you are in there cause you responded!! Haha so cute!!

Sister May asked in one of our classes (she always has bomb questions about life, I love it) But she was like I don't think God loves us all equally. And then kind of explained why she thought that. And Brother Kovach explained it really well. He said that it is equal, but instead of saying equal cause that kinda sounds like there's a limit. His love is infinite and eternal. And we can all have access to it. As long as we are being obedient. So I just really liked that. And we all feel His love and see His love differently. Anything good in our life, comes from God and it's important for us to realize that. But once we feel His love I think it pushes that love outwards. So we can love other people. And help other people feel of His love through us. Just really really cool! 

Book of Mormon in Tagalog

Week 4:

I feel like I learn so much each week! I have an overwhelming feeling that God is so mindful of all of us. I look at all the other districts and sisters, and this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I wouldn't be as happy anywhere else, or going anywhere else. And God knows that and that's why I'm here! I'm blessed to have my kasama (companion). 

Yesterday we learned about conversion vs testimony and it was an awesome lesson! Because everyone (hopefully) who gets baptized has a testimony. But a testimony won't carry you through your life ya know. It's about being converted to the Lord and be willing to act on those beliefs and testimony. So it was just good to learn about when giving invitations to keep that in mind! I'm too spiritual to be real right now haha it's kind of crazy.

I had THE coolest image in my mind though the other day. It will probably make you cry.... just to warn you ;) Ha I'm crying just thinking about it just because it's so COOL. But I just pictured all of us 5 kids watching you while you were serving your mission and cheering you on from the other side! And then I was thinking about my future children on the other side too, with Dad and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Gary and everyone cheering me on. I can feel them. It's THE coolest feeling. 

I feel so blessed to be here. It's really not what I expected at all. It's better! Even now I feel like I am changed for the better. I have come to love studying! I could literally sit down and study the gospel all day long! I can't remember being this passionate about something. It's awesome! I do so many things I would have never done before! Like there's so many role playing! I don't think I was really shy before, but I feel like I've gotten outside my comfort zone which is so good. Cause there's no growth in the comfort zone! Mahal Kita!

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