Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our toilet flushes!!!! (How is that for a title)

How is it going everyone!  This week has been so busy I cannot even explain.  Here is a somewhat summarized version of the past week:
1.        I got a crazy red rash on my arms and face.  I go to a members home who gives me a thousand herbal pills.  I got a blessing that night too and I am all better now. 
2.       Zone Conference was on Wednesday, hence the pictures with all of the white sisters.  It was a super legit MTC reunion.  Sister Abuel and I was hoping that they would introduce Facebook to the mission, but we are not that lucky yet.
3.       Typhoon again!  We were stuck inside practically all day watching the water creep up closer and closer to the apartment.  Luckily it did not flood, but we did have a brown out which turned into a black out after the sun went down. 
4.       We moved yesterday…finally!  To all of those who were expecting emails back earlier this week,  our P-day was moved because we spent all day moving across the city.  I like the new apartment…it is actually like two apartments.  Our toilet flushes and we have a shower….the shower only works at night though when there is water pressure.  Back to the bucket for me.  But we have all new things in our apartment and it is nice.  I have the small apartment for my new companion and I because I will be training.  The other 4 sisters live in the other apartment like two feet away.  I will send pictures next week!
5.       And I begin training tomorrow!  I sad to say goodbye to Sister Abuel but I am excited to meet my new companion, too!  I have big plans for San Nicolas 2A and my companion and I have a lot of work ahead.  We are going to accomplish great work together. 
The work in my area is going well.  Sister Abuel and I have began teaching multiple families in the past weeks.  We were especially blessed to begin teaching the Patingga and Tabios families this week.  They live together and the wives are inactive members.  They still believe in the Church and their four children will be baptized next month.  I know that it is not a coincidence that we met these people.  The Lord surely put them in our path so that they could be reminded of and receive the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hopefully we will teach their husbands too so that their families can prepare to receive the blessings from being sealed in the House of the Lord. 
I am so happy to hear from so many of you who have received mission calls this week.  A special congratulations to Kevin Moncada and Illia Wen. You guys are going to be great and you cannot even understand at this time the many ways the Lord will use use as His tool in bring forth Zion.  There is something fabulous about knowing that I am or will be serving with so many of you.  The Army of Helaman is growing so rapidly.  I am proud to be fighting on God’s side. 
Thank you for the support and prayers.  Kung walang pagkararag sa bahay, hindi pwede ako magwork dito at meron success.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leah Needs a Title for This...

Hello everyone!
This has been a great week.  We not only secured a contract for a newly refurbished apartment (we are talking two showers, everyone), but we have begun to teach another family in our area.  Jonalyn’s baptism was also a great success and the other sisters in our ward baptized the Roqueta family this week.  This is exciting work.  I am very grateful to announce that next week we will have an additional set of sisters serving in our ward; that means six sisters total!  The area I will be leading will be half of my current area.  I will have a lot of work to do with my new companion, especially because our area is mainly members of the Iglesia Church, a church that is very against Mormons.  But, we can do it because we have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I have attached some pictures from this week.  Because the tap water in San Nicolas is brown, we had to get creative with the ward missionaries to find clear water to fill the baptismal font.  (I keep suggesting to baptize people in the ocean, but no one seems to be grabbing on to the idea.)  So because well water is significantly cleaner than tap water here, we got the Agustin’s truck, tons of buckets, and went to member’s homes that have wells.  It took all morning and water is heavy, but that is okay because by biceps are huge now.  That was a joke.
Also, shout out to Sarah this week.  I hope your birthday is fun and I hope that you do not wash away in the floods in Colorado.  I made you a cake but you will have to wait to November 2014 for me to get it to you. 
This week I heard a story which I would like to recount to you.  It is called “How the Filipino People Got Their Skin:”
One day God made man.  He put the first man in the oven to cook, but God put him in too long and burned the man.  So God tried again.  This time he under cooked the man.  On God’s last try, man came out of the oven just right.  God sent those he overcooked to Africa and sent the undercooked man to Europe.  But the best man, the one cooked just right, was sent to the Philippines.  And that is how the Filipinos people got their skin.
I am working my hardest out here.  It has been really hot again and some days are very long, but it is comforting to know that I am in the service of the Lord.  I also realized that this week marked the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  9/11 has affected me greatly; I will remember that day and the following weeks and months as my family took a somewhat front row seat living in Connecticut.  I am thankful to be an American.  I am thankful for the Land of the Free.  I am thankful to be a citizen of such a wonderful place.
I love you all!  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for keeping in touch.  Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Mission is about Becoming

A mission is a becoming experience.  Missionaries across the world spend their days assessing themselves, measuring themselves against their pasts and futures, and enacting the necessary plans to reach their divine potentials.  I have been very blessed serving my mission so far; Sister Abuel and I have accomplished a lot in only 10 weeks.  But the truth is that my mission sent a little sour this week.  Several events which have recently unfolded have led Sister Abuel and I to review our efforts as servants of the Lord.  And we fell really short.  But that is ok-lang dahil hindi expected na kami maging perpekto; what is expected of us is to always try our best.  
We have spent the last days picking up the pieces: doing what we can to mend a relationship with an offended member, reestablishing an understanding of exact obedience to the mission rules, and recommitting ourselves fully to the service of the Lord.  It has been hard, but a mission is a becoming experience.  I am becoming who I need to be.  Becoming is hard and long and arduous, but that is okay.  I decided to serve a mission to become.  Being a missionary is ang hirap talaga; we are expected to deliver miracles from heaven to the people we serve.  But you cannot become a messenger of miracles, a devoted servant of the Lord, or a good person, without work and effort and recommitting yourself regularly.  You do not become by falling short continually in the same areas; you become by fixing yourself and moving forward, changing yourself through the power of the Lord and his infinite grace.  I am thankful for the experiences I have had on my mission.  Each one, good and bad, has helped to refine me.  Napapasalamat po ako talaga para sa support at mga prayers sa home.  Yung mga misionero sa lahat ng mundo ay napapasalamat sa inyo. Kailanan po naming yung inyong tulong.  I am becoming, but your support and prayers are what fuels my experience dito sa mission.
Speaking of support…I GOT MAIL THIS WEEK AND LOTS OF IT!  Thank you all so much.  Just one note- addressing my letters as “Little Cee” or any other ridiculous names will make it difficult for the mission to get the mail to me.  Yes, the letter addressed to a “Little Cee” was opened by the mission home and read, so that they could know that “Little Cee” was in fact “Sister Copeland.”  To answer some reoccurring questions from the letters:
1.       No, I do not have the desire to swim in the puddles.  We actually have had barely any rain in the past week plus, which means it has been hotter than Spirit Prison here. 
2.       Yes, my Tagalog is improving, slowly but surely.  I am also picking up a bunch of random Ilocano words so my Tagalog is more like TAGILOCOLISH.
3.       Please do send me a package.  Preferred contents: American chocolate.   
This week’s cultural lesson will be entitled “Crazy things pilipinos do.” 
1.       Sweep the streets.  Everyone here is always sweeping the streets.  Yes, the streets are dirty, they are full of leaves and rocks, but why in the world would you sweep the street?  It is the most pointless use of time and has no effect.  Sweeping the street in the Philippines is like sweeping a beach with a toothbrush.  Really, people?
2.       Because Pilipinos cannot pronounce “f”, words adopted from the English always sound hilarious.  (Ex. One, two , tree, POUR, PIBE) But it is so strange here because when a Pilipino says the word “Pilipino” they pronounce it with a perfect “f” pronunciation. (Ex. FiliFino)  I cannot understand it; they say “fish” like “pish” but “Pilipino” like “filifino.”
The work here is going great.  We received a referral this week to teach a family and we have a baptism on this Saturday.  Sister Abuel and I are praying for assistance and expecting miracles in the coming weeks as we strive to be the best missionaries that we can be. 

I love you and always I would love to hear from you.  Write me a letter and I can promise that I will send you one back.

Sister Leah Copeland

Philippines Laoag Mission
Brgy. 50 Buttong, Airport Avenue
Junction Tangid Road, Laoag City 2900
Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Super duper mahal sa lahat!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Wad up, homedawgs?

So, Sister Abuel and I have had a good week, despite the torrential rain and flooding like lahat sa area namin.  Di ko alam kung ano gagawin namin sa lahat ng ulan at mga baha.  Pero, ok lang.  We will survive.  On Wednesday we could again not leave the apartment.  I am attaching a picture of the baha that our Barangay 14 became.  I cannot explain the distress I endured not being able to escape the apartment.  I have read and reread every Liahona and other Church publication published since the Restoration. It is hard being rainy season here.  We make lots of plans but sometimes we just cannot teach people because we cannot get to them.  

Regardless, we are working as hard as we can.  On Thursday I lead the area during exchanges with Sister Boekweg.  It was fun to be with an American for a while.  We got extra stares because we are both super duper puti dito.  I learned a lot from Sister Boekweg and I now have more confidence for the end of the month when I will be training a brand new missionary.

Also, this week we were invited to a birthday party for Sister Briones, a member of the ward.  The party was super fun and I attached some pictures.  We had fancy flood and fancy cake.  I do not think events of this scale happen here very often because people have so little money to spare, but her children who live abroad made sure the event would be special for her.  I am thankful to be welcomed into the San Nicolas 2 Ward.  The people here are loving and appreciative of the efforts of the missionaries.

I love you all!  Thank you for the letters, emails, and most importantly, the prayers.  Mission work across the world is supported by the members of the Church, the tithes they contribute, and the prayers that the send up to heaven.  The Laoag mission has doubled since last year.  There has never been a greater need for support of the missionaries.  In a few weeks, 31 new missionaries are arriving to Laoag, 26 of which will be sisters.  These are exciting times.  We can only wait to see the grand reception of the gospel by the children of God across the world in the coming months.  

Alam ko na totoo ang ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo.  Sa pamamagitan ng ebanghelyo, alam ko na babalik tayo sa langit pagkatapos buhay natin dito sa mundo.  Tayo dito upang magtuto tunkol sa halimbawa ni Jesucristo at kailangan natin sundin ang lahat ng mga kautusan ng Diyos.  Ang mga utos ay susi para sa atin sa pasok sa kaharian celestial.  Akoy super masaya.  Akoy excited na puwede ko ibahagi ng ebanghelyo dito sa Laoag.  Buhay si Jesucristo.  Mero kayo ng katotohanon sa mundo, Ang Aklat ni Mormon.  Ang Akalt ni mormon, saka Ang Biblia, ay totoong mga libro para sa atin.  MApagmahal yung Diyos at tatangapin natin maraming biyay sa Kanya.  Yung pagbabayad-sal ni Kristo ay tunay.  Sa pangalan ng Anak ng Apodiyos, Jesucristo, amen.  

P.S.  Lots of you have asked if I have eaten balut yet.  I have not but I am planning to when I have the chance.  So far I have had chicken intestine, entire fish (like eyes and everything), as well as this curdled blood soup.  I can deal with the chicken and fish...blood soup....not so much...