WEEK 16 (Lilo-an)




December 27, 2015

1st Christmas!

Aw, hi! 
So good to see your faces on Christmas! I assure you they were only happy tears and that it really was uplifting.  I was a little worried that I would be distracted after, but it really was more of a push!  Believe me- my and my new companion Sister Herdegen's week has been full of happiness, hard work and just amazing lessons. So stoked already for the rest of this transfer.

I'll just give a little update about some of our new investigators that I love so much!!! Karen Romeo is a referral I found while working with Sister Huxtable- she is a single mom with three kids who was interested in the church because of the youth programs, and seeing the youth missionaries walking around in the heat really impressed her!  Ya pretty golden- we have taught her a bunch already and she has come to church and and a Christmas activity for youth and has really enjoyed it! She loves our lessons and even though her kids are still pretty shy, she really wants them to get involved in church and learning about the Gospel.  Hopefully, they will all be baptized at the end of January. In our last lesson she was talking about before she found our church she had been praying because she has a lot of struggles supporting her family alone and raising teenagers... but she felt that when we showed up at her door and starting getting to know her and teach her, that we were "her own personal angels here to help her."  That was a truly beautiful moment for me and I pray and pray that she will continue to progress.  Lessons and people like her make everything here worth it!!

Also, we found another awesome family!!  The Floras--we were definitely led to them on Christmas day while we were tracting.  We didn't know where to go and we wandered down a random street and found this big family all hanging out together and just started talking to them. After getting to know them for a while we shared a short Christmas message and set a return appointment to teach them more. So we went back last night and just taught a powerful lesson about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, wow, the spirit was strong, They all as a family were interested and love how our church is centered around the importance of families and Christ. Sis. Herdegen and I just love them so much already!!!! Only thing is that they are always trying to set me up with their oldest son so that tends to be quite awkward as somehow the conversation always leads to that... Then i get really awkward, start blushing (which Filipinos find hilarious cause I'm white) and i forget both Bisaya and English.... other than that--so fun spending time with them.

So you wanna know how my p-days are? Ok, I'll tell you- it's quite an adventure, so don't be too jealous!  Every p-day (and sometimes during the week) I experience the wonderful world of what Filipinos call "Laba."  What's "Laba" you say?  Laba is washing all my clothes by hand!! Yay!!!! no seriously.  Fun.  First, pop a Filipino squat and make one bucket of soapy water, one of clean water, then soak and scrub.  Scrub some more maybe soak in bleach if you're feeling good.  Then rinse and rinse and then hang out to dry! Let me tell you, life really sucks if you're like me and like to procrastinate :))))) it takes forever! SO anyways- don't feel bad, it's part of life her in the Philippines and I enjoy it- also teaches me important things like not to be trunky/lazy and a valuable life skill that most Americans don't have.

Thinking a lot about what my new year resolutions should be since I've got a full year to really stick to one! All I've got now is to email you guys once a week, so that should be doable.  Still thinkin' though....
Ok, sorry this was long--sometimes I feel like I am fulfilling my inner-Mormon-blogger-mom in these updates.... Oh BTW-- got to go to the mission home for christmas (perks to being in Lilo-an) and they had CrePES! ya crepes, definitely did not think I would be having those for a year and a half.   #blessed

Philippines is awesome crazy fun and all my peeps here in Lilo-an are beautiful- even though I didn't like the city at first I hope I don't transfer anytime soon .

Love you--keep on being the cooooolest fam i know!


My desk.  Haha, looks like home huh?






^jeffrey.  

My new comp and our celebratory 7-11 ice cream when Sister Karen became IBD
New companion


Water buffalo.  He wasn't impressed with our message. 




















WEEK 15 (Lilo-an)

December 21, 2015

Hi!

Not gonna do a group email not much to report . . . next week!!!

WEEK 14 (Lilo-an)

December 15, 2015

Hi-
sorry about Monday- P-days on transfer week are on Wednesday...  The typhoon did hit but we mostly just got a ton of rain, which meant walking in a ton of mud (hollaa to my tevas) so nothing too major in Lilo-an. Wow, this week flew- the Christmas conference was awesome! I loved seeing all my MTC friends and meeting a lot of other missionaries serving in Cebu East- there were almost 200!! Craziness but fun!

Also, with Sister Tubola leaving (she is on the plane home right now -wow weird) I have been companions with Sister Huxtable! Ah its been so fun !!! She is from Utah and has been here about 6 months so not too far ahead of me.  We were both really nervous about working together because of the language- but honestly it has been amazing!!! She did so good and I really pushed myself to say more. And we had so much success. Yesterday- we went and visited a lot of  potential investigators and even were able to contact two referrals who both want to come to church on Sunday!  This made me so happy and excited to be staying in this Area.  But unfortunately Sis. Huxtable is being transferred to Bohol. I haven't met my new trainer yet, but she is from Sister Huxtable's batch and is American, so hopefully we will still be able to communicate well with people. I wanna be bistak so badly- Bisaya is seriously the funniest language- i just love it so that makes is easier to study and learn. But one of our investigators only speaks Tagolog-- sooo maybe I'll come home tri-lingual. wow I barely passed Spanish in high school- so the Lord is helping me a lot. 

So much happens each day here-- it's hard to narrow everything down and remember- Sister Tubola taught my how make Illpia!!! My Filipino fave!! (Missy we will make it when I come home!! ) but that was funn! A lot of you have asked about food- hahaha the food. Um whenever we eat at members ya, we really don't know what your gonna get, most of the time is really yummy though! just different, hard to explain how. Always rice- like never not rice, and every meal is made to be eaten with rice. In fact i have learned that there is no limit to what can be eaten with rice. Yum rice. It's fun. Lots of different fruits and veggies here that are tasty- and they eat all parts of animals wohoo. Ya this week I asked why I see so many goats around here but never any goat cheese-- they eat goat. Who knows maybe I have eaten goat by now. No dairy here really whatsoever either.. Oh I did discover "salad" here.. members made it-- it's iceburg lettuce dipped in mayonnaise- I don't need to say much more about that..... haha 
I never get sick- honestly I must have an iron stomach because some missionaries get so sick! 

The Lord has really blessed me this week- He has blessed me with another amazing companion for the week- He blessed me with help in the language and in the teaching. Blessed me with lots of laughter and happiness in the work.  Also, I have had so many awesome experiences with some of the investigators and members in the ward. I am very happy that I'll be in Lilo-an for another 6 weeks and I hope all will go well with my trainer.
 Prayer is so important in missionary work and just all of life- Every night I pour out everything to the Lord and just feel his love and support. I know he answers prayers and if you ever need support, comfort or have a question, pray. He wants to help you and answer you. As I teach people about prayer and the love Heavenly Father has for all of us, it just becomes more a more beautiful. And when the people I teach bow their heads and offer prayers of gratitude in their humble humble circumstances- I feel the Lord's love more than ever. This church and gospel is a beautiful blessing. 
 I feel so blessed to be a missionary- honestly it is so fun/ exhausting / rewarding. 
Have a good week 
9 days till Christmas :))))) 

Christmas conference!
Great investigator, never ditches appointments!



My trainer and her two trainees
Puppies!  I named them Luka and Billy.  They live right by my apartment.  Happy kaayo.
Typhoon brought some killer sunsets!

WEEK 13 (Lilo-an)


December 6, 2015

Wow!
 This week marks a month of being here in Lilo-an- only a week 1/2 left of my first transfer. Crazy! but also feels like I have been here way longer haha. You'll be happy to know I really am on my way to being a true Filipino (inner goal) - they eat certain meals with their hands here, and I knew that before, but I didn't know there was a specific way! Anyways, I was taught the "way" this week and I am quite good at it- the Filipino elders were surprised- it's all in the fingers. ok hard to explain.  

This week has been awesome! We have received a lot of referrals from members and have had lots of luck teaching them! Although referrals are hard here because there are no addresses- so we usually get a general location and then it's up to us to search and ask people if they know the person..it's kinda like a giant scavenger hunt haha. It works best when members take us to the people.

Also yesterday we had two investigators come to church!! Cecilia and Lourdes!!! They both seemed to like it- Lourdes' baptismal date is January 2nd wohoo!!! And hopefully Cecilia will set one too:) I love when investigators come to church because there is such a strong spirit and comfort in the buildings. the members are all so welcoming and excited to have new people investigating. I love all the members here- have I already said that? ha oh well cause I really do-- they are so faithful and loving!

Had to defend myself and my companion from some street dogs this week with an umbrella- that was an experience for sure.. so many dogs everywhere- I have named the nice ones. 

I have embarrassed myself too many times to count with singing hymns here.. they love to sing and always pick the most random hymns in the book that I never know... so that's interesting. Also everyday we hear old nan'ays singing karaoke as loud as the speakers can blare.. it's hilarious!!! Especially when it's a popular American song. 

Well, I finally will be able to see my batch from the MTC this week (Osumo). I am so excited! We are also having our Christmas conference and then transfers are soon and with Sister Tubola leaving, I'll be getting a new trainer so lots of craziness ahead! 

Miss you all!

Love,
Sister Luto (means cook... ya between Ryan being a boys name and Cook being a verb I will never escape name jokes especially here hahah) 

Ps. Great video about Christmas !
 https://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HP_SU_11-29-2015_dMIS_fSPC_xLIDyL1-A_






Capturing some of my views throughout the day...
More views from my day...










Thanksgiving feast!




happy happy me with some local kiddos whose family we teach!! I love them even though i cant understand them half the time 

Fish, yum!

[not sure what's up with the time/date stamp on my camera!]
Live, Love, Liloan

My Thanksgiving (purple) yams!
At the beach, with my companion and a ward missionary (center)

WEEK 12 (Lilo-an)



November 29, 2015

Heyooo!!

Your guys' Thanksgiving looked delicious, I sure missed everything. I told my trainer about creamed corn and she wants to try it someday so bad because she loves corn. I'll have you know that my purple yams turned out hingpit! (perfect) (ill send pics next week).  They tasted "yammy" and the Filipino elders all thought they were hilarious. I also have been making those no bake cookies and people here think they are so weird!!! They either really like them or think they are too strange. It has been fun to bring them to the members that always feed us!! 

I just got done with helping the Mondendo family (where Jenni Rose stayed) paint there house this morning! We painted it light blue- it was fun but very hot!! Also haha so Filipinos do not exercise- but when they do it's like a whole "event" So this morning the Mondendo sisters wanted to plan to go "jogging."  I of course was stoked because I can never run by myself- so they got all dressed up and got running shoes and we all went "jogging." haha they didn't really run but it was still so funny what an effort it was. 

I went on splits this week with my STL in a different area and it was really fun!! We went to Conselicion - like 20 mins away and it was more bukid and way hilly- I loved it! My STL told me my language has really progressed- so that makes me feel good!! Sometimes I get all worried- and then I realize that I have only been here 4 weeks!!  I have come a long way... so very motivating to keep studying and practicing and listening (it's so easy to just zone out at church).  So in 4 more weeks I'll be even better!

The work had been really hard here! Jenni Rose is now back with her family and not in our area :( and our other investigators have all kinda disappeared. So we are teaching a lot of first lessons and just planting seeds. This area has been closed for a while and hasn't had a lot of work done so I am thinking that is what is needed. We keep pushing and hope that the Lord will put people in our path.
I love all the members here though- They are all so awesome! 

I was thinking a lot about why I am here this week. I think about some of the hardships I face and the roller coaster of emotions I feel each week.  This is more than me having an adventure in another country-I would have gone anywhere or done anything if called- I am here because I know this Church is true. Every time we teach the restoration or about how families can be together forever or when I read the Book of Mormon- I feel it! I know it! I know the Lord knows us and loves us  and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve him and the people he loves here in Lilo-an. 

Love you! Christmas is coming!!
(I am hoping to be able to skype at Mondendo's and you'll be able to meet them! they are the best!!)

WEEK 11 (Lilo-an)



 November 22, 2015 

Oh my goodness!! Bummed I won't be with you all this year and next, but still so much to be thankful for here in Lilo-an. We are celebrating today and I am gonna try and make my favorite YAMS!  Although the sweet potatoes I bought are purple.... so we will see how that goes. My cooking just gets more and more like experimenting here. Like, wow. 

So the work has been super tough here, most of our investigators aren't progressing. It's crazy how the closer we get to their baptismal dates, the more they experience trials and doubts. It's tough for me because I just want the best for them!! But it just shows how strong the adversary can push us away from things that are good. 

We did have a really cool experience with a lady named Cecila (shoutout to S&G) on Saturday that just helped me push through. The past few days I have been really exhausted with everything and just needed a Spiritual boost, which this lesson provided. So Cecelia is the land-lady to the Senior Couple here and she was out taking care of the garden when we walked by and started talking to her. We ended up talking to her for a really long time!! She has gone through so many trials and was really struggling with her life and choices... We listened for a while and then asked if we could share a short message. My companion suggested that we sing "Be Still My Soul" and when we started singing she just was bawling!! The Spirit was so strong. It was an amazing experience-- that hymn is so beautiful. She thought at age 52 it was to late to feel God's love because of her mistakes, but that us being there and hearing our message has given her hope!! It was beautiful. We will meet with her again soon!!!  

We work with the ward mission leaders a lot and it's cool because the are both youths preparing to go on  missions! I think that is awesome cause because they are super involved.

Ok, I sent a bunch of pictures this week because I am at a better internet shop. I love you guys.  Thanks for the emails, I love hearing about your lives and think about all of you often!! Eat lots of yummies for me- I'll be eating rice lol 

Ry

funny story. last pday after emailing I had the 
"brillant" idea to try and make caramel popcorn.... 
but because no one buys caramel sauce here... 
so expensive. WHo knows how long it sat on the 
shelf and it was all hardened inside the bottle.. 
I tried everything to melt it out.. see pic.
 But with no microwave- even my consistent boiling 
didnt do the trick. :( had to settle with kettle corn 
which of course burnt because of our pan. 
Wow. My comp got a kick out of it.. 
Our little friends :))


young women in my ward!! Matt and Cami's 
age. :))  I spent an hour talking to them last night- 
they are seriously so awesome!!! 

My zone!
 

our mirrior in our apartment-- looks like 
California haha


Beach selfie
Fish Market




Mirror selfie
 




Jennie Rose (the one in blue on my left) and some 
sisters from the Mondenedo Family who feeds us like 3x 
a week!!

 Sister Madelyn is making me a Christmas dress!! 
how cool huh!! She is an awesome seamstress.


                 
Me, Sister Tubola, and our Filipino soda





Meal at member's house last night