WEEK 29 (Panglao)

March 27, 2016

Hi, I am sorry I haven't written but i have so much to say because this week has been probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far! 

So me and my new compaction are batch, which means we got here in the mission the same time-- this is pretty unusual to be companions because usually there is a senior and junior comp- and we are pretty much whitewashing... so our motto has been "salig lang" which sorta means "all we need is trust" in English.  And wow, how beautiful and true that motto has been because we have been blessed so much.  It's hard to put in words all of our experiences but I will do my best.

The Panglao group here is so close to becoming a branch and getting a chapel- all it needs is some more priesthood leaders and I know the Lord is preparing the area and people here so it will grow. We found an amazing family, the Cababahay family- and they are so ready, we have only taught them 3 times and they already have a baptismal date and came to church yesterday and loved it. It was the BEST Easter gift to walk in and see them all sitting there.  They are awesome and it's awesome because its both Brother Rolly and Sister Elizabeth, not just one.  They told us last night that usually when they try and go to other churches they always end up arguing or fighting but this time they all were excited to go and loved it and didn't fight at all. It was so cool to hear.

This area is usually meant for elders on bikes because it is so big and there is little transportation, so we walked so so much this week, but it was awesome because everywhere we ended up there was someone that needed to hear the Gospel or needed our help.  Also, one day we were in our farthest area.. usually we have to start heading home early to be home in time for curfew because it's a really long walk.. but as we were there lessons kept popping up and we stayed later and later and just kept saying "salig lang salig lang'... and the Lord totally provided- we had jeepneys going right to our house almost suddenly appear! It was so so cool and really a little miracle for us cause we were exhausted. 

We have been exhausted every day this week but Sister Samoya and I both love it!  We are exhausted but so so happy because we love this area and we love helping it grow and do the Lord's work,  My confidence as a missionary has grown exponentially as well - I honestly feel like we can do anything and accomplish anything because I know the God of the universe is on our side and right there with us... I really experienced the gift on tongues a lot lately during our lessons... I would start speaking and have really no idea what I was saying or after what I said but I just felt the spirit so strong.. and after my comp said everything I  said made sense and, ya it's really cool.  Slowly but surely my language is improving I think.. I am kinda at the point where I know enough just to talk so even though I am making a ton of mistakes all the time at least I'm always talking and practicing. it's so fun talking in another language!!!  Especially Bisaya-- honestly it's the funniest language, so many expressions and everyone speaks it differently so it's easy to have personalty in the way you speak. Also sometimes really hard to figure out but fun as I get better and better.

My companion Sister Samoya is super cool as well- she is like one of the most talented people I have ever met. Amazing at art, sports, knows like 5 languages and she loves Florence Italy as much as I do.. (she studied architecture there for a while) also she is from the surfing capital of the Philippines and is the first Filipino i have ever met that has surfed before!! How cool is that! we get along great and she is hardworking

I really am so blessed to be here in Panglao- to be able to help this group grow and grow- we have the sweetest and coolest members who most are recent converts themselves so they just want to share share share! It's awesome, and I love it, I love being a missionary. I love the Philippines and I love this Gospel. 
and all of you :)))))))))))) 
ayo ayo 
sister cook 

WEEK 28 (Panglao)

March 20, 2016

Wow.. . this has been the longest week for me so far as well so far in my mission.  I have a new companion, Sister Samoya, which means that I am leading this huge area that I just got too and barely worked in! Ya kinda like whitewashing again ... but so far it has been good!!  We already have 3 new investigators and Sister Samoya is a native Bisaya speaker which helps me a lot too.  She is my batch [arrived in the mission field at the same time] too! So we are both new and full of energy and willing to try new things.  It's funny, of all my batch she is the last one that I thought I would be comps with but its amazing how the Lord works.  She is very  sweet and humble, and she's from the surfing capital of the Philippines!! Cool!  First Filipino I have ever met that has surfed before.  Also she is an amazing artist, so that's fun - we want to start doing art projects on  p-days. I really do want to just work and find success and really master this language.  Some days I feel good and confident in my ability to speak and be fluent someday, and other days I think that I'll never understand....  So many Americans get it, but there are also cases where missionaries go home knowing just enough to get by.  I don't want that!  Oh man just thinking that literally makes me cry.  But learning a language is so hard for me so far.
We had a bapstim of the sister here before me. It was a  beautiful service and Ana Marie is a beautiful women! I get to teach her all of the recent convert lessons yay!  Also super cool story-- the elders here in Panglao have an investigator name Jessa who is deaf and only knows ASL.  However, no one in her family has learned ASL so she literally never has anyone to talk to, since she is older and out of school.  So the elders came and one of the elders knew the alphabet in ASL and she freaked out!! So she immediately came to church and everyone at church was trying to learn to talk to her and she was so happy!  Her baptism is April 9 and I am so excited for her- she is so cute and I love trying to talk with my alphabet sign language knowledge.  Haha maybe Cami you could send me some tips. But that elder that only knew the alphabet at the beginning can now sign super well just by teaching her and her helping him- its been cool to hear and see. 

The Panglao group here is amazing!! we are so close to becoming a branch and getting our own chapel (we meet in a member's home) we just need a couple more priesthood holders!!  I have confidence it will be soon- I hope I can stay long enough to see progression.  But it's fun because I can just already see the growth and how the Lord is preparing the people here.  Excited for this week- cause no obstacles to stop the work from progressing! How great to be a missionary- it really is quite cool.
I miss you guys! We talk soon MAY!!  By the way the months fly by that will be like tomorrow haha!
nahigugma ko sa inyo <3  


WEEK 27 (Panglao)

March 13, 2016

Panglao- huge tourist island, pretty much a beach town so I felt right at home my first day... We have walked a lot the two days I got to work- not a lot of rides (or many are super expensive cause so many tourists, I mean in reality it's not expensive at all but I live off the peso now not the dollar- so expensive!! ) 

My house is very cute- lots of flowers in the front and bigger than the last one. All my running water is from the ocean!  So sometimes my water for bucket showers are hot water- I hate it. I miss cold. 
I was reading in Corinthians 9 verses 19-23 about Paul... Paul was a missionary and he talks a little about how in order to teach the Jews or the people he was teaching he conformed to their ways and laws .. basically embraced their culture! It the same for me- my first week on my mission i was bombarded by American sisters complaining about how life was here on the mission and how excited they were to get back to America... this made me so sad! Because I was lucky to already have an idea on how life would be here but I was excited to be immersed in a new culture. I have learned that that is they way to be happy and to gain the trust of the people and have a great love for them. Yes, I miss things from back home- and yes I still really struggle with the language... But in all other aspects I really am a Filipina... like a lot of things I did before I do differently.  It will be weird to adjust when I get home. But anyways, the Philippines are great- I hope you will all be able to come here someday. 

I love you all and miss you lots--I am far away but know that I think of you all often! 

WEEK 26 (Loon, Bohol)

March 8, 2016

Wohoo yusss I am 20!  No longer bata pa.

Thank you for the birthday wishes!! We kept it on the down low here in Loon and had a little birthday dinner with the elders at a members house- it was yummy. 

Weird to be 20- and weird that you will never be with me while I am 20. basta I'M OLD NOW  :(((

So, so so...news! I  am transferring. again, and so is Sister Panorel.. ya crazy our area is being whitewashed again which we aren't too happy about because it took us a while to get to know the place and find investigators and now it's back to ground zero again with new missionaries... But we left a bunch of "maps" and notes so hopefully they will find all our investigators and things will be a little easier for them than us. 

I am transferring to another island! ya i didn't even know about this one.. Panglao- it's off the coast of Bohol and is close to their big city, Tagibalarian. ya i dont know anything about the area really. But I'm getting (another) new companion and this is her last transfer, so it means I'll get another companion after for sure. Wow, so much change and while packing last night it literally feels like I just got to Loon.... SO bummed to leave the branch here because they are amazing, but new opportunities and experiences elsewhere. 

I just keep trying to remember the story of the starfish as I am about to move again.  A girl in my zone shared it the other day. One day a bunch of starfish were washed up on the shore and an old man was trying super hard to throw them back but there were thousands... kids came up to him and said "what are you doing there are so many- you'll never help them all." And he said "no I wont, but I can make a difference for at least some."  I think the story went something like that but the point is that sometimes I walk around feeling as though I am accomplishing nothing or that I'm not working hard enough because there is no progression. But we never know what the results of our efforts are and who is being lifted up. So to all of you also-- know that even if you can't see the fruits of your actions or testimony that you can make a difference :) cheesy I know but I love you !!!

Sige that's all I've got for this week really. I love Sister Panorel and will miss her lots and the area of Loon- but heyyyyyyy, the Lord wants me elsewhere. 

Sister Cook
P.S.  Oh no, Panorel made me promise that if I got transferred I would try chicken feet... I'll let you know how that goes lawlz  

 Birthday video to dad
Me and From From.  He is a member's dog that always follows me when I walk by their house!  He wants to be a missionary (same age and size as Cleo)!

Last Sunday with Sister Panorel in Loon

On the bus...
Nanay Segovia!  First member here in Loon--half the branch is referrals from her.  Amazing, huh?
My Calape zone

My first STL, Sister Tomas before she went home!

another selfi with papaya for my walk to bukid