Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gugma gikan sa Philipinas!

Live from the Philippines.... for the very first time.... this is Sister Lauck!!!

Yes, I am still alive and happy and kicking it here in my new home (: And I have to say the first thing I said when I got off the plane in Manila is "I'm not in Texas anymore....". Haha I am truly in a foreign country, that is for sure!

So my first area is the coveted and beautiful island of Bohol! It really is like the (really hot) Hawaii of the Philippines! And I live about a minute from the beach, so there's really no complaining here (: My nanay (my mom aka missionary lingo for my trainer) is Sis.Tuipulotu from Tonga! She's been out for about 6 months so we're hobbling along together in our broken Bisayan (that's what they call my language Cebuano here) She has the biggest heart and is so sweet! We crack jokes everywhere we go and it helps make the work so fun! Together we've learned that the true universal language is the Spirit. The Bisayan is coming along! Needless to say, I understand about 30% of what is being said because they're going at a rapid pace. Also some of my confusion is due to the fact that people here mix different dialects and languages with Bisayan hahaha what the heck! Most of the time when people talk to me and I just smile and nod and say "Oo (yes)" or "Nindot na (that's awesome)" For all I know they could be cursing at me and I'd have no clue haha that's the beauty of being new (:

So I'm not going to lie, I have laughed everyday my first 2 weeks here. Mostly at myself, but also at the Pinoy's here! Every time Sis. T and I walk down the street, everyone just stares. Like hardcore stares, they don't even try to hide it haha so I've chalked it up to 3 possible reasons

1. They've never seen anyone over 5'6" (seriously, though)
2. I'm super sweaty and gross (also very plausible)
3. I have a third eye (okay, not plausible, but with the way people stare....)

I still haven't cracked the case haha and I don't think it's because I look American because EVERYONE, I repeat, EVERYONE, thinks I am part filipino here. Everyone always says, "Artista siya!" when I walk down the street. Which I thought meant "artist", but actually means actress. I guess all of the filipno actresses are half pinoy, half white, so because I'm mixed they think I look like an actress. It's very flattering, but NO haha I am so not.

So everyone probably wants to know that one gross thing that has happened so far. Well, I drank ants. Yes, I drank ants. And it was all an accident haha believe me, it was not by choice. There are all kind of critters in our apartment (lizards, cockroaches, huge spiders, mosquitoes, and snakes, yes even snakes - we've all really become the best of friends) and unknown to me, about 30 of them crawled into my cup. So I chugged the whole thing, put my cup down, and then started to feel something in my mouth. I went to the mirror, opened my mouth, saw the ants, realized I really hadn't had much protein since I've been in the Philippines, and got more water so I could swallow the rest of them. Hahaha well I'm just kidding about the last part! But that was a fun experience (:

I am so out of time, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I love you! Thanks so much for all prayers on my behalf as I've been out here in the Philippines. I really feel the love and support even though we may be thousands of miles apart. I am SO HAPPY and I LOVE my mission. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving the Lord in serving in such humbling circumstances and the opportunity I have to become so acquainted with Him. Everyone have a FANTASTIC week!

Until next week,
Sister Lauck (:

P.S. I'm really sorry if I don't respond to everyone's emails every week, but I will get to them eventually! I love getting to hear from everyone and what's going on in your life (:
Sister Lauck lives just a short distance from the beach!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sister Lauck Has Arrived in the Philippines!

This has been a busy week for Sister Lauck! She left the MTC in Provo on noon Monday, caught a 5pm flight to LAX, had a three hour layover in Los Angeles, boarded a flight headed for Manila at 9pm, had an unexpected 2 hour layover in Guam and then on to Manila, had a brief layover before boarding a flight headed for Cebu, and eventually landed in Cebu on Wednesday morning after spending most of Tuesday in the air and changing time zones! We were fortunate to get a brief email from her in the middle of the night on Wednesday night and then also a follow up email and pictures from her new Mission President and his wife, President & Sister Tanner.  The following is the brief email and pictures that we received:

Hey everyone! I'm alive - made it safely in Cebu! I only get like 2 minutes, but everything is good here (: Spending the day doing orientation at the mission home and tomorrow I get my new comp and I'm all set to go! Every thing's great here, but SO DIFFERENT! Mosquitoes, super humid, and very humble surroundings!  I love you all! Thanks so much for fasting for me (: I'm doing great! 

Sister Lauck ((((((:

This is the incoming group of missionaries that Sister Lauck arrived with. Go girl power! We believe that the new missionaries are seated and their newly assigned companions are sitting behind them.

This is a picture of Sister Lauck with President and Sister Tanner.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Miaging Semana sa MTC!!!!!

Kamusta sa tanan sa akong pinakamaayonga mga higala ug pamilya,
(How's that for some Cebuano^^^^^^) So I'm just about wrapping up my final week at the MTC before I head off to the Philippines! How crazy is that! So, as an appropriate farewell email from the States, here are some of the reasons why I have grown to love the MTC (in no particular order)

1. I have been able to make lifetime friends from all around the world - Australia, Samoa, Tonga, Singapore, India, Taiwan, New Zealand, the Kiribati Islands and even some far away places like Utah, New York, Washington, and California (: I truly feel like I got to work with the brightest,  happiest, most hard working missionaries in my zone and district and I've been so blessed by their example! One person in particular that has really made such an impact on me is Sister Matialagan. I was her host at the MTC her first day. So get this - she's from India, no one in her family are members of the Church except her older sister, she is a recent convert, and her mother passed away recently. And what did she decide to do? Sacrifice so much to serve a mission because of her faith and trust in the Lord. Despite trials she has had in her life, she is just the most positive, radiant, bubbly person you will ever meet and I'm so glad our paths could cross so I could be blessed by her!

2. In 6 weeks, I've been able to learn the same amount of Cebuano that what would have normally taken six month's time if I had learned it anywhere else. And I have grown to LOVE the Cebuano language, even if  sometimes it makes no sense to me and I don't know if I'm saying "This Gospel was restored by Joseph Smith" or "The camel ate the bubble gum off my shoe" (I'm pretty sure I will provide enough entertainment for the entire nation of Cebu within my first week there)

3. Each week at the MTC Devotionals I get to hear from amazing and inspired men and women (especially Elder Bednar!) who have been led by the Spirit to give divine counsel that was the answer to many of my prayers

4. I have never been happier (: I can say that honestly and whole heartedly. I have loved getting to do what I do everyday at the MTC because I get to immerse myself in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no sweeter or rewarding work than that and I can't wait to share this love and joy and happiness with my Filipinos in Cebu! I haven't met them yet, but I already love them to death and I know that some have been prepared to receive the message I have to share. I love this Gospel and I know it is absolutely true. I know that is the only source of true and lasting happiness and that if one seeks to find out more of the Gospel through prayer and reading the Book of Mormon, they will find their answers to their questions, their peace, their solace, and everlasting happiness. I know that not only does this Gospel bless lives, but it changes lives. I can certainly testify of this truthfulness because I have seen eternal happiness and blessings pour into my life as I have lived the Gospel in my life.

Salamat kaayo (Thanks so much) for all of the love and support and prayers emails and letters and packages that I have received from everyone! I really do feel like the most loved and spoiled missionary in the MTC (: If I don't make it past my first week in the Philippines (jokelang (just kidding in Cebuano) - I totally will), I want everyone to know how much I love them and how much I love the Gospel! I'm wishing everyone the BEST week of their life yet! And if it's turning out to be an uneventful week, make it the best week yet (:

Nahigugma ko kaninyo!
Sister Lauck

P.S. For the pictures this week I have:

1. A picture with my new companion (which brings my total companion count to 3) Sister Porter, who is serving in New Zealand, Samoan speaking. She was SO great, and a perfect companion to end my time here at the MTC with
2. A picture with some of the greatest friends in the history of greatest friends!!!! Shoutout to Mics, Maris, Kie, Ian, Max, Mitch, and Dusty for giving me the BEST surprise ever - intercepting me on my way to the temple to give me farewell wishes and the best hugs ever (only from the girls of course (: ) I love you all so much!!!! Thanks for being the cherry on top of what has been a perfect 6 weeks and putting the biggest smile on my face (: You fubecas are the best!