Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Akong primero (:

Kamusta mo!!!!!

I'm doing just peachy keen over here in Bohol! This week was filled of firsts for me, so it was a memorable one! This week I experienced my first:

- Earthquake: That was so fun! No worries, it was a super minor one, no crazy shaking! We were in the middle of a lesson and then just like that, the ground started shaking. Everyone here on Bohol is a little spooked when it comes to natural disasters because a pretty strong earthquake hit last October that caused a lot of damage and death. And then one week after the earthquake, the big Typhoon Yolanda absolutely rocked Tacloban, which is the next island over. Elder Anderson, one of the 12 Apostles, made a special trip to Bohol and when speaking to the missionaries about the recent natural disasters he said, "This is just the beginning." Needless to say, we're all anticipating some kind of gigantically huge storm or earthquake this year, but every missionary has their 72 hour kit ready to go and the protection of the Lord, so there's no fear over here (:

-Lice Infection: Woooooo! Haha it only was a matter of time, considering how much all the kids like playing with my hair. Lice is a totally normal thing here, so it's no big deal (: My awesome companion will just have to spend hours picking out lice in my hair and smashing it with the comb! How fun is that!

-  BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: Yup, three months in the field, and I finally got my first baptism! Actually two (: Sis.Tita and Bro.Jake! It definitely did not pan out as I had imagined haha - the baptismal service started at 3pm, but NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE even started showing up until 3:30, there wasn't enough water so the font could only be filled up about knee deep (I'm not going to lie, watching poor Elder Lagahit try to baptize with the low water level was pretty entertaining), and they didn't have baptisimal clothes their size, so Sis.T and I just kinda had to make it work! Haha but the strong Spirit and amazing happiness that I had been hoping to feel for my first baptism was definitely there in full force, which was a huge blessing for me! It was especially neat to see Sis.Tita get baptized because it truly was a miracle! Her mom is strongly opposed against the Church and did not give her permission or blessing for Sis.Tita to get baptized, which had us in a rut for a month or so. But Sis.Tita, Sis.T, and I had a special fast and what do you know, the next week her mom randomly changed her mind and gave her permission. How cool is that! Just one of the many miracles I get to experience everyday here as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I love my calling! It's the best thing I could be doing right now in my life! Thanks for being so amazing and supporting me out here in the Philippines! I feel everyone's love, whether it's through letters or emails or prayers!!!! You guys are so amazing! I love everyone so much (:

Sister Lauck!

P.S. This week's pictures: Bro.Jake & Sis.Tita and Sis.T & I being tarshiers! They're like these creepy little monkeys with leemur eyes that are the trademark of Bohol haha

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter in the Philippines!

Kamusta mo??? 

First of all, I know this is so like 2/3 weeks late, but I finally got to watch General Conference here in the Philippines and I just want to say - it was SO GREAT!!!!!!! (: I'm so grateful for living prophets and apostles and inspired leaders who were able to deliver messages straight from our Heavenly Father to me (:

Moving on... Wow, my first Easter here in the Philippines! It was quite a fun one! Let's get to the nitty gritty!

1. I thought I'd try to be cute and "celebrate" Easter over here by eating Balut. For those of you who don't' know what balut is, it is a developing duck embryo. Basically like a fermented egg that's almost a baby chick, but not quite there yet. So yeah I ate that. And it was SO.GROSS. Hahahaha it was SO. GROSS. I slipped about half of it into my mouth, swallowed it, then threw it up in my mouth, then swallowed my throw up. No one should ever have to go through what I went through. Lol and the worst part about all of this was that the natives told me my tounge would be loosened and I would become Bisdak (translation: very fluent in Bisayan) if I drank the juice of balut. They lied. They straight up lied haha

2. So balut aside, Easter Sunday is honestly not a big thing here in the Philippines. Sadly, about 70 % of the people we visited on Sunday, didn't even know what Easter was. They just know Easter Sunday as that Sunday after Good Friday where they all go to the beach. But do you know what is HUGE here?? Holy Week! Because most of the population is Catholic, it's celebrated here in full force over here, especially Good Friday. Basically the entire city shuts down and at night they have a big procession of floats with plastic figures of the crucified Jesus and the Virgin Mary. And they believe that because Christ was dead by Friday, the night of Good Friday they can commit any sin they want without consequence. Hmmmmm, pretty sure that's not how the whole thing works, but who am I to judge haha. Oh, and do you know what else they do here for Holy Week. THEY LIVE CRUCIFY PEOPLE!!!! Like exactly the same as Jesus Christ was. Thank goodness I didn't see it for myself, but we heard of someone being crucified the next town over. It's really so sad.

Even though the circumstances were a little different here than back home, I am so grateful for my Easter Sunday that I had here. Though I didn't get to die easter eggs or receive an awesome basket from the Easter bunny, I got to reflect on the most important aspect of Easter: my Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful He loved me enough to not only die for me, but to suffer for my sins, pains, afflictions, and trials. Because of that atoning sacrifice, He can understand me perfectly, and be my best Savior as well as my best friend through all of the ups and downs of life. I'm especially grateful that He was resurrected from the dead and that He lives now. He is real. He leads and guides the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the earth today. He knows me. He loves me. I really am so grateful that I get to be His representative, doing my best to become like Him everyday. Though Easter is gone and passed, I hope we always remember our Savior in our minds and hearts and honor Him by trying our best to be like Him. Love everyone tons and tons! Hope everyone is doing just amazing! Happy days aren't given, they are made!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Sister Lauck (:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sa mga bata!

Kamusta mo! 

As the saying goes here, "Everything's better in the Philippines",and it's so true! I love each week here and I'm having experiences of a lifetime.

Something that I've been SO impressed with while I've been here is how truly amazing the children are! Many of our investigators and recent converts are children and youth ages 8-12. They have such a sweet spirit and I love getting to teach them because I really do closer to the Savior each time. It really blows me away that at such a young age they have a desire to learn of Christ and His Gospel. Especially Sis.Hazel! She's 10 and a recent convert who got baptized in December. She's the only active member in her family and every week without fail she goes to church by all herself. Last week we asked her if she could try to invite her family to church and low and behold, next week she showed up to church and brought her entire family with her. She is a true shining example for her family, and most definitely for me! It's not hard to understand why Christ asks us to become as little children: humble, meek, mild, and honest. They are SO honest. Sometimes too honest! They always ask without fail:

1. If Sis.T is pregnant
2. Why my Bisayan is worse than a 2 year-old's

Hahaha needless to say, they always bring tons of laughter and energy to each day (: I'm so grateful for the time I have to be serving as a missionary, doing the Lord's work! I know that as we all strive for those Christ-like qualities that we will have a closer relationship with Him and see a better change in ourselves. Hope everyone is loving life (: Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ love you all! And me too (: Amping mo!!!!!

Sister Lauck (:

P.S. Here's a pic of Sis.Hazel and I and a picture of Sis.T and I with by far the rowdiest, but sweetest kids in all of Bohol haha they really do encompass the definition of a troublemaker