Friday, November 1, 2013

Letter # 22

Dear Family,
This week was so long, because it was so packed full. It was full of sickness, travel, and one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had on my mission.  First of all, on Tuesday we traveled the 1 1/2 hour trip to Bacolod for mission tour on Wednesday! On Tuesday night we stayed with the Sisters in Magsungay which is where I lived for the first two transfers in my mission. It was a little strange to be back, but to not actually live there. We didn't bring pillows or sheets because the instructions told us they would be provided by the hosting missionaries... but they didn't give us any. So we just slept on the floor on an extra foam mattress that was 1 inch thick on top of the tile. Sister Natarte had a horrible cough, so without any elevation while she was sleeping, she pretty much didn't sleep at all and I was trying to give her my bag or anything I could find to help her sleep better, but nothing really helped. I was just glad I had bought her some cough drops the day before. The mattress was a little questionable and I was contemplating just sleeping on the tile, but I spread out my black skirt from the day before and that's where I rested my head.  I'm really not trying to complain, I just wish we could have slept a little better the day before meeting a general authority. But the night wasn't totally horrible. We got to proselyte in Magsungay on Tuesday night since I know the area. It was really fun to know all of the people again and visit my old ward. It made me miss the area a lot, but mainly just the people. When you serve people so much you just fall in love with them.  I know every area will be like that and it is just a part of missionary work, but it was fun to see a lot of the less active families again since that was what the new missionaries there asked us to do. It was fun to be able to fully understand the Ilonggo too, since I'm still picking up the new dialect over here in Pulupandan.  Overall it was really fun, especially with Sister Natarte who is just amazing as always.  Also this week, we found out her family has been trying to contact her but they had an invalid email address for her and the one Sister Natarte had was invalid as well.  President Texted us and told us the real address of her family and he had given her family her real email address.... so now she is emailing her family today. It really has been like waiting for Christmas all week, it's the first contact from her family since she went to the MTC in the beginning of September!

Also this week we were able to listen to Elder Nielson and his wife. He is the Philippines Area President and it was so refreshing and uplifting.  The spirit that they have is just so tangible and I just loved soaking it all up.  Even though we were listening to them from7:00 AM until 3:30 PM I was so sad when it ended. I really received a re-boost in my batteries and could have listened to them for days and days. They loved all of us so much we could feel it individually. That sounds so weird, but I really did feel his love and support and appreciation.  It's been a while since someone has just told us that we are doing a good job. I love hearing how to be better and how to achieve greater things and how to be more obedient... but he also did it in a way that wasn't depressing, but was really motivating and he acknowledged all of the work that we are doing.  It really helped me to re-boost at a time I think I was wearing down. The Lord really knows what we need, exactly when we need it. Also, Sister Nielson's wife is one of the coolest ladies I have ever met.  She is such an eloquent speaker, but also very relateable and entertaining, funny, and the spirit is always there. She talked a lot about her family which made me a little homesick, but not too bad.  It's hard not to miss you all, you are just so amazing. But I know leaving the Philippines will be 100 times harder, so don't worry, I'm soaking up and enjoying every minute here.  

Then on thursday I started feeling a little tired and I kept tripping. Sister Natarte was worried about me and told me I was talking really slow. We decided to get some Gatorade and go home where I slept for the rest of the evening.  Please don't freak out, the nurse just told me that I was over-exhausted. She told me to slow down, take some rest, and stop stressing out.  So on Friday we stayed in all day while I slept and rested. Then on Saturday during our first Lesson, Sister Natarte started having sharp pains in her chest and she couldn't breathe. We told the mission nurse and she told us we needed to come to Bacolod to go to the mission doctor.  When we got there they said she had a viral infection in her lungs from her caugh, so we were to take another day resting at home on Sunday. I had the doctor check me out too just in case something was wrong with me and she told us we had both been working too hard.  In my mind, I was like, "Of course we are working hard... we are missionaries." But I talked to my district leader about it and my Sister Training Leaders and they told me that missionary work doesn't need to be so rushed and we needed to relax a little more. I don't totally agree with them yet, but I'm worried about the Health of Sister Natarte. I don't want to kill off my companion. :) She aggrees with me that this is the Lord's time and we don't want to waste it, so we are working to focus on balancing our dedication and diligence with our health. Don't worry or freak out, I am completely fine. I just thought it was funny.  No one can every accuse me of being a lazy missionary! :) 
Anyway, I love you all so much. 
Love, Sister Smoot

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