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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Family! (In the Philippines) 4/29/13

I've decided to keep her letter intact to give you a true picture of her experiences in the Philippines.  We knew she would have major culture shock.  Perhaps the best experience for her will be having a native companion like she does.  It will really force her to turn to the Lord, and to be immersed in the language and culture.  Hard as it is, I know she can turn it around to her blessing.  Remember her, and all of our missionaries, in your prayers!  She really needs that additional strength these next few weeks as she acclimatizes!  ~Linda (mom)

Oh my gosh, I don't think you know how anxious I have been to email you all. In advance, I'm sorry.  (This is the first we've heard from her since she's been in the Philippines.  She left the MTC last Monday.)

I am a mess. I can't even tell you. I hate to be honest, and I wish I had even one spiritual experience I've had since being here. But all I have is the testimony I have, and was able to gain in the MTC. I am SO homesick. I don't even think it's that I'm homesick for the family, I think it's mostly the culture shock. Being here alone is hard, and just thinking about how much easier it would be if just one of you were with me makes me just so emotional and helpless.

So when I got here I was okay. Well, when we got to Manilla I was so scared. Manilla is very city like and just scary haha. It felt very un-homey, and the hotel we stayed in was "nice" but was just sketchy. But once we flew over Tacloban, and landed here, I felt SO good about it. We were all so happy and excited about being here. We got to the mission home and for the rest of the day just had interviews/dinner in the mission home. The next day, we had training. The day after that (friday) was transfers, so that's when we got our new companions. Man does a mission force you to rely on the strength of the Lord and not those around you. I did not want to leave our district. But we had to. I got my new companion, her name is Sister T. She's from Davo, or Mindinaw (I know I spelled that wrong) but that's the most Southern of the Philippines. She speaks Cebuano. We got assigned to Borongan, speaking Waray Waray. Haha. Yeah what little Cebuano I know won't even help me there. Borongan is the most eastern part of our mission. The whole eastern and northern part of the island of Samar have never allowed sisters, until now. We're the first sister's in Borongan. It's the 2nd biggest city in the Tacloban mission (Tacloban being the first). And it is the only other area, besides Tacloban, that has an actual chapel with air con. Did I get lucky or what? Haha....air con is VERY scarce here. None of the apt. have it, we only have fans, and none of the buildings do either. 

Anyways, I got to Borongan on Saturday night with Sis. T. Oh man, you'd laugh if you saw our apt. It's like a town house, so I guess it's nice for the Philippines. But for one, there's no air so it's hot! Especially on the top floor. And the bathroom is about the size of our bath tub. There's the toilet (that is only flushable by pouring a bucket of water down it until everything disappears), then the sink right next to it, and then a shower head. You literally have to stand right by the toilet to take a shower. It's very common for the Philippines. Sister T is used to it. She showed me how to do laundry today, that was fun :) we used the pump outside and sat in front of a bucket scrubbing our clothes. I'll have to show you when I get home.... We also played volleyball this morning...I'm not too bad! Haha but man was it hot. We played on the beach and I had to do everything I could to not just jump in the ocean haha.

We went to church yesterday, and actually met the Branch Pres. the night before at a mtg. All the Filipinos here struggle with English, but a few in the church can understand. They call it a "nosebleed" though, because they have to try so hard to speak it that it gives them a bloody nose (figuratively). Haha it's funny...kind of. Right now it's frustrating. Because I don't know Waray Waray. It's completely different. Every word I've taught you, is different except Salamat (Thanks). For example: Good Morning - In Cebuano: Maayong Buntag, In Waray Waray: Maopay Ngaga. :) You see what I mean. I think that's what's been the hardest for me. Yeah I miss the shower (at least it's cool and refreshing), yeah I miss air conditioning, but really...I miss having someone to talk to. Someone who understands me. Sis. T can speak English, but she doesn't always understand everything I say. She's been good to me. She lets me break down to her and lets me just sit and cry. But it's just hard to relate to each other. I guess it'll just take time! we've only spent 3 days together. And I'm finally able to email home so I think just getting everything out will help me move on. Just continue to pray for me...I pray for you all every night, but I'm going to start praying for you all by name...just to feel more connected to you.

President L (our Branch Pres.) invited us over for dinner last night. My first real Filipino dinner at a real Filipino house! It was so cool. I got like 5 bites, not just from mosquitos. We'll see what they do to me. I have one bite on my finger that is really weird...I'll have to watch it closely. No sunburn yet! And I'm not tired of walking yet either. My bag hurts my shoulder, but we're working on getting me a new one in a couple of weeks. Sis. Lindsay (from her MTC District) stayed in Tacloban so she's getting one for me.

What else? I feel like that's it. I have SO much to tell you, but it might have to wait. I still have to send pictures and send the plan for talking to you all next week :) Everything here is hot, crowded, and very rural. There are trikes and jeepneys everywhere...but everything is also walking distance. So we're trying not to waste our money. Oh, the money conversion...I'm still getting the hang of. I feel like I'm spending a lot when I had over 100 pesos, but it's really only $2.50. we'll get the hang of it.

I love you all. I hate to leave already. The hour goes by so quickly. But I have to go. Sorry I couldn't talk to everyone in the airport...our layovers were SO short. And the security in the Tokyo airport was horrible. We were in line for over an hour, and almost missed our flight. But we got here :) And our mission president is great, and all the Missionaries are great. It makes me excited for transfer day, because I'll possibly get to see everyone. Until next week!

Love, Sister Hogge

**having technical difficulties inserting the pictures throughout her thoughts, so I'm just posting them all here...enjoy!

Our district with our Teachers! Sister brinton in the blue, Pasikala in the front and brother young on the right.

This is the group from the MTC that went to the Philippines, that's 3 districts.

Sis. Lindsay, me, Sis. Pettijohn, and Sis. Bray, our district
Elder Johnson, me and Elder Yount (He's going to Bulgaria) We played 4 square together :)
 Mandy, Andrew and I :)
Me and Andrew...I am going to miss that kid. He was fun to have around.
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E. Muir and E. Carroll became best friends

We're all going to miss the cafeteria :/
me and Megan Jensen
Philippines! In the Manilla airport

At the Manilla airport...waiting

The Elders at our hotel in Manilla
Boarding the plane to Tacloban
In Tacloban in the church by the mission home with Sis. Sorranda. They have the weirdest brooms here...

Filippino kids are SO cute!!

Sis. Lindsay and I in Tacloban
(Okay I was off numbering...E. Muir's face was in there somewhere. Freaking love that kid. He became my best friend out of our batch of Elders)
Our whole new batch that came to Tacloban. Us + Filippinos
Mine and Sister Lindsay's new companion.
The map of our mission. Look for Borongan
. My bed :)

Our bathroom! So tiny...

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