PHILIPPINES TACLOBAN MISSION:
Sister Madison May Healey
Philippines Tacloban Mission
511 Maharlika Highway
Tacloban City, LEYTE 6500
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Kamusta pamilya ug mga higala!
I'm halfway through my stay at the MTC! Time has been flying! I feel like I haven't learned enough to have been here this long. haha
This past Sunday a member of the 70 came and spoke to us! And we sang "Glory to God" in the MTC choir! During the song the camera pans across the choir like in General Conference and uh.. it's no big deal, but I was on the big screen. (Mom I've made it). So that was cool.
The food here has been getting old pretty fast. I think the MTC is just trying to prepare us for the strange foods we are going to eat on our missions.
Nothing particularly exciting (besides choir and my brief moment of fame) has happened. It's been the same old same old! I can't wait till I get to the Philippines! I'm not going to have enough time to write about everything that will happen, it will be so awesome!
In gym time I haven't been able to play basketball! It's been such a bummer! Sister Allen doesn't like playing against me because she says I'm too competitive. haha And we are the only two Sister's who actually exercise during our gym time, so I can't find anyone to play with me. But it's ok because we still play volleyball and that's fun. Today I actually spiked on an Elder and all the guys started "oooh"-ing. It was awesome.
The language is same old, same old. My vocabulary is slowly increasing. I've been trying to do SYL (Speak Your Language) every day. It's pretty hard, but it helps. We are supposed to speak in Cebuano 24/7 using what we know. It's really Cebuanglish.
It's really awesome. Since being here at the MTC my desire to read my scriptures has increased tenfold. Before my mission, personal scripture study was one of the hardest things for me. And when I would read, I never really got much out of it. It was my own fault really, but since being here and being so immersed and invested in the gospel and God, I just want to read my scriptures all the time! And study the language all the time! And sleep... some of the time... haha I just don't have enough time in the day!!! Anyways, the scriptures really are there to help us. We can best receive personal revelation and answers to our questions through the scriptures. We communicate with God through prayer, and He most often communicates with us through the scriptures and the spirit. We can't just expect God to answer our prayers without us putting in any kind of work. You have to have faith. And faith is action. (James 2:17). We need to have a question, study the scriptures, and then pray and ask God. I know that if we are faithful, pray sincerely, and are patient, then God will answer our prayers. It may not always be in the way we expect, and sometimes the answer isn't the one we want, but He will answer us. (D&C 88:63) "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Put your Trust in the Lord. Whatever hardship you are going through right now, you can do it. Naa ka'y hugot nga pagtuo. (Proverbs 3:5-6) (1 Nephi 3:7)
p.s. READ YOUR SCRIPTURES... you'll thank me later. ;)
The Phillipino Squat - Sister Powell, Sister Healey and Sister Allen
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Kamusta pamilya ug mga higala!
I'm now in my third week! Not much has changed as far as our schedule. We are still in class almost all day every day. I actually know my way around the MTC now and rarely get lost! Although no one has told me where the tree that smells like cream soda is. haha
I love my teachers! Sister Henshaw is such an amazing person and role model. She served her mission in Tacloban when the Typhoon hit 2 years ago. She has been through so much, but she has such a powerful testimony and relationship with God. She has been there for me when I have been discouraged with the language and frustrated with myself, and I am so thankful.
The Sunday devotional was awesome! The Nashville Tribute Band came and performed their album "The Restoration." And the MTC choir got to help sing some of their songs. It was a really cool and spiritual experience. You should go listen to some of their songs! Some of my favorite songs were "How much can one heart take," "I was born," and "The Hardest thing." I definitely want to get their album when I get off my mission!
On Wednesday my whole district got to be Hosts for the missionaries entering the MTC. We would welcome them at the drop off, help them check in, drop their luggage off at their residence, and get them to their first class. Then we would run (literally) back to the drop-off location and do it all over again. There were over 500 missionaries that came in on Wednesday! It was crazy busy, but I really liked doing it. Helping them have a good first experience here. And I know what they are going through because I was there 2 weeks ago. I met a lot of great new missionaries. We will probably host again before we leave the MTC.
Yesterday the gym opened! So we got to go play basketball during our Gym time! It had been closed because the floors were being refinished, so it was the first time we were in there. It was a lot of fun playing ball again. It was fun playing with my district. They were impressed. haha It is nice that the gym is open now, because Sister Powell doesn't like sports very much, so she runs on the indoor track while Sister Allen and I play basketball or indoor volleyball. So that's where we will probably spend most of our gym time now. I've heard that basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines so I'm headed to the right place. :)
My Cebuano is improving slowly but surely. I understand much more of what our teachers are saying, although there are still times when they say something to me and it goes right over my head. But I'm feeling better about it. It was funny, an Elder in my district, Elder Allen (Not related to Sister Allen), the other day in class was starting to understand some of the grammar concepts of Cebuano. We were all struggling and he said, "My light bulb is starting to flicker!" It was sooo funny. He was trying to say, ”Our flashbulbs are flickering, but they haven't turned on yet.” Praying in Cebuano is easy now and I don't even have to really think about it too much. I can focus more on the prayer than the vocab. So I have hope that I will eventually learn! Emphasis on eventually. The real challenge will be once I get to the Philippines where people speak Waray-Waray, Cebuano, Tagalog, and many different dialects to top it all off. And they will speak much faster. So I'll let you all know how that goes when I get there. haha But I'm still so excited! The more I learn about the people, culture, and language, the more excited I get. I know it's going to be awesome. A part of me just wants to be there already. but I know I still have a lot to learn in the next few weeks.
Nasayud ko nga gihigugma kita sa Dios. Ug tinuod sa maluluwas ug manunubos si JesuKristo. Kahibalo ko nga kon magampo kita kada adlaw, magtubag sa Dios among mga pagampos.
Have faith. Do your best, and God will do the rest.
Walking to the Provo Temple on Friday morning.
After doing service on Tuesday.
L to R: Sis Powell, Sis. Allen, Sis Saafi (from Tonga), Sis. Healey
Friday, August 14, 2015
Having fun playing sand volleyball and eating healthy. Learning SO much and getting excited to go to the Phillipines! Pictures!!
Kamusta pamilya ug mga higala!
It's crazy that it has already been a week! The days are so long, but the week went by fast. We've spent a majority of our time this week in the classroom studying scriptures, discussing the gospel, planning, teaching lessons, and learning Cebuano. Our two main teachers are Sister Henshaw and Brother Klapier. They both served in the Tacloban mission! And Sister Henshaw was even there during the Typhoon in 2013! They are amazing people and teachers and have already helped strengthen my testimony so much.
Except for Sunday, when we are not in the classroom, we are either at devotionals, gym time, eating, or sleeping. On Sunday's we get to go on a walk up and around the temple. It's beautiful and so peaceful. During our gym time we've mostly been out on the field playing sand volleyball. It's a lot of fun, especially because the Elders are competitive and are always surprised that I can keep up. I had quite a few blocks today too. Haha The guys always get embarrassed when they get beat by a girl. It's so fun. It's a nice break from the classroom and a great stress reliever. I would play basketball too, but they have been renovating the gym so the courts are closed. I was bummed too, because the gym here doesn't have a barbell stand, but there are a lot of other options to stay active and in shape. The weather has been so nice though so we've mostly gone out to the field.
I'm amazed by how much food some people can eat here. It's no wonder why so many missionaries gain weight in the MTC because they serve dessert with every meal! And it's all you can eat. Then we spend almost all day sitting in a classroom. But don't worry, I've been eating healthy. :) It annoys my companions because I won't eat the sweets. haha. Speaking of companions, Sister Allen along with half of my district have been sick these last few days. It's been rough. I hope I don't get sick. The guys in our district are pretty funny, although it is hard to get them to be quiet during study time. It turns out that my companions and I are the only Sister missionaries going to Tacloban in the MTC right now! There are a few Elders, but everyone else in our district and zone are going to other missions and islands in the Philippines.
It was funny, just the other day our zone leader ripped his pants trying to squat and sit like a Filipino. Then later that night, all of the Elders in our zone were goofing off in the hallway (when we were supposed to be studying) trying to see who could jump the highest, and the same guy who ripped his pants jumped so high he broke a ceiling panel in half with his head. They tried to put it back, but you can still see the crack.
Don't be deceived though! I have been having fun, but we are busy all the time. We are always studying or planning for one thing or another. The Cebuano is slowly coming along, at least it feels SO slow. But compared to my high school German classes, I can speak more Cebuano in just over a week than I could after two years of German. I'm just impatient with myself and want to be fluent already! haha I can pray and bare my testimony in Cebuano. I‘m still working on teaching lessons and doctrine. There is just SO much vocabulary and all the words sound the same! Haha There are only 20 letters in their alphabet. I'm starting to understand grammar. They organize sentences differently than we do. It's frustrating, but I know that I will be able to speak the language when God wants me to be able to. As long as I am diligent and do my best, I know that I will be able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary whether I am fluent or not.
I'm starting to get SO excited to go to the Philippines. Being here and speaking the language, spending hours immersed in the language is incredible. I know it will be hard, but I can't wait to get to the Philippines and fall in love with the people and culture there!
Serving a mission has by far been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I haven't even left the MTC yet. haha. Everyone tells you it will be hard, but you don't and can't really understand how hard, until you experience it for yourself and everyone is different. BUT it has been SO worth it. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, diba? I have already learned so much from my experiences, peers, teachers, and the spirit. By living my life with God as my central focus, I have become such a happier person. I have never felt the spirit more and been so happy. It has been hard, and I have been discouraged. There are ups and downs. But when I think about it, the "ups" have been so overwhelmingly great, and the "downs" haven't been that bad. When you are in that slump, it feels awful and you think you are at an all-time low, but when you turn to God, the joy and peace felt shines far brighter than any sadness felt. That is God's love for each and every one of us. That is Christ's sacrifice for us, He knows. He knows everything we have been through and felt and everything we will go through and feel in the future. That is His love. And it is never ending.
Gugma ko kamo,
Sister Madison Healey
Provo Temple grounds with Sister Allen, Sister Powell, and Sister Healey
Sister missionaries with Phillipineo flag
Maddie's missionary tag and Book of Mormon in cebuano.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Kamusta Pamilya ug friends!
My Preparation day (P-day) is on Fridays here in the MTC! It's funny that I have only been here for three days before I got to email you all. I don't even know where to start! It's so busy here and I feel like so much has happened and I've already learned so much!I was already in my first language class learning Cebuano only 20 minutes after arriving! And our teachers only spoke in Cebuano with an english word thrown in here and there! I'll admit it was overwhelming, but also a lot of fun trying to figure things out. I already know how to say a simple introduction and prayer in the language. Hopefully it will get easier the more I learn. In our classrooms we met our district and companions. It turns out that I have 2 companions! Their names are Sister Powell (Rexburg, ID) and Sister Allen (Farmington, UT). I have already learned so much from the two of them and we keep joking about what it is going to be like in the Philippines. We can barely handle the heat and humidity here in Utah the last two days, I don't know how we will do in the Philippines! They are both really nice and although we are a group of 3, we make it work. :) It is so cool walking around campus here and hearing so many different languages. And there are people here from all over the world! There some Missionaries in my zone who are from Fiji, Korea, China, Australia, Samoa, England, and a bunch of small Islands I've never even heard of! Our whole district is going to the Philippines, but only half of us are serving in the Tacloban Mission. The others are going to Cebu, which is an Island right next to our two. Both Sister Powell and Sister Allen are serving in Tacloban too and we all ship out on ! Sorry I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I will try and have some by next week!The food here is alright, and I'm just glad we don't have to worry about cooking our own meals because we are busy enough as it is! We wake up atand go to bed at at night. The days are so long and we do and learn so much. it almost feels like I've been here for weeks! By around we are all wiped out. The first night I had a really hard time falling asleep, but last night was much better. This morning we went to the temple and did an endowment session which was really nice.Life at the MTC so far has been unlike unlike anything I have ever experienced before! While I know I still have a lot of hard work and challenges ahead of me, I know that being here, with these exact people, and serving a mission is the right thing for me. I have felt the spirit and God's love for me SO much on a daily basis. Whether it's in group meetings, singing hymns, personal study, learning the language, or even just walking around campus. It is such an amazing feeling. that I hope I can keep with me through my whole life!I'll talk to you guys next week! With love,Sister Healey