Sister Madison May Healey
Philippines Tacloban Mission
511 Maharlika Highway
Fatima Village
Tacloban City, LEYTE 6500

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 Healey

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Sister Madison Healey

Provo Temple grounds with Sister Allen, Sister Powell, and Sister Healey

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Sister missionaries with Phillipineo flag

Maddie's missionary tag and Book of Mormon in cebuano.

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