Sunday, December 27, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS MAHALLIES!

Mahallies! Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/Happy birthday? (in case i missed it sometime this year lol) 

So sorry i haven't been emailing recently, i'm still alive i promise! hahaha so my first Christmas away from home was pretty emotional. It was such a blessing to be able to skype and talk to my family! Haha they put me on the big screen back at home during our family party. Last christmas i remember watching my cousin, Jessie Gadi, on the tv screen, while she was on her mission in Missouri & this year it was me! it was really weird to be on the other side. It's funny - no matter how much time i'm given to email or skype, i don't think it'll ever be enough. I could be sitting in this little computer cafe for days and it still wouldn't be enough because i miss everyone so much! I was just a ball of emotions and tears after we hung up, but that's okay ahahaha i think being out here really makes me appreciate the relationships i have back at home. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. It just makes me realize that homesickness is a blessing bc it reflects just how AMAZING my life back at home is. I know that i'm out here to help others grow closer with their families, and to make those family relationships last eternally - even after death!

I got to see a bunch of my batch mates for Christmas out here with was really cool! We spent all of our Christmas party together! Everyone out here on the field must have known how difficult it is to spend christmas away from home because i got invited to like 50 parties and now i can't fit into any of my dresses. The philippines is such a beautiful place full of love, haha i leave my apartment every morning and hear these little kids scream "HEY SISTER!!! HEY SISTER!!! HIIII!" and how can you not start out your day with a smile when that happens? (lol i added a picture of them down at the bottom). oh and also...i got to eat some fresh balot to celebrate the holiday season ahahahaha (NO BIG DEAL JUST ALMOST BORN BABY DUCK YUM) hahaha 

I also had the opportunity to say my testimony during sacrament meeting this week (and it was in taglish (tagalog+english) bc my tagalog is still in its fetus stage). It was about missionary work and how you really don't need a black name tag to be a missionary. I honestly believe that you shouldn't be ashamed to share your beliefs with your friends and family, because they trust and love you the most, and if your testimony matters to you, (if they really care about you) they'll respect what you have to say. That doesn't mean that they'll agree 100% or that you have to force your beliefs on anyone - all i'm saying is that you should feel comfortable sharing what has brought you happiness in your life and what you know is true. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives, and I know that Jesus Christ gave his life for me. The Holy Spirit has testified the truth of their love to me, and i see it everyday in my life. Everything - people, plants, animals, stars, planets- is evidence that God is real. I know They care & know each and everyone of us individually and hear our prayers. Our problems and worries matter to them...and Christ came to Earth and gave his life so He'd know exactly how we felt and how to guide us. There is no reason to be ashamed of your testimony. Christ wasn't ashamed of you when he was spit at and mocked. He wasn't ashamed when he was hated and pinned up on the Cross. He defended your name until the very end, and still defends you today - practicing mercy and creating a plan for us to be forgiven for our wrongs. 

They've blessed me with so much. They've blessed me with you as my friend, with my family, with the investigators out here on the field, with air to breath, and a healthy body! I cannot be grateful enough. I hope that this new year inspires a change for the better for each of you. I know that there's always room for growth. I always pray for you out here, and I've gotten letters and emails from you all saying that you've been praying for me...and that is such a beautiful thing to hear! You all mean so much to me. I hope your Christmas was amazing and centered on Christ and all He's done for you!  hahaha please send pics/videos/stories because i'd love to hear what you all did! I love you all so much (: Hope to hear from you all soon!














Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hey whatsup hello from the PI

Hey Mahallies! So today marks my second week in the PI! I spent my first week in the Manila MTC and my second week out on the field! I'm basically a rare species out here lol everyone thinks im a mixed breed because I can't exactly speak the language but i look filipino so its just really fun to watch their confusion. I'm being eaten alive by bugs and roaches are a norm lol but i really dont care because i am having the time of my life!!!!

Manila MTC: 
I LOVED the Manila MTC. Honestly, it was pretty amazing how kind everyone was over there. I made more friends in a day there than i did the whole time i was at the Provo MTC. It was my last week with my district which was pretty depressing, but we made the most out of it! My companion, Sister Romrell, and I ended our companionship by giving out our first Book of Mormon at the immigration office! The woman we gave it to was just a few years older than us and was here studying for school - she was SO kind!  Saying goodbye to my district was so bittersweet. We sang our favorite hymns together and bore our testimonies and got blessings and UGH i know that they're going to be so so so amazing out on the field! I'm so excited for each of them *all the tears*

1st Week on the Field:
My new companion is UH-MAY-ZING. She and I get along super well - she's basically my soul sister & we got TWO baptismal goal dates set within our first week! I feel so blessed to be with her. I'm running low on time, but I just want you all to know how grateful I've been this week. Poverty is really overwhelming here. Some of the people I've seen don't have beds to sleep on. We were on our way to pick them up for church and one of our little investigators were out completely naked on their porch bathing using one bucket of water. Yet somehow, they still manage to smile and laugh even more than the people I've met in America. I've never met a more grateful people. They don't have very much, but they offer us everything they do have and that example of selflessness in itself makes my heart hurt.

I just want to say thank you to each of you for your prayers and your letters. I know i haven't had very much time to reply to everyone (my pdays are on mondays now aka sundays for everyone in the states) but im so thankful for the love and support i've felt from each and every one of you. You are all so, so amazing. The christmas season is coming, and I can't wait to hear all about your spiritual christmas experiences and all the love you show for each other! Thank you all for being a part of my life, you are so so so amazing.

There are some pictures attached that I haven't gotten to tell the background story of, but I'm going to send them anyways bc I figure when I get back I can tell you all about stories behind them! I love you all, please send pictures of your adventures back at home! I love seeing how you guys are growing. You're in my prayers, may God bless you always <3 













Thursday, November 26, 2015

LANDED.

Kamusta everyone 💟

Just wanted to let you all know that I arrived safely in manila last night! The 20 hour plane ride was killer, but I am SO happy to be here. I've literally been in this country for less than a day, and have already made a billion new friends. EVERYONE at this MTC is so kind and welcoming! Hahaha i feel like I'm famous half the time because so many of them come up to meet me! AGH but i can feel the love so strongly here. They all think I'm half filipino...so maybe I'll just go with that and then they won't expect me to learn tagalog as quickly LOLOL 

Interesting sightings thus far: 6+ dinner table chairs were stacked on top of some type of flat piece of wood and was somehow made into a vehicle, which was being driven on the freeway LOL. Their Christmas lights are up and ready and THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! the people here go waaaay out in decorating so it beats out any of the american christmas trees i've seen. A cockroach the size of the palm of my hand greeted me in the toilet when i first got to my room. but my favorite part was the Manila Temple. It's right across from the MTC and it was by far the most gorgeous temple ever. I'm going to go inside later on today for an endowment session with my district! THEY SERVED US FILIPINO FOOD FOR BREAKFAST and it isn't as hot here as i expected, just really humid. So yeah, when it comes to betting whether i'll pack on the pounds or lose weight out here...i'd def put down that i'm gonna gain major weight. dont worry though. I'll just get a worm or something before i go back, so i'll have a souvenir and a rockin' bod HAHAHAHA

I know i'm meant to be here. I think, of everyone, i was the most excited...mostly because I feel like I'm at home. I mean, there are a million new faces and places i've only seen over a computer screen...but being here just feels so right! So don't worry about me - I'm in God's hands. I'll be giving my all into this work, and I'm so grateful to serve. I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving & that you'll be able to better see God's hands in your lives and the blessings He's given you. Being able to dedicate a year and a half to my God is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for, along with your support and love. Thank you for being amazing. I hope to hear from all of you soon, and can't wait to tell you all about my experiences out here! I'm gonna start knocking on doors tomorrow - ITS GETTING TOO REAL TO DEAL YALL. hahaha but until then, keep me in your prayers & i'll keep you in mine! I love you, happy thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

MTC Week #6

DEAR MAHALLIES

T-MINUS 3(ish) DAYS BEFORE TAKEOFF!!! 

I am beyond excited to leave, but at the same time, soooooo scared. I always get cold feet when it comes to big changes like this - and I could feel the anxiety building up! I'm sweating bullets over here! Ah, but I definitely feel the support and love from back home, and honestly, that's what keeps me going on the rough days.You can't tell, but one of the new elders (His name is elder walsh, he's tall and white as snow and ultimately the greatest person ever) is a Brit (his voice is beautiful) and he gave me a blessing this week. I'd asked for it because I'd been feeling so anxious about leaving for the PI. I just felt like I needed the extra support and comfort to know that this was right for me. The blessing was so relieving - it was like the moment he laid his hands on my head and began to speak, all my fears fled the room and it was filled with this peace. I'd never been so grateful, or so in need, of the priesthood. 

I've been thinking a lot about serving, and how it must seem strange to others to sacrifice a year and a half of my life. It really isn't a sacrifice at all though - it's an honor. I get to help others find comfort and strength and the answers to what our purpose is here, where we came from, and where we're going. Aahaha The language barrier scares me a little bit though - I'm still working on structuring solid sentences/conjugating words. AGH honestly I love learning tagalog but the sinking-in process is still pending hahahaha. I know that ultimately, i'm just a mouth piece. The language isn't a barrier- lack of the spirit is.If it's God's will, the power of the message will be conveyed, so I'm not too worried. I've seen it for myself Hahaha I have one picture of me and a red headed elder (His name's Elder Passey & he's headed to Japan in 4 weeks!) and he's an amazing elder! He bore his testimony for me in Japanese, and I had no idea what he was saying, but the spirit and conviction was there LOL so there you go folks - the spirit's like magic ahahaha

This last week has been so great. It snowed, and I usually dread the cold...but considering the fact that I probably will spend the next 17 months sweating my brains out, I was a pretty happy camper (and it made for a great photo opp) 😇 

 I just wanted to explain the background stories behind one of the pictures I'm sending, because this person impacted my life in such a wonderful way.

1. The story behind the picture of me and Sister Borja (She's the African American sister headed to Idaho) is really special to me. My first week here at the MTC was really rough. I was struggling with the language and with my companion and didn't understand why I felt so alone. I was on the couch all swollen eyed from being upset and just decided to sleep there for the night. I was so upset, because I felt like I had no friends at all, and no one cared enough to even ask...and just as that thought passed my mind, This sweet sister touched my arm and said "Sister - are you okay? I don't speak english very well, but if you need to talk...I come out here when I get upset sometimes. I just want you to know, I love you sister!" I was so shocked by her kindness - i honestly couldn't wrap my head around the fact that she would come up to a complete stranger and be so loving. I started crying again, this time such happy tears, because I felt God's love through this sister. She really was such a tender mercy to me. She's left to Idaho a couple days ago, but I know she's going to be an amazing, spiritual missionary 🙌

A lot has changed since my first week, and every week since, I've been showered with so much love from back home AND here at the MTC. I got letters and chocolate bars and music boxes and cupcakes and just all the love in the world - i couldn't be more grateful. You know you're doing life right when you dress up in work out clothes then stuff your face with cupcakes. It's just the way a good life should be. ahahaha

anyways I love you all. I'm out of time, and these are all just scattered thoughts of all the love i've felt this week and exciting things that happened, but I hope that you enjoy the read! Please take care - next time you hear from me, i'll be in the PI! I'd love to know what's going on in your lives, and you're always in my prayers. (if there's anything you feel like you want me to pray about for you specifically, please email me and tell me!) I really only wish the best for you. Ingat my loves 😘💟💟💟

Your missionary,

Sister Calica