So someone told me today that I am in the Church News :) I sang in the choir for the Christmas program when Elder Nelson came and they got a picture of us. Someone should find a copy of the Church News and tell me if I look good :) I wrote you halfway through Christmas day, and just so you know the second half of the day was great!!!
Thank you family for the stockings. My companions/roommates were very grateful! Sister Latimer had presents that she let us help open. But for me, Sister Tuia and Sister Tupua the stockings were the only thing we had to open on Christmas that were for us. But Christmas isn't about the things you get. We all had a wonderful holiday.
So I realize that I haven't really talked much about learning the language. It's hard, that’s for sure. But we also have lots of fun. Here at the MTC they have you practice teaching lessons in your new language right away. I love my companion Sister Tuia. We have some of the best teaching experiences. But we also have something to laugh at after almost every lesson. Here are some mistakes I have made. "It is important to read your scriptures every spouse." (instead of every day) "If you pay tithing you will get many repentance" (instead of blessings). I told someone just yesterday that there are 20 apostles instead of 12. One time I was trying to complement someone's hat, but I said shoes instead. My companion was explaining about fasting; She explained that we fast one Sunday every month. But "lingo" the word for Sunday, also means week. So our investigator thought that we fasted for one week every month. Fun stuff. Also, when I don't know how to say something in Tagalog, I just act it out. Usually with sound effects. I may not be able to speak the language very well, but I can still communicate. Right now we are teaching six different "investigators". It's pretty intense because of how much preparation has to go into each lesson. But one of our "investigators" is getting baptized this week, so that's pretty exciting. Two of my favorite teaching experiences are as follows: We have this investigator who we haven't had the chance to teach very much, and honesty we didn't really look forward to it because he just was not very receptive. But this last time we focused not on teaching a lesson, but teaching HIM. What exactly did he need. We laid it down for him. We straight up asked him if he was even interested in learning. We bore testimony to him of how important the gospel is to us (I almost cried) and told him how important it was to him. Then we told him that he wants to find out for himself, it requires action. We committed him to read (he hasn't been keeping that commitment) pray and go to church. I'm excited to go back and teach him again.
My other favorite was right before Christmas. We were going in to teach a new referral: someone we had never taught before and didn't know much about. We had prepared a Christmas lesson for him, but when we got in there we were lead to teach someone else. He just opened up to use and we were able to see his needs and help him. As my companion was bearing testimony I turned to a scripture. Right after I got there he asked a question that my scripture answered perfectly. When he admitted he didn't really know how to pray we taught him how, then knelt down with him right there and had him pray. It was so sweet! He was so prepared for the gospel!
I know that most of our teaching experiences here are just role plays, but the spirit is still there to lead, help and testify. I can't wait to go teach real people!!
Okay so I said I would talk about the language... but I only talked about teaching. So here goes... Tagalog is a mix between piglatin and the sentence structure that Yoda from Star Wars uses. There are some words that are so ridiculous that you just have to love them. Here are some examples:
Pinikamakapangyarihan - most powerful
Piliin ang Tama araw-araw!!!
Sister Abish "Pinikamalakas" Curtis
P.S. Happy New Year!! You should make lots of great New Year's resolutions. Here is a good halimbawa (example) of one: Write more missionary letters!!