6 January 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This new year has already been full of many changes!! On New Year’s Eve I received a call from my mission president and he told me to pack my bags immediately and that I will be picked up by the AP’s to travel down to the mission office. I was really confused, sad, and excited all at the same time. I didn’t understand why I was leaving two weeks before the transfer is ending and it was all so unexpected and strange. When the AP’s came to pick me up it turns out they had also picked up another Sister who is now my companion. Her name is Sister Dotillos and we are batch mates coming in to the Philippines. We then were taken to the mission office where we had an interview with the mission president and he relayed to us our new assignment.
I am now here in Guimaras which is an island right off of Iloilo. My companion and I are taking over the ZL’s area because our president feels that a change will really help this area progress.  I am now working in a branch so there are only a handful of members but their testimonies are so strong. It turns out that this branch is receiving many new changes. They just reorganized the relief society presidency and other leadership positions as well. and we are here now.
This island has only been opened for Elders, so my companion and I are the first sisters here. There are now a total of 16 missionaries here on the island of Guimaras and that makes up our zone as well. Guimaras is basically a big rock so there are many hills, it is not flat like normal sister areas are. It is so beautiful here and so green and I love it. I am so excited to hike through my area and go finding!! At the moment our teaching pool is very low so my companion and I are just going to be tracting this week and getting to know our area. We were able to work with the ZL’s for a few hours on Friday and Saturday so we wouldn’t be completely blind in our area. They showed us where many LA’s live and recent converts. Our area is so large and so beautiful. I can’t get over it.
So this new year I have been blessed with a different area, companion, and language. I am going to learn Ilonggo now 🙂  It is a whole new beginning but I love it here in Guimaras. It is exactly what I need. I am so grateful for this assignment. It will be challenging since we are both new to this area but I have a great companion and she will help me with the language. I am excited for this new year and the changes it has already brought. I am struggling with the language but I hope to get it down soon. We also have an earlier curfew here. We have to be home by 7:30 because there aren’t street lights and people go to sleep here so early.
fun fact: While we were at church there was a monkey outside and it was noisy during the entire meeting. So cool. I love it here!!
So you asked about what I did for New Year’s Eve… I did laba (laundry) and packed a bit and then later that night my housemates had a mini FHE then ate a huge meal. (it was my housemate’s birthday) so we had spaghetti, mango float (the best thing ever), ice cream, tinapay, and soda. It was so fun. So it ended up being a birthday party, going away party, and New Year celebration all at once. The Filipinos go hard here with celebrating New Year’s Eve. They set off fireworks all night long as well as all day the next day and just some random ones through out the entire week. I still hear some fireworks from time to time. The fireworks here are different and pretty dangerous so we had to come home at 5 in the afternoon.
The next day was full of food appointments… we were eating the entire day! it was so nice, the food was amazing. I ate a pig’s ear.. it is pretty crunchy and I also had pig’s liver as well. The pig’s ear was more delicious. All the appointments where in the other Sisters’ area so I didn’t get to work in my area for the last time which was a bit sad but I did get to see some members for the last time. I finished packing that night then I was picked up on Thursday morning.
I did get the package that they sent!! Thank you so much. It came to me at the perfect time.. I wouldn’t have been able to pack all of it if it came to me while I was in Kalibo. Not to mention the market here is very small and there is only three restaurants that exist on this island.. so this food came at a good time so I can add something different once in a while to my diet. 🙂
I pray that the New Year is treating all of you well as it is for me. There are so many changes and I am so excited to start fresh and put in all that I can into this area. This place has so much potential.
I love you all,
Sister Jensen
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About rachelejensen

Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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