Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Phone Call (or more like New Years PHone Call)

Hello fam!!
So this email is gonna be really short because well I just talked to you on the phone. haha!!
But I just forgot to say some things. First of all I forgot to say to send my love to all the family all the cousins and everyone.

Also I want you to send my love to Kara, Kate, Cole, Natalie, John, The Lees, and everyone else at church. I love them all and I was going to tell this to you on the phone but I forgot.

Anyway I just want to thank you for your sweet words on the phone and your support I love you so so much and I feel your prayers each and every day. I could not do this without you!

So this week has been great just like I said we are working hard to find new investigators to teach! We are praying hard to find the ones that have been prepared and are ready to learn and accept. I am happy to be doing the Lord's work and becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

I don't have much to say except that I love you andI know I told you this before boys but make sure you read the Bof M and PMG everyday. Say you will do it, write it down, then do it! I know it will help you prepare and start becoming the missionary you are meant to be early on. I am so proud of you all and all your successes and blessings. It makes me happy to know you are all being blessed because of your faithfulness.

Christmas was great! I loved your package and everything in there. I ate mac and cheese the other day and it tasted so so so good!

I am sending along a picture of me with my new skirt and my christmas socks! I think they match perfectly!!!

New Christmas Skirt and Socks

Thank you again for the packages and love.
Mahal Kita!
Sister Stapp

Mom Something else I forgot to ask you....did something go wrong with the music you put on the flash drive for me? There are only 18 songs it seems and they are instrumental primary songs.  I love you. But I was kinda hoping you would put MY music on. Like the stuff I have in my Itunes. Oh well.
p.s. Those dresses are soooooo cute!!!!! That is one hot mama!!! (Julia was referring to Rachel's new Christmas dresses, we sent pics to her)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sister Stapp wins the Spelling Bee!

Maligayang Pasko!!!!! Merry Christmas everyone!!!

It is Christmas Eve here in the Phils!

Everyone is a hustle and a bustle shopping. The streets are packed with people and vendors one can hardly move it is so crowded!! I am excited to spend my first Christmas here in the Philippines. It will be different but fun. Today and tomorrow we have a 6pm curfew because of all the partying that will be going on. We will spend the night at the Aringay sisters apt so we can have a happy Christmas time with them. I am excited because we are planning on making spaghetti and lumpia!! Yay!


So this Friday we had the great opportunity to attend the Christmas trizone conference in Baguio!! It was so great to see a few of my MTC mates.  Pres. and Sis Monahan were there and so were the assistants. They had a workshop planned for us on extending baptismal invitations and Pres. Monahan spoke on the importance of obedience. It was so so great. I love hearing from our President. He is so wise and I learn so much. I want to be 100% obedient so I can testify with 100% power and authority. After the workshops we ate lunch! It was so good. Sister Gina who happens to be in my branch catered. She is a wonderful cook and like a second mother to us missionaries. There was chicken, fish,veggies, a chocolate fountain and of course endless rice!!! There was not an empty stomach in the room. After the food we watched "A Christmas Carol" it was fun. That movie always makes me want to be a better servant of God. I want to make others happy this Christmas season and all throughout my life.
Missing an "S", neverless it is true!

Also this week, on Saturday, we were able to attend the Aringay branch Christmas party!! It was a fun fun time. So many games and performances from all the auxiliaries. There was a spelling game and I won by spelling the word Nagsisipagsinusinugnalingan. It is a really long word that means telling lies. haha!! I won a cup :)

So the teaching is going well. Sis Dauno and I are finding lots of new people to teach. We just started teaching a lady named Len len. She has a baby and is pregnant with another. She is a neighbor of a member and was curious about what we believe. We have only taught her once but we feel there is potential there. We are a little sad because Sister Nova has informed us that she wants to discontinue the lessons. Did I already tell you this? Oh well she is having a hard time because most of her friends are less active members. We planted a seed but maybe it is another missionaries job to harvest. Anyway we are moving on to the truly elect:)

So I am still doing really well I am studying so so so so hard. The gospel the language everything because chances are I will be training this next transfer!!!! Sis. Monahan told me there are quite a few sisters coming in and it is more than likely that I will train.Well that is coming from the mission presidents wife!!! I need to prepare! I am praying and striving each day for the knowledge and strength. I am so happy to be serving a mission and helping the work of the Lord move foreward.
I have been reading in Alma lately about Ammon and all those missionaries. Their examples are so good for me and I strive each day to become powerful like them. I love the scriptures and all I learn from them. Everyone reading this--I hope you are reading the Book of Mormon each and every day. I know it is the Word of God and translated by the prophet Joseph Smith!!!!

 I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas!!!!

Mom:I relieved a letter from Kate Clark this week. tell her I love her!!!!
Also tell everyone that I love them~! I
Daddy. Merry Christmas!!!! I love you so so so sos much!!!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Companion for Christmas

How is everyone!! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday spirit in the states! I sure am here in the Phils. The streets are filled with vendors selling anything and everything for Christmas gifts. The children are caroling for money and the houses have lights on them. They have had lights up since September but now that it is Christmas time it just feels right. The weather isn't changing it is still hot. haha! I am sweating like a pig as I type this email. But that is just life in the Philippines.

This week we had a Christmas dinner at the Fullmers!!! It was so so good :) We ate lasagna and rice of course. Also had deviled eggs! yum. The Fullmers are such a great couple we are so blessed to have them here in Aringay branch.
Christmas dinner!

So this week was transfer week!!! So on Wednesday we found out that Sister Cabrera was being transfered. We were expecting it but it was still so so sad. I love sister Cabrera. She was a great trainer and example to me of what an obedient missionary should be like. She got transfered to Dagupan on Friday and I got a new comp sister Dacuno!!! She is my followup trainer and she is so great :) It is a little difficult to adjust to a new companion because we are not used to each others teaching yet. But we are adjusting quickly and I think this will be a great transfer. Sister Dacuno does not speak as much English as Sister Cabrera did so I am finding that I am speaking a lot more and becoming more fluent. Sister Dacuno has the most long beautiful black straight hair. haha. She is 32 years old and is from somewhere near Manila, she has been here for a year.

So since I am the comp that has been in Caba all this time I am leading the area!!! It is a challenge. I am not as organized as I should be. Sister Cabrera was so organized and knew where everything was. I am learning and following the spirit to know where to go and when to teach certain people. It is a challenge! I already said that but it is true! Anyways I need to learn now in case I train next transfer which is likely with all the new missionaries coming in.

The work here is going well still. We are focusing on finding new investigators and retaining our recent converts. The hardest part is that there is no addiction recovery class here in the phils. So a lot of our recent converts have gone back to their old addictions this week. We are helping them to repent and encouraging the elders quorum to get involved in helping them. I will keep you updated. We are also fasting and praying for their success.

Well I hope you are all well! I love hearing from you and thanks for all the love and support!

Alam ko po na ang gawain na ito ay gawain ng diyos. Alam ko po na Buhay po si Jesus Christ at sa pammagitan siya latah tayo ay maaaring maging maligtas. Kailangan natin maging masunurin at mapagkumbaba. Mahal na mahal tayo ng diyos! At mahal na mahal ko kayo!!
Early Morning Run

1. Did you get our package?
Yes! I did I got yours and the one from grandma stapp. Tell them I say thanks and I opened it! I love all the treats they are just what I need :) I love them. I did not open yours yet. I cant wait!!!!
2. Tell us all about your knew companion.
See above
3. Are you feeling fluent in the language more?
See above
4. Do you use your Tagalog scriptures much?
Yes! during language study I read and during lessons I have tagalog and english open
5. How much do you walk each day, or do you mainly use motorized transportation?
We walk quite a bit I don't know the distance. We usually take tricycles to far places.
6. Are the people pretty receptive and friendly?
Yes! They are very friendly. People are very willing to accept us and feed us even if they don't know us. haha!
There are a few Less actives that hide and wont let us in their homes but for the most part the people here are very loving and kind:)
7. Are you still singing?
I taught a choir class this sat to the Young women :)))) it was difficult I have never taught before but they kinda were able to sing alto and soprano haha!!
8. Are you learning some new recipes to cook?
Ummmmmmmmm not really I should though. thanks!! on second thought. yes. Lumpia!!

Mom: this week I got letters from you (dearelders) One from Kara :) and one from Grandpa Jensen :)
oh and one form the young men. Also I will be calling you on the day after Christmas which will be your Christmas day. Because the Fullmers wont be home until the day after Christmas. I forgot to figure out the hours.... I will tell you next Monday the hour I will call. I don't know what to do though because Rachel wont be with you. I have one hour to talk. Also I am glad you got my letter :) I love you so so much!!

ps. Also tell Grandma and Grandpa Stapp that I love them and am thinking about them. I know Uncle Mike is happy :)

ps. Tell daddy and the boys that I love them!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Zone Hike! No Typhoon!

Friends and family!!!
Hello! All is well over here. If you are wondering, no we did not get any typhoon over here. Just some rain. It sounds though like it has been devastating. We will pray for those who are suffering from the aftermath. Well things are doing great over here! It is December and still as hot as a really hot place! We are working very hard still and loving the work each day. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve each day and participate in the work of the Lord. I feel the spirit strongly as I teach and as I share my testimony. I know it is not me speaking, but the Holy Ghost putting the things I need to say in my heart and in my mind. As I have been working on my listening skills my teaching has improved! I am working on listening to the spirit and really listening to my investagators. Since I have been making a consious effort we have seen fruits! We have many new investigators!!!

One in particular is sister Melinda. She is a sister in-law of brother Roy, a recent convert. After teaching bro Roy one day she came out and started to talk to us. She wanted to know when we were going to teach her!! We were suprised and said well we can come back tomorrow! haha. We gave her a reading assignement and it has been all up hill from there. She reads consistently and came to church for the first time this week. She said afterward that she has found her church. She said there are a lot of things in her life that she wants to change. We are happy for her decision to change and are here to help her do so. It might be a while till she is baptized but she is on her way to greatness. I know the Lord loves her and is strengthening her :)

Also this week we have been able to have many FHEs at the homes of less actives. FHE's are a fun and effective way to remind a less active family that they are loved by the ward and loved by their Heavenly Father. The other night we had an FHE with all of our recent converts! It was so fun and good bonding time for them.

So this week we were able to watch the Christmas devotional!!! I am so happy when I listen to the words of the prophets. I felt the spirit strongly when the choir sang about my Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Christmas season and I hope you all have a happy and joyful one :)

So today is pday!!! And also zone activity day!!! We went on a long hike with our whole zone. It was beautiful! So green and jungly. But it was also very hot and steep. I think I lost 10 pounds in sweat alone! hha! But masaya pa din. Our Zone is very fun the elders are all really nice and funny. It is like a big family :)

The Zone Hike!

Questions answered:
Cindy wants to know if you got her letter?
Yes!! I got it ths week!! I was hoping to write her back this week but because of the activity I have no time. I will soon though. Love you Aunt Cindy!!!!!!!!!!!
Grandma wants to know if you got her package?
Not yet. I will probabluy at transfers.

Who else have you heard from?
This week I got dearelders from you. Letters from Cindy and two from grandma :) that is it :)

Are you getting along with your companion? (she is a very cute girl)
Yes!!!!! Sister Cabrera is the best ever. I will be sad when she leaves me in less than a week. We are good friends and work good together as a team :)

What will you do on Christmas day?
Not sure. We have an early curfew.

How is the weather?
HOT HOT HOT HOT!!! and a little bit of rain.

How is your health?
Good I guess. I dont feel sick. I feel tired but that is missionary life eh?

That is all I have time for!!! I love you so so so sos so much!!! Sorry again it is short.
Mom can you ask Savannah for Melissa Snell's adress. I have been wanting to write her but I don't now where to send!!!
Remeber to pray and read palagi!!!
Sister Stapp

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Be Baguio

Magandang Hapon!!

I am in Baguio City right now! It is nice and cool up here in the mountains. The bus ride up was 1.5 hours and very very windy. The lady I was sitting next to gave me a banana to eat so I gave her a pamphlet about the restoration. She read the whole thing on the way up the mountain. she said she had no questions about it but I told her if she did, to ask the missionaries! I am becoming more comfortable now with "Preach by the Way" now that I am getting better at conversational tagalog.
So the reason why my companion and I are in the city right now is because my camera broke earlier this week. Yes the new camera that I just bought at target was accidentally dropped by my dear companion Sis Cabrera. Luckily though we got permission to take it to a repair shop here in Baguio. It is the closest to Caba. It is fixed now for 1000 pesos. So sorry if there are not a lot of pics this week.

So this week has been another week of work! We are working really hard on finding new investigators through the members and by looking in our area book for past investigators. We just lost two more Ibd's this week. Sister Donna and Brother Mark. We had chosen a date and everything for them Jan 12. but they are not yet married. They really wanted to be baptized Jan 12 but their families didn't want them moving their wedding date to Jan instead of April. They decided to wait till april to be baptized so their families would not be upset. We are sad but happy for April! They are very commited and come to church every week. Sister Donna feels the spirit so strongly when she reads the Book of Mormon and Mark is really excited to be sealed to her and their new baby (due in Jan) someday.

This week we have been so so so blessed to have so many different branch missionaries work with us. We are now being able to match branch missionaries to the needs of the investigators and it makes all the difference in the conversion process for the investagator. It is also really great because we have had our recent converts working with us a lot! Brother Jomar, a recent convert, worked with us for the first time last night and he did so well! He testified of the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith. It makes me so happy to hear the testimonies of Rc's they are so plain and simple and powerful!

So Baguio Mission is all a buzz because of all the new missionaries to be arriving within the next two transfers! I am excited because we might be getting two new sisters in Caba area! We need it here in Caba. Back in the day Caba was it's own ward! With two new sisters we will be able to double the work and help Caba become the great ward it once was :) I am excited for what is to come, but also sort of nervous. With all these new missionaries my chances of training are getting higher! Training would be difficult but a good learning experience for me. We will see what happens.
hmmmmm what else I don't have that much time. Sorry again it is so so short! I love you all and Thank you for your love and support!!!!

Mom I did not recieve any letters this week but I did get your small package!! Thank you so much everything in there made me so so happy. Especially the notes from you and alex and the mac and cheese! I love you so much! Dad I love you so much!

I love hearing about your life and about what is going on back at home.

Pic explain: FHE at a recent converts house. We played a fun game that I have no time to explain!!!!

Sister Stapp

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hello Pamilya at Kaibigan! Mahal na mahal ko kayo!

I am so happy to hear from all of you and hear about your thanksgiving week and holiday preperations!! I had a great Thanksgiving. Different from the traditional but still good :)
Sister Cabrera and I are working hard here in Caba. We are working on helping the members here strengthen their testimonies in the restored gospel. We are also praying very hard for our church leaders so they will know how to run the branch. Here in the Philippines the branch leaders are still learning how to hold meetings and plan for the branch. We are helping them along and things are looking good in the branch!

The work is good, we have many new investigators but we have also lost a few this week. It is so devastating when an investigator tells us that they do not want to meet with us anymore. I start to evaluate my self. I am working on being more obedient and dilligent in my studies so that when we do lose investagators I know that I did all I could do. We can only do so much as missionaries but in the end it really comes down to their agency. Whether they accept the message or not is up to them but as missionaries we are here to teach and to pray for them. I am trying my hardest to evaluate my obedience everyday and repent every day for my weaknesses. By being more obedient and more aware of where I can improve, I will be able to teach with more power and conviction of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the real teacher, we missionaries are just the vessels. Only a pure vessel can deliver the message of the spirit to the hearts of the listener. Anyway we are working hard as a companionship and praying very hard for our investigators.

So this week at church was the primary program!! It was so so cute as always. The kids taught us about choosing the right and following the prophet. They sang very well and I felt the spirit. I always feel the spirit strongly when I am being taught by the children. They are so sweet and precious to our Father in Heaven.

So this Thanksgiving was special, after a day of proselyting we were about to go to our last two appointments when the power suddenly went out! This means we have to go home early because it is too dangerous to be out. So on our way home we bought street BBQ! My Thanksgiving dinner consisted of pancit canton (like top ramen but better) hardboiled eggs, mashed potatoes (of course) and BBQ pork on a stick!! It was delicious feast! I was thinking about all the things I am so grateful for; my mission, my companion, a supportive family and food!!! So many many things to be thankful for. Most of all I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that I am who I am and that I can become so much more. I look to Christ each day for his example. I want to be humble like Him and love like Him. I am Keeping my faith in him each day and protecting my faith in Him when times of adversity come.

Thanksgiving Dinner

So now that Thanksgiving is over it is Christmas time!!! The Philipines have been celebrating Christmas since September though!!! haha!!! They love Christmas!
Well I dont have much time to write! I love love love each one of you Talaga!!

Love Sister Stapp
ps. MOM-I am so proud of you and your marathon!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy you were able to finish and all. Keep up the good work!Tell kent and sarah that I love them and their family and that I got their dear elders!1 I will send them letters soon. Tell all the kids I love them to pieces! I am praying and fasting for their family. I also got letters from kara (2 dear elders) tell her I love and think about her often. Also I got dearelders from you from before Halloween! haha! They take a while to get to me but I love reading them!! No packages yet hopefully this week. Keep smiling mommy!! I love love love you so so much!

Here is a note from Elder and Sister Fullmer, who also work in the branch with Julia:

Brother and Sister Stapp,
Saturday was a baptism in the Aringay Branch. There was a family of four and two brothers one of which is married and his wife is a member. It was the ninth baptism in the Aringray branch in the last month or so. We were so surprised, and so proud of Sister Stapp when she sang "Families Can be Together Forever" in Tagalog. We knew she had a beautiful voice and to hear her sing the song in Tagalog brought tears to our eyes. We have attached the program of the baptism and a few photo's we took. Hope you enjoy them. You have a wonderful daughter and we know you are proud of her. We have included a few pictures of the area.
Elder and Sister Fullmer

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Hello Family and friends!!!

I love you all very very much! Thank you for your emails and letters and love.
This week has gone by so fast I hadly know what to write! We are teaching a lot of new investigators this week which is really really great! Sister Cabrera and I have been praying and praying for new families to teach and we have two new families this week! They are both very interested and we are happy to be able to teach them. One of the families is part member. Which in this case means that the wife is a less active and the husband is not a member. His name is Danny and he sells bread from his motorcycle for a living. He used to be a member of Iglesia Ni Cristo. He is really excited to hear our message and keeps his commitments. He says that when he prays he feels like this is the church that he needs to join. When I teach this family I feel like they really have been prepared by the Lord. I feel their hearts have been softened and that they are ready to take the next step to becoming an eternal family! We have not yet extended a date for baptism but will probably tonight!!
We are still working on Sister Nova and her daughter. Sister Nova is very special. She is very interested but has so so so many questions!! She feels the spirit but is having a hard time recognizing it. We are helping her with her prayers and BofM reading. Sister April, her daughter, was prepared by the Lord! She is 13 years old but she understands the scriptures so clearly and simply. She has a believing heart and is humble and enjoys reading and praying. I have very high hopes for this family.
I love missionary work and I am becoming the missionary that the Lord expects me to be every day. I am learning so much about what I need to to to become more like Christ so that I can be an example to the people here and to my future family.

This week was District conference!! We were able to hear form our district presidency and from Pres. Monahan and from our area authority Elder Agustin. It was wonderful! We learned all about the area goals. There was a lot of enphasis on rescuing lost members of the church. The rescue effort is strong here in the Philippines and we need all the members to put forth their best effort!

As for the questions I will try to answer as Many as I can.
Questions for you--

1. Have you been outside of Caba or Agoo lately? We get out of caba every monday. We spend p-days in agoo wich is a 30 min bus ride. Other than that we only get out of Caba on Sundays because church is in Aringay. Oh! and district meetings on Tuedays are in Bauang! So we get out quite often. I like Caba though. I feel like it is my home now!

2. How is your scripture study going?
My scripture study has never been better! I read the Book of Mormon every day. Right now I am in Mosiah. I just finished King Benjamins speech. He is so amazing! I want to be a leader/missionary like him. I also re-read d&c 100 the other day. It is very comforting and empowering. You should alllll read it!

3. Are you conversing in Tagalog with your companion?
I try to converse in Tagalog as much as I can every day. I am slowly transitioning to all tagalog but not quite there yet. I am studying very very hard to memorize new words and express myself more. I am working had as I can to qualify for the gift of toungues! I am getting better at conversing with members and such. It is very exciting

4. Are you aclimating to the weather?
I am becoming more aclimated to the weather. Yet I am still sweating buckets every day! haha! It is just hot and more hot all day. But I am used to being sticky and so it doesnt bother me :)

5. Have you had a chance to shop for clothing?
We went to the Ukay ukay today!!! The second hand clothing market! I bought three shirts for 50 pesos each. That is like 1 dollar in us money! yay! We broght along with us Sister Lael. She is in the RS presidency and is really good and bargaining at the Ukay ukay. Love her!!! She is also a really good cook :)

6. Did you get any letters/package this week?
I recieved a letter form grandma and grandpa Stapp with a pic of Spencer and his soon to be wife!! yaya!!! I am sending them a reply today. I get all of your dearelders and letters so keep writing! I also recieved dearelders from Melissa Snell and Savannah tell them I will be writing back soon!!!

7. Of course I want to hear about your investigators!!
See above.

8. Do they have any international food (chinese, mexican, American)?
There are not many....well not really at all. Excet for Spagetti!! Filippinos love lov elove spagetti!!!! It is sweet and pinkish. haha!!

10. Are you keeping you journal this week and do you use your umbrella a ton?
I have not used my umbrella much. The rainy season ended. but I have been keeping a journal!!! I will let your read it someday or send it home when I am done :)

My Lunch
District Meeting
A Birthday Party

Well I dont have much time sorry!!
I love you all! Keep writing!!
Keep reading and praying and all that jazz!
Sister Stapp

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fam and Friends!

Hello fam and friends!!! I love you all. I think I start every email like that haha. Anyway it's true.

Thank you for all your letters and support I feel the love and blessings coming from your prayers. The first week of the new transfer has been great! It has been a challenge but still good. Sister Cabrera and I have been working very hard on retaining our recent converts and teaching lots of new investigators. The week started off sort of rough. We were punted a lot. Punted is when we have no one to teach! We are very good about confirming appointments but sometimes the people we are supposed to teach forget and when we go there, they are already sleeping or they are gone. On Wednesday this week it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we hadn't taught one lesson!!! It is very hard to be punted. When we are just walking trying to find someone to teach, the time goes by slow. But we have been blessed this week because by the end of the week we were able to meet our goals and ended up teaching a total of 27 lessons! It is amazing how the Lord blesses us after a trial of our faith. As long as we don't give up and we are always striving to fulfill our purpose as missionaries, we will be blessed.

We have been blessed to have 2 new investigators attend Sacrament this week, Sister Janet and Brother Juanito. They are cousins of Brother Jonathan who just got baptized. They are both very interested and Brother Juanito is 18! That means he is still missionary material. We are encouraged by the mission president to teach missionary age yourng men. We hope and pray that Juanito will continue to search for the truth and be baptized on Dec.8.

Another family we are teaching is the Banayos Family. I am not sure if I told you about them but they are recent converts. Brother and Sister Banayos have 4 little girls and one boy. They are a great family. The other night we went to teach them and we caught them in the act of Family home evening!!! We were so happy to see that they were holding FHE on their own. They are striving to keep the commandments and preparing to be sealed as a family in the temple in January.

Sister Nova is progressing well. Remember her? If not I am pretty sure I mentioned her in a past email. She has a lot of questions and is really really searching for truth. She reads and prays to know the truth. She just heard about baptizm for the dead on sunday and wants to know more about that! She has so many questions that it is sometimes hard to keep the lessons focused but we try to follow the spirit and help her to take her questions to the Lord.

So this week I did not eat anything strange unfourtunately haha! But I did start eating my food from back home! I made pasta with alfredo sauce and Idaho mashed potatoes! Delicious! I cooked the potatoes on an open fire because we ran out of gas in our stove haha!

Anyway I wish I had more time on here to tell you more but I will just tell you that I am determined to keep a journal every day that I am here.

The language is getting better!! I am getting more comfortable and I am able to converse with the people we teach and members. I find now that I can communicate better my love for the people is growing. I really love the people here and am striving to help them keep their commitments to the Lord. I am learning to be patiend with myself and not be hard on myself when I cannot say something perfectly. I am feeling the Lord's love more fully as I rely on him and on the Gift of Tounues.
I know this work is the Lord's work and I know it is true! I know the Book of Mormon is a true book and all the events in it really did happen noon! I love my Savior and I know he lives and loves me and all of you so so much! Sorry again if this is so short!

Pic explanations!
1. We cooked lumpia for lunch the other day! Soooooo good. Basically like a spring roll.

2. The arch to our Barangay! Santiago Norte. This is where I live!

Mom: You have many questions I hope I can answer them all but if not, next time na lang.
I recieved a dearelder that you wrote on 9/ my dearelders are coming to me our of order. Oh well. Keep writing them I love them! I might not respond to each one but I read them and cherish them! I also recieved a letter from the Nelson family! I love them. Can you give me their new address. Also is Kates address the same? I want to send her a letter but not sure if she has been getting them. Tell her I love her to pieces! and I pray for her!

I am trying to be tidy. My comp is very sweet we get along very well and we laugh and have fun. We are united and teach with power :) She usually cooks lunch she is very talented at cooking.

Elders: we have three sets of elders in our district. i don't really know them because we are in a new district now. But I can tell you about the DL he is from England.....from Briton!!! "I want to go to Briton!" yess! He has a lovely accent. haha. but it is so hard to understand his Tagalog! His name is Elder Spiers.

Oh and meals we usually eat at a members house at least once a week usually on Monday. But people give us snacks all the time.. They are very generous here. I love the people!
Well that is all sorry for the lack of pics! No time this week!!! Oh and I am sending you a Christmas package but it will prolly get there after Christmas. sorry! I love you still though!!!!! Keep your chin up and run your little heart out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

One more picture...

Elder and Sister Fullmer, full time couple missionaries sent me quite a few pictures.  They are so good to the Sister Stapp.  Here is one of the photos sent.


Red Rice

The Long Hike


power outage pics

Pumping water outside.
Studying by candle-light

Hello There!

Hello there family and friends!!

I hope you all know that I love you and I hope you had a very happy Halloween!! People here don't celebrate Halloween like we do, they have picknics at the cemetary and party, but no dressing up. Oh well!

This week was very good, it went by so fast though! This week was transfers so our dear Sister Fernando got a new companion and is no longer working in Caba with Sister Cabrerea and I. We will miss her but happy that now Caba and Aringay will be getting the appropriate amount of attention.This week started off with a big power outage! We were out of power for 3 days! No water either.  Luckily we have a pump in the back of our house so we spent a lot of time pumping water for cooking and drinking and showering. We studied and planned by candlelight :) It was quite an adventure. I am really thankful the power is back though. I am grateful for all of our blessings we teach some families that have no electicity in their homes and they are happy! It is very humbling.
So I told you before about Jonathan who just recently got baptized. Well I just want to tell you that he is awesome. Ever since his baptism he works with us on our visits and gives us lots of refferals. He loves sharing the gospel and is so effective in lessons. I am just so happy that he loves that gospel and is so dedicated and devoted to missionary work already. Yesterday Jonathan came with us to a lesson. When he got into the tryke we told him we were going to visit someone in San Cornello. We had never been there before but he said it was malayo (far).  We didn't know how far until the trike stopped at a little dirt path. Someone there told us that San Cornello was just up the path...well that path was a 30 minute hike up a mountain! We walked 30 minutes in the wilderness in the heat up to a small village in the mountains!! It was beautiful but I think I was sweating more than I ever have. Well the hike was worth it because we taught a very good lesson about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families to a man named Rogelio. We extended a baptismal date and everything! and he said he would prepare for baptism! I pray that he will continue to be interested and maybe agree to meet us somewhere next time. haha!

I love all the new experiences I am having.This week I ate meet cooked in blood...more like blood tasted like dog food. And I ate red rice wHich is just like white rice just red! haha! I love all the food except for the blood. haha! I also had the sad but exciting experience of seeing how a pig is slaughtered. I think I will have nightmares for the rest of my life about that experience!

Anyway a lot has happened this week I just have not time to write it! I am keeping a good journal though so for anything I miss in these emails you all can read later in my journal :)

I know this is the Lord's work and that I am meant to be here! I am feeling more amd more comfortable with the languare and with the people! I love it! It is hard and exhausting, but worth it because I know this is what the Lord wants me to do. He has a plan for me each day and I pray that I might now my plan each day and follow promptings of the spirit. I love you all and I am sorry if this is a short email this week!

Love Sister Julia Stapp

Mom: Keep running! I know you can do it! I pray for you everyday and I fasted for you this Sunday. I love you! Also Tell my Aunties that I think about them and that I love them with all my heart. I will send them letters soon :) I recieved a letter from Kara this week and sent her two. I also recieved two dear elders from you :) I love you so so so much. I will be sending you a package sooon with some goodies ! Tell me more about Amanda and Philip! I love hearing about them. Also I think my atm will work but I just don't know how much personal money I have not just in my account but in general can you let me know. Also, sorry I cannot tell you everything in emails. I have no time but I am trying to keep a good journal!

Daddy! I love you always. Never forget that. Dont worry about me I am protected! Keep smiling!

Sammie! I got your dearelder note! Filipinos listen to all the stuff that we listen to plus Filipino music! Look up "Pusong Bato" On youtube :)

Alex!!!!!!! I love your guts! Follow Jesus' example and be a shining example to your friends! Send my love to everyone and the cousins. Keep smiling and playing music!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sister Stapp Finds Herself and Loves the Filipinos!

Hello my dearest family! I love you all very much still even though I am not as homesick. Haha!
I love you emails and pictures so so much. Those Blair costumes are amazing! As usual.
I am happy to hear about Chloe. Tell her I say congrats and I love her even though I have never met her :)

This week has been exciting!We had 2 baptisms on Saturday!! Brother Jonathan and Brother Jomar. They were both very excited and so were we! Jonathan has been investigating the church for over a year! He has worked really hard and changed a lot to be worthy for baptism. During the baptism and confirmation I felt overwhelming joy that I had helped bring these souls unto Christ. I felt that I was doing what the Lord has sent me here to do! I love that feeling that the spirit was able to put into my heart. At the baptism sister Fernando and I sang I know that my redeemer lives. It was very spiritual. I love sharing my testimony of my Savior through music!

Also this week something very eventful happened.....I ate bbq-ed chicken intestines!!! Yes they were on a skewer all squiggly and pink and I ate them. Suprisingly they were not bad at all! I just tried not to think of it as I chewed. They were only a little rubbery but they just tasted like meat. Unfourtunately I did not get a pic. I will next time :)

I feel good this week. I am adjusting very well and finding myself again. Ever since I started singing I feel like I am myself again. Some other things I have done are paint my nails and cook! I am glad I am able to be myself and a missionary at the same time. My nails are getting really long. I shake so many hands in a day that I don't really want to put my finget in my mouth anymore! yay!!!! A mission was the cure all along!!

So I will tell you about someone we are teaching! The B____* family. They are recent converts of just over a year ago. They are consistent in coming to church but this week we found out that Brother B had been drinking and gambling. So we visited him. He was very sorry for what he had done and said he had lost hope. He did not feel he could be forgiven. We taught him about repentance and the blessing of the atonement. He felt the spirit so strongly and commited to meet with Pres. Flores on Sunday. He had a new sence of hope after that lesson and he was happy :) Yesterday in Sunday school the lesson was about eternal marriage. Bro and Sis B have a strong desire to be sealed to their children and to each other so yesterday they met with Pres. Flores to start their prep for the temple! We helped them set a goal to be sealed in January. I am so so so happy for them and their desire to be sealed. They are happier as a family now that they are choosing the right and becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ. I love the blessings of the temple and I know that they are real and true!
Anyway I am sorry I don't have much time to write today but I love you so much and I know this church is true!

Alex: I want to go to Hong Kong too!!!!! I was only there for an hour. I love you Alex and I hope you are having a good time. Remember the Lord loves you. and remember to read your BoM and PMG!!!!!!!!

Mom:I sent all the grandparents letters last week. so they should be getting those. Tell them that I love them!!!

Also I have not gotten any mail this week. Probably this week since it is transfers. Mommy all my cloths are getting ruined from being washed. and I am growing our of them. It is very depressing. I don't want to shop for more because I hate spending money and I hate shopping. haha!!! oh well. I love you mom.

Tell rach and ben I say hey and kiss that baby for me!!!!!

Love love love, Sister Stapp
*I am keeping the name private ~Caryn

Monday, October 22, 2012

Snails and Baptisms!

Hello Family that I love so much!

I love all your emails and love. I feel your prayers every day! I can't believe I have already been here for a month. It feels like I just got here but it also feels like so long! haa! I love it here more and more every day. I feel the Lord's loving guidance more and more everyday as I pray and study his gospel.

This week has been crazy!! Of course my kasamas and I are still splitting our week between two areas so it is pretty hectic but the work is still moving foreword!! We have two baptisms this week on the 27th of Oct! I am so excited that brother Jomar and brother Jonathan are getting baptized. We have been working with the ward a lot to help these two brothers feel welcome and needed. They will get assignments as soon as they are members :)

Speaking of ward members, we just got a new branch mission leader, Brother Bernie Gatchallan. He was called yesterday and is so great already. We are very happy that he has been called to this position because he loves the work and is willing to do his duties as Mission Leader. We are eating dinner at his house tonight and I am soo sooo excited! His wife is the best cook ever!
So this week since we have two baptisms, it is required for the ones getting baptized to do a service project before the baptism. So we all went to president Flores' house on Saturday and helped him with his yard work. It was soo sooooo hot and humid! I was sweating more than I ever had before. But I felt a strong spirit as I served and was happy :) Everyone had fun and had a big lunch of pancit and rice cake after. Pancit is a noodle dish with meat and veggies. Very delicious. I tried to make it once at home before I came here but it was nothing compared to the real thing!

Let's see so also this week I ate snails!!! Yes, yes I did. We went to teach a recent convert Sister Rose. She is the sweetest lady. She always is willing to work with us on our visits and her testimony is always effective in our lessons. After our lesson with her she invited us to dinner ad of course we cannot say no to food! So we sit and she brings our a big bowl of little snails!!! I was shocked at first when she filled her plate up and started slurping the slime out of the shells. Of course I had to try though. So I dished up 3 or 4 shells and started slurping away!!! It did not taste bad at all! It tasted like....the ocean..haa!! But it was rubbery and hard to swallow. haha! i could not bare to eat more than two. But at least I tried:)

I love all the cultural experiences I am having and all the things I am learning.Let's see..... We ate at the Fulmers house this week. They are the senior couple serving in Aringay. They are from Utah and so so sooo nice! They have been here just a little longer than me. We had a nice visit with them but I could not concentrate because they live right next door to a pig slaughter house! We heard pigs screaming throughout the whole lesson. haa! oh well.

I am very very happy here! I love doing the Lord's work and helping people remember their Savior. I sang in church yesterday "I Stand all Amazed".  I felt the spirit so strongly while I sang ad I noticed many in the congregation crying. I am very thankful for the language of the Spirit and the power of music. I may not be able to speak the best yet but I am learning everyday and until then I will share my testimony through song:) I am so thankful for my Savior I know He lives and is never far from us. I am so glad you all are sharing the gospel and living the gospel:) that makes me happy every day!
Keep up the good work! I love love love you all!!!!
Sister Stapp

Photos of Philly


Service Project
A rat in the House
Dinner Time

Monday, October 15, 2012

Julia is the tallest one?

(for larger view, click on photo)
The Three of Us!  (Sis F, Sis S., Sis C.)

A lizard visitor!

Two photos Julia!!!

Pic of my companions and I with the family was Friday night. We had FHE with the Argueza family and they invited some neighborhood kids. It was so much fun!! We had a talent show and all the kids sang their favorite songs. We shared a message about following the prophet :)

Happy Birthday Alex!!!

Hi Family!!!

Hello Family!!!!!
Thank you for all your beautiful emails and pictures! Keep them up. I love hearing about your adventures and your lives. Thank you for the words of encouragement! I am feeling better and better each day! My tears lately are not because I want to go home but because I am so so happy that I have a family that is choosing the right. It makes me so overjoyed to hear that you are singing to Abbott and that the boys and all of you are sharing the gospel and studying the gospel!
I know this church is true!!!! This week has been a very eventful one. This Tuesday my dear Sister Schuhmann went home. She was a batch-mate of mine and we served in the same ward. We were very good friends but she chose to leave. Now I have a new companion!! Sister Fernando! She is so sweet and a great addition to me and Sister Cabrera. Now I have two trainers!~ I will be a super missionary. haha.
 It has been very difficult though. We are having to split our work between Caba and Aringay(where Sis Schuhmann and Sis Fernando were) so for these next three weeks we will be going back and forth between areas.  It is exciting but we were all very very sad to see Sis Schuhmann leave :( Sister Fernando is 23 and has been here for 5 months I think. She is native from a city 4 hours away. She is a very good and kind missionary I am already learning so much from her).
Another thing that happened this week is conference!! We go to watch this weekend, a week after you watched. It was so so so refreshing to hear the words of the prophet and apostles. I felt the spirit so strongly and we had 7 investigators come to the Sunday morning session!! They all loved it and said they could feel the spirit. We watched conference in Bauang which is about 30 min bus ride away. We caught the bus in Caba and along the way watched as each of our investagators boarded. The excitment and joy I felt when I saw each of them join us on the bus was so full!! It was like they were all boarding the bus to Heaven! I loved that feeling.
Conference was amazing right??? It has motivated me even more to work hard every day to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I know he lives and is coming soon! I can feel his love and help each day.
My companions and I have not had much time for exploring on pday yet. But we get up in the mornings and walk to the beach or to the rice fields to behold the beauty of Gods creations. I hope you can come here, it is beautiful. It is also very very humbling to be here. We are teaching a man named Willie who has had 3 strokes and cannot talk. He is so sweet and writes down what he wants to say. His children have all abandoned him and he lives in the shed in the backyard of his sister. He has no money to get to church and can hardly walk. He said the other day that he does not believe that God loves him. We are doing all we can to help him recognize the blessings in his ife. The people here live very hard lives, But they are humble and kind. I am honored to teach them.
Answers: For breakfast I eat cereal usually of toast. Sometimes rice :)
Ben thank you for your letter!! I love them because they are funny :) My tagalog is coming along...but most people here speak Illocano. haha!
Rachel I love you :) I got your letter!! I loved it so so much. Don't worry about not sending alot I know it costs money :)
Daddy! Thank you for your encouraging words. I am also amazed at the fact that these people have lived here all this time. haha! I am slowly adjusting and loving it. I sometimes get thoughts like Why am I here!? but then I am comforted by the holy Ghost :)
Mommy! I love you so very much. I wish you would go to the doctor so that I don't have to worry. I love you. . Thankyou for everythingyou do for me. I get 7,000 something pesos a month it is enough and yes it rolls over if I don't spend. I still havent found out how to use my money from home to buy non mission related things. But I will. And yes we walk a lot. We are close to the mountains so often to get the a home we have to hike. haha. Thank you for your conference notes. I have not read them but I will print them and read them today!

Alex!!!!!!!! HAPPY BITHDAY!!!!! I love you. I sent you a special picture :)
Sammy I love you too!! keep swimming!  Boys share the gospel with your friends everyday!
If you ever were to send me a bigger package,
I would like some more wonder tees. small or medium please :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Photo Time

There was no explanation for this but I love it! (mom)

Out the Front Door of My House

 New Missionary Training in Urdaneta

Ask the Missionaries!

Hello My Dearest Family!! I love you all so much!
This week has been a good and busy week! Which is great! I love hearing from you, thank you for your e-mails with details!!! They make me soo soo haappy!!!! Mom I got your dearelders from Sept 20th I think. Keep sending dearelders ;) It takes a while to get to me but I DO get them eventually! I am happy to hear that you are all happy and doing great things back home.
Mom! I am so proud of you for training for a half marathon! I only wish I could do it with you. I know you will do an amazing job. Rachel, I am sorry to hear about your back! I hope you are fealing better now and up and holding that baby of yours! He is so cute I can't keep from getting teary eyed when I see his cheeks. I want to squeeze them so hard! Tell him that I love him. Happy Birthday BENNNN!!!! Sorry this is late but I hope you had a great day :)
So this week we were very very busy!! We had zone training on Friday, zone interviews on Thurs, and new missionary training on Friday. Crazy crazy week!!
In zone training the zone leaders presented 3 workshops and also the new zone goals. The new goal is for each companionship to have 5 new investigators a week! We have been so focused on rescuing less actives that our baptisms for our mission has gone down. The rescue effort is still important. We need to bring back those lost sheep. Bt there are still those who have not had the chance yet to hear our great message!! So we are making a great finding effort. We are trying to talk to everyone and plant seeds everywhere!
Zone interviews were so great! I wish we had them every week. This is when President Monahan and his wife come to our zone and speak and of course interview us! The Asisstants gave a great workshop about missionary dignity and how we should always remember who we are representing. My interview with president went really well. He talked to me about homesickness and how I can manage it. The interview was like I was talking to a friend which is very comforting. Pres. and Sister Monahan are the best. They are both so sweet and caring and like parent figures for us really. I know they care about each and every one of us.
So new missionary training was a fun little field trip to Urdaneta!!! We got a ride with the assistants to the president who were on exchanges in our zone so we got to ride in a CAR!!! It was so weird to be in a car! haha!! The ride to Urdaneta was about an hour and a half. When we got there I was so so so happy because I got to see my dear old kasama sister Palmer!!! She is happy and doing well :) She is in the Carmen Zone I think. we chatted most of the time. haha. It was so great to see her.
The new missionary training was good we just basically went over safety stuff and learned more about planning. It wasn't that long. My favorite part was lunch time!!! We ate pancit and lumpia which are both my absolute favorite Filippino foods! I love almost all the Filippino food so far. The other night I ate bamboo shoots which was actually delicious!
OK so aside from the food you wanted to know about my companion.
Her name is Jade Cabrera. She is 29. She is from Laguna and she is so so sweet. She speaks very good English and Tagalog and Cebuano. She has been here for a year. I love her and am so lucky to have her as a trainer. We have been getting bettar and better at teaching and listening to the spirit each day. Last night we had the most spiritual lesson.
We are teaching a lady named sister Nova. She has a baptismal date for Nov. 24th, but she has been unsure of whether it is the right thing to get baptized. She goes to the Born Again church every once and a while and she went there yesterday instead of coming to church with us. She told us at the beginning of the lesson that she doesn't like going to that church anymore, and we asked her why and she said it is because she doesn't feel anything. We then went on to teach her about Joseph Smith and the first vision. We told her that we know it is true and that our church is the only true church and the only one with the authority of God. She was touched but wondered how we knew for sure that this was true. Sister Rose, a branch missionary, went on to tell Sister Nova her conversion story and how when she was baptized she felt the Holy Ghost fill her whole body. Sister Nova was amazed! She had been baptized into the Born Again church and never felt anything! It was right then and there when Sister Nova asked if she could be baptizd tomorrow!! We had to tell her no because we still have to teach her the rest of the lessons. But I just think that Sister Nova was prepared by the Lord. She has such a desire to know the truth and is willing to pray and to change when she does find out. I am grateful to be able to teach her.
I am also grateful for branch members that are willing to work with us each day. We don'g have that many but those who do add so much to the lesson. Our branch is great but they are still learning how to run things. They have just started to have ward council and MCM without having to be reminded so that is progress. The challenging thing is to get the members to fellowship the new converts. That is our biggest effort right now.
In other news, the dog that barks all night next to my window had puppies the other day! They are so cute but very loud! haha! The Philippines is filled with baby animals right now. goats, pigs, cats, puppies, lizards. I found a baby lizard in the fridge last night. So cute! But sorta gross! haha!!
Mommy and daddy:: I am still very homesick but It is not because I do not want to be here. I just love you all so much and wish you could be here with me. I am excited about all the exciting things happening in your lives. I know the Lord will strengthen me as I work harder and harder. I cried a lot in my interview with president but he shared with me D&C section 31. This section is when Thomas B. Marsh gets called on his mission. He is promised many blessings and safety for his family. You shoudl read it. This chapter is a comfort for me. This time is so hard but I know I will see you soon and I know you are safe. I love you so so much and I am happy we will be together forever. Tell Kara that I got her dear elder and that I love her very much. Tell her I will look foreward to her letter. Mom who is the girl that you introduced to the missionaries. I don't remember you mentioning her. I am happy for her though. Thank you mom and dad for doing missionary work. I know you are blessed with joy and the spirit of the Lord when you do missonary work! Tell the boys that I love them.
Also if you are ever to send a package I would like some more flossers maybe some shirts...ummmm I cant think of anything. I can buy most things here but if I think of anything i will let you know next week.
I love you and pray for you!!! I wrote to Elder Souza I hope he is doing ok.
I love you!!! smile!!!
Sister Stapp

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baguio Beat Blog

For those that want keep updated on the mission blog, check this out.  (they just updated the blog with some new pictures of Sister Stapp)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Being Followed

Hello hello!!
How is everything???? This week has been good I am having a good time and learning a lot. I miss you all a ton. I wish you could be here and experience the things I am experiencing. This week started off with district meeting. That is every Tuesday when we travel to Agoo to meet with our district. We have interviews with our district leader and have a little workshop. It was good but I forget what it is about because I still cannot understand a lot of what they are saying!!! But I am getting better. After the meeting My companion and I went to the Ukay-Ukay. It is like a giant outdoor market for used clothes. I needed some shirts because I have gained like 9 pounds in the mtc. I got 2 shirts and a cute polka-dotted skirt for like 50 pesos each which is like 1.50 on American dollars. That is a steal! anyway that was fun. While we were there I got followed by little children. That happens to me everywhere. The kids love to talk to me in English and tell me I am beautiful. It is fun but distracting sometimes. I love the kids they are soo so adorable. Everywhere I go people stare at me. It is so funny but strange. I am getting used to it though

So lets see as for investigators we have three investigators with a baptismal date. Our most recent one is named sister Nova and I got to extend the invitation. I was really nervous that she would say no but she didn't!! I was so happy. She is searching for truth and has a lot of questions. Lessons with her are sometimes hard because of all her questions but we try to answer them and not stay too long. She is so sweet and I hope she sticks with us.

Our other IBDs (investigators with a baptismal date) are Jonathan Pacle and Jomar. I don't know Jomar becaue he has been our of town but we teach Jonathan about 2 a week. He is progressing well but still has WOW problems. He knows it is wrong but it is hard for him to resist temptation. I pray for him that he will have strength and know the church is true.

Last night we visited a member's house Sister Lael. She has two sons and we just dropped by for a surprise visit. She of course offered food to us and we accepted of course! She is a wonderful cook She had pork lumpia, pancit with squid balls and dried fish....and rice of course. It was all soooo soo delicious. I love dried fish! It is so crunchy and fishy! my two favorite things. I cannot wait to cook Filipino food for you all when I get back!. Sister Lael is so sweet when she talks to me she talks really slow so I will be able to understand. haha! She is a returned missionary and very active in the church.

Sending pictures...
First of all we have pics of my apartment. it is really nice but we have no hot water and no shower and no toilet that flushes. Also we have a really bad ant problem!!!

Well there you go family I love you all and I am happy. I miss you but I will see you soon. Read your scriptures everyday!!!! I am not kidding! The book is true and so amazing! I love it!
Email me!!! I love the pics and I love the stories of your life. Keep sending pics and eat lots of smoked meat for me. Tell the Anderson's and everyone else that I love them!!!!!!!!!! Tell all those boys and Sofia not to grow up too much!* 
<3 Sister Stapp

 *I sent Julia some photos of the kids and men smoking the brisket at the Anderson's ~Caryn

More philly photos!

This is how it is to get to most of the houses. We hike everyday!

Rice fields everywhere!!!

Washing clothes in my house!!! By hand!
We have a laundry lady who does out laundry on pdays but I wanted to try myself once :)

Fruit & Fish (eyeballs and all)

This is my favorite fruit called rambotan! It is deliciouse! So sweet!

Dried fish....oh so yummy :)

Tilapia!!! My favorite fish! It had so many bones though, hard to eat.

Chickens, Trykes, and Baby Powder!

Chickens in a tree. Chickens here climb trees because they are afraid of Dogs!!

 We had FHE with the Gachaliano family. They have a son who is serving a mission in Idaho. We played a game where if you lost you had to put baby powder on your face. You can hardly see my powder because i am so white. haha!!!

This is me, Sister Schuhmann and Sister Fernando in a tryke. They are so small but so fun to ride in! Brother Gachaliano gave us a ride home after FHE.

Monday, September 24, 2012

First week photos continue!

Living Quarters in Caba, very spacious!

She is eating well!

Ready to leave the mission home to Caba!

More Photos!

Sister Stapp loves the outdoors!


Sister Stapp in Caba, Agoo Zone

Hellooooo!!! I am here and I am safe!

I sent you an letter when I first got here, I hope you get it if not you should be getting it soon. It explains all about the travel and stuff. So those details won't be in this email but that's ok because I have a ton of other stuff to write about!

So we traveled for about 38 or 36 hours to get to Urdaneta.  Longest day of my life!! haha! So once we were there we met President and sister Monahan. They are the nicest people ever. I am so blessed to have him as my president and to have her as my mission mom. I love them. Anyway, we stayed at there house for two nights and then it was transfer day!! The day where all the missionaries who are getting transferred come to the mission home to find out where thay are being transferred.  This is when I found out that my companion would be Sister Cabrera and we are in the Agoo zone! Pronounced Ago-o. I know it's not as fun to say when you have to say the O's separately but oh well.
 So we are in the Agoo zone in a little town called Caba. It is a very small and very poor town by the sea. I am very happy to be by the ocean!!! It is so beautiful here! I am surrounded by the ocean and rice fields! Two of my favorite things! So the ride from the mission home to Agoo was about 2 hours in a hot sweaty Jeepney. I wanted to sleep but there was too much to look at out the window! haha!

The Philippines are soooooooo different. First of all the humidity is insane!!1 I said this in my letter to you but when all of us missionaries stepped out of the airport for the first time it was like a brick wall the humidity hit us so hard! I am sweaty and sticky alllll the time! I am at peace with the fact that I will be sticky and gross for the next 16 months. haha! So there is so much to talk about and so little time I feel like.  We got to our apt in Caba. It is really nice compared to most homes here. We have a nice floor and 3 rooms. It is just us two living there. We shower from a bucket which I am still getting used to. Also our toilet doesn't flush so we just poor water down it to make it flush.

My first day we taught 8 lessons! That is a lot compared to my 2 a day at the MTC! Anyway it went ok. I feel like a fish our of water most of the time because everyone here talks so fast. We teach mostly less-active members. More than half of the members here are less-active. So we are the rescue team! After our lessons my first day, which was Saturday, 4 of our less-actives came to church! That made me so happy! But now we just have to make sure they feel the spirit so they will keep coming!
The branch here is really great. They are all so nice and patient with me when I speak in my broken Tagalog. There are two other sister missionaries in our branch, Sister Schuhmann and sister Fernando. I was in the MTC with sister Schuhmann and I am so so happy we are in the same area. I think It would be harder to cope with all this change if I didn't have another American to talk to.

So sorry this email is so scattered. My first meal at a members house was my first day. It was at Sister Fe's house . She lives right on the beach and is such a nice lady. We ate chicken, rice (of course) and Veggies. The veggies were really bitter, but the chicken wasn't bad, it was curry chicken I think.
We have another dinner appointment tonight. So the other night my kasama and I had ice cream and she showed me how the Filipino eat it. They use it as a bread spread! They put it on bread like peanut butter and fold it over and eat it. It was actually preatty good, you should try it.

So things in the Philippines are different. The houses here are unfinished actually made out of cinder blocks or that wavy kind of sheet metal. I have also been in some made purely out of bamboo. Most people here don't have windows. They don't really need them, but because they have no windows usually there are a ton of flies and mosquitoes in them. Currently I have 20 bug bites on my right foot and 16 on the other.....yup!

Our main source of transportation are Trykes. it is basically a motorcycle with a side car they are fun!
So I am running our of time but let me just tell you this week has been a challenge!! I am very homesick and tired and culture shocked! but I know I will make it through with the Lord's help. I feel the spirit in my lessons even though I have no idea what is going on. That is all that matters. I still know the church is true!

I know I am here for a reason! Sorry if this is too short! Maybe I will get faster at typing as the time goes by. I love you beyond!!!!! I can't tell you how much I love and miss you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Sister Julia Stapp