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
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
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.
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!
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