Hello family! (I think) My preparation day is Saturday and I will get on from around 8:30-9:30 am. The last couple of days have been wonderful.The language is hard but it is slowly coming, sometimes I understand it really well and catch on really quick but most of it I don't remember the following day.Tagalog is really similar to Spanish but knowing Spanish is hard because it is not the same. Words like Powede is said like puede in Spanish. I can almost completely pray in Tagalog without help from my cheat sheet. My companion is Sister Gibbs she is from Denver Colorado and has been studying math here at BYU. She is my same age and comes from a family of only brothers. We get along really well and do good together helping each other with the language and just adjusting to the new schedule. It is amazing how much the Lord has helped us the last couple of days with everything. My teachers are Brother Correy and Brother Calder, they teach us 3 hours of language everyday. We also had Sister Quinn come and teach us one morning before Sister Gibbs and I taught our first investigator Ace. We had to teach everything in Tagalog, and this was yesterday, it went alright but we did not understand some of what he was asking us and know the words to respond. I was so excited to get your letter Mom and it was really good to hear that I am included in your prayers.
The schedule in the MTC is so crazy we are constantly moving from one thing to another but it is helpful to be busy all the time plus it helps me with constantly hearing Tagalog and remembering what we are taught.I get turned around so much here and Sister Gibbs is so good to get us where we are going because I can't tell one building from the next.
Tomorrow is our first sacrament meeting with our District (sacrament might be with our zone which is 2 districts all going to the Philippines): We have 9 people total with only 2 Elders. Sister Gibbs and I and Sister Hamson (yes she is the one Pam told me about, its super confusing that our names are so close) and Sister Goodman are all together in a room and we are all going to Olongapo. Sister Blake, Sister Edrington, and Sister Glick are serving in Kawaiian. Elder Bray is our District leader and Elder Andrews is his companion. I know the most about Sister Hamson and Sister Goodman since we spend a lot of time together. But they are so great! It's amazing to see how different we all are but how well we all mesh together to be the right people to know and be around.
I have not gotten any pictures yet because we are still learning our schedule. I will try to get some tomorrow when we take our walk so that you can see everyone.
Wednesday I got to meet a couple of sisters who flew out to the Olongapo mission on Thursday at 3 am. I think that our date to fly out has changed as well because it now says March 11. We met our Branch President President Howard and his wife, I'm so lucky to have them, he actually served in the Philippines on his mission then again in Manila as a mission President. He does a good job of speaking in Tagalog with us and helping us feel that we are right on track with where we need to be to go to the Philippines. Sister Howard is hilarious and is constantly interrupting President Howard. She is not afraid to tell us exactly how it is and how much we will learn about everything.
Yesterday we learned how to testify about things in Tagalog and I picked that up really well which was really nice to be able to finally feel like things are sticking and that it is coming easier. Most of the time it feels like I have been here for more than only a couple of days but more like weeks or months. The days are so long and we go to bed exhausted every night. Most of the time I think the morning was a different day than the evening.
Mom, to answer the questions in your email, if I remember them yes you can send me packages but for me to send packages back to you I have to use cash or some other form of money to pay for them. I also am afraid I am getting Charlie horses again because of low calcium and magnesium. I also wished I had brought my nice scriptures because as I have learned I will study out of them most of the time but I am loving not having notes and marked scriptures in my others because I am taking the time to relearn and find for myself the truth I need in the scriptures I have.
As I am typing this everyone around me is sharing pictures and emails with each other even taking videos of themselves its really funny. I am really glad that I get to meet this group of people they are very good about helping us feel like we are doing better than they were and not to feel too down on ourselves. It is so unreal that this is all happening right now and sometimes I think I never want to leave the MTC to go to the Philippines but I am sure by the end of 6 weeks I will be more than ready to try something new. I know you will not understand any of this but I am going to practice my Tagalog. The word for atonement is Pagbabyad-sala and literally means free from sin, isn't that so cool! The word I struggle the most to say is ng (nang), salamat po is thank you and the word for the little ones to learn in Mabuti (ma booty) its fun to say and means good. I will tell you how to pray if I can remember... Ama po namin sa langit (intro) ( our Father in Heaven) and the end of the prayer is... sa pangalan ni, Jesucristo, amen (in the name of Jesus Christ Amen).
I hope that you all remember you can write anytime and I love getting your letters! I am learning so much and cant wait until I know it well enough to teach you all when I get home. I know right now is really hard but the Lord has a way of helping us through our times of struggles and Alam ko po na (I know that) as I have prayed for strength and comfort to be able to gain the kaloob ng mga wika ( gift of tongues) He is helping me and giving me the comfort to know that it is not my work that I am doing but the work of the Lord and He will do his work, through us and that we must give to the Lord for Him to bless us. I was reading in 1 Nephi about when Nephi and his brother went to Laban to get the record and when Laman and Lemuel wanted to return because they felt they had failed Nephi said something along the lines of the Lord will do His work and we need not give up on the Lord because He is the one we find strength in.President Howard told us Thursday night that we need to send 2 letters every week one to him and one to our mothers, how sweet is that! I will take all the time that I am given to write home as much as I can and hopefully this will help with the tears, but please don't be sad that I am gone be happy for all the work that I am able to do while I am away. We will be with each other for eternity and 18 months will fly by. Mahal Kita (I love you) I am so excited to serve the Lord and have him help train me to be the person He needs me to be and I will see you all so soon that we will all know what is right.
Love, Sister Hansen