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This is my last letter from the MTC. I leave the MTC at 3:30 am (!) October 1st and head to the Salt Lake Airport. My flight to San Francisco leaves at 7:15 am, then I have a layover for about 5 hours there, then I fly to Hong Kong (14.5 hours), have another 2-ish hour layover there, then to Manila (2 hours)! I am so excited! It will be a LONG day, but it will be a lot of fun.
I am jealous that you guys get to go to women's conference. I don't get to watch it yet....I don't know when we'll be able to! They probably record it, and then have Elders and Sisters watch Priesthood and Women's Conf. at the same time. Hopefully! When we get to Manila, they record conference for us, and we watch all of it, yes ALL OF IT in one day....Ah! It will be so long, but it will be good!
The temple is closed this afternoon because of women's conference, so my district and I weren't going to be able to go to the temple again in America, because we are only supposed to go in the afternoon. We were so bummed! We really, really wanted to go, so we talked to some people and got permission to go early this morning. VERY early. We started walking to the temple at 6:45 am! It was a really nice session. Afterwards, we went and ate breakfast at the temple cafeteria. I got a waffle with strawberries and blueberries on top and some orange juice. It was a nice break from MTC food! One of our teachers, Sister Cope was there at the temple with her ward, so we got to see her there. It was so fun! Even at the temple, she speaks ONLY Tagalog to us. Haha.
We also had a really fun time in the laundry room today, rolling around in the laundry carts. It was so much fun! I love the sisters that I am with. It will be hard to leave them.
This week was an exciting week. Our last full week at the MTC! We still have normal classes every day, until the second we leave the MTC. We are learning the whole time we're here!
This week we had a fun experience with the Technology Resource Center/TRC. In TRC lessons, we Skype members of the church in the Philippines and teach them a lesson in Tagalog. It is challenging, but it has taught me a lot, and I really enjoy it. Sister Stokes and I taught a cute woman named Josephine from San Pablo, Philippines. We Skyped her at around 7:00pm Utah time, and it was about 9:00am in the Philippines. Josephine was talking to Sis. Stokes about how she'll fit right in because she is half Filipino, and looks Filipino, and then she turned to me and said, "You don't look Filipino," and then we all started cracking up. It's true! I sure don't look Filipino. She was really fun to talk to, and she was such a sweet lady. Every time I would struggle to say something in Tagalog, after giggling at me, she would teach my how to say it right. I learned a lot from her. It was so much fun! We taught her about service, and how important it is to love all people, at all times. It was a lot of fun, and it made me excited to get to teach more Filipinos like her.
Another fun experience I had was Hosting. Hosting is a job for the missionaries at the MTC to pick up the incoming missionaries from the curb, and whisk them away from their families. I brought six new sisters in. I feel like I only came in a little while ago, so it was weird to be in charge of missionaries coming in. I took them to get their supplies, their name tags, find their residence, and drop them off at their classrooms, seconds after pulling them away from their families. Watching families say goodbye was touching, and a little emotional. I tried to be as nice as I could be, and I offered to take pictures for everyone. It made me miss my family! I wasn't so sure about the MTC when I came in at first, but now I love it. It's like a little church-college but with more school and less parties. It really is an amazing place. I tried to make the sisters I Hosted for as comfortable as possible, because I wanted them to love the MTC and everything in it.
Earlier this week, Sister Kibaimoa, the sister from Kiribati, was walking ahead of me a few yards. I ran up quietly behind her and whispered, "hey" in a deep, raspy, man voice and I swear she jumped ten feet high. I meant to be playful, but I scared her so bad that she burst into tears. I felt so bad! She forgave me, and we laugh about it now. She's just so easy to scare, I couldn't help myself. But I promised never to scare her again. Haha.
I really love the experience I have had so far here at the MTC. I have learned so much about the gospel, about myself, and about the Philippines. I can't believe that in just a few days I will be there! For the missionaries who are leaving, the MTC has an all-day sort of seminar called In-Field Orientation, that I went to on Thursday. It was from 8 am to 5 pm. We learned all about how to schedule time in the field, work with members, work with the ward, and work with the bishop. They even did a little play for us about a new missionary's first week and what to expect. It made me really nervous! Then the speaker/host guy, I can't remember his name, said he had served his mission in the Baguio Philippines mission. And he shared this story: When he got to the Philippines, he was so nervous, and that he couldn't understand a word anyone said to him, despite learning Tagalog in the MTC. His first day, he was walking with his companion, through bamboo forests, rice fields, over nasty, stinking water rivers, and mud for miles and miles. He said he felt miserable, and that he thought to himself, "maybe I can't do this." He didn't know where to go, how to talk to people, or his way around at all. As he was walking home, his head hung down and feeling discouraged, a little kid ran up to him, jumping with his hand in the air, saying, "Up here! Up here!" wanting a high-five. Then a few more, and more, and more little kids came running around him, all smiling and jumping, begging him for a "Up high!" high-five. They encircled him, and as he looked at their smiling, dirty, loving faces, he thought to himself, "I can do this." And from then on, he loved his mission. "I know," he said, "that all little kids will look up to you, and love you, and that because of that, you will love them too." His story really touched me, and it made me so excited to go to the Philippines and meet all of the people there.
I am so excited to go to the Philippines and share this love from God that I have with all of the people there. I can't wait to get started!
Mahal ko kayo!
xo Sister Anna Ray Allen