Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Joining the Church for Right Reasons


The days are passing by so quickly and my brain hurts. Haha! The language is my major obstacle but it's been good besides that. Today we hiked up to the Tops to the huge cross it was kind of creepy but kind of cool at the same time. It was a district activity!

Yesterday we had a CSP where we cleaned up this basketball court for this neighborhood in Sister Robison's area. Speaking of Sister Robison she has a blog its caricebu.blogspot.comAnyways this place had so much trash we burned it in a big pile of grass and weeds and trash. There is trash everywhere here. I don't think
they have littering laws or anything.

We meet with this old lady she is a member her name is Susima she has an amputated foot and she is having a  hard time. We saw four investigators at church this week it was awesome it made me feel like we are doing something. We met with Elicio yesterday and his kids cussed at their mom about chores and the mom yelled back and Elicio is not a member so he was like if this is how members act I don't want to join. We had to do major damage control.

We met with Emerson for the first time. He is 16. His father is a member but his mother is not. He seemed really interested in the lesson and he said he wanted us to come back. He is a cute kid and super nice. He is the  brother of the little 3 year old that can just look at the temple and tell you what temple it is. He is only 3 years old. He is a super smart kid.

Elsie and Sally went to church on Sunday. They live by each other and are friends. I hope they continue to go to church here. You need to go to church 4 times in order to be baptized. They want to make sure the people are not joining only for financial support because I guess it has been a problem because the church is seen as only wealthy people go.

It's really hot here and I love it! It's an adventure every week!

Love you all. How was Midnight mass. HAHA. I was so happy to talk to you on Christmas.

Challenges of Listening to Music in Mission Field

From: Annika Bruno <>
Date: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM
Subject: Week!!

Dear President!

I have been doing well this week on talking to people more and I have been teaching lessons!  My companions are both doing well and we are starting to get into the swing of things.  Emely Pardillo seems to be really ready for baptism but I haven't seen her at church yet. We need to figure out a way to have her keep commitments. We continue to follow up and encourage her and hopefully that will make her want to keep her commitments.  We had 3 investigators at church this Sunday it was awesome.  We are praying for diligence this week and I am trying to stay away from the music that is constantly playing everywhere. It's not fun when music starts playing in the background during a lesson. I'm starting to hate music!  Elicio Arinasa had a trial this week when his family had a dispute and he sees them as representing the church since they are members. And now we need to do damage control to earn back his trust. I thought my companions dealt with the situation awesomely! I am striving daily to learn this language and to have the spirit.

Sister Bruno

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Progress of the Work in Cebu City Philippines

So the Philippines is great I'm hot and sweaty all the time but it's an adventure for sure. During lessons ants crawl all over everywhere because most houses are bamboo huts. Some are one room. Some are two. Then we have the regular houses. I'm in the city zone Talamban so its kind of like America except not. We have a McDonalds and can get food imported but it's more expensive. I'm not adjusted to the food yet but I figure it will only be a matter of time.

Today I was riding in the Jeepney and a truck passed by and one of the guys stared at me and poked his friend next to him. They both stared at me. I just smiled and waved. I'm the minority here and when I walk by everyone stares. I just say maayong buntag or maayong hapon or maayong gabbii (good morning, good afternoon, good night). Their jaws drop and they say stuff like you know my language or where are you from!

The kids are the cutest ever they all just stare at me and laugh but probably because I sound like a child when I speak their language. Haha!

Funny story

I was walking down this alley way which they have a lot of those here and a bunch of guys asked hey where are you going in Cebuano and I thought they asked me where I was from and I was like AMERICA! Haha sooo funny but I made it into a contacting experience. My companions died laughing!

My companion Sister Ramos is my trainer. She is really nice and my other companion is Sister Williams. She translates for me. Sister Ramos's English is pretty good but not always the best. So I get confused sometimes. We talk some in English while in the apartment because it's mission rules to help each other if you have a native companion. English in the apartment and Cebuano when not in the apartment. Sister Robison has a blog her mom keeps up for her dad. You should try to find it. I don't have the URL right now but I can get it next Monday during district meeting.

I had my first baptism his name is Danilo Ymbing. He is 36 years old and has a really strong conviction to follow the church.

We have Sally Abella as an investigator. She has a live-in and has a baby from him. She is also married but separated. It's hard to get a divorce in the Philippines and so I think maybe we are continuing the lessons for baptism. It's a weird situation.

We also have Elicio Arinasa. His two girls just got baptized and his wife is a member. We are encouraging the two girls Ann Marie who is 8 and Jayann who is 10 to encourage their father to read the Book of Mormon and to come to church. Thus far every time we have gone to visit him he is not home. He is usually at work.

We have an investigator Grace Hardy whose husband is an American from Utah and a member. She comes to church with him every Sunday. She says she wants to be baptized. The only thing we need to do is find times to visit her when she doesn't have school or work to teach her the lessons. She is gone for the holidays but we hope to get her baptized in the next month or two.

We went to visit with a man named Lone Denoso yesterday. He has thought about suicide because he had a stroke and the left side of his body is paralyzed. When we visited him yesterday his wife was home and we taught them both. It was a hard lesson because he kept making inappropriate comments.

It's hard to teach lessons because every lesson they have Hip Hop music playing in the background and instead of talking louder over the music the people talk quietly. The favorite song right now in the Philippines is Justin Bieber BABY. It's way funny! Elder Holley who is from my district in the MTC is in my district here in the Philippines and everyone thinks he looks like Justin Bieber so they call him Justin. It's way funny but I think he might be able to use it to his advantage during contacting!!

So I am planning on Skyping probably on the 24th your time around 5PM-7PM. I'm not for sure!!

Learning the Language in the Field

From: Annika Bruno
Date: Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 3:35 PM
Subject: First Week

Dear President,

This week I am getting used to the culture, and still working on the language. The companionship is doing well and they are helping me a lot to get used to the field. I am in good health. Our investigators seem to be doing well. Danilo is getting baptized on Saturday, and what I know about him he seems more than ready to be baptized. We have been visiting the members in the ward and orienting ourselves to who is in the ward. I'm not sure exactly what is being said in the lessons but I bear my testimony when told to or when I feel like it is right. I'm working hard to do the work I just wish I knew the language so I could really teach. But I say as much as I can that I know in Vasayan,so hopefully I will pick it up soon. My studies are going well this week. As a companionship we are working on charity and love. I am studying the titles of Christ from the index in the Book of Mormon. I try to find things that apply to the investigator. I will get this down soon. I love it here it's just going to take some getting used to.

Sister Bruno

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Philippines Missionary Area: Experiencing the Custom of Alom Pulos

So I'm finally in the Philippines. It's pretty interesting. It's made me realize how much I have in the States. I miss the luxuries of life :) Today we went to the temple I love going because its a place to relax your mind for a couple of hours.

This morning we woke up at 4:30am to go play basketball with the district before it got too hot. But I am way tired now. I don't want to get up that early again, but my companions like to go. It's way good exercise. It's way hot here and I'm constantly sweating. It's some good times. If you couldn't tell by the pictures, I gained a ton in the MTC but its all good. I predict that I will sweat those off. haha...

We went to teach this woman who has a Catholic background. And on the way we passed by like 8 little kids and they all greeted us with "HELLO" and wanted to shake our hands. They were so cute they shook our hands and did the sign of respect by bringing our hands to their forehead. I do this thing called alom pulos where you poke the back of their heads and say alom pulos and they laugh or look up at you annoyed. Haha. Its fun our teacher in the MTC Brother Christensen taught us that game.

Elder Holley is in my district here. I am in the Talamban District. It's in the Cebu city zone. He was in my district in the MTC. its nice to have a familiar face around. In the city it's not too different you can still get a lot of American food and such and they have a mall.  I would send pictures but I forgot my cord I will send them next week. The camera I got takes really good pictures. I am scared to use it though in public because my companions make me all paranoid but I guess you just have to be careful with your belongings here.

We live in this three-story house and the stairs are super narrow and the bottom floor we just use as a room for our shoes and a work our room then upstairs on the second level is the kitchen we have a toaster oven and a refrigerator and a hot pan a sink and that's about it. We also have a kitchen table and three chairs their all plastic. We have two wooden desks to do our studies on. On the third level we have the bathroom and a closet with pop up closets. Then we have the bedroom with two beds. We are in a threesome Sister Williams, Sister Ramos and me. Sister Ramos is my "mom". We have a mattress on the floor. Sister Williams is sleeping on until they get us a third bed sometime this week.

It's not too bad living here. The only problem I have is not being able to understand the language. It's so frustrating. I am studying and yet I still don't understand. I can remotely communicate ideas and wish I was fluent in this language. They speak super fast and super soft.

I thought I would get away from music and TV and such but actually they blast American music all day long outside with the bass and it always seems to be blaring during a lesson. They listen to all American music here mostly hip hop. The music I would listen to at home. It's hard not to listen when its blasting everywhere. They also watch American TV shows so when we are at a house usually members' houses they are watching TV.

I am trying not to be discouraged but the language is hard but besides that it's not too bad of a place.

Love you all!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Parent Letter

Missionary Name: Sister Annika Bruno
Mission: Philippines Cebu
Date Submitted: December 9

Hi Sister Bruno, I'm writing to see if this will work--is this the right Dear Elder address and will this get to you? I am sending it to Philippines Cebu Mission. We had some sad news about Genevieve's twins yesterday, she went for her ultrasound and the babies did not have a heartbeat. The doctor said they might just miscarry naturally or she might have to go in later this week for an operation. She is very upset about it. Stuart's car also broke down, and no one has any money. So we are going through some hard times. We are very lucky that you are on a mission, because the families of missionaries are supposed to be blessed. So we are waiting for some good blessings to come soon! Looking forward to Gigi and Deseret coming soon. Gigi says she isn't lazy like the rest of us and she will get a job within a couple of weeks of being here! So we will see how that works out, haha. Flora has a gig being Cinderella at a birthday party on Saturday. We have this beautiful blue prom dress that used to belong to Kelsey and Flora wore it and Gen did her hair like Cinderella for Chiara's birthday party and now all the little girls who were there want Flora for their parties. Jenny Swartz is having a princess tea party and Flora is going to go and make $25.00. I'm glad you got to the Philippines OK and I am looking forward to getting your email on Wednesday and hearing about your new companion and your first area. I will write you again after I hear from you.

Love, Mom

Monday, December 6, 2010

Parent Letter

Missionary Name: Sister Annika Bruno
Mission: Provo MTC
Date Submitted: December 6

Dear Annika,

You must be getting really excited to go to the Phillippines. I can't wait to hear from you. The time seemed to go by really fast for me, I don't know about you, though. I hope you enjoyed your time in the MTC, it was fun to hear about all of the GAs that you got to hear from. The Apostles don't come out to the Stakes very much any more, so I am glad to know that they are still visiting the MTC frequently.

I looked up the weather in Cebu City and it is 88 degrees with thunderstorms. I'm sure you will be glad to have the warmer weather, although you will need an umbrella and some boots, probably.

I put $100 more in your account so now you have 147 and Cherie just called me to go in to work so i have to go, will talk to you later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fooling the MTC Mail Room


Hey everyone I am leaving the MTC in two weeks and will probably go silent except for email when I get there I am not sure yet what it is like so everyone should pass on the emails to everyone so that they don't think i am ignoring them!! I heard mail takes like a month to get to the US!! I heard that North Korea is fighting South Korea right now is this true that is crazy if so... I never get real news in the MTC so when we hear something its crazy!! Also it was supposed to snow yesterday so all the teachers were sent home and we didn't have a teacher for the rest of the day and also the bookstore closed which everyone was annoyed about, but today is P-day and tomorrow is Thanksgiving so we get two chillax days which is cool!!

So dad asked for a funny story so here it is I have a story book and this is one I thought was kind of funny! Elder George got a package and it came with an orange slip. Turns out his dad tried to send him a chocolate cream pie. Elder George was super mad about it. He made a list of MTC villains one was the mail room, then juggernot (the security guy for the devotionals), the Spanish district that stole our comfy chair, and the others (the English district). They devised a plan of ordering poop from an animal then put it in a box with packing peanuts, and sent it to the mail room. When Brother Atagi found out he devised a plan of putting ex-lax in a pie and sending it then wait and watch until someone runs out of the mail room. Elder English was like "YOU ATE MY PIE"

Elder George and Elder Holleys dads are always trying to smuggle them in food from take out places and their packing has become elaborate!! Like one of their dads packed the food in a crazy way so that the mail room couldn't smell the food! Basically hilarious but the elders get super excited when the food gets through its like Christmas to them! The elders always get a lot of packages Elder Holley gets a package every day from someone!! They don't open them until the dorms. They gather everyone's packages and open them like Christmas presents. Elders are so interesting!!

I am super excited for the twins and I loved KIKIs pictures soooooooo cute me and Sister Brand was like awwwwwww and everyone came and looked!

The new Cebubus are awesome we love them like our children or something. My new companion Sister Brand is awesome she is super fun. We all laugh in our room at night including Sister Walker, Sister Barney, Sister Nerdin and Sister Whipple. We all have a lot of fun. It's basically amazing love. I'm here but ready to leave in two weeks AHHHH!!

Nahigugma Ko kanimo!!

Sister Bruno

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Parent Letter

Missionary Name: Sister Annika Bruno
Mission: Provo MTC
Date Submitted: December 2

Hi Annika,

You have $108 in your account when I checked this morning. I have been putting as much in as I can, but we are having troubles lately. So you have more money than I do right now!! My secret account is just about gone!! so sad. We know you are supposed to have at least $400 in there when you leave for the Philippines, so we will try to put more in, but I don't know how much we will be able to manage. I have to go to work now but I hope you enjoy your last week in the MTC. I bet you are really excited that you are going to be going out into the field soon. It will be fun to see if you can communicate with people in Cebuano when you get there!!

Sorry this is so short but I wanted you to have that bank account info, and I will write you more when I get home.

Love you!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Missionary Excited to Leave MTC and Go to Philippines


Yeah the light saber pictures I first took weren't very good. We were still experimenting and also the flash on my camera doesn't do very well. But we took a bunch more today and they came out really good. So hopefully you think these are better. We took the Matrix one today but in our P-day clothing. We are going to take one in our dresses another day.

I am way excited to be going to the field. We got our flight plans today. It was more exciting then getting my mission call! Haha. We have been super intense in Cebuano and I have learned a lot in the MTC. I am having a way good experience in the MTC and will be sad to leave but I am ready to get out of here!

I'm sorry if my emails have been lame but we don't get much time to write. So it's not too interesting. Just updates! This week were were talking about the war at the end of the world. My teacher asked what we though the war would be like. My elders replied with Narnia and Lord of the Ring types of things. Then my teacher was like yeah I always think of animals fighting and such. I would want a bear next to me and be like I hope you are afraid of that guy. Then he was talking about how he would rather ride a lion because a lion can take a tiger anytime because one of my Elders said he wanted to ride a tiger. Then my teacher said if a lion smacked a tiger it would be knocked out. Brother Atagi is funny. He is basically my elders' favorite teacher.

Nahigugma ko kanimo

Love, Annika

PS: They closed the mail room yesterday and bookstore until Saturday and everyone was annoyed. They said it was because of the storm but there was no storm.