Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Phone Call - December 25, 2009

We called Sister Andreasen on Christmas day which was actually the day after Christmas for her.  We all got to speak to her, Mom, Dad, Siblings, Grandparents and nieces and nephews.  I was very exciting to hear her voice.  She sounded so happy and to say she was excited too would be an understatement!  We got to talk for just under three hours until the minutes on the phone card abruptly ran out.  But in all it was wonderful.  She told us how much she love the humble people of the Philippines and how beautiful it is there.  She has so many opportunities to teach and share that amazing testimony of hers.  She said that the Filipino people love Christmas and put up the decorations and begin celebrating before our Thanksgiving.  Michael could hear firecrackers going off in the background.  She still struggles with the language which is normal.  However the Lord's spirit is with her and helps break the language barrier.  She told of an experience where she was teaching a woman and that things didn't seem to be going very well and after she was finished the woman told her that she couldn't understand anything Bethany was saying.  Then she shared an experience where she was teaching a woman and could feel the spirit so strong and after the woman, with tears in her eyes hugged Bethany and said she believed everything that was taught.  What a difference the spirit can make.
Bethany says that there is music everywhere they go and that at night the people in other apartments play music that they can hear.  She was thankful to have Church CDs to listen to instead.  The Filipino people love music and karaoke.  She told us that all the boys there want to be in a boy band and that they will be singing on the streets everywhere they go.  She said for the Ward Christmas party each auxiliary did a karaoke number.

Bethany loves her companion Sister Clave who has been very helpful to her with everything from language lessons to helping her know which food to eat and which food to pass on.  Sister Clave is a nurse and helped Bethany when she recently had an ear infection that got so bad that she had to go to the hospital.  Sister Clave helped wash her hair when she couldn't get her ears wet and stayed up with in the middle of the night when her ears hurt so badly that she  couldn't sleep.  She said that she never wants to leave Sister Clave and will be sad when they will part because of transfers.
Bethany said she had Balut - a fertilized chicken egg that is cooked and eaten out of the shell at about 17 weeks gestation.   They buy the Balut from street vendors. She said it wasn't bad...but the look on her face tells the story better than words.

 I'm not sure how she did it but she has always been the most adventurous when it came to trying new foods.  She has also had chicken intestines and some other interesting things.  She says that she does enjoy the food for the most part and that the people there are always willing to feed them.
It seemed like the phone call went so fast but it was so good to hear her voice and know that she is happy and loving her mission.  I don't think Bethany could have been call to any place that would have suited her personality more.  She expressed over and over how much she loves the people of the Philippines and how happy she is to have the opportunity to serve a mission.  She is in a beautiful place with beautiful people.  She is learning that we can be happy no matter how humble our circumstances.  This experience will be with Bethany the rest of her life as a blessing and a strength that she could get no where else.  So even though we miss her we are happy for all that she is learning.  We are blessed because of her service.

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