Posted by: Susan Johnson | May 12, 2009

Mother’s Day Phone-Call Update

 

Hi Everyone–
   This is Kelsey’s mom.  Because we were able to talk to Kelsey for my “Mother’s Day” phone call (well past the allotted time), she didn’t write a letter since it would have been only a couple hours later.  We talked with her Sunday night (the 10th) which was her Monday morning.  I just wanted to update you all on her progress and hearing her voice.
   There’s nothing like talking to them on the phone!!!  She sounded absolutely fantastic.  She was upbeat, enthusiastic and loving where she’s at and what she’s doing.  She said the area she’s serving in is probably one of the most remote in her mission.  It’s a very primitive lifestyle where she teaches families in huts on stilts and bamboo floors.  She loves the Filipino people and especially the ones she’s teaching.  With crossed fingers she has 4 baptisms this next week.  The Branch President performs the baptisms for the sister missionaries.  She is really excited for them.  Her language skills are coming along but she still struggles.  She said she finally can have more of a conversation with the people and in turn can understand them more.  Remember she learned Tagolog in the MTC but was placed in an area that only speaks Cebuano (which she said is night and day from each other).  She said their apartment is high-on-the-hog standards for their surrounding area.  She said they do have a shower nozzle, but it rarely spits out water so they are left with taking a bucket shower — of COLD water. Her apartment has stairs and for exercise she runs up and down them every day. They live next to another set of sister missionaries and next to them is a senior couple from Spokane, Washington that are like her surrogate mom and dad.  This couple has a car and takes the sisters to all sorts of places on P-Day.  I’m glad she has some “Americanas” living next to her.  
   Kelsey says she stands out like a beacon wherever she goes.  Filipinos just don’t see tall, blond girls walking around and they become very excited and point and even start following her and her companion (so far Kelsey has had two Filipino companions).  Then they are blown out of the water when she speaks Cebuano to them.  She says all she eats is rice and bread (and fish heads).  I told her she needed to keep things flowing and up the fruits in her diet.  They are not allowed to drink any unfiltered water which is real hard because the people are always offering them juice (made with unfiltered water).  They are always having to turn them down.  Her body has had a hard time regulating itself to the changes in diet — but she’s getting by.  The heat and humidity is a problem but she said it’s bearable.  She threw out the thought of applying make-up and fixing up the hairdo a long time ago.  (She now understands Kari-Lynn!!!).  She said she fits right in and absolutely loves where she is and what she’s doing.  She thinks the area she’s in now will be her favorite because she says it’s right up her ally.  Kelsey’s never been a girly girl and the fact that she gets to live like she’s camping suits her just fine.  She’s amazed by the beauty of her surroundings with palm trees and gorgeous sunsets.
   What I took from talking to her was a daughter that is getting into the work of the Lord, loving what she’s doing, gaining a wonderful new perspective on a complete different culture, falling in love with the Filipinos, and serving as a missionary, obediently, while taking in the adventure of a lifetime.  I love and appreciate the fact that she loves life and makes her circumstances positive and optimistic and has that continual zest for life!  My next personal update will be the “Christmas” phone call — until then —
Love to all,
Susan (her mom)

Hi Everyone–

   This is Kelsey’s mom.  Because we were able to talk to Kelsey for my “Mother’s Day” phone call (well past the allotted time), she didn’t write a letter since it would have been only a couple hours later.  We talked with her Sunday night (the 10th) which was her Monday morning.  I just wanted to update you all on her progress and hearing her voice.

   There’s nothing like talking to them on the phone!!!  She sounded absolutely fantastic.  She was upbeat, enthusiastic and loving where she’s at and what she’s doing.  She said the area she’s serving in is probably one of the most remote in her mission.  It’s a very primitive lifestyle where she teaches families in huts on stilts and bamboo floors.  She loves the Filipino people and especially the ones she’s teaching.  With crossed fingers she has 4 baptisms this next week.  The Branch President performs the baptisms for the sister missionaries.  She is really excited for them.  Her language skills are coming along but she still struggles.  She said she finally can have more of a conversation with the people and in turn can understand them more.  Remember she learned Tagolog in the MTC but was placed in an area that only speaks Cebuano (which she said is night and day from each other).  She said their apartment is high-on-the-hog standards for their surrounding area.  She said they do have a shower nozzle, but it rarely spits out water so they are left with taking a bucket shower — of COLD water. Her apartment has stairs and for exercise she runs up and down them every day. They live next to another set of sister missionaries and next to them is a senior couple from Spokane, Washington that are like her surrogate mom and dad.  This couple has a car and takes the sisters to all sorts of places on P-Day.  I’m glad she has some “Americanas” living next to her.  

   Kelsey says she stands out like a beacon wherever she goes.  Filipinos just don’t see tall, blond girls walking around and they become very excited and point and even start following her and her companion (so far Kelsey has had two Filipino companions).  Then they are blown out of the water when she speaks Cebuano to them.  She says all she eats is rice and bread (and fish heads).  I told her she needed to keep things flowing and up the fruits in her diet.  They are not allowed to drink any unfiltered water which is real hard because the people are always offering them juice (made with unfiltered water).  They are always having to turn them down.  Her body has had a hard time regulating itself to the changes in diet — but she’s getting by.  The heat and humidity is a problem but she said it’s bearable.  She threw out the thought of applying make-up and fixing up the hairdo a long time ago.  (She now understands Kari-Lynn!!!).  She said she fits right in and absolutely loves where she is and what she’s doing.  She thinks the area she’s in now will be her favorite because she says it’s right up her ally.  Kelsey’s never been a girly girl and the fact that she gets to live like she’s camping suits her just fine.  She’s amazed by the beauty of her surroundings with palm trees and gorgeous sunsets.

   What I took from talking to her was a daughter that is getting into the work of the Lord, loving what she’s doing, gaining a wonderful new perspective on a complete different culture, falling in love with the Filipinos, and serving as a missionary, obediently, while taking in the adventure of a lifetime.  I love and appreciate the fact that she loves life and makes her circumstances positive and optimistic and has that continual zest for life!  

My next personal update will be the “Christmas” phone call — until then —

Love to all,

Susan (her mom)

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Responses

  1. Hi Susan,

    I was thinking about you on Mother’s Day! Those are the best holidays when you get a call from your missionary! I wasn’t able to get a call from Krystal because she is still in the MTC but we will hear from her in a few weeks when she leaves for Texas. Kelsey sounds GREAT. No surprise! She is an amazing young woman and gets her zest for life from YOU!

    Krystal has requested Kelsey address. Can you email it to me?

    Love ya!
    Rhonda


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