Sister Rhea Walters

Sister Rhea Walters

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas from Bacnotan 2016

Highlights:

- We had an awesome ward Christmas party (filipino time so it was from 1 until 7:30) on the 22nd and four of our investigators came and three members brought referrals!! Also for the "missionary" performance we did the "haka" (a Polynesian dance) under the direction of our district leader and we WON!! 

- Sister Julia is a 15 year old girl we have been teaching and it part of a part-member family. They say she used to hide from the missionaries and never come to church but we feel so grateful that now is the right time because we have gotten pretty close with her, she enjoys church, and has accepted a baptismal date in January!! Please keep her in your prayers :)
 
- We actually had a change of plans and Sister Aurelio was transferred to Baguio and a brand-new missionary from there was transferred to be my companion! So now I will be continuing the training of Sister Swainston from Idaho. She is SO sweet and we have already clicked and I am really excited to spend the next couple months with her. Yes it means I will be in my second area for a total of 6 months but hey I love Bacnotan so it's okay :) 

- Christmas Eve and Christmas day were full of singing Christmas songs, sharing Nephi's vision of the birth of Christ from the Book of Mormon, and eating. Lots of eating spaghetti, fried chicken, and macaroni fruit salad. 

-Talking to my amazing sweet family that put up with my technical difficulties. They are all still so the same and I am so grateful for their strength in the gospel and their examples for me to stay strong on my mission. 



Nakakatawa (funny)
- Sister Swainstons cute face when she bravely tried "balut" for the first time. (an 11 day old chick still in egg form but you eat it like a boiled egg) Man that sister is great. We had extended some baptismal dates that day so we celebrated. 


Tagalog / English
- Kain ka pa (you eat more - as a command haha) 

You Know You're in the Philippines When
- Christmas is when it starts to get even hotter so when you come in the apartment and bow the pray with your companion your knees slip around because of the sweat hahaha 



Spiritual:
I just wanted to say that Christmas is an incredible time to remember the savior but we are missing out on a lot of joy in life if that is the only day we give Him the attention he deserves. I know He came to this earth as humbly as he could and grew up and lived just like any other person would- but had the strength to overcome every temptation and lived a perfect example for us to follow. I know He is the way the truth and the light for any trial we experience in this life. I know his birth into this world was the biggest way our Heavenly Father showed his love for us because He know the life of his beloved son would not be easy. Let us keep the spirit of Christ in our hearts every day through our diligent study of scriptures and fervent daily prayer. He never gives up on us so we must never forget Him. 

Thank you all for your sweet Christmas emails and prayers, they are felt here in the Philippines and I appreciate them so so much, Love you all!!! 





Monday, December 19, 2016

The Lord Answers Prayers.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

Cinderella Goes to the Ball



HELLO DEAREST FAMILY AND FRIENDS- 

This week was...drum roll please....yes another roller coaster. But you know how you can't really enjoy the ride if you're always freaking out waiting for the next drop and holding on for your life? Then the moment comes where you just let go, lift up your head, eyes, and hands and take in the thrill of the unexpected? I've decided Satan can throw whatever punches he wants and I am still going to be obedient, hard working, and happy. That's my choice. I've decided to do just do my best and let God do the rest or in other words letting go and just enjoying the ride. HAPPINESS IS ALWAYS A CHOICE. And those who keep their eye single to God will not fear. 

Highlights
This week we didn't get as much proselyting time which was kind of tough because I was really excited to reach some of our progressing investigators BUT this week we had cleaning day and Christmas conference! Hence the topic of my email because on Thursday we spent the WHOLE day deep cleaning every inch of the apartment. Then Friday was an entire mission conference for Christmas so...yeah all the sisters spent actual time on their hair and stuff haha me and my comp were laughing at how much we felt like Cinderella working our tails off one day and then preparing as if we were going to the prom. 





#Funny Moment
when Sister Walters still hasn't fixed her punctuality problem and runs up onto the podium (late) for a solo in the middle of her zone presentation. Nice. 




Spiritual thought
The Conference was really fun to laugh and get together with other missionaries but to also remember how lucky we are to be missionaries at this holiday season. I am so grateful to be able to a representative of Jesus Christ at this time that we remember his birth and his life. 

We had exchanges this week and had two lessons with some GOLDEN people who were so ready fro the message of the restoration. My companions on that day were excited but a little discouraged because they said there is no one like that in their area. I just expressed there are people the Lord prepares everywhere, we just have to find them!! Finding takes faith and sometimes it's hard to leave non progressing investigators but I know prayerfully searching each day in new areas we will find "scattered Israel

I know on every exchange I have a lot to learn from the other sisters as well so I like to have them share with me their talents or teach me something. Sister Matenga taught me some Polynesian dancing and Sister Brown taught me a new way of exercising with kick boxing using our mattress. hahaha they are so awesome!! 

Just wanted to say I love you all and am so SO grateful for all your prayers and emails. I pray for you individually and I know the Lord is aware of you always- he never forgets his children. 

Sister Walters 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 27, 2016 - It's a Good Thing I Love Roller Coasters

If you've got a queasy stomach maybe thing twice about serving a mission because it is literally just. like. a roller. coaster. Just kidding everyone that is able to should strive to serve a mission because the Lord will use you to help others shape their lives to the gospel and around the atonement of Jesus Christ, and he will shape and refine you while you're doing it. They don't call it refiner's fire because the metal doesn't experience any pain, stretching, or bending, in order to become what the master intends for it to be. This week was a very wonderful opportunity for me to feel that. And shouldn't we count our trials as blessings? 

Highlight:
- We had exchanges one day this week and Sister Bleak (my old MTC comp and tunay na kusama)  and I had a little thanksgiving celebration. I was reminded this week of the importance of gratitude no matter what our circumstances are. Sometimes when times are so hard you feel like you could pray for 2 hours listing all the things you think you need...I love to limit my prayers to mga pinapasalamatan (things your are grateful for). You find there are still too many to count. 
-We switched areas with the Elders and got to teach one of their investigators that had been investigators for a couple of years now and never came to church. We felt the power of being "bold and loving" and sure enough they were touched, they prayed about coming to church, and at our follow up lesson the dad said he felt the Lord say "Pumunta ka anak" (Go child) On Sunday they showed up with their two grandchildren as well and the ward worked their fellow shipping magic so we will see where that goes. 

Light Moment:
- In ward council my companion suggested the ward start weekly ward Friday nights for us to invite investigators, retain recent converts, and reactivate less actives, 3 in one.After like 10 minutes of discussing it, a brother in the council (he is older now but used to be the bishop) slowly raises his hand and just says "I suggest we have a ward night where we can invite investigators, include those who are new in the ward, and bring back the less actives.." He is a little bit slow but SO funny and everyone sat for a second and then burst out laughing cause that's exactly what my companion said. We just thanked him for the great idea and continued planning :) 

You Know You're in the Philippines When...
No one means any harm by how blunt they are with what you look like. On sunday I got people asking what was wrong because "you look pangit today" (you look ugly) hahahaha it actually lifted my spirits a ton because it was so funny. I love it here :) 

Tagalog:
Bubuhatin tayo ng Diyos (God will lift us) 

Espiritual:
This is for all my fellow missionaries but for all the members and just everyone in the world actually: Alma 17:2-3 "rejoice exeedingly because they were still his bretheren in the Lord...waxed strong in the scriptures..and this is not all..given themselves to much fasting and prayer..taught with power and authority.." We are asked a lot of us as missionaries but isn't that fitting because of how much Christ has done for us? No matter how tough our missions are I know we will rejoice in the day we all see each other again and we will know how everyone endured, and endured well. In a way they were refined and shaped and molded and strengthened. I have spent a lot of time on my knees this week, with my scriptures, and fasting, even more than 24 hours when necessary. I would like to testify that the Lord does not take away our trials when we do this- but he gives us a better blessing- his power when we teach. There is power to our testimony, conviction. We have his permission and blessing to teach his gospel in his way as if he was the one extended the invitations to his children to come and repent and follow Him. Please never give up. Turn to the Lord and rely on His atonement. Look in the mirror at the person the Lord is making out of you. What are you learning? Thank him for that challenge and as you reply on scriptures, prayer, and fasting, you will see him lift you. 

Sister Walters 


November 20, 2016 - Everything Seems like a Blur

My "four words" sa mission (this is something all the missionaries have to do for our conference)
The title sounds like some cheesy song but that's the truest thing I can say about this week because It's going on two weeks that I haven't been able to find contact solution here and glasses are annoying to wear so...life's literally just been a blur but HEY there is a blessing because...well I'll tell you all later in my funny moment. Stay tuned. 

Highlights:
We found this AWESOME new couple (Brother Alex and Sister Angie) that actually like right across from the Elder's apartment so we tease them that they've been there for like three years and haven't been taught yet but when sisters go...Sister Power is real. Hahaha just kidding everything falls in the right time table! Anyways we clicked right away because they have 6 kids and the mom reminds me so much of my beautiful and compassionate mom. She just wants the best for her family, so right away the lesson was awesome about eternal families, they came to church on Sunday and even woke up early that morning to read their assignment in the Book of Mormon. They treat us like their two kids and I am just super excited to continue teaching them. Missionaries can never give up on finding efforts because after patience and hard work the Lord will guide you to those that are ready. 

We focused on a part member family this week that hasn't been sealed in the temple and has a child who isn't baptized yet and it was so touching their desire to become worthy but the mom just felt she had strayed to far. I felt like Ammon when his heart rejoiced to see the sadness of the other servants when the sheep were scattered because he saw the opportunity to insert the power of the gospel. We had an FHE at their home with the Bishop and were able to encourage that there is no one who the Savior can't reach and bring back into his fold, and to his temple. 

The power of District fast is awesome because on Sunday our couple investigator came, that whole part member family, a less active who I have never seen at church and turns out she is an old class mate of sister Vangie our investigator, and another less active we have been visiting who surprised us by coming to church!!! My heart about lept out the chapel doors seeing them all there. It's pretty funny for a normal teenager maybe a cool concert or some new clothes would excite them but for missionaries seeing investigators or less actives at church is like CHRISTMAS. 

Missionaries can laugh Too:
One of our members has a handicapped child who I love, his name is Humphry. Anyways before we ate she told him to take a shower and he just..got ready for his shower right there. And after his shower came and sat down to eat some rice...hubad pa hahaha. It's a good thing I didn't wear my glasses this week right?? 
Our computer shop!! (super mainit so there is a massive fan blowing) To all my batch mates Elder Decosta took this hahaha

You Know You're in the Philippines When...
If you can't cross the whole street in one time you just walk to the middle and stand there until you can cross the other side too. There aren't really thing such as traffic laws or lanes. 

Spiritual Thought:
II really love Nephi's story in Helaman 10:1-5. He preached and no one listened and eventually he was just "alone in the midst of them". He walked away weighed down with sorrow but the voice of the Lord came unto him and didn't say "why don't you have 40 lessons this week, 20 investigators, and 10 people being baptized" he just said "blessed art thou" because he preached the word with unweariness. I am so comforted by the fact that our best is always enough for the Lord and all he asks is that we follow all his commandments with unweariness and with faith that he will compensate the rest. Never give up because you don't see the physical fruits of your work. Angels are "silent notes taking" and God is aware of all his faithful servants. 

Love ya all!! 

Sister Walters 


Nov 13, 2016 - DON'T WASTE A DAY :)


I teach in primary now every week :)
So basically, a mission is like a literal time warp and I don't even know how this happened but I looked at my calendar this past Thursday
Can't believe how time flies :( 
and realized that 9 months before that I went to the MTC. Sister missionaries only get to serve 18 months...of course I freaked out "I AM ALREADY HALF WAY?!" It's super depressing honestly. There is still just so much I want to learn, must learn, need to improve, and time is just so precious to get to share the gospel to these amazing people in the Philippines. So any one who just barely came into their mission, DON'T WASTE A DAY :) 

Highlights!

We got to do some service this week and I had so much fun. Siste Cudiamat is a returning member and she was way too shy to let us help in any way so we literally just showed up friday morning and said we were doing chores for her. She was still shy but she couldn't say anything as we took of our shoes and help her "mag-gapas". This is the part of the rice process where you seperate the actuall rice from the plant. You just stomp on it and seperate it with your feet (it's super itchy but still fun), then you scoop it into a woven plate thing and throw it in the air/shake it like a pizza dough (that kind of motion), then you pile it into a bag. After that I told Sister Cudiamat that I saw some laundry inside and I was going to fold it. She said she wouldn't have any more work to do and I said "Tama. Para makapagsimba ka" (Exactly, so you can come to church :)) She opened up to us as we folded, and sure enough there she was at church on Sunday :) 


Missionaries can Laugh Too:

Sister Aurelio thought she saw a woman who looked depressed as we were walking so we went back to talk to her but as she looked up at as she just had this really funny wicked witch laugh and asked if we had any money. It ended up she was "baliw" (crazy) and the other's on the street really got a good laugh and so did we but hey she is also a child of God so maybe she needed our smiles at least :) 
Helpin out my kambal sister Brooklyn! 

You know You're in the Philippines When:
You carry a little towel with you everywhere to wipe the sweat off your face 

Tagalog / English

Antok / Sleepy (by 7 pm we look like drunk walkers we are SO tired from the heat and walking but hey masaya pa (happy still) ) 
When president visits and lets you drive the car 

Spiritual Thought:
I Nephi 15:24 talked about how the word of god can provide the protection from the "fiery darts of the devil." And I think that is the perfect way to describe them- as a sort of shield that we can put on every day if we dutifully read our scriptures in the morning. I know everyone is busy in their lives- sometimes missionaries forget that other people have lives besides 24/7 gospel, but the truth is the gospel SHOULD be the center of every single on of our lives because it is the only thing that truly matters. 
In the Liahona there was an awesome analogy about two men competing in a race to cut down the most trees in one day. One man cut the whole day without stopping to make sure he would win. The other took little 10 minute breaks throughout the day. The one who worked all day was sure he would win and, with this in mind, was so shocked to see that his opponent had actually cut more trees. He asked him what he did during his breaks and he replied that he was sharpening his axe. I know that reading our scriptures does not take away from our busy lives, it is not a burden on our schedule. It is the very thing that quickens our mind, gives us the shield we need to abstain from temptations and be more in tune with the spirit to know how to manage all things (temporal and spiritual) I challenge all of you to experiment this week to read every. single, day. Restart the Book of Mormon if you need to, and even if it is only 5 minutes in the morning the lord promises you, you will feel and see the difference. 


Love, Sister Walters!! 
This is our district! 



Nov 6, 2016 - "Don't Worry Sister Walters, We're You're Family Now, Here in the Philippines"

The gospel is of course the same all over the world, but missionary work itself is so different depending on where you are and...I've got to say I feel so lucky to be assigned here in the Philippines because the missionaries really are special members of the ward family. I don't know if I can remember one name of a missionary in our wards in washington or utah but here I have got sisters, brothers, aunts, parents, even a twin! Christmas is already here and they know that can be a homesick time for missionaries so that's what they told me- Don't cry you'e got family here :) 

Highlights:
 - The cute Aguilar couple really felt like my parents this week because we had a 1/2 day mission with the ward! We went on splits and they were my companions. They did AWESOME in the lessons just testifying and actually Brother Ceasar took charge of one lesson, went straight into the Apostasy and why this is the only true church. I was worried the man we were teaching would get confused or offended on the first lesson but afterwards he just said "Everything you're saying is true, I really understand that. I always need to listen to you guys so I can gain more knowledge about God." And then he accepted a baptismal invite. So there, power of members. 
This is Sister Estelle and Brother Ceasar Aguilar! (My "parents" for that day) 

Missionaries can Laugh too:
- Sister Aurelio slapped me in the forehead (to kill a lamok (mosquito)) while I was reading a scripture in a lesson and i had to try SO hard not to laugh and keep the spirit. 
- Cute Nanay Romero (nanay means mom but it's what you call all older ladies) got up to bear her testimony and waved to the crowed before walking up with that big smile of hers, then proceeded to give her thanks for all that attended her lunch party last week and specifically named all those that didn't attend, but kindly gave public forgiveness to them as well. It. was. SO. funny. Even the bishop and his counselors were trying not to laugh on the stand. But hey our investigators still felt the spirit during the meeting because actually she bore a beautiful testimony. She is seriously the best :) 
Guess who is now in my zone!!! Welcome my beloved MTC companion Sister Bleak :) 

You Know You're in the Philippines When..
They will say "I promise" about five times while telling one story to add emphasis even though you haven't said you don't believe them hahaha 

Tagalog / English

"Masarap" = delicious but you don't only use it for food. You can say "masarap matulog" or "masarp ang hangin" (sleeping is delicious, the wind is delicious) 

Spiritual Thought:
I would just like to emphasize the power of patience and love. I thought I was a patient person before but I am learning true patience here on the mission. I read a talk in the Liahona about making the perfect grilled cheese and how you need medium heat. If you turn it up to make it cook faster you will get burnt bread and half melted cheese. But even on medium heat you can't just abandon the sandwich, you have to watch it and turn it over. I have learned I can't solve an investigator's problem in one lesson, I can't change behavior in our zone in one transfer, I can't overcome my weaknesses in just one day...and I'll be honest it can be frustrating because I feel like I am on a ticking clock. I don't want to waste even one day of the Lord's time, but I am constantly inadequate of the responsibilities I need to fulfill. But just like Nephi states in 2 Nephi 4:19 "And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of mine [weaknesses]...nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." Missionaries need to apply patience to every teaching appointment, every ward, every companion, and especially themselves. But we don't just sit and wait, we are actively striving to improve and showing charity and love to others. The Lord has opened my eyes, broadened my perspective, made clear my struggles, but ALWAYS lifts me up and strengthens me to somehow accomplish what he needs me to do. Being an instrument in his hands is the most incredible feeling. I wouldn't trade that for anything! 

love you all :) 
Sister Walters 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked and Walked and Walked and Walked.....(and so do we...)

Okay family please tell me you remember what movie that's from because that's what I sang to Sister Aurelio this week as we walked, and walked, and walked :) I think my feet are the tannest part of my body now haha!
Sometimes it is so hot you find your way to the floor to sleep...was that comfy sister Aurelio? :
this is a nice woman I gave a restoration pamphlet to.  She says she will read it after she plants this dragon fruit....

Highlights this Week:
-We will miss sister Barbante because she is now training and opening an area in Candon! (proud follow up trainer) Everyone asks me where "the little one" is now 
Good bye Sister Barbante....
- We had an awesome ward council where the bishop got everyone thinking of finding ideas to help up missionaries and they all want to fast with us for the people in our areas- the support is really awesome. 
- I realized again why Jesus loves little children so much and why he took the time to teach them in his time in America because little kids or youth are SO receptive to the spirit, and their are SMART too! They catch on to messages of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation faster than a lot of the adults. We have found the Nuel family and the mom (Roanna) has 8 kids. Three of them expressed they felt something in our message of the "foundation of the church" (prophets, priesthood, revelation) and how that is what this church has today. They were so excited to come to church but the mom was worried about what those of her faith would say...we are praying the mom will come around and be touched by the example of her children. 


Missionaries can Laugh...
When a member asks you if that pimple on your face hurts because it's so big and it's a genuine question...yup it's a good thing I could laugh that one off hahaha 
This is a jeepney!

You Know You're in the Philippines When..
MERRY LATE CHRISTMAS!!! Christmas actually started September 1st here but I was reminded to put it on my blog when we sang my Christmas song (Angels We Have Heard on High) in sacrament meeting yesterday. (No mom I didn't stand up when we sang my name because I am Sister Walters right now hahaha) 
​The superman missionary planner Sister Brooklyn made for me 

Tagalog:
Kambing - Goat. There are goats EVERYWHERE 

Spiritual Thought:
I really love the story of Ammon as a missionary and how he too admitted that he had struggles. In Alma 26:27-28 they almost turned home because of their hardships but the Lord pushed them to keep going and promised his comfort. They continued their mission and although the trials didn't stop they kept their heads up and their joy was so full that Ammon goes on a full chapter about it :) I know there are disappointments in the mission- to be honest, they happen every day. But there are miracles JUST around the corner and we just have to keep looking. We can't miss a beat. Keep the disappointment because that means you care about the work but you cannot let it become discouragement. That is where you lose your faith and hope and not only our shoulders and smile slacken but the work does too. I have felt the Lord carry me through SO many times in my mission and I know the best I can do to repay him is continue to give every day, every person, every area my best. To all other missionaries- just. keep. going. :) He hasn't abandoned you! 
Another missionary from my batch at MLC! (Missionary Leader Correlation) 


Sister Walters ​


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Revenge of Typhoon Lawrin :) (Not as shy as Typhoon Karen)

Highlights:
Getting the water from the well for Raven to shower (yes outside!)  before church...
Well I am happy to say the typhoon was not quite as dramatic as the title I gave it but...it was big. In more northern parts of the Philippines it was a super typhoon so we are keeping Loag mission in our prayers but here in La Union we still got a good signal 3. I was on exchanges the day before and we ended up switching companions early so we good be at our right houses when the storm really hit madaling araw (early in the morning). Thank goodness my companion bought me some crackers and tuna for my 72-hour kit hahaha :) There were definitely a couple times where I thought our house was going to break from the wind but our little apartment did pretty well! And my super smart Filipina companions thought of covering our door with plastic bags so it would stop the flooding. We had to stay inside the whole day but at least we got our WHOLE apartment SUPER deep cleaned, so we felt productive! And we have some good opportunities to help clean areas where trees have fallen and stuff like that. So anyways...the Lord protects his missionaries. My bigger fear is honestly this little annoying red ants that keep biting me in my sleep. (Shout out to Sister Hardcastle in Peru, I feel you with the ants) 
Cleaning the church after the Typhoon. The fallen trees are in the basketball court...

ANYWAYS another cool finding experience this week: we felt prompted to go to the hospital and see if we could leave our names as references for patients to talk to for counsel (from the finding list in our planners). We also noticed how many Liahona magazines we had that we aren't using so we thought of leaving them at the hospital for the patients to read or those that are waiting in the chairs. We wrote our number in the magazines and the information for church services in case someone because interested while reading. At the hospital we had to wait a while to talk to the appropriate person, but the whole time we felt peace in waiting, like a voice telling us to just wait. Then the woman who was the head of social services let us into her office and she thought her friend sent us to her because she is a less active who had told her friend she wants to come to church but there was a Bagyo. We were so happy to tell her the only person who led us there was God! We were able to get permission to distribute the magazines and had a lesson with her where she voiced that she wants to have us teach her nephew and bring him to church. The lord works in mysterious ways!! 
This little boy, Raven, we are preparing for baptism and he  has got my heart.  Walking to church...

Missionaries can Laugh Too:
When one of your companions prays that the other will develop the desire to follow the commandments of god and get married when she gets home, in your companionship prayer before leaving the house. I really tried to be reverent but I died laughing after. 
Cheese is so sweet here..literally a candy or dessert!

You Know You're in the Philippines When...
It's completely normal to start singing hymns acapella in the middle of your sacrament meeting talk and the ward may or may not join in. It is also acceptable to "bear your testimony in the form of a song" and then close your testimony and sit back down. Hahaha I love these people :) 

Tagalog / Ingles
Binabasbasan ng ebenghelyo ang mga pamilya - The gospel blesses families 
Sis. Barbante got a little jealous of my new companion!

Spiritual Thought:
My study is still focused on the Saviors teaching in the bible and I am reading Jesus the Christ. Something that stuck out to me was the expansion of the parable of salt. How we are the "salt of the earth, if the salt shall lose it's savor, wherewith the world shall be salted? The salt shall thenceforth be good for nothing..." 3 Nephi 12:13. Talmage's explanation in Jesus the Christ states "To be of use salt must be pure, to be of any saving value as salt, it must be salt indeed, and not the product of chemical alteration or of any earthly mixture, whereby its saltiness or 'savor' would be lost; and as worthless stuff, it would be fit only to be thrown away." (Pg. 232) This verse took on a new meaning for me. As members of the church the lord entrusts us the responsibility of preserving his work and his kingdom here on the earth. But if we are not pure followers of Christ- if we are halfway devoted to him and his gospel with part of us an "earthly mixture" or prioritizing worldly status or temptations...Jesus Christ has said we are not of use to him anymore. We will not be able to do our job fully if we are not centered "with an eye single to the glory of God." I think this verse is a good chance to evaluate our dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ and how true we are in our membership- how pure our salt is. I know this is the true way to become happy and gain peace in this life. I see the miracle of consecration work in missionaries every day and I know there is always more that we can do. 

I love you all!!

Sister Walters ​