|This is Sister Berry from Australia.|
Sunday, June 26, 2016
-I traveled down to the lowlands by myself...that first time as a missionary without a kasama is the WEIRDEST thing.
-We worked with the sisters while we waited to pick up our new companions and it was SO HOT down in the lower areas. Naturally, I absolutely loved it :)
-I PICKED UP MY NEW KASAMA!
-Lani and Argie were baptized this week!! Lani is the mom of the three girls who were baptized and Argie is the one who found us through a pass along card and his search of mormon.org. As a missionary I think the most incredible thing is of course the change we see in others lives as they truly accept the gospel. The baptisms we were able to witness this Saturday were so filled with the spirit and the change in their eyes, their countenance, their smile, just has a light behind it that wasn't there before. They have recognized how special they are to Christ and our heavenly father and in turn our father in heaven and our savior, our older brother Jesus Christ have so much more meaning to them as well. Whatever hardships we face as missionaries, that moment alone is worth it all. Lani spoke of the fire of the Holy Ghost she felt even though the water was so cold. After she said "Amen" she said she felt it in her back and her heart and her hands, the heat and comfort of the Holy Ghost. Their testimonies were so incredible and pure and I will never forget that day.
Missionaries can Laugh Too:
Well mom and dad I am sorry to say this but I am still not good at directions and I don't think President will let me travel alone again. I got off the bus at the wrong place and ended up at some cemetary so the STLs in that area had to ride a tryke to come get me at like 9:30 at night hahaha that was pretty funny.
You Know You're in the Philippines when...:
Yup this is one of the places where burping is totally normal. Filipinos are pretty open with bodily functions so thats...yeah.
Tagalog word of the Day:
"Huwag kang magalit" Don't get mad! That is a funny expression here if someone's tone sounds a little upset you can just tease them by saying this :)
Something I have noticed in my study of the Book of Mormon is how many times the savior teaches that we need a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I am reading now in 3 Nephi of his personal teachings and he tells the people how he has now fulfilled the law and we no longer need to give him burnt sacrifices, but he asks a sacrifice of ourselves. In 3 Nephi 9:20 he says to him who has a broken heart and a contrite spirit he will visit with fire of the holy ghost. This means the state of our heart is preparatory to feeling that burning influence of the Holy Ghost and remission of sins. When we realize the life we are living, in a carnal state, without the guidance of god, following only what we want, is a dark and purposeful path, our hearts are broken. We need to reach this state and depth of humility, to acknowledge our great need for the guidance of the Lord. But the Lord's plan is not for us to stay in this state. A contrite spirit, is a pure and sanctified one. How do we obtain this? In Helaman 3:35 it tells us HOW to gain a pure and sanctified heart- "fast and pray oft...stronger and stronger in humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ...which sanctification cometh because of their yeilding their hearts unto God." We need to be teachable, we need to be humble enough to realize our own knowledge and capabilities are not enough. Only God's will and our complete supplication to him will guide us to reach our full potential and full, lasting joy. As I said earlier, we do not stay in this broken heart state, but through faith and humility and obedience to the lord, as it says in Helaman 3:35 our souls will be "[filled] with joy and consolation." I have experienced this personally on my mission, knowing I would be nothing without the Lord's care, the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the constant guidance of the Holy Ghost. But with the complete godhead on my side, we are here working mighty changes in the hearts of the people and in our own hearts as well.
Sister Rhea Joy Walters
I promised to make these shorter so you're not all bored to death so I'll try to wrap up the week!
|I will truly miss our mission president and his wife!|
- Last P-day one Samoan elder taught us all the Haka after we played basketball hahaha you get creative as a missionary for non-proselyting activities
-We got a new ward mission leader!! He is such a humble father of 6 kids, all of them including his wife recent converts and he is a fairly recent returning member! He didn't have the chance to serve a mission so he is so grateful for this chance to work with us. We will be kind of training him as well :)
-ZONE CONFERENCE! This was an extra special one because our mission president will be going home at the end of this month! We got to see lots of other missionaries, learned some awesome lessons, and ate some good food. The lessons were all geared on really being connected with the powers of heaven and the Holy Ghost to tailor our lessons to our investigators and not just teach doctrine.
-Also...TRANSFERS! I AM NOW DONE WITH TRAINING! Crazy how fast that went huh? My cute best friend/kasama will be going "sa baba" to the lowlands. I will miss her so much! As for me...I will be here in Baguio City for another three months because I am becoming a trainer!! That was SO unexpected but I will talk more about that later :)
Missionaries can laugh too:
-Something funny this week was when the Zone Leaders told me President has called me as a trainer and I about died and didn't say anything so they thought there was something wrong with the phone haha they were like "Um sister walters are you there? Did you die?" Yes. Yes I did.
|I am going to miss this kasama!|
|You better share the candy inside! LOVE USA chocolate|
You know you're in the Philippines when...
If you didn't hear what someone said you just look at them a little closer and open your mouth really wide but you don't make any sound. You look kind of like a monkey but then they know they need to repeat it louder hahaha
Pagdarasal or Panalangin- Prayer. Pray for the typhoons coming our way! haha just kidding mom, I think that's next month still. Don't worry.
I would just like to say I need to eat my own words from my spiritual thought a couple weeks ago about God calling men in their weaknesses to strengthen them and magnify their callings. I say this because I have SO many weaknesses as a missionary and if I had it my way I would be in training my whole mission because I have so much to learn. I feel so incredibly humbled by this calling and although I lack confidence in myself to fulfill this (I am just this random blonde American in the middle of the Philippines still trying to speak Tagalog and now I am going to introduce a greenie to mission life) I have full and complete confidence in God. We recite D&C 4 every day and one verse in that chapter states "If you have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work." I have the strongest desire to give my all to the Lord, to pay back what I can to him for his incredible sacrifice for us all. I know the Lord knows me so personally and knows the fear I may be experiencing now but through the atonement of Jesus Christ, he has walked my path and therefore knows how to strengthen me. If I am humble and willing to be taught and learn, he will shape me into the trainer he needs me to be. I know this is true for each and every one of us and I challenge you to counsel with God with whatever your current fears or stresses are at this time (whether they be gospel related or not) and let.him.help.you. Read Alma 7:11-13. I am so grateful for his sacrifice and the love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for each and every one of us.
Wish me luck!!!
Man this week was full of ups and downs (just like Baguio and it's stairs haha, bad joke) I'll give you a list of highlights:
-UP: The mom of the Pascua family passed her baptism interview and is SO excited.
-Down (actually let's be more positive and call it opportunity for growth- OFG): The Bishop likes the interviews to be two weeks before so he is able to announce it in Sacrament meeting so her baptism got pushed back a week..my companion doesn't know if she will be transferred before then or not!
-UP: Her daughter is now home from the hospital and is doing great! They found three scists in her stomach so now she is on a super soft diet. (No rice, as a filipino that's like death) The members helped a TON and meant so much to the family
-OFG: I got to personally experience how skillful mga magnanakaw (stealers) are here in the Philippines...yeah my wallet got stolen. It's cool.
-UP: Sister missionaries are now wearing slacks here! This is to protect our legs from the mosquitos and not get dengue fever. It is a pretty weird feeling I'll be honest but SO much more comfortable
-OFG: This is actually a literal down because I had a pretty funny fall this week, the muddy roads are SO slippery when it rains and sometimes our pathway is pretty skinny hahahaha
-UP: We found some new investigators this week! I love teaching first lessons and opening up peoples eyes to the possibility of MORE in their life, of the hope and the light that the gospel can give their family. You just hunger so much to teach everyone you see of how happy the gospel could make them.
Missionaries can Laugh Too:
My fall was pretty funny but another time my companion laughed pretty hard at me was when these little kids chased after us and said "Sister sister! May nakakacrush sa iyo" (there's someone who has a crush on you) You get pretty awkward as a missionary with these sorts of things so I just stood there and finally mummbled "um...yuck" The kids smiles faded and they just looked so confused hahah I felt so bad and my companion thought the whole situation was so funny, then gave me a few phrases that would have been a more appropriate response for little kids.
You Know You're in the Philippines when...
You know that duck face people make in their selfies that everyone kind of makes fun of? So that's how Filipinos point to things. What you might point at with your finger, they turn their head and pout their lips in that direction. It was the weirdest thing to get used to but Itll be hard to get out of the habit later haha!
Tagalog Word of the Day:
Pitumpo't pitong puting pating (77 white sharks)
Man everytime I try to make my blog short but missionary work is just so great. Okay this thought is about prayer. There is a section on PMG about having effective prayer and how important our communication with God really is. Gordon B. Hinkley made a stated that sometimes our prayers can compare to a grocery order; we call, say what we need, and hang up. Or sometimes people view prayer as only necessary when they are in a crises. Brothers and Sisters Heavenly Father is not a solely a repairman. He is a real living and breathing being how is our loving father, watching over us at all times, hoping we counsel with him in all our doings and pray to him always. I have experienced and immeasurable difference in my sensitivity to the Holy Ghost and it's guidance in my life as I truly pray as if my Heavenly Father is right there listening. How would we feel if our best friend was talking to us with their mind elsewhere, half-hazardly saying the same things, and not really making the most of maybe our once a day long-distance phone call? This week we shared 2 Nephi 32:9 with our active member and less active lessons to emphasize the importance of the sincerity of our prayers. Every prayer needs to be a fervent call to our Father, full of thanks, concerned for the welfare of others, and with specifc requests for our heavenly father, truly believing that he will answer, but always willing to act on whatever his will is for us.
I challenge you to evaluate your prayers at this time in your life and make whatever changes you need to to ensure that we are truly using this incredible gift He has given us to communicate, as a treasure to us and a sacred time to converse with our loving Father in Heaven.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Well ladies and gentleman I have personally experienced now why people say you're always wet in the Philippines- it's either sweat because it's so hot or water pouring down from the heavens in a rain storm, and sometimes both because it's hot and rainy at the same time while your climbing up hills hahaha it's the best. And what is a crazy rainstorm to me is not even the start of what it can get to here. The lightning and thunder is crazy loud and cool, I just love it :)
The rain puts a little bit of a damper on our work pero kaya pa rin namin! (We can still do it!) Haha this was another great week of teaching and testifying. We are continuing to prepare more investigators for baptism, and the ward is being really awesome at nurturing our recent converts. We did have one scare this week, two days after the confirmation of one of our teenage girls that got baptized she became super ill with internal bleeding and was rushed to the emergency room. She needs an endoscopy to find the cause and four blood donors to raise her blood pressure. This hospital stay and procedure is pretty expensive and the family is not financially stable so out of a panic the mom texted us asking for help. I am SO glad they knew they could turn to the missionaries to help in a crisis and immedietly we called our Bishop to see what we could do. Our bishop went to the hospital, was able to give her a blessing, and out of fast offerings could offer some support from the church. He sent a message to all the members who then became interested in donating, the young women are visiting her in the hospital today, and some priests brought a special sacrament to the mom and daughter at the hospital yesterday. Can you believe her faith? The daughter asked if she could leave the hospital with her IV tube things still stuck in her hands in order to come to church and then return to the hospital. THe mom was worried too that her baptism would be pushed later because she couldn't come to church. This family is truly amazing and I am so grateful for their growing testimonies and willingness to follow Christ no matter the cause. I also hope you see the importance of members in their conversion experience. PLEASE always fellowship any investigators the missionaries bring to church or ASK the missionaries if there is anything you can do to help. Members make the world of difference in building a support system. Right now we are all just praying for her!
You Know You're in the Phillippines When...
Everyone. Loves. To. Selfie. Hahaha it is the highest selfie country in the world and it's so true. Pictures are everything. It's not that uncommon to have your cell phone screen be a favorite selfie of yours hahaha so therefore..we have a lot of selfies with members :)
|this little boy is one of the kids of Lanie Pascua!|
Missionaries can Laugh Too...
You usually leave your shoes outside the house before you come in to not get the floor dirty and one time when we left the house of an appointment I realized my shoes were a little different than how I had left them outside the door...one of the dogs roaming around had decided it was hungry and apparently my shoes looked delicious hahaha. They look pretty sad now but I just laughed and asked the dog masarap ba sa iyo?? (Is that delicious to you??)
Tagalog Word of the Day:
Niya/Siya- This means He, She, or It. So you can see why it gets a little confusing when a Filipino is talking fast or telling stories (they love to kuwento-kuwento (tell stories) ) because you don't know if he, she, or it is talking or doing the actions hahaha. But it comes in handy when you are asking how old a baby is or what their name is and you don't know the gender.
This will be a short one but an important one today. This week I realized again the importance of testimonies and sharing them. Not only because yesterday was fast sunday, but because we were able to have a couple testimony meetings with our less active lessons and member lessons this week. I read in Alma 5:45-46, 48 the power of his testimony to the Lamanites and felt inspired to share this in our lessons. When we asked the less actives and members to share their testimonies the spirit was undeniable. Even the less actives you could tell they realized they really do still have a testimony. A testimony doesn't have to be a grand, long gesture full of elequent words and perfectly phrased sentences, but a simple declaration of what we know and feel. I know that our testimony is the most important thing we can develop in this life because it is the only thing we will take with us into the life that matters most, after this. We will not show to our savior all the money, cars, or status we have collected, but he will see straight to our hearts where our testimony is and if we kept it burning bright or if it is only a spark. Brothers and Sisters we need to make sure we each have our own individual testimony. We cannot come to our savior and say "I know my Mom knew that the church was true and my dad said the Book of Mormon was true too." Can we say we have been truly converted for ourselves? And when we do feel that we have a testimony, do we seek to add firewood and fuel to it's flame every day? Do we share it? I challenge you to pray to our Heavenly Father for an opporunity to bear testmiony this week. It could be to a friend or a co-worker or a sibling, and it could be a simple phrase or two but I promise he will offer one to you if you ask and seek.
I am so grateful for the many opportunities I have every day to testify of Christ and increase my understanding, gratitude, knowledge, and love for Him every time I bear testimony.I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.