Sister Rhea Walters

Sister Rhea Walters

Monday, July 31, 2017

God Be With You Till We Meet Again....Paalam

our first picture in the mission 
This was an amazing week and I am beyond grateful for the opportunities the Lord has provided here on the mission for me to learn of His power and grow closer to Him. Mom, I'll provide more details mamaya (later) but we traveled up to the mountains this week to perform for Quirino.
So far the church there is the basement of the Elder's apartment and consists of 14 members. Rainy season came hard this weekend and we got hit by the storm pretty bad, we even had to cross a river in President's car
but not all the cars made it because it started to flood and got too close to a ravine....and other obstacles but through prayer the the Lord's help he led us to those members and their investigators. That apartment was packed that night and I was so touched by the faith of the members (almost all recent converts.) 


Our last performance I didn't make it through "Come Unto Christ" without the tears coming down. For the past 18 months, my purpose has been solely to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Fulfilling that purpose has brought me more joy than I've ever experienced, and something that runs so deep I don't know how to live with out it. 

"Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)  

I aim to feel this happiness for the rest of my life and I know the only way to do that is by continuing to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. I may have to remove this name tag but I still know how I am and whom I represent. I have a testimony of his gospel that is unshakable, and the foundation of a 'bedrock' understanding of His saving doctrines. But I am excited to learn of Him throughout my life. I know Jesus Christ truly is the only begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. I chose Him before I was sent to this earth, and the only way I find real strength is by choosing Him, again and again, every day of this mortal life. The plan of Salvation is a reality and there is a path laid out for us to not only return to God but become like Him and obtain all that He is. If we but keep the faith, the fight, and finish our course with joy. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and provides its witness, along with the Bible, that Jesus is the Christ. Prayer and scripture study should be the book ends of our day- morning and night, to hold everything else together. All commandments are given out of love for our benefit and safety and happiness that lasts. I know that faith requires action and every blessing comes after the trial. Charity is the pure love of Christ and truly never fails. Every person we come across is deserving of this love. 

I didn't become the person I imagined on the mission. I thought it was just more of a time machine where you go through some stuff, preach the gospel, experience a new culture, and come home this perfect glowing RM. But I learned the reality of this scripture 

√čther 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 


As I have come closer to Christ on the mission He has shown me my weaknesses and what I need to change. Like I said I haven't become perfect, but I know the path I need follow, I know who He needs me to be, and I am on the way. I love my Savior and I am grateful for the Gospel He taught and restored. I will live it and share it my whole life! 

Thank you for all the support and your amazing examples of faith as I have served. You play a large role in the experiences and blessings of my mission!! 
So hard to leave this beautiful place...

Love you all, 
See You Soon :) 

Sister Walters 

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Time Is Far Spent

Time is really getting warped up in my brain (is that even correct English) so I can't recall everything that happened this week. We travel so much I forget where we are and what day it is a lot of the time.
Seventh, eighth and ninth devotional!  


A huge blessing was going back to our first areas up in the mountains in Baguio!! We practiced the devotional with the missionaries there, and before we did the second run through we felt to show them a couple Mormon messages about Jesus Christ to help them feel the importance of the songs. Then it turned into such a touching testimony meeting and the spirit was so strong- the second time through was really amazing to watch all of them sing Come Unto Christ, some with tears in their eyes, all of us bearing testimony of how Christ is the source of real happiness and truth.

President let Sister Bleak and I go visit our old areas and converts after the practice and I will attach pictures later!
Sister Bleak's old area in Naguilian!

Our first chapel!
It was SO weird to walk those streets I walked as a fresh missionary and reflect on how much the Lord has taught me in these 18 months.
Sister Apilado- the wife of the Patriarch that experienced the fire I mentioned a couple emails ago. We love her!

(Soundcheck for one of the devotionals...)
Another tender mercy was hearing the recent convert's testimony in Baguio's devotional. We leave a spot after a song called "Will He Really Answer Me" for an RC to share how the Lord answered their prayers upon joining the church. In Baguio it was Brother Jun Cases!! The Cases family were so close to my heart, no matter what the ward said we never gave up on them and watching him bear his testimony of his baptism was another testimony of how the Gospel can reach and change anyone. The whole family has been baptized and the eldest is thinking of a mission.
Cases Family and Millanes family from Baguio


Old picture of Pascua family and then this week when we visited them! Can't believe that's over a year ago. 

This week will be the craziest yet with 5 upcoming devotionals, one in a stake we have already been to but they want it again so they can invite more people. We will be praying for extra strength this week and that our voices don't blow out hahaha.

You Know You're in the Philippines When: 
They are so. touchy. It's not weird to meet a member for the first time and they are holding your hand, playing with your hair, repeated tight hugs...everyone is family. At first, it was way weird though. So sorry mom if I just hold your hand all the time when I get home.
My beautiful singing companions :)

Missionaries Can Laugh Too: 
Went to wash the dishes the other night and found something crawling on the left overs...even slugs eat rice here.
Also, my comp got a laugh out of me trying to lead the Filipinas in Zumba to EFY music.

Tagalog:
 Musikal na Pagtatanghal (Musical Presentation)


Spiritual Note:
With some extra reading time, I had the goal to finish Jesus the Christ and the Book of Mormon in Tagalog which I was able to accomplish this morning actually. I cannot express how much the Book of Mormon guides me. I know it is true with my whole heart and I feel the presence of the prophets who wrote it as I read. I will continue to read it and ponder it and apply it my whole life because I know the Lord guides our living prophet in his counsel to read the Book of Mormon every day. If we are not- let us repent :) I was especially touched by some of Moroni's last words

32 Oo, lumapit kay Cristo, at maging ganap sa kanya, at pagkaitan ang inyong sarili ng lahat ng kasamaan; at kung inyong pagkakaitan ang sarili ng lahat ng kasamaan, at iibigin ang Diyos nang buo ninyong kakayahan, pag-iisip at lakas, kung magkagayon ang kanyang biyaya ay sapat sa inyo, upang sa pamamagitan ng kanyang biyaya kayo ay maging ganap kay Cristo; at kung sa pamamagitan ng biyaya ng Diyos kayo ay ganap kay Cristo, wala kayong dahilang magtatwa sa kapangyarihan ng Diyos.
33 At muli, kung sa biyaya ng Diyos kayo ay ganap kay Cristo, at hindi itatatwa ang kanyang kapangyarihan, kung magkagayon kayo ay pinabanal kay Cristo sa pamamagitan ng biyaya ng Diyos, sa pamamagitan ng pagbubuhos ng dugo ni Cristo, na siyang nasa tipan ng Ama tungo sa ikapagpapatawad ng inyong mga kasalanan, upang kayo ay maging banal, na walang bahid-dungis.
English :) 
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat.
Sister Walters

Monday, July 17, 2017

S.A.S.S.

Sister Bleak and her very creative mind came up with a name for us- "Special Assignment Singing Sisters- aka SASS" hahaha I love my companion. We may make T-shirts. 

Bangued Devotional and missionaries. 

Devotional 5 and 6 this week! In Bangued (the farthest area) and Bacnotan (my old area.) We also practiced with the Candon missionaries (another far area) to say the least this week was just full of traveling, teaching music, and performing.
Bacnotan family :) 

The day we weren't preparing for the devotional we were in the office all day making a Missionary Health Guide! President makes us exercise 1 hour instead of 30 minutes.  We thought, okay these missionaries have no idea what to do for 1 hour, so we put together a book of healthy eating tips and a bunch of exercises. Hopefully they use it :(
Quick abs before the devotional. Just kidding ;) Bishops wife handed us a sleeping mat to rest from all our travels hahaha!  

Traveling was really fun, little road trips with President and Sister Bangal, we feel like their kids!
White sisters usually aren't allowed there, so they haven't seen them much and the kids would not let go of stroking my white hand hahaha. 

It was incredible to see the effort of the members in Bangued. It is a poor and far area but they still came. Even when the ceiling literally shook with thunder during "Come Unto Christ" they weren't even phased. One man came up to Sister Bleak and I, so excited to tell us that he came even though he was sick, and because of the music and the spirit, he didn't feel his sickness at all. Music is incredible :) 

Returning to Bacnotan was such a cool experience and blessing.

Returning to Bacnotan was such a cool experience and blessing. I was there for so long and the Lord taught me and stretched me a lot. The spirit was incredibly strong as the missionaries there did their best on their songs and speaking parts. That ward has grown a lot too and I am so happy to see it progressing. It ripped my heart honestly to say goodbye for real this time- I have some second families there.


The Abenojars (especially Nanay that I will miss so much) Bishop's family, Malilum Sisters

We pray every night for the area because we aren't able to work, and I know the Lord answers those prayers because 6 investigators still came to church! The Abat family, sister Joy (the pregnant one) and Sister Lhenzy (from the Magbanua family that was baptized in May). He is the one hastening this work, not us :)
The baptismal font in Bangued! 

Funny Moment: *slash sad moment 
So I met this old "Jo" (white guy in the Philippines) a month or so ago and spoke with him at a grocery store. He wanted nothing to do with the pamphlet I tried to give him after the conversation. Then we ran into him last Pday and we were shocked when he eagerly wrote down his name and number for us to meet with him! When we texted him this was his reply 
"Sister WALTERS,I remember with pretty face &golden hair and big smile.
 I am in Makati 4 few days. Tmw nite I take partas bus bck to SF town. Like to invite u and co sister to Yel Cab pizza next week to celebrate 4th of July. 
Prof. Art, age 70, retired, widower, friendly."    
Hahahaha we DIED. But as it got closer to the appointment Sister Bleak and I had a weird feeling and canceled. It's a good thing cause he turned out to be a real creeper but hey..maybe he will come around to Mormons again.
Yes. This tree gets missionary work. Thank you. 

Tagalog:
Paglilingkod- Service. Ang susi sa tunay na kaligayahan- The key to true happiness 

You Know You're In the Philippines When: 
You read outside to get some Vitamin D and the neighbors yell in broken english 
"Mam neighbor! From what state are you? America?" 
You gotta know your neighbors here. 

Spiritual Thought: 
Sorry I gotta make this quick cause this is getting long pasensya pero simple lang

"The man who retires early and rises early will be healthy, wealthy, and wise." -President Hinkley. 

124 Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. 

This was spoken on in church on Sunday and I really was enlightened because I haven't been sleeping up the past couple of weeks or months. Always waking up, and finally restless by around 4 or 5. My companion noted every time she woke up I was just sitting on my bed reading and asked why I was up I said "I don't know to be honest". Then I realized being able to read my scriptures at that time where it is quiet and peaceful..the spirit has been so strong throughout the day. 

I know morning and night can be times of great inspiration and personal revelation if we use them wisely. The prophets and scriptures always speak the word of God! 

Love you all and thank you again for the thoughts, support, and prayers.
Sister Walters 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Special Assignment

Happy 4th of July everyone!!! We made jello and mashed potatoes to feel American. I love this mission so so much, but I have also grown so grateful for America. #promisedland 

Updates this week: 
-President decided he would officially give sister Bleak and I a "Special Assignment." We are now 100% focused on the devotional and Sister Porter and a new companion will work in the area.



Balaoan and Sevilla Devotionals
It really is an incredible opportunity to close the mission being able to sing about the Savior to members and investigators across the whole mission but to be honest...I've been fighting some serious heart ache this whole week. I miss teaching soooo much. No matter how sick or tired I would feel, if I could just talk to someone, sit down and teach the gospel by the spirit, watching their eyes light up...you completely forget about yourself and any problems. I don't even know who I am if I'm not a full-time missionary hahaha. I will miss the proselyting but we will give our whole hearts to this music! We had performances #3 and #4 this week in Sevilla, and Balaoan. 

-Nanay Nida (the woman who was baptized in April) continues to amaze me. She is a true example of the gift of wisdom. When we start the lesson and she shares her understanding from an assignment, or just her testimony of the lesson at church or personal reading she has done, I am floored by the spirit. She shared with us how grateful she is the missionaries found her because here in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints she has felt the love of the Lord for her and it's enabling power. Aren't we so blessed to know this? How can we not share it.
Nanay Remy is on of my favorite members- she turned 66 this week and of course invited us to the birthday party! (A member birthday party is not complete without the missionaries here.) 




-Did I mention I have a companion that likes to run now? Did I also mention she ran in college?
Sis Porter, the running beast!
Yeah sister Porter is a beast, and she kicks my butt but it's feels soooo nice to run run. I had to show her to whole area so she could lead it next week and we didn't get to the farthest one so I told her we would wake up at 5 and I would run her to it the next morning. We did and ended up stopping by the Abat family to invite them to a ward activity. Their faces were priceless upon seeing the sister missionaries in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, dripping in sweat. :) We also found a trail to run down, ended up in a random bukid (rice field) and almost got trampled by an upset cow. 


Tagalog-
PAGOD (tired) PUYAT (not enough sleep) and MASAYA (happy) describe my life here. 

You Know You're in the Philippines When...
Even the hospital follows the BYOTP code. (Bring your own toilet paper) 

Spiritual Thought: 
I wanted to testify on the power of prayer. I tried a new thing at this last devotional where I prayed to myself for the group before every single song. I felt the spirit so powerfully coming from inside me and I could see it more evidently in the members and investigators eyes. I know in all things, we must pray and seek the Lord's help, even the small things. 
Missionaries probably say about 30 prayers a day, not including the silent prayers they give for their companions while they are speaking, or on a bus getting the courage to speak to someone, asking which street to go down,. etc. The spirit that dwells in the apartment and is carried with you is invaluable. 
In Mormon 5, He speaks of the time he led the wicked Nephite armies. He says 
But behold, I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them." 
Sometimes we do that- we face challenges or even the daily tasks in our own strength and don't ask for help from the one who created us. Because of their pride, they were completely destroyed. On the other hand, this is the counsel Alma gives us 

But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest. 


These are some of my Dad's favorite versus and they have become mine as well on the mission as I have seen the true power and need for sincere prayer. 


Love you all!!
Sister Walters 

The Work Goes On! July 2, 2017

okkaayyy my beloved family one- thank you so much for the letters from my sisters!!
My study desk! Yes Maverick you made it. 
Those brightened my whole day. I seriously love you so much. Here is the update on this crazy week 


- Last trip to MRC! (missionary recovery center in Manila) To summarize, due to some problems with my liver they took me off all medication for my last month and can't really do much with doctors here so they said I would be supported in an honorable medical release. That freaked me out, but there was no question in my mind- the offer was turned down. Through prayer, the support of my companions and family, and the Lord I know he will help me finish the mission strong! He's already strengthened me so much and I am feeling great most of the time haha :)
First time ever having an Elder as a companion. This was on the way to the MRC! (Was this because I told president I was scared of men talking to me if I traveled alone? hahaha) 

-2nd Devotional happened this last Saturday and the spirit was another huge help because we couldn't practice more than once!

My favorite part of this one is when a recent convert from the congregation testified. He is a typical "jo" (that means white guy) here in the Philippines from England and was such a tough headed investigator at first but he testified of the truth of the Book of Mormon and encouraged all the investigators present to read it. Also, the missionary that found him happens to be in the traveling group of singers so they saw each other again. Tender mercy :)
2nd Devotional down with my Tunay :) 
This is the Jo that testified, but his real name is Billy :) 

Bauang Zone! 
My poly sisters who travel and sing with us! :) 

-The Abat family came to church AGAIN and they were early! As a missionary seeing a complete family of investigators all sitting together at church is pretty much better than Christmas morning. We are praying they will feel ready for baptism soon. 

You Know You're in The Philippines When: 
Funerals are a huge progression of cars, walkers, jeepneys, bands, sometimes animals behind the actual vehicle that carries the coffin. They play super loud funeral music too. If you want to participate, but don't want to walk- don't even worry. There is a big white school bus looking thing that has "Mourners Bus" painted on the front, and then the passengers stick their faces out the window like Brady Bunch.
Sister Berry, my very first trainee and I saying goodbye. We obviously didn't know how to handle this. I will miss her so so much and can't can't explain how much I have learned from her.


Spiritual Thought: 
I was able to do a session in the Manila temple before I left and what really stuck with me was our covenant of consecration. The Lord asks us to give all of our time, effort, and talents to the building up of Zion and the kingdom of God on the earth. Sometimes it feels like a lot but he ALWAYS gives more than we sacrifice. 
Since then I have been re-reading a favorite talk of mine, "A Consecrated Missionary." Parley P. Pratt was mentioned as an example who laid everything on the altar of sacrifice. He had been serving a mission for more than 14 years, and was called by Brigham Young to serve in the eastern states. With no complaint, he stated all that he would sacrifice would be little compared to the eternal rewards, with that faith he said he would "fight the good fight, and continue his course with joy." 
I love that :) The Lord gives us his gospel and his commandments for us to be able to fight the fight and be joyful while we are doing it. 
I can't describe the joy I have felt on this mission despite whatever trials and I know that is a blessing from the Lord from sacrifice.Let us continue to strive to give our very all to Him and "test [Him] this day, that [he] will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing" so much that there will be no room to receive it all.
This is the Philippines. Everyone loves God :) 

Love you and thank you for all the love, prayers, and support. 

Sister Walters