Sister Rhea Walters

Sister Rhea 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 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is This Real Life

Okay so welcome to Episode 500 of Sister Walters mission this week seriously feels like another reality show because of how much has been going on these past weeks! 

Highlight Reel: 

- LOTS of hospital time but after more tests almost all good news! In short they found something in my thyroid too in an ultrasound and that was really scary after all the other diagnoses that have happened on my mission BUT after some blood tests, it is benign! That was such an answered prayer. Also with my liver and my stomach we've got some new medicines circulating so this girl is keeping more food down. And thanks to an AMAZING last package (you're the bomb mom) the protein bars are a huge help. I will go back to the hospital in Manila for the last time this week! 

-1st DEVOTIONAL! We performed "Come Unto Christ" in Agoo (the bottom of the mission) and it went so well. An area seventy came up from Manila and spoke at the end. Also the ward prepared so well and brought almost 90 investigators. I am so in love with spreading the Lord's gospel and testifying through music. 
     -Funny Moment: someone said something about "fans" and I thought they were hot so I went to get literal fans, but they meant there were some fans that wanted to take a picture with Sister Bleak and I after the devotional hahaha. Filipinas are SO cute. 

- I am still in love with working with these two companions. The spirit is so strong with them testifying by my side. 
   Tan family had a powerful lesson using the Restoration video. The DVD player was so quiet I prayed and prayed somehow they would hear it and when it got to the first vision part all the sudden the rain stopped, the wind stopped, you could hear a pin drop, and the family got emotional. The mom said "ito ang sinasabi mo na Holy Ghost?" "This is what you call the Holy Ghost" 
    Abat family came to church as a WHOLE family for the first time! Thanks to members coming with us to the lesson and extending a strong invite. MEMBERS HELP THE MISSIONARIES. 

Other Funny Moments: 
- I was really sick one day but we had to travel up to Baguio (on the mountains) to teach music so on the way up we pulled over for me to throw up. Upon seeing a white girl get out of the car this man runs out to his gate opens it and goes "Are you looking for a job??" I struggled to get out "No I just need a place to throw up" before I ran a little ways down the street. Hahaha I love these people. 
- We randomly here "ELDERS!" as we walk down the street and see a bunch of random people waving at us. 


Tagalog: "Taglish" English and Taglish is a real thing. But if they are going to say a word that starts with "s" there needs to be an "eee" sound before it. "istress" "istore" "isky" hahaha 

You Know You're Serving in the Philippines When: 
You're dripping in sweat walking to the appointment, then dripping in rain because it started storming after the appointment. And you walk across sketchy bamboo bridges, then try to hold the sides to not slip only to find that you just grabbed a pile of red ants too. Those things bite. 





Spiritual Thought: 
Sorry this email is long but my heart was so full yet so heavy on Sunday when we discussed a talk given in General Conference October 2016, "God Wipes Away All Tears." The story there is actually about a family in our ward and our stake patriarch. For details you can read the talk, but in short his first wife and all 5 children were burned in a house fire 20 years ago. His new wife, Monnet, one of the members I love, spoke on the continuous challenges her husband goes through and even her own from being his second wife after that traumatic experience. 
It was overwhelming to hear the grief He went through and to realize how small the trials I have experienced are. But the speaker of this talk mentioned he did not share that sensitive story to make us feel as if our current challenges are too small to be worthy of the pain we feel, his intention was that even the deepest of sorrows, Our savior can heal. 
"Even the darkest night turns into day for the faithful"
I know our Savior is real and that he truly suffered all the pain we will ever feel in this life. I know if we continue on the right path, in dedication and worship to him while our faith is tested, we WILL feel his healing and enabling power and those trials will bring us closer to Him. 
I am so grateful for Him and my heart was so full singing of Him and his love to all those members and investigators in Agoo, and can't wait to continue sharing with these amazing people of the Philippines. 
Every day try to look for how you have felt His love for whatever hardships you experienced that day! I promise you will see it. 





Sister Walters 

*Also today for Pday, President took us to Tangadan Falls to celebrate the work on "Come Unto Christ". It was sooooo beautiful. And of course, for breakfast, they served sweet spaghetti. 








Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blessings on Blessings

Highlights:
So president organized a special transfer this last week which happens to be my LAST 6 WEEKS (you can be excited mom but don't remind me cause I want to cry) and lots of things have changed! 


1) I forgot to mention this but I was able to be released finally as STL a week or two ago so I could focus on other assignments president needs for these last couple weeks. Those 10 months of my mission were so hard and at the same time so amazing because I learned incredible things from every sister about humility, true purpose of heart, diligence, and how to be a Christlike missionary not just do Christlike things. 
Coming back from conferences, this is what happens when you have to wake up at 4 am 

2) 2 NEW COMPANIONS!!! One of this is adorable sister Porter who is the most diligent missionary I have ever seen. On Sunday I almost passed out upon arriving at home because we walked so fast, yet talked to everyone, teach with this spirit on fire, like YES, I have missed this so much. She is from Colorado and about 5 months in the mission. And very tall. And blonde too. 
   The other companion is...none other than....MY FIRST COMPANION! YES SISTER BLEAK AND SISTER WALTERS ARE REUNITED FOR THEIR LAST 6 WEEKS! 
   I just cry to the Lord in gratitude because our lessons flow perfectly, the spirit is so strong, we all want to give our best to this work, and the took care of me sooo good when I was sick (again) this week. 
They take good care of me...and pray over me? 


3) Devotionals are starting! The stakes are all scheduling across the mission so now every single Saturday until we leave is scheduled, some Sundays. and there will be special practices every Tuesday. So this is going to be a huge roller coaster of traveling, music, singing, then working in our area when we can. 
Batch mates in the mission! 


Health Update- Um just don't worry about it anymore mom haha, I'll just make sure I come home in one piece. 

You Know You're in the Phillippines When...
The People are SO open. About everything. Just talking to someone on a jeepney for 10 minutes and you know all about the past crimes they've done, family struggles, and of course favorite ulam. (thats whatever food goes on top of the rice) 

Fav Missionary Moment...
So jeepneys are like mini buses and sometimes it's kind of awkward to talk to people on it BUT we need to spread the good word God right? So I couldn't speak for a day but I really didn't want to miss out on the chance so I just smiled, waved, handed out cards to people on the bus so my comps were kind of forced to explain them so I didn't look like a crazy person. They totally caught on and by the time we got to where we were going every single person that got on that jeepney had been approached by a missionary. kill eeem 

Happy Father's Day- most especially to my dad, I probably wouldn't have made it this far without him. Love you so so much Dad. (Also I was like throwing up that day so I look medyo patay)

Spiritual Thought: 
Mosiah 14: 2-5 
President Blessed us with the opportunity to bear our departing testimonies at every. zone. conference. (He has a thing for impromptu songs and speakers) But it actually was a blessing to share what the Spirit prompted, from what I've learned on the mission. One zone conference I spoke on how my understanding of the Atonement, and more especially, His experience in Garden of Gethsemane has grown. 
I feel so humbled and honored to have experienced every challenge along with every joy on this mission because if I can experience even a fraction of what our Savior went through that night, I am beyond lucky. I know I would not have grown to love, appreciate, and know my Savior if I had not decided to follow the call and serve a mission here in the Philippines. 

If you are experiencing anything that really tests your faith, thank God. Any trial widens our understanding of our older brother and Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and if not for those times we would not reach the divine potential we have, and the person we need to become in order to reside in his presence again after this life. 

Thank you again for all your support and prayers- ps please include that I won't get sick for the next 6 weeks because I really just want to work work work and give my best to the Lord while I get to wear his name on my chest.  

Happy Father's Day- most especially to my dad, I probably wouldn't have made it this far without him. Love you so so much Dad. (Also I was like throwing up that day so I look medyo patay) 

Love you all!
Sister Walters 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Faith, Sacrifice, and Consecration

Highlights:

There are a lot of things that happened this week that weren't, in short words, the happiest in my life, BUT let's focus on the positive and I'll tell you about my favorite day of the week. 

On Wednesday we WORKED, the WHOLE day. Ah it was soooo nice to feel that exhausted from walking, the heat, talking to everyone you pass by, helping current investigators, finding new ones, man I miss just straight hard missionary work. That feeling you were able to give the Lord your all is the best :) There was one finding experience in particular, an area where they are not kind to missionaries, to say the least, haha, but we just had faith! If they love Jesus Christ, then they will let in his worthy representatives. The person we went for was gone, but the next door we knocked on, was a family! And they let us in right away! I kind of just stood there with a huge smile on my face until they did but it worked! I love the feeling of teaching a complete family, how they can achieve happiness together through the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Speaking of families the Tan family is progressing great. It may be slower than I want, but at least they are sure. They really want to understand everything before moving on but the mom is very interested in her family becoming eternal. And just last night, we were walking home and the mom texted saying "good evening everyone. Sister Walters, I am happy to let you know we just prayed earlier as a family for the first time. Thank you so much." Aaahhhh tender missionary moments. 

video
As far as health. the ears are good, the stomach is okay, now it's just migranes from the heat and then I got a nasty cold cause it randomly starts POURING and my umbrella got stolen. I didn't want to stop working though so I said I was fine as long as my scriptures didn't get wet. And now I'm sneezing all over the place so my companions have a right to make fun of me haha but hey after everything that's happened on this mission, I will take a cold and some headaches any.day. 

Tagalog Longest word
something like this "pinakanakakapagngingingingingitanpinasinusinusinugalingan" Family can you please take a video of yourselves saying that? If you need you can start with "pananampalataya" or "nakakapagbabagabag" (faith and bothersome) 

You Know You're in the Philippines When: 
Bucket showers are far more preferable than head showers. And the cold doesn't even shake ya 

Spiritual Thought: 
In our stake broadcast yesterday Elder Bednar gave an amazing talk on how true faith leads to sacrifice, and ultimate sacrifice leads to complete consecration of ourselves unto God. 
"Faith always leads to righteous action" said Elder Bednar.
Faith is also what leads us to sacrifice for the Lord. Elder Robbins called it "celestial math" that the Lord always gives us more than anything we will give up for him. This faith must lead us to willing obedience like Adam who, when asked why he was making sacrifices responded: "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." 
To be honest, this past week I have no idea why some things have happened and why other things are going to happen in the mission. There are some responsibilities, callings, or assignments or challenges that are so so hard. Many times I have wondered if I really can keep going. But I know I need to become like Adam, and not ask why. but get started, as my grandma says "pick up your bootstraps" and keep on smiling. Whatever I am asked to sacrifice I know the Lord has promised blessings in store. 
We may sacrifice a couple things for the Lord but true consecration is giving up our whole selves, our everything for the Lord to refine and rebuild us. We may sacrifice by saying we would die for the gospel of Jesus Christ, but Elder Bednar invites us to be consecrated to the Lord, consecrated members, and live for the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

these are some pictures of the views, investigators, and my companions on sister Ormby's 6 months, also our favorite buko shake stand, and seeing the Bacnotan members at stake conference!! 

oh yeah ps Funny Moment: played "hair fight" at president's house for a family home evening- you put a piece of hair on a plate with water and then blow it. of course, mine is the only blonde so I have to get reeeaallly close to see it. Then President comes and slaps the water with his hand I got a face full of it. Thanks, President Bangal ;) haha I'll also attach a video of the game I taught them for FHE, they LOVED it.