Saturday, January 28, 2017
I can't remember if there is a lot to say this week or not much...they are just so fast and blurry haha
We had MLC again this week and just as I got there the new Trainers of the batch coming in where leaving aanndd I SAW SISTER BERRY!! My beloved anak (child) is training so now I have an apo! (grandchild) and My nanay (mom or trainer) is training again as well so I have a sister too. That's how family trees go in mission life.
Pretty cool experience this week but the story starts a couple months ago. I was jogging on the beach in the morning and really wanted to just "be alone" cause thats how I like jogging (even though my comp was there too haha) anyways I had this way strong impression to talk to this family playing there. So I got over myself and talked to them. Long story short last week I saw her name in the phone and texted her- she said she cried cause we still remembered them and was excited for us to come to their house- we brought the Ortega family to come teach with us. BOOM she felt the holy ghost so strong she cried again and didn't know why she got goose bumps as soon as I started talking in the lesson- then she came to church (early- that's unheard of) and told me she will start saving every week to pay for their transportation to church because it feels so good there. THE LORD PREPARES PEOPLE! Her name is Hazel. Please pray for the Assistente family :)
We taught the Villanueva couple the Word of Wisdom and they will have to give up coffe so we bought them a survival kit for the first week haha :)
|For the Villanueva couple|
We had more time at the house because my companion gets pretty dizzy with the foot medicine so she would need some more time to nap. But hey the Lord blessed us a lot because the four or five hours that we could work we had a FULL schedule. Our president is really pushing weekly baptisms or at least 4 in one month so we are trying our best and are praying what we've lined up for February will work out.
|A missionary's To Do list when the comp is sleeping|
Missionaries can Laugh:
Our italian investigator told us about Mother Teresa in his broken english and just repeated "I love you too much, i love you too much" while holding a book about her. It was pretty funny cause he was staring at Sister Swainston so i teased her saying she had new boyfriend :)
Know you're in the Philippines When:
Emotions get kind of high kind of fast so at stake choir practice the pianist / leader walked out and I ended up teaching and playing. While teaching the tenor's their part the cute old bishop (Brother Aguilar) was so tone deaf we were dying haha. I checked their notes individually on the word "no" and we get to him and it was like I don't even know where so everyone was like "NO!" cause his note was wrong. Good times. I love the Philippines.
Maraming butiki- lots of lizards. That's what scurries around the walls and floor here.
Basically just be obedient to the Lord'c commandments. No matter what obstacles you have or when we think we are "exceptions" God only asks us to follow his commandments and he promises we will enjoy a "blessed and happy state" (Mosiah 2:41). We could be lazy and use my comp's foot as an excuse but we are diligent with our studied and make any hour we can proselyting effective, and he is blessing us. We know all success comes because of him, not from us. So that's the message. Be obedient. Just do it. Ang Diyos and bahala sa mga biyaya na darating sa iyo.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Sister Julia's Family (the Abenojars) and the Ortega family also baptized their son
JULIA GOT BAPTIZED!!! Honestly her testimony was the sweetest thing- she talked about how she used to hide from the missionaries (that got a laugh because the bishop testified too about that) but something changed with the sisters came and she was thankful for all she has learned and "sisikapin ko na magtiis hanggang wakas" she will strive to endure to the end. Man I love that girl. The miracle of the gospel is definitely a real thing. *PS Sister Swainston and I sang for the baptism and the bishop said he loved it so much he wants us to come sing at his funeral. Thanks bishop :)
Brother Ransen came to the baptism and LOVED it. He is 16 years old too, I can see how the Lord really has chosen strong youth for this generation. We felt so bad because he asked for his personal Book of Mormon on Sunday cause he was so excited and....we forgot it...minus 5 points for Sister Walters.
BUT we had a good reason haha- we left pretty early for church to go pick up cute Villanueva couple for church and when we got there Tatay (dad) was already getting ready! He woke up at 5:30 to feed the chickens and everything so he could come to church with his wife. He said he felt so happy and wasn't bored in any of the classes. Slam dunk.
Sister Matenga is going home (The sister I sang Sunshine in my Soul with)
We got to teach an old Italian dude who is the boss of one of our recent convert family. That was an interesting lesson of broken English. Hopefully some Spanish will come back so we get reach him better in the next lesson. He's a great guy.
We had exchanges with Balaoan sisters- Balaoan is the most far out white sisters are allowed to go and yeah it's a little creepy at night. Sister Brown killed a rat that snuck around during evaluations while I stood on a chair and screamed in the most dignified way. Then the next day I helped Sister Matenga clean for 10 STRAIGHT HOURS for "One Day Repentence". Their house was pretty nasty and I figured I could just chastise when I came to check it OR "let the master be the servant" so I stayed and we cleaned that place DOWN. I might have broken my foot while tearing apart some rotten wood but hey it's okay because that place is a temple now.
Also after like 10 trips to the hospital we finally got a doctor who not only knows a lot about feet but randomly LOVES the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Nice. No wonder he is a good doctor. Anyways he diagnosed my comp's foot with Neuroma and she is on some meds that make her funny and dizzy and we are advised to work only 4 hours a day..BUT she has the best attitude and we are determined that even with half the time a normal missionary gets we are still going to keep this area on fire with baptisms.
The ortega's were so cute and took us out to some pizza after the baptism
Missionaries Laugh too:
Sister Brown taught me how to not be annoyed or feel uncomfortable when men call out to us all the time...one yelled out "hey sexiiess" (okay side note- that is a very very common word here and it has no inappropriate connotation they use it to mean like fit or in shape- they didn't understand why I was so shocked to first time I heard it) and Sister Brown just blows this big rasberry at them like kids do in kindergarten with their tongues sticking out. I laughed so. hard.
You Know You're in the Philippines When:
You ride a jeepney with a couple live chickens. No big deal.
I can't remember where this scripture is anymore but there is one in 3rd Nephi where the people prayed for the Holy Ghost because "this [was] the gift they most desired." This week I have been SO grateful for the power and gift of the Holy Ghost. The power because that is what converts our investigators and tells them this is the true plan of God for them. The gift because this is the best and most beautiful way the Lord has provided us to be able to endure to the end and return to live in His presence. The Holy Ghost, combined with our faith to follow it and our worthiness to obtain it, is our only way to salvation in the life to come. I know as a missionary I could do nothing without it and it is the true teacher not me. My favorite question is asking the investigator how they feel and without fail we are able to testify that that warm, light, happy feeling inside is their Heavenly Father speaking to them through his divinely designated messenger. I encourage you to take note of the times in your life when you feel the Holy Ghost the most and when it seems to drift away. Keep those first times and activities in your life and the latter..faithfully let go of. Any activity that does not bring us in line with the companionship of the Holy Ghost is not worth our time in this short life as we prepare to meet God.
I love you all and am really feeling your prayers out here in Bacnotan. I love this place. I love this mission. I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
PS SHOUT OUT TO MY MAGANDANG MAMA WHO IS 50 AND ROCKIN IT. She is my inspiration and my strength. All are lucky to meet her. Please tell her how amazing she is on January 17, 2017. And any other day you feel like it :)
Monday, January 9, 2017
So many amazing things happened this week and I couldn't be grateful for the miracles the Lord sent our way that started out by "small and simple things"
- The Macabuag couple had been on vacation all last week but we stayed in contact with them through the phone giving them reading assignments in the Book of Mormon (they are so awesome). Then they surprised us by inviting us over the night they came home and they brought 5 of their 6 children!! We were able to meet and teach the whole family, with the help of our bishop and his wife who came as well. The spirit was so strong as we taught the Plan of Salvation for families and they would like to be baptized as a family :) We just have to get the missionaries to their kids in Leguna!
- Brother Omar was a referral for sister Aurelio and I about two months ago. We were able to teach him and saw how much potential he had but then we switched our areas around and the Elders now had charge over that barangay (neighborhood). We let them know where he was and on Saturday he got baptized!! His testimony was so sweet- He spoke on how he used to send missionaries away but he was touched when Sister Aurelio and I came to him and he felt God telling him to try the gospel and so he did!
- The old old bishop of this ward had gone less active for a couple years but Sister Aurelio found him one day and just spoke to him of God's love for him and how he isn't forgotten. Then he came to church the past few weeks and bore his testimony yesterday, mentioned how much it meant to him that the missionaries stopped by. I can see the old bishop in him returning..good ol Brother Socrates :)
- Our investigator Lyn came to Omar's baptism, and LOVED the feeling of the church when we gave her a tour. Omar actually worked with us missionaries yesterday and was able to testify to Lyn of the change in him and why he was baptized, then sister Lyn accepted a baptismal invitation! (We actually want to get them together because they are both in their 20's but we can't actually initiate it so...just in our prayers haha)
- We have this couple we teach who we love so much but they need a lot of prayers because the mom has breast cancer and her husband just recently had a stroke which leaves him almost paralyzed, and bed ridden. We brought a member with us last week and she was able to find out that sister Espiritu needs a blood donation to be able to do her chemo therapy and so she volunteered to donate for her! It was such a sweet moment to watch Sister Espiritu's tears by wiped away by the comfort of this member (who had perfect timing coming with us that night) and from her readings in the Book of Mormon
- JULIA PASSED HER INTERVIEW WITH FLYING COLORS AND WILL BE BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!
Missionaries can Laugh too:
Yes mom my accents are coming back..particularly the mexican one...the members dig it.
You Know You're in the Phillippines When...
Taking the time to heat up water on the stove, to pour in a bucket, to take a hot shower is a reaaaallll treat. You really just get used to fresh cold showers
Itago mo and isang piraso ng mais para sa akin para mamaya "Save me a piece of that corn for later" - Nacho Libre
Okay so after all these things I typed i had this little voice of the brother of Ammon in my head that said "I fear thou carest thyself away in boasting" (okay I don't have the exact right words memorized). And all that happened this week was awesome but "I do not boast in my self...as to my strength I am nothing...but I boast in my God.." or something like that is Ammon's response. We know as missionaries any success that happens on our mission is not because of us because, ourselves, on our own, are just some teenagers who are trying to figure out how to preach the gospel in another language in another country, and we have way too many weaknesses for this to be possible… BUT when coupled with the spirit and strength of the Lord to guide us where to go, what to say, miracles can really happen. It is my favorite feeling in the world being an instrument in God’s hand to reach those of his beloved children that have strayed a little from the path, or just didn’t know where to find it.
“I get to wake up..at 5:30 in the morning..and [preach the gospel], it’s the beeesstt” – Also our very wise Nacho Libre
(from Michelle: okay the video works until about 50 seconds in, than goes crazy...sorry!, but still fun to listen to the first part!)
(from Michelle: okay the video works until about 50 seconds in, than goes crazy...sorry!, but still fun to listen to the first part!)
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
|STL from San Fernando. She is also in my batch coming into the mission and I LOVE her :) |
|The white kids at MLC- Apparently Elder Smith also went to Alta. Small world huh? |
Sister Julia is still strong for her date on the 14th of January and it is so awesome seeing the gospel light build in her eyes.
Brother Omar used to be an investigator of ours but we ended up giving him to the Elders because we switched around areas and he is being baptized this Saturday!! The ward is excited to have some weekly baptisms again :)
I had exchanges with Sister Bleak again!! We got to experience the non-training schedule of noon to 9pm straight proselyting and we were pretty beat from the heat and walking but we taught some awesome lessons, that sister's spirit is SO strong and I've loved having the chance for us to come from the MTC together and see each other grow along the way. Also it was fun to sing with her again before every lesson :)
We met this new less active named Sister Arcely and it was such a cool experience with the spirit! She let us in and told us she was going to go to the market with her son, like they were ready and everything, and then something stopped her feet and she just told her child they would go later for some reason. Then she heard "tao po" (that's what you say when you are at the door of a house) and we came in! It was powerful lesson about the love of the Savior for her and she wants to come back to church and introduce her family to the gospel too.
We had our MLC meeting with President in Baguio! We set some new goals for the new year, including a 1000 baptism goal for the whole mission! It was at my old chapel and it brought back a ton of memories to be in my first area. I wasn't allowed to coordinate with my old investigators or converts so it was kind of sad to be so close but hey it's okay. Also it was FREEZING. A really weird change to feel cold again.
|Banging pots and pans of course!|
NEW YEARS!! Was very loud haha- we had to be home by 6 pm but we couldn't sleep until after 12 because it sounded like guns outside our house it was SO loud. But we had some yummy cake, ice cream, and watermelon, then the neighbors of course gave us...wait for it..macaroni salad and spaghetti. So crazy that it's 2017.
|Midnight new years food|
Yes all my brothers can be proud of their sister who definitely not "maarte" (like high maintenance) because this sweet investigator gave us tons of juice and afterwards of course you need to go to the bathroom but I didn't want to take time out of proselyting by going home- it was only 3 in the afternoon- so yeah there was some woodland like trees on the side of the pathway we were walking and yeah. My comp stood guard. She said she was very proud of her trainer. You have to teach the new missionaries survival skills too right?
You Know You're in the Philippines When:
Your white skin and blonde hair is shone from a mile off (now combined with my companion too) so you get "Americana" or "Barbie" shouted at you all the time with fingers pointing, people waving, cars honking...it used to be annoying but now me and my comp are just trying to soak up the celebrity life. I tell her just smile and wave. and share the gospel. :)
Busog na Busog na ako = I am so full now (thats how you feel every second of the holidays)
I love in Mosiah 26 where it talks about how the Lord accepts all who turn back to him- every time we repent, with real intent and full purpose of heart, he accepts us an forgives and forgets. He doesn't care nearly about where we have been as he does about where we are and were we plan to go. There are so many amazing things I have been able to do this past year, but as always there are mistakes I have made and times when I could have done better, when I could have lived up to my divine potential more, times were I could have served more, been less selfish, been more faithful in trials, fought worldy temptation, and many more workings of Satan. I see 2017 as an incredible opportunity to set new goals for myself to not only realize that divine potential the lord sees in me but to LIVE and USE it, to be worthy of his trust and his never ending love. I encourage you all to get on your knees and "counsel with the Lord" (Alma 36:37) and evalaute your past year and let him know what you want to accomplish this year. Listen to what his will is for you and ask for the strength to accomplish that. I know he will strengthen and lift me and do the same for you.
Love you all!!