Monday, November 3, 2014

Diamond Days

Sister Frame and L.
well....this week was super hard.  Probably the busiest I've seen in a while.
S. and I woke up at 3:30 am on Wednesday because I had a "career workshop" in Cauayan.  We didn't get home until 10:00 that night.  BUT, the same day the stars aligned and I saw a miracle.

I SAW SISTER L!  She's been sick, so she has been in the mission home this last week.  Sweet Sister Rahlf gave me a whole 30 minutes to hang out with L.  We talked and cried as much as we could squeeze into 30 minutes.  It was a sweet tender mercy.

I'm so grateful I have been assigned to Penablanca.  The members of the bishopric are seriously the coolest people in the world.  We have an appointment at Bishop's house a little later tonight...speaking of today - I still actually have a TON to do.  The whole reality of my life right now doesn't feel real.  I've been so good at not thinking about anything - which is probably going to be a BIG punch in the face when I have to leave for Cauayan.


I get butterflies thinking about seeing all of you guys again.

This is it.

It's bittersweet.  Mostly bitter right now.  I think the sweet part I'll feel when I see you again.
I can't believe it's over already.  It all happened so fast.  I'm sad it's over.  But, I guess I have a new chapter to look forward to.

I feel so humbled that Heavenly Father has blessed me with the opportunities, the miracles, and the experiences that He has these last 18 months.  I've learned more than I can even begin to comprehend.

...they really were diamond days.

I love you!
over and out from the Philippines.

-Sister Frame

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's the Greatest

It's me...sorry it's been a while.  I have a lot I could say...But I don't feel like telling everything 'cause then I won't have anything to share when I return.  What if it's just a big awkward moment of silence?

First things first - I had zone conference this week.  My last.  It was good. very spiritual.  I'll have you know that Sister Rahlf is literally one of the greatest people in the world.  She has so many things that I admire about her.  Qualities that I want so badly.  Every time she talks I'm just pierced to the very soul with the Spirit.  Every. Time.  I want that.

I had some pretty radical experiences with people that are less active in church this week.  I actually have my whole mission.  These people are honestly my favorite people to teach.  I mean, I'm not happy they're less active - but there is something about them.  Teaching them is incredible.  You never know what the outcome will be or how you will exactly help them - but it's a chance to 'wrestle with the Spirit.' every time!  I mean, these people already know the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they have already had a testimony - It's a chance to help them rekindle that desire or find that truth again.  It's unpredictable, but it's miraculous.  You get to watch that spark light up their face again.  You can see it in their eyes.

I get choked up thinking about it.  This week, I had a chance to see that spark again in a person's eyes.  The joy that you feel for them is so overwhelming.  It makes me weak with gratitude just thinking that I had the chance to be a part of it.  There have been a handful of lessons with less active people that I've experienced in my mission that have made it all completely worth it (and many other experiences too - but, ya know).

S. and I lately discovered that we can go a long time wearing the same outfit.  We coordinated it to where we can wear the same 2 outfits in one week.  We just switch it up depending on what area's we go to.  Only our housemates have noticed. and it's cut down my load of hand washing about 87%.

wash day, take 2
I don't know why it took me 18 months to realize I can do this - i mean, the Elders do it everyday.  but it's been so good to me these last 3 weeks. ha. pathetic.

I don't know if it's just the adversary trying to make his debut in the last bit, but he's definitely been trying hard to make his mark this past week.  So many people have been rude to us-  harassing, chastising, yelling, the works!   Come On People.

Luckily though 1.  I can understand what they are saying and 2. communicate back (politely, of course). 3.  add a spice of sarcasm in a very sly way if necessary.

Last night there was a group of boys that were saying the most corrupt things to us as we were walking by.  My companion turned and, in English,  said, "oi!  slow your roll."  I was very impressed - and like magic - they did.  But, being Christlike is at the top of our we're...trying.

Anyways - it's a hard pill to swallow...that this is my last week.  I'm not thinking about it...because when I do - I cry.  I have a solid 4.5 more days to work my area to the ground.  I'm trying to cherish every second.

I mean....this whole being a missionary thing - it's the greatest.

-Sister Frame

Saturday, October 11, 2014

we're on the same team, and a Heaven Pic

This week is National "Family Week."  That's something I love and respect about the Philippines.
Their idea of the family is so ideal, and they do everything to promote it.
I mean, a "National Family Week"....come on- that's cool.  Last year it blew because it honestly just made me want to be with I was with my family.  Saturday was a fun celebration with the entire stake.  Only a few people had to go to the hospital...I tell you - these Filipinos know how to throw quite the celebration.

Sister S and I worked our very hardest this week.  Our area is kicking us in the butt.  We're having the hardest time getting our investigators to commit to anything.  I don't know if it's the season or what - but my homies in Penablanca are finding things to take priority over listening to us.  We were talking about a member/missionary fireside with our Bishop yesterday, and it didn't even phase me that the date we set it for would be a date that I won't be here.

What the.

That was a big punch in the face of reality.  My worst nightmare would be to leave Sister S with not a lot to work with.  We are spending every second we can out tracking and looking for people who are prepared...then we found 4 new investigators this week!.. I'll keep you posted.

Every week/day/minute of the mission has it's ups and downs.  But this week, I found some serious comfort in knowing that Heavenly Father doesn't compare us to one another.  Humans judge each other.  Unfairly.  But Heavenly Father doesn't do that.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that our priority is to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do.  And with that knowledge, we can be happy.  This world is beautiful, but it's harsh.  And sometimes it's intimidating to compete... but then I realized, wait a second...that's completely unnecessary.  What are we competing for?

Yesterday in Sunday School we were talking about developing our talents.  And I realized so much - so much just finally clicked.

We are all equal.  No matter what.  American or Filipino or Trini, happy or sad, short or tall, fat or skinny, ugly or average or pretty, rich or poor, serious or goofy, hilarious or "trying," obedient or disobedient, member or not...we are equal.  Heavenly Father has provided each. and. every. single. one. of us the chance to be successful in this life - through Jesus Christ.

He's given us the weaknesses, the talents and the trials each of us specifically have so that we can all
inherit the same gift...Exaltaion in His kingdom.  Heavenly Father is rooting for ALL of us.

We're on the same team.

My heart was softened.  I spent the day wanting to do more for others.  Wanting to do the little things for anyone. everyone.  It was just a revamped motive to 'love one another.'

It was a 'duh' moment.  But it was just one of those found puzzle pieces that was just put in place once and for all in my brain.  22 years and it's starting to make sense.  #latebloomer.

Heaven pic:  we contacted a family for the first time this week and had a chance to sit down and get to know them.  They have 3 kids.  The littlest one is 1 ½ (like Charlie) and as we were talking, this little guy comes out CAKED...I mean CAKED from head to toe in baby powder.
We couldn't keep it together. 
It was the funniest/cutest thing in the world.

I'll show you in Heaven.

Sister Frame

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Prophet

Sister Frame and Sister Davis

This week was busy - understatement
I left my companion for a whole 2.5 days.  It was the worst.  Thursday I left Tugue (along with three elders) for the mission home where I would be spending the night.  We got to Cauayan by 8:30 and had dinner with President and Sister Rahlf.  Then the APs picked up the elders for the night...and I was left with President and Sister Rahlf eating rocky road ice-cream and Family Scripture Study.  It was intimidating but incredible.  I learned a lot.  Felt the spirit so strongly.  Sister Rahlf always has the best things to say.  As we were talking, she shared the quote with me - 

Peace is not the absence of trouble.  It's the presence of Christ.

I ended the night with
a hot shower (the first time in 17 months)
and fell asleep with a blanket
a bed
and an air-conditioned room.

I was so comfortable - 
I could not sleep.

The next morning we flew to Manila with the other foreigners in my batch to do visa work and fingerprinting.  It was hectic and busy, but all got accomplished.  We managed to make it to Mall of Asia for about an hour - the biggest mall in Asia.  I think we saw only 1/100th of it.  

We ended the night in a small, smelly hotel room.  It was so fitting to my current circumstances, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

We didn't get home till Saturday night.  It was good to get back to my area and be with S!  Our reunion was as if I had just been gone for 18 months.  Yesterday, after sacrament we were able to get out and catch up for our loss.  We found 2 new investigators!  This area is finally starting to turn around.  It always makes the work so much more exciting.  

It's so fulfilling when our prayers at night are filled with individuals to specifically pray for, and our thoughts revolve soley around them.  We have a very busy next few weeks - I'm excited for it.  We have so much to do here in Penablanca.

I'm jealous you all got to listen to General Conference this weekend!  I get to do that this Saturday and Sunday - 

(Conference weekends are by far my favorite weekends on the mission).

Yesterday, we were teaching Sister J. about prophets - and every time I teach that lesson, my gratitude for a living prophet grows.  How lucky are we to have a living prophet to lead and guide us in this generation - in this world that has so much temptation and distractions and "ugly" attacking us.

We have someone's voice to listen to, someone's words to follow.  And how comforting to know that those words are coming directly from Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

We have so much going for us in this Gospel of Jesus Christ.  
We have all we need.
We have all the tools for our success.

-Sister Frame

Friday, October 3, 2014

The good times just keep on coming


This week, we went to our far area and got punted from all the lessons we were planning to we wandered the area and tracked - hoping to accomplish something -

And one thing led to another

and we ended up in the caves.

It was cool!

There's a chapel in there ya know.  It's super creepy actually and there were one million bats inside,

but it was one of those moments that made me realize - Dang.  i'm in the Philippines.

We were in the midst of sorting out some church records and following up on previous baptisms, when President Rahlf calls our cell phone.  And guess what!  He called to tell me that Baby Bean was born!! (Bean has just become his name because I never know its gender, so I had to get creative in my prayers).  I was so excited.  I can't wait to meet little John Wallace.  Congrats to G, Kae, and Rae.  He looks so chubby! and adorable.  As I looked at pictures I had a handful of little Filipino school kids crowded behind my shoulder looking at the pics - just as excited as I was.

And then, there was a typhoon.  Named Louis.  All weekend we were getting updates from mission headquarters about it, and then Sunday morning they enforced lockdown after church.  (Meaning I still had to speak in Sacrament Meeting).  After church we were tucked away in our little home, until our Bishop called and insisted that we evacuate to the chapel before the storm got any worse.  We got our 72 hour kits and the Bishop relocated us to the chapel.  First, he bought us some Coke - so we would "enjoy our stay."  We got there and joined a few other families whose homes weren't safe to stay in.  

And we spent the night, but we didn't sleep.  We were safe.

This morning we came home and checked the damage.  Lots of power lines down.  Most of my cute little palm trees around the house had their tops missing.  Miles and miles and miles of crops that the farmers have worked all season on...completely destroyed.  My heart was so sad for them.

and all the power was out, so we had nothing to do but start our laundry....

I surprised myself because on Saturday when we were getting texts about the storm and to be alert of all the updates - my companion and I looked outside the window and took note of the still and very hot weather,  thinking, 'we'll be fine.'  The other two sisters in our house took some time to prepare their 72 hour kits and get everything ready for any kind of evacuation.  S and I went to work that day with some sarcasm up our sleeve about the fact that they take this so seriously.  As I was working, I realized how big of an idiot I am.  Like hello!  wasn't it just last month that I was teaching the parable to the G. family about the 10 virgins?  yea.  it was.  and now, in this moment, I was completely being a hypocrite.  So after a few appointments, I looked at S. and said, "Homie...I think we should get our 72 hour kits ready."  

I procrastinated the warning from my leaders.  I just assumed we would all be ok.
Spent some time looking back in my life and how in spiritual ways I've been slow sometimes to heed the warnings and council of my leaders.  Sometimes I'm guilty of justifying things - thinking - 'oh, that commandment is for other people...but it's ok for me because I can do it without actually falling into temptation.'

But that's totally not true.  Just like the typhoon warnings, there was no justification in me not preparing.  I was either ready or not.  I would either be safe, or not.  It was a humbling lesson for me.  Thought I'd share.

-Sister Frame

Pet Peeve of the week:  when Americans speak Tagalog to me.  like - come on people...we both speak english.

Friday, August 29, 2014

i saw miracles

miracles happened this week.  2 huge ones.

the first

it rained almost every night this week.  temperatures were completely in my favor.  it was bliss.

the second

yesterday  i mosied into the chapel, put my bag down and started shaking peoples hands.  i start in the same spot every week.  the back right corner, then a counter clockwise direction.  i had almost made it full circle when i stopped dead in my tracks, jaw dropped and joy jumping in my heart.  it was B.  she had been there the whole time, just took me 10 minutes to realize it.  she was waiting to see my reaction.  the moment i saw her, i just got so teary eyed like a baby and hugged her so tight.  she's coming to church and is intending to get baptized, no more procrastination.

i just sat there and smiled so big.  no words.  it was the best moment and i just let it soak in.  the reality of B sitting next to me in church was so satisfying.

I couldn't help but thank Heavenly Father over and over again for answering the countless prayers on her behalf.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The night that followed the day

The other night was everlasting due to the fact that I was tossing and turning, wrestling from the heat in a failed attempt to focus and ignore the suffocating air and simply fall asleep.

Finally, 6:30 am, the alarm went off, and I sat up anxious and exhausted, calculating in my mind that probably a total of ten minutes of sleep was realistically accumulated.  I spent the morning trying to recuperate before personal study - but all was lost at 8:07 am when the click of the electric fan sounded, and I heartrendingly watched as the blades began to slow - before coming to a complete -


In an instant the world became silent.  The next 3 hours of study were a mix of emotions with the combined efforts from all 4 missionaries to keep our sanity and the hopeful prayers on our behalf for a miracle of power restoration.

We saw no such luck.

The day of work was painful to endure.  It was nearly impossibly to shake our bad attitudes.  Nevertheless, by the time we walked home that night, the slightest wind picked up for the first time in 24 hours.

We mutually picked up our pace and triumphantly marched home to the apartment.  We defeated the day, and the thrill of seeing our reward (electricity at last!) was overwhelming relief.  Indeed, we do believe in miracles.  The rest of the night was bliss in comparison to our previous hours.  We planned and accounted followed by my nightly routine, and by 9:40 pm, I was on my back porch brushing my teeth with the optimism that I would get a better night's rest.

But what I noticed on the balcony just to the right, left me jaw-dropped, hand frozen mid 'brush' and drooling the foam of my toothpaste.  I was breathless.

I've always loved lightening storms - they have been on the top of my list (along with Disneyland, fireworks, candy and Simon and Garfunkel), but I'm almost hesitant to even try to explain this one, because my words will never do it justice (I will, however, make an attempt for the sake of the story that I have already begun).

There was a storm a few miles to the right of us.  Far enough away that I could see the entirety of it - top to bottom and side to side.  It was close enough to where it still illuminated the whole portion of the sky I was blanketed under.

I felt like I could see the roof of the universe and the heavens open with each crack of lightening - which was fortunately as frequent as every .0023 of a second.  There wasn't a moment that passed by that didn't have magic in the sky!  The world had become a permanent strobe light and the electric bolts and sparks of colors squiggling from one corner of this storm to the other became a symphony of natural fireworks.  The thunder was no where near close, but the echo of it in the distance gave the earth its own pulse of a heartbeat.  I watched it for hours, going late into the night just to absorb it all - taking a "heaven pic" of my reality.   The bright light that revealed the silhouettes of the surrounding palm trees with each flicker will forever be imprinted in my mind.

I remember thinking, "This was so worth it!  The heat and pain of this day - I would relive it 100 times over just to experience this."  Again, the recurring lesson confirmed that the reward usually comes after the sacrifice.  The thought that dominated my mind over and over again was, God is so good.

Seriously people, take a look around.  Absorb it and is so good.  I'll admit I was pretty much the most negative person in the state of Idaho before my mish.  So sassy, but I've been hit with some seriously humbling moments - and in the end, I've just recognized the need to be grateful.

We have a trillion things to be grateful for.  No matter who we are or what our situation in life is - Heavenly Father surrounds us every day with miracles and moments that if we choose to be grateful for - can bless our life.

I've learned that the attitude of gratitude will take me so much further in life.  I'm trying to apply it even in the harshest of situations, but it's something that will take time to master.

We are all so blessed.  I mean....we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What else do we need?

- Sister Frame