Monday, July 29, 2013

My heart is getting full

Hi!  This week I learned that this is truly Heavenly Father's work.  Truly.  He puts people in the path.  I've seen it in countless ways -

There's Sister V., in her 50's and so sweet.  She's been less active for about 5 years because she has a problem smoking, and for some reason, never really felt like coming to church.  The first week I was here, we visited her (I was kinda just a deer in the headlights and had no idea who we were teaching, where we were going, or what I was doing). But, the first Sunday I remember my companion freaking out with excitement because Sister V. was at church. 

She comes to church each week now.

We have gotten very close to her.  She is incredible.  We often catch her smoking when we go visit her - and - we have taught her many lessons on the Word of Wisdom.  But this week - I was really contemplating on how we can show her how much we care about her and how badly we want her to stop smoking -  not just because it's a commandment and all that missionary protocol.

So, I took a shot in the dark.

I mean...I've never had to kick a smoking habit, but I tried to think and remember ways I've heard of people quitting the old cigarettes.  So, on our way to her house, we pass a grocery store.  Sister P. and I went inside and looked around - I had no idea what I was looking for really, but naturally I was drawn to the candy aisle (a little for myself, let's be honest).  But the idea came to me.  I started grabbing bags of Mentos - all flavors.  Sister P. looked at me disgusted:  "You cannot be expecting to lose weight if all you continue to eat is candy."  I said, "No, I think it's for Sister V."  So retarded, I know, but I bought her a few bags.  We went to her house, and I pulled the bag out, set it in front of her and just looked at it.  She said,  "What's this, Sister?"  I replied, "You're gonna stop smoking."  (It was so demanding....but not too rude).  Then I proceeded to say, "When you want to smoke, (and I said this pointing to her pack and lighter sitting right behind her), try and just eat a candy instead.  Try it for one day.  Just see if you can do it for one day."

Then, she just started crying - I didn't know if I offended her or what....ok, I didn't.  But, I think it got through to her...

that we actually care for her.  As Sister V.  We love her and want her to stop smoking not just because she is supposed to.

But because we have a place for her as an individual in our hearts.

It was such a testifying experience of love and the power that is can have.

Now, Sister V. has a daughter in law - D.  She's 18 and about 7 months pregnant.  The most incredible and sweetest girl in the world.  We met her while we were visiting Sister V.  She just came in and listened, and we've been teaching her ever since.  She is so ready and cannot wait to get baptized.

Yesterday, at church, she came and put her arm around me as we walked into Sacrament Meeting and she said in broken English, 

"Sister Frame, I am so grateful for you.  Thank you for teaching me everything you know about Jesus Christ."

That right there almost made me drop dead.  Seriously?  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Cause sometimes I feel uncomfortable at church here.  Ha - so bad to say, I know.  But church is stressful for so many reasons - praying the whole time that your investigators will show up, feeling judged because I don't know Tagalog - some Sunday church blocks are just exhausting.  What D. said to me - it made every embarrassing moment that day worth it.  oh my  gosh.  I just looked at D. and said, "Danica, Thank You!  You have changed my life more than you know.  And You have taught ME about Jesus."  I just love that girl so much.

Remember John Paul - the one that had a baptism date for yesterday....but he moved a few weeks ago?  Well, one day when we were teaching him about the Atonement, I noticed this girl sitting in the background on the steps listening to us.  The next time, Sister  P. approached her.  She was SO shy.  Her name is N.  She explained that she liked the way that we explained the Atonement, and she was so touched and understood it clearly.  We started teaching her right after John Paul it was a miracle.  A golden investigator traded for another golden investigator.  Although she was so so so shy, she had many questions.  She listens.  She reads and wants to learn.  She is so receptive. 

And she is going to get baptized August 17.  

Her sister moved in with her....N. started talking about the church with her, and she started listening to us also. 

I think back to the time when I was so sad John Paul left.  I still am.  But Heavenly Father had it all in the works.  We've met these incredible people.  I'm so grateful for that.

As for weather and language - like, blah.  It's so hot....The other day it was so sunny out and within 2 1/2 minutes, a downpour!  We were in Tramo and it's all dirt roads.  There was so much rain.  My umbrella was useless.  My feet were completely emerged into the mud up to my ankles, the noise of the rain hitting all the tin roofs and smacking the mud was so unbelievable loud, and I stopped dead in my tracks, looked up at the sky, and couldn't help but laugh.  Like, it hit me:  "I'm caught in a rainstorm, soaking wet, so muddy, in the middle of the Philippines...on a mission." These are the kind of experiences I could only imagine just three months ago.  And now I'm living it.  It was unreal.  It felt good.

I made it the entire day, July 23, without anyone knowing it was my birthday.  and honestly, I forgot really. The best part of the day was that I reached my goal of finishing the Book of Mormon on that day.

That book has changed my life. I've read it before, and I'll read it many times again, but the way that it influenced and changed me as a person this time around I will never forget.  That book is TRUE!  I hold it so dear to my heart.  I want everyone I come in contact with to have the same feelings that I have for it for themselves.

Because if they did - I know that they would be happy, and they would come to know their Savior Jesus Christ and His love for us on a level that can't be felt or learned without reading it.

Be happy!  We have so many reasons to be.

Monday, July 22, 2013



hi loved ones....all your words touch me to the core, and I remember them as I go about the week - looking idiot... out of water.

on wednesday we went to Cauayan for the “new kid training.” that’s not what it’s called, but it was my whole batch from the mtc and our trainers.  we went to the mission home for something...but to be honest, i have no idea what we talked about because the whole time i was with Morty and Sister Davis.  agh!  it was so good to see them!  like when i walked into the home i nearly collapsed with excitement because it was such a relief to see familiar faces.


that excitement was short lived. 

that night the “Sister Training Leaders” called to tell us we would be going on splits the next day...uh. no. that sounded like the most retarded thing in the world. why would we want to go on splits? no need.  

so i was the one having to take this other missionary out to my investigators and the thought, honestly, made me ill.  i didn’t know how to go anywhere without Sister Perlas.  how was i gonna talk to my investigators? not even sure where i was going! and seriously wanted to refuse to go - like drinking the water actually was considered.  i threw an internal tantrum and was being such a baby.


i didn’t drink the water. i just spent most of my morning studies reading the scriptures and praying my guts out that i could get through the day.  once the STLs got there, i looked down at my watch and thought, “ok, one minute down.  only a lot more to go.” and when i talked to them i was seriously on the verge of tears.  i couldn’t say a lot. one of the sisters was American...and i was still nervous, but long story the next morning we were best friends.

no seriously - 

this experience of going on splits changed my life.  that’s not an exaggeration.  I went on splits with the American, Sister P.,  the day we went out was her 1 year mark, ironically.  she was the most influential person i have come in contact with on my mission so far.  i started by telling her, “look, i am so nervous and want to die.  i don’t know tagalog.  i don’t know how to lead lessons very well. i don’t know what i’m doing, and i don’t want to do this.”  she just looked at me and was like, 

“Hey!  It’s ok! Just show me where we’re going.  I’ll take care of it.”

so, we visited N.  i picked her first cause i am way close to her and it was just the most comfortable to start with.  we got in there and Sister P. seriously was the most incredible person.  people actually started gathering around from the whole barangay just to hear the white girl speak tagalog.  everyone respected her and wanted to listen.  i just sat there, like star struck even, and couldn’t believe it.  just her ability to teach and to speak and to communicate with these people.  I Crave That.

the whole day was successful.  i got more comfortable leading the lessons as the day went on.  every single person we went to teach let us come in.  usually they think they’re busy.

but on this day they listened.

i was even able to commit D. to baptism.  she is 18.  so rad.  i love her.

i just KNOW that Heavenly Father sent that tender mercy my way.

i know He heard me loud and clear all morning as i pleaded for His help and strength.

Sister P. made me realize through her example as a missionary that i have so much work to do.  but also that I CAN do it.  

it changed my whole perspective on this entire mission.  it was so cool to see what my potential can be in the future as a missionary in the Philippines.  i still have so much to learn...and i can’t go home until i’m a missionary like Sister P....which will probably take me like 4 years.  yikes.  but it made me excited.

Oh!  another thing. i was walking by a rice field the other day and it almost smelled like the ocean...just for a second.  another tender mercy.  i stopped in the middle of the road and just stood there and smelled the air.  it was incredible.


i can feel Heavenly Father stretching me.  somedays it hurts.  somedays i feel it’s unbearable..but each day as i rely on the strength of my older brother, Jesus Christ, and just try my best - i get through it.  each day i witness the blessing and the miracles of life.  it is  it’s not easy. but it’s such a pure gift of love from our Father in Heaven.

it’s true - a mission can only be experienced.  i am grateful to be here.  somedays it’s hard to be grateful in the moment.  but as i go to bed each night i thank Heavenly Father for teaching me the things He did that day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

No Sugar Coating

Here I am.  Still in Santiago, Philippines.  Paying 20 pesos an hour to type an update in the only air-conditioned internet cafe in town.

I was mostly just sick to my stomach this week...

The literal sense of "sick to my stomach" for three of the days, then figuratively speaking for the last four days.  Ha!  I had vertigo.  I know that sounds so dumb.  But, last Sunday, I started feeling dizzy.  It was the weirdest sensation.  Monday, worse, but bearable.  Tuesday morning I woke up and stood up to get out of bed, And Then Woke Up On The Floor.  That day, our new Mission President was coming to our zone, so I made it to the chapel in the afternoon.  I felt like I was going to be really sick, but I didn't want to be "That Sister Missionary."  I was gonna fight it to the death.

The first thing the Mission President said to me was, "Are you OK?"  ha...classic.  Clearly, I looked like a hot mess.  anyway, I made it through the meeting, then he demanded that I go home and sleep.  But, sleeping hurt my head, too.  And we had so much work to do that day, so I got Sister Perlas to let us go teach a couple lessons that night.

I'm good though; I feel fine now.  Sometimes still dizzy but not falling on the ground....anymore.

The last three days, I felt sick to my stomach because of the things I saw.  I now understand why missionaries don't tell certain stories until they get home.  My heart was so vulnerable. I let myself get consumed with the things I don't like.  I made my own week suck.

But, I am doing my best to remind myself of certain things.  Everyday i tell myself what mom always says to me, "do one hard thing everyday."  Other times I remember when she would tell me to "just have a few seconds of courage," that's all it takes.

I often ask myself, "What would Scout Finch do?" (To Kill a Mockingbird reference).  Should I be asking, "What would Jesus do?"  Well, I say Scout because I've always wanted to be her.  Her courage is incredible.  She just doesn't care what anyone thinks...I mean, come on....she dressed up as a Ham for a school play.  But even when she's scared, she is courageous.  There was one day when we were walking past a really poor area, and I saw a kid fall off this wall, and the mom started beating his brother for it.  As she was hitting him, I yelled, "No!" and ran over and stopped her, and just stared at her almost about to cry...and then she just dropped the stick and walked away.  My companion was annoyed because I'm not supposed to get into peoples business like that...but it was all instinct.  I didn't even know what was happening in that moment..but, I hated that day.

OH! my mission president and his wife!  They are mom and dad.  Literally - I think Sister Rahlf is my mom.  They were introducing themselves at our zone meeting and showing us a whole Power Point about themselves.  Sister Rahlf reads Jane Austen novels...I got teary when I heard that.  I thought, "MY mom reads Jane Austen novels.  My mom likes to do the things that you do.  Are you my mom?"  And the president is just so great.  I am so grateful for them.  They're I love them.  They are hilarious, but nobody really gets that because Filipino humor is...different.  So nobody, was laughing at their jokes.  Anyway - I'm grateful for them.

We're finishing up our lessons with a new sister.  She's a recent convert, so after they are baptized, we keep teaching them and kinda hand them off to the ward members to take care of them.  She is great.  So Little.  So Cute.  AND her four year old son is one of the smartest little boys I have ever met.  BUT, last week she told us that her husband left for "work" 5 days before and hadn't come back...yet.  She was worried.  When we went back to check on her, she said he still wasn't home.  They were left with no money and hadn't eaten in days.  And...her husband isn't coming back.

I don't know Tagalog.  But, I know how to grocery, sorta. SO - Sister Perlas and I stopped by the market, and I said, "Sister Perlas - you get all the crazy Filippino ingredients, and I'll get the normal stuff."  We got them rice, all kinds of mystery meat canned "goods," cookies, crackers, milk, candy, and even some perfume to make her happy.  Later we put the food on her doorstep and ran away.  It was my favorite part of the week.  The next day we went to teach her and her little son came and said to us, "Thank you for the food."  We told him we didn't know what he was talking about.  The Sister said that earlier that day he was eating some candy and sharing with the other kids in the neighborhood and kept telling everyone, "The Sisters brought me this."  Her little son also told us that his mom cries a lot.  I told him when she cries he needs to give her a big hug and a kiss. So, yesterday at church this sister said, "Whenever I cry, G. comes and give me a hug and kiss and tells me that 'the sisters said I needed to do this to make you feel better."  Sister C. is a saint.  There is a beautiful place being prepared for her in heaven.  I know it.

I know I'm so privileged to be here.  Sometimes I have to find it in my heart though - like my love and my purpose.  I strive each day to be better.  I KNOW Heavenly Father is aware.  So that's a comforting thought.  He know us..He knows our desires and our needs.  He loves us more than we can understand.  And that's why I'm here - to help people recognize that and to continue gaining a relationship with Him through this Gospel.  This Gospel - what I love so much - is why I'm here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We have so many reasons to be happy...

Sister Frame, just off the plane

Hi All!  This week went by fast - well, this week feels like a year, but at the same time, it feels like I just had P-day....

The scriptures and the power that comes from reading them are what have kept me here on my mission.  Any time I think I'm uncomfortable or want to cry, I just open my scriptures.  The words change my life everyday.  There is SO MUCH in them that answers ALL of my questions.  I have never been so obsessed with the Book of Mormon.  I am so intrigued.  That's all I do when I have a minute to spare.  I am So Grateful for the scriptures.  Love them.  Cherish them.  Live them.  It will make you happy.

Ward council yesterday was 4.5 hours long...I understood probably 1/10 of what was being said...and that fraction I understood was in English.  - (and we took a break like every other hour to eat something.  Filipinos love snacks).  I love our Bishop - he's a stud.  He really has our back as missionaries and is always having us over for dinner.  His wife is a bomb cook.

Oh, I still speak English.  Really.  I don't know this language.  I got chewed out by a Filipino man the other night.  I was just chill in, kinda dazed out as my companion was talking to him about the printer at the store.  He turned to me and asked if I understood what he was saying.  I said, "Konti-lang," a little bit.  And then he started:  I'm in this country, I need to respect it by speaking Tagalog.  I was.....super annoyed.  It had been a long day, and I just looked at him, and legitimately said, "Dude, I'm trying."  I know that wasn't the most polite, dignified, or proper way to act as a sister missionary....but we aren't perfect.  and I don't even feel bad for that one.

I've learned how to say the important things like, "Hello" is ...hello.  And I know how to say, "it smells so bad," "I'm hungry," or in more cases, "No thanks, I'm full...really, I'm full...I don't want anymore of your fish gut soup."  ....and some other gospel related things.  I'm working on it..and fasting and praying for the gift of tongues...and reading the Tagalog Book of Mormon everyday.  Eventually, hopefully within the next 16 months, I'll improve.

I have many reasons to be happy.  I teach the most incredible individuals in the world.  My whole days are centered around the gospel, and I have the help and strength from the Lord in everything I do.

I'm happy.  I'm blessed.  so blessed.  I'm grateful to be here.  I'm grateful for the experiences...even on the rough days.  I remind myself that it will all be ok.  It always is.  The Scriptures and Prayer keep my going.  I don't feel lonely when I pray.  I pray in my head about 90% of the day...and the other 10% is out loud.  ha.  Be happy, we have so many reasons to be happy.  Thank you for all your support.  I love you and pray for you each day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm still here

I'm am here.  In the Philippines.  I've already had some experiences I hold so close and dear to my heart.

John Paul - age 24.  The week before I got here, he showed up to church.  He had just been left by his fiance, who left with another man and took all their wedding savings. 

So, instead of going and drinking and gambling,
he decided to go to church.  He dressed up and came to the nearest chapel.  The week I arrived, we taught him a lesson and have continued to do so 10 more times.  He committed to be baptized on July 28 (his birthday - he wanted to make it special).  Every lesson he has been so receptive.  You can see the light in his face and the peace he feels when he comes to a lesson.

And, every lesson, I make myself look like an idiot.  He would laugh and feel really uncomfortable for me, and then we would just carry on with the lesson. 

He would learn something, I would learn something, and he continued to get closer to Heavenly Father.  Yesterday, he didn't come to church, and we learned that he had been transferred to work an hour away.  He was too sad and shy to mention to us that that was happening.  

So, he left.  However, I told him to go to church on Sunday and find the missionaries there.  

I pray pray pray that he will continue to listen to the missionaries.  And I pray that he will be watched over.

I give away lots of things - like gum.  The first day I was here, I gave a piece to a kid and realized that it was golden.  

We visited Rolando and his wife and two children.  They live under a tree fort.  Their house is a bunch of blankets strung together, tied up in the tree branches.  They live under it.  He has a son named Junior.  Junior is 4, and the first time I met him, he was very hesitant.  So, I gave him a picture of Jesus. Then the next time I visited, I gave him some gum, and slowly he really warmed up to me.  

That was Friday.  The following Wednesday, we came back.  And Junior was excited to see me.  I noticed he was chewing the same piece of gum that I had given him 5 days before.  So I quickly gave him a new piece, and he threw his old piece on the ground.  His Smile is one I WILL NEVER forget.

These people change my life everyday.  The people I am privileged to teach....I love them...I love them...with my whole heart.

Don't get me wrong - like...I still don't know the language.  One bit.  I'm worse than I was last week.  But I just speak in English.  Sometimes I forget that I'm supposed to be speaking a different language.  That kind of stresses me out, but....Whatever.  I don't want to think about it.

I'm still obsessed with the moon.  The weather is ridiculous - but I can't change it, so it's not worth thinking twice about.  Every Filipino asks how old I am.  When they hear I'm 20 they all say, "Oh you are so young.  You look 15!  When they say that I always want to say, "look who's talking."  but I don't. If every dog in the Philippines got sucked up by some flying vacuum, I would be very happy.