Monday, October 28, 2013
Happy Halloween everyone!...we don't have Halloween here. I've just been listening to Christmas music the last two months. It's getting old. Thankfully, the weather is actually cooling down. It's now in the mid-70's. I don't have to sleep with an electric fan 3 feet away from my bed anymore.
Sister L. and I worked especially hard this week, and we saw miracles.
On Tuesday, we were walking around town, laughing, telling jokes as always - trying to talk to everyone we see, and we got to one of our investigator's barangays. We fully expected to get punted...as always, but...
As we were walking through the Alley, we saw this Nanay who popped her head out and smiled (with no teeth - which made it even sweeter). She asked us what we were teaching. We started talking to her about how we are missionaries. She mentioned that she saw us a few weeks before when we were walking through the rain -the day before the typhoon - and she thought to herself, "They must have something important to do if they are out in this weather." Then, the next day, she had a heart attack! She said at the hospital she realized that she's not ready to die, and that there's more she needs to do in her life.
So when she saw us, she felt the strong prompting to talk to us...and here we all were. Right away we started getting to know her and teaching her about the Gospel. And once again - I saw firsthand the truthfulness of the promise that Heavenly Father has promised us -
that He does prepare people and He does send them our way.
Also...there are many beggars here. Unfortunately. This last week Sister L. and I went to McDo's for breakfast for our six week anniversary - ok, in celebration of us finishing our first six weeks together. It was about 7:00 am, and as we sat down, I noticed this barefoot boy sitting on the curb right outside. He waited there with a whistle in his hand for cars or triceys to come, and he would direct them into a parking spot or help them back out, in hopes that he would get a peso for a tip.
I watched this for a while, no longer hungry, and I know he was staring at me in return, too. But he wasn't staring at me like every other beggar that wants money, he was just looking at me like I was another human being. Like I was his sister or something. There was so much depth. Sister L. and I ordered some more pancakes and hash browns and took them out to this boy. As I sat down next to him, I asked how old he was. 15. I then asked where his parents were. Not around. I just pictured Davis in his position, and my heart literally ached. If this was my little brother sitting on the curb directing cars from sun up to sun down for money, I would pray that somebody, anybody would do something nice for him.
His name is C. He's the politest person I've ever met. And all day long I could not stop thinking about him. Each night I pray that he finds a safe place to sleep. Every time L. and I see him around town now, we buy him some food. This week our goal is to invite him to church. There's no harm in an invitation.
That's a taste of some of the people I came in contact with this week. The Philippines is incredible, right? These people - so humble, and I have much to learn from them.
I'm grateful to be a missionary. It's so hard. But, it's an experience that is priceless. It's rewarding, and the most humbling thing I've ever been apart of.
Thanks for the updates and love. Mahal kits. Syempre.
Favorite Scripture: Alma 7:11-13
Monday, October 21, 2013
I want to tell you about two little girls that I love with my whole heart. Really.
Cn. (8) and Cl. (10).
I met them back in July. when we were teaching their dad. His name is Cr. I wrote in my journal that night, "He is so sweet. I can just see it. The light in his eyes. He is special."So, we taught Cr. a little bit...when we could. He works in the rice fields, so he's not always home. He's in his 50's, and his eyesight is bad, so he didn't really read the things we asked him to.
One day, we were there when his two daughters came home from school. They walked in the gate and passed right by us, walking straight into the house without even giving us a second look. Cr. called for them to come out and say hello to us, but they refused. So shy...and that was our first meeting.
Later that week, Sister P. and I were walking to church and saw Cr. and his two little girls there in the parking lot. We ran over to them and welcomed them to church. We were SO excited to see them! We took the girls to primary and showed Cr. to the Priesthood meeting. Unfortunately, that was the last time we got Cr. to church. We continue to teach him every once in a while. He told us how much his girls loved primary.
So that brings us to the first week with my companion, Sister L. 6 Sundays ago. We were sitting with the congregation, and toward the end of Sacrament Meeting, I noticed two little girls sitting a few rows up. I remember thinking, ""where are those girls' parents?....wait,...is that? no....it couldn't be!
It was Cr.'s little girls! They went to Primary, Sunday School, and sat reverently all through sacrament meeting by themselves - knowing absolutely NO ONE and being too shy to talk to anyone. As the meeting got over, I quickly ran up to them and expressed my excitement to see them. I asked where their dad was, and they so quietly responded "bahay naming" (our house). I then asked if Sister L. and I could come to their house later and see them again. They said yes.
That night we went back to the household, not for Cr. This time for the adorable little girls that just weeks before were too shy to acknowledge our presence as missionaries.
The first lesson was painfully quiet. They were almost too shy to even make eye contact with us. But, we know they wanted us there because as we were leaving Cn. asked when we were going to come back.
We go back every other day. To those precious little girls. Cl. is Laren and Cn. is me. I see us in them. I noticed it first when Cn. burped so loud during a lesson. She just laid it out there, and you could see in her eyes that even she was a little surprised at the power the burp had. Such a big noise came out of such a precious little girl. Classic.
But each time we go there, I see it more. We taught them to pray a little while ago. Cl. opened the lesson with the prayer (quietly), and at the end we asked Cn. to say the closing prayer. Cn. didn't say "No," but she looked to Cl. with these helpless eyes. And without any exchange of communication, Cl. knelt down next to Cn. and helped her. With quiet words, she would start a sentence and let Cn. repeat after her. Together they gave the most beautiful prayer that I have heard in the Philippines.
I was so touched. Cn. looked to Cl. for the help and without any hesitation, Cl. helped her little sister. Cl. is a little fashionista. Cn. is a little more loud and quirky. Cl. genuinely cares for Cn. Cn. looks up to Cl. in every way. They protect each other. They are perfect sisters.
Each time we go over there they tell us how they pray together morning and night, before they eat and before they leave for school. They continue to come to church each Sunday, too. Without fail, they are there early waiting in the front of the church for us to arrive. They even came and sat through General Conference with us like champions.
In the past, Cr. told us that his wife was in Hong Kong working as an OFW (overseas' Filipino worker). This week we asked Cn. and Cl. about their mom. We started with the question, "When is she coming home?" Cl. said, "When I'm in grade 6," (Now she's in grade 5). Then we asked her when her mom left. Cl. said, "When I was in kindergarten. Cn. was just a baby."
This is where I broke. These girls! I can't explain it. They are just so full of light. Cn. always gives the closing prayers in our lessons, and the last few weeks Cl. has made the habit of sneaking quietly away. She usually makes it back in time before Cn. finishes, but there have been a few times where we say, "Amen," and Cl. is just gone. ha. At first we were confused, but she always comes back with something. Like the first time it was a beaded bracelet she made for us. The next time it was chocolates she saved from school. Once it was Chinese stationary from her mom. Last night it was a band aid. When she gave it to me I said, "oh! a bandaid. Salamat!" Cn. then laughingly asked why she gave me a bandaid. I was confused myself. But she pointed to the scab on my arm...it was so genuine.
We give them a hug goodbye each time we leave. And they always remind us to return the "day after tomorrow." Sister L. and I will leave and be walking down the street...3-5 minutes later we will hear, "Bye Sisters!" We'll look back and see that they will have quiety followed us from a far distance, and right before we head out of sight, they yell goodbye.
These girls have taught me a lot. More than I could ever teach them. I've seen the pure love of Christ in them. They are perfect examples of Charity. I'm trying to be more like them.
OK, super long - if anyone is still reading this, I love you. I miss you all.
This Gospel of Jesus Christ is real.
And this mission is so humbling.
I'm enjoying the journey
and meeting people that I will NEVER forget.
We are all blessed. Don't every forget it.
mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal do kayo!
- Sister Frame
Thursday, October 17, 2013
and A Trip to the Zoo
This week...there was a Typhoon (Mom, how did you know? are you stalking me? are you here? if you are...stop hiding. come hang with Sister L. and I). The day before it hit was super windy and stormy...naturally. All day we were receiving texts from the mission home for preparation and updates. The town people were on the move to higher ground. Sis. L was shocked I still suggested we work. But it was so funny to work - like the wind made it fun to trudge through the streets. Whenever anyone did anything, L. and I would look at each other and say, "ooooh. The Typhoon, that's why."
not funny? maybe ya had to be there.
We're still hearing typhoon excuses....two days later.
The funniest part is...the typhoon completely missed us. I woke up Saturday morning, and the first thing I said to L. was, "uh...hello! did we get skipped!?" all the hype - for nothing? But really it was a blessing. Because a lot of the people (all of the people) here in Santiago can't afford a typhoon. really. Typhoons ruin lives. People don't come back from those. So, we are truly blessed. I don't know how the rest of the mission did, but my area is alive and well.
Also good: the typhoon did not affect our ability to watch conference.
Conference was the best. My favorite part of the week.
As for investigators - we have lots. We're working on their progression...some right now are struggling in keeping commitments. They are SO CLOSE to having so many blessings. L. and I are prayerfully studying and working on the lessons to teach so that they can understand the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes complications come in with the whole "marriage" situation here. There is no such thing as a normal divorce here in the Philippines. One of our biggest set backs is people getting or being married. It's expensive.
But, Heavenly Father is in charge. We'll figure it out.
I love you all, thanks for everything. The Gospel is so real. Count your blessings. Write them down. Read them when you're having a hard day. Then thank Heavenly Father for them.
2 Nephi 2:8 and 26:33
Mosiah 2:36 and 4:9-10
Our district went to the "zoo" last week. How can I say this? It was basically just all the animals I see wandering the streets everyday...behind a cage.
Monday, October 7, 2013
You all talked about how great General Conference was...but the reality of the Philippines is that we are 15 hours ahead of you...so I don't get to watch conference until next Sunday. I realized that you would all be watching conference...I got a little homesick...Oh, how I wish I could enjoy conference weekend like I used to - with all our friends gathered in the apartment for breakfast; or all driving to D.S.'s house for the weekend.
I'm thrilled to watch it this upcoming Saturday - and I will pay close attention to the talks you claimed as your favorites.
As for me:
I was able to watch the Relief Society General Broadcast Saturday afternnon.
I think it was my first time watching one of those.
But I LOVED it. Especially because it was in English. It was the first time since I left the MTC that I was able to be spiritually uplifted through something I could actually fully understand. We had about 50 Relief Society women show up at 1:00 pm. They came from all over the area (some traveling hours to be there), dressed in their Sunday best to come watch.
I was impressed.
However, it totally stressed me out because it WAS in English (with no Tagalog subtitles or anything)
and I was thinking,
How do these people understand? They aren't getting this...
But then as I thought about it, I was touched.
and willingness to come and listen and feel of the Spirit and see the Prophet regardless.
It was an example to me.
MY FRUSTRATING/ENLIGHTENING MOMENT OF THE WEEK:
Sister L. and I were waiting in the chapel last Tuesday for an appointment with a member. I became discouraged as we talked to him.
Many of the members are quick to assume that because I don't know fluent Tagalog, I just basically don't know anything.
Like they just think that I don't know where we're teaching, or the peoples' needs, or even the names of our investigators.
They honestly look at me like I'm deaf and blind. And I was just so genuinely sad. Because I felt so stupid.
As we left and walked to N.'s, I was expressing to Sister L. how hard it is that the members think I am completely incompetent as a missionary here...and ok - yes - I cried. sorta. I got teary. But we got to N.'s. As we walked up, Sh. (her 2 year old daughter) came out and gave me a hug. and I literally just broke. But, I just picked up Sh. and cried. N. came out and asked why I was crying - hold up - I feel ok crying in front of Nilda because she is like a sister to me. I talked to her about it and quickly got over it
and we taught our lesson
and went on with our lives.
But, the other day, N. gave me 2 letters. One from her. One from M. I read them as I walked home. They were the sweetest letters I have ever read. They were written in pure English. and you know what - it was awful English. I couldn't even understand some sentences. But the love that I felt from them, made those letters perfect.
Brett also wrote me a letter this week and he mentioned the Relief Society motto, "Charity never Faileth." and he said
Charity is speaking Tagalog even if you don't know it perfectly or how to pronounce it correctly, but speaking it with love.
I honestly would not have completely understood the meaning of what he told me if I hadn't seen it through the example of M. and N. They are very special people to me.
There are many things each day that happen that I wish were on film. funny, sad, hilarious moments that I just can't fully explain. If they made a reality TV show of Sister L. and me we would seriously become more famous than the missionaries on "the district." or we would be emergency transferred for being so hilarious.
We make the long walks and the hottest days fun to endure. Sister L. is so with it. She can totally keep up with American humor. We spend the majority of our days just laughing and telling jokes. Most of our investigators tell us they can hear us coming because we laugh so hard...or we have all the kids chasing us down the road.
I don't know what it is but every single barangay we teach in has a gang or 6-10 year olds that love to follow us. They ask us the same questions every single day: What's your name? Where do you live? What do you eat? (answer: mga bata! "little children!") Are you married? Where is your mom?
It's fun. This is fun.
I'm gonna write a book when I get home, Indigestion sa Pilipinas, Tae Kayo...Po*. It will be a short story series.
I am grateful for each of your examples. I'm on a mission because of them. And I promise you that this Gospel of Jesus Christ is real. I know it with my whole heart. It's the best feeling really. Life is good when you know things are true.
- Sister Frame
Favorite scriptures of the week: Mark 5:36 and 16:15-20, 3 Nephi 27:27, Doctrine and Covenants section 6
*Bonus story below. You've been warned:
Last night I had the WORST dinner appointment of my life. It was at one of our investigators houses, and it is going to take all of the energy of my heart to get me to go back there.
She fed us blood pudding and frog scewers. Oh come on people! The thing is - I've eaten worse...but last night I was just not in the mood. Blood pudding tastes like...blood. but from a pig. It should never be consumed by anyone, or any living creature. And to the Elders who claim to "like it," you need to see a doctor. Frog is really chewy. I kept trying to convince myself it was some kind of candy. That mind game only held me over until we left the appointment. Then it all came out. So, Nathan and Davis, the next time you complain about what mom makes for dinner...go catch a frog and see how that tastes.