Monday, January 20, 2014
I was transferred to the Cauayan Zone. womp womp womp. I have just come from Solano...the zone that taught me now to love the people. This area is actually pretty great, and the people are sweet. The place is green and has lots of palm trees. So, I'm happy. I can be myself here - goofy with all the members.
My comp is Sister S. and she's pocket sized. She's been out about a year, and she's Filipina (holla!) and super fun. We live in new apartments right next to two other sisters in our branch.
Sis. S is a super hard working, which I love. I've met some incredible incredible people in the area - like the recent converts D.M. and the Powderpuff girls. No really, that's what we call them. That's what the whole town calls them. They are four best friends and they all just got baptized. I love teaching them. They are the happiest, simplest little girls I've every seen. They've taught me a lot.
Our branch is awesome. They are so supportive and so funny. Church was comfortable for the first time. I had the COOLEST job yesterday during Sunday School and Relief Society. There is a 17 year old girl in our branch who is deaf. And since there is no such thing as Tagalog Sign Language, she knows American Sign Language. So...technically, she's fluent in English. I got to sit next to her and translate the lessons from Tagalog into English writing words in her notebook. She is the cutest little girl, and had so much light to her. I can't explain it. It was the most spiritual, humbling church block I have been to on my mission. Her energy and happiness were illuminated from her face. It was just so sincere. You could see the spirit inside of her. I felt privileged to sit next to her and translate, and hope I get to do it every week.
I love you all. Thank you for the updates. Keep reading the scriptures.
Heavenly Father has given us everything we need. Don't take it for granted.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
December 25, 2013
Skype with Sister Frame
Hi everyone! Our district won some raffle prize which landed us in the mission home (3 hours away) for Preparation Day....womp womp womp. We had pizza and played some games that I'm pretty sure I played in fourth grade.
I got some news earlier today that I'm getting transferred on Wednesday...bummed about this.
I LOVE Solano. I fell in love with this place...my branch has the most incredible individuals in the world. This area is every missionary's "dream area"...why did I only get 6 weeks here. I guess there's no fighting it....but I'm so so so so so so nervous about what's in store for me in these next few days. It's funny how I'm always preaching "have faith in Jesus Christ," and daily I'm faced with challenges that test my own faith and how good I am at practicing what I preach. Usually I'm struggle busin' it. But this week is a good opportunity to increase my faith (that's the positive outlook I came up with).
My mind is heavy and full of things I have to do and "goodbyes" I have to say. I hate that the mission is full of goodbyes. I guess I'll update you guys next week....love you all and miss you - of course.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I'm a day late with my letter! Yesterday our Zone went to Banaue Rice Terraces (It used to be a world wonder ya know). We hiked Batad. If you hike through the rice terraces and go down further, you get a waterfall. We left at 4 am and got home at 8 pm.
Honestly, that hike rocked my world. I thought I was gonna die. It was the hardest thing I've done physically in years - a harsh reality of how out of shape I am. From my head to the tip of my toes, I'm sore. I feel like I'm back in high school during Spring conditioning for track.
It was i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. I can't even describe it. Pictures won't do it justice. The whole time I was thinking, "what a beautiful world we live in. God is so good." and then I was thinking about how I wish all my family and friends were here to see it. Banaue is my dream Neverland. I never wanted to leave - I literally just felt like I was in the Book of Mormon stories or something (but in the Philippines). The way these villagers live...it's like Lamanite times.
Happy New Year everyone - My new year's eve was spent in my apartment (I hate lockdown)...with wheat break and some Tang to celebrate. I wrote in my journal, set some goals. By 10:30, I had nothing to do, so I called it a night and went to sleep. I was awakened at midnight be literal "booms." I thought we were getting bombed. Our whole house was shaking. It was unreal (understatement). I went to my back porch where I could only look up and see a bit of the sky. We have jail cell bars - but from what I could see the whole sky was lighting up. The fire works getting shot into the sky and exploding above the silhouettes of the palm trees were beautiful. These were not just the ones we play with on the 4th of July - the ones getting lit by every family in the entire city were "Stadium of Fire" status. They were the kinds that you need like professional permits for in America. How cool, right? What better way to start the new year than with a fantastic dose of fireworks which is one of my favorite things in the world. I went to bed with a smile on my face.
So, this week, I had a lot of personal growth. Lots of self-realization and correction. I've learned a lot on my mission, and have a lot more to learn. I've been on my knees in prayer more than usual. but it's helped me see the miracles I have in my life everyday. Heavenly Father....He's my best friend. He's sent angels to me this week. I pray for the companionship of Grandpa John all the time. and I can always recognize and feel his comfort as I work. He's with me. I know it.
The language is still so so hard. But, I have started reading the Book of Mormon in Tagalog. It's about time. I've tried it before - but have never been patient enough to keep at it, because I always felt like it was wasting my time.
I can tell a difference though. Not that I suddenly know Tagalog, but the days I get the time to read it, I notice in lessons how much easier the language flows, or how much sharper my mind is to picking certain things up. I really can't describe it really. But it's working little by little.
Sister N and I were teaching this family who are less active. They have a 12 year old son who hasn't been baptized, so we started teaching him. He's super shy. I could not tell if he was getting anything we were saying, and I was getting nervous. At one point, 20 minutes into the lesson, I asked bluntly if he understood. Then his mom mentioned, "oh, J doesn't understand Tagalog. He only speaks Ilokano." ....oh. right. good. The 12 year old only speaks Ilokano. Thanks for the tip. We have two investigators right now that do not speak Tagalog....hahaha. That's all I can do. Is laugh about it - or else I'll cry.
We were teaching Nanay T again this week. She loves having us around. We were teaching her about trusting Heavenly Father (a lesson for me just as much as for her) and as she was saying the closing prayer she broke down into tears. Just weeping. As she finished, she grabbed my face and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and said, "Thank you," over and over again. I didn't understand, then she proceeded to open up to me more about so many hardships she was having.
But it clicked for me. It all became clear. The power that comes from trusting in Heavenly Father.
If we trust in Heavenly Father, we can accomplish anything.
"Rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely on Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, more personally." - Elder Terence M Vinson
I don't know Tagalog. My companion does not know Tagalog. But, I've learned to trust that Heavenly Father will help us in this work. He's not gonna let me fail. And that's what I recognize everyday. Each night as I go to bed and think about the things I accomplished that day, I recognize that there is NO WAY that I could have done what I did without His help and strength. No way.
Anyway - that's my week. One more week until transfers. I don't know what's gonna happen, but I'm trusting that it will all be ok.
I'm grateful for this Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are lucky to have it. Seriously - share it. Bear your testimony as often as you can. It will strengthen your own. That's something I've learned on my mish.
- Sister Frame