Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013 Wow! Magalis ang bagong taon!

Christmas time here in Gua Gua....very hot!

Me and Rusha Tapiador.  She reminds me of Sarah and Mary!  I miss them but this is their replacement for now :)

Happy New Year Family!!!

I can't believe that it is already 2014...well in two days.  This year went by so fast.  I can't believe that this time last year, I was waiting for my call to come and wondering where I was going to be for the next year and a half.  I would never have guessed the Philippines but I know that this is where I am supposed to be!

This last week was obviously Christmas and it is very different here in the Philippines.  Apparently New Year is actually more of a bigger holiday than Christmas here (I'll see if that's true in a few days) but Christmas was good.  Of course, none of our investigators wanted us to come teach them so we just went to all the members houses in our areas.  And every house fed us. Busog na busog ako!!!!  I have NEVER been that full in my life!  Not even on American Thanksgiving. Even though we were full, they would get offended if we didn't eat the food, so we'd eat and then they'd say "More sisters! More!" Oh man.  So full.  We didn't really feel hungry for the next two days.  They say that's what new years is like...or maybe even more.  Oh dear....

We had two really neat experiences with investigators these last two weeks.  First of all, Mario.  So I think that I said that he really likes us coming to his house and he always reads the Book of Mormon.  Last week, he told us that he just didn't feel like he could make the decision to be baptized.  He knows that it is a big decision but we told him to pray to Heavenly Father.  Last week, we decided to put the lessons on hold and really focus on building his faith.  So we read with him from the Book of Mormon and explained his reading to him.  We focused a lot on prophets and how important they are for us.  It was one of the most spiritual lessons we have taught.  Sister Hausia and I were really working didn't feel like a Sister Sirrine lesson and then Sister Hausia when I stopped talking.  I feel like we were really following the spirit and there were even some things that I said that surprised myself.  I know that was the spirit guiding my words.  Then this week, we went to him and we asked him how his preparation for baptism is going.  He was quiet for a long time and I was so afraid that he was going to tell us that he doesn't feel that it is right.    Then he said quietly, "Gustong gusto ko iyan. Naniniwala ako." (I really really want that.  I believe.) Talk about a huge rush of the spirit!  I think I know what the Nephites were talking about in the Book of Mormon when they say that they are so happy that there aren't words to describe it.  I didn't really know what to say to him other than our Heavenly Father is so happy with his decision and his faith.  Then our lesson was on Word of wisdom and he drinks coffee and tea but he said that's easy to give up.  It's easy because he knows it's true and he knows that Joseph Smith is true and so of course he'll follow the commandment.  Our district leader told us that if they have faith, nothing can stop them from being baptized.  And I know that is so true!  I know that Mario will be baptized and I am so excited for him.

Then, we taught a first lesson to an investigator, Mary Ann.  She's 17 and she told us that she's studied with almost every religion here.  When we got to the part about Joseph Smith in our lesson, she read the first vision and just said "Wow." Then she looked at us and said that we are different than anyone she has talked to.  And that her feelings right then were different too.  She said that she is really curious because even our appearance or aura is different.  She said that she can't wait for us to come back and give her a Book of Mormon because she knows that our message is different than anyone else's.  It was so nice to teach her because almost every time we teach the restoration, the people say afterwords, oh that's just like the Catholics.  Of course, we believe in the Bible so explaining about prophets and Jesus Christ is what they would read in the Bible but they don't see that it really is different.  The difference is the restoration.  I have really gained a testimony here that the restoration story, coupled with the Book of Mormon is what really has power to convert people.  (And the Holy Ghost of course) When they say,"Oh your church is just like ours." I say that it is not.  There is nothing in our church that is like theirs because ours is unique from every religion.  And it's not just another religion.  This is the original church that Christ established.  There is no other.

I feel like we are finally finding some investigators that have a lot of potential.  Unfortunately, transfer day is in two weeks and I've been here in Gua Gua a long time so I probably will get transferred.  So I probably wont be here to see them baptized which is sad.  But I know that this work is so important and that there are so many people who need the message that we are here trying to tell them.  And of course, every member a missionary so it's not just the missionaries that have a responsibility to share this message with the people.  It's everyone!  I love you all and I hope that you had a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Camille Duque was finally baptized!

Oh!  And, one of my investigators back in sept/oct, Camille, finally got baptized!!!!!!  She is technically the elder's baptism but I feel like she's mine too.  Best Christmas present ever!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013 Malapit na ang Pasco!!!

A Jeepney!!!

One of our families the Laxa family!

Three of our investigators: Mary Ann, Jinky, and Liza. 

Hello Family!!!

Well, everyone here is in the Christmas spirit and now I am too especially after watching the First Presidency Christmas devotional yesterday.  It was sooooo good!  Especially Elder Nelson!  I loved his talk.  I loved it all!  I have to admit, I saw everyone wearing sweaters and the lights on temple square and I got a little bit homesick for a minute.  But then I got over it!  It's kind of hard for me to really believe that it is Christmas because you just see the decorations and hear the music and you don't smell pine or cookies or see snow.  It just doesn't seem like Christmas but it's fun to experience what Christmas is like in a different part of the world.  We've already had so many people invite us to their house for Christmas....I can tell I'm going to be so full!  And we had one investigator invite us over for new years eve to drink.  We told them that wasn't allowed for us.  (we haven't gotten to Word of Wisdom yet...maybe we'll wait until after the new year....haha)

We found two investigators, a couple, that I am so excited about!  Mario and Mary.  I think I wrote about Mary last week but this week we had a chance to teach her husband.  We went to teach Mary and she wasn't there.  So I did the normal "Oh!  We'd love to share with you too!"  Not really expecting him to let us because Mary wasn't there.  But to my surprise, he said "Tuloy kayo!"  (come in) I was so surprised I said "Now??" So we went in and he had seen the pamphlet that we had given his wife and started reading it.  And he'd started reading the Book of Mormon too!  He is just so ready!  When we asked when we could come back, he said he would love it if we came there everyday.  (That always makes a missionary feel good...especially when there are so many other people that are avoiding us...) The only problem is, his wife doesn't want to come to church until she knows that it is true.  I guess our explanation that you have to go to church to know if it is true didn't really click yet.  But, we're going to try and get some fellowshippers out to her.  They're also kind of nervous to attend a church where they don't know anyone.  So hopefully that will help her feel comfortable about attending.  I have a really strong feeling that they will be baptized, although I think that I will be transferred before they are baptized.  Oh well...

We also had another lesson with an investigator that was one of the hardest lessons I've taught but I think it turned out okay.  She is studying with Jehovah's Witnesses too (That's always tough) and she has a lot of questions.  Lots of questions.  Like, what is God's name?  If we are praying to him, we should know his name.  And, "If a man sees God, the Bible says he will die.  I don't believe that Joseph Smith saw god" and "Joseph Smith isn't in the bible.  If he's a prophet his name should be there." and lots of other questions like that.  Those lessons are super hard not to immediately just answer the question, but you have to not do that because they don't have the doctrinal foundation for the answer and then it turns into contending about the Bible.  So, we just have to bear our testimony about our message and get back to the lesson.  She also didn't want to read the Book of Mormon because it says that we should not add to the Bible.  I was praying so hard for Heavenly Father to help us in that discussion because I can see that she really wants to know and she is just lost right now as far as the truth.  We just kept bearing our testimony and we told her that if she doesn't read the Book of Mormon, she can't tell us that it isn't true.  And that she has to give it a fair chance.  Eventually, at the end of the lesson, she was very quiet and agreed that she couldn't say we were wrong if she didn't read the book.  And she agreed to read a little bit everyday.  She still doesn't believe us, but she is willing to try the promise of Moroni and she read the chapter summary from the reading assignment we gave her and she said "Oh! that's true!".  I honestly could not believe that she agreed to read and try to do what we told her to do.  Usually those kind of people are emphatic about not reading the BOM.  But I know that the spirit was there and she felt something.  I know that there was nothing that we said that could have changed her mind, only the Spirit.  And it's amazing to me to see how powerful a testimony is.  People will always have a contending answer for anything you say except when you say "I know this is true for myself".  They are always quiet after that.  They don't have anything to say when we bear testimony of truth.  Whether they believe it or not.

So those were two of our really neat experiences this week.  Life here in Gua Gua is good.  Sister Hausia is doing great and she's doing really well at Tagalog.  She is learning so fast!  And we get along really great.  I don't know what I'm going to do when one of us is transferred in January!  Something funny about her though is that she is DEATHLY afraid of frogs.  Like seriously.  It's actually a little ridiculous because there are tons of frogs at night and so it's almost a little hard to be out walking.  But the good thing is that I am not afraid of frogs and so I fearlessly walk past them and she hides behind me as they hop away.  No matter how many times I tell her they are harmless, she is still afraid of them.  So strange.  And.....I have gotten her to start eating vegetables!!!!  Her mother is going to be so happy!  (I just threaten her with my eyes when we're at a dinner appointment because it's too rude to leave food on the plate)  She's up to eating 4 vegetables willingly and she'll swallow the others without chewing them.  By the end of her mission she'll like them all!

Life is good and I miss you all, but I know that the work here is important.  And I also know that there is lots of work to do all around us!  We just need to open our eyes to the needs of others, just like they said in the Christmas devotional, and think less about ourselves.  Basically, we just need to act like Christ would act which is always thinking about and serving other people.  Never Himself.  I love you all and I know that the Church is true!

Ingat kayo!

Sister Sirrine

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 9, 2013 Hello!

Driving a tricycle! joke lang
Ice cream!  15 pesos lang sa 7 11!!! I love it!

Glydel Roque just turned 13
The Yambao family
Hello Family!

Me and my two Polynesian children!
So this week was pretty good.  One of the Sisters finished her mission and so she went home.  And so we were in a trisome until Sister Makihele got her new comp.  It was really funny to be in a companionship with two Tongans.  All of us foreigners!  I realized the reason why you should never put two polynesians in a companionship.  They laughed and laughed and laughed the whole 3 days!  It was really fun.  And It was super funny because the people always talk to Sis Makihele or Sis Hausia (because they look like they could be Filipino) and then I'm the one that answers (because I can understand them!).  I wish you could see the faces of the people here when I'm the one that talks to them in Tagalog. It was especially good that we were in a trisome of laughter on Tuesday because we were punted the entire day.  As in no appointments.  Everyone was gone.  But masaya pa rin kami!  We just laughed and so everyone probably thinks we're crazy here!

Sister Makihele &  new comp Sister Gabelo, Sis Hausia & me.  
But we found several new investigators this week that I am excited about.  One is Mary and she is sobrang magaling!  She asks a lot of questions but they are all the right kind of questions (not the kind trying to get us to trip up).  And she is very welcome to having us come back.  A lot of times they'll say "Oh next week, same time" but she was willing to let us come back a few days later.  Hopefully we will be able to teach her husband and her children too!  She really wants us too!  We've really realized how hard it is to convert a sister if her husband isn't converted too.  Or at least listening to the missionaries too.  Because the father is the head of the household and so it's important for him to feel respected or at least be okay with our teaching.  Pretty much if the father joins...eventually the family will follow.

Me and sis hausia
Also we have one family that I really really really want to see baptized.  I can see that they aren't entirely happy in their family right now but I know how much the gospel will bless their lives.  We've really tried to focus on the husband because the wife is more than willing but the husband is hesitant.  They promised they would come to church but unfortunately that didn't happen.  We don't really know why...hopefully mamaya we will know.  That really is the hardest thing!  The investigators say that they feel what we are saying is true, but they don't come to church!  We had 9 investigators promise they would come and we had zero show up.  A little disappointing but we just keep praying for them and trying to see what we can do better in our teaching to help them realize how important coming to church is.  I'm a little worried that my teaching isn't effective because week after week, we have no investigators at church.  And of course, Sis Hausia follows my teaching pattern because I'm her trainer.  I still feel way too new and feel like my teaching needs so much improvement!  But I guess that's where the spirit will take over.  Of course we can't teach this gospel like it should be, and so that's when the spirit will testify to the them that what we are saying is true.  Even if it was said in very ugly Tagalog or didn't completely make sense.  I just keep praying that I am worthy enough to always have the spirit with me because I have definitely seen what the lessons are like when the spirit is not there.  Not good.
Ouc\r branch presidency...and John Malig.  Four of the most helpful members here!

Other than that, we are trying to find new investigators but I think we've finally got a set teaching pool.  It's been kind of hard because everyone is willing to listen to me because I am American, but they're not always interested.  So the last 6 weeks has been a lot of teaching the Restoration and filtering! But I think we've got some promising investigators....still early to tell but I have faith!

Oh, and also, for all you who were wondering, Gua Gua is pronounced Gwa Gwa.  Also, mom, look for the Philippines Olongapo Families facebook page.  President Querido updates pictures and stuff on there.  And he recorded a video of me saying hello to you.  And I spoke in all Tagalog so you can hear what it sounds like....with an American accent of course!  So look for that.  And also, just to give you an idea of how much rice we eat...7 kilos every week.  Just an interesting fact :)

I love you all and I know that I was definitely called here to Olongapo mission and the Gua Gua area for a reason.  I have already seen a change in my testimony and I know how important this work is.  Have a great week!

Sister Sirrine

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 1, 2013 Tapos na! Another transfer...

Sunset in Gua Gua

Walking with Sister Hausia to a baptism.

Dear Family,

Kumusta po kayo?  P-day ulit!  Sobrang mabilis talaga ang transfer na ito pero sobrang masaya din.  At yata hindi ko malilipat....sana!

This week was really good.  Nothing very much out of the ordinary to report here in the Philippines.  Haha the Philippines is now normal to me. Actually right now, something funny is that as I am typing, the song outside in the mall is God Bless America and that song "but should auld acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on the grand old flag".  And I realize that they actually play American patriotic songs a lot here.  Hmmm.

Sister Hausia is progressing which makes me super happy as a trainer.  She will (hopefully) be ready to have a new comp by the time our next 6 weeks is up.  This week has been a little frustrating because most of our appointments haven't been home when we show up to their appointment.  But then we do street contacting and find new people.

At one of our lessons with a less active Erika DeLeon (she's 12), she gave the closing prayer and said "At sana, magiging katulad nina Sister Hausia at Sister Sirrine ako, at tulungan ako sa aking paghahanda sa aking mission." (And hopefully, I will become like Sister Hausia and Sister Sirrine and help me prepare for my mission)  It was one of those times when I just realized how much other people look to the missionaries and how big our responsibility is.  And we're just kids!  I realized that I need to do everything that I possibly can to be the best example for all the people, especially the kids here, because they watch what the missionaries do.

One sad thing was that we dropped our golden investigator Sheila.  She is totally ready, but her husband wont let her come to church.  And she's afraid of her husband (he drinks) so she won't let us talk to him and share with him.  So we finally had to tell her that although we feel like she is ready, maybe this isn't the right time because the missionaries need to respect the father and head of the household.  And of course, our purpose is to help people be baptized and she can't do that if she doesn't come to church.  So it was really sad last night, but hopefully the next missionaries who return to her will baptize her.  It's just sad because she is so ready.

But on the up side, we showed up at the home of one of the families that texted us and told us that they would text us when they had time again.  They were a little shy and said they would text us when we had time but we were persistent (I have learned to be REALLY persistent here) and kept asking when.  Then I asked (kind of awkwardly) if there was a problem.  The husband said no really quickly but the wife hesitated.  They said they would text us.  So we said good-bye and the wife walked us out to the main road and halfway there, she said that they did have a problem and she really wants her husband to change and she feels like our religion can do that.  And she totally opened up to us.  And then she said we could come back on Friday.  So we were able to teach them again.  For some reason, I really really feel like this family needs the gospel.  So we are going to be persistent with them.  Looking back, I feel like I followed the spirit when I asked if there was a problem.  I never ask that and it was a very awkward question but I've come to realize that sometimes the spirit isn't conventional and sometimes a little awkward to us.  But that is the question or the statement or the thing that that person needs and we just don't know it.  And of course, she totally opened up to us.

Last pics before Sister Alvero finished her mission. 

One other thing that was really spiritual this week:  Sister Alvero (the Filipino in our house) left to go home because she is done with her mission.  Her family is from Tacloban (where the super typhoon hit) and their house is gone, everything is gone so they are starting from scratch and hopefully moving to Manila.  But in Relief Society, just before she left, they said that if anyone had any donations for her family it would be nice (of course, she was totally embarrassed).  But sisters brought food and clothes and money.  And then one sister, a recent convert, came forward and gave her money.  We know for a fact that she gave all the money that she has.  All of it.  I think that it was only 20 pesos but I know that sometimes she goes days at a time without eating or just eats a handful of rice with a lot of water (basically soup).  But she gave everything that she has to Sister Alvero, even though Sister Alvero is probably better off than she is.  I was just struck by how humble and giving these people are.  It is truly amazing.  They are so willing to help everyone and yet they have nothing to give.  But they give it.  It made me think of the story in the Bible about the widow who gave her two pence and Christ said that she gave more than the rich men who gave a lot.  That is how I feel about the people here.  They give way more than I do.  Hopefully, by the end of my mission I will learn how to be more like the people here.

Well, the work is moving forward here!  I counted up all the baptisms that Gua Gua has had since I have been here:  10.  10 in just 4 months!  The church is growing!  I know that it is true and I love you all.  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving (I forgot about it...the couple missionaries reminded us the day after. But my Thanksgiving was good) and I love you all!

Sister Sirrine

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013 Kumusta Pamilya!

Kumusta pamilya!

Wow!  We’re in the last week of this transfer.  Time is certainly going by fast.  This week was really good, although we were punted for several days.  But we found some new investigators and we are really hopefully about a few of them.  It is still too early to tell, but I think that one family will be baptized in December.  Hopefully!

We had one really funny day this last week.  We went to an investigators house and the adults sent the little kids out to tell us that he wasn't there (even though we knew he was).  So we left and went to the next appointment.  The next few appointments weren’t at their houses and so we did street contacting.  We ended up walking past his house again.  I guess he felt safe that we weren’t going to come back that day because he was standing on his front porch smoking.  When he saw us walking down the street, he RAN into his house so fast.  All of his neighbors starting laughing and said “Oh, he just ran into the house!” We weren’t even going to him!  But yeah, he is definitely avoiding us.  I guess he’s not interested…haha

We also went to the mission home this week for follow up training.  It is always so happy when all the missionaries get together, especially in the mission home because the food is so good!  They separated the trainers and trainees. With the trainers they asked us how the training was going.  I realized in that meeting that I was blessed with an amazing companion.  She is so humble, always applies my suggestions, works hard, is willing to walk all day in the sun without any appointments, loves the people and tries her very best to teach in Tagalog.  I realized that not all the trainers were so lucky as I was.  And we get along personality wise, which is probably the hardest challenge of all if you don’t get along.  So I made sure I thanked my Heavenly Father for such a great companion…especially because we are opening an area!  That is hard enough without having a hard companion.

Also, when we went to the mission home, I was talking with one of the Filipino elders who has been out for 8 months.  He is from Tacloban (the place where the super typhoon hit) and his mother, father, aunt, cousin, and pretty much all his friends died.  Me and another sister were listening to his story and we couldn’t believe that he is still here on his mission.  He really is so strong.  I don’t know if I could do that and have the faith and the desire to keep working as hard as he is.  Also, we heard the story of the sisters during the storm and couldn’t believe that.  I was very grateful that I was assigned to the Olongapo mission.  I can’t even imagine what that experience would be like.

Also, I gave my first talk in church yesterday.  It was kind of stressful to have to give a whole talk in Tagalog.  It’s very different than teaching a lesson.  But, I was able to speak Tagalog the whole time and I think I got the message across.  Who’d have thought that after four months here I’d be speaking in church?  My topic was on Christlike attributes and I chose to talk on Hope, patience and diligence.  Basically the Christlike attributes that I have been trying to develop here on the mission.  That’s the fun thing about giving a talk... You learn way more than the people you are speaking to.  And, then afterwards, the teacher for gospel principles was gone so they asked me to fill in.  Again, a little stressful because the lesson wasn’t one of the missionary lessons that we’ve been studying and of course, I was winging it.  But I know that Heavenly Father is truly helping me here.  He has definitely given me the gift of tongues and I know that there is no way that I could do this without His help.

Well, I am loving my area and I am going to be so sad when I am transferred.  Transfer day is next week but I am pretty sure that I won’t be transferred because I am still training.  So safe until January!  But I love the people here and there is nothing like the feeling that you get when you see someone accepting the message and being excited about it.  And nothing like the feeling you get when they tell you that they feel like our message is true.  Alam ko po na totoo ang simbahan na ito at ito ay ang gawain n gating Ama sa Langit!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013 Hello! Hello!


This week was pretty good.  We are finally getting investigators and less actives to visit and so our week was actually full of appointments.  It was so nice after weeks of street contacting and days of having no appointments.  We also had companion exchanges this week and it was funny, the whole day I was so worried about my companion wondering if she was lost, how the lessons were going, if they were punted, etc.  But she was alright and only got a little lost.  Ha ha! I felt so responsible for her as her trainer!

Also, this week we had an interesting experience.  We were going to an appointment and a man stopped us and asked (in English) if he could ask me a question.  Of course I responded in English and he asked if I knew how to speak English.  He had grown up in New York although he is Filipino and had a New York accent and everything.  He was very curious and let us teach him right then.  And he wanted us to teach him in English.  I couldn't do it!  I couldn't teach the lesson in English!  I tried as hard as I could but I ended up speaking a lot of Tagalog.  He couldn't believe that I'd only been here for 4 months and felt more comfortable talking in Tagalog.  Over and over he said "Just speak in English!"  But I guess when you've taught the same lesson in Tagalog everyday for the last four months, it really gets ingrained in your head.  He was Born Again so they have tons and tons of questions and even if you can show them that what you said is in the Bible, they won't believe you.  Too bad.  I felt like he really was interested at the beginning but it became apparent that he just wanted to Bible study.  It's really hard to not argue and debate with people but that's the first thing you learn here.  DON'T DO IT!  You will never win and it only brings the spirit of contention.  Just bear your testimony because they can't argue with that.

These are the baptisms that happened yesterday!  Rica and Regine Tapiador

We also had a baptism yesterday:  two kids that I started teaching, and taught almost all the lessons to, but then my area was changed.  So technically they don't count as my baptisms, but I'm going to count them!  The elders only taught them for about 1 week.  But it was such a good baptism because their step mom is a member and she was so incredibly happy to see her children be baptized.  That is definitely what the gospel is about: families.  Of course, she cried during her testimony and it was just such an awesome spirit there.

Other than that, this week was pretty normal.  Lots of appointments, lots of street contacting and we had a lot of less actives in our area come to church yesterday.  It was exciting!  People that hadn't been to church in years came!  The branch here is really progressing and I feel really lucky that I've been here in the branch to see it progress like this.  The work is definitely moving forward!

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

Answers to Parent questions about Typhoon:

We didn't get anything here.  Just a little bit of rain.  One of the sisters in our apartment had family over there.  They are all safe but very hungry.  She was really worried for a long time.  And all the missionaries have been transferred to other missions.  We got 15 of them here in the Olongapo mision.  It's been all that anyone has been talking about for the last week.  So so so sad

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 11, 2013 Halfway through the transfer!

Us eating banana cue!  Super yummy!
These are some of my favorite investigators Glydel, Rommielynn, and Erika (less active)

Kumusta Pamilya!

Grabe!  I can't believe that we are halfway through the transfer and that somehow I've managed to be okay with a brand new missionary.  I was certainly worried at the beginning but I know that the Lord has truly strengthened me and helps me every single day.

Something I've learned here on the mission is that everyday is an emotional roller coaster.  This week, we had some days where no one was home and all we did was street contacting and no one wanted to listen to us.  And then the next day, we had lots of appointments and people practically came up to us and asked us what our religion was and let us teach them right then.  It just goes to show that the days that seem to not go right or be productive are days that we need to just have hope and diligently work and try our best.  If we have hope that everything will work for our good and will get better, it will.  Hope and patience.  And a good attitude.  Something I really like from preach my gospel is that it says that we need to be energetically diligent in all our doings and work until we have done everything we can, even when we are tired.  I know that is so true!  If we are not energetic about the Lord's work, our efforts are wasted and it is way harder.  Happiness is the key!

We did have one kind of disappointment, but kind of funny thing, happen this week.  Our golden investigator who is excited for baptism didn't come to church.  We told her that we would meet her at a certain place and we waited for 40 minutes for her and then she showed up just having got back from the market.  She said that her husband had come home from work early and didn't want her to go to church.  (a lot of the husbands go away for the entire week and they're only home on Sat/Sun) So we carried her groceries back to her house for her and tried everything we could to get her to come to church. Unfortunately she wouldn't.  But we just kind of hung around her house for 10 minutes trying to get her to come.  Thinking about it now, missionaries are kind of awkward sometimes!  I mean, who does that?  Who just hangs around someones house like that trying to get them to come to church.  And then since we had waited so long for her, we had to literally run to catch a jeepney.  So here we were running down a rickety footbridge and up a bunch of stairs and over to the jeepneys.  (I'll have to send a pic of the footbridge next week) Missionaries are weird!  We were late to church but that's okay.

So this week was exciting because we had an amazing amount of people come to church.  173!  It used to just be 110 or 115 but 173 yesterday!  Every set of missionaries (there's eight of us) had several investigators and lots of less actives come to church.  I was really excited to see a lot of the less actives in my old area (Sta Rita) come to church.  A lot of the time, when Sunday would come around and no one from my area had come to church, I would feel like I wasn't being an effective missionary and I was doing something wrong because people weren't coming to church and keeping their commitments.  But then yesterday, I saw almost all the less actives that we visited come to church.  And I felt like my efforts the last 3 months haven't been wasted.  Although they are not technically "my" less actives and investigators, I felt a great sense of happiness and accomplishment because they were all the people that we had been visiting for so long.  So yesterday, I had the realization that a lot of times in missionary work, we don't see the result.

But I know that every effort is not wasted.  Sometimes, people take a long time to change.  Not everyone is instantaneously converted or reactivated.  It takes continual and dedicated effort.  And every time we do missionary work, seeds are planted.  I feel like me and my old companions planted a lot of seeds and then the next missionaries got to actually harvest from our efforts.  I feel really blessed that I was able to see the fruits of a lot of my efforts because I know that a lot of times, missionaries are transferred before they see people reactivated or baptized and so they feel like they weren't successful.  So to all of you member missionaries, have patience!  Even if people don't immediately accept what you are offering, you are planting seeds.  It may take months or years before those seeds actually turn into something but no effort is wasted.  And always, some good comes of the missionary work, even if it is just for ourselves and our conversion and dedication to the gospel.

Well, everything is going well here in Gua Gua.  we're starting to see success in our area.  Man, opening areas are hard but I have grown so much in the last three weeks.  I know that I couldn't have grown this much in any other way or with any other assignment.  I know the church is true and that the Lord is hastening His work!  Our branch is getting ready to split into two starting January and hopefully we can turn it into two wards.

Have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

PS this letter was really hard to write in English....

At the Mission Home in Subic, just north of Olongapo and Subic Bay,
the night was fairly calm. It did rain some, but not hard and with no
flooding. The power was off until about 3:00 this morning (Saturday)
which made sleeping miserable. I don't know how the missionaries live
without air conditioning. This morning it is still cloudy and breezy
(nice). We love the breezes, but they are not common. I understand the
typhoon is now leaving the Philippines and heading for Vietnam. If
this is the case, the worst is over and for us, the worst was a real
nice change. Cooling breezes are wonderful and the rice farmers would
love any rain they got.  I do not believe the storm interrupted any missionary or other
activity in our Mission.
Love you all,
Elder Gary Gorringe*

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 4, 2013 Kumusta!

Kumusta pamilya!

Well, I survived my first week as a trainer....although there is a LOT of responsibilities put on the trainers.  I got a little taste of what it's going to be like to be a mom.  It means little to no time for yourself!  Haha.  Sister Hausia doesn't know how to cook so I've been teaching her all week, then showing her how to update the area book and doing teaching demos, etc etc.  Lots to do!  But it's been good and she is really hard working and that is a great blessing.

This week was a LOT of walking.  A lot.  Since we're opening an area, we don't have investigators and we're trying to find the houses of all the less actives in our area.  I'm getting pretty good at finding people.  And, street contacting is not my favorite thing to do but since I am the trainer and have to set a good example, I did a lot of street contacting.  In some ways, it is easier for me to street contact because I am American and immediately get their interest.  But in other ways, it's harder because they don't really listen to what I say, they're all just amazed that I can speak Tagalog!  But I think that I'm going to get skinnier in this area because we walk all the time.  Walk and walk and walk. Our stats this week were pretty incredible if I do say so myself:  21 street contacts, 18 new investigators. (for those that didn't serve missions....that's a lot of new investigators in one week)  And 12 lessons about the restoration.  By the end of my mission I am really going to know the Joseph Smith story well!

So we only have 1 investigator right now that is progressing. (that's the problem with street contacts...they're not all really interested)  but we think that she is golden!  She was taught a few lessons by missionaries when she was in high school but wasn't interested.  We actually were teaching a bunch of kids and then we had to get permission from all their parents to continue and she was one of them.  We asked if we could share with her and she let us teach right then.  She then said that she knew what we were teaching was true and she felt like it was a sign that the missionaries taught her back then and then we showed up just after she had been watching sermons on TV this week and wanting to know the truth.  When we came back for our second lesson, she had read the entire pamphlet that we left her (investigators never do that) and knew the whole lesson one for herself.  Her only hesitation is that her husband is Catholic and she doesn't know how she'll be able to go to church.  We told her to pray for her husband to be receptive to our message and she hesitantly agreed to let us teach him next Sunday when he comes home from work.  I can tell she really wants to be part of our church and it made us so excited as missionaries.

Also, I had a break through with the branch president yesterday.  He never has time to help us and although we ask him to do specific assignments they never actually get done (he is very busy). But yesterday Sis Hausia and I met with him and reported our work in finding less actives in our area (most of the members don't know them or where they live so it means that it's been a long time since they went to church) and he was very surprised.  He asked me how long I've been out here and I said 4 months and he just shook his head and said he was very impressed with what we accomplished.  And then he told my companion that I was 92% fluent (definitely NOT true...but a nice compliment).  AND!!!!! He agreed to come with us to one of our appointments.  As missionaries we've been praying for the last three months to get the leaders motivated to help out with missionary work and I think we are finally seeing the results of our prayers and hard work.  It was a very nice feeling.  I know that the Lord is hastening His work here in Gua Gua and helping to get the members more involved.  That's the key to missionary work: members!

So, the work is progressing here and slowly we are getting investigators.  I know that the Lord is definitely helping us and that this is His work.  If it wasn't, it would be impossible to do what we do as missionaries everyday.  And no one would believe our message.  But I know that through the power of the Holy Ghost, people are converted to the amazing story of Joseph Smith and the restoration of Christ's church.  I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Sunday, November 3, 2013

October 28, 2013 A Humble Hello from Gua Gua

Me and Sister Salado in the Jeepney
My last day with Sister Salado in the beautiful Sta Rita area

Dear family,

So yes, I am training a new missionary right now and I have only been out here for 12 weeks.  And....she is Tongan.  So she is a foreigner too.  Needless to say, I felt very overwhelmed when I got the text Tuesday night saying that I would become a trainer the next day (yes I got about 12 hours notice) and then I felt very overwhelmed when I got to the mission home and President Querido assigned me a Tongan, Sister Hausia.  I thought to myself, "I'm a foreigner!  How can I train a foreigner?? And I don't even understand the people all the time and my Tagalog still isn't very good."

I was scared out of my mind and even scarier is that we are opening an area too, which means that we have no investigators or less actives.  So we have to go search for them.  Which means lots of street contacts.  But on Thursday, the first day of our proselyting, I had one of the most spiritual days of my life and experienced an amazing miracle.  I was so nervous in the morning because I didn't know where we were going to go or what we were going to do because we didn't have any appointments.  So we pretty much just had a list of less actives to try and find.  I had no idea how this day was going to go and I was so scared because I knew I didn't understand the people.  So we set off to our area and I was praying to Heavenly Father to help me be bold and talk to everyone and to understand.  So the 1st man we saw I started talking to and it was like magic.  All of a sudden I could speak Tagalog and I could understand the people!  It was amazing.  I spent the whole day being amazed.  I got no blank stares that meant they didn't understand me and they didn't look at me like I was new here.  In fact, they asked me how many years I had been here.  We did 20 street contacts and I feel like I've never talked to so many people in my life.  It was like I seriously woke up and could understand and speak Tagalog.  I know that the power of prayer and trusting in the Lord is so real.  I have also never been so tired as I have been in the last few days because we have walked and walked and walked trying to find people to teach.  And of course, Heavenly Father blessed us with some investigators yesterday and one of them I feel is a golden investigator.

Although I am definitely not fluent and I still have things that I don't understand I know that I have definitely been given the gift of tongues this week.  I just hope that I can keep progressing my Tagalog without the help of a Filipino and help my companion progress her Tagalog too.  It's kind of funny because my trainer was Tongan and now I am training a Tongan.  I guess I am meant for Tongans!  Sister Hausia isn't quite as good at English, but she understands it which is good.  I don't know how we would survive if she didn't understand English!

Me and my new comp at our baptism on Saturday.  She is 8 and the child of a less she doesn't count as an investigator baptism but still fun!
Also, I forgot to write last week that I got lice for the first time. I made the mistake of wearing a ponytail and all the little kids played with my hair.  And they all have lice.  But I was paranoid that night that I would get lice so I went and used some lice shampoo and brushed out the lice.  I had some lice but I was able to get them out before they really set in. Sister Fuentes said "You are officially a real missionary now!  Welcome to the club!"  Ha ha.

So I really miss my senior companions and it is really really hard to be a senior companion to a brand new missionary but I know that Heavenly Father has really been helping me.  I know that it is going to continue to be really hard but I know that I've been called to do this, so I can do it with the help of Heavenly Father.  I think one of the hardest things about this transfer is going to be that my companion doesn't eat vegetables and neither does the other new companion in our house.  And my companion doesn't know how to cook.  Grabe!  So I have to teach her how to cook too.

Well, that's kind of all for this week.  This might have been one of the hardest weeks in my mission but I feel really hopeful about one of the investigators that we found.  Her name is Syra and we gave her a pamphlet and she read it before we got to our follow up appointment and new all the answers and says she wants to be a member.  Oh, and she started reading her friend's Book of Mormon. She is so amazing.  She's only 15 but she is a college level student and she takes care of her 3 siblings because her parents are always working.  She's amazing!  So I think we might have a baptism for November! Yay!

Well, I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves all of us individually.  He is very aware of our capabilities and our challenges.  We just need to trust Him and trust that He will help us.  And I know that He will.  I love you all!

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26, 2013 Photos from Elder & Sister Gorringe and GROWING RICE

Photos sent to us from Elder & Sister Gorringe:

Flooding outside Mission home

Same scene 3 days later

Sister Salome Tou’anga ‘I Vaiola Hausia

At mission home for training

From Elder Gorringe on GROWING RICE
A rice field
The pictures are of the food staple, rice. The amount of labor required to plant, grow, harvest, thresh, dry (twice) and mill the rice to me is amazing. We could not do this in the U. S. Labor here is unbelievably cheap. They are paid 200-250 pesos per day and a day can be very long. The rice is planted by hand, just broadcast on the ground. When the plants are large enough, they are pulled up by hand and tied in small bundles. They are then planted in fields that have been plowed, often by carabao, and then flattened by a powered machine much like a large lawn roller that is guided by a man wading behind like a garden tiller. The planting is done by hand in very straight rows with all plants spaced evenly apart in both directions. The planters are bent over all day long. Sometime after planting, the whole field is fertilized by hand broadcasting the fertilizer.  
Tying the rice stalks in bundles by hand
Cutting the rice by hand
Drying the rice on the road
Close up of the parlay, unmilled rice drying

Yes, they use the road as a rice drying bed. There is no other place for it. This is the highway between San Marcelino and San Antonio. Yes the drying of the parlay does cause traffic problems and does sometimes get run over especially by busses.
I hope this gives you a little insight into life for many in the Philippines.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 21, 2013 Wow! I've been here 12 weeks!

The entire Dinalupihan Zone here in Pampanga, Philippines

Me and Sis Salado

Somehow we stuffed four of us inside a tricycle

Dear family,

I cannot believe that my 12 weeks is up.  That means I am officially out of training...whatever that means.  I feel like I still have a lot of training to do.  But I am officially a "regular" missionary and not a "trainee".  We have transfer day on Wednesday and I feel fairly certain that Sister Salado will train one of the new missionaries coming in (there's 30+ coming in I think) and so I think that I will get a new companion again this transfer.  But that's good, I learn a lot from every companion that I have.  Also, there's a big change coming to my area: We are receiving 2 or 4 new missionaries to the Gua Gua area which means that my area will be split into three smaller areas.  It's really good because my area is so big, but I am going to miss all the people that we've been teaching in Sta Rita!  The rumor is that they are going to put elders there and all the sister will stay in Gua Gua.  Unfortunately, we really focused on the Sta Rita area and we have baptisms next month which means that the new missionaries will get to baptize them.  Stolen baptisms!  Also, we didn't focus very much on the Gua Gua part of our area and so it's going to be like opening a new area which means a LOT of street contacting.  My favorite.  But it will be an exciting change.

FHE with Candelaria & Rodriguez families at Malig's home
This week was good because we had FHE with two less active families at a members house.  They are two REALLY poor families and they have a lot of family problems but they all had so much fun at the FHE.  They were laughing and all seemed really close as a family which is the first time I've seen that.  The teenage sons are kind of hard for their mom to deal with but at the FHE they were all so happy and enjoying each other's company.  On Sunday, we went and visited the family again and I asked how the FHE was.  The youngest daughter said "Ulitin! Ulitin!" (Repeat! Repeat!) So it was a really big hit.  And of course I was so grateful to the member family who opened up their home and cooked dinner for us all and are just such great friends to these less active families (hint, hint...).  They didn't come to church on Sunday but I feel like they will return.  They just need the missionaries, time, and some friends in the church.

This week we did a lot of follow up visits to street contacts.  I'm getting pretty good at teaching the Restoration in Tagalog.  We were also a lot busier this week and had a lot more lessons which is so good.  The key to happiness on the mission is definitely work!  The days where we don't have appointments and we do a lot of street contacting feel a lot longer than the days when we are busy.  And we don't get rejected as much in lessons as we do in street contacting!   We also visited a less active family that just moved here from Bataan.  Here they are surrounded by the husband's family who are not members and so they don't go to church.  If they are in Bataan they attend church.  But the greatest thing about them is their boys' names.  They have five boys and the fourth is named Mohonri Moriancomr.  The Filipinos really like to name their children unique names.

And we have the Tapiador family who is really progressing.  The daughters are super excited for their baptism and one of them told us that she wants to serve a mission!  I also noticed that one daughter used to wear three earrings in each ear but now she only wears one.  I'm pretty sure her step mom told her that we only wear one earring but she is so willing to do everything to prepare for her baptism. We haven't even taught her the law of chastity lesson and she's already trying to follow it!   They really are golden kids!  If only we could find more families like them.  It's fun to teach part member families because they have someone at home who can help them with all the commitments that we give them because we can't be there all the time to help them.

Palay on the streets!
Cultural note for the week:  Here in the Philippines they do not call rice "rice" at all stages.  When it is in the field and in the husk, it is called "Palay".  The husk is a yellow color.  After they gather up all the palay, they spread it out onto the street and let the sun dry it.  Once it is dry they husk it.  When is is out of the husk, it is called "Bigas" or uncooked rice.  And when it is cooked, it is called "kanin".  So complicated!  But lately there has been a lot of palay in the streets drying because we haven't had much rain.  Also, to all of you at home, please rinse your rice before you cook it!  It has been on the ground and it is super dusty.

Well, that is the report from the Philippines!  I am excited for the transfer day, I think that I will get a new companion which makes me really sad but it's kind of fun too.  And hopefully I stay in the Gua Gua area, but I guess we'll see what happens!

I know that the Church is true and I am so grateful to be here in the Philippines sharing the gospel with the people here.  It is so true the saying that the first convert on your mission is yourself.  I have already learned so so much and my testimony has been strengthened so much in just the short time that I have been here.  I know that Christ is our Savior and that He loves all of us so much and He wants all of us to magkaroon ng buhay ng walang hanggang!

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Danai Sirrine

Danai's response to Parent's question about big earthquake in  Philippines:  "Yes yes, the earthquake was very far away from us and on a different island.  So we were totally unaffected by it.  We didn't even know it happened until the members told us about it."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14, 2014 Hello!

These are most of the people from our branch that attended General Conference.  I love the Gua Gua branch!

Kumusta pamilya!

So this week was up and down (story of the mission, right?) but of course it ended great because of Conference!  So we actually got permission to attend all the sessions of Conference and I was so excited.  But then Friday night and Saturday morning we had a big baguio come through and they cancelled the Saturday broadcast.  This storm was pretty big although it didn't last very was just like what I imagine a hurricane would be like.  The wind was suuuuper strong and I was actually a little nervous although our house is quite safe.  But anyway, we were able to attend on Sunday and after the 2nd session, they broadcast the Saturday afternoon session.  So we had a conference marathon on Sunday.  The good thing is the seats were super uncomfortable so none of us were even close to falling asleep ;)   It was a super inspiring conference so I wasn't even tired although it was a long time of watching.  Isn't it funny how they always seem to be speaking right to you?  I know that you all felt that they were speaking to you as members back at home but i know that they were speaking to me as a missionary here in the Philippines.  That's the amazing thing about the gospel, it applies to everyone in every situation although we are all unique.

I feel like I have so much to improve in my teaching and my missionary work.  I loved the talk about teaching in the was so applicable to me right now!  Also, interesting thing, they didn't translate it into Tagalog, at least where we are here in Pampanga.  I asked Sister Fuentes if she thought that people understood it and she said probably a lot of them didn't.  She also said that it was translated into Tagalog in another room but probably most people are embarrassed to go in there when everyone else is out in the chapel.  I felt kind of sad, at least they should have put Tagalog subtitles.  But, I was happy that I understood the conference....

The Tapiador family.  They are so cute!
This week we found a family to teach and it was super exciting.  The mom is a member but her husband and stepchildren and daughters are not members.  So she asked us to come teach them.  The stepdaughters are really excited and accepted the baptismal date for November 10th. The mom was so happy that we were there teaching them too.  Sister Salado chose Families can be together forever as our opening hymn (we sing before every appointment) and the mom got really emotional and couldn't finish the second verse.  The spirit was really strong there.  It was so amazing to teach an entire family too because that is really what the gospel is all about: families.  Sometimes it's really hard teaching other people becasue they don't have the support system of their family with them in the church or they really want their families to become interested because they want the blessings for their families.  But I loved teaching a family where I know that they have a support system and a help (their mother) and I feel confident that they will stay active.

We also taught the daughter in law of a recent convert.  We went to his house to teach him, but he wasn't there.  She came out and told us to sit and wait.  She sat outside a little ways off while we sat and waited.  We were just about to leave when I had the thought "You need to invite her to listen to the gospel".  I didn't really want to because I've met her before and she has never been interested.  She's nice, but not interested.  But the thought wouldn't leave and so finally I got up the courage to ask if we could share with her.  She hesitated, and then said sure.  I was so surprised!!!!  We started out giving just an overview because she was very distracted with her kids but eventually we saw that she became really interested and was asking questions and answering our questions.  At the end of the lesson, Sister Salado asked her why she listened to us.  She said "Walang choice.  Pero naging interesado." (I didn't have a choice.  But it became interesting)  Later that night, Sister Salado and I laughed that she felt like she didn't have a choice, but I guess what ever gets people to listen to us!  And her father in law was so excited that she was listening to us.  He is the only member and really needs some family support.  So we are really hopeful that she could be the beginning of his family to join him in the church.  Sana!!!

During the blackout we used tuna cans for our candle holders. 
We had a blackout this week and had to plan and cook by candlelight.  We lit two candles and melted the bottoms and stuck them onto cans of tuna for candle holders.  It was quite funny looking.  Sister Makihele said "I didn't know that candles could really light up a room!"  She is definitely American.  Also, we were out working when part of the baguio hit on Thursday.  We gave up trying to use umbrellas and just used them to protect our bags.  I have never been so wet in my life!  We were soaked but super happy.  I love the big rainstorms here.  That night I was absolutely freezing though and I did not want any of the fans turned on.  I am turning Filipino!  I never thought I would ever say that I was cold here but I've actually been cold quite a few times now.  Especailly in the church where we have AC.  I'm getting to the point where I really don't like AC.  It's too cold and it dries out my skin....haha

Well, that's the highlights of the week.  Of course we had some lowlights too but that is a part of missionary work.  Sometimes, just like Alma, we have to endure some hard things (like people not being there for their appointments or not progressing) to help us realize the miracles in the good things that happen.  And to help us realize that we can't do it by ourselves.  Every success that we have is because of Jesus Christ.  I loved the talk in conference about the man who saw his boy trying to move the rock and said "You have to use ALL your strength."  The boy replied that he was.  The father said "No you're not.  You have me too."  We have to use ALL of our resources and especially Jesus Christ and his atonement.  That is the only way that we can truly have success in this life.  I know this church is true.  And I know that we can't afford to lean on anyone's testimony because it is definitely the last days.  I see that every day here in the mission.  The Lord is hastening His work because this is salvation for the souls of men and I can't even imagine how heartbroken we will be if we realize that the people that live right around us can't enjoy the blessings of salvation because we did not do our part and share it with them.  The blessings of the priesthood and the Plan of Salvation are real and everyone is looking for them.  Even if they don't realize it.  It is our responsibility to show them how to receive those blessings.

Mahal kita from Gua Gua, Pampanga, Philippines!

Sister Sirrine

Oh Yeah!  I forgot to mention that I ate blood this week.  They cook dinuguan here.  Dugo is blood.  So the sauce is blood and it's turned black because it's cooked (I'm sure there's water too) and then chicken and vegetables.  It's actually pretty good.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 6, 2013 Wow! This Week Was Fast!


Sister Salado, Sister Fuentes, Sister Makihele, and me
Julie Rodriguez, Camille Candelaria, Jenny Fajardo, and me!  I love these girls!  They always call me Sister Barbie (but that's not why I love them....)
This is the Dinalupian Zone (my zone)

Dear Family,

I can't believe that it is P-day already.  I am starting to see what all the RM's mean when they say that the time flies out on the mission.  It still feels like I have a long time to go, but then I see how fast the weeks are going and i realize that it will go really fast.

So this week was pretty good.  The highlight of the week was that we had exchanges this week and I was with Sister Makihele who has been out for only 3 weeks.  So that meant I was responsible for keeping the lessons going and understanding what they were saying to us.  I definitely had some moments where I didn't know what they were saying but I had a lot more moments where I did understand them.  I had my first lesson that I felt like I understood everything she was saying, which I know was a blessing from the Lord.

Our teaching together wasn't too bad either.  It was very basic, but I feel like we were able to teach the basic fundamentals of each lesson which is more important than being eloquent in your teaching.  I've really learned in the last few weeks that it is more important to teach very simply and really listen to what the investigator is saying.  Because really the gospel is very simple and plain to understand.  So that's how we need to teach it.  So my exchange experience gave me the reassurance that if my next companion is a foreigner, we can make it through our lessons.  (Transfer day is on oct 23 and i feel like I am going to be transferred.  But that's just my feeling)  The only bad part about the exchange was that I forgot to wear my name tag.  yep.  I couldn't believe it when I discovered it during our second lesson.  That is the first time that has happened because I usually put it on first thing after I get dressed.  But let's just say that I am even more careful now!  Good thing we were close to our apartment and could run back quick and grab it.

our housemates....cockroaches!
Interesting cultural notes for the week:  The jeepeneys don't turn off when they fill up for gas.  They just stop and get a gallon or two and then keep going because they are losing money if they stay there and wait for the gas.  So far nothing has blown up even though the jeeps are running.  Also, we were walking to one of our appointments and saw some people cooking dog.  They had the dog hung up by his legs and were burning the hair of with a torch.  It smelled TERRIBLE.  I'm really glad we don't cook dog in America.

This week we had a really inspiring zone meeting about how important planning is and how important smart planning is.  I always get so motivated during the district/zone meetings each week.  The trouble is keeping that excitement and actually applying everything.  Sometimes I feel like we don't have enough time to do everything we should to be an effective missionary.  But I know that as long as I am working hard and being diligent, the Lord will make up the difference what i can't accomplish.

The last couple weeks none of our investigators have been coming to church.  They've been reading the Book of Mormon and listening to our message, but they don't come to church.  I never realized how truly important church attendance is because we always just went to church.  But the investigators that attended church received a confirmation about the truth of our church and the Book of Mormon and the ones that didn't attended church feel like they don't have an answer.  There really is a special spirit in the church and it can be the difference in the conversions process.

We also had a less active family come to church for the first time in months.  We went and visited them later that night and asked them how it was.  They said that they felt like their day was complete.  And they were so happy while they were talking to us too.  We really focused on teaching them about the temple and eternal families yesterday because they only got married last year and have a little baby.  We could see that they really want that, especially for their little girl so I have a feeling that they will return to activity.  It just makes you feel so good when people realize the blessings of the commandments that God gives to us and that they aren't doing their commitments because they feel like the missionaries assigned it to them and they'll get in trouble if they don't do it.

Well, that's all for this week.  I love you all and hope that you have a great week!  i know this is the one and only true church!
Mahal kita!
Sister Sirrine