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 long....it 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 church...it 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.

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