Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 Oh. My. Goodness. LAST WEEK.

Bro Narding, Delio Cayanan, Tatay Lero, Vernie, Loida, Gwen

Another FHE at Tatay Lero's house

Hello Family!!

Well, my subject line says it all.  I can't believe it.  It still doesn't really feel like I'll be leaving the Philippines next week.  I feel like I'm just going to keep serving here.  But everyone keeps telling me "You're going to be spending Christmas with your family!" So weird. Everyone here in the mission who is close to going home always gets sick. So true to form, I got sick on Friday.  Everyone at church laughed at me and said that I'm homesick and not to worry because I'm really close to going home.

This week was pretty good.  We met a new investigator named Ron who I feel is really interested.  I noticed him one day when we were walking to a different investigators house and saw him watching us  come down the street.  Unfortunately, that day I didn't stop to talk to him.  But then two days later, we were walking down the same street and I saw him again.  And again he was watching us with that look on his face that he kind of wanted to talk to us, but was too shy to call out.  So we stopped and talked to him.  We were about halfway through saying that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, when he asked "What days are you sisters here?"  we told him Wednesday and Friday.  He said "Oh good!  I only have half day of work on those days." So we set up an appointment and then went back to him last Friday.  He listened to our message about the restoration and was super excited about the Book of Mormon.  He told us that he really wants to change.  He said that when he was younger, he was pretty wild.  He kind of ran away from home for several years.  And then his dad died.  He felt really guilty that he wasn't here to help take care of things because he is the oldest.  So he came back and is helping his mom and siblings and trying to make up for the things he did when he was younger.  I can just tell that he is ready to change and I know how much the gospel will help ease his regrets.  Sis Lucillo told him that it is possible to see his dad again in the next life and be with him again.  He said "Really?"  At the end of the lesson, he said that he wants to keep listening to us and he wants to read the Book of Mormon.

Vernie is doing pretty good.  He really really really wants to get baptized but he had a little obstacle come up this week.  His grandma decided she doesn't want him to get baptized.  (she's the one who is his guardian)  So Vernie was pretty sad on Saturday and said that he was really angry with his grandma because he's turning 18 this week so he's old enough to make his own decisions.  But he said that he didn't say anything to her because he was afraid that he would say something bad while he was angry.  But he told Sis Lucillo that he feels like God hasn't answered his prayers and that it's taking a long time.  Sis Lucillo told him that he needs to keep praying and pray for his grandma.  There is a way for him to be baptized this month!!  So that's the challenged that were working with this week.

Well, that's kind of the update from Pilar, Bataan, Philippines.  It's finally hit me that I'm going home and I'm kind of feeling sad.  It's kind of funny, your whole mission you look forward to going home...until the last week.  And then you realize that you won't have this again.  And that they're going to take away your name tag.  And then your power and authority is going to be gone.  But I have been sooooooo blessed by serving a mission!  I am so grateful that I was called on a mission!  There are so many things that I have learned and I have seen so many miracles while I have been here.  But most of all, I feel like my testimony has been tried and solidified.  I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  I know that it was restored through Joseph Smith.  I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us and He sent His son to earth so that we could return to Him.  I know that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins and become worthy for the kingdom of God.   I love our Savior!  And I know that the Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Him and through it we will draw closer to Him.

I hope that you all have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!!!

Sister Sirrine

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 1, 2014 An Amazing Week!

In Wakas.  Aren't the houses cute? They are called 'Kubo' when they are made of bamboo and not concrete

This week was an AMAZING week!!!!  I had some of the best days of my mission this last week and I just really really love being a missionary!!!

First of all, Monday we had a FHE at the home of Delio and James.  Delio actually invited US to come do an FHE at their house and he told us to invite the investigators that we are teaching just down the street.  It was awesome!!!! I wish that all members would do that!!  Usually we have to ask THEM.  So on Monday we had an awesome FHE.

But maybe I should give a little background on our investigators.  They are the investigators that came to church two weeks ago.  One of them is named Vernie (prounounced 'bernie') and the other is Robin, and then Robin's sisters.  So we've really been teaching Vernie and sometimes Robin as well.  Vernie has been praying about if Joseph Smith is a true prophet, but it's been about 2 weeks and he said that he hasn't gotten an answer yet.  But he's been killing the Book of Mormon!  (on Saturday he was in 1 Nephi 19 and he's only had it for 2 weeks!!)  So on Monday for FHE we watched The Restoration movie.  You could tell he and Robin really felt the spirit while they were watching.  When we asked what they liked, Vernie said he liked that Joseph really searched for the truth.  Robin liked when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him.  Delio bore his testimony about how he came to know that this church is true and it was such a strong testimony!  Then Vernie and Robin asked me and Sis Lucillo how we came to know that it was true.  I've never had an investigator really ask me that.  So I got to share that with them.
FHE at Delio's house!  We played a game with uling (charcoal)

our investigators: Queenie, Ann, Vernie, Robin, and Narding

With James Cayanan
With Sis Lucillo 

The next day, we went to Vernie's house and he said that FHE was super great and he loved it.  We asked him if he'd gotten an answer yet about Joseph Smith.  He said not yet, but he felt close.  Then I asked him how his preparation was for baptism.  He said "Uhhh...No comment." Then we asked about his reading from the Book of Mormon.  His face lit up and he said that he read his assignment (Nephi's vision) and three extra chapters.  He said "I love reading this book!  I feel so good when I read it and I just want to keep reading!"  So then we told him that God doesn't answer everyone's prayers the same.  We asked him where he thought the good feeling came from when he read the Book of Mormon.  He thought for a minute and said, "From God."  And we asked him if he believed it was true.  He said "yes, I believe this book is true".  So then we said, if the book of true, then Joseph Smith has to be true because he was the one that translated it.  He nodded and then I asked, "Do you think that is the answer to your prayer if Joseph is a true prophet?"  He was quiet for a second and then said "Maybe....yes!"  and then looked really excited. We then talked about faith and what faith was.  When we had him read in Alma 32, he said, "Oh so faith is just like this answer....believing without actually having proof."  Then we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ sharing scriptures for every principle.  We got to baptism and we shared 3 Nephi 11:33-34 that we all need to be baptized.  And then in the same chapter that Christ gives authority to certain people to be able to baptize.  We extended the baptismal commitment again to him and asked him if he would be willing to follow God's commandment and be baptized by someone who has proper authority. He said, "Because I know this book is true and believe what is written in it, yes, I will be baptized!"  The spirit was so strong!!!!  He finally recognized that he had been receiving an answer, he just didn't really know it.  And, I saw the power of the Book of Mormon.  It is true what it says in Preach My Gospel that the Book of Mormon should be at the center of our teaching because it gives validity to what we are saying and helps them feel the spirit.  I know that Vernie didn't accept baptism because of us, he accepted it because he felt the spirit and the truth of the Book of Mormon.  It was such a great lesson!!!

We just had such an awesome week.  We had three days that had amazing lessons, the spirit was so strong and we WERE NOT PUNTED!!!!  If we were punted, we knocked at the next door neighbor or talked to someone standing nearby and they let us in to teach them.  Sis Lucillo and I came home every day so happy and excited to be missionaries.  Being a missionary is so fun when that happens!  Too bad every day can't be like that, but you do need opposition to be able to really enjoy the good days.  Also, something funny happened; we were walking in one of our areas and there were a ton of kids there.  As we passed by, I heard one of them say "Look!! It's Mama Mary! (St. Mary)"  They think because I'm white, I'm St Mary.  Kind of funny.
Thanksgiving dinner at the Whites'!!

The couple missionaries invited us over on Thursday and we had a Thanksgiving dinner!!!  It was amazing!  We had duck, chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, salad, vegetables, and Sister White's handmade a pumpkin and apple pies.  It was one of the best meals I've had my whole mission!!!!  Unfortunately, we were sooooooooooo full afterwards and then we still had to proselyte.  That is probably the first day in my mission that I have really walked slow.  It felt kind of weird.  I was still full the next day.  But it was delicious!! Can't wait to eat American food again!

I love being a missionary!!!  Heavenly Father really blesses and guides His missionaries.  Even though it is kind of hard sometimes, there are some really great moments when people really accept what you are teaching and sharing with them.  And you can see the difference in them when they feel the spirit!

Well, hope that you all have a great week!  Love you all!!!
In the bukid
mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

With Sis Lucillo
The Abayan family: Gwen, LA, Roberto, Loyda

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 24, 2014 Time is getting shorter

A pomelo.  Basically a Filipino grapefruit, literally the size of dodgeballs.  They are HUGE!  And delicious


Well, this week was another good week.  Man, time is flying.  Everyone here is reminding me of when I go home.  One sister in my zone is counting down the days for me.  And all of my recent converts and the other people we visit always ask, "When are you leaving again sister??"  I'm trying not to think about it but everyone else is doing that for me! But I am super excited.

Nothing too exciting this week (just the normal missionary stuff) but we do have a family that we're excited about.  It is the Apo family.  (funny thing: 'apo' in tagalog is 'grandchild'.  Great last name!) Sonny is the husband and Marites is the wife.  We've only taught a few lessons but they really listen when we teach them.  We originally met Marites's father on the street and he stopped us because he lived in San Diego for like 30 years.  So he stopped me and started talking to me and how he is an American citizen.  (He's a VERY talkative 81 year old! He talked about all sorts of stuff about America) So then we asked if we could meet his kids.  We met Marites and we taught her and her husband and son right then.  They have two super adorable granddaughters and one of them is Mary's age.  I just love love love to teach families!

Also, Delio and James showed up in white shirts and black pants yesterday!!!  I love that!  It is so exciting when the recent converts show up dressed in a white shirt and pass the sacrament.  I have seen such a change in the life of Delio.  It is so neat to see his and James' knowledge growing and their desire to have faith grow stronger.  That is the best thing for a missionary!

Sister Lucillo and I are doing great here.  I'm starting to feel like I've knocked on every door here in Pilar but we are still finding new people.  Even though it is slow, we are seeing progress here in Pilar and the members here are getting excited about the temple.  Some of our less actives have been given callings and they are already doing great at fulfilling them.  Gigi Raguero (a less active) was called to the primary and she is so excited!  (we taught primary again yesterday. Haha I'm getting pretty good at it)  It's so great to see them when they are truly involved in the church!

Well, I hope you all have a great week!  I'm trying to work harder than ever here.  I can feel the time getting shorter and shorter and it makes me nervous.  It's going so fast.  I love this work!!!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 17, 2014 Youth to teach!

Out in the bukid with Roque kids.  The cart that  Karibao pull in the fields.  

Orion Zone at Mount Samat

Foreigners are more expensive
Missionaries love pictures! 

Kind of looks like me and E. Armbruster have twin Philippino sons....haha

This is what happened to Magellum!!!  He got lost sailing around the world and landed in the Philippines.  He was killed here (I think he was eaten...but don't quote me on that one) This is that scene on the Mount Samat cross.  He is being stepped on by Lapu-Lapu as his boat is sailing away.  His crew got away but he didn't make it!

Hello Hello!!!!

Well, this week was kind of a crazy week.  One day was really good and then the next was...not so good.  But it ended great so that's all that matters.

First of all, this week we found a lot of new investigators.  We found 4 youth kids that we taught on Thursday. I usually don't teach kids because if you teach kids you run several risks: 1) they don't have permission to get baptized or come to church 2) they'll be baptized and then quickly go less active because they have no parental support.  So as a rule, I've avoided teaching kids and tried to get their parents.  But these kids live really close to the church and they are 16 and 17 so they do have the ability to know for themselves if this is true and get themselves to church.  So we taught them and they prayed about Joseph Smith and then on Saturday were so excited to get a Book of Mormon.  They said that they were going to come to church on Sunday but they did ask if there were a lot of youth their age.  We only have 2 active youth right now.  1 young women and 1 young man (James!).  So we told them not really, but to come anyway.  So they said that they would.  I was super worried about church on Sunday because there was a scheduled brownout from 8am to 5 pm which meant there was no AC and no microphone and there probably wouldn't be a lot of people to attend.  But we had 59 people come to church (lately it's been in the 30's) and all of the less active youth came to church!!!!  But the Santos kids hadn't showed up yet and I was super worried that they weren't coming but then after the sacrament, five of them walked into the church!!!!  The youth leaders were so excited!  They finally had youth to teach!  And afterwards, we asked them how church was and they were so excited.  They said it was great and we found out later that they asked one of the members how they can be baptized.  We're really trying to find youth and primary right now so that the branch isn't just old people here.  It was super exciting.  And lots of people got new callings today, people that we have been working with and they are excited about it.  It is so true that you need a calling to really be active in the church and to feel involved.  Otherwise it is easy to fall away.
All the youth that came to church!  Including the Santos kids!

The funny thing is that we got to church and after sacrament, the Primary president went home so there was no one to teach primary.  Usually, Sis Domingo would teach primary and I went and helped out in gospel principles class.  But yesterday, there was no choice.  We had to teach it.  I was actually really nervous to teach primary (we all know how I am with kids...)!  But we grabbed the primary manual and we actually had a pretty good lesson.  The Santos kids brought their little brother who is 6 and he was the best kid in the primary class!  He answered all the questions, participated in the games, did a great job at drawing and then I taught them 'Book of Mormon Stories' and he sang along and did the actions too.  He was really excited to come back next week.  The Lord really does help us in our weaknesses!  I guess that I can survive teaching primary

And Jocelyn finally came to church again!  Her day off from work is Sunday, but lately with all the occasions happening here, her boss has made her work on Sunday.  Jocelyn hasn't felt like she could refuse her boss because if she does, she'll get fired and they will have no work.  So we did a couple lessons about praying and having the faith to follow the commandments and the Lord will help you.  So FINALLY, this week, she told her boss that she can't work on Sunday because her husband is angry and she needs to go to church.  Go Jocelyn!!!  So she was able to come to church again after several weeks of not being able to and now hopefully her baptism will really happen in December.  Kind of a scary thing to do, but she put her faith in Heavenly Father and her boss accepted what she said.  No more work on Sunday!

Mount Samat!  My new companion Sis Lucillo
I'm loving being companions with Sis Lucillo and our work is getting better!  We found a lot of new investigators that were taught before by previous missionaries and we're hoping that now is the time for them to accept the gospel.  Just keep praying!!!  Love the work!  Love my area!  I love being a missionary!
Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

Photos from trip to Manilla

Bus station going to manila at 2 am. We look so tired..

In the Manila immigration office.  Apparently I'm an alien...

We found a restaurant that has Mexican food.  It's called ArmyNavy.  Best food of the mission!
Manila bay!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 10, 2014 If you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere!

Hello Hello!

Well, as you can tell from my subject line....we are in Manila!  So crazy!  We had to go to the mission home last night and leave at two this morning to get on a bus to Manila so that we could go to the embassy, or something like that, and get fingerprints done so that we could leave the country.  And the driving here is like NOTHING you have ever seen.  We thought we were going to die but somehow we made it out alive.  I will never ever drive in Manila. Man.  It's getting real.  there were 9 of us sisters that went and we definitely stuck out: 9 blond, white sisters walking around together.  We are so tired but that's okay!  Afterwards we were able to stop at this restaurant called Army Navy that has MEXICAN FOOD!!!!  It was a unanimous vote to go there.  We are all really happy right now.

This week I got a new companion, Sister Lucillo who is a Filipina from Bikol.  I was actually housemates with her in my second area when she was a brand new missionary and now we are companions!  She is the sweetest sister ever and she is so nervous with her new calling as an STL and tells me all the time "tulungan mo ako, sister!" (help me sister!) but I know that she is going to do great.  And I'm excited that she is my last companion. It was an answer to my prayer because I really wanted a Filipina as my last companion.  So it's going to be fun.

This week I had a neat experience.  On Friday, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize.  When I answered, there was a man that asked "Is this Sister Sirrine?" At first I was a little creeped out because I didn't know why this man was calling me.  He said something about him being taught by the elders in our zone but I still had no idea why he was calling me.  Then he asked if I remembered him.  ( He said, "Remember?  You taught me at Rey Lopez's house."  Then I remembered about two months ago, we went to our less active, Brother Lopez.  There was another man in the house sitting by a full ashtray who had long, unkempt hair, unshaved beard, and well-worn, ripped dusty clothes on.  My first thought when we walked into the house was 'Oh no.  He's going to ruin the lesson.' as I looked around to see if there were any empty beer bottles in the room.  I couldn't decide if we should teach or not.  And then Sis Domingo looked at him and invited him to listen to us.  He said okay he would listen.  So we briefly taught him the Restoration and he actually listened!  He said that he would pray about Joseph Smith and that he would come to church on Sunday (he never came).  So we asked if we could teach him again and he said that he was almost never there, he was always working in the bukid (field). And it was really far away so he only came down out of the mountain sometimes.  So right there we lost hope.  Oh well.  I guess if we go back some time and he's there we'll teach him again.  But then, I got a call from him saying that he was being taught by the elders in our zone and that he was getting baptized on November 22nd!  He said, "Sister Sirrine, thank you so much!  If you hadn't have taught me I would have never known the truth!  So much has changed about me.  I shaved my beard and I have a nice hair cut now and my whole family is going to be baptized with me."  He just said thank you over and over and said that one day he would come to our branch for church.  I couldn't believe it!  This kind of stuff never happens!  We always teach the Restoration over and over and you know that you are planting seeds and probably one day, they will accept it.  But you never get to hear the ending of that story.  Well, rarely.  I then talked to the elders at district conference and asked them about him.  They said "Oh yeah!  We kept forgetting to tell you about him and his family!"  One elder asked how they found him.  They said "One day we decided to go up the the mountains and there was a house there.  So we knocked and before we said anything, he said 'come in' and called his entire family to listen to us."  The other elder said, "You were punted weren't you?  Who would just randomly decide to go up into the mountain?"

It's amazing how the Lord helps us in this work!  There are really miracles that happen all the time!  I feel so blessed that I got to hear his story and that I got to be a small part of it.  It's amazing how to Lord also lets us know that our efforts are not going wasted.  Sometimes it feels that way as a missionary as you teach the first lesson over and over again and people don't want to accept it.  But no effort is wasted!  And it goes to show that the most unlikely people are the ones who will accept the message and we can't judge who we should share it to and who we shouldn't.

I love this work!  I love being a missionary!  There are definitely challenges but the challenges make us grow and become better people!  I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.  And I know that he was called of God and given the priesthood power to direct this church.  And I know that our Savior Jesus Christ stands at the head of this church and guides His living prophet today through revelation.

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

November 3, 2014 Teaching two by two

Sis Domingo's last supper....


Well, this week was CRAZY!  On Tuesday morning, Sis Ah Hong was taken to Manila to the hospital (because she still wasn't better) and we were told that she wasn't coming back because she is in the batch to leave this Wednesday.  So she had to get better or they weren't going to let her out of the country.  So she was taken and the three of us were left.  So we had to try and figure out a way to work in both of our areas.  Which is hard.  Trust me.  The first day we spent a lot of money on transportation going back and forth.  And I was so tired at the end of that day.  The next day, the senior missionary couple (Elder and Sister White) came and they were my companions for the day while sis Domingo and Sis Cagata worked in the other area.  I have a testimony of the importance of going out two by two.  It is really hard to be a solo missionary!  The Whites don't know how to speak Tagalog so I had to do it all: teaching, translating, contacting, etc.  (My voice was pretty much shot after that day) I am so grateful that here in the mission, I always have someone to help me (besides the spirit of course) and to be a second witness.  And a help in the teaching.  It is really not the best to just have one teacher, much better if there are two.  But we did have some neat experiences that day.  When we got to one of my areas, we got out of the car (a great bonus of working with the senior couple: they have a CAR!!!! Don't need to pay for transportation!) and a woman came up to me and said "Sister, I am a member."  I found out that she was baptized over 30 years ago and after about 6 years she fell away.  But it made me wonder because we are always in that area, so why that day she decided to come up to us and tell us she was a member? But she has had some trials in her life and she said that the best time in her life was when she was active.  She had so many blessings then.  So she wants to come back and she wants her husband to get baptized as well.  So that's kind of neat!
The Pilar sisters: Sis Ah Hong, Sis Domingo, Sis Cagata and Me!
Then on Thursday, I was working with a member as my companion and we went to a less active who hasn't been at her house for about a week now.  She said that she was angry at her neighbors so she decided to leave before she did something bad.  Then she proceeded to tell us what they did to make her so mad at them (I didn't really want to know that...) and little by little I could feel the spirit leave.  As she was telling the story, she got all worked up and angry again.  There were some words that she was saying that I didn't understand (I understood the story) she was just telling that story so fast that every time I tried to interject and turn it spiritual again, she just kept talking.  Eventually I got to share a scripture and tell her to pray everyday and she calmed down and then we left.  When we were outside, the member told me that she was swearing while she was telling her story.  I said "Oh really?  I didn't really know what she was saying sometimes but I could feel that the spirit was gone."  She laughed and said "No wonder you didn't seem uncomfortable in there!"  Of course!  I don't know swear words in Tagalog!  But it was just a testimony to me how important our language is.  Even though those words really mean nothing to me, I could feel that the spirit was gone.  It is so important to use good language even when people can't understand.  It brings the spirit.

And then on Sunday, we got to watch a Philippines broadcast because Dallin H Oaks came to the Philippines.  It was so good and I learned so much!  They really stressed how important it is to feast daily on the scriptures.  It makes a huge difference in your personal conversion, even if you already believe.  And that you won't fall away if you regularly study the scriptures.  I know that is true!  Opposition is working hard against us but the scriptures are the tools that Heavenly Father has given us to win the battle every day and come out stronger.  I love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon!  I know it is true with all my heart because I have read it, studied it, and asked if it was true.  And I was answered that it is.

I love you all!  Keep reading your scriptures especially the Book of Mormon.

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Last pic with the Trajano family.  Hopefully Marilyn will be baptized this month!

October 27, 2014 Baptism of Juzzmin Trajano

Baptism of Juzzmin Myers Trajano!!!

Hello family!

Well, this week was great!  It was a little strange because Sis Ah Hong was still having to stay at home and rest, so Sis Domingo and I took turns staying home with her and then we halved our time so we worked half the day in our area and half the day in their area.  It was really hard.  We were just trying to get to as many people as we possibly could.  I have been praying so hard about our goals for next month because since our work was kind of disrupted for a few days, we didn’t have any goals really for November.  I have been praying so hard that although our time is only half of what it should be, that we would find some people or the people that we have been teaching would start progressing.  I want to bear testimony that the Lord answers our prayers and he is aware of our situation and if we are giving our best, He will help us and make it enough.  We found a golden investigator that was actually a former investigator and even though we taught her one lesson, she came to church on Sunday.  Two of our investigators that we’ve been teaching started progressing and overcame some challenges to be able to come to church. And a part member has started coming to church with her family who are recent converts.  All of a sudden, we have several possible goals for November and just last Tuesday I was wondering who could possibly be our November goals because we haven’t been able to really work in our area.  And the amazing thing is, the same thing happened to the sisters in the other area.  They had absolutely no goals but some amazing things happened and they have several goals now.  The Lord is really aware of us and He knows when we are trying our best.  Those things shouldn’t have happened with how little time we spent in all of our areas but they did.  We definitely saw a miracle in Pilar!  And now we just have to continue to give our best so that the goals actually happen this month.

And of course, the other exciting news of the week is that Mark Trajano's daughter, Juzzmin was baptized on Saturday!!!!  She was super excited to be baptized.  We really tried to get her older brother to be ready as well, but for some reason he likes playing basketball much more than listening to us.  Sigh.  We'll keep working on him.  And, Mark's wife, Marilyn has been coming to church the last two Sundays.  Hopefully by the time I leave here, she will be ready to be baptized as well!!  I love that family so much!  And Mark is so awesome.  He is really looking forward to being sealed in the temple and does everything he can to get his family to listen to us and read and come to church.  He practically begs his wife to come to church on Sundays.

Well, this is my last week with Sis Domingo.  She is going home next week.  That is so weird.  She is frantically packing all of her stuff (it's not going to fit in her suitcase....) and getting ready to leave.  But this week we are going to work really hard to find more investigators and help the ones that we have to progress.  Even though I have been here for 5 months, I haven't gotten tired of the area yet which is amazing because it is pretty small!  But there are a lot of people here that the Lord is preparing for the missionaries.  The work is really progressing and the prophecy is so true that Joseph Smiths name will be had for good and bad.  EVERYONE is hearing his name!

Well, I love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 20, 2014 Hospital Days

Me at the hospital trying to get warm.  Sis Ah Hong wanted the aircon on.  So I wrapped up in sheets and stood by the sunny window to warm up

Me and Sis Ah Hong

Hello my family!

Well, this week was crazy and ended up with me spending two days in a Filipino hospital.  Don't worry, I wasn't the one that was sick.  It all started on Tuesday when one of the sisters in our house, Sis Ah Hong, ate lunch and immediately threw it up.  Then on Wednesday, she threw up again when she ate lunch.  Then on Thursday. Then on Friday.  She doesn't eat breakfast and we don't eat dinner at night.  So I started figuring things out in my head and realized that she hadn't really eaten anything since Monday.  Sis Ah Hong didn't want to call the mission president's wife, so I did.  We called the mission doctor and got her some medicine.  But Friday night when I got home to give her the medicine, she threw that up.  By this time she was even throwing up water.  So I was texting the mission president's wife, and she sent the missionary couples over at 11 pm on Friday night to our apartment and we decided to take her to the hospital in Subic (about 1 hour away).  Sis Ah Hong's companion is a brand new missionary who has been a little homesick so I thought that it would not be a good idea to send her to the hospital and just have her sit there.  The best medicine for homesickness is to go out and WORK!  (Remember that... all of you who are preparing to go on missions!) We decided that I would be the one to go with her.

We got to the hospital around 12:30 am and she was rushed into the emergency room and put on IV's.  You should have seen her face when she realized she was going to have an IV put into her!  I felt bad.  So that began a very long night of very little sleep.  I thought that I would have a hard time knowing what they were saying in Tagalog in a hospital setting, but I understood everything.  Kind of cool.  They found out that she had a gallbladder infection and a kidney infection so that's why she was throwing up.  Now, it's bad to be stuck in the hospital whoever you are, but I'm going to tell that it is way worse if you are a missionary.  You can't watch TV.  You can't leave the room to go on a walk because you can't leave your companion.  And all we originally brought with us was our copies of the Book of Mormon. We spent Saturday and Sunday quietly reading the Book of Mormon.  The mission President's wife brought us some more reading material eventually and then on Sunday night she brought a portable DVD player and some church movies.  That was awesome.  By this morning, we were SO ready to get out of the hospital and the best sight was seeing the two senior couple missionaries come break us out of our prison.  Anyway, that's my trying to make my weekend more exciting than it was.  The good thing was, our mission president requested a ocean view room and we got it! (haha! The hospital is right on the bay in Subic)
view from the hospital

Waiting to be set free...
While I was in there, I did get some good study in.  Kind of.  I read a great article in the Liahona about Priesthood and women.  It said, "Men and women are equal in the eyes of God but not the same." We have different talents and strengths and so of course we have different responsibilities.  And one responsibility isn't more important than the other.  There was an answer to a question that has been hard for me to answer my whole life.  "Why are only men priesthood holders?" Gordon B Hinckley said, "Because that's how God organized His church." that simple.  We don't know the reason and it isn't important.  We just need to be content that that is the way His church needs to be set up.  So that was neat.
My "queen" sized bed in our luxurious 5 star hotel for 3 nights

I honestly can't remember anything from this week of work.  I feel like being in the hospital for the last few days has fried my brain and we literally got free and came straight to email.  But I think that it was a really great week.  Kind of weird to miss church on your mission, but can't do anything about that.  I love you all!  Hope you all are planning on having FHE tomorrow night!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

October 13, 2014 General Conference

Trajano Family at General Conference!  Left to right: Joshua, Juzzmin, John Mark, Mark
Hello family!

Another week down and it was awesome!  I loved General Conference and felt like the themes were temples and prophets.  Pretty much what I talk about all day here so that was really good to hear a lot of their talks.  I can't wait to read them again in the Liahona and review what they said.  And I can't WAIT to go to the temple again. That is one of the things that I miss the most here.  It was super awesome yesterday because there was a fiesta in Pilar. When there is a fiesta, everyone celebrates in the whole city.  So we were really worried that no one would come to General Conference.  So we'd been telling all of our investigators and recent converts and less actives about it for weeks.  And the other thing, they had to travel to a different city to watch it.  So it's more expensive and takes more time.  But when we got to the church, Mark Trajano and his kids were there, Delio and James were there, Helen Alfuente, Fretch Lero, and Bro Lopez were all there!  All of our less actives and recent converts!  We were so happy!  There were a lot of active members that didn't show up but the recent converts were there.  It was great.

The Trajano family is doing awesome.  We're going to get Juzzmin and John Mark baptized on Oct 25.  Juzzmin is super excited.  John Mark is....well, we'll make him excited!  But Mark is going strong and I think he's going to be a leader here.  They invited us over for dinner yesterday (because there was a fiesta!) and one of his friends and his wife was over at their house.  The friend had a bottle of beer and was drinking it and smoking.  Mark said after a while, pointing to the bottle, "He didn't believe me when I said that I don't drink anymore." Mark was sipping a glass of water.  His friend laughed and said yeah, I thought he'd give in.  Mark said, "Nope, I've changed now." and then pointed to his baptismal certificate that he had framed and hung on the wall.  His friend then teased him about how the next fiesta all of their friends would be there and Mark would stay the night at his house.  Mark shook his head and said, "No way, I'm going to go home.  I'll drink water and go home!"  We were so happy!  Mark said he's been teased by a lot of his fellow workmen but he just shares with them the word of wisdom.  He even took the work of wisdom pamphlet to work and while he was sitting for a break, read it to them.  (they all smoke and drink) He's a really good missionary!

During fiestas, they sell chicks that are dyed different colors.  Pink, green, yellow, purple.  The kids buy them and play with them.

Well, that's kind of all.  There was a lot more that happened I'm sure but I can't remember it now.  Me and Sis Domingo are just enjoying being here in Pilar. It definitely has it's challenges but the work is awesome here.  Just when you know the lessons, you know how to be a missionary, you can kind of speak the language, they tell you to go home.  I struggled to love being a missionary at the beginning, but I love it so much now!  I love being able to help the Lord with this important work and I know how important it is.  Everyone needs this in their life, just like Elder Bednar said in General Conference.  We should all be excited to share it.

Love you all!  Have a great week!
Sister Sirrine

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 6, 2014 Baptism of Mark Trajano

Karabao pulling a cart (couldn't get it in one pic.,...)

baptism of Mark Trajano!!!!!

Trajano family

Hello everyone in America!

Well, this week was a great week that ended with the baptism and confirmation of Mark Trajano!!!!! Yay!!!!  He was so excited and I think he'll be the ticket for his whole family to accept the gospel.  It was kind of funny because the water was just a little past his knees (someone forgot to fill up the font early) so we were a little worried but the baptizer was able to get Mark totally immersed on the first try!  So that was good.  And Mark gave a really good testimony about how he met the elders years ago and would have been baptized, but then they moved to Laguna and they lost contact.  But then one day, we came to their house.  It's really interesting to me that Heavenly Father knows exactly where we are and is aware of the desires of our hearts.  So He lead us to Mark.  It makes me kind of wonder who of the people that we are teaching right now or taught before will be baptized in a few years.  Almost all of the people that I have taught and baptized were taught before by missionaries.  And I was just the lucky one to see them actually accept the gospel and get baptized.  So there's another testimony for planting seeds even though sometimes we don't see the results.

With Sis. Hausia and Sis Empalmado!  Yay for old companions!
We had a really great Mission Leadership Council (STL's and ZL's) this past week.  I gained a lot of revelation from the conference on how to progress the work here and help the branch achieve real growth.  They really emphasized going to the temple and introducing family history to our recent converts, less actives and investigators.  It's so interesting because actually, the last 6 weeks or so, I have really been feeling the need to share about the temple to people and help them be ready to go the temple.  We set up a temple trip for the branch and have been using that as a tool to help bring back less actives (maybe you remember the story about Helen).  And so it was very interesting that our entire MLC was about the temple and family history.  It means that the Holy Ghost is telling the mission that we really need to get people to the temple.  And I have already seen so much success with the people that we are teaching.  The temple is an amazing thing!  We should all go as often as we can.  I read something really interesting this week in my personal study that I would like to share with you.  In True to the Faith, it says that as we do priesthood temple ordinances for those who have died, "you become a savior on Mount Zion for them.  Your effort approaches the spirit of the Savior's atoning sacrifice - you perform a saving work for others that they cannot do for themselves."  I had always heard that in the temple you will learn more about the atonement, but I never really understood that until I read those sentences.  In the temple, we get to experience a little bit of what Christ did for us and that is one way that we can obey the Savior's command to be like Him.  We get to help bring salvation to those who have gone before us. Through the temple, we seal families together thus fulfilling the promises that Heavenly Father made to Abraham.  And that is the purpose that we are here on this earth: to help forward our Father's work and His plan for us.  I wish that I could share all of the amazing insights that I gained this last week, but I guess I'll just end with a challenge to make the temple a part of your daily life.  There are so many people that need our help and we are so blessed to have so many temples near us.  And there are so many people in other parts of the world that would love to be in our position of having temples all around us.  We are so blessed!

Well, I love you all!  Keep sharing your testimonies with those around you and planting those seeds!
mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014 Ready for Christmas!

John Mark, Joshua and Juzzmin Trajano
FHE at the Trajano home with Elder and Sister White

Saw Choy Gregorio and his dad at our district meeting.  They are members from my first area Gua Gua

Hello Family!!!!

Well, as you can tell by my subject, the Filipinos are all ready for Christmas!  The Christmas music is in full swing, the Christmas trees are out and decorations are up.  And we've still got 3 months.  But hey, they're excited!

This week we had an awesome FHE at the Trajano home with the senior missionary couples.  They really enjoyed the family home evening and want to do it again.  There really is a neat spirit about FHE.  And then Mark Trajano (the dad) was interviewed on Sunday and is going to be baptized this Saturday!!!  We are super excited because his testimony is solid.  His wife isn't really feeling like she wants to be baptized so we're thinking that Mark will get baptized and we'll still keep teaching Marilyn and the kids and hopefully later in the month, they will get baptized and Mark can be the one to baptize them.  He was pretty excited about that option.  Hopefully seeing Mark's baptism will help Marilyn want it too.  Mark really wants his family to become members and be active so he is doing his best as a father and husband to encourage them.

And James Cayanan was baptized on Saturday!!!  He's the son of Delio who was baptized about 4 weeks ago.  James is awesome because he continues to come to church every week with his dad even though he is the only young man.  He has no friends or anyone his age and even the Young Men's president doesn't come that often so he never has a teacher for him.  He just comes to class with the adults.  But he still comes to church and wanted to be baptized.  So now we have to find some families that have boys his age so that he has some friends.

Baptism of James Cayanan!!! The son of Delio
We are super excited about this month!  We have a lot of progressing investigators and lots of upcoming baptisms for October and November.  At first, I was a little sad that I wasn't transferring because the transfers are good to help you stay excited about the work.  When you have been in an area for a long time, sometimes you lose that excitement.  But I am really grateful to Heavenly Father that He's letting me stay in this area and see the fruits of what I have been doing in Pilar.  Usually I get transferred before I see the baptisms but this time I will be able to see them all the way through.  Maybe this is Heavenly Father's blessing to me; my whole mission, I only got to actually see a few of the baptisms but now I will get to see a lot more before I leave.  And I will get to see the progress of the recent converts and how they are growing and learning in the gospel.  That is the best part about being a missionary: seeing the change in a person before and after.  And knowing that it doesn't stop there with baptism, it will continue as long as they stay active and live the gospel.  I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father called me to this work and entrusted me with such important responsibility as helping His children learn how to return back to Him!  What an amazing plan!

Well, I love you all and hope you are all doing great!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine