Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014 Hello po Family!

A recent convert from Masinloc came to visit on Sister Ila's last sunday.

This is Bing, our golden investigator who isn't married yet :(

One of our last pics together

Hello po Family!

Well, this week was crazy because of transfer day.  Sister Ila went home and so we were a trisome until Thursday which meant that we had to split our time in both areas.  So I feel like we didn't even work in my area this week.  Our stats were a little sad this week.  And I was really really sad that Sister Empalmado was transferred.  We really became best friends.  Oh well.  Such is the life of a missionary.  And my new companion is really cute.  Her name is Sister Lim (Her dad is chinese and her mom is filipino but they live here), she is 26 and super super super nice.  As in super.  So it should be a good transfer but she is a little quiet.

Up in the mountain
On Tuesday we had quite the adventure here.  There are some members that live up in the mountain which is about 40 mintues away from town.  So of course, they don't have home teachers go to them and they were less active for a while.  So we go visit them once a month because they want a visit but they understand that it's really expensive and uses a lot of our time to go up there.  So we planned to go up there and we called up before to make sure the family was up there.  So then we took a tricycle up there.  And what do you know, they weren't there anymore.  (We had talked to the branch president, not the actual family) They had gone to get wood  but they were really far away.  So we asked if there were other less actives up there and there weren't.  So we were a little disappointed because we went up there for nothing.  So we talked with the branch president for a little while and picked some mangoes.  And then we had to leave but there are NO tricycles up there.  No way to get down except to walk.  The branch president joked "If you can't find a tricycle, ride a dump truck down!" (they live right by a nickel mine) We all laughed and then looked at each other and said, "Yeah!  Let's ride a dump truck down!!!"  So we found a foreman to flag one down for us (He got us a nice big one that had AC inside) and we all climbed inside.  (There's a space behind the driver that's kind of like a bed so we sat there)  And we rode a dump truck down the mountain.  It was actually really fun!  I don't know if that is allowed but we didn't have any other option.  The driver was really nice and super curious what we were doing up in the mountain.  So I have officially ridden in a dump truck.  Only in the Philippines!

In the dump truck!!!

Our proselyting was okay this week.  Like I said, we didn't spend much time in our area BUT we did happen to meet a member who has been vacationing in Manila for the last two months and we asked her if she knew anyone that we could go to.  She said that her brother lived next door and we could try him.  She'd referred him before a couple times to the missionaries but he was never interested.  So we went and taught him the restoration and invited him to church.  He said that he was really interested (he even wrote down every single commitment we gave him on a piece of paper.  First investigator that's ever done that...) but that he couldn't promise that he'd go to church.  But then, when we went to church the next morning, he was sitting in the second row right next to his sister!!!!  We're really excited about him and hopefully he'll be one of our baptisms for June!!!!  

Two of the branch missionaries that work with us...
... Gerson and Mac

So yep.  That's the most exciting for the week.  We are scrambling to figure out who will to be our goals for the next month....hopefully we can find them.  I kind of forgot about that and we haven't been focusing on finding as much as we should have.  Oh well....we'll find them!  I hope that you all have a great week!  

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 19, 2014 Another Transfer!

With my mission president who is going home in June
Waiting for the bus after our zone activity.  We're so tired  haha

Pretty sunset with a really cool blue streak in the sky

Hello Hello Family!

Well, this week went by fast!  This week is transfer week and Sis Empalmado feels like she is going to be transferred.  I'm going to be really sad if that happens because I really like her a lot.  Some companions I'm fine with that even though I don't have any problems with them, but I really love her a lot.  Oh well.  Such is the life of a missionary.  And one of our housemates went home yesterday so we're in a trisome again.  I'm always in a house with a sister who is in her last transfer!  My first transfer it was really hard.  I wanted to go home too.  And the other sisters were trunky and it kind of makes you trunky.  But I realized this transfer, that I wasn't jealous that sister Ila was going home.  I realized that I was sad for her and that I don't really want to go home.  And then I realized just exactly how fast this is going and that pretty soon, it's going to be over and I'll never be a missionary again. 

Well, anyway, so we had a good week this week.  Oh man, I'm so excited for the baptism of Leonard.  He is so ready!  He reminds me of Melvin in Masinloc because from lesson 1, he was ready to accept it and came to church.  And the day we taught him word of wisdom, he gave it all up.  We visited him last week and he said that he is so excited for his baptism.  He is reading the Book of Mormon and he really understands it.  I can tell that he is going to be a future priesthood leader!  And...when we went to him on Thursday, he said that he wanted to come and work with us too, just like the members do here.  So yesterday, he came and worked with us the whole day!  He said it was really fun working with the missionaries and he's excited to do it again and practice so that he can share with the investigators and less actives, just like the other members do.  And he has lots of support and has made a lot of friends here in the branch which makes being an investigator so much easier!  I'm so excited for his baptism!

I do have a little bit of sad news though.  Bing, our other investigator who should also be baptized on may 31.  When we were first going to her, she accepted the baptismal goal date, but very hesitantly.  But she's been coming to church and her little girls love it.  They ask when they can go back.  We always follow up and ask how her preparation for baptism is going and she always just laughs and says we'll see.  But then we went to her on Wednesday and she said that she's excited for it.  The first time she's said that!  And she really wants to be baptized.  She knows that this church is true and that it teaches really good things to her little girls.  So we were so happy about that.  But then we went back and taught law of chastity to her and found out that she isn't married.  And her husband works construction and only comes home once a year (Christmas).  So it's impossible for her to get married anytime soon.  (My district leader told me to have them do it over skype....i don't think that's possible unfortunately) Bing was so disappointed and we were so sad.  But we told her that we would help her in any way that we could to get everything ready for when he comes home.  But she told us,. "Sisters, even though I can't get baptized, I still want to come to church."  I was soooooooo happy inside when she said that!  Other people get offended because they can't get baptized and then, although they know it is true, they stop coming to church and stop trying.  But Bing doesn't want to do that. She knows this is true and so she is going to keep coming until it's possible for her to be baptized.  I was so proud of her!  And she came t church yesterday!  I can't wait to hear the news that she's been baptized and hopefully along with her husband :)

well, that's all the exciting stuff.  I love my area and my companion and Tagalog.  I realized the other day that I can speak Tagalog.  That's weird.  And I feel pretty fluent in it. Not totally...but kind of.  What a miracle that is!  

Well, I love you all!  Hope you are doing great and are reading scriptures and praying everyday.  And all you 17 and 18 and 19 year old young men, start preparing to go on a mission.  It is so important!  I had no idea before I served just exactly how important it is.  We're really trying to push the young men here in Sta Cruz to serve missions because it's been almost 10 years since Sta Cruz branch had a missionary.  The branch doesn't really push then to serve missions and so they don't.  But as missionaries, we're really trying to push them because there's about 10 that are 18 and they are so good!  I want them all to serve missions!  

Well, gotta go, but I love you all!  Ingat kayo lagi!

Sister Sirrine

our zone pyramid

Playing in the sand.  I've got the Filipino squat down!

The sta cruz sisters~!

The snake game at our zone activity!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 11, 2014 Lots of Pictures

No letter this week, because Danai got to Skype for Mother's day.  It was so fun to see her and talk to her.  She looked very happy.  She did send some pictures, and we got more from Elder Gorringe.

How to eat a mango cleanly! cut it into 3 pieces with the pit in the middle....

then  eat the mango with a spoon!!!
Companion Sister Empalmado
Santa Cruz sisters!

Clothes drying in our bedroom.  It's so hot in our room that the clothes dry in about an hour or two.  

With my super cute companion.  She's like my little sister

The three tall white Americans here 

We went to the beach!!!!

Our awesome sand castle

More beach day pictures sent from Elder Gorringe:

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 5, 2014 Hello Family!

(Photos came from President Querido's facebook posts)

Hello Family!
I think today was one of the happiest days of my mission!!!!!  Our zone acheived our goals for the month of May along with two other zones and so we got to go to a beach resort and play all day.  And....our mission president let us walk in the water!!!!!!  I was sooooooooooooooooo happy!  We played in the sand and built a sand castle and played games and I got sunburned and we are all so tired.  But it was the best day ever.  It was fun to have a day to be able to relax a little.  And, I got to try the watermelon that they have here that is yellow inside instead of red (which I've been looking forward to for a long time).  It is more delicious than the red!  That's one thing I really love here....there are SO many fruits here and they are all really delicious.

This week was pretty good.  We had a couple neat experiences.  The first one is a huge testimony to me about how important visiting and home teaching is.  One of the members came up to us at church and said there was a member that was having some really hard family problems and asked if we would go with her to visit Sis Corpus. So we all went.  When we showed up there, she was kind of having the leftovers of an asthma attack and was kind of sad looking.  So we chatted for a while and it ended up going longer than we thought it would.  As missionaries, we're told to keep visits with members brief so Sis Empalmado and I thought that we would just leave a prayer with her.  But Sis Corpus said, "Aren't you going to leave a verse?  Even just one?"  I felt a little chagrined because we're missionaries!  That's what we do!  So immediately I thought of Alma 36:3 so I shared that with her.  As she was reading, she said "Oh!  this is us!  Yes, this is so true!"  She then read the verse 4 or 5 times and just kept going over every word.  Then the member with us shared a quote by Pres Monson about trials and how we need to turn to the Lord.  Almost immediately upon reading the verse, Sis Corpus's whole countenance changed.  I couldn't believe it.  And at the end, she gave the prayer and in her prayer thanked the Lord for our visit and said that at the beginning, she felt sick and tired and low in spirits but now she feels light and strong.  When she closed her prayer, she said "That is true sisters!  I feel like I could do anything right now and before I could hardly walk out into the front room!"  It was such a huge testimony for me about how valuable the visits from the members are.  Even just a short visit can make such a difference in the lives of people.  Although they are members, we all still need the help and support of others.  We cannot do this life alone.  We need our families and we need the church members.  I know that the home and visiting teaching program is inspired of the Lord.  Please, please, please, do your visiting assignments!  I know that you will be blessed for your time and they will be blessed from your visit and the spirit in their home.  And we learned that this sister (who was baptised about 2 years ago) was also thinking of going back to the Born Again religion because it is hard to be a member of this church.  But I have a feeling that she is more strengthened now and will be able to face this challenge.  You never know what effect you can have on others.

Also, we had 5 investigators at church and 9 less actives!!!!  I am really excited for this month.  One of our investigators (Bing) we went to and taught the plan of salvation.  It was kind of hard to teach and concentrate because her kids were loud and distracting.  Sis Empalmado whispered to me to just end the lesson.  But first I felt like I should extend a baptismal committment to her.  So I did.  Amazingly, her kids were quiet and stayed quiet for the rest of the lesson.  She said "Agad agad?! (Immediately?)!" but we reassured her that we would help her get ready.  So she hesitantly/nervously said "Yes".  We then told her that she needs to come to church in order to be ready for baptism.  She's never come to church becauase she's worried that her kids won't behave but we told her that's okay.  There's lots of kids there.  So she agreed that she would come.  And she did!!!!  And her kids were pretty good.  I was very glad that I followed the spirit and invited her to be baptized again.

Well, I'm out of time.  It was a really good week but I'll just leave that much with you.  I hope you are all doing wonderful and seeking out missionary opportunities.  Even little ones.  And doing all of your callings.  I know that if we are given a calling, it comes from Heavenly Father.  And it means that we have the talents and abilities to fulfill it.  I know the Church is true!  I'm so grateful to be serving here in the Sta Cruz area!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

May 4, 2014 Note from Elder Gorringe

Greetings from afar. Today, we had the pleasure of attending church in Santa Cruz for the first time. With the departure of the Doyles, who worked the northern zones, we are attempting to venture to the north zones to visit when possible. Hence our presence here today. We have not had much opportunity to see Sister Sirrine because she has not been in any of our zones.

The pictures are of her teaching the Gospel Principles class in Sunday school. Though I cannot understand  much of what she says, the class can, and she did a great job. You should be very proud of her. We are.
Best wishes,

Elder Gary Gorringe
Philippines Olongapo Mission
Financial Secretary

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April 28, 2014 Hello!

Pretty sunset over the bukid (farm or field)

Well, this week was pretty good (I'm pretty sure I start all my emails like that.  Sana hindi kayo magsawa sa paulit-ulit ko....).  Yesterday we were punted pretty much all day because it was a fiesta here.  Man, the Filipinos really like to party.  I feel like they have fiestas all the time.  It's really hard on the missionary work.  And hard on the people trying to live the Word of Wisdom.  But it's okay because we always get fed lots of delicious food.  So although we are kind of bummed that we don't have very many appointments, at least we are really full....!

But, We had some exciting things happen.  First of all, the other sisters here in Sta Cruz had a baptism on Saturday.  On a whim, we decided to text our investigators and invite them.  We were just heading out to proselyte when they texted back and said they would come.  We were so surprised!  So we went to the church and gave them a tour (they were actually really interested at that) and then they watched the baptism.  And, all three of them were men.  I could not believe that we got three men to come!  Well, we didn't, the Lord did.  And then at church the next day, they came again and one other of our investigators.  All four, men!  (Just in case you don't know, usually getting men to come to church and baptisms is a lot harder than the women.  And to have that many at one time is amazing!) Church yesterday was a little....unorganized....but Sis Empalmado and I were just praying the whole time that they would feel the spirit.  It's amazing that although we are not perfect, the Spirit can make anything perfect and it can help us realize the truth despite the imperfections.  We were a little worried when the priesthood got out (what would be there reaction? Did they enjoy it? Did they have friends in priesthood?'s stressful to be a missionary and bring investigators to church!  You want everything to be perfect, but it never will be) But, they came out smiling.  And one of them said to me just before he left "My brain is full of all good things.  There's nothing bad in here."  I was so excited to hear that!  So excited!  The spirit really can do amazing things! and, it's just a testimony that this is the true church although the teachers aren't professional pastors or sometimes we don't know what we're doing but we are trying and the Lord sees that.

And...we had our first rainstorm of the year!!!!!  Oh man I've missed the rain!  It is so so so hot here in the summer that Sis Empalmado and I were almost jumping for joy when it started raining.  And, it rained HARD.  It was really good too because the people feel bad for us that we are walking out in the storm and they let us into there houses and then, just like Ammon did to king Limhi we "caught [them] with guile" and started teaching them.  And we found a less active because of the rainstorm too.  God definitely works in mysterious ways.

Other than that pretty normal week.  I really love my companion!  I don't know why but President keeps pairing me up with the nicest Filipinos in the mission.  Maybe it's because I need to be nicer so I'm supposed to learn from them.  But I am really learning to trust my companion and become best friends with her.  If we are not united as a companionship, how can we be united in spreading the gospel to the people here.  It is so true that "if ye are not one, ye are not mine."  And that is especially true in a companionship.  And so true also in a family.  So keep reading your scriptures and doing family prayer and family scripture study.  I can totally see that the family is under attack because if the family can be destroyed, we have nowhere to go to get our strength.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Sister Sirrine