Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014 A New Mission President

These are the kinds of bridges that we sometimes cross here....

Buko!!!! (young coconut)
Opened the buko with a machete :) Buko juice is the best!!! Sobrang masarap!

Wooooohhhh!!!! Got my package :)

Hello Family!

Well, the big news of the week is that we got a new Mission president yesterday and he is American.  So it means that all of our meetings will be in English, which will be different.  All of the Filipinos have been worrying about it, but they'll be fine.  They are all really good at English.  I'm curious to see what the changes will be in my mission because of the new president.  Kind of strange because I can't imagine any other president than President Querido!  But it will be good :)

So this week was a lot of finding new investigators.  It's a good thing that my comp likes to talk to people so finding is pretty easy for us.  We taught a first lesson the other day and told them that we were both from Utah.  A little bit into the lesson, they asked us if we were sisters.  I wanted to laugh at that.  Here I am a white girl and Sis Leakehe is a Tongan.  It was pretty funny.

With Sis Leakehe by the rice fields!
What a rice field looks like

We found one guy that I really feel good about.  He hasn't come to church yet but I feel hopeful about him.  His name is Jhong and he has had a really hard life. We taught him two weeks ago and  then we went back to him again this week.  We asked him if he prayed about our message and he said that after we left, he read the whole pamphlet and then prayed if Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  We asked what the answer was and he said he hadn't gotten one yet.  So I asked what feeling he got afterwards.  He said that it was a good feeling.  Like clear and light inside. (that's a weird Tagalog translation to English...) So I showed him a scripture that is in the lesson 1 pamphlet about what the spirit is like.  He read it and said "Wow!  was that really in here? I swear I read the whole thing.  But that is exactly what I felt!"  And then he said to us that before we came to him, he was having a really hard time.  He wasn't really happy here and was thinking about selling his land here and moving back to Manila.  He has a lot of family problems and just wasn't happy with his life.  But he said when we went to him the other week and taught him, he felt peace in his life. And he said that now he has no thoughts of selling his land.  He said that he felt we were sent to him and he's excited to learn our message.  It was such a neat experience and It is interesting how Heavenly Father knows exactly the right timing for everyone.  He didn't come to church yet, but I am really hoping that reading the Book of Mormon will help him gain a desire to come to church!

Also, we taught the son of a less active who wasn't baptized.  We were in the middle of teaching him when he stopped us and asked Sis Leakehe if she remembered on June 10 that when they were walking by his house, she stopped and said "Brother!  We have a gift for you!"  and then gave him an Articles of Faith pass-a-long card.  We were a little surprised and Sis Leakehe said Yeah, she remembered.  Gilbert said, "That was my birthday.  I was wondering why you gave me a gift.  I was wondering how you knew."  He said that he read all the Articles of Faith and felt they were from God.  When we left his house, we couldn't believe that.  Sis Leakehe said that she didn't know at the time why she gave that to him because they pass his house all the time.  I feel like that experience really helped him want to hear what our message is.  It's amazing to me how Heavenly Father really is mindful of us.  And when we are inspired to do good things, we should do them.  Even if we feel like it is just a silly idea in our head.  Because you don't know what effect that could have.  We were blessed to find out the effect of her acting on that prompting.

Well, Love you all!  Keep reading those scriptures and praying!  And be a light to all the people that are around you.  A lot can happen because of our example to others!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

June 23, 2014 Transferred again!

Me and Sis Lim and Gerson Ravana at FHE!

All the Santa Cruz sisters at 7eleven!!

My last night in Santa Cruz.  Sis Lim, Gerson, & Leonard

This is Mark's Baptism that I really really really really really REALLY wanted to see!  But it's okay.  He was baptized and that's all that matters.  I miss Santa Cruz..

Hello ang aking pamily!

Man, I was transferred again.  I so did not want to be transferred!  We had a baptism on Saturday and two more this coming Saturday and more next month.  I guess I loved the branch too much.  That's what happens, if you start feeling good and comfortable, you get transferred.  So I was transferred from the furthest north area in the mission, to almost the very south area in the mission.  So I'm back in the south and back to the land of Catholicism.  It really is surprising that it's only about an 8 hour bus ride south but the people are so different in the north as compared to the south.

My new companion is Sister Leakehe, who is.....Tongan!  Woooo! I have a thing for Tongans I think. Maybe I should start learning Tongan.  But, she really is from West Valley, Utah and has lived there her whole life.  So she's really an American.  But she does speak Tongan.  And our apartment here in Pilar has AC in the bedroom.  The first time I've had AC in the house since the MTC!  My fist couple nights I was pretty cold...and I woke up with a really dry throat.  I'm gonna die when I go back to the States.

This week, Sis Leakehe and I did a LOT of finding new people to teach.  I think pretty much all we taught was lesson 1.  We're going to get pretty good at that.  And we've got a lot of potential baptisms for July but the problem is they don't come to church.  Here in the south, it's really hard to get people to come to church.  The north is a whole different story.  Whole different mission! HaHa.  But it's okay, we can do it!

We also visited a lot of less actives.  Something I have really learned on the mission is that we can not afford to let ourselves get offended by other people.  There are a lot of people that say they know the church is true but they do not want to go to church because they got offended by someone.  What they don't realize is that they are withholding themselves from blessings!  They are hurting no one but themselves!  So to everyone back at home:  People are not perfect.  The church is perfect.  the church is the way to get blessings and return to our Heavenly Father.  We cannot afford to get offended by other people and not earn the blessing of returning to our heavenly father.  It is up to us to endure hurts and trials and challenges in this life to prove to our heavenly father that we are worthy of the blessings that he has in store for us.  This life is really so short and then we will have the rest of eternity to think about what we did here.  We will have the rest of eternity to think "If only I could have stayed strong for a little bit longer...."

I really like what my mission president emailed us this week.  (It is his last week here as our mission president.  We get a new one on Sunday ) He said "However, if you cannot give to the Lord the best that is in you here you will not likely ever give to the Lord your best. And if your do not give to Him your best then it is you that He cannot Bless with the Best that He and He alone has to offer." And I know that is true about the mission but it is also true about life.  If we cannot give him our best here in this life, He cannot give us His best blessings.

I love you all!  Stay strong and be obedient!
mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 Gandang umaga po sa aking pamilya at mga kaibigan!!!

We eat anything here in the Philippines. Even Cheetos and rice.... (it's pretty good!  You should try it!)

Me and my cute comp!
The members that are always working with us here in Sta Cruz!!!!

Gandang umaga po sa aking pamilya at mga kaibigan!!!

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! I had a pretty good birthday....not every missionary happens to have a mission activity on their birthday so that was pretty cool.  I got to see all my old comps and we got to play again.  (We broke the Olongapo mission record for baptisms again this month!  Wooo!  Go us!)  And then, we went home and stopped at Jollibee (which is a fast food restaurant here) and my zone bought me spaghetti (that's a Filipino tradition here.  You eat spaghetti on your birthday) and sang to me.  It was pretty good :)

This week was pretty good too as far as the work!  I'm so excited for Mark this week because he passed his interview and he is going to be baptized on Saturday!  Talk about someone who has totally changed.  In his life he pretty much has done everything that is against what the gospel teaches us to do,  but he felt the spirit and wanted to change.  And he changed.  Immediately.  And he is inviting all of his friends to listen to us.  He is really excited about his baptism and really wants to be a good person.  It's amazing how fast the gospel can change a person's life.

Mark (gray shirt) and Erik.  Mark passed his interview and is going to be baptized on Saturday!!!

We taught Bing about tithing.  (she's the one who can't be baptized until Christmas time because she's not married yet)  So she's not a member yet but she comes to church every week and she paid her tithing last week!  Then when we went to her on Wednesday, she excitedly told us that she saw blessings from paying her tithing.  She said that after she paid her tithing, a lot of people came to her to pay her to sew things for them.  She immediately saw an increase in her work!  She was so so so excited about this and so she now has a way to save even more to be able to afford to get married when her husband comes home.  She really has seen so many blessings in her life since she has accepted the gospel.  I wish I could see her get baptized!!!

We have an investigator that we kind of chastened him for not reading the Book of Mormon.  We told him that the only way to know if what we are saying is true is by reading!  (he had read up to 1 nephi 4 and then stopped) so he flipped open to 2 Nephi 31 and said that by Saturday he would be there (it was Thursday).  So we told him to just read it and ask god if it's true.  We went back to him on Saturday and I noticed that his bookmark was really far into the Book of Mormon.  My comp just asked if he read and prayed and started the lesson.  But I was curious if he really read all that.  So I asked him where he was.  He flipped open to 2 Nephi 31 and started telling us everything that happened in 1 and 2 Nephi.  We were so amazed!  We were really hoping that he would come to church but he didn't (even though he promised).  He has a lot of potential but he's 60+ and the church thing is really hard for him to do. We'll just keep praying for him!!!

Well, that's about it!  I hope that you all had a great week and I love you all!  The church is true!  The Book of Mormon is true.  I know because I read it and I asked God if it was true and received an answer for myself.  Everyone should do Moroni's challenge even if you already believe it is true.  The Holy Ghost will tell you again.  Every time that you do his challenge.

Mahal ko kayo!!!
Sister Sirrine

We had district conference this week and I saw all the members from Masinloc!!!  Mel and Melvin are still active and they just received the melchezidek preisthood!!!!!!

June 8, 2014 Hello Hello Family

Hello Hello Family!

So this week was another week here in the Philippines.  We're heading into rainy season here and I'm getting really excited!  Like really. I miss the big rainstorms here.  (And if it's raining, it means it's not super hot....) But they did say that if there are rainstorms that we probably will not have electricity so that's a bummer. We'll see.

This week we are so excited about our investigator Manolito.  He is so ready to change and accept the gospel!  We were supposed to teach him about the plan of salvation (lesson 2) but when we got there, he asked us a question about one of the commandments.  Usually, we teach the doctrine first and then the commandments afterwards once their faith is built enough to accept the commandments (like word of wisdom, chastity, tithing etc).  So he asked us a question and we were not sure if we should teach him the lesson about it or not but while he was saying the opening prayer, I was praying to know if he was ready to hear that lesson or not.  I felt like he was ready, so we taught him the lesson on Law of Chastity.  We just taught it to him and at the end, he said "Well, I now know what I need to do.  This is the solution!  thank you so much sisters for teaching this to me."  He was so ready to accept the commandment and he is ready to act on it too.  Even though it's going to be hard to change and repent, he is ready to do so because he felt the spirit tell him that this message is coming from God, not from us.  And on our follow up visit, we taught him the steps to repentance and he wrote them down (he writes down everything: the summary line of his reading from the Book of Mormon, the commitments we give him, the important parts in our lessons, everything.  And then he does it too!).  He's very excited for his baptism and we know that he is ready for it.  Well, he will be ready for it.  And he knows how important it is too.  He understands the scriptures and the commandments when we tell them to him.

Also, something funny that happened: our recent convert, Leonard, asked us on Tuesday if it was a requirement when you bear your testimony to be sad.  (because everyone cries when they bear their testimony...) We laughed and told him no, you can be happy!

And we found two new families that we are excited about.  One of them is supposed to come to church tomorrow and the other will hopefully come next week.  But hopefully that will happen and maybe they can be baptized in  June as well. But maybe not until July. The work is definitely progressing here in Sta Cruz!  Hopefully I get to stay here one more transfer.  We have transfer in two weeks because the next week, president Querido is going home and we get a new mission president.  I'm going to be so sad to see him go!  He and his wife are so amazing!  That will be weird to have a new president....changes, changes!

Well, that's about it!  The work is moving forward here and I know that this is the Lords work.  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Sister Sirrine

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 2, 2014 Hey Hey Hey

A cool sunset here in Pawo

Leonard Manga was baptized!!!!!

 And....this is him the NEXT DAY!  He's in a white shirt and tie.  He looks like a Mormon!!!!

Hey hey hey!!!

Okay so the highlight of the week was that Leonard got baptized!!!!  Oh man it was awesome.  I think he is one of the only baptisms that I wasn't stressed about that he might not show up or something would happen (like happened to Ellen and Bing that they weren't married....) and he couldn't get baptized.  He was so ready.  So prepared by the Lord.  So he was baptized on Saturday and then on Sunday, he showed up to church in a white shirt and tie and he even bore his testimony in sacrament meeting.  I was so happy!  He totally fits in here in the branch and it helps that he really has a lot of friends here that welcomed him immediately.  And, he worked with us again yesterday after church and so I'm really hoping that he'll serve a mission in the future.

Also, I think I told you about Manolito that was a referral from his sister and we taught him on Saturday and he came to church on Sunday.  When we went back to him on Wednesday, he accepted the baptismal goal date for June 21!!!  When we told his sister, she was so happy because she said that she's referred a lot of missionaries to him, but I guess he was just never ready yet.  I guess this is his time!

And, we had a really great lesson with Mark, Erik and Sonny.  We've been teaching them since before General Conference but they kind of got scared off for a few weeks because their neighbors told them about the word of wisdom and that they couldn't drink or smoke if they joined the Mormons.  So for a few weeks, they kind of avoided us, but they still came to church (huh, go figure...).  So we finally went back to them on Monday and taught Erik and Mark about word of wisdom and they accepted it as a commandment and said they would live it.  When we went back on Friday, Sonny was there and he said that they had told him about it and he wanted to know why coffee wasn't allowed.  so we taught Word of Wisdom again (luckily he doesn't smoke, just the other two) and I could see on his face that he accepted the alcohol and smoking but not yet the coffee.  So we bore testimony that it is a commandment of God.  Then, I felt like we needed to have the member who was working with us share his experience when he was taught the Word of Wisdom because he used to drink coffee too.  So he shared his experience and then said he had something else to share.  He said "what if I loaned you my white shirt and you took it and ripped it up and got it dirty and stained?  How do you think I would feel?" sad of course.  "Okay, so how to you think heavenly father feels when he lends us our life and our bodies and we take them and ruin them and make them sick? Hurt, sad of course.  And that's what we are doing to this gift that Heavenly Father has given us when we drink or smoke or drink coffee.  We are ruining his gift to us. And all of these things make us sick eventually."  He talked for about 5 minutes and the spirit was so strong there.  When he finished talking, immediately Sonny said, "Okay, I'm just going to drink milk instead!" I was so grateful for the testimony of the member that was with us and because of what he said, our investigators were touched by the spirit and convinced of the truth of this commandment.  It was a pretty incredible lesson.  I was convinced too!

Well, that's all for this week.  Kind of short on time but I love you all and I know that this church is true!  I know that God gives us commandments to make us happy, not to make us miserable.  They are for our peace and freedom in this life and the ticket to inheriting eternal life!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Siirrine

Ellen finally got the paper work and was married and baptized!!!! (the mom of Melvin) 

AND....Melvin was the one to baptize her!!!!!  
 I am so so so so so happy~!!!!  Ellen has been waiting for 3 months for the paperwork to come...what a trooper.  She knows how to endure to the end! (4)

Picking mangoes up in the mountain.  One of my favorite pastimes. I've gotten pretty good at it.  they use big long bamboo sticks with a hook or a net at the end to pick them. I kinda look like an Amazon, don't i???  Just kidding