Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I'm warning you this email wont be very exciting .... haha literally I am in class for like 4 HOURS everyday  and then we just eat and go to bed. I don't even know what the outside world looks like anymore.... :/

This past week has been better for me. I think I'm starting to get used to this new life here, and I honestly just feel like this is my life right now. The sisters I am with are so great and I feel like I have known them forever! Sister Burt is awesome, she is very service oriented. She always gets my tray at dinner and lunch and always asks what I want to drink. Sometimes she even makes my bed! I love her!! She's great. Her testimony is so strong and it makes me want to be better. We're already planning a trip after the mission to Maryland and upstate New York!!!! WAhoo!! PS mom, you better let me go cause after being in a foreign country for 18 months, I think i could handle myself in another state :) haha love youuuuuu

So, this last week I was able to receive a blessing from the elders of comfort and peace. I knew in my heart that my prayers weren't really being all the sincere, and I knew that I needed to just feel comfort and peace somehow. They gave me a blessing and peace just filled my heart. They said that all was well at home, and that I needed to just look to God and Jesus Christ and have faith in them. They blessed me to get focused and press forward with faith in all things. It was SOOO great. I'm so grateful for young men that can give blessings like that!

OK so my bed is literally a concrete SLAB. It's so hard hahah and every morning I wake up and I just think to myself, "How did I even sleep on this?" My neck/back/every body part is so sore. OH well. It's part of being a missionary. :) Also, the food is way good except I think it's starting to weigh me down. We had gym everyday and I literally was sweating everywhere. HAha me and Sister Burt went running around the MTC and we were dying haha... yeah we stopped after like 10 minutes and called it good for the day. WERE SO FAT. Oh well. All those fat cells will be put to good use in the 'ppines when I start hearing my stomach growl at night time... Yeah, i'm gonna miss the comforts of the MTC. 

OK spiritual experience!!!!! So our investigator, Ramir, is struggling lately because his wife has left him and his family is just really falling apart. It's heart breaking. I don't know that much Tagalog, but we once again planned our lesson about the Atonement. Its SO amazing to me how this works. I don't even know Ramir or can barely understand a WORD he says in our lessons, but I feel so much love for him. I want him to be happy. I want him to know that it's gonna be ok.... Isn't that just like our Heavenly Father? He feels SO MUCH LOVE I don't know how he even handles it. I feel like my heart is going to burst whenever we teach Ramir, I can't even IMAGINE how Heavenly Father doesn't just like pass out all the time from all the love he feels for each and everyone of us. It's cool to have a taste of that. Anyways, so it came to be my turn. I literally was just reading off doctrinal things about the Atonement in Tagalog, but I wasn't fully paying attention because I was looking down at my notebook.. UGH I tell you, it's the most frustrating thing in the ENTIRE WORLD to not be able to say what you feel in your heart and only be able to say phrases like "Jesus Christ died for us on Calvary." and "Jesus Christ loves us." Yes, those are great but I JUST WANT TO SAY WHAT I WANNA SAY! So I'm reading off, and I finally get to my testimony and B A M I am CRYING LIKE A CHILD. The tears are just flowing out of me. I looked him in the eyes and this is what I said in all Tagalog:

"Ramir, Jesus Christ knows you. I know that He can help you with whatever trial, problem, or fear you have. I know that He loves you, and if you pray you will feel the peace and comfort that His Atonement will bring. I know this for myself, because I have tried it. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Simple testimony, right? But so powerful because of one reason. The spirit was there. So strong. It brought Ramir to tears, and it made me cry harder to look at him in the eyes because I could see him the way he can become, the way God sees him and us EVERYDAY. I saw him through Heavenly eyes. That is an experience I won't forget here at the MTC. I knew that the spirit had touched his heart as well as mine. I may not understand a LICK of Tagalog, and I may look clueless just nodding my head and saying "Opo" or "Mabuti" the whole time while Sister Burt takes the reigns, but I know that my testimony is something that doesn't come from "Tagalog 2013" mission language grammar books. It comes from my heart. The spirit always touches my heart and fills it with so much love whenever we teach our lessons. I already LOVE the Filippinos I will be teaching. I already love them I just want to squeeze them and just love them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I know that he needed to know how much God loved him. I LOVE THE SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK a few more spiritual things... We went to the temple last Saturday as a zone and I almost cried when I thought about the plan of happiness. I just knew in that moment that God loves his children. YOU GUYS His plan is SO incredibly perfect, and it's all bound and woven with huge amounts of love. . It's like when my parents plan a vacay and my mom calls every single condo place, and looks at all the food/attraction places and goes all out to find only the BEST things so that we can enjoy our vacation the best way possible and remember it when we returned home... I honestly believe that Heavenly Father did just this as He created the plan of salvation. He carefully planned because he ONLY wanted the best. He thought of every possible way that we could have a safe little vacation here in this mortal life, so that we could eventually return back to him, safe and sound, in the Celestial kingdom with all our loved ones. He knew that there would be hard times, and so did we, but we agreed to go on this trip and experience the flat tires and engines failing, because no matter what, we still have the planner/engineer extrordinaire with us. I honestly can't even imagine how this plan could have gone any other way, because it's so perfect. It makes sense. So, when you're feelin lonely and confused, read about the plan of salvation. Learn about it. Let it change who you are. Be grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that only wanted to give us the best because He loves us. He created us!! We are his children, and I can't even express how much I love Him for the blessing we can receive from it. It makes me more grateful for my family. This experience has really opened my eyes. Being away from home, even though I'm in provo is really hard. You never really realize what you have until it's seperated from you for a while. But, whoever will be reading this on my blog, give your family members a hug. Even tell them you love them because I promise you wouldn't want it any other way even in those hard times. 

I LOVE THE GOSPEL. I love everything about it. I love Jesus Christ, and I love Him for the person he is. My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ, and I can't imagine a greater blessing.

I don't know everything yet, but I know for a fact that I am growing. I'm figuring out who I am, and I definitely am seeing myself the way God sees me for maybe the first time in my life. Maybe I'm just a little 19 year old girl, but a 19 year old girl with great b i g plans. And those plans include the people of San Pablo Philippines, thanks to my Heavenly Father. :)

xoxo, Sister Seastrand

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

KAMUSTA! (That means hello in Tagalog.)
It's so nice to email!! It feels soo good! YAYA!!

Well I made it to the MTC! I never thought I would since this whole thing feels so unreal all the time. There's a lot to say but since I only have an hour, I'll keep it short.. ish.
First off... The MTC is so hard. It's so much harder than I expected. My first day was super overwhelming, and I had really tired eyes from crying so much! At the end of the day I was definitely ready to go to bed. My first day consisted of meeting my companion, wandering trying to find everything, laguage class, and everyone constantly saying "Welcome to the MTC!". It was really stressful the first day of class because I was about 2 hours late to class that started for the earlier arriving missionaries at about 12:30. My kasama had already been there for 2 hours, and when I got there, they had already started language instruction. STRESSFUL.. For real. I have never felt so overwhelmed in my whole life. I honestly had no idea what was going on. Our teacher, Sister Scott was speaking Tagalog the entire class. All I could think about was "what the heck am I doing here?" and "did I really just say goodbye to my pamilya for 18 months?" After a long day of language class, we were able to have some time to get settled in our rooms. Our room has six beds and two little desks... My companion Sister Burt was kind enough to let me have the bottom bunk.. She is in real good shape and walks so fast. I honestly am sweating everytime we walk anywhere. Maybe I will tell her to slow down. HAHA! Sister Burt is 20 years old from Maryland, she has traveled a lot to places like Germany, New Zealand, and even lived there away from her family for a few months! She is soooo incredibly sweet to me. We balance each other really well. 
The food is pretty good, but a lot of it has Gluten in it so it's hard to pick things that don't but, I honestly feel like we eat so soon! The time between meals is so short and I feel like we are either in class or in the cafeteria haha. Mostly the cafeteria. My apartment is nice, I've seen SOOO many high school friends which is kind of nice since I don't know anyone. Our district is super tiny, there are only like 16 of us. We met our Branch Pres on thursday night and had a little zone conference together. Pres Anderson is SOOOO STRICT!!! Holy cow as soon as we sat down for zone conference, He was already telling us that we needed to shape up and look more like missionaries, especially the elders!! Haha it was kind of funny and stressful at the same time because we all shared about ourselves and our testimony but as soon as the first elder stood up to share, Pres Anderson said, "Elder Creager, button your two top buttons. Tell us one eternal truth and that's all we need to hear from your testimony." HAHA AWKO TACO.... Everyone literally sat stiff as a board with wide eyes the entire time. There aren't very many sisters going to San Pablo, in fact, all six of us girls that are staying together in one room are going to San Pablo. It's nice because we are getting really close and feel like a family. I will include some pictures of us together so everyone can see our beautiful faces :)

Sleeping has been difficult since it takes me so long to fall asleep since I think about home, and feelings of discouragement start to hit me. Honestly, I am not going to lie..... I feel super discouraged, and even weighed down. This language is hard, and on top of that I feel the need to not only become a good missionary but a good missionary in the language of Tagalog. It's hard to satisfy and build up both parts because there's so much language I don't know... It's easy to want to give up and there have been days this week that I honestly have looked out the window of my classroom and thought to myself what I would rather be doing or what I think other people I care about are doing.... But then I will have little experiences that make me feel better. I feel like my prayers aren't really being answered, but I will keep trying and keep praying my little heart out and although my first few days here have been extremely discouraging and hard, I believe that God knows me. I believe that I can tell Him how I'm feeling, and He will help me. It's hard not to think about what I could be doing or what others are doing since we literally are fenced off from the rest of the world, but I know I will eventually get used to it. It's a very hard transition though, and I literally at times feel the tears well up in my throat and eyes. But, since the day I have been with mi kasama Sister Burt, she has been so awesome at talking to me and being positive and hard working. I love her so much!!!! We honestly are so similar and balance each other's strengths and weaknesses.
SO. Here's some spiritual stuff. Here at the MTC they have investigators that help you practice teaching lessons. SO for our lesson our investigator is named Ramir Accordo. He told about himself in a little video for us to watch so we can start teaching him. He is struggling with his family, his wife is inactive but he believes in God. He doesn't want to be Mormon, but he wants to listen to the missionaries... BAPTISM IN PROGRESS I TELL YOU. Seriously, this guy will get baptized after my and Sister Burt are done teaching him!!! We know it. Anywayssss so we had to plan our first lesson and teach it in TAGALOG. NO INGLES PEOPLE. I seriously almost peed my pants when Sister Scott told us that.. We had literally only been in the MTC for like 24 hours and we already had to teach a lesson in Tagalog. UGHUGHUGHGUH!!!
Sister Burt and I sat down during personal and companionship study and we literally planned the entire lesson together in all Tagalog. It was DANG hard let me tell you!! But, our first lesson our hearts wanted soooo badly to reach out to him, and for him to feel the spirit and teach what he needed. We prayed like 3 times that day that our lesson would help Ramir, and he was constantly on our mind. We started planning our lesson, and we decided to go ahead and teach about how to pray to Heavenly Father and how he can help us through our trials. We got through planning the entire lesson and felt sooo excited to teach him! Our lesson was soo planned out and put together and we felt like he would feel the spirit. We got to our lesson and we were so nervous but we could tell that he was attentive and listening to us. Then I started teaching him how to pray and I didn't know how to ask him to pray so I just looked at Sister Burt and said "Alrighty then.... I'll say the closing prayer." HAHA AWKWARD... Seriously I had to say the whole thing in English because I didn't know how to pray in Tagalog... haha oh geez... We will try better with our next lesson.
As I said, this week has been really incredibly hard for me... but today we were planning our 2nd lesson and we decided that we were just feeling frustrated and Sister Burt had the thought to walk around the MTC for a bit while we waited to do laundry and email our pamilya's. So we walked around for an hour and just talked about our mission decisions and how we decided to go.. Anyway, Sister burt asked me about mine, and as soon as I started talking about my experience I felt the spirit in my heart and the tears welled up inside me. I don't know why that happened, but I definitely felt the spirit in our conversation. It lifted my spirits a little bit and I felt a little better. I may not feel ok yet, and I may not know the language, but my faith is being tried and I need to just take it one day at a time. I'm tired, scared, and overwhelmed and discouraged, but I know that God knows us. He knows exactly what we are going through. I take comfort in knowing that I can pray and tell him EVERYTHING. I challenge you all anyone and everyone to do just that. You may not know everything, you may feel more discouraged than you ever have in your entire life. But pray to God. Tell him everything. Be honest and accept what you're going through, because He knows. He loves us soooo much more than we could ever imagine.
I love you guys. I love the spirit I have felt here. I may not have it all figured out, but hopefully with time I can start feeling like a missionary.
Until next Saturday,
Paalam!! :)
xoxo, Sister Seastrand