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