Monday, September 30, 2013


OH MY EVERYONE. I MADE IT!!!! I AM IN THE PHILIPPINES!! There is SOSOSO much to tell and this key board doesn't work too good, the space bar is broken..welcome to a 3rd world country!

SO the flight here was probably the longest, hardest day of my life. It was all in all about 20 hours. We got to Japan, and I seriously had HAD it with airplanes, especially the airplane food. It's not that good, people. Whoever told me it was good... was lying. We had a layover in Japan for about 2 hours, then we flew to Manila. We arrived there at about 11 pm at night. We got our bags and said our final goodbyes to our elders (we got to fly with them into the ppines) and that was rough. We then took a bus with 12 of us San Pablo-ites to the hotel we would stay at for the night. Our hotel was pretty cool, but definitely nothing like American hotels. It was a very tiring night to say the least. We woke up at about 3am to then travel to San Pablo. We waited for 3 hours for a bus to take all of the San Pablo missionaries. Manila is extremely busy. I felt like I was in New York.... Actually its probably busier than that. It is HUGE. Also, very dirty and smelly. There's always busses and cars driving around, also trash filling the streets---and of course the BIGGEST skyscrapers I have ever seen!! Then again, I've only seen Utah so... haha... but they were big!! We took a bus finally with all of our luggage to San Pablo. It was fun to be with all my girls from the MTC. It took us about 4 hours to get to San Pablo, and we arrived at the Mission home. The drive there was absolutely gorgeous! I could not believe I got so lucky to be here. So much green; I felt like I was in the Shire for real. There were volcanoes and mountains, and just huge, huge palm trees everywhere.. It definitely felt good to get out of the city of Manila and into my mission. It felt so right to be there! I knew that Heavenly Father wanted me in San Pablo.

We arrived at the mission home with President and Sister Peterson out front, waving at us from the driveway of the mission home. It was POURING so that was convenient to get all of everyone's luggage out of the bus haha... We stayed two nights there, and had little meetings about health and money, and basically just everything about our missions and what we were expected to do. We stayed in a hotel in San Pablo, which was very, very disgusting haha.... and drum roll please... my FIRST BUCKET SHOWER. oh man. WHAT an experience. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought! I still prefer hot showers...and will for the rest of my life after this experience... But, for now, it's all good :) I was just grateful for a way to get clean from a very humid, long day. We woke up and went back to the mission home for breakfast, and then had a little testimony meeting. Then we had transfer meeting where we would meet our new companions! It was soo nerve racking to hear where we would be serving our first area..... by the way, I am proud to say that my First Area is...... SAN JOSE! Whoo! and my new companion and trainer is.... Sister Tafiti from NEW ZEALAND! OH my goodness. Her accent makes me melt every time she speaks. I loves those accents. She is the SWEETEST. So patient, and kind. She is a good nai nai. (mom) and I am her leetle anak.

We had lunch, then drove to our new apartments and said our final goodbyes to all of our MTC girls.. That was so sad... But we will be seeing them in a few weeks :) We took all of our stuff, and instead of taking a Trike or a Jeepney, Pres. Peterson drove Sister Tafiti, Sister Banzali, and Sister Tamaialo and me to our new apartment. It took us about 1 hour to get there. It's south of San Pablo City, but still a city.

San Jose is definitely a smaller more condensed version of Manila. VERY busy, very VERY VERY poor. Oh man, the poverty here is astounding. It definitely is a reminder that I am no longer in America whenever we teach in an investigators house... So humbling! Anyways, pretty much we just walk everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Or take the Jeepney everywhere, which I adore. Seriously, I know I will miss these when I come home because they are so fun. Tricycles, not so much haha. Especially in the rain.

Funny story: At lunch after transfer meeting, I was talking to my new nainai and asking her like a billion questions about our apartment, the area, etc. She kept warning me that it was "ugly", and that it wasn't all that great. Being all happy and positive--being the new missionary I am--I didn't worry too much. The whole time I'm just being all positive like, "Oh, I'm sure it's not that bad! I can't wait to see it!" We got to our street, and I see this BIG, very nice house. It looks like the house on Full House.. It's very San Fran looking... yet, my kasama had warned me that it was "ugly" and such...  Well, Culture lesson 101: "Ugly" in New Zealand means "CRAPPY".

We pulled up, and I still had no idea what I was expecting... As soon as I see the huge house, my eyes got super wide and I was like, "Kasama! Our apartment is SOOO NICE! I can't believe it! Thanks President for getting such a nice house for us!!"

 "Um, Sister Seastrand, that's not our apartment... THAT is."

I looked to my left and there it was. Our bright blue, tiny two story, run-down apartment.

"Oh... well... it's still nice." hahahah! OH MAN!  So funny! Everyone (even President) just started laughing so hard... I felt so bad.

Welcome to the Philippines, Sister Seastrand!

HAHA -- it was seriously the funniest thing.

We walk in, and oh man... this place is TINY. There are four of us sisters living in it, and it's extremely run down. The walls are a bit moldy, and we only have one tiny leeetle CR (bathroom).. downstairs. Other than that, it's great! It's been really hard to get used to, especially the smells. Actually, it just always smells here in San Jose - haha. There's dogs and trash everywhere, and the streets are so tiny. It's so packed I can't even breathe sometimes. It's cute though, cause there are little shops and bakeries that sell goodies for like 3 pesos... So cheap! But, I refuse to get fat... Especially because there's like no dinner appointments. Ever. But really, none. NONE. We make all our own food.

The ward here is also tiny. It's actually just a little branch. The ward is like 40 people. It's so cute. We had to bear our testimonies in Sacrament sa tagalog... ya I was up there for a long time, but I only said like 10 words... It takes me like 5 minutes to even form a tiny little sentence.  :)

SO the ward, our apartment, the transportation, the people: they're all great. I'm the only American in our apartment, so that's kinda rough at times. Sister Banzali is native, and Sister Tamaialo is from Austrailia. They are so sweet. Sister Tafiti my nai nai has been in this area for 3 months now! And Sister Banzali has been out almost 1 year. It's crazy how these days just fly by.

The thing I love about this area is that there are SO MANY investigators. We seriously taught like 5 lessons in one day, on my second day of arrival. It was awesome! My favorite lesson so far was with Janina... a little 12 year old girl. Sister Tafiti told me that her and her old kasama had tracted her dad, Tatay Jose, but this little pumpkin just wanted to listen in on their lessons. Eventually, Tatay Jose was no longer interested, but his little girl was. She read like half the Book of Mormon, and told Sister T that she knew it was true. It was incredible when I went to teach her for the first time. It's been kind of overwhelming because neither of us are native and our tagalog is really bad, and all I can really say right now is my testimony... I say the same things every lesson... but it was SO GREAT!!! I just LOVE HER. She has such a willing heart, and she knows it's true. It's wonderful. We can definitely hear the baptismal font water fillin' up for her the more we will teach her!

Here in San Jose, they don't have street signs like America. They just have street names, and you just find them...haha. So we tracted on a street called Tug-Tug. It's SO jungle-y, and there's tons of mosquitoes. It was so great though! The weather is pretty nice because it's rainy season until January. Then the real heat comes... I still feel claustrophobic sometimes when I breath because the air is definitely not the same as home... Also, our apartment is right by a main road, and the Philippines is not known for sleeping in. We hear the Trikes and motorcycles every morning starting at about 5 in the AM. Once again, welcome to the Philippines! haha.

It's been probably the hardest week of my whole life. SO hard. I feel like everywhere I look there's no familiar face, and I am literally the ONLY American here (in my area). Everyone just stares and smiles at me whenever we tract. It's pretty awkward at times but I'm starting to get used to it. I'm definitely missing home, and thinking about home. Missions are not easy. The toilet in our bathroom is not a flushing toilet. Our shower is slow. We don't have a microwave or dishwasher or stove. I'm always hungry, and there was a lizard in our apartment last night. Not to mention the constant flies and ants that never seem to die. I'm pretty much always sweating, and we only have electric fans. People laugh at my tagalog, and especially the wardies. It's hard to keep everything sanitary. I live out of 3 suitcases in a tiny, moldy room. Missions are NOT EASY people. Not at all.

BUT I remember a blessing I was given--A blessing in the MTC by an elder in my district. He said that I would be able to overcome any affliction, adversity, or trial on my mission. That scared me, but I feel like this area is a trial for me and will be for awhile. It's sometimes frustrating living in a very insect filled, trash filled, and tagalog filled country where I have to be on my own. And trust me, I've had my fair share of tears my first week here. HOWEVER. The Lord loves us. He loves ALL of us no matter where we live. Our trials and adversity help us to come closer to Christ because He is our rock. If We build on Him, we can overcome these things that are hard. Right now, life is not easy. But I know that as I keep seeking Christ and relying on Him, that's what matters in the end. If we rely on our Savior, He is the one who will help us overcome these hard times. NO MATTER WHAT. So keep relying on Him. My favorite hymn ever has the most comforting lyrics:

"And since He bids me seek His face, Believe His words and trust His grace, I'll cast on Him my every care And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer."

I sometimes feel like I can't do it, being a missionary, living in an unclean, smelly apartment, in a country that I don't know. But I know that I can do it as long as I rely on my Savior. I challenge everyone to seek His face, like the hymn says. Because when you do, you'll find more peace and joy than you could ever need. He will bless you as you follow Him with a willing heart and mind.

Missions are hard, and life is hard. But I know that this will be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have an amazing opportunity to find my Savior, Jesus Christ in every experience and trial, joy and pain. He knows all, and His atonement is for US. For ME. Personally. I know that. I'm grateful for that. Take one step at a time, and one day at a time as you seek Christ. I'm excited for this week's adventures and the plans that Heavenly Father has for me :)

Until next week,
xoxo, Sister Seastrand

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kamusta Kamusta!

So, this is it! My last P Day here at the MTC. I can't even believe it. It's been over one month of my 18 months as a missionary... It's so weird to think that I actually will be leaving this place, since I've been here for so long! It feels like home now! 

Ok this week has been really spiritually, physically, and emotionally draining. I have become best friends with these people in my district. Especially with my kasama ko, Sister Claralyn Burt. It's amazing how the gospel can bring you so close together in such a short amount of time. I honestly don't even know what to do without her... haha she's like my mom now. #seniorcomp (sorry mom just for a little bit. :) ) The elders in our district have been so faithful and worthy Priesthood holders. I'm so proud of these young men. They truly are going to work miracles in the Philippines. I'm so grateful for the Priesthood. How lucky we are to have such a wonderful authority from Heavenly Father here on earth, and that all of us can be blessed by it! Especially us women folk. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, thanks dad for always being a wonderful worthy Priesthood holder. It makes such a difference in our home. I just wanna hug you right now!!! 

Ok, well. This week, was like I said, the hardest. Mostly because we are dreading saying goodbye to each other, and we're done teaching our investigators... Sister Burt and I taught a final lesson to Christy and Marshall, and it was really sad because we had to break it to him that we were being transferred, but new mga misyonero would nagtuturo him. It was so sad!!! He just got a little teary eyed, and then we did. He is so great. I know that he is ready to be baptized, and his relationship with Christ has grown so much. It's been amazing to see this transformation that's come over him. And the best part is that I got a chance to be apart of his growth. And to think I will be doing the same thing in about 72 hours... It's so scary but exhilarating. The best part is that in his journal he wrote, "I love Sister Seastrand and Sister Burt because they invite me to come to Christ. They are really nice and love me for who I am." That made all of the stress, frustration, and all the effort into these lessons WORTH IT. All of it. All the nights I would pray about Marshall and all the nights I would feel frustrated with not being able to fully communicate my thoughts into Tagalog, were worth it. It taught me that it's really not in amount of words we use, but having the spirit be able to touch their heart and let them know of our love for them and for the gospel. That's what is important. It's hard to not know this language as much as I really want to or need to, but I know that through the pure love of Christ, they will understand me. Because that's a language we can ALL understand. That's the language that breaks the other barriers between us. 

We had in-field orientation yesterday all day, which was really cool and stressful at the same time. They basically just taught us how to work with the bishop and members of the ward, and to use our planners and set attainable goals. It really set in that I would be leaving and so it was kind of a bitter sweet day... 7 hours in one building can really make you think deeply about your mission and everything that is going to happen to you. 

We had a really devastating thing happen.Sister Beaumont, probably the CUTEST sister I have ever met hurt her thumb pretty badly during volleyball at gym time. She had the nurse at the Gym check it and she told her that it was just jammed. She wrapped it pretty loosely, and had her just put ice on it. After awhile, sister b could not even stand it, her thumb was causing her serious pain and she was sick from the pain. She went to the health clinic, and the x-rayed it and alas, it is broken in like 4 places, pretty badly. Yesterday they sent her to another hopsital to find out what to do since we're leaving in like 2 days, and not to mention she is the travel leader for 18 of us going to San Pablo. Poor girl.. anyways, she came back to in-field orientation and they told her that she has to go home and get surgery, and then fly straight to the Ppines. It will be a total of 10 WEEKS before she can go out. Soooo so hard. Our district just feels so terrible. But, for whatever reason, I know that Heavenly Father wants her to come closer to Him through this trial. She will such a great missionary. She is SUCH a champ. Seriously, the SWEETEST and most pure little angel on this earth. We'll pray and pray for her everyday. What a tough sister. #district16B4evs

The food here is KILLING ME hahaha SO gross.. I can't wait to have real food in my mission! I honestly can't believe how fast time has gone. I can't even wait for tomorrow because it'll be our last devotional. Sunday's are probably the BEST thing here. And P Day. Gonna miss em. Packing is a beast, and especially with no mom there to help... actually to do it all. I miss you for that momma S. I guess I will just throw it all in there and hope it's under 50 pounds...  

So, once again no other exciting news but hey, here's some spiritual thoughts and stuff since I am a missionary and always have one handy. This comes from my letter to my sister Amy but I want to say it again for everyone because it's so important. Really important, so LISTEN UP. Ok I was reading in Enos, and of course it's amazing, all of it, but there was something that stood out to me particularly. I think it's verse 15 or 16, but the Lord promises Enos that as long as we ask God for things we need through Faith in Jesus Christ's name, we will receive it. No matter what. The part that stands out to me the most: We can't just ask Heavenly Father to give us something, having faith in what we'll receive. We must have faith in CHRIST's name. Because it's through Jesus Christ that we can accomplish the Father's will. So, when we pray, we should pray in faith through Jesus Christ and His name. Heavenly Father just loves us so much. He is so merciful to us, and will always give us chances to come to Him. Next time you pray, pray in faith through Christ and see if something changes. It totally changed my prayers and how I look at prayer. 

Being a missionary is truly the hardest thing I will EVER do. It's work. It's HARD work. And it takes spiritual strength. But for some reason, I just look back on my life and the trials I faced in the last year, and it's just clear to me that Heavenly Father has prepared me to be here now. Every job, every trial, every distraction, EVERYTHING has led me to this point. It's just my life now. I cannot picture it any other way. It's the weirdest feeling, but I just KNOW that my life wasn't supposed to go any other way. This was the plan for me all along. I know that is true for all of us. We had a plan before we came to earth. And these Filipinos were part of my plan. 
Sometimes we're asked to do things that make us stretch and are hard. I can't tell you how many nights i've lied awake in my bed being scared to leave this country. But, I love those people. And most importantly I love Jesus Christ and His message. How can we not share it? It's perfect, and full of eternal joy and happiness. Share it with everyone because we have the best message the world could EVER hear. 
Paalam!! May ko patotoo tungkol ng ebanghelyo! Totoo po ang ebanghelyo. :)
Team Philippines>>>>
Until next week in my new home- 
xoxo, Sister Jennifer Seastrand

Kamusta po kayo everyone!

This week has been soooso great. IT ALWAYS IS. I don't know how it works, but no matter what happens, you always seem to learn something new. 

Ok BIG news. I have received my flight plans! Wahoo!! I will be flying from SLC to LA, then LA to Japan, then Japan to Manila. We will stay the night, and take a big bus the next morning to San Pablo! Yahoooooo. #teamphilippines. There are about 17 elders and sisters in our travel group, so that should be exciting. One big group and army of Helaman!

So, Theres not much to tell again.... SORRY. But, there is ONE thing that was definitely the highlight of my week. We taught our investigator Marshall. We were feeling pretty good but we still couldn't understand why he was struggling so much with the Atonement. He really didn't understand why we had to be baptized if "the Atonement makes everything clean" We really wanted him to just understand everything we did, and at first planning for the lesson was really stressful because we didn't know what to say to him. It was one of those times when ya just have to leave it to God and say, "I've done my best, so you take care of it."
We got in the lesson, and I don't know HOW this happened, but everything I said I just... said. It wasn't me at all. Every question he asked me I just quickly answered and I knew what to say to him. I knew how to help him understand the importance of baptism, and it was AMAZING. I have never experienced it in my life before! It was so cool to be an instrument in God's hands. I couldn't even believe it. Sister Burt and I were a dream team. We taught him, answered all of his questions and the spirit was so strong. At the end of the lesson, I started bearing my testimony of baptism, and even though my tagalog was TERRIBLE, I just let it flow because I didn't want the spirit to leave. I started to cry and told him, "Marshall, God loves you. He won't leave you alone in this decision to be baptized, and he will help you. We love you and we will help you prepare for baptism." 
His eyes got pretty glisteny, and the spirit was like DESTROYING us. It was so powerful! We committed him to be baptized on November 1st. :) What a guy. The best part is, when he read a scripture about the holy ghost cleansing us by fire when we receive it, he thought that baptism was by fire and not water. HAHA  we were like NOOOO it's by water.. don't worry. baptism by IMMERSION of H20. 

Other than that, the MTC has been good. It's starting to come down to the wire, since I only have about 2 weeks left. We got two new districts so our zone is HUGE but sadly, none of them are going to San Pablo. They are so cute. They work so hard and still have a deer in the headlights look on their face. But i love them #newbies #gottaloveem

This email will be pretty short.. sorry again. It's just so mundane here! So My teacher brother Mauzy, is AMAZING. But he said something in class the other day that struck me. He said, "We can convince everyone to join the church but that wouldn't make us different from any other church. We want them to come to Christ and believe in him because they felt the spirit. Not because we sold it to them through our words." OK Seriously I loved that. It's so true! The spirit is the MOST important part of this work, and actually it's the way we learn about God. It's the feelings that we get when we learn about Him and His perfect son Jesus Christ. As a missionary, I am so amazed at how when I teach, I see my investigator as God sees them and how they can become. But at the same time, I see myself the way God sees me and how I can become. When we give our hearts to Him, he molds them and makes us more than we could ever be by ourselves. My challenge for you, reader, is that you pray and ask God to help you do that. Ask Him to help you feel the spirit more in your life, and serve. I PROMISE if you do this, you will watch yourself become the person that you were meant to be, from the start. God has created you. He knows you, and knows everything you need. So why not ask Him? 

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. The privilege of being one is far greater than anything I could be doing right now. I have realized how much God has guided me to get to this point in my life and everything that I have experienced, good and bad, every job I've had, every person I have met and learned from, and every good day has gotten me here. Because God knows where we can learn and grow the best, and for me, that's here. In the MTC, learning and growing my testimony, and on my mission that I will shortly be serving in two weeks in the Philippines. The world needs this gospel.. They need it more than ever before, and I litcherally want to spread it to every single SOUL in that country. But missionary tag or not, we can ALL wear the name of Christ in our hearts and serve those around us. MEMEBERS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MISSIONARY WORK. Holy cowwwww seriously. They are the ones that help us find the ones that are lost. 

Whether or not you have heard the gospel before, or are inactive, God doesn't care. He loves you no MATTER the circumstance or choices you make. I feel that love more and more that he has for his children every day. His love is infinite, and all we have to do is choose Him and His way. Because it truly is the way to salvation and eternal life of happiness and joy that we can have FOR EVERR. (Sandlot reference)

I can't wait to get out to the Philippines. I'm SO lucky to be serving those incredible people. It's the best thing I have ever done. 
Here's some of my testimony in Tagalog:

May ko po tungkol sa ebanghelyo. May ko po tungkol sa pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. Alam ko po na totoo ang aklat ni mormon, at ng pamamagitan sa pananampalatay si Jesucristo naramdaman po tayo kapayapaan. Si pangalan ni Jesucristo, amen. 

Ok everyone better read that cause it took me like 5 mins to type. #champion

Until next week, 

Paalam! Maganda hapon! Mahal kita po tayo. :)
xoxo, Sister Seastrand

Kamusta, Kamusta everyone!!

I get my flight plans THIS friday. 

WHAT. Is this real life?? I'm freaking out. I feel like I have only been here for a week. I'm not ready to leave the comfort of the MTC..... into the world of insects and bucket showers... and CROCS. 

This week has been SO great. Just like usual. When is it not?! It's always good here at the MTC. I learned so much about myself, and how to teach better. Most of all, I learned about our dear friend, The Holy Ghost/Spirit. He rocks. 

So this week there's been a weird sickness goin around, and there's monitors on 24/7 reminding us to wash our hands and not touch our fellow elder's and sister's hands. I swear I have always had an immune system of STEEL. YA, I thought wrong. I got a runny nose, headache, and scratchy voice.
-_- Nice.
Not to mention we were supposed to teach 3 lessons this week. Getting sick at the MTC is probs the worst thing that can happen to you:
 A) no mom (mom where you at? :( ) B) class in the morning time/all the day  C) ya wanna sleep on your hard MTC bed, but ya can't.... the list could go on.
-_- #worstluckever
I guess I was bound to get it though, since two of the sisters have it in our tiny leeeetle residency room. 
NEVERTHELESS, I was pumped to teach this week, and ALAS I made it through like a champ. HOLLA AT YO GURL.
We taught Marshall this week, twice. Our lessons were pretty rough at first but we are starting to learn how to teach by the spirit. Marshall is THE BEST. Seriously, this guy has the sweetest spirit. He is so receptive to everything we teach. We taught him about the Atonement and Plan of Salvation. The spirit was definitely there, so strong. He is having a hard time letting go of his sins, and he is having an even harder time understanding the Atonement. So we first taught him on Monday about the Book of Mormon and that was THE BEST LESSON we've had like ever. ERR. 
Let me tell you why.

He believes in the Bible so strongly, and doesn't understand the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Sister B and I decided to just testify hard core about the Book of Mormon since we knew this lesson would be intense. He doesn't really even have a relationship with Christ or Heavenly Father because he doesn't pray ever. Anyways, we prepared our lesson but at the same time we didn't teach that much doctrine, we just told the main points about the book of mormon, and decided we would go by the spirit on this one. 

We get in there, getting nervous because there's kind of an intense ora about the room.... it was kind of stressful to say the LEAST. Marshall is great but man, he is intimidating. He looks like "The Rock" from that one babysitting movie... the bald guy... with huge muscles.... He also looks like Mr. Clean in a way...
We asked him about his last committment to pray about Heavenly Father, and of course he kept it because he's so awesome like that. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and things were just going so great! And then it was my turn to talk which I stress over everytime because my Tagalog is like basically "hindi mabuti" MAJOR (not good) and I just started to testify of the truthfullness of the book of mormon, and it FLOWED. in the words of She's the Man, "Flow is FLOW". seriously, I don't know where in the heck it came from because i'm basically the laughing stock of the district when it comes to this language. I guess I'm the example of how NOT to speak it cause I'm struggs all the time.  GIFT OF TONGUES, WHERE YOU AT?!
 IT WAS AMAZING seriously i wish everyone could have been present in that moment. As soon as I was done speaking, the spirit was just like destroying all of us with it's amazing power. I knew that it was piercing his heart to the CORE. He said he would read it, and pray about it. He understood everything I said, and NO QUESTIONS asked. He loved it!

I think the theme of my week is the sensitivity of the Spirit. Seriously, this entire week I just have learned how sensitive the spirit is. Anything and everything can push it away if we are not careful. In today's world it's so easy to push it away, but at the same time it's so easy to invite it into our hearts if we pray and get in the right mindset.. The spirit is CRUCIAL in our lives people. I never really realized how crucial it really is, as well as how sensitive it is. I guess what I'm trying to say is, there's always something in our lives we could do to invite the spirit more. Especially little things. Whatever it may be, I bet this week we could think of one thing we could do to invite it more into our lives. I know I could. I always learn how little I know about the gospel and how much I have to improve in myself, but hey, that's what LIFE is for. To become better step by step.
It is a journey, not a sprint.

So the MTC food is FOR REALS starting to get to me. I dunno WHAT they put in it.... but it's weighing me down hard core. For all you folks heading here or any MTC for that matter, TAKE CAUTION. It's so deceiving it tastes pretty good... and then you start to see the weird effects it has on you.  

OK So I know this is all spiritual and everything, but all of the funny stuff that happens in our little district ya just have to be there. Sorry, you are all missing out on some high quality comical moments. I love our elders. They make my life so much richer with their high school humor/teasing. 

So I've been reading the good old blue book AKA the scrips, and here's what I think. The book of Mormon literally contains anything and EVERYTHING we need to know about how to return to our Father in Heaven. It contains the doctrines of Christ which ARE:
Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost

and last but not least,
enduring to the end. 

Ok really, these are SO fundamental and crucial to our progression. My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by receiving these things, but the more I think about it, I really should be taking this purpose more personally. Missionary or not, everyone can take this purpose into their hearts and try these awesome little doctrines out. See if they work, cause I can PROMISE ya, they will. My question for the week for myself and anyone reading this lovely little blog is: How can we more fully come unto Christ and receive these doctrines?

Guys, he is CONTINUALLY and INFINITELY inviting us to come unto Him. In my scripture study in 2 Nephi, I can't even tell you how many times I have seen the words "Come" whenever Christ speaks in the scriptures. He bids ALL to come unto him. Male female, black or white, rich or poor. He LOVES us, and He loves us infinitely and eternally. But the thing is, we have to choose to let Him into our lives. I've been thinking a lot about what I've sacrificed to be here, as a missionary. I thought about all the sins and mistakes and weaknesses I gave up to KNOW Christ. And the amazing thing that I have learned is that as soon as we give them up and give Christ our hearts, He makes us into someone that we NEVER could have imagined. He changes us. From the inside out. And the more I internalize that, the more I want everyone to feel that same feeling. The more I teach my investigators the more I realize how much God loves us. Oh, he loves us SO much and I am lucky enough to be taste a little bit of that love He has. Just a TASTE and I literally feel like exploding. I literally feel like my heart is just going to stop from all of the love I feel everytime I teach these people.... Missionary or not, white or black, rich or poor, Go to Christ. 
I'm tellin ya, you won't regret one MINUTE to know Him. It's not enough to know about Christ. We gotta know Him. Because He knows us, even down to how many hairs are on our head. And I have a lot, so that's sayin somethin. All you thick-haired girls can holler if ya feel what I'm sayin and feel loved! Also the thin haired ones too. Just everyone, EVERYONE EVERYWHERE is known by Christ personally. I know it.

I'm so grateful to be here. I count my blessings and I feel like I will never be able to repay Heavenly Father for this oppurtunity I have been given. But, the more grateful I am for a good family and friends and a good Father in Heaven, the more I want to be the best missionary I can. the most obedient, pure vessel for Heavenly Father to work with. Trust me, being an instrument in the Lords hands is NAAT easy. not one bit. But I'd wouldn't want to be in anyone else's hands, because he makes me blossom into the person I should be and can be. Just like he can with all of US. 

Ok quick story: so we were taking a night walk around the MTC as a class for night school (Which by the way, we are confined to those four brick walls for like 4 hours. Just at night. not counting the day time spent there.) Anyways, Brother Mauzy our teacher wanted us to just walk around, not talking. He wanted us to just listen to the outside, the surroundings, and especially the spirit. We're just walkin along and all of a sudden, Elder Matina this extremely tall, polynesian, teddy-bear like looking young man TRIPS on the giant curb behind the MTC. sprawled, on all fours, the WORKS. He ate it so hard I'm TELLLIN YOU. We all burst out in laughter and epecially elder Matina. Ah man, it was DEATH! It was too good, too good. He tries so hard to be tough, but in all reality, he's just a big teddy bear. We love him. I love our district and being able to laugh at each other. #madlove 

I have two weeks left.... so, ya kinda stressful. But The Philippines is ready, and those people need to know who they are. Especially that the hairs on their head are numbered by Jesus Christ.... and they don't have that much hair :) Being a missionary is amazing.
So on Sunday we watched an old MTC talk by Elder Holland entitled "Missions are Forever". We all know how powerful he is but MAN this talk cuts you to the CORE. His whole talk was great but he said something that really struck me. "What happens after your mission changes, but one thing that should never change is your realtionship with your Savior and Heavenly Father. Your missions ARE real life and should be real life."

AH man i love that. It's so true. Seriously, our missions should be real life. Not something we just do and then put away and return to our previous lifestyles. We should always be living and preaching the gospel because true disciples always "talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, and Preach of Christ."

I love everyday. This week has been pretty solid, and I wish i could share every little experience and moment the spirit has taught me, but alas, I cannot. Ya just gotta experience it for yourself! There's been a lot of blessings received. It's hard but its the best thing I've EVER done hands DOWNNN.  I am so blessed, and in fact, we are ALL so blessed. God loves us so much. If you don't know that, ask Him cause He'll let you know. These are the days people. We are LIVING the life, as long as that life is in the Gospel.

Mahal kita ko kayo! Maganda Gabi :) 

xoxo, Sister Seastrand

(^^that means: I love you all, Good day!)
Trust me, that's all I know. -_- IM WORKIN ON IT.