Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 3

Magandang Hapon Po!!!
3 weeks here already on the mission! I can't even believe it! There's so much that happens every day! I wish I could just record every moment, especially when so much happens in one week!

This week has been really full of ups and downs. Early on, every single lesson we had canceled on us, and it really started the week off bad. My kasama and I just really prayed harder and tried to be more obedient and still nothing happened. It's very difficult to maintain a positive attitude about everything when people don't listen to you or your message of SALVATION. Sheesh. But finally on Wednesday, ALL of our investigators committed to baptism!!! The spirit was strong, and we felt God's love in each lesson. It was so so liberating and refreshing to have our investigators finally listen to us.

Our first investigator, (new to me, but taught previously by my companion), Hener, is a hair stylist with four cute little kids. He lives in Lapo-Lapo 2, which is the furthest street in our area. (Seriously it takes FOREVER to get there.) He has been reading the Book of Mormon and really loves it. He seriously is just so intrigued by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and he keeps his commitments every time. We are so blessed to be teaching him. He's been really busy lately so it's been a few weeks since he's been taught by the missionaries, and since my companion has taught him before with her last comp, I had never taught him. Prior to our visit with him that day, I was feeling kind of annoyed especially with being homesick and frustrated about our investigators, and we happened to tell the trike driver to take us to Lapo-Lapo 1. I think it was just a misunderstanding, mostly because neither of us speak Tagalog haha... rough. Anyways, we walked up hills, over bridges, and up more hills to get back to Lapo Lapo 2. I was so bugged!! I was sweating terribly, and of course at that moment the weather just decides to rain, and when it rains, it RAINS. Americans have no idea what rain is until you live in the Philippines. We got pretty wet, but we finally made it to his house. We decided to teach him Lesson 2 (which is the Plan of Salvation). We focused on the Atonement, and I was pretty stressed because this was my first time teaching him and I wasn't quite sure what his needs were. He also lives in the booney's in a tall bamboo tree house which was so COOL! (I just love their houses here!) Anyways, we get to the lesson and immediately after the prayer, I just felt like I should ask him about his life, and his sins. I was nervous, but I was bold and just said, "Brother Hener, have you ever felt bound to your personal sins?" When I asked him that, my companion just looked at me like uh... this could be awkward... but he opened up to us and told us how he has always felt so weighed down and guilty his whole life of past sins. In that moment, I just felt this overwhelming love for him in my heart, and I got a little choked up and said, "Hener, I know that we all make mistakes, but Jesus Christ atoned for every single mistake in any form and I promise you that you can be free from this guilt you feel." He just soaked it UP and the spirit was super strong. It was a really great experience for me and him, and I knew that the love I felt for him was the same kind of love God feels for us. Despite the fact that I was sweaty, muddy, and wet, all of that was worth it to teach him. We invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. Hener is definitely a golden investigator.

So we had a TYPHOON this week! My first typhoon ever! It was way intense! Pres. Peterson told us to get our 72 hour kits out and ready, which I DIDN'T have yet... preparedness is key, people! I learned my lesson! It's so funny because everyone just is so terrified of rain here, and even when it starts sprinkling they put on their hats and get their umbrellas out -- it's hilarious. And then there's me just like walking in the sprinkling rain, and everyone thinks I'm crazy. So the typhoon hit over Bagio, but swept over San Pablo. Literally everyone was home by 4:00. It was super cloudy and windy. We were teaching a lesson until 5:00, when it really started to pick up. The wind was going crazy and we didn't know if we would even get a trike back to Poblacion 2... yeah, dumb decision on our part! Luckily, one last trike for the night was driving by and we made it home. That night it POURED. I seriously felt like our apartment was in the Ocean. The rain was so incredibly loud and the wind was blowing super hard. I didn't even sleep cause it was so loud. We had a brown out, and so we had to get ready for bed by candlelight -- it was awesome. Let me just say, the next morning when we woke up and looked outside, everything was in a completely different place, including other people's laundry in our yard!  What an experience!

We finally have MOVED out of our nasty, moldy, lizard and ant infested apartment!! We are now officially in a brand new HOUSE in Calansayan! It's kind of sad, because we've had some really good times there as 'Sisters in Zion' in that little run-down place. And we were super close to everyone and everything. Now, we're in the booney's and have to take a Jeepney everyday to everywhere. It's gonna be rough, but worth it. I'm so grateful for our house. It's so much bigger and livable. I really don't know how we survived, haha. It's got two huge bedrooms, a dining room, living room, full kitchen with TWO working hot plates, and TWO bathrooms!! It's perfect. I never want to be transferred haha. Moving is definitely not fun. It took us 4 hours to get everything to our house with the bishop, office elders, and zone leaders. We had a lot of stuff--I mean there are 4 of us girls living together.

We got to watch General Conference this weekend and it was wonderful, as always. I think the main theme of this one was to remember who you are, and most importantly remember God. I especially loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about our church. I loved when he told us that if our intentions were to find perfect people with nothing wrong, then we would never find it. But if our intentions were to find loving, Christ-like people who serve Heavenly Father, then this is the church for them. It's so TRUE! We are not perfect people, but this church is perfect. And it all depends on our intentions. If we intend to find love and Christ, then we will find both of them here. This is Jesus Christ's church and it is His gospel. It's perfect, and we don't need to change it. It's not ours to change anyway. Why don't we just partake of it the way it is, and learn and grow from each other instead of trying to change something that's a lot bigger and better than us!

I also felt during this conference an overwhelming gratitude for our roles as men and women in the church, and especially love for the men of this church and worthy, priesthood holding men. How great it is for us women of the church to have the Priesthood. I myself have been blessed to have it in my home, and it made me want to help all the men in my life realize their divine nature as sons of Heavenly Father with the ability to use His Priesthood. We can ALL help support them more fully in our lives, and even if we don't have priesthood holding men in our homes personally, we can sustain and help the men of our wards. Help everyone around you realize their divine nature! No matter if you know them personally or not, we are ALL God's children. As a missionary, I have had the opportunity to feel of god's love for us as his children. He loves us, each of us individually and personally. He knows us! He created us! I know that this church is true and I'm so grateful to be teaching these people of that love of God. I feel inadequate and weak, but I know God wants me here for a reason, and I'm going to find that out.

Until next week, keep reading, keep praying, and most importantly, Remember. Remember who you are and where you came from. I really am so grateful for this experience. These people have nothing. NOTHING. and we have it all. They are lucky to eat dinner most nights. And sometimes we teach in the dark with one little light. It's incredibly humbling for me, and I need this. I'm a very blessed girl who needs to step outside herself for 16 months.

Sister Seastrand

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