Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 9

What a week.

Actually, I say that every week. But this week has been great. Well, hard and great at the same time. I don't know how that works out here, but it does.

We had Mission Tour on our regular P-day, which was awesome. Elder Brent Nielson and his wife are a golden couple. They are amazing. And it was cool to meet someone that is with the prophet and the quorum of the twelve on a regular basis. I literally got to talk to him face to face, eat some lunch with him, and snap a cool picture with him. Successss!

With Sister Nielson
We all gathered in the wonderful Lipa chapel, and all the sisters first met together with Sister Nielson (who is ABSOLUTELY amazing). I can't even tell you. You had to be there, I guess. Her spirit is so incredibly strong, and you just feel it when she speaks. She talked to us about how our missions prepare us for motherhood and recognizing the holiness of what we do every day in each choice. She told us a story about when she was a young mother with 6 little ones running around the house, she came in one day and just looked at all the mess. Toys and crumbs everywhere. She was so frustrated she grabbed a rake from the garage and just started to rake everything into the middle of the room.... (Haha--funniest thing watching her describe this.) She said that after she had everything in a giant pile she just stepped back and looked at it all and had a thought. She thought about how much she loved those children. She talked about how all those toys she bought were for the learning of these spirits and that all the crumbs meant that they were fed and watched out for. She talked about the holiness in everyday life and how each of the things we do each day help us learn about God's life and how he lives. In holiness and order. (Doesn't the temple say, "Holiness to the Lord?") Even the simple and small things I do as a missionary are holy and orderly. I realized how much holiness goes into one day as a missionary and consecrating your decisions to the Lord.

This week I have been thinking a lot about why the heck I'm here. Every morning I wake up and I'm like, "I'm STILL here?" But the Lord has shared with me a little insight: Maybe I'm here because I can really relate to these people's lives. The Filipino people love the Lord, but they don't always obey. They don't like to show it all the time. Mostly, they just accept Christ in their heart and call it good. But, as I've looked over my life and past 19 years here in this world, I realized something that could most definitely change my entire existence. I've always accepted Christ in my heart but never really actually tried to live His gospel. I've always had a belief in Him and His gospel, but I've never really lived it how I should... till now. And maybe that's one reason I'm in this country. To relate with these people and let them know there's a way to accept Christ not just in our hearts but in our lives.

Being a missionary, you get to enjoy really spiritual times. Sometimes your most intense soul-moments happen while you're washing your clothes in a bucket. and then using that same bucket to shower. What a life, I tell you. THE BEST!

This week I learned how the Lord works in mysterious ways. We went to visit a woman named Miraquel that lives near us in Calansayan. She seemed interested at first, but I knew that after she heard my Tagalog is was all over. She literally runs away from us. (Sometimes I can't tell if people like me cause I'm American or hate me cause I'm a Mormon American missionary. It's one concept I can't seem to figure out.) I decided one night that we should just try one more time, even though we had no hope in getting a lesson or even a short message with her, since she's been MIA for the last while. We went and there she was, doing her washing and looking so devastated to see us (hahaha).Let's just say the whole feeling was a little awkward and tense. Her husband has been hanging around whenever we've shared a message with her, but he's always acting kinda crazy from the alcohol. He saw us while Sister Tafiti and I are just enjoying some awkward conversation with Miraquel. (The kind missionaries have when you and your investigator both know they've been running away from you.) He pulled up two chairs and said something I'd never thought I'd hear: "Hey, come sit down, I really want to listen to you guys." IS THIS REAL LIFE? Cause really we never hear that EVER! Alex started telling us about his life. Literally giving us an autobiography. He told us how he has been saved from death so many times and he has had a Book of Mormon sitting in his house for quite some time now.. And he knows that we were sent to share the message with him because he needs to accept God in his life. He used to be Islamic, and then Catholic and then he got sick of paying so much money and now he's just a wanderer. Coolest lesson probably EVER thus far on my mission.

The Lord is so funny sometimes. And how grateful I am to be here to witness His plan come forth in this country. Missionaries and members are the most vital part of His great work, and I know that He is counting on us in these last days to help gather his sheep. YAY for a great week, with more to come. And, I'm proud to say that I haven't even eaten anything too weird or crazy yet, hopefully that will keep up! But since my luck is about as good as my Tagalog, its probably most DEFINITELY won't.

Sister Seastrand

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