Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 20

Hey!! A very interesting fact... I never would have guessed it, but if you put all the islands of the Philippines together, it would be about the same land size as Utah! But they have 10 times the population of Utah. 10 times! Wow.. 

I'm learning so much here...about everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for what we have at home. But we have so much stuff. Even tho it's not really, our house is huge. I think I'm just really starting to get used to "small" things here. We sometimes will see big houses and I just think, "WOW, they must have so much money."  By comparison, we have a girl in our ward who just had a baby. She's just 18 and her and her boyfriend live in a TINY little one-room house... and this baby was born premature. It's humbling to see that they have a little light bulb hanging from the ceiling with parts of a box around it to make it a lamp to keep him warm... WOW. It really makes me realize, STUFF doesn't matter. It's who we are inside.

I have to admit, I'm a little bit scared of transferring. I love San Jose, I even love hearing the pigs! We don't have the rice fields and I haven't actually seen that yet but I'm sure I will! We are in the heart of chicken and pig farms everywhere. But I LOVE IT! But maybe my next area will be in the heart of the rice growers.

So something cool that happened this week..... There's a sweet sister in my house who will come to me with missionary questions and advice. I feel like we've known each other for a long time. She doesn't speak English that well. But one night she came to me because she was having a hard time. She asked my advice and what to do because she was feeling sad about some things. I told her to come in our room {just like how you'd do with me, Mom} and we sat on my little wooden bed and I just listened to her. She started to cry and just tell me everything, some in Tagalog and some in English. And I was thinking the whole time, "Heavenly Father, please help me to say what will help her." And the thought came to my mind about Dad's blessing before my mission. {I read it when I get homesick...haha... which is a lot}. But in there it says some council about listening and teaching and loving. I remembered that as I talked to her and give her some advice that hoped would help her. It was so cool to see the blessing being unfolded in front of my eyes. I think what I'm trying to say is that Heavenly Father doesn't forget His blessings. For me, I take a lot of peace and comfort in the promised blessings from Heavenly Father. You know, I haven't had that much success in this area. I haven't experienced helping anyone truly change and be baptized. I've spent my whole first area trying to plant seeds of faith in people's hearts, trying to train another foreign missionary how to teach the lessons, and speak the language. I've tried to be a good example and help the ward learn how to do missionary work. But it's enough for me to just read the promises of the Lord in the Book of Mormon and I will be diligent and obedient. The greatest gift of all truly is eternal life with our family together forever. I wouldn't want anything more than that. I wake up every day and study PMG and the scriptures and feel so amazed at what I'm learning every day. I have a strong testimony of prayer. I always feel the Spirit when we pray in our companionship. I just picture Heavenly Father right there beside me and then it helps me to pray sincerely. Try it!! :)

Also, read Helaman 5. It's a truly amazing story about missionary work. I want to be like these missionaries I miss you every day. I'm not homesick really anymore, only sometimes. And even though I miss you guys, I CAN'T waste any time. I signed up to be here and I told Pres. Monson and the Lord that I would do my best to represent them and so... I need to be here. Mind, heart, and might! I guess I just need to accept that I will always miss you. But I know that in one year from now, I am going to be a changed person! Which is cool to think about.. Plus I'm almost 20! Whoo-hoo!! :) that's cool. I love you! SO much.

Sister Seastrand

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 19

Happy Valentine's Day!! P-day always comes so fast! The days and weeks go by really fast. I can't believe that I'll soon have 1 year left on my mission! That's no time at all!! I really want to just soak in and learn all that I can during this experience. It's cool to see myself change and grow into a person Heavenly Father wants me to be. Sometimes we don't always know who we are. These past months have forced me to find myself. Which is kind of hard and scary. But cool.

We had a Zone P-day and went hiking, which was so fun. It was SO HOT and hard. But beautiful!

This week has been really hard for me. Actually, this area has been really hard for me... I feel like Heavenly Father wants me to be a 'seed planter' instead of a 'harvester' in San Jose. That's really what we have been trying to do is plant the seeds. It's not an easy task to do, I've found. But I just have to work my hardest everyday and give everything to the Lord. Pres. Peterson gave us a talk about becoming a consecrated missionary. It really helped me to understand that there is so much frivolous stuff we need to give up to become consecrated missionaries. If we want a celestial mission we have to be celestial beings. I miss our family, but I want to learn and grow and change through this mission and become the real me. :)

I used to not believe Heavenly Father answered prayers. But I know He does. I was 'practice teaching' with my companion the other day and we were going thru the first lesson (about the restoration). I was teaching her about prayer and I just said, "I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that he understands us. He hears and answers us." And I just felt the tears flow and the Spirit just touched my heart and I knew that that was true. We can't see God. But we can feel Him if we have the Spirit in our lives. We need the Spirit so much in this mission and in our lives. It's really hard to become a consecrated missionary but I know that even though we haven't had any baptisms yet or any real success I know I was sent here for other reasons. I'm glad I got to be a trainer even though it was the hardest thing for me, I grew so much and learned about how I can be better. I have a long way to go. But I'm at least on the path...and whenever I feel myself getting down or comparing myself, I just try to think of how I can just improve myself first.

Sister Seastrand

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 17

It's February!! This week my challenge has been with the language. I wish I was fluent. People tell me I'm doing well with this language, but my comprehension is definitely better than my speaking. I mostly just have about 50 words in my vocabulary, and sometimes it's annoying because I always use the same ones... but I really want to learn it. Like I've said, I just want to take this time to learn everything I can, because Heavenly Father has given it to me to change and become better.

Training a missionary is really hard. But I have learned and grown so much. I could never thank my Mission President enough for letting me have this growing experience... I'm changing every day. And it's preparing me for future things in life, I know it--so I want to take this opportunity to learn all that I can, while I can. I try to just take what comes and endure with a happy heart. I serve with my heart, might and mind. That's what I'm sent here to do anyway! I only have a little over a month left in this area and then I'll be transferred. I'm really scared to be transferred. I love San Jose. I love my investigators here.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE LETTERS!! I love them and will cherish them while I cry my little eyes out reading them haha.... {but I really do cry when I read them :)  ...p.s. mom, just so you know, I have ALL of your cute quotes that you send me taped by my study desk on the wall. I love them! If you can, will you please send more?? I cherish those!}

This week I just wanted to share my testimony to you about the Plan of our Heavenly Father. I know that the plan is so true. Heavenly Father wants us to become like him, and the only way is through living this life the best we can. Every time I teach this lesson I feel the Spirit in me from my head to my feet. It's true. We can't overlook this chance we have in this life to change. Because that's what it is for. We need to let go of our past and grow. Emerge a butterfly from our mistakes, no matter what. Heavenly Father loves us more than we know. We can't let Him down. He needs us to return to him. The only way we can repay him is by doing that.

Now for some tagalog:
Alam ko na naririnig at sinasagot ng ating ama sa langit ang mga dalangin natin. Alam ko rin na si jesucristo ay buhay at siya ay ang ating perpekto tagapagligtas.

Sister Seastrand