Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 25

A week in the Life of a Sister Missionary (aka, Sister Seastrand) in Santa Cruz Philippines:
So much happened this week, as it does every week (and I really wish I could just have everyone here with me experiencing everything that happens). The days are so busy (and sometimes stressful), but always something to do and somewhere to be. (the definition of missionary work :-} )

Beautiful Santa Cruz
We started the week off with Zone Conference in San Pablo. We took a big van with our whole zone from Santa Cruz to the San Pablo chapel. It was wonderful—so much that I learned from it. Our Mission President truly speaks the words of the Lord. His focus for this zone conference was about the Sacrament and going to the "Guest Chamber" or the special place set apart for the people to take the Sacrament in Christ's time. President Peterson talked to us about how we should never miss an opportunity to go to the guest chamber and partake of the sacrament. He made an analogy of Christ washing of the feet of his disciples, holding up a pitcher of water and inviting all of us to wash our companions' feet.

"So, who wants to be first?"

Some missionaries raised their hands, some didn't. The first thought in my mind, "Well, that's different, but I’d do it." We didn’t actually end up washing feet, but he challenged us to think about our road to discipleship.  How are we really living as disciples of Christ? And a great ending to our conference was the drive home with the sunset and all the farmers in their fields of rice, closing their day of work.

Next, we had the baptism of Jude. On his 10th birthday :) Nothing could compare when I saw his face after his Baptismal interview and he looked so incredibly happy. The look on his face is the look I think he would have had if he’d had a personal interview with the Savior.

Sister Baguio and I cleaned the chapel, and got the font ready for him. And then the water turned yellow….. WHAT? Baptism starts at 7:00…Current time is 5:50!
"Hey Sister, I think we need to clean the font super quick." -me
"Oh, they already clean it earlier Sister Seastrand." -Sister Baguio

Hahaha. Oh, the moments I have with my beloved native companion. We really, really don't understand each other sometimes. And it's great. She tries SO HARD with English, and I try SO HARD with Tagalog. And teaching with her is like music to my ears because somehow, I speak the language with her and they understand me. Oh how I love her. 

We also had exchanges this week with our wonderful STL'S of Santa Cruz, so that was great. I always learn so much about how other sister's teach the gospel. And I always get stressed about the apartment being clean and leading the area I’ve only known for a week. But proud to say I didn't even get lost. Mission accomplished. :)

Basically, I love this new area. It's so beautiful. It's got nothing and everything, at the same time. If you saw Barangay Omboy Wawa, you'd think, "Wow, this is exactly what I expected the Philippines to look like if I was reading about it in National Geographic." Rice fields EVERYWHERE. And lakes, mountains, and all that foliage. It's perfect. It's the blessing I didn't know I needed from a loving Father in Heaven. Plus, I can finally go on some scenic runs in the morning. 

Anyway, on to more spiritual stuff:
This week in my personal study I studied about the testimony of Jesus Christ, both in the scriptures and in PMG, and how that is what qualifies us to be in the kingdom of the Father. So… what's the difference between A testimony and THE testimony of Jesus Christ? And then there's one word that came to my mind that separates the two: Valiance. Being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ qualifies us for eternal Life. Alma went to preach to the people of Gideon. He was filled with the spirit and he testified of the testimony of Jesus Christ which was in Him. There's really no other testimony that we can have, except in Jesus Christ. It all goes back to him, everything we do, everything we say, everything we experience. He not only showed us how to be better people through his attributes, but he showed us how to have a REAL and ABIDING testimony…one that gets us into the kingdom of the Father. His love really is always there. We just have to be Valiant in Him.

Highlight of the week: Teaching 15-year-old Jipper about the Plan of Salvation. (He really reminds me of Mergie back in San Jose.) He asked the perfect question: "So.... where do we go after this life?" My heart grew 10 times its size BECAUSE I KNOW and I CAN TELL YOU.

My heart is happy in the following:

My area—sent from Heaven
My companion who I love so much
My growing testimony
My Mission President
The sunsets of the Philippines
The children that always ask for candy/photo shoots 
My mission in the Philippines

Talk to you again next week!
xoxo, Sister Seastrand

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