Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 46

This week has been great. It sounds good that you're all back in to school and schedules and everything. Thank you SO MUCH for the advice about school and 'life' things for me. I felt very peaceful when reading what you said, Mom, and I agree that I can worry about those things when I get home. I need your advice all the time. Thank you for taking the time to write that to's what's in my mind:  I guess I had a moment of stressing out about 'life after mission', but I realize that I only have 6 months left here in my mission. I NEED to give it my best every day. I'm not perfect, but I want to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength - no matter what. As far as school, I really don't have any feelings about where to go and I'm definitely needing to find a job after to save money. I know I will need that time to come down from my spiritual high. I'm expecting to experience some after-mission blues, because I love my mission and what I'm learning here. I don't want to leave! Anyways: I think so far my plan right now is to live at home with my two wonderful parents for a couple months, figure out a car and a job. That's all and that feels better. :)  Enough about those things, I had a blessing that told me I will be able to receive revelation for myself. So I'm doing alright.  :) 

This week.....
About Willmar, we visited him this last week and got to talk to him about what happened. He is so sad, but he told us he will never forget what we taught him and we challenged him to continue reading the Book of Mormon. He's so great! Even though I'm sad, I know that it's not his time. Someday, he will be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I know it. :)

On Saturday we had a baptism! Alexander! YAY!!!! :) He is 19 years old. And he's definitely why I've been in this area for 6 months. He had a wonderful service and I'm so grateful for him and his strong desire to serve God and Jesus Christ.  Next Sunday he will be ordained in the Aaronic Priesthood! He is wonderful. I think he will serve a mission, too. I wish I could come back when he goes in the temple. That would be cool to see. Anyways...Great experience this week :) 

I had the chance to have exchanges with Sister Burt on Friday before our baptism (my companion from the MTC). It was SO great!! It's so fun to see our growth as missionaries, and to talk about life, our missions, and reminisce about the MTC. We both have changed and grown a lot. I got to tell her about some of my spiritual experiences here in my mission, and she got to help me in my teaching. She's awesome! I love her a lot  :)

Exchanges with Sister Burt!
OKAY so big news: It's transfer week this week.... AH! I know I'm transferred... mostly because I've been here 6 months. It feels weird, but at the same time I know it's time to move on. I have to admit I'm a little bit tired in this area. It's been a difficult one as far as Member Missionary Work. BUT how can I forget the feelings I had first coming here, feeling the weight of being a trainer being lifted off my shoulders.  Or meeting Willmar, my spirit friend from the pre-existence? Or coming at the time of Alex's time to enter the covenant of baptism? Or loving the sunsets and rain, my apartment, my companions. There's been some really hard times here and some really spiritual experiences. As I sat at my study desk last night, I just reminisced about this area. The feeling of joy just swept over me and I remembered all the sweet experiences I have had here, and all the times Heavenly Father has shown mercy to me and given me things I really needed and prayed and fasted for. I will always love Santa Cruz, 1a :) BUT it's onto new things, new experiences, and more growing. 

By the way, my camera's been acting up lately. I'm getting a little nervous because I need to take pictures!!! I will update you on that next week what I will do. I think my memory card has a virus but I'm not sure.

That's been my week! It's been a nice one. Thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much!!! Have a great week at school and work, waking up early, and just remember that your daughter/sister/grand daughter all the way in the Philippines loves you all so much. :) I'm happy and I'm doing fine. :) Talk to you next week!!!!


Sister Seastrand

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 45

One year now! :) Wow! I made it that far. But I have 6 months more to run. I have so much to be grateful for and much more for me to do and become. I love my time here... I think I will be transferred soon. I can feel it coming up. I feel like it's time. So a couple more weeks and I will probably be in a new area. I'm not sure what will happen to me but I have faith that the Lord has a plan for me here.

Our 5 days of isolation was honestly a great break, and so needed. But at the same time, it did affect us getting back to the work. We felt a little weird at church because we felt like we missed out on a lot that happened--even tho we hadn't really missed anything. We're just not used to that kind of down time. Anyways, it's great to be back into the normal schedule. I know exactly what you mean with what you said about the blessings...We're blessed when we don't even know we are. I guess I must be philosophical, too, then. Another thing I always wonder is if I will miss out on blessings I could have received. But the thing is, the only way for that to happen is if we are not obedient to the commandments of God.

THE VAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOO!! Just kidding. My parents got rid of the family van! It's OK--- I'm glad if it can bless another family! :) I am like dad, very sentimental. There are a lot of memories in that car. I'll miss the air con, and the nice CD player -- I used that a lot. Also the many trips and such we had in it. Lots of good memories. But I will mostly never forget driving it to all my jobs hahaha....

I'm glad the temple was a nice experience. I miss it a lot. One thing I'm looking forward to is going with you and dad when I get home. That will be a nice thing for me. 

So now that I am one year in the mission, I've been feeling a little bit anxious about my plan after. I am still focused here and want to be as focused as I can and give it my all till the end, but I also want to start making a plan for myself. I've heard of some sister missionaries in my mission doing that when they hit their one year, they start making plans, and I got thinking that I would need to be applying for school in the next few months if I want to be ready? I'm not sure... honestly, I feel the time is not yet for me to worry, but I have to admit lately I am starting to feel the need to worry a little bit more than I had before about myself after my mission... I am so glad you and dad will be there to help me and adjust because I know I will have a hard time... I can feel it. Anyways, it's just been on my mind. I really have no idea what to do, but I have faith in the Lord that if I am faithful in giving my all, He will help me in the next part of the plan.

SO... this week.
We taught Primary!!! It was so fun :) I loved it. We taught the 4-7 year olds. Their cute little faces watching me speak tagalog to them was so great. We taught "I can be Kind to Others" and had them sing and write on paper. I loved it!!! It was great to teach such a simple lesson on kindness.

Speaking of that.... We have some new investigators: the Jose family! It's so great to teach and ENTIRE family. Ah that's the best, since our message is about families being together forever. I would love a completed family. 

News on our great friend and investigator: 
His girlfriend doesn't want us to come back to teach him. She kept making loud noise during our lesson, and trying to distract us. She thinks it's a waste of time, and on our way out the door she says, "Don't come back here anymore. I don't like it." In a very, very raised voice... Sister Dadivas, me, and a relief society counselor are standing there stiff... we literally don't know what to say and we literally can't move. We don't say anything, and just leave. As I turn to close the door behind me, she takes it and slams it shut. TALK ABOUT REJECTION! Honestly, I'm super sad. I can't express how much I really grew to love this great person and how strongly I felt the spirit in every lesson, how happy I was to see him every Saturday and Sunday, and the possibility of reactivation with his girlfriend.  :(  wah. I'm so sad. 

Along with that sad experience, we had a trying experience with Alex. He's been having some trials in preparation for his baptism and a thought came to me yesterday at a scripture, one of my favorites from my mission: Helaman 5:12. I remember one lesson I felt the prompting very strongly to share this scripture. At first it was a little weird because it wasn't really on topic at all, but I felt the spirit and followed it. Since that first lesson, I've shared it in a couple other lessons just to remind him of it and all of a sudden it all made sense to me. The Lord had me share that because He KNEW the trials that Alex would be facing in preparation for his baptism. The trials he is experiencing are very difficult. But I have a feeling that he will reflect on those words in Helaman 5:12.

Follow the spirit, especially when you feel it strongly even if you feel nervous to share it. One of my favorite quotes by President Thomas S. Monson says, "I always want the Lord to know that if He ever needs and errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him." I love that!!! I reflect on that a lot lately and think to myself, how can I do what President Monson does and be an 'errand runner' for the Lord. I know that I've had experiences in doing so here in my mission, and I'm thankful for those chances.

As I reflect on my year here in the Philippines, as a missionary, I am grateful for all the challenges and trials I have faced. Things I never thought I could overcome, I am overcoming, and the person I never thought I could be is becoming part of me. I know the Atonement is real for everything. I feel the Lord's love for me in the smallest of things that happen every day.

Anyways, there's always so much to say and tell. There's always so much I am feeling and I'm hard to writing in my feelings sometimes...... did I really just say 'hard to writing'?!!!!!!!!!! I am FORGETTING ENGLISH! haha What I meant: I am not a very good writer. Sheesh. 

I love you all so much. I'm sure it's hard to get back into work and school, trust me I know how that feels! Just do your best and the blessings are already there. Thanks for all your support in everything. I couldn't do it without you. Heavenly Father knows me and has given me little tender mercies in my day. Even though it's hard I am receiving so many things and little bits of help. I know Heavenly Father is watching me all the time. Have a great week, and let me know about the start of school! :) You can do it!!!!!! Love you. :)

Sister Seastrand

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 44 - Quarantined!

HELLO! Sorry I wasn't able to email you this last week. Here's what happened:
Last Monday, my housemate Sister Cortes started to get these weird rashes/boils on her body and kept asking us what it was. Of course we have no idea, even after looking at our missionary health booklet. Finally on Saturday she went to the doctor and he told her it was chicken pox for the second time! She then called Sister Mangum.  Sister Mangum called the mission doctor and then she called us while we’re out proselyting and informed us that we needed to go home immediately and stay in our apartment, that we weren't able to leave for 5 DAYS because we had become exposed to Sister Cortes. Since chicken pox is an airborne sickness, we had to be quarantined for those 5 days. Sister Cortes and Sister Aquino stayed at the mission home quarantined, as well. Filipinos are really scared of this illness because a lot of them have died from it--they can't afford to have vaccines for it. :( 

WHAT THE HECK! haha... it was so weird! So no Church on Sunday or P-day on Monday. She told us we could hurry and buy enough food to last us for five days and then just go home. So Sister Dadivas and I went to the market and stayed put for 5 DAYS in our HOUSE! It was really rough at first, but I am so grateful for the time I had! I think Heavenly Father really answers my prayers because I had been praying for a chance to just rest a little after lunch or something because I was tired...I also had fasted that Sunday to continue to be the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be and even though being at my one year mark, to work harder and be better. And then He answered my prayers a week later by giving me 5 days to rest. Haha! But the sweet thing is he answered my prayers again by giving me to burning desire to be his servant that I maybe had lost for awhile. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father for that answer I received only one day after I had fasted for it.  

Lesson learned: Watch out for what you think you need/want cause Heavenly Father just might give it to you and teach you a lesson/chastening and then give you another blessing to let you know he still loves you! haha especially having a chance to see maybe what my life will be like when I come home... BORING! 

So I got to study PMG and the Bible and the Book of Mormon and watch church videos...  So that's my week. :) It was kind of rough not being able to teach though, especially because we have Alex our investigator preparing for baptism and we needed to move his date since we couldn't finish his lessons in time... At first I felt a little frustrated at this but that quickly went away and I felt so grateful for the time I had to study and wash my clothes and study again. Sister Mangum is so sweet and kept texting us everyday and called us a few times to see if we were doing alright, or still alive at least, haha. She's the best. We were able to go back out to work again this last Friday. That was a bit rough too because we had missed out on the labors in the vineyard for a whole week... That Friday when we rode our tricycle to our first appointment I was reminded of that feeling was like when I was a brand new missionary again, just arrived in the Philippines, and didn't know anything! 

Sister Marsha came to church this Sunday!! YAY!! Finally after like a month of invites she came. And when we went to go get her, we walked all the way to church through the busy market. I just loved it. I was so glad that she came and loved her first experience at church! 
Other than that, that's been my life for the past while. It sounds like the family is doing well! Especially a BIG thanks to the grandparents. I know that I don't always write them but I will write a letter this week and send it in the post next Monday. Tell them thank you so much for thinking and praying for me. I can feel them. :) I'm glad you’re all getting back into school and things. I'm a lot like you, Mom - I love schedule! But I don’t miss school one bit! Anyways, I'm happy and healthy and still alive don't worry! I'm so glad to be here and love being on the Lord's errand. I am so glad I've been a missionary for one year this Thursday!! Yay! I will let you know how that day goes next week. I'm super excited for it. :) But I’m even more excited to be a missionary for 6 more months. I want to do my best and give it my all. I'm grateful for Heavenly Father and his mindfulness of me. I know he knows me and loves me. I love my trials. I love learning to be patient. There's a great quote that I read this last week that says: "Consecrated sacrifice is the only sacrifice in which there is a victory." I really love it. I love it so much I put it on my study wall. That’s my scripture for you! Anyways, it's good to hear summer is over and starting back into school. I love you all so much!!! Have a great week again :) 

Sister Seastrand
The Santa Cruz Zone - Best Zone Ever!