Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 51

HEY!  Alright---Mom, don't freak out or anything, but this week was a little different. We were having a zone p-day last week, and were in Lucena. All of a sudden I started getting these weird body aches.  As the day progressed, I just was not feeling well at all. At one point I thought I was going to pass out so I sat down in the supermarket with my companion and told her I couldn't go anymore.  We went to the clinic to get some medicine for my fever and body aches. I couldn't even think of trying to get to transportation for the drive back to Candelaria, so I laid sick in the bed for 2 hours with screaming body aches in the Lucena Sister's apartment.  President and Sister Mangum with the Gallbraith’s (they know the McIntire’s, btw) came to get me! It was a crazy day. Anyways, I was sick for 3 days so we had NO district meeting and NO work for 3 days this week! UGH.
So we have water now! YAY! It’s so funny to see all of our water buckets from storage and from buying water at PureGold. ROUGH. It's been a weird transfer! haha So no one came to church again but it's okay because I think the Lord is really trying to teach me a lesson in humility. I'm learning so much this last week about how much the Lord loves me. I feel really close to Heavenly Father lately... probably because of my experience being sick (I guess I will share the whole details in about 4 months) but I could just feel God with me. I think we need to remember that God is closer to us in our everyday “going about's” than we realize. "For He is in all things, round about all things, through all things, and all things are before Him." I know that Heavenly Father loves me. And I'm grateful that He teaches me.
Sister Rafisura and I have been pretty down lately. Mostly just angry at our area, and our investigators are dropping us right and left, and I've been feeling frustrated.  And then today I studied on a topic I may or may not have been neglecting to study: Humility. Why does it always go back to our humility? It's because humility is the key to accessing the power of the Atonement and changing our NATURES, not just our BEHAVIORS. Out of all I've been through this week, if there's one thing I know and have learned: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all One in purpose. And they want to be part of our natures. I know that as we access the atonement and humble ourselves we can gain real conversion to our Savior Jesus Christ. There's two questions everyday that I ask myself when I wake up: "Is it my will today? Or is it my Father's will today?" I think I'm learning more and more that the second choice is the celestial choice. I know if I am diligent and obedient and give my ALL to the Lord, how great will be my joy when I see my Savior again and have the confidence that I did the Father's will. Heavenly Father is willing to come as close as we let him, based on our answer to those two questions. Whose will is it today?
This week has been hard... not going to lie, it's been a trying week. But I'm not going to give up. My stubborn backbone is kicking in, and I'm going to continue to fight for the right, for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves me. I know He is there to help me when I fall. I know that if I have faith in Him, we will find investigators that are ready to receive Him. I may not always be on the side of the vineyard where the harvesters are working, but I know I have a part here. And I can't see all the fruits yet. But If I am faithful, it will bear fruit in this part of the kingdom on earth. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ! I can't think of a better privilege than this. How lucky I am to serve Heavenly Father. I love them, and love them for their plan. I've got 4 and a half months to serve my Savior and Redeemer with all my heart. I'm not letting anything stop this sister! :)
It sounds like the Morningside was awesome, glad to hear that. And the weather!! I'm so jealous. Take pictures of the leaves! :) Also, there haven’t been any more typhoons (haha)… just that weird one, meant for only me. It was definitely strange, but the weather is so unpredictable here. 
For conference, we won't get to see it until October 11 and 12 (the following week). We'll get to go to the stake center in Lucena City and watch all the sessions there as members and missionaries! I can't wait! I'm excited to follow our leaders. I'm so jealous about the Women's Meeting!!! (That’s right, Mom, our last one apart. haha  It's true.)
So I just want to inform you: Sister Mckinney is a sister here that is from Utah. She lives in Spanish Fork, but she is going home next week. I gave her a letter for the fam and some pictures to enjoy... sorry it's not much but I had no time to write it while she visited the area. I hope you enjoy it! She will either mail it to Orem or just take it directly. :) I feel closer to you already, mom! :)
Well, I love you all so much. Thanks for showing and teaching me by example how to follow Jesus Christ and serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength. It says in PMG under Lesson 2 of the Plan of Salvation under the Atonement section (which is my fav, by the way), "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." Have a great week. I can't wait to hear from you again!!! I LOVE YOU TONS! I will drink water. Don't worry :)
Sister Seastrand

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 50

It's been an interesting, trying week. Every week has different experiences to learn from, right?
We have no water. WHY does this always happen to me? hahaha.  :(   SERIOUSLY-- every single area! We had to take a bath in our neighbor’s house. All four of us at 5 in the morning. (The water is extremely freezing here, btw.) I guess the pump is broken in our whole barangay. It's definitely an experience I won't forget. I guess I'm camping for the last 6 months of my mission life! :)

I had the chance to go to Tayabas for Exchanges with my wonderful Sister Training Leader, Sister Reed! I loved it. We start studying, and there's this huge rain and wind that starts coming upon us. We kept studying and had lunch and hoped that the rain would go away... BUT IT GETS WORSE!! It's like a little mini typhoon. We didn't go to work until 4 pm. We called our Zone leaders and other missionaries and they told us there was literally NO storm. Light rain, some wind. That's all. WHAT?!?!? WHY?!?!!?!?!? Anyways. It was a great time to talk about spiritual things and to see how we have both changed and grown in our mission. I learned a lot from her, in spite of the weirdest typhoon meant only for Tayabas.

A member in our ward got married last week... and he asked me if I would sing in their wedding..... Ok so this is actually what happened: Sister Martinez and her companion asked him if there was anything we could to do serve him at their wedding, and he said, "Yeah, could all four of you sing?" and then Sister M said, "Actually, we're not that good. But Sister Seastrand is good! You can ask her." Five seconds later, Sister Rafisura and I come walking down the hall and Ralph yells, "Hey! Sister Seastrand can you sing for us on Saturday?"  
( -_- )  --> my face as I'm contemplating my answer. I'm not one of those that can just whip out a solo or anything, let alone on the spot… It's really true when Pres Uctdorf said in conference that our church is a church of volunteers---sometimes voluntary, and sometimes other people volunteer you-for you. I can now say I have been a victim of that principle of our church. Anyways, all went well. It was wonderful! Despite my nerves. (Nerves mostly because Ralph and Beth know a lot of people. It was no small wedding!)  I sang a mix of Love is Spoken Here and Teach Me to Walk In the Light. It was a good experience to help me share my testimony with so many people in one place. :)

Sister Rafisura and I had an interesting Sunday. NO ONE CAME TO CHURCH. :(   Sad. It gets a little sad/frustrating and stuff when our investigators don't come. I have to say I felt a little bit annoyed and angry even...which hasn't really happened that often in my mission. But we talked about it after and I felt some spark come into my heart that I needed. It was a spark of gratitude. There are a lot of times in our lives when we can humph around at our situation, and times when we can feel angry for things that happen. I learned this week that a grateful heart can help us overcome that anger and to see the BIGGER PICTURE. I know Heavenly Father loves me. He is aware of me and wants to answer my prayers. If we are exactly obedient, we will get exactly what Heavenly Father has in store for us. Every time. Overall, good work this week. We are doing our best but it's time to raise the BAR and rise up to the calling and become chosen servants of God. He loves us so much! I know it's true.

Anyways, that was my week. I can't tell you even how much I love Heavenly Father for what he does for me. I just want you to know that I KNOW Heavenly Father is making a tapestry for us with our plans. He is in the details. It sounds like you all had a great week. It sounds like the funeral was wonderful. I LOVE what you shared with me about Kathleen’s analogy, Mom. It's so very true. In my blessing from the elders the other week, it said I would grow in my desire to do family history work. Maybe that's why I feel the connection with her and felt the loss so deep. Even though she is gone, I feel her. It's so amazing, Mom. Heavenly Father knows our hearts and our righteous desires. I just have to trust Him. Things in our area are great. I am working hard and trying to be obedient.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM & DAD!!!!!!!! I forgot to tell you last week. (Don't worry--I knew it, I just forgot to say it.) :) I love you both so much. What wonderful parents you are and what examples of what a celestial marriage looks like. Thank you for the marriage you have. It's been such an example for me.  And thanks for the advice, Mom. I promise. I'm not worried about ‘life after mission’. I am really enjoying my mission. :) Time is going fast! I am growing and changing, and I love it. I want to serve Heavenly Father the best I can. I'm excited for conference coming up, I definitely have some questions in my mind that I am pondering. I hope to receive revelation through my efforts from my prayers, fasting, and pondering.

I hope you all have a great week at work and school. I hope you know I love and think of you always. And NO the leaves don't change color in the Philippines, unfortunately! :( But take pictures for me if you can. The weather here is fine, but I think the rain is coming soon. I love you all SO MUCH!!!! Talk to you next week. Here are my hugs and kisses :)
Sister Seastrand

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 49

Grandpa Norm: Happy happy birthday to you!! I miss you and think of you ALWAYS. I hope you are well and enjoy your special day. I love you so much, Grandpa Norm. Thank you for your example to me and for loving us grand kids. You're amazing!!!! I hope you enjoy my letter to you and Grandma coming soon in the mail. I LOVE YOU!

Stake Conference!!! Wow that sounds amazing. If you can get any of the talks I would really really like to read those! I loved what you said about the trees... I just taught a lesson this week about trees and faith so that's funny haha :) I love that analogy they used. It's so true. We have to sink our roots deep into the Gospel. Also, about the receiving answers to prayers thing you learned in stake conference-- that was also something I was feeling--a non-answer. I've been praying about school and work and other sorts of things, but I'm not feeling an answer for any of it. I've come to the conclusion that God trusts me to just make the choice.

So this week I was feeling a little bit anxious about Carolyn's death. I just felt this heavy weight of not being able to be at the funeral and with the family, so I got a blessing from my district leader and the blessing was really sweet. It said that my desire to do family history would grow. It also talked about even though the trials I will face and that come to me here in my mission may seem scary, I will know that I am never alone. Anyways, a really great comfort for me-- the Priesthood. What a blessing to us all. (Thanks Dad and Bry and Jake and Grandpa Norm and Grandpa Seastrand!) 

THIS WEEK in the great giant city of Candelaria: Mostly, I’m still new. I’m just trying to get a feel for the area, with all the far away barangays, etc. Probably one of my favorite experiences (next to training Sister Ricketts) here in my mission happened this week. This is WHY I’m a missionary. We have an investigator named Jen. She is 20 years old. She has a 4 year old boy and a baby on the way. When I first came to this area, she wasn't as serious about our message, and actually really silly and giddy. But Tuesday, we taught her the restoration and the Spirit was super strong. I could tell she was getting more serious. Then on Thursday, we came back and felt like we should teach about faith and the real definition of faith. We used Alma 32 and the Spirit completely washed over me as I watched her read about faith. We watched as the Spirit began to enlighten her understanding and her face was so light. I felt the light get brighter as I testified of faith and drew pictures of seeds and trees and primary tactics on my planner to help her understand better. The Spirit was the KEY in that lesson. Sister Rafisura and I talked about it after as we walked how much she is changing. I literally can see it. It's a tangible feeling that I LOVE. She's becoming more confident in us and we're feeling the trust start to come for her to really open up to us about her feelings. I can't even express how much I love her and LOVE seeing the SPIRIT work on people. I could have had 4 bad days in a row and that experience would make it all worth it. I'm a missionary for Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. If I am faithful and obedient, I will be His servant with the Spirit. My calling is greater than anything I could ever do, or be.

This week, I can't explain it. I just feel a big change that's coming over me in so many ways that I have been praying for for so long now and I feel so grateful to Heavenly Father. I feel Him helping me change…the changes that I need to make to fulfill my purpose.

As far as the ward goes, we have a new bishop here who really needs our help. We're still building trust with members. I can feel their trust in me that they didn't have before with the past sisters here. I feel a big responsibility to share the love that I've been born with, with these members. Heavenly Father needed me here for the one thing I'm good for that I think I possess: Charity. I think that’s why Heavenly Father wants me here. This week was good, everything is still new. It's a big area so I'm literally exhausted every day just walking and teaching. But the work is progressing. I love building up the kingdom here in this ward. I love them!

We contacted a referral from the office who lived in the FURTHEST barangay in the entire area. She rejected us, but I felt the Lord was satisfied with my effort in all our walking and asking people if they knew her. It taught me obedience. The Lord wants us to be happy, and we will be if we are obedient to him. I know that If we obey him, we will be blessed in all things temporal and spiritual.

How grateful I am to be a missionary of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I don't want to LEAVE! Work, work, work--that is the secret, The San Pablo Mission is the best! :) wala ng iba! I love you all so much, and thanks for everything. Literally I couldn't do this without you. You're the BEST. I hope you have a great week. :)  LOVE YOU SO MUCH! 
Sister Seastrand

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 48

Sorry about my email last week, I feel like I didn't share any details with you. I felt so bad all week! SO. Like I said... this area is SO HUGE. Every day we take tricycles everywhere because everyone lives so far away. It's a nice little city. The road to our chapel reminds me of older parts of Provo or Salt Lake City, because they have these beautiful big trees lining the big streets. I'm not so sure how we're going to find everyone that we need to find in this big area! So far, I'm loving it, though. It's wonderful :) It's been really rainy, but the nice thing is that the water is cleaner and it doesn't flood in Quezon :) yay!  That's nice, isn't it? 

The SKATE is the best thing ever.... And they have a little lever on the side in the back so the driver just pushes it to move it forward with the motor. They don't connect to each other, but it's so funny because when one is coming from the other direction they literally TAKE IT OFF of the rails and set it to the side while we come through, hahah! Funny huh? We ride it a lot because we are teaching a lot of people in this barangay called Malabanban Sur.  I love the Skate! I want to ride it all day long :) It's like a little ride at lagoon.

As far as my companion, Sister Rafisura, I love her a lot! She's SO FUNNY [like me :) haha--just kidding]. She's a private person, but she expressed to me how grateful she feels to be learning. She had a rough time this past 3 months, so I'm really excited to be helping her. I can see her confidence growing. When I came to the area, I realized how much work there is to be done here. Right now we're trying to find new investigators through member referrals, because the current investigators are not progressing at all. It's a bit of a stress, but I'm ready and willing to work and find and do all the Lord wants me to do. 

So my house mates are great, too. Sister Martinez (from my batch from the MTC) and Sister Kelleher (from Australia). I love them both so much! And I love being with them. I can feel the unity and love that is so comforting as we all try to do our work.

So, This week: We had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting. I was fasting this week for my mission and for my family. Also to know what some ideas for my after mission life. I really loved the main theme of the meeting which was 'When you understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be changed forever.' I loved the spirit of the meeting as I sat and pondered on the gospel in my life and how I can improve and change.

We had a LIFE CHANGING mission tour this week in San Pablo with Elder Bowen from the 70. He is AMAZING. His main theme to us as missionaries was "Remembering who you are" and then, "when you know who you are, you will act differently."  He spoke on different topics such as: The Abrahamic Covenant, the baptismal covenant, the house of Israel, and the covenant of the priesthood. Suddenly in that meeting everything just all made sense about each of those covenants and how they are all connected. I loved it so much. I'm a sucker for talking about divine nature. I think that's why I love President Uchtdorf so much- he always reminds us of who we are. ANYWAYS literally I walked out of the church building feeling like a different person. I think that will always be a memorable experience for me. Because when you know who you are, you really do act differently. Something I learned this week: We don't realize how much power God has given to us through Priesthood and Agency. Agency helps us to choose either right or wrong, and learn and become like God. We can use our agency to ASK God for help, or rely on our own wisdom. 

The Ward here is so kind. I've been so grateful for the help of the members. We just need to help them help us to find new investigators.
Overall, things are pretty good. I'm sorry there's not much to report on the success of investigators. We're workin on it!  :) 

I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous of the weather that is coming your way... I love the Fall time of year. But I know when I return, we can all enjoy the cold together while I reminisce on the hot weather here! Time is going by fast. I can't believe it's almost time for Conference again... and then we have Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years, ...and then Sister Seastrand is home! Wow... I don't know how to even feel about time anymore.  Mom, I like what you shared with me about the experiences and trials that your RS sister shared as she accepted the Gospel and became a new member... Don't feel like you don't have it as hard as her though. We all have our own trials that are tailored for us. I have a strong testimony of that.  :)  And trust me, just because you were born into the gospel doesn't mean you don't deserve the blessings, it just means that you have an opportunity to lift those to that same level of blessings that we enjoy because of being born of the covenant.  :)

Anyways, all is well here in Candelaria. I love my mission and I love my Savior and Heavenly Father. I know I'm here for a reason. "Gird up your loins fresh courage take, our God will never us forsake and soon we'll have this tale to tell, all is well, all is well."  Read one of my fav scriptures ever in the BOM in Hel 3 verses 33-35. It's about the Nephites in their afflictions and what they did to overcome their trials. Please ponder it . :) I promise you will love it like I do. I love you all. Thanks for everything. Thank you for your testimonies. It strengthens and helps me. Good luck at school and work and let me know about the family and the block! LOVE YOU! Talk to you next week!  :)

Sister Seastrand

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 47

An example of a 'Skate'
Drum roll please...I'm now in my 3rd area,  Candelaria 1a. :) I'm not sure why I'm always in the areas with a "1a" on the end. So, this area is HUGE. Literally it's overwhelming. It's also one of the harder areas in the mission I've heard. But I LOVE IT. It's the bomb. It's like Vernal and St. George, mixed. They have a petrol station and they have this thing called a "skate" which is like a little mini train that looks like a house on wheels. It's so fast and fun. It takes us into town and out of town. I LOVE IT. My new companion is Sister Rafisura :) Filipina, from the same place as Sister Dadivas. 28 years old. She is super cute. Basically I'm her follow-up trainer. I love it...It's taking me back to my training days with Sister Ricketts. SPEAKING OF WHICH...I am now in the same zone as her!!!! :) I'm so happy. ALSO Sister Pruden is in this area... Remember Megan? yeah cool, huh?!

Our apartment is a house. The washing room for our clothes is in our CR but it's super big. Its got marble and stuff. It's a little old, but it's not bad. It has a tiny front yard. It's cute :)
Zone P-Day
So this week: We had a little FHE with some of the members and our ward mission leader and Alex. This gave us a chance to say goodbye to Alex (our newest member--last week's baptism). We all played some games and such and took pictures. It was nice. I told him to facebook me after the mission. I know he will continue on doing great things. 
Anyways, not much happened, other than getting settled in the new area. This week has been a tiring one, but I'm glad to finally be here. We took a nice big bus to our area. Of course, it POURED rain like it does every transfer day. I bore my testimony in straight tagalog in church. The ward is huge here and SO NICE. I love it so much. I'm already so excited to work in this area. I'm excited to be with my new companion. She's great. And this ward is a great ward. It's like little tender mercies everywhere! I love it. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon.
Anyways... not much to report other than that. :) Sorry this is so short! I will write more next week. I'm glad to be with Sister Rafisura in my new area.  It's going to be a great time :) Have a good week!! LOVE YOU!

Sister Seastrand