Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 59

Saying goodbye to Sis. Rafi and hello to Sis. Martinez
Bye, Bye Sister Rafi! :( No matter what anyone tells you about getting used to transfer week, they’re wrong. Being almost 16 months in the mission, I STILL can't get over it. The dreaded/ most stressful day in any missionary's life. Transfer Day. I really thought my sweet companion would maybe stay one more cycle in this area with me, but at the last moment, we received "The Call" at 5:25 p.m. She is now making another Sister/ward members happy in the San Pablo area. I miss her SO MUCH but I know our friendship is eternal. On Thursday we get to Divergion where she dropped me off and we parted ways while I stayed at Jollibee waiting for my new companion with the Zone leaders and other missionaries transferring. It was like a movie or something with the rain and me just standing there with a somber look on my face holding my umbrella waving goodbye to my sister and friend. After her first hug, she turned back and gave me another. :( That's all I could think in my mind, "Bye bye Sister Rafi." SO YEAH, Just still kickin it here in Candelaria with my new companion..... drum roll please........Sister Martinez! From Mindinao. She's SO CUTE and I love her already. She's a brand new missionary, only two months in the field. Thanks President, you put a young one with an old one... You'd think I'd have some missionary skills by now, but whaddaya know, 1st day of comp study and my companion's got some sharp teaching skills in the tool shed. Just a little overwhelmed, that's all. 

Jen is currently residing in Candelaria! She didn't go to Sariyaya to stay with her parents. And I can't even tell you how great it felt to see her at Sister Sonya's house Sunday evening. We get to start teaching her again with her new little one, and of course, Noah.
Basically everyone needs to pray for this investigator of ours. Pray that she will listen to the Spirit telling her to follow our Savior Jesus Christ and be baptized and confirmed a member of HIS church. I know angels are helping us every day.

This week I'm reading in the Gospels about Jesus Christ and his parables. I'm trying to study it before Christmas. I have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And I've been finding Him, just like we find investigators all day, I'm more determined to find my Savior as I read His teachings. I challenge you to find your testimony by reading His life as we prepare for the Christmas season.
all is well, all is well, in the life of a sister missionary in the Philippines.

Sister Seastrand

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 58

This week has been CRAZY... So how many times can Sister Seastrand travel to Lucena City in one week? Let's count...we literally went to Lucena 5 TIMES. Stake conference, exchanges, and zone training meeting. So many things learned.

What I learned: Serving others makes us happy. Putting Heavenly Father first makes us even happier. I've had a lot of experiences in this week of having to learn that first hand. I think that we can't lose sight of what we're doing as missionaries, or else we lose sight of Heavenly Father.

I'm still here in my 3rd area, Candelaria, Quezon, Philippines San Pablo Mission. I'm heading into my 3rd transfer cycle here in this area. I'm not sure if Sister Rafisura will be transferred or not. But I love my companion and we find joy in the work together.

Cute Noah
There's just one thing I wanted to share about, and that is the power the Book of Mormon. We have been teaching an investigator named Jen. When I first met her when I got to the area, and went to our first teaching appointment, I really felt no hope. What I SAW was a silly, whatever-happens-happens mindset 20-year-old girl. Little did I know how wrong I was. We kept going

back to her, and teaching about the Restoration. Over and OVER, let me tell you. She just didn't seem like she cared at all. Normally we don't keep visiting investigators for more than 2 weeks if there's no progressing (i.e. no reading, coming to church, keeping really any commitments at all). As we kept running in to walls in what to teach her and feeling frustrated about her commitments not being kept, the Spirit of the Lord told us to share from the Book of Mormon in Alma 32, and so we taught about Faith in Jesus Christ. We could feel the Spirit in abundance and we could see her start to understand. She was beginning to plant the seed of faith in her heart. Over a period of 2 months, I have seen FIRST HAND the power of this book. We asked one day how she feel she has changed because of reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us, "I now have patience and long-suffering towards my child and others. When I get angry or frustrated, I open this book and it's gone." We saw and could feel the Spirit testify to us of her changing and becoming more spiritually mature. I could see the changes in the entire less active family and in her 4 year old son. They now pray together, her and Noah (her son). They love when we come over to teach. Apparently the Spirit enters the room and takes a seat on their small couch next to Sister Rafi and me. I will never forget this experience as long as I live. :)

I don't know what will happen to her since she is no longer here in Candelaria, because she had her second baby. She will be gone for at least a month with her parents and the new little one... It's so sad because Sister Rafisura might be transferred and didn't get to say goodbye, but we will see what happens. All I know is that I pray the spirit and angels will help her to stay and remember what she felt when we taught her every day. I know she is in good hands with the Lord. I felt like one important point of this experience is that Heavenly Father wanted to show me in real time that this Book has the power to solve ANY concern and help us overcome our weaknesses. In Ether 12:34 it says, "And IF men COME unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my GRACE is sufficient for ALL MEN THAT HUMBLE themselves before me, for if they humble themselves before me, and have FAITH in me, then will I make weak things become STRONG unto them."
Seeing friends at Zone Training

According to our faith things will work for our good. As long as our faith is in Christ and when we humble ourselves, the grace of Christ is sufficient to make up for what we don't have or can't do. Weaknesses are opportunities to know our Savior. If you haven't been reading this book or even if you have read it many times already, I invite you to ponder on your own weaknesses. Just one, and read the Book of Mormon on that weakness. I promise you that when you do this, the Spirit will take hold in your heart and you will experience in real time the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ which is sufficient for all men that come unto Him. Don't delay! His arms are ready to receive you at all times.

Transfer week is this week... I think my companion will be transferred but I'm not sure... It's going to be interesting! We find out tomorrow what will be the next set-up in Candelaria. It's a good area. We are just trying to find, find, find!! It takes work to be a missionary. I'm reading in the gospels studying about the life of Jesus Christ in preparation for Christmas, and I am loving learning more about Christ. I encourage you to do the same! We can compare and talk about it together.

So this week has been great. We're being obedient, we're seeing success in our work, and just going every day to do the Lord's work. I love you all so much and I feel I need to share with you to know how HAPPY I am when I am obedient and teach and live my life in the Philippines as a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. It's so hard, but I almost can't leave it behind. It's been the best experience of my life. Heavenly Father loves me and I know it. Have a great week! I love you!!!!!

Sister Seastrand

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 57

So this week we talked about eternal families this week in Sunday School. They talked about the role of the mother. I sat there with our investigator, JEN cause she CAME TO CHURCH!! :) With her 4 year old son, Noah. I just love them. Maybe it's cause we're the same age so we can relate, but it was so good to see her and teach her this week. She loves King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah. I love that she loves the Book of Mormon. ANYWAYS...As I sat there listening to our teacher talk about the role of the mother, I thought of Mom immediately. There's a quote by a Prophet who said, "The most important work will be within the walls of your own homes." It says in the proclamation about the roles of husbands and wives, and Mom, you have fulfilled your role! Who can put a price tag on a mother who not only builds her home but builds the kingdom of Heavenly Father at the same time? That just reminded me of you, Mom, and what work you have done in our home to make our house a home. The mother is such a big role and I thank you for being MY Mother. :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom. I love you to the States and back to the Philippines. 3,000,000 times! :) haha.
I love you SO MUCH Mom. 

I'm trying to exercise and sleep and drink water---everything that helps me be healthy again. I really love and appreciate Sister Galbraith--she's great. She has really helped me feel better. But I endured my illness and it's weird because I felt myself grow a lot. At first I was really frustrated and felt really discouraged. But it was so nice to go back out and proselyte. It's really one thing that I will miss so very much when I return. Talking to people about the happiest message in the WORLD is my favorite thing. I love being obedient, and I love learning and reading the Book of Mormon. I love that I wear a name tag everyday and get to be a witness of Jesus Christ. I truly can feel His love for me. 

My week has been great! I'm back in the work and feeling great. A lot of rejection actually. But it's ok. I endured :) And I LOVE being a missionary! The WORK it's the one thing I missed, while being sick. I love going out every day and talking to people and being obedient and doing the work. I just want to give it my all. I'll never have this time back again. Actually, on Thursday we taught a referral from a member. The referral is a Born Again Christian and LET ME TELL YOU we spent 2 hours in that appointment. Mostly she wasn't listening and I was getting annoyed because I couldn't feel the spirit and I didn't know how to teach her according to her needs, (maybe cause the spirit really wasn't there). BUT she likes to speak English and I could feel a little frustration start to well up inside me. Sometimes as a missionary you just want to shake the person and say, "Look, this is true! Just accept it! It will only help you." But you can't do that. You can't lose your cool because if you do, you're not being a witness of Christ. We read Moroni 10:3-5 about praying to know if it's true, and she said she was sad because it said to ask in the name of Christ, not to ask in the name of Jesus Christ. LIKE, WHAT?! After reading those 3 powerful verses, that's all you get?! Come on! I started to speak in English and just testify of the truthfulness of the message and I could feel the power in it. Honestly after we left I just wanted to cry and same with Sister Rafi. 

And THEN to top it off...No one really has wanted to listen to us! We've had a ton of chances to talk with people on the street who are the same religion and they just keep rejecting us and telling us that they worship Jesus by dancing and holding their hands in the air. WEIRD! It was a way discouraging day actually and Sister Rafi and I just wanted to cry. But we realized that these were just trials and tests of our faith and diligence. I could feel my faith in Christ grow--and my desire to serve better grew, too.  Trials are so great! They are chances for us to learn and to grow to our full potential.

It sounds like the weather there is changing from the warm Fall to chilly weather, (and you're not complaining at all, Mom). I am not too excited about the thought of coming home to snow, myself! AH! The weather here is still nice and warm and cooling off with typhoon season coming. We've had no effect from typhoons so far, so that's nice. We are so blessed like you said.

I know that what I am doing is truer than true and I love the blue book aka the Book of Mormon. Read it sometime, eh? :)  Heavenly Father just helps us reach our potential when we obey and trust Him. I miss you all and I can't wait to see you again, but I know I'm here for a reason. It's so important what I'm doing. And I don't get a second chance. So I gotta give it my all. :)  Let's all keep enduring to the end. Love you all.

Sister Seastrand

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 56

HEY! ‘Halloween’ was CRAZY! Everyone just goes to the cemetery and celebrates their dead loved ones. There’s a lot of alcohol and festivity. The cemeteries are packed. It's so different. They call it All Saints Day and it’s on Nov. 1. We just went home at 6.

This week we had a SUPER great meeting with Elder Lynn G. Robbins. He talked about two companion doctrines: 100% Accountability, 100% Agency. He also talked about the companion doctrines, Forgiveness and Repentance. It was just SO wonderful to listen to him speak to us. He shared with us about 3 Nephi 11 where Christ visited the Nephites and asked if the Savior walked in right now, what would we do? Would we fall to our knees? I know for a fact I would. I've asked myself that question and pondered it this week. And the reason why is because I'm learning about Him and His ways. Elder Robbins said that "we as missionaries are enrolled in the Lord's University in some of the toughest courses in the world. Diligence 505, Patience 505, Charity 505, and Faith 505. Tough courses, but incredible courses." I have to agree 100%! It's been tough. But the Lord's university is the one preparing me to return to Him and I will never get these courses ever again anywhere else but in the Philippines. Anyway just a little thought I learned this week. I miss home, but the Philippines is my second home. :)

We also had another great special missionary meeting. Elder Dallin H. Oaks came and gave the whole Philippines a special broadcast about the area goals. He talked about feasting on the words of Christ and especially Christlike attributes. I really loved it! Everything I needed was in that meeting. I just could feel that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ LOVES this country. They know and see all that these people go through and do every day of their lives. The Lord is blessing the Philippines and it's blessing my life. My heart will always be here in this country, especially with all my Filipina companions. Team Philippines!

We haven't seen our investigator Jen for a long time.. I miss her a lot. But we're going to visit her this week! :) I will send pics maybe next week of her cause she's so cute and I just love her with all my heart. We got to visit one of our recent converts this past week, tho. We haven't seen her in so long since I've been sick. She’s so cute. I will send pics of her cute kids next time. She loves the missionaries and it just was really nice to hear her testimony of Christ. She began telling us how her family has been having a rough time lately. She said that we answered her prayers and she cried as she said, "I'll never forget when the missionaries visit me." I've been learning more and more how much the members really love the missionaries here in this area. It's so important to slow down and take the time to visit them and get to know them, their concerns, and be an answer to their prayers of needed comfort and refreshment. I loved that. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I am here and am only a representative full time of Jesus Christ for three more months! I really love it. It's so hard, but so great. I want to be in this work forever.

Anyways, that was my week. Pretty great if you ask me. :) Overall I just love Moroni 7. I felt the Spirit so strong studying about faith and hope in Christ. Count how many times Mormon says, "having faith in Christ" or "believe" in Christ. It's very inspiring to read about faith and hope. I'm almost finished reading the BOM on my own personal reading -- BOOYAH! I encourage you to study it if you can. It's a beautiful chapter about Mormon teaching us about Faith in Jesus Christ. I know that we can do ANYTHING He asks us when we come unto Him and have faith in Him. Thank you for all you do for me. I just love you so much, mom. Get ready, cause the cold is coming! I'm enjoying the heat and rain here :) Just get the coats ready cause I'll be heading that way in about 2 more transfer cycles! HA! :) I can feel the time getting faster and faster. But the Lord is supporting me. :) Have a GREAT week!!! 

Sister Seastrand