Lunes, Disyembre 29, 2014

First Sacrament Talk as a Missionary

I hope I have enough words to properly express my feelings of how grateful I am for the trust He has given me to be a full-time missionary – Jesus Christ authorized representative.

Yesterday has been a beautiful day. I was invited to speak at the sacrament meeting. Since New Year’s coming this Thursday, I was inspired to talk about Setting Goals and Making Plans. When I first got in this area and met my brothers and sisters here, I wrote on my PMG Manual, 146: Help these people know how to set goals. I do not know why, but I felt that most of Heavenly Father’s children in our area do not know how to set goals or what is a goal alone. They do not know that there is so much in them. They do not know that they can have goals and that they can reach whatever their mind can conceive.

Early in the morning of the Sabbath day, I labored on every word so I could speak in the simplest Tagalog words and simplest manner that even a child could understand what is a goal, a plan, and that Heavenly Father has a goal for each of us (Moses 1:39) and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is His plan so we can return back to Him.

I shared the 5 counsels in the first book of Joshua how we can be successful in this coming year and in this life. That in order to have success, we should understand that the Lord will not fail us, nor forsake us. (Joshua 1:5). That Heavenly Father is so ready to grant our righteous desires, only if we are just willing to work hard and ask Him (3 Nephi 14:11). I told them that the Lord wants us to be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:6) as we are trying to reach our goals. That President Monson explained “courage includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid,defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status.” Since most of our less actives become where they are right now because they are being ridiculed by neighbors and even their family for their beliefs.

I told them that the Lord counseled us to turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that we may reach our goals (Joshua 1:7). That if we want to enter the temple, we should not do things that we know it could hinder us from going to His house.. and do things that will help us go there. That if want to be baptized, we should not do things that hinder us from entering in that covenant, and we should be keeping our commitments.

But I focused on the fourth counsel of the Lord, that if we want to be successful, we need to study the scriptures everyday: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thoushalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe todo according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

I bore my testimony that the scriptures will tell us all things we should do (2 Nephi 32:3) both temporal and spiritual aspects of our lives. That if every Filipino is just reading their scriptures everyday, then all of the other area goals will be achieved: strengthened families, saved rising generations, more worthy priesthood holders, and every lost sheep will go back to His fold.

I told them what Elder Bowen told us. That if an investigator who is not grounded in the book of mormon, may be baptized, but 4 – 5 years from now, they cannot be found in the church anymore. When I told that, I saw the mother of our part-member family we are teaching. Her eyes met my eyes, that it made my heart reach my throat that all of the sudden I couldn’t continue speaking. I want to tell her “ Listen to me, Nanay Ramos. Listen to me. This is for you.” But I just couldn’t speak because I was trying to hold back my tears. Then suddenly, one member wept so loud at the back of the seats that Sister Elivera got up to lead the woman crying outside the Sacrament hall.

Then I told them, “We missionaries are always asking you to read the book of mormon, always and always and always… because we love you. We do not want you to get baptized then after few years, when you face a trial, and we are not here, you will leave the church. We do not want that. We want to leave you strong that whatever trial you face, you are still in the Lord’s church.”

Then suddenly all of us in the sacrament hall were crying. I invited them to finish reading the book of mormon in year 2015. To hold fast unto it, so “they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15;24)

I told them “all that He commandestus we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.” (Joshua 1:16)

I bore my testimony that the greatest successful formula can be found in the book of mormon: seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (3 Nephi 13:33)

I told them that this what we were teaching is not a theory we are trying to prove. THEY ARE LAWS. And I have the evidences of it. I have experienced how the Lord has blessed me in all and in every aspect of my life because of these laws.

Then I ended it in the name of Jesus Christ, with feelings that I cannot describe. The Spirit was so powerful. That the concluding speaker, member of the bishopric was wiping his tears and started talking about his goal to finish the book of mormon. When we were leaving, the woman who was crying hugged me. Another old woman, held my hands, crying, with Ilocano words I couldn’t understand. But because of the Spirit, I know what she felt. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for His trust to me to be His representative.

I am grateful for the privilege that I have to extend the love the Lord has for these people.

I love being a missionary. I love being a missionary. I will never get tired of saying this. I love being a missionary.

Soaked under the rain. Super happy.

Lunes, Disyembre 22, 2014

The Power of Book of Mormon

I love our zone meeting last week! It was so spiritual! It was so powerful! Our Sister Training Leaders taught us about Using Time Wisely. It gave me such a huge impact. The Spirit was so powerful. That even at this moment, while I am writing this letter to you, I am feeling the same feeling that I felt during our zone meeting. Heavenly Father knows how much I wanted to become a better missionary after our zone meeting. I will never have these 18 months again. I just want to give all that I have and all that I am in this work. I am praying and praying for His help for I know self-discipline can’t do it alone. I need His grace. I need the enabling power of His atonement. I know He wants me to be successful. I know that He will help me. I know that He will give me strength beyond my own natural ability to accomplish things after all that I can do. I do not want to end my mission full of regrets. I do not want that. Heavenly Father doesn’t want that too! I do not have enough words to properly express my gratitude of how grateful I am for this privilege that I have to be a missionary. My heart is full. And He keeps on filling my heart each and every day of my life as a missionary.

I’m done with my first cycle as a missionary. And it’s getting better and better. We have 7 candidates for baptism on January 24, and I know and I can feel that they KNOW that our message is true. But knowing is not enough. Believing is not enough. Without works (keeping the commitments), faith is dead. So we’re focusing now how to get these people keep the first 3 commitments: Read from the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and go to church.

This week, I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon in missionary work. Before, I just wanted to teach our prepared lesson even if they haven’t read from the Book of Mormon. So yesterday, we instead read 3 Nephi 27 with Tatay Tungpalan (an investigator) since he did not read. I FELT THE SPIRIT. I SAW THE LIGHT IN HIS EYES WHILE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW WE OUGHT TO BECOME LIKE JESUS CHRIST. When we ended our lesson, he asked us “How can a person become a saint?”.. And all of the sudden, I remember Mosiah 3:19For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Then he said, “I hope my kids are like the two of you”. Because for the past months, he’s telling us that his son became a stubborn teenager. His son was always in the top of his class until he became addicted with computer games. He’s not studying and failing at school. I told him, that when I was also a teenager, I came to the point that I did not want to go to school anymore. I didn’t go to school for two weeks because I just couldn’t handle the pain of death of my grandfather who was always there to motivate me with my goals in life. And then I became an insecure teenager – I felt ugly with my ugly hair and ugly face – that I did not want to go to school. I did not want people to see me – the ugly me. Until I started reading the book of mormon. I bore my testimony that because of the book of mormon, everything just changed. My perspective about life, and about myself. JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. I love the Spirit so much. I love being a missionary.

And yes, Sherwin, the less-active who started reading the book of mormon went to church yesterday.

For now, I just want to focus on helping investigators and less actives read the book of mormon. Elder Bowen said, when these people are not grounded in the book of mormon, 4-5 years from now, they will not be in the church. I do not want that to happen. Being baptized without being grounded on the book of mormon is like sowing on the stony ground, without root, "where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away” (Mark 4:5–6). They should be sowed on the good ground – the book of mormon – to sprung up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.

I love being a missionary! And I love the book of mormon!

Ito pala yung sapatos ko. ito yung mga natirang sapatos ng isang tongan at isang pilipina. Pinagsama ko nalang. Malakas kasi ulan dito. Kaya ito ginagamit ko. Haahaha.

Lunes, Disyembre 15, 2014

Mission Tour

I know I have said this for so many times, but I want to say it again: DAYS HAVE GONE SO FAST! It makes me feel how short our life is! I love my nanay so much! And I love the things I am learning here in the mission field.

About the work! We had 4 investigators committed to be baptized on January 24! Sister Imelda – which we met last week! She’s been taught by the missionaries I think 4 years ago. After 4 years, she’s now ready! The Lord has prepared her! She understands the doctrine, that’s why I love her. Because true doctrine understood, changes behavior!

Tatay Ramos, the father of a part member family also committed to be baptized. He’s very shy. But we’re working on building trust and relationship with him, so he can overcome that shyness. Of course, through the atonement, he can do that! His 2 sons also committed to be baptized. I love this family so much.

And Sherwin, a less active! One of those who committed to finish reading the Book of Mormon by December 2015, is done with the Introduction! That’s commendable! And yesterday, he worked with us! And he bore one of the most humble and sincere testimony yesterday with one of our investigators – the Tungpalan Family.

And Jesus Omengan, a returning less active – is fulfilling his commitment to finish the book of mormon too! He’s done with 1st Nephi. And yesterday, he was ordained to Melchezidek Priesthood. So I am so proud of him. Heavenly Father must be so proud of him! And his girlfriend also accepted the invitation to be baptized yesterday. But there’s no goal date yet. We’re working on some things.

Oh yes! I love these people. I have not finished my ministry until these people are keeping their commitments!

I love being a missionary!

How's my sister elaine? How's your preparation for mission? I haven't received an email from her. Is everything okay? I hope she's working on her personal progress kasi I tell you.. That's the same things you will teach on mission. And you will develop attributes necessary to be a missionary. And also, Mary Flor.. Gawin mo din. :) Haha! Personal Progress has been a BIG BIG PART of me for time and for all eternity.

Ito pala mga pics ko:

​During our Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Bowen of the Seventy. I am with Sister Lange here. She's my STL dito sa Zone. At mahal na mahal ko siya. She's an example to me! She's going home to Colorado sa 17!

(Sidenote: Maraming may gusto ng damit ko na yan. More than 50 na tao na ang nagsabi na they like my dress since I bought it. And even Sister Rahlf, after she hugged me. Sabi nya: "You are well-dressed!!" Hahaha)

The Ramos Family!

Sige ingat kayong lahat!!! :) Mahal ko kayo!!

Lunes, Disyembre 8, 2014

I Love Young Women!

When I ended my first day here in the mission field, I was like "Yes! One day down! One day closer to April 2016!". Now, I was like "Oh no! One month down! I can't believe there's only 17 months remaining to publish glad tidings in this land!"

My love for the people here in our area has grown. But for now, I am struggling with how to get these people out from where they are right now (spiritually) to where they should be (spiritually). Missionary work is really not easy. But still, I love being a missionary.

 Most of our lessons this week was about Lesson 1 Principle 1: God Is Our Loving Heavenly Father. In the area broadcast, Elder Oaks said that if a person understands this principle, the other principles will be understood easier. So this week, we used the T-chart in expounding this principle. I love this principle so much. Having the knowledge that I am a literal daughter of a Diety makes everything alright.

This week, I met Vanessa, 15. Younger sister of Carlos, a recent convert. Their mother is a member, and their father has just died. Vanessa is a former investigator. She usually hides when missionaries visit their house. So Heavenly Father knows how happy I was when we found her alone in their house and she let us come in and teach her!

I know that, as a missionary, I should "preach unto ALL [male and female], both old and young, . . .the aged and the middle aged, and the rising generations" (Alma 5:49) . . . But my love for the YOUNG WOMEN is way different. My love for them is as strong as my love for my siblings and myself. President Hinckley said, "When you save a girl, you save generations. She will grow in strength and righteousness. She will marry in the house of the Lord. She will teach her children the ways of truth." I find young women so precious. I don't want them to experience what our other 3 investigators are experiencing right now. It's very sad and heartbreaking when their husbands punch them, or not marry them because of the false traditions, and etc. I am really having a tough time thinking on how to help these 3 women resolve their concerns. It can be overwhelming sometimes. But yes, this is His work--He will help me.

As per companionship. It is good. I love companionship inventory. The question "What more can I do to improve myself as a missionary, as a trainee, and as a person?" can be frightening sometimes, but I love it. It helps me know myself better and I always love looking for ways to improve. Improvement and progression have one eternal round. :)

I love being a missionary!

Ito po yung picture ko sa bukid. Gabi. After ng FHE. Di na po ako makita sa picture kasi maitim na ako. Haha. Yung ilaw po jan ay yung alitaptap sa kamay ko. Sobrang nakakatuwa talaga. At sobrang nakaka ignorante din.

Ito naman yung pinaka unang daga pinatay ko. Hahaha.

​Ito naman yung ulam ko yesterday. Its called Hawaiian Haystack. Sobrang masarap. Hindi po ako madalas magkarne dito. Mga once a week lang. Lagi gulay at fruits.

Sige time's up! I love you all!

Lunes, Disyembre 1, 2014

First Companion Exchange; First Funeral Service Talk!

I love this week so much! Last night, I was so excited to tell my family all the things that happened this week UNTIL… we had an accounting of our key indicators. It made me sad. It is so ironic how this week has been the best week for me as a missionary, yet we had our key indicators heading downhill. But ahh. These KIs cannot change the love I have for this week!

On Tuesday, we had our district meeting, and as usual it has been so powerful. It inspired me to always ask myself “What more can I do?”. It inspired me to always raise the bar!

On Wednesday, we had splits with the Sister Training Leaders! I was so happy. I have learned so many things from Sister Lange. She had no idea how excited I was to be with her at least for one day! The very first time I met Sister Lange in my first district meeting, I felt that there’s something special in her that I want to emulate. She has this kind of confidence that makes everybody around her feel comfortable and confident in themselves too. The confidence that she has is NOT the one that comes from being proud on one’s own abilities. It is the confidence that comes from the knowledge that she is a literal daughter of a Diety – that in His strength, she can do all things! I love Sister Lange so much. She teaches by example. And she helped me so much in improving my teaching skills.

And yes, I love my trainer too! Sister Crystal is so hardworking. She is the perfect example of what-more-can-I-do missionary. I couldn’t ask for more.

On Thursday, we taught some of Heavenly Father’s children back in our area. We taught Sister Rizalyn, an investigator. She is a golden one! She reads (and understands!) the Book of Mormon way better than a member. And I mean it seriously. And in every teaching appointment, she always volunteers herself to offer the opening prayer. I am so happy for her. Now we’re trying to look for ways so she and Jay Ar get married so she can be baptized.

And on Thursday night (9:30 pm) , all of the sudden, bishop told us that I would be one of the speakers in the funeral for Friday morning. Needless to say, I freaked out. I was like… “Why didn't they tell me earlier?? I should have prepared with enough time!!” Speaking at a funeral service is a big deal for me (and to the Lord) and they were asking me to do it in a RUSH? This is hastening the work of salvation. Not RUSHING the work of salvation!! But aaah, since I sustain Bishop and I know he has been called of God, I willingly submitted myself. I just prayed so hard that I would be relying completely to the Spirit in making and delivering the talk, and I am so grateful God has answered my prayer. I love being a missionary! And what a privilege it is to have one of the members of the Godhead—the Holy Ghost to be a constant companion!!!

For now, we are focusing on how we are going to help everybody study their scriptures. Since a new year is going to start soon, we started extending the challenge to finish reading the Book of Mormon by December 31, 2015. We also make it our companionship goal to always ask everyone we teach what spiritual experiences they have recently. For them to see God’s hand in their lives DAILY. To help them know that God is in the details of their lives.

Oh how I love being a missionary!

In our apartment. "Ako ay nakakita"

Exchanges with STLs. Such a great day!

Dinner with Santos Family