Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 27, 2013

Nanay ko,
This week was great! This week was filled with a lot of lessons. We also had a church tour, to encourage investigators and members to come to church. We had a good turn out and there was definitely a lot of work put into it, by the members. We also had the baptism of Jasmine and Bernadette. They were both so excited to finally be baptized and we are happy to have them as members of the branch. We have a lot of investigators, but we are struggling to have any of them keep their commitments and act upon their beliefs. The area that we are over has many members...but the problem is that they are all consider LA (less active) because they do not attend church or they have not gone to the temple yet. It is definitely a struggle and we are working with a lot of the RC (recent converts) to keep them at church. Many of the LA are also members that have gone on missions or have served in high callings...and for one reason or another, have left the church and want nothing more to do with it. It is definitely sad to see, but it is even harder to understand and I am trying to figure out what I can do as a missionary to help these people.

I am feeling better about the language. I wouldn't say that I understand any of it better than I did the week before, but my understanding has been enlightened on what I can do. I was thinking a lot about understanding and as I was praying and studying and fasting, I gained more understanding about understanding. I was enlightened on what I can be and become. I know that the Lord will give me understanding through His Spirit and through Him, will I gain greater understanding. I may not understand the language any better than I did before, but through the Lord I will gain greater understanding of what I need to know--the needs/concerns of those that my companion and I are teaching, the language, etc. I am relying on the Spirit as much as I possibly can. And part of my responsibility is to review my work and see what I am doing and what I can do better. I like to refer it to that experience of which our Savior had experienced. His time on earth was not that which was the easiest. There was much struggling and trials that came to Him. But how great was the blessing that He gave to the children of men. Our loving Heavenly Father did not make it easy for His son...then how could I expect that my time would be easy? I am trying to be the missionary that he needs me to be and I am trying. I spoke to the mission president about it and he said that I am doing well. Some food for thought (brought to my attention by my companion): we have only had two weeks, out of 8 weeks, that we have not met the mission standard of excellence. This Standard of Excellence contains 8 am lessons/wk, 30 lessons/wk, etc. Even on Christmas week we made the standard...this is very difficult. President Blienser has complemented us on our work and efforts.There is something that I am doing right :) It has surprised many that we have done this every week, especially with me being so new to the mission

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

The experiences here are just like living up at college...especially when you have three other girls living with you. I have had very similar experiences here that are the same as college, so none of it really seems new to me. This will make you laugh...we went to FHE with a family and we were playing games and one of them was called John the was the thimble game! nakakatawa! I was excited to know that there were similar games :)
This week was a rough one. We had a lot of appointments fall through and we could only leave them with a prayer. But we are trying to manage with what we have. We taught a lot of the same families as we do every week...we are trying to catch up on all the referrals still. The church is such a different aspect have members which are small in number and then you have a large number of less active. And it is because they have not been to the temple. So this week has been with a large amount of less actives...some who are really sweet (one of them, Sister Cagunot, reminds me of Grandma Wong...look just like her too!) and some that really don't care to hear from us. Missionary work has its ups and downs and it has its blissful times and some very difficult times. But I had this experience...

This week He really gave me a tender mercy--there is a less-active sister, named Elsa. She has three children, two girls and one baby boy. When we had first had visited her when I first arrived in the area, her baby boy was sick with a respiratory condition. He was having the hardest time breathing and was just struggling altogether. When we had visited her, my companion had asked me to give their family a blessing and to pray for the baby that he would get better soon. In my heart I so badly wanted to give this blessing to them...but my mouth knew not how to express these words to my Heavenly Father. I started to pray aloud, but in sorrow of not being able to express the feelings of my heart, I started to tear up. The other children were making comments--"iyak siya!" (she's crying!)--but I continued with what little words I knew. I left hoping and praying to the Lord that he would see the desires of my heart and forgive me for the lack of words that I had, in expressing my desired blessing upon this family. I had thought little about it, until this week, when we went back to visit them. The little boy is now better...he was running around and was just the happiest little thing I had ever seen. When we went to leave, I went to shake his hand, he came right up to me and put his hands in my lap and stared into my eyes. He did this for a while and then he put his head in my lap and then looked back up at me. This was such a tender mercy to me, because I felt that it was his way to thank me for what I had tried to bless him with, and Heavenly Father was using this child to help me to see His love. The Lord continues to bless me..I must more actively look for them, though...I hope daily that I am doing the things that the Lord would have me to do.

How I wish that you could be here to meet these people. It is experiences like this that give me hope and bring the fire back in my heart. But this week was a hard one with the language. I was trying so hard to express myself...and I was being understood and I couldn't understand either. This was mainly with my companion...and in no way is it her fault. She is from Laguna, Philippines ( I really have no idea where that is) I know that it is on my part completely...but it has been so hard, not having anyone that can understand what I am saying or how I am feeling.  I will talk to her and she tells me that she understands, but whether I say it in Tagalog or English, she doesn't understand what I mean. And with that one of the sisters in the apartment was making comments about something and I later found out, through my companion, that it was because I had not filled the water buckets and that she was having to do everything. It just made it really difficult and frustrating because I had no idea...she could have just asked me as a reminder...but I just went through a swing of wondering if I would ever be able to speak the language. My companion was trying to help me to look at things positively and I am trying my best. We taught a lesson with Jasmine (15) and Bernadette (11), who are just like Julia and Ryann...and I was trying to talk to them and they were talking over me and were laughing about my pronunciation and so much more...and at that point I had had it. I was trying so hard to teach them and it was not going anywhere...I feel like this so much...But I felt so embarrassed when we went to a FHE on Saturday with a bunch of branch members and one of the sisters was explaining a game to them in Bicol, but forgot to explain it to me...and I guess I lost but they were all playing and then it came to me and I had no idea what they said or what they were doing and I just walked out of the house, because I just felt so lost and alone. They were really kind to help me to understand the rest of the night, but I just fear of going through that over and over...but that is how it will be for a while as I work to establish my Tagalog and then my South Bicol. All is well and I will continue forward and hope for the best and pray my heart out to the Lord for His help and guidance in my language skills. My companion is helping me is different to have a native speaker teaching you, when they are learning English. This is where the understanding fails on both our parts, because I don't understand her sometimes and she doesn't understand me. But I hope to continue working at it and seeking for the gift of tongues.
If anyone would like to contact Sister Pace, you are able to email her:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 14, 2013

This week was busy. We had appointments planned for about every hour of everyday...and if not a teaching appointment it was a meeting that we needed to attend. Our teaching appointments have been really great...other than this last week felt like our week of dropped appointments. We would arrive at an appointment and either they would not be home or they would hide or lie to us. So we had lots of improvising. We have been really lucky as a companionship and have received many referrals, with no work on our part...but we get the hard part of trying to contact them and teach them. We have had several of our referrals not want us to teach them and several that want us to teach them and we end up not knowing how to find them.
This week went out to visit a referral that we had received from one of the recent converts...their house is located in Capuy, which takes about 45 minutes for us to travel to, by jeepne. So it takes some time for us to go out there and to cover the expenses...and to our dismay, they were not home. We have no other investigators or members out in the area and so we were walking around when my companion said that we should go visit this one family--the Lasala's. We only had a general idea of where they lived, but with our luck and the continual guidance of the Holy Ghost, we were able to find Brother Lasala. This family astonishes me...Brother and Sister Lasala had attended the Christmas party we had weeks ago and they had spoken to my companion and had set up time to be visited the Saturday following the party...however my companion had forgotten. This family was not fact they were more excited that we had actually come to see them. We sat down and were talking with them and my companion told me that they had made many dishes for us that Saturday we were suppose to visit, but they knew that no matter what they wanted to learn more about the Church. We introduced some materials to them and it was just amazing how much they wanted to know. My companion was saying that they are so ready to receive the gospel...there will be trials along the way, as we found out that Brother and Sister Lasala are not married and Sister Lasala has a previous husband who took their son and deserted her. We taught them again on Saturday and it was wonderful...they were excited about going to church and one of the other individuals, April, was anticipating to have her son receive a priesthood blessing because he is always sick. Unfortunately they never arrived at church on we are going to follow up this week and see what is going on. I had shared a couple of weeks ago about two young boys (brothers) who desire to be baptized, but are not able to because their parents don't want them to join...I admire these two so very much. We went to visit them again this week...they get so excited when we come to visit. We were talking to them and they were sharing with us how sad they were the last time that we had visited, because the last time we visited, their aunt had told us that they were not home (which was false). One of them said that he cried, because he wanted us to visit him and teach him about the gospel. We taught them about their purpose in life and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They loved it so much! One said that he wants to be married in the temple someday and the other said that he wants to become a police officer/security guard for the church. They also said that they were upset with their parents because they were making them attend a catholic church, which they do not believe in or enjoy. My companion and I can only have patience in this circumstances, for we may only be the planters of the seed, and another may reap of the blessings of these two young boys. I pray many times that the Lord will watch over them. The two investigators we had that were preparing for baptism on the 19th were delayed because the District Leader did not feel that they were ready....which my companion and I were prepared for. But it was hard to tell these two girls that there would need to be more preparation for them, in order to be baptized. It is interesting how we are given that discernment to know if they are ready or not to receive the covenant of baptism. We are hoping this week to work more with them this week and help them really feel the change that is necessary in order to be received unto baptism.We have several other investigators that we are teaching that are uncertain about our message and we are striving to work with them to help them understand the need of the gospel in their lives. Pray that we may be able to bring light to them :) I know that God is watching over His children, but he does give them the agency to choose and make decisions in their lives that may change it's course forever, whether good or bad.
My companion and I are doing well. She told me that when she went into the interview with our mission president, that he asked her if she was happy. She said that she was and that this has been one of her favorite transfers. I am struggling some days to adjust to the culture and the ways in the Philippines and I must have my heart always open to my companion for this reason. I do love her...she is so very patient with me (especially when I break down over not being able to help her teach the lesson as much as I would like to, because I don't know how to say it, or the pain I feel when I can't share the joy I have through the gospel in words, to the people we are teaching). We each have our strengths and our weaknesses and we are working on them together.
It doesn't feel like I have been out for a month....i still feel so brand new. It has definitely been fun experiencing the Philippines. For New Year's we had an eating appointment, but we had a curfew for it was pretty uneventful. Other than all the fireworks and loud noises at 12am-1am. Our bed time was still it was nothing exciting :)
Arjay's baptism was wonderful! He is such an amazing 11year old. He has just been growing so much spiritually since he has been a member. We are so very excited to teach him more about the gospel and the blessings it will bring to his life.
 Mahal Kita!
Sister Pace

Dec. 13 with batch & trainers

Sorsogon district (sisters) with Sis. Bleisner

district activity

district activity

Monday, January 7, 2013

Our first week of the new year!

Kumusta po Kayo!
I hope that all is going well for you all! This week was a busy week and there was so much to learn.

We had the opportunity to go out and contact referrals and teach lessons to them. It became a little difficult when they started to disappear when they had told us to return at a certain time. Philippino people will just hide from you if they do not want to talk to you...or they send their children to come tell you a story about where their parents are. It is always great to take a opportunity to talk with new referrals, but it is hard, when you can tell that they don't want to hear from you.

This week my companion and I had a training workshop. It was a really great opportunity to see what we were doing good on as a companionship thus far in our 12 week training, but also to see where we could improve. It was a little difficult though, because the "batch" that I came with are all Philippino and they were speaking Tagalog during training, until the mission president made mention that I could probably not understand. It is so hard being the only American and not having any support or help in understanding the language and everything else. We had the opportunity to reflect on how the doctrine of Christ is something that we should include in everything we do. We should be driven to do this work, because it is what the Lord wants--"For this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39) Heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for us. To know that He loved every single person that much, really tells us how much we should love others.Through the Atonement of His Son, we are able to have a way to return back to Him--faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I loved the story from 1 Nephi 8, with Lehi and the tree of life--in verse 12--"And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." There are so many reasons why I am out here....I but I feel that this is my greatest drive, because of Mosiah 28:3 (click the link, for the scripture). I hope that through all of this, that I will be able to do this for that in heaven I may have joy with them, over the salvation of their souls.

The people in this area are wonderful. I love going out and teaching...I wish I understood more of what they are saying, but I don't...and so I have to piece things together that I do understand. The children here are so cute and so precious, because they will sit there are try talking to me. I do not always understand them, but they are so much more understanding when I talk with them. In fact two of our investigators, two friends, came to church yesterday and during testimony meeting were trying to talk to me in Tagalog and then English. They were kind enough to translate and help me understand what they were saying. These two girls have been a focus for us and we are trying to find a way to lead them to be converted to the gospel and not to the missionaries that come through. They are making some progress and will hopefully be ready for their baptism on the 19th of January.

I am sorry if I write every week and it sounds the same. I am trying to share with you what has impacted me and the experiences I have had. The language is a trial for me and I feel that after I start to understand more of what the people are saying I will be able to tell you more about the people. For now the people are very closely cherished to my heart and I hope to start to understand them more so I can share with you the love I have for them....that may not make sense, but I will show you....

I hope you all are doing well and I can't wait to share next week :)

Ingat po,

Sister Pace