Monday, March 28, 2011

Mahal ko kayo!

Good morning!

I'm sorry my last email didn't get to you. We went to Dagupan last week for a career workshop for those returning home, and the computer was being too slow. Last week I found out I will be training for my last transfer. My companion is Sister Ledesma, from Bacolod (her native language in Ilonggo). She is wonderful! I like her. I am also in the same apartment with Sister Caras who is also training (we were companions for only two weeks). This is going to be a fun transfer! Oh and by the way, I did meet the elder sister, sister Walker, who you mentioned knows Uncle Joe. She works in the employment center in Dagupan, but we never go there unless we are going home, so that's why I knew nothing about her. She and I had a great chat and she asked to send her love to the Hickens! Guess what! The Agustin Family, Christina Abaya, and Haidi Israel all got baptized! I am happy! I love them all so much. On Wednesday we will be going to Baguio for an all-sisters training, which is exciting. I love it when we get to see President and sister Jensen. We are teaching a brother named Danilo Ordonia. He is in his 30s and always has a lot of great "questions of the soul." We met him when we got a ride in his tricycle and invited him to church and he eagerly accepted a return visit. He has been attending church ever since and preparing to be baptized on April 30! We also met another wonderful family - the mom came to church yesterday and had a wonderful experience. I was surprised at how great all the lessons were - each testimony, talk, lesson all seemed to touch perfectly on all the needs of our investigators. I felt very uplifted and edified. I am so excited for general conference! I think this is a wonderful opportunity to step back for a couple days and "see things as they really are." In our backwards world, where things are not always represented how they really are, this is an opportunity to see more clearly and put things into the proper perspective. Heavenly Father will be giving us some clear solid direction that we need in order to be safe these next few months. Let's all make it a priority and trust in Him and His servants by following their counsel :)

I love you! Thanks for all you're doing! Life is great!

Love always,

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's a great day to be alive :)

Good morning :) Mahal kita

Yes I did hear about that huge earthquake in Japan. Pretty scary. I heard rumors also that it caused a tsunami here in the Philippines (on the other side of Luzon). Well, sadly Sister Walker had to go home because of some back pain/health problems. So she is probably on her way to Mount Pleasant right now. That means that I'll be left alone in the apartment until Friday when Sister Lapana and Sister Dolojan go home on Tuesday next week. Kinda melancholy, but I'm sure this next transfer will be great.

On Thursday we had our zone conference in Dagupan with Elder Teh. I was called up to give a talk about teaching by the spirit, and I so shared about the importance of "purifying our heart" in order to teach by the spirit. The conference really left me with a great desire to live a more consecrated life.

So, sister Rowena was scheduled to be baptized this Saturday. She already passed her interview and it was all set, but then we found out that her marriage was not legal. It was more like a "cohabitation agreement contract." So that was disappointing. But it's okay because they're going to try to get that fixed. It'll just be postponed for a little bit. She is really excited to be baptized!

Well, both me and Sister Lapana have holes in the bottom of our shoes from walking so much. It's funny, we always come home with big brown spots on the back of our feet. We're so righteous - even our shoes are "holey" (that was for you, Lisa!) Have you ever tried aloe vera juice? it's yummy!

Here's the chorus to one of my favorite efy songs: I like the message :)

Fear is like the clouds that veil the earth from the sun,
Faith is like the morning rays that break with night is done,
And when the fear inside me says that all my hope is gone,
Faith in heaven lifts me up and shouts - "you've just begun."

Well, I love you very much. I know that this church is true. This life is sooooo important, and it's so easy to get distracted from the things that truly matter. Have a wonderful day! Keep smiling!


Monday, March 7, 2011

I love you!

It's a happy day! Thanks for the cheery emails! I'm excited to read them all in depth later today! Please send my thanks to all who sent birthday stuff. That was really sweet of you! Today we are in Dagupan (because sister Walker and I have to get an x-ray before coming home). I'm excited because Rowena, one of our investigators, is getting married tonight! And another investigator, Renaldo Balagot, is eagerly preparing to be baptized. Sister Jennifer Cardinoza also - though she needs to get married first as well. We taught sister Norma (the one who seemed unreceptive at first but is actually quite open). She had some concerns about the Book of Mormon because she told her pastor and he told her that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet. So we taught her the importance of asking Heavenly Father in prayer. I think it's interesting how easily people just believe what their pastor tells them rather than going to the source of all wisdom and asking Him directly. I really felt the spirit guide us as we taught her, and at the end, she teared up a bit and committed to continue to read the Book of Mormon and found out the truth for herself.

On the bus I met a really sweet girl about my age named Rhia. I had been praying to meet someone on the bus who really needed the gospel that day. And in the morning I felt I should bring an extra Book of Mormon. Well she sat next to me and we became fast friends. It turns out she's studying nursing, and graduation is soon but she's not sure she'll pass, so it's been really stressful for her lately. One of her classmates is Mormon. She is the 8th of 10 children of a single mom, who is working abroad. two of her siblings died. I showed her a picture of our family and of the temple, and told her about how families can be together forever. Her eyes lit up with hope, and I gave her a Book of Mormon and told her it would help her through the hard times. She gladly accepted it. It was a really edifying conversion, and I really feel like it was the time in her life when she was most prepared to hear about the restored gospel. I'm happy!

Well, this week my testimony has really been strengthened of the power of prayer. Prayer really does make a big difference in how much we and those around us are blessed. I like what it says in the bible dictionary about how prayer secures for us blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. I also think it's interesting how it says that prayer is a form of work. I like the quote that says, "Pray as if everything depends on God, and then get up and work like everything depends on you." So I've been studying a lot in the Book of Mormon about how prophets received answers to their prayers, and I've discovered that each of us can receive answers that are just as clear and direct from the Lord, in the exact same way that they did. It just takes a lot of practice trying to figure out how the Holy Ghost works and trying to become accustomed to his voice. I love the account in Ether about the brother of Jared. I think it teaches us a lot about how important prayer is. Jared was able to receive very specific answers to his prayers to know what the Lord wanted him to do. His prayers also have a great effect in blessing him and his family to receive blessings they may not have otherwise received. Then they halt in their journey on the seashore for four years, and finally the Lord chastens him for three hours for forgetting to pray. On my mission, one of the first things we always do is teach investigators how to pray. It's interesting how many people don't understand how. One of my favorite things is when we teach the first lesson and then invite them to give the closing prayer. Afterwards, you can see how excited they are - they really feel a difference when they learn to pray the right way.

Preach My Gospel is not just for missionaries. It's for everyone. It can answer pretty much any question you have and it is a great tool for life! Conference talks are amazing!

I love being a missionary! I love the Philippines! I love my companion, Sister Lapana. She's great! I love the gospel! We're so blessed! I love you! Thank you for everything!

Love always, Rebecca

P.S. A million thanks Alex, I love you! Your emails today sure brightened my day!