Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Hello momma and Pop and FAMILY!! It's me again:)

Transfers were last week. The night before, I cleaned our apartment while Sister Banks packed, and Sister Carlos called to talk to me. She said that President wanted to speak with me before the transfer meeting.

The jeepney we rented was late to pick all of us Elders and Sisters up from our apartments. Elder Apin brought a mini music box, MP3 player and played music from a Korean film called "The Classic." It was nice to hear the deep sounds of a cello as we rode through the mountain pass to Cauayan...I haven't heard a cello in so long. (I am so tired of my two Mormon Tabernacle Choir CDs) We were late to the meeting and all of the Elders and Sisters were sitting down in the church pews. Sister Carlos came to me as I walked in and told me to go to the stand to speak breifly with President before the meeting started. He whispered that he thought I was ready to train, and could help this new sister teach by the Spirit. I couldn't help but smile so big :) I was so excited. He said, "You can do this." And sent me to sit down by Sister Banks.

So, my new companion is Sister Roncal. She is Filipino, 5 feet tall, 25, and from Ilongopo, Philippines. She was the only sister in the batch, and I can't even believe that out of every wonderful beautiful perfect sister in the mission, Heavenly Father chose me to be her trainer. All of the elders teased me about being a "nanay" already--or mom. Sis. Roncal expressed to me that 'she has been sick since she's left the MTC--kidney stone. So on the ride back to Solano, I let her sleep on my shoulder. As she slept, I mouthed to Elder Miller--who is also training again--that I was scared, and he said, "You must be doing something right." That gave me comfort.

I feel such a huge sense of responsibility. My trainer was such a wonderful example to me of everything I should be as a missionary and more. And now it's my turn to be that. I am afraid to mess up or to seem weak or to not give back to my trainee what my trainer gave to me. I've had nights--umm..and days--where I've asked Heavenly Father why me--my Tagalog is still so weak, and she is so much better at teaching and OYMing than I am. But I fasted and prayed this time about my companion--that I would be able to love her, and we would be able to be obedient together and work in unity. And I know that this is an answer to my prayers.

At transfer meeting I remembered one thing that Sister De Fiesta told me when we were first assigned together. She said before we were together, she had a dream. In the dream, she heard a voice that said, "Take care of her. She is a mother in Zion." Or nanay in the mission field? I also remembered my setting apart blessing that said I would be a leader on my mission. I know this is all part of God's plan.

But...leader, ALREADY?! AHHHHHHHHHHH! Believe me I'm not boasting ;/

When we got home to the apartment our first night, we sat down and had a small companionship study before we went out. I read to Sister Roncal from President's last letter to us about being a 100% missionary, and being exact in obedience. I expressed to her that this was important to always be obedient and unified. We set goals for the cycle, and went to Sister Analyn's to teach and have dinner.

You know what a perfectionist I can be. I want to be the best example to my trainee, but there are things I still can't do well because of my lack of Tagalog...or maybe it's lack of faith.

Heavenly Father is trying to teach me to be humble, and patient, and to trust in Him. And I realized today, as I read from 1 Nephi 7-12, how stubborn I am being. I am acting a little more like Laman and Lemuel and Sariah than I am like Nephi, and that scared me. But like you said, it's so much easier to believe in miracles after they are completed--so much easier to trust after seeing. Sometimes I don't know how I'm supposed to trust? I'm studying, I'm praying, I'm speaking the language, I'm trying to listen to the Spirit, I'm striving to be as obedient as I can, I'm out working, but I still have moments where I am confounded in a lesson, and can't figure out how to say a word or when someone tells me my tagalog is terrible, and won’t look me in the eyes when they speak cause they don’t think I can understand. It makes me wonder if I am even doing anything to help these people.

Anyways, I love you so so much and miss your hugs. Still no packages from Matts or Michelle. President is coming here tomorrow, and will probably bring mail with him to the church. Maybe they will come tomorrow. I will let you know.

OH! And you won’t believe what happened. Sister Banks and I had planned to pay our electric bill the Saturday after transfer week, because we had no time to go otherwise. Well, the second night with Sister Roncal, our electricity was turned off. HAaaaaaaa. We went to pay the bill on Saturday and saw that the place is only open Monday through Friday. Sooooooooo we've been without electricity for about four days now. Sister Roncal has been stressing out, but I'm like, "ehh, no biggie. I've lived with no electricity for two months." HAha. I'm reminding myself of Pop. Oh no.

Tell everyone that I miss them, and love them all so very much! Squeeze all those babies for me ;) Thank you all again and again for your support in all ways. I love YOU GRANDMA! Keep your prayers coming everyone :) Thank you,

Sister Fort

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hello mommmaaaaaaa, Hello my Wonderful Family and Friends!!!

I am writing from another smelly computer shop.

This morning we went to Rizal shrine--a large white platform on top of a hill that Sister Banks and I see from the rice fields we walk through during a regular day. We went through the town Bayombong to meet the elders there, and turned out there was a funeral about to start at the chapel. The President asked us missionaries to sing--in our p-day clothes :/--and we accepted. Well, about 2 hours later, the program finished, and no one called us up to sing, sooooo....we sat there in our p-day clothes at a funeral for someone none of us knew. Ha.

Then we left for the shrine. When we got to the shrine finally, the gate was locked. It was so hot, and four of us--elder miller, elder apin, sister banks, and I--sat under a bush and waited. Finally people came and let us in and we walked about 3/4 of a mile uphill (like, almost vertical) in the heat. I forgot my water bottle, but remembered my umbrella. :) The shrine was beautiful, the view was beautiful. Walking down was a little easier and we joked about going down in rollerblades with front breaks. Haha. I wish I knew the history behind the shrine--or if it is religious or just historical? There were no tour guides or plaques. Just statutes, drained fountains, and orchids.

We ate lunch at a little wrap place on the side of a gas station. Turned out Michelle and Barrack Obama were there. They smiled for a picture :) !!

There is gossip that Sister Banks will be transferred this week. And those who started the gossip--elder miller and elder apin--have been smiling at me and laughing and saying, "I know what’s going to happen to youuuuu.." After about a billion, "Whatttt?! Ano mangyayari sa akin?!" I was told, secretly, that I might be training a new, new, new missionary. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cool huh?!?! I will miss Sister Banks, and some of the times we've had together. Training will be a challenge, but I think I am ready for it. There are streets I don't know and Tagalog that I can't speak or understand, but what a learned experience this could be, and with my Savior and my Heavenly Father at my side, I know that I can do anything.

Have I told you about Emy Rivera yet? The woman we met in P.D. Galima? I think I have. The one who apologized for her home. We taught her twice this week. Once about the creation and once about Adam and Eve. THEY CAME TO CHURCH THIS WEEK!!! They came and San Mateo family came and year-long investigator Boyet came (for the first sunday since I've been here) and our cute little 12 year old Jerson came. I have never had a happier Sunday--my smile was so big and uncontrollable when each person walked through the door. It was like witnessing a child's first little leap of faith...I was so proud of them and happy for them.

We also had splits this week. I was left here with Sister Monsalud, and Sister Banks went to Lamut to be with her former companion, Sister Corpus. I wanted to stay in Solano, so I could practice leading the area. Well, I did it just fine, and teaching with Sister Monsalud was such a joy. She is a convert of about 2 years I think, and told me all about her transformations and how she wondered if her life before was all life was...The spirit was so thick as she bore her testimony of the creation and plan of salvation.

I'm attaching a picture of us with Sister Analyn--a fellowshipper of ours. The one that Sister De Fiesta first taught and witnessed being baptized. She is so sweet to us, and works with us every day when possible.

Also, I'm attaching a picture of us feeding the elders. They come to our apartment every Sunday after church and I cook for them. :) It’s giving me good experience ;)

Also, I am sending a picture of Trixie, a little girl who is a FIREBALL :) She reminds me of Alainna when she was little. She's learning English from her mom, and says things like "WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT??" and "WHAT ARE YOU CRYING FOR?!" Her mom reminds me of Michelle... haha.

By the way, please tell Michelle I will pray for their family. What a darling, sweet little girl.

What else what else...president was here on Tuesday. We had zone meeting here at the Solano chapel. He didn't interview us or anything. We had a cool lesson from our Zone Leaders. We started off with an object lesson thing where you and your companion have to dress as fast as possible in a shirt and tie with one handful of sand (without dropping it). It was about helping each other, and letting go of the sand in a companionship.

I love you love you love you. I love love love you all!!!!!!!! Thanks for everything :)
Sister Fort

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mmmm, Mc Donalds :)

> Hello my momma!!!11!Hioiofls Hello My FAMILY and FRIENDS!!! :) :)
> Remember the guy Jesus that I wrote about last week? Well, we went to
> his house last Wednesday--our scheduled appointment--and he came out
> and told us there were no other people there with him. We didn't have
> a woman fellow shipper with us, so we couldn't teach him. He told us to
> come back on Saturday and gave us a time. When we came back, two kids
> came out right away and said, "He's not here. We are by ourselves."
> And we heard people from the back talking and cooking and doing
> cartwheels or something. So we wrote Jesus a note saying we'd come
> back. Well, we went back yesterday, and a man was there--his brother I
> think--he said he wasn't there...he was far away. But then, he slipped
> and said they just got back from church and were tired and resting
> upstairs. Soooooooo... we may try one last time. It's so sad, because
> our lessons with him were beautiful and I know he felt the spirit.
> We went to a place called P.D. Galima. It's far in the bukid--or rice
> fields, where the caribou pull plows and people are harvesting rice
> now. There is a woman there named Emy Rivera. She owns a tindahan or a
> small hut/store, where she sells packaged peanuts and small packets of
> hair shampoo. She is about 60, has long grey hair and no teeth, but
> her smile is beautiful. We had oymed her a while back, saying we
> wanted to share with her. But one day when we returned, people said
> she wasn't there and we just made it a point to return. We returned
> one day and she was behind the screen of her tindahan and said, "You
> guys didn't come like you said you would." We told her that someone
> told us she wasn't home and we would love to schedule another time to
> come visit. So we did. The scheduled visit was this week.
> When we showed up, she apologized for the state of her home--cauayan
> with dirt floor and a grass roof. We told her it was lovely. And it
> is, because you can see the rice fields from it, and it is surrounded
> by coconut and mango trees. She sat us down and we began with "I Am a
> Child of God." She expressed to us her belief about the godhead. She
> has been so many religions and compared the godhead to an egg--God is
> the shell, Christ is the white, and the Holy Ghost is the yoke. My
> head couldn't grasp how that fit. We taught her that God is our loving
> father in Heaven, that Christ is His son, and that the Holy Ghost is a
> spirit--that they are one in purpose. She asked so many questions, and
> we shared from our pamphlets, from the Bible, and from the Book of
> Mormon. At the end of her lesson, her sweet daughter, Maritess
> Mansano, sat down to listen. Maritess looks into your eyes when you
> talk, and when she talks, her voice is soft and genuine. We bore
> testimony and scheduled a return appointment for this week.
> When we returned, we taught from the plan of salvation--about how we
> are God's children, how he has a body of flesh and bones, and how we
> lived with Him before this life. Her daughter was there and said, "Of
> course, this makes sense." And said that they had had a family
> discussion about the godhead the night before. After the lesson, Emy
> said that she had always seen us walking from house to house around
> her and would ask '...I wonder who they are." She said that when we
> finally came to talk to her at her tindahan, her heart felt warm and
> she felt invigorated. She said she's had the Jehovah's Witness come
> share with her, but by the end of her sharing, she would be exhausted.
> By the end of our sharing, she said she felt like she wanted more. She
> said, "Only the people who know God will know who you two are. I want
> you two to know that you are received in our home." We extended a
> baptismal invitation to them, and they are to be baptized on May 7.
> Another man, James De Leon, drove us home one night in his tricycle.
> Sister Banks had talked to him about the gospel as she rode on the
> back of the bike and I rode inside. He told us he was excited to hear
> what we have to share. We went to his home a week ago to share, and
> only his wife was there. His wife told us that James told her about
> meeting us and that when we come over, she should accept us with no
> hesitation. She did. We taught her about how God is our loving Father
> in Heaven. I did magic for the kids before we left :) We scheduled an
> appointment to return.
> This past week we went to visit them and brother was there. He looked
> so excited to see us and scrambled around his humble home to find us
> chairs. When we began our lesson, we began with questions about what
> they knew about God. I felt inspired to ask him why he had been so
> anxious to let us into his home and what he wanted to know from us. He
> said, "Everything sister. We want to know everything. What do you
> got?" Basically, in Tagalog. We laughed and I told him we wanted to
> teach him everything, and that there is so much for him to know but we
> would have to teach one thing at a time. He shared some miracles he's
> seen in his life that have been wrought just through prayer and faith.
> We testified that God is so aware of his family and loves him and
> that’s why we were sent to him. I handed him a Book of Mormon to read
> and he said, "This is nice Sister, but we don't have any money for the
> payment." And we of course said that it was free. He said, "You know
> it’s the true church when the word of God is handed out for free." We
> scheduled a return appointment, he had his daughters buy us bread for
> Marienda, and he drove us home on his tricycle. Cool, huh???
> We have been praying to be led to those who are ready to hear the
> gospel. And these people are SO READY. We have six people, just from
> this week, who have committed to be baptized. And four of them came to
> church this week.
> We are also teaching a 12 year old boy named Gershon. He should have
> been baptized when he was 8, but there was a mix-up, and now we are
> giving him the discussions. He's so cuuuttteeee.
> Sister Katherine Lopez doesn't have cancer after all. She is pregnant!
> Yayyyyyy.
> What else....
> this week we have zone conference and president is coming into town. I
> will probably get all the mail I've missed out on for about a month,
> tomorrow. I am anxious to see what he says about me leading the area
> or not. I feel like if I had a map, I could do it. Sis. Banks is going
> to draw one for me today.
> My Tagalog is coming along. Looking back, it is definitely much
> better since Naguilian, but I need to brush up on my verb
> conjugations.
> There was no tsunami here. Yay!
> Um, Sister De Fiesta leaves the mission on the 23rd! I wish I could
> see her one last time before she leaves! She is such a remarkable
> missionary and blessing for me to have had in my life. I totally love
> her.

> > We always have candy on hand and when we leave our apartment about 10
> kids come up yelling--Sisterrrrrssss candyyyyyyyyyy. I have a plan to
> ask them gospel related questions from now on that they need to answer
> before I give them anything. I love the kids here. They're so fun.
> Momma, I feel like I am becoming a mother. Seriously, Like...I have a
> hidden talent I never knew about. I can create food like you do! If
> something is going rotten, I will invent a new recipe and it will
> actually taste good. The elders actually ask us to feed them a lot,
> and it is so fun to. OH! My pasta and meatballs was a hit on Monday.
> E.Apin ate and said, "Wow" like every two bites. Plus I am a master at
> multitasking, and doing laundry, and cooking, and cleaning at the same
> time. I'm so grateful for this time I have to learn all of these
> things. I’m surprising myself ;)
> I love you momma, and I hope this email finds you in happy spirits. I
> pray for you.
> Tell Jillian I will pray for her friend. I don’t have time to write
> back, but I am so sad for what her friend is going through right now.
> Thats all. Thank you all for your love and support. Love You ALL!!!!
> Sis Fort

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I LOVE MY MISSION :)

What can I say, I love being a missionary, it is so beautiful and wonderful to see people apply the atonement to their lives. I admire those people so much. I read in the Ensign here a story about a garden, a really terribly maintained garden. When people walked by they would talk about how terrible it looked. But one day someone pulled the weeds and hacked the soil and tore the garden up to plant new, beautiful flowers. And not one person walked by the garden saying, "Wow, that garden used to be ugly." But they walked by and said, "Wow, look at how far that garden has come and how beautiful it is now." I know that that is the transformation that it happening now in your lives. That’s what this life is about--to find where we are weak and natural and to rely completely on our Savior to pull us out of the quicksand or to pull our weeds, and hack up our soil. Read Jacob 5. There's a scripture there that I ADORE. Jacob 5: 49-51.

I love my Savior so much. I know he lives. With all my heart I know he lives. I know Jesus Christ is that Savior. He walked the earth and he suffered for our weaknesses. He suffered for pop's whole life. He suffered for your whole life. He suffered for the times I want to give up and go home. For the times I don't think I can speak this language. For everyone I come in contact with who smokes or has 3 kids out of wedlock or is suffering from cancer. I am so excited for you both--for this new chapter of your lives. Don't look back. Only look to the celestial kingdom and hold tightly to the gospel's iron rod.

This week in our district meeting we had a great lesson about love--loving our companions. Our district leader, Elder Miller, is a great leader and so inspired. I adore him! He reminds me of Nathan in so many ways. He had us put a rock in our shoes and walk around the church building to see the beautiful landscaping. So, of course the rock I got was completely round and hurt pretty bad on the arch of my foot as I walked. But I walked with Elder Apin--we talked about the trees, we saw some white butterflies fluttering, I pointed out a cloud that looked like a brushstroke, and honestly there were times I forgot I had a rock in my shoe. We went back in the classroom and talked about all of the wonderful things we like about our companions. I told everyone that I like that Sister Banks and I can enjoy the little things together--like kicking a rock back and forth, down the street like a soccer ball.

So last week, we were looked for a referral, Remedios Acoba. We were told he lived behind New Dalton High School, so we tracted and OYMed everywhere there to find him. We ended up finding a different Acoba family. A man, probably in his late 40's opened the door. He was so kind to us and let us in--his old mother was there too. She is jehovah's witness and the man is methodist. His name is...well, Jesus. Jesus Acoba. We taught them about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and I testified in the end of the prophet Joseph Smith. The lola wasn't so receptive, but the man asked questions and told us about what he believed. We left him with a lesson 1 pamplet and invited him to pray afterwards. We scheduled an appointment to return.

Many times when you schedule an appointment to return, and actually return, the people aren't there. Well, I felt so strongly that we needed to return to this appointment--even though it was unusually scheduled in the morning, because that was his only time. We returned and Jesus received us happily, although he said he had work that morning, but he remembered that he had an appointment with us. His brother Napoleon was there. We asked Jesus about his reading the pamplet and he said he hasn't yet because some baptists came over right after us and gave him some reading to do also. Napoleon said that he was just getting ready to watch a tv show on the mormons (anti mormon). We shared with both of them about prophets and gospel dispensations, then testified of Joseph Smith again--this time showing them a portrait of him from the gospel art book. The spirit was so strong. Napoleon talked about how Joseph Smith isn't in the bible and he doesn't believe that he is a prophet, and many people don't believe in Joseph Smith. I talked about how prophets have been rejected from the beginning of time and if he wanted to know for himself if Joseph Smith was a prophet, he should pray about it. Well, Napoleon refused to pray. But Jesus did. In his prayer, he asked if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and paused. In the pause, I felt the spirit so strongly. And after his prayer, I saw that his eyes were wet. We are going back to Jesus twice this week.

There is so much to share and so little time.

Joshua's baptism was sweet. He is 14 and the only one in his family who is a member. None of his family members came to his baptism. The youth gave the talks and bore their testimonies and the next Sunday, fast Sunday, Joshua bore testimony in sacrament. His eyes glow.

Today is Elder Apin's birthday! I made him a funny card and will be cooking spaghetti with meatballs--Italian style--for them all. That was his request. :) We had a picnic on a river this morning. An investigator cooked Tilapia, pinekbet, adobo, and rice for us all. We skipped rocks and played patty-cake games.

I received the Birthday package!!! Thank you so sosososoososossosoososos much. Tell Jared thank you sosoososos much. I am so in love with Clif Bars and walnuts. Also, those pecan caramel things go fast with me. :/ Thank you all sooooo much :)

I feel like I can understand so much more. Also, I'm starting to try and learn Ilokhano, another dialect here.

People call me Taylor Swift.

Our companionship is going well. Two weeks and this cycle will be over. I can't believe how fast the time goes here. President says that if I've learned the area in two weeks, he will have me lead it, and I will have a new comp. Sister Banks and I have constantly been re-evaluating ourselves and how we've been doing with our teaching. We may have to go on splits with the members here because our schedule is SO packed full of appointments and every single one of them is important. I pray constantly for charity.

OH! We had this lesson this week, where the people were being totally rude during our teaching. The children were making faces and farting noises--and they were like 10 and 11. I had told them before the lesson that if they were good, I would do magic for them. They were terrible. I shared Joseph Smith's first prayer by heart, looking into the eyes of the investigator, and the spirit was thick, even though the children were being so rude. We closed with a prayer and the children jumped up and down pleading for magic. I told them no, because they were terrible. We went back a second time this week, and they sat and were so good. We taught gospel dispensations and ended the night with a magic trick--my magic is so terrible.

I love you so much momma! I love all of my family and my friends, thank you for praying for me, and supporting me in all ways. I love you GRANDMA, stay safe and well for me. Kisses and Hugs to all! We have to go shop for food now! No more time!
Sister Fort
PS no memory card, so no pictures. :(