Sunday, May 1, 2011
HELLO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS :)
Dear momma and all of My Family and Friends,
I sent you pictures of a CSP we did last week. We harvested rice for
an investigator in Bayombong. I took my sandals off, squished my feet
in the mud, and used a machete to cut the bundles of rice. We were
there from 7 to about 10, then ate monggo beans and ampalaya that the
investigator cooked by their charcoal stove.
This last Wednesday, President and Sister Carlos came into town for
our Nueva Vizcaya zone meeting. The meeting was on small and simple
things—how if we focus on the little things as missionaries, like
study and prayer and obedience, the outcome is great. Elder Miller and
I prepared to sing, “I know Heavenly Father Loves Me”..the primary
song. Elder Miller “doesn’t sing,” but I roped him into it. No one in
our zone plays the piano, so it was acapella. It was so simple, but it
turned out not too bad. Sister Carlos cried. She shared with how we
need to talk to everyone and told us about a mission that strives to
do 30 oyms in a day—which is kindddddaaaaaa a lot. The highest Sister
Roncal and I have gotten is 23. But we are always striving to improve.
President Carlos shared a clip from an address Elder Holland gave to
the MTC this past January about a dialogue between Peter and Christ.
Christ asked Peter three times if he loved Him and Christ told him to
feed his sheep. The address was powerful and brought me to silent
tears. President interviewed every one of us and I told him that I am
so hard on myself sometimes. He said, “I know you are Sister Fort.
Stop it.” And he gave me some beautiful counsel. He asked if there was
anything he could do for me, and I asked for a blessing. The blessing
said that I am here in this mission, in this area, training Sister
Roncal for a reason that will be revealed to me at another time. It
said that my service is accepted by my Heavenly Father, and that there
are people waiting just for me. It said for me to continue in my
service, and my teaching will become “masterful.” It also said that I
have always been guided by the spirit and will continue to be guided
by the spirit.
It made me think of Elder Bednar’s talk…about how we sometimes don’t
even realize when we are being guided by the spirit. I LOVED that
After my interview with President, he said, “find a new apartment
Sister Fort.” So, after we ate meatball sandwiches provided by Brother
Pete—who finds amazing pearls and caribou bone belts—and chocolate
cookies in the foyer of the church, Sister Roncal and I got to work.
We talked to so many people about the gospel in our search for an
apartment, and I think President’s guidance was inspired—even if he
didn’t exactly mean for us to look for an apartment THAT DAY. We
taught one lesson to a woman about forever families, and she told us
her hair on her whole body stood up when we bore testimony. We found
another family with two children who participated—both the husband and
the wife (Which is so rare. Men here can be so hardheaded.)—And
prayed. We also found a man who fixes electric fans for a living, and
who welcomed us into his home. We taught him about prophets. We also
found an apartment—Yayyy! It has tile and running water, is private,
and quiet, and lovely in every way, also, affordable to the mission.
This last Friday was Good Friday and here, when its Good Friday, no
one goes out of their houses—needless to say we were challenged to
find work. They also do that thing at night where they crucify
themselves in the streets and beat themselves with whips. I am lucky
that I saw none of that. So, so lucky.
Saturday we had a baptism! Brother Jershon Hore. He’s 12. I sent a
picture. He bore his simple testimony and closed “and this is my
prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Cute. His father has been a
member for a long time and served a mission even, but there have been
complications with the child’s baptism until now. He is so happy to
finally be baptized, and to officially be a part of the Young Men’s
We have another baptism coming up this next Saturday. The San Mateo
family—a young couple who have two young children (ages 2 and 6
months). Sister Roncal and I have been fasting and praying for them.
They are experiencing a lot of challenges this week…their faith is
definitely being tried. But I remember this Sister when I first was
transferred here…she refused to pray. And Brother was confused about
his answer, but they have been struggling through, and Sister actually
smiles and jokes with us when we show up. They come to church every
Sunday, and the changes that have happened in their lives are SO CLEAR
to see. It is amazing what the gospel can do for people.
Brother has to travel to Santiago for an interview with President this
week before their baptism, which is far for them and costs money that
they don’t have. When we first told him this was necessary, he
expressed that it would be difficult and that he would just wait for
when President comes to town (which is not for a long time). We shared
with him about Enos, and how this was a trial of his faith. We also had
him watch a beautiful DVD about John Tanner--a man in the time of
Joseph Smith who basically gave ALL he had for the gospel. By the end
of the lesson, he committed to go to Santiago. Sister Roncal and I are
fasting for them today.
I have been reading Jesus the Christ in my personal study. President
shared once a story about a boy named Gordon who felt distanced from
the spirit and the Savior, but the answer that came to Gordon was that
he needed to learn more of the Savior and that the spirit he wanted
would come gradually. I have been focusing on my Savior in my personal
study, and it has been so refreshing. Everything else that is tangled
in my mind—my lack of faith, the things I’m doing right and wrong as a
trainer, the struggles of our investigators—it all irons out around
the atonement. If I just focus on that one simple thing—my closeness
to my savior—great things come to pass. If you haven’t read the book,
I suggest you do. It’s beautiful.
Thank you momma for your packages. I did give a lot of candy away to
Elder Miller and his companion cause I adore them so much. They were
grateful. I gave the coloring kit to some screaming kids on our street
and they were so excited to go home and do it. We just have no time to
I had a dream last night that I taught two lessons and really thought
about asking our district leader if we could count the lessons in our
KIs for the week. But then I woke up for realz. Sister Roncal said she
heard me talking in my sleep.
I feel my Tagalog getting better. I really do. Sometimes after a
lesson, I think, “Ummm…I was never able to do that before my
mission….at least I’ve learned something!” And in our language study,
I write a letter or something in Tagalong and Sis. Roncal will correct
it. And she writes in English and I correct it. She could only find
spelling errors. Yayyyyy.
I love you so much momma. Thank you for all you do for me. I think I
just want pictures from my family? That’s what I want most. I have
nothing to show anyone. Can you develop real pictures? I miss seeing
everyone. Also any kind of healthy snack. OH! Matt sent me a ton of
CDs and I listened and listened to them and guess what. My player
quit. It’s dead. I think because of the moisture here. :( I am so
upset, because music is such a relief for me here.
Yesterday I craved tortalini’s. Wah.
I love you and everyone so much! Tell poppa I love him, and tell everyone in the family how much I love and miss them too, and tell Matt I am using his sticky notes. I Love you my GRANDMA :)