Saturday, September 24, 2011
With the crafts I made
2. With Sister Aquino (member who feeds us every sunday)
3. Today. Today is Sister Sajols birthday. Sister Adino and I woke up at 4 and made a note scavenger hunt around our house and a card for her from all of us.
Also, every day, I hear a pig being slaughtered at 4:30am. The pigs scream so loudly. It is the most disturbing/revolting sound in the world.
Momma!!! My sweet Family and Friends :)
This week has been a good, good week. On Tuesday Sister Martinez and I went to the chapel to practice the song we would sing for our zone conference on Thursday. (We sang "Because I have Been Given Much" with an added verse written by Kenneth Cope about missionary work. We sang with the elders. Zone Conference was wonderful. We talked about what five things make a Preach My Gospel missionary: 1. They understand that they serve and represent Jesus Christ. 2. They are worthy. 3. They treasure up the words of eternal life. 4. They understand that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate teacher. and 5. They understand that teaching is much more than talking and telling. It was such a spirtual conference, full of spiritual promptings and musical numbers and love from President and Sister Carlos. I love them so much. They are such good people. Brother Pete made us scalloped potatoes and baked ziti for lunch. President and Sister Carlos sat down and ate with Sister Martinez and I at our table. President asked us how it was in our apartment with four girls. Then said...you know...I'm losing a lot of my sister missionaries (they're going home) so I'm going to have to do a lot of switching around of apartments and areas. He then told us that we will be moved TOGETHER to a different area to reopen! Cool huh?? I've never heard of a companionship being transferred together. But president just really feels we are good together.
And you know what? We are. We work so well with one another. We are so in sync. We have detailed companionship study every day, and we plan out lessons to a T. Sometimes we get out late because of all of the preparations, but our lessons are so wonderful. I read in D&C section 50 about how you can tell if the Spirit is with you--if both parties are edified. I've had moments this week in my teaching, where I've said things that I never thought of before, that just came out. We are doing all we can. I can honestly say that. To help our Savior and Heavenly Father in their work, and I know people are feeling it.
Lately in my personal study, aside from the Book of Mormon, I've been studying the teachings of the prophet Brigham Young. Oh my goodness. It has been so eye-opening for me. I more clearly see the nature of our Heavenly Father--that he is not some huge being everywhere, but he is a man with a body and dwells in a kingdom somewhere out there, and communicates to us through His Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost can actually enter into us, because it does not have a body, to communicate with us what our Heavenly Father would want us to hear. I've heard of these things before, but there’s something about the power and language of Brigham Young that has brought them so clearly into my understanding.
I love this: "We are under obligation to trust in our God; and this is the ground-work of all we can do ourselves." FAITH. Everything we do is based on faith.
We have an investigator named Cecilio who is having a tough time quitting his cigarettes. And we feel that because of that, his desire to come to church and commit to baptism has dwindled. He's lost hope. We made him a calendar that he can stick smiles on every day that he feels like he's worked hard or tried to reduce his intake. He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith. He shared a beautiful, simple experience he had with the Book of Mormon at his school that testified to him it was true. He read from it in a spare moment he had, and the Spirit helped him to feel peace and warmth as he read.
We are teaching the Laylay family. They said that one day they talked about a lesson we had shared to them, after we had left. Our lesson was on Saviors Earthly Ministry and Apostasy. When they talked about the lesson they said, "Why else would they be here (talking about us), so far from their families, working in storms and the heat, walking all day to far places, if what they were sharing wasn't true." They know the church is true. They know Joseph Smith was a prophet. They know everything we share with them is right and good. They are currently praying to know if they should be baptized. We are trying to help them realize they're received an answer. Satan is working hard on them too. Yesterday, they had said they would come to church, but they couldn't because the Jehovah’s Witness missionaries came to their home right at 8:30 and stayed late. (Church starts at 9) Can you believe it? Sighhh. Our opposition is so obvious and strong.
But we are doing all we can.
I got your packages!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! The pictures from Kiliana made me cry. Gabriella is SO BEAUTIFUL. She's gorgeous. And Joshy is so tall! You all look wonderful and so skinny! And my brothers are so handsome.
People tell me I am fluent, and I feel fluent. My words just come and they come fast. I thank Heavenly Father for this beautiful gift every day. Now that I can speak, I can actually teach and say what I want to say.
This week I thought I got a bot fly on my ankle. I took a picture. YUK !!! It was just a bad infection from an insect :(
I love you so much momma. I miss you. I really do. Thank you for your emails. They brighten my week. I miss all of you so very much.
Love, love, love, I LOVE you all. Thank you for everything.
Hello my momma! Hello my sweet family and wonderful friends! Hello my sweet GRANDMA! I am excited to write you this week :)
This past week were transfers so we spent a lot of our day on Wednesday going by members homes, taking a million pictures, and seeing Sister Adino cry at every home (on top of getting five lessons in). She was really having a hard time leaving. It was so neat though, the whole day, Sister Adino was hugging me and telling me she wished she had another cycle to start fresh and that she would miss me. Transfer meeting was so beautiful. An elder named Elder Naylor sang "His Hands" and I just sat there trying to hold back my tears throughout the entire song--I just kept thinking about how difficult that last cycle was that I had just been through, all of the beautiful things I had learned, and how close my Savior was there to help me the whole way. I grew to know Him better.
The APs announced the transfer list, and my area was the first they announced. Sister Martinez is my new companion!! She's gorgeous. (More on that later)
President does this thing every transfer meeting where he has someone play the piano for about two minutes and just lets us sit and allow the spirit to talk to us. The whole two minutes, as Sister Webre played "I feel my Saviors love" I just silently cried/forced myself to keep my tears in. And my heart pounded as I knew President would call on me to share my testimony. After the two minutes, I was called on.
I said, "As I was sitting there listening to the prelude music, the Spirit told me that President would call on me to bear my testimony. :)" In between tears and long pauses, I told them I knew my Savior lives. I said that sometimes, through my struggles on my mission, I wonder where he is. But as I listened to Elder Naylor's song, I realized that through my struggles, he carries me. I told them I am grateful for the knowledge that He lives and loves me, and that is why I'm here. To share that knowledge with others. I will go wherever he wants me to go and be whoever he wants me to be. I think the last time I felt the Spirit like that as I bore my testimony was my 1st year at girl's camp.
President took me into his office and said, "Don't worry about the members. Don't worry about making them laugh. They don’t need a clown. They need a missionary. And the Lord needs you, Sister Fort, just who you are and where you are. And with your new companion, she may be the one soul that you bring unto Christ. And that has great worth. You're wonderful and we just love you so much." I told him I loved him too and really wished I could've given him a fatherly hug. He says the most perfect things to me, always.
Sister Martinez asked me if I knew we would be together and I smiled and nodded my head. We talked ALL THE WAY HOME on the bus--three hours. We have so much in common. She told me that the day before transfers President took her into his office and asked, "Sister Martinez, if you could have any sister missionary to be your companion, who would it be?" And she said she answered like, "I know that each companion is special for me at different times and I'll learn a lot from each one." And President asked, "But if you could choose. From all of them." And she said, "You know I would choose Sister Fort." And President said, "Oh good. Cause that's your new companion." President told her that I had received revelation that she would be my new companion also, and told her that he's been looking at our pictures from the beginning of the cycle, and saying to himself, "That’s a divine companionship." She said that President told her that he and Sister Carlos were so thrilled and excited for our new companionship.
So every day, we've been language studying, and in our companionship study, I've been helping her role play and say things she wants in Tagalog. I've been helping her with verb conjugations and sentence structures and pronunciation, and she says its clicking for her in ways it has never before. Our preparation for the day--personal and comp study, language sudy, etc--takes a little while every day.
Just yesterday we went to teach the Laylay family (their picture is attached) and we taught them the Book of Mormon. I taught about what the Book of Mormon is about, and she taught how it came about (how it started as gold plates, and how Joseph Smith found them and translated them). She taught how we had planned and wrote little notes to help her remember what to say. And Girlie Laylay said, "This was so clear how you guys taught this. I've never understood what the Book of Mormon was until now." They have been investigators for about 6 months now.
She is such a sweetheart and I am so excited for all I will learn from her this cycle. And for all the growth we will see. I think the things I went through last cycle have stretched my patience, increased my awareness that my Heavenly Father and Savior are helping me, and strengthened my capacity to love and focus on strengths of people. I have been prepared for this cycle. I know we will be friends for a long, long time. :)
I love you momma. I pray for you always. And I will do all I can to be by you when I have my beeebes. :)
Hello My family and friends,
Sister’s training was lovely and wonderful. Sister Carlos had me conduct the whole day, and I felt so much love from my fellow sisters—Sister Pence, Sister Carlos, Sister Roncal, Sister Martinez, Sister Shaner (she gave me a HUGE hug and kiss that reminded me so much of you haha), and Sister Russell. Sister Russell printed off directions on how to crochet a bag out of plastic bags and bought me a crochet needle. Sweeeet. We learned new object lessons to use in our teaching and FHE games and we did crafts. I cried when Sister Dhikao bore testimony of a scripture she read in D&C 100. She’s been struggling with her Tagalog and has had moments where she’s wanted to go home because of it. I could so closely relate to her heartbreak and struggle and remembered the times I also received comfort from my scripture reading. The scriptures speak directly to your heart and solve your problems and questions. I’ve seen it over and over. I receive so much comfort and light from them every day...I have been reading in D&C.
Sister Martinez and I hung out a lot at the Sister’s training while my comp and her trainer got re-acquainted. We have so much in common! She also plays guitar and sings, is from California—close to LA—and before she left for her mission, she was an actress for indie movies. We like the same music too. I am excited for the time we might be able to spend together...I’m still not 100 percent sure what will happen.
We are teaching many families—teaching families is so hard because they are usually not all there at once. We extended a baptismal date to two members of the Laylay family…Christian and Girlie. But their sister and mother came to church on Sunday and they didn’t. The family is one of the most fun to teach, because they have so many questions. Last Saturday we watched the Joseph Smith movie with them and they all had tear-filled eyes by the end. They told us they know our messages are true.
JR Addun knows the church is true, but he went to his parents to ask them for their consent and they told him to wait until he graduates college. He has about three years left. So we’ve been visiting him, sharing with him the importance of doing what you know is right, not procrastinating, etc. We told him to pray for his answer if he should be baptized or not, and in our last lesson with him, he said he knows he needs to be baptized and accepted September 24th as a goal date.
Members have been warming up to me. Nanay Addatu grabs my hands when she talks to me and Sister DeGuzman laughed at a joke I made.
I know there are more people whose hearts I need to touch here. I love the quote of Joesph Smith to his wife Emma, "We do the best we can and move on." I am doing my best. I know that. I am so grateful for the senior missionaries here who offer me that little piece of home every now and again.
5 months is a short while. But huwag ka magbilang, ha? Ipapahaba niya ang oras. (but dont count, it will only make time longer)
Find some hidden treasures in the scriptures today and tomorrow and the next day that are meant only for you. Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to be happy.He wants us all to be happy. We can be with Him in our lives every day and every night :) I love you are and miss you.
Your bebee, Sister, Aunt, and Friend,