Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 13 - bring on 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! New Year here is even more celebrated than Christmas, it's about to get super crazy. Christmas week was so good! Despite a record amount of punting. I got to skype my family! (: Which was of course wonderful. I think I was really blessed because i followed the rules with how long to skype. (probs the most commonly broken rule on the mish) and i wasn't homesick at all. Just really happy that I got to talk to my family.

This week we did a lot of companionship evaluating. After exchanges on Friday, I realized lots of things we needed to change about how we work together. My companion and I spent a lot of Saturday talking and getting it all out. As most of you know...I am really awful at communicating with girls. HUGE disadvantage on the mish- let me tell you. But I am learning how to have a heart and be sensitive. I'm seriously becoming a huge softie. Anyway, the improvements have been great. I have so much more love and respect for my companion after really listening to her with my heart. Good learning experience- for sure.

Some thing we are working on as a whole mission right now is working better with the members. Our ward mission leader is seriously awesome. He has so much desire to fulfill his calling. We met with him and the ward missionaries and are visiting all the focus less-active families for FHE with everyone. Our numbers are kinda hurting right now, but I really feel like this is something that we need to be working on now. Reactivation and Retention. But, of course we have investigators and are working with them.

That's pretty much it for this week! Hope you all are doing well(:

Sister Gaspar de Alba

how we get rid of Christmas trash- filipino style

my HUGE chocomucho. huge thanks to sister K from my ward for making my Christmas!

I see so many gorgeous flowers a day. i wanted to taste it, and my companion laughed and took a picture because she thinks i'm the weirdest! 

if there is one picture that mums up my every day life, it's this one. 

she literally will NOT smile with her teeth! it's a filipina thing. i love my STL's!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week 12 - "So this is Christmas…"

Week 12

This week flew. Pretty much no new news...we have our Christmas Zone Conference tomorrow, I am WAY excited. We had our house party last week. It was the best (: I love those crazy sisters. Literally everyone and their mothers are feeding us right now. 3 dinner appointments last week, and 4 this week. Everyone wants to feed us for Christmas week. I literally have the best ward.

Our ward Christmas party was last friday. It was so good! Crazy and super loud- just like here. Lots of dances and presentations and crazy minute-to-win-it nonsense. Some sisters did a cultural dance. I'm kinda sad sometimes because we don't really have time on p-days to go explore. I love learning about the culture and history here. Their dance was really cool...the music sounded so pretty. Lots of spanish guitar. We had 2 investigators come and 2 Less-Active members we have been working with. Definitely my favorite part of the while night was seeing how much fun they had and how nice and welcoming all the members are. Gram wrote me something in my email this week that is SO TRUE. She said something about how too often we have newly baptized members and expect them to get everything and adapt right away. This is also so true for less-active members who haven't been to church in a long time. It makes such a difference in their feeling comfortable if we really help them and care for them.

We are really hurting for progressing investigators right now! Rough life. But we have a few and are really working with them. Last week we met with bishop to discuss our ward mission plan and talk to him about visiting all the auxiliaries in our ward to work better with them to re-active the families we are focusing on. SUCH a good meeting. Our bishop works so hard- he's the best. Right now my companion and I are focusing more on those families and working with the auxiliaries to try and take better care of our recent converts.

I had a really neat experience in a lesson this week. We went to visit an older couple yesterday. His wife has been coming to church for the last 5 months or so but he has not. His wife has a lot of health problems and has been sick the last few weeks. We hadn't seen her so we decided to stop by yesterday. I finally got to meet her husband. He is such a sweet old man. He was one of the first bishops here in the Philippines. We were asking him questions and talking with him about his experiences to kinda see why he hadn't been to church in so long. He hasn't been fully active in years. He looked at us really kinda sad and serious and said, " Sisters, I don't have a white shirt. Priesthood holders need to wear white shirts to church. I used to be a bishop, I know." I literally wanted to cry! That was his REAL concern. He did not want to be disrespectful to the priesthood he held. So sad! I said, "No Brother! Come to church this sunday. We will ask the members and find you a white shirt next Sunday." And my companion went on to teach and help him remember why we need to take the sacrament every week. I can't explain the love I feel for the people I teach. Sometimes it's just so overwhelming. Because that love is not mine, it's Heavenly Father's. I'm continuously so grateful for the chances I have to feel that. I feel like He's saying to me, " I love this person, more than you can understand. I need you to make them see and feel that with whatever tagalog you can come up with." It was a really cool experience for me, that lesson yesterday.
Merry Christmas to all! I hope you have a really good Christmas day (:

i know...i know...this was our Christmas comp literally loves pictures. Hilarious! 

our dinner at our party. adobo and lumpia

me&sister asuncion! 

PRESENTS! at our house party last monday

me & elder adamson keepin it real....awkward. he is super funny!

oh sister smart...transferred now :( 

me & my comp before Christmas sunday!

we literally eat so much peanut butter. 2 of those are mine! i love it good. it's super good here, like fresh roasted peanuts!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 10 - no training, more punting

Well...I'm not a trainer...yet! That's really the big news for the week. I also got my Christmas package from my parents! YES. Special thanks to the Grand Canyon Ward young men who wrote me notes and sent snacks! Definitely gave me a good laugh. I love Christmas. And everyone in my house is so happy because we have music to listen to now, thanks to my dad. Funny story- We turn on my ipod, and wait for the first song to come on. OF course we're so excited. Whats the first song that comes on shuffle? That father's day song the primary kids sing. Smiles turned into smiles AND tears pretty quick. We all miss our families a lot around Christmas time. Especially since the work slows down a lot here, but we have learned how to really lean on each other. And how to lean on our Heavenly Father. The sisters I live with are 23,24 and my companion is 24. Sister Asuncion always tells me: It's time to grow up Sister Gaspar de Alba! Time to be a big girl! That's for dang sure. Growing up is rough- but I'm glad I'm doing it while on my mission. I feel like there's no better place for me to grow up.

We really had some amazing lessons this week! And some really weird ones. One of our investigators who has been taught since June needed something from us, and for the longest time we have not been able to figure it out. Then the other night we went to her house and she told it to us straight. She said she has been waiting for a sign before she gets baptized, she wants Sister Waldrom to come back. She says she told God that if Sister Waldrom came back she would be baptized. We explained to her how missionaries work and how we change areas. That definitely didn't resolve her concern. Things kinda went on like that for a while and I was pretty quiet really praying for what to say. Then I repeated what she said to us before, how she asked God for a sign. I said, "Sister, God does not work that way. We don't decide how we receive answers from Him. He decides when and how we receive answers. But I do know one thing, if we don't move forward in faith and do the things He has asked for us, that answer probably won't come at all. Whether the way we expect or not." I had never been that bold before! I literally finished talking and my eyes got huge, I didn't know what I just said! But it felt right, and it really touched her. Then we went over Ether 12:6 with her. It was a good lesson and we finally got to her real concern! Love that feeling. Another cool lesson- we have been teaching an 18 year old girl who currently lives with her boss and we are not allowed to teach her in her house. The street is too noisy so I moved us to the house of some members. The completed family we baptized last month, actually. The teenage boy who has just baptized, was helping in our lesson! So precious. He bore his testimony about his baptism and really was so involved in our lesson. I told him what a great missionary he will be, and he just smiled and said he really wanted to go on a mission. He's got 4 years!

We had exchanges this week! LOVE exchanges. I went with Sister Andersen this week. She told me my tagalog has improved tons since my first transfer. She was impressed that I could teach the whole lessons. I was so happy to hear that! I've been feeling so bad about my tagalog with having a Philippina companion. I feel like there are just endless amounts of words and rules I need to learn.

We've gotten dropped a lot this week and we have been dropping a lot too- cleaning out the area book. We are tracting every day this week, wish me luck! I don't mind tracting all that much, I just don't think it's as effective. And I have to spend an extra 10 minutes explaining that I'm from America, and my last name looks Philippino because it's spanish. Then we have to steer the convo back! Kinda hard.

This week I have praying more than I have so far on my mission. The mission is so crazy- it's the most insane emotional roller coaster. I feel like your spectrum of feeling is just so much wider! Hard to imagine with me, because I already have too many emotions, i know! But I have really felt Heavenly Father's guidance this week. Pray is so powerful. Especially meaningful prayers in faith. Too often I pray kinda routinely, but it means so much more to me and to my Heavenly Father if I really just have a conversation with Him. An important thing i've also learned about prayer this week is we need to give time to listen. That quiet time after a prayer is giving Him an opportunity to answer us.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hopefully this time of year we can all find an opportunity to share with someone our feelings and testimony about Jesus Christ. I know it's strengthened my relationship with Him.

Sister Gaspar de Alba

OUR TREE! (: and we got some presents for each other. Our Christmas party sa bahay is next monday! so excited. we are eating adobo and caldereta - by my request. 

our weak sauce Christmas decorations. some is better than none! (and my comp brushing her teeth) 
Me and sister andersen- classic double chin. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 9 - Mission Conference boost

This week was really good- we got more work in. YAY. I love working hard. We still got punted a lot but we got way more teaching appointments in and got to see more of my investigators. It's almost Christmas! They seriously celebrate CHristmas here from September to December. It's the best! Christmas everything everywhere. I love it. I bought some clothes here this week for the first time. for 100 pesos I got a shirt and a skirt. (that's about $2.50) I love the Philippines- everything is so crazy cheap. I love the ukay-ukays here. (second-hand stores) My philippina companion laughed and was surprised when I told her we have those in America and Americans buy second-hand clothes.

On Monday we had a mission conference with Elder Neilsen, our Area President. I love those meetings! We get to see all our missionary friends in other areas AND hear really awesome talks. He focused on The Atonement and a talk given by Elder Bednar about how to use the enabling power of The Atonement. Sister Neilsen talked about remembering that we need to realize that we are here on missions to change. We need to recognize that, and focus on becoming more Christlike. They were such great talks, I felt the Spirit all day. I learned so much about how to become better, and what attributes I need to work on.

My companion and I are getting to know each other a lot better, that's always good. We're finally past the awkward first 2 weeks. Classic mission life. We laugh and have fun together. She talks SO much, more than me! That's hard to come by. I have a tagalog nosebleed every day by like 9 am, but I think I'm improving.


Sister Gaspar de Alba

me and sister meti! she goes home in january :( i love her.

on the ride back from the mission conference! in a jeepney. these clowns in the front are in my zone.
comp selfie #1- official ice breaker

this is my gorgeous view 2 times a week as we drive back from marinig. we usually travel about an hour to go teach on tuesdays and thursdays. Our area is really big