Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 41 - Typhoon Glenda, transfers, STL

Week 41
I keep saying every week gets crazier and literally it cannot get weirder than last week. EVERYTHING went upside down. First of all Glenda paid a nice little visit to my town. That typhoon was pretty scary. Then we had transfers and President Mangum called me tuesday morning to let me know I would be serving as a Sister Training Leader and would be going to another province across our mission! It's far, there are tons of Elders and not lots of Sisters. 

Okay first- Glenda. Tuesday was rainy but normal. Then tuesday night around 10 pm I was doing laundry and it started pouring. Apparently a text was sent out earlier that afternoon to prepare for a typhoon but we never got it. So at 2 am the wind it SO strong and the rain is leaking from our roof. My companion (Sister Taufa) woke up screaming because she is so scared. We both had no idea what was happening! So we prayed, found a place without water and slept (not really) for a little while. We woke up at 6 am the storm was just as bad. Those couple of hours we heard the scariest things. Tin roofs ripping off the houses of our neighbors, people crying and trees falling everywhere crashing into stuff! We stayed inside and it cleared around 8 am the rain slowed a lot. We went outside to walk around and my town was destroyed. The elementary school was totally wrecked from all of the trees that fell over it. The electric lines were tangled in the trees, and there was just mess everywhere. So we changed clothes and went out to check on members who told us the most horrifying stories of what happened during the storm. One area we have lots of investigators there were a few deaths. 3 of our investigators lots their homes completely. The members were so grateful for our help. Even though I literally couldn't stop crying all day we were able to share with some members and give them news about the other ones we had seen. My heart just went out to these people I loved. And the hardest part was knowing I would be leaving the next day and couldn't really help them at all. The office Elders drove to our house around 7 pm to tell us transfers were still happening the next day so we packed by candlelight and woke up the nest morning to go to the mission home. The highways had pushed most of the debris to the side on roads by then. 

Anyway then I met my new companion and we drove out about 2 1/2 hours to Lucena! I got to talk with a few of the sisters and I am so excited to go on exchanges with all of them soon! I feel a little overwhelmed at times about all of our responsibilities but I am trying to keep a perspective. I have felt many times on my mission that there are certain missionaries Heavenly Father has sent me to. I love talking with them, and helping them with the trials they are going through. I am excited to be able to help and serve the sisters in my mission. And to have more opportunities to learn from President Mangum. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for our safety here and for the example of the members in Calauan. Even though my Bishop there lost tons of stuff, including the 2nd floor of his house, he was smiling went we went to visit them. They were all sitting around their wet stuff laughing. What a testimony to all of us that in any circumstance we can be grateful for the many things we have been blessed with. 

Have a good week! 
Love always

Sister Gaspar de Alba

Pre-Glenda sunset

 rambutan- a really yummy fruit. sister taufa hadn't tried it yet so we found a man sitting outside his house with a huge tree and asked for some! it was quite the adventure jumping to get it down. he gave us tons! i love filipinos. 

  i got to be companions with this great sister for a week!  

a tree fell on this elementary school

  this is a main highway covered in trees and water from the storm.   

  checking up on bishop and reporting to him about the members. this was the afternoon after the storm had cleared.   

  a member family in our ward offered us buko since their trees had shaken off a whole bunch. i said- yes we will be there asap. buko is my favorite! so we went hunting in their huge chunk of land and brother chopped up lots for us. we drank straight from good.   


Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 40 - Turning 20 and meeting the Mangums

First of all: THANK YOU! J to all my awesome family and friends for the birthday love. I definitely shed a few tears reading all of the emails. It was a little overwhelming. But that's me- lots of emotions. This week was SUPER crazy. Crazier than last week, and we are still where we were last week. 

We got to have some quality time with President and Sister Mangum at our zone conference on Friday. Then we stayed at the mission home that night and got to have dinner with them. It was so cool to sit and just talk with them for 2 hours about the Philippines. President Mangum is so nice. We talked a lot about the culture and what the work is like here. 

We spent lots of time in and out of hospitals this week and it has finally been decided that my companion will be going to Manila for further tests. However, we have no idea when or if I am going or for how long. But they are going to let us know later today (hopefully.) But we had a good week together, talking and studying. We were able to get out a little bit more because I've been pushing her a bit. She is such a trooper. They are super worried because she's lost 25 pounds since she got sick, but she eats what I cook so that's a good sign, I think. Anyway it was a great experience yesterday at church and coming home for studies. I tried to focus on her and what she needed from me. I made her favorite for dinner and the other sisters sang happy birthday to me! It was so nice. For desert, I allowed myself to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar.

Last week we had a cool experience. One of our recent converts has been being visited by missionaries of other religions and talked with us last week about his experience. He said that they teach a lot of similar things. That Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that families can be together forever, and that the word of God is found in the scriptures. But he asked us why there was a huge difference when two 20 year old girls teach and when the 5 ministers who are educated adults had taught him. We asked his what he thought the difference was. And he said that he could not feel the truthfulness of what they taught because the Holy Ghost did not testify to his heart that it was true. He felt the Holy Ghost telling him that it was not true, that they did not have the priesthood authority of God and were not teaching his doctrine. It was so powerful for us to hear his testimony of the Restoration of the gospel. It really strengthened my testimony and gratitude for Joseph Smith. Because even though other religions have truth, there is only one church that has the fullness of truth- Christ’s church. I am so grateful for examples like this brother who stood up for his beliefs and defended his faith with his testimony. 

I love you all! Thanks again for the birthday love Jmade my day! 
Sister Gaspar de Alba

  for my birthday i wanted to walk across the biggest rice fields in our area and just enjoy nature and have a soul moment. i got stuck in 2 ft of mud my 3rd step out to the rice fields. my companion was cracking up! 

  made myself some killer adobo for my 20th!  

  living the high life on friday night. we stayed at the mission home!  


 all the crazy kids on zone p-day earlier today.
 so basically during volleyball i just am in awe at all the tongans and samoans. and i feel pretty awesome when they invite me to play! i refuse to be a sideline sister for p-days. today's game was SO fun! 

Week 39 - Lots of study time and Farewell to the Petersons

This week was pretty much the same as last! Sad to say, we were in literally ALL week. My poor companion had to do a 2 day liquid diet and they still don't know what is wrong with her! But it was still a really great week.

So after wasting a little time with very little direction in my studies on monday and half of tuesday, I asked her for study tips. And she is really great at that so it helped a lot. Then i made some goals on what I wanted to work on to improve in teaching and the work overall. Then i went to work! And we had a really great week practicing teaching and really trying to teach for understanding. I have been reading The teachings of Joseph Smith, Jesus The Christ, and a lot of scriptures. On Friday night I was writing in my journal and I was remembering my second transfer in the mission when my companion got sick and we were in a lot. And I went back and read what i wrote. I was sad and frustrated and wasting a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I was SO glad that this time around, there was a huge difference in my attitude. With a lot of prayer and humbling, I have been able to learn from studies and other missionaries how to make the best of any situation we are in. So that's what last week was. It was a really great opportunity to just get into the scriptures and grow in knowledge. I got to spend a lot of time getting to know my companion and trying to help her. She was so down last week! Super sad and discouraged. And as I focused on her, I felt less discouraged. Our area is seriously suffering and that is really hard. But with her as my priority, i didn't worry or stress. I know Heavenly Father was pleased with us last week. That is the best feeling. Thank goodness Heavenly Father gives us many opportunities to learn and grow. Because I usually don't get the lessons behind it the first time around!

President Peterson left yesterday and on friday we get to meet President Mangum! President Peterson came by on tuesday to say goodbye and we had a really great chat about life. He asked us for questions and gave us some good direction. He talked a lot about the temple and the importance of covenants we make there with our Heavenly Father. He told us that in order to live the doctrine and always be growing and becoming better, we should strive to be the type of members that don't go to the temple on the last day of the month. Harsh, right? But i thought about it...and it makes sense to me now. What he means is, that's church culture. But to really understand our covenants and seek revelation, we should go as often as we can. And why wouldn't we? It's the closest place to heaven. I really hope and pray that my family members who haven't yet experienced these blessings will feel a desire to. I am so grateful for these opportunities and all I'm learning!

We had a really great Family Home Evening last night with a family in our ward. They literally invited all their neighbors and it was so fun. We talked about communication skills and how we can improve communicating in our families. Their neighbors got to know us and they got to feel The Spirit being in a home with the gospel. It was PERFECT! What a great opportunity for them to share their testimonies. We were so grateful for their willingness to do that for their friends.

Have a great week all! Your prayers and love is much appreciated!

SIster Gaspar de Alba