Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 50

Week 50?!

Alright- this is crazy. I am realizing how funny it is to have a brother on week 3, and me be at 50. Oh the changes, and the experiences that have happened in between! I am so grateful, and excited for him. This week was a really trying week for my companion and I. We have not been experiencing very much success with the investigators and have felt a little discouraged at times. This week was a lot of time on my knees, and in my scriptures seeking for revelation. It is so hard to find out what it is I am missing to help the work progress here in Tayabas. I think it might be patience(: I just really love that ward! Anyway- other than that storm MARIO hit the Philippines. I had a good laugh when our tricycle driver told us it's name! 

We started off the week on exchanges. I got to go with two really great sisters! Sister K. and Sister R. I was so blessed to be able to work with these sisters. One of them has been having a really hard time learning the language. She has been here for a long time but still struggles. She opened up to me about her feelings of discouragement and inadequacy. My heart just went out to her. I had a really neat experience listening to her. I felt this love for her that was not my own. And I prayed for The Spirit in helping me know that to say. I opened up to D&C 25 and went through it with her, trying to give her words of encouragement. I LOVE this calling. I am so stressed all the time, and feel so overwhelmed sometimes that my brain literally cannot organize itself. But these priceless opportunities to express Heavenly Father's love to one of His precious daughters is such a gift. It has been changing me so much- i wish i could put it into words. Moroni 8:25-26 does a much better job than me. 

Even though this week was hard and we did not experience much success- Heavenly Father answered our prayers with a great lesson on Saturday night. We had been punted literally all day and had been praying for direction. On our way home, we both had a thought to stop by this investigator we had only taught once but had not been able to contact again. We had a wonderful lesson and she accepted a baptismal goal date. She has the most real intent of I think, anyone I have ever taught. She has a pure desire to follow Jesus Christ. I am so excited to follow up with her prayers and see the miracles she will experience if she chooses the right. Earlier that day, we did weekly planning. At the close of the planning, Sister Reed pleaded with Heavenly Father for just one person who would be interested and willing to act on the message. That was her! I am learning to be grateful for every small tender mercy we get. I know Heavenly Father is preparing me for something, I have no idea what it is. But I feel from The Spirit that this trial in this area is for me to learn something in order to be more prepared for something that's coming. 

I have been studying lots of conference talks getting excited for conference in 3 weeks! The talks have been so comforting and enlightening this last week. 

Have a good week everyone! Birthday shout out to pup robalin- (my best friend since before the womb.) 

Sister Gaspar de Alba

  the district! 
  exchanges with this wonderful  new sister 
  that is 2 flans. 2. (: 
  my batchmate! earlier today at zone p day. Sister Seastrand is great. We had some good laughs remembering the MTC 

Week 49

Week 49
This week has been realization week. Just realizing a lot of things. We had a really great zone training meeting. I am so grateful for the missionaries who prepared talks and participated. It was a really good meeting because it was a discussion! Everyone was sharing thoughts and insights and hoe they have committed to be more obedient. I also had 2 really neat experiences with prayer this week. Baguio Luis hit town yesterday but we are all fine here in Quezon. I have been doing a mission wide OYM challenge that has really pushed my companion and I to talk to literally everyone we see. It is such a great way to find, and had better helped me understand being a Representative of Jesus Christ. We have also been gathering information from the ward to help us understand their expectations for us. It has been really insightful and sometimes surprising.

First: Prayer
While I was reading Preach My Gospel on Wednesday in chapter 9, i noticed something cool. It says that we should pray to be aware of opportunities to use family history in finding. On our way out of the apartment that day, I prayed for that. Then i put my family tree in my bag. After our first appointment, we were trying to find this less active family. So I went up to the man who was outside the house and asked, Hello, excuse me, is your last name__? Then he said: No my last name is Gaspar. I was like WHAT. ME TOO. And i pointed to my name tag. He said that's my name! And I immediately recognized it as an answer to my prayer. I pulled out the family tree and we talked about why we do family history work. He was not really interested after that, but what a cool faith building experience Heavenly Father let me have, right?! The other experience was as I was praying for direction for the work in my area and how to better help the sisters that have been struggling here in our zone. I was feeling really anxious and overwhelmed. Then I opened up to Alma 29 which was exactly what I needed. Alma talks through being happy and content with his calling and glorying in the fast that in magnifying his calling he was following a commandment of God. His example really helped me want to humble myself in that way. Heavenly Father listens to us! I really know that He does, and he will answer us. Every time we open our Book of Mormon we are opening the window to revelation.

Second: The expectations experiment
So President Mangum is SUPER smart. He has asked us to ask members what their expectations are of missionaries. They expect us to be hard working, teach by the Spirit, be kind and loving and things like that. But we also have been finding out the effect it has on the ward is missionaries do not meet the standards of the members or if they are not living the mission rules. It's hard also because we have been finding lots of concerns the ward has had about us and are just now being open about it. Sometimes wards feel overwhelmed about their responsibilities. And having hard working missionaries seems like it's adding to the plate. So we are working on a good balance of supporting them and helping. Takes patience! I am just so grateful that we have been talking to them about these things, it will really help us become unified. Also I have been really second guessing my expectations for them. It's helped me realize some of them are probably unrealistic.

Have a good week all! Sorry for the lame week without pictures. Thanks to aunt camille, uncle carlos, and eliza for the emails! I will respond in letters. Ayos ba?

Sister Gaspar de Alba


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 48 Revelation Week; like Shark Week but with more revelation

Week 48
This week was Revelation week. We had a really neat opportunity to listen to Elder Bowen speak to us. Then as leaders we got a special meeting with him afterward. The day after that we stayed in San Pablo for MLC with the other mission leaders and President Mangum. We also have been finding some great potential invstigators. Also- i saw a kid with a TEXAS LONGHORN shirt. That basically made my month. The Philippines is already celebrating Christmas everywhere all the time. 

First: The mission tour. The first questions Elder Bowen asked were, "How many of you have gotten up at 6:30 every day for the last 30 days?" and, "How many of you have had nightly planning every day for the last 30 days?" What an answer to my prayers. Sometimes I really struggle trying to help the sisters want to b obedient. It's a personal choice every missionary needs to make. He taught us that if we are not exactly obedient, it's not really obedience. It was a good wake up call for the San Pablo mission as we realized that few hands went up. He taught about miracles and that to se them we have to be obedient and exercise faith. Then he taught about the connections between the gathering of israel, the abrahamic covenant, the baptismal covnant, and the priesthood oath and covenant. (Go study it!) I loved learning about how important Abraham is for us as his seed. During the meeting I thought of lots of ways I can improve and stretch myself. 

Second: Finding. Finding is an every day adventure in Tayabas. But last week we found a Sister who lives close to the church. She is such an answer to our prayers. She is one of those investigators that has just ben waiting to hear the truth and waiting or someone to invite her to act in faith. With the help of the ward and her faith she will be a huge miracle for Tayabas. 

This week was SO good. In celebration for grammy's birthday on saturday my companion had to get glasses. It made me laugh! What small reminders that Heavenly Father loves us.

Have a good week! 
Sister Gaspar de Alba

  look who i found at the mission tour! Whenever I find Sister Pajo I am so happy! She has made such a positive impact on my life, every time I get to talk to her i am so grateful for her example.  
  Our wonderful office couple- The Hansen's. They gave me a 6-pack of Dr Pepper so i happily offered them free tortillas at the bakery in Phoenix. (They are from there and love mexican food) 
   these puppies were dropped off outside our apartment a few days ago and have pretty much moved in.   
   YES (:   

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week 47 - Miracle week; like shark week but with more miracles

Week 47

This week was MIRACLE week. It was perfect. We spent all week working with our ward mission leader and the auxiliaries to prep for the ward council meeting. We were able to do some good finding through the members and have some really amazing lessons. Many prayers have been answered. This week we also planned for next transfer and set some really worthy goals. 

First: The miracle with Sister G. A less active we have been working with. As we were asking questions and trying to discern what she needed a kind of random one popped into my head. I felt prompted to ask her if she believed that we could prepare for and receive salvation in other religions. She said yes as long as we all have faith. This is a basic doctrine that as members of The church we know. I felt so much peace after we understood what she needed. Sometimes Members that have not been to church in a long time of reading the book of mormon forget these things. They are easily confused by the influences of other missionaries. Going house to house to get people to join your religion is really common here. (Which is why it is dificult sometimes to help others understand fully our purpose) We had a great lesson on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ and were able to help teach her from the scriptures in 2 Nephi 31 about how there is only one way back to our Heavenly Father. And that way is by receiving saving ordinances by someone holding the priesthood authority of God restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.

Second: The miracle of ward council meeting. We have been planning this with our ward mission leader and working SO hard to help him. And during the meeting The Spirit guided these members to know what goals to set to help the ward progress. I was so full of gratitude as I saw how unified they were in helping with the work of the ward. We were able to step back and support their ideas and the revelation they were receiving. It was a true testimony that Heavenly Father's way is the right way. If we do things his way, we can have his promise of his help.

Third: Just some other cool miracles. First of all, I am learning how to cook! YAY! Hopefully I can join the ranks of the Gaspar de Alba greats one day. This was something I wanted to learn on my mission and also i wanted to learn how to budget. And this month we did so good with budgeting. YAY. On my mission I have really focused and tried to be smart in spending because I know it's the Lord's money. 

Last: Just a random really funny story. Okay so here in the Philippines there are tindahans everywhere. (look it up) its like a little store in someone's porch. Anyway we were walking to an appointment and I was hungry. So I decided to buy a peanut butter sandwich at a tindahan. We walked up to one and there were 3 little kids outside. So i asked them who was home with them and they said no one, it was just them. That is pretty common here. So when that happens, the kids tend the store. I told the oldest one (probably like 7 years old) that I wanted a peanut butter sandwich. So with his super dirty little hands he grabs a roll and started throwing it around and then opened it and squished it. My eyes just got super wide and i was thinking oh no. I am not eating this. So i told him if i could make it myself and I grabbed another roll and made a little PB sandwich. Then i took out 5 pesos and handed it to him. I said how much? 5 pesos? then he looked at me with a little smirk and said' hmmm...6! I just thought: seriously! This little kid makes me a dirty peanut butter sandwich and is now trying to rip me off for it! I gave him another peso and we walked away as my companion was crying because she had been laughing so hard the whole time. I just love those moments. Living here is just hilarious all the time. 

This week I have been studying the gathering of Israel in the book of mormon and old testament and i finally understand the allegory of the olive tree! I am so happy. Thanks always for the prayers. GOOD LUCK to my little bro! Who enters the MTC this week. I am so proud! 


Sister Gaspar de Alba

 what my groceries look like every week. i am SO lucky. (plus rice)  

 these little girls are precious. Everytime we walk into their barangay they yell: SISTERS! like 20 times. i love it. 

 washing clothes! they laughed because we aren't very good at the filipino way but was a good opportunity to serve the family of our awesome Ward Mission Leader.