Tuesday, October 28, 2014

week 55

Week 55
Hello Friends. This was really good week! Very reflective on the lessons I have been learning recently. We have been doing our best and really seeking to show our faith in finding. And guess what everyone Heavenly Father lives! We found tone of new potentials last week! We are so excited to follow up with them. My companion and I are having more fun, and really just growing in the Spirit as we push each other to be better. Exchanges this week was also great. I had another one I will never forget. 

This past week we have been trying to contact former investigators we found in our area book. And we have been really making an effort to talk to everyone, and make return appointments. So none of the former ones have been interested or at their houses. But Heavenly Father has placed so many in our path, it's amazing! He blesses us in unexpected ways. But when we show our faith, we are guaranteed that he will bless us. 

I had such a good experience this week on exchanges with a sister who was really struggling with some very personal things. Throughout the day, she began opening up to me about how depressed she has been. She had been struggling with the temptation to remember and dwell on past sins. It was really affecting her ability to help others. So i listened to her and my heart just went out to her. It's so hard to watch a younger missionary go through the same trials you have experienced. I prayed for the Spirit and shared with her from Elder Scott's talk from October last year. About personal strength we can access because of the Atonement. I shared with her about the fathers of the strippling warriors, and how we can learn from them. I felt just pure love and empathy for her. What a blessing it is to help these sisters. Heavenly Father has allowed me to be an instrument in His hands to help them. I have no idea why they open up these things to me! Or how they trust me so much to let me help them. But it really has nothing to do with us. The Spirit guides and directs us to be a benefit to others. Made me think of that scripture about being a benefit to our fellow men. When we ask for spiritual gifts, I feel it is so powerful when the motivation behind it is to bless the life of someone else.

My companion said something really funny this week I wanted to share with you all. So there is this little girl who lives in the same apartment building as the one we just moved into. She is SO cute and precious. She always wants to play with us. Anyway so Sister Bennion storms in one day and starts shouting a little, and i think she is genuinely frustrated with something. She says, "WHY are all these children everywhere!? You know, Heavenly Father is so sneaky. He plants such righteous desires in our hearts like wanting kids and then it just escalates until you think about it all the time! But the thing is, i don't feel bad about it. I really don't." It was so funny! Just classic sister missionary. 

Anyway have a good week! 
Sister Gaspar de Alba

 so here's a neat story: i taught this couple in Barra with a sister on exchanges back in august. we actually tracted into their house. then we went back and guess what? they are getting married and baptized next month! I loved teaching them, they have progressed so much. I could see how their faith had grown. Also- the other guy in the picture is the ward mission leader in Barra. He just got home from the Cauayan mission a few months ago, and said Quin was his zone leader up there! The Philippines is pretty small.  

This one's for you-Dad!

Oatmeal with mangoes-my regular breakfast.

a new place in my area my companion and I found while looking for a referral. So beautiful!

Writing Pouch! Catching up on sending letters to recent converts and mission friends. This is what happens when this is neglected for 3 months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 54

Week 54? (although i'm not sure because my blog hasn't been updated in a few...) \

Hello friends. This was a really wonderful week. It was colder, we moved apartments, i got to see president, recovered from my cold, had many revelations, and had some really great spiritual experiences with my companion that built our unity. 

First: Moving apartments. Saturday was probably one of my top 5 best days on the mission. The morning of, we had interviews with President. Then we booked it back to Tayabas from Lucena City to get ready for the move. Sister Bennion and I were right there helping the elders move the desks and beds and everything. As we were moving, we were laughing and really just having a great time. So i thought to myself- what is it about being around GREAT friends that makes me that happy? I thought about times in the scriptures when friendships have been centered on love for Jesus Christ. That was us while we were moving- disciples of Jesus Christ working hard and staying busy and just uplifting each other. So i went hunting in the scriptures for an answer to my question. Then i stumbled upon the story of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel. They were such good friends, that it says their "souls were knit together." And they proved valiant in doing what was right despite the persecution of King Saul. They delighted greatly in seeing each other. I really felt like that the other day. I am so grateful for the influence of good friends I have been blessed with here on the mission. It was such a tender mercy to just laugh all day! 

Second: Revelations/Companionship Unity: So. The first week in a new companionship is always interesting. Because you have to take time to get to know each other. I was super sick on Wednesday with my cold that came back, so Sister Bennion and I were ordered to stay in. And while we were in, we began packing up the house for the move. We got to talking, and I just felt impressed to open up to her with some things I have been struggling with personally. So as we talked, i opened myself up to her. And i felt her opening up more to me. We talked about the things we have been learning, the things were are struggling to learn, and the things we hope to learn. It was such a good conversation. After that, she encouraged me to pray for peace and hand over my trust to my Heavenly Father. She felt like that would help me feel less anxious. So in preparation for my prayer, I listed and thought about all of the things I can't control about the work and other current circumstances. Then I had a very sincere conversation with Heavenly Father in which I was receiving answers during the times I was listening. It was such a neat experience. After the prayer, I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off of me. I could think more clearly, and I felt peace in my heart like my work was acceptable to Him. I am so grateful for how inspired President Mangum is. Especially that he put me together with Sister Bennion. Turns out we are very similar(: And now that we know that, we have been working to help each other overcome weaknesses as we enjoy these last few months. I love her.

Third: Interviews with President: He is so inspired. He began the interview asking me about insights I had received from conference. We talked about that for a while and as I was sharing with him questions that I received answers to during conference,. he taught me some things. He thanked me for my love for Heavenly Father. He talked about how he felt from knowing me and hearing from me and the sisters that work with me that I have a great love for him. Then he taught me something very valuable. Satan twists very good intentions in very subtle ways. For example: my love for my Heavenly Father drives me to work hard and want to do everything I can. But in doing that, I often feel overwhelmed at what still needs to be done and get lost in the doing, so much so that i begin not to enjoy doing His work as much as I should. President asked me to take a few steps back and just have a really good last few months. He shared with me a personal experience about His Father that really touched me. He also prayed that As i was climbing this mountain, looking towards the peak, if Heavenly Father would please remind me to look back at where I came from and how far I had climbed. I love him. It was such a powerful spiritual experience that is helping me overcome my weaknesses. 

This was just such a perfect week. I feel so different now. One of those times where you feel that you have changed in a big way and it's having fast results. I feel so at peace and happy with just the smallest things that we are blessed with. I hope you all have a great week filled with insights like mine from last week. It has made such a difference! This is my new favorite scripture: 

33 And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.

one of the senior couples came to help us move and he has a CAMERA! I was so happy.

Buying some stuff at SM( the malls here) for our apartment! The workers just follow the foreigners around asking to help and wishing we would buy more stuff. So actually, we feel that the SM's are so convenient. They have everything! You can get a haircut, go to the doctor, buy mangos and pay your water bill in the same place!

Lunch with the office Elders. They are so much fun!

at interviews with President and Sister Magnum and my new companion sister Benion
Sister Gaspar de Alba

Week 53

Week 53

Well this week we had transfers! I just saw the new list of where everyone is- lots of changes! Tons of people were moved around this transfer. My new companion's name is Sister Bennion she is from Utah. She is really funny, and so excited to work together for the sisters. I am so blessed! She has so many new ideas and insights about how to help Tayabas progress. That's pretty much the big news this week!

We had a really insightful lesson with one of our investigators this past week. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and was really interested in the message of the Restoration. As we were following up with her prayers, she told us she had not prayed to ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true. After some questions and intense listening to her and trying to discern the Spirit, we felt like she was afraid that the answer from Heavenly Father might be "yes, this is a true book and this is the true church." So we talked with her about it and she said that was right. She knew that she wouldn't be willing to act on the message so she didn't want to hold herself accountable after knowing it was true. She was choosing to be ignorant about it. It made me so sad! Conference was a few days later and I really payed attention to the talks given about moral agency and finding truth. I know that He gave us agency to choose His plan and to choose to live His commandments. I am so grateful for this gift, and the consequences that have resulted from using my agency righteously. I thought about this woman, and how sad I was that she was choosing not to learn and progress. But as missionaries, we are just here to invite. It's like the rest of us, Christ invites us to come unto Him constantly in the scriptures. We can choose to accept. I love that about the plan of salvation. It allows for SO much progression as individual agents. 

Conference was so comforting! Such a blessing. I got answers to so many questions. I especially loved how cool it was to hear other languages! My new companion is so loving and has so many insights of how we can better help the ward in their missionary work. We have some great goals to serve and get to know Bishop better, then to also serve the auxiliaries more. I feel so inadequate to be in this area, with this calling, and all of the things that I know I don't have together yet. But I have felt so much comfort and approval of Heavenly Father this week. It's hard to be obedient and righteous and sometimes be standing alone, even with other missionaries around you who have the same responsibilities as you. But it's the same covenant we have all made. And we are all trying to keep them! My testimony has been tried so much this past week in that principle. I have lots of growing and changing to do, as I have realized that the temptations to revert back to old ways comes back every now and then. But I know as we all help each other and be patient and humble in how we view ourselves and those around us, the Lord will qualify and magnify us in the things He has asked us to do.

We are also moving apartments this week during our weekend of interviews with President! It will be another crazy week. 

Sister Gaspar de Alba

an FHE with Palad Family! They remind me of big crazy Whetten get togethers.

I love these kids

the Lucena zone sisters right before transfers

I love this cool line in the scriptures

Yay! the sign on the way to our church here in Tayabas!

Week 52

Week 52
This week was really crazy- lots of running around. We left for Marinduque on monday after e-mailing, then got back Wednesday night. Then Thursday we woke up super early to go to the new trainer's meeting in San Pablo for my companion who is training for her last 2 transfers! We stayed over night there and had MLC on friday. I had a cold all week but thankfully, it ended yesterday. Our mission has been improving SO much since Elder Bowen came and raised the bar for us a few months ago. We are seeing miracles in missionaries, and those being taught by missionaries here in the San Pablo Mission. Blessings of faith and obedience! This transfer we will be focusing on the Book of Mormon in Lucena Zone. MLC was about how to more effectively use the Book of Mormon in teaching. I got some really exciting mail this week from sister despain, ally, and BOTH my parents(: Thanks to them! 

This past week as we went on exchanges with the sisters in Marinduque, i was blown away by their progress. It was such a testimony to me that nothing is impossible with Obedient missionaries that have great Faith in Jesus Christ. They taught with power and bore sincere testimony of the Restoration. They have improved so much and seen miracles in their area. I am so so happy for those two great sisters. In our lives, It (should) work the same. When we are obedient and full of faith, through the enabling power of The Atonement, great changes will happen! In ourselves and in our ability to make the best of our circumstances. I love Mosiah 23-24. It is such a powerful example to me of faith. The people of Alma relyed on the strength from their Savior to be able to bear their burdens. They bore them with "ease." I know that can happen to us. I have experienced it so much in this area. I love the Book of Mormon and I am so grateful for the blessing it is to learn from it every day. Challenge for all those reading: Read and apply your daily study of the Book of Mormon to who you are. Let it change you. There is power in that book! It is the convincing evidence of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith. 

Have a good week all!

I love curry!

This is Elder Primo as I call him….he is distantly related to me be marriage…kinda fun! 

I got this pouch from some of my previous investigators from my first area who are getting married then baptized :) I was so happy!There is not better news than that. The Elders in Cabuyao have been teaching them for the last little while after they found my teaching record for them in them in their area book. 

Walking over wood planks to the houses on the other side.

The life on Marinduque….(paraiso)

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Sister Gaspar de Alba