Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 60

Week 60
Okay so first of all- I would just like to acknowledge the fact publicly that I officially have 10 weeks left on my mission. In hopes that doing so, will help me accept it in my own head. I am working on my goals still from my year mark and really trying to reach them! But mostly, I'm just working harder than ever, trying to enjoy every second and just focus. This week was pretty eventful. We officially found all of the investigators from our area book, got dropped by almost all of the ones with baptismal goal dates, had 2 random sisters show up at church asking us when they could be taught (!!!) then have been running around contacting referrals from the office. 

I loved last week, I laughed SO much. It was such a special privilege to work with Sister Pajo and see how much she has grown. She has continued to improve and is becoming such a leader. Monday was literally the happiest day ever, as we got to work together. Sister Viloria is doing great and learning so quickly. She had a hard time on Thursday after 3 appointments that were pretty tough. We felt the Spirit really working through us as we pled with these investigators to follow the promptings they have been receiving. But all 3 of them dropped us and completely rejected the gospel that we have been teaching them. She cried on the way home. I felt so sad really mostly because of how sad i knew my companion was. She asked me, "sister, why do they reject the thing that will make them the happiest and trade it for things of lesser importance and value?" her question made me think. It's like every time we make a bad decision or waste the agency we have been given. Why do we continually choose wrong when we know clearly what's right? I think our Heavenly Father feels much that way. But I told her that we do our part, we are sad about their decision, but we are never discouraged. 

I wish all of you could meet the hilarious members in the Rosario ward. I LOVE this ward. I loved them immediately. It is full of old nanays who just make everyone laugh all day. I will tell more funny stories to follow...when I figure out how to relay the things they said in english and for it still to be funny. 

I am continuing to work on patience and we are looking and praying and talking to everyone to find the people the Lord is preparing for us to share the gospel with. 

Have a good week, everyone! You all should go watch the share the gift video it is SO good, the one that the church just put out. I wish i could share it. But for all of you reading this that can, I would encourage you to take this opportunity to share it with friends and family and use it to share your testimony of our Savior and how living his teachings has helped you draw nearer to him. 

Love to all!
Sister Gaspar de Alba

this is my only picture for the week! I got to work with these two great sisters on Monday. I was having a little emotional fest with my 2 kids!

Week 59

Week 59
Well this week was packed full of new adventures, for sure. First of all- I said goodbye to everyone I love in Tayabas! It's always harder than i plan for to leave an area behind, and a companion. Then we went to the mission home on Thursday and I met my new companion Sister Viloria! My 3rd companion that's visaya. I am destined to learn cebuano. Anyway- then I was totally shocked when they announced we would be going to Rosario, Lipa. That's where Sister Pajo is! Needless to say, she was so excited to see me at the bus stop. We have had a great few days. My companion is super cute, and really funny! We are just trying to contact our investigators right now in this HUGE area and finding our way around without a phone! Pretty crazy. But it's been fun and really great to meet the ward members a little bit. We had stake conference yesterday and was reminded how old I really am in the mission. I got to see some old friends which is always fun!

This week I have just been trying to find some emotional stability, honestly. I knew I would be re-opening and I had a feeling it would be like last time. But I tried to prepare myself and it's been really good so far. Every time I get anxious or begin to feel overwhelmed, I just turn out. I ask my companion about how we can help the area, or I spend more time getting to know her. It has been such a blessing to just completely focus on her and her progression and adjustment as a missionary. She is wonderful and is teaching me so much. Today in personal study I was thinking about Alma and how much he grew from all of his experiences as a missionary. How with each new challenge, he was more and more prepared to face them with greater faith. I felt like that this week. I've honestly kind of surprised myself with how calm I've been walking the streets of the biggest city in our mission without a phone and having no idea where we are. I just do the best I can, stay safe and trust the Lord. For example: We went to Lipa on saturday for stake conference and I had no idea where to go. So we hopped on a jeepney marked "lipa" and took off. Then i asked around if anyone knew where the big church was there. NO one knew! Not even the jeepney driver. Then at the last minute, right before we were about to get off and find help, I see a man dressed in a white shirt and tie. I knew he was the answer to my prayers. As soon as he got on, he asked us if we were going to the stake center. He helped us find it. Miracles! The Lord loves his missionaries!

Anyway- I love every second of this crazy situation the Lord has put me in. I've heard that the end is the hardest part. I haven't really felt like it has made a difference until I came here. It seems like random challenges and tests are coming from every angle. But in a blessing I had yesterday, I was told that Heavenly Father is proud that I have been diligent thus far in my mission and counseled to "continue in diligence and finish strong." So, Amen. I'll do it.

Have a good week everyone!
Sister Gaspar de Alba

This is an investigator who I will dearly miss! She is getting baptized next month.

Saying goodbye to Members in Tayabas! This is the Limyoco family.

Patriarch Palad and his wife, they are such a good example to me.

I love the lado family! They are returning to activity and working towards a temple date.

This is our neighbor, Sabina. Despite what the picture shows she really loves me. She would wait for us to come home sometimes- she is SO precious!

I love this family!

This crazy Elder is really funny. This was taken right after I met my new companion.

YAY! Me and Sister Viloria

I met Quin's last companion at Stake Conference! He just got home 2 weeks ago. Super fun to swap Elder Volpe stories.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 58

Week 58
Alright I can finally say that this was not a crazy week. (In comparison to the previous 15 or so.) We had exchanges in Candelaria. And I got to exchange with two of my batchmates! Who roomed with me in the MTC. It is just so neat to see how everyone's unique experience as a missionary molds and changes them in difference ways. Heavenly Father truly knows us best. We also had zone training meeting this week. I'll miss Lucena zone! (The biggest one in the mission. There are sround 40 missionaries.) Also we had stake conference. And a meeting for the new trainers..San Pablo trips again. 

So this week I had a few little tender moments that reminded me a whole lot of my mom! Just getting a little emotional about small things. First of all- as we were in zone training, having our practice teaching I just had this moment where everything kind of slowed down. And I thought, When in your life again will you get to be sitting in a chapel, full of people who's greatest desire is to invite others to come unto Christ. I looked around and saw everyone teaching so sincerely and The Spirit just overwhelmed me. And my next thought was, "I can't leave this. I can't give this up." Sometimes it is really hard thinking about not being a missionary in a few months. But I try not to dwell on it, and enjoy the time I have left. One of our Zone Leaders who's become a good friend of mine said "Oh no, Sister Gaspar de Alba is having one of her moments again!" 

This week I have been studying a talk by Elder Scoot from 2010 called "The transforming power of Faith and Character." I've been studying it along side Alma 32. And it is so interesting to notice how similar the teachings of prophets in the Book of Mormon and our modern prophets are. It's the same doctrines. So what Elder Scoot talks about is how the exercise of faith builds character and molds us into who we are. He went on to talk about even the small every day decisions that we made determine who we are. Heavenly Father uses our faith to change us. I love that. The more we exercise faith, the more like Him we become. Then we are more able (because of consistent strong character) to exercise even greater faith. So cool! So that's something I am working on right now. Really getting into Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel and having a more consistently righteous character. 

We have been finding some really prepared investigators so we are super excited to go back and continue teaching them. Thanks for the prayers and love. I will need them this week with re-opening! I am continually praying for the new sister I will train. I just want to help her so much. 

Sister Gaspar de Alba

Classic, this elder in the front made me laugh pretty hard (hence the laughing face) He is hilarious!

just crossing the river to an appointment while on exchanges. Funny story: there was another way to cross but the cow in the road kept chasing us so we had to go around!

This is Danica. She is a really good example for me. She is a member who works with us often.

Making calamansi juice

The Ambas Family! This family is hilarious. Its been so good to get to know Bishop and his family better this transfer.

Life as a missionary, planning in the dark.

I love this picture! too funny- Elder Maglasang

I'm going to miss my companion

Before the new trainers meeting we went to this little cafe called, "Si Christina." We felt super mayaman eating omelets and hot chocolate.

My companion took this picture of downtown, Tayabas

Week 57

Week 57
Another crazy week! We were in Marinduque until wednesday, then came home just in time to pack and prepare to leave thursday afternoon for san pablo. Then we had Mission Leadership Council Meeting on Friday and headed home that night. Crazy! We were in our area for 2 1/2 days total this week. Then earlier, we came to Lucena for Zone P-day. Good to see so many friends in one week! Also I have some news: For my last 12 weeks in the mission I will be training a new missionary! I am SO beyond excited! What an answer to my prayers. I am grateful for the opportunity! So, that means I will be transferred next week. 

Just two main things I wanted to write about this week: MLC & Church yesterday. First- MLC was great. It is such a privilege to be there with so many dedicated missionaries. President Mangum had some really good words of counsel. I had been praying for a while to know during that meeting how I could push myself to change and take full advantage of the time I have left. I got LOTS of answers. Something that my companion and I really have been having a hard time with is trunkyness! Because we are the same batch, and naturally get a long well. I felt distractedby some of the conversations. Long story short: I am so grateful for the wonderful gift of Repentance. After that meeting I thought to myself, "I just want to take the sacrament." So for the few days before Sunday, I really prepared myself by continual repentance to partake of the sacrament. Then we had the primary program. And as the kids sang "I Stand All Amazed" (which is my favorite hymn) I felt the Spirit just wash through me. There is nothing like the feeling of being cleansed from sin. And it was such a powerful witness to me of how amazing it is that even small children can understand and feel the significance of the sacrifice of Our Savior. I was just full of gratitude, and of course started crying! 

Second experience: At church yesterday we were really excited to see our ward mission leader looking well and healthy again. He came with a folder and was super ready to have our meeting. He even invited all of the auxiliary presidents to coordinate. HUGE steps. Then as they were all talking, they began to ask us questions about Preach My Gospel and telling us that they felt some things were more effective with the discussions, and the old way of doing missionary work. Anyway- many concerns surfaced. And I felt really sad that they were not accepting Preach My Gospel. Then our ward mission leader stood up and expressed to them that was wrong. He talked about Revelation and how they needed to accept the revelation coming from our latter-day prophets. He said that he knew that we (the 4 missionaries) felt a lack of support from the members. He committed them to begin reading (as he had a few weeks ago) and to help us out more. It was sweet! But a real testimony to me of the reason that he is our ward mission leader. He is humble, and He really wants to serve The Lord's way. 

Have a good week all! 
I am getting SUPER emotional all the time now just trying to soak up every moment. Thanks for the prayers and love!
Sister Gaspar de Alba

one of the hanging bridges we saw on exchanges with sister Dula

My companion and I finished this entire cake! So good. It's really fluffy so you have to eat a lot to get full. Its from a famous bakery around Quezon Province found here in Tayabas, called Rodillia's.

we thought this was funny- Slackers! We took it the picture when we went biking around the Sampalok Lake in San Pablo before MLC on Friday.

Yay we were so excited to get a package! Thanks Aunt Jen for the candy!

Lunch of the week-tortang talong with coma tis and cebullas.

Zone p-day

One of the zone leaders took this picture of Marinduque