Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 63

Week 63

Okay first I would just like to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone reading this and maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat. mahal ko kayo(: This was just a really perfect week. It's Christmas in the Philippines which is the happiest place to celebrate it. I just love using the birth of our Savior to strike up conversations with people and ask how they feel at this time of year. The weeks are beginning to blur together. The Batch that leaves before me is leaving in one week. And everyone keeps telling me, "you're next!" I will share my testimony at zone conference tomorrow, and I am oh so nervous that I am actually at this point in my mission. 

We had a really neat experience teaching this week. My first week here, my companion and I had a pretty strong impression that a certain member would be a perfect fellowshipper for one of our investigators. Because of scheduling conflicts, she has not been able to come with us to a lesson until this past week. We picked up this sweet sister on Friday and went together to our investigator. While our member was sharing how the book of mormon has blessed her life, tears started pouring down the face of our investigator. We let some silent moments go by for the Spirit to testify to the heart of Sister Lorena of what our member was saying. Then she looked up and said, "parehas pa la tayo." Means: we are very similar after all. Then she began to share with our member her testimony of the book of mormon. It was such a good lesson. The faith of our investigator is continually being tried, but she is progressing wonderfully. 

This week I have loved reading Jesus The Christ along with the New Testament. This week what stood out to me the most was reading and studying about the characteristics of the 12 apostles of Christ. Specifically that they were all humble and teachable. They were willing to be corrected and welcomed it with an open heart. This was how, I think., they continued to repent and leave their previous life behind to become true disciples. I also was touched at how much time the Savior spent praying and pondering before he called them as apostles and set them apart. I am working to continue and become better every day. My heart is so filled with gratitude for Him sacrificing for my imperfections. I love this time of year! 

This week will be pretty crazy. But I am excited to teach our investigators 
Have a good week!
Sister Gaspar de Alba

Just some Christmas fun before bed.

On exchanges in Lipa, I got to meet the Gregario family. They were taught by some sisters I really looked up to that have since gone home. It was neat to see the the blessings this family had received for their hard work.

some zone p-day scavenger hunt madness we played earlier

Week 62

Week 62
This was another killer week in Rosario. Our investigators are doing awesome and progressing towards baptism. We got a late start with the storm and were sad to not be able to reach some of our goals. But we are re-committing to OYM's this week. And also, we are basically out of pamasahe so we walk everywhere. Travel is expensive here. It is getting cold(er) here! Last night everyone was in sweaters at the Christmas Devotional at the stake center. It was fun to see old friends and chat but even better was to really feel the Spirit of Christ as we heard the talks and the music. It finally feels like Christmas. 

This week we had a tough lesson with an investigator who is preparing for baptism in August of next year. His repentance process is a little longer due to some past things that have happened in his life. His wife and daughter are very active members. Anyway we have been teaching him for 3 weeks now and I want to cry every time I think about Him. He has hardened his heart because of how long he feels he needs to wait to be baptized. The last lesson, Alma 41:9 kept running through my mind. I felt like that, like I was just pleading tear-eyed for him to accept Christ, let him in, to let the power of the Atonement work in his life and to feel hope and peace. It's really sad sometimes as a missionary to be repeatedly disappointed when the people you love won't make the right choice. But I haven't lost hope. ANYONE can change. And everyone should. I want to help this man and his family so much! I pray for him a lot and for guidance with what we can do. 

This past week I finished the book of Matthew and have noticed how humble Christ is when He teaches but bold at the same time. I realized that His boldness came from a place of humility, because he was on his father's errand he completely trusted and relied on Him. How incredible that even the Savior of the world humbled himself to the Father. It made me want to humble myself in more ways that I know I have been avoiding. These are the very depths of my natural man- so it will be hard. But through Christ, I know I can change. 

 I feel like the 12 weeks training was made for re-opening! Every week it's perfect for what our goals are. Sister Viloria is doing well. We are very open with each other in finding ways we can improve and how we want to change. I love her, she is such a great blessing in my life. She is so happy all of the time and just a lifter. It has helped me feel less stressed about things. 

Have a good week!

District Mtg

These two were so happy to get Christmas presents from my parents. The BEST parts of getting packages are giving your companion american candy and watching the faces she makes!

after service at a member's house

Yay Merry Christmas!

Best Christmas Present Ever- a letter from my little brother.
Sister Gaspar de Alba

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Week 61

Week 61

This week was Miracle week/ typhoon week. Pretty crazy. We had a really amazing week last week. Then President wanted us to leave Rosario before the storm hit so we came to Lipa to stay with the STL's. Got here on Sunday and will hopefully be able to leave later in the afternoon back to our area. Thank you so much for the prayers and thoughts. We are all safe and accounted for. I just want to go check on our members and investigators already!

A few miracles in finding this week: 2 Part member families we met want to be taught and the husbands want to be baptized. Also, one of the OYM's we went to follow up with was very receptive and desperately needed the plan of salvation to be made known to her. She felt such a new sense of hope for her daughter who died last year. Turns out, her niece was taught a few months ago and she also accepted baptism. Also, A family of 9 (grown) children that we are teaching is super interested. We started teaching one, and now we are teaching 3 of the siblings who are all receiving a witness of the truth. They all came to our Ward Fmaily Home Evening and loved it. Then they came to church on Sunday. When we went to do a follow up lesson with them, they accepted the Restoration expressed to us how they are excited to be baptized in January. They were taught a long time ago in Lopez and have been praying and waiting for missionaries ever since. Also a random member from another stake drove up to us while we were walking alongside the high way coming from an appointment and told us that he works in Rosario and has been looking for the missionaries because he has lots of referrals. I am just so full of tears of gratitude every time I reflect on the past week. Heavenly Father is really hastening His work in Rosario. Sister Viloria and I are continuing to strive for perfect diligence and obedience to be worthy of the blessings that this ward needs. 

I have been reading in the New Testament in the book of Matthew alongside Jesus the Christ. Just this morning I was so amazed as I was reading about Christ being tempted while He was fasting. Even though he experienced temptations that strong, he overcame them. What faith. I love learning more about His life. What a special time of the year it is to look back and reflect on the life of our Savior. As I've been thinking about what I can give to Him in return, repentance comes to mind. As I continue to repent and sty to be more like him, I will be giving more and more of myself to Him and his work. 

For the first time in my life I bought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my mom's fav. I actually liked it.

friday- day one of pre-storm

this is sister Jovie. She is so great! We went to house for lunch on her birthday. She has helped a bunch in finding our investigators houses.

On our way to one of our investigators houses. I don't know how I am so blessed to have 3 areas in a row that are so beautiful!

just feeding a baby goat

My favorite tongan, sister Taufa! We stayed 2 nights with the sisters in Lipa city when we evacuated Rosario.

I heard a pop last night and smelt burning wires in the middle of the storm.  So I go downstairs at 5 am to sniff it out and found this.