Monday, February 9, 2015

Last Week

Week 71: a.k.a  The last week.
Okay well this has been a very emotional week to say the least. Right now we are sitting in the computer shop, just came from the careers workshop. I am sitting with my previous companion Sister Bennion and 2 other sisters from my district in the MTC. We got to the mission home yesterday afternoon and were interviewed, then got to just spend time together sharing experiences and catching up. IT is SO fun to see the whole batch. i have to say though, saying goodbye to Sister Viloria, Taufa, and Pajo broke my heart.

So starting from the beginning, we had a fun p-day having lunch with the district and doing some last minute souvenir shopping. Tuesday was pretty normal, and Wednesday too. Thursday the other sisters had a wedding and baptism, and Friday was the day of lasts. We said goodbye to everyone and got prepped for the special meeting on Saturday.

That meeting was wonderful. President Beck is so inspired. He gave us an opportunity to ask questions and there were many wonderful questions asked. One elder in my batch asked about staying out of the world, even after we go home. President Mangum and Beck talked about how really the secret is just to continue doing the things we learned on our mission. Keep studying, praying fervently, and finding people to invite to come unto Christ.

I didn't want to share any specific experience this week, just how i feel right now and my testimony. I feel so much peace and comfort. I feel this kind of satisfaction that I know is coming from the Spirit. The way I explained it to a new sister a few days ago is like this: In no way do I feel I have been a perfect missionary and done everything right. But I feel I really gave the Lord 100% my whole mission. I feel like I have lost myself, and in turn am filled with gratitude because I have truly found myself. Not the same self I was before, but the self that Heavenly Father wants me to become. I feel like I am getting closer to reaching my divine potential. And the most satisfying part of it all, was that happened without me even noticing because I was trying to help others reach theirs'. The Atonement is real. I am so indebted to my Savior for what he sacrificed for me. But I know that instead of trying to pay it back, I need to continue paying it forward by always bringing this gift to others. I love this gospel and know that it has the power unto salvation. We can truly become like the God who sent us here if we follow His plan. I know that plan is perfect for everyone, regardless of circumstance, I have learned that here in the Philippines. No one is exempt or excluded from receiving the ordinances necessary for salvation. I know that agency is a true principle and I am so grateful that Joseph Smith used his to learn truth and then to restore the true church of Christ. I love the Book of Mormon, it has great power combined with the Spirit. My mission is sacred ground for me, I feel like this sense of holiness when I reflect on everything that has happened and everything Heavenly Father has allowed me to experience. I cannot thank my family and friends enough for the endless prayers, love and support you have all given to me. Have a good week everyone! See you soon! (:

Sister Gaspar de Alba
the zone leaders invited us to lunch on Monday for goodbyes!

last district meeting!

this is a wonderful couple in my ward

this is the mother of our bishop we have been visiting once a week since I got to Rosario. She truly has a special place in my heart.

don't worry Abuelo, I finally made it to Spain!

saying goodbyes to Elder Callianga

after lots of laughs, and a few tears I finally was able to say goodbye to this wonderful sister who has truly changed me.

the members from Calauan (my second area) CAME TO THE MISSION HOME! I was so excited to see them!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 70

Week 70

Okay so this week was pretty insane. Lots of random things coming out of nowhere! Like less actives finally warming up to us, an investigator having some interesting concerns, going on my last exchange, and of course having a wonderful fast Sunday. That's the mission. I loved this week.

The members in our ward were on fire working with us this week. What a difference it made in our lessons. Especially this one lesson with a new investigator we have been teaching for about a week and a half. She has come to church twice and is so progressing. She is 16 years old. We have been trying to have her mom participate in lessons but she won't comment, at least she is there though listening. She is grateful that her daughter is actively seeking, though. We invited one of the young women her age to come with us to the lesson and her testimony was so powerful. I think maybe I forgot the power of a converted young woman. We taught about the restoration and this sister could relate so perfectly to Joseph Smith. One of my favorite things to tell investigators is that it is good to ask questions, that they come from deep in our souls because we know that we come from a Father in heaven. And that through the power of the holy ghost, all of those questions will eventually be answered. She has received a witness that the church is true and is super excited to be baptized in March with one of the families we are teaching. Her faith is so inspiring. It made me think of the stripling warriors and other examples from the scriptures of that kind of faith. I am so grateful for the youth that were so strong so young, and helped those around them gain a desire to develop a personal testimony.

This week I have been thinking more about our desires. I came across D&C 6:8 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation." Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that he will grant unto us our desires. So I thought about whether or not at the end of the day I will be happy with what I get. Interesting to think about. I think as a striving disciple of Christ, I will be pretty happy. But there are still things I am working on. Righteous desires i need to develop, and worldly desires that don't help me come closer to Christ. But I know that through His Atonement our entire natures can change. So much so that we can no longer desire to do anything that will case the Spirit to drift away from us. I am so grateful for my mission and all of the things I have learned. When I think about it, I get a little overwhelmed at how merciful and kind God is. He really lives. I know that.

Have a good week everyone!

Sister Gaspar de Alba

Week 69

Week 69

So i will keep this short this week but it was a great week! As usual. We had really wonderful interviews with President, then we had a really great sunday! Went from sacrament meeting attendance of 106 average  for 2014, then 118 for the last quarter, and yesterday we hit over 130! Miracles exist. Heavenly Father really is hastening his work. Our Bishop was so happy and so was the ward council! We are continuing to work with 4 returned less actives to renew their temple recommends. Our investigator class is way huge. We have to move rooms next week! 

In my interview president asked what I wanted to talk about and I asked him a question I have been thinking a lot about lately. I asked him how I could stay focused on others and not go back to selfish tendencies I struggle with when I get home and it really is all about me. (like what am I going to study/do for work/ect...) He gave me the best answer. He explained to me that when we make decisions like that they will affect us, but they should be made for the benefit of others. For example: What can I study that according to God's will, will benefit my future family the most? It opened my mind a lot about how I am going to approach these big decisions when I get back. We also talked about how I was doing and feeling about the work. I expressed to him how grateful I felt every day. I know that being grateful has such a big effect on how happy we are. I have noticed that when I am grateful for blessings, I feel a lightness enter me that I know comes from Christ. 

I have been so impressed with Sister Viloria this week. She has changed and grown so much during our training together. This week I saw her teach with so much boldness and power. Her heart is more in the work every day. She is so great. Keeps me sane, too. 

Have a good week all! See you soon(:

Sister Gaspar de Alba

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week 68

Week 68

Another great week here in Rosario. It was a little colder this week which was surprising! This week we had some wonderful faith building opportunities. I've also been full of gratitude this week for just the simple things in every day that we get to do as representatives of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Like talking to anyone and everyone. Also, I realized this past week how inspired our finding has been. I am so grateful for the power of the Spirit in the work. Last month we fasted and prayed to be lead to potential completed families, specifically for potential worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders. I realized that last night from going to almost all of our investigators being women, this week we realized they are almost all men. Answered prayers. 

First I wanted to share a cool miracle that happened. About Brother Ernani. We found him 2 weeks ago and last week began teaching him. He has a brother who is a member so he knows a little bit about the church and has been reading the Book of Mormon for quite some time. He has insomnia and has tried different medications but always has come back to hard liquor to help him sleep. Needless to say, committing him to live the word of wisdom took a lot of faith on our part and his part. He committed and our ward mission leader came with us to give him a priesthood blessing on sunday. He slept that night but monday he drank again, on tuesday we taught him and recommitted him. I felt a little doubt in our practice teaching so that entire day we focused on trying to strengthen our faith in God's promises dound in D&C 89. He did not drink that week and did not sleep for 3 nights- huge test of faith! Then after teaching him on Saturday, he really wanted to give up. We had a powerful lesson and later on our way home felt prompted to go back and see him again. When we walked in, he offered to give us a ride home in his trike. Then as we were driving, I felt prompted to give him the herbal tea i use to sleep sometimes and the essential oils my mom sent a few months ago. The next day he was 30 minutes early to church and told us he had slept for 6 hours for the first time in almost 4 years. Tears came to my eyes as a scripture came to mind from Isaiah. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."

Training is going great! I love Sister Viloria more and more every week as I see her grow and reach her potential. This must be a little taste of what our Father in Heaven feels for his children. I had decided before training that the thing that helped me the most at the beginning of my mission was just learning the gospel doctrines and deepening my conversion through diligent study. I have tried to show her that and lead her to do the same as we have done training together. I noticed this week how powerful her teaching is because of our studies together, and just conversations as we are walking. She gave a talk in sacrament meeting and it was wonderful. So simply stated about the Plan of Salvation. I was so proud, she has come so far. And the best part has been coming with her. 

Have a good week! Love

Sister Gaspar de Alba

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 67

Week 67
Yesterday we had the baptism of the Pantaleon Family. They were so happy and excited to make these sacred covenants. They were about an hour and a half early! The miracle of that was that Cellany's parents agreed at the last minute. We talked to them the night before and invited Cellany to share her testimony with them. As she did, the heart of her father was softened and he said he could see how going to church was helping her not hurting her as he initially thought it would. Prayer is an amazing thing! 

Sister Viloria is doing great. We gave our first workshop together and she took the lead. She was so nervous when the Assistants showed up. But, I reassured her it was okay to involve them because they are elders just like all of the other ones. Just a little more mature! 

This week was a little more challenging than the last few. But it was a good opportunity to show a little more faith. On Tuesday, I was feeling really frustrated because of a headache I have had that has not seemed to go away. It has come and gone the past few weeks but Tuesday it was pretty bad. Anyway, then something happened in the house and I lost my patience and I reacted poorly out of frustration and anger. I felt awful and disappointed in myself and got really down about it. Then a question popped into my mind that I know came from Satan: Have you really changed enough in the last 17 months? And I began to think really negatively. Then as I prayed and asked for guidance and comfort, I felt prompted to just open up to my companion with how I had been feeling. I told her about how I am scared and feel like my faith and hope has been faltering a little bit. And how I felt so attacked with temptations to think negatively. Then a scripture came to mind from Alma about praying always that we will be able to conquer temptation. So I prayed again, this time with increased faith, and I felt like this huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I know the power of the Atonement is real, and that Christ will lessen the burdens placed upon us. I am still struggling with negative thoughts, but I know that in His strength, I can overcome this. As I have put forth more of an effort to be positive, I can see it is affecting the work, my companion, and my housemates in a good way. But despite the challenges that I feel like are being thrown at me harder and faster than ever, I am super happy. We are just having the best time in Rosario enjoying every day. (: 

My super adorable companion

Yay! (: I am so happy for them. They are so great!

Everyone that came out to the baptism

We got to have a little reunion last night at the stake center for the broadcast across the philippines.
Have a good week all! Love, Sister Gaspar de Alba