26 January 2015

Letter 65: For the Field is White

Mayad nga aga! 

First of all: A Happy Birthday to Mom and Kara! Love you!

Second of all: Yes! As an answer to Mom's Question: Hernie and Rene were baptized on Saturday :). It went smoothly (late, but smoothly) The caretaker thought the water the Elders filled in the font on Friday night was from the baptism LAST week. . so he drained it. . . Saturday Morning! So Sister Cristanto and I had to go and fill it up! (it takes FOREVER) My favorite part was before we filled it, we cleaned the dirt out with a walis tingting (it's like a witch broom.) 

Don't quite know what to say about it. . . . it was super great. Chonna was so excited for her Husband to be a Member, he was excited to become a member so that Christ can always be the center of their lives, and Rene was only nervous about giving his testimony. (he did great, btw) Sister Cruz's 16 month toddler started crying when she went under. hahahaha, we were all just laughing. (he's quite the screamer) 
S. Crisanto, Rene, E. Suerte, Hernie (holding Nephi), 
Chonna, Me, Kiko (Rene's Cousin)
The Elders Taught Brother and Sister Cruz :) 
Sister Crisanto and I have decided that the people we teach are like our children. :) Hernie is the oldest. It's like he's the one you don't worry about because you know one day he'll be a successful lawyer with a good life and family. Rene is the Teen with problems, but he's got a good group of friends, so you don't worry too much about him either (his cousins are all members. He was the only one in his house not yet baptized.) Loren. . . Oh yeah. Loren. Don't worry, she's fine, but she came clean about how she's been smoking, but was just too ashamed to tell us. So now we're working with her. She'll be baptized, but this just isn't the time for her right now. Unlike Rene, she needs a new group of friends. :/ Sometimes LAs are like you're niece or nephew, and then you're like, "didn't your mother raise you right??" but you love them anyway. 
Less Actives Coming BACK :) slowly but surely 
Recent Convert Andrea paying her
tithing for the first time :D
Tuesday (not Wednesday. . . surprise to us! yay. . .) we went to Iloilo for Zone Conference, in a van. I can't remember the last time I sat inside a van. . .and this time it was with a bunch a strangers. . . Luckily the Sessions gave us a ride back home in their truck. I trust Elder Sessions' driving more than a Filipino's. . .

Zone Conference was super great. I saw Sister Massé one last time, and I got to meet my 'Sister'. And I met my other Adopted Granddaughter, Sister Jongco. (yeah. Sister Taufanga has trained 3 times now. My family tree is huge because of her)
Sister Massé! And my 'sister' Sister Pelonia
Met Elder Smith! We're not related. hahaha.
My Name Buddy in the Mission! Elder Smith!
Zone Conference was super spiritual. It was what I really needed to get motivated again about everything in missionary work. Finding the Elect. Quality Baptisms. Building the Church. Being obedient not only to God's Commandments, but also His mission rules. (Obedience brings Blessings, Excellent/Exact obedience brings Miracles, and Strict Obedience brings Salvation). The training was super intense, in the way of most the missionaries in the room are less than 6 months into the field, and I think President wanted to show them (and the older missionaries in the mission) that the Lord means Business. (for the field is white, already to harvest!)

W, Th, and Fri, Sister Gallarda came from Hamtic to work with us. :) She heads for the MTC this week, and wanted time to work with the Sisters to see what it's like to be a missionary. Rain or shine! (it rained all day Friday.) She'll be great :) Those people in Mindanao need to watch out, she's going to harvest and do some good!
 The Soon to be Sister Gallarda 
I love you all!

The Church is true! (and so is everything attached to it)

Sister Smith

19 January 2015

Letter 64: Testimony of the Four Witnesses

Hello Brothers and Sisters!

So big news, I just got here from a WEDDING. :) Hernie and Chonna got married this morning in the Mayor's Office. (Side Note. I also met the Mayor.) 

of course it started 1.5 hours late, and then the Mayor talked for a long time. But they got married (They forgot a ring for Chonna! But luckily they were able to borrow a CTR ring from Sister Haun. hahaha) 
The Line
I got to sign as a witness. So that's kinda cool :) (as in VERY COOL) and also, here they consider the Witnesses of the Marriage the "Ninay and Ninoy" (Godmother and Godfather) of their marriage, to help them continue to prosper here. . . so I'm a Ninay! (and so are all my housemates. hahaha) 

Good news: Loren, Rene, and Hernie all passed their Baptismal Interviews.

Loren is inviting all her friends to her baptism on Saturday :)

Zone Conference is this week. . .so that means I get on a Ceres bus at 5 In the morning, travel all the way to Iloilo (a 2 to 3 hour drive, depending on traffic and weather), have the meeting, then go all the way back home and try to be home by curfew. SIGH. oh well. At least I'll get to see my trainer one last time before she leaves :) (and I'll get to meet my sister. Did I mention I have a fellow, "trained by Massé" in the mission?)

We also had exchanges this week. I got to spend the day with my old companion! Sister Haun! It was great. But the 1 RS sister that was supposed to come with turned into 3? That was a little stressful, because after they showed up, NO ONE was home! But it turned out all right. We visited an LA sister, and she was super happy to see someone other than the missionaries visit. :)
Some RS Sisters Came too!
Went on Exchanges with an Old Friend :)
 I've met too many people here. A bishop from the first stake I served in visited the branch (his wife is from here) and was like, "Oh, so this is where you ended up Sister Smith." and I was like, (in my mind) "I don't remember who you are. . . how do I know you???" But eventually I remembered. haha. Too many people in 18 months. 

this Letter is short. Life is Good. 

I love you all! 
The Church is True

Sister Smith

12 January 2015

Letter 63

Hello Family and Friends, 

I'm doing well on this side of the world! 
I seriously can't get over this view!
It's funny that Dad just sent me an email about "The Common Cold Prefers Colder Tempatures" because I just recovered from a cold (again. haha) Wanna hear a little fact about the mission of Sister Smith? She has gotten sick EVERY transfer. (some times it's at the beginning of one transfer and then 12 weeks later before the end of the next transfer. . sometimes it's just a small 1 to 3 day thing. . .but yeah. every transfer. Let's hope that pattern will break.)

But due to the concern of one loving companion and two lovely housemates, I was forced to stay home and rest a few hours even though I wasn't that sick, which probably got me better faster. (like many missionaries. . .I'd rather just work than sit at home! I'm sure Mom is thinking, "Wow, that's changed!)

Anyone want good news? Because I have some:

I get to go to a WEDDING next Monday! :D Hernie and Chona are getting Married on Monday, Hernie will be baptized on Friday or Saturday (there is some scheduling conflicts right now.) and are already saving to go to the TEMPLE in January 2016! 

Loren gave the best definition for "Repentance" I've ever heard while we reviewed the baptismal interview questions with her. "Repentance means changing and moving on to become a better person." I was really impressed by her. :) 

I've been worrying a bit about Rene because I wasn't sure he was really ready to be baptized. but our last lesson with him turned that all around. He really opened up to us and finally showed that's he's really ready. :) He taught US about apostasy, and joked around with us, and stopped acting like a troubled 17 year old, and more like a funny Mormon boy :) haha. 

Led my area on exchanges. Goodness, I keep getting lost! It's such a BIG area with too many streets and places! Well. At least if I walk along the beach I'll eventually get where I'm supposed to go.

Funny story: A Sister in my house (that shall not be named) is a little excited to get married. So I got one of these to read with her, so she wouldn't be the only one in the MTC (Missionary Temple Class)
Look what I got from our Branch President. hahahaha :)
the church is True!

Sister Smith

05 January 2015

Letter 62: 1 Year Dedicated to the Lord

Dear Family and Friends,

Can you believe it's 2015? How crazy that 2014 has come in and then just flown away! While we were celebrating a new year (even if we went to bed at 10:30) Sister Haun made a comment, "We've been serving a mission all of 2014." WOAH. How cool is that? There is a year in which missionary serve an entire January 1 to December 31 serving the Lord (unless you're a cool Elder and get an entire 2 of those because of the day you go into the MTC. ahem. Elder Dutson.) 

It's just so mind blowing to me that I just gave 2014 to the Lord. It's definitely a  cool part of my life, I must say. :) Just think, this time next year I'll FINALLY be a freshman in college. hahaha. We told our housemates our New Years Resolutions, and my housemates informed me that I need new ones. (apparently missionary goals like "Be more obedient to missionary standards" don't count when only 1/3rd of the year is in the mission.)

Anyway. The members here are so nice, I've never been fed so much in my mission! it also helps that a lot of the members here have some VERY nice houses. Goodness it's rich here. of course there are still the poor, but this is definitely the most rich city I've ever served in. It actually gives me some culture shock sometimes. I'm like, "Woah, you have a WORKING shower head?" "Woah, your silverware is so nice!" "WOAH. A Laptop computer!" 

Basically that's life. Food. (but that will soon be over now that the holidays are over) Walking. Teaching A LOT. (Sister Crisanto and I are working hard here!) 

Speaking of Sister Cristano. I would just like to say right now just how privileged I am to be the companion of the Dedicated Servant of the Lord, and Woman of God. Tuesday some stuff happened in her life and family (they texted to inform her. They had our number from Christmas calling) and rather than be in a ball of "Self" we had some of the best lessons, a lot of hard work this week, and the numbers to show it off . 
Love this Sister!
Seriously, I've learned so much from this Sister this week, and I truly hope we get 2 transfers together. (here's to crossing my fingers) She really showed me what it means to have "an eye single to the glory of God." 

I think I'm really, truly starting to run out of things to write about. Our investigators are good. At one point in the week most of our investigators with a date had a super big struggle. Loren smoked for the first time in a month on the first, Bonnie says she doesn't want to feel pressured by a date, and Rene said he wanted to get baptized so we wouldn't come visit him anymore. (OUCH! But that's all resolved. he likes us, and really does want to get baptized for the right reasons, it's just that his Aunt doesn't like us very much. . .) Some of our In-actives are progressing up to "Less-active" and our Less-actives up to "Almost all the way active." 

Can I tell you how much I love the Deaf Members here? Probably NOT. Here's a few of them. (there are some NOT in this picture.) 
Jhonas, Michelle, Me, Angelo, Joven, and Michael
The Church is true! 
Palangga ko kamo!

All's well in San Jose, 
Sister Smith

ps. Not that I'm counting. It's just a little fact that I have 100 or so days left in the field. just so you know. (I'm really not counting. it's just that my ZL is counting and said he has 16 days left, and I was like. Hey, if you add 84. . .) 
Isn't it Beautiful? 
Look what I opened, by myself, with a kitchen knife!