Sunday, June 29, 2014

A God of Miracles

June 29, 2014

Magandang Umaga po!!
It has only been a few days since I have emailed last, but things are going amazing! Last Thursday we had Zone Interviews in San Isidro, and I just love President Revillo. He is probably one of the most amazing people I have ever met and has the best counsel for each one of us missionaries. I know that he was placed in my life for a reason and that he is called of God. I know that Heavenly Father is working through him to carry out the Lord's work here in the Philippines Quezon City Mission. I know that he was inspired to place me here in Cogeo, and because of that, my life has been changed.
After our interviews, Sister Revillo (the wife of President), came up to Sister Alfoja and I and informed us that she would be working with us for the remainder of the evening... I was TERRIFIED!!! Especially because she served a mission before too and had so much success! I really didn't want to let her down!
We decided to take her with us to the Honrejas Family. The days prior, Victoria had been really stand-offish with me and Sister Alfoja, and even hid when we came over. Sister Alfoja and I were really struggling to know what to do because all of a sudden, she didn't want us there. We went over to their house with Sister Revilllo and one of the Assistants to the President, Elder Crisanto, and taught their family. It was AMAZING! Sister Revillo had an immediate connection with Victoria and Victoria was able to open up about all of her concerns. Their family is facing so many trials right now- Joan and Thoupie have been really sick the past couple of weeks and they have no money. Victoria has been struggling to know why all of these trials were coming her way, as life was so much easier when the missionaries weren't there teaching them. Sister Revillo was really able to help Victoria and it was such a powerful lesson. I couldn't understand it all, but the Spirit was definitely speaking to the hearts of everyone that was in the room.
At the end of the lesson, we confirmed with Brother Allan his baptismal date for July 5. The rest of the family could not be baptized because they had not come to church enough times in a row. After we left, Sister Revillo said that we needed to have them all baptized on Saturday and said she would talk to President Revillo about it. The next day President texted us about them and said that Victoria could be baptized with Allan on Saturday. WHAT?!! Ahhhh We were so excited! Not even a minute later, Presdident responded again and said, "Let's have them all be baptized!" ALL OF THEM?! We immediately changed our plans and went straight to the Honrejas home in order to inform them of the great news and get them ready for their baptismal interview the next night. They were so excited!!
On Saturday night, Elder Masula interviewed them and came to the conclusion that only Allan would be baptized because of the church attendance issue. Victoria and the kids were disappointed, but understood. You could really see their desire to be baptized and they were not going to let this setback get in the way of them being baptized. As Sister Alfoja and I were walking home, we received a call from Elder Masula saying that he just talked to President and that President had a challenge for them: If they all came to church the next day, they could all be baptized!!!!!!
As sacrament meeting started yesterday, there was no sign of the Honrejas Family. I prayed and prayed harder than I ever have for them to be able to come.. And then they did!!! And they will be baptized on Saturday July 5. I have never experienced so much joy and happiness in my life!!
The church is true. Heavenly Father loves us all perfectly and His son, Jesus Christ is our Savior. His promises are real. His hand is in this work. God really is a God of Miracles.
I love you all and I love this work.
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Anderson


June 24, 2014

Kumusta sa lahat!

Sorry I did not email on Monday- It was temple week so our pday was changed. Oh how I LOVE the peace that comes from the temple!

This week has been a PUNTED week! Almost every appointment we have falls through and so we are really struggling finding people to teach. I know that there are SOOOOO many people here in Cogeo who are ready to hear the gospel, but it is kind of difficult finding them! I wish Heavenly Father would just give us a radar so that we could locate all these people! I guess he wants me to just be patient though, work hard, and follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Mamboy is really progressing and doing really well! We are not able to teach a male if a female is not present, so Nanay Efondo has been kind enough to let us teach Mamboy in her home. We taught him about 4 times last week and has a scheduled baptism date for July 19. I have never met a man like him before.... He is 63, wears a big old sweatband all the time, plays basketball everyday in this bright yellow uniform, has like 5 teeth, and he likes to give me gifts, write me poems, and he calls me an "angel". Yup! That's Mamboy for ya! He is really good though and he is always sharing his testimony to nonmembers about how the church is true. And in our lessons with him, he basically teaches us! He's a strange one, but we love him!

Nanay Efondo is just the sweetest woman in the whole world. She is in her late 60s to early 70s and her husband is a nonmember. She takes care of her 3 grandkids (Nataniel, Jetro, and Wayne) all day everyday, while their parents work. Those kids are so hard to take care of and I feel so bad for her. She lives in a small house that is falling apart and you can physically see the burdens she is carrying. Yesterday after teaching Mamboy at her house, I noticed that she was not her usual self. I got up to shake her hand to thank her then asked her how she was doing. She assured me she was okay, but I knew she wasn't. I asked her if there was anything we could do for her and her response was, "Just pray". I looked in her eyes and asked her how she was really doing. She began to weep. Tears began to fall from my eyes as I empathized with her. She embraced me in a tender hug and cried into my shoulder. It broke my heart to see her like this but at that moment, I really was able to understand what it means to "mourn with those that mourn" and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort." I never will forget this experience.

Yesterday was a really emotional day in general. Sister Agcamaren called us while we were doing our language study yesterday afternoon and asked us to come meet her at a strip mall close to our house. We didn't know what was wrong, but knew we needed to go. We grabbed our things and raced over to meet her. We found her sitting on some stairs in tears, where she had been for the past 6 hours. She began to tell us that she just got news that her sister had a really bad heart problem and might not make it. She wanted to travel to visit her in the hospital, but had no money to make it there. We sat and talked with her for a while and then encouraged her to go back home. She said that she was having family problems on top of all of this and that she wasn't quite ready to go home. She told us to go to our appointments and that if she needed us, she would text us. After an hour, we got a text that her sister had passed away. We made it quickly over to the place where she had been sitting and found her sitting there completely numb and not moving. After a few minutes she bursted into tears and fell over onto Sister Alfoja's shoulder. I have never seen anyone cry with such pain before. I tried to imagine what she was feeling and it broke my heart. I just kept picturing the Savior as he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. How blessed we are that there is always someone who was been where we have been before and suffered what we are suffering. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the opportunity that he gives us to be healed, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

We are teaching a family who lives jut right down the road from our apartment, and they are amazing. We walk past their house on our way home each day, and whenever we do, the kids come running out of the house yelling, "Sisters, sisters!!" and then they walk us home. On Monday night as we were walking with them, Miguel announced, "Sisters, we want to be baptized!" Did he just say what I thought he said?! What?! We told them that they could and that they could come to church with us on Sunday. You should have seen the looks on their faces! They began to jump up and down and cheer and it was really the sweetest thing to see them so excited!!! We are so blessed to be able to be teaching them!

Well that is that for the week! Thanks for all your love and prayers!!
Ingat po kayo!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, June 15, 2014

 Joan Honrejas and Sister Anderson

 Sister Lopez and Sister Anderson at Aurora Chapel

 Sister Rupp and Sister Anderson on a jeepney
 Awkward gifts received from an investigator, Mamboy

 Sister Anderson and Nanay Efondo
"She is my favorite person in this whole ward!  I just want to take her home with me."

 Jetro and Nataniel's baptism

"We got dressed up by an old lady because we got soaked in a rain storm."

What A Week

Good Morning po!!
This week by far has been the most stressful week since being here! Getting a new companion is definitely more stressful than it sounds, and leading the area is almost a nightmare! It is hard because I feel like if anything falls through, it is all my fault.. and boy have things been falling through this week! We were punted almost all day everyday and we just walked and walked and walked through the burning heat and the pouring rain. Things have definitely been hard and at times I have just wanted to break down, but there is always something inside me that makes me keep going when all I want to do is quit. I am grateful for the struggles that I am having because I know that Heavenly Father is teaching me very valuable lessons and I am doing all that I can to see these experiences as blessings.
We really taught like no lessons this week, but we were able to find 12 new investigators which was a miracle. I really don't know how many of them are potential, but I know that at least one of them is going to be baptized! She's an adorable 16 year old girl, Rica, who is the niece of one of the members, Sister Marivic. We have only taught Rica once, but her knowledge and desire to know the gospel is amazing!!! I really pray that she will progress and begin her own process of conversion.
We taught the Honrejas Family a few times this week, but only Allan came to church yesterday. He is doing AMAZING and you can physically see the changes in him. I just wish his family would all come to church!!! I don't know what to do. They all have a great understanding of the gospel, they read the Book of Mormon everyday and they really have testimonies.. Now we just need to get them to church!
On Saturday was the baptism of Nataniel and Jetro. We got to the chapel at 8:00am to clean and prepare and set everything up for the baptism at 1:00. 1:00 rolled around and no one was there... Not even Jetro or Nataniel! Finally the second counselor arrived and one of our investigators, Mamboy. Jetro and Nataniel finally arrived with their Father and Grandma. We had been searching all morning for baptismal clothes but there was only 1 suit- for the baptizer. We called everyone we could and searched every inch of the building. As missionaries, it really isn't our responsibility to even provide the baptismal clothes- it should be provided by the ward. The mother of Jetro and Nataniel was yelling at us and scolding us because we didn't have the clothes. Both Sister Alfoja and I were seconds away from bursting into tears. The second counselor also didn't know what to do about the clothes, so he was no help. The poor Grandma had white polos at her house and a pair of white pants so she went walking home in the pouring rain to grab them. The baptism ended up starting 2 hours late and no one else even showed up. It was so discouraging. We had invited everyone in the ward to come, but we got no support. The boys were confirmed yesterday in church, and I am just so glad it is over with! It is definitely a day that I NEVER want to relive!
As we were out working the other morning, it started pouring out of nowhere.. and when I say pouring, I mean POURING!!!!!!! We got to our next appointment- a less active named Sister Carmelita who is in her 70s- and you should've seen the look on her face when she saw us! There was not an inch of us that was dry and we looked like a mess! She urged us to come inside and insisted that we change our clothes. We tried to assure her that we were fine and that we would just change when we got home. She would not take no for an answer so we complied. I got to wear a really not cute stretchy skirt that was not emphasizing my body in a way that likes to be emphasized, along with a suit jacket fully loaded with big ole shoulder pads... Yaaa buddy!!! I was lookin gooood! I should have old women dress me everyday
Well this week has been crazy and I just pray things will look a little brighter this week. I am so blessed to be serving, especially here in the Philippines!! I love you all!!!!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

Hello once again!!

Well, it's official! I am done with my training as a missionary, so now I am a BIG GIRL! Yay!! My trainer left on Tuesday night for her new area, and on Wednesday morning I went and picked up my new companion, Sister Alfoja. She is 25 and from the Philippines and is pretty shy! She is really sweet, but sometimes she doesn't talk very much... SO that means that I have the wonderful opportunity to speak A LOT in our lessons! Kind of intimidating sometimes, but I am actually really enjoying it. Sister Alfoja was so impressed with my language skills and couldn;t believe that I had only just finished my training. It has been so fun for me to realize lately how much Tagalog I know and I feel that my language skills are really improving. I still am sooo far from being good at the language, but I am finally at a point where I feel pretty comfortable and not too uncomfortable to speak. It has been such a blessing to stop relying on my trainer for help, and instead start being proactive.

Since Sister Alfoja is new to Cogeo, that means that I get to lead the area... Talk about intimidating! I was extremely stressed the past few days because it's all on me if things don't go well... I am finally getting a hang of things though and it has been a neat experience to see that I really do know more than I think I do. I have already grown so much in this past week and I am excited to be able to stretch myself and become better!

We were able to get 7 new investigators this week which was a HUGE answer to my prayers. I am not sure how potential all of them are, but I am excited to teach them and give them the opportunity to accept the gospel in their lives. Our investigators here are doing well. Rose, the neighbor of the Honrejas Family, is doing so great! The other night we went to teach her and right as we say down, she was so excited to tell us that she had prayed about President Monson and she knows that he is a true prophet. She described to us the feelings that she had and how she felt the Spirit. I cannot even begin to explain the joy I felt as she testified to us of that God has called a prophet for our days. There is no greater happiness!!!!!

The Honrejas Family is doing well. Only Allan came to church yesterday, so afterwards we went and had a lesson with them about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. It was an amazing lesson and I felt the Spirit so strong. They committed to coming to church each week, but we had to move their baptism back to July 4. I am so excited for them to baptized and they are sooo excited to! They are making my missionary experience AMAZING!

Last Friday I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time since being out here in the field. Back at home it always took me like a year to finish, but my goal this year is to be able to finish it 3 times before Christmas! I love the power that comes from reading that Book and I really don't know what I would do without it. After finishing it, I decided to take Moroni's Challenge and pray once again about the truthfulness of this Book. Peace filled my heart and I am so grateful to be able to say that I know without a doubt that this book is true and I am so blessed to be able to have the guidance and protection that come from living it's teachings.

Welllllllll I think that's it for this week!!! I am loving being a missionary and serving the Lord. There is absolutely no where else I'd rather be. Mahal ko kayo!!

Love, Sister Anderson

Ups and Downs and All Around

June 2, 2014

Kumusta Lahat!

Sorry I did not email yesterday! It's transfers on Wednesday, so that means our Pday gets changed to Tuesday. And I'm not getting transferred! I get to stay in the wonderful mountainous place of Cogeo for at least 6 more weeks! Sister Judd is being transferred to Mindoro- the island that all of the missionaries are dying to go to! So since she is leaving, I get to be the one to lead the area here with my new companion... Ahhhh. This is soooo intimidating and I am kind of freaking out! I meet my new companion tomorrow and I hear she is Filipino. I sure hope she speaks English, or we are going to have to get really good at playing Charades!
On Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity to have a conference with everyone in our mission and Elder Craig C. Christensen of the 70 came and spoke to us. It was AMAZING. He said things that I really needed to hear and listening to him was such a testament to me that Heavenly Father can answer our prayers through other people.

This week has just been a whirlwind and I really have noticed that nothing on a mission is certain! Things are always changing and you never really know what to expect. I guess it keeps things interesting, but not always very fun.
On Saturday, Jetro and Nathaniel were supposed to be baptized. They were at the chapel early in the morning with their Grandma to help us get everything set up and ready to go for the baptism at 10:00am. 10:00 rolled around and everything was ready to go and they just needed to hurry and change into the baptismal clothes. Just as they were about to go change, Brother Dabu, the second counselor, pulled Sister Judd and I aside and said he had something very confidential to tell us. We went into another room and he said that he just spoke to Jetro and Nathaniel's dad and their dad said that he didn't want the boys to be baptized until he can be the one to baptize them. Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! I mean it's wonderful that he wants to get reactivated in the church and be worthy to baptize his sons, but shouldn't we have had this conversation before?? Like not 2 minutes before the service was supposed to start?? We went outside to talk to the family, and Nathaniel was sitting on a bench just sobbing because he wanted to be baptized. It completely broke my heart. Their dad had a meeting with the Bishop though and they have decided that on June 14th will be their new baptismal date. I really pray that things will all go through on that date!!
On Saturday afternoon, we took some of our investigators and less actives to see the temple. Victoria Honrejas came along with Joann and their neighbor Rose who we are teaching. The absolutely LOVED the temple and they just kept saying how they felt so much peace and that there were no troubles. They really felt the Spirit so strongly and it was an amazing opportunity for them to feel the power of the temple.
Speaking of the Honrejas family... They are doing AMAZING!!!!! We went over to drop off some fruit at their house on Saturday night and Allan said that he couldn't come to church on Sunday because he got called into work. As we were sitting in Church though as Sacrament Meeting was just about to start, Allan came walking in through the doors with Victoria, Joann, Lye, Jarry, and Thoupie. It was a MIRACLE!!! Allan said that he only ended up having to work half the day. I know that it was the Lord who provided him a way to come to church and I am SOOOO grateful that he did. We were able to go over and teach them on Sunday night about tithing. Sister Judd and I were kind of apprehensive to teach them this law because they always say how they love that in our church there are no donations. They Spirit was so strong in our lesson with them though, and they really felt and understood the importance of paying tithing, and they committed to live this law after they are baptized. Ahhh, I just LOVE this family! They are making my missionary experience so amazing!!
Well nothing too funny happened this week.... And we didn't get robbed this week either... Booyahhhhh!!!
Well that's a wrap! Thanks for all the prayers that you're sending my way! Love you all sooooo much!!
Sister Anderson