13 Months Down...Only 5 More to Go!

Here's my Christmas tree and presents. ;D
12-5-16 (Monday)
Today was a good enjoyable p-day for me. I have no idea why, but I was just happy all day. Yay! (: I’d say the only noteworthy thought I have today are about this trike driver I OYMd. After I found out he’s Iglesia ni Cristo I asked him what his beliefs are about Jesus Christ. It was a genuine question too. I’ve heard all kinds of things about Iglesias and I wanted to know what was true. He told me they believe that Christ is the son of God, but a normal person with no sins. And man.. That just hurt my soul. This man was a very friendly guy that truly believes he has found the truth and I instantly grew to love him. But that truly hurt my heart to know people don’t believe that Christ is also a God. I guess that just made me realize how much I truly love Jesus Christ. I know he is a God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. And I am nothing without Him. 


Mom and dad also got my package. (: They said they were 100% surprised and boy did that make me happy! :D SUCCESS! I just love surprises. (: Maybe I should go open my package now.. AHH! Okay.. Be right back! ;D 


They sent me a snow globe! Who successfully sends a snow globe halfway around the world!? ;D But boy is it sure pretty. (: AND Taco Bell queso sauce and corn chips! I might cry. I am SOOO excited to eat that.. Freeeak! :D And then a shirt and skirt from Santa. (: I honestly love them. The skirt is a perfect missionary skirt and the shirt is a super pretty color. Gosh, thank you so much mom and dad. (: It honestly means the world to me and I couldn’t stop smiling. But deep inside I couldn’t help but think.. “oh no, you should’ve saved your money.” I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve finally grown up or if it’s the culture shock I still live with. (; We’ll see when I go home. (;

12-6-16 (Tuesday)
Today Sister Reyes was sick so I ended up staying home with her after lunch while Sister Buna Cruz and Sister Alversado worked in both areas. Needless to say I was pretty lonely all day. Sister Reyes literally slept ALL day so I just hung out with myself all day. It was  fine, I mean boring but fine. (; I did some laundry, washed the dishes, cooked some awful experiment of mac ‘n cheese, prayed for hope and comfort, and watched lots of Mormon Messages. 

12-7-16 (Wednesday)
God truly loves me. Just wow. We met this lady today during our big zone Christmas initiative OYMing in Bayan that was taught by the missionaries before and straight up told us she wants to be baptized. “Uhh.. yes.. Thank you!” There can be miracles.. when you believe!” Dang! She was awesome! She was like.. “Can you come visit me tomorrow at 3:00?” Uhh.. not only yes, but heck yes! ;D Then she stayed the next hour watching all the Christmas videos/songs we were showing in the plaza. (: Long story short.. I KNOW God loves me. (:
THHHAAAANK YOUUU! 

12-8-16 (Thursday)
Today truly was awesome. Honestly.. The blessings and miracles are numberless. (: First! We left the house on time. So we started the day right. (: But the first thing we did today was look for Sister B, the lady we met yesterday. So as we walked around trying to find her we obviously OYMd people while asking for directions. We were able to meet and teach lots of people. But my favorite was the C couple. Brother C is actually a Methodist pastor so it was a nice change being able to explain the restoration in a more specific way. But man were they awesome! They sincerely listened to what we were teaching and he even told us we answered his question of why there’s lots of religions, better than any of “his people” [could explain].  He even told us he likes that we have Sacrament every week. I guess they only do it once a month and said he wished they did it every week, too. Hmm.. I think he secretly knows he’s missing something. (; 

But anyway my favorite part was the beginning when we sang our “opening hymn”. I asked them what some of their famous hymns are thinking maybe we sing some of them too. So the first three they said were Amazing Grace, Sweet Hour of Prayer, and How Great Thou Art. So Sweet! I was like let’s sing Sweet Hour of Prayer, then Brother was like “hey! Go grab my guitar.” So as we were talking some more he was just messing around with his guitar and was playing How Great Thou Art so I was like, well I want to sing that now. So. We did. Haha (; but let me tell you.. I felt the Spirit of God so strongly! Like.. I literally felt the love of God. It was just such a sweet beautiful experience for me to realize the four of us were 100% united through this beautiful song. There were no feelings of differences. It was as if we were all the same race, family, and religion. It was just an awesome experience for me. 

And then we were able to find Sister B and her daughter, A, who are just THE BEST! I’ve never met such accepting people before. They are so open to find the truth. Luckily for them they just did. (;
This was during our big OYM Christmas initiative. 

12-9-16 (Friday)
Today was a happy day. (: But the experience of the day that stood out the most was when I was talking to this Jehovah’s Witness from the UK. Whenever I see a white person I always go talk to them 1. Because I am a million times more confident talking to strangers in English and 2. Usually they’re just as excited as I am to talk to an actual English speaker. (;

But anyway.. He was nice and pretty friendly, but you could tell he was pretty hard headed and a bit prideful. When I first went to talk to him he read my name tag and right away told me he’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Uhh.. Cool. But what’s your name buddy? (; But as we were talking he told me he actually investigated our church for a while but things just didn’t add up for him. But the doors of heaven were opened when he found Jehovah’s Witness. Uhh.. okay.. Then he went off about Jehovah.. And he asked me if we believe in Jehovah. And I knew enough about their religion to answer yes, but that we believe Jehovah is Jesus Christ. Then he talked about how when Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed to Jehovah. Then asked “so what.. was he praying to Himself?” I obviously said no, then he asks “Then what is God’s name?” in a smart alec type voice. And I honestly don’t know how I resolved that situation in a way we were able to walk away friends, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of when Christ was betrayed and brought to the High Priest. The High Priest Caiaphas (or something like that) essentially asks Christ what is the truth and Christ doesn’t really answer him. Because the High Priest didn’t really care to know the truth. So in my situation with that man, I didn’t want to tell him the truth because I knew he wouldn’t truly listen. So I just expressed I’m glad he listened to our message at one point in his life, and that I’m proud of him for trying to find the truth. I don’t know.. it was just an experience that really made me ponder. I guess I really am trying to be like Jesus. I’m following in HIS ways.. of teaching. (; Haha, but for real. I hope I handled that situation well. I think I did though because I opened my mouth to let this man know I, a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, testified of Christ, and left with a new friend even though I didn’t answer all of his questions.

12-10-16 (Saturday)
I don't know their names.. 
They're all from a different Branch. 
Today I just came home so happy. I just had a great time during our few lessons today. But the cherry on top of this wonderful day was witnessing the baptism of Nanay J, J2, and J3. (:

Of course the baptism started two hours late because not all priesthood leaders understand the importance and sacredness of baptism, but that’s okay. (; It was still a great thing to see 3 of my friends acting on their faith. (: Hopefully I’ll still be able to baptize a whole family, but if not.. I’m happy I was able to baptize  of a family. (;
Sister Buna Cruz, Josie, 
Justin, Juliana, Tatay Soltez

Anyway.. Sister Buna Cruz made me sing for the baptism.. Again. That’s 4 out of 5 baptismal services I had to sing at.. uhh.. when did my voice start sounding good? Why does everyone want me to sing? Haa! My mom’s going to be so proud of me. ;D So Alice, Vivian, and I all sang “Come Thou Fount” and I think we ended up doing pretty good. Especially for only practicing like 10 minutes right before. (; 

But on another note.. We were able to teach the whole M family together tonight! It wasn't the most spiritual lesson because they like to tease each other, but I'm totally fine with that. We’re one step closer to helping this family enter the temple. (; 

12-11-16 (Sunday)
13 Months down.. only 5 more to go.. Honestly.. I don’t know how I feel about that. I really don’t want to leave the Philippines. If I could stay here after my mission for a month or so, before I go home, I totally would. I want to be able to go do all the fun things I can’t do as a missionary with all my new friends. (:

But anyway.. J, J2, J3, AND R were all confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost today. What an experience that was. There’s nothing better than seeing the fruit of your labor with such happy smiles. (: AND! J2 already has the Aaronic priesthood and will help pass the Sacrament next week! Man.. my heart is just so happy right now. I truly feel like I actually am a pretty good missionary. Hopefully this will help me stay confident enough to effectively find new investigators because we’ve now baptized most of our progressing investigators. (; But! Tatay A, Nanay B, AND A2 all came to church today! I’m honestly so happy about that. Especially because 2 of the 3 people I fasted for today was A and A2. Hmm.. Does prayer and fasting actually work? (:

How do you say Merry Christmas in Tagalog? Maligayang pasko! (: 

What are you doing with #LIGHTtheWORLD? We're using the pass along cards and the 25 Ways in 25 Days thing, but more simplified. We also carry around a portable DVD player sometimes and watch some of the videos for lessons. 

What are the Filipinos doing to get ready for Christmas? Nothing really.. I'm pretty sure Christmas here is mostly just a dinner with pasta instead of rice with their family. 

What does your mission have planned for Christmas? We actually have a Christmas party/conference tomorrow in Dagupan with half the mission. I'm pretty excited because I finally get to ride on a bus again. (; You know that's my favorite. (;

"First World Problems While Living in a Third World Country"

You wish you were in paradise for Christmas. (; 
11-28-16 (Monday)
Today was just a very enjoyable day. I went and got my x-ray. I don’t have the results yet, but if you were wondering it’s only like $8.00 here to get a chest x-ray. How much is an x-ray in America!?

Anyway.. President Deyro came and gave us a special workshop, after our district meeting, about the Christmas Initiative. It was good and all to know exactly what the First Presidency expects of us as members and missionaries to do for this holiday season. It was good to see President though. But it was pretty funny though! He showed us the picture we all took with Elder Cook and he was like “Did you guys know we have a set of twins serving here?” We all just looked at him like “Uhh… no..” Then he points out me and Sister Miller in the picture. Haha, I just laughed. But it’s true everyone in Aguilar thought we were sisters. But what was extra funny is the whole time President kept calling me Sister Miller. :D Haha, it just made me giggle. (:

Another thing! President kept pointing out that Sister Ikafanga is a baptizing machine. I don’t know how many baptisms she had, but it made me think is 13 not that many? I thought I was doing a pretty good job at baptizing lots of people. But either way.. It definitely inspired me. I want President to say things like that about me!

11-29-16 (Tuesday)
Today we had JL meet us at A’s house so he could be our fellowshipper for a lesson, and man.. there’s something about having a member present that makes a lesson ten times better. I’m pretty sure that was the first time I’ve had a spiritual lesson with A this whole transfer. It was just great. (:

But then to make things even better! After A, we went to teach R. And as we were walking to their door you could hear the whole family laughing and teasing each other. Oh my word! That made me SO happy to hear them all having fun together. So when we got to their door R sees us and invites us in and BOOM the happiness I felt in that house was powerful! I couldn’t contain how happy I was to see everyone else so happy! I’m just so happy R and R2 are doing lots better now. (:

The Ines Family
Our lesson was also great because R2 asked us a question about his reading in the Book of Mormon. I’m not entirely sure if he was trying to prove us wrong or not, but I’m still happy he read. (: He wasn’t rude or anything and seemed very sincere with his question, but I’m a little like “I’ve got my eye on you buddy.” (;

Anyway.. His question was why in the restoration movie Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ in a forest, but in the Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith’s testimony) he saw God in his room. So we just explained that he saw Moroni in his room not God. We obviously gave lots of background information before we directly addressed his concern and I think things went pretty good for all of us. (: Then Sister Buna Cruz asked him again to sign the consent form and he told us we would know his answer on Thursday. So.. Fingers crossed! (:
The Mendez Family. (: 

12-1-16 (Thursday)
Well.. we finally got R2 to sign the consent form. R now has her interview tomorrow and if she passes, her baptism will be on Saturday. I mean it’s great and all that we got Tatay’s permission, but I’m not entirely excited about how little time we have to prepare for R’s baptism. It’s just too rushed for me. If I could have it my way I would just make her baptism next week, but Sister Buna Cruz would not be okay with that because she very possibly will be transferred next week. I just hope the members will be there to support her on such short notice. 
  
12-2-16 (Friday)
Happy Birthday Momma! Sorry I don’t have much to say about today.. Haha. But! R had her baptismal interview FOR TWO AND A HALF HOURS! Haha, that is so Sister R for you. ;D She’s literally the most talkative person on the planet earth. But it doesn’t matter because she passed with flying colors and will now be baptized tomorrow! :D But if R2 doesn’t come I’m going to be pretty bummed. I told him I’ll pay him to give me a haircut if he’d leave work for an hour tomorrow. Hopefully that was a convincer for him. (:

12-3-16 (Saturday)
Today was absolutely crazy! It was literally a roller coaster I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed. (; And on that note… Baptism’s are crazy! There’s nothing worse than a rushed baptism. Gahhh! There was nothing better than finally having the baptism done and over with! ;D Haha, joke. But for real it was stressful.
Riza's Baptism 

But as great as it was witnessing the baptism of R, I couldn’t help but be heartbroken that her husband didn’t come to support her. 

But.. On another note, I got to spend the evening with President and Sister Deyro after “stake” conference. They took us Sisters to dinner and picked up another antibiotic for me. This is my fourth prescription for a stinkin cough! Am I dying! (; [The chest x-ray came back and her lungs are clear. Good news!]

But for real.. It was good to spend time with President, but bad at the same time. It just made me miss dad. I wish I had him here all the time to answer all my questions. And I wish I could hug mom. I guess I just want a big bear hug with my family. I don’t know where these thoughts and feelings are coming from right now. Haha, it must be the drugs I just took. (;
Elder Carpina is in the back, Sister Reyes and Alverasado,
Jhon Rey is in the green, Junior is the little boy,
 Baby Elijah, May Janice, Elder Adeva and Elder Tindoc

President did tell Sister Buna Cruz that she’s transferring. Honestly now I’m scared to see who my new companion will be. I hope she’s a foreigner for some reason. I just want someone to understand me and my not Filipino culture. I just hope she’s someone I can be myself around and not be shy or uncomfortable being myself in lessons or OYM’s. I just want so badly to have fun while working hard. (:

12-4-16 (Sunday)
Today ended great! As in.. I am happy! :D Why? Because Sister Cabahug told Sister Buna Cruz that my companion is going to be Sister Ngatai! :D I kid you not.. If that’s true I might cry. The tears of joy and gratefulness will never end! But let me tell you, if Sister Cabahug was joking I will be heartbroken. But I will keep praying. (:

Also! I got FOUR [Christmas] packages from home! I’m allowed to open two of them now, but I’m hesitant to open it.. I don’t want the excitement and suspense to end. Haha. Maybe I’m actually just waiting to open it for when I’m down again so I have something to cheer me up. (;
Kelsey, JL, He's going on his mission next month to Peru,
Riza, Sister Deyro, Sisters Alverasado, Reyes 

Aaannd! J, J2, AND J3 all passed their baptismal interview! I’m one step closer to baptizing a whole family! (:


Also! The wife of J4 (the man we met while trying to convince R2 at work to let R be baptized) came to church! AHH! The miracles are all around us if we just open our eyes. (: But as a side note.. I still don’t like the stress of baptismal paper work/preparation. Especially when it’s rushed.. Gahhh! The pressure (; Haha.. who knew.. You can still have first world problems while living in a third world country. ;D


Questions

What have you heard about our President Elect Trump? What do Filipinos think about Him? I've only really heard that he won. Nothing else..

What kind of work do your investigators do for a living? honestly I don't know.. most are farmers or trike drivers though. One is a barber.. and Josie is like a hotel manager type lady thing. haha I honestly don't know. mostly farmers and drivers.

Justin and Juliana belong to Josie, their grandma.
All three of them will be baptized this week. (:
How common are smart phones/cell phones? Do the kids have them too? umm, I think they're smart phones but there samsung brand so they can't do everything android or iPhones can. but our mission phones are nokia. yeahhhh baby! (; and teenagers usually do, not really kids.

I have to give a short missionary mom moment next Sunday, What is a gospel message you'd like me to share? My message is simple, but very straight forward. It is.. You cannot expect a million dollar answer for a five cent prayer. We need to stop saying prayers and start praying. 

Do you care what photo I include in the Christmas card? No.. I've tried to find a good place to take a Christmas picture, but I haven't really tried super hard. you can pick one that I look pretty in. (; Or if you have an idea I can try and fulfill your vision. (; 


Me: "I just found the Christmas card pic!!!! Thank you!"
Kelsey: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 
That was an unexpected choice. ;D"

Miracle in Hardship

11-21-16 (Monday)
Today we had an FHE with a recent convert family at Elder and Sister Jensen’s house. And boy was that a great experience. (: For our lesson we just read Alma 7:11-12 and bore our testimonies. But as all the other Sisters were bearing their testimonies about the Atonement of Jesus Christ it just hit me how incredibly important families are to God. Everything Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do for us are for us to have an eternal family. Obviously the most central part of God’s plan is the Atonement. But I truly believe the most central part of the Atonement is eternal families. I better not mess up when I pick my husband. (:

11-22-16 (Tuesday)
Happy Birthday my Dearest Abigail. ;D I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not that the best day of my life was on Abby’s [Nelson] birthday, but I think Abby is my new lucky Lenny. ;D
Rizza and Maryann

Anyway.. This morning during personal study I wanted so badly to sleep, my eyelids were so heavy! And I straight up had a mini angel-devil battle on my shoulders kind of experience. (; I was like “it’s okay to sleep now, you used to fall asleep during studies all the time.” “No! You can make it 20 more minutes! Do it for the miracles!” 5 minutes later.. “Just sleep now so you won’t need to nap at lunch time.” “No! You set a goal not to sleep at lunch time anymore anyways! Magaral pa more! Kaya mo iyan!” [Learn more, more! You can do it!] And I am proud to say I did not heed to the temptations of my mini shoulder devil. (; (AND! I didn’t sleep at lunch either! SUCCESS! :D)

But after studies, while Sister Buna Cruz was getting ready to go out to work, the sleepiness hit me again. So once we finally left the apartment I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I did not feel like OYMing at all! But as we were walking down the street I saw a lady sweeping the leaves in her yard and luckily I saw an opportunity and took it. She wouldn’t let me help her, but it sure helped me. Ever since I finally opened my mouth I was on fire! I talked to everyone. (:

But the most exciting thing I have to say about today is that I am already seeing miracles in the work here AND my life. (: The first miracle is the referral our Branch President texted us this morning. President Bautista was like “can you go visit him today at 1:00?” Uhh. Heck yes! So we go out to work and eventually went to go find our referral, Arnold. And he lives in a barangay [neighborhood] that even Sister Buna Cruz has never been to so let’s just say… OYMs were a total score there!

But after we finally found A.. Let’s just say he is what we call elect! Oh my word, I wanted to see him baptized right then and there! The Spirit.. man, his heart is wide open. I have no doubt he will be baptized one day soon. (:  The best part was that we were literally able to answer all his questions in order with Lesson 1. He’d ask about prophets right as we were getting ready to talk about prophets. Then ‘why we have so many churches’ right before we talk about the Great Apostasy. It was just crazy to see the Spirit working through ALL of us. (:

Then… because I have been doing my best to show Christ I am truly focused and here to work, I have felt the Spirit in my life a lot more and a lot more powerful. And I am here to tell you.. when we have the Spirit in this great of abundance.. The gift of tongues is real. I was able to almost understand perfectly all of R’s stories. I didn’t understand or know every word, but I truly was able to understand her struggles, desires, and even random stories. BOOM panes! ;D Life is 100% when you give 100% of your effort to the Lord. (:

11-23-16 (Wednesday)
All kinds of stuff happened today but I’ll talk about our experiences with R today. This morning we went to go help her do the laundry so she would have time to go to the church for her interview. So as we were all doing the laundry and washing the dishes, the supply manager, Elder Pawasa called and told us he was at our apartment to fix things. So we had to hurry up with the laundry to get back home before we were able to teach R. So.. we just told her her baptismal interview will be tomorrow. Then later in the evening we went to go teach her and fill out her BCR [Baptism and Confirmation Record] and have her husband sign that it’s okay R will be baptized. And while we were visiting and teaching she kept talking about how happy it made R’s mom that we came to help R with her house chores. I don’t know.. But I believe that service will one day open R’s mom’s heart and door to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. (:

For Bubby
Now.. Fast forward an hour or so.. R’s husband will not sign the “permission slip”. Ouch. I thought we were friends, R2. R, Sister Buna Cruz, and I were all completely heart broken. Like R was border line mad that we told her she can’t be baptized till her husband signs the paper. But as heart breaking as this is.. I still have a lot of hope.

But most of all, I feel just fine because I know I have done everything I can. Just because R2 is being a brat doesn’t mean I haven’t fulfilled my purpose as a missionary when it comes to R. But once again.. the desire to be exactly obedient is insane. I will do everything I can to help R accomplish desires. Obedience brings blessings. But I need miracles so.. That’s why I need to be exactly obedient.

11-24-16 (Thursday)
The closest thing I had to turkey on this Thanksgiving Day was a chicken sandwich from McDo… [McDonald’s] Kill me. (;

Anyway… Sister Buna Cruz and I went and talked to R2 today while he was at work. It worked out good. He opened up a bit and actually listened to what we had to say. He still hasn’t signed the “permission slip”, but I think he will sometime soon.

I just told him that him and R need to actually talk and try to understand each other in order to fix the tension in their relationship. I sure hope when we go to check on R tomorrow things will be better.

But on a brighter note, we were finally able to see J for the first time in a while since she’s always busy at work, and she’s still living the Word of Wisdom! :D So her, J2, AND J3 are still good to go for their baptism on December 10th! :D Man, life is good. I’m truly seeing the miracles in my life now. I think they’ve always been there though.. I’m just now learning to recognize them. (:

11-25-16 (Friday)
Today was AWESOME! It was just one of those days where the plan for the day was actually successful. Like.. we didn’t get punted very often, but when we did we weren’t let down by our back up plan. (; Honestly it was just a good fun day. There’s nothing better than actually spending the whole day teaching instead of walking around saying “well, where do we go now?”

We did get to visit with R today and she told us she said sorry to R2 and that they talked and she thinks they’re better now. He still hasn’t signed the paper, but it looks like he might here pretty soon. Sana.. [should] (; But the miracle I believe I saw today was with one of our hardships.

So! Yesterday while we were visiting with R2 trying to get him to be okay with R being baptized, we met his friend J4. Now.. J4 is one of the most genuine and sweet men I have ever met. He was so cute! As we were talking I asked him about his family and he has a 7-year old, 4-year old, and a 1-year old. And he is actually married to his wife! So I was just super giddy as I was talking to him about his cute family. Then a little later while we were talking to R2 some more, J4 comes back to introduce me to his kids. And freak.. Ang cute cute nila! [They are cute, cute!] (: So of course after we were done talking with R2 we went to say goodbye to J4 because he lives in the same building that R2 works. And as we were saying goodbye we asked him if the Elders over their area could come visit them; and he said yes so we texted Elder Presenta and Elder Tindoe to give them J4's information.

So fast forward to today.. Elder Presenta and Elder Tindoe texted to tell us they were able to contact J4 and that he is just awesome. So.. I guess the strange miracle I see in my hardship is the possible reason why we have to post pone R’s baptism. Maybe Heavenly Father made it so we would have to go talk to R2 at work so that we could find J4 and his cute family. AND! If things continue to go great with J4.. That could possibly really help R2 listen to us with an open heart because one of his buddies is coming unto Christ along with R.. I don’t know.. I just have a lot of hope for this situation. (:

11-26-16 (Saturday)
Today was great and all but I really don’t have much to say. We did meet/find Tatay A though. Honestly I just felt so much love for him the moment we started talking. Him and his wife are separated and all 5 of his kids live in Manilla. I asked him if his kids ever call him and he said no, “They could care less if I was dead or alive.” Needless to say he is a very lonely and depressed 62 year old man. But man.. As we were testifying about God’s love for him I just truly felt what I would consider Godlike love for Tatay.  But for real.. we should never feel alone. Ever. Our Father in Heaven AND Jesus Christ are ALWAYS there for us. I told Tatay that when he’s lonely he should just talk to God. I shared with him how I was struggling while in my training and that I was constantly praying and just talking/venting to Heavenly Father. I think he thought I was a little weird, but whatever! That was something that really helped me draw closer to God and find comfort when I felt really lonely.

Aaand.. Sister Deyro [Mission President’s wife] told me I have to get a chest x-ray on Monday because I’ve had my cough for over a month and still isn’t getting better after two different kinds of prescriptions. [prescriptions were for an antibiotic and a decongestant]   Weird.. I never in a million years would have thought or guessed I would need to go to the doctor for a cough let alone get an x-ray! ;D Especially because I am in no pain.. But I guess as weird as this all is, it is a bit concerning that my silly cough isn’t going away.

11-27-16 (Sunday)
I like Sundays, I really do. It’s just nice to sit down and actually listen to someone teach ME about the gospel instead of the other way around. (; The STLs [Sister Training Leaders] also came over tonight to come to our District meeting tomorrow and they brought me a pouch from Sister L! AHH! That just made my whole life! That really made me miss her a lot. I guess she’s still having problems with always getting in trouble with the police because people keep trying to take her property. Gahh! She doesn’t deserve this! I really hope I can see her again before I go home. [Sister L was one of Sister Fivas’ first baptisms in her first area in Aguilar]. 


Questions:

What are most people afraid of in the Philippines? Ghosts and dogs. Dogs? Are they wild? Uhh.. I'm not sure. I'm sure a lot of them are though. Like.. There's always dogs and chickens running around the streets just living life. 


What options do they have for vocational or college education? I believe it's similar to what we have in America.. Just.. Not as good. (;

Describe your apartment. Uhh.. It's an apartment complex so it's on the second floor. It has one room and a big open space for our study desks and kitchen table. This kitchen is also in the same big space which consists of a sink. Haha. We do have a camping stove top thing we use to cook. There's also a bathroom and a little room to wash your laundry. 

Mission Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook

11-15-16 (Tuesday)
Missionary Council Meeting
 with the Hundred Islands Branch. (:
Today the STLs told us to go on exchanges with our kabahay [room mates]. So this morning sister Alversado was my companion and after lunch until tomorrow Sister Reyes is my companion. I liked being with Sister Reyes because she treated me just like a friend.

11-17-16 (Thursday)
This morning we had to wake up early so we could get to Urdaneta on time for our big Urdaneta Mission Conference with Elder Quinten L. Cook. (: Yeah.. I don’t want to brag or anything but I got to shake an Apostle’s hand. (; But honestly today was great! I got to see ALL my friends, since the whole mission came together. Like Sister Miller.. Freak, I miss her. And my two anak [sisters], Sister Diaz and Sister Alpino! And all the Elders that were in my District in the MTC! And let’s just say Elder Budge will be my favorite person forever.
It was just so good to be around my friends again. OH! AND! I saw Sister Tanielu and she told me the D Family got baptized! YAAASSSS! I couldn’t be happier. Even though R and T weren’t baptized with the rest of the family because they’ve been in San Carlos.. they’ll be baptized in December and that’ll just be the best day ever. (:

But anyway… during most of the Mission Conference people shared examples of miracles that people were able to see on their mission and/or because they opened their mouth; and man.. I will do ANYTHING to see miracles, like the people in their stories, in my own life. I promise you all, and myself, that I will do everything I can to be the type of servant that sees miraculous miracles regularly in my efforts to do the Lord’s work. I will be myself while doing my all- time best to confidently do and understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Being a robot isn’t going to open doors or people’s hearts. But a sincerely loving, and goofy 20-year old girl is just what at least one person here in 100 Islands needs, and I will do everything I can to find them. (: #baptizepamore (:

It's been my dream to get a picture like this because
it straight up reminds me of Mulan. (; 
11-18-16 (Friday)
Today I did everything I could to be worthy to receive and see miracles in my work AND respect the agency of others and it was great! We found an awesome family today that I have great hopes for! I asked them if we could come back and show them what a Family Home Evening is and they were a little “Ehh… we can’t set a specific time or day because we never know if we’ll be home or not.” But I don’t care. One of these days I will pack snacks, go to their house, and make them have an awesome time as a family and testify that families can always be that happy with Christ and His gospel as the center of their home.

I also did my very best to listen, understand, and follow the Spirit. And because of that Sister Buna Cruz and I were to better understand Sister R’s concerns. She should be baptized tomorrow, but she just seems to be afraid of something so we obviously pushed her baptismal date back. But during our lesson I felt we should go through the BIQs [Baptismal Interview Questions] to help her see for herself if she’s ready to be baptized or not. And when we got to question two that’s where we found her problem. She still has questions about Joseph Smith which is interesting because she has a pretty solid testimony of the Book of Mormon. So I think we’ll be able to help her out simply enough. (: But yeah.. Today was great! I want so badly to be exactly obedient!

11-19-16 (Saturday)
I saw miracles today! :D First! We finally were able to address Nanay R’s concerns and she said she will be baptized on the 26th! :D It was the best moment of my life when she said yes! Because honestly during our lesson I got a little frustrated because the whole lesson she was testifying to us about she finds all her answers in the Book of Mormon without realizing it! Then she said every time she reads, it talks about baptism and she prays and asks God if that’s an answer. Literally though.. for probably 20 minutes she just testified and shared her experiences, answers, and blessings she’s received because of this gospel. But she doesn’t recognize her feelings and experiences as the answer “Yes! This is all true. Get baptized NOW!” But then something happened, I don’t even know what, and when Sister Buna Cruz asked her if she’ll be baptized on the 26th this coming Saturday she looked at us and said “okay, I will.” YAAASS! I about died! I am so happy she listened to the Spirit and finally said yes! :D
I don't even know.. ;D

Second! As we were walking down the street after one of our lessons, we OYMd [street contacting] these two ladies. They were both super friendly and just great. But one was especially promising and said she’d love for us to come over and that we can teach her whole family. AWESOME!

Then later as I was doing my laundry during lunch I was pondering life and then it just hit me hard. That super awesome and very potential lady has 5 children and lives close to the church. I don’t know if she and her husband are married yet or not, but I have very high hopes! Because if she is.. This could be the family I’ve been looking for ever since my follow-up training when President Deyro told us all to pray to find a married couple with 5 kids that lives close to the church. I truly believe that OYM was the start of a new miracle. (:

11-20-16 (Sunday)
We honestly didn’t do anything today. After church Sister Buna Cruz had a headache so we didn’t go to work till after 5:00. But we did get to go visit Tatay P in the hospital. And boy was that such a bitter sweet experience. It was super great to see how happy and grateful he and Nanay were that we came to visit them. But man... he straight up looked like a shriveled up raisin in this joke of a hospital. It’s still hard for me to see how most people have to live their lives here and know how we live our lives in America.. I just can’t help but think “it’s not fair.”
I don't know why, but every time I see these banners
 I can't help but think of Sadie.
It just reminds me too much of "Bvvvrrrttt." ;D

But today was pretty good all together; especially because we had 11 investigators come to church. :D Most of them aren’t 15 yet so they can’t be baptized without their parents, which sucks, but hopefully we can help their parents start to come to church too. (:


I really want to train again. I want to be able to follow all the rules, even the little simple ones like leave the house at 10:15 and 30 minutes of nightly planning, and not be scared to enforce the “rules”. I want to be the missionary that Christ trusts to give me special assignments in His work. I have 100% learned from my mistakes here in the mission and I see them as blessings now because the change in my heart that I received through the Atonement and repentance process is INSANE. I want so badly to become a true miracle worker because I’m just that close to Christ. (: The drive I have right now is real, and I do not want to lose it! I will not lose it!

Have you seen any crazy wildlife lately? No.. But I did eat crab a couple weeks ago. Like.. real crab. It's freakishly hard tearing apart and eating a crab. And 100% not worth the effort. ;D 

What do kids in the Philippines want to be when they grow up? All kinds of things. I hear seaman and policeman a lot though.

How do the people spend their spare time? And honestly.. They do nothing. They just sit at home or if they want to visit they chill on the side of the street with their friends. 

Photos From Two Great Days

Sisters Buna Cruz, Cabahug, Ikafanga, Reyes, Alversado.

I have nooooo idea what I'm doing.. HAHAH! ;D

I should be on a calendar! ;D


Sister Ikafanga and Sister Alversado
Are you wearing lipstick????!
Yeah.. They made me because I was the only one not wearing makeup..
 
Well, it looks nice.
No.. no.. don't expect it again. (; 



HAPPY ONE MARK TO ME! 


My birthday party. (:
[In the same outfit she entered the MTC in Provo and Manilla]


"HAPPY ONE MARK TO ME!"

11-7-16 (Monday)
JeanKyle
Today was the best! I was my normal happy self for the most of the day. YAAASS! :D I don’t know.. I guess I just tried my best to do whatever Sister Buna Cruz wanted to do so that she would be happier and essentially help me be happier. (Haha! I had to ask Sister Buna Cruz how to spell essentially! ;D There’s something wrong with that. (;) But we both ended up kind of doing what we both wanted to do without really talking about it! So.. that worked out better than I thought it would. (;

Sister Ikafanga
Anyway.. Today in one of our lessons I really tried my best to apply what I learned in zone training this morning. And it was total success! :D I straight up told them that I was going to apply something in our lesson that I just learned earlier today. And they’re like yeah, sure, whatever. That’s cool. So I told them about how as missionaries one of the most important questions an investigator could have is one of the most difficult to answer. And that is “How do I know if I have received an answer from God? How do I know I have felt the Spirit testify to me the truthfulness of the missionary’s lessons?” So! We all read in the restoration pamphlet about how the Spirit testifies in many ways but that they’re all beautiful feelings and/or thoughts. Then we were able to teach them the Word of Wisdom which went great AND THEN as we were wrapping things up and getting ready to commit them to live the word of wisdom I asked them what they felt during our lesson and they answered in a way that it all makes sense and they’re happy. Then we re-read the part in the pamphlet that we started the lesson with then I testified that the Spirit was in our lesson and that I felt it and that I truly believe that their hearts were open and they felt the Spirit too. Then they all committed to live the word of wisdom and be baptized as a family on December 10! BOOM PANES! ;D Life is great. (:

Allen
11-8-16 (Tuesday)
Honestly I thought today was great! I had a ton of fun! I had exchanges here in 100 Islands with Sister Ikafanga from Australia. So, yes. I had the time of my life spending the day with another foreigner that actually speaks English. AAND we’re actually alike so we had a blast while working. (:
  
11-10-16 (Thursday)
So today when we went to teach A and M we had a total blast! When we got all sat down and ready, Sister Buna Cruz and I both realized there were too many little kids that were joining our lesson to be able to have a formal/focused lesson. So we turned it into a Family Home Evening. It was total success! So in our last lesson with them we read some of 1 Nephi 8 so that’s what they’ve been reading on their own the last couple days. So for our lesson we blindfolded M and gave B a chocolate bar to try and convince M to eat what B was trying to feed him while everyone else yelled stuff like “no, no! Don’t eat it! It’s dirty!” or I guess you could say it was more like “Huwag! Wag-wag! Marumi iyan!” (:

But eventually M took a bite and was obviously grateful. (; Then we tied all that to Lehi’s dream and it was just perfect. (: Then we played some games and everyone was just laughing and having a great time then the next thing you know, practically the whole compound is all hanging out with us being amused by the fun all the kids were having. Man.. It was just a great time seeing how happy everyone was. I really hope that broke the ice for some people [so] we’ll be able to teach more people that live by A. (:

11-11-16 (Friday)
HAPPY ONE MARK TO ME! :D We all went over to the Mina’s to cook food for the picnic we planned last week to celebrate my one year mark. I was expecting we would be able to go out and work around 5:30 or 6:00, But no.. of course cooking took 5 years. So we finally got to the 100 Islands Park around 6:30 for our picnic. I really did enjoy our little picnic while we were all eating together. And I got lots of cute pictures. (:
Also! I totally wore the same outfit today that I wore when I entered the MTC on November 11th 2015. (:

Jeankyle's mom and Kim. (: 
11-12-16 (Saturday)
JeanKyle was baptized today! Yeah baby! That’s 3 weeks in a row with a baptism! We’re actually baptizing every week! Success! :D

I also talked to a guy from Washington as he was walking past the church while we were out taking pictures. Turns out he’s a member! He explained how grateful he was that I’m serving a mission and said he was baptized after 24 hours. That’s cool and all, but how and why was that ever allowed! Anyway.. He’s less active because “he doesn’t understand anything anyway.” So I told him he should come and I’d translate for him. He was all like “wait. You go to church here!?” (Uhh.. yes..) “Then I’ll see you again sometime.” Oh man, I sure hope he comes to church tomorrow. (:

ALSO! I forgot to mention JeanKyle’s mom actually came to her baptism! YAASSS! And the members, especially the Relief Society, did a fantastic job at helping her feel loved, missed, and welcomed. I sure hope she felt the Spirit and remembered why she was baptized in the first place, and comes to church tomorrow. That would be true success! I have high hopes/great expectations for tomorrow. I really hope I’m not let down too bad.

11-13-16 (Sunday)

I honestly had a great day. (: I don’t know why or what happened, but I enjoyed life today. Church today was great (and so was the aircon. (;! Even though both the American guy and JeanKyle’s mom missed church.. Sayang.. [alas] But! JeanKyle was confirmed a member today which makes up for that! ;D She’s so cute and just makes me happy. (:
  

"It's helpful with the work being a blonde American in the Philippines"

100 Islands
10-31-16 (Monday)
Today we went to the 100 islands! :D AHH! It was so fun looking at all the cool boats and souvenirs. I’m honestly so excited to actually go to the islands one day. I wish I could go with all my friends, but we all know that’ll never happen. ;) Elder and Sister Jensen actually went to the islands for Elder Jensen’s birthday and said they went zip lining! AHH! I want to go so bad! :D And they said it’s only 250 pesos for about a half a mile long ride! That’s less than $5! AHH! The excitement is real. (: Other than that.. nothing else really happened. 

11-1-16 (Tuesday)
So today we had an early curfew because of All Saints Day so President Deyro said to go out and work at 8:00 and just do studies in the evening. It was kind of a love-hate relationship with that schedule because I just felt off all morning. I didn’t get to read the Book of Mormon before we went out to teach and it just didn’t feel right. But then while studying tonight I was very grateful because I was really able to focus and put in real effort trying to find answers to my questions because I wasn’t sleepy like I always am in the morning. (:
Sister Buna Cruz

But work today was great! We found lots of super potential investigators today; which is great because I’m determined to have two baptisms every week in the month of December. Even though I’m in the tropical Philippines for Christmas again, I WILL have a white Christmas. ;D

Anyway.. my favorite part of the day was companionship study. I know Sister Buna Cruz is having a hard time right now because her mind is on stuff/people at home so I just felt inspired to share my thoughts and feelings of when I was struggling while in my training and just testified that we’re meant to be here and that we have a purpose here. I don’t know exactly what I said but the whole atmosphere of our companionship changed. I think she felt more peace and I felt more love and patience. And honestly.. I even felt a lot better and happier. (: We truly are here to help our companions just as much as everyone else. (:

11-2-16 (Wednesday)
This morning we went to the cemetery to OYM people because that’s what President Deyro said to do.. And I had a really interesting experience. So while Sister Buna Cruz and I were walking through the meydo [pretty] creepy movie perfect cemetery looking for people to talk to, Sister Buna Cruz really was getting creeped out and wanted to leave. But I kept walking and she was like “Where are you going? Can we go?” So I was like “wait, let’s check there to the left.” 

So we walked a little further, turn left, and see a family (which were the first people we saw in a while)! So I asked them “Hey! Have you seen any tombstones around here with the name Santos on it?” (With Alfred and Beth Santos on my mind/excuse to talk to people.) Then they’re like “no” so we just started to talk to them getting ready to OYM them then one of the girls is like “Hey.. This one says Santos.” And I kid you not, I about died. The tombstone this family was standing right in front of while looking at their tombstone was for a Santos family! WHATTTT!? They asked if that was the right one and I said no but we were able to talk to them and give them Plan of Salvation pamphlets and all was great. 

The family is out of our area, which is a bummer, but man.. The way everything ended up going was just too weird and perfect to be a coincidence. I really hope something comes out of that experience for that family. (:

11-3-16 (Thursday)
I honestly don’t even know what happened today. Haha.. I did do weekly planning today which was kind of nice. I felt a lot more accomplished in life since I planned because Sister Buna Cruz isn’t exactly the planning champion. (;

Also! This morning I was just in some kind of blah mood so I kneeled down and prayed for help to cheer up and feel more happy and peaceful in life. And while I was praying one of our neighbors started blasting their music and the song was that “You Raise Me Up” song by Josh Groben and I about died! I couldn’t stop thinking about/remembering growing up and jumping on the tramp and hearing dad sing that song [through the window]. Oh man, it just made me smile that I was able to feel God’s love for me through a cute memory I have of my earthly father. (: Gosh.. I just love my parents. (:

11-4-16 (Friday)
Today I realized I don’t like to do the talking in lessons. I love to ask questions and get to know people and pretty much have them teach themselves and truly figure out what they believe and why. I love getting people to talk about simple truths that they know without even realizing they actually know/have a testimony of a gospel truth. And as they tell me about their life and the things they’ve learned through their life experiences I simply testify of the truthfulness of what they said and tie it to the lesson/gospel principle they need to better know and understand. Honestly I just love getting to know people, especially if they’re super talkative. (: 


But anyway.. D is super excited for her baptism tomorrow and so am I! (: She’s super nervous about having to bear her testimony after though.. Haha, I hope she’ll feel comfortable/brave enough to actually enjoy sharing her testimony.

And also.. We went through the BIQ’s [Baptismal Interview Questions] with J today and she’s all ready for her baptismal interview on Sunday. Yeah baby! We’re doing the work! ;D

11-5-16 (Saturday)
D’s baptism was great! She was so cute and giddy while we waited for people to show up. (: It was good to see how excited she was to be baptized. But as great as her baptismal service was.. I’m pretty disappointed that no one from her family came to support her.. That was just heart breaking to learn that even though her parents are very supportive of her decision.. They don’t really care about it.  Blahh… Her mom’s even a member.. She should have come!


Me, Sister Buna Cruz, Danica,
 Sisters Reyes and Alversado
11-6-16 (Sunday)
Honestly today was exactly what I needed in my life! I was incredibly upbeat and happy all day which was awesome because that’s what I was fasting for.. To simply be happier and enjoy myself/time here in 100 Islands. And I truly did! Haa! And I thought all this time food was what makes me happy in life. ;D Maybe what really makes me happy is aircon.. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was sitting in a building with aircon all day and it’s the happiest I’ve been here in 100 Islands. (; 

Haha Anyway.. Lots of great things happened at church today! First! This couple came to church and no one knew who they were so of course we talked to them to welcome them and turns out they were the daughter and son-in-law of a random lady we OYM’d on Wednesday! Whaaat!? Haha, that just truly made me realize that no effort is wasted. (: They were so cute! They were like “our mom gave us this and told us we should come.” While showing us a pass along card we’ve been handing out with the address and time of church. Man.. That just made me really happy. (: 
Jeankyle. (:

Then! D was confirmed a member and there were two baby blessings all before Sacrament. Ahh, what a great start to my day. (: AAANNND! J passed her interview! YAAASS! We have another baptism! :D I’m super excited! And to make things even better.. We had 11 investigators come to church! Even though I don’t always like it anymore, it’s helpful with the work being a blonde American in the Philippines. (: