Aguilar 2B or Not 2B

February 21, 2016
Sister Cuenca, me, Miller and Ruyeras. 

So.. Once again.. Things have changed on me. I am now only in Aguilar 2A. In the middle of last week President Deyro called Sister Cuenca and I telling us we were having two sisters come live with us again so we could split Aguilar 2 back into two areas. At first I was pretty bummed because I got switched from 2B to 2A so I had to say goodbye to all my investigators for the first time. And the fact that I've had so many things change on me in my first transfer was getting a little frustrating for me. But! Long story short, I LOVE being in Aguilar 2A. 
This is my area.. I'm telling you,
 allllll rice fields.. Haha. 

And.. My new kabahay [roommate] is Sister Miller from Sandy, Utah and Sister Ruyeras the cutest Filipino ever! I LOVE THEM! It's been so fun at night when we're all getting ready for bed. It's also been super nice having Sister Miller help me with my language study because she understands my thought process a lot better than my Filipino companions. The Lord is so mindful. 

It's been such a great experience for me working on the Christlike attribute of humility. I promise you, if we ask in prayer with the intention to ACT upon our answer(s) we WILL receive. Whether it be the help we want or the comfort we need to get through our struggles, we receive the help we desire/need. Halimbawa [For example], we have found 13 new investigators this week because I put more trust in the Lord and was less scared to talk to people in crappy Tagalog. And.. I'm happy to announce that four investigators came to church yesterday and I honestly about died from happiness! That's one of the hardest things to do here is getting people to actually come to church. They may love to listen to the lessons and pray, but they have such a hard time reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. So I was absolutely thrilled to have not only one investigator come to church, but FOUR! Woo! (: 
Sister Miller and I twinning at church yesterday. (; 

Anyway.. Some fun facts for you.. I saw the biggest snake I have ever seen in my entire life last night! No joke it was HUGE! It could be in a zoo. It was about 3 inches in diameter and AT LEAST three feet long! It was so funny though, Sister Cuenca and I both saw it at the exact same time and did the movie perfect freak out. Haha, we both jumped up and down shaking our arms/hands in front of our faces and then ran backwards for five miles. (; Haha, it was super funny. Also.. I have a cold. HOW THE HECK DO YOU GET A COLD WHEN IT'S CONSTANTLY 95 DEGREES OUTSIDE!? Hindi ko alam man.. Hindi ko alam.. (; [I don't know, man.. I don't know]

[Tell us about Aguilar 2A. How big is the area? Is it more town or country] Aguilar 2A is actually less city than 2B. The rice fields are huge! But man, it is so beautiful! 

Mahal kita! :D [I love you!]

P.S. I really am just busy all the time.  I try and write letters and stuff at night before bed, but I never have time.  I have to do language study, write in my journal, tease all the sisters I live with, and shower. ;)  But yes… Its’ getting so dang hot I have to shower at night and in the morning!

Thank you so much for the package! It made me so dang happy! And I LOVE the family calendar [from Nana]

I don't know these people.. they just wanted to take a picture with me because I'm just so dang maganda! [Beautiful] (; Haha, joke laaaaang! 

Alejandra (the one in the pink square type pattern shirt) is a new investigator that came to church. (:

This cute boy has down syndrome and likes to join in our lessons a lot when we're working near his house. I have no idea what his name is, but here's a cute picture of him. Haha. (;  

Aguilar 2B, and Now Aguilar 2A, Too!

P-Day means laundry day
February 15, 2016

So! Today is my first official day of my second transfer! WOOO! :D I'm still with Sister Cuenca (which was a given), and I am SO grateful for that! I love her. Having her as my companion makes my mission just as I always imagined it being. I am so grateful for her and her obedient example. I guess my whole experience on my mission so far has helped me to realize that I can't just ignore impressions because I'm new and don't really know how to do everything yet. But I am now learning that I need to trust myself and my impressions as well. 
Pumping water

Anyway.. Sister Cuenca and I are still in Aguilar 2B, but we actually now have 2A as well.. Yikes! Haha. Our area is HUUUUUGE now! It was huge before, but now it's HUUUUUGE! And I actually love it! There's just that many more people I can help come unto Christ. (: 

Also! Sister Cuenca and I had two baptisms this week! Woo! Yeah baby! :D Luzviminda and  Richard! Their baptisms were absolutely amazing! It's such a rewarding feeling knowing that I was able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary for two more of my brothers and sisters. 

On Friday, the night before Luzviminda's baptism she told me in perfect English (which was a total surprise because she never talked to me in English before) that she was so excited for baptism because it's what opens the gate for her to go to the Celestial Kingdom. When she said that I about died! Man, shes's got life figured out; and her testimony of the Book of Mormon is rock solid. She always talked about how the Book of Mormon is the reason she knew everything we taught her was true. She's the best. (: 
Our kitchen and backyard

And Richard is too, I just don't know him very well because he just had to be re-baptized because he didn't have a baptismal record; so we didn't have to teach him since he's been an active member his whole life. But! I'd say their gift of the Holy Ghost was the best Valentine's gift they could ever receive. (; 

Life is SOOOOO good! I love you all so much! :D

Sister Cuenca, me, Luzviminda, Demi Moore (investigator), Lareina, Maricar (Luzviminda's daughter), Myra Fe

Luzviminda and Richard's baptism

Hello Po! Sister Cuenca!

Sister Cuenca
February 7, 2016

Friday, Feb. 5, was sooo fun!  I absolutely LOVE Sister Naua!  I honestly hope she can be my Kasama one day.  So..I’ll just get to the point.  I had the funniest experience of my entire life today! ;D No joke, I about died five times from laughing so hard!  So!  Earlier in the day, Sister Naua was telling me to wave at everyone to get their attention so we could OYM them [Open Your Mouth]. It was all fun and games until it actually started working!  So as we were walking past this man, kind of on the side of the road, doing the famous Filipino stance, I waved and yelled “Hello po!”  As I said hello, SO many things happened!  First!  The guy looked at me with complete disgust. Second!  Sister Naua laughingly yelled “What the heck!?” at me.  And third!  I looked more closely at the man and saw his bare butt!  OH MY GOSH! The man was NOT doing the Filipino stance!  We was squatting down pooping! Hahahaha! I yelled and waved at this guy all while he was trying to poop! :D  WHAT ARE THE ODDS!? :D  Oh my gosh, Sister Naua and I both cried for 10-minutes laughing so hard!  And to make it all better!  Just before all this, Sister Naua was recording me because it was super windy and I had to walk funny to keep my skirt down.  AND!  In the background of the video you can see the guy pull down his pants and squat down! :D Oh my gosh!  I cannot believe how that all happened!  So funny :D  I guess that’s what I get for trying to OYM! ;D
Sister Piutau. This was in Urdaneta when
we had follow up training this week. (: 
[Tell us all about your new companion!] So! Sister Cuenca [pronounced kweng kuh] is literally the best missionary on the planet earth! I LOOOOOVE HER! Words cannot express how grateful I am for her. She's so uplifting, crazy fun, and diligent. She's just the whole package; no joke she's a professional. So professional that she was an STL [Sister Training Leader] for SIX months and is also going home in March. I have a Sister that's a former STL AND is training me for her last transfer on her mission. I'm honestly SO blessed to have Sister Cuenca as my new trainer! The best thing about her though is her desire to work. We work SO hard now. There is never a moment wasted with her which I am SO grateful for. Having Sister Cuenca as my new companion makes mission life exactly how I always imagined it being. Life is SOOOO good! 

[With a new companion in the area, does she rely on you to get around town? Meet people?] And yes! Since she's new to the area I now lead the area. I actually love being able to show her around the area and meet everyone, because it makes me feel less like a trainee. I feel like I'm actually helpful and have a say in things. 

Elder and Sister Jensen. Sister Ortega and her new companion Sister Alfonoso. Sister Ming (standing in the back) Sister Latorre, Sister Dariano (yellow) (Branch President's wife), and sister Linda Estrada (a recent convert) (the T-shirt in the front) and I don't know the kids names. 

[How big is Aguilar?] Aguilar is actually probably just a little smaller than the size of Menan, ID. It's a fairly large area, which are mostly farms, with not a whole lot of people. 

[How's that turning point?  You still in the zone?] I'm definitely and 100% still in the zone. I LOVE MY LIFE! Missionary work truly brings happiness that cannot be felt any other way; the way to not get homesick, not feel like a failure, and stay happy is to just work. Work, work, work. Work is always the answer. Whenever people get sick most people say to just drink more water and it'll solve the problem. Well.. They're wrong. Water is not the answer. It's work. (; 
Sister Ortega, Latorre, Alfonso,
 Nanay Linda Villanueva

With the hard work Sister Cuenca and I have been doing we now have 8 new investigators this week! :D Also.. I'm happy to announce that on Saturday I will have 2 baptisms! :D Luzviminda made it to church for her fourth time in a row and passed her baptismal interview with flying colors (according to my District Leader Elder Smith). I cannot express how happy I am for Luzviminda! There's no greater feeling than seeing the difference in someone's smile when they accept and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Also.. Richard, a 16 year old, will be baptized on Saturday as well.. I know, I know. You're all probably thinking "who the heck is Richard and why haven't you told us about him before!?" Well.. Here's why. I just met him on Saturday. Haha. I guess Richard went to get a temple recommend and they found out that he doesn't have a Baptism and Confirmation Record. I'm not entirely sure how it was lost or if they ever even did make a BCR for him, but.. I now get an extra baptism this week even though he's been a member his whole life which is kind of cool. Even though it's a messed up situation and Richard was kind of upset about all of this, I was able to help him realize that everything happens for a reason and that this experience will help him with a future experience later on in life. Everything truly does happen for a reason. I promise you that. 

[What do you do on your p-day's.] For P-Days.. I do laundry.. Yeah, that's about it. It's a hard life having to spend my one day to play and have fun doing stupid laundry.. Haha, no joke that's about all we do. We do laundry, go grocery shopping, email home, and if we're not poor we eat out for lunch. (; PERO! MABUTI ANG BUHAY! :D Mahal ko kayo lahat! [But its the good life! I love you all!]
MyraFe, Sister Alfonso, Sack (green),
Genesis (red),  Sister Ortega (pink)

[In a letter Kelsey writes to her dad she says] “God is SOOO merciful!  The generosity He shows because of the temple work we are blessed to be able to do!  Never take for granted the amount of temples you have all around you.  The closest one for the people here is in Manila which is not only hours away, but A TON of money for most of these people to go!  Along with all that…I’ve noticed that the recent converts and less-actives I’ve taught don’t really know anything about the temple.  Why aren’t missionaries elaborating the importance of going to the temple!?  I feel like no one teaches lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel very well; And I don’t know why..!  Because for me, I cannot wait to talk more with Luzviminda about how she can do temple work and be sealed to her husband even though he’s passed away!  Pretty much…tell the Pocatello missionaries to stress the importance of going to the temple within a year after they’re baptized!”

I Finally Hit My Turning Point!

January 31, 2016

So..Let me get you more caught up on my life as a missionary in the Urdaneta Philippines mission, Aguilar 2B area.  I’ll start with life “sa bahay” (at the house).  

[Do you have running water?  How do you shower/bathe?] Yes I have running water, but.. It is not purified.  The first 3 weeks we had to go buy 5-gallon purified water jugs because one of the sisters threw the filter away.  I’m not exactly sure why but I guess she thought it was broken. Anyway, Elder Lind, being the kind Zone Leader he is, gave us his water filter when he and Elder Raguin came over to do apartment checks.  We do have a water pump thing too though, but we don’t use it.  

We also have a normal shower, kind of.  Haha. We pretty much have to shower while standing on the toilet.  There’s not much of a division between the shower and the toilet, but oh well at least the toilet is always clean! (; The water is also freezing!  I don’t know how since it’s a million degrees outside, but it takes me about 5 minutes just to talk myself into getting my whole body wet because it’s SO COLD!  But of course when it comes to drinking the water it’s not cold at all. I swear there’s no winning here! (;

Okay, that’s enough about water.  Haha.  Lets talk about food now. 

[How often do you eat at home? What do you prepare/eat?] So! After being told to make the rice for dinner one time…lets just say I haven’t been asked to make it again. ;D Apparently they like their rice white.  Haha!  Who knew!? (; Needless to say, I got fired from cooking duty.  Now I am a full-time dishwasher! (; I’m going to have biceps the size of dad’s when I come home from all the things I need to do by hand now.  With that said, moms be grateful you can just put your clothes in a machine and they come out clean.  It’s a hard life now being a machine! (;

Anyway.. I have some AWESOME news! I finally hit my turning point!  So..what does that mean?  It means I’m finally my normal happy self again!  Now with that said… Yes the first three weeks of being in the mission field were quite miserable.  I had the hardest time adjusting to the culture here.  It’s literally so opposite to life in America it’s even to the point there’s more left-handed people than right handed…I’m pretty much an alien here. (; But lucky for me Filipinos love American aliens!  Haha!  

I’ve also learned that Filipinos don’t like sour things.  Just a side note for you. Haha.  I don’t know why but they don’t.  

Anyway!  When I first got to my area I had no idea what I was doing (and lets be honest, I still don’t).  It was so frustrating for me having to learn sooo many new things all at once.  AND in a language I don’t understand or speak.  It’s hard for me to learn how to start a lesson and gain the skills to discern needs and build a relationship with people when I can’t understand anything.  I still don’t know how to start the actual lesson after we do all the “How to Begin Teaching”, “Build the Relationship”, follow up and things like that.  But I’m getting better.  But the first couple weeks I was so focused on myself.  All I could think about was how bad I am at everything, and my Kasama [companion?] doesn’t help with that very well either.  Even when we would get done with a lesson that I thought I did pretty good at, Sister Latorre would just tell me I don’t smile enough or make enough eye contact and that the scripture I shared she didn’t like.  Ouch.  I’m sure her bluntness will help me in the long run, but I could have really used a lot more encouragement when I was having a hard time.  With everything being shoved in my face all at once I just felt like my best was never good enough.  It got to the point that I liked getting punted so I didn’t have to feel bad about how bad I am at teaching, let alone in Tagalog. 

Pero! [But!] On January 26, 2016 something just clicked.  I don’t know what happened/changed or how it happened but I learned something of great importance.  It’s not about me.  None of this is about me.  I am here to help others take the first few steps to receive Eternal Life.  I am here to help OTHERS find eternal happiness!  Why the heck was I focusing on myself!?  None of this work is about me!  It is my promise and testimony that when we focus on others and their needs, we forget all about our problems; our emotional burdens are lifted and we find true happiness in serving others.  

Also last night Sister Latorre and I got a phone call from Elder Sabiano, an AP, and he told us we're having an emergency transfer.. WHAT!? I've only been in the mission field for a month which is less than one transfer and I have had to send home two Sisters I lived with, be in a tripanionship, and now be in an emergency transfer and get a new trainer. I honestly didn't expect any of this to happen to me let alone all in my first month. Yikes. 

I do get to stay in my same area though which I am SOOO thankful for! And luckily I'm a genius and saw on my missionary portal who my new companion is and I actually know who she is. Her name is Sister Cuenca and when I met her I thought she was a lot of fun! She lives in Manat with the STL's [Sister Training Leaders] so I met her when I went on exchanges there. She's Filipino and I'll actually be "killing" her after she's done training me. (Of course I'll be sending home ANOTHER Sister. Haha.) I'll write you more about her when I actually know stuff about her. But she will be my new companion later tonight. 

Life is SOOO good mom and dad! I'm finally my normal happy self again! :DDDDD 

And food.. I actually eat intestines a lot.. And I don't like to admit it, but I like them.. I think it's because It's finally a new texture to eat. I've also had to eat pig blood which was today actually. What's sad is I had no idea.. I thought it was like ground pork or something. NOPE! After I finished my plate of it they all told me what it was. Once again I was disgusted with myself because I actually enjoyed it. My father has given me a curse of liking food no matter what it is. ;D Sometimes I'm very grateful I can't taste anymore. (; 

[Did you cook last Monday for FHE?  What did you cook?] And yes, I did make dinner last Monday for the Villenueva Family. I ended up making American spaghetti because the stores here don't have sour creme or really any of the ingredients I needed to make beef stroganoff and no one has an oven so I couldn't make lasagna. But everyone liked my spaghetti which made me feel good. (: 

[How is the dizziness?  You still taking Betahistine?] Yes I am still dizzy, but it's less often throughout the day. And no I don't take medicine anymore. The dizziness doesn't bother me very often, but when it first started I was concerned because of my head injury. No problems though so don't worry. (: 

Also this Sunday was AWESOME! We had three Less Active Members that Sister Latorre and I visited come to church for the first time in years! We also got to work with Elder and Sister Jensen, from Nevada, to help us reactivate some more less actives. In Aguilar 2nd Branch only 16% of the members are active.. It's my goal to reactivate all these families, baptize the part member families, and make it be Aguilar 2nd WARD. It's going to happen, just you wait! (: Also Luzviminda came to church again so she will have her baptismal interview on Saturday! :D She also brought her daughter Maurice with her that came up from Manila for the weekend! Maurice is a 21-year old teacher down in Manila, but will be moving back to Aguilar in March and you bet your butt I'll be all over that opportunity to teach her when she moves back up here! I was able to giver her an Aklat Ni Mormon and she was really excited to read it. (: Man, I'm so so happy Luzviminda has found the happiness that comes from the gospel and wants to share it with her family. Life is SO good. (: 

I love you guys a lot!