Tebag Boys and Girls

6-20-16 (Monday)
I finally did my laundry… There’s nothing worse than spending your p-day doing laundry… It’s my new goal to do laundry more than once a month. ;)

Anyway, today was great! I loved emailing today because I just talked to Brayden the whole time. I sure do love that we have always been so close. He has a big role in my conversion to the gospel and Christ. 

Also… President replied to my letter from last week and he made me feel really good. He said he can really see my spiritual progression and that I’m starting to sound like an apostle’s wife. That’s probably the greatest compliment I could ever receive. I really do believe I’m becoming more and more like the person I should be. My biggest struggle though is I’m not assertive. I’m really bad at telling people what to do. 

6-21-16 (Tuesday)
Today was absolutely wonderful! We had probably the best lesson on my mission so far. It was just perfect and happy in every way. We taught P and K the second half of the Plan of Salvation. It was such a happy lesson to share with them because I knew P’s wife died of cancer. I was able to share the happy truth that his wife is no longer in pain and will have a perfect body free from pain when her spirit and body are reunited. Oh man, he just ate that up. He LOVED the idea of that! And then K asked where her two kids are that died as babies. I was so excited to answer that because 1.) It was to testify that she has the chance to be with them forever and actually get to know them even though they died so soon, and (2.) I actually studied Moroni chapter 8 ALL week last week in personal study which is all about how little children are saved by the mercy and grace of Christ. She loved the idea of being able to be with her little babies again. It was such a happy lesson, it really was. The gospel and doctrine of Christ truly has the answers to ALL of life’s questions and when we study the doctrine of Christ our mouths truly are filled. :) 

Luzviminda (red), Sister Alpino (green), Alejandra, and Susan (behind me)

And… on a lighter note… I let Sister Arquiola do my make up tonight for fun and that was a horrible idea. Now she wants me to wear makeup all the time. NOOO! I honestly think I look insane, but they all think I look like a babe. Even if it’s true… I hate wearing makeup and I’ll stick to my natural beauty for now. ;)

6-23-16 (Thursday)
Today was great! Tatay P finally accepted a baptismal date after we asked him 500 times. There really is power that comes from attending church. His heart has become so soft and hopeful. It’s been such a great experience for me to see the power and hope our message brings to people’s lives. Tatay just LOVES that he can be with his wife again. He really loves her… His eyes tear up when he talks about being with her again. It honestly is the sweetest thing ever. 

Today, while teaching him about temple work, was the day I truly came to know just how important it is and how merciful and loving of a gift it is for every single person; alive or dead. This gospel is perfect. God is perfect. And He truly loves us perfectly. If we just open our eyes and hearts we can gain a better understanding of just how perfectly loving and caring God really is. :) I’m grateful I’ll one day get to know Grandpa Fivas and Grandpa Palmer. I’m excited to know what they’re like. :)

6-24-16 (Friday)
Today I watched Marion and Johnson kill a chicken, then helped them defeather it. It was actually super fun! I was a little scared to help them, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Then I watched Marlon chop it up and a couple hours later I ate it… Haha! I’m a monster! ;D

Honestly I LOVE teaching all these boys and girls here in Tebag [Tebag is a barangay. Like.. A neighborhood. It's actually the barangay I live in]. It’s been SO FUN teaching them in groups and SO HELPFUL because they’re all friends so they fellowship each other; which is good because we don’t usually have members work with us. We’ve had two lessons with a member present all week… I don’t think the members here understand how important it is for them to help fellowship our investigators. But anyway… I LOVE teaching all these people here in Tebag! Like… We’re best friends. I’d totally just hangout with them if I could. But because we’re all such good friends now, sometimes it’s hard to keep our lessons spiritual. I just want to make sure they’re not converted to Sister Alpino and I… They need to be converted to Christ and His doctrine so that when we get transferred they will come to church. But! I do think that because we’re such good friends they all see that you can be religious and a normal person that likes to have fun and joke around at the same time. They are all keeping their commitments and taking the steps to live the Word of Wisdom! I’m just excited to see how things end up for them. :)

Investigators! :D George (wearing black), Wendell (super skinny), Jennifer (dark blue), Julieanne (face only), Bibi (gray), Roshelle (flowery dress in front of Julie) and other kids from Tebag that aren't yet 8. (;
6-25-16 (Saturday)
Today was a lot of fun. I’m not entirely sure why, but it was just a fun happy day. :) I finally got to meet D’s parents today. I’ve been teaching him for 5 months now and I’ve never even seen them before. His parents are super beautiful… I now understand why D is so attractive. ;D 

Also! I’m pretty sure my dreams are in Tagalog now… WOO! I just remember waking up suddenly and remembering that in my mind I was trying to figure out how to say something in Tagalog. I feel like that’s the greatest accomplishment of my life. ;)

We also got to go to Sister Miller and Sister Arquiola’s baptism for Brother Boyet. We’re not allowed to go to other missionary’s baptisms unless we have an investigator come with us. Luckily G and J are the best and made 3 of our other investigators come with them. So we were more than allowed to go to Brother Boyet’s baptism; which I am so happy about because he was my investigator when I was with Sister Cuenca. :) I’m so happy he finally made the choice to be baptized and join the church he knows to be true. :) Life’s great!

I successfully survived another transfer and will officially be in my first area till I’m 8 days away from my 9 month mark. I’ll be in my first area for half my mission! ;D It’s a good thing I love it here! ;)

6-26-16 (Sunday)
Today actually went by super fast! I used to hate Sundays, but now I really enjoy church and the different meetings we have on Sundays. But I’m sure I enjoy them so much lately because we have lots of investigators that come to church now. :) We had 8 investigators come to church again! Woo baby! I’m absolutely LOVING life with Sister Alpino in Aguilar 2B! Work this transfer has just been so fulfilling! Ang ganda ng buhay! [Life is beautiful!] ;) 

Anyway… so we taught this one boy at church today because we’ve always talked to him on the street with all the other Tebag boys, but had never taught him before. I only knew him by 187. That’s just the name all his friends call him, so that’s what I’ve always known him as. But I found out his name is really Wendell. ;D For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like calling him Wendell, but I finally figured it out. It’s because it reminds me of the evil monster on Monster’s Inc. named Randal! Haha! I’ll stick with calling him 187. ;D

The Power of Testimony and Prayer

6-13-16 (Monday)
I just really enjoyed today. We had a Zone activity today, because Elder Garate goes home this Sunday, so we were able to have our big zone party with him. It’s going to be weird not having him around anymore. He’s the only one left in my District from when I first got to the mission field. I guess I really have been here in Aguilar for a long time.. But even though Elder Garate is leaving it’s all good because I’ve still got Sister Miller here. I really hope she doesn’t get transferred.. I’d get so bored at home without her. She’s definitely my best friend in the mission. 

And for the sad news of the day.. We saw J and asked if we could share with him and he was his normal excited self and said yes. So we followed him to his house, and his older sister came out telling us to not come back anymore. Apparently their Aunt in America doesn’t want them to become Mormon. I don’t know if that’s really why they don’t want us to teach them or not, but I’m pretty bummed. I really was excited for them to be baptized. Especially J.. He was so accepting and ready for the gospel. I guess now just isn’t his time. Hopefully when he’s older and doesn’t need parental permission he’ll be able and willing to accept the gospel again. But.. On the bright side, we were able to teach all the other boys and even some new ones, even without J and J. It’s crazy how happy you can get, after just having your heart broken through diligent missionary work. The secret to missionary work is work. I know that to be true. I live it and experience it every single day. (:

Sisters Miller, Arquiola, Alpino, ako
6-19-16 (Tuesday)
Today I saw a firefly for the first time in my entire life! Oh my word, it was so cool! It was so pretty! It was pretty funny though, because I saw it flying around with it’s cute little blinking flashlight bum and I saw it when we were singing our opening hymn for a lesson. I was so excited to see it that I stopped singing without realizing and Den noticed/figured out what was happening so he jumped up and caught it for me. Then he opened his hands to let me see it up close but it flew away too fast. But it was so fun! I couldn’t stop thinking about my Raymond [Dad] back at home. (: I’ll always be Raymond’s Evangeline! [A reference to Disney's The Princess and The Frog movie] Yeah.. Other than that, nothing really note worthy happened today. (;

6-15-16 (Wednesday)
Today was a fun happy day. It was just a normal day, but it was a very successful happy day. (: I’d say the best part was our lesson with M. He was so excited that we came to see him because he was so excited to tell us that he hasn’t drank or smoked since the night we went to see him and he was drinking. It was just a very uplifting lesson for me to see how sorry he really is for drinking. It really uplifted my spirits. It was nice to have a good happy, fun, and spiritual lesson with him to help cheer us all up. He just really means a lot to me and I would do anything to help him find and understand the happiness I have because I am a member of Christ’s Church.

6-16-16 (Thursday)
Today Sister Alpino and I went to Urdaneta for New Missionary Follow-up Training. It was a lot of fun. Mostly because I got to spend most of the day riding a bus.. That’s still my favorite thing to do here. (: It was also pretty fun to be able to say goodbye to Elder McBride. Even though we weren’t really friends in high school, I still loved that I got to see someone from home so often while on my mission. And Sister Naua’s leaving too.. I’m going to miss her a lot! Most of my favorite experiences on my mission so far were with her. She’s just so fun to be around! 

Anyway.. We only had one lesson today because we traveled to and from Urdaneta all day. I love getting to travel like that, but it would have been better if we didn’t have to wake up at 4:30. (;  We all know how much I like my sleep. (; But one thing I did learn today is how much I like to tease the boys here. I was having so much fun on the bus today. I mean, it’s not unusual to have boys stare at me or do double-takes here, because I’m white. But today when they would do that as we were driving by them I’d just smile and raise my eyebrows at them and sometimes even wave.. Their reactions were the best! My favorite was when it was a group of friends and I’d make eye contact with one boy and he’d hit his friends and point at me. I’m going to hate going back to America because I won’t be a celebrity anymore. ;D

Sister Alpino, A, J, G, ako [me]
6-17-17 (Friday)
Our lessons today were so powerful! I really enjoyed the Spirit we felt in our lessons. I’m starting to realize just how powerful it is to share a personal experience for an example or how I came to know something. It really helps people understand that I was in their situation at one point and I had to take the steps that I’m asking them to take. And because I took those steps and leaps of faith.. I came to know the truth. And if I was able to gain a testimony of this Church, they can too. It just helps people understand better when they realize that I’m a normal person too, and that just because I’m a missionary doesn’t mean I didn’t have a normal life just like them before. Plus.. Bearing testimony during a lesson ALWAYS strengthens that testimony. When you bear a testimony in an environment with the Spirit that strong, the Spirit also testifies to yourself that what you’re saying is 100% true. 

Also! M is the best! He hasn’t smoked or drank since last Saturday! Woo baby! :D And… In our lesson he bore such a powerful testimony of prayer. Oh man, he makes me so happy!

6-18-16 (Saturday)
Today ended up being a good fun day! Mostly because J sat in our lesson with G and R. I LOVE J! He’s literally the best! I asked him if he still reads the Book of Mormon even though we’re not really allowed to teach him anymore and he said yes. Woo baby! I asked him where he’s at and he said he’s in Alma 41 now, so I asked what he liked about what he read and he talked about how we’ll all be resurrected. Oh my word, that made me so happy 1.) because he actually understands what he reads and (2). Because I actually knew what Alma 40 is about so I knew he understood correctly. (;  Then at the end when we were giving them commitments I told J he could still come to church, even though he isn’t allowed to be baptized, if his grandma will let him do that. Then later when we came home for the night, J ran up to us saying “I have good news! My lola said I can go to church tomorrow!” I honestly don’t think I’ve been so happy in my life 1.) Because he can come to church and (2.) Because he was so happy that he’s allowed to come to church tomorrow. And to make it all better, when he prayed in our lesson he prayed that he would get permission to come to church.. I hope he better understands and realizes the power of prayer. Because I sure do! (:

6-19-16 (Sunday)
I’ve honestly gotten to the point I don’t like writing in my journal anymore… After nightly planning I just wish I could be done for the night, but nooo.. I have to write in my journal, make dinner, do laundry, and obviously get ready for bed. It’s a good thing we have an early curfew.. (; But.. Lets be honest, most of the time I just write in my journal and get ready for bed. I really do need to do my laundry though.. My outfits are getting to the point they don’t really match anymore. (; 

Anyway.. Today was pretty dang awesome! Nanay Alejandra was confirmed AND we had NINE investigators come to church! 9 investigators! Oh my word, I was so happy! There’s nothing better than seeing the fruit of your labors. (: I love the people I teach so much. It just makes me really excited to see how much more I will love teaching and getting to know people when I can actually have a normal conversation with them. (;

This is the hardest part of missionary work.. Loving people too much.

6-6-16 (Monday)
I got my hair trimmed today.. Not going to lie I was pretty dang scared. But it all worked out and my hair looks pretty again. (: I also bought a basketball today so we can play in the morning for exercise. Hopefully Sister Alpino will actually enjoy playing so I can play often. (:

We also got to teach J and J’s oldest brother today which was a total surprise and blessing. We’ve always invited him to join in our lessons but he never does. Anyway.. so we were teaching J and M out in the front of Johnathan’s house but then it started getting dark so they asked if we could move to the porch to have more light, then they were like.. Nah, we don’t like it here either. So.. we just went inside because D was like.. Guys! Just come inside. So we moved inside to the family room and as we were sitting down D pulls up his chair and joined the lesson! Yeah baby! :D He was so awesome! He was so commentive and would make sure he understood things right. He even started talking about how Sunday is the Lord’s day and a day of rest because Christ created the world in 6 days then rested on the 7th. Oh my word, that made me so dang happy to know he realizes the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. He even accepted his baptismal date for July 30 which makes me super happy. Hopefully he continues to listen to us and be acceptive to the Spirit. 

And.. My funny line of the day was pretty good today. (: I was helping Sister Alpino with her laundry and she handed me a shirt to hang up and no joke it was tiny! The first thing that came out of my mouth was “Dang! I’m pretty sure my build-a-bear has bigger shirts than this!” Haha, I was pretty proud of that line of the day. (;

6-7-16 (Tuesday)
Today was such a fun day! It even started off super great because I got to actually run around and play basketball for exercise this morning. No joke I was so excited to play I woke up at 6:00 and couldn’t fall back asleep. I guess I really do miss my high school basketball days. 

Nothing really noteworthy happened today.. But I did realize today how much I really do love being a member of Christ’s church, and knowing/understanding His gospel and doctrine. I’ve reached the point in my mission that I truly just want people to understand the importance of religion and being part of the TRUE church. 

Alejandra’s baptism is this week and I am SO excited, and noon [then] that was the only thing I would be thinking about all week. But.. I honestly just can’t stop thinking about how I can help all of my other investigators be more converted to Christ and understand the importance of our message. I just want people to find the happiness they are looking for. Whether they realize it or not, all these people are looking for the happy message we as missionaries are trying to share. I truly love this gospel and church. I want everyone to accept our message so baaaaaad! I love sharing the gospel, I really do. Even when people reject us and break my heart.. I’m still the happiest I’ve ever been. (:

6-8-16 (Wednesday)
Today was super different for me emotionally. I just kept getting heart broken by everything that was happening with the people we are teaching. Like we went to see M and he’s been one of my favorites from day one. He wants to be baptized so bad, but he’s still having a hard time overcoming his smoking addiction. I just love him so much and want to help him quit so dang bad! I just know how hard it is to overcome and addition, but I do know it’s possible and sooo worth it! I just love these people so much and it breaks my heart seeing them struggle.  It’s hard to see people’s families falling apart when I’m doing everything I can to help them be together forever but they just won’t accept the gospel message I am here trying to share. 

And.. It sucks that I can’t go play basketball in the morning for exercise because my companion doesn’t want to.  It’s stupid because when we just do exercise here, we sit around and “stretch” for exercise.. 

But on the bright side, J is the best and already read all of 1 Nephi 17 which is 55 verses before the end of the day. He’s so cute. We saw him, M, and C as we were opening our gate and when Sister Alpino told them to go read the Book of Mormon J said he already did and started telling us all about Nephi’s family. It made me pretty dang happy! He really is the best! I hope these guys stay this awesome even when school starts again.

6-9-16 (Thursday)
Today it rained pretty hard. I like when it rains, I really do. Even though it’s kind of annoying, I still think it’s fun. I really enjoyed today! It wasn’t the most wonderful day for missionary work, but it was still a fun successful day. Especially because this morning we texted M reminding him not to smoke and that we know he is strong enough to resist the temptation. And then later sa hapon [In the afternoon] he texted us saying he hasn’t smoked and how happy and grateful he is for our support. Oh my word, I just love him! I really hope he can continue to resist the temptation. Alam ko na kaya niya iyan! (: [I know that he can!] 

6-10-16 (Friday)
Today was probably the most heart breaking day of my life. Even though today was actually pretty great, and I mean I’m perfectly fine and happy now, but for a couple hours I was pretty down. After teaching J, J, M, and G about the Word of Wisdom, when I asked J if he would stop drinking coffee he’s like “probably not.” So I pointed out that before they can be baptized they have to live the Word of Wisdom. Then.. I asked him again if he would stop drinking coffee so he can prepare for his baptism and he just said “ayaw ko” [“I don’t want to”] while shrugging his shoulders. I’m not joking, when he said that I literally felt my heart break. After I could finally breathe again I asked why and he just said he doesn’t want to be baptized… We aren’t even dating and he literally broke my heart! He says he still wants us to come over and loves our lessons, but he doesn’t want to be baptized because his lola [grandmother] doesn’t want him to leave the Catholic church. It made it even worse that I couldn’t talk to him like I wanted to because I still can’t speak Tagalog. AHH! But then when I asked them all if they were going to come to church on Sunday they all nodded their heads and said yes. Hopefully he’ll keep coming to church.. 

Anyway.. I was pretty heart broken for a couple hours after that, but I cheered up a lot because M texted us and said he didn’t smoke today! Woo! That’s two days in a row now. I’m proud of him. (:

6-11-16 (Saturday)
Today was completely full of ups and downs. Oh my word, it was insane how often I went up and down emotionally. But luckily I cheered up when we started working and 3 of our new investigators accepted their baptismal date. 

Then Sister Alpino and I came back for lunch and 12 weeks training which was great. But while watching some of The District videos it made me remember how different the members are in America and here. People’s lifestyles are just so different here so it’s harder to have the member missionary work/help. All-in-all, it’s just not as organized here like it is in America. Maybe just because it’s a branch and not a ward. I don’t know. But! My thoughts and feelings were kind of verified when Sister Alpino and I showed up at the church for Nanay Alejandra’s baptism.. 

When we first got there I was so excited to see that Nanay’s grandson J actually was staying to watch her baptism! He always just drops Nanay off and leaves or when we’re teaching Nanay he never joins (and I personally have been teaching her since January). But yesterday I asked if he was going to watch Nanay’s baptism and he said he would if he wasn’t busy. So I was pretty dang happy he stayed to support Nanay. 

Sister Alpino, Alejandra, J, ako. 
But then when we all walked into the church it was insane! It was about 3:45 and NOTHING was prepared for her baptism! NOTHING! Her baptism was supposed to start at 4:00! It was insane, I’m telling you. The other branch was having some kind of activity and we all know how ward activity/party things are. They’re not the most reverent or spiritual. Anyway.. so at about 3:50 we start to fill up the font.. Luckily it doesn’t take hours like it does when dad always had to fill the font because 1). There’s no water heater and (2). It’s so hot here we want the water cold. (; So after we started filling the font we went around trying to find a jumpsuit for Nanay but we couldn’t find one because there were NO priesthood holders from our branch at the church yet! What the heck! Her baptism was supposed to start like 10 minutes ago! But when I saw President Villanueva from branch 1, I asked him if he knew where the clothes were and luckily he was able to help us with that.

So we got Nanay all dressed and more people showed up, but we ended up having to sit around for over an hour waiting for someone to show up that could preside. Finally our D was able to show up at about 5:30! Her baptism was supposed to start at 4:00! It was super awesome that she was baptized and all but I was so frustrated at how unorganized everything was and simply just was not a beautiful experience. We always talk about and teach how wonderful and sacred baptism is, but today it was just a complete train wreck. I hope her grandson doesn’t think our church is a joke from his first experience at the church. But I do think he had a good time and enjoyed seeing that we’re normal people that like to visit and joke around with each other. And even though it was crazy for me trying to get everything together, it was all worth it because Alejandra was baptized and her testimony afterwards was complete spiritual power. 

Then after her baptism I was all excited to go work again and teach M, because I was so excited to tell him how proud I am of him for not smoking in a couple days, but when we got there.. He was drinking with his friends.. Once again, my heart was broken. He did say he was sorry and that he’s going to come to church tomorrow (which is great!), but my heart was just so sad. This is the hardest part of missionary work.. Loving people too much. 

So.. After M’s it was time to head home. We got home and unlocked the gate and door. But when we opened the door, all the drawers in our desks were opened, the stuff on the desks were all a mess, our chairs were knocked over, and all the same in the other room where the other sisters study. Oh my word, I was so freaked out. I was like “someone was in here.” But it was crazy because we unlocked the gate and the door ourselves, so I was freaked out how someone could get in. 

Then M and J knock on our gate to give me back my basketball I let them use today, so we ask them if they saw anything or anyone come in and they said no. So Sister Alpino and I were kind of freaking out a bit and then Sister Alpino sees through the window that someone is still in the house! So I’m straight up worried, I didn’t know what to do. And we’re by the gate with M, and J runs to go get his older brother and stays with us to make sure we’re safe. And he’s like “let me go in and check it out for you.” And Sister Alpino was like “no, that’s bawal [taboo, against the rules].” (Good for her because in that situation I didn’t care, I was so scared!) Then Sister Alpino and M see someone move through the window again, and then the front door opens and freaking Sister Arquiola jumps out yelling “Gotcha!” Oh my word, I’ve never freaked out and screamed that bad in my life! Then once I realized it was Sister Arquiola I died! Oh my word, I laughed so dang hard! Sister Miller and Sister Arquiola got Sister Alpino and I sooo good! Once my heart rate finally went back to normal I was honestly just so impressed with that prank! It was honestly just pure genius. ;D And what makes it even better is how worried M and J were for us. They’re so cute. It’s nice to know they’ve got our backs. (; That prank was the perfect way to cheer me up and end the day as happy as ever. I’m glad I have such fun kabahay [roommates]. (:

6-12-16 (Sunday)
Today ended up being pretty good. Sister Alejandra didn’t come to church so she obviously wasn’t confirmed. I’m sure she didn’t come because it was raining so hard. Something about how if it’s raining, people don’t come to church.. That doesn’t exactly make sense to me because 1. It’s always raining here and (2). It’s not like church is outside.. 

But! M came to church again and brought G and A with them, so that made me super happy! Then after church we went to go visit M which ended up being good, but I was still pretty heart broken about him drinking. We talked about it and he kept apologizing so I just looked him in the eye and asked if that was true. I asked him if he really truly was sorry and when he said yes I 100% believed him. He wants to be baptized, he really does. GAHH! It’s so hard loving these people so much! I just want them to have the happiness I have and experience every day because I have an understanding of this gospel and its importance.


So.. Because I'm training sister Alpino and I have an extra hour of studies. And on Sunday's we have so many meetings that we technically don't have time for lunch. So I asked Sister Arquiola and Sister Miller to make enough food for us so we could eat something before our PEC meeting. Sister Aruiola said she would only if I wear mascara.. And we all know how much I love food so she won.. ;D
Also.. This is the best picture I have for you to see my haircut.

"I got to ride in a police car while on my mission in the Philippines."

5-30-16 (Monday)

Today we got permission to go to Lingayen for P-Day, because Sister Miller needed new rubber shoes and Aguilar Zone is literally so small there’s nowhere to get any. Then Elder Baniago said to Sister Miller “Yeah you can go, but just you and Sister Arquiola.” But luckily Sister Miller had my back and said, “But Sister Fivas doesn’t have any!” Then that’s when I came into the conversation because I heard my name and Elder Baniago (our Zone Leader) was like “yeah, you can go to Lingayen for P-Day.” Woo baby! That was a total surprise that we all got to go to Lingayen. I didn’t even know the other Sisters wanted to go. 
Sisters Clair, Alpino, me

Anyway..I got to eat Chow King for the first time today.  It wasn’t anything special for me. It wasn’t as wonderful as everyone made it seem like. 

But the best part of P-Day was while Sister Alpino and I were walking from CSI to the Jeepny terminal to go back to Aguilar, Sister "L" passes by in the police car thing that looks like a mini Jeepny and makes the Sheriff stop and take us home with her! Haha, we totally got a free ride home in a police car. I’d say that counts a having a personal police escort home. I’m practically famous. (; Haha, moral of the story is Sister "L" was able to be bailed out of jail and I got to ride in a police car while on my mission in the Philippines. Man, I love it here! ;D 

Also.. Today I noticed that I honestly love missionary work. I think if I ever find myself not wanting to go out and work, it just means I’m tired and really want a nap. I really do enjoy teaching lessons now. I think being a trainer so early in my mission has been such a blessing. I feel more confident and comfortable teaching lessons because I don’t feel intimidated by my companion any more. Life truly is getting happier and happier everyday.
No joke.. That is a real living frog smaller than a penny.
It was SOOOO cute watching him hop around. ;D

5-31-16 (Tuesday)

I have a cold.. It still blows my mind that you can get a cold while living on a tropical island. (; 

Anyway, this morning we went to go teach "J" and "J" again and I was so worried because of how church was. Luckily they’re super awesome and are still interested in the church and want to go to church again. (: But before we taught them we had language study with them to help build trust and relationship. It was such a good idea! "J" even went inside and grabbed his English-Tagalog dictionary. It was so cute. Then after language study/BTR, we shared Mosiah 2:22 about obedience and because they’re the best ever we somehow ended up being able to teach two of their friends too. So now we have 5 investigators that are all best buds which is awesome! They’ll be able to fellowship themselves at church if none of the members will. "J" even invited "M" and "G" to come to church with him before we invited them.  I really hope they really will all come to church and continue to investigate all together. (: 

6-1-16 (Wednesday)
I cannot believe it’s already June! It literally blows my mind that I’ve been living in Aguilar for 5 months now. I remember my first day here like it was last week. Oh man, I really am having the time of my life here. I honestly LOVE missionary work. I don’t know if it’s just because I love my area or what, but I am having the time of my life here! I just love all the funny things that happen throughout the day. It just makes missionary work that much more enjoyable. 

For example, early this afternoon we went to go see "A", but when we got there, her asawa [boyfriend] was there too!  So no joke, my heart was the happiest it has ever been! I was dang exited to teach them together because they need to get married still. And.. Because I know how much "A" wants this gospel for her family. So I was so excited to teach her asawa. But.. a little bit after we came in, he got up and left to take a bath. Oh. My. Word. My heart BROKE! I can’t even describe to you how excited I was to teach him, but when he left I swear I felt my heart break! So we just taught "A" and "T" about faith unto repentance and how we can be cleansed from sin. But as we were ending our lesson their little boy started throwing a fit and wouldn’t stop crying so "A's" asawa came back in to help "A" take care of him. Let me tell you.. God truly does work in mysterious ways. When he came back in and the boy calmed down right away, I jumped all over the opportunity to teach him. So we just taught him what we just taught "A".. The sweet Spirit I felt while teaching him about the Atonement and repentance is something I will remember forever. I know he felt it too. Christ ALWAYS wants us to give him our sins because he already paid for them. He’s ALWAYS happy when we confess and repent of our mistakes. 

And.. to end the day on a fun note, while we OYMd [Open Your Mouth] this big group of people I was mostly talking to these two guys while Sister Alpino and Sister Clair talked to some of the others. It was so dang funny! We were all making jokes about my Tagalog so I didn’t feel awkward when I didn’t understand them or when they didn’t understand me. But the best part was when they were like “so.. how long have you lived here and how long will you stay here?” So I was like “after 18 months I’ll be done with my mission so I will go home, but I’ll probably come back again.” Then they freaked out and were like “WHEN!? When will you come back?” I was like “I don’t know..” and then one of them said in perfect English “I’ll be waiting for you..” Oh my gosh I DIED! I honestly didn’t know what to say to that so his friend and I both just started laughing super hard. Eventually I was like “Thank you..?” Haha, I think it’s so funny when men just say such things and then we all laugh at how awkward it was. I love the Philippines, I really do. I don’t ever want to leave.

6-2-16 (Thursday)

This morning we got to do community service at one of the Catholic schools and clean up all the grounds before school starts later this month. I honestly love every second of it. I liked that I got to wear sweatpants too.. I miss being able to sit however I want. (; I also ran around a lot so it was nice to go for a “run” for a while. One thing that I have noticed is how often people freak out at me when I’m not sitting in the shade or using an umbrella for shade. It kind of annoys me.. I’m not going to die if I’m working in the sun. If I really do get skin cancer one day, Oh well! At least I lived my life doing what I wanted and not worrying about if I’m in the shade or not. (; 

We also got to go to Mangatarem today to get support because Aguilar is so small we don’t even have an ATM to get our money. But I’m not complaining because I love that it’s a homey small town and that I get to ride a bus for 30 minutes each way to go get money and have a yummy lunch. (; Oh how you learn to enjoy the little things while on a mission.

6-3-16 (Friday)

Oh my word, the thunder here is insane! I’m not joking when I say you can feel it. Astig siya! [It was cool!] 

Anyway.. I love our investigators so much! Especially because a lot of them are teenage boys that are all on a basketball team together so it’s nice because I can talk about basketball with them to build relationship and trust. (; So I guess for the finals it’s the Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.. My only question is.. who the heck are the Warriors!? Are they a new team or is my brain really messed up that bad? 

Also.. I saw one of my investigator today for the first time in a couple weeks. Turns out he’s actually really good at speaking English.. when he’s drunk! Haha, when he first saw me he perked right up and yelled hi. That made me so happy he was being so happy and friendly but then I noticed he was being too friendly and realized he was drunk. Why is it every time a drunk Filipino sees me they always speak in English! It’s a hard life when I can have a better conversation with someone that’s drunk than if they were sober.  This would happen to me. (; But on the bright side, I now know he speaks English and that he “loves me so much.” Haha! ;D
Here's a picture of me with a baby cow. ;D

6-4-16 (Saturday)

I love Saturdays. They’re the best days for work. I also really love "J". He’s so cute! I asked if he read his Book of Mormon assignment and he said yes and asked who the Holy Messiah is. Then we told him it was just another name for Christ and he got so exited! He researched online and was so happy he was able to answer his question correctly because of his research. It was just so cute to see how happy he was because he really studied his Book of Mormon assignment. He’s the best. (: 

Also today Sister Alpino and I taught this lady we met through an OYM and it was great! She accepted her baptismal date and everything. Then while Sister Alpino and I were walking to our next investigator, we both couldn’t remember her first name. I was pretty bummed we both forgot her name before I could write it down. So I just said a simple prayer that Heavenly Father would help us remember it. And He answered it in the best way possible! (: So while we were visiting Brother "C", a recent convert, I asked him how his Book of Mormon reading was; expecting he’d give us another lame excuse for not reading.. But he actually did read! He’s like “yeah, I read in Alma about people going to synagogues!” First! I was incredibly happy he read! Then! It instantly came to me that that lady’s name is Alma! Woo baby! It was just a great way to receive an answer to my prayer. It’s nice to know no matter how simple our prayers are, God always answers. (:
6-5-16 (Sunday)

Today was full of all kinds of great things! First, we had 6 investigators come to church! Woo baby! That honestly made me so happy! Although.. It’s a little worrisome for me because all our progressing investigators, except for Alejandra, are boys 16 to 24.. I’m really glad we’re all friends and can joke around with each other and talk about basketball, but I’m worried we all have TOO much fun together. I really want them to be converted to Christ and His church, not me.. But I’m really glad they come to church and let us teach them a lot! (: 

Also.. some other great news is Nanay Alejandra passed her baptismal interview! :D Sister Alpino will now have her first baptism this Saturday! (: I’m so dang excited! Sister Alejandra has been one of my investigators ever since I got put in Aguilar 2/2A, which was February. The work truly is moving forward here in Aguilar. I honestly doubt I’ll like any other area better than Aguilar. I really do love it here. (:

Sister Alejandra