Stake Conference in Urdaneta with Elder Schmutz of the Seventy

8-22-16 (Monday)
P-Day today was actually relaxing.. That never happens! So with that said.. Today was glorious! (; I really did have such a good day. (:  Nothing really exciting happened, but I was so happy and really enjoyed work. (: Especially when we taught the D Family! We asked Tatay how church was yesterday and all he could say was “maganda” [beautiful] with a big ole’ smile. (: The rest of the family is so excited to come to church next week which makes me so happy! But what’s even better is next week is Stake Conference so their first Sunday at church will be extra special. (: 

Also.. On Saturday I gave them a box of hot chocolate to substitute for coffee and they loved it! They said it didn’t even last more than a day. Hopefully now that they know how much they like hot chocolate they’ll just drink that instead. (:

6-23-16 (Tuesday)
Today was such a fulfilling day! It was just one of those days where I came home with a big smile all ready and excited for tomorrow. (: Even though Sister Diaz wasn’t feeling the best, we still worked hard and had the time of our lives. I was just lucky enough to receive all the extra blessings Heavenly Father was giving Sister Diaz (because she kept working hard while having a headache and throwing up twice) because I just so happen to be her companion. (:

But for real though.. We were so blessed because we were able to contact two referrals that are awesome! Especially E! We ended up being able to teach her whole family, minus one kid, and came out of that lesson like best friends. They were all super receptive to the Spirit and enjoyed our visit.

But.. On a lighter note.. There’s this trike driver that always yells “HIII MOMMY!” when he drives past us and he actually drove us today. So as we were talking he found out I wasn’t married and told me that he thinks we’re soul mates! HAHA! I died! He’s like in his 40’s! But if that’s what it takes for him to come to church, I’ll take it. (;

6-24-16 (Wednesday)
I kid you you not, today was the best day of my life! Today’s story starts with an experience we had last Saturday. So on Saturday Sister Diaz and I felt very strongly we need to change our plans a little bit and go to Mangcasuy and visit the T Family. So. That’s what we did. But when we got there no one was home. To be honest we were both a little confused why we would both feel we needed to go see them then have them be gone. So we decided there must be someone we needed to find somewhere between the T’s and Kat’s house. And the first person we OYM’d said he was from Capas so we asked him if he knew B; because she’s a referral we haven’t been able to find for over a month. And not only did he know her but they’re next door neighbors! 

So. Fast forward to today and we were able to find B’s house. B wasn’t home but we were able to teach her daughter which was awesome! Then after our lesson we asked her if she knew anyone that would also like our message and she’s like “Yeah! R!”, and points to her other neighbor’s house. So sweet! 

We went to go contact her and were able to sit down and visit with her. While we were building trust and relationship and asking questions we found out she doesn’t believe in God anymore. Ever since she gave birth to her second youngest that has a ton of health problems, and is very much a sweet and precious special child, that was the last straw and decided there is no God. And man, as she was talking and we were testifying that there is a God and He loves us immensely, I felt so strongly just how much Heavenly Father truly does love her. Even though she has abandoned Him, He is still right there for her every step of the way. God loves us no matter what. Whether we love Him/believe in Him or not.. He still loves us. 

Then after some other lessons that were great we met the D2 Family. There were probably 25 people all just hangin’ out and when they saw me they all kind of freaked out a bit so I took full advantage of that! “Pwede po kami magpakilala?” [?] And after that and a few pictures they wanted with me, I made a million new best friends and was able to teach a giant family of 13 plus some kapit bahays and asawas.. Sister Diaz and I found 18 new investigators and now have 11 more IBD’s! YAAASSS! Sometimes it’s nice being a big white blonde girl living in a Filipino world. (;

Anyway.. Then we taught the D1 Family, which was awesome of course, and ate dinner with them after. And I kid you not.. It was THE BEST rice I have ever eaten in my entire life! I don’t know man, the texture was literally heavenly. Tatay B sure knows what he’s doing with his rice. So! The moral of the story is.. when you work incredibly hard and talk to everyone you get rewarded with delicious food. (; Haha, joooke!

The moral of the story is referrals literally are the best things on the planet Earth. AND! And follow promptings of the Spirit and don’t get discouraged when you don’t immediately see or understand why you received a certain prompting. When we’re doing all we can to put our trust and efforts in God’s hands.. We will be led to the place we need to be at the perfect time. 

8-25-16 (Thursday)
I’ve noticed now that I don’t take cat naps anymore, I have more energy throughout the day. I don’t know how that works, but it does and I’m not complaining. (: 

Anyway.. not a whole lot happened today. We did weekly planning which was great, but I was so dang restless. I felt like I wanted to go run 30 miles. So when we were finally done it felt pretty good to get up and move around. My goal for today was to be more service oriented so I did all the dishes and cleaned up the house while Sister Diaz cooked. It was fun. Hopefully when I get home I’ll be better at helping mom with the dishes. (;

8-26-16 (Friday)
Missionary work really is missionary Fun. I just really enjoy my day more when we have lots of lessons. Sister Diaz and I have finally figured out how to do OYM lessons; so when we get punted it’s less frustrating because we know how easy it will be to teach their kapit bahay [neighbors]. (: 

Anyway this morning during personal study I couldn’t stop thinking about R and how I can help her feel God’s love., So I ended up studying the Atonement and man.. I LOVE the scripture Alma 7:11. There’s nothing better than knowing there is ALWAYS someone there for you that understands you and your situation perfectly. But.. Even though I spent all morning preparing to help R.. She hid from us. NIICCCE! (; We’ll get her next time though. (; 

But even though she hid from us, we got to teach the D2 Family again which is always a party. Literally.. We teach about 15 people at the same time because the family is so dang big! I don’t know if I’m jealous of their crazy fun family or if it makes me more grateful for my cute little family. ;D Even though they all like to listen and visit with us, I hope at least some of them will actually exercise their faith and keep their commitments. I have hope that they will though so that’s got to count for something, right! (;

8-27-16 (Saturday)
I have absolutely no desire to write in my journal tonight.. ;D Ahh.. kill me. I just want to go to bed. (; I’m starting to realize just how inspired President Deyro truly was when he made my first area Aguilar. Since we had an early curfew I was able to get in the habit of writing in my journal every single night. It’s a good thing I’m determined to keep writing in my journal every night because if I wasn’t .. I’d probably never write in it again. (;

Anyway.. We didn’t do a whole lot today. We had the Blitz in the other Sister’s area this morning which was fun, but it made me grateful for the unity that Sister Diaz and I have. It’s a lot easier to work together when you and your companion are in tune with each other. I mean, being with Sister Quijada was great and a lot of fun! I just didn’t ever know what she wanted me to do. Good thing I’m good at testifying though! That always saves me when I’m lost and don’t know what to do or say. (;

We also went to the adult session of Stake Conference in Urdaneta which was great! Elder Schmutz of the Seventy was there which I was so grateful for because his talk was in English! ;D Oh how I love being able to understand people without having to concentrate/focus super hard. (;

Anyway.. He said something really interesting that I’m really excited to try. He said when we pray.. pray for the Spirit to help you know what to pray for. I don’t know.. that was just so new and foreign for me to think and ponder about. I just feel like if the Spirit helps me know what to pray for.. I will better desire and align with what God knows is best for me. My desires will hopefully be closer to His desires. (;

8-28-16 (Sunday)
Man, today was just full of all kinds of stuff! First! We went to Urdaneta for Stake Conference which was great. But! What was even more great was that the whole D1 Family came! :D All six of them, plus the 3 babies! I was just so dang happy when we saw them pull into the parking lot. (: And to make them coming to church even better.. They were able to meet and talk to Elder Schmutz of the Seventy! I sure hope they were able to feel his power and authority when they shook his hand. (:

I also got to see Elder Budge [from her MTC district]! He’s in my Zone now! :D When I saw him I about died! I just wanted to run up and hug him so bad! I haven’t seen him since my first transfer. Honestly.. I was probably more excited to see him than the D1 Family because seeing Elder Budge was a complete surprise. I guess I like surprises! ;D It was just good to talk to “an old friend.” Elder Budge is one of my favorite people I’ve met on my mission. He’s just a real guy. There’s nothing fake about him. Plus.. He’s from Detroit so that makes him legitimately thugnasty. ;D

I also had to eat a chicken’s foot today. That was one thing I told myself I would never eat. But nooooo, apparently recent converts like to make me squirm by making me eat things that truly should not be eaten. I think it’s times like that that make me grateful I can’t taste. (; It honestly probably tastes like normal chicken, but the psychological part just freaks you out.

I trusted Patrick that it’s good because he graduates from college this year and his major is culinary arts.. so that definitely made it easier to even think about actually giving into peer pressure. (; 

Aaand.. on our way home from the Castros, Gina got stabbed in the foot with bamboo and we ran over a dog.. I literally thought we were all going to die! ;D #trikeadventures

Kat's Baptism

With your new place, I'm wondering...
Are you still doing your laundry by hand? No, we have a lady that does our laundry now. But I still wash my unders myself.

Do you have warm showers? No, there's no warm water anywhere. Plus.. We use a bucket and a smaller bucket to bathe. (; We do have a shower, but I don't use it all the time.

What is your favorite street food/snack? Honestly.. If I answer that you might freak out.. ;D Haha.. Okay, I'll tell you but don't kill me.. My favorite is isaw.. Which is chicken intestine.. But I don't eat it very often. !?!?

Are you cooking more at home now? I'm not usually the main chef, like ever.. But I do help prepare the food. We usually eat at home though.

Is the mosquito Zika virus a concern there? How bad? There's been some discussion on the restriction to mail/ship mosquito repellent with deet in them. Your thoughts? The mosquitos aren't something that really freak people out. But the office does give us OFF lotion stuff, so don't worry. I'm safe. (:

Be thinking what you want for Christmas. I know, it sounds crazy. But you'll have to put your order in soon, you know. For Christmas.. I just want a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch. ;D That's not a joke.. Haha! 

Sister Diaz, Kat, Elder Rawlinson,
Elder Reyes, President and Sister Deyro
8-15-16 (Monday)
Today Sister Diaz and I got to spend P-Day in Urdaneta which was great! But man.. while being in the Philippines… I do not like being in a big busy town like Urdaneta. I was so incredibly uncomfortable with so many people staring at me every step I took. I had a ton of fun shopping around and seeing all the fun stuff people sell, but I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. Being blonde just makes me stick out too much.

Anyway.. We had FHE with the D Family tonight that was just the happiest experience ever! Brother and Sister Abat, President Baloiong, and Julie came too and man! That was just awesome having them there all talking and getting to know each other while testifying of Christ. I truly believe the D Family will come to church on Sunday now that they have friends that will be there too. (:

It was also a great lesson that I was super excited to teach. We taught the last part of the Plan of Salvation which was so powerful! We emphasized on the Atonement, talked about eternal families, but my favorite part was being able to powerfully testify that our bodies will be perfected because of Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice. Brother B had a stroke about two years ago and is paralyzed on the left side of his body. So I looked him in the eye and testified that I know him and I will both have perfected bodies again. He will be able to walk normal again and I’ll be able to remember things better. It’s crazy to see how the things we learn from our toughest trials help us testify with extra power the truthfulness of God’s plan for us and His son’s perfect gospel.

8-16-16 (Tuesday)
Today was great! But man.. I am absolutely exhausted! I don’t know why, but something about feeling like I’m going to die makes me so happy.. Being a missionary is weird. ;D But for real.. I am so dang tired! I wanted to take a nap so bad. 

I look so much like Brayden in this picture it's creepy. ;D
Anyway.. Today I truly felt like I was dying.. I was so tired. But let me tell you, there’s nothing better than finding someone that will let you sit down with them and testify of Christ and His restored gospel. The desire I have to feel the happiness that only comes from teaching others how to come unto Christ will always outweigh the desire to take a nap. When I’m out working, I want so badly to teach people. Even when we get punted and rejected hour after hour and I start to get a little down.. I just have to think of “the standard of truth”, that we recite every single morning, and remember that The Great Jehovah has not yet said the work is done. Haa, now I know why we recite that every morning. (;

8-17-16 (Wednesday)
Man, today was the best! I was just incredibly happy today! I wanted to try a new way to find new investigators that President Deyro did on his mission; so I wrapped a Book of Mormon in wrapping paper and held it in my hand all day because I didn’t want it to get ruined in my bag. The plan was to knock on doors and ask them if they knew a random person we made up and of course they would say no and hopefully ask why so we could tell them we have a gift for them from America. Then we’d let the Spirit help us be able to sit down with them and teach them the Restoration so in our next visit we could bring them their gift from America. (;
Kat and Elder Rawlinson

But today it was really easy to find new investigators so we didn’t ever try it. But man.. I don’t know if it was my 15-minute nap during lunch or the fact that I had a Book of Mormon in my hand all day, but either way, I was pumped up and loving life all day! I’m going to say it was the Book of Mormon though.. Because man.. It truly is a powerful tool in life. I just never imagined it helping me in a physical way. (;

I also taught the best and happiest lesson on my mission so far. We taught the D Family about the Word of Wisdom and it went great! They all drink coffee and tatay smokes and drinks, but you could feel how open they were to accept and desire to live the Word of Wisdom. Nanay did say she likes it. She felt good inside as we explained why we have the Word of Wisdom. It really was such a great lesson. 

As we came out and started walking home, I felt a sense of love for them that I have never felt before. Like.. I was so happy and desired so badly for them to continue to come unto Christ, it almost hurt my stomach. I want so badly to see this family be baptized all together. I know it will happen. I just hope it’s while I’m still here. (:

Mga kapatid ko! ;D
Google translates say "My siblings"?
8-18-16 (Thursday)
Today was absolutely fantastic! I have just really enjoyed work the last couple days. So, a couple days ago for language study I just told Sister Diaz stories about my life and had her fix my grammar when it was wrong. But she honestly only stopped me like five times to fix my grammar. I constantly was asking “was that right? Or should it be like this..?” But she was like “no, you were right the first time.” I don’t know what or why… But my confidence in my Tagalog went up 100%! I’ve been talking so much more in lessons and just don’t even care anymore if it’s right or not. And because I put more effort in our lessons I feel like I get so much more out of it. Like.. we get out of a lesson and I’m so excited to go teach and talk to more people. It sure took me a while, but I think I’ve finally gotten the confidence to just be myself whether people understand me or not. (: 

Also.. our lesson with the P’s was AWESOME! I’m telling you.. There’s nothing better than teaching a whole family about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And.. In our lesson with the C Family they asked a lot of questions that were kind of deep, especially for recent converts, so we just explained as simply as we could and testified that God knows the desires of our hearts and Christ is the perfect judge. But I couldn’t help but smile and giggle inside because now I understand how my companions feel when I ask them my deep questions or share with them my deep thoughts. President Deyro always warns my companions that I’m a deep thinker and now I understand why. (;

8-19-16 (Friday)
Sister Diaz and Sister Stromberg. **
Today we had our Tri-Zone Conference which was a lot of fun! I got to see lots of people I actually knew from Aguilar. I got to see Elder Fiel (who is one of my favorite people ever. I really do miss being able to joke around with him and Elder Emit at District meetings), Elder Lomax, Elder Dixon, and even Elder Morris who was in my district while in the MTC. I also met Sister Shaw from Georgia, and man.. I just love her. She’s only been here for two weeks and as we were talking I just totally felt for her. I remember my training all too well. But I think it was good getting to talk to her and let her know it really does get easier and that the language is hard, but it comes with time. We both just have to be patient with ourselves. 

Also.. Today I realized just how much it breaks my heart when people aren’t living the law of chastity. It’s so hard and frustrating for me to know how many people live together without being married! Especially teenagers! Why the heck is it okay with parents to let their 17-year old daughter’s boyfriend live with them!? It’s literally heart breaking for me. It literally hurts when I find out they live with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Especially when they have kids! Stinkin’ get married! I don’t care if it costs money.. I’ll pay for it! I’ll spend all the money I have to help these people get married! I’m dying.. PLEASE…! Just get married! It’s fine if they don’t ever get baptized in this life.. I’ll do the temple work for them. But I can’t take it anymore! It absolutely breaks my heart knowing how much fornication is going on all around me. Please get married.. Please wait till you’re older.. Please give your family a chance to be together forever.. please realize how sacred our bodies AND families are..

Sister Diaz, Kevin and Maymay (: 
8-20-16 (Saturday)
Man, today was just great! Even though Sister Diaz and I got punted at every single lesson except one, we stayed happy. We knew we were doing the best we could and were able to apply the things we learned yesterday to improve our OYM’s. (:

Anyway.. KAT GOT BAPTIZED! :D What a fun experience it was seeing how excited Kat was to finally be baptized. She’s so cute. (: And to make it even better President and Sister Deyro came to support Kat and her decision to be baptized. It was fun having them there and seeing all the Priesthood holders run home and change into church clothes! HAHA! ;D I guess having a surprise visit from the Mission President really helps shape up the Branch. (; 

We also taught the D Family about faith unto repentance and once again applied the things we learned yesterday and man.. I can’t describe how much I love the D Family! There’s nothing better than seeing the whole family accepting the Spirit in their hearts and truly trying to come unto Christ. They’re all doing really good with trying to live the Word of Wisdom, which is AWESOME! Even though most of them drank coffee at least once or twice this week I was completely okay with that because I knew they were really trying. Overcoming an addiction truly does take time, so I know their faith is strong enough that one day they’ll overcome their addictions. I just really hope it’s before I get transferred. 

My face say's it all!
ALSO! Today I peeled a boiled egg PERFECTLY! I kid you not, it was perfect. No scratches, cuts, pieces missing, nothing! It was as smooth as butter. (I don’t know why I chose butter as the example instead of ice or a baby’s bum, but whatever! (;) And I am writing this because I would say that is quite possibly the greatest accomplishment ever. ;D

8-21-16 (Sunday)
Well.. Kat was confirmed a member and received the gift of the Holy Ghost today! :D She was late to church though so I was freaking out a little bit until she showed up while they were passing the Sacrament. So after Sacrament she was confirmed and everything all worked out. (:

Here's a picture of another monstrous spider. ;D 
ALSO! Tatay D and his son came to church today! :D They even came even though they were like 20 minutes late! Usually if people realize they’re going to be late they just don’t come at all. I’m honestly so dang happy they came! Even though the girls all had to stay home because they’re moving houses; I was still absolutely thrilled some of them came. And as they were about to head home after church, Tatay said he learned a lot and is excited for the whole family to come next week! AHH! :D I just love them so dang much! And the Branch did such a great job at fellow shipping them! Man.. I’m just so happy! (: 

Also! Today while teaching the C family I was just so comfortable there I would not stop talking! I LOVED that! I didn’t let my fear of talking in Tagalog hold me back at all! I just went for it and loved every second of it, because I was 100% myself and we were all able to bond over my mistakes I made while trying to tell stories in Tagalog. (:

For example we’re good enough buddies now that when I asked 18-year old P why he left church right after Sacrament meeting he straight up told me “call of nature.” HAHAHA! I died! I thought that was hilarious that he actually told me that! Like.. If I were him I would have just said something like “I had something I needed to do.” But not P! ;D I’m glad I’m becoming better friends with the members here in Binalonan. Life is always better when you’re surrounded by friends. (:

**  Sister Stromberg is actually my ate [sister] in the mission and the first mom of Sister Diaz.. So I guess I'm sister Diaz' Tita [aunt] and step mom! (; 

Hump Day!

8-8-16 (Monday)
Today was great! I just really enjoyed my day. (: Elder Baniago is my new District Leader. I’m pretty happy about that! It was nice getting to talk to him again.. But honestly.. I have nothing to say about today. It was just a good day. Even though we had to push back K’s baptismal date because she hasn’t gotten permission yet, it was still a great day. Probably because when Sister Diaz asked K what she would do if her mom says she can’t be baptized and her answer was “oh well, I’ll still come to church.” That just made me happy to know she truly does love Christ’s church and will keep coming even if she can’t be baptized for a while. (:

8-9-16 (Tuesday)
Moooom, daaaad! I made it
 to the Celestial Kingdom! ;D 
So yesterday President Deyro replied to my white letter and asked me if I would try something for him. He asked me to try meditating the missionary purpose, The Successful Missionary section in Preach My Gospel, and think enthusiastic and have a positive attitude about the day ahead of me, THEN say my morning prayer. First, it really made me feel good President wanted me to be one of his guinea pigs for something he would like to implement mission wide. Second! I’m telling you, it was the greatest learning experience today because I simply started my day with an incredibly thoughtful prayer. 

I reflected on everything! And man, I went out to work today so excited! I was ready to convert the whole world! I had the time of my life this morning and early afternoon, but then there was this hour of Sister Diaz and I being punted and denied everywhere we went. We both started getting pretty down but because I was reflecting on our purpose as relentless missionaries in great abundance today.. I made sure we didn’t stop trying and we ended the night with two lessons completely filled with the Spirit that not only helped the investigators, but helped us strengthen our testimonies of missionary work. 

There’s nothing that can cheer you up better than actually having people accept your invitation and help to come unto Christ. (: Like the D family! We have now taught the whole family together except for their one daughter that is married and lives somewhere else. They are so accepting it’s insane! I so hope they really will come to church like they say they will. (:

8-11-16 (Thursday)
HUMP DAAAY! Oh man, I cannot believe I’m half way done. Time goes by so dang fast when you’re not wasting time sitting at home all day. (; Really though.. I can’t believe I left home nine months ago! I cannot wrap my brain around that! I’m glad I’m loving life and time isn’t going by slow, but man! If the next nine months go by that fast I’m not going to like it. I don’t want to leave the Philippines! But apparently everyone knows that because I finally opened my hump day package from home and it had “Happy Condolences, Sister Fivas!” all over it with black balloons and banner paper. Oh man, I was dying! The other sisters didn’t get it but I thought it was hilarious! Who's ever idea that was is a genius! ;D 

It also had a bunch of pictures of my friends and family and that just made me so happy! No joke, everyone looks so grown up now. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m used to seeing little baby faced Filipinos all the time or what.. But man! I’m going to have some serious culture shock when I go home. ;D 

Anyways.. Today was great! It rained incredibly hard almost all day. Like .. I literally got a little freaked out by how the thunder was so loud and strong that you could actually feel your body shake. Then I was like “nahhh, don’t be freaked out, this is cool!” (;  But it was actually cold today. I wore a jacket for the first time. Haa! Something’s wrong with me.. I wore a jacket when it was like 80 F. Maybe this means when I go home I’ll enjoy Lagoon more because the heat won’t make me miserable while standing in lines. ;D

Anyway.. we went to teach a recent convert and part member family today; and we were so blessed to be able to teach the whole family together for the first time! It was wonderful. All the non-members accepted their baptismal date and tatay P seemed very excited to come to church again and bring his kids. I’m just so happy for Sister P! I know she has been praying so hard for the rest of her family to accept the gospel. I really hope tatay and their two oldest will try and come to know the truth. I just know how badly Sister P wants that for her family.

8-12-16 (Friday)
K GOT PERMISSION TO BE BAPTIZED! :D Oh man, I can’t believe it! I am so dang happy for her! She’s more excited than I am and that’s saying a lot because I’m pretty stinkin’ excited! :D

Anyway.. she has her interview tomorrow so we’ll be able to announce that her baptism will be next Saturday during sacrament meeting. I’m not worried about her passing her interview or not because her testimony is insane! Especially for not knowing the gospel very long! She’s so ready. (:

Anywho.. Earlier today I just wasn’t myself. I’ve really been pondering my life and actions while studying the Atonement AND having better morning prayers. Needless to say.. I am now very much aware of my mistakes, shortcomings, and insecurities. I truly am trying my best to shape up and do things more exact, but I swear.. Satan is attacking Sister Diaz and I left and right. We have constantly been tried this week and even though we still have short comings, we’re doing our best to stay positive and obedient. And look! Our diligent and heartfelt efforts are being rewarded by K finally receiving permission to be baptized. (: 

As long as we do our very best, Christ and His Atoning sacrifice will help make up for our imperfections. It’s crazy how wonderfully humbling it is to truly follow Christ. We’re humbled by coming to understand our mistakes and short comings and by coming to know just how much we truly need Christ and His merciful love.

8-13-16 (Saturday)
Well.. K passed her interview! (: She will now be baptized next Saturday. I am absolutely stoked! :D 

And for work.. Oh man, this morning was hilarious! So Sister Diaz and I went to go find some of the people that the Elders taught yesterday during the blitz, which was pretty difficult because it was raining so dang hard.

Anyway.. we were looking for this less-active lady that Elder Reyes told us wants the missionaries to come visit her. So.. after asking a million people where this Mary Jane lady lived no one knew who she was. But while asking this group of guys if they knew where she lived they said no and that they didn’t know who she was. But while Sister Diaz was talking to someone these guys were saying something about “Mary Jane” then they all laughed. And I understood enough to know what they were laughing at; so after we walked away and asked a few more people that didn’t know her.. I finally asked Sister Diaz what Mary Jane’s last name is and she said “Wana”. When I heard her say that I LOST IT! Oh my word I died! We had just wasted like 45-minutes trying to find MaryJaneWana! HAHAHA!

I didn’t realize that’s what Sister Diaz was saying, all those times she asked someone, because of her accent. After I laughed for about 10 minutes straight I had to explain to Sister Diaz that that was definitely not that lady’s real name. She didn’t believe me so I called Elder Reyes to ask him if it was a joke and he said no. Then I explained to Elder Rawlinson and he laughed really hard with me. Then I made him ask Elder Reyes again and he really wasn’t joking.. Oh man, if only that lady knew how well she pulled that joke off! ;D I’m just glad I had Elder Rawlinson there to laugh with me. (; 

That’s probably the thing I miss most about home.. Being around people with my same sense of humor. But then again maybe it’s just me having to spend all my time with girls. While on my mission I have very clearly learned that I am not a girly person. And that I’m pretty different from Filipino girls. I miss having Sister Miller around. She always got my jokes. (;

8-14-16 (Sunday)
Well today was a day full of puntness.. Oh my word, today was rough. The last couple days Sister Diaz and I have been trying to go to our return appointments with OYM’s [Open Your Mouth street contacting] and contacting referrals, but apparently these people don’t exist anymore. I’m telling you.. They are nowhere to be found. It’s been hard for me realizing how badly Sister Diaz and I are struggling with the work. I just don’t know what we’re doing wrong. It’s not like we’re disobedient and just sit around when we should be working, but our stats sure look like that’s what we do. It’s just hard knowing how hard we’re trying but constantly falling short of the Standards of Excellence. 

I am 100% determined to figure out what we need to do differently AND I’m going to be more brave and confident with my Tagalog! And I will be more assertive.. I will turn our OYM’s into lessons if it’s the last thing I do! (; “I don’t stinkin’ care if you’re Inglesia ni Cristo! That just means you need to listen to our message more than ever!” Just you wait.. Sister Diaz and I will have 100 ISM’s next Sunday! WOO baby! ;D 

Also.. Today was freezing! Like I was legitimately snuggled up in my blanket today during studies. So at church I asked our branch Mission Leader what the temperature was because I knew he has a nice phone. It was 85 F! 85 and I was FREEZING! This is not good.. That’s about how hot it gets in Idaho.. I’m going to die when I go home! Haha, that’s it! I really am staying in the Philippines. ;D 

"We Walked, And Walked, And.. Waaalked!"

8-1-16 (Monday)
O man, all kinds of things happened today! While emailing I found out all kinds of stuff! First! George got baptized! :D He was able to get permission and was baptized! I am just so dang proud of him! I can’t wait to talk to him after my mission and see what he’s like as a member. (: Second! J and J have gone to church twice now! I am so incredibly happy that they are finally moving forward! And last.. But definitely not least.. I received an email from Brayden telling me that Sadie is pregnant! WHAAAT!? Woo Baby! (Haa! Literally! ;D) I’m so excited for them, especially Sadie! I just know how much she loves kids! But as fun and exciting this all is.. I don’t know how I feel about it. But I think I’m leaning on the side that I’m bummed I’m going to miss out on all this. It’s my ONLY sibling’s FIRST kid. It’s my parent’s FIRST grand baby. It’s my FIRST pumungkin.. I won’t get to see the baby as a cute little newborn. It’ll be about 7 months old when I get home. 

** When I told her the baby will only be around 2 months old when she returns, she was very happy and excited. She misunderstood the due date.**

Sisters Alinton, Quijada, Latorre, ako, Diaz
Also..! We went to Urdaneta today for P-Day so I could get a new journal and ended up going to the mission office too. So I got to say goodbye to Sister Latorre (my Nanay [mother]), Sister Bomediano (my ate [sister]), Elder Smith (my Tatay [father]), Sister Ortega (my Kabahay/trisome companion for a few days), and Elder Cochrane (who I think is a total winner inside and out. (;) before they all head home tomorrow. And actually.. Seeing them all getting ready to go home made me a little envious for a minute. I guess I can’t wait to be in their shoes and say I successfully served a full 18-month mission. That truly will be a great day. (:

8-2-16 (Tuesday)
Sister Diaz and I contacted a referral today from a little girl we OYMd a while ago. And dang! Because we asked a random girl about her family and what her parents’ names were.. We’re now teaching a family with 3 kids that live close to the church; AND the parents are actually married! Oh man, I truly hope we will be able to help this family come unto Christ together and understand that they can be with their little baby girl/sister again after this life. I’m excited to see how things work out for them. (: 

But honestly.. The best part of today was when Sister Diaz and I were walking down the highway street thing and this guy across the street just starts yelling “Sisters! Sisters! Come here!” And at first I was a little weirded out. So was Sister Diaz.. And he obviously realized he was kind of making us wonder what was going on because he’s like “Wait! No! Sisters!” and tells us he's a member! Haha! I don’t know why, but I found that absolutely hilarious! I guess that was his best and quickest way to prove that we could trust him. ;D So we crossed the road to talk to him and he introduced us to his inactive friend that sadly lives in a different zone and gave us a referral. Oh man, the people you meet in the Philippines and the ways you meet them. (;

Elder DaBell, Sisters Latorre, Quijada, ako.
8-3-16 (Wednesday)
Since mom and dad are on trek this week, Sister Diaz and I wanted to join them so we sang as we walked and walked and walked and.. waaalked! Oh my heck we walked a ton today! But I’m not complaining because I like the exercise. It’s funny.. I have two thoughts about walking everywhere. First is “Yeaaah baby! I want to lose weight!” But the second is “Yeaaah! I’ll save money so I can buy better food!” Haha, I would (; Anyway!

We walked all day because Sister Diaz and I are trying to contact referrals that don’t seem to exist. But while looking for them we wanted to find new investigators but man.. It really was a struggle. We did end up finding the brother-in-law of a referral we were trying to contact so it all worked out because he’s awesome. I’m really excited to teach him and his wife together. He was just a lot of fun to talk to and made me feel comfortable so I was able to really pay attention to the Spirit and ask lots of inspired questions. We’ll just have to see what happens! Hopefully his wife is as open and friendly to us as he is. (:

8-5-16 (Friday)
Today was great! Even though Sister Diaz and I don’t have very many lessons a day, I’m still happy. I’m happy because I know how hard we worked and I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do too. I’m still a little embarrassed to send in our stats on Sunday, but I shouldn’t be. We’re working hard! We are doing everything we can to find new investigators and so far we’re doing pretty good at that. 

Here's a pretty rainbow just for your liking. (; 
We’ve found 14 new investigators so far this week which consists of 3 different families! Scoooorree! :D Hopefully all our time finding this week will pay off in the coming weeks. (: but man, I really did just have a great time talking to people today. I hope when we go back to them they’ll let us actually teach them. 

But as we were walking back towards bayan [people] this guy [from another religon] started walking with us as he was walking to church which was fine! I thought he was nice at first but I slowly started to realize how good Stan is at his job. This guy would ask questions about the Doctrine of Christ and they were simple enough for us to answer but then he just would laugh at our testimonies. It was really hard to see how lost and confused he is. He truly thinks he has the truth.. But he doesn’t! But honestly the hardest thing for me to listen to was how he believes that we’re only God’s children when we accept Christ. It was really hard for me to hear that he thinks God only claims select people.  That really hurt to know people that believe in God believe that He loves people differently. I promise you.. God loves us all perfectly and evenly no matter what we do or believe. We are ALL Gods children and He loves us infinitely!

8-6-16 (Saturday)
Today was pretty great! Work today was very fulfilling AND fun! I had a lot of fun walking and talking with Sister Diaz today. I like listening to her stories and getting to know her better. Language study was very enjoyable for me today because it was mostly me helping Sister Diaz with English instead of her helping me with Tagalog. It was nice being the teacher today. (: Maybe I can come back after my mission and be an English teacher. (; Nahh.. Dad would kill me! And.. we all know how much I love English.. And teachers.. And school. ;D 

Here's a Jeepny for mom.
Sorry I couldn't find one that was
 actually decorated all cool.
But when I can take a picture of a cool one I will! (: 
We also taught K today and I was all excited for our lesson till I found out Sister A doesn’t want to sign the parental consent form anymore. WHHYY!? K’s baptism was supposed to be on Saturday. Hopefully tomorrow when K’s mom comes to visit her she’ll sign the consent form so K’s grandma won’t have to. I’m sure everything will work out the way it’s supposed to though. I just hope that means it will work out the way I want it too. (:

A is K’s grandma that she has lived with for 7 years. Even though A is more of a mother to K than her real mom, she still wants K’s mom to give her permission. (Hopefully she will, but she very possibly could say no because we’ve never met her and don’t have a relationship with her to help her feel comfortable about all this.)

ALSO! I want you to know that you don’t know what craving something means until you crave a nice big juicy steak while living in the Philippines. Oh my word.. What I would give for some real meat right now! Hahahah! ;D I’m not sure if this is considered a first world problem because that’s what I’m used to, or if this is a legit third world problem.. HAHA!

8-7-16 (Sunday)
Sister Diaz and I also taught the D family again and this time two more of their kids were there. All I can say is I have never met a family so accepting of the Spirit and things we teach them. They asked all kinds of questions about how exactly we believe in God. We testified that God is our Father, Jesus Christ is His Son and our Brother, and the Holy Ghost is how we feel God’s love and come to know the truth. They liked our answer and then proceeded to act all giddy and said.. “We know it’s true. We prayed and it just felt right.” I kid you not, I have never felt a sense of happiness that sincere before. I truly believe that they really do want this gospel in their lives. Sister D’s only worry/concern is she wants her whole family to join the church. She doesn’t want different religions in her family. So.. hopefully all of her kids will be as accepting as her and her husband. (:

Arjyn's Baptism

Check out my new hat. (; 
7-25-16 (Monday)
We didn’t have power at all last night or this morning so I didn’t sleep the best because it’s so stinkin’ hot here! I just wanted my fan to work so bad.. (; And because our fans didn’t work there was no noise to block out all the stupid roosters from roostering all night. Haha! ;D

Pero! Sister Diaz and I gave the workshop at our District Meeting that went super well. Our workshop was about trying to help us as missionaries realize and understand what it’s like to be an investigator. So we had them do different things blind folded and had to trust what we told them to do so they could have Eternal Life (or in other words leche flan. (;) We tried to teach our District the importance of helping investigators feel comfortable while we help them change the way they live their lives. Then we played basketball for a while before we emailed. It was fun. (:

Nanay Biado (:
We also were able to teach and talk with Sister Argine about why she didn’t come to church and it was because she couldn’t get a trike and didn’t have load to help her get one. And our District Leader said her excuse is valid so she can still have her baptismal interview on Wednesday! Oh my word, I am so happy! She is so ready to be baptized! She truly understands what we teach her and even understands the promised blessings we give her. She’s such a golden investigator. I’m so excited for her! (:

7-26-16 (Tuesday)
So this morning during personal studies I saw a giant spider on our floor and just about died! I just stared wide eyed for a second, but when my brain registered everything I jumped up onto my chair. What’s nice though is Sister Diaz was more freaked out than I was. (HAA! Success!) She freaked the crap out and jumped on our desks and ran over to be close to me. It was hilarious! It was exactly like on “She’s the Man”. No joke! But once I realized how funny everything was I had to take pictures and record it. (; Luckily Sister Quijada is the man and was brave enough to drop the hammer ;D She’s literally my hero. Because if she didn’t kill it, I would have had to, which would probably make that experience less funny for me. (;

The first spider of the week.. 
After all that happened, we all went to this house we have been trying to see, because our contract is up for the house we live in now, and long story short.. Elder Lind liked it enough and so we are now moving on Friday! Woo baby! I’m actually super excited for that because I need some real exercise in my life again. (; That and the house is literally a mansion! Its huge! It might be close to the same size as our house in Tooele. 

And as for work today.. we taught Argine again and she is all ready to go for her interview tomorrow! I am absolutely stoked! She is so ready. (:

7-27-16 (Wednesday)
The dead first spider of the week
Today was packed with all kinds of stuff. (:  First! I found out Argine is actually spelled Arjyn.. Haha, my bad. (; But I found that out while filling out her baptism and confirmation record so with that said.. SHE PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW! AHH! I’m so happy! I’m so excited we get to go to the stake baptism and have that experience seeing so many people come together for such a great cause (: Arjyn truly is an answer to my prayers. I set a goal to have at least one baptism a transfer. I pray all the time for the help to achieve that goal and I cannot deny the Lord’s hand in helping me achieve it this transfer. Arjyn was literally just placed in our hands. She came to church with her boyfriend Ryan, who is a recent convert, the week before I got to Binalonan. Then she came again for my first Sunday here. I asked Sister Diaz if she’s taught her before and she said no. So I jumped all over that opportunity and here we are.. just waiting for Saturday so she can be baptized! (: It only took her four weeks to be ready for baptism, which is the quickest a person can qualify for baptism here in the Urdaneta Mission. So all-in-all, Arjyn was a complete blessing in my life. (: When we set righteous goals and do everything we can to accomplish them, Christ helps us and makes up for our short comings. God truly hears our prayers and knows the righteous desires of our hearts. 

Old house
But after Arjyn’s interview, Sister Diaz and I had to come home and figure out a way to get into the house because we locked the only set of keys inside.. After trying everything we could possibly think of about 3 times, we got in by sliding a picture of the Manila temple in the door and somehow did something to the doorknob thing and we accomplished the task in under 30 minutes! I felt pretty successful, not going to lie. It only took 30 minutes AND we didn’t have to break anything. (; 

And then later this evening Sister Diaz and I had our Branch Fireside that was so fun! We watched the Restoration video and had Elder Cochrane give a talk and man, I just felt so happy there. I didn’t receive any kind of revelation or special insights, but I know that when the topic of the Restoration comes up.. I will NEVER deny the truthfulness of it and that Joseph Smith saw and talked with Jesus Christ and God the Eternal Father.  I know with all my heart that Joseph Smith was a key instrument in bringing back Christ’s church here on Earth. 
Old house

7-28-16 (Thursday)
I’m not really sure what to say about today. It was a good fun day, but nothing really happened. We had weekly planning this morning and we all know how much I adore weekly planning. (; But even if it’s not my favorite thing to do, I’m excited for next week. Sister Diaz and I are going to find tons of new investigators and hopefully they will be families. We are determined to help this area be more progressive. (: 

Anyway.. we went to Binmonton today to teach some recent converts and that’s always my favorite because we have to ride a trike up a mountain for about 30 minutes. No joke, there’s nothing I love more than that. I LOVE riding in trikes! (: 

New house
After we got done in Binmonton we came home so we could pack up our stuff/the house. Blah.. no one likes moving.. OR packing.. But the other Sisters are so excited to live in our new house so it makes all this packing more enjoyable for me. It’s fun to be around them when they’re all giddy and excited. (:

7-29-16 (Friday)
Today was literally the most exhausting day of my mission thus far. Oh my word.. I never want to move again! I mean today was a ton of fun and I liked being able to lift heavy things, but man.., My body is dead. I also learned today that I don’t like fancy houses. It makes it really hard to set up things the way you want. That.. And.. This house isn’t nearly as big as I thought it was. It’s still super big for a house here, but it’s not like the houses at home.

Anyway.. Because we moved today, had to pack yesterday, and had our branch fireside on Wednesday.. Sister Diaz and I haven’t been able to work as much as we would like.. And man.. I have truly realized, in an extra abundance, this week the happiness that comes from missionary work. I just always perk up when I’m out talking to people. I honestly love talking to people on the street because I actually know how to speak Tagalog while getting to know people.. so I am a lot more of my goofy self when I do OYM’s. But because of that.. I have realized how different Sister Diaz and I’s personalities are. She is a very mellow and proper girl.. so sometimes I feel uncomfortable being myself around her. I don’t know.. I guess I miss being around people with my same sense of humor and way of living. But the best part of today was when Arjyn texted us asking what the plan is for tomorrow because she is just so excited for her baptism! Oh man, I’m so happy she is so excited! Tomorrow is going to be great!

7-30-16 (Saturday)
Sister Diaz, Arjyn, Elder Rawlinson, ako
Let me just start off by saying ARJYN GOT BAPTIZED! :D Oh man, that was such a fun experience going to the Stake Baptism and seeing so many people all dressed in white. Seeing so many people walking around in all white must mean the temple will be built soon. (: Aaaana, totoo I yan! (: [I hope that’s true] But really though.. It was so exciting to be there for Arjyn’s baptism. When we went to go pick her up, so we could all go to Urdaneta together she was so pumped! Oh man, she was even more excited than I was! Which is a good thing, because that just shows how excited she is to walk in Christ’s footsteps. (: Kat also came to the baptism with Julie and Gina (two recent converts that work with us a lot) which was awesome because it made her that much more excited to be baptized. (: Hopefully she can get parental consent and be baptized August 13th. Other than that we didn’t really do anything super exciting. 

Kat, Feye, Arjyn, Sister Diaz, ako
But last night.. Oh my word! So! After nightly prayers I decided to run downstairs to get a drink real quick before I went to sleep. And as I was putting my water bottle back in the fridge I straight up saw the biggest spider I have EVER seen! I’m talking straight up tarantula! It was HUGE and its legs were thick! They weren’t little twig spider legs.. wait! I take that back.. They were twig legs! Like the dang spider had legs the thickness of a twig. No joke! And it was probably 6 inches from one leg to the other. Parang ito.. (Haha!) Oh my word.. I have never had goosebumps that bad before! Like.. The intenseness of this life threatening experience made my legs burn from the goosebumps. (; 
Here's the dead Satan spider.. His legs are all curled up..
 Sorry I'm not brave enough to stretch them out
 for a picture to show you how monstrous he was. (;
After I realized this was real life I ran back upstairs to get back up, but Sister Diaz was asleep and the other Sisters had their door shut and I could hear they were praying. (This would happen) I didn’t want to disrupt anyone so I ran back downstairs and decided I would just spray it with permatox; because there was no way I could get close enough to smash it with a shoe. Plus! I don’t think we even have a shoe big enough to kill it! So after I ran around in the dark forever (because I don’t know where any of the light switches are yet) looking for the permatox. Once I finally found it, I went up to the door and sprayed the crap out of the spider but it started to run away/towards me so I ran away too! ;D I ran right back upstairs and jumped in my bed and tucked myself in so no spiders could get to me. (; 
Also.. Here's the two girls from my story
the other week about the chips. (; 

But then this morning I went to go look for the spider’s body and it was nowhere to be found! IT DIDN’T DIE! I’m telling you.. That thing was a monster! I straight up sprayed it with poison and it DID NOT DIE! 

7-31-16 (Sunday)
So! Today Arjyn was confirmed a member and received the gift of the Holy Ghost! What a great experience that was to witness. (: And then after her confirmation she bore her testimony and man.. She’s rock solid. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her. (:

Also.. I found the Satan’s spider today! I sat down on one of our chairs and across the room under the other chair I saw a giant black ball thing and after I stared at it long enough I realized it was the spider and it was DEAD! Yeah baby! I actually did come out of the war with Satan as the champion! ;D 
Elder Baay (white), Sister Alinton (Yesterday),
 Sister Quijada (white), Sister Diaz,
 Elder Reyes (red), Elder Kloepfer (Navy blue?),
 Elder Rawlinson (Black)

But.. He’s still laying dead on the tile under the chair. None of us want to be the one to dispose of it. But it’s okay because I still need to take a picture of it! (; 

Anyway.. Tonight during nightly planning, Sister Diaz said my Tagalog was fluent in our lesson with Angela earlier today! I honestly had no idea! Oh man, that truly makes me sooo happy! I want to be able to speak fluently in Tagalog so bad. I know that day will come though. I just have to work hard and be patient. (:

Sister Diaz forgot her name tag that day.. So luckily I've done that before and learned from my mistake and now always carry my extra name tag in my bag.. So Sister Diaz became Sister Fivas #2 for a couple hours. (; I guess she really is my child. (;