Mission Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos From Two Great Days

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

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

I should be on a calendar! ;D

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11-13-16 (Sunday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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