Thursday, October 20, 2016

The time is far spent, there are 6 months remaining...


Hey loves. The time has flown by so fast! I honestly can't believe I've already hit my one year mark. I think that if one year could fly by that fast...six months is going to be done in the blink of an eye.'s not that I don't like you guys or something...but I honestly don't want to go back to America ahaha I love my mission way too much. The people are wonderful, the food is fattening, the spirit is converting, and the love is never ending. 

I'm grateful for my family, who've been celebrating my brother(Josh)'s 17th birthday and my little sister (Sabrina)'s mission farewell *SHOUTOUT TO YOU GUYS I MISS YOU TONS*...because they included me in the celebration by sending me a 1 year package of my own! It had chocolate and tissues and books so I could cry tears of joy and eat my feelings all at the same time, then read something uplifting to push me forward. They know me way too well ahaha but honestly my one year was great thanks to my companion and kabahays who set up a huge tarpaulin with my face raging across it (and also featuring the three of them partying in a jeepney on the sidelines) and a delicious yema cake haha #itsmorefuninthePhilippines diba?! 

Tons of other crazy things happened these last two weeks - first i'd like to speak of Cherryanne. She's a recent convert, and had only been a member for about 4 months now. She suddenly stopped going to church one week because she had to help her sister set up for a huge statue worship event...and after that things all went downhill. She just stopped coming all together, and when we went to go visit her, her eyes were dark and she said that she'd seen bad spirits in her home. She saw one possess a lady down the street, and had been lighting candles and opening scriptures all around her house in a desperate attempt to get them to go away. It was honestly a little bit horrifying to speak to her...because, i guess the best way to explain it was that she felt "dark". Even just giving her a hug...felt empty. AGH and then the way she looked at us, it was like no one was inside. I know this probably seems very far off from reality, but here in the Phils, EVERYONE believes in dark voodoo spirits so this was just...NOT OKAY. But in a brave attempt to try and help, we spoke with her and asked her why she hadn't been going to church or praying. We listened to her concerns, and earnestly urged her to pray, read from the Book of Mormon, and listen to hymns to try to invite the spirit back into her life. She agreed to do so. We left and came back the next day and I kid you not - She didn't even need to say she'd done it - I could feel the difference when I walked into her home. I could see it in her eyes - it was like she had the shine restored back into them. She told us that she'd been playing church music since we'd left the night before, and that she'd read her scriptures, and prayed...and hadn't been bothered by the bad spirit - it'd left.  

I know that this gospel is POWERFUL. It comes directly from Heaven. Each and every one of us are very special children of the Most High Being - Heavenly Father. He loves us, and wants us to be happy. No matter how powerful the adversary is, and no matter how hard he tries to pull us down, I know that we can stay firm and that our testimonies will not be shaken if we rely on our Heavenly Father, and on His beloved son, Jesus Christ. I know that the Spirit of God will testify to you of these things. You are loved, prayed for, and blessed more than you know.

Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

1 Yr

Hey Mahallies!

So like I said last week, October is crazy. Babies are being born, my brother's turning 17, my sister's leaving on a mission, and our living prophet and apostles have filled our minds with tons of new spiritual insight, AND MY BATCH AND I ARE HITTING ONE YEAR ON THE MISSION FIELD ON THE 14TH! Isn't it all so wonderful? 

It was such a blessing to watch the General Conference from a different country, for the first time! Singing along with the missionaries as they sang "Called to Serve" and "I'll go where you want me to go" brought me so much happiness - I'm so grateful to be a missionary, and to be blessed with the opportunity to share a beautiful, heaven-sent message about how Jesus Christ has paved a way for all of us to return to our Heavenly Father, and more than that, to return together as families, to be together for all time and eternity. 

So many things happened this week, it's hard to sum up all I've learned, seen, and heard in a few paragraphs. Rex Paras, our little boy who was recently converted last month, turned 11 on Sunday! We came over to his house with cake and some pokemon lego, and you guys should've seen how happy he was! His mom, Jennifer, told us that they never had cake for their birthdays (because they couldn't afford it) and they were so grateful we had done so much to make it memorable for him. For me, back at home, cake on birthdays seems like something "given", something expected, something I honestly wouldn't notice very much because I'd take it for granted...but watching how much joy it'd bring people who aren't used to having such blessings in their lives made me realize how important the basics are.

Just the same, I believe that too often, we grow numb to the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or of God's love. We begin to feel entitled to blessings and want more, but thank less. Blessings such as family, opportunities to study the scriptures and uplifting/educational literature, our homes, our jobs, food, etc the list could go on forever, but more often than not, we forget to have an attitude of gratitude and positivism, and search for what we lack.

So today, I'd like to invite you to look through your life, and write down every time you'd felt the spirit, or felt God's love, or experienced miracles, and thank Him for those things. And afterwards, ask Him what you can do to show him how grateful you are for His tender mercies. Look through your life, and think of any sins you've left unrepented, and seek forgiveness from Him. And I promise you, that you will find the peace, joy, and beauty in life you didn't know you were looking for. I know that He loves you, and He blesses you everyday. Evidence of His love is all around us - just look a little harder.

I love each of you, I love this gospel. I'm grateful to be a missionary, and my testimony of God's love and Christ's atonement grows every single day. My prayers are always with you! I leave these things in Christ's Holy name,