Sunday, December 25, 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Hey Mahallies! Christmas is inching closer, and I love it! We've been celebrating Christmas here since September, but it's always different watching the kids go from to house to house caroling for treats with lights shining everywhere, and everyone is always in a more cheery mood. The rain has been heavier than ever, umbrellas don't help much, but it doesn't stop us from going out to work! It's actually pretty refreshing after months of burning heat, so it's as close to my sister's "-15 degrees" as possible here in the Phils.

We became a trio on December 7th, and so this last week, I've been focusing on training my anak, Sister St. Gelais, from Arizona (she's 1/4thfilipino), and killing (not literally guys...) my going-home companion, Sister Swanson from Utah. She's going home on the 28th, so we're going to have her for Christmas but be all alone for the New Year - I'm going to miss her so much! She and I get along really well - we can be sassy with each other, so you know we're always having really good laughs. Especially this last week.

On Monday, our homeless investigator, Jhun Tempongko, got us each of us a carrot cake with creme cheese toppings as our Christmas gift! We asked him to give the prayer for our lesson, and during his prayer, he expressed sincere thanks to God for allowing us, as his missionaries, and this gospel to make a difference in his life. He promised God, although he knows that we'll be leaving soon, he would continue to stay steadfast in the truth of this gospel. His conversion continues to amaze me - he's already half way through the book of Mormon! I can't wait to watch him be baptized.

Then on tuesday, we were teaching our cute, old, deaf recent convert, Sister Prima. Right after we closed the lesson, they got us food, and I turned to my anak and midway through our conversation, she got crazy eyed and straight up smacks me on the back of the head! And at this point i'm in shock - obviously I have no idea why she keeps smacking me, and I'm laughing and confused all at once, and I look up at Sister Swanson and she's not helping at all!!! Just dying of laughter screaming THAT THERE IS A COCKROACH IN MY HAIR. YES THAT IS CORRECT. THERE WAS A NICE BIG COCKROACH USING MY HEAD AS A NICE PLACE TO LAY ITS NASTY EGGS. 

This last week has been really different - being a trainer is A LOT of pressure some days, especially with the thought of my co-trainer, Sister Swanson, heading back to America. But I'm grateful for the opportunity to train at the same time my sister is being trained. If I ever struggle, I just think of my cousin JJ's advice "to think of them as your siblings" and it makes it a lot easier to love them! My little anak is actually making tons of progress, and it makes me really proud of her. She really takes what I say to heart, and then works on it, so I'm grateful for her willingness to improve, and I continue to learn from her daily. 

I'm grateful for this mission, for the opportunity to serve Filipino people, and especially grateful this Christmas season, to be able to remember all that Christ gave for my salvation. I hope, for each of us, we will extend kindness to all around us and remember that He never complained, and neither should we. "If you give of your money, you give much. Give of your time, and you'll give more. But if you give yourself, you give all."

I challenge each of you to give yourselves to God, by serving your fellowman. #lighttheworld

I love you and miss you all! 

Sister Calica 

Merry Christmas

Merry CHRISTMAS Mahallies! 

So I'm so excited to tell you all about my Christmas week so far - it's been hilarious.
On tuesday, we caught a mouse in our apartment this week - thanks mom, those traps were finally put to good use. then on the 25th, we caught an even bigger RAT running around in our bathroom. Shoutout to my anak, because there is NO WAY I was gonna pick that thing up to throw it away.

Then on wednesday, my companions were having a nice meal at a bbq stand on beside an ukay-ukay...and ended up shoveling down a whole plate full of nice black ANT rice (you should've seen their faces when they realized - Sister St. Gelais literally sprayed it out and there were rice and ants flying everywhere HAHAHA PRICELESS). 

Thursday was the Christmas Party, and the whole Cavite mission met in one building to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I was able to perform a song for everyone, called "Who could imagine a king". I finally saw my batch again, Elder Tedrow and Elder Cook, and it amazes me that a whole year had passed, and so many things have changed! I can't believe that this is my last Christmas on the field - it doesn't feel real. At the party, we had an exchange gift - i got a cool donut pillow - and received some gifts given by members, and I cannot express how EXTREMELY grateful I am for the support, love, and kindness of people who support the missionaries. It makes being away from home a little easier, to know that others appreciate our sacrifice. But more than that, it makes me even MORE grateful for the sacrifice that Heavenly Father made by giving us His Son. 

I'd love to hear if any of you have been participating in the 25 days of Christmas, or if you've done any service for anyone. 

On Christmas day, we taught a lesson to brother Jhun and gave 2 ties and a white polo. Then we went to Bishop's and had a 5 star dinner and watched the best 2 years. And at the end of the night we exchanged our Secret Santa gifts and Sister Table got me a super cool cultural figurine. I finally got to skype my family this morning at the Tiongson's house, and I can't wait to see my dear loved ones in 4 months. quote of the week? marriage advice from Brother Tiongson: "Three C's of relationships, don't compare, don't complain, don't criticize" 

 I'm still grateful to be out here!

I know this gospel to be true. I know that we are so blessed to have our Savior, Jesus Christ, and a perfect plan to return to our Heavenly Father. I hope that none of us forget the real reason we celebrate Christmas - to celebrate the miracle of an ever loving, ever merciful Lord, willing to sacrifice His all so that we could have it all. I'm so grateful for His teachings, and so blessed to share it with everyone I speak to. 

I'm grateful for each of you, and I pray that you seek to have the blessings of this true gospel for yourselves.My invitation for each of you is to read the Book of Mormon, and find out for yourself. Merry Christmas my loves!

- Sister Calica

Sunday, December 4, 2016


 Happy Thanksgiving to you, my lovely family <3
> It's crazy to think that just a year ago, I was on a plane ride over to my new home here in the Phils, and that here we are a year later, and Sister Calica || was heading out to hers on the same day! ALSO you have to know that i literally waited up all night and day to make sure i'd get that call from sister calica so that's honestly so STINK that it didn't work but y'know thanks for trying bc obviously the love is real. 😉💟😘
> My companion and I tried to celebrate thanksgiving but one of our kabahays (sister Verances) was just NOT in the jolly ol' thanksgiving mood and said that they don't celebrate thanksgiving here in the phils so Sister Swanson and I ended up celebrating on our own and went out on a cute date to this little cafe right next to our house. This week was pretty amazing! Some miracles we'd witnessed: 1.Our homeless investigator, Jhun, read 83 pages in the tagalog book of mormon in ONE DAY. AS IN, he's caught up to my month's worth of studies in a single day. I was amazed, but curious if he actually understood it, and so I started explaining that the book of mormon ISN'T the mormon bible and isn't about mormon, and he replies "i know that this is just a book - but i know that it's the word of God. and it testifies of Christ. And it has all my answers - if I have any questions, I just have to read, and I get my answers" AND I FOR REAL JUST WANT YOU ALL TO MEET THIS GUY BECAUSE HE'S SUCH A GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR!!!!!!! This last week, we had stake conference far from our normal ward. People have to attend church 4 times in order to be baptized, and I was honestly concerned that he wouldn't go, because of course he works really hard to try to make enough money to have enough food, BUT BEFORE WE EVEN ASKED IF HE WAS GOING HE SAYS "don't worry sisters, i'll meet you there" and paid the whole fare on his own. he actually ended up getting lost, but eventually found his way to the church and got there even earlier than us. He showed up in his best white shirt, and EVEN took off his beanie (which he'd been embarrassed to do thus far because of the wounds on his head) but then looked around and felt embarrassed because he said everyone was so well dressed. So he sat outside and read the pamphlets and contemplated if he should stay or leave...and then he told us that one of the members invited him in and made him feel welcome! we were so grateful for such a miracle.
> I've realized the meaning behind "teaching people, not lessons". It is SO important to LOVE everyone we meet. we decided to take a different approach with one of the less actives we'd been struggling with and had pretty much lost hope on. We came in, and just started talking, and it's AMAZING how much she opened up. Usually, I feel like we just share a verse with her, tell her to come to church, she'll make some excuse about why she can't make it, and then we leave discouraged. but this time - this time was SO different. After listening to her testimony about how she knows this church is true, and that she knows she's lacking the action to prove it, She TOLD US that she'd come to church, and that she wanted to go back to the temple too. I was amazed. It was then that I realized that the question should never be "what are we teaching to our investigators today?" it should be "what do my investigators need to learn, need to feel, and need to experience to move closer to God"
> I am so grateful. We also got guitar lessons from our cute little Recent Convert, Nanay Prima, so that was amazing. i could see how happy it made her to feel like a teacher again (: She's deaf, but so talented - aka we should all work to add to our talents, because we'll use them still, even in our old age!
> I love being a missionary, and I can't wait for all of you to experience this for yourselves.
> Jeremiah 1:4-10
> I love you all!
> Sister Calica |
> Pictures of me in the jungle, sister swanson and I with brother Jhun, a family home evening with Rex and NovieFaith (i made her a poster lol) and one with my other kapatid, sister aquino, and nanay, sister livermore (who is leaving to usa in a few days! dec 7)


Hey Mahallies!

To celebrate the (less than) 25 day countdown to Christmas, my companion and I have been taking part in the #lighttheworld 25 ways in 25 days challenge. Everyday until Christmas, we take part in some type of service that reflects the sacrifice and love Jesus Christ did during his time on Earth. It feel so amazing to serve, and be served, and as we do so, it makes us more aware of all that God has done and the many blessings he has given. I invite you all to join! (: there are videos everyday to support the service of the day, so feel free to look it up. It's worldwide - so any service you're doing, you're not doing alone! Millions of people are alongside you. 

We served at a less active member's house a few days ago, by helping them garden so that they could gain some extra income (being that their financial situation is very rough) and as we did, I noticed that in their house, which was made of tin and had no furniture, stood a makeshift tree made out of rolled up red paper and used bottle caps for ornaments. I couldn't help but compare it to the tree we put up yearly at home and stand amazed at all the blessings we constantly manage to overlook. I invite you to seek to give, instead of receive, this upcoming Christmas season. I promise that as you center your hearts on Christ and not on the worldly items of the world, we will better understand the REAL meaning of Christmas - we will understand that God, as a gift to us, sacrificed His Beloved Son, that all mankind might be saved.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know it to be true. I invite you to find out for yourself, by joining my sister and I in the challenge her mission in North Dakota gave, to read the Book of Mormon before Christmas, and pray to know it is true, as a gift to show our love for Christ. 

I love you all!

Sister Calica |