Thursday, January 19, 2017

12 weeks

So I woke up on Tuesday, and was wondering why in the world my lips were feeling so numb. I looked in the mirror and BAM! Mosquito kisses = free botox everyone. I was a real life bratz doll for a day. 

But despite having bratz lips and losing my wallet this week, I could feel the miracles continually flowing in. 

The first of those miracles being Sister Aquino. We were able to be a trio with my "kapatid" here on the mission for three days, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to teach with her, because I learned so much about being positive and loving my calling. She comes from a pretty rough background, and yet is one of the most spiritually in-tune missionaries I know. She NEVER blames God for obstacles that would hinder almost anyone else I know. From her I learned that as we continue to trust in God, and serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, we will be made enough. 

We'd been teaching the nephew of Brother Latigay for a few weeks now. Rom is one of our progressing investigators and, although he's only 16 years old, he has such a mature attitude and has been going to the church regularly for almost a month now. I am truly amazed whenever I encounter teens searching for the truth. It just further testifies to me that God has prepared the most valiant servants for these latter days and that God's plan is for EVERYONE, no matter the age. Some people, although they're searching with true hearts, just don't have the truth because they don't know where to find it. I testify that this is the true church of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that we have all the rights and authority to prove that claim. Just like we did with Rom, I invite you to pray and ask if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's church, and if the message we share is true. Rom shared that when he did pray, he felt like he felt God speak to him and advise him to "continue to take the lessons with the sisters". I'm so grateful for the Holy Spirit, because I know that the spirit is who testified to Rom that he is on the right path. We just heard that he might be going back to his province, but I'm really praying he doesn't, because I want to see how much God can make out of Rom!
I'm grateful for all of you, and have a testimony that if you are looking for the truth, you can find it here.

I love you all! 
Sister Calica

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Happy first week of the year Mahallies.

So this week was ridiculous. The plumbing in the Philippines doesn't take too well to our bathroom got messed up. we had to endure and shower at a member's house - the Madriaga Family (they're our landlord) - until our they got permission to open up the second floor for us to use, and we were SO grateful! Literally 5 minutes after the Madriagas left, Sister Table and I heard screaming from the upstairs bathroom - the bathroom knob had broken off AND WATER WAS SPRAYING EVERYWHERE flooding the whole bathroom. We all jumped in, hopelessly trying to shove the knob back to where it was and simultaneously using the bathroom buckets to shovel the mini-sea into the shower, to keep it from flooding the whole second floor. The Madriagas came back to find us soaking and desperate for help. It took 2 hours to fix, but thankfully, Brother Madriaga was able to fix the problem. We were so relieved....then yesterday, our shower faucet broke off so, y'know, all the water pipes have been messed up and I've just been taking tabo showers out of this little bucket. IT'S BEEN A CRAZY WEEK, MAHALLIES!

Missionary work this week was brilliant. Sister St. Gelais and I finally got to teach brother Maximo, the husband of a recent convert, Sister Jen Gonzales. We'd been wanting to share the gospel with him for forever, but he'd always get so shy whenever we'd come by, he'd run off! During our last lesson, however, he told us that he really wanted to go to church and be baptized! He loves his family tons, and watches them go to church every sunday, and I think he's ready to take the steps he needs to to make his family his forever. We're going to continue our lessons with him, and I am sure the day will come when he will be ready and willing to accept the truth of this gospel, or God's plan for us, for himself, and for his loved ones. 

We've also started teaching a friend of Brother Padlan's (recent convert), Antonio Gile, who became interested in the church because he saw the strength it had given brother Padlan, both physically and emotionally. Brother Padlan's foot is swollen, black, and partially numbed due to diabetes, but he never fails to walk to church every single sunday. His sacrifice amazes me. Brother Padlan bore his testimony to Brother Gile about the blessings and strength he's gained for his obedience to God's commandments and obeying the sacredness of the sabbath day. Brother Gile can barely walk because of his arthritis, but was SO COMMITED to come to church, he came the sunday after we taught him is first lesson! (He's scheduled to be baptized on the 18th of February). I know the gospel of Jesus Christ can help us overcome any obstacle. 

Sister Gizelle, one of our investigators, has also informed us that she's finally taken action to get her husband's birth certificate, so that they can be married and she can be baptized! I'm so excited for her, and am praying that everything falls into place. God is so good. The Lord always provides a way, if we're trying to do what's right. 

I love the people here, and I am so blessed to be able to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ, or his plan for our happiness, has motivated them to better themselves. 

I would like to leave my testimony with you. I know that this is the true word of God. I know it's easy to say, but what has strengthened my testimony is actually living it and seeing first hand the blessings it brings. Back at home, I didn't have a good study habit when it came to scripture reading, and now I find that the hours of study we have just aren't enough, because there's still so much more I want to learn, and still so much the spirit has to teach me! I think that when we stop looking at prayer and scripture reading and church going as a bore, and begin to see them for what they really are - blessings to enlighten our minds and bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ - we will learn to love it. I've grown such a deep love for the prophets of old, who sacrificed time, safety, and (for some) their lives to bring me their testimonies of my Savior Jesus Christ. I know these things are true. I know that Heavenly Father , out of love for each of us, sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us of our sins. I know that the Savior lives, and I know that the spirit will guide us and help us to understand the testimonies of the prophets about Jesus Christ, if we pray and ask for his guidance.

I'm grateful for all of you and invite you to read and pray, and ask for yourself if you really are a child of God, if He really does love you, and if the testimonies in the Book of Mormon are true. 

I leave you my witness that they are.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Calica

Sunday, January 8, 2017

100 Days

Happy New Years, Mahallies. I hope that your Christmas and New Years were filled with loads of joy and a new sense of gratitude. Today, the countdown begins: 100 days until we're together again, everyone! I can't really imagine how it feels to come home and see all my family and friends. Sister Swanson left last tuesday, and I was in tears (which makes no sense, because of course, we're gonna hang out in America)! I guess I just came to a realization that nothing will ever be the same - being a missionary is such a blessing, and for most, is a once in a life time shot in their youth. I feel so blessed to have been able to experience and learn from all those I've come to know out here. 

On tuesday, after Sister Swanson left, I met a really amazing mother of 3, named Jennielyn. She's a friend of sister Gizelle, one of our progressing investigators. We were about to start a lesson with Gizelle about the Book of Mormon, when in steps Sister Jennielyn, to pick up her kids. We invited her to listen, and at the end of the lesson, Sister Gizelle tells us how she'd been intending to refer Jennielyn to us for a long time now! Jennielyn said she knew it wasn't a coincidence that she stepped in just in time to meet us. She said that she usually doesn't go out to pick up her kids, because she knows they'll come back, but something was pushing her to go to Gizelle's house...and I know that "something" was the spirit! I am so grateful to continue our lessons with her, and watch her grow in the gospel.

This week, we had so much help from the members, which we'd been praying for. They fed us tons of food, and at nearly every house we stopped at, they had friends they wanted us to share the message with. I know God blesses us with tender mercies everyday. 

Then on thursday, Brother Bringas, we'd asked a less active member if he knew how the spirit felt. He told us that he feels it everytime we come around, that he feels happy, yet calm and strong. He's been coming to church consistently these last couple weeks, and even attended Jhun's baptism! 

Jhun got baptized on Saturday, and the spirit he brought when sharing his testimony was so strong. He said that when we found him, he felt like he'd finally found the missing piece he didn't realize he was searching for. This gospel helps us understand our purpose for being here. It helps us truly grasp that we really are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. 

I know that Heavenly Father is real. He has a perfect, glorified body. I know that Jesus Christ is a separate being. He is the son of God, and is our Brother. He also has a glorified body of flesh and bones. During his time on earth, he gave his life for our sins and pains, and overcame death. HE LIVES and loves us! I know that the spirit has no body, but we can feel it in our hearts. I know that it can change who we are, and help us become who God wants us to be. I know that this time on Earth is the time to prepare to meet God. This Earth is our training ground to become more like our Savior, and we can do that by setting goals to be better and overcome our weaknesses. My invitation for each of you is to set 4 goals: mental, physical, social, spiritual. Write why you want to do each of these, and how you're going to do them! I know that we all have weaknesses, and might slip up, but heaven sings and cheers us on every step of the way, so keep trying to be better than the person you were yesterday! and if you'd like to join my mission in this challenge, I'd also love to invite each of you to read 5 pages of the book of Mormon daily, and underline every single time you see anything that references the Savior. I've started doing this and have come to see that the Book of Mormon really does testify purely of our Lord.

I love you all so much, and pray for you always!

See you in 100. 

- Sister Calica