Thursday, August 6, 2015

April 7, 2015

Whenever someone transfers from the ward... they get egg'd and flour'd. Me and Elder Madrid were the targets and bishop joined in for fun.

My baby girl is gonna be a momma

Me and Sister Strickland switched clothes and hair-do and EVERYONE noticed. XD Best last Sunday ever.

The wedding/baptism day <333 :))) Such a great day.

March 30, 2015

Nooooooooooo. I'm a grandmother (again). 

I'm so proud of Sister Strickland. She's training right after we finish her training this week. But at the same time, I'm heart broken. I'm gonna miss her a ton and I'm leaving my absolute favorite area after just 2 transfers. Wherever I'm going will be my last area so I'm sort of nervous. It's ok I guess... we had a really good week.

Tuesday was zone interviews and it was a little different this time. We each had a 20 minute interview where we taught President Bertin the restoration. Then instead of having a day's worth of workshops while waiting for everyone else to finish being interviewed, we had a regular district meeting and went right out to work. We actually got picked to work with Sister Bertin so she took us out to lunch and worked with us in our area. It was a really fun day. Our investigators were a little intimidated by her presence and felt it necessary to speak all the English they could. It was really cute, she carries a very sweet spirit with her and I think the people felt it. 

Our highlight was probably yesterday. Sister Strickland and I both had special fasts that our baptisms planned for the end of the week will go through and for a few other purposes. Heavenly Father really came through after that. Julie passed her baptismal interview after finishing our lessons in just 6 or 7 visits. She's got a solid testimony and her brother is coming right along behind her.
That afternoon we tracted into this lady who was just as sweet as could be. She invited us in to listen and it turns out she has always wanted to listen to the missionaries because she is friends with the member next door, she was just too shy to ask about it. She said she envies their family unity in going to church together every Sunday and broke down a little bit about how she longs to have that kind of feeling in her family. So after that lesson we had a lesson with the member next door about missionary work and the atonement. We talked about how experiencing its blessings will help us have the desire to share with others so she could help the sister next door. She then shared her testimony of the atonement and how she knows it's a real thing. She recounted the experience of how her second pregnancy almost killed her, but she knew she wouldn't die because during the time her blood pressure dropped and they thought she was dying, she had a dream, or more like a vision, that her family was in the temple dressed in white being sealed. The spirit was so strong! I felt like she taught us more than we taught her. 

Our last appointment though was the best and the blessings of our special fast continued. We went to the house of this man we taught one time off the street who came to church once but hasn't come since. I almost couldn't remember their house until I saw his girlfriend standing outside smiling at us. She welcomed us into this tiny little room (with room for not much else than a bed and a few chairs) in what seemed like a community house. Brother Ronilo was eating dinner with his friend. He was so embarrassed and said he didn't invite us over to teach him because of the size of his living quarters but we reassured him it couldn't matter less. He talked about how he felt filthy, unworthy, and wondered why he should believe in God or that he loves him when there is so much pain and suffering in his life. So I asked if we could start with a prayer and he was pleasantly surprised. The spirit was already strong and when the lesson started I really felt the spirit guiding us. We shared from Ether 12 about how hope comes from faith in God and becomes an anchor for us in life and how missionaries are one way that God provides to show his love for his children and help them gain faith in him. He invited us back for Thursday and on the way out, his girlfriend grabbed me by the arm and said, "Don't give up on him. In all our years together, this is the first time he's ever opened up about this." She shed a few tears and we didn't know what to say. So we waited. After a moment, she asked, "Can you come back tomorrow while he's at work? I feel like you could really help me too." And then I felt prompted to hug her and when I did, she held on tightly and cried in my arms. Heavenly Father is good and he really does love his children. I love the moments I get to be the instrument in showing God's love to them.

As President Monson said, "Heavenly Father loves you -- each of you. That love NEVER changes." I testify that that is true.  


Sister Wilson

Fairview zone

While everyone else is bowling...

Batasan 2nd ward missionaries!

Some random guy off the street bought us snacks because it was hot out side and we had walked a lot. Faith in humanity restored!

Taco salad anyone?
Our friend in the ward made us our own basket of sticky rice! It's the best... we finished it by the next day

 She's not allowed to go in our apartment so we brought the table out, heheh.

Sister Strickland's reaction to the phone call last night saying she will train

One of the BEST dinners I've ever had -- shrimp sinigang (sour brothy soup with okra, eggplant, different vegetables) and fried fish.

Dessert was also delicious. Ube buko pie (layers of thick sliced coconut and the purple potato-stuff spread on it.)

The 3 in the middle are Charlie, Julie and Claire. Julie, the little one (21 years old, believe it or not) is being baptized on Saturday.

Another really delicious dinner we had -- stuffed fish, lumpia shanghai, and eggplant with shrimp paste

March 24, 2015

I thought the feet were cute. :)

Here we are again!
This week was the best! I got to feed a newborn puppy, eat the smallest banana in the world, and we finally had our baptism! I'll recap it quickly:

We started out with 2 baptismal interviews, the first was Sister Yolly. Right before we went to her interview I told Sister Strickland, "Hey, you know what would be funny? If she and her husband weren't married, like what happened with Brother Carlo and Sister Shara." We laughed too quickly. As we started filling out her baptismal record with her, she told us a different last name. As luck would have it, she's not married to Brother Bernie. In fact, he's still married to someone else but they've been separated 18 years. He and Yolly have been together for 9 years and have a child together so we asked the elders what to do. We wanted to cry... It didn't make sense because Brother Bernie was baptized last year while they were living together AND was ordained to the priesthood, so now we're questioning the elders who baptized him. How was he baptized without fixing their law of chastity problem? Thankfully, we found out all they have to do is get a certificate of no marriage which is a legal document that shows he is still married and can't marry Yolly but they have been togehter for long enough that she can be baptized. Divorce here is really expensive so nobody does it. On a happier note, she has been praying and asking the Lord to make her happy in life as a way of her knowing the church is true. She received an answer alright. She just found out she's pregnant and most likely with twins. She's practically beaming now when we see her. God works in mysterious ways!

We also had an activity -- a family home evening for investigators. We taught them how to hold family home evening, how to teach their children, about the eternal family unit and gave them a church tour. We placed the baptismal service directly after so that they would be able to witness one and see how it was done. It was a huge success! We taught Julie, our investigator, right before we went to the ward FHE and her brother who we had never before met told us he wanted to come. We were excited and taught him before the activity. After we finished the lesson, he read the whole pamphlet, started the Book of Mormon and came to church the next day with his sisters. I'm SO glad we bumped into Claire one day on the street, she saying she was a member and didn't know where to go to church. The result has been the unification of she and her two siblings as they progress toward baptism. At the baptism, Bryan bore such a sweet testimony about how he knew he had been forgiven of his sins and how he would not ever be returning to them.

Milanie... we miss her. She was a week away from baptism when she got a job. Now instead of teaching her laws and ordinances we're trying to maintain her testimony. Because of her job she stopped progressing completely. She works from 9PM to 6AM and she stopped reading the scriptures and coming to church. When we went there last night she hardly smiled, just kind of stared at the ground. I don't know what she's going through in her life, but the Lord does. So Sister Strickland and I decided to go over there without any plans. We decided to teach about how the Lord takes care of us no matter what but most especially when we are obedient. We talked about how much He loves her and wants to give her what's best. We asked her to pray about what to do at the end and when we looked up, there were tears in her eyes. I knew at that moment that the Lord was confirming what we had told her was true. It was amazing. This work is the best. I love these people. I love the way that I see Heavenly Father work through me. And...

I LOVE being a missionary. Have I ever mentioned that? 


Sister Wilson

Singing at the baptism

Bryan the day before his baptism

My kuto!!! I'll always cherish and treasure this in my journal.  (Lice.  Actual size.)

I had to take a picture here, this dog reminds me of Poppy. She's spoiled and eats better food than I do. She does the same begging thing as Poppy as well. Her name is Penny, pretty close.

Feeding a newborn puppy :')) It was literally only hours old and its mother was attacking it so we had to bottle feed it. We came there intending to teach a less active but they were busy with the birthing dog, lol.

This is the smallest banana I've ever seen, the length of my pinky finger and soooo gooood.

Editor's Note:  I'd asked Kenna to send more pictures of all the things she wants to remember, and all the things that if she relayed the information to you, you would never believe.  This is her reply:

The problem with taking pictures is... it's difficult for me as a foreigner because 1. it seems rude to photograph the squatter areas, 2. we aren't allowed to use cameras in proselyting, and 3. it makes me seem rich and people will want to mug me. So I don't take as much as I want to, but I have some this week you'll like!

My companion stole this sweet shot of Ira's uncle tying up her hair before he baptized her. 

My new favorite dessert - biko!!! Coconut sticky rice.

 Bryan's baptism, as well as Julie

Claire and some ward missionaries who always come with us to teaching appointments.


In case you all were wondering... these are the sisters who added you on Facebook. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Request from everyone!

Hello! This is a shout-out to all those who love me and want me to be happy in life. Will you pleeeease take a few minutes to send me through email your MP3 files of church music so I can put it on my USB and have something to listen to in my apartment? Me and my companion are going crazy without music. It has to be an arrangement of a church hymn but it can be anything. Instrumental, vocal, I don't care. Just send it as an attachment. Thanks, love you all!

March 16, 2015

Maayong araw..

This week has been really great for finding people. One of our less-active families just lost their baby to health complications which has really stirred in them the desire to attend church again. The father of the baby is not a member and was very interested when we shared our first message with him last Tuesday. Their whole family showed up at church yesterday and they got a lot of support from the ward. The relief society presidency also introduced us to a recently widowed woman with two young children. Her husband died in January and it felt so good to be able to give her comfort through a short and simple message about the plan of salvation. It broke my heart to see people grieving so much but I can feel Heavenly Father's love for them as we teach them. 

Unfortunately, our baptism had to be pushed back because our candidate suddenly got caught up in her new job. It was really hard to see that her spark and excitement was gone when we came back yesterday because she hadn't had time to read the Book of Mormon or come to church. Overall she just seemed different. You can tell when people are reading and when they're turning their hearts towards worldly things. The discouragement is hard to handle but we taught her about fasting and how she can make a good decision with the Lord's help through this divine means. 

I'm also grateful for the priesthood! Bryan, who will be baptized on Saturday, has been a long time investigator who has had a problem with social drinking. He was too embarrassed to decline when offered alcohol so we suggested a while back that he receive a priesthood blessing from the elders. They gave him one and ever since he's had no problems with the word of wisdom. He said he's found it helpful when he brings the Book of Mormon to work and reads it in his down time. I'm so excited for him! Anyway, that's it this week. Short on time. 

Lahat ng aking pagmamahal,

Sister Wilson


I like this picture because inside the tricycle, we noticed that little sign down at the bottom... it means, "Strive to observe... Not allowed to fart here" 
She's crazy.

This was our family home evening last night. I'm in disbelief that we fit so many people in this itty bitty living space with so few chairs. There are several people here you can't even see because they're hidden from view


Is everyone still alive? All is quiet on the western front... Believe it or not, I still care about the boring details of everyone's lives. 

We've had tons of success this week in our area. President Bertin has made fantastic goals for the mission this year and to help, he has made giant maps of our areas for each apartment and given us stickers to mark each member with a number according to the CMIS as well as investigators so we can see the location of our members, investigators and less actives. This will help in planning, fellowshipping and tracting. 

This ward is the most hardworking and best fellowshipping ward I've ever been in. They're giving us at least 5 referrals per week so baptizing is going to be a ton easier. This week was the highest number of lessons I've ever taught in 1 week and I can see how the members really and truly make the difference. Each day we have 2 or 3 sisters working with us and friendships are forming quickly with our investigators. Along with the help of the ward, I know these great things are happening because of our commitment to be exactly obedient. We have been practicing it each day and I don't even have to think about teaching anymore, it just comes. The spirit literally drops thoughts into my brain and I finally understand the feeling of being "simply an instrument." It's a miracle and I'm amazed. President Bertin always promises us, "If you're being exactly obedient, you have the right to expect miracles." We've been teaching like mad and we've found 14 new less active members this week. I know it's inspired that we have been assigned in this ward because the sisters told us, "We've been waiting for sisters to come here so we could visit the people with the missionaries. Before, we were never allowed to work with missionaries because we only had elders." There is a cesspool of less active members in our farthest area who have been overlooked for the longest time. Now that we've found them we're going to work on them. A good number of them even showed up at church yesterday, and one of them has, since our lesson, begun the process of becoming worthy to be endowed. I'm so excited for her. 

Pope Francis came and visited the Philippines this past week and it's really putting a cramp in our style. "I <3 Pope Francis" t-shirts and mugs and banners and his red carpet event that everyone was watching on TV has caused a revival of Catholic pride in the hearts of the people. We've had to make a special focus on priesthood and prophets in our lessons because people really don't understand how prophets are called by revelation. 

My daughter ate balut from a street vendor the other night! I'm so proud of her. She did it in 2 big bites and didn't say anything about it except, "I'm sorry little bird, don't tell your mum!" Haha, she's fearless. We were walking down the street the other day and this guy has a gigantic snake wrapped around his body and he asks us if we want to hold it. She immediately held out her arms to take it and says, "Oh yeahhh, she's a beautyy!" as it hisses emphatically in our direction. It's been super fun being her comp, you don't have to worry about safety when you're always with a rugby player. 

Sa aking pag-aaral sa linggo na ito, mas napansin ko kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. Buhay talaga po siya at nakakita ko na kung ang mga tao ay tatanggapin ang sakripisyo niya para sa kanila, mas magiging matatag sila sa simbahan at sa pananampalataya nila. Anuman ang mga problema natin sa buhay (sa pamilya man o hindi), lahat ay pwedeng maging maayos sa pamamagitan niya. Mahal ko kayong lahat. Paki isipin po ninyo ang kahalagaan ng pagbabayad-sala sa buhay ninyo at gamitin ninyo siya. Alam ko na babasbasan niya kayo. 

Sister Wilson

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Nagkakaroon kami ng tagumpay! 

The work continues to roll forward in our ward. At the start of the week we had a CSP and enjoyed being able to serve Bishop Espinoza. I really love the people I serve with. They all set really good examples and make me want to be better. For our service project we shoveled cement into bags and carried it a distance in the heat of the afternoon. Things like these usually make me become selfish because all I can think about is how hot it is and how tired I am. But this time I saw it with different eyes. Some of the other missionaries and I likened it unto taking up our cross and following the Savior. As we began the project, the by-standers were skeptical that a bunch of American white kids could take on such a task. They kept asking questions if we could really do it. Other people had different responses. Some even stopped along our path and showed concern by taking our bag of cement mix and carrying it the rest of the way for us. I watched as elders supported each other and would take two bags if one was tiring out. It reminded us missionaries of how Christ lightens our load and carries us under our load when we struggle, and how he does it for us daily.  I have seen that come true as I continue to adjust to changing circumstances in missionary life. We, in turn, must do the same for others in our lives. But I know he loves us and wants to help us do this for others. We are never alone!

Sister Strickland and I both felt a brief absence of the Holy Ghost in our teaching together so we read chapter 4 in our companion study in Preach My Gospel. We determined that our prayers were pretty weak and we've been striving to pray more fervently and specifically. The next day's teaching was immensely better. We even had a sweet older lady pull us into her house off the street wanting to "hear more of the word of God" and struggling as a single mother. You can see immediate blessings when you pray with faith! We also gained the full trust of an investigator who has been ready for baptism since last month (but is waiting for her marriage license). We knew it when she opened up to us over dinner about how her fiancee has a mental disorder and was institutionalized 3 times for suicide attempts. And when she came into his life, he was able to function normally again. Then was when he realized Heavenly Father had answered his prayer and that was when he started bringing Shara to church. Now she's being baptized and they have a goal to be sealed in the temple. We were so touched by their story and the way that our father cares for his children. 

Sister Strickland is starting to really contribute good ideas to our lesson plans and I feel like she's not dependent on me anymore. The only thing we've struggled with this week is her taking control in lessons and not being afraid to be bold. We talked about it in companionship inventory and she's starting out small with extending firmer commitments. Other than that, she's great. She feels like my sister and we have a ton of fun together.

Yesterday was a fantastic Sunday. We just barely got a less-active couple to return to church the previous Sunday and the bishop had them give talks yesterday. They chose to speak on faith. We visited them after church and they explained to us how they were embarrassed that they kept telling us they were "not ready to return to church yet." They said that it made them think when even after they told us they didn't want to come back to church, we kept coming to their house and teaching them. We asked them how they felt after deciding to be active again and the husband said, "I came out of church just feeling happy. I don't know why. It just feels good and my worries are gone." And then his wife added, "I don't know why he was happy either, but since he was happy I was happy too. And we're so grateful you reminded us how to be happy again." This was probably one of the most joyful experiences of my mission. I felt like Heavenly Father really used me as a tool and the people responded. In addition to that, someone that we OYM'd on the street and taught a short 15 minute lesson a month ago showed up to church yesterday with his family. His wife told us that he never goes to church because he feels hopeless about life and bitter towards God for how he has ended up. But he remembered our invitation to him and the promised blessings that he would receive and he came. The wife said she has always wanted to attend a Mormon church because she has a lot of friends that are missionaries serving in Isabella. It was completely unexpected that they were there and they told us they would be back next week. And the last one we didn't expect was a teenager we had taught Saturday night. We thought she was the daughter of a less-active. The mother wasn't home so we just taught her thinking she was also a member. She seemed completely uninterested and we didn't really think about her again. The next day, this couple I just told you about, showed up at church with her saying that she isn't actually a member of their family, she is part of a protection program. She is in hiding after being abused by her mother since childhood and raped by her step-father a year ago. I was completely shocked. They said she was happier than they've seen her before and that our visit did her good, she is just afraid of people. I know it's not a coincidence that we found and taught her.

The promise in Preach My Gospel from the First Presidency is making more and more sense that as we do this work, greater happiness awaits than we have ever experienced. 


Sister Wilson

P.S. Pictured is Sister Yolly who is being baptized