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Monday, December 8, 2014

It's All Typhoon-y Again. 12/7/2014

Bamboo products, anyone?

Vegetable garden service project! Took forEVER..

The new batch of STL's :)
Waiting for our new comps together

We found a Dairy Queen!!! But the sizes are ridiculously small... and it's just not the same... oh well.
The kitchen... AFTER the cockroach rampage.
Two Americans praying over their pizza in a Filipino restaurant.
K:  Mom, I bet you saw a lot of this on the Amazing Race, right? :) There's barbecue blood, chicken intestine, chicken skin, skewered hot dog and pork BBQ. You eat it dipped in vinegar, onion and garlic. Doesn't that just get your appetite going? ;)

Mom:  You're not seriously eating that, are you?

K:  Lol, no, 
I'm eating turon! It's a banana fried in a crunchy wrapper. I was just hoping you'd think I was eating that. ;)


Hey everyone,

It's all typhone-y again. But you should be glad when you hear that because it means that I'm not sweating for a day or two. It still doesn't feel like Christmas, no matter how many lights are hung or how many Christmas songs I hear. I just can't really make the connection in my brain with hot weather and Christmas. It feels like I'm frozen in time in an eternal summer. 

I don't have anything really news-y for you this week. I do have a new companion though, Sister Andres. She's 4 foot 10 so she looks more like my side-kick than my companion, hehe. She's from Isabella, pretty close by but they speak a different dialect so sometimes I have nosebleeds. She has a LOT of energy and is always bubbly and happy, loves to cook and clean, so we're set. I'm supposed to train her to be a sister training leader... but I still don't know what I'm doing myself. We'll see how it goes! And guess who I get to take on exchanges? Sister Gison! :) I get to see my child again! 

Yesterday we really saw the blessings of fasting! The Suelen family whom we've been visiting for 7 months came to church for the first time on Sunday. And following them in through the door was an investigator we had taught for the first time the previous day. It was so unexpected but I was so happy and filled with the spirit that I bounced right up to the pulpit to bear my testimony. After the meeting, a visitor asked me if I was an albino Filipino. I guess Tagalog isn't really a problem anymore so that's a relief. 

And the blessings continued after that. Brother Jeff, our ward mission leader, worked with us after church. Usually we don't work without breaking our fasts first but we decided we wanted the extra blessings so we stuck it out. I was glad because we visited Brother Butch (who is actually the uncle of my trainer, Sister Surio! SMALL WORLD!), who has been a drug addict his whole life. He always talks about how he and his sister see spirits and Satan talks to him and stuff. Pretty bizarre guy... the only reason we came back to him was because he told us he wants to erase his past through the church. Luckily Brother Jeff faced a ton of people like Butch on his mission so he was able to help us. We taught Butch about the power of the atonement and the power of prayer, he was really excited. He couldn't figure out why he felt good when we were there and then the feeling left with us. He was ecstatic to accept a baptismal date after we explained that he can have that feeling always through the gift of the holy ghost. He asked if he could be baptized on Wednesday, bless his heart. His 2 neighbors who sat in to listen also accepted dates on the first lesson. Then we visited Takder and he said that after he watched a scary movie, he couldn't sleep for 2 nights and then he remembered what we taught about prayer. So he prayed, fell asleep and had a dream that Jesus Christ was walking him through the blackness. I'm so amazed at how close that kid is to the spirit. His parents fed us dinner so we caved at 7:30 and broke our fasts. Another blessing, it was delicious. ;) 

This morning was an adventure! I accidentally forgot about some wet sheets from a month ago and spent hours cleaning all the black mold. We also went through 2 cans of Bigon exterminating our apartment. My new companion couldn't handle the filth so she opened up the cabinets and tried to clean it all out when an explosion of cockroaches erupted. It was so disgusting. Then the cabinet doors fell off and we were all freaking out and stomping all the cockroaches we could catch. If that wasn't fun enough, she cleaned the bathroom too and found that our non-flushing toilet is full of black water inside the tank and there are things living in it. I'm not sure what's in there but I'm not touching it.

Sister Wilson

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 1, 2014.

The zone yesterday... mga chuploks!
My beloved Fontamillas family... <3 Brother Jun is in blue and Sister Baby is in orange. 

Honest-to-goodness infographic posted in the Stake Center.  ...  Oh, the cultural differences!
Talagang malakas ang impluwensya ng espiritu sant sa buhay namin itong linggo. 

I successfully finished my transfer as a lone sister training leader and I must say, it was a blast. Sister Gison is transferring to Valenzuela in Metro Manila and I'm staying here and getting a sister training leader companion. I'll miss her like crazy! We've become so close and it's sad to see her go. But the neat thing is seeing her progress from her first day here in the field to where she is now. I can really see, even in her countenance, how Heavenly Father has helped her. 
I was strengthened in ways this transfer I didn't expect by all the wonderful sisters I got to go on exchanges with. This week I went with a brand new sister from Fiji. She just converted to the church a year ago and is the only member in her family. She and her testimony is amazing.

Thanksgiving I didn't go hungry! The bishop had us over for dinner. It was Filipino food but I was grateful. I think this was probably one of the better Thanksgivings I've experienced because being out here has made me realize how much I really have to be thankful for. Truly, I don't think I've ever been more aware of my blessings in my whole life. I'm now looking forward to Christmas because it will truly be focused on the Savior. President Bertin is focusing our proselyting based on a recent video release of the church: "He is the Gift" (Christmas.mormon.org

Brother Marvin is finally gaining back his faith in Christ. He invited us over for a family home evening with them where he prepared several object lessons on how hard it was for him to gain his faith back. One of them he had us pass a candle down a line of people in the dark with the fan going, symbolizing how many times his faith had died and how he felt lost and in the dark. But then he told us that over the process of us teaching him he has gotten back on the right track. They made a little stand for the candle with a picture of Jesus on it saying that he is now the foundation for their family and they thanked us for helping Marvin find his way back to Christ. They made us our favorite foods as a way of showing us their gratitude and as a "late Thanksgiving" for me. We were so touched. 

Sunday we worked with "the 3 Nephites" as we like to call them, 3 really tall almost missionaries leaving in January. They had some referrals for us so they took us to one of them, a former investigator who was going to be baptized last year but it was intervened by her mother. I felt prompted to ask the other 3 boys how they gained trust in God which ended up being perfect because one of them ended up being the only member of his family as well, against his mother's will. The girl got emotional and said she couldn't believe the perfect timing of our coming there because she said she was feeling depressed that her faith had died not being able to attend church. "She said it was exactly what she needed and hoped this time it would be the right time to be baptized.

At transfer announcements yesterday, the zone leaders thought it would be funny to make me think I was getting pulled out of my area. It wasn't funny to me... but it made me realize how much I love everyone in Malolos. My first thoughts were, "What's going to happen to Marvin? Jun? Baby? Takder?..." etc. And after transfer announcements we held a surprise FHE with the Fontamillas family. Brother Jun shared his thoughts at the end which really gave us hope; he said how grateful he was that we had brought the gospel to his family. He said even though we don't see it, they were always fighting but it has stopped. Baby often reminds him, "Remember what teh sisters told us!" He also said he is developing a relationship with Heavenly Father and thanked us for our patience in the process. He knows he still has a long way to go, but as he put it, he intends to finish his journey through baptism. His remarks helped me understand that however small or slow the progress of investigators, it does make a difference! No efforts are wasted. 

I love you all,

Sister Wilson

(P.S. - Here's a reminder to always use the toilet properly, brought to you by Malolos Stake restroom.)

November 23, 2014. Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving!

Eat some turkey for me, will ya? I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving solo this year... with no food. I'll figure out soon how that works. I guess I could start with what I'm thankful for. First and foremost, I'm grateful for my wonderful family. I could not ask for a better family. They are supportive and loving... and hilarious! There's never a P-day that goes by that I'm not laughing hysterically to myself in the computer shop with everyone staring at me. I could definitely not do what I'm doing right now without their prayers and encouragement. Second of all, I'm grateful for my calling! It is absolutely incredible being a missionary. Words can't express in emails the things I feel and see every day in peoples' lives. Then I get here and sit down to write about it and forget most of it, so I apologize. Anyway, I'm so thankful to be a part of the most important work in the world that is so much bigger than myself. It has changed me in ways I never would have experienced otherwise. I'm thankful that my father in heaven allows me to be a part of the conversion process of his precious children and that I get to watch them grow. It builds my testimony daily. I'm grateful for my savior Jesus Christ and the atonement that makes it possible to return to him despite lifelong weakness and imperfection. I'm also soooo thankful for the good health I've had in the Philippines. I've dodged a lot of nasties and I haven't had lice yet, praise the Lord! 

Sister Gison is one week away from finishing training and she is so ready. I have absolutely loved having her as my companion. Throughout her training I never really felt like she was new. She instantly caught on to teaching and study techniques. She has also taught me so much about patience and service. I've never heard her complain and she loves doing service for me and our house mates. She will do great things in her mission!

On Saturday we decided we really needed to buckle down and find new investigators. We really sought to follow the spirit in our finding and it produced 7 new investigators in a day. I was thrilled. One of them we found as we were walking down the street - she was an old lady hauling home a rice cooker so we carried it for her. When we asked her if we could teach her, she was very happy to listen, telling us that something important to her is people who live their religion. She kept saying how service is something that defines a true follower of Christ and how she could tell from our actions that we were. Another lady we found did not trust us right off the bat. But we convinced her to let us in and within 5 minutes she was an open book. Sister Gison's theory is the ones whose trust we gain so fast are the ones the Lord has prepared for us. I liked that idea. 

One struggle we are having is our investigator Marvin who wants to be baptized. He has one problem (and it's kind of a big problem). He was reading in Alma 32 in the BOM and really related to Alma.  The amazing thing is, I'm seeing the power of the Book of Mormon. I don't feel like we're doing anything. From what I can see, he reads it and the Holy Ghost does the work. We just invite him to act. It's incredible! But he said that he feels like he has lost his faith because he can't understand why God gave him an autistic son. It's his only child and it's really a burden on his family. They love him so much but they struggle with it at the same time. We have made some plans on how to respond to his concern but I'm worried it's between him and the Lord to sort out. His wife didn't know he ever felt this way for 11 years until he opened up to us and her at the same time so she was pretty broken-hearted. It's been weighing down on me and Sister Gison since that lesson... sobrang mabigat sa loob. We really want him to find the faith again in God to be baptized. Praying we will be inspired when we go back...

Fun cultural fact for you all: When the language barrier hits and you don't understand each other, it's called a nosebleed. Well, during an OYM we were talking to these people and they asked how I learned Tagalog. They said, "Akala naming nosebleed ka!" meaning they were afraid to talk to me because they thought they would have a nosebleed. Well that very instant, my nose started dripping blood for the first time since I left home. Heheheh. 

Also for those who are interested, I know these kids that were in this performance. It's really cool! https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-oaks-visits-the-philippines-the-land-of-smiles-amid-trials?cid=HPWE110514461&lang=eng 

Enjoy the holiday. I love you all and am deeply thankful for all of you. Take care! Enjoy this picture from last Sunday. This is part of the Cristobal family.

Sister Wilson

November 17, 2014. Hump day, half way home...

Cutest primary kid ever.

Baliwag, P-day adventure.



Hi, mga chuploks!

Today was a normal day in the Philippines. We went to Baliwag zone which is even more of a rural province than Malolos. Rolling hills of green and... beautifulness. We had these two Filipino women at a tourism office lead us through this rocky mountain of rivers and up a waterfall, which we scaled in our bare feet, which led to a huge cave surrounded in vines that you can swing on where we ate tropical fruits and played the ukelele. Hehe, it's true what they say... it's more fun in the Philippines.
We had a baptism, hooray! Hershey and Kaycee Cristobal were baptized on Saturday. I was so sick that day, but I was able to get myself together enough to get to the church. They are so makulit. I'm broken so I don't really remember the English word... but that's how I would describe them because after the baptism when they were asked to share a message, they said, "Thank you sisters, we love you, amen." Oh well... I'd like to see anyone else try to teach 10 year olds church doctrine.
I also had exchanges with another pair of sisters. One of them is brand new from America so I was really happy to go on exchanges with her. I remember how much exchanges helped me in my training. I can really sympathize with where she's at. Right now is the hardest part so I knew exactly how to conduct the exchange. I also witnessed her first street food. It was so fun, and relieving to chat with an American for a while!

I feel like we've hit a wall with a lot of our investigators and because every week we have to go on exchanges, we don't have much time left to help them work out their problems. But last night we had a good experience in proselyting. We were trying to contact a referral but nobody was home. So we walked the opposite direction and I had the very distinct impression to talk to a lady sitting on her front porch. She looked very emotionally weary. We talked to her for about 2 minutes and we asked if we could teach her. She thought for a minute and let us in. She opened right up to us and at the end of the lesson, she told us, "So many people come here telling me about religions and I never let them in. I don't know what's different about you two, why I let you in or why I feel so comfortable opening up to you. I really don't understand why I'm doing this, but you two are different." The spirit was really really strong. I'm really glad I was receptive to the spirit at that time.
So... yun lang. Sorry, wala na akong sabihin pero mahal ko kayo, siyempre! Ingat lagi!

Sister Wilson

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mission Tour October 30, 2014


November 9, 2014



Nakakapagod ang linggo na ito... ano ang ginagawa ko dito?

I am so... tired... turns out being a leader is hard. Heheh, who would have guessed? I've been up at 3 AMmore times this week than I would like to talk about. But being a sister training leader is so much fun! Last week I got to go to MLC (mission leadership council) and discuss the status of the mission. I also conducted my first exchanges this week with the sisters who live in my apartment. I've already learned a lot from each of them and it was neat to be able to see the progress of one sister who was a trainee when I got here to where she is now. I also gave my first workshop on Saturday at a multi-zone conference. Talk about sweaty palms... it was actually a blast though. I was given the topic of using our new OYM cards in finding. It was pretty nerve wracking having 46 missionaries, the APs, and President and Sister Bertin all staring at me with a pen in hand expecting to learn something. But I quickly said a prayer and just decided to enjoy it instead and it worked. :)

Another difficult thing about this calling is that I don't get a lot of time in my area. But despite the little time in our area, our investigators have progressed! I was so pleased to discover that they're all still remembering and keeping their commitments! Last night we visited the Fontamillas family (Baby and Jun) and taught them the plan of salvation. At the end, we asked them where they would like to end up after this life Then Brother Jun with a smile put his arm around his wife and his son and said, "We understand now sisters. How does baptism work in the church?" Good grief, it sent chills up my arms and neck and we gave them a baptismal date to which they replied with an enthusiastic "of course!" This is my first time finding, teaching AND baptizing a fully in-tact, fully functional and happy family and I am beyond excited! We also have a baptism on Saturday for the 10 year old twin girls we have been teaching. They both paid their tithing yesterday just because they wanted to after reading the tithing pamphlet! They've come so far - from not wanting to wear a skirt to church and not even really wanting to listen to where they are now. They wore matching dresses in the primary program yesterday... I was so proud! 

Our recent convert, Carlota, has also grown so much since we baptized her in August. She said how before she became a member, money was always so tight and she was sad because she could never feed us (it's a Filipino custom for them to give you merienda (or snacks - AKA any food without rice) whenever you visit). She said since she started paying her tithing and fast offerings they have had extra to spare and now every time we've been back, she's had heaping plates of food ready for us when we got there. It's not so much the food that mekes me happy as much as it is the ability to see visually the fruits of someone being an honest full tithe payer. 

In case you didn't hear, the church has released a video about the teple garment and the temple clothing. It's a perfect statement on what we use them for and it's perfectly said. You can find it on the church website or on YouTube. That's all the news I have for you this week. Please enjoy these pictures of MLC. ;)

Sister Wilson

November 2, 2014

Choir, me, and the violinist practicing the night before at the mission home.
"Three generation" picture.  Kenna's trainer, Kenna, and Kenna's trainee.  :)



Magandang hapon ulit,

This week was so much fun. The musical number for mission tour that I was in charge of was a wonderful success. The spirit was sooo strong. (The picture attached is the choir, me, and the violinist practicing the night before at the mission home.) Elder Robbins from the quorum of the 70 came and spoke to us and we got to hear Elder Oaks give his area broadcast last night. I'm grateful for inspired men leading this church. He addressed a particular issue that is crippling the family unit in the Philippines - fathers are leaving to work over seas indefinitely in areas like Saudi Arabia. It's leading to marital problems, problems in raising children, and a dependency of the women on the income of the men. They speficially advised Filipinos not to leave their families despite the money circumstances. 

Halloween was super lame sauce. I think I saw a paper sign in the window of the gas station that said "Happy Halloween" and a kid with a paper mask wandering down the street. Their holiday is All Soul's Day which is November 1 where they go to the cemetary to mourn over their deceased relatives and drink alcohol. So on that day, Sister Gison and I decided to use the pass-along card of the resurrected Christ and testify of the resurrection through his atonement to OYM people going to and coming from the cemeteries. It worked pretty well! We also experienced running out of money and scraping the fridge for food until it was completely empty so we just prayed that we would be able to get by until the next support period. And all of the sudden, people who we never expected were inviting us to stay for dinner and random tricycle drivers giving us free rides. The Lord is most definitely taking care of us. 

I'm really dreading my first workshop on Saturday... by myself. Sisters never do it alone so everyone is joking that I'm the "Sister District Leader." Pfff,

Also attached is the "generation picture" of me, my momma and my daughter. Other than this there is nothing to report, not much time today.. I love you all! (If you want you can read what I wrote to the president: I took up Elder Robbins' challenge to read 1 Nephi 1-5 to better understand h"ow revelation comes, and to figure out why the sons of Lehi took 3 trips back to Jerusalem. One insight I gained is that the first time they went, they relied on themselves. They cast lots and based their plan on a game of chance and went forth to Laban without a plan. The second time, Nephi was "led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand" what he should do. He trusted in God and was receptive enough to the spirit that he was able to hear the spirit tell him to kill Laban. If he had not allowed himself to be guided by the spirit of revelation, with his character, he would never have been able to kill Laban, nor would the thought have ever crossed his mind in the first place. And if he had not killed Laban he most likely would not have obtained the brass plates which revealed Lehi's genealogy. The plates would have never gone for to all of Lehi's seed or been a benefit to them as promised in 1 Nephi 5:18-22. Without the brass plates as it says in Alma 37:9, the Lamanites in 74 BC would not have repented which would have changed the course of history. Needless to say, personal revelation is essential!"

Sister Wilson

Edited to add, from a later email:

Mission conference went amazing! It was soooo fun to have all the musical missionaries in the mission home to spend the evening practicing and then sleeping in the mission home with all my closest friends. The song was GORGEOUS. Go to amywebbmusic.com (I think that's the site) and search "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and listen to the mp3 of the arrangement. I forgot to record it -- sorry! I'll send pics that sister Bertin sent us from the mission home in a sec. :)


October 27 (and 21. She forgot to hit send last week and we never received our weekly update.)

Rice shovel. Got rice?

Boodle fight... again... this is my "no other choice but rice" face.

Only hands are allowed

Yeah, we were definitely meant to be house mates. 

Our districts got jerseys made. We play together every p-day! Dad - guess what number I had put on my jersey? Yep, 24!!! My lucky number. When I wear it I never miss!!


We all ended up wearing floral on the same day. I bought this outfit at the street market


Sorry everyone, I didn't hit the "send" button on my email last week! My apologies. This is what it said:

On Sunday, the mission president came to our meetinghouse for stake conference. When he said he had "something to discuss with me in private after the meeting," my heart relocated itself to my stomach. After the meeting he told me that he wanted to do something very unusual by making me a sister training leader while I'm still only 8 months in and still training a new missionary. There are only 3 companionship's of STLs in the mission and then there's me, the lone STL. I won't have a trainer to teach me how to do this calling, I get to teach myself. My responsibilities now include taking other sisters from different zones around the mission on exchanges and helping them improve, help sisters with problems, go to leadership council meetings to discuss the needs of the missionaries, and occasionally give workshops in zone training meetings and mission conferences. I am overwhelmed and feeling so unqualified. At the same time, however, I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to grow. I can't wait to get to know the sisters of this mission better.

The work itself this week has suffered a bit because of all the meetings we had. Our greatest success this week was probably the Fontamillas family who came to church on Sunday as a family and had a wonderful experience. We've only taught them twice. They loved the focus of families in our church and as they explained it, "ang sarap ng feeling dito!" or in other words, "the feeling here is delicious!" They couldn't believe how happy and friendly everyone was. We got to introduce them to President Bertin and the bishop brought them into his office to eat brownies and meet his family. Then our ward mission leader gave them a church tour. They left feeling so happy that they came. I really feel that they will accept the gospel. 

And this was what I wrote to the mission president in my letter this week if you'd like specifics on the work:

We started off this transfer on a great foot. We have 5 investigators preparing for baptism this coming couple of weeks. Marvin is the husband of our recent convert. He's amazing -- he has read from the title page all the way through Jacob in this fast pew weeks. Last time we taught him, we asked what he had learned from all this reading and he basically taught us The Gospel of Jesus Christ from 2 Nephi 31. He doesn't need coercing or constant reminding, he just genuinely wants to know. The only problem is his work schedule. His family is pretty poor and they need work (he has no days off) and his wife stays home to care for their one autistic son. He came to church a few times but they couldn't stay because the son with problems could not physically control himself. He has panic attacks around large groups of people and they were embarrassed at his behavior. Most of the time they can't find a babysitter so one parent has to stay home. So we're working through that issue, and the ward is doing everything they can to help as well. 

We also have Hershey and Kaycee, a set of 10 year old twins from a part member family, who are pretty rowdy in lessons but keep their commitments nonetheless. We just baptized their cousin last month. 

Then we have Brother and Sister Fontamillas who are attending church and taking lessons but not reading which concerns me. I was trying to decide whether to feel excited or disappointed when they said, "The relationship we have with you two is not purely religious." I don't want them to come for social reasons so we're going to start cutting our lessons shorter and reminding them the purpose of our visits. 

 The highlight of our week this week was when we felt prompted to visit an LA that had not come to church in 4 months. Sister Gison really felt what missionary work was all about in the lesson. Brother Alberto is almost destitute with no wife and 9 children. They don't even have all 4 walls. So Sister Gison wanted to teach him about how the gospel could bless his family. The spirit was so strong and I could tell Alberto felt it. The next Sunday, we climbed into the jeep and there he was, in a white shirt and tie clutching a Book of Mormon with his kids surrounding him. I was amazed. 

Anyway, this week there was a leadership training at the mission home and I ended up being companions with an elder for a day just for traveling. That was pretty weird. The best part was seeing Mama Surio!! She really feels like my big sister. As for the sad news, Dallin H. Oaks ended up receiving a more important assignment so he will not be visiting our mission after all... BUT Elder Lynn G. Robbins who spoke in conference about which way you face will be coming instead. 

Here's a few fun facts for this week: I finally got my hair re-bonded (chemically straightened) so it's beautiful now! Also, I met a Filipino on the jeep last night who, get this: lived in West Jordan for 24 years. He spoke Tagalog until he found out where I was from and then suddenly he turned into an English speaking Filipino with a UTAH accent. It was the weirdest thing of my life. I told him where my house is and he told me the exact coordinates. \And if eating balut the first time wasn't bad enough, Sister Carlota made us eat it again but this time it was fried and on top of rice with vinegar. You'd think that would be better but it's definitely not. 

There's not tons to say beyond this except alam ko na totoo ang simbahan na ito! Sobrang masaya ako dito sa mission. Mahal ko kayo at sana kayong lahat ay maayos. Ingat sa linggo na ito. 

October 12, 2014

Mekenna:  What you see here is the result of stress trying to catch a frog that's harrassing you.  Mom:  Another life skill you would have not otherwise learned....frog catching.  Up for spider wrangling when you get back?  ;)

Mekenna:  
Spiders? PFFT! That's the easy part! I crush at least 5 every day. They're in my bed sometimes and it's gotten to the point that I don't even care, I just brush it away with my hand. Does no use killing them.
During our weekly planning, a frog jumped through the window onto our desk menacingly. Enjoy this photo


Her District.  Notice she is the only American.  When I asked if they Spoke English or Tagalog, she responded:  "Tagalog. The mission president and wife are annoyed because they put Americans in all Filipino districts to help them learn Enligsh better through practice but they won't do it."
Anak!

My anak!
I can't stop buying it.  
Add caption
Editor's Note:  I asked if those were power lines or clothes lines.  She said, "HA!  Both."
In case you wanted a visual of when the rice fields flood.  I wasn't kidding. 
It just breaks my heart when the family members of people we teach deny them the use of their agency. We've been forced to drop a great majority of our most progressing investigators because of the rift it has caused in their families. We understand and respect that their families are more important but it's so hard to hear that they are no longer permitted to listen to us and then they regretfully hand us back The Book of Mormon. I just hope the seed in them stays planted so it can be harvested some day. Fun fact: One of them was a 1/2 Iglesia ni Cristo family. In this church they believe that once you join Iglesia you're saved despite what you do in your life and being a member is the only way to be saved. You're charged money if you miss a meeting and they take attendance. They've built an arena (called "The Philippines Arena") here in Manila for when Christ comes again, probably as big as a football stadium. They're all going to flock to it at the second coming and that way all the members of Iglesia will be saved and everyone else in the world will die and go to purgatory. Go figure that one. 

I'm grateful for the guidance of the spirit in missionary life! We were having a lesson with a sister we were considering dropping until she brought over her friend. The friend did NOT want to listen to us and she made that very clear so we just talked to her and tried to be her friend. After we had established the trust we casually gave her a pass-along card and told her where to search to learn more about the church if she ever became interested. Hesitantly she replied, "Well, I do have a few questions..." We answered a few right there and then the questions continued so we asked her if we could have a short 10 minute lesson. That lesson turned into a 45 minute lesson teaching the whole restoration and her accepting a baptismal date. If people don't accept the gospel immediately, have patience and love. That's something really important I've learned here. 

Wasn't General Conference AMAZING? I wasn't expecting to be able to relate to Elder Holland's talk about poverty but it really helped me as I'm teaching people who live in the lap of poverty. I won't go into details because I know everyone watched conference... (right? ;) ) but I know that we have inspired leaders guiding this church. Never before my mission has my testimony and my faith in this gospel been attacked so much as it has been here on my mission. I was strengthened by the talks given on very basic subjects, such as not doubting your testimony of Joseph Smith and being assured that the apostles are chosen by God. I know this church is true. I was given immediate and direct answers to concerns I didn't even know I had. I invite everyone to study the messages given and find out what your Heavenly Father wants you to hear.

Love,

Sister Wilson

Editors Note:  Later that evening, a more personal from Mekenna came to the family.  Kenna has commented how the people speak Taglish, not Tagalog, a combination of Tagalog and English.  I asked her to explain the difference.  Then, she explains how she has grown on her mission and is so glad she is serving:

So for us, Shakespeare is complicated to understand right? That's straight Tagalog for them. And many people aren't educated so they don't know it purely because of their low levels of schooling. I don't regret anything! I needed this and I didn't even know it, I'll be so prepared for everything when I get home. I'm realizing everything that I really want and need and life. It's helped me realize that I can do really hard things and conference helped me to realize that I can achieve my full potential. One of the talks, I think the Portuguese one, really helped me when he said, "Is what you're doing right now fulfilling the blessings in your patriarchal blessing?" That really changed things up for me. I will go to BYU and pursue my dream of music. I want to contribute to the growth of the church through music. 

More personal letter to her family, October 5, 2014

Hi family! 

So I went and got my hair cellophaned... absolutely no difference. Probably should have gotten a haircut first but I don't want to, it's so long! It was sooooo funny though cuz there's so many gay people, mostly men being women and they're called "bakla's." It's a trend here. So a bakla did my hair and they were so excited to have a foreignay who could speak Tagalog. Like, it was the highlight of their week.  Also, can you tell me who won the BYU Aggies game? It was on in the chapel as we were waiting for women's conference and I was the only one who understood the significance or even what it was. ;) 

Can you guys send me pictures of fall? I miss fall. :'( No matter what season it's always the peak of June here. We started singing Christmas songs in sacrament meeting this week and Christmas trees started going up at the end of September. Please shoot me now?

I have a question. Did any of you think I could handle my mission? I'm just wondering your thoughts as you sent me off on my mission. I didn't realize what I was getting into but I'm getting to my half way mark next month! I can't believe I'm doing it. Crazy. 

Mom, as for your concern, I got the opportunity of having scripture study with President and Sister Bertin in their home right before we went to bed that night when the 5 of us sisters slept at the mission home. We just went around in a circle and shared a verse from our personal study and why it touched us and it lead to a discussion and bringing up spiritual experiences and other conference talks and it was amazing. If everyone takes it seriously and you invite the spirit through prayer, it will be a good experience. 

Lauren, I've thought about your concern a lot too. When me and all of my house mates are praying at the same time, I'm wondering, "How does Heavenly Father hear and answer all of us at the same time as well as everyone else in the world that is praying right now?" Heavenly Father is our creator, and we have a veil over our eyes. It's meant to be that way and we're not meant to understand everything. That's the test of life, to see if we'll have faith. But he's omnipotent. He can make mountains move. He doesn't have limited capabilities like we do. We're weak, pathetic humans who can't even begin to comprehend all that he can. He has our whole lives planned out, we just don't know it. So why wouldn't he be able to hear the prayers of his children simultaneously? He doesn't have a veil over his mind, he's not confined to a mortal body, and he knows us and our hearts individually. As it says in the BOM, God is still a God of miracles. :)

I love you all! Dad, I'm glad you had a great trip and hope you get home safely. I've made it a goal this week to take more pics of the culture and cool things you guys might enjoy so you can see more of what life is like here. Signing off!\

Bug

October 5, 2014

Masayang Monday!

My faith in humanity was restored on the way here. I saw a college student on a motorcycle that we drove past on the jeepney drop his wallet and thousands of pesos fell out. He didn't notice and nearly drove away when everone on our jeep started shouting, "WALLET! WALLET!" And he scrambled to pick it all up. About 5 minutes later he managed to chase down the jeep to thank all of us. These are good people. :)

The work this week has improved a lot. The YSA we baptized last week, Jhanice, has two twin cousins that came to us saying they want to be taught and baptized. When I wasked them what gave them the desire, they said that they could see how Jhanice has changed since we started teaching her and they want to be as happy as she is. I about cried.
 
We visited one of our investigators with a bap date and were super disappointed to find him there with a hangover headache having been wasted the night before... this is the third time we have found him in this condition after having taught the WOW. He resisted letting us in to teach him so I had to go a little out of my comfort zone and be bold. I can't believe in retrospect that I actually said this, but I said, "Brother Pomposo, do you want to keep feeling liek this? Is this the life you want to live? Is this the life you want your family to have? Why did you accept the invitation to be baptized? You said you wanted to improve your family life through living the way Christ would have you live and that's what we're here to help you with." A little speechless he let us right in and we taught a powerful lesson on the atonement. The spirit was so strong. We recommitted him to live the WOW for his family's sake so we're hoping to see some good progress.

Sister Gison and I have gained a testimony of fasting this week. We opened up our fast really seeking progress from our investigators but instead had a bunch of new people dropped in our laps and the old one texted us not to come back. It was like Heavenly Father was saying, "Here, take these people. You don't want those ones, they're not ready yet." It was like our heads were being pulled the opposite direction. We went to visit an investigator who was not home so we went to the less active sister next door. About 60 seconds later a lady shows up at the doorstep with a BOM in hand. She asked, "Are you Mormons? I was given this book a long time ago but I have no idea what it is. I always see you two and I was wondering if you could tell me about it." Immediately we sat down and taught her the restoration. We answered every question she had in the BOM and she was amazed. After we came out of that lesson a jeepney driver asked us the same question, "Are you Mormons?" which opened up a 15 minute discussion righ tthere on the jeep! Miraculously we wer ethe only passengers (which NEVER happens) and by the end he asked, "So what are the restrictions on coming to church? What do I wear?" I cannot even describe the feelings of excitement. The next day at church was an even bigger miracle - Carlota, our recent convert, has an autistic son who has panic attacks in public so she's never been able to bring her husband or son to church. Well that morning she brought both and as a tender mercy, her son was able to sit through sacrament meeting. They're going to expose him little by little to the world so that her husband can attend church and be baptized. I am absolutely thrilled. Everyone was at church! Fasting really does work as long as we have the faith to match the desire! 

I love you all!

PS -- NO, we have not seen conference yet. We will always have a week of delay. We will see it next week so no spoilers please!

Sister Wilson

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

September 9, 2014




Ang bilis! Bagong transfer ulit.
So Sister Mabini finished her mission this morning. The whole district was over at our house to send her off. It was so hard. We all sang God Be With You Til We Meet Again as she climbed into the AP's car. I'm going to miss her so much. Right now I'm in a tri-some with the other two sisters I live with until I go pick up my trainee tomorrow morning, fresh from the MTC. In preparation for Sister Mabini's departure, we had to go to Manila and spend the night in the mission home again (no complaints here!) so that she could attend a departure meeting the next morning. We were stuck on a bus in deadlock traffic for 5 hours when the mission home is only 1 hour away... that was pretty miserable. But the next day while she was in her meeting, I got to go on exchanges with the sisters in the area around the mission office. And guess who that is? My dearest trainer, Mama Surio! I got to teach with her again, it was like we had never even left each other. It was so much fun catching up. She's excited to have a grand daughter!
Saturday was Danielle's baptism after a long, long road. It was so satisfying. She brought her mother to her baptism who, at first, was very opposed to it but softened her heart. When Danielle bore her testimony, it brought her mom to tears. I hope it stirred something in her and that we'll be able to teach her whole family. The next day at church, our two recent converts and the elder's two recent converts bore their testimonies. Every single one was powerful and pure. It was the most spiritual sacrament meeting I've been to in the mission and it was an amazing reminder of my purpose here. It's so satisfying and rewarding to see results of our work.
This morning we got to go to Barasoain church, the oldest church in the Philippines where the country was established as a republic. There's a lot more than just the church there - there's a museum inside. The director of the museum is a member of our church so not only did we get in free, we got a personal guide explaining all the history to us as well. I didn't like the negative light that it shed on Americans, focusing on the Imperialists and the Malangiga Massacre during the Philippine-American War... kinda gruesome. Nonetheless it was probably my favorite p-day ever!
Thank you for the continued prayers. I know I wouldn't be 7 months into a mission without them. I love you all and I miss getting letters... hint hint. :) That will do.
Sister Wilson

September 28, 2014

Mga minamahal kong kaibigan at pamilya,
 
We've had a wonderful week of growth and learning and I'm so pleased with everything that happened. Sometimes I don't even feel like I'm training a new missionary. Sister Gison is so humble and Christlike and has not struggled with any homesickness at all. I'm amazed at her willingness to work as hard as she can and how she teaches by example. She is even teaching me to cook new foods and has gotten us into the habit of working out pretty hard core in the mornings. We are a great team.

I've gained a stronger testimony of many things this week, the first being that when you have a plan, you allow yourself to be guided by the spirit. We planned for a person who ended up not being home last week so instead we felt prompted to tract the house next door. The woman who opened the door let us right in and explained that her father had passed away 2 days previously and it turned into a very spiritual lesson about Heavenly Father's love for us through His plan for our families. It was perfect. The next person we went to was a referral but the person we were referred to was not home. His wife, however, was, so we asked to share a message with her. She said yes and we found out that she has some very serious problems in her life and when we taught she opened up to us like a book. When we invited her to pray, the spirit was so strong. I don't think I've heard a more sincere prayer on my whole mission. It's amazing how Heavenly Father will place you in the right places when you have a plan.

Friday we had the sister training leaders with us right after we were told not to leave our apartment because of a huge storm. The floods were up to peoples' necks in the elder's area and it sounded like our roof was going to blow off. When we went to bed, I woke up at 3 AM from rain spraying on my face from the window on the other side of the room, haha. From them I found out that these two sisters from my last area (Nadel and Joyce) that I found and taught for 3 transfers were finally baptized last weekend. The happiness that brought to me is indescribable!

Saturday we had our exchanges and I went with Sister Cestona. I learned so much from her, she is an incredible missionary! Because she is fearless in tracting we found 2 new less-actives. We went to tract a house that I was skeptical about because it was creepy and looked abandoned but she insisted we wait. Then the nicest person came out and agreed to let us teach him. Sister Cestona also showed me that even if you share your message hitting every doctrinal point clearly, it will not change them if they are not touched by the spirit. I really needed that reminder after a lesson on the restoration where they said, "The Bible states that those who are well need no physician." I'll admit that this frustrated me and that's probably why they were not touched by the spirit, even though we taught the restoration clearly.

Another thing I learned is to be happy in spite of everything. One of our lessons was with this old woman who has literally nothing. Her husband is disabled from a stroke and the two live alone in a tiny cement house with one window, one room. No electricity or running water. I asked her what she does all day. She says she takes care of her little garden out front during the day. At night, she says, "I just sit in this chair." When it gets dark, she sits by a candle and watches kids play out the window. One of the sweetest, happiest people I've met.

Yesterday at church I really prayed that we would find someone through OYM-ing and I was amazed at what happened -- we got a text during church from someone we contacted on the street over a month ago who wouldn't give us his information. He said he finally got around to reading the pamphlet and really appreciated the message in it about the plan of salvation. He had tons of questions and agreed to give us his information and we set up an appointment immediately. We were also pleasantly surprised that the husband of our recent convert, Carlota, even though he can't come to church because of his work, made it a goal to some day be baptized. He listens to the hymns when he works on Sunday and has started reading the Book of Mormon. I know that no effort is wasted, ever.


Sister Wilson

P.S. This pic is of me picking up my anak on her first day. <3


September 21, 2014


Sitting in the house waiting for the storm to pass... the Pakistani one just had her wisdom tooth out. Heheh.

 Panda pao. Delicious puffs of magic.
Mga minamahal kong kaibigan at pamilya, 
We've had a wonderful week of growth and learning and I'm so pleased with everything that happened. Sometimes I don't even feel like I'm training a new missionary. Sister Gison is so humble and Christlike and has not struggled with any homesickness at all. I'm amazed at her willingness to work as hard as she can and how she teaches by example. She is even teaching me to cook new foods and has gotten us into the habit of working out pretty hard core in the mornings. We are a great team.

I've gained a stronger testimony of many things this week, the first being that when you have a plan, you allow yourself to be guided by the spirit. We planned for a person who ended up not being home last week so instead we felt prompted to tract the house next door. The woman who opened the door let us right in and explained that her father had passed away 2 days previously and it turned into a very spiritual lesson about Heavenly Father's love for us through His plan for our families. It was perfect. The next person we went to was a referral but the person we were referred to was not home. His wife, however, was, so we asked to share a message with her. She said yes and we found out that she has some very serious problems in her life and when we taught she opened up to us like a book. When we invited her to pray, the spirit was so strong. I don't think I've heard a more sincere prayer on my whole mission. It's amazing how Heavenly Father will place you in the right places when you have a plan.

Friday we had the sister training leaders with us right after we were told not to leave our apartment because of a huge storm. The floods were up to peoples' necks in the elder's area and it sounded like our roof was going to blow off. When we went to bed, I woke up at 3 AM from rain spraying on my face from the window on the other side of the room, haha. From them I found out that these two sisters from my last area (Nadel and Joyce) that I found and taught for 3 transfers were finally baptized last weekend. The happiness that brought to me is indescribable!

Saturday we had our exchanges and I went with Sister Cestona. I learned so much from her, she is an incredible missionary! Because she is fearless in tracting we found 2 new less-actives. We went to tract a house that I was skeptical about because it was creepy and looked abandoned but she insisted we wait. Then the nicest person came out and agreed to let us teach him. Sister Cestona also showed me that even if you share your message hitting every doctrinal point clearly, it will not change them if they are not touched by the spirit. I really needed that reminder after a lesson on the restoration where they said, "The Bible states that those who are well need no physician." I'll admit that this frustrated me and that's probably why they were not touched by the spirit, even though we taught the restoration clearly.
Another thing I learned is to be happy in spite of everything. One of our lessons was with this old woman who has literally nothing. Her husband is disabled from a stroke and the two live alone in a tiny cement house with one window, one room. No electricity or running water. I asked her what she does all day. She says she takes care of her little garden out front during the day. At night, she says, "I just sit in this chair." When it gets dark, she sits by a candle and watches kids play out the window. One of the sweetest, happiest people I've met.

Yesterday at church I really prayed that we would find someone through OYM-ing and I was amazed at what happened -- we got a text during church from someone we contacted on the street over a month ago who wouldn't give us his information. He said he finally got around to reading the pamphlet and really appreciated the message in it about the plan of salvation. He had tons of questions and agreed to give us his information and we set up an appointment immediately. We were also pleasantly surprised that the husband of our recent convert, Carlota, even though he can't come to church because of his work, made it a goal to some day be baptized. He listens to the hymns when he works on Sunday and has started reading the Book of Mormon. I know that no effort is wasted, ever.


Sister Wilson