Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Finding those whom the Lord has prepared.

This week has been all about finding people like crazy! I can't believe all the people we've met who are so prepared to receive the gospel in their lives! The music class we've been teaching has provided us with a golden investigator. He originally was going to be a priest but decided to get married instead; he now has a PhD and a family who has been searching for the truth. He diligently comes to the voice classes and loves to learn. So I asked him if he would be interested in hearing the missionary discussions and he said, "Yes! I'll let my wife and twins know and we'll prepare our home for you." It was almost too easy.

On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and I was scared out of my mind. I was supposed to take her around my area when I barely knew it myself. I prayed all morning that everything would work out and it ended up giving me a ton of confidence. The Lord helped me so much in leading me and helping me to remember where to go. We planned for certain people but we didn't end up going to any of them. Instead, we followed the spirit and ended up putting 2 people on date for baptism. One of our investigators that we had originally dropped was suggested by Sister Porter. I told her I didn't think we should visit him because he's literally certifiably crazy, but she wanted to try anyway. So we went, and his wife was there too. We couldn't get a word in the whole time without this guy talking over us or singing about Jesus. I made the mistake of asking his wife to say the closing prayer and she's a born again Christian. She shouted the prayer shaking her finger trying to "cast the devils" out of her husband... it was scary and we were trying so hard not to laugh. BUT we found out that her son will be in town and that the wife wants to be taught one more time next week... so we're gonna give them one more chance. We'll see how that goes.  Anyway, Sister Porter was wonderful and it was such a great day. I can definitely see the Lord's hand in my life helping me realize I can do much more than I think I can.
Yesterday, our elders and us along with the ward mission leader had set up a Preach My Gospel orientation for the ward missionaries. We taught them how to use it to study and how to teach from it. It went really well - after we gave them demonstration we went on splits and visited the 15 less active focus families. It did a great deal of good. We now have the ward missionaries excited to get to work and help us! Even though a lot are returned missionaries, PMG is new and they didn't know what a blessing it is to teaching.

Today was awesome. We got to go bowling as a zone and then we went to this Asian buffet with all kinds of weird food. I think I'm done trying to eat new things in this country... except the fruit. Jackfruit is probably my new favorite thing.

Weekly planning was interesting. Half way through, it started raining really hard. The epitome of what you would imagine a tropical thunderstorm to look like. So naturally we all went out and played in it. We were soaked to the bone in seconds. The elders pulled up to the apartment in a tricycle trying to avoid the rain but we made them play in it with us. We have banana trees, mango trees, grapefruit trees and coconut trees by our apartment that are all coming ripe so we had a hay day picking them and making desserts out of them. Because of that, we didn't finish planning until dark and we forgot to shut the windows so our area book, planners, scriptures, everything got wet. :P Lesson learned. So after we finally finished, we went out for the last hours of the day to tract our new area, the neighborhood we live in! It was originally the elders' area but they gave it to us. We didn't realize how dangerous it was at night. It's much less populated because it's a more affluent area and it's big houses spaced apart with field and trees separating them. We were going around looking for a less active's house in the dark when we turned a corner with only one street light and my companion grabbed my arm and stopped dead in her tracks. I was looking for what she saw when I noticed a flesh colored figure perched against a wall with no face. Nobody was around and the hairs on our necks stood up. (If you've ever heard of Slenderman, you'll understand why this was so disturbing, lol.) We turned around and ran home as fast as we could and locked the doors. Oh man... least productive day of my mission thus far. We even slept with the window shut in the stifling heat. We went back the next morning and it was a statue. The man who lives there is an artist. We had a pretty good laugh.

The next day, we had another service project where we planted trees with the stake. When we were done, Sis. Surio and I were playing with some kids and we asked if we could meet their parents. One of them took us to her mom who was hesitant at first, but we felt prompted to share the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with her. She broke down in tears and explained that she had 6 children and lost 4 and is pregnant again. She was so excited to hear from the missionaries and she eagerly accepted the invitation to be taught. 

We had a baptism last night (it was actually the elder's baptism but we went anyway) and me and my companion thought we weren't going to get dinner so beforehand, we went out and got some street food. (Fishballs and squidballs from a street stand sound so dangerous and disgusting, but they're my new favorite things!) Then after the baptism they ended up having food after all... and then we were invited over to the family's house for dinner... and then a ward member called us over to eat the food left over from his brother's wedding. I've never eaten so much in my life. By the end of the night we were all trying to figure out how to dispose of the food without eating it (without anyone noticing). It was pretty hilarious to watch the elder's faces when they brought out the massive wedding cake. I think I saw a tear in their eyes. The family turned on How I Met Your Mother while we were eating, and it was one of the last episodes and we nearly died trying not to watch it. It's a daily struggle... We had to pretty much waddle home afterward.

Sorry that this is so long... and that it contains my random train of thought. If you take anything out of this, let it be that the Lord's hand is always in your life. You just have to have a good attitude so that you can see it. Here's another shout-out for my postcard wall of fame! Thanks to those who have sent them already! I love you all so much!

Have a great week!
Sister Wilson

Monday, April 21, 2014

Funny story, I almost forgot!

Funny story, I almost forgot!

So a few days ago, we were with the Sister Training Leaders at a ward missionary's house. Well the ward missionary was not well off. They had no furniture, dirt floor, the only thing they had was this wood bench which was home made. We all sat down on it and immediately fell back and everyone screamed. We felt horrible for ruining their only piece of furniture so we frantically tried to put it back together. Then when that fiasco was over we asked if we could borrow a shovel for our service project. As the ward missionary went to go get it, she slid into a gutter and we heard a huge splash. Then the smell came. It was the worst smell we had ever smelled in our lives. She was freaking out and she threw her shoes away. Then she tells us, "This is where we buried my dog... 3 months ago." She fell into a puddle of dead dog soup. Oh man, so gross. Never a dull moment in the Philippines. Just thought I'd share. You're welcome. XD

Happy belated Easter!

This week was hard... P-day week continues! (It's caused us all to get super trunky!) It was holy week so the streets were deserted and everyone was out of town or swarming the Catholic church/Iglesia ni Cristo. We got punted around all day for two days in a row and had very little work but we got some good potential investigators from OYMing. My companion and I have started a game where if someone mentions the fact that I'm a foreigner, we have to OYM them. It definitely works. We also had a city-wide water shortage and my companion and I are both sick with colds. The Lord is definitely watching over us though because we weren't supposed to have water for 5 days. We filled up kiddie pools, buckets, every container we had, and then our water never got turned off. What a blessing... it would have been difficult.

Recently we started trying new finding activities and it just so happens that a brother in the ward who taught English proficiency to elementary school teachers offered Sister Surio and I to teach music. So we're teaching teachers how to sing and read music. It's a lot of fun and we're gonna have them sing in sacrament meeting in a month. Hopefully we can get referrals or even new people to teach from that group of people. 

On Tuesday we got to do a community service project, it was a blast. We built a wall out of stones next to a cliff to make it safer for those who lived next to it to walk there. The elders wouldn't allow us to carry the rocks so the sister in charge just had us go and do garbage cleanup. There's no system of waste collection in the Philippines so everyone just burns their garbage and it gets everywhere. It ended up being really fun though because once the little kids noticed us all outside, they swarmed. They all brought bags and started helping us as much as they could, bless their hearts. They were so cute. After we finished we just sat and played games with them. It was a great experience.

I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. It was a tough Easter for us - basically a normal day plus  bishop volunteering us for a musical number on the spot (we are both sick) and then nobody would let us in when we went out to work. But it really helped me to focus on the Savior and what he went through for me.  I especially hope everyone took some time to remember the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without him overcoming the obstacle of death for us, we would not be able to receive a fulness of joy. I love each and every one of you! 

Sister Wilson

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I loved conference.

Beloved family and friends,

Forgive me for not having much to say since Wednesday. We haven't had any work these past 5 days with general conference, followup training and other meetings we have had arise. All is well though!

I loved conference. There is a great need for strengthening our families. That was one of the major themes that I noticed. Another one was trusting in the Lord, and one of the talks even merged the two together. When you trust in the Lord to be the head of your family, you cannot fail. Remember to do the simple things (prayer, scripture study and FHE) consistently because though they are simple, they will be the greatest source of protection. Don't be as the Israelites who would not look at the brass serpent and be healed because of the simpleness of the task! 

I have nothing new to report. I hope everyone will take every opportunity to share the gospel whenever they can. It is our responsibility as members of the church and the full-time missionaries need all the help they can get. I love each one of you. 

Ingat po!

Sister Wilson

First Baptism!

So Monday we had zone conference all day so we didn't have P-day on Monday. Hence, here I am on Wednesday. I hope everyone enjoyed general conference! I haven't been able to see it yet because we don't get to watch it out here until a week later. From the sounds of it, it was amazing and really pushed missionary work. I'm so excited to hear that! 

We had our first baptism over the weekend! It was the Medina family. They are so wonderful! The husband and wife are so humble and loving and they have 3 kids under the age of 7 that are the cutest. At the baptism, the font wasn't filled high enough and Elder Crabb is quite tall so it took 6 times to get the wife completely immersed. Pretty funny! But the spirit was so strong and I feel like they're going to be really strong converts. We almost weren't able to get them baptized because we had to get the brother an interview with the mission president and all odds were against us the night we were supposed to take them to the mission home. We couldn't catch a jeepney, brother was late coming home from work, we got lost in the neighborhood, we were past curfew. And then when we got there we realized that the brother could hardly speak English so Sister Surio went in to translate the interview. We had been praying all through the night that we would get there because we realized Satan wanted us to turn around and go home so the baptism would be delayed a month. But we persevered and it was amazing. 

We got 7 new investigators this week through tracting, 2 of which are really creepy men, but the other 5 are so prepared. It was an answer to our fast! Also during our tracting we met one guy who was into "genie-ism" and gave me a lecture on why I should have stayed in America because the Philippines doesn't have showers or "big sirloin steaks." You meet the weirdest people out here... During one of our appointments, we were teaching this family that has had a son in the navy. He's really tall and buff and when he sat in on our lesson, he was pretty severe. He didn't smile and he seemed very disinterested. After we started the lesson, he started to listen and he asked for a pamphlet to read as we taught. We gave him one and he read the whole thing and then asked for more. By the end of the lesson he had a complete countenance change. As we were leaving, he asked what time church was. I was completely amazed at how I could see physical manifestations of the spirit working in him. Then at our next appointment, we had to drop this one sister which was really hard to do, but she said something that really touched me. She was talking about how it strengthens her faith to see that I would come here and learn Tagalog so that I could teach her what I know is true. Just my being there strengthened her testimony. Be an example at all times because you never know who is watching or how you're helping them.

We have almost no work this week with zone conference, followup training, general conference, temple day, zone training, etc but it's been so much fun! At zone conference, President Sperry gave a workshop that completely blew my mind. It was about the gathering and scattering of Israel. He gave us the background and the history and took us through this epic scriptural journey through all 4 standard works about how we as missionaries are playing a major part in fulfilling the prophecies of the ancient prophets. By the end of it, we were all giggling because we were so amazed and fascinated. After the conference, the elders got a text for a dinner appointment that said, "We'd like to invite you, S Wilson and S Surio to the Amorsolo Res. for an exclusive family dinner." Well, the elders interpreted "Amorsolo Res" to mean Amorsolo Restaurant instead of Residence. So they got it in their heads that we were going to a really fancy restaurant and so me and Sister Surio let them think it was. We took them there and when we brought them to the member's house we all got a really good laugh out of it.

A message to all the young kids - especially my siblings - I'm amazed at how the children entertain themselves in the Philippines. They have nothing so they make their own fun. Yesterday I saw a big group of kids playing a really intense game in the street using a tin can and the sole of a shoe and they were having the time of their lives. Make your own fun! Use your imagination. 

My USB isn't working on these computers so no pictures this week. I love you all and I so appreciate those of you who have been replying! I love to hear from anyone and everyone who will talk to me! Any updates about things back home in the US I love to hear about. :) Have a great week!

Sister Wilson