Friday, June 20, 2014




Ice Cream with an investigator.

Service project:  Cleaning a school

After service project teaching "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."

Hot porridge. 

"This is how I feel about eating hot rice porridge in the mid afternoon at the peak of Philippines summer. It was delicious though..."

Service Project:  Weeding a garden.  With zero tools or gloves.  I can't believe they weeded the whole thing!

More Recent Pictures

She may be eating extremely exotic foods, but deep down, she's still the same girl.  :)


Playing a game with baby powder....?  And she finally got a fan - whew!

"This is the look we give each other when we disagree on what to eat.  It's a serious matter."

Unauthorized Pics of Kenna!

Found on the FB page of a ward member in Quezon City.  What a great peak into her missionary life.  :)  Photo Credits:  Bimbol Llapitan

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

06/16/2014 (Graphic balut pic at bottom.)

What a week.
Transfers again already? President Sperry leaves today and I'm getting a new companion tomorrow... my mother is transferring to Camarin. We actually had companion shirts made. It's a thing they do here. I'll include some pictures of them. Although I'm sad to see my nanay go, I'm really excited for my new companion. She's from Pakistan and she doesn't speak a lot of English so my Tagalog should improve a ton. I'm pretty nervous though to be leading the area.
Last P-Day after emails was the most epic p-day ever! Our whole zone cooked a huge Filipino meal, hiked up a mountain by a lake and ate with our hands off a banana leaf in this huge uninhabited grove! It was definitely an adventure trying to cross a lake with an armful of rice cookers.
Tuesday we received a referral from the elders of a man who told them that he wanted to become a Mormon after he gave them a ride on his motor. He said he spends a lot of time on our temple grounds because he can feel it's a holy place. We dropped everything and went to visit him and of course he accepted a baptismal date. But what was really cool is that previously, this investigator and his mother were the landlords of our bishop's house so they know each other. The bishop previously introduced them to the missionaries and they were taught. They believed it all, except the mother had a traumatic life and because of certain events got a... girlfriend... and couldn't give her up. Well last week, her son (our investigator), got drunk and started a fight. He was beaten almost to death by 15 guys and is in the hospital. His mother called the bishop's wife in tears saying, "We're ready for the gospel now. Please don't give up on us." So we went over to her house with the bishop's wife and it was the most incredible lesson. All we felt prompted to do was share our testimonies of the atonement and its power to heal broken families. I'm SO excited to teach them. They basically fell into our laps and I'm so grateful.
Tapos Wednesday we had a ward missionary fireside. We have yet another new ward mission leader because the one we had moved away without even telling us... the new one is quiet but he gets the job done. As a zone we're focusing on strengthening the members' testimonies instead of just hounding them for referrals. Our members desperately need strengthening; last week we fit the whole ward in the small relief society room for Sunday School. It's not acceptable. We have 90 active members out of 400. All the leaders are moving away and the people with high callings are shirking their duties. Even our district meeting was all about focusing on serving and teaching the members (including the bishop) the doctrine so that they will be able to strengthen themselves and be more able to help us. That's our goal for this transfer.
Hmm... ano pa? AH! Yes. I ATE BALUT. Yes. Me. The whole thing. It was a little more developed than I was ok with.. I spit out the feet but I swallowed it all and it didn't come back up thankfully. I also ate dinuguan which is blood soup... and it was delicious. Since it's transfers we have at least 2 dinner appointments per day until the transfer and the members are really getting a kick out of feeding me the most foreign food they can.
Our elders next door have started a tradition of celebrating the eve of p-day with a song. It started out simple, 3 weeks ago they called us at 10 PM and sang us the p-day song. 2 weeks ago, they texted us to come out at precisely 9:45. They come out on the balcony and the lights in the background are flickering and they give a full on concert with their ukeleles. Then last night was probably the best show I've seen yet. They spelled p-day in alcohol on the cement outside our apartment and lit in on fire. Then the two of them came out in robes, sunglasses, and turbans, carrying machetes, and lit them on fire. Then they slashed open a burning bag and pulled out the ukelele and threw the costume off and started singing... and then the fire burned the strings and it was ruined. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen!
I love you all so much and am so thankful for the prayers and the letters. Continue to do good things and work with the missionaries when you can! Have a great week!
An investigator made these shirts for Kenna and her companion.  Other than rice and potatoes, these two could be sisters they are so very much alike.  

The blinky rings Aunt Cheryl sent Kenna sure kept the kids happy.  Thanks, Cheryl.  

Sister Missionary Apartmentmates

Blinky rings!

The missionary rite of passage; balut.  "It took me 20 minutes to even take a nibble."

Add caption


I can't believe how fast time goes by. I have one week left of training and I'm done! Which means Sister Surio will be transferred because she's been in La Mesa for almost 7 months... I'm gonna miss her so much. She's like my sister! But this also means I'll be a real missionary now, yay! I'm so excited to be done with training.

In other news, rainy season is upon us! And oh man does it live up to its name. I went on exchanges with an STL this week, Sister Loo, and we got caught in the rain. It flooded the streets so badly that it was like crossing a river. We had to come home early because the lightning almost hit us 3 times and the water was rushing down the streets above our ankles. We were soaked to the bone. Then we had to go out in it again the next day and my scriptures got soaked. But we can't let it keep us back so we have to press on! 

The jokes from the AP's continue on... and now PRESIDENT SPERRY is in on them too! We received a referral last week and we called the number... and it was the AP's totally pulling one over on us. And then we had a baptismal interview and President told us to come to the mission home at 5 AM. We told him we'd tell the candidates as soon as possible. So he calls immediately and we answer the phone to the sound of his cracking up. He said he couldn't believe we believed him and blamed Elder Jensen and Elder Kumar for telling him to do it. I have no trust in them anymore. ;) At least we proved our obedience.

So we received a donation from the US to buy white shirts for recent converts who are going to receive the priesthood. It was so exciting to give them to them and see them walk in on Sunday wearing white shirts and finally be interviewed to get the priesthood. It really helped motivate them to rise to the occasion. 

I'm afraid I don't have any spiritual experiences to share this week - honestly, it's been hard. School just started again for all the kids so everyone suddenly got really busy again (summer here is from March-May) and we literally had 6 appointments the whole week. We're a little disheartened but we look forward to what's in store for the very elect ones with baptismal dates. We were teaching a little old tatay the other day and he's so adorable. Quiet, slow, lonely, 87 years old and loves to wear lava lavas. When we asked him what he would like to be called, he said, "Daddy." Haha! We were in the middle of teaching a lesson when the garbage men come by collecting trash and they started picking fruit off his tree. All the sudden he turned into a lion and shouts "HOY!!!" He bolted out of his chair, grabs a slingshot and runs outside and shakes it in the air. Once they were gone he slowly walks back in and sits down as if nothing had happened. It was all we could do not to laugh. Especially since we saw the back of his shirt said "Simple Swagg"... 

Fun fact: Found out that the minions on Despicable Me and also the ewok things on Star Wars speak Tagalog! Yep. It's mixed with another language but that's why the Filipinos love minions so much. It makes so much more sense now. 

Thank you for the postcard this week, Sister Sanchez (Albuquerque, NM)! :) 

Attached is the picture of the entire Quezon City North Mission from mission conference. See if you can spot me. ;) 

Have a great week and enjoy summer! Congratulations to the 2014 graduates. :)
Where's Kenna?


Well, not a lot has happened since temple p-day on Wednesday so I'm not sure what to say. I'm still alive! These last few days we've just been punted around a lot having very few teaching appointments. 

We DID, however, have our mission-wide conference which was fantastic. I've never seen the whole mission together, it was huge. Elder Christensen and Elder Ardern of the 70 and their wives spoke, as well as President and Sister Sperry as kind of a farewell talk. It was sooo intimidating for my companion and I to do our musical number in front of them. They all had a Q&A for us and it was really cool. Everyone says that President has never cried before, but he definitely cried in his talk. "This swelling in my heart... the love that I feel for all of you... it's unreal." Ghaaaa. I don't want them to leave. The main message I picked up from the general authorities was diligence. Kind of a stab to my conscience, so I know it was what I was meant to hear. If we aren't diligent, we will be held accountable. I've been given 18 months to serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength, and then the rest of my life to think about HOW I served. Time to start working harder! 

Afterward our zone went out to eat and we found... wait for it... CHILI'S! A brand spankin' new Chili's that looked just like America inside. We all spent like 700 pesos on ribs and lemonade and french fries and just went to town and loved every second. They were even playing American TV shows and they made us balloon swords. We were pretty much in heaven. When we walked out we were all hurting from how full we were. But next door, they had a cheesecake restaurant!!! REAL cheesecake and we just couldn't resist! So we all had cheesecake afterward and I felt like throwing up but it was the most glorious delicious cheesecake I've ever had and I regret nothing. 

Well that's pretty much it... Take care. :)

Sister Wilson


Alright, here's a shout-out to all of you to stay SAFE. I want to see you all again in a year and I hear of a brain surgery, a broken wrist, a case of pneumonia and my sister exploring caves in the night with a group of teenagers?! Not cool. Knock it off! :P My prayers for you can only go so far!
Sorry I'm emailing late, again... We had temple p-day which is always on a Wednesday. Nothing like waking up at 2 AM in missionary life. It was great though! Does anyone know why they changed the temple film again? I thought the new one was only like a little over a year old. I really liked the new one but I wonder what they're trying to emphasize in the new one. Does anyone have any thoughts/input?
It was a good week, as usual. We had zone interviews in which President Sperry gave his final workshop before he goes home. It's the one he saves to give the missionaries leaving, but since he's the one leaving, he decided to give it to us all at once so we'd all get the change to have it. It was about... wait for it... marriage! Everything from why the family fulfills the measure of the earth's creation to how what we are doing here as missionaries will make our future with our spouse and kids that much better later on. We had a pretty trunky zone afterward, especially those leaving in June. At the end, I prepared a song at the request of the STL's to sing for Pres. and Sister Sperry. We sang "We are Sowing" to the tune of Sally DeFord's arrangement of "Come Thou Fount." There wasn't a dry eye in the room after the song. We got our formal goodbye from them at the end and it was hard. Even though I've known them for a short time they feel like my parents away from home. But we couldn't leave because it started to pour rain and storm outside. So we read our mail until it cleared up. The zone leaders and the AP's pulled a prank on our zone... it was a pretty good one, too. They convinced almost all of us that President Sperry was organizing a going away party and that it would be a dance and that we all had to bring dates. So the elders were trying to ask sisters to a made up dance and people actually believed it. They almost had me... but they killed it when they tried to pass it off as President's own idea. He won't even let us listen to EFY music because some of it has romantic overtones and he's gonna throw a dance? Yeah right.
Saturday was probably the highlight of our week. We have this investigator that we deemed clinically crazy. But last Sunday, he came to church! And after that, he got a job! He accredited that to his going to church so he read the pamphlet we gave him and asked to be baptized. I thought he had a mental disorder but we came back to give him another chance and he showed that he can control himself and he listened to the whole lesson. The next Sunday he shows up in a white shirt and slacks, brought his BoM, took the sacrament and paid attention. His countenance completely changed. When we met him, he wouldn't even wear a shirt at all. He smoked, made fun of us, couldn't control his comments. I'm amazed. The Lord prompted us to give him one last try and a miracle happened. Sunday was also a great day as far as less actives go. We saw 4 LAs we've been trying to get to church since my first day here. When they walked in, I was so happy - I feel like it was a small glimpse of the love Heavenly Father feels for all of us, especially when we follow him.
Anyway, I'm really trying to be more culturally inclined so I've eaten some scary things lately... pink shrimp paste in my rice, coagulated blood, liver in my pancit, I even had my first burol fight which is where they put palm leaves down to cover the table, pour the rice out onto it and you put your ulam (whatever you eat your rice with) on the side and use your hands. It was really fun! I don't like de-boning my fish but it was fun getting messy. I also bought a daster to sleep in - the old lady dresses all the nanay's wear and it's pretty liberating. Sister Surio and I joke about opening a daster store in Utah and calling it either "The Modest Nanay" or "Modaster." Heheh...
Last night we had the greatest lesson! We're teaching a family who isn't quite ready to receive the gospel but their cousins are. The youngest girl in that family has had one or two previous lessons with us and we took her to church on Sunday; she was instantly fellow shipped by the young women. We watched the restoration video with the whole family and the whole time I prayed really hard that they would feel the spirit and know it was true. As soon as it ended, she said, "I believe it all," and all 3 sisters accepted a baptismal date. I love this work! 

Thanks for the postcards so far! I got one from Sister Brown in New Mexico and one from Taylor in Vancouver, Canada. Keep sending them! :) I love you all!
Sister Wilson

P.S. What do you get when you cross 3 Americans and a bench?
.....  a broken bench. 

05/18/2014 Maraming mga damdamin...

What more can I say than I've already said? It's been yet another wonderful week. We found out this week that last month was the highest baptizing month in the history of QCN Mission. President Sperry gets to go out with a bang! I'm so glad that he gets to leave the mission in such a good condition. He more than deserves it. SJDM zone is on fire right now. We've really been pushing the member oriented proselyting program and it really really works! 
We had my last followup training this week and it was wonderful, as usual. Sister Sperry talked about how opportunities for growth almost always come in the form of challenges but that because we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help. The zone leaders talked about attitude... it miiight have been a poke in the conscience to everyone. They approached the topic with the question, "What problems are you facing right now that couldn't be helped by adjusting your attitude?" It's so true. Attitude is everything! My batch is pretty quiet so I was answering most of the questions. I'm glad though because now President will remember me. ;) One of the senior couples brought up the idea to him of having Sister Surio and I travel around the zones teaching music in different wards and he's gonna think on it. We finished the meeting with yummy AMERICAN pizza. Wahoo! 

For our service this week, we built a house! Yep. It was the hardest work I've ever done. They took us to a cliff and told us to start digging a trench 4-5 feet deep in the noon-day sun. It was hard to find a place to stand with it being so close to the edge and the ground disappearing around us. It was the 6 of us sisters who got to work first. I was sweating so hard that my shirt was completely soaked through and sweat was dripping off my head into my eyes. The ground wasn't very forgiving. Then we had to move cinderblocks. Lots and lots and LOTS of cinderblocks. In addition to that we had to shovel cement mix and carry it in buckets to the location that they needed to mix it in. THEN they had us move a mountain of rocks. It took us 4 hours. It was beautiful though, the house is overlooking a big rice field. When we went out to eat afterward, we all smelled so bad that the waiters put scented candles on our tables. Haha, embarrassing...

Kind of a rough week as far as the work goes. We got punted from almost every appointment this week so we decided to contact referrals. That didn't work either. We were so tired and discouraged one day that we were going to head home when this nanay comes up behind us and asks us if we wanted some of the fruit off her tree. We asked her her name and naturally, it was the referral that we were looking for. She is a brain tumor survivor and has a huge crater in her forehead to show for it. She had a 2% chance of surviving, and she did. I know that she was spared for a reason, and I believe that it was to receive the gospel. Her testimony in Christ is incredibly strong and we were so excited to teach her, only to find out that she's leaving to live in London for 6 months. *Facepalm.* On the bright side, Jessie finally got confirmed in church on Sunday. He's our recently baptized member. His blessing was really cool; he has TB and gets really sick but he was blessed with good health to hold high callings in the church. He's so strong. I can't wait to see what he will do to build the kingdom. Also, one of the people we taught in our music class came to church AND brought his family. Yay! In terms of people, we had some investigators we thought were progressing, but they were actually being motivated by their crushes on the elders. (We had an FHE previously and brought the elders with us.) Bummer. 

When we were visiting a member a few days ago she asked us if we were getting fed by the members. We said yes, from time to time. So in her talk in church on Sunday about missionary work, she gets up and said, "Don't be afraid to share the gospel, O.Y.M. (open your mouth). But just as importantly, O.Y.H. (open your house!) and let the missionaries teach there! Work with them! Feed them dinner! They're doing the Lord's work and they need energy!" Haha it was so funny because she looked back and the elders were sleeping. Subsequently, we had 3 dinner appointments in a row that night. 

It's happening... I'm starting to need rice to complete my meals. I swore it wouldn't happen to me but it is. Oh well. :) That's all I have to say. Much love sa inyong lahat!

Sister Wilson