Monday, November 17, 2014
Well I sit here at this computer crying. One of the few times that I have these past few days. Things are hitting me, finally. Like right now in this moment. You are all saying, see you in a few days, and man I couldn't be more excited to see your faces! I think about it and I get butterflies and am so excited. And then I get reallllly sad at other moments at the thought of leaving and not being here any more. I also feel really strange, I won't lie, I have changed. A lot. Things are not going to be the same, and I am trying to deal with that too. Man, I just cannot even put into words all the emotions I am feeling. And we just got out of the "how to get a job" workshop for returning missionaries. That was not interesting at all. I am not ready for all that yet! But I hope that you can all just bear with me as this is a super emotional, exhilarating, and happy time for me and all of us.
This past week was good and odd. A week full of "lasts." My last Zone Training Meeting, my last weekly planning, my last lesson, my last everything! Hard to accept at times but mostly didnt even feel real. But it was super sweet that the San Jose ward put on a fun surprise Family Home Evening for me. Good times playing, "Do you love your neighbor?" And Sunday I traveled to the mission home alone with all my bags and then I got to stop by San Pablo and see the members and Masangkay Family one more time! So sweet, they are doing really well. The work was good this week. It is amazing to see how much everything has improved since day one. I will miss speaking Tagalog on the daily. I will miss teaching in these humble homes the restored gospel. I will miss stopping people on the street or talking to people traveling on Jeeps to tell them our good news as representatives of Jesus Christ. I will miss being engulfed in the spirit every moment of every day. I will miss all the amazing friends I have made here in the mission. I will miss the time to study the scriptures. I will miss the ward weather and sweet rain of the Philippines. I will miss eating rice every day and some delicious ulam. I will miss our recent converts. I will miss the members. I will miss the feelings of joy when you see the light of Christ touch someone. I will even miss the moments of hardship with rejection and struggles with finding. I will miss falling at my knees at night practically falling asleep in my prayers of true effort and tiredness. I will miss feeling the enabling power of the atonement carry me from appointment to appointment. I will miss my companions always supporting me and being there. But I will overall miss this sacred calling and the time to dedicate myself to serving the Lord.
I can however say, the lessons I have learned here and molded, shaped, and prepared me for everything there is to come. As hard as it is to face the fact, my time is up, I know God always has a divine plan and I am ready to align my will with His. I am ready to apply all the lessons and chose to make my life the way God would have it be lived. Words cannot describe the gratitude in my heart that I received that personal revelation in October 2012 that I needed to serve a mission and that I was called to the work in the Philippines San Pablo Mission. This is the place I needed to come to. I have seen the fruits I was meant to bear and I have felt the hand of Lord guiding me this whole time. I will be a forever missionary. Even when the moment comes that I hand this nametag to Mom and Dad, I will continue to be an active participant of Hastening the Work of Salvation. I will be faithful to the end. Even though after 18 months, I am tired as heck, I am not finished. I have experienced the atonement in my life and not letting others feel that in their lives would be turning my back on everything I have done up until this point. Man, I probably sound like such a cheeseball. But what can I say is that I mean all of this with my whole heart. At this point, I can't make any changes to the book I have written, but I can promise that I will continue to write it and make every chapter better and better.
I know that this is Christ's true church upon the earth. This is the chosen way to us to return to His presence and the presence of our Father. I know that a living prophet receives revelation and guides us today. I know that Book of Mormon is the Word of God and has blessed me in numerous ways from the lessons I have learned and shared with others. Overall, I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know He suffered for my sins and for the World. I know that through Him we can overcome the natural man and become more like. I can truly say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
With that said, I can confidently say that the time has come, and I AM SO STINKIN EXCITED TO SEE YOU ALL THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man 18 months sure flew, but it feels like I haven't seen you all in forever! I have missed you all dearly and I thank you all for the support and love over that past year and a half. Now let us come together, move forward with faith, and be HAPPY! I love you all.
See you real soon,
2 Timothy 4:7
Monday, November 10, 2014
Why can't anything ever go according to plan? Sheesh, just when I thought I could have a solid working week! Here goes: an explanation....
Monday. Zone P-day, went bowling! Fun times with a fun zone. Then that night we went out to work and it appeared that no one wanted to be taught because no one was home. Then we come home to a phone call that Sister Brown, our housemate, was bit by a SNAKE... TWICE. Awwwww shoot! We were all worried because Sister Brown only has one real leg. From her knee down on her right leg, she has a prosthetic leg from an issue when she was born. So we were joking to her, "Oh no they can’t take the other leg now too! Why couldn’t it have been the other one?!" The snake just came slithering out of the grass when they were outside of an investigators house. Moral of the story, don’t ever stand in grass in PP.
Tuesday. We inherited a third companion as Sister Brown was in Manila under observation for 24 hours. Then that sure jumbled our plans.
Wednesday. Had my final district meeting. Sad day. They wanted words from a "dying parent" so they had me bare my testimony at the end. Then Weds night we taught our awesome referral, Sister Yolie. Oh man. We were reviewing the Restoration with her and she was loving it and kept saying how she liked what she was hearing and wanted to fill in the missing puzzle piece. So then the spirit told us, watch the restoration video. Man, that is always the icing on the cake! The spirit was so strong. She cried and loved it! I cried and loved it! Her answer is coming along smoothly.
Thursday and Friday. Surprise! You have to go to Manila again! I guess we didnt really YOMO (You only Manila Once) But twice! Fun times again with my batch, but it was pretty lame cause we barely did anything at the immigration center. We however did get to eat at WENDYS. Mmmm. And we got to chill with some missionaries from the Tacloban mission. We talked to the sister and she shared with us her experience from the storm. Wow, sounded like such a rough experience. She said she was in denial and couldn’t accept it. Grateful that I was where I was.
Saturday. Ohhhhh hello BATANGAS! I got to do my last Sunday visit to my second area. I chose to go there over Cabuyao because I had more recent converts in Batangas. Oh happy day! We just went out Saturday afternoon and attempted to try and visit people and hope they were home. We went to the Sasuya's first. When we walked into the gate to their home, no one was home, but then when we walked out, Sister Lyn was walking up. Happy day! She squealed and started jumping! It was so happy. Then we stopped by Vina's and then we went to a baptism in their ward. The Ward Mission Leader invited me to bare my testimony. Nice experience. Then Bishop's wife was like, "Sister Waldrom, do you have any plans right now?" And I was like, no... And then she was like, "Now you do. Get in the car." They invited us and the four missionaries in their ward to dinner at the "Treehouse" and it was delish!!!! Holla!!!! Such kind people.
Sunday. Church in Batangas! They all thankfully remembered me ;) But I got to bare my testimony to the ward and attend the classes. It was weird, even the moment we drove into the boundary of that area, I felt like I was at home. I sure love everything about that area! I also got to see Doodz who I taught but was baptized after I left. So happy to see how happy she is! After church I got to see my ward mission leader from my first area. His girlfriend who is in the other batangas just got home from her mission. After 8 hours of being released as a missionary, he proposed to her. Do you wanna know how many people told me to get engaged 24 hours of being home? Yeah I didn’t even keep count. But the weird thing is, that the sister entered the MTC a week AFTER me, and she is already home and engaged. Weirdweirdweird.
After church, bishop’s wife fed us again. Then we went and visited some less actives. It is hard to see that they are still struggling. I was crushed to hear that one sister's husband passed away last week. We went to her first but she wasn’t home. Sad day. Then I visited another LA Sister who had her baby, glad to hear she has been coming to church pretty often and the baby was blessed in the church. Yay! And then we went to Michael Paltad, our first baptism in Batangas. He was so surprised to see me! He didn’t go to church because he was at the cemetery because yesterday was the 1 year mark of his father's death. I remember I came only a couple weeks after that. It appears he still has a lot of trials, seeing that his doesn’t have a father, doesn’t know where his mother is, cares for his special needs sisters, works at a billiards room, and is only 16. He inspires me and is staying pretty active. We shared a short message and committed him to partake of the sacrament every Sunday. Sad to hear not too many people have been visiting him and we got a little teary eyes saying bye. He is so awesome.
Then Vina and Yan Yan. They are doing awesome. She is the Primary chorister and are very happy! They fed us dinner and are doing really well. We ended the night at the Sasuya's. Brother Jayson is first councilor of the Elders Quorum and Sister is a family history consultant. Jazlyn is in young women now and Lanz is 6 and still naughty! haha But we got to share 3 Nephi 31:18-20 about enduring to the end. They are so strong and have a plan to go to the temple in February to be sealed!!!!!!!!!!! After the message, I got to talk to their friend Sister Rodelas on the phone who is the one who introduced them to the church. Right before I was about to leave, I felt good that I had kept the whole weekend composed with no big tears. Then sister lost it, brother was teary eyed, and I just couldn’t handle myself!! Had a short cry fest and then we had to get out to get a jeepney on time.
Everything just hit me at that point. I have nine days left of doing the best thing that has ever happened to me. I just feel weird and sad and happy that is all happened. But I cannot believe how fast it has all gone bye. I will say though that I am SO excited to see you all!! But I do know also that when the depressing day comes of taking off this name tag, I am not finished. I will always be engaged in this work and I will stand faithful next to the Lord when he will say, "The Work is Done." I pray that we may all thrust in our sickle with all our might and hasten the work of salvation! Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah for Israel!
Doctrine and Covenants 76:22
Monday, November 3, 2014
Hey there! First off, Tuesday. Elder Lynn G. Robbins spoke to the mission. Did I love it? YES. He spoke on my favorite topic right now! Agency and responsibility. Just deepened my knowledge of the doctrine of agency. He was so inspired as he taught of how we have 100% control of our agency and 100% responsibility of how we use it. We need to be better at how we blame others and use excuses, because everything can be pointed at ourselves. Reminds me of how much actually depends on us.
Halloween night. Walking home, I say to my companion, "let's scare the sisters if they arent home yet." Wait behind the door with a sheet. Got 'em good. So good.
This week we were asked by an investigator to be her baby's "Ninang" or godmother. That was an awkward conversation.
We got an AMAZING referral. Yolie, man she is awesome! The Relief society president referred her to us and came with us to the lesson and it was beautiful. I had a tear in my eye the whole time because she was just so open about how ready she is. She just kept saying she is so willing and that her entire life she has felt "something missing." We asked her how she felt, she said she felt good and enlightened. We are so excited. She said her husband and son are really interested too!! This is an amazing potential completed family! She accepted a baptismal goal date of December 20, and after she said yes, she asked what time. Man she is ready! I will keep you updated. :)
There is a senior couple serving in our ward and they actually just went home this morning. But the ward put on the most awesome goodbye party for them! Every auxillary put on a presentation (full time missionaries included) and it was just a joyous time! We sang "Go forth with faith" and threw some tagalog in there. And then we watched some swing dancing, cha cha, elders quorum choir action, and the primary "popcorn popping on the apricot tree" hip hop version! Good stuff!
Saturday was Day of the Dead! Our ward mission leader came up with the brilliant idea of having a finding activity. So our church is on the way to the cemetery and there were so many people driving and walking by, like disneyland status of people. So we had signs and offered free juice with pamphlets of the Plan of Salvation. It was good, we found some pretty interested people and a lot of people got to see us and our church. The word is being spread! It was a great way for us to work with our ward mission leader and ward missionaries and we all had a grand ol time! Day of the Dead is an interesting holiday here. Basically every Filipino goes and parties over their loved ones graves. They just hang out at the cemetery all day and night! We had an early curfew of 6pm to keep us safe.
Our area is doing ok, struggling to help them come to church, but things are still moving. Just doing my best to build up this area and companion. So thankful to be serving here at this time.
I love you all and thanks for all the support always!
Doctrine and Covenants 19:23
Monday, October 27, 2014
Well things are just moving along here! This week was a bit short on time, coming from Manila, having interviews with President, and then just getting punted in general from investigators. Also a bummer that a lot of our investigators committed to come to church but didn't show up. It is always a depressing feeling when that happens.
But as for some cool experiences, I had my interview with President. His first question was what I learned from conference. I am really glad he asked me because it made me really dig deep and think about it all. I told him how I loved how Elder Christofferson taught us how we need to become like Christ through our own actions. It was kinda a light bulb moment. Like yes, God wants us to become like him. He will help us. But he won’t do everything for us! You gotta work, act, and choose! Then it put things in perspective for me, as a missionary and as a child of God: am I using my agency wisely? Great question for each of us to ask ourselves. What path are you on to becoming like the savior? Are you choosing the things that will help you progress or are you waiting for God to send a trial to you to wake you up. Just keep that in mind. Let us all choose wisely.
He also gave me his final advice of "writing the last chapter" of my mission. Everyone wants to read this chapter, and that I need to end it with a Bang! Sadly at the moment there isnt any different amazing miracle, but it is all about the work. And I can say that is going well. So working on this last chapter is my focus! Making it real good I hope.
Our investigator M gave the closing prayer to our lesson. Started out great, then just the tears flowed. She started praying for her family. She has 7 kids but moved from a further area of the Philippines to San Jose. She prayed that she could find some way to contact them and that they would be safe and healthy. She hasn’t talked to them in years now. I was just distraught at the thought that she hasn’t been able to communicate with her own mother and tell her about all her children and experiences and things in life. I thought about how hard that would be. Thinking for myself, if I didn’t have the chance to email my parents every Monday (as lame as my emails are), I don’t think I would be able to handle a mission! But to think of her and all her trials and her desire to just hear if her family is ok, just broke my heart. I can still say, every single monday on my mission when I come to email, I have a butterflies in my stomach out of my concern to ever receive bad news from home. I am SO BLESSED that each of your are healthy, happy, and active in the church. I count my blessings for each of you!!
Sister Taala and I are doing great. Really finding our flow and work ethic together. I sure am grateful that she is my companion at this point. I am learning a lot, and she is mad skilled at braiding hair! (cause she is Samoan) But we are happy and enjoying the stinky and odorous land of San Jose.
Tomorrow we look forward to a mission wide meeting where Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the presidency of the 70 will be speaking to us! So excited to learn from on high!
I love you all. Thanks for everything and stay awesome!
Doctrine and Covenants 5:21-22