Monday, September 30, 2013

I am a mother (nanay)

I am training.  And I love it.  It is just what I needed.  Just who I needed.  It is simply great... so far.  So I went to transfer day in San Pablo to pick up my baby, and boy was I surprised when they said I was training Sister Gaspar de Alba.  She is from Texas and she is just great.  Positive, confident, hard working.  Everything we need to get some progression in our area.  I am pumped to get some baptisms now!  So far we are working great together.  She is pretty much experiencing all the same crazy emotions when I first got here too.  Which is probably comforting to her that I can literally relate with everything.  The greatest blessing I have seen is the gift of tongues this week.  I cannot believe my ability to understand and communicate with the people here now!  I know this is an answer to my pleading with the Lord and all the prayers coming from you all.  I truly thank you for your love, support, and prayers.  I know that this is the answer and result of coming to the Lord humbly.  I have just seen a greater understanding and ability to reply with the vocabulary I already know more quickly.  Also, on Saturday we were able to teach 4 lessons which was rare before.  There are already improvements going on here.  So happy now.
My trainer was transferred to the little island, Marinduque.  Pretty exciting. 
Oh and on our first real day out to work together, we totally got into a little bit of a bible bash.  Oh man.  That was my first experience and thankfully he knew English.  It is amazing how people can completely misinterpret the Bible.  He straight up said he doesn't believe in our religion.  That the Book of Mormon isn't true.  And that he hates religion.  So, in other words, he just isn't prepared to hear our message yet, so we will just leave it at that.  But I do not that the only way we will be saved is if we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, are baptized by the proper authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. 
So this week I also walked through knee high floods.  Wish I would've had my camera.  Literally disgusting.  The water was covering all the rice fields and overflowed out of the canals and was still knee high water that was just straight brown.  I couldn't even see my calves.  And the member we were with said there was probably snakes.  I seriously booked it outta there.  Sick.  And also, I finally tried Balut.  Not too bad.  That is the Filipino specialty.  It's like a hard boiled fertilized duck egg.  I will send pics. 
This week was a littler slower with all the changes, but I am sure excited to teach this week!  Things are going well here, and I can tell you that my testimony is stronger than ever before.  I am learning how to truly trust in God because I know that is going to be the only way that these two new American missionaries are ever going to help these amazing people here.  I love the mish, for all the ups and downs it has.  I love you all!!!!!
Sister Waldrom
James 1:22-25


Monday, September 23, 2013

Move Forward with Faith

I spoke at my first Zone Conference!  Surprisingly not that scary.  My topic was effectively using the Book of Mormon (thanks for the quotes Dad).  When I started brainstorming, I wrote down the original ideas, like liken the scriptures to the investigators, read with them, etc.  When preparing a little bit more everyday, I saw that I received more revelation on what I should talk about.  So I kinda took a different route and talked about how we need to help our investigators to understand what the Book of Mormon is.  I have already seen on my mission that they can get really hung up on the idea of the BoM and are easily confused and have questions.  But if we explain to them what it is, where it came from, and why they should want to read it, their faith with grow on a more firm foundation with a great desire and interest to read it for themselves.  It was a great experience for me to see how the Lord inspires us to say what He wants us to say.  I sure love the spirit.
Zone Conference was a blast.  Spiritually rejuvenating and fun to see my friends and meet new missionaries.  I got to drive back with President and Sister Peterson, so hello to two hours in the car with them!  I loved it.  I love them.  I asked President what scriptures have helped him in his mission.  He told me he really likes Alma 38.  And now I do too.  I have learned how to apply that chapter in my missionary work now.  I need to continue in faith and trust and need to definitely be more humble.  After coming back from conference, I kinda got really down.  I saw the sisters from my batch and heard about all their successes... I have been here for three months and we struggle with having our investigators progress.  It's really hard not to blame yourself in these kinds of situations.  I won't lie.  It is really hard.  Obviously when you are having investigators keeping their commitments and baptisms, you're one happy missionary!  But when that is not necessarily happening, you can't help but wonder, what is wrong?  It is a constant reevaluation of yourself, your work, and your prayers/faith/trust.  This has been a great experience to build my faith, rely on the Lord, and moving forward with Faith.  I have more faith now than I have ever in my life.  That is sure what I love about the mission, it has taught me how to learn, grow, and change.  Ahhhh, but I still am craving that success.... I have faith that my new trainee and I can do it (she comes on Thursday)!!  Even though neither of us speak Tagalog, we will sure be relying on the Spirit!  

We had like a super sad experience where the family of three with baptismal dates dropped us.  Yeah, I was crushed.  There is no way to describe the feeling of when an investigator who knows the gospel rejects it.  It really breaks your heart for them and their salvation.  But I have come to learn that everyone has their agency and that we just having to keep working to find those prepared souls.  

So I am a graduate of my 12 week training!  I am a real missionary!  And my anak comes this week!  Craziness! I am excited!!!!

This morning we went to Family week for the Ward and it is an awesome thing that the church does with the government and they have a medical mission and do family history!  AMAZING.  And I got a cool free shirt!  Sweet.

This week was another emotional roller coaster, but I can promise you that I love my mission.  I love it here, the people, the work, the spirit.  The Gospel is true.  

Sister Waldrom 
Mosiah 4:2


Monday, September 16, 2013

Pray Hard

The Lord works in mysterious ways.  I have seen how he has put us in the right place at the right time.  A few weeks ago we met a woman as we were standing on the sidewalk waiting for a member.  She stopped and asked us if we were Mormon, and she said she was baptized in 1981.  We got her name and address but hadn't found the time to visit her yet.  Then she walked in to church yesterday!  Hello less active!  We went and visited her last night, and she said she went to a few other churches and has been less active for over 20 years!  But somehow she found the confidence to walk in yesterday in her street clothes just wanting to come back.  I don't know why, but I know that Heavenly Father wanted her to come back to Him.  And last night when we went to her house, her landlord was there who is also a less active member!  It has also been a long time since she has returned. It is just amazing that we were able to meet these amazing women and help them find the path again!  The landlord has a hard time coming to church because she has a 28 year old son with some kind of disability.  He was lying on a mattress on the floor and every time I looked at him, his eyes would squint and he would give me the biggest smile!  Oh how my heart was warmed!  She doesn't know what his condition is, but it seemed like cerebral palsy to me.  It made me miss my special needs friends from high school and reminded me how I cant wait to go back to school to help amazing people like him!  At the end of the lesson, when the closing prayer was being said, I looked up at him and saw him rolled over on his side, holding his hands and his eyes were closed.  What joy warmed my heart and tears lined my eyes.  I know that son is close to God.  I know he has heavenly help and support in His life.  I know that he is an amazing child of god and probably has the constant companion of the Holy Ghost in his life more than I will ever know.  Oh, those tender moments just make this mission even more amazing. 
Also, another cool less active story!  We were on a tricycle just talking to the driver about the church.  When we got off, a girl who got off too asked, "Mormons po ba kayo?"  Yes we are Mormon!  And she said that she was baptized a few years ago but moved to this area a year ago.  Come to find out her mom is also a member but was offended because of the way she speaks.  With a couple of visits, they came to our group FHE and then came to church yesterday too!  Wow, the spirit is working strong with these less actives and is bringing them back no matter their fears!

We are also teaching an amazing investigator.  She is progressing, her faith is growing, and she is keeping commitments!  This week we extended baptism to her again, and she again said she is devoted to being catholic!  Oh man.  We will try to resolve her concern. It just kills me to see how she understands this amazing gospel, but won't accept it.  Praying for her.
This week we held a group family home evening, and was it successful?  YES.  3 active families, 2 less active families, and a family of investigators came!  It was amazing!  It was so fun and there was so much fellowship!  I made some yummy graham cake that I can't wait to make for everyone at home.  It's all the rage here in the Philippines.  But it was a beautiful experience and I will attach some photos from it. 
And finally, training.  So this week is my last week of training for me.  Then next week, I will begin training a brand new missionary.  Word on the street is that there are 19 sisters coming, and only 1 is Filipina.  So........ yes, I am wondering how this is all going to work out.  But this week, we headed to San Pablo for a training meeting with President.  And I learned so much, it was really comforting.  I need to learn how to develop power through the atonement.  That is the only way I am going to be able to become the trainer that God believes that I can become.  I am not sure if you all understand this task, I don't know this language.  I don't know this country.  I am not even a great teacher yet.  But now I have a big responsibility to teach, help, and protect a new missionary.  Pressssssure.  But I have already found this to be a very humbling experience.  I know that if I reallllllly learn how to trust in the Lord, he will help lift me up and help me to fulfill this new calling.  Wow.  I am blessed that He has this faith in me. 
Fun story: we were at a members house and the Brother was watching NCAA basketball here.  I asked if he liked the American NBA (thinking we could have a good conversation with my decent knowledge on the subject) and then he blew me away with listing every NBA team in ABC order!  What?!  It was amazing.  There are 31 teams if you didn't already know.  And also, everyone here loves Basketball.  And they love the Miami Heat.  Why you might ask?  Because the head coach is Filipino!  And he is from San Pablo!  Awesome!!! 
So, yes, I am doing a lot better.  Finding the joy in the mission and helping anyone I can.  I know this that through this gospel, we know the way of how to return to our Father in Heaven.  I love you all and wish you the best!
Sister Waldrom
Jacob 4:8


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Warning:  This email is the real life of Sister Waldrom and she kinda gets whiny, but just ignore it and know that she is a happy little sister missionary.

All I have to say right now is, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!  I am going to become a Nanay (mother).  I am training this next transfer, so in two weeks.  And you know what the chances are of her being a foreigner?  VERY HIGH.  I literally just found out from an email and I very well could pee my pants out of fear.  I can train, that's easy.  But I sure as heck cannot speak!!!  I pray for a Filipina.  Oh my goodness.  I just feel bad for our investigators.  Our lessons will be HINDI MABUTI.  (not good.)  Ok sorry, I am just freaking out right now because this was like my biggest fear.  But you know what, I CAN DO IT.  God has called me to be a missionary and I will do anything he needs me to do (even if it makes me want to curl up into a little ball and cry my heart out).  Oh my gulay is all I can say right now.  God bless my poor trainee.  We're doomed.  LOL 
Also, this week was like.... really hard.  Ok one day.  But still.  We were out working all day and only taught one lesson.  That is my least favorite thing about the mission.  No one is home and your plans just fall out of your hands.  Darn.  I may have secretly been tearing up on the tricycle ride home out of disappointment for feeling "unsuccessful" but you know what the wind in my face wiped away those tears and I turned to the Lord.  I just praypraypray when I have a trial, and even though the problem doesn't always get better, I feel better because I can feel the spirit.  That is a true lesson I have learned to apply and you know what my advice is?  Try it.  Prayer works.  God is good, real good. 
And you know, there are some other really unfun things here, like laundry burns on my fingers, sweating constantly, cold showers, always tired, and not being able to speak Tagalog.  But you know, I am just accepting it all.  Even though there are so many things that are kinda rough here, the blessings come when I see that what I am doing here is just amazing.  Even though I haven't seen the success I expected or wanted, I know that none of the efforts we make are unwasted.  That has been another hard thing.  I came here with these expectations that I am gonna baptize like crazy cause Filipinos are so receptive.  But you know, that is not really the case.  I am learning patience.  And it is a different kind than I have ever had to use in my life.  But we keep on working!
So yeah, the mission is like an emotional roller coaster.  And sorry this email is just not as spiritual as usual.  Obviously this week was just not as successful as I had hoped.  But I did see how when members give us referrals, those people are so much more receptive and prepared because they see the blessings of the gospel in someone else's life and desire it too.  So give referrals!  God has promised to bless you!
Also, I was really looking to be spiritually rejuvinated at church on sunday after a rough week.  Then I was so happy that two of our investigators came to church.  Then this strange opportunity arose during Relief Society when bishop called me over and said, "Sister, we have a problem.  One of the speakers cannot speak in sacrament meeting... will you give a talk?"  Hm.  Yes I will, but it will be in Taglish.  I gathered some thoughts and spoke on missionary work.  And honestly, the spirit just led me.  I am kinda well known for basically reading my talks or speeches, but that was unscripted for my first talk in the Philippines!  I think it was ok, and I mostly spoke english, but it was a good experience surprisingly. 
So this week I really learned how God tests us to teach us.  Like having me speak in church, being panted with no investigators, and becoming a trainer after 12 weeks.  So life is good and I am just chugging along.  I love and miss you all!!!!!
Mahal ko kayo lahat,
Sister Waldrom
1 Nephi 19:9

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miracles Happen

Hello there.  I am just happyhappyhappy!  So the mish is full of
emotions and I won't lie, about everyday I get sad when investigators
aren't home or plans fall through, but then I get over it and think
about who else can we help?  For example, our investigator wasn't
home, so we were walking and I said hello to this woman and
talked to her about her children. We told her we were
missionaries, then she let us in, then we taught lesson one, then she
had all the same questions as Joseph sSmith, then she committed to
pray, then we got a return appointment, and I just love her.  (that
may or may not have been a very long sentence. LOL)  So yeah, that's
life here.

We also received a very sad text from one of our investigators saying
she couldn't continue our lessons.  Hello broken heart!  But we
decided to stop by anyways and try to "resolve the concern" and you
know what?  We did!  I had prayed hard for a miracle and studied to
know how to help her.  And my prayers were answered.
We helped her understand that she just needs to pray for an answer.
So great.

Also, yesterday our 10 year old investigator from a less active family
came to church!  With the whole fam!  Mom, brother, sister, uncle, and
grandma!  I was ecstatic that they are acting on their faith!!

OH YEAH!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Welcome to September in the Philippines
where they start celebrating now!  Amazing.  Four months of Christmas.
I might just be in heaven.

I have also been asked to speak at my first zone conference in a
couple weeks.... oh my gulay. (gulay=vegetable. yes.  common phrase
here.)  That means I have to speak for ten minutes about how to use
the Book of Mormon effectively in front of 150 missionaries and my
mission president.  Yay.  It will be a cool experience and I
can get it over with early in my mission!

Also, I am sending a pic of these little girls who always play right
outside of the chapel.  They are like the missionary fan club!
Everyday when we walk by, they come running, "Ate!  Ate!"
(Ah-tay=older sister) and we have to shake every one of their hands.
My favorite little girl is they one on the left of me covered by the
other ones.  She always puts out her left hand to shake and it is the
cuuuutest thing. haha <3

I just can't believe how much I have already learned on my mission.
My testimony has grown.  I was just re-reading my farewell talk, and I
looked at it in disgust.  I feel like I have become spiritually
smarter.  I know this gospel and it's beauty.  I am always improving
and growing and that is apart of it.  To continually change and repent
so we can return to our perfect Father in Heaven.  Mahal ko kayo
lahat!  Ingat kayo!

Sister Waldrom
Doctrine and Covenants 35:8