Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning is endless

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!

Sister Waldrom
Doctrine and Covenants 5:21-22

Monday, October 20, 2014

Y.O.M.O. (You Only Manila Once)

First of all, in this internet cafe, they are playing my favorite All American Rejects song in like 7th grade and I am just thinking.... Oh my, I have been distanced from the world SO MUCH.  I cant even remember the words to the song!  Sheesh the mission is such a fresh breath of air.  Seeing what life is like away from the world.  But oh shoot, the next song just came on, I think they are just playing their first album now.  Oooooh no!!! TEMPTATIONS TO MISSIONARIES ARE THE WORST.  Bahahah
Ok, let's start with the MOST FUN 24 HOURS OF MY LIFE.  Yesterday (Sunday Afternoon) I left San Jose for MANILA!  One month before you leave the country you have to go get fingerprints for your visa and so all the foreigners in my batch went up together.  But I did have to take a couple jeepney rides by myself to meet up with everyone... WEIRD.  I was alone in the Philippines traveling without a companion and I am white!  It was very unsettling because they are even more confused when I am all by my lonesome in this country.  Then once I saw everyone, oh man, the happiness just started up faster than a tricycle when someone finally needs a ride.  It was so glorious.  We just chica-chica'd that whole 2 hour drive!  Then throughout the whole trip I just got to catch up with all my batchmates and finally hear about their missions and lives!  When we have meetings, we never have much time to talk because we are always rushed to get back out to work.  So it was just so fun.  But it was all just so funny because we even stayed in the same hotel as our very first night in the Philippines.  Can you say crazy flashbacks?!  We we stunned with how much everything has changed in the past 18 months!  It was sooo good and so amazing all that has happened and changed each of us.  You will all meet them one day, we are all so tight.  I am sure we will send each other our future family Christmas cards and all that jazz... bahahaha 

So this Morning I woke up at 4:30 in hopes that there would be a hot shower ready to clean me up real well.  Hopped right on in, and hopped right on out as fast as I could.  WHY IS THERE NO WARM WATER IN THIS COUNTRY.  Jumped back into that hotel bed basically wet.  Then we headed to the Immigration center and MAN THAT IS THE BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH EVER.  That place was loaded with foreigners from every corner of the earth.  I think if we baptized that whole building, the prophecies would be fulfilled of the gospel reaching every nation, tongue, and people.  But then the best moment of all was when SISTER MAFI walked in!!!!!!!!  My MTC companion from Tonga!!!!!!!!  Dang, I got a little teary eyed seeing her!  She is alive!  What a fun little reunion with our MTC district :)  So after all that we went to KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS. OH MY HEAVEN ON EARTH.   You Americans don’t know how good you have it!  Then we headed back.  So overall, huge success.  Now I am back, and back to work!

Just would like to remind you all, that I still dont have a Filipina companion, my house mates are foreigners (Sister Brown from UT and Sister Tzanis from Australia who is half greek and filipina) and it is just sad my lack of Filipino life for me!  Just my trainer and housemates in my first area. Kuwawa!!  

The ward here is so solid.  We have some great leaders and bishop.  It became a ward only a year ago so it still needs some growing.  But this week we found some realllllly great investigators who are already progressing!  Especially Sister O: she came to church and she cried the whole time cause the lessons were focused on the spirit world and family sealing.  She shared in Gospel Principles about how she wondered how her parents could be baptized because they were murdered by Muslim extremists.  She had a really great experience from having her questions answered.  Really warmed my heart to see the fullness of the gospel give someone hope in their life.  We also got some really great new referrals this week and we are excited to be busy!!  

Ok I love you all.  You are just the best!  Keep it real and keep looking for the holiness in everyday.  I promise you will find it when you seek for it!  Let me know whatever I can do to help any of you!  

Much Love,
Sister Waldrom
Mormon 9:28

Monday, October 13, 2014

Look to Him and Live

Transferrrred!  Area #4: San Jose, Batangas!  I love it already.  It sure is different than the rest of my other areas (pure city).  It has a lot more farms and POULTRY.  Man this place reeks!!!  Last night we were walking home, I literally gagged from the foul odors of these darn pigs here.  Literally the worst.  And there is no escaping it.  I think I survive it for a month.  My companion is Sister Taala from Samoa.  She is leeeegit!  I am her follow up trainer and she is pretty new but I see a bright future for us.  Our house is SOOOO nice.  Except the water pressure-gotta use a bucket to shower.  It is a struggle with all my hair.  But it is all about enduring to the end, eh?   I am really excited to serve here.  I know there is a special purpose for me here with my little time and I am excited to find out what it is.  
Before I left San Pablo, we officially started teaching the father of Sister Masangkay.  Our first lesson completely focused on him.  Lanie was our member present.  And we opened up the Book of Mormon with him and he couldn’t take his eyes off it, because he was crying the WHOLE time!  He was just so emotional.  He just told us his desire to be baptized and accepted a baptismal goal date of November 8.  I am soooo excited for him!  But sooo sad I can't be there to witness his conversion.  But I do know he is in good hands with Sister Wilson!

Our last lesson with the Masangkays was soooo good.  We taught about eternal family with the commitment of giving them a goal date of being sealed in the temple.  We extended October 10, 2015 and they are excited to prepare!!  It was sure hard to say bye to them, I held back the emotions and told them I would see them my very last Sunday before I go to the mission home.  I sure miss and love that dear family.  And funny moment, Thurs morning as missionaries were getting on jeeps for transfers, Sister Masangkay saw us and came and said bye to me!!  Such a tender  moment.  

General Conference was just the best!  My favorite talk was by Elder Christofferson.  So many good points that he touched on.  Super deep too, requires further studying on my part.  I am excited to print it off today and read that up!  Loved Bednar's too.  Man I love sharing the gospel!  Also super fun cause I got to see a bunch of Batangas members.  MAN I LOVE THEM.  Even Vina, our recent convert.  Told them I would see them Nov 9 for my last visit, we were all excited!  It was seriously so good to see them all.  

Soooo that is pretty much it.  Looking forward to working hard here.  All is well and thanks for your love always!!  Also, feel free to send me your final letters, that'd be cool.  I love you all!!!

Sister Waldrom
Mosiah 24:13-16

Monday, October 6, 2014

This little black nametag

My heart is soooo full.  I am so blessed to wear this nametag that represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It gives me the special license and blessing to be apart of so many miracles that I definitely cannot make happen on my own.  And it has definitely taught me things that I cannot learn on my own.  I know it truly is the Lord who leads this work, and I am so grateful to simply be his servant to perform His will here.  

I know for a fact that we that His will was accomplished this past weekend.  The Masangkay Family and Lanie Matalog were baptized.  Oh man, the rush of emotions that just come to mind just thinking of the whole event is amazing.  I keep thinking, why me?  Why were Sister Wilson and I chosen to just have this amazing family handed to us to teach the gospel?  My jaw just drops when I think of them.  We taught them this past week about the priesthood (in preparation for brother), the Book of Mormon (where they each shared with us what they have learned.  They are so smart!), and then for our final lesson before their baptism, we invited Sister Mangum to join us where we taught about Christ.  What an experience!  Sister Mangum brought the absolute sweetest spirit into our lesson.  We watched part of Finding Faith in Christ.  And they seemed so touched to see the things that Christ did in His life.  I think they really felt the desire to take upon His name and be baptized to be reborn from what they felt in that lesson.  

As for their baptism, we did some prior work to make invitations to give to all the members and sent a reminder text the night before.  Seemed like it was worth the effort because about 70+ people came! The whole relief society room was packed!  Bishop said that is was the most that had ever attended a baptism in the ward. We had two short and sweet talks given by the elder's quorum president and a relief society sister, then the primary sang "I like to look for rainbows".  Then it was time for the baptismal proper, went well! Except for the youngest daughter, had to baptize her five times!!  Something just kept happening, like her hand or foot coming up.  hahaha it was funny.  Something that President wants us to do is have the missionaries teach doctrine during the time where we while the investigators are changing into their dry clothes.  So Sister Wilson and I shared a condensed version of the Restoration of the Gospel.  Once we reached the point of the first vision, we showed the clip from the movie.  That video sure has an amazing way of bringing the spirit.  This was the video that really helped the Masangkay's receive a personal witness, and they walked in right in time to watch it!  After it was finished, there was barely a dry eye in the room.  We closed our message discussing the blessing we have to be apart of the true church and how it is so exciting to have 6 new members be apart of it!  Then the new converts bore their testimonies.  So cool because Brother Michael bore his testimony and started it by saying that he was grateful for the first missionaries who talked to him on his tricycle.  And then he went on to bear a strong testimony of the truth that has been revealed to him.  Sister Nely told her testimony on the word of wisdom and how brother stopped drinking coffee and it was a huge testimony to her.  Then Sister Lanie was out of this world.  She spoke about of Jacob 5 really helped her understand the love of god.... What investigator understands the olive tree allegory?!  WOW.  She is so solid.  The kids bore strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and how the gospel has already helped their family so much.  Then after that, Bishop gave some wonderful closing remarks and we could see how excited he was!  He even told the ward to continue to do missionary work so we can reach our goal of having members like those who were baptized that night.  

After the baptism, I got to talk to President and Sister Mangum and all the senior couples who came, they were in awe of this family!  Also Nely's father attended who is an investigator too but is often working so hasn't progressed like his family.  He was talking to Sister Wilson afterwards and even got teary eyed and said that he was should've been baptized with them.  He said he was going to figure out his job and wants to be baptized.  He is so ready!  Man, the church is so true!!  The RS even made some pancit for the ward and everyone was excited to eat that up.  Sunday they were confirmed and Brother Michael was ordained as a priest very promptly!  All is well in Zion!  The ward is soooo excited and eager to do missionary work and to fellowship these recent converts.  I am just so blessed that I have been able to witness this all.  It is making a turn of events in San Pablo Ward 3!  

So this week has also had a strange amount of death involved...  A member in our ward who is a young mother got news her mother died.  We visited her and she just felt this ability to really open up to us.  I know it is because I this little black nametag that she felt comfortable sharing such personal things with representatives of Christ.  She really opened up about how much her testimony has helped her through this and how it is even being strengthened.  But I could see how she was really struggling cause her baby was sick and her other sibling was in the hospital so we offered to do service in her home.  We went Saturday morning to clean her and it made me think of how excited I am to be a real visiting teacher!  It felt so good, even though their house is made of dirt!  

Also met the cousin of a part member family whose one year old baby passed away last week with complications from flem in her chest.  Talk about hard. I walked up to her and all she did was stare at me.  She had no emotion.  I handed her the plan of salvation pamphlet and shared a short message with her and testified that she would see her baby again.  Praying that she will read it and feel God's love.  

Had Missionary Leadership council this week.  Learned about the difference between knowledge, testimony, and conversion.  Man amazing stuff right there!  Go study that up!  

I received letters from the young men and women of the Mountain View Ward!  Holla!  It was so good to hear from them all!  Man, everyone is soooo grown up!  Also loving all the awesome postcards I am getting.  You are all the best!  

Also, the best thing ever, is the CES devotional by D. Todd Christofferson, "Saving Your Life".  LIKE INCREDIBLE.  Really trying to lose myself with the time that I have left.  Sure love this mission and all that it has taught me.  I love you all!

Sister Waldrom
Matthew 10:39