Hey my momma!
I thought about you a lot this morning. i had
a dream last night that you were crying and not wanting me to leave. I woke up missing my momma a little bit but was reminded once again by the temple video that families are forever and that these two years will go by quickly for you. I personally am so excited to go to the philippines though. its going to be so wonderful and i am ready for it!! I love and miss you momma! never forget that though i am far away, ill always have you in my heart and use the things you have taught me everywhere i go. That and im going to show all those wonderful philippines families the pictures of ours. And im gonna say, "through our heavenly fathers plan of happiness and our savior Jesus Christ, we can live with our families forever." and then i'm going to point at your
picture and say, "because of our older brother Jesus i can live with my momma forever" what a wonderful blessing that is! i know i say that in every letter but it is!! I've always had a testimony of that in my heart and i feel like the philippines people will be converted to their savior as families rather than individuals.
Alrighty time to share some of the random things that have been a part of the mtc experience for me. First of all, they have a couple random cats who walk around here all day. I don't know where on earth they come from, but they are certainly a little tender mercy to all of the missionaries here. Even though i don't care for cats much, its always nice to see one of them. I named one of them pagkain which all of my fellow elders think is hilarious, and so now every time we pass him we give pagkain a little love.
Tagalog is improving a ton. We took a second lsa test yesterday and it was crazy how much we improved. We went from saying two word responses to actually being able to respond thoroughly! man it was so cool to see how much the lord has blessed us in such a short amount of time. I have been learning how to say my own feelings in addition to the memorized phrases which is awesome! i have a specific way that i LOVE to teach in tagalog. My kasama and i call it " THE FORMAT". It is the way that i would've taught in english, and it lets me pour out my heart with what i want to say. It also allows me to focus more on the investigator rather than the language, because i am confident of what to say and can fill in context and blessings. it goes, " Sa pamamagitan
ng (principle being taught), maaari po natin matanggap/maramdaman ( two blessings). " this means "through (principle) we can feel/receive (blessings)" I love this way of teaching. especially when we teach about the savior. that is the best. As far as teaching goes, what has made the biggest impact in my lessons is that i am relying way more on the spirit. I go into the lesson with a prayer, and then have a prayer in my heart that the spirit will guide me and my companion. The last couple of lessons i have delivered without even stuttering. The spirit has been a huge help, there is no way i could do that without it. We have taught the first 8 principles so far, and are actually doing a skype lesson with a filipino tonight!!! thats gonna be so much fun!!!
Learning grammar is always one of my favorite parts of tagalog. It helps us be able to converse better and to start to create our own ideas in tagalog. Our classes are taught in 100% tagalog now which is super fun but sometimes super tiring. There are lessons
where we are all feeling it super well and then lessons where we all are super out of it. I better get used to it since that's what they speak all day over there! Its okay i'm enjoying it! i am learning to use each spare moment better. I am trying to use every spare second on personal testimony or language mastery and the diligence is paying off. The lord is the one that gives us success, but we must work our hardest. I'm certainly working hard and feeling the blessings from my all knowing heavenly father!
Sunday as usual was the highlight. We watched a devotional from President and sister marino (mtc president and his wife). They are adorable. They are seriously the most spunky, funny, christlike couple ever. They talked about how much one baptism means
on your mission and how you can never know the impact that it had. They were each converts to the gospel. They talked about how grateful they were to the missionaries who taught them and how much work has come out of it. Through their conversions, brother martin served in Italy, both of them served as mission president/wife in the philippines (where 3600 were baptized), a couple mission in NY, four children served missions in central america, and a ton of family history work has been done. They shared a story about the homecoming of one of their sons. President martino sat his son down afterward and wanted to talk about marriage and schooling, but his son kept interupting him saying, "dad we have to find our ancestors". President martino finally relented even
though they had searched hundreds of times without success. Because of that prompting they found 1800 names from their family tree. Their son had a testimony of missionary work on both sides of the veil...and was called home to do so on the other side.
Just after his discovery, he became ill with a rare tropical disease and passed away. Both of his siblings had spiritual experiences with him afterward though. His sister was one day prompted to do family history work. She spent hours without success until she closed her eyes and said, "okay cameron, help me out if you want this done." to which she opened her eyes and found on the screen a link in the chain that led to 1000 new names. His brother recalls a similar thing of being prompted to find another 1000 names, to which he said he heard cameron's laugh saying "haha youll never catch me!" oh my word that story shook my heart. First of all, that the efforts of two missionaries led to the conversion of thousands of god's children! and second the testimony and passion for missionary work that cameron had!! i want to be that kind of missionary. The kind that knows with all of the power of his soul that this work is true and who desires nothing more than the conversion of the people he loves. What an amazing devotional.
That made me so excited for the field!! i cannot wait to share the love of Christ with the filipino people and love them with all of my heart!! super exciting.
We also watched the testaments movie on sunday. I love that one. The part where the savior comes to the earth is so beautiful. I love the part when the son says to his blind dad, "i'm so sorry, because of me you cannot see him" to which his dad responds, "but YOU can see him, and that's enough!" the spirit is so strong there! The father wanted nothing more than his son to come unto Christ. He had waited for the savior his whole life but was just overwhelmed with joy that his son had repented an turned to his Lord. That is the kind of love i need to develop on my mission. I pray every day to be more loving and compassionate, and hope with all my heart that i can become more Christlike and loving as time progresses. We are not out here to grow the church, but
to bring God's children unto his light. His light has made me so happy and i want nothing more than to give that to those i love. I hope that when the time comes that i can be the one to say, "but YOU can see him, and that's enough" I was reading in Alma 31:35 the other day. In it, Alma refers to the souls of their lost brethren as precious and desires nothing more than to bring them back to their god. Everyone here chose the plan once. Everyone here is capable of changing and accepting their redeemer. Alma and the sons of mosiah were wicked men who persecuted members, but were changed by the lord into wonderful missionaries because they relied on him and gave him their hearts. I hope that i can learn to be more humble and to give him everything that i have. The lord has worked so many wonders in my life. He has put amazing people and hard life experiences in my life to help me grow and i'm so thankful for that. I get to go out there and share his message so soon!! I know that i made promises to find people before this world began and cant believe that i am this close to finding them! OH how wonderful the goodness of my God! how blessed am i to have the gospel and to have the opportunity to share it! how blessed am i to wear his name and share his light! i have been blessed more than imaginable, and finally have the opportunity to give back to him. I can never be worthy of his infinite atonement or his redeeming love but i am so excited to get out there an show him through my diligence how much i love him.
I look toward the future but live in the moment. I have been so blessed to grow so much here. I have gotten even closer with elder page, elder johnson, elder hollingshead, elder stewart, and my dear ol' kasama elder litchfield. I have learned to recognize spiritual promptings way more these past few weeks. This week, elder hollingshead was struggling. I was prompted over and over to write a letter to him but hadn't gotten to yet. One day he laid out his whole heart to me about how he was feeling anxious and stressed. The scripture came to my mind about Jesus calming the storm. I quickly acted on that prompting and wrote him with the scripture verse attached. I have a testimony that the savior can calm the fiercest storms. He suffered for all of us so that
we could sail on smooth water. Rely on him!! Through his atonement, we can get through anything. There is no sin to great or trial too hard to be taken away by his atonement. He sunk below them all to lift us. I also know that there is no trial too small for the Lord to care. Rely on him with everything! even the simple frustrations and aching of your hearts, he cares about them all. I am so grateful that my lord has calmed many of my storms. We have storms so that we can rely on him and so that we can truly enjoy the smooth sailing that his love allows. This gospel is true! living it to its fullest every day has been so wonderful!
Never forget the goodness of our God, never let the song of his redeeming love leave your soul. Its been a blessing to have that song stuck on repeat in mine for the last month. Missions are the best! for my little siblings, look forward to it. Missions are priceless. They are super hard, but they are worth it. The savior invites all who love him to come and be fishers of men! you can all do that from home. I am so proud to watch you all become such wonderful missionaries! i look up to you guys as an example and carry you in my heart to the PI. keep reading the book of Mormon every day! i love to hear that family scripture study is improving! that's so great. But promise me you will not let it slip during the school year! i totally get how everyone gets busy
but i promise you that if you regularly study the scriptures, that the lord will bless you with happiness and better grades in school. The spirit helps you learn better than anyone else. If you have it with you always, then you will be much happier.
Awh my family, so much i want to say to you. I cannot wait till monday!!! i'm super excited to talk to all of you!
before i go, i wanted to say one last time that i know this church i true. Every part of it radiates mercy and happiness. This plan is meant to make us happy. From the beginning, God has always desired us to feel his love and to come back to him. Let him love you! having him with you at all times makes everything better. Trials are much lighter when you are strengthened by our all loving heavenly father. Listen to the words of the prophet again and feel his love. This work is hastening faster than you
can imagine. The philippines missions are blowing up in size. The people there are ready to hear the word of god. There are 300 new philippines elders coming in a couple weeks!!!! i feel so blessed to be one of the lucky missionaries who get to go to such a prepared people. I love my savior so much and cant wait to be part of his army!
love you all so much! i pray for each of you individually every day!!