Saturday, July 26, 2014

SuPeR sEnIoR.

First of all, my new companion, Sister Ufagalilo, is awesome. It is fun to serve with a Samoan.  Did you know that one of her favorite foods from Samoa is raw tilapia with watermelon.  Delicious....maybe.
This week was way awesome.  The Mabbun family is all set to be baptized next week and the area is super progressing. We are so excited that the whole family is entering into such a sacred covenant together.  The gospel has become their answers to each problem they have faced: relationship problems, infidelity, family unity.  They are the perfect proof that this gospel is made for families and that the family unit is ordained of God.  
Find out why families are such a big deal:
Something that I said, obviously inspired, hit me this week.  We were teaching an investigator about the importance of attending church weekly and how we need the spiritual recharge before we start our week. She, like almost all investigators said, "I'll try, Sisters.  I'll try to get to church this week." Boldly I replied, "Well, sister, then God will just try to bless you."  I know that only when we try to do our best, the Lord will fulfill His promises to us.  That investigator did not attend church on Sunday.  It is sad that she couldn't find the time; the Lord has blessings waiting for her.  He has blessings waiting for each of us, but we have to be the first to act.  
See what I am really talking about:
You know that you are a super senior missionary when the mission is started to make your flight plans home.  I have been so grateful to be here and I cannot believe that in a short time I will be back in the good ol' USA.  I love this work and I love the experiences I gain each day.

Flip Flops and Nourishment

This week I ate the tsineslas ni Jesucristo  or the "flip flop of Jesus Christ."  It is really just a wide fish that is shaped slightly like a flip flop.  It was very delicious.  
This week was fairly uneventful, but one thing our investigator family, the Mabbuns told us, made the week awesome.  They told us that before they met the missionaries and before they were taught the gospel, they were like a withering plant.  They were dying a lot more than they were growing.  But they said that since they accepted us and the gospel into their lives, they have been nourished and have grown.  Not only have they grown, but they have become strong.  They have been "nourished by the good word of God."
President Erying said:
The Savior taught Peter and His other Apostles and disciples why and how they were to nourish others. You remember that in the Bible account He fed them before He taught them. He had been crucified and then resurrected. His servants had gone to Galilee. They had fished through the night, catching nothing. When they drew near to shore, in the dawn, they did not at first recognize Him. He called out to them, telling them where to cast their nets, and when they did the nets were filled. They rushed to greet Him on the shore.
They found a fire of coals with fish cooking and bread. I have often wondered, as you may have done, who laid the fire, who caught the fish, and who cooked the meal, but it was the Master who prepared His disciples to be fed more than fish and bread. He let them eat first. And then He taught them of spiritual feeding. And He gave a commandment to them which still stands for each of us.
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs” (John 21:15).
I hope that we can all find ways to nourish others with the gospel, to strengthen them, and to help them come unto Christ.  
" But  if  ye  will  nourish  the  word,  yea,  nourish  the  tree  as  it beginneth  to  grow,  by  your  faith  with  great  diligence,  and  with patience looking  forward  to  the  fruit  thereof,  it  shall  take  root;  and behold  it  shall  be  tree  springing  up  unto  everlasting  life." Alma 32:41

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I may be seen looking homeless...

...but that is not true.  Today we decided to take our laundry to a laundromat in Aparri, but we could not figure out how to get our clothes there because we did not have any baskets.  So we put our laundry in sheets, threw it over our backs, and walked through the city looking like nomads.

Also, there was a new announcement made in our mission last week that our mission president himself will be doing cleaning checks of our apartments...unannounced apartment checks.  So one night I had what I thought was a "revelation": the mission president will surprise us tomorrow with a visit because we will be home in the apartment all morning.  Most days we go out in the morning, but our schedule was altered on this day.  I told the other sisters my theory and they got up early the next day to deep clean.  I convinced them that our president would come.  Did he come?  Obviously not, but the other sisters did a great job of cleaning!

In more inspiring news, Sister Liza Pinon came home this week.  After being falsely accused and put into jail in the Middle East, she is home.  Her family has been waiting to be reunited with her for two years and we have been teaching her family for the last two months.  Her husband and children have wanted to be baptized since the first day that we met them, but they also wanted to wait for their mother so that they could be baptized together.  We have been waiting and praying for Liza for months and the Lord answered our prayers.  When we first met Liza, we talked about her experiences in prison and got to know her.  She soon broke down into tears, thanking us for teaching her children to pray.  Before she left, her family was messy and her kids were undisciplined.  Now they pray individually and as a family many times a day, they read from the scriptures, and they attend church.  Liza told us that we were an answer to her prayers; too bad that she doesn't realize that she is an answer to our prayers.
 I am grateful this week to be in the Philippines, but I am also grateful to be an American.  We made some Filipino style BBQ chicken this week.  It was nothing like home, but it was fun to take time to remember home great the States are.  Sometimes you have to live in the third world for a year, to realize the blessings of being an American.
Check out whose steps I am following:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Are you my ex-boyfriend?

There are two companionships of sister missionaries in Aparri.  This week while the other sisters were working in their area, they met a young man who was about 20 years old.  As we often do as missionaries, they asked him if he had ever met any other missionaries.  He said, "Yes.  Do you know Sister Copeland?"  Of course, they replied in the positive.  Then he said, "Well, she's my ex."  To make it clear, missionaries do not date and do not have boyfriends or girlfriends.  We are very focused on our work.  I have yet to find who this mysterious ex-boyfriend of mine is, but until then, I will just have to wonder.

Speaking of the other sister missionaries,Sister Bagonbon and I have been very grateful for their help this week.  One night they related to us an experience they had earlier that day.  They were on the boundary of their area and a small girl walked up to them.  She knew they were missionaries and that missionaries shake hands, so she put out her hand to them.  The missionaries tried to ask her where she lived and where her family was, but the girl blankly stared.  After taking her by the hand and finding the closest adult, they soon were informed that she is deaf and mute.  As the sisters continued to share their story, they said that this girl was not just "special," but that she was an angel.  They found out that she lived near the beach in our area and they told us that we had to find her family.

The next day Sister Bagonbon and I began our search.  We did not know how we were going to find the girl; all we knew was that she lives near the beach.  We went to the shore and found a man and asked her where the deaf girl lives.  He said, "Turn around," and she was right there.  I took her hand, said a silent prayer that we could find her home, and she guided us right to her house.  She was moving so fast it was hard to keep up. She is an angel.  She listened intently both times that we have shared with her grandmother.  We will go back and share with her family this week.  I do not know why this girl desires for us to share with her family so much.  She cannot even communicate, but somehow she knows that we have a message that her family needs.  The two times we have shared with her grandmother, she has sat and "listened" intently.  She cannot hear, but she can feel.  She feels the love of our Father in Heaven in the message we bear.  
A lot of miracles happen in missionary work.  This week the Mabbun family is preparing for their baptism that is only 2 weeks away.  Sister Mabbun is sharing the gospel will her coworkers and students of her class at school.  Reymart, our new investigator, is reading at least 3 chapters of the Book of Mormon each day.  He cannot read the book fast enough.  And maybe the biggest miracle is that rainy season has begun and we are proselyting in the floods, lightning, and thunder; yet, we always have someone to share with and we are always safe.
P.S.  All that pink stuff is dried shrimp.  Delicious.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's a boy!

So I tried to get our member to name her new baby after my father, but she did not like it.  People in the Philippines love to name their kids after the missionaries, but she had a boy and I am a girl. Maybe her next child will be a girl.  Then my legacy may live on in her family...
The best part of the week was when Emelda Mabbun related her experience to us about prayer.  One of the biggest principles we teach as missionaries is that we have a loving Heavenly Father that loves us and knows us.  Even though many people say this, they do not believe it.  That is where we come in.  Prayer is one of the best ways that we can exercise our faith and build our relationship with God.  Emelda has been suffering with some specific trials and could not sleep one night.  Instead of rolling over for hours, she got out of bed, knelt, and prayed.  Then she slept soundly through the night because she left her worries on the shoulders of the Lord.  This simple experience taught her that our Father in Heaven is not only there, he is actively listening to us and willing to do what we need Him to do for us.  
I learned another lesson from Dell and Alfredo Reynon this week.  Dell used to be a member of another church, but after marrying a non-member, she was excommunicated from her own religion. She has struggled with this for years.  God loves us.  As His children, we are always welcome in His church.  Dell and Alfredo have learned that God loves them and His true church is a place for all. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Knock, knock... wala lang.

You may all be happy to hear that I died my hair so it is now one color and not four anymore.  But obviously more important things have happened this week.  This week we took a very long bus ride to Laoag.  We had a great conference with Elder Ardern and I learned many things.  Here are just a few inspirational tidbits for you:
1. Average and good are the enemies of excellence.
2. Depend on your God, not your intellect.
3. To be meek is not to be weak.
4. God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
As a missionary I feel very ordinary.  I am young. I have not even graduated college; yet, the Lord has entrusted me with the duty to help His children come unto Him.  It is hard, but the powers of heaven become very tangible when you dedicate yourself to His service.  I know that I have been given 18 months to serve the Lord.  I also have a lifetime ahead of me to reflect on how I served Him.  I am serving without regrets.  
Serving without regrets does not mean serving without disappointments.  When the Pinon family did not attend church on Sunday, Sister Bagonbon and I were very disappointed.  They had no food and decided to work so that they could feed themselves.  We are often pushed up to the wall of faith.  I know that the Pinon family will be blessed by the Lord so they will never again feel forced to give up church attendance for food.
On the other hand, the Mabbun family did come to church.  This week we also introduced to them the Word of Wisdom.  We thought they would have a hard time accepting this commandment of God.  We expected them to think it was ridiculous.  Our exceptions are the opposite of what happened and they instead thanked us for their newly gained knowledge.  The Lord softens the hearts and prepares His children to accept His gospel.  

What is this Word of Wisdom?