Monday, March 24, 2014
So this week I am going to switch it up a little because I realise that I give you a very brief overview or highlights or snatches of my week. But every night Sister Green and I have been trying our best to write in our journals and this week I succeeded! I won't do this every week, it takes too long to explain all of the jargon but I thought for those who are remembering their own missionary experiences, this might be interesting. So editing only for confidentiality purposes, this is what life (for me at least) is like as a missionary:
Today was Monday. It was a beautiful day. My highlight would have happened during P-Day. We visited a member who was mending my companion's clothes and she is a fairy-godmother... She turns ordinary clothes into ball gowns... And she looks after her disabled granddaughter full-time. She also turned 70 recently but she is just... Amazing. She has hilarious mission stories from half a century ago. Her granddaughter has such a beautiful spirit. Sister Green was in the other room trying on clothes for mending and I was keeping her company and I just started singing and the member said to keep going because she liked it. So I just let loose - I loved it when she smiled. She is so beautiful, so beautiful, inside and out. Sister Member asked me what I did before I came out. She was surprised by my answer. She thought I could maybe do psychology or be a carer because of how I spent time with her granddaughter. I was really touched by that. I am really touched by that. I feel myself changing, you know? Today I was in this stunning house but I just felt ... Awkward... Like it was too big? I don't know if I could create a home in a mansion. So yeah, some interesting food for thought.
It's dawning on me I'm not entirely sure what consecration is. My friend who worked 10-12 hours every day I would say fully immersed himself in his work - even if he did what he liked in his spare time. I devote 24/7 to this work - my sleeping hours are even defined by this work - so what makes one consecrated and why do I feel like I fall short?
Hey, today was awesome! Today, I didn't feel tired (perhaps there really is a link between my tiredness and my diligence in taking those iron supplements) and I wouldn't say it went by without its disappointments but I was looking for things to enjoy and boy, I found them.
Here are some highlights:
- Found a yellow ribbon on the door of our new investigator. It was tied into a bow on her front porch. She says it represents the ribbon tied by girls in war-time and when their husband would come home, he would untie it... So it's like homecoming. Her partner goes away for work for weeks at a time and so she leaves a ribbon at her door. How awfully romantic.
- We did service for a sister! I loved it. I think I also may have made her ... happy... because she made this comment about how she wrote down my testimony in sacrament and I said “One copy of my testimony from angels writing it in heaven is enough” And she understood from that that I was calling her an angel! How sweet. She really is. :) She also does something so hilarious. She writes up a verse of a Book of Mormon and pastes it on top of her cereal cupboard and she plans for her husband to end up reading the whole Book of Mormon! She's up to 1 Nephi 3:11 at the moment. She's so awesome, I loved being able to help her out today.
- An investigator said that Sister Green and I look like real sisters. She's so funny.
- Met a family and their two adorable children. They've captured my heart.
- Last thing, apparently I have unlocked the level of full-purpose missionary last night. I taught about the doctrine of church in my sleep. How hilarious is that? Too far!
I love my mission! I love my companion!
The miracle of today was the role-play of the morning. We role played for an investigator and to include his family we did something quite interesting... We role played in front of the mirror. It went as smooth as butter, his response was exactly how we played it. And now he is working towards baptism. We pray for him daily and right after that lesson we said a prayer of gratitude. He is so clever and he's really committed and such a sincere investigator regardless of his youth.
Another highlight would be the last lesson we had with a Less Active member. Sister Green said we would commit her to church and so I just did it, I just asked and it was very direct, "Will you come to church with us on Sunday?" And then later, I felt prompted to explain why we had asked her so directly. And I conveyed to her our love and our purpose... and I think she felt it. I've never felt so much love for a stranger before. I think it was the love of Christ working through me. I feel very humbled to have been an instrument or a worthy vessel in this work. I love the Lord, and I love this work! How great is my calling!
A busy day. Well busy is a bad word with negative connotations in today's modern society. More like an eventful day? Kicked it off with specialised training! President - wow. Well, to be honest, kicked it off with Sister Green nudging me towards the piano. I played appallingly as an interlude but really softly. Then, the Zone Leader impromptu made me pianist after that for opening exercises and I had to explain that I couldn't actually play well enough to sing to. :( I should have nurtured my talents. I feel like that a lot on my mission - should have nurtured things whilst I still had the chance at home. Is this what death feels like a bit? Looking back on your life and thinking yeah, it was great but it could have been easier now if I had just applied myself that little bit more...
Anyway, specialised training was on the Restoration! President role played with me and it was so incredibly powerful... He looked me in the eye and sometimes, boy, I wanted to cry. He asked those inspired questions and really connected me to heaven. Something funny - a new commitment left with us is to teach the restoration in a role play in 15 minutes or we don't get lunch. Ouch, right? That'll make us learn fast.
Then we went out with a member. I tried my best to help her have a positive and uplifting experience because she gets sad sometimes. But she totally did! Even though we weren't able to see anyone today :( Literally - no lessons taught in between training, finding and council meeting for a ward.
But today was a great day! I have so much respect for everyone in this district - my leaders especially! It's awesome. I love it.
Today I nailed it. I realised something super awesome about Sister Green. Sister Green is a problem solver. That's what makes her so awesome! After all, we all make mistakes so the talent to fix them is a talent indeed. For example we have a member present lesson problem. This problem is exacerbated by splitting the members we take out with us between two wards. But we have a proposed solution! Ward boundary with matching members per day. Can't wait to implement it!
Did I tell you how Sister Green and I go running every morning? Every morning that isn't with the district. It kills us but we do it. I really feel like we motivate each other. I'm very grateful to have her as my companion.
Splits today! Today I felt like a senior companion. There's a difference between leading and being senior. Leading you do (or I did) because I had to. As senior, you lead because they look to you to lead. I took my two new companions for the day around Modbury. I want to be able to help them reach all the potential available to them and to reach my own potential by stretching myself also. We taught people and they were good lessons... but not divine. That made me a little sad because honestly they have so much potential. If only they were willing to experiment then they could taste the fruits of the labour themselves. SO, an eventful day, I love teaching.
We had dinner with members and they told us how they met and I loved the story! And we shared a member missionary lesson with their kids about Amulek and Alma and they loved it! And Sister N said something that made me melt inside - she asked whether I could teach primary ... permanently... because I had a way with children. That made me so happy. I dearly love to teach. I also love to learn. Also the moral of the story on how they got together is to really just truly focus on the Spirit. They were engaged 9 days after their first date. They've been married for 11 years now. Brother N's dad asked him - What experience are you basing this decision off? And Brother N said - In terms of girl experience you know I haven't got any. But in terms of experience of following the spirit? Well, he had come from a mission where he had spent 2 years doing exactly that.
It was a really lovely day today.
Someone turned up at church! Did I tell you about him? We taught him a powerful concern-solving lesson and then at the end he said a prayer that blew the water. It was so sincere. He spoke in English even though that's a struggle for him and he laid out his situation before God and asked him what he should do - He said he was in similar shoes to Joseph Smith and then he woke up late but then he walked to church! He came only for the last half hour of priesthood.
And then a miracle happened. The elders ran into the parents of a girl who had been coming along to church with her friend - and they are going to start teaching her family!
And then in the evening we went finding. We came across this lady who saw us and opened her door a fraction and saw our name badges (and the words Jesus Christ) and said the Lord's name in vain and told us to leave her property. And then we were like 'Oh, okay well yeah we are the missionaries and we're sorry,' and then she lays out this lecture which ended with, 'I've told you to leave 3 times now!' and we said, 'It's okay! We're going!' Actually we had been trying to leave but we were waiting for her to finish - how can we leave when she's talking to us? Something stands out to me that she said - she said that she didn't appreciate us interrupting her tea time and telling her how she was living her life was wrong and that she was sure nobody else on the street would appreciate it either. Well, lady, the standard of truth has been erected and no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. And that isn't what we do as missionaries. We aren't here to dictate or to denounce the things you hold dear. We are here to extend an invitation for others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel. As they learn more about the gospel and commit to living Christ-centred lives, they want to make changes. They want to be baptised by someone holding the authority of God. And this is our role and purpose as missionaries. See also: "My Mission Commission" - I love that so much! And we found 12 potentials that evening in an hour and a half. And none of the potentials were individuals. They were families! I love this work— it is so much more than myself and my abilities. It is the Lord's and I am but a servant who is so ... honoured and blessed to be an instrument in His marvellous work, even with all of my imperfections. I love it. And that is all. :)
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
March 17 2014
Hello! This week I want to share something that my mission president shared with our whole mission about diligence. To me diligence is when you keep going when nobody is watching and when you are tired. It's about persevering because you promised to. It's about self-discipline. And it is a really really important principle not only for an effective missionary but also for life. It is a Christ-like attribute.
One of the greatest tragedies we witness almost daily is the tragedy of men of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. They succumb to indolence. Appetite robs them of will.
And it also reminds me of one of my favourite sayings 'the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.' I'm sure you've probably heard that one from me before. For me I'm not trying to tell anyone that good thoughts are redundant, because they are important! But I've met so many people here who read the bible and understand from it that because they believe in God they will be saved. I think this strikes a cord within me because I know that at times in my life I am someone with 'good intentions' gone awry. I meant to tell you that! I meant to get you that gift before your birthday.... I meant to keep in contact with you (sorry for forgetting to bring anyone's details out with me again..) and so maybe that's why this struck me. Because I can totally envision myself plodding along my path completely oblivious to my lack of progress because to be honest I've always been a bit of a dreamer. But now on my mission, now is the time to act! The best way to achieve your dreams is to wake up and work on them. And that's something I love so much about this gospel. It is a gospel of action. We are not a lay faith. And faith without works is dead as James teaches in the Bible.
I recently read 'Our Search For Happiness' and I recommend it! Two thumbs up! Five stars! It is catered towards an audience that isn't LDS and it aims to promote understanding. If you're still struggling with why I would leave my family behind for 18 months to then teach everyone I meet that families are important then I refer you to that book.
And Dad, I forgot to email this to you but I'm running out of time so I will add it here, please read Alma 43:1 and add 'and daughters' (to the second line) and know that I thought of you. Thank you so much for the example you and mum have always set for me. Because of you, because of you Eliza and you Ella and you Elder Magallanes and you mum and dad I can truly testify to people that I have never met before that the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families and I know it because it has blessed my family. I love the Lord. And I strive to purify my heart each day so that my love can be more true. How can one love someone or something that one does not know? So I also strive to learn more about Jesus Christ and to be more like Him each and every day. And I love the work. And I leave you these things as my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Hey I'm noticing a trend. This week will be a photo week!
I just got transferred and I have a new companion - her name is Sister Green and she is awesome!!!
Also Tita Tasmin my companion was SUPER EXCITED. I think she just about died from happiness. Also my district appreciated it too. Because here in the ZAAM, we share :)
... And some Pday pictures. Had a day out with the sisters! And then went as a district to Cleland National Park. My American companion was so excited, pictures speak a thousand words so hopefully it can convey her excitement better than I can.
The work is going well! Leaving Marion behind I wouldn't say was hard but I know that ... It really feels like I left a piece of my heart behind me. Goodbyes are never too sad because I do feel like I will see these people again. And for now the imprint they have left of me is enough. This is how I feel about my previous companions too. My heart lags behind my body but I am trying my best to remedy this! I am so excited to fall in love with my new area and to work so hard and to increase my faith and to be a part of many mighty miracles! How great is my calling to be a missionary! I love it so much.
Also had my first biking day! biking with a skirt is a little bit of an adventure... and honestly something I never considered before. but it was great. I met some really great people just on the bike!
Please know that I know I am in the right place. Times aren't always picture perfect but there is nowhere else I would rather be than in the service of the Lord.
Love to all! :)
Monday March 3 2014
How can your actions answer someone's prayer? Whether that someone is someone like little old me, or a deceased ancestor or a heartbroken mother or wife or child .... how can your actions answer someone's prayer? Many are looking for the truth but know not where to find it. Angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men. Who are these angels? And then you look at my blog title. Yes, missionaries can be angels in that sense. But angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. When you speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, and you invite someone to do something, then you can be that angel too!
This past week (or the past few weeks I haven't updated my blog....) I have really realised something. I have realised that I have given my heart to the people here in Adelaide. I cry when I hear what they've gone through. And I cry again when I see that throughout all of their hard times, they have relied on the strength of the Lord to see them through. I cry when things fall through, when people don't progress. But you know what? This is totally different that at home, because at home you cry for your own problems (right? don't lie, you probably know what I mean) but here, like what are my problems? My problems are all about other people. My problems are their problems. The biggest problem is that sometimes I wish I was more equipped to help them. Like if I had that law degree I could represent them myself in court (shush don't worry about how emotional I am I will tackle that professional problem when I get there). Or at the very least I could babysit (can't do as a missionary) or give money or tutor their kids (can't do as a missionary!) But then I realised that the most powerful I can have is with the resources I have right now, as a missionary. I love it so much.
I just want everyone to see this vision I can see. It's really beautiful. It's happiness beyond comprehension. It's living your life in alignment with God's will.
I love you all, so much!
PS Margaret congratulations on your calling!!!!!!! Oh Sister Amituana'i (I feel like I spelt that wrong... I am sorry) you are going to have so much fun. I'm so excited for you. I've met some Korean people here in Adelaide. Serving in Australia is kind of not limiting yourself to any one ethnicity. I've had Iranian food, Sri Lankan food, French food, Nepalese food.... and culture! Not just food. That's pretty cool too :D
PPS if anyone would be interested to know, I have discovered something about me that I didn't know was a part of me. I really love to feed people. It's different than loving to cook. I don't like to cook for myself. But in terms of other people? Being fed my food? It just fills my soul with delight. I'd love to just make everyone fat on my cooking - which isn't that terrific whatever my unfussy companions say! I think what makes it taste good to them is the secret ingredient I put in. (secret ingredient is love. Hehe.) Also maybe it's a little bit Filipino to want to do that, hey? I'm expanding my cooking repertoire! But I do miss Filipino food. Why didn't I pay more attention to my parents? Eliza, any food that you feel like you'll miss, learn to cook it quicksmart. And if it cannot be cooked within half an hour, forget about it. (Basically if you can't finish cooking it by the time the rice or pasta is done cooking). Feeding my companion is so much fun :D and I'm also starting to cook for the poor biking elders! biking elders meaning they have no car. So soon I will basically aim to feed the whole world. It'll be great.