Friday, July 25, 2014

21 July 2014

Let me tell you a story. I've just transferred areas (to a place called Christies Beach! It's gorgeous. Our area is basically the coastline. When I step outside of the flat in the crisp morning I can smell the beach) and I met a former investigator. Sister Watson, my new chill-pickle-awesome companion warned me that this elderly lady likes to call missionaries by their first names. And so I said, well okay that's strange and was kind of dismissive. And when I first introduced myself she asked for my Christian name and I just repeated my missionary name and she let it slide. And then later on in the conversation, after she had called my companion by her first name several times, she asks again for my first name (fair enough, everybody struggles with my last name) and this time I explained I would prefer not to give it. I've always refrained from giving out my first name because my reasoning is once people realise how simple my first name is, they will have even LESS incentive to try and remember or pronounce my last name.... But it is not just that. She asked me why I would prefer to be called by my first name and gave me the opportunity to tell her why which is something I would like to share with all of you. When a missionary leaves on their mission, they have been called of God by a living prophet to minister to the people in their assigned field of labour. When a missionary leaves on their mission, they leave behind their home, their family, their employment, their education, their friends. When a missionary is on their mission they sacrifice any romantic passions, any disobedience, any pride, any fear - these things they give up and place on the altar of sacrifice. And as part of that, I truly believe that I give up my first name. I'm not YSA anymore. I'm not happy go lucky, absorbed in my own (no matter how terribly fascinating or busy) world. I am a missionary. I represent the Saviour. And my title, Sister Magallanes, is a reflection of this service and this sacrifice.
And that's how I escaped out of revealing my first name! :)

I really love it here in Christies. The work is so great! We met an Atheist man the other day and he told us he has Asperger's and it makes it difficult for him to read people. He can tell bullies from a mile away he says, and he is right most of the time. And I asked him what he could see in us. And he laughed and said we weren't bullies but then just before he left he said something even more interesting. He said that when he saw us, he could see two bright lights. And then he laughed at himself - an Atheist seeing a bright light within a Mormon missionary. And I told him I'd write this down in my journal to record it! And it is true. It is so true. Even the unbelieving can see there is something in us. And I feel so very humbled to realise that the Lord has chosen me to be his vessel, his instrument, his hands in preaching his gospel - in preaching faith, repentance and baptism - to his children in these latter days.

I love this gospel. I love it so much. I think my heart has been singing a lot recently, skipping along to its own merry tune and sometimes (often times) it breaks free and I sing aloud too - to the absolute .... delight...... of my companion. I jest, she sings with me! Each step really can be joyful, no matter how heavy or how harsh the circumstance. The past few transfers have helped me to see that. And now, I think I'm happier because God has blessed me with a taste of his perspective. Finally my desires are more aligned with his, and each day and in each prayer there are so many things to be grateful for!

Here are some pictures! Christies Beach after a morning run and the lovely Sister Watson and I. Next time I hope to tell you about more of the amazing people I have met here!

I love you all! Let us be pricked in our hearts this week and continually ask 'what shall we do?' And maybe if you're lucky you'll find the answer in Acts 2:38!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

7 July 2014

Hello! Some highlights of the week.

Family History
Last week President gave some really inspired specialised training! Well, each training is inspired but this one really pumped me up! It was all about family history! In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, family history is really important to us. Prophets of old have said that we understand ourselves better as we learn about our ancestors. And it is also taught that they are essential to our salvation as we are essential to theirs. Our church has 4600 family history centres in the world and one of the largest (if not the actual largest) collection of genealogical records. And just some background information about me, as my Tagalog is quite severely lacking, the idea of family history or family history research to me had never been appealing considering I wondered how I could even communicate with my relatives overseas in asking them for information. In addition to that, I never met either of my grandparents who both passed away before I was born and my nana passed away in 2010. So there is a lot I don't know about my family - besides the fact that some relatives on some sides were Spanish and Chinese or something. But as President Carter was unfolding the vision of family history before us, my eyes were opened. I looked at the names of my four generation pedigree chart (courtesy of my parents - wow I have so much repenting to do. I come to realisations like that all the time on my mission) and I was fascinated by these names so foreign to me. And I felt really proud of my heritage which unfortunately I don't know enough about. And even though my parents were converts to the church, I could honestly feel how much I was standing on. In the church we are very proud of our pioneer history - but the pioneers in my family did not cross the Rocky Mountains - no they faced their own challenges in the Philippines. And they are pioneers in Australia too! And before that? Well, wow, the world is a big huge place. And I am so excited to finally learn more! And then I can do the work for them in the temple! How beautiful is this gospel?

Tutoring Idea
Before my mission how I basically saved up for it (unfortunately haha the fast food stint didn't facilitate much earning of money - although my family and I sure ate a lot of donuts!) was through tutoring. I love tutoring! I think I love teaching - that's the part that I love. And anyway I've noticed a recurring thing for some families that are struggling in this area. Mothers are struggling and kids are struggling with school. And so we are going up the line of authority and seeing if there is something I can do about it - take some of the 'talent' (maybe experience is a better word) and perhaps even have a homework help kind of situation. Anyway, this is in fledgling stages and it may never fly, but I'm realising constantly that the Lord knew who he was when he called me here. Maybe this is how I can help the people in Adelaide.

SundayA member whose first language isn't English introduced her son-in-law as her son-in-love. I thought that was really funny of her!
It was a really eventful Sunday this Sunday. A sister returning to church for the first time  in decades suffers from severe anxiety and depression and each step from the car to the chapel door was shaky, but it was a step forward! And it was fast and testimony Sunday so people were bearing their testimony and she is shaking but she whispers to my companion - I think I need to go up there and bear my testimony. So we do it! And to help her, I bear my testimony first (a testimony is a statement of belief. It can also include how you came to that belief.) and then she does and our hearts are in our mouths as she gets up there and ... the ward is transfixed. She does go overtime and we do have to tell her to wrap up and then she had to rush off to work and she was so upset and then I was so upset because I was so worried I had made her upset by telling her it was time. But she texted us later that day saying that although she was upset (my word for the day - haha) she felt good knowing she had spoken up in the House of the Lord. Reading that was solace to our hearts. And when she left the car park after sacrament and some relief society sisters who saw what was happening and knew her from other places came and she couldn't stay to pray with us and she wouldn't accept a priesthood blessing. But after she left we prayed for her. And I've never felt such an outpouring of motherly love on my mission. You do miss your mum sometimes, there's something magic about when your mum says "it will be alright" compared to when you're trying to convince yourself. But I felt it then, during that prayer.

Sometimes missionary work is hard and it breaks your heart but through it all, so long as you know why you are there, and you know that the circumstances you face now are not the end, then things will be alright!

One more quote. We took a sister out with us that evening to see the sister who was upset at church and at the end of the lesson she exclaimed, 'Now I know why you do what you do!' She got to know her and her life story and honestly, watching someone return to the gospel, watching the light of knowledge dawn on them for the first time that they are not alone in this dark and dreary world - that's what motivates us. That's what keeps us going. And I am so happy that she was able to see that! She's a more powerful missionary than she knows. After all, every member a missionary!

The lesson in relief society was about prophets and I was just reflecting that if it weren't for the revelations from living prophets - I could not be here as a 20 year old serving a full-time mission. We thank thee O God for a prophet indeed.

So, in conclusion. It's been an eventful week with the always-climatic Sunday! Hope all is well!
Also I forgot to tell my family that I chopped my hair so it is shoulder-length now. I caught my reflection in the mirror the other day and I terrified myself because my hair hasn't been this short since I was about 11. In any case! Have a beautiful week! Follow the Spirit for He will guide you right :)

Sister Magallanes