September 19, 2010

Expect the unexpected

Laundry day in the bathroom!

just a random place

we are teaching the little girl, she is getting baptized this week and we have taught her dad a couple times, he just has a busy schedule.

P-day in the jungle

 Kumusta lahat!!
Where do I even begin?!  So this week was transfers and like I said in my last email they transfered the american and australian to my area.  And when I said I was going to be the lead that means that I'm the one who knows the area--the people, the places and even if I have a senior comp, I'm still the one who has to show her the ropes of the area.  So, that is why I was nervous and feeling inadequate--i've only been here 6 weeks and now i am the only one who knows what's going on here.  However, the australian, Sis Stapleton has had a major ear infection for the last few months and could only go out to work every once in a while.  We had another sister come into our apartment for a few days, Sis Estrada because she wanted to go home--she has also only been here 6 weeks but was having a really hard time.  While she made her final decision, they put her with us--that was 4 sisters in one tiny apartment!  And since sis stapleton couldn't go out, sis mccormack stayed with her and sis estrada went out to work with me on tuesday.  I did not know how that was going to work--a sister who doesn't even want to be here going out with me--both of us have no idea what we are doing!  Of coarse, the Lord made everything work out well and I actually quite enjoyed working with sis estrada--she was awesome and totally followed the Spirit during teaching appointments.  I was super impressed and wondered why she wanted to go home! 

The next day sis stapleton wasn't doing too well so she got picked up and Sis mccormack and i spent all of our comp study trying to figure out why sis estrada wanted to go home and telling her that she couldn't give up that easy.  We were really trying to help her see that she needed to stay here.  Dont know how well we got to her, but it was tiring!  Then the 3 of us went out to work--again, 3 new girls, but it worked haha, Heavenly Father knew what He was doing (as always!)  That night we had to go to the mission home so sis estrada could call her stake pres before making any final decision.  She went in presidents office with him, sis mccormack went into sis stapleton's room to talk to her and I sat outside and prayed...such craziness I thought, no way was all of this happening.  Not normal!  Why couldn't I have just gotten a normal follow up trainer that I didn't have to worry about and just get on with missionary work?!  Then sis mccormack came in to tell me that sis stapleton was going home so it was just me and her--each other's follow up trainer!  Yikes, that scared me!  As fun as that would be....she is only 6 weeks ahead of me, and Im better at the language than her.  I immediately was super worried about my area.  She then left and President and sis estrada came out and pres wanted to talk to me so i went into his office.  He asked me my opinion on sis estrada and if i thought i could help her if we were companions.  I said i probably could and that it wouldn't really bother me to be with someone who is having a hard time.  He also asked me if sis mccormack would be able to help her in the 3 of us being companions.  I told him I would do whatever he felt good about, because I knew it would work out and I just wanted to help.  He said he wanted to do all that he could to keep sis estrada here and she said that she enjoyed being with sis mccormack and i.  This would mean that none of us would have follow up trainers and we would be left on our own pretty much.  I actually felt good about it....a little worried and I definitely felt a lot of pressure on me...but I felt good about it.  So he said he would let us know in the morning. 
The whole next day we didn't hear anything--talk about nerve wracking, then friday sis odgers came to our apartment and told us that the 3 of us would be comps!  They had to find a short term missionary in 1 day to make this work.  How crazy is this?!  This is not normal....that's all I could think this whole week!  This doesn't normally happen! 
So, for the last 4 days we have been a trisome and you know, we are definitely in God's hands.  We each have the same ideas to do with the work.  It's funny the way all the missionaries do things here--the sisters at least.  It's the same thing for everyone, it's not really by the Spirit, it's very routine and all 3 of us have noticed that from our trainers and have wanted to change it but didn't know how.  I don't think this is a coincidence that we 3 were made comps and that we all have the same ideas for changing the way missionary work is done here.  I am so excited, we are going to do this the right way--the way we were taught in the MTC and the way Preach My Gospel says to do it.  I feel so good about this and I am so happy to see how things work out.  Of coarse there is going to be a rusty, transition period but we are all willing to try new things.  For example....every sister here teachers out of these pamphlets we give out, and they teach one principle at a time, and usually dont even give out the book of mormon until like the 5 lesson!  What is this, what happened to teaching to the needs of people, what happened to teaching from the book of mormon and giving it to them in the beginning and having them pray about it from the very beginning?!  I cannot wait to see how the 3 of us make this work..we are all very determined!  And we each bring in our own strengths...unfortunately for sis estrada (who is from the philippines) is the only one who can actually speak the language, but honestly this last week has really pushed me in the language and it's gone well.
I am so so so happy to be here, I have not felt this good about being on a mission until this week. It's like a switch went off in my head and being on my mission is all I think about.  I love it so much...and maybe its because I do have to play that leader role with showing the other 2 around and telling them about all of the investigators and members---I haven't had time to think of myself or home.  It is so true that once you forget about yourself and focus on the work--your joy becomes complete and you are able to be led by the spirit.  I have seen a lot of tender mercies from the Lord this week and I am just so happy!!!  At the same time, I feel like there is a minature weight that has found a place on top of my heart that gets heavier and heavier the more I get to know and love these people....and the more some of them dont keep their commitments and dont want to hear from us.  I feel so weighed down sometimes with the trials and struggles everyone is going through and I have no clue how to help them!  We have recent converts who are getting back into smoking and drinking and not coming to church, less active families that are just comfortable with their lives and i dont know how to light a fire under them.  I am beginning to feel what true missionary work is---and it is so hard in a very different way than my first couple of weeks were hard.  My prayers and thoughts are now for them and not for me.  Im striving so hard to be obedient and remain worthy of the Spirit because I cannot afford to not have Him with me.  I am also beginning to see how much bigger this life really is.  There is nothing more important in this life, in each of our lives than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It should be the very center of everything we do.  There is so much power and understanding that comes from living the simple principles that Christ has established.  Families can grow in love for one another, hearts can be healed, satan's power can be diminished, and an individual can find true peace and happiness in their life.  This gospel is for EVERYONE, we all make mistakes in this life... not one person is perfect and not one person can go without the atonement.  The time to be a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints is now.........I somehow need to get that point across to those I teach, and in Tagalog.  My strength and testimony are 100% in my Savior.
So, that is what I have learned and felt this week--its been a roller coaster, that's for sure.  On a lighter note, we have 6 girls under the age of 15 that we are teaching and all want to get baptized is getting baptized this saturday (YAY!!!)  and then the others will be in october.  I am so excited for them, i LOVE teaching them, they are so cute and so pure!  We contacted a referral yesterday who took the discussions back in 06 and for some reason stopped but I can see how much the Lord has prepared his heart for us to be here now.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and he seemed so grateful and in his closing prayer he prayed for heavenly father to tell him find the truth and he started crying.  It was so amazing.  Then later that night we taught 2 girls who are my age, about the restoration and the book of mormon and the spirit was so strong, I pointed out to them that the spirit was in the room and then i felt it even more it was the coolest thing.  They also mentioned finding the truth.  There are hearts that are ready and i know that if i am worthy, i will be lead to them and they will be lead to me :)  It's way funny to be in someone's house when it is raining and they have a tin roof---you can't even hear yourself talk!  That was what happened when we taught the man who was searching for the truth.  As long as the spirit is there, that's all that matters right?!
Okay funny story....the other night we were walking home and I happened to look over to a house and there was this skinny man with long black shaggy hair standing his doorway naked except for some leaves around his waste--amazon man!!!  It was hilarious.  I still haven't gotten over the roaches--probably never will but the other morning i was cleaning our kitchen sink and killed a generation of them--sick!!!  And last night, there was a huge roach on top of our little fridge with his whole head in my banana, awesome.  Mom, you should come here and pull weeds---you would LOVE it!!  haha, we did that for a service project and it was the greatest thing.   They are huge and they come right out of the ground!  There was a ward activity 2 nights ago and bishop asked if we could come up with a game for everyone.  Sis mccormack suggested missionary tag---holy cow was that not the biggest hit this place has ever seen!  At first as we were trying to explain it in taglish it was confusing to everyone haha but once they got the hang of it---hilarious!!  Everyone was laughing so hard--adults and kids. 
Okay, that was a long email im done talking i think haha, so much has just happened in such a short amount of time!  Life is great, hard but great and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I can do this, I know I can....the Lord is on my side.  "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do, not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do it is increased" -Heber J Grant.  "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you" James 4:7.  So, as we PERSIST in doing those good and fruitful things in life and RESIST that which leaves emptiness, our joy will be full in the Lord and we will find that at the end of the day we were able to do a little bit more than we were capable of :)

Mahal ko kayo, maraming salamat para sa pagmamahal at support n'yo!!!!
Sis carroll

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