Saturday, August 3, 2013

Week 11 (July 29, 2013)

First of all, I am now considered a "transfer baby" because I have survived it through my first transfer in the Philippines!! Haha one more transfer with Sis. Manosig and my training will be complete. It's a weird thought, but President Lopez was pretty clear that we (the Sisters in my group from the MTC) will be training other missionaries as soon as our training is finished.  There are 22 sisters coming in this week and another 21 in September. Jenna's training so over so we will see if she will train this transfer! I'll be really sad if she leaves our Zone because it has been a lot of fun to see her every week.  President Lopez said he doesn't have enough Sisters for all of them, so some will even be doubled up. (I'm hoping he leaves that sort of thing to the experienced missionaries.) The craziest part is that I feel ready. Not language-wise, but missionary wise I've learned a lot. Sometimes I feel anxiety over not being able to understand what the people are saying or how to help them, but I really do believe in the Gift of Tongues and I know that the Lord will qualify us for whatever he calls us to do. I'm working hard and praying hard so I just need to have complete faith that we will be able to do what we need to do to help these wonderful, humble, and waiting people.

This week we had a training meeting with all the missionaries from my "batch." Or in other words, all the missionaries who came in at the same time. It was so good to see everyone from the MTC. We spent so much time together for six weeks in a little tiny room so we are really like family.  I almost got a little emotional when I saw everyone because it brought back so many memories from the MTC. It really is the most wonderful place on earth. I'm so excited for all the girls to experience it if they get to go.  

Some days are still hard, but if I ever feel like I can't get up in the morning, it really does help to think of specific people we will see that day. There is no way I want them to miss out on coming closer to the Savior, so I feel the absolute need to start my day right and obediently.  This week for weekly planning, I was kind of feeling some anxiety because it's always a little stressful trying to get on the same page and figure out who we are focusing on and what we are teaching them for the week. And since we don't always understand each other, it can be a little challenging at times. So I was praying all morning and studying about companionship unity and really hoping for a successful planning sessions (they are three hours long and can be draining when you are exerting so much energy trying to understand each other and getting on the same page.)  We prayed beforehand as always and I felt really peaceful.  This was the first planning session that one of us didn't cry. I know that sounds pathetic, but that is a great achievement.  We didn't agree on everything, of course, but we communicated effectively and we finished a little early and we were happy the entire time and positive and patient (that's the one I need to work on. Sis. Manosig is very patient) and I just know that the power of prayer is so powerful in bringing the spirit. Not only just praying, but acting on the faith and striving for that peace. I am learning so much for the rest of my life.  I mean, you always learn that by praying you can feel peace and all things are possible, but it's a great learning experience to actually experience and learn HOW to apply all these principals that I've been learning all my life. I know I was a little too prideful at times and just assumed i knew how to feel peace. "You read your scriptures, go to church, pray..." We know all the answers growing up, but there is a huge difference between knowing the answers and knowing how to apply those answers. HOW do you use the scriptures to feel peace? HOW do you act on prayer to feel the comfort of the Lord? HOW do you take full advantage of the peace and spirit that is present every sacrament meeting on Sundays? It seems so dumb that I never really took full advantage of all the resources I've had all along, but I am so grateful for the opportunity and privilege of learning so much about myself and about the Lord's gospel and plan for us here on earth. I hope I continue to learn and grow even when I get home, but I know there won't be as much effective time as right here and right now. I just can't help but feel so happy and grateful for this opportunity. I don't really deserve to say I'm sad or discouraged... I am so extremely blessed and have so many reasons to be happy. I just need to continually remember all of those many wonderful blessings.  (haha, sorry for the ranting... I'm definitely in missionary mode! haha)

This week, both of our roommates have finished up their 18 months and are going home. So we are getting two new sisters here in Magsungay Ward.  The sisters, Sister Polai and Sister Tunaia were both loved by so many ward members, so we got more dinner appointments than normal. Filipino food is soooooo good. I'm glad it's only an occational thing though, otherwise I would be gaining so much weight. It's normal to eat literally three cups of rice for your first serving. I can barely shovel down like 1 1/2. I'm working on it, and the members continue to teach me and encourage me according to what is culturally correct. But we also got to eat at the couple missionary's home in our ward. The Sinema's are the best... ever! They remind me so much of home and always insist on so many hugs and it feels really good to just be in their home. It's very Americanized so it's just like being at home, especially the food. It's really great! 

This week, Brother Lope is getting baptized! He 's been interviewed and prepared and we have been so lucky to find him. I don't remember what i've told you about him, but he just had surgery and it went really well. He's had to take work off so it's been kind of a blessing since we've been able to visit him and his family every day this week to prepare him. He has been so spiritually prepared by the Lord, it's amazing. His faith and courage is so strong, it uplifts me every time we visit them. Even the Elders who interviewed him told us that they were amazed by his desire and faith.  We get to have FHE with his family tonight and we are excited to start teaching his wife and children. We are excited for him to be able to baptize his family.  We are praying that they will see the good changes that the gospel has brought to his life and want to join in on the blessings from the Lord.  I know that this church is true. I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed and changed and become better throughout our whole lives. "Change" is such a simple word that has so much meaning.  We are all changing. We are all able to change and grow until we are perfected beings in the next life. I'm excited about the changes I see in others and excited about the changes I see in myself. I know that by following the gospel we can be healed. Church is such an amazing hospital that can purify and heal all of us. I am so lucky to be apart of such an amazing work! I love you all and I appreciate and love all of the support you continually give to me! I love you all so much!
Palangga ko Kamo!!
Sister Smoot

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