Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week #17 (Sept.15, 2013)

A lot of changes!

Hello Family!

I love you so much. I have really felt your prayers this week as I started training Sister Bahm. She is a really dedicated and hard-working missionary so I am excited to continue learning and continue teaching all of our investigators and ward members. We got to stay in Magsungay Ward so we have a lot of support from the ward since I already have established a relationship and trust with them. It really has been a great blessing.  Sis. Ulusasa and I both started training at the same time so both of our trainees were in the MTC together.  I think it helps them a little bit to have someone they know from before with all of this new stuff added onto it.
This week I have received the gift of tongues. I know that sounds silly to just say it like that, but literally over-night I was able to just have the ability to understand and communicate. My language is obviously not perfect and there are still a lot of words I don’t know, but the drastic change in my comprehension is a miracle that I can only call: The gift of tongues and it was desperately needed.

On Monday night, our Assistants to the President called us and told me that I would be training and that Sister Manosig would be transferring to another stake.  We were sad to say goodbye because we have learned so much from each other, but we knew the change was coming so it wasn’t entirely a surprise.  I had a mini panic attack, but surprisingly – no tears.  I just had to trust in the Lord that He knew what was best for me.  I continued to pray and study about how to receive strength and the Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel, Faith and Hope.  It really helped me a lot because it focuses on having optimism that everything will work out and having true trust in God that everything we go through is for our benefit.

Then on Tuesday Morning, I received a temporary companion who would be training as well. Since we didn’t meet our new trainees until Thursday morning, me and my temporary companion stayed together for two days. Those were the hardest two days….. ever. Those days were ten times harder than even my first days here in Bacolod.

This temporary Sister and I could not communicate. She came at the same time as Jenna, but she’s from here in the Philippines. She said she speaks a lot of languages, but she barely knew English and I’m 99% sure that she was speaking Tagalog during our lessons. Since we were working in my area, I was supposed to be leading, but there was no real direction about who was the “senior” since it was only for two days. Since she has been here longer, I think she just assumed she would teach most of the lessons, and I would just navigate. With a lack of communication on so many levels, I would start the lessons (since I actually knew the people) and she would take over in a language I didn’t know then look at me after 5 or 10 minutes of just talking.  I was semi-frustrated and I didn’t have the spirit with me at all.  So my language skills were horrendous, I couldn’t even speak Ilonggo half of the time, and everything was coming out choppy and confusing.

Then after a couple of lessons, she looks at me and says, “You’re training this transfer? Do you speak Ilonggo?” I just wanted to cry. I think I did a little, but I just was so overwhelmed with the responsibility already and then to have someone else re-affirm that doubt was just too much at the time. I held it together with a few more rough lessons until that night. Sister Nielsen was staying with us (Jenna’s companion from the MTC). She was companions with Sister Ulusasa. She trained last transfer and is training again this transfer, so she stayed with us for those two days. Since she trained right after her training, I just started asking her a lot of questions and asking her how it works…. She really helped me to calm down and to re-remember the faith I have in the Lord and his decision for me to train. Plus, it was the first time there has been another native-English speaker in the house. It was just what I needed.

That night I just prayed for strength, positivity, and sincere help with the Language (just so I could at least teach the lessons since I would be teaching all of them from now on). We made it through another rough day, and then Thursday morning, my life turned around. I was positive, I had strength, I felt a support and comfort that I was lacking the few days before. I was still a little nervous as we were waiting for our new trainees but just a couple butterflies compared to the nausea I had felt previously.  I could literally feel the Lord qualify me for this “calling.” Not just spiritually, but a physical strength as well. That afternoon me and my new companion, Sister Bahm, went to our first Appointment to Brother Jofrim. (My favorite investigator by the way. He sells these gross looking spiders to little kids to play with. It’s a really popular hobby with the boys who are around 10 years old. I asked him once if the spiders bite and he just answered, “kaisa” (sometimes) haha, I’ll have to tell you the story about how we met next week.)

When I introduced him to my new companion and explained I’m training her, he chuckled a little and pointed at me saying, “You’reTraining?” I just smiled and laughed too and continued on, but for the first time, I understood everything he was saying.  I had confidence, energy, enthusiasm, and most importantly, I felt directed as to what to say, how to say it and what to talk about, and I knew the Ilonggo in order to say it.  I have never in my life relied so wholly upon the Lord and have never in my life received such specific guidance and such a manifestation of a miracle in my life. I’ve definitely felt promptings before and felt help and guidance, but not this specifically. Because I know that that is what I needed at that time. I know I can’t continue to expect that much help for the rest of my mission, because the Lord requires me work and effort too in order to continue to Learn and become better, but I do know that the Power of the Lord is a REAL power that is there right when we need it and when we are living worthily to receive it.  Sometimes, the language is harder than other times, but when it is for the benefit of others, I am able to speak with clarity and fluency and I know that President Lopez has been inspired to create early trainers in order for us to learn how to fully rely on the Lord.

Sister Bahm is a great missionary and I am excited to continue to learn and grow with her. This week I’ve been able to stay continually positive and have so much strength to get everything done. It’s still a lot of work to be the only one teaching and the only one filling out paperwork, but I really have felt physically strengthened.  I’m excited for all of the changes in our mission and I’m excited for the person I’m being molded into.  I love being able to fully communicate and love and serve another Sister Missionary like Sister Bahm, and I know the Lord will help me to help prepare her for when she gets to train too. I’m so excited for this next transfer and the many miracles I know we will be able to see. I love you all and wish you all the best. I continue to pray for you every day!

Love, Sister Smoot

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