Monday, June 30, 2014

Just a miracle, that's all.

Just this last Saturday, we had four people getting baptized. This was, by far, the hardest and most stressful baptism I have had yet. It all started last Sunday...

One of our investigators is a mother of 4 kids and has been a faithful wife for 13 years. BUT, we found out that she was actually never legally married. This is a super important thing before being baptized. We had set an appointment for her baptismal interview with someone in the mission presidency, but it ended up falling through. Monday night, we received a call from President Rahlf. We asked if he would be able to do the interview sometime this week, and when he asked what the special circumstance was, he replied that they would need to get legally married first. That may not seem like a big deal, but for this family, it was huge!!. That night, we called around to see what we would have to do in order for the couple to be married, and we found out the cost would be over 1,000 pesos for specific documentation. Not to mention that they would need to travel at least 2 hours away to get pick it up. This family has absolutely no money for such things. All the money they make goes toward just surviving. All of this seemed pretty impossible to complete in just 5 days.

Sister Lamac and I immediately turned to the Lord. I remembered this quote, "When things get to hard to stand--kneel." Without saying anything, we knelt down and started praying. The next day, a very generous source offered to pay the amount for this wonderful family. We also found out that there "just happened" to be a member who worked in the office that did the paperwork. She could get the documents without the family traveling all the way there and was able to ship it straight to them. There were more problems that kept popping up, but little by little everything started to work out. The Lord sent us various people (angels) this whole week who really helped. When things seemed almost impossible, the Lord truly sent miracles. We know that "the Lord's work will not be frustrated" no matter how hard Satan tries to interrupt. The hour before the wedding ceremony, we finally received the last document and rushed over to the church.

After the ceremony, Sister Lamac and I went over to our other investigator's house to pick up all the kids that were getting baptized as well. There were two 12 year old girls, and one 15 year old boy. We got the 2 girls, but the 15 year old boy was missing. We found out that he had been called into work. It is planting season for all the rice farmers, and he needed to help with the plant. We called him, to see if he would be able to make it, and just then he said he would get to leave. Although he was a little late, everything worked out. All four were able to be baptized on Saturday as planned.  They all glowed with the pure joy of becoming clean from all sins and feeling the love of our Heavenly Father.
My miracle family--Just love them...we are teaching the dad and kids next.
the girls...they were so happy they started crying, so sweet.
one last hug before entering the waters 
The Lord will send his many miracles as long as we have the faith in Him. He knows and loves everyone of us, and cares for our salvation. I love that I get to be a part of HIS work, and to truly witness first hand miracles and the happiness that this gospel brings to the lives of the people.

My challenge to all of you, is to look for the many little miracles the Lord blesses you with every day.
Love, Sister K.

NOTES from mom--Sunday evenings I get to skype "chat" with Erin for a little while--Through our conversation I found out it's transfer week.  She will be nervously "leading the area" with a new companion. She will find out Wednesday who it will be. She is sad about losing Sister Lamac but changing things up is always exciting.  I asked her if soccer and the world cup is big there...she said she hasn't heard anything about it and she never sees anyone playing but basketball is super popular and everyone knows Lebron James and the Miami Heat.  ...and I asked if she dreams in Tagalog, she said she is so tired at night and sleeps so deeply she never remembers if she dreams at all.  OH and the language lesson of the week is, "ayaw ko", it means I don't like it, which she says she never says in front of anyone except to the family who made her eat Balut on her first day. And "Gusto" means both want and like but is careful to say it because sometimes if you like something the person may just give it all to you and it could be everything they had.  Finally, she is so appreciative for the thoughts and prayers of everyone, she truly does feel the love and strength.
our district before the transfer

Bye Sister Lamac (right)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Keep Calm and Stumble On

I see the farmers wearing these in the rice fields.
Yep...I rock it!
Days seem so long, especially when we are walking everywhere in the never ending heat, but before you know it, It's Monday again and I'm thinking, where'd the time go? Even though this week started off a little rough. I got my first go of the flu or...mmm maybe it was food poisoning?? ...ugh, yeah, that happened! But the good thing is, I found that I sleep so much better sprawled out on the cool tile floor! We are sleeping there every night from now on!

I was down for a day but I didn't let anything hold me back from "hastening the work." I saw a T-shirt not too long ago that said, "keep calm, and hasten on." As a missionary, I get to be a part of the Lord's work during the time of "hastening," and I am learning a ton, and as last week I wrote about how my heart is changing, and it is, but one thing that has not changed is that I am definitely still me... I am a "LAMPA"!! That's the Tagalog word for the week and it means...KLUTZ! Yep..that is definitely what I am. I know it! If you know me at all YOU know I am the biggest klutz too. I have accepted that part of me. One thing that doesn't help much here are all those rocky dirt roads that I walk down on a daily basis. Sometimes, as I walk, I think rocks purposely jump out at me to make me stumble. Other times, I do a fair amount of sliding down hills...not on my feet, but I think my favorite most embarrassing moment this week was when I broke the bus...

We flagged down a bus (it's really just a van) to take us to our appointment. On the van, there are two main workers. The driver and the conductor. The conductor collects all the money and hangs out the window and calls out the towns that the van is going too. So, the van pulls up the side of the street where we were standing. The conductor opens the door and Sister Lamac gets in first. Then, as I was getting in, I bumped the sliding van door with my elbow. It was just a little tap but guess I must be the Incredible Hulk or something because the door completely fell off the hinges! At least, the conductor who was standing behind me caught the door before it fell to the ground. In my defense, the vans are pretty much on their last legs so it really doesn't take much! Sister Lamac and I just had to laugh about it. Even though it was a little embarrassing, it actually struck up a conversation with the family I sat next to. This was the first time that I've actually had a full out conversation without any interpreting help! Sister Lamac and I were sitting in different parts of the van, so I was pretty much by myself on this one. By the end of the ride, I didn't even feel embarrassed for breaking the door. I was just so happy that I understood something!   I really am ok with the fact that I am a klutz, even if all eyes are on me because I am some American breaking their stuff, as long as it keeps opening (or breaking down) the door to new people to talk to, I'm good with that and maybe my motto should be 'Keep Calm and Stumble On'??
I've found a new way to communicate with the little kids that I don't understand. They stare at me, so this is the face that I make at them back. Then we become best friends and have secret handshakes
The rest of the week was kind of uneventful but good. It seems everyday is pretty much the same. We go to the same places, talk to mostly the same people, and teach a lot of the same lessons, but there are always little things that make doing the same things everyday worthwhile. Through the little things, we have four of our investigators preparing for baptism. I am so excited for all of them and for those little things that hasten the work.

Have a great week!
Sister K
Finding ways to do service. We helped to dig a pit so water wouldn't seep into the house when the rain really begins

So these tricies are crazy. So many people can fit on just one! Yesterday, a member was nice enough to drive us over to one of our appointments. We had six people fit. That isn't the most I have ever had though. One time we had nine people, plus a baby. Five of them were small kids, but still! Amazed they don't just topple over!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Mighty Change of Heart

Witnessing a change of heart and helping others was my focus this week. I was reading in Alma 5. It is a super powerful chapter when Alma asks a series of questions. In verse 14 it plainly asks, "Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" As I read, I was reminded of what I had heard in the MTC. "On the mission, you are your own first convert." I have been called to help others come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel. Principles of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end make up the things we need to do to become heirs in the kingdom of God; THIS IS THE GOSPEL.

As I read the words of Alma, I had to ask myself, "Have I truly become converted to the Lord? Have I really had a change of heart? Do I put my full faith and trust in Him." I think the hardest of all the principles of the gospel is faith. It may seem easy to say, "Yes, I believe in God and Jesus Christ." But to have true faith, we must act. "Faith without works is dead." It isn't enough to say I believe. My first thought, was well yeah, I know that God is my loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus is the Christ; the living Son of God who came to Earth and will take upon himself our sins and our afflictions. And I am exercising my faith to be on this mission. But then I started thinking, is that enough? I had the realization that I was not putting enough faith and trust in Him.
At the end of everyday, I reflect on all that I have done and question, "Did I fully rely on Him today?" It is a hard concept to grasp, but I have realized that I really am nothing without Him.

I am happy to say that I am beginning to experience that "change of heart" as I work through Him. As a missionary, I am not responsible for the complete change of heart of my investigators or people I meet, but I rely on and allow Christ to do that for me. In helping others come unto Christ, I can only say what I know to be true. The Spirit has to do the rest to testify of truth, and hopefully their hearts will change. My mission president says after every email he sends, "The God of Israel leads this mission." It is so true. The God of Israel is Jesus Christ and He leads us in all that we do.

Love you all!
Have a great week!
-Sister K

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Be Prepared

that's right we're all that : )   you might wonder why people hold this sign under their mean's "I'm handsome or so good-looking"   ha ha...silly!

Hi Everyone!

As I was thinking about what to write this week, one thing stuck in my mind. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:30, it says, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” This is a super important thing, especially as a missionary. Every day, we study the scriptures in preparation and every night, we plan for the following day. Sometimes it can be boring, but it is so important to always be prepared for what may come, both spiritually and physically.

So, June has just began, meaning in the Philippines, it is the start of the rainy season. In the mornings, the sun is out and it looks like a clear day, then by around 3 o’clock it starts to pour. It is really nice because the rain cools everything off a little bit. (I can actually sleep at night, WITH A BLANKET! That is a huge thing...I never thought that 87 degrees would feel cold, but here, it does. Anyway, one day, we went out to teach. It looked like a clear day; it was already 4 o’clock, and still no rain. The day before was clear all day too. Then just as the rain started, I realized I had forgotten my umbrella, and my companion had lost hers earlier. We were not fully prepared for the rain and in return, the work suffered that day. We stayed inside the house of one of our investigators until it became a little lighter. We were still able to teach a couple of people, but not as many as we have in the past.

In life we always need to remember to be prepared. Even when things seem to be fine, we never know what is to come our way. If we are prepared in all things, we will not fear.

On the other days that we have been better prepared, the Lord has blessed us. One day, it was raining really hard. We had our umbrellas and we were walking uphill to get to the neighboring area. In the rain, the walk seemed like forever, but as soon as we got up to the place, we noticed two young kids waiting in a little covering for the rain to lighten so they could get home. It wasn’t getting any lighter, so each of us took them under our umbrellas and walked them to their home. They were so grateful to us for bringing them home, and we were so happy we were ready and prepared to help them. So, always be prepared for what may come.
getting ready for baptism

Hope you all have a great week!
Sister K

a few more pics...

District Service Day--representin' B'more!

crazy Elders hunting for Buko (Premature coconut)

 last week's baptism

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


This week was again, super busy for us, but that is a good thing. It seemed like we were punted from almost every lesson this week, but when we counted our total KIs last night we realized we had taught 31 lessons this week. Crazy! We had another baptism on Saturday. She is 15 years old and her recently converted brother was able to perform the baptism. They are an awesome family and really good with helping missionaries. Through them, we have found 6 new progressing investigators and as of right now 2 of them have baptism dates for the end of this month. I have such a great feeling when this kind of stuff happens. Yesterday was fast Sunday and I was reflecting on this month and realizing that the Lord has truly blessed us. When I first got here, things were pretty slow. We had no progressing investigators and I felt like the work wasn't going very far. But I realized that this past month of May we have had a lot of success and I think it has something to do with having one day of sacrificing food to fast for our ward. I have gained a testimony of fasting and I can see how powerful it can be. The Lord has His own will and time of course for everything, so there are not always immediate results, but I know that He WILL help. 

Sister K being taught how to eat the right way in the Pines.
As for my Tagalog, it is not perfect so I know I have a lot of room to grow, but I can see in lessons how I am improving. The words are flowing a lot better...they may not be completely grammatically correct, but my investigator understands and I feel a lot more confident. I was reading a passage in Mosiah this morning. It said, "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." (Mosiah 7:33)  What this means to me is, if I put my full faith, my full trust, in the Lord, and do my best in all that I am doing here, He will help me to push down this language barrier and speak and understand so that I can help the people here. It is so true that I have not been called to this place, but rather in the place of the Savior. This is His work, not mine, and I know that I am nothing without Him. We, as missionaries, wouldn't be able to accomplish anything without Him. 

I've heard how beautiful the weather is at home right now.  I bet that low humidity thing feels real nice...I don't remember what that feels like...hahaha Yes is it hot, and no I don't like it very much, but that isn't what matters. I am beginning to get a little bit of a tan now haha. But I will always look super pale next to everyone else here. But no need to worry about me dying in the heat,you guys just go and enjoy your beautiful weather while you have it! I had some questions asked about our "couch"...yes it IS made out of stone...I don't really know why. It is not very comfortable to sit on, we just use it as decoration haha. And for laundry, I am getting a lot faster at washing all of my clothes. It isn't so bad. Kind of relaxing a weird way..but I will definitely appreciate that machine when I come back. ...or maybe I will just have to teach you all to wash clothes in a bucket! :P

Love you! 
Have an awesome week!!
Sis K

Oh the Rewards!

This week has been awesome! The work here in Diffun is really expanding. We have so many people wanting to be taught, that it is hard for Sister Lamac and I to teach everyone. I guess that is a pretty good problem to have. I love all of our investigators, and seeing them commit to being baptized it the coolest thing ever. I just feel so happy for them. It is so cool to see how much knowing the true gospel of Jesus Christ makes a difference. 

This week we held a baptism for our 9-year-old investigator. When we first started teaching him, he was so excited. When we would ask him to read from the Book of Mormon as an assignment, he would already start reading before we even left his house. He gained a testimony for himself, not just of what we taught. At his baptism he was so excited. He had a huge smile on his face the whole time, and afterwards he bore his testimony about how he knows that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Seeing that is the most rewarding this as a missionary. 

For the first couple of weeks, we didn't have very many people that truly seemed interested, but as we kept seeking, kept working hard, and being obedient missionaries, a miracle happened. I know that the Lord is preparing people everywhere to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most important thing we can do it open our mouth and share our message with the world. 
I love this church. I know it is true and I know that through this gospel, we can feel the Savior's infinite love for us. As we come unto Him, we will feel His grace and have that true happiness and joy. And I know that as we live the teachings of Christ, we will truly be blessed in this life and the next. 

Love you all! 
Have a great week! 
Sister K