Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Go Forth...

"Go forth with pow'r to tell the world, the gospel is restored,
That all may gain eternal life, thru Jesus Christ our Lord.
Go forth to preach his glorious truths of peace, of joy, and love,
That all who heed his holy word may praise the Lord above."
Hymn #263
Santiago South Zone

This was a little different week than normal. Tuesday we had our quarterly Zone Conference and then Friday, Sister Mat and I got to split up so she could renew her visa in Manila. Friday and Saturday I got to have splits with another sister who's companion had to do the same thing. It was really fun getting to experience being companions with another American. We definitely had even more odd stares and strange looks than ever those two days. We especially got some laughs after we taught one sister. She didn't have any furniture in the house, so we taught sitting on the floor. By the end Sister Nicoll's foot was asleep and my whole left leg was numb. All I could feel was pins and needles shooting through my leg. We stood up, about to leave, but I couldn't move my leg as I wanted to. I started turning in circles as if I had two left feet. The sister that lived at the house just laughed at us. It amazes me at how long people can squat and sit in strange positions without their limbs going numb or falling asleep! How do they do it? and How come I can't??

We also got to teach a couple of her investigators that were preparing for baptism later that Saturday. We came to visit them Saturday morning and the kids were jumping up an down saying "Mama and (her son) are getting baptized today!" over and over again. They all were just so excited. It is always so inspiring to see the true happiness that this gospel brings to the lives of the people and how supportive this family was of each other.   

(Erin's photo's she sent this week didn't download correctly but I did snag some photos from the zone conference on the Mission Blog that Sister Ralfe posted)

I spy a cute face... ; )

At the Zone Conference, it was awesome to hear from our mission president and his wife. Their talks were just so powerful and the spirit was just so present. The theme of the conference was the Apostasy and Restoration. One of the things that really struck me was the example of Hyrum Smith. He was an example of having compassion and understanding, he was quick to act, and he was a true example of being your brother's keeper. He stood at Joseph's side all throughout his life up until they both died in Carthage. Our families are one of the best gifts that we receive during this lifetime. We must also remember to support each other and love one another, after all, we have them for eternity. We are each other's keeper. 

Sister K

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Don't pop that balloon!

So got my first hurricane in the Philippines under my belt!  Our mission did not feel the brunt of it, only the benefits. It brought a lot of rain this week. The farmers here have been really suffering because of their irrigation systems have been dried up, so they needed it badly! It has been nice and cool here too (really only like 87 degrees, but that is a really nice change to the 100 degree weather before). The hurricane hit Manila and all the missionaries are fine there, but there was flooding and roofs that blew off houses and what not. Another hurricane is heading this way too but it is not expected to hit land too hard. Probably just a little more wind and some rain. No worries!

Sister Mat and I are good. And so are my other housemates. They are super fun and we have a good time all together. There are a couple people preparing for their missions in the ward so we have begun a mini MTC for them were they work with us, we teach from the Preach My Gospel manual after they get off work. The sisters are Sister Cabada from Quezon City and Sister Simram from Micronesia. My apartment is pretty culturally diverse. right?  Sister Mat is a convert, and the rest have all grown up in the church. All of their parents are members and are very supportive. Sister Cabada just hit her 1 year mark in the mission, Sister Simram has been out for 6 or 7 months, and Mat is at 10 months.

This week was good even with a hurricane. We were only able to teach about 20 lessons this week, which isn't the best, but we did well in our finding efforts. Most of the time we don't knock on doors and tract that way. We usually talk to people when we are in vans heading to different places, or we stop and talk to people on the street. The other day we stopped at the little corner store (they are called tindahans) to get a drink and while we were talking to the lady working there, three other guys came to get a drink as well. It turns out that one of them is actually an inactive member and we were able to talk to him and his friends about what we believe. The inactive one said that he was actually looking for a way to come back to church. He has been inactive for 18 years and is new to the area. It was kind of a miracle running into them. We will be saying our prayers we see him again soon...we have hope!!
This week Sister Mat and I had a day where we went around to our different areas looking for inactive members that we have yet to meet. When we asked the different members about where we could find them (because here there are no addresses), they all would tell us their problems about how they smoke and drink and they are hopeless for coming back to church and being a worthy and active member. When this particular member told me all of these things, I simply replied, "There is always hope. We will visit them soon." I thought back to a lesson I had at the MTC. Class started off with someone holding a balloon. When there was something negative said, the balloon popped immediately. That balloon represented hope. That hope was destroyed, and he was left hopeless.
With everyone we meet, we have hope for them. We picture them dressed in white entering the waters of baptism. We picture them happily entering the temple. We have all of these feelings of love for them. We can't let negativity and hopeless thoughts keep us from helping others realize what really matters.

This was a concept that I recently learned in the field. We routinely visit an inactive member. She hasn't come to church in a long time. She smokes often and has never made any effort to keep the commitments we make with her. One day we even taught about the word of wisdom, yet we would come to visit her and she would be sitting on her doorstep with a cigarette in her mouth. I didn't have much hope for her, but we still would continue to visit her. My companion is such a great example to me. She always has a ton of hope for her, and I was probably the one popping that balloon of hope. She promised she would quite smoking and she would come to church. To my surprise she came AND she told she hadn't had a cigarette in two weeks. Isn't that awesome?

We must not loose hope. Not in ourselves. Not in others. And most definitely, never loose hope in the Lord. He has a perfect plan for each and everyone of us. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. We can do all things in Christ.

Love you all!
Sister Koncurat 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


This past Saturday, the other sister missionaries in Diffun had a baptism for a family that they have been teaching for a couple months now. Afterwards, all of us were taking pictures and one thing that the people like to do is look up. There was always a normal smiling picture, then a waki (goofy) picture, and then they all yell "LOOK UP" and take a "look up" picture.

I love the principle of looking up. It symbolizes being positive and looking up to our Lord in all situations in life. Things happen everyday that may knock us down, or give us a hard time, but everyday we are given something to be grateful for. So look up and be happy! Remember all the good we have in our life, even if it is as simple as having a bed to sleep on, or a roof over our heads. Being here in the Philippines is a really humbling experience. Everyday I see how hard it is just for the people to live, but one thing I always notice is how people still seem to smile. It is truly inspiring.

Look up and Smile! There is always something to be happy about!

For me, I am truly happy to be here. Serving a mission is the hardest thing that I've ever done, but every day as I teach the people and help others feel the spirit in their lives, there is an overwhelming joy that is felt. This work is my joy; I do not glory in myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me (Alma 29:9).

Take care!
Sister K

Monday, July 7, 2014

Milk Chocolate

This past week you had the opportunity to celebrate American Independence Day which I have come to realize is a pretty significant holiday. Before, I just thought of it as a get together with families and friends in the summer time to have a BBQ and go to parades and have fun watching the fireworks light up the night sky. It is a fun day that I love still, even here in the Philippines, but it means so much more than I realized. A little while ago, we were teaching about the Book of Mormon, when the investigator asked, "Why was the promised land in the Americas?" I was able to explain that it was one of the first countries to have religious freedom. It made me really think how mindful God is. His plan was and still is perfect. He knew that it would be the place that one day would become a free place for the church to be established. He knew that years from the time Moroni placed the plates in the Hill Comorah, a young boy by the name of Joseph would be there and the time would be right to find the ancient writings of the prophets and translate them for the world to have the fullness and that truthfulness of the gospel. Amazing, huh?  Our Heavenly Father is so aware and mindful of every detail in our life. Everything has a purpose according to His perfect plan.

This week was a little sad saying goodbye to my Nanay, Sister Lamac, but the Lord's plan for me seemed really evident when I met my new companion...

Meet Sister Matanatabu (or just sister Mat) from Fiji. With two non-native Tagalog speakers, it was obvious to me that this cycle, the Lord's plan for me was to really test my language skills. I'm excited for this new challenge and I think it is exactly what I needed. The other day, some members were joking around saying if I don't start understanding the language, they will sell me and I would have no idea of what was happening....They were just kidding....right? Haha. They also gave us a nickname: Milk and Chocolate!

Have a great week!
Sister K

[Excerpts from Dad's letter home]  ---  So my week, it was pretty good. I had a good last half of the week with Sister Lamac. Oh Monday, I did get to experience riding up on the top of a van. It was too full, so they put us up on the roof top wear there is a metal rack to sit on. No worries..I was safe.. It just made me think of when we were little and you used to joke that you would strap us to the roof of the car. Haha. Anyway, later that night we had FHE with one of our member families and they fed us afterwards. That night, I tried my second exotic Filipino dish. It was still adobe, but the meat was not chicken or pork. I'll give you a clue: it swims in water and walks on the land. The family wouldn't tell us was it was until after we ate it. You probably guessed it by now, right? Yep...I ate crocodile! It was soooo gross. It kind of tasted like a fishy chicken and nice and chewy. I only took a little bit so I didn't have to eat too much of it. The family was laughing at our reaction afterwards. They even said next time they would give us frog or snake...I'm kind of nervous to eat there again...but it's all in the experience right?