Monday, November 24, 2014

I love you!

Sister Princess, my temporary companion from Palawan 

20 candles in 1 piece of cake! 

My "Anak," Sister Teo 

Nanay Montila on her "motor" that she rides everywhere 

Sister Teo, my greenie, from Singapore

Dear Family,
HELLO! So GUESS WHAT! I turned 20 this week and had a baby! She is from Singapore! Her name is Sister Teo (funny huh). Nope, she does not speak Tagalog either so life is a pretty big adventure right now! She actually went to BYU last year and we met in the Cannon Center!! (Perks of being the cashier.) (That also happened in the MTC too...Some Elder from across the gym yelled "Hey! You worked at the Cannon Center!" hahahaha) But how fun/cool is that?! Such a small world. She is so cute and kind and we are already really great friends. She's really hard working and enthusiastic too which is making my life as a trainer so easy. Life is awesome!!  On funny thing- now I am the one protecting Sister Teo against the dogs! Haha, I am so thankful for Sister Parina who taught me how to be a Filipina! You can look her up on Facebook Kimberly Teo... we're friends actually! She read my blog before she came out. How crazy is that?! She has a blog is her blog! Now you'll have 2 to read!!
Guess what! I DID get the birthday box!! My anak brought it with her!!! How awesome is that?! So you had no reason to be sad!! YOU ARE THE BEST! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THE SCRIPTURES!!! They weigh so much less and it is the best. Also the wrapping and everything was the cutest and the chocolate was exactly what I needed. It was such a great day! I woke up and there was a sign in the kitchen for me from Sister Delaitubuna, and then that day Nanay Montilla and Jennic both gave me cards and a little gift which was SO sweet. Princess also left me a card taped to the top of the bunk bed when I went to bed. And my anak bought me a piece of cake and so we celebrated! I blew out 20 candles, and she blew out 1 for surviving her first day in the field (: And we also made pancakes for breakfast and then ate macoroni and cheese for dinner. And I had also saved the DP for my birthday from your last package, so it was a really really great birthday!!! It was probably one of the best birthdays because I wasn't expecting anything and I wasn't thinking about myself at all. Most birthdays I like kind of expect to celebrate and expect to have gifts and things so this day was so extra special because every act of kindness and gift meant SO much.
This week we had some really great lessons, as always. Nobody came to church ): So on Sunday I was feeling down and discouraged again. Its like all week all of these people tell me they're gonna come to church and I always believe them! I get so excited and I just pour my whole heart into them and pray for them and then when Sunday comes, I sit in the chapel and wait and wait, and every time the door opens I get excited...then wala. Its hard! But-the great thing is is that the work never stops! So as soon as I go out and work Sunday afternoon, and another person tells me they'll go to church next Sunday, I forget all about the past Sunday and get excited for the next (: 
We are really really focusing on less active members. We have so many and our branch is really working together to bring these people back. You can pray for Nancy, Sister Chua, the Costodio Family and OE and IO too.  They are the less actives we're really focusing on.
We also found a GOLDEN investigator this week! We extended a baptismal date, and she's SO ready. She's been to church twice, everything is perfect. But then, there's a rule here that if you're below 18 you have to go to church for 6 months before you can get baptized. So, in 6 months she will be somebody else's golden investigator that get to baptize her (; lolol, its okay though! Her name is Jing Jing and I love her (: 
Yeah so that's life right now!! I love it! My favorite scripture this week is Ether 12:27 (in the Book of Mormon). Some days this week I felt really inadequate. I just finished my training, sometimes I still can't understand people, or say what I want to say, and now I'm training someone who is still learning to say really simple things. It can be hard! I think Satan knows that I am nervous sometimes so he can get to me in that way. BUT I KNOW that Heavenly Father knows I can do this! He knows me and He called me to train! He believes in me and He trusts me! He knows I can do this and that is all I need to know. He gave me the weaknesses I have so that I will be humble and rely on Him. But with Him, I really can do anything that He needs me to do.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING MY BIRTHDAY THE BEST FROM ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE WORLD!!! I cried at 9 AM my time when i knew you were singing to me....
Pray for Sister Teo and have a happy Thanksgiving!! Don't worry, its still August in my brain so I am not even sad that I am not with everyone!! 
xoxoxoxo have a great week!!!
Sister Lockwood

Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm gonna be a Nanay!

The Sisters on Palawan Island

Dear Family,
This week has been SO GREAT! Seriously, probably the best week on my
mission thus far. I have been working with Princess, who is a branch
missionary but she has been my full time companion. She actually just
decided on Monday that she is going to start her papers, and then on
Tuesday we called her to be my companion! She is so sweet and it has been
awesome working with her because she lives here and so knows the area
and people really well and obviously..Tagalog. It was also the
greatest week because our investigator, Aiza, and 2 less active members came to
church!! The joy that filled me up on Sunday morning was something I
can't even explain. After working so hard to be obedient and always
committing people to come to church, to finally see them progress was
so rewarding.
But, the biggest news of the week, I'm gonna be a Nanay!! (That means train a brand new missionary.)  President Ostler called me on Wednesday night to train a new missionary! So this Wednesday, I will officially have an Anak! (Anak literally means child but means I will have my own “Greenie” from the MTC.) I am SO excited!! When my
trainer, Sister Parina left me, it was so stressful and I felt so overwhelmed, but I can now see clearly that Heavenly Father was having me lead the area for these 2 weeks to prepare me to train! Heavenly
Father always knows what He is doing even we can't understand. One of the highlights of this week was our lesson with Sonia. She is a Less Active that we talked about in Branch Council that I didn’t know
lived in my area. We visited her last night, and it was such a sweet experience.  We connected really quickly and she told us all about her children and her life.  Then she opened up to us about what she has
been struggling with and how badly she just wants for her family to be sealed in the temple. She was speaking so quickly in Tagalog, I couldn't understand everything she was saying, but as she began to
cry, to my surprise, I began to cry with her. I was filled with an indescribable connection and love and care for her. Being a missionary is so rewarding in lessons like that. The Holy Ghost is so powerful
and I feel so lucky to be blessed with love for the people in my area. She committed to come back to church, so keep Sonia in your prayers! The internet is really horrible today so this is going to be short.
Just know that I LOVE being a missionary!! I am ridiculously happy and everyday I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to teach everyone and visit all of the amazing people here!!
I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who is always near us and is always playing an active part in our lives. It is so true that what seems to be detours and disappointments are truly just His path
for us back to Him.  He has a perfect plan for each of us! Also keep my anak in your prayers!! I will pick her up from the airport on Wednesday (: Woo!
I LOVE YOU!! Thank you for ALL of the birthday emails! I'm sorry in advance for those that I don't get to reply to.

Sister Lockwood

Monday, November 10, 2014

The End of your Comfort Zone

On the beach with Sister Parina

We ate octopus! 

Doing my own laundry

Hello Family!!
They always say that your growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  This is so true and I am so lucky to be here in the Philippines and be stretched out of my comfort zone again and again!! 
This week, I lost my trainer!! Sister Parina and Sister Lacsamana are currently in the mission home.  Their teeth pains continued, and so President Ostler had them go back to the mainland so they could see a real dentist. (The doctors/dentists here on Palawan are pretty much all really sketchy..)  It turns out their wisdom teeth were what were causing all of the problems! (so Sister Parina didn't even need that tooth pulled, I don't think...). So they got their wisdom teeth pulled and have been recovering at the mission home! Sister Delaitubuna is my temporary companion, and we work with branch missionaries everyday to cover both of our areas. So, I went from having a trainer leading the lessons and the area, to me leading the area and pretty much teaching the entire lesson and just using the branch missionary as someone who shares experiences and testimony. Wow! Transfers are on the 19th, and I don't know if they will come back before then or if we will just work with branch missionaries until then.  But, I have grown and learned SO MUCH. I definitely left my comfort zone, but Heavenly Father has strengthened me more than I can express. My language skills are improving even more quickly as I teach, and I am really connecting with my investigators more than before; specifically Elena, and her friend Rina that we started teaching this week. They are like my new best friends here. I love them SO MUCH. And they are both progressing and have so many questions. Keep them in your prayers!!
This week, we also had zone meeting, and the big focus was OYM, or Opening Your Mouth.  President Ostler wants each of us as individuals to talk to 10 new people every day, have a connection with them, and then invite them to church or to learn more. We had so many miracles just this week that came as a result of our new goal to OYM. Despite the fact that I fell very short of 70, I felt happy at the end of every day as I really tried to open my mouth to everyone. We would try to talk to every trike driver, every person sitting next to us on a Jeepney, and take time between appointments to talk to people on the street. We invited everyone to church on Sunday and gave away many pamphlets. When Sunday came, I wasn't really expecting any of these OYM's to come to church. I wasn't even really thinking about them at all. But after branch council, we came out to find Vicente waiting outside the chapel, holding a pamphlet that we gave him in a trike!! I didn't even recognize him, but as he talked to the elders, he pointed at me and said that I had invited him to church. I felt so excited and happy that 1 of the many people that we talked to throughout the week really did listen and was touched by the spirit to come to church. 
Another really great experience we had with OYMing was after district meeting, Sister Parina and I went to work talking to everyone. We didn't seem to have much success, but at the very end of the day the last family we OYMed told us they were MEMBERS! They had moved into our area and nobody knew it. They are less active, but we now have found a new family that Heavenly Father was ready for us to meet and bring back to church. 
So, I would encourage you to do the same thing!! Dad is already a pro at this, but just be friendly and meet new people everywhere you go.  You don't even have to formally share the gospel, but just by being happy and excited to meet new people you can make a huge difference in someone's day (: I love it when someone is on a Jeepney looking sad, and then just by smiling and saying "hello po! ano pangalan nyo?" their faces light up (: 
Other investigators you can keep in your prayers this week are Mayra, Aiza, Elena and Rina, the Costodio Family, the Lopez family, Ethan, Haydie, Himaya, and the Bascongada Family. Ah- I am so lucky to teach all of these amazing people!! I am really feeling myself getting lost in this work as I am coming to love them all so much. Yesterday after our lessons I didn't want to go home, I just wanted to keep talking and connecting with these people!
I know that Heavenly Father has specific experiences planned for me on the mission that will help me stretch and grow.  Even though losing Sister Parina and working with the members has been a challenge, I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who trusts me enough to give me this experience.  My language, teaching, listening, and connecting skills are just multiplying from this.  God pushes and pulls us out of our comfort zone because He loves us.  Every experience in this life is given to us because He loves us and wants us to grow. 
I am so thankful for a Father in Heaven who loves me enough to push me out of my comfort zone.
I love you all SO MUCH!
It makes me so happy that you are having FHE and doing morning prayers! In conference they really stressed how important those little things are and I know that protection and power comes from those things.
Sister Lacsamana also took a picture of me washing clothes. She and Sister Delaitubuna are my angels. They helped me wash my clothes one night before bed when they should have been eating! it was so cute they kept laughing at me and saying "shes so cute" hahaha.
Sister Lockwood
ps. i learned how to wash my clothes by hand this week because the lady that usually comes and washes them wasn't able to! Its actually not too bad (:
pss. Oh yeah, our zone split this week! So we are now the Santa Monica Zone, and as of right now Sister Delaitubuna and I are the only Sisters in the whole zone. 
psss. If we leave our tennis shoes out at night, when we put them on in the morning we find frogs sleeping in them (: hehehe gross.

Monday, November 3, 2014

He is always near me

Sister Parina, Sister Lockwood, Sister Delaitubuna, and Sister Lacsamana

Dear Family,
Wow! So, this week was totally nuts. I keep thinking that one day I'm gonna email you and say "this week was pretty normal, not much to say." But every week proves to be crazier and crazier!! Hahaha, but I think this week might win the prize. Ready..?
So on Thursday, we were home because Sister Parina's neck was bothering her. (Her tooth is much better, but it kept us from working on Wednesday ): ) I was feeling quite annoyed that we were staying home again because we have been in our apartment so much! Sister Delaitubuna and I even texted the District Leader to ask if we could do exchanges since both of our companions were sick. But, to our surprise the District Leader said no.  We were both pretty confused because he usually says yes. I was kinda mad to be honest.. But, little did I know, it would be a good thing that we were home. Sister Lacsamana and Sister Delaitubuna were also home because Sister Lacsamana had been complaining of chest pains and hadn't been feeling well. President and Sister Hiatt were in Manila, so they said to wait until they could get back and check her out. So I was cleaning my desk in our study room when all of a sudden Sister Delaitubuna yelled "Sister Lockwood! I need your help!" I walked into the kitchen to find Sister Lacsamana laid back in the chair, unresponsive!! Sister Delaitubuna was like "she just collapsed when she tried to stand up!" Of course, the daughter of my mother that I am, I started freaking out. "Is she breathing?! Is her heart beating?!" Earlier that morning Sister Lacsamana had told us about a heart condition that she had and that her dad had had to do CPR on her multiple times. WHATTT?!!! Yeah, luckily she was breathing and her heart was beating, but we couldn't get her to respond to us, and her face went super super pale. I started making phone calls to everyone I knew and nobody was answering!! (turns out it was MLC, the leadership meeting of every leader in the mission..) So I finally got ahold of our district leader.  It was then that Sister Lacsamana began gasping for air like she couldn't breath. It was then that I really started freaking out and was like "I THINK I NEED TO CALL AN AMBULANCE!"  So, calmly, the elder was like "Okay Sister, Dial 117." So, here we go. For the first time in my life I dialed the ambulance!! Of course, it was not like America, and I spent a good 10 minutes screaming where our apartment was and that we were on the island of Palawan.. because they don't have real addresses here. Before the ambulance arrived (or I waved it down rather), Sister Hiatt called and told me that I should go with her in the ambulance. So, I got to ride in the ambulance! By that point, Sister Lacsamana was responding and doing okay, but still complaining of chest pain. Sadly, when we arrived at the "hospital" they did absolutely NOTHING for her! They did some tests and then sent us home. She is getting transferred back to Manila at transfers to be able to go to doctors there. 
So, long story short, I rode in an ambulance this week. 
A few hours later, I was feeling like I made the absolute wrong decision, but Sister Ostler called and said I did the right thing. And guess what? The ambulance only cost the equivalent of 12 dollars! So I don't feel bad at all! 
I really hope you're not freaked out, everyone is fine now and we all went back to work this weekend! Its quite the story...huh? Hahaha, oh my.
But other than that madness, I learned a lot this week! Elder Oaks came here to the Philippines with Elder Robbins and we got to watch them in a broadcast.  We also were invited to Branch Council on Sunday, and between both of those, I realized how much WORK there is to do here! Over 3/4ths of our branch is Less Active, and those numbers are the same across all of the Philippines. There are over 700,000 members here but SO MANY are less active! We as missionaries have so much to do, not only to reactivate people but to make sure that those we baptize are really ready to become strong members. 
My favorite part of the broadcast, though, was Elder Robbins talk. He said that "we see the world from what we carry in our hearts." He gave the example of Laman and Lemuel and their brother Nephi. Despite the fact that they virtually had the same set of circumstances, their attitudes and experiences were completely different because of what they carried in their hearts. He said that "we see things as we are". This was so perfect for me as a missionary to hear! Life in the Philippines can be crazy sometimes, but I will see things as I am, from what I carry inside of my heart. Attitude is everything! There are so many blessings that come to me as I strive to be grateful and always carry in my heart the hope and faith that comes from the gospel. It's not always easy, but I was so thankful for that reminder from Elder Robbins. 
Life is so good! Don't be freaked out about the story of the ambulance, I know that it was definitely a tender mercy that we were all home and ready to take care of her. I'm so thankful our district leader was in tune with the spirit, and that everyone was okay. I KNOW that Heavenly Father is involved in the details of our lives. He really is always near us. And if we listen, he will ALWAYS tell us what we should do to keep us safe. 
I love you SO SO MUCH!!!
Sister Lockwood