Saturday, December 26, 2015

Invitation to Homecoming Meeting


Sister Lockwood is home now and will be speaking in church tomorrow morning (December 27th) at 9:00.  All are invited to attend!  Many have been following this blog over the last 18 months and we would love to see you at the meeting tomorrow where Kayla will be speaking in person about her experiences in the Philippines.  The address for the church is:  4411 Windfall Rd, Medina, OH 44256.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I hope they call me on a mission...

This was a band going around in our area last night playing Christmas songs for everyone! I love the Philippines!! 

 The whole mission was there (at the mission tour) so we took a picture with our MTC batch! That was really fun..until one of the Elders started doing the haka in front of EVERYONE for us sisters who were going home. Hahaha. Good times living with islanders!


I love my companion!! She is a sweetheart. I have been helping her prepare to take over the area. She reminds me a lot of Nathan (: 


Kay Ocsin's baptism! 


Dear Family,
This is my last pday! I cannot even believe it. I feel so many emotions. I am overwhelmed with excitement to see everyone again but at the same time I feel so so sad knowing that I have to take off my name tag and not be a missionary anymore ):
As I enter into my last few days in the mission field, I can't help but reflect on the past 18 months and my past life experiences that brought me to this point. It is unbelievable that these days of walking the streets of Manila to preach the gospel are coming to a close. 
My whole life, I have dreamed of being a missionary. I remember sitting in primary, feet not even able to touch the floor singing, "I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two." We would say "When I grow up, I want to be a missionary in...fill in the blank." Of all the times I dreamed of being a missionary, I don't think I ever expected to serve in the Philippines. I recall youth conferences and efy's singing with my fellow youth, "We are as the army of Helaman. We have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." I prepared and waited so long for the day the call would come.
Then, last February, the white envelope finally came! I remember carrying it around with me all day wondering what could possibly be inside. Would I go Spanish speaking? Stay in the USA? Maybe I'd go to a visitor center. Never did I think I could possibly get called to the Philippines. 
I'll never forget opening my call and reading those words:
"Dear Sister Lockwood:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Philippines Manila Mission.... You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Tagalog language."
That day I didn't even know where the Philippines was on a map! Let alone how to speak a single word of Tagalog. I had absolutely no idea what was ahead of me. But the Lord knew. 
I remember leaving my family in the Cleveland airport.. And arriving in Manila for the first time. Everything was so new.. The smells, the sounds, the people, the language. It was such an adventure and I was completely terrified! I couldn't help but wonder during those days in the MTC...Looking outside of my window at the sky scrapers and wonder if I could really do this! But the Lord knew.
In my first area, I was sent to the island of Palawan. It was there that I really started to learn what it meant to be a missionary. It was then that I really just fell in love with the people. The Segovia's, the Lopez's, Sister Chua, Joy Custodio. These wonderful people became my family! As did follow in Makati and here in Las Pinas. 
Now, 18 months later, I know how to speak Tagalog. I'm used to the city traffic of Manila.. I survived all of the crazy food and adventures of living in the Philippines. But that isn't the biggest miracle. 
Many people think they serve a mission to help other people come unto Christ. I have been blessed with so many opportunities to do that. I have helped families and individuals make covenants in the waters of baptism and then help them along the path to the temple. But even that hasn't been the biggest miracle.
In the MTC Sister Bowen taught us, "The most important convert you will have on your mission will be yourself." The biggest miracle of my mission has been me! I have been changed. I am a different person than I was 18 months ago. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He has turned the experiences I have had here into opportunities for me to grow and to become more like Him. He has filled my heart with charity for the people here. He has blessed me with the Holy Ghost and helped me to repent and to change. 
I will be eternally grateful for the choice I made to serve a mission. I feel so much gratitude for every primary teacher, bishop, and leader that helped get me here. The blessing of being raised by goodly parents and in a Christ centered home shaped me into the missionary that I am today. I love my parents so much and am so grateful for every sacrifice they made to help me to be here. 
I love Jesus Christ. I know He lives. He is truly the reason behind all that we do as missionaries. I am so grateful for the chance that I have come to know Him better.
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We are His children. I have testified of that truth every single day since I have come here. That was the first sentence I learned in Tagalog. He truly does love us and answers our prayers.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored the same church that Christ established when He was on the Earth. 
I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet that leads us today! I love him.
I know with all my heart that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is Christ's church on the Earth today.
What a blessing it has been to be an authorized representative of Jesus Christ and His church. The days I have spent declaring His name have changed my life. I will never be the same because of it.
I know that God knows us! He knew all along that I needed to come and be a missionary in the Philippines. He really does have a perfect plan for each of us. 
I love you!! I cannot WAIT to see you in just a few days! 

For the last time....

XOXOXO
Sister Lockwood

ps.  This week we have the Christmas party tomorrow! That will be fun. The whole mission will be there again. Then I will have a going home interview with president either Wednesday or Thursday. They haven't told me the plans yet for Thursday night but I know that I'll have to be at the airport by around 6:30! So with the traffic here I'll have to wake up at like 3 or 4! I'll definitely get lots of sleep on the plane.I might try to call from the airport in Detroit if I have time..but if not I'll see ya in Cleveland!
Our last trip to the temple as missionaries 



All of the missionaries going home in December 


Going home packets 

An early Christmas present...mission aprons!!

Don't forget to be grateful and happy! Even when hard times come, there is joy and gratitude to be found in the gospel.
Love you!! See you on Friday!!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

To be a Sister

This is Christian! We taught him the plan of salvation. 

This is Nanay Santos who gave me a necklace (: 

 Saying goodbye to Sister Veras.  She got transferred to Palawan.  I'm now with Sister Terabwena from Kiribati. (pronounced kitty-bes) She will take over the area with a new companion when I leave. She's been out about 10 months. She's a sweet heart.

It was Kay Ocsin's 8th birthday this week! She'll be baptized this Friday! Her family was reactivated earlier this year. We celebrated with a birthday cake! She was so happy (:

Dear Family,
My heart is so full today! Its so hard for me to believe that I am entering my final days as a sister missionary. This week as we worked and taught I started to see things differently knowing that it is all about to be over. I wish I could just carry around a video camera all day to really just let you feel what this has been like for me! Before I came out on my mission, I knew it would be hard, but I honestly don't think I ever could have imagined the blessings that were in store. As I reflect on the past year and a half, I am just filled with gratitude for the experiences that I've had here. 
To be a sister missionary is to be filled with the Holy Ghost. As a missionary, we live a very different kind of life than we normally do. We don't listen to fun music or go out with friends. We make lots of sacrifices for the reason that we need the spirit to be with us. For the past 18 months I have lived in such a way that I have had the spirit with me almost all the time. I have woken up every morning and immersed myself in the scriptures and words of living prophets. We study for 2-3 hours every day and just do everything we can to have the guidance of the Lord. Even though I have missed music and movies and normal life things.. The peace and direction that I have been blessed with because the Holy Ghost has been so close has been such a blessing. It has amazed me at how many times we have been at the right place at the right time just when someone needed us. It is because of the Spirit that is with us as missionaries.
To be a sister missionary is to be a teacher. This has been one of my aboslute favorite parts of being a missionary. Here in the Philippines, the majority of my day is spent in the homes of others teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach and preach about the Restoration of the Gospel, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach commandments and help our investigators to really understand and live the gospel. This week I had the most amazing experience teaching the Plan of Salvation. It is through teaching that we help others to understand and feel the truthfulness of the gospel. We were teaching our investigator Christain the Plan of Salvation. We asked, "What do you feel your purpose in life is?" He said, "Sisters, that is what I have been praying to know. I don't know what my purpose is." I just lit up and tears came to my eyes as we opened in the Book of Mormon to read about what our purpose is in life. I just thought to myself, "what is my life going to be when I don't get to do this everyday?" Being a teacher of the gospel has brought me so much joy.
To be a sister missionary is to be everyone's sister. Literally, I feel like my name has been "sis" or "sister" for the past 18 months. Everyone-members at church, little kids on the street, or guys riding by on motorcycles all call out "Sister!" every time we pass by. Sister in Tagalog is "kapatid na babae" or "ate". To be someone's sister means to be their friend, to guide them, to help them, to teach them and to love them. Here in the Philippines, I have been everyone's sister! Even though I may not know them at all, the people treat me like family because they know who I represent. They know that I'm a missionary. Every single day, strangers let me into their homes..but they don't treat me like a stranger. They open up to us about their lives, their families, and their struggles. Often they give us food and a place to rest. They listen to our message and just love us. I could share countless experiences with you of people who have just loved me like I was their real sister from the first moment they met me. I think of Nanay Montilla in my first area. My first week in the mission field she had me over to teach me how to eat fish and rice with my hands. I think of the Segovia family who treated Sister Teo and I like we were their own daughters. I remember the Berdin family helping me when I had bed bugs and lice haha. Even just this week, a sister in our area found out that I was going home soon and so she gave me a necklace from Cebu. Or a sister we met on the street invited us into her humble home and shared about her experiences in typhoon Yolanda last last year. It has been absolutely incredible just being a sister to everyone. 
To be a sister is to come unto Christ. My purpose as a missionary has been to invite others to come unto Christ. But the biggest person that I have truly helped has been myself. I have come to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way that I never would have been able to had I not been his representative. I have changed into a new person. I have grown in love for others, and have grown to understand His gospel better. I have felt His love and His tender mercies showered upon me. I have struggled and felt alone, but have gone to my knees in prayer to be able to feel His grace. The price that I have paid to come to know my Savior has truly been a privilege to pay. 
To be a sister missionary has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I can't even believe how much Heavenly Father has blessed me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and experience. 
I love you, family! I can't wait to see you NEXT WEEK!
XOXOXOXO
Love, 
Sister Lockwood

Monday, November 30, 2015

SO Thankful!


Visiting a family with Sister Mata and Sister TuaTonga 

With Sister Mata and Sister TuaTonga

Dear Family,

Happy Thanksgiving! There actually is no Thanksgiving here in the Philippines..but I really took some time this week to think about the blessings that Heavenly Father has blessed me with over the past year and a half in the Philippines. I think that gratitude has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned here. Before I served here, I always thought of gratitude as something that we felt because of our blessings. I was grateful for my family, my home, my country, my health. Of course, that it a big part of gratitude. But what amazed me when I came to the Philippines was meeting people who were filled with gratitude who had none of those things. There are families here who live in homes with no electricity.. who all sleep on the floor crammed next to eachother. There are missionaries here serving with me whose families have disowned them for choosing to serve a mission. So many people are just living from day to day, praying that God will give them a way to eat that day. But yet these people are the happiest people I have ever met! They give thanks to God everyday and are grateful to be alive! The Filipino people have changed me. I hope that I have become a little more like them since I have been here.
One of the blessings that I was especially grateful for this week was my companions! As missionaries, we are always assigned a companion. We stay with them 24/7. Even if we come from different places or are different ages, they become your best friends. This week Sister Veras got sick and so I was assigned to be with Sister TuaTonga and Sister Mata. They are just such a blast and they have made me thankful to have the opportunity to meet so many different sisters from all over the world. From Fiji to Canada to Singapore, these girls have truly become my sisters.
Another blessing this week was our new investigator Christain! Missionaries are happy all the time (well, except when people don't come to church...), but we are most happy when we have investigators like Christain! He has been wanting to become a member of the church, and he has been like ward hopping for weeks trying to figure out where he was supposed to be! This week I attended Sister Mata and Sister TuaTonga's ward where he showed up and told us that he lives in St.Joseph! That is my area! We introduced him to the bishop and are so excited to get him started on his path to baptism.
There is SO much to be grateful for. Always. Even when it feels like our world is falling apart... I know that we can always chose to be grateful because I have seen that example in the people here, and I have learned it for myself. We are so blessed to be living at this time.. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Heavenly Father. He showers down tender mercies upon each of us every day. We just have to be humble enough to look for them and recognize them. 
I love you! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! I am SO looking forward to having a Merry Christmas with you!!
XOXOXO
Sister Lockwood
ps.  This week will be good! Its transfer week... And we have going home activites tomorrow. So you can look for me on the mission blog!
Then next week we have a mission tour.. so Elder Bowen will be coming to talk to us.. and then the next week we have the Christmas party and I come home!! Eeee I'm so excited!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

A special invitation for you...

Kayla will be speaking in church in Medina to give a report on her missionary experiences in the Philippines on Sunday, December 27th and everyone is invited to attend.  There are many people who have followed her blog over the last 18 months who Kayla would be so excited to see and to meet.  The meeting starts at 9:00 am at our church building at 4411 Windfall Road Medina, OH 44256.  All are welcome!  

Families are Forever

 The Amacio Family Sealing

 Eden and Precious

 What a memorable day at the temple!

Happy 21st Birthday to me!  Thank you, Sis Veras for the cake! 

I did know that Obama was here because ALL the roads were closed!! It took us 4 hours to get TO and then 4 hours BACK from the meeting where Elder Maynes spoke (and our entire zone was squished into 1 car with no aircon!!) This is just a peek at how crazy our car ride was because of President Obama!

Dear Family,

This week was fabulous! It was my 21st birthday, and I only got fed 1 weird thing for dinner! Here in the Philippines, if they love you, they feed you. And if you love them, you HAVE to eat their food. When you don't, it basically sends them the message that you think they're a bad cook, and that you hate them and their entire family! Its a very personal thing. So, I survived the night! And Sister Veras got me a little cake from Goldilocks bakery (: It was so much fun to open your card and hear your voices!! I can't believe I only have 3 Pdays left before I actually get to hear and SEE you! :D 

The highlight of this week, though was the Amacio sealing! It was the first live sealing I have ever been to, and it was such a special day for everyone there. 4 of our recent converts were also endowed before the sealing, and so we all were in the sealing room together. We got to help their daughter Precious get ready and then bring her into the sealing room after the endowment. It was something that I will never forget. I am so thankful that I got to have that experience before I leave!

Just to give you a little background on the Amacio's.. Eden comes from a member family, but has been less active for most of her life. A few years ago she married Novel, who wasn't a member. Novel's family is catholic. They live here in Las Pinas as well as Novel's sister Analiza and her family. Just over 1 year ago, the missionaries taught and baptized both Novel and Analiza.. And so the Berzo and Amacio families became an active part of the Las Pinas 1st ward! Eden and Analiza are now actually serving as 1st and 2nd counselor in the primary presidency. Some Sundays I just think to myself, what would the ward be like without them?

Even though 1 year ago was one of the biggest and greatest days of the Amacio's life.. This week takes the crown. For most people in the world, they love and cherish their families, but do not really know what will happen after this life. They get married, but say the words "until death do us part." Novel and Eden had been happily married and lived a happy life with their daughter Precious, but it was only temporary. It was only until death. 

As members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, we believe that families are forever! Through the power and authority of God, families are literally bound together in temples all over the world. When Novel and Eden were married the first time it was for this life only. But this Wednesday, they were sealed with their words "for time and all eternity."

My favorite part of the sealing was when Precious came in. She is 3 years old and was dressed in a little white dress. I also just loved the look on Novel's face as he looked at his 2 girls. 

It made me think about what it must have been like to be in Mom and Dad's sealing.. or Marmee and Grandpa's. I wonder what it will feel like when it's me! 

I feel SO blessed to be a missionary. Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan. The first part of the plan is baptism. But baptism is just the first step towards the temple. It truly is the house of the Lord. I am so thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where my family is made a forever family, too.

Anyway! I am really doing my best to be grateful and love every minute I have left here. I really will miss the sunshine and blue skies almost every day. I mostly will miss the people. I have learned so much here. I really wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I, too, love that I have had such a well rounded mission experience. I have lived the island life and the city life.. I have had slow times, but also been blessed with really really wonderful investigators and families. Physically, I have been more healthy than I could have hoped for! I expected much more sickness with throwing up and such... I have lived with people from all over the world! I understand cultures and people in a whole new way. But of course, I wouldn't trade all of this because along the way, I have come to know Jesus Christ in a whole new way. I love this gospel. I know the Book of Mormon way better than I ever did before. I know that it is true. This is a gospel of hope and faith and happiness! There are lots of hard times along the way, but it is those times that lead us back to our Father in Heaven.


Have a great week!! 

XOXOXO

Love, Sister Lockwood

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Field is White!

This is Jennifer!  Isn't she cute?  She is the daughter of one of our investigators.

This is Weng!  We went and got ice cream with her this week because her rebond didn't work haha (: 

My favorite kids in the Philippines!

We ran into Sister Teo at subway this week! She and Sister Veras and Sister Vaka are seriously my mission best friends (:


Dear Family, 
Thank you so much for all of the birthday emails! It is so crazy that I am going to be turning 21 this week. I am so filled with gratitude for the experiences that I have had here in the Philippines, and also throughout my entire life. Heavenly Father has been so good to me!
This week was a good week! Weng is really progressing and excited for her baptism in December! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation yesterday, and she just loved it (: She asked so many questions, and we can just see it in her eyes that now is her time to accept the gospel. She is such a blessing to Sister Veras and I!
Right now, Sister Veras and I are preparing for what our mission is calling a white Christmas! We have a goal as a mission that every missionary will have a baptism on the day after Christmas. Even though I'll be gone by that time, I am really trying to set this area up to reach that goal. We fasted yesterday as a mission, and Sister Veras and I were really praying for Tatay Virgillio and Kuya Arnold. They are both fathers, and the only nonmembers in their families. This week when we taught Tatay Virgillio we really testified of Eternal families. We had them imagine what this Christmas would be like for their family, and then what the next Christmas would be like as they would be preparing for their sealing. Christmas time is not an easy time to be away from our families, but it is the sweetest time to help other families become eternal.
Speaking of... the Amacio's are getting sealed this week! They were baptized/reactivated last November and we are SO excited for them. Kuya Arnold is actually the brother in law of the Amacio's...And so he will be coming to the temple and waiting outside. We plan on teaching him and are really praying that his heart will be ready for the gospel. He comes to church every Sunday, so please keep him in your prayers!
It should be a great week! I am so lucky to be in this area and be a missionary in the Philippines. 
I love you!
Sister Lockwood

Monday, November 9, 2015

Another Week!

 This is a picture of the name tag I wear everyday


 Putting the star on top of the mission president's Christmas tree because she is the tallest.  By American standards, they are about a month early putting up the tree but by the Philippines standards, they are about a month late!

 Fun with companion, Sister Veras

I will be home for Christmas!

Dear Family,
This week was good! Sister Veras and I really love this area in Las Pinas. We are working a lot in all of the stages of the mission vision. We are working really hard to find, and we have lots of new investigators taking their first steps towards baptism. We have recent converts and less actives that are working towards full activity, and also recent converts who are preparing to go to the temple next week!! The Amacio's family sealing is set for the 18th! Sister Veras and I are so excited that we will be able to attend. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to be a missionary in an area that is progressing in the different phases of the mission vision!
One miracle we saw this week was with Apple! We have been committing her to work on her MyFamily booklet, and she attended a family history class at church a couple weeks ago that helped her get started. This week we went to her home to help her find the final information she needed and print the names of her parents. She told us that before we came she had a dream about her mom and her dad and her whole family together. She told us that she had never had a dream like that before, and that it was a testimony to her that her parents were waiting for this important work to be done. We are so excited for her to take their names to the temple in the coming weeks for baptism!
Well I don't have too much time this week! I hope you have a great week!
Love you!
Sister Lockwood

Monday, November 2, 2015

We are not Alone in the Work

Cute kids that we gave candy to on Halloween

Camille and Liezel doing their family history

The Bufete Family 

Sunset at our apartment last night 

The one next to me is Weng

Dear Family,

I love being a missionary! This week was soo good for Sister Veras and I! We worked a lot with our recent converts. We did some family history, visiting teaching and lots of reteaching. The recent converts in our area are doing great and we are just having so much fun working with them.
Lately, Sister Veras and I have been praying and fasting to find new, prepared investigators. The longer I have been a missionary, the more I have come to realize that every investigator that progresses, and especially every investigator that progresses to baptism is a gift from the Lord. As missionaries, we teach so many people every day, and we talk to even more. We can work and work and teach and teach, but unless we are teaching those who have been prepared by the Lord, nothing really happens. 
Well this week, the Lord led us to those who are prepared! We had a family home evening planned at the Santos home with 3 of our investigators. When we arrived, Sister Santos had invited her neighbor, Weng, to join too. We taught and testified about the Book of Mormon and mostly focused on our 3 investigators. But when it was Weng's turn to share or ask questions, she bore her testimony that she knew the Book of Mormon was true! She told us that she had been taught by the Elders years back, but had never been baptized. She agreed to have us back to teach her again, and she came to church yesterday! We cannot wait to see where the coming weeks take her!
Another person that the Lord prepared for us this week is Tatay Virgillo. He is the father of 6 and is the only member of his family that is not a member of the church. The missionaries have tried again and again to teach him, but it has never really been his time. He has always left when they tried to teach, and has yet to attend church with his family. However, this week things changed! His 2 daughters had come back home from the province, and we visited them a few times. We taught about eternal families, and committed them all to come to church. You should have seen Sister Veras and my reaction when all 7 of them walked into church together!! We are SO happy for the Bufete family, and cannot wait for them to continue to experience the happiness that comes from the gospel.
I know with all my heart, and this is the Lord's work. He prepares people, and He touches their hearts to help them accept the gospel. Even though I have worked  hard over the past 16 months, I really have just been the instrument. I feel that I have done so little, and the Lord really has done it all. 
I feel like Ammon in the Book of Mormon in Alma 26 when he said, "11. I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

I don't have too many more days left in the Philippines, but I am so thankful for every person that I have had the opportunity to teach and love. It really has all been the Lord. 
I love what President Eyring said in the Priesthood session of conference, "When you do your part, the Lord adds His power to your efforts. He has called you and me into His service knowing our capacities and the help we will need. He will bless our efforts beyond our fondest expectations as we give our all in His service."

I love you! I hope you all have a great week!!

XOXOXO

Sister Lockwood

ps. Guess what! I got your package! Yay! And your letter, and also a letter from Kathryn, and Grandpa (: Thank you!! You are the best!!  Ahh.. I love you and I am getting so excited to come home!! Luckily we have the best area ever and things are really great, which is keeping me focused.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Feed My Sheep





Dear Family,

It was a really good week this week! The typhoon passed with not much to report on, but I did survive my very first earthquake this week!! It was like 10 oclock at night and I was sitting on my bed when all of of sudden my bed started shaking. It was super mild.  You could barely even tell it was an earthquake, but now I can say that I've experienced one!! Now I just pray that it will be the last. lol (: 

Sister Veras and I are in finding mode! And for anyone that has been a missionary before, knows that that is probably 75% of all missionary work is, and isn't always the most fun! We unpacked our area book, went through all of our potential investigators and former investigators and just went out looking! It really takes a LOT of finding efforts before we actually find people who are ready to accept the gospel. Luckily, here in the Philippines, people listen to us all the time. But its sometimes hard to find people to listen because they are truly interested rather than just because I am a white girl is speaking to them in Tagalog about Jesus. 

But, with the help of the Lord, this week we had some really great experiences finding! I'll share one of them. One afternoon, we had planned the WHOLE day to look for new people to teach. One of those who we were looking for was a sister named Rowenna who is a friend of one of our investigators. She had given us her address, but it wasn't complete. So we went to the street where she lives and started asking her neighbors if they knew someone named "Rowenna". Sadly, we didn't get the last name either so we had no luck! But, after practically everyone who lived on this street came out to help us find Sister Rowenna, someone said. "Mormons ba kayo? May mormons doon!" Which means, "You guys are mormons? There's some mormons who live over there!" We didn't know any members on the street, so we went to the house. After "tao poing" at the door, we met a sister named Mary Fay! She was baptized in the Province as a teenager, but has moved here to the city with her husband and 1 baby. Her husband is not a member and she has been less active since she was back in the Province.

Sister Mary Fay let us share a message with her, and we testified that Heavenly Father had led us to her! She talked with us about how she really had the desire to come back to church, but didn't quite know how. She cried as she shared her dreams of being married in the temple and raising her children in the church. As I sat there, I just thought to myself, "There really is nothing better than this." 

This week I have been studying in Jesus the Christ about the parables that Jesus gave. 3 parables that I studied this week were the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. All of them talk about how when even just 1 is lost, Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, goes to find the one that is lost. Each of us is so precious to Him, and He is always reaching out to us to bring us back into the fold. I know that Mary Fay is known personally by her Savior. Even though she moved to Manila, and the church did not know where she lived, God always knew. He was always aware of her and waiting for the day she would come back. 

Luke 15:4-7 read 
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

I am so blessed to be a servant of Jesus Christ. I love being an instrument in his hands to help find those sheep who are lost. That is the call He gives to those who truly want to be His disciples and follow Him. "Feed my sheep."

I love you! I hope you have a great week!!

XOXOXO

Sister Lockwood




Monday, October 19, 2015

Alam ko po na Ang Aklat ni Mormon ay totoo.

Dear Family,

Hello from Las Pinas! It was a crazy busy week for Sister Veras and I! We had our temple day, a finish strong meeting for those who only have 1 transfer left, and service projects in the ward! We are so busy, and the weeks keep flying by. 
Usually on Monday mornings in personal study, I think a little bit about what experiences I had that week and what things I could share with you. Today as I was reflecting over the week, what really stood out to me was the role that the Book of Mormon has played in the lives of those who we teach, and in my own mission experience.
In the introduction to the Book of Mormon we read, "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel." As missionaries, the Book of Mormon is our greatest teaching tool. We believe that through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Because of this, it is literally evidence of the message that we as missionaries share every day. If one comes to know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is true, they thereby discover the truthfulness of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, of priesthood authority, and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led by living prophets and apostles. 
As a missionary in the Philippines, I have invited hundreds if not thousands to read this book, and to come to know for themselves if it is true. 
This week Sister Veras and I were teaching one of our investigators named Rose. She lives in a humble home, and as we were teaching, her neighbors began to gather and listen to what we were sharing. One by one they either came and sat on the floor, or stood outside the window and listened to us teach about Jesus Christ, and His church on the Earth today. As we were closing, we gave Rose her own copy of the Book of Mormon. Her friends and neighbors quickly told us they wanted one too! When we returned with their own copies, they excitedly accepted and told us they would read. 
Of course, this is so exciting for us because this is the first step that they take to come unto Christ and His gospel. We know that if they will really read and pray with real intent, the Holy Ghost will testify to them of its truthfulness, and their lives will be changed forever. I have had this experience myself as I have read in the Book of Mormon, and prayed to ask God if it was true. Every time I read in it, the Holy Ghost testifies to my heart that it is not a book written by man, but the word of God, written by ancient prophets.
The Book of Mormon has also been a huge strength to me for a very different reason. It does act as proof of our message, and as evidence of the restored gospel. But it also is my source of comfort of peace, and the way that I have felt my Savior's love. The past few weeks have been some of the hardest on my mission, but the Book of Mormon has continually brought me the peace I need to keep going. 
Along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon helps me understand who Jesus Christ is, and more fully comprehend the sacrifice that He made for me. "The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ and confirms the truths found in the Holy Bible. Far from undermining the Bible, the Book of Mormon supports its testimony of Jesus Christ. One passage says that the Book of Mormon “shall establish the truth” of the Bible “and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).
In its more than 6,000 verses, the Book of Mormon refers to Jesus Christ almost 4,000 times and by 100 different names: “Jehovah,” “Immanuel,” “Holy Messiah,” “Lamb of God,” “Redeemer of Israel,” and so on." 
I love the Book of Mormon! I love getting to share it with everyone around me here in Las Pinas. I know that it is true. I know that Joseph Smith translated in by the power of God. I feel so blessed to have it as a power source of my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. For the remaining time I have here in the Philippines, I will continue to invite others to read it and to let the truth they find change their lives.
I love being a missionary! I hope you all have a great week and really let the Book of Mormon change your life as it has mine.

Love, Sister Lockwood

(Kayla did not send any pictures this week.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Planning for the future


(No explanation given about this photo.  I don't know who she is but this appears to be a family history form that can be taken to the temple to do work for deceased ancestors.)

Dear Family,

This is going to be short because I just spent the last half hour or so figuring out what class schedule I am going to register for in a couple of weeks. I am super excited! And pretty nervous, too.

This week was really good. Sister Veras and I are working hard.  We are preparing recent converts to go through the temple, and to start doing their family history work and stuff. We also found some really great new investigators this week too. So life is good!

Conference was definitely the highlight of my week. I LOVED LOVED Vern Stanfill's talk. That was such an answer to my prayers. I felt like it was talking exactly about my situation. Its okay to have to rely on other's light for awhile until you are strong enough to get back to how things used to be. I also really loved Elder Hales, Sister Marriott and President Uchtdorf. And of course, Elder Holland's talk made me cry thinking about you, mom. (General Conference is a world wide broadcast of inspirational talks given by the leaders of our church.  It takes place the first weekend in April and October but is aired in the Philippines 1 week late due to the time zone difference.  Recordings of the talks can be viewed or printed at lds.org.)

I also am "ponderizing" a scripture this week! I chose. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" Romans 8:6. Are you ponderizing a scripture this week? I chose that one because I felt like I keep getting the prompting that I need to clean up my media when I get home. I watched/listened to way too much crap. All media that we intake does have an effect on us whether we like it or not. So that's really a commitment that I am making to myself and to the Lord!


Another favorite quote I had was from President Uchtdorf "We don't need to be more of anything to start to become the person God wants us to be." (:

 I'm also doing my best to take dad's advice and "finish joyfully!" Don't worry about me, just keep prayin for me!

Love,
Sister Lockwood




Monday, October 5, 2015

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt

Dear Family,

Hello! This week has been super tough. I actually really considered not writing a letter this week, but I think that it is through the hardest parts of our missions that we learn and grow the most. I think there is value in recognizing that missionary life is really hard sometimes!

Before I served a mission, I knew it would be hard. When I got my call to the Philippines, I knew it would be really hard! I already knew in my head that I would have hard companions, that I might get head lice, bed bugs, hundreds of mosquito bites. I thought that I'd probably get homesick. I knew at some point the food would make me sick. I expected bucket showers, long hot days of rejection, big spiders, flying cock roaches, washing my laundry by hand.. I had heard almost every returned missionary testify that it was the hardest 2 years, but the best 2 years. I knew it was going to be really, really tough. But- I was willing to do it. It was an opportunity for me to show my Savior how much I love Him. It was a time for me to help others have the joy and blessings that I've had my whole life. I knew it would be hard, but that I would have heavenly help, and would learn and grow in the process.

And, for the past 15 months, that is about what has happened! Almost every trial that I expected would come, came. Of course, it wasn't easy, but I was able to look at it like an adventure, and it was what I had mentally prepared myself for. I was able to find things to be grateful for and overall maintain and really happy and positive perspective.

This past week, however, a trial came that wasn't really in the plans! Give me lice, bad food, crazy companions- whatever. But this particular trial-heck no, no way, no sir ree. And, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was not in the ideal mission Sister Lockwood had planned. 

So for the first few days, I just prayed and prayed that it would be gone. I thought, okay, if I have enough faith and determination, it will go away. I struggled and cried...and for the first time in my entire mission, I began to wonder if I could go on. I thought, maybe this is too big for me. Maybe I can't actually do it. I tried to be strong, just talk my way out of it, but I just literally could not move forward!

Finally, after hours on my knees, and after quite honestly feeling pretty sorry for myself, I realized that I needed to give in. I needed to be humble and figure out what the Lord was trying to teach me. I had to let go of the ideal mission that I had planned for myself.. and accept the mission that Heavenly Father had planned for me, whatever that might be.

And, of course, that is WAY easier said than done. At first, I thought, "Wait a minute? I just want to be a happy and healthy and hard working obedient missionary! Is that not the Lord's will for me? You want me to be happy right? Well, just in case you haven't noticed this isn't makin me so happy!" And right there... is where the lesson begins..

"Know thou, my daughter, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?"

Heavenly Father does want each of us to be happy. That is His greatest desire! But He sees a bigger picture than we see. He wants us to be happy now, but, what is MORE important to Him, is who he wants us to become, and how we can be happy for eternity. And sometimes, the only way to become that person, and to reach that happiness, is through trials. Its through those tests and times of despair that we start to reach that divine potential.

I am still trying to be humble and learn what the Lord has to teach me. But I am so thankful. For the first time in maybe my whole life- I really began to understand just a tiny bit of what the Savior felt when he cried out, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."

For all of us, for every missionary, and for every person on the planet, we will have times when we feel we cannot go on. We will wonder if we have the strength to move forward, and we do! We always do. Because the Savior of the world came before us. He is our source of strength, and He is there when nobody else is. 

I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father loves us. We are His children. His love is unfailing, and He will help us through every trial that we face. I am so thankful to be a missionary. To face trials that I never thought I would, and to come to know my Savior a little bit better.
Lots of love,

Sister Lockwood

(Kayla did not send any pictures this week but I am pulling these off of the mission blog and Sister Teo's blog.  Kayla got a new companion this week, Sister Veras, from Hawaii.  Sister Veras used to be Sister Teo's companion.)

"Christmas is coming, so we are already wrapping presents for missionaries.  (You have to start early when you have over 200 children! )  :)  (Thank goodness for wonderful Sisters who help me with this project!)"  Sister Ostler

Missionary Leadership Council

Sister Veras (before she was Kayla's companion) 

Sister Veras from Hawaii

Monday, September 28, 2015

Temple!

With Sis Arif at the temple.  What a very special day for her!

President Ostler did the work for her father.  I have the best mission president!

This is my district! It was sister Gallano's birthday so we bought her a cake

Sister Arif sprained her ankle

Dear Family,
I don't have too much time today so this will be short!
It was a good week in Las Pinas! We had the privilege of going to the temple to do the baptism for Sister Arif's father. She is from Pakistan, and they don't have a temple in her country. She had told President Ostler that she wanted so badly to do the temple work for him while she was here in the Philippines close to the temple. President Ostler did it himself! It was such a wonderful experience. I felt so lucky to just be there. Sister Arif said, "Now when people ask me how many members of the church are in my family, I can say 3! Me, my brother, and now my Father." 
I love being a missionary! It is such a blessing to help people not only here on this Earth to accept the gospel, but on the other side of the veil as well.
I love you! Have a great week!
Love, Sister Lockwood