Monday, January 26, 2015

POWER in the gospel!

At the Benjie's Farm 

On our way to the internet cafe this morning

Dear Family,
Hello again! It was another really really great week here in Santa Monica! Ah, I think I probably only have a little over 2 weeks left here so I am savoring EVERY moment! The trees, the air, the PEOPLE, the tricycles, the ocean, the apartment, ah, I feel like the luckiest missionary EVER to have served here on this beautiful island.  I'm still praying that President Ostler will decide to let me stay one more transfer... but probably not going to happen! Its okay though, because I am consciously making an effort to think of all the great things about Manila... like the temple and my old missionary friends from the MTC and more people to talk to!! (wayyyy more people, haha) and fast food again! Yay!! 
But the miracle of this week was definitely Tatay Angelito! He is Yen Yen's Dad, the husband and Father of 2 of our recent converts.  His son, Jay and his wife Elvie were baptized last summer, but he was not.  He is such an amazing man.  Yen Yen, as you know, has CSP, and so he works A TON to help pay for her medication and doctors appointments.  The church has been a huge help, but since I've been here, he has worked many jobs trying to provide for his family.  He is always so kind to us, and always listens to our messages, but hasn't really been too interested in coming to church and progressing.  BUT-this week a miracle happened! Baby Yen Yen was sick last weekend with a high fever, and when we went back on Wednesday, she was still really sick.  So we called a member of the bishopric to come and give her a Priesthood blessing.  Uncoincidentally, we had just taught Elvie and Angelito about the Priesthood the week before.  We told him that it was literally the power of God on the earth today.  That the power that Jesus Christ had given to his apostles to heal the sick, He had given to men in our day! Angelito was so amazed by this.  We had taught him many times, but he never really seemed too interested, until this lesson.  THEN, we had an opportunity to literally show him the priesthood in action! Being a missionary and having the spirit tell you to teach on the Preisthood, and then having an experience like this is just such a testament to me that Heavenly Father is always involved in the details of our every day lives. The spirit was so strong as Brother Estreilla blessed Yen Yen. Angelito was so reverent and so thankful for this blessing.  When we came back on Friday, Yen Yen's fever was gone and they had said that she was healed.  So, guess who was at church yesterday! ANGELITO! Ah, seriously the joy that fills a missionary up when they see a whole beautiful family walk into church.  It was such a miracle, and the day that Angelito will be baptized and their whole family will be able to be sealed in the temple is now in sight! Ah!! I love being a missionary! 
Another really neat experience we had this week was with a security guard at this boys boarding school that Sister Teo and I walk by everyday. We never really notice the security guards (who always carry HUGE guns, by the way), but on Thursday, this security guard called out to us and asked us if we could give him a pamphlet. We were both way suprised at this manly guy asking us for something to read about Jesus Christ, but we gave it to him and set a return appointment at his house!   His name is Jayson, and we found his house Friday afternoon (finding people's houses is the biggest adventure/miracle because people dont have addresses). He told us that when we walked by on Thursday, a voice came into his mind that said "ask them for something to read". He then went on to tell us that he and his wife just lost their 6 month old son this past year, and that they have really been struggling to find the truth. It was such a powerful lesson, and I am so so so excited and thankful for the opportunity to teach them.
I love being a missionary so much! As Sister Teo and I are striving to be exactly obedient, the Lord is blessing us with more and more people who are ready to hear the gospel.  Our less active members are doing so well! The Lopez Family and the Segovia family and Joy are active and thriving with new callings! We have such a special bond with them.  We are continuing to find and teach people who are actually coming to church and experiencing the blessings of the gospel!! I am the LUCKIEST missionary to work in this area with these amazing people. 
People to pray for this week!! The Anasis Family, Jayson and Abigail, Eva, Tess, and Angelito. 
 Today we have a zone activity!! We're going to the beach again! (: Yay!! We also have interviews this Wednesday with President. 
Have a great week! There is real power and real joy that comes with living this restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ lives, He is a part of our lives every day. 
Love, Sister Lockwood

Monday, January 19, 2015

Best Week!

This is sister chua! She is one of our recently reactivated members. She's such a sweet heart, and we helped clean her yard this week (:  We also did a CSP for Sister Chua this week.  Our CSP (community service projects) always seem to include burning stuff these days, hahaha.  Actually, when we were teaching Kimberly (our new American friend who lives here on Palawan who is the GREATEST) Tagalog, she told us that its illegal to burn things. Whoops! I don't think any laws actually get enforced here in the Philippines. 

We made popcorn!!! Ah- I was SO HAPPY, as you could imagine, when I found out we could buy it and make it on the stove here. AH, best day! - This is Sister Falgui with me. She's the one who's training Sister Vaka. I love her (: (: She thinks it's really funny living with 3 "American" girls- even though sister Teo and Sister Vaka aren't American. Haha!  We were all freaking out about the popcorn and saying things like "this is the best day of my life!!" and she was just laughing. hahaha  

 Sister Teo made this for my 6 month mark.  Isn't she sweet?

Freaking out over the popcorn!  (My favorite snack!)

  I took this picture last week when we were leaving the internet shop and thought it was funny.  Animals are always just everywhere here.  That's just a dog sleep behind where we emailed! 

 District photo from the Christmas party taken from the mission blog.

Me with President and Sister Ostler dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus

Hello Family!!!
This week was such a sweet week for me!! I say this often, but I think this was the best week of my mission yet! 
A very significant experience that I had this week was realizing and recognizing the Lord's hand in picking Sister Teo and I's companionship. Over the past 9 weeks of training, I have often wondered "why me?" Why did Heavenly Father want me to train this amazing missionary? I can't speak the language very well, I'm not an amazing teacher. Why didn't He call someone who could really help her with the language, or could teach her from their months of experience? I struggled a lot trying to figure out why on earth Heavenly Father asked ME to do this. Some days when the language was difficult, or when the investigators continued to hide, I wondered if I was fulfilling this great responsibility to train that the Lord had given me. 
This week, however, I realized that as much as Heavenly Father loves Sister Teo and I, He didn't put us together for us. He put us together because He knew that the 2 of us could help his children here in Santa Monica C. He put us together for Sister Chua, and Sonia Segovia, and the Lopez family, and Eva and Jethro and Joy. He put us together because He knew that these people didn't need master teachers, or master language speakers, but they needed 2 humble 19 and 20 year old foreigners, telling them that they loved them, and that they had a Heavenly Father who loved them and needed them to come to church. 
At the beginning of our time together, Sister Teo and I had 0 people coming to church. And yesterday, my 6 month mark in the mission, we experienced the joy of seeing our reactivated members and families all at church, AND new INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH!!!!! Seriously, there were so many people we could barely handle them all and still stay together! Luckily, the branch is so awesome though, and I think everyone had a really great experience.  THAT is why I was called to train Sister Teo. The joy and satisfaction that I can now feel is so amazing. 
I have a testimony that God loves us all so individually. He knows exactly what we need. He knows exactly what our investigators and less actives need, and if we give Him all of our weaknesses, He really can make weak things become strong. 
I love you all so much! I know that God is so involved in each of your lives, and if you just look, you will find people who He has put in your path because He knew they needed your love. 
I love you!! xoxo
Sister Lockwood
ps.  MUSIC IS NOW ALLOWED!!!! We had zone meeting this week and we can now have a "counsel" in our apartments and decide what is okay!! Yayyy!!! So we've been listening to our ipods this week and its been THE BEST!
This week, interviews got moved.  Something happened with the flights to Palawan and so President will come next week hopefully.  We have interviews every other transfer and usually zone conference on the opposite transfers, but last month we had our Christmas party so no zone conference. 
We do have a new couple! They are the Newsons. We've worked with them a few times to show mormon messages (videos) in our lessons. They are so sweet, and they are just in our branch. The Hiatts are still here, they're just in Puerto, not here in Santa Monica.  Sister Hiatt is still our nurse here, and so this week when she called and heard that I had lost my voice she brought me herbal tea! My voice is all better now (: She's the sweetest! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A week of MIRACLES!

With Sister Alfeche in the city of Puerto Princesa (on exchanges in her area, not mine), reminds me how lucky I am to be in the jungle of Santa Monica! 

Making brownies in the toaster oven with Sister Vaka

Me in a tricycle

This week was a week of miracles... real experiences that have helped both Sister Teo and I, and our investigators and less active members to recognize the hand of God in our lives. 
The experience I want to share with you today is about the Lopez family! They have been a less active family we have worked with since I first arrived here in Santa Monica. Brother and Sister Lopez are endowed in the temple and they have 4 children, but when Brother Lopez quit his job to keep the sabbath day holy, they had no money and therefore had gone less active for the past year or so. I cannot tell you how many lessons we taught to the Lopez family about the principle of faith. We told them again and again that faith requires action, and in order for Heavenly Father to bless them, they had to act first. We encouraged them week after week to put church first, and then everything else would fall into place. And finally- they did! The last 2 weeks in December, they came to church with their whole family. I know it was a big sacrifice for them to come, I don't know all the details of how they did it, but they put their faith in God and came to church! With the goal to return to the temple, their family was so beautiful all together in their Sunday best. This week- guess who picked us up as our trike drive one day?!! Brother Lopez!!! He told us that after the 2nd Sunday of their whole family at church, he found a job. The job that Heavenly Father had been waiting to give them as soon as they were ready to act and show their faith. Their whole family was again at church yesterday, and the light and spirit that surrounds all of them is so real.  They were officially reactivated yesterday!! YAY!!!!
Our other Less Active members are continuing to do so great as well! Joy and the Segovia family were both at church again too!! 
Another miracle we saw this week was with Sister Eva.  She is less active and we have been trying to meet with her FOREVER! Her daughter is a recent convert, and hadn't been to church in months and so we knew we really needed to help them but we weren't really sure how! The month of December, we went back and back just trying to catch Eva to teach her.  The first fast Sunday in January we decided to fast for her.  We were impressed to just show her that we love her, and so that's what we did! Though we hadn't caught her, we left notes and cookies for her.  Finally, last week, she was home!! And she let us teach!!! And since then, we were able to go back 4 times!! And guess what! She came to church yesterday!! Seriously, when Sister Teo and I saw her with her girls walk in to sacrament (everyone comes late hahaha) we could have squealed! Such a miracle. I know 2 things- 1. fasting and prayer works. 2. LOVE is ALWAYS the answer! People only change when they feel understood and loved. 
Other really awesome miracles from this week- Arnell! He is from a part member family we have recently started teaching but he works on Sundays.  Every time we teach he says the same things "I have to work on Sundays, sorry." This week we really prayed for him to gain a testimony of the Restoration and want to make changes in his life.  After showing him the Restoration DVD he said "I'm gonna start looking for a new job!" Ahhh- when you're a missionary those words are like a dream! We are so happy!!! 
I am so thankful to be a missionary and really be able to see and recognize the miracles that happen in my own life and in the lives of those we work with here in the Philippines.  I LOVE this church. I know with all my heart it is true and Heavenly Father gave it to us because he WANTS to be a part of our lives. He WANTS and is WAITING to perform miracles for each one of us, we just have to have faith in him and be obedient first. 
Other fun things from the week- So here in the Philippines, its pretty much just understood that they're are ants everywhere. You can't leave any food out for longer than an hour before ants will be all over it. So, yesterday, I dropped a pen behind the couch and when i moved the couch to get it, there were ANT HILLS- like 6 ant hills in our house right there on the tile under the couch. Haha, I didn't even know that was possible! But hey we found the root of our ant problem! 
Another hilarious thing that happened was we were riding in a trike to a part of our area, and here in the Philippines there are always dogs everywhere all over the road, and sometimes trikes hit them, and me and Sister Teo freak out.  So this day, this trike driver looked like he was about to hit a dog, and we both like bowed our heads and closed our eyes so we wouldn't see, and when we past it and didn't hit it we both looked up at the same time, and the trike driver did the sign of the cross to end a prayer! Hahahaha, I think he thought that the 2 missionaries were praying in his tricycle. Hahaha, too funny. 
Well I hope you are happy!! I am SO happy! I love being a missionary so much! I love all of the people here in Santa Monica and I love knowing that the Lord put me and Sister Teo here just for them (: 
Sister Lockwood

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pagmamahal ng Diyos

Dear Family!
Hello from Santa Monica!! 
It was another really really great week! Our less active members are continuing to do SO well! The Segovias especially (: They all came to church again, and Sister Segovia bore her testimony and thanked Sister Teo and I for helping her family get back on track to go to the temple.  She also showed us her facebook, and the picture of us and her family is her new cover photo (:  Joy also came to church! She is doing so well, and we think she is gaining the desire to serve a mission!! We LOVE her!!! The Lopez family was also all at church.  We have SO much fun visiting them every week and playing games with their family.  It is always the BEST week when people come to church (: (: 
One really neat experience I had this week was with Sister Bascongada, the one with baby Yen Yen who has CP.  Well the therapy that the church has been helping Yen Yen to get is really really helping her! She is getting so much stronger, and just looks more relaxed and happy.  Every time we go over there, when we sing an opening song Yen Yen smiles so big and makes loud noises, and we always know that she's happy we are there (: But anyways- this week we had the impression to teach/talk to Sister Bascongada about fasting! When we began to teach, Sister told us that she had never fasted before, but that she was planning on fasting tomorrow.  She told us that she was fasting that Yen Yen would learn to walk. My heart literally melted when she told us with such faith that she knew that Heavenly Father could help her daughter.  It really is a situation that NEEDS God's help.  The Philippines is NOT a handicap friendly place. Our chapel is even up steep stairs, and their home is not wheel chair accessible.  If Yen Yen can't walk, she really will end up being home bound.  As of right now, Sister Bascongada carries her everywhere, but we know she can't do that forever.  ):  So, Sister Teo and I also fasted for baby Yen Yen.  I don't know if it will be the Lord's will for Yen Yen to walk, but I do know that the faith of Sister Bascongada can bring miracles.  Heavenly Father is so involved in each of our lives, and I know that if we have faith in Him, He really can bring to pass miracles everyday of our lives.  
This week was also New Years! We had to come in at 6 because...drunk people. But it was fun! Sister Teo and I played some games together and we just laughed in the apartment!
We got a new kabahay this week!! Sister Falgui is training! So we now have 2 trainers and 2 trainees in the house.  The new Sister, Sister Vaka, is AWESOME. She's from Canada, and Canadians are officially my favorite people right next to Philippinos and Polynesians.  But she's part Tongan too.  Its been so fun having her and we are already really good friends! 
I remember when President Talley set me apart, he talked a lot about other missionaries, and the impact they would have on me, and I on them.  As Sister Delaitubuna left this week, it was really hard to say goodbye again to someone who has been an angel to me! But now that Sister Vaka is here, and I'm becoming bffs with her too, it just reminds me that we are all sisters! And we will be forever! I am SO thankful for the divine attribute of LOVE that Heavenly Father has given each of us.  Sometimes, at a specific stage of my life, I think "Man, I am with the greatest people in the whole world right now, there's no way I'm gonna love anyone else this much!" But then, when a new stage of life comes, I love the new people just as much!! As children of God, we have inherited His divine attribute of loving other people.  And the best part about love is, is that we don't have a limited amount inside of us that can run out, but we can ALWAYS love more and more people.  
I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity I have to learn how to love.  I am so in love with all of the people here. Sister Teo, our investigators, the members, our kabahays, the random people we talk to on the street.  Love truly is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of my favorite quotes that I read this week says "Every day, we have the opportunity to increase the sum total of the world's happiness." Every day we can show our love to everyone around us! We are so lucky to have eachother and learn how to love eachother while here on the Earth.
AND I LOVE YOU!! I love you all SOOO much! I feel so lucky every week when I get on the computer and am reminded of the love that surrounds me from all of you. 
Have a great week!!! 
Sister Lockwood
ps. pagmamahal ng Diyos means Love of God
pps. i'm sorry this computer wont let me send pictures for some reason! Its okay though, I didn't really take many this week anyways.