Monday, February 23, 2015

Makati life is crazy!

This is the view from the top of the apartment where our senior couples live! Its so awesome!

I take that bridge into my area every day! (My area is where all the big buildings are.)

Even though it wasn't quite the same... I missed this.

Dear Family, 
Hello from Makati!! It has been such a fun week.  Life in the Philippines is always an adventure.
I LOVE Makati and I actually totally love living in the big city! Of course, I miss the beach and fresh air, but this is a really great change of pace. The city is tons of fun. I have really found it easy to count my blessings because I have many here. Like SUBWAY!!!! And Wendy's and Seven Eleven. And taxis. And sooo many people to talk to. I'm praying that I'll maybe even find Dr. Pepper soon (:
This week was super crazy because my companion is really struggling.  She had to leave about half way through the week, and so I was left companionless juggling 2 wards! Yesterday, church was so crazy.  I have Makati 3rd ward, the Tagalog ward, from 9-12, and then Makati 4th, the foreign ward, from 1-4. (Oh yeah, in the foreign ward there are famous a former Miss Universe and a famous guy on a TV show here...And ya know, the area presidency. No pressure or anything...)  And I had to have a "part time companion" the whole time.  So I managed to go through probably 6 companions just in those 7 hours.  Haha, ah, plus trying to work with the bishops and coordinate people to work with us this week, and organize what hours to spend in Makati 3rd and when to go to the 4th. Just writing this email my brain gets mixed up. Hopefully next week I'll be able to write and have a clearer head so I can tell you more clearly what is happening... 
If there is something that I have learned this week though, is that Heavenly Father gives us hard things.  Sometimes, He lets things happen to us that we feel that we can't handle.  A lot of times, those things don't make sense. We just want to ask why? Why is this happening to me? Why are things hard? Why did God let this happen to me? When we are in the middle of it all, we just feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Sometimes we just spend so much time wishing for a new situation or for our problems to just disappear. But if there is one thing I know that overpowers the times when I feel like giving up, is that God loves me.  He loves me perfectly and knows me exactly.  He knows when I need a companion who is going to push me to be more obedient, and He knows when I need a companion who will teach me patience and love.  He sent me here to the Manila mission, and He knew every crazy thing that would happen here, but He did it because He loves me! And He knows that I can become something better than I am through these experiences. 
I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week! Pray for my companion and I! And pray for Makati 3rd ward and Makati 4th ward (: 
Love, Sister Lockwood

One more thing that I have learned this week..
No matter where we live, what we eat, what we wear, or who we are around, there is always something to be grateful for.  I may not have hot showers, or get to proselyte on the beach anymore, but when we pray to be filled with gratitude, heavenly father will help us see the hundreds and thousands of tiny little blessings that He is always showering on us. 
I am so happy! I never ever would have thought I could be happy in the Philippines, with the rats and cockroaches, and with the crazy heat.  But, Heavenly Father has put me in the happiest place in the world. I have found happiness because it has been something that has come from inside of me.  
I hope you take time to pray and ask Heavenly Father to show you all of the beauty around you this week. There are tender mercies every day (:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Actual Jungle to Concrete Jungle

With my "Anak" 

Rose Estrella in Palawan. She is an amazing woman, who was such an example to me. It was one of the many really hard goodbyes to say ): 

We made sweet pancakes on Valentine's Day 

Saying goodbye to Palawan 

There's also celebrities in Makati 4th ward. This guy is a celebrity here in the Philippines on a day time TV show! haha, Sweet, huh? 

My new companion, Sis Dewan, from New Zealand 

Sister Soifua and I at the temple (this morning)

Hey mama...
We just got back from the temple and we just have a few minutes before we have to be out at work tonight.  The temple is such a blessing..I am so glad that I got to do that today. I am still working with Sister Soifua (another missionary in her apartment)...hopefully by the end of this week I'll be working with my companion, Sister Dewan.  3 areas for the 2 of us isn't exactly the most ideal thing. 
It's really funny... when I got called to train Sister Teo, I was convinced that that would be the hardest part of my mission.  How could it get harder than being in the field for 12 weeks and having to train someone who couldn't speak the language either, right? Well...wrong! Moving to the city and being thrown into 2 new areas with a struggling companion is definitely the hardest part of my mission yet. The stress is so real, and so I'm having a hard time sleeping at night and my back is in pain from the knots that are forming. Its not easy leaving behind 3 of your best friends and all of the amazing people from Santa Monica either. Sister Teo was my best friend and its so hard not having her to talk to! I miss Sister Vaka and Sister Falgui as well. The branch was hard to leave, and I just felt so much love from all of the members.  However, I know that I will soon feel at home here and that I will grow to love the members so much. 
Here's a little bit about my areas...
Makati 3rd is like the 2nd richest ward in Manila next to Makati 4th.  The ward is AWESOME and branch missionaries have already signed up to work with me all this week! Hallelujah! The bishop is awesome and guess what-THERES A DINNER CALENDAR! And people have signed up like every night!! Ahhh!! There was no such thing back on Palawan. The sisters before us in Makati 3rd I think were pretty disobedient and didn't give us a ton to work with.  The area book doesn't have hardly any investigators for us to go back to.  While that's super frustrating, its also a really great opportunity to turn the area around and excersize faith in finding new people.  It will be an adventure for sure!!
Makati 4th is the English speaking ward and is all foreigners.  The area Presidency goes to church there every Sunday along with the Ostler's! (No pressure or anything! haha) The boundaries for this ward literally cover the entire mission.  So that's pretty crazy, but its really fun because all of the investigators come directly from the ward itself, and not from tracting.  We already went to dinner with a sister who lives in a condo in Makati! We had pasta with THE BEST view of the city! We also went to ward council before church and it was awesome! They started on time and had an agenda and everything! The bishop is also really great and is pushing for more missionary work in the ward.  That ward is also gonna be providing all sorts of great dinner appointments in air conditioned homes. hehehe (: 
Let's see what else... The apartment is really tiny and there are baby cockroaches everywhere. I am determined to find the nest soon so that we can get rid of them. Yesterday Sister Soifua's desk drawer fell out and like 10 cockroaches all came running out.  Of course, I freaked out and all the other sisters were like, "Do you have a thing with cockroaches or something?" I'm like, "Uhhh, do you NOT have a thing with cockroaches?!" hahahaha! I dont know that I'll ever really get over that one. 
But our apartment is really safe and there's security guards and an elevator and a basketball court out front that we work out on in the mornings. 
I opened my old suitcase that's been in the mission home for 6 months!! Haha, its funny how I didn't miss anything that was in there. I found some Pringles and chocolate though so you know that made my day (:
I haven't gotten your package yet but I get to go to the chapel that is attached to the mission office twice a week every week so yay!! Bring on the mail and packages because I get them every week! Haha, just kidding. (but not really)
SO..amidst this madness I'd say the biggest thing I have learned is gratitude.  If I think too much about how much I miss the Segovia's or about my back or about the mess that is my area right now, it can be really overwhelming and I just want to cry.  But, thankfully a few days before the transfer I felt like I should fast to be blessed with the gift of gratitude amidst the big changes.  Making a conscious effort to look for things to be grateful for has made these past 3 days not only okay, but really enjoyable! 
Here are just a few of the amazing blessings that I am SOO thankful for..
1. Sister Soifua, the STL (Sister Training Leader) who is saving me by showing me around the city and teaching me how to ride jeepneys and what guys you probably shouldn't OYM (initiate contact).
2. The TEMPLE! Walking into the temple today was like instant peace, I never wanted to leave the celestial room. Not being able to go to the temple for 6 months, and then getting to go at a time I needed it so badly was such a blessing.
3. The CITY! I go to church in what reminds me of downtown NYC. There are skyscrapers, and McDonalds and Starbucks and taxis and huge shopping malls. It is SUCH a blast! Now, next week after working in the "squatters" or where my investigators will actually live, I may have a different attitude, but as of right now I am so thankful for this awesome energy that comes from living in a huge city!
4. The wards! The wards here are SO amazing, and I literally have been blessed with the 2 best areas in the mission. Today at the temple an Elder said "You went from Palawan to Makati?! You're the luckiest missionary ever!" Which, I really totally am. 
5. I am so thankful for you! Despite the changes that come like crazy here on the mission, knowing that I have a support system at home that is praying for me means the world.
6. Of course, my Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel.  HE is the reason I am here, and HE is the reason that I am going to work hard in this new area. And HE is the only way I am ever going to succeed. I know that He is there always for me, and even though sometimes I feel like this new responsibility is impossible, all is possible through Him.
Some days on the mission I'm like "ahh did I really sign up for this?! What was I thinking?" But I know that Heavenly Father is giving me this opportunity so that I can learn and grow and be better.
I love you TONS and TONS! Have a great week!!
Sister Lockwood

ps.  Next week I will send pictures of the apartment and the city.

Monday, February 16, 2015

No email

No email was received from Kayla.  Her blog will be updated once we hear from her.  In the meantime, enjoy these pictures from Sis Teo's blog.  They got to explore a cave last week.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Love Life!

This is the daughter of the lady who does our laundry.  So cute!

Sister Teo and I explored the jungle this week (: A lot of our area is actually pretty jungle-ey. Its so beautiful!! We were laughing this week that Heavenly Father really has a sense of humor of sending us both here.  

This is Benji- The awesome recent convert.  This is him pouring me some Bucol Juice, or coconut juice.  It is amazinggggg! He literally climbs the trees by his house to cut down coconuts before we come.

This is Joy- one of the less active members who has returned since we got here. I love her SOO much!!

Dear Family, 
Hello from Santa Monica!!! We are waiting to hear right now about transfers...So needless to say I'm a little anxious. But this week was soo awesome!! They say that the mission is full of ups and downs, and that is so true.  That's just true about life, but its through the downs that we really can appreciate the ups!
This week was definitely an up for sister Teo and I because...
 Jayson and Abigail came to church for the first time, and had a great experience!!
 Sister Teo and I finally reached our goal of 100 OYMS!! 101 actually (:
 Sister Parina gave me a suprise phone call because she goes home this week. (:
 The whole Cullumar family came to church for the first time in years! (They are less active.)
 We found some really solid new investigators.
 Elder Bowen came and talked to us! He is a member of the area Presidency. He talked a lot about obedience and the power of the priesthood. 

And way more fun things happen that are just a part of living in Santa Monica (: I have been the luckiest Sister Missionary in the whole world to serve here. The people, the area, the branch, my companions, ALL of it has been such a blessing and such a great experience for me! Now I just have to trust that Heavenly Father has something even greater in store for me!

Another really awesome thing this week...
Elder Zook, our zone leader, asked Sister Teo and I to speak in Zone meeting because he said that we are the best example of obedience in our entire zone! 
Sister Teo and I really have worked so hard to be exactly obedient every day.  I have gotten out of bed at 6:30 for almost 7 months now without missing a single day! For anyone who knows me, that is a miracle. Even though every day I totally have the temptation to sleep in, I remember that if I'm going to ask people to be obedient when its hard for them, I have to do it first. 
I'm learning so much here that I can totally see how you learned it on your mission! Like planning...we have to plan everything, and it always reminds me of your planner that you take with you everywhere. Believe it or not, I don't know if I'll be able to live without a planner now!! And going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday.  Its so awesome because during the day I'm not tired!! All of these little blessings that I learn  on the mission will really bless me forever. 
I love you so much mom! The longer I'm on my mission, the less I miss you guys, but I still feel so close to you everyday.  I feel the strength of your love and  your prayers, and its knowing the support system that I always have at home that really gives me that extra push when the days are hard. Thank you soooo much for everything!

This week we took the ward list and found ALL of the less actives in our area who were on our list! (there are A TON- so it was a week of miracles.) Most of them don't have exact addresses either so basically we just going around asking everyone "Do you know the Smith family? Or John smith?" Or the classic "Do any mormons live here?" Hahahaha, it sounds crazy but it really works!! Many of them aren't in a place in their lives yet to return, but many of them are, so it was really exciting.  And an adventure too!! 
This keyboard is really really hard to type on, so I'm sorry this email is short! I know that God lives and that as we are obedient to Him, He will give us so much more than we could ever make for ourselves! 
I love you all so much! I am doing great and totally loving life! I hope you are too!! Whether we are in an up, or in a down, God is always there and through his gospel we can always find the happiness He has to offer.

Sister Lockwood

Well- the Zone Leader just called!!
I'm leaving Palawan!! 
I'm getting transferred to Makati 3B!!!
I leave here on Saturday!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I give unto men weakness

Zone Activity at the beach! We are the luckiest to be the missionaries on Palawan!

This is the Quisido family who is being reactivated!!! They are the best (: We had an FHE (Family Home Evening) with them and the other Sisters last Monday. 

Sister Teo and I treated ourselves to some cake at this cute bakery because we went into Bayan (aka civilization..) for interviews!

Dear Family,
I love you all so much! I hope that all is well in Ohio! It looks like y'all are having a ton of fun with all of the snow! 
This week was hard. Which is good! I think it would be really weird if every week I wrote you and never had a hard week. But despite the fact that it was hard, I am SO happy and am SO SO thankful for my Savior. 
Missions are really funny because we literally give all of ourselves to Heavenly Father and say "Alright, do what you will!" We give our time, our energy, sometimes it feels like even our agency haha, and all of our thoughts up to God.  In Ether 12:27 the Lord says, "And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness." As a missionary, because I myself have come unto Christ, He has showed me my weaknesses! And some days, it feels like He shows me them all at once.
In my interview with President Ostler, he said that Heavenly Father wants to change who we are, and He gives us promptings and direction on how to become who He wants us to be.  He encouraged me to not resist these promptings, because only by giving in and giving up our will for God's will, can we attain ALL of the blessings that our Heavenly Father wants for us.  This kinda freaked me out, because now I had to figure out what changes I was resisting! 
The scripture in Ether continues "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble." Well, lets just say as soon as I made the decision to hear and heed the promptings to change, Heavenly Father humbled me! From Friday to Saturday, it almost felt I couldn't do anything right. From just teaching in the lessons, or being late to a baptism, it was just rough.  Even on Sunday morning, we went to pick up our investigators for church and they were still sleeping. I was just so frustrated and I just felt overwhelmed with everything I needed to be better at! 
But I love that the scripture in Ether then says "and my grace is sufficient for all men...for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
As we sat in church, I felt defeated and had no idea how to overcome all of these weaknesses.  I found myself dwelling on the past, and past short comings that I've had.  But something amazing happened! Every week at church, we have the opportunity to take the sacrament.  Usually I try to make the sacrament meaningful, but until this Sunday, I have never desired the strength and enabling power of the Atonement from the Sacrament.  As we ate the bread and water, my thoughts were changed.  Rather than feeling angry or upset about the past week, I felt hopeful and excited about the week to come.  I really felt the love of my Savior who promises us that when we will come unto Him, He will give us rest. 
I am so thankful for this mission! I know that as I have the opportunity to teach others about the love Jesus Christ has for them, that I discover it for myself as well. I know with all my heart that Christ's grace is sufficient for all of us! He is the source of hope and of help that we all need every week to move FORWARD, and especially on the weeks when we feel that we have more weaknesses than we can overcome on our own. 
Not very many people came to church... so lame! But its okay because Brother Segovia moved back (he had left for work) and the whole family was at church! Also the Lopez's and Joy are still doing really really well. 
I love you tons and tons and tons!! 
Sister Lockwood

Isa Pa ...means "one more"
This is Sister Falgui!  ...the Filipino in our apartment who I LOVE!

Also, here is a random picture of one of the houses we teach in! Thought you might find it fun to see. That's probably like the average house here, and most of the houses we teach in are like this one.