Monday, March 30, 2015

Because He Lives

Studying with my new companion, Sister Narag 

Sister Narag is my trainee from the Philippines 

#BecauseHeLives is an Easter video put out by the church. Check it out!

Dear Family,
Hello from Manila!! This week has been so great, and I am seriously on fire about the weeks and months ahead. This week we launched the Because He Lives initiative! It is so amazing and it is SO much fun getting to do this in the Philippines. The gospel is literally being sounded in every ear through projects like this one. 
I picked up my anak this week!! It was definitely hard to say good bye to Sister Dewan..I love her so much. But, I am excited about these next 12 weeks with my train-ee! Her name is Sister Narag! She is from the Philippines. She is 19 and so adorable!  We have already had lots of fun together. She calls me Nanay, and earlier she made us fish for lunch! I love being a trainer so much. New missionaries are just full of enthusiasm and faith (:  She is helping me A TON with my had been since my training that I had a Philipina companion. So I help her with English and she helps me with Tagalog (:
Guess what is happening this week!! Shane is getting baptized! We are so happy for her. She is only 9, but the decision she is making to be baptized will change her whole life. Her Grandma is too sweet, and is so thankful for us. 
The whole Berdin family came to church again!! Their baptism is right around the corner too, and this one is even more exciting because it is a whole family! Tom, the father has been coming to church and hopefully will be able to baptize his wife and daughter. Yay!! 
Bernarditta also came to church this week along with the Corrales family and Sister Noemi!! If you could keep all of them in your prayers, that would be awesome (:
Yesterday and today as we were sharing the BecauseHeLives video and pass along cards with investigators and members, I have just been filled with love. I feel my Saviors love for me so strongly, and I also feel it for everyone around me. We are seriously so blessed to have the light of Jesus Christ in our lives. Because He Lives, no matter what is happening around us, we can find light and life and happiness. 
In my call letter it says that "more happiness that you have ever experienced awaits you as you serve the Lord with all your heart might mind and strength". To be honest, I seriously wondered if I would experience more happiness than I ever have before. Living across the world from my family, in a foreign place, with foreign food and foreign bugs and language and people sounded like a big adventure, but not the happiest days of my life for sure.  But, these past few days I have been just filled with a happiness I have never felt before. It is something that doesn't come from my surroundings, but it comes from inside of me. It comes from knowing that my Savior lives! That he loves me and knows me perfectly, and that he loves and knows perfectly the 40 year old stranger sitting next to me on a jeepney. The knowledge that Jesus Christ lives can change the world. I am just so happy to be here, and I am so in love with sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ! 
I love you tons and hope you have an awesome week!
Sister Lockwood
ps. I'm sorry to hear it is cold!! It is hot hot hot here! The cold showers have become a blessing, haha!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Training Round 2!

A picture with Shane and her friends (Notice the pig in the background.. haha) 

 Me and Shane

This is a picture of the Berdin family! How cute are they?! 

This is a flood we drove through ealier! Yeah, its pretty much just sewage mixed with rain.. 

Dear Family,
Guess what! I'm having another anak! I got the text last Tuesday night from President calling me to train again! I am so excited. I actually really wanted to train again, and I feel so lucky that Heavenly Father is trusting me with another new missionary! I am also so pumped that we will be staying in Makati 3rd and 4th! She will either be from the Philippines or from a country called Kittybess (I have no idea how to spell that..). This week at the new trainers meeting president was like "I wanted to give you a break, but the Lord needs you here." Woo! We have the greatest mission president in the whole world. Sister Dewan goes home this week. I am not sure her flight leaves until Friday, and I pick up my new companion on we will see how that goes.So on Wednesday I will go to the mission home and pick her up and find out who she is! It's gonna be a blast. 
This week has been AWESOME! The whole Berdin family came to church, their baptism is coming up at the end of April! It was Shane's birthday yesterday, and she came to church and will be baptized in 2 weeks!! Yay!! Also, our amazing recent convert Meriden brought her friend to church for the first time!! Life is just so good when people come to church. 
It's really fun watching investigators come to church each week because you really can see how they grow and change from week to week. They just start to light up. It really is the beginning of conversion for them when they can make that step. 
As I have been able to watch these amazing people grow closer to the Savior, and grow stronger in their conversion, and also thinking about training again, I have pondered a lot how I need to become more converted. I feel like I've gotten really comfortable with missionary life, but I know that there is still so many ways I need to change. In Mosiah we learn, "The natural man is an enemy to God, and will be unless he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit and becometh a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." 
I am watching as Sister Berdin sacrifices coffee, and saves money for her family to come to church each week. I am touched by the faith of Sister Bernarditta as she leaves behind friends to come unto Christ. I see little 9 year old Shane as she tells her Grandma that she wants to go to church, even when her Grandma has to work. The change in these people is so real!! It is amazing! 
We learn about converts like Margie and Shane in the scriptures. Whether it was the disciples of Jesus Christ leaving behind their nets, or the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who bury their "weapons of rebellion", Heavenly Father has always asked his followers to leave behind their old life, their old habits, or their old ways. 
I want to be a convert like Shane! I want to leave behind the things that are holding me back and just give it all to my Savior. In the MTC we learned that conversion is to close the gap between what we KNOW and what we DO. It is to consistently live what we know to be right. 
I am so thankful for this opportunity I have to train and learn again about love and patience and obedience. Training is such an adventure!! 
Let's see...other fun things from this week. One day I was feelin super stressed, and when we went into the 7/11, I discovered that they have popcorn there and they will pop it for a microwave!! Literally the best day ever. Also, my foot mouth disease and leg fungui is gone! Hahaha, this week when I saw President he was like "how's thing?" Haha, so embarrassing.
Life is great in Manila! I am still going to be living in Mandaluyong with the STL's this that means like a 45 minute round of jeepneys to get to our 3rd ward area. I am so excited!! 
Love you!! Have a good week!!
Sister Lockwood
Also... We have interviews next Monday and so will not be emailing until Tuesday or Wednesday probably. Just as a heads up.

Monday, March 16, 2015

That your Burdens may be Light

With Shane (age 9) and Sister Dewan 

With Bernadita.  She is one of our investigators. 

So we are shotgunning this area, and the sisters before us had said that one of our investigators lived "near the river". So we went around asking where the river was. And everyone was like "walang tulay dito". 
So, when we finally found the investigator..we figured out THIS was the "tulay"  (river) they were talking about!! Gross! That's a sewer with trash... just to illustrate how gross Manila can be.  

The picture is of Rose! She is our recent convert, and last week she asked what is my favorite filipino food, and when we came this week she had made it for us! squid!! (: (: Masarap (: 

Dear Family, 
Let me just start this out by saying Manila is a very gross place. Unlike Palawan, this is not a place I am planning on vacationing with my future family. Makati, the area I am in, is as nice as Manila gets, but it's still, just gross. 
That being said, there is little need to wonder how I got a skin fungui and foot mouth sickness this week! It looked a lot grosser than it actually was. But basically it was just like a ring worm looking thing spreading on the back of my legs.  And then the foot mouth thing was sores all over my hands and feet that were itchy and painful.  But its already almost all the way gone too! Sister Lemmon, who is the mission doctor, is in the Makati 4th ward and she has taken good care of me. 
But. it was okay though because we have the best investigators in the WHOLE WORLD! And this week we had really really awesome lessons AND people came to church! 
First I'll tell you about Bernaditta! She is our 1 investigator from the 4th ward who is a filippino but her husband is from Oregon, and a member. He is coming here in May! But anyways, we have been teaching her for a couple weeks now, and we felt that we should do a chapel tour with her. So she met us on Saturday and we were able to show her around and have a lesson in the chapel. The spirit was really there, and then she came to church yesterday!! It was so cute, there's like famous people in the 4th ward and when she saw them she was like "Melonie goes to church with you?!" Haha, Melonie is like former Miss Universe or something. But church went so well and she already offered to help clean the chapel for the Relief Society activity this Saturday!!
Next is Shane! Shane is a 9 year old that I think I told you about last week. We started teaching her and she is a total sweet heart. Sister Dewan and I are already in love with her.  She has such a desire to learn and to be baptized. She is going to be baptized and then confirmed the first week of April! Yay! Happy Easter! 
Margie and Angel were not able to go to church, but their faith was such an example to me this week. They have made such big changes and sacrifices to live the word of wisdom, they are dressing modestly and are reading their scriptures everyday! Margie is so sweet to us. They should be baptized in mid April too (: 
Gerly! She is 26 and works in downtown Manila as an accountant. She is a new investigator..and we had a really really great lesson with her. She said that she got goose bumps as we recited the first vision (story of Joseph Smith). She wasn't able to come to church, but we are praying for next week. 
The other miracle we had with our investigators this week was with Annie and Samantha. Annie's husband won't let her come to church, but she knows that our message is true and is already living all of the commandments. We thought a church tour would be really great for her too, and it was. It was so powerful and Annie said that she felt "magaan"  which means "light" in Tagalog, like she was floating.  She bore her testimony to us, and she said that she would bear her testimony to her husband. We are praying for a miracle!!
I am SOO thankful for the amazing investigators we have right now.  Their faith strengthens me.  Even though I had crazy rashes and things going on this week, I really felt that my burdens were made light as I shared the spirit with these amazing people. 
I am so thankful for you!! I love you!!
Sister Lockwood
23 And now, my brethren, desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become tree,springing up in you unto everlasting lifeAnd then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light,through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye willAmen.
Answers to your questions:
We have a laundry shop that does our laundry which is SO NICE. I love it because they dry it and iron it too!  I got your Valentine's package this week!  Thank you!

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's Summer!

 Getting into a home of a less active member

Family Home Evening

Bedroom in Manila apartment 

Sister Dewan doing laundry in our bathroom 

The outside of our apartment complex in Manila

Dear Family, 
Well, it is officially SUMMER in the Philippines! Haha, the connotation of the word "summer" has changed so much.  At home summer is the best season ever and everyone is so happy and excited for the season...Here its more of like, "Here we go....". Its okay though, I've pretty much just gotten used to the fact that I sweat 24/7, except at church where we have air conditioning, and in the cold shower in the morning. (: Tender mercies.
This week was a really good week! I still LOVE my area (although sometimes the smells are a little too much here in the city...). Sister Dewan and I are the luckiest to be here. We found really solid new investigators this week and we have so many progressing towards baptism! One of the most exciting news was Sister Virgie, a recently reactivated grandmother in our area has a grand daughter, Shayne, who has been coming to church and wants to be baptized soon! Margie and Angel are still doing great (: I'll send a picture of them next week. Margie is the sweetest. She has 3 kids, her oldest is Angel who is 10, and the other 2 are 2 little boys and another on the way.  This week I asked her where she got her Makati shirt and she was like, "Oh here I have an extra!" The kindness and generosity of the people here who have next to nothing blows me away. Other investigators/less active members you can pray for are Bernaditta (our 4th ward investigator), Melanie, RR, and Annie and Samantha. 
Even though the work was really great this week, it was a really heavy week emotionally. Living in Manila Philippines, I am immersed in poverty all the time.  There are homeless people everywhere, and at least on a daily basis, little kids come asking me for food, or adults come begging for money. It is heartbreaking. And on top of the poverty, this week I was just made so aware of so much suffering beyond the temporal hardships that surround me. It can feel suffocating to comprehend the struggles that so many people go through.  Like in Sunday school, we were having a lesson on the importance of the family, and as we went around talking about the things that our parents have taught us, I realized how many of the people in the circle never knew their Mom or their Dad. Some of them were abused as children, and others lost their parents at a young age.  I think of so many around me who have gone through things I cannot even begin to imagine. I just want to cry out, "Why is life so unfair for these people!?" Some days as a missionary here, coming from the place and the home that I do, it's hard for me not to feel, "what good can I do?" How could I, a 20 year old American girl with a mom and a dad and next to no experience of suffering or hunger or death, help these people who go through so much?
But- that's when I remember, that despite all of the tragedy and sorrow I can't fix, there is good I can do! There is a power that I know of and have tasted of that is more powerful than any amount of sorrow and suffering that the world can throw at someone. Its a power that can bring more help and hope than any amount of money or set of doctors or rescue team could bring. That power is the pure love of Christ. 
While I have become so aware of the darkness that envelopes people's lives, I have come to understand in greater depth the light and hope that the love of Christ can bring and overcome that darkness. Only Jesus Christ has the power to fix the broken hearts and heal the wounds of the world, and as a missionary, it is Jesus Christ Himself that I am offering to others. I have seen that light enter into the life of my companion and into the lives of the less actives and investigators who allow Him into their life.  All it takes is an act of faith, and gradually we will feel His light enter into our lives just as sure as the sun rises from the dark night sky, into the perfect brightness of day. 
I will never understand why I was lucky enough to be born into the life I was, or why I was lucky enough to be taught of a Savior that loves me, but I do know that because of the life I have been given, Heavenly Father expects me to share that love and that light. There is something we all can do each day to bring that to someone else. 
I hope that all is well at home! I love you so much!! Thank you for all of your love and prayers!! 
Sister Lockwood

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Know Him!

Sending some birthday love from the Philippines!  Happy Birthday, Daddy!

With Sister Dewan and Melonie, a less active member, who bought us fried bananas 

selfie with Sister Dewan in our hot apartment 

matching outfits with Sister Dewan

Dear Family, 
So this week we had zone conference!! It was so great. And one of the parts that touched me the most was a song an Elder sang called "I Know Him". 
Those words automatically take me to the movie Elf!! That's like my favorite movie, and in one of the scenes, he is in a mall and they announce that Santa is coming-and he freaks out. Like he starts screaming and jumping up and down and gets so excited and then he tells the person next to him "I know him!"   
Haha, it may sound kinda funny but sometimes I feel a little bit like Elf.  I am in a huge city with brand new things all around me, I'm wearing funny clothes, but instead of trying to get everyone to believe in Santa, I'm trying to get everyone to believe in Jesus Christ. 
I think one of the reasons Elf was so persistent and successful and helping others to believe in Santa was because he KNEW him.  He even exclaimed to others "I know him!"
So, as a missionary, that's the question I am asking myself, "Do I know Jesus Christ?" Well this morning in personal study I was looking up the word "know" in the Index and found some really awesome scriptures about what it takes to know Jesus Christ. 
1 John 2:3 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."
1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love on another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

So from the scriptures, we learn that the way to know our Savior Jesus Christ is to keep His commandments and to love others around us. I am SO grateful for this opportunity to come to know my Savior.  I truly do know Him.  I love Him.  I know that as I come to know Him better, I can help others to know him too. (: 

I know that God is so aware of us.  No matter how bad things seem to be, He always loves us and is looking out for us.  I feel that every day.. whether I am praying that we can find a taxi quickly, or whether we are looking for a new investigator.  He knows us perfectly and is always waiting to bless us.  Now the task is for us to know him.

Okay, so here are the answers to all of your questions....
1. There is no Wal Mart in Makati! I don't think they have Wal Mart in the Philippines... We do most of our shopping at the Market on the side of the road cause its the cheapest.
2. Our apartment is on the 4th floor! There are guards that guard it and its really small and hot, but really safe and relatively nice apparently. (We sprayed for cockroaches today so hopefully that's better soon...)
3.We get fed GREAT meals! Tonight we have FHE (Family Home Evening) at our bishop's house and I'm sure it will be something good. Usually just the usual filipino stuff like rice and ulam, but its still way good. Last week the 2nd counselor in the bishopric got us Chow King take out! (That's a fast food place here.)
4. I am spending more money here..... I am hoping that that stops soon. Things were just really crazy with driving around in taxis and going to Subway and Wendy's.  But I think I'll be back on the budget this month.  And we get reimbursed too for the taxi's to the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center - health clinic for missionaries) so that will be good... I also got a letter from Kathryn!! Yay!! Oh yeah... when you send money, if you could make sure it is new money.  For some reason they won't transfer it to pesos if it is old. Idk.
5. We have AWESOME investigators!! RR is an 18 year old whose family is all members, some active some not, but his baptismal date is set for this month! Pray for him that his friends won't take him down the wrong path before then... We also are working with the Berdin family who came to church!! Ahhhh, so awesome! We are working with Margie, who's husband is a member, and her daughter Angel. They are too sweet and their baptism is scheduled for April! This week we are going to be focusing a lot on finding new investigators (: But from what it seems like, here in Makati it's way easier for people to come to church! YAYYY!!!!! We also are working with less active members: Reggie, Melonie, and the Corales family. So you can keep them all in your prayers (: Reggie came to church yesterday too!! 
6. I saw my first live rat the other day... oh my gosh. so sick. It was HUGE. I don't even want to know how many of those there are around here.
7. It can take us a really long time to get into our area depending on the traffic. We live in Mandaluyong, and our area is in Makati. (I think we live here because Sister Dewan needs to live with the Sister Training Leaders, because there are apartments in Makati...) but it takes about 30 minutes with light traffic, which is 3 jeepneys and a walk over the bridge (: Sometimes we have to take buses and taxis too. You would not BELIEVE how many people they can fit on a bus around here! hahaha.

I think that answers all of your questions!  I'd say the hardest part about my companion's struggles is that I feel really alone in the work.  I teach 90% of the lesson, and do the planning and OYMing and carry the stress by myself.  It can be kind of overwhelming... kinda like how I felt at the beginning of training.  But, I know how much I am growing and I am learning SO much! Especially how to rely on the Lord (: 

I'm so happy for everyone getting into BYU!!! YAY!!! They're gonna love it (: Tell them that they need to live in Helaman.
We have a basketball court at our new apartment that we work out on every morning. Any good work out ideas? I fell this week on the concrete and scraped up my knees pretty good, so I haven't been able to do anything on my knees. Hahaha, which is kinda hard because we kneel to pray like 12 times a day
I'm praying for Nathan's knee!!  Also, I got a letter from Sister Alred  and our primary!! They're the sweetest (: If anyone ever tells you they got a letter from me let me know, because sometimes I send things and never know if they actually get there. 
I love you all tons and tons!! Have a great week!! 
Sister Lockwood