Monday, May 4, 2015

Walking on Sunshine!

Berlin Family Baptism!

with the freezer door open!

Cookies at Sister Jensen's house!

Dear Family, 
Hello from a very happy sister missionary! This week was one of the best of my mission! We had so many miracles happen, and I was filled with the Spirit. The highlight of the week, was of course, the baptism of Margie and Angel. All week they were SO excited for their baptism. Even though they were an hour late, and I think I might have died from the stress in that hour, it was such a spiritual experience for all in attendance. Tom baptized both Angel and Margie, and all were in tears. Margie then shared her testimony and talked a lot about prayer and the members of the church. In her words "The second time I came to church, I knew that Mormons were true." Hehe she is the cutest (: And then their whole family sang "Families Can Be Together Forever". It was so beautiful! They're eyes are set on the temple!! Their goal is next May, and I know that they can do it! They have changed so much just in the 12 weeks that I have been teaching them. They have made hard changes with the Word of Wisdom and things like piercings and the sabbath day. Bigger than these changes though, is the change that is so visible in their faces. They GLOW! They are so happy and so clean! I LOVE their family so much!! What I was most touched by, though, was the testimony of Brother Berdin in sacrament meeting yesterday. He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to baptize his wife and daughter. He has been pretty quiet in a lot of the lessons, but he shared such a beautiful testimony of the gospel. He is the father of their home, and bringing the gospel back to them has been the greatest decision he has made for them. I feel like he really has become a man, and the kind of father that he needs to be. 
One of my greatest desires before I came on my mission was to see people really change, and that desire has been fulfilled with the Berdin family. I am so grateful.
Another great experience we had was with the grandmother of Shane, our convert who was baptized a few weeks ago. When we were re-teaching Shane lesson 1, Virige, the grandmother, expressed to us that she did not have a testimony of Joseph Smith. We had been focusing so much on Shane, that we had not fully recognized the needs of Virgie. The next day, we returned and shared a powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon, and where our testimonies come from. The spirit was present, and she committed to start from 1 Nephi 1 and read until she finished. She said this would be the first time for her to finish the Book of Mormon. The next day, Virgie's smile was as big as it has ever been! She was SO excited to tell us that she read through chapter 3! She said, "So this is the story of Nephi!!" Oh, the joy that comes when you see the light of the gospel enter their lives is just priceless.
The last miracle that I wanted to share started a couple of weeks ago in weekly planning. We, as a district, were really focusing on member referrals. And for us being in the 4th ward, we really have to rely on member referrals. So Sister Narag and I decided that every prayer we say-whether personal study, before lunch, or before leaving the apartment- we would pray for member referrals. And this week, they came!!! They came from everywhere! It seemed like every day a new member surprised us by introducing us to their friends. Ah, we have been so so blessed. One of my favorite referrals was from a youth in the fourth ward who we had visited. She came up to us yesterday and said, "Sisters, I took your advice! I shared the gospel with my friend and he is coming to church with me next Sunday!" I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. 
If I recall correctly, I think that last week I wasn't feeling so happy and hopeful when I emailed home. Sometimes the mission is really hard and some days I let it get to me. But if there is one thing that I think I have really come to realize this week is how much my Savior loves me, and how involved He ALWAYS is in my life.  This week was a great high, but not every week has been like that. Some weeks I feel discouraged and alone. Sometimes we experience rejection and things don't turn out the way we want. But, in the weeks that are like that, Heavenly Father is still there, and is just as involved as He was this week. He knows the blessings that are in store, and He knows how everything will always work out. He understands the lessons that I need to learn from the hard times I go through. Sometimes, I think in the storms of life, when I feel alone and sad, I forget how involved Heavenly Father is, and I forget about the blessings that will come. The scriptures promise that He will never leave us comfortless, but He will come unto us. He will always bring peace. The peace and the blessings may not always come immediately, but they always come. Now, I need to remember this when the storms do come, to hope for sunshine and remember that it is always around the corner! So when there are lice, or its 100 degrees outside and nobody wants to let us teach, I can take hope that there are brighter and cooler days ahead (; 
I love you so much! I know that the gospel changes people. I know that God lives. I know that He loves us perfectly and wants our happiness even more than we do. I know that as we trust Him, and have hope and gratitude even in the storms of life, we will find peace. 
Sister Lockwood

John 14:18 "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

(Answers to my Mom's questions) My new apartment is WAY close to my proselyting area.. I LOVE it. It is really tiny though, and pretty hot. But, so are all the apartments in Manila. Its now clean though and we are settled in! There are no cockroaches or bed bugs. And I don't think I have lice anymore! Yay! They have Kwell shampoo which is really good and kills them all. no worries! Yes, my roommates are Polynesian, from Tonga! They are affectionate and never sarcastic or mean but always laughing and fun (: Its good! Transfers are this week though, so we will probably be getting one new kabahay (roommate).
I am so happy that Sister Bowen texted you!!! She is so sweet, I love being in the 4th ward sooo much! Hahaha, yesterday was so funny...
Sister Northrup comes in and was like, "Who is Margaret Tate?" And I said my gradmother! She said that she added her on facebook. Then, I talked with the Bowens and got a picture with them, and THEN Sister Jensen came and gave me a big mom hug and asked if we could come over for dinner and cookies after church (: 
I was overwhelmed with grattitude in love. In just one day, Heavenly Father sent so much love to me from my family, from all the way around the world! I felt so close to you and so loved (: 
I really think I am the luckiest missionary in the world!
To continue...
President Ostler also came into church and said that Sister Teo sends her love! He came back from Palawan this week... It was seriously so much love in one day (:  

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