Monday, July 27, 2015

The best is yet to be!

Robert's baptism with Brother Ho!  Happy Day!

Robert with his mom and brother, James.

My last lesson with the Berdin Family. :(


Dear Family, 
Hello, and for the last time, hello from Makati!! I got news this morning that I will be transferred! To be honest, I feel really really sad, but at the same time, I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences that Heavenly Father has allowed me to have here. 
Yesterday, Robert was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordained to the office of a Priest! We are SO excited for him! His baptism on Saturday was such a sweet experience for me. He was so happy, and his mom and brother were able to attend. Yesterday in sacrament meeting, Bishop invited him to share is testimony and it was powerful. It was so cute. At his baptism we invited him to share his testimony and when he got up there and looked to us and goes, "So, I just like, testify right?" Then that is exactly what he did! He said, "I testify that God lives. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true! I testify that Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson are prophets of God. I testify that this church is true." It was amazing! Recent Converts have the most powerful testimony because its straight from the heart. Robert is almost done with the Book of Mormon, and is literally just full of happiness and light. I have seen the real change that the gospel has on people. It's a change that just fills you with hope and peace and positivity! The ward is so amazing in helping him feel welcome. He already has a calling and has all the support he needs. The bishop also spoke at his baptism, and he talked about how baptism is just the beginning. Its the first step to the temple. Its the very beginning of a life filled of service and trying to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I can't wait for the day when I get to see those I have taught enter into the temple for themselves. 
The baptism was also really exciting because lots of our investigators came!! Jerry was able to come, and so was Carol. They are both progressing so much and I am excited for the day when I hear of their baptisms (: 
After such an exciting week, finding out about this transfer was super hard. I have no idea what kind of ward I will be assigned to next, or who my companion will be. But, ya know, I am realizing that that is what faith is. Faith is when we trust that Heavenly Father loves us, and He wants what's best for us. Faith is when we are lead, step by step, just like I left my comfortable happy life in Provo to come all the way here in the Philippines. There were moments there in those last few weeks in Helaman halls, when I seriously wondered if life got any better! I just cried and cried with Cady and Erica and all of my other best friends, and just wished I could stop time! Now, I am learning that Heavenly Father leads us by the hand. The only way for us to grow and to learn is to let go of what is behind us. We have to move forward. 
This morning I read a devotional talk by Jeffry R. Holland called "Remember Lots Wife." He talked about how when Lot and his family were called to leave Sodom and Gummorah Lots wife looked back longingly, and was turned to a pillar of salt. He said "In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future." He then reminds us that faith is pointed to the future! Our lives are ahead of us, and great wonderful happy things are ahead. 
Sometimes, we have to be lead one step at a time. We may not know how things will work out, or what our future holds. But, we ALWAYS have the Lord's promise, that if we follow Him, He will keep leading us to better things, because ultimately, that path is leading us to Him. 
I love you all so much! I am so full of gratitude for the experiences that I am having on my mission. I love the people here with all of my heart, and I am just loving every day I have to spend with them (:
Things will work out! The best is yet to be.
Sister Lockwood

Monday, July 20, 2015

1 year!

 Look who was at church yesterday with her new baby!! Margie!! Don't they look great (: (: 

My kabahays suprised me on Saturday with my one year sign!!! They're the best (: 

This is Robert and Sister Kim! Robert is actually half Korean and so the Kim family has been super involved in helping us teach him. 

Dear Family, 

It has officially been one year since I said goodbye to all of you and began my journey to the Philippines! It was crazy to think of how much has changed since then. Last time this year, I knew next to zero Tagalog, I almost never ate rice, and every night I prayed that no cockroaches would bite my eyes in the middle of the night. I barely knew the people or the culture, and I was absolutely terrified and pretty homesick.  Now, I speak Tagalog! I eat rice everyday, and I pray and pray for our wonderful investigators and less active members and the amazing Filipino people. I am so happy here and I can't believe that one year is over!! However, the night of my one year, I did wake up to a cockroach crawling up my leg in the middle of the night, so I have added again the same prayers about the cockroaches that I had last year. 

The biggest news for this week is Robert is getting baptized!!! This week was so amazing as we continued to teach him and really help him come to this decision. About a month ago, when he first came to the church, we extended July 25th as his baptismal date. It has been exciting for us as he has continued to grow and become more prepared for baptism. We have seen so many miracles. This week, we went over the baptismal interview questions with him, and he was a champ! But he said that he still wasn't sure if he was ready. We prayed and prayed for him, and when we were able to meet with him again, he told us of answered prayers that he had, and that he really knew that this was what Heavenly Father wanted for him. He talked about how at work they were starting to change people's schedules, and that he heard that many people were going to have to move to Sunday. He said, "Well, that's when I decided to do what the sisters keep telling me, pray about it." He prayed that he would still have Sundays off so he could go to the church. Later that night, he learned that there was a mess up in the computer and that he would still be able to work weekdays only. I have had SO much joy in teaching him, and he is just so ready!

Jerry is also doing great!! He came to church again, and this week we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also taught a new investigator who is from China as well! Her name is Aisha and she started taking an English class a few months ago from the senior couples and has been coming to church! Every week, when we teach, and then Brother and Sister Ho translate for us, I am just filled with the Holy Ghost. Brother and Sister Ho are from Houston, and are here for work for a few years. They are the only people around here that know Chienese, and I know that part of the reason they were brought all the way to the Philippines was to help these wonderful brothers and sisters hear and understand the gospel in their native language. 

We also have some really prepared investigators in the 3rd ward. Deli, who we met at church last week, came to church again yesterday and is really searching for the truth. We taught the restoration and are helping her to recognize answers to prayers. Caizy is also doing great and the days are counting down to her wedding! Exciting! 

I am just loving life in Makati!! We had exchanges again this week down in Las Pinas, and it was fun to work in areas with trees and fresh air and learn from the sisters there. 

I can't believe one year is gone! Of course I have mixed feelings, but I am just so deeply thankful for the experiences I have had over the past year and the people who still lay ahead in the next 6 months. 

I love you!! Have a great week!!


Sister Lockwood

Monday, July 13, 2015

I love being a missionary!

On exchanges with Sister Mabeza! 

This is Jerry! 

With Sister Pamesa

Dear Family, 
I love being a missionary!! In the MTC, our MTC president would always make us say that together, "I love being a missionary." It kind of became a joke in our district... Like we were in boot camp or something. But now, I can say it and really really mean it! This week was SO busy and crazy with exchanges and so many lessons. I'm super tired, but just feel great. 
As far as updates go, Robert is doing awesome and we are hoping that his baptism will be going through on the 25th!! This week we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and about a lot of the commandments. He is my favorite investigator because he loves learning. He always reads so much and comes to our lessons with so many questions. He is already over half way through the Book of Mormon!! My favorite thing he said this week was when he told us about an experience he had when reading in the Bible. He was reading in the last verses of Matthew, and he said that he felt a feeling come over him that he hadn't felt before. He said "I think I know what you mean now about feeling the spirit and knowing truth." Ah! Those words for a missionary are just heaven. Keep him in your prayers!! 
Jerry is also progressing super well. I think he should be baptized at the beginning of August! He just has so much faith. He comes to church every Sunday. He reads the Book of Mormon and he lives the commandments that we teach him! Even though it isn't always easy to communicate, with the help of Brother and Sister Ho, he really has come so far. 
Our other investigator, Caizy is doing great too!! She has gone through so much in her life, and I really know that Heavenly Father led her to the place where she is now. Its amazing to see how the Lord never forgets us. 
I am just so amazed at how many people the Lord has prepared for us to teach. Just this week we were at the church, and a family from Italy walked up because they are new to the area and were looking for a church to go to!! They are coming to church next Sunday, and are really excited to meet other foreign families! 
Another woman met some Elders last week when she was shopping, and she told them that she would go to the church nearest to her on Sunday. She came to church yesterday and said, "I gave them my phone number, so I was afraid if I didn't come that they would call me and ask me about it." She is actually in our area and we taught her for the first time yesterday!! She has had so much exposure to the church and is really really prepared. Her name is Deli, so you can keep her in your prayers too!! 
Our less active members are also continuing to merge back into the culture of the church!! Melanie and Chris came again, and so did Rey and another brother we have been working with!
We also had exchanges this week!! It was really fun because they were out further away from the city and I felt like I was on Palawan again!! There was grass and trees!!! ...These are things I havent seen in awhile. The sisters were super awesome! 
I just really can't say enough about how grateful I am to be assigned where I am. We are seeing so much progress in our area, and I can honestly say that it is 100% all the Lord's doing. Every person that we are teaching was led by Him to us. We have just been His instruments, in being at the right place at the right time. 
I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary!! I hope you have a great week!!
Sister Lockwood

ps. I got assigned to speak in church in the 4th ward on the 25th... pray for me lol. I will have to speak in front of my mission president AND the area presidency! Woof! 

Matthew 28:19-20 
19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Who We Are

This is Brother Paul and his family! SIster Fermin was on exchanges with me when we taught him. 

I got my kabahay to wear red white and blue for the 4th of July (:

This is Melonie and Chris

Dear Family, 
This week I am so thankful to be a missionary and to be in the Philippines!! I had some really amazing experiences this week with the people we have been working with. 
So last week, we taught Robert the Word of Wisdom (health code) for the first time, and he said he wasn't sure if he would be able to give up coffee because he just started to work night shifts, but that once his body got more adjusted that he would try. I really felt prompted to fast for him to help him be able to make this change! But I really didn't want to wait until fast Sunday so I decided to fast for Him on Tuesday. That day, we taught him, and he told us that he really felt like he was going to live it this week! Then on Friday, he texted us and told us that he went the whole week living the word of wisdom!! Ah, I never thought I could actually be this excited about someone not drinking coffee before.. But the joy is real. 
Another sweet experience for me was Sunday at church. When I came to the area, back in Feburary, Sister Soifua took me to an old less active member's home that she had worked with when she was assigned here last year. They are Melonie and Chris, long time members, and I instantly fell in love with them. I have gone back to their home with my companions ever since. Sister Dewan and I visited them, Sister Narag, and now Sister Pamesa. Last Sunday they came to sacrament meeting for the first time in over a year, and they came again yesterday!! When I went to give Melonie a hug, tears came to her eyes and she said, Thank you for never giving up on us." It was a moment that I will always remember. 
This week was also really great because I had my first exchanges as a Sister Training Leader!!  I worked with Sister Tiongco and Sister Fermin, and they are both AMAZING! Awe, I seriously feel so lucky to get to work with them. They are both the cutest little Filapinas who have rock solid testimonies. With Sister Fermin I was able to take her to one of our lessons in English, and she shared for the first time, her testimony in a different language. It was so cute, and everyone was touched. 

This week I was also just so extremely grateful to be teaching the Plan of Salvation. It is a lesson that we have been teaching a lot lately, and even though it is something I have heard my whole life, the truths are such a blessing for me to know. We know that we are sons and daughters of God, that we came from His presence to this Earth so that we could learn and grow. When we left, we wanted more than anything to return back to Him. Everything that we experience here in this life is for our good, to help prepare us to return to live back with Him. We can live with Him with our families for eternity if we choose to follow His son Jesus Christ. When we help people understand these things for the first time, it is just so exciting to watch them come to understand who they really are. I know that Robert and Melonie and Chris and every person that we are teaching is loved and known by God. I know that all He wants is for them to return to Him.

I don't really know everything that is going on in America right now... But I heard enough in my international ward to know that things are pretty crazy! This morning in my personal study, I studied a lot about the temple.. and about life in the latter days. We are living in a crazy world that is drawing nearer to the second coming of Jesus Christ! That is why we are called Latter-Day Saints. Heavenly Father has saved us to come to the earth at this time to prepare for His coming. We are SO lucky to be living now! It is a time to stand with courage for what we know to be true, and LOVE those around us. Sometimes that's a hard thing to balance, love and acceptance, and righteousness and truth. But I know that that's what we were called to this earth to do! Its all a part of Heavenly Father's plan for us.

I was reading in 1 Nephi 14 this morning and thinking about how much crazier the world still has yet to get. I feel like when I look at it from the beginning to the end, and remember that all this madness is going to end with the coming of Jesus Christ, it kind of seems more like an adventure and challenge that we get to live on the Earth at this time. I would definitely recommend those chapters when Nephi talks about our day. 
This verse was my favorite: 
 14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

In MLC this week, we talked a lot about temple covenants and the protection that comes with it. We read this talk by david a bednar..
He talked about the reality of the protection that comes with keeping our temple covenants. Just like the saints who left Nauvoo, we leave the temple armed with power! We have nothing to fear because we are promised protection! Just like the Saints who held on to their covenants and were able to cross the plains, we can hold on to the promises that have been made to us to survive in this world of craziness. I know that persecutions may come, but we will always be on the winning team! It really brought me a lot of peace to remember that my family is protected. 

I love being a missionary!! I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love knowing where I came from and where I want to go. I am experiencing so much joy helping others to know the same. 

Have a great week! I love you!!


Sister Lockwood

ps.  Oh yeah, I also got to see Sister Te'o this week at MLC! It had been WAY too long!