Monday, August 31, 2015

Because I have been given much

The Ocsin Family

The Arias Family

Dwight and Dwayne

Dear Family,

My heart is so full this week!! I am the luckiest missionary in the world. We had so many great lessons and ,of course, so many great adventures as well. Last night there was a big storm, and so the power went out in the city. It's pretty fun for about the first 5 minutes when we light candles and take pictures...But then you realize that there is no electricity, which means no electric fans..which means it's HOT. But, luckily the power came back on before we had to go to sleep (: I also tried chicken liver for the first time! It is about as gross as it sounds. 

This week we were really focusing on the Doloroso family and the Arias family, who are both scheduled to be baptized this Saturday!!! Liezel, Camille, Michelle, and Y'vonne all had their interviews this week and it went well! Apple still has hers coming up on Tuesday. We are just having so much fun preparing them, and getting them excited about becoming members of the church. Each one of these individuals is so amazing. Liezel has been taught by the missionaries for over a year now! She was able to quit smoking just after I entered the area, and so is now qualified for baptism with her daughter and her neice. Apple and Yvonne are a part of a part member family. Brother Doloroso is a returned missionary, but went less active before he met Apple. We love their family SOOO much. They are wonderful, and I am just dreaming of the day they will send me pictures of themselves at the temple. Apple is totally a future Relief Society president, and Dwight and Dwayne are future missionaries. Its the best.

This morning I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah. This is the beginning of King Benjamin's address. As I read, today 2 verses stood out in particular. King Benjamin talks a lot about service. We always remember the verse that teaches that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. I loved the verses that taught...(21) "I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (24) And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?"

In my very first interview with President Ostler, he asked the question, "Why did you decide to serve a mission?" I responded that I felt that I had been blessed SO much. Everything good in my life has come from being a member of the church. I felt indebted, and that it was time for me to give back to my Father in Heaven. He replied "So, you feel that you need to try to pay God back for all that He has given." "Yes." He then smiled and said, "That is never going to work." 

At the time, I was kind of confused. Wasn't it time now for me to sacrifice? Wasn't I going to be sacrificing a lot? Warm showers, my family and friends, my time for 18 months.. At the time I could think of A LOT that I was giving up. President Ostler taught me that every time we give anything to the Lord, he pays us back even more than we gave. Now, over a year after that interview, I am starting to understand. True, I have sacrificed a lot. But, I have seen Heavenly Father showering the blessings on me. I have learned so much from these experiences that have changed me. I have made eternal friendships with people who I love so much. I have learned discipline, and come to better know my Savior Jesus Christ. I have become someone new. 

In the talk "The 4th Missionary" by Lawrence Corbridge, he describes it this way, "Some blessings you wait for; others are immediate and invariable. One way that you are immediately blessed, is that you are changed. And that change may be the greatest blessing of all. When you willingly obey the principles of the gospel, you are changed to become more like Him." 

I have been given so much. But my time here in the Philippines isn't so that I can give back and get even with Heavenly Father. I'm just being blessed even more! I am so thankful for every experience that I am having here. I love being a missionary and I am eternally indebted to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with this opportunity. 

I love you so much! Have a great week!!


Sister Lockwood

Monday, August 24, 2015

It is Wonderful to me

This is liezel and michelle and camille! It was her birthday last week so she invited us over for a small party (: Liezel is the mom.

This is the Ocsin family!!! Oh, we love them so much (:

This is the Doloroso family! We are praying that they will be baptized on the 5th!! We are SOOO excited for them.
The twins are Dwight and Dwayne..aka my bffs.

Dear Family, 
This week was definitely a test for Sister Lagrimas and I. It rained and it rained and it rained!! And-its not going to stop raining because its rainy season! I love rainy season because its not so hot, and I actually get to sleep with a sheet (: But, its also pretty rough sometimes because even though its raining, we still go out and work every day. Its different than last rainy season on Palwan, because it floods. Our area floods pretty bad.. But we do our best to work around it. In one part of our area this week, the floods were up to people's wastes!! And this wasn't even a bad typhoon like will be coming as the months go on. 
There are mangos here!! I am suprised I haven't told you about them.. I am borderline obsessed. Its not mango season anymore, but we still buy them all the time. Ah, they are so good. Did they have mangos in Paraguay? My favorite dessert is Mango float.
My shoes are doing good! I only wear my nice brown shoes to church or zone conference, etc. We wear rubber shoes every day. You really have to because it rains so much. I just got a new pair of rubber shoes before I transferred. 
Even though we are thankful for the rain, it was a test this week because with the rain, we experienced a lot of rejection. Its really crazy! In my whole year here in the Philippines, I have experienced so little rejection. And usually, when people reject us they just are nice and lie and say things like "we are busy" or "I am about to go somewhere". This hurts a lot less than, "Ayaw namin." Which literally translates to "We don't want that." Hahaha, but for some reason, our test this week was to see what we would do when rejection came with the rain! So, what did we do? We just kept going! We just walked around in the rain, soaking wet, OYMing people and going to everyone we could think of to listen to our message. 
And, we were blessed. We saw miracles happen, and we ended up seeing the rewards of our efforts. We have been working with the Arias family and Doloroso family to prepare them for baptism. Sister Lagrimas is probably about to get transferred, so we have been trying so hard to get them ready before she leaves. In order for the Doloroso to be qualified for baptism on the 5th, they HAD to come to church yesterday- and guess what?! They came! They were out of town and sick, and so we weren't able to see them hardly at all this week, but our efforts came through and they made it. Sister Liezel (Arias) also lived the Word of Wisdom another week this week so she is so close too!! We are praying for 5 baptisms on the 5th...the Doloroso family (Yvonne and Apple) and the Arias family (Liezel, Michelle, and Camille.)
Another miracle that happened for me this week happened during sacrament meeting yesterday. As missionaries, sometimes sacrament meeting can be one of the most stressful hours of the week. We are always rushing around picking up investigators before sacrament meeting, and then when we get there we are greeting everyone, talking with the members, and sometimes attending meetings with the bishop. Then, especially here in the Philippines, after sacrament starts, we hold our breath and pray and pray and watch the doors to see what investigators will come in late. I'm sure its  funny to watch us as we turn excitedly every time the door opens. Haha, but yesterday Sister Lagrimas and I set the goal to have a spiritual sacrament meeting. We wanted to try to focus more on the Atonement and the Savior and feel the strength that we need. As we began to sing the sacrament hymn, "I stand all Amazed" I thought to myself, "Doloroso isn't here yet. They have to come today." I then said a little prayer, and tried to focus on the words. As we closed the first verse, I saw Dwight and Dwayne out the window running in the parking lot towards the doors! The joy was so real. I then was able to really ponder about the meaning of the sacrament. As I passed the bread and the water to the investigator sitting next to me, I thought about what a privilege it is to get to share the blessings of the atonement with others. That is really what I am doing. And even though some days are hard, some days are stressful, and sometimes sacrament meeting isn't as spiritual and calm as it is when I am not a missionary- I love it. I am SO thankful to be doing this work. I am literally handing the body and blood of the Savior to others. We read in Doctrine & Covenants (scripture) that it is in the ordinances of the gospel.. like baptism, sacrament, and the temple, that the power of godliness is manifest. I am the luckiest to get to help people experience that power as we help them partake of the blessings of the ordinances of the gospel.

I love you all so much! I love being a missionary! Have a great week!
Sister Lockwood

Monday, August 17, 2015

Families can be together forever!

Amacio Family

Half of my companions in one photo!

Mission Leadership Council

Helping in the kitchen at the mission home 

Zone Conference

Dear Family, 
It is HOT. We survived this week without water! Last week after filling up every bowl and tub that we had, we were able to make it until the water got turned back on again. 
But, despite the heat, this week was good! I am so blessed to serve in a place where I always have lots of people to teach. I particularly love this area because we have so many families that we are working with!! It is so much fun to teach families, because as missionaries we help them embark on their journey towards the temple. As missionaries, we teach the lessons up until baptism, and then we work with our recent converts for at least one year after. We re-teach them the lessons and help them stay active. Part of that includes helping them get involved in callings, the Priesthood, home and visiting teaching, and ultimately, the temple. 
One of the families in our area who was baptized last year is preparing to enter the temple right now! The Amacio family. They are amazing, and yesterday Brother Amacio received the Melchezidek Priesthood! Even though they are still relatively new, they are making such a huge contribution to the ward and especially to their family. I feel so lucky to help them prepare to be sealed (:
We also have lots of families who are just making the first steps towards baptism. The Doloroso family is my favorite. Sadly, though, their kids got really sick this week and we weren't able to teach them at all ): So now we are goaling for baptism in early September. 
Our other investigators are doing great! Sister Liezel is living the word of wisdom!! Yay!! Its been a week now, I think, since she has smoked! So, life is good!
I don't have any other news really! I just love being a missionary! It is so much fun for me to help families no matter what stage they are at. I am so thankful for MY family. Even though its been a year, it still isn't easy being away from them. But it is the families here that we are working with that help me continue running! 
I love you!! Have a great week!
Love, Sister Lockwood

Monday, August 10, 2015

Just keep swimming

Dear Family,

Hello from Las Pinas! It has been another really great week, and I am just so blessed to be in this area. It is almost like a suburb of Manila. No tall buildings, but still lots of people around to talk too. There's more grass and trees and even some neighborhood goats (: Yesterday we found out that all of the water for Las Pinas is getting shut off this week! So we filled up all of our buckets and are looking forward to bucket baths this week. Actually since coming here, I've actually found it preferable to a shower because the water is so cold. 
The work is going really well. This week we worked with the Doloroso family! They are the family with Dwight and Dwayne. Sister Apple is soo progressing, and we had some powerful lessons with her this week. Her husband is a member, and so she has been coming to church and taking the lessons with us, but really just been searching to know for herself. When we taught her about the Book of Mormon on Friday, she told us that she is starting to feel something different when she reads. She says that every day she is excited to read another chapter, and that she is starting to recognize what we mean we we talk about feeling the truth through the spirit. She and her daughter, Yvonne, are preparing to be interviewed in a couple of weeks!! Their family will be SO blessed by the gospel, and I am already dreaming of the day they are all sealed. 
We also had a cool experience this week with the Ocsin family. They are probably my favorite. They save up money every week just so they can get transportation to church. The missionaries have been working with their family for awhile now, and this week we went visiting teaching with Sister Ocsin for the first time! It was so much fun! It was powerful to watch Sister Ocsin teach and testify and get to know the less active sister she was visiting. When they shared stories to eachother, it just reminded me of the importance of home and visiting teaching. I love getting to be a missionary and just helping people embrace every part of the gospel!!
A super funny thing that happened this week was when we were teaching Brother Efren. He is another one of my favorite investigators. He gets up early every Sunday and rides his bike to church. Haha, have I ever told you about how Filipinos seriously LOVE kareoke? Haha, well this week we went to Brother Efren's house and were going to watch the restoration DVD with him. But before we start every lesson, we sing first. So we were like, "Before we watch the DVD, is it okay if we sing first?" Then, Efren gets up and leaves the room and comes back with his microphone to connect to the kareoke machine! He goes "kakanta muna tayo?" Or "We'll sing first?" Oh man, it was so hilarious. He is also making great progress with the word of wisdom! Keep him in your prayers.
For me, this week was a great week but also provided opportunities for me to learn and grow. Sometimes for me, the routine of missionary work gets hard. Every day at 6:30 AM, we wake up and pray. Then at 8 oclock, personal study... At 12 oclock we leave the house and start proselyting. The schedule goes on and on and continues to repeat itself, and to be honest, sometimes I just think I might go crazy! At home, I loved not having every minute planned, and just sleeping when I felt tired. But, one morning in personal study I realized that that is just going to be a part of life. Even though I won't be a missionary forever and have to live on this schedule, there for sure will be things that I do not feel like doing. Sometimes, we don't want to read our scriptures, or maybe go to church. But I think it is in those times, that Heavenly Father just cares that we keep on trying, that we keep doing what's right, even when we don't feel like it. There will always be light and happiness waiting ahead, if we just hold on to what we know. I have for sure seen that in the mission field. I may not skip down every hot street, or hop out of bed every morning full of sunshine, but because I keep doing those things and keep doing my best, I am showing Heavenly Father that I love him. Just keep swimming! Sometimes, that's all that Heavenly Father wants from us. 
I know that God lives. I know that He is our loving Father. He is real, and He is involved in the details of our lives. Even though we may not always feel it, He is always there. Step by step, day by day, it is the choices that we make that we lead us back to Him one day.
I love you! I hope you have a great week! Keep praying for the Doloroso family, Efren, Liezel, Camille, Michelle, and the Ocsin family!! 


Sister Lockwood

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hello from Las Pinas!

 Transfer day at the office

 My beautiful new companion outside our house!! Sister Lagrimas (:

The outside of our apartment 

Sister Lagrimas made me this sign for when I arrived (:

Dear Family, 
Hello from Las Pinas! (It actually has a tilde over the n, so like las pinyas). I LOVE it here!! It was such a crazy week, and so hard for me to say goodbye to Makati, but I really just feel so blessed to be in this new area. 
My last days in Makati were a bit crazy.. Turns out I am severely allergic to squid. Apparently, my body developed an allergy for it! After eating dinner at the bishops house, we had quite the crazy night of rashes and stomach aches and breathing problems. But, of course, Heavenly Father never leaves his children, and especially not his missionaries, alone. Everything turned out to be okay, and now I get a cool epi pen just in case I accidentally eat it again! Then on Tuesday my companion, Sister Pamesa, got sick, so we were stuck in the apartment all day. It was so sad because it was my very last day to work in that area. I felt like Makati 3rd/4th was my baby! I remember back in February, when Sister Dewan and I shot gunned that area. I'll never forget my first Sunday going to church for 6 hours and being totally stressed and lost when we would try to find investigators houses! Then, after 6 months of working hard every day and praying and fasting and just falling in love with those people, it was just such a heart breaker to leave. The last prayer Sister Pamesa and I said together for Robert, Jerry, Carol, Berdin, Mary Ann, Melonie and Chris, Aisha... I just bawled. I never knew it would be so hard to say goodbye to those people!
But, on the plus side I get to see Sister Teo and Sister Pamesa frequently and they can keep me updated!! I saw them last week and they showed me a text from Robert. He went to the temple for the first time this week!! Ah, he LOVED it! I literally could not be more happy for him. So even though I'm not in Makati, keep praying for those amazing people!
After the emotional roller coaster of my last few days in Makati, I have just been falling in love with Las Pinas, and especially my new companion. Sister Lagrimas, who is an angel. She is so obedient and hard working and is so kind to me. I can just feel that we're gonna have a great transfer together. She's been out in the mission for about 10 months, so we are about the same age in the mission too, which is fun. We're STL's together, so we will be going on exchanges with all the Sisters here in Paranyaque. 
So- the new people in this area!! Ah- we started teaching a family this week who is SO AMAZING. They are the Doloroso family.. literally the coolest. They have twin sons who are named Dwight and Dwyane. And yes, that is as in Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade. Their mother is not a member yet, and Yvonne is their 10 year old daughter. Dwight and Dwyane are 6. They started coming to church a few weeks ago, and just have so much faith! They are amazing, and I am so pumped to keep teaching them.
Some of the other amazing people are Sister Liezel and Brother Efren. Sister Liezel started being taught by the missionaries last April! She has been coming to church on and off, but has had a smoking problem. When Sister Lagrimas first came here 4 months ago, she said that she was down to 6 sticks a day. But-my very first lesson with her-we committed her to ZERO! Ah- it is amazing! She has been working so hard for so long and is now finally there! I love to think about the Sisters who started teaching her last April. If only they could see her now...
The ward is also so awesome! The bishop is so on top of things and I just feel so at home already.

Well I am almost out of time! I love you so much!! Have a great week!!


Sister Lockwood

ps.  These are pictures taken at the mission office and posted by Sister Northrup, who is a missionary who works in the office.