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

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