Monday, October 26, 2015

Feed My Sheep

Dear Family,

It was a really good week this week! The typhoon passed with not much to report on, but I did survive my very first earthquake this week!! It was like 10 oclock at night and I was sitting on my bed when all of of sudden my bed started shaking. It was super mild.  You could barely even tell it was an earthquake, but now I can say that I've experienced one!! Now I just pray that it will be the last. lol (: 

Sister Veras and I are in finding mode! And for anyone that has been a missionary before, knows that that is probably 75% of all missionary work is, and isn't always the most fun! We unpacked our area book, went through all of our potential investigators and former investigators and just went out looking! It really takes a LOT of finding efforts before we actually find people who are ready to accept the gospel. Luckily, here in the Philippines, people listen to us all the time. But its sometimes hard to find people to listen because they are truly interested rather than just because I am a white girl is speaking to them in Tagalog about Jesus. 

But, with the help of the Lord, this week we had some really great experiences finding! I'll share one of them. One afternoon, we had planned the WHOLE day to look for new people to teach. One of those who we were looking for was a sister named Rowenna who is a friend of one of our investigators. She had given us her address, but it wasn't complete. So we went to the street where she lives and started asking her neighbors if they knew someone named "Rowenna". Sadly, we didn't get the last name either so we had no luck! But, after practically everyone who lived on this street came out to help us find Sister Rowenna, someone said. "Mormons ba kayo? May mormons doon!" Which means, "You guys are mormons? There's some mormons who live over there!" We didn't know any members on the street, so we went to the house. After "tao poing" at the door, we met a sister named Mary Fay! She was baptized in the Province as a teenager, but has moved here to the city with her husband and 1 baby. Her husband is not a member and she has been less active since she was back in the Province.

Sister Mary Fay let us share a message with her, and we testified that Heavenly Father had led us to her! She talked with us about how she really had the desire to come back to church, but didn't quite know how. She cried as she shared her dreams of being married in the temple and raising her children in the church. As I sat there, I just thought to myself, "There really is nothing better than this." 

This week I have been studying in Jesus the Christ about the parables that Jesus gave. 3 parables that I studied this week were the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. All of them talk about how when even just 1 is lost, Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, goes to find the one that is lost. Each of us is so precious to Him, and He is always reaching out to us to bring us back into the fold. I know that Mary Fay is known personally by her Savior. Even though she moved to Manila, and the church did not know where she lived, God always knew. He was always aware of her and waiting for the day she would come back. 

Luke 15:4-7 read 
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

I am so blessed to be a servant of Jesus Christ. I love being an instrument in his hands to help find those sheep who are lost. That is the call He gives to those who truly want to be His disciples and follow Him. "Feed my sheep."

I love you! I hope you have a great week!!


Sister Lockwood

Monday, October 19, 2015

Alam ko po na Ang Aklat ni Mormon ay totoo.

Dear Family,

Hello from Las Pinas! It was a crazy busy week for Sister Veras and I! We had our temple day, a finish strong meeting for those who only have 1 transfer left, and service projects in the ward! We are so busy, and the weeks keep flying by. 
Usually on Monday mornings in personal study, I think a little bit about what experiences I had that week and what things I could share with you. Today as I was reflecting over the week, what really stood out to me was the role that the Book of Mormon has played in the lives of those who we teach, and in my own mission experience.
In the introduction to the Book of Mormon we read, "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel." As missionaries, the Book of Mormon is our greatest teaching tool. We believe that through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Because of this, it is literally evidence of the message that we as missionaries share every day. If one comes to know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is true, they thereby discover the truthfulness of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, of priesthood authority, and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led by living prophets and apostles. 
As a missionary in the Philippines, I have invited hundreds if not thousands to read this book, and to come to know for themselves if it is true. 
This week Sister Veras and I were teaching one of our investigators named Rose. She lives in a humble home, and as we were teaching, her neighbors began to gather and listen to what we were sharing. One by one they either came and sat on the floor, or stood outside the window and listened to us teach about Jesus Christ, and His church on the Earth today. As we were closing, we gave Rose her own copy of the Book of Mormon. Her friends and neighbors quickly told us they wanted one too! When we returned with their own copies, they excitedly accepted and told us they would read. 
Of course, this is so exciting for us because this is the first step that they take to come unto Christ and His gospel. We know that if they will really read and pray with real intent, the Holy Ghost will testify to them of its truthfulness, and their lives will be changed forever. I have had this experience myself as I have read in the Book of Mormon, and prayed to ask God if it was true. Every time I read in it, the Holy Ghost testifies to my heart that it is not a book written by man, but the word of God, written by ancient prophets.
The Book of Mormon has also been a huge strength to me for a very different reason. It does act as proof of our message, and as evidence of the restored gospel. But it also is my source of comfort of peace, and the way that I have felt my Savior's love. The past few weeks have been some of the hardest on my mission, but the Book of Mormon has continually brought me the peace I need to keep going. 
Along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon helps me understand who Jesus Christ is, and more fully comprehend the sacrifice that He made for me. "The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ and confirms the truths found in the Holy Bible. Far from undermining the Bible, the Book of Mormon supports its testimony of Jesus Christ. One passage says that the Book of Mormon “shall establish the truth” of the Bible “and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).
In its more than 6,000 verses, the Book of Mormon refers to Jesus Christ almost 4,000 times and by 100 different names: “Jehovah,” “Immanuel,” “Holy Messiah,” “Lamb of God,” “Redeemer of Israel,” and so on." 
I love the Book of Mormon! I love getting to share it with everyone around me here in Las Pinas. I know that it is true. I know that Joseph Smith translated in by the power of God. I feel so blessed to have it as a power source of my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. For the remaining time I have here in the Philippines, I will continue to invite others to read it and to let the truth they find change their lives.
I love being a missionary! I hope you all have a great week and really let the Book of Mormon change your life as it has mine.

Love, Sister Lockwood

(Kayla did not send any pictures this week.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Planning for the future

(No explanation given about this photo.  I don't know who she is but this appears to be a family history form that can be taken to the temple to do work for deceased ancestors.)

Dear Family,

This is going to be short because I just spent the last half hour or so figuring out what class schedule I am going to register for in a couple of weeks. I am super excited! And pretty nervous, too.

This week was really good. Sister Veras and I are working hard.  We are preparing recent converts to go through the temple, and to start doing their family history work and stuff. We also found some really great new investigators this week too. So life is good!

Conference was definitely the highlight of my week. I LOVED LOVED Vern Stanfill's talk. That was such an answer to my prayers. I felt like it was talking exactly about my situation. Its okay to have to rely on other's light for awhile until you are strong enough to get back to how things used to be. I also really loved Elder Hales, Sister Marriott and President Uchtdorf. And of course, Elder Holland's talk made me cry thinking about you, mom. (General Conference is a world wide broadcast of inspirational talks given by the leaders of our church.  It takes place the first weekend in April and October but is aired in the Philippines 1 week late due to the time zone difference.  Recordings of the talks can be viewed or printed at

I also am "ponderizing" a scripture this week! I chose. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" Romans 8:6. Are you ponderizing a scripture this week? I chose that one because I felt like I keep getting the prompting that I need to clean up my media when I get home. I watched/listened to way too much crap. All media that we intake does have an effect on us whether we like it or not. So that's really a commitment that I am making to myself and to the Lord!

Another favorite quote I had was from President Uchtdorf "We don't need to be more of anything to start to become the person God wants us to be." (:

 I'm also doing my best to take dad's advice and "finish joyfully!" Don't worry about me, just keep prayin for me!

Sister Lockwood

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt

Dear Family,

Hello! This week has been super tough. I actually really considered not writing a letter this week, but I think that it is through the hardest parts of our missions that we learn and grow the most. I think there is value in recognizing that missionary life is really hard sometimes!

Before I served a mission, I knew it would be hard. When I got my call to the Philippines, I knew it would be really hard! I already knew in my head that I would have hard companions, that I might get head lice, bed bugs, hundreds of mosquito bites. I thought that I'd probably get homesick. I knew at some point the food would make me sick. I expected bucket showers, long hot days of rejection, big spiders, flying cock roaches, washing my laundry by hand.. I had heard almost every returned missionary testify that it was the hardest 2 years, but the best 2 years. I knew it was going to be really, really tough. But- I was willing to do it. It was an opportunity for me to show my Savior how much I love Him. It was a time for me to help others have the joy and blessings that I've had my whole life. I knew it would be hard, but that I would have heavenly help, and would learn and grow in the process.

And, for the past 15 months, that is about what has happened! Almost every trial that I expected would come, came. Of course, it wasn't easy, but I was able to look at it like an adventure, and it was what I had mentally prepared myself for. I was able to find things to be grateful for and overall maintain and really happy and positive perspective.

This past week, however, a trial came that wasn't really in the plans! Give me lice, bad food, crazy companions- whatever. But this particular trial-heck no, no way, no sir ree. And, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was not in the ideal mission Sister Lockwood had planned. 

So for the first few days, I just prayed and prayed that it would be gone. I thought, okay, if I have enough faith and determination, it will go away. I struggled and cried...and for the first time in my entire mission, I began to wonder if I could go on. I thought, maybe this is too big for me. Maybe I can't actually do it. I tried to be strong, just talk my way out of it, but I just literally could not move forward!

Finally, after hours on my knees, and after quite honestly feeling pretty sorry for myself, I realized that I needed to give in. I needed to be humble and figure out what the Lord was trying to teach me. I had to let go of the ideal mission that I had planned for myself.. and accept the mission that Heavenly Father had planned for me, whatever that might be.

And, of course, that is WAY easier said than done. At first, I thought, "Wait a minute? I just want to be a happy and healthy and hard working obedient missionary! Is that not the Lord's will for me? You want me to be happy right? Well, just in case you haven't noticed this isn't makin me so happy!" And right there... is where the lesson begins..

"Know thou, my daughter, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?"

Heavenly Father does want each of us to be happy. That is His greatest desire! But He sees a bigger picture than we see. He wants us to be happy now, but, what is MORE important to Him, is who he wants us to become, and how we can be happy for eternity. And sometimes, the only way to become that person, and to reach that happiness, is through trials. Its through those tests and times of despair that we start to reach that divine potential.

I am still trying to be humble and learn what the Lord has to teach me. But I am so thankful. For the first time in maybe my whole life- I really began to understand just a tiny bit of what the Savior felt when he cried out, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."

For all of us, for every missionary, and for every person on the planet, we will have times when we feel we cannot go on. We will wonder if we have the strength to move forward, and we do! We always do. Because the Savior of the world came before us. He is our source of strength, and He is there when nobody else is. 

I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father loves us. We are His children. His love is unfailing, and He will help us through every trial that we face. I am so thankful to be a missionary. To face trials that I never thought I would, and to come to know my Savior a little bit better.
Lots of love,

Sister Lockwood

(Kayla did not send any pictures this week but I am pulling these off of the mission blog and Sister Teo's blog.  Kayla got a new companion this week, Sister Veras, from Hawaii.  Sister Veras used to be Sister Teo's companion.)

"Christmas is coming, so we are already wrapping presents for missionaries.  (You have to start early when you have over 200 children! )  :)  (Thank goodness for wonderful Sisters who help me with this project!)"  Sister Ostler

Missionary Leadership Council

Sister Veras (before she was Kayla's companion) 

Sister Veras from Hawaii