Saturday, December 26, 2015

Invitation to Homecoming Meeting

Sister Lockwood is home now and will be speaking in church tomorrow morning (December 27th) at 9:00.  All are invited to attend!  Many have been following this blog over the last 18 months and we would love to see you at the meeting tomorrow where Kayla will be speaking in person about her experiences in the Philippines.  The address for the church is:  4411 Windfall Rd, Medina, OH 44256.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I hope they call me on a mission...

This was a band going around in our area last night playing Christmas songs for everyone! I love the Philippines!! 

 The whole mission was there (at the mission tour) so we took a picture with our MTC batch! That was really fun..until one of the Elders started doing the haka in front of EVERYONE for us sisters who were going home. Hahaha. Good times living with islanders!

I love my companion!! She is a sweetheart. I have been helping her prepare to take over the area. She reminds me a lot of Nathan (: 

Kay Ocsin's baptism! 

Dear Family,
This is my last pday! I cannot even believe it. I feel so many emotions. I am overwhelmed with excitement to see everyone again but at the same time I feel so so sad knowing that I have to take off my name tag and not be a missionary anymore ):
As I enter into my last few days in the mission field, I can't help but reflect on the past 18 months and my past life experiences that brought me to this point. It is unbelievable that these days of walking the streets of Manila to preach the gospel are coming to a close. 
My whole life, I have dreamed of being a missionary. I remember sitting in primary, feet not even able to touch the floor singing, "I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two." We would say "When I grow up, I want to be a missionary in...fill in the blank." Of all the times I dreamed of being a missionary, I don't think I ever expected to serve in the Philippines. I recall youth conferences and efy's singing with my fellow youth, "We are as the army of Helaman. We have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." I prepared and waited so long for the day the call would come.
Then, last February, the white envelope finally came! I remember carrying it around with me all day wondering what could possibly be inside. Would I go Spanish speaking? Stay in the USA? Maybe I'd go to a visitor center. Never did I think I could possibly get called to the Philippines. 
I'll never forget opening my call and reading those words:
"Dear Sister Lockwood:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Philippines Manila Mission.... You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Tagalog language."
That day I didn't even know where the Philippines was on a map! Let alone how to speak a single word of Tagalog. I had absolutely no idea what was ahead of me. But the Lord knew. 
I remember leaving my family in the Cleveland airport.. And arriving in Manila for the first time. Everything was so new.. The smells, the sounds, the people, the language. It was such an adventure and I was completely terrified! I couldn't help but wonder during those days in the MTC...Looking outside of my window at the sky scrapers and wonder if I could really do this! But the Lord knew.
In my first area, I was sent to the island of Palawan. It was there that I really started to learn what it meant to be a missionary. It was then that I really just fell in love with the people. The Segovia's, the Lopez's, Sister Chua, Joy Custodio. These wonderful people became my family! As did follow in Makati and here in Las Pinas. 
Now, 18 months later, I know how to speak Tagalog. I'm used to the city traffic of Manila.. I survived all of the crazy food and adventures of living in the Philippines. But that isn't the biggest miracle. 
Many people think they serve a mission to help other people come unto Christ. I have been blessed with so many opportunities to do that. I have helped families and individuals make covenants in the waters of baptism and then help them along the path to the temple. But even that hasn't been the biggest miracle.
In the MTC Sister Bowen taught us, "The most important convert you will have on your mission will be yourself." The biggest miracle of my mission has been me! I have been changed. I am a different person than I was 18 months ago. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He has turned the experiences I have had here into opportunities for me to grow and to become more like Him. He has filled my heart with charity for the people here. He has blessed me with the Holy Ghost and helped me to repent and to change. 
I will be eternally grateful for the choice I made to serve a mission. I feel so much gratitude for every primary teacher, bishop, and leader that helped get me here. The blessing of being raised by goodly parents and in a Christ centered home shaped me into the missionary that I am today. I love my parents so much and am so grateful for every sacrifice they made to help me to be here. 
I love Jesus Christ. I know He lives. He is truly the reason behind all that we do as missionaries. I am so grateful for the chance that I have come to know Him better.
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We are His children. I have testified of that truth every single day since I have come here. That was the first sentence I learned in Tagalog. He truly does love us and answers our prayers.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored the same church that Christ established when He was on the Earth. 
I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet that leads us today! I love him.
I know with all my heart that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is Christ's church on the Earth today.
What a blessing it has been to be an authorized representative of Jesus Christ and His church. The days I have spent declaring His name have changed my life. I will never be the same because of it.
I know that God knows us! He knew all along that I needed to come and be a missionary in the Philippines. He really does have a perfect plan for each of us. 
I love you!! I cannot WAIT to see you in just a few days! 

For the last time....

Sister Lockwood

ps.  This week we have the Christmas party tomorrow! That will be fun. The whole mission will be there again. Then I will have a going home interview with president either Wednesday or Thursday. They haven't told me the plans yet for Thursday night but I know that I'll have to be at the airport by around 6:30! So with the traffic here I'll have to wake up at like 3 or 4! I'll definitely get lots of sleep on the plane.I might try to call from the airport in Detroit if I have time..but if not I'll see ya in Cleveland!
Our last trip to the temple as missionaries 

All of the missionaries going home in December 

Going home packets 

An early Christmas present...mission aprons!!

Don't forget to be grateful and happy! Even when hard times come, there is joy and gratitude to be found in the gospel.
Love you!! See you on Friday!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

To be a Sister

This is Christian! We taught him the plan of salvation. 

This is Nanay Santos who gave me a necklace (: 

 Saying goodbye to Sister Veras.  She got transferred to Palawan.  I'm now with Sister Terabwena from Kiribati. (pronounced kitty-bes) She will take over the area with a new companion when I leave. She's been out about 10 months. She's a sweet heart.

It was Kay Ocsin's 8th birthday this week! She'll be baptized this Friday! Her family was reactivated earlier this year. We celebrated with a birthday cake! She was so happy (:

Dear Family,
My heart is so full today! Its so hard for me to believe that I am entering my final days as a sister missionary. This week as we worked and taught I started to see things differently knowing that it is all about to be over. I wish I could just carry around a video camera all day to really just let you feel what this has been like for me! Before I came out on my mission, I knew it would be hard, but I honestly don't think I ever could have imagined the blessings that were in store. As I reflect on the past year and a half, I am just filled with gratitude for the experiences that I've had here. 
To be a sister missionary is to be filled with the Holy Ghost. As a missionary, we live a very different kind of life than we normally do. We don't listen to fun music or go out with friends. We make lots of sacrifices for the reason that we need the spirit to be with us. For the past 18 months I have lived in such a way that I have had the spirit with me almost all the time. I have woken up every morning and immersed myself in the scriptures and words of living prophets. We study for 2-3 hours every day and just do everything we can to have the guidance of the Lord. Even though I have missed music and movies and normal life things.. The peace and direction that I have been blessed with because the Holy Ghost has been so close has been such a blessing. It has amazed me at how many times we have been at the right place at the right time just when someone needed us. It is because of the Spirit that is with us as missionaries.
To be a sister missionary is to be a teacher. This has been one of my aboslute favorite parts of being a missionary. Here in the Philippines, the majority of my day is spent in the homes of others teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach and preach about the Restoration of the Gospel, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach commandments and help our investigators to really understand and live the gospel. This week I had the most amazing experience teaching the Plan of Salvation. It is through teaching that we help others to understand and feel the truthfulness of the gospel. We were teaching our investigator Christain the Plan of Salvation. We asked, "What do you feel your purpose in life is?" He said, "Sisters, that is what I have been praying to know. I don't know what my purpose is." I just lit up and tears came to my eyes as we opened in the Book of Mormon to read about what our purpose is in life. I just thought to myself, "what is my life going to be when I don't get to do this everyday?" Being a teacher of the gospel has brought me so much joy.
To be a sister missionary is to be everyone's sister. Literally, I feel like my name has been "sis" or "sister" for the past 18 months. Everyone-members at church, little kids on the street, or guys riding by on motorcycles all call out "Sister!" every time we pass by. Sister in Tagalog is "kapatid na babae" or "ate". To be someone's sister means to be their friend, to guide them, to help them, to teach them and to love them. Here in the Philippines, I have been everyone's sister! Even though I may not know them at all, the people treat me like family because they know who I represent. They know that I'm a missionary. Every single day, strangers let me into their homes..but they don't treat me like a stranger. They open up to us about their lives, their families, and their struggles. Often they give us food and a place to rest. They listen to our message and just love us. I could share countless experiences with you of people who have just loved me like I was their real sister from the first moment they met me. I think of Nanay Montilla in my first area. My first week in the mission field she had me over to teach me how to eat fish and rice with my hands. I think of the Segovia family who treated Sister Teo and I like we were their own daughters. I remember the Berdin family helping me when I had bed bugs and lice haha. Even just this week, a sister in our area found out that I was going home soon and so she gave me a necklace from Cebu. Or a sister we met on the street invited us into her humble home and shared about her experiences in typhoon Yolanda last last year. It has been absolutely incredible just being a sister to everyone. 
To be a sister is to come unto Christ. My purpose as a missionary has been to invite others to come unto Christ. But the biggest person that I have truly helped has been myself. I have come to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way that I never would have been able to had I not been his representative. I have changed into a new person. I have grown in love for others, and have grown to understand His gospel better. I have felt His love and His tender mercies showered upon me. I have struggled and felt alone, but have gone to my knees in prayer to be able to feel His grace. The price that I have paid to come to know my Savior has truly been a privilege to pay. 
To be a sister missionary has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I can't even believe how much Heavenly Father has blessed me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and experience. 
I love you, family! I can't wait to see you NEXT WEEK!
Sister Lockwood