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

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