Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meetings and Miracles

May 22, 2013

So last friday was our meeting with the area presidency! It was kinda scary at first but ended up being really fun! They were all so nice and had cookies and mints out for us to eat. They basically asked us a ton of questions about the mission, the work ethic, and why everyone is less active and our finding is down. We came to the conclusion that since the mission changed to less active focus that's all missionaries have been doing because it's a lot easier to go to a less actives house than it is to try and meet someone new and introduce the church to them when they don't know anything about it. And now all the new missionaries have no idea how to go up and talk to people and it's scary so they don't do it. And everyone is less active mostly because the members aren't doing their part. Home teaching is the number one weakness of the philippines and the hand off of the investigators from the missionaries to the ward is just not working. So we gave some ideas and had a big discussion and then they said they're going to present those things to the 12! crazy huh? I didn't say my suggestion about the 6 week thing because I think the problem is more in the ward and not so much how many times the investigator comes to church. Sister Walker suggested that the stake presidents start being accountable for recent converts and reporting their progress to the area presidency that way they will care more. Genius! and they loved it. So we'll see what happens. 
Anyway, DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. That's all we ever talk about! Seriously. We have this one companionship that is especially having a hard time and they keep texting us and calling us and asking for our help. We already went on exchanges with them, but i guess now the real problems are coming out. Of course its all a lack of communication and love but we gave them some advice and she texted us saying they are working on it. Their zone leaders called and were like, "help! we don't know how to deal with all this girl stuff!" hahaha. and then another sister called us last night cause she just wanted to talk. Our roommate, sister erasmo up and decided she was done and went home today. She's been in the mission 2 months. But no matter what we said or how we encouraged her, she made up her mind! her companion totally suffered for it cause they didn't work for 5 days and when they did work she refused to teach. That sucks. But now she's gone and her companion sister millamina is our companion-so we are a trisome! and i'm not sure how that's gonna be. But sister millamina is super duper nice and going home next transfer so way experienced. Hopefully it will just be tons of fun!
Anyway, we went on exchanges in my old area in malanday and it was really fun to see all the people that i love there! They were having a primary activity at the church and when we walked by everyone came rushing out to give us hugs and asked us a million questions. They were all like, "ARE YOU BACK??!!" hahaha so excited. So that was super fun! i miss all of them and that whole area so much! In another exchange I was paired up with sister porter from Utah and she's only 3 weeks in the mission. We had an amazing day and a really cool miracle happen!! She's totally struggling with tagalog of course but i found out that she's not teaching any part of the lesson, only saying her testimony! So i really pushed her and we practiced teaching and some things she could say and she loved it! She stuttered and spoke really really slow, but at the end of the day, she was like, missionary work is actually fun now that i get to be a part of it! It was so cute.
So this was the miracle-we were walking in this neighborhood pretty late, it was like eight o clock at night and really dark and we were looking for this house that they had tracted the other day. As we're walking this little girl walks by and gives us this big smile like she knows us. I was like, "is she a member or do you know her?" and sister porter was like "no i've never seen her before" and then we just kept going and we found the house but they weren't home. So since we still had some time left we stopped and oym'ed this lady just standing in the street and that same little girl walks by and stops and just watches us. Then she leaves to buy something and on her way back stops and is like waiting for us. so i started talking to her and asked her where her house was and if we could share, cause i was like there has to be a reason why she keeps coming back and back. So she said we could share but they didn't have any light or candles in their house. So i was like, "that's ok we have a flashlight on our cell phone" i found out later that sister porter was really scared and thinking, what is sister garcia doing? It's so late and dark" but for some reason i wasn't scared at all! and so we go to her house and her older sister answers the door out of the pitch black all mean looking and smoking a cigarette and goes, "what do you want?" so i just now start to be like, "oh crap what are we doing here" and then suddenly her whole countenance changes. she drops the cigarette and smiles and goes, "Mormons?? come in!"
Turns out she was taught 5 years ago and the missionaries just up and left all of a sudden. She has a book of mormon and has gone to church 2 times before! She was so excited to listen to us and wouldn't take her eyes off us the whole lesson. It was like she was hungry for the gospel. In the middle of the lesson I asked the little girl if she had come up to us cause she remembered being taught by the missionaries before and she said, "no i don't remember that". crazy huh? Afterwards me and sister porter were like, that little girl had to have been led by the spirit cause if she hadn't kept coming up to us, even though she had nothing to say,  we never would have talked to her. and i'm glad i didn't feel scared cause we were able to find her and her whole family who are so excited to be taught again. That's definitely the greatest feeling ever when you can look back and see how the Lord worked through you and others to find someone special. And it was so great to feel like I really helped sister porter and made a little bit of a difference for her mission. I think it was nice for her to get some perspective on things since i can totally relate with how hard the first couple months are.
Anyway, my overall point is there is nothing i love more than feeling like I'm being effective. And nothing I hate more than feeling ineffective. But anyway, the package thing sounds awesome! i'm not in malolos anymore though, I'm in Montania, Montalban. and the work in OUR area is also progressing and very exciting! We planned a huge open house chapel tour for next month and our branch president couldn't be more excited about it. I can't wait-i really think a lot of people will come. We are handing out invitations left and right. 
Anyway, i am super busy and tired, but not stressed. I feel like I'm fulfilling everything that the Lord wants me to do to the best of my ability and in the process, slowly growing and learning a lot. The other day sister millamina walked in the room while I was praying out loud in me and sister walker's companionship prayer and afterward she's like, "sister garcia, i seriously thought a filipina was praying and i was shocked when i saw it was you" I was so happy! I've been wanting to hear that my whole mission cause usually people tell me my tagalog is good but i still sound like a foreigner. I tried to be humble about it but the truth is i'm really proud of myself. and grateful for the gift of tongues :).
I love this work and I love life. I don't want the mission to end but I can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for me! I love you guys so much and can't wait for next pday to hear from ya'll again!!
                    Love, Age 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Adrienne is an AP!

April 29, 2013
Hey Mom!
So here is the news!! I went to transfer meeting and the rumors were flying like crazy. Everyone was like, why are you here? your a trainer and trainers don't go to transfer meeting in the middle of their training. And then I saw sister walker with her trainee and we talked and we were both like, oh man, what's going to happen? I really didn't want to split up with sister Baile, but I had a feeling we would. So then transfers started and me and Sister Jones got to catch up before that which was SUPER fun! She's a trainer now for an american sister yay! so anyway they did the transfers and they call sister walker and then the ap goes, "and her new companion is sister Garcia." so i hugged sister baile and then I went over and hugged sister walker and we sat by each other and the ap continues, "so they are our new Sister Trainer Leaders which means they are AP/Zone leader/district leader for the sisters and will be going on 2 exchanges per week with each sister companionship". oh my.
So ya, me and sister walker are the new traveling sisters and the first at that because our mission is finally getting a lot of sisters. It is kinda overwhelming. and you should have seen the reaction of all the elders. we walk into the mail room and they're all like, " oh make way for the aps!" "look at the Sister AP's" and then later we asked the zone leaders if we could go to macdonald's  and he was like, "do what you want, you're an AP, i can't give you permission, i'm under you" haha we got such a hard time from them but I just laughed about it.
So I don't really feel qualified to go to every area and train sisters twice a week, but at the same time I'm really excited to get to know all of them better and just do what I can. I think it'll be an awesome experience and I feel grateful that President Sperry trusts us this much. We unfortunately don't have a car so we're going to have to commute to every area and be waking up super early in the morning and then spending the night in the other areas, cause they have to be 24 hours. we are just going to go on splits probs cause exchanges is too hard without a car. sister walker is super stressed and not sleeping at night, but i think it will be a fun experience! of course we're going to sister jones' area first! :)
Anyway, that's the big news. we still have our own area here in Montalban. The most gorgeous area in the entire mission. We're surrounded by mountains and it's cool! still hot, but much cooler than malolos. and it's started to rain almost every day which is so nice! it is definitely province and there are palm trees everywhere. so fun! the people and the branch is also SO nice! the branch president already met with us and he's 28. he's really supportive and excited about missionary work and he said the branch is close to becoming a ward. I introduced myself and bore my testimony and everyone was so sweet and coming up to me afterwards. I think I'm really going to love it here! we are a little short on investigators but i think it has a lot of potential.
Working with sister walker has been an adjustment for both of us because we are both used to being the trainer/senior and we are both far into the missions. it's nice because i don't have to explain every little thing to her, but its also weird because we teach differently and have different stlyes/ideas. but we are adjusting and helping each other out. sister walker's confidence is seriously lacking, even though she's good, so i just feel like i have to constantly encourage her and tell her she's doing good. 
But we really have to be unified and on the same page because otherwise the other sisters will notice it. and I want to be a really good example for them and really help them out. I'm not sure exactly what we're looking for when we go on exchanges with them, but I think we are just going to try to help them with whatever they need, aka DRAMA. but i told sis. walker we should do something fun/creative for them like buy them matching headbands or something cheesy just so they know we love them. Man, i sound like a RS president.
So sister baile is in novaliches and companions with the trainee of sister walker and another sister that's a lil older in the mission-so they are a trisome. i saw her at temple tour and she seemed really happy-i knew she would cause she's so positive, i miss her though. 
I've really learned out here to be more Christlike and it's the best feeling. I know that the Lord is in this work and helping me everyday. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves, but he's always there to remind us of our potential. I think we just need to rely on Him and give Him the credit when we improve. Even though I'm proud of how far I've come on my mission, I know that I couldn't have done anything without Him. my weaknesses have turned into strengths through the courage and love he's given me when I was feeling scared or apathetic. He loves us and hears our prayers. I love you!!! 
Love, Age