Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Only One More "P" Day!

September 22, 2013

I can't believe it. the time has just flown by and I never thought this day would actually come! I think I seriously thought I'd be on my mission for the rest of my life. it's so weird to picture it actually ending and me not being a missionary. But I guess it was hard to picture being on a mission before I left. Some days if I think about home, I can't wait! But other days I am so so sad to leave. Like yesterday was the best day ever! Our district became a stake and we had an amazing stake conference. And then afterwards we went out to work and taught this amazing lesson to 3 really interested investigators. It was just so cool to be able to explain everything to them so clearly and the spirit was so there and they were just realizing the truth right in front of our eyes. and THEN we went to a less active family that is returning and they are doing SO great! The mom gave us like 9 referrals last week and the dad wasn't going to go to the adult session of stake conference on sat cause he had work but a member invited him so he went and he told us how it was absolutely priceless and he wouldn't trade what he learned for anything in the world.

Elder Nielson from the area presidency spoke and he talked about the guy on the cruise that saved his money and stayed in his room and just watched everything from the window but then found out that all the food and dancing and stuff was actually included in his ticket. Brother was like, I totally related to that and just feel like I'm not taking advantage of all of the blessings that God wants to give me. I need to do better. He's amazing and his family is the cutest thing ever. I love them SO much! Every time we go they feed us and just treat us like their own kids. They are going to church every sunday and are just working on family scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening. It is just so refreshing to finally see people making sacrifices and being obedient because they have so much faith and just want to do what's right. I wish I had just an extra 1 month to just soak it all up. I feel like no matter how hard I try, the time is just slipping away and I'm not ready yet!

But when I think back on my whole mission, I've learned so much and it was a priceless experience. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for this because not only have I loved the people and the culture and teaching the gospel, but it's changed me and my perspective and basically my life. I think I've changed in ways that I didn't realize I needed to before the mission. But I'm super grateful and I'm going to miss it like crazy. Last week we got 15 new investigators. I've never had higher numbers than i have in this area and I don't think it's anything I'm doing. The miracles are seriously popping up left and right and it couldn't be better! '

Sister Miner is doing really good too. All of a sudden she gained this confidence and started teaching in tagalog and using all the words she knew and practicing constantly and now it's like we're a real companionship instead of just me doing all the talking. I don't know what happened and she's really surprised at herself too, but I think she knew a lot more than she thought she did. She was making sentences on her own and I was just so proud of her. It's the gift of tongues!

Today all the exiting missionaries were supposed to get our fingerprints taken in manila so we all had to get up super early and be at the mission home by 6:30 in the morning! We show up and go and it turns out the road to Manila is completely flooded. So we all had to go all the way back to the mission home and then now we're at the mall for the rest of our Pday. But tomorrow we have to go back at 2pm and it's basically gonna take all day. So sister miner will have to work with another sister for a while. It's such a pain but they said we can't go home if we don't do it. :/ I also had to get an x ray a couple of weeks ago to see if I had TB and got to see my lungs. That was cool. I'm TB free as far as I know. They used to have the missionaries stay at the mission home but now they don't. We are staying at a hotel instead and I'm super excited! It's going to be fun. Before that I think we are going to have a testimony meeting, interviews, and dinner at the mission home.

Only 1 more full pday and then the next one will be the day before I leave so I don't know if i'll get to email because I'll be packing and stuff. AHHHH!!! so crazy.

Love, Age

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Area, Last Companion!

September 4, 2013

Last Saturday we had temple tour and EVERYONE was like, "you're going home! how does it feel?!" hahaha I
feel like this is my life and it's not going to end. But at the same time I'm freaking out with excitement to be home again and see all of ya'll and everything. Thanks for continuing to write me! I'm sure we'll still have tons to talk about when I get home even if you keep writing me every week. You know what's cray cray? i only have 4 pday's left.

I've never had a better week on my mission than I did this last one with Sister Miner here in Pangarap. There's something about me about to go home and her being brand new that just makes us both want to work super hard and do our very best. We have had our schedules completely packed every single day full of lessons, and tracting, and oym'ing, and working with members. That's another thing, this branch is awesome. Last Sunday was my first Sunday and we got three referrals in 3 hours! I don't think I got 3 referrals in 3 months in Manggahan. It was such an answer to our fast for referrals and help from the members.

We are teaching 2 families and one single guy twice a week all together AT a member's home. I mean, how much better can that get? It's cool cause they work for the member so he can adjust their work schedules to our schedule so they are free anytime. We were like when can we come back? and the member was like, "Every day if you want!" hahaha. I can't tell if the investigators are there just to make their boss happy or if they are really interested but they are keeping their
commitments and said they believed Joseph Smith was a true prophet and have a bap date. So we'll see how they progress.

On top of all that, I've never felt the spirit so much in our lessons. Not only are we getting a lot of lessons, but they are all quality. I just feel like the spirit is constantly helping me to know what to say and what questions to ask and it's never flowed so easily as it has here. I think part of it may be because Sister Miner is struggling so much with tagalog so I have to do everything that the spirits just like, ok I gotta intervene here. haha, but it's been an amazing experience and a wonderful week.

I've also been really bold with people, and it's refreshing. I think if I could go back and change one thing on my mission it would be that I should have been more bold. I worry about offending people or them not liking me but here, now that I'm pretty comfortable in the language and the culture and my knowledge of the gospel, it's like boldness left and right. sometimes I surprise myself! But I love it cause I know that it's how Jesus Christ would teach. Bold, but loving.

Sister Miner is awesome cause she's so laid back and flexible if we need to change our schedule or whatever. She's also really excited about missionary work and has no fear. She has the best attitude which really helps me not be trunky. Her only problem right now is tagalog. She just teaches her part in english and i have to translate. She's at the level I was at in the Mtc and she's on her 4th transfer. So we're working on it. It seems like her trainer never did language study with
her or let her teach so she doesn't know much or understand how to form sentences.  But I love teaching her in language study and seeing her get it and be excited about it. We have a lot of fun together and she's really humble so that helps.

It's cool cause I haven't really felt an adjustment period here, it's like I just jumped in and everyone knew me already. I think it's cause I've been here on exchanges a couple times already.  Our only struggle is getting girls to work with us which we have to have if we want to teach boys. Yesterday we texted pretty much every woman in the branch
and about 3 said no and all the others never replied. so that's frustrating. But we're going to try to set up a set schedule with people on sunday. Pangarap is super hilly and I'm getting the workout of my life! 

Um, I've already been thinking about what I want for my homecoming dinner for like the past 5 months. and haha jk i don't really care as long as there is bacon bread and salad and is it allowed to have two desserts? like cream cheese brownies and strawberry cake? As far as the main dish...(demanding)...um maybe the zucchini, tomatoe, chicken casserole?? ya that sounds perfect.

I cannot WAIT to see you guys again. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support and always telling me you're proud of me. It really means a lot. I love you!!

Love, Age

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Great Mission Story

August 27, 2013

    So I found out that I am transferring back to my first zone-San Jose Del Monte! But it's a different area. I was trained in La Mesa with Sister Drio but now I'll be in Pangarap (which means dream in tagalog) with Sister Miner. So same region but
different area. I'm pretty excited because I've been on exchanges with Sister Miner twice and she is really fun to work with and really nice. She doesn't know a lick of tagalog but that's ok, I'll be able help her hopefully. She just got done being trained so I'm her follow-up. I've never done that before so it should be fun and I really like their area because it's not city but there are still a ton of people everywhere. So the surroundings are really pretty and it's SO hilly! So I'll pretty much be hiking everyday which will be a fun workout. :)
     Anyways, I'm super sad to leave Manggahan and Sister Nunez, It's been one of my favorite transfers and she is one of my favorite companions. Our district leader asked us to say something we liked about this transfer and we both said, "my companion" hahaha. We just got along and had such a blast together! Oh well, we will still see each other and she is actually moving to Louisiana with her family so I might get to see her at a reunion in the states or something. I am also excited
to not have to worry about traveling to all the other areas and scheduling exchanges. Like you said, I can just focus on our area and our people and Sister Miner.
    So we have this less active here in Manggahan that me and Sister Walker visited all the time but he never came to church. we even taught his step dad who isn't a member and it was good for about three weeks and then trickled off. So then sister nunez came in and we weren't teaching the dad anymore but we were still teaching JR (the less active) about once a week or whenever he was home (cause he's gone a lot hanging out with his other less active friends). So we've been teaching him for 3
months and not seeing any progress and we couldn't figure out what else to teach him. I always asked him when he was going on a mission but he kept saying he had to help his family financially and stuff. We had taught sacrament and keep the sabbath day holy and everything else we could think of. He kept telling us he just could not wake up on sunday morning.
      So I suggested we teach word of wisdom, focusing on not going to bed to late and sleeping in too late and that sunday he came to church! So ever since then he's come to church 4 times, is now returned, and is even working with us when we go and teach other investigators!! Last sunday he actually volunteered to teach the gospel principles class. I had to take out my contacts and clean them and put them back in again I couldn't believe my eyes!! SO THEN he comes up to me after church and is like, "Sister Garcia, what the heck? I just heard you were transferring?!" and I was like, "ya, sorry...i'm gonna miss your lesson and stuff" and he was like, "well i just want you to know that I decided to serve a mission". OH my gosh. I was so happy to hear that!  so then we went and taught him yesterday about the blessings of serving a mission (D&C 31) and it was such an
awesome lesson and he told us how he'd wanted to serve a mission for a long time but finally prayed about it and God gave him a clear answer through the members and a bunch of different signs and he said he feels so happy now that he is going back to church.
     Of course he has fears, but he's willing to take the leap of faith and he said for sure for sure. He's going to get really active again and then he's going on a mission. Afterwards he walked me and sister nunez and our other fellowshipper home and told me he wanted to thank me for helping him come back to church and for being an inspiration to him. It was the best way to end my time here in manggahan. Ever since I met JR I felt like he wasn't living up to his potential and I just wanted to see him do something, and now he is! And he just looks happier than ever. I am so so proud of him! The thing is, even though it's nice to
be thanked, I really don't feel like I did anything. I just did my job but he's the one who prayed and acted. It's just amazing feel like
even though sometimes I don't feel effective, you never know what the spirit can do through you to make a real difference in people's lives. I'm so excited for him because I know he can do this and it will change his life forever! 

Love, Age