Monday, May 25, 2015

A Lesson in Humility. Plus Some More Weird Food :)

Hello everyone!!  Well, this week has been quite a week.  For one thing, I finished my first journal!!  I tend to write a lot haha.  I also ate some more interesting food.  I'd told my family that I'd already eaten BBQ chicken intestines, but I was wrong and it was actually pig.  Well, on Tuesday, I ate even more weird stuff.  I had BBQ pig intestines again, which wasn't too bad until it squirted in my mouth  then that evening, I had chicken intestines and gizzard.  The intestines were actually ok.  The gizzard tasted fine, I just felt like it took 10 minutes to chew one bite, so Sister Arcangel got the rest of that one haha.

And I broke another fan this week :/ This time it was Sister Arcangel's.  She had it standing on the garbage can, which meant that the cord was about an inch off the floor.  So, naturally, that's where my feet went.  I about went flying and the fan crashed to the of the senior couples brought us a new one though, so it worked out ok.  Oops 

We had the opportunity to meet and start teaching a family this week.  This is the first time we've taught investigators as a family, with the dad included.  It was amazing to me the difference in the lessons with him there, and how much more united the family was.  We're teaching families, but this family is the only one who's dad is participating.  It's such a testimony to me of the power of the role of fathers, and it's amazing to hear his insights and questions and then to see how the rest of the family responds based on that.  It's been really cool.

There is a member family here that I have grown to absolutely love, and yesterday we stopped by for a visit with them.  We shared a short message, and as part of my message I quoted the scripture "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also."  I pulled out a picture of James and said that he was one of my treasures.  They started giving me crap about having a boyfriend, so I had to explain to them "He's not my boyfriend, he's my brother!!  Much better than a boyfriend" XD  But it ended up being a really spiritual time, so it was really good.  After we had closed the lesson and we're getting ready to go, one of their friends asked me if I was going to come back to the Philippines to get married, and another asked how long I have left on my mission.  It just turned into us messing with each other, and it was so fun!

My quote for this week comes from True to the Faith; God the Father.  "He is...a God of perfect mercy, kindness, and charity...we can find peace in the sure knowledge that He loves us...He loves you, and He has given you the precious opportunity to draw near to Him as you pray.  Your prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered."  I'm learning that when I pray in a way that allows me to have a conversation with my Heavenly Father, He makes me stronger and He gives my the guidance I need to make it through the day.

You know how you have moments when you realize that you're not doing so great at something, and you really need to improve??  Well, this week has been full of those moments, and that thing that I've learned I need to improve is humility.  Now, don't get me wrong--I'm not an arrogant person.  But this week I've had some challenges and there's been a couple of times when I've felt offended by something someone said, and then I was focusing on the negative and I didn't have a positive attitude.  But over the past couple of days, I've kept getting the feeling that I need to improve my humility.  If someone says something that I don't like, I need to forget it and move on.  Yesterday in Relief Society and again today in my personal study, I just kept getting that message over and over again.  Sometimes it's hard to realize that you're so flawed in something, but it's good because when you recognize that flaw, you can fix it.  I studied the Christlike attribute of humility this morning for my personal study, and I learned so much.  I realized that unless we are truly humble, and acknowledge the Lord in all things, there is no way that we can be made an instrument in His hands.  And that's what I want to be: an instrument in His hands here in the Philippines.  

My scripture came from my personal study this morning.  Alma 26:12 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in His strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles [He] has wrought [in my heart], for which [I] will praise His name forever."

I can't rely on whatever skills and talents I have or I think I have; if I truly want to be the missionary that He wants me to be (and I do), then I need to place my whole heart and soul in His hands, and depend on Him.  When I would hear people talk about how great miracles occur in missions, I thought that meant baptizing people, and finding converts.  Well, it can mean that.  But right now, for me, a mission miracle that I have seen is the way that my Heavenly Father has been able to teach me and to help me grow.  When I depend on the Lord, and not on my own strengths, He makes me so much more, and so much stronger, than I thought I could ever be.  And it is truly a miracle :)

Mahal ko kayo!!!
Sister Payton Pectol

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I'm Officially Filipina!! Bulot, Mother's Day, and Sister's Conference

Hello everyone!!  Well, it's been two weeks, but honestly missionary life is missionary life, and I love it.
And, I'm now officially Filipina!!  I did it...I ate bulot.  AND IT WAS NASTY.  For those of you who don't know what bulot is, let me explain.  It is a fertilized duck egg that is left to grow for a couple of days, then is boiled.  When you eat it, you crack the top of the egg and slurp out the juices.  Yummy, right?  And that's not even the  best part.  Once the juices are all slurped out, you peel the shell off the egg and get to see what it looks like.  Mine looked like a questionable boiled egg, with a slimy black thing curled up in the middle.  I just ate it all in one bite, and I'm pretty sure the duck just went straight down my throat.  It wasn't old enough that I had to crunch a beak, so that was good at least.  I'm pretty sure I still burped up a quack though.
We had our sister's conference last week, and it was awesome.  I was able to meet the other sisters here in the mission and we got to hear President and Sister Revillo speak, and play games and chat.  One of the senior sisters did a makeup workshop, but let's face it...if we wore makeup like she did it everyday it would just end up melting down our faces haha.

And I got to Skype for Mother's Day!!!!  I cried a lot, but they were good tears :)  It was so good to see my family!!!  And to be able to talk to them was amazing.  I am definitely a home-body, so it was good to be able to see them.
Well, since this is an email for 2 weeks, it has 2 quotes :)  This first one was from Sister Schlager, one of the senior sisters, in her pauwi (going home) testimony: "It's not like you have any secrets.  He (Christ) knows what's in your heart."  At first that seems a little weird; after all, what about privacy??  But I think it's quite beautiful.  We are never alone, and no matter what we're going through, there is someone who understands.  Not only did Jesus Christ feel all our pain in the Atonement, He is currently aware of what is in our hearts, and He knows what we need.
This one is from President Thomas S. Monson: "Seek heavenly guidance one day at a time.  Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it's a cinch.  Each of us can be true for just one day; and then one more and then one more after that; until we've lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness."  Sometimes taking it step by step is really the best thing to do :)
Alma 26:36-37  "...Blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.  Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, He numbereth His people, and His bowels of mercy are over all the earth.  Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever."  Even clear in the Philippines, half a world away from home, I can feel that God is mindful of me and my struggles and weaknesses.  I don't speak the language, and I'm still figuring out the culture; but it's ok, because He knows and He won't leave me alone.
Love from the Philippines!!
Sister Pectol

Mother's Day Skype

Skype is wonderful!  Mother's Day 05/10/15.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Baby Powder: Who Knew? STL Exchanges, Surviving my First 6 Weeks, and Loving my Life

Hello everyone at home!!  Kumusta po kayo??

This week has been amazing!!  We had Zone Conference on Tuesday (my first one) and that was fun.  It was a long day though!  It was about a 20 minute taxi ride (with AC!! Yay!!) then we literally spent the entire day at the church.  President and Sister Revillo spoke to us, and they randomly chose 4 or 5 missionaries to give 3 minute talks on what they learned from General Conference.  I was so glad I didn't have to speak!  I despise public speaking (stage fright does that to people).  We had a workshop/skit with the Sister Training Leaders (STL's) and just had a busy day.  At the end of the conference we were able to get our 
mail, and I felt like a superstar.  Getting the mail all at once means that whatever had arrived since I've been here, and even some late stuff from the Manila MTC, was all there.  One of the other missionaries asked me if I was the first missionary in my family, then said that you can always tell based on the mail they get.  I was just happy to hear from my family and friends haha.  Included in the mail was Easter notes from the Beehives in my ward at home, which totally brightened my day.

This is a picture of me and Sister Arcangel together.  Aren't we adorable??  XD

We had splits with the STL's this week, and it was really good to have that training time.  Sister Osumo helped me figure out a lot of things that I could do better and a lot of things that I was doing fine on and needed to acknowledge with myself.  It was really cool.

So, about the baby powder.  All the Filipinas use it on their face, and I thought it was just to lighten their skin.  Well, I'm basically as white as you can get, so I didn't think I needed it.  But another sister said it made your skin super soft, so I started using it and it's awesome!  It also helps me to be less sweaty, and let's face it...I need all the help I can get XD cause it is HOT here.

One of the things we talked about in the zone conference was Babylonian music.  In other words, basically anything that isn't EFY or Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I've figured out that that might be my downfall.  The Filipinos listen to a lot of American music, so there's a lot of songs and artists I've heard that I really like, including Michael Jackson and Hunter Hayes.  We're not supposed to sing along, because it distracts us.  So it's a good thing they don't play much country music, because if I heard Josh Turner or Brad Paisley I'd probably be a lost cause lol.

Well I survived my first transfer!!  And none of us are transferring!!  We only have one elder in our district who's transferring, and the rest of us are staying.  I was so glad!!  I really wanted to finish up my 12 week training with Sister Arcangel, and I was really worried that if she would be transferred I would have to lead the area, and I am definitely not ready for that!!  But we're through the crazy nerves that come with transfer week :)

My scripture this week is from 2 Nephi 4:21&35.  "He hath filled me with His love, even unto the consuming of my flesh...Yea, I know that my God will give liberally to him that asketh.  Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness.  Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.  Amen."  These two verses don't seem very related, but I've noticed that as I've been here my ability to love others and to love myself has increased.  I've had a couple of rough days when all I could do was get down on my knees and cry to my Heavenly Father.  I don't have those days very often, but when I do, I always feel His presence, and I know that He hears and He understands.  I have felt more peace here and more love than I thought I could, and it is amazing.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.  Seriously, best-most-difficult-thing ever!!!
My quote goes along with that, and is from Our Heritage, chapter 11.  "[When] you have troubles...may peace be unto your soul.  We will not be tempted beyond our ability to withstand.  Our detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow path to Him."  I know that this is so true.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here.  This has seriously been the best decision of my life, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to serve in the Philippines.

All my love, from halfway around the world!!
Sister Payton Pectol