Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baptism!! Mismatched Shoes, Performing, and One Intense Bible Bash

Hi everyone!!
Well, this week has been very full!!  We had a double baptism: two brothers that we have been teaching got baptized together.  Jared (11) and Jacob (9) are so stinking adorable, and I've basically fallen in love with them.  

Their baptism was really cool.  It started out kind of stressful, becasue they were very late (Filipino time, you know).  Us sisters had been told the day before that we would be singing, so the four of us (me and Sister Gasu, Sister Latham, and Sister Pakalani) sang "I Feel My Savior's Love."  We sounded pretty good, if I do say so myself haha.  After the baptism, Roncel, one of the ward missionaries who works with us all the time, 

had his farewell party.  He's entering the MTC this week, so we were asked to sing again at the party-thing in the cultural hall.  We did a quick practice and sang "Ye Elders of Israel."  It was a lot of fun, and being able to have that baptism was amazing.
We got mail this week!!  I got a couple of letters, and a package from my mom that had all sorts of fun stuff in it.  The district leader forgot the mail last district meeting (which might have been slightly dangerous for his health), so he met us at the chapel with our orders and our mail.  And I might have done a teeny happy dance when I saw my mail lol.

The sisters from the other ward were over at our house a couple of evenings this week because their water had been turned off, and they needed our shower.  It was fun to hang out with them a little before they went home (even thought not having any water would really suck).  But me and another of the sisters accidentally swapped shoes!!  We both had black rubber shoes that were similar in style and size, so she took one of mine, and I ended up wearing one of hers.  I didn't realize until halfway through the next day that my shoes were mismatched!!  Oops.  Well, it happens.

We taught a lesson this week that started out pretty good, but then just got intense.  We contacted a guy that we had invited to be taught before, and he ended up having some friends with him.  We were happy to teach them, and we started like we typically do--we sang a hymn, said a prayer, and started to introduce the church and start talking about the Restoration.  Welp, we were only in a couple of minutes before one of the guys started quoting Bible verses at us to try to contradict us and prove him right.  I think he was only in his early twenties (if that), but I think he had about half the Bible memorized.  Sister Gasu knows her Bible a lot better than I do, and because this really is God's true church, there were plenty of Bible verses that supported our message.  The problem was is that right when we were testifying and starting to feel the Spirit witnessing of the truth, this guy would start in again and the Spirit would be gone.  The others seemed kind of receptive, but he just wanted to Bible bash.  We ended up being in that lesson for over an hour.  Come to find out, they're kind of missionaries for their church.  So they called us on Sunday and invited us to attend church there.  It felt a little bit backwards haha.  But, we know that what we have is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and actually when he was talking to us about all the scriptures that prove his point right, I could just feel the Spirit testifying to me that this is the truth, and that what we have is so important.  I am so very grateful for the gospel in my life :)
Psalms 23:1  "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."  The Lord is my guide, and when I am doing my best to follow in His footsteps, everything will be taken care of.
I saw this quote on a tshirt this week, and loved it.  "Happiness is not a destination to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."  When we take one day at a time, and just enjoy the journey, life is so absolutely amazing.  Especially life as a missionary--it pretty much rocks XD
Mahal ko kayo!!
Sister Pectol

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Taytay 1A!!!

Well, hello from my new area!!  

First of all, happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!  Whether you're literally a dad or you are acting as a father figure, your role is so important.  And I am very grateful for my dad, and for all the father figures I have in my life.  I hope you enjoy your day!!

Taytay 1A is amazing!  I had learned to love my last area, but Heavenly Father definitely heard my prayers to be transferred somewhere less urban.  Parts of our area are definitely still city, but it's very manageable city, and we have other parts that are like out in the provinces.  It's amazing!!  

I met my new companion, Sister Gasu, and we have gotten along great.  Her previous companion, Sister Salintao, was being transferred to Mindoro, so we actually spent a couple of days as a thrisome, which was a lot of fun.  Me and Sister Gasu have our apartment to ourselves, and then Sister Latham (my MTC companion) and Sister Pakalani (my mission field sibling--we had the same trainer) are right next door!!  We all agreed that it would be more fun as kabahays (housemates), but kapit bahays (neighbors) is ok :)

So, funny story, from my last area.  Sister Arcangel is basically fluent in English, there were occasionally only a couple of words that she needed help with.  Well, one day, she asked me to define clumsy.  I couldn't think of how to define it, so I just told her to watch me for a little while and she would understand what clumsy is.  Sure enough, a couple weeks later..."Sister Pectol, I know what clumsy is now."  Glad I could help.

We've taught one of our investigators, Benji, a couple of times this week, and he is amazing.  I came in in time for his second lesson, and we taught about the restoration.  When we were committing him to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet, he looked at us like we were  crazy and said "Totoo, totoo. It's true."  We were surprised, but still tried to extend the commitment.  He just kept telling us that he already knew it was true.  It was pretty amazing.  We're preparing him for his baptism, and when we teach him it's like he knows the principles of the gospel already.  It's really cool.

My quote this week comes from my personal study in Preach My Gospel this morning.  This quote stuck out a lot to me.  "We will all stand before the Lord at the last judgement and give an accounting for what we have done with the opportunities He has given us."  Every day, Heavenly Father gives us so many opportunities to improve ourselves and help those around us, and to just be happy.  It is completely up to us whether or not we will recognize and take those opportunities, and how we will use them.  I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have in my life right now :)

Ecclesiastes 3:1  "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  No matter what we're experiencing, both the good and the bad, there is timing in it.  We meet people at specific times for a reason, and the things that we are given to learn from are given to us at the time we need them to improve ourselves.  I am definitely learning what it means to trust in the Lord's timing :)  sometimes it's really hard, but as I look back, I'm just filled with gratitude for my trials, because I've learned so much from them.

Love from the Philippines Quezon City Mission!!
Sister Pectol

 working in the rain is a lot of fun...and sometimes sketchy :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Transfers!! Graduation, Progress, and All the Learning Involved

Hello everyone!!  

Well this past week has been quite a week.  It has been an amazing week though.  I have learned a lot of things that have definitely helped me grow and improve, and that I will carry with me.

One of those things was to just be myself.  I have really struggled with that here--betweeen not speaking the language, and adjusting to a different culture and to being a missionary, I wasn't letting me be me.  And that is really hard.  It made everything more difficult.  I finally had an epiphany last week and acknowledged it to myself, and my thought process went somewhere along the lines of "Screw this!  Not being myself sucks.  I'm going to make language mistakes no matter what, so I might as well have fun doing so."  So that's what I've done--I've been myself.  Which sometimes means buying zebra sunglasses and just being a dweeb XD and let me tell you, life is so much easier and sooo much more fun when you're yourself.

This transfer was Sister Alfoja's last, so after the senior couple picked her up yesterday morning to go the mission house, Sisters Latu, Arcangel, and I were a threesome.  We spent part of the day in our area, and part of the day in the other area.  It was fun to be able to see both.  We kept talking about the transfer, and wondering how it would work out.  I said that I would end up transferring, and that Sisters Latu and Arcangel would be companions and the ward area would be combined back into one, instead of there being two separate areas.  Welp, the gift of prophecy is real peeps.  The Zone Leader called this morning, and come to find out, I'm transferring to Taytay 1st, and Sister Arcangel and Sister Latu are being companions and our areas are being combined.  Talk about a lucky guess haha.  So most of my pday today will be spent packing :)

I think it's kind of funny that I'm transferring now.  It's really only been in the last two weeks that I've learned how to love this area, and to appreciate it.  And it's really in the last two weeks or so that I've felt like me and my companion were actually friends.  We've never had any bad disagreements or anything, we just weren't really friends.  And the past couple of weeks we have just had a blast together; laughing and joking around, even if we get punted from every single one of our appointments.  It's been a lot of fun :)  I'm going to miss her, but I'm excited to see what this next area will bring.

And I'm not a baby missionary anymore!!  I have now officially graduated from my 12 week training program XD we're trying to think of something to do to celebrate haha.

My scripture for this week is John.  "And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."  This is so true!!  We learn things little by little, and gradually.  When I first came into the mission, Sister Arcangel told me I would be comfortable in the language by 3 months.  Well, I had a really hard time believing her.  This language is difficult.  But it's now been 3 months, and as I look at my language, I can see the progress.  I don't know that I would necessarily say I'm comfortable yet, but I'm a lot more comfortable than when I got here.  Patience really is a heavenly virtue guys.

My quote comes from the area broadcast we had on Sunday.  "Faith is not something that you either have or you don't.  It is something that you build, that you grow."--Neil L. Anderson.  Sister Arcangel said something profound to me in one of our companion ship studies this week.  She told me that maybe we weren't sent to this area to baptize; maybe we were sent here for the rescuing efforts.  We haven't had a single convert baptism since we've been here, but the sacrament meeting attendance has definitely gone up.  I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve in Sumulong 2nd.  It's been a hard area for me, but one that I've learned so much from.

Well, I'll be emailing next week from Taytay, so until then, ingat po kayo and have fun!!

Sister Payton Pectol

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I've Done Some Good

Hello everyone!!

Well, due to technological complications, I wasn't able to email last week (which was rather depressing).  But I've really just been living life as a missionary, so not too much has happened :)

I have figured out though that one of my great blessings is that I have a written copy of my missionary setting apart blessing.  Being able to read that has given me so much counsel and comfort!!  One of the things I was told in that blessing is that I would have life changing experiences here.  Well, one of those experiences happened last week, at our trainer/trainee meeting.  The things that I'm learning are so amazing, and absolutely powerful.  We watched a clip of Jeffrey R. Holland talking about missionary work, and he talked about how it's a lifelong thing.  The things were learning and doing in the mission field aren't just for the 18 months or 2 years we serve, but they're for the rest of our lives.  Powerful, huh?

I also had the opportunity to have my first interview with President Revillo, which was amazing.  Being able to talk to him about my concerns and the things I was struggling with was amazing, and he gave me some really good advice and comfort.  Mission presidents truly are inspired of God.

We got to have another zone activity this week, and play Filipino games.  It was so much fun!!  Everybody's in that picture except the two elders who were rotating everyone's camera and two sisters who couldn't make it.  I'm the neon white one in the front.  And despite what the camera shows, I actually do have a bit of a tan line!!  I work hard for those tans, but for some reason my camera doesn't show it XD

I had a very tender mercy happen to me last Sunday.  This area has been very difficult, and it's been hard to feel like I'm doing any good here.  But when we were in our combined Sunday School class, a younger woman scooted up next to me and asked me what I could tell her about faith.  At first I was just like "What?"  It was very random and unexpected (thank goodness her English was fantastic, so I didn't have a problem expressing myself).  Well, long story/conversation short, she told me that she was about to take a very big step in her life, and that even though she knew it was a good step she was very nervous.  I was able to share my thoughts about faith with her--that sometimes we don't actually start with faith, but we just start with desire.  Then from that desire comes hope, and from that hope comes faith.  I told her that sometimes, though, when we know a choice is right, that's all we have to base our faith on: the reassurance.  It isn't until later, after we've taken that step of faith, that we can look back and understand why it was a good choice for us.  I don't know what her big choice was, and I don't know why she came and talked to me.  But whatever I said seemed to help her, and seemed to give her peace.  And I've come to the realization that if she's the only person I've truly helped since I've been here, then I'm ok with that.

John 13:34-35  "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  I'm realizing that when you truly love someone--when you care about their needs and their concerns and their challenges--it's easy to serve them.  Even though I still have a hard time communicating very well in Tagalog, and even though this area has been hard, when I truly love those people that I'm teaching, it makes everything else ok, and everything else worth it.

"Start fast, run hard.  You can rest later."--Jeffrey R. Holland
Yep, love that man.  Coming from a previous cross country runner (I miss it!!), that's so true.  When you start good and you give it your all until the end, even if your visible results aren't as good as others', you can finish happy and content because you know you gave it your all.

Love from the Philippines!!
Sister Payton Pectol

The difference in 2 neighborhoods--one fairly wealthy, one not.