Monday, March 28, 2016

Kabahay Tabernacle Choir, Holy Week, and Beach Pictures

Hello everyone!!  Happy Easter!!

There hasn't been a full week yet since my last email but there's still a lot that has happened.  I am actually emailing from Mindoro right now; we woke up at 2am this morning to get our flight here.  The flight was only an hour but because of airport lines we had to be really early.  We got here in time to join in the Mindoro zone's activity, which included a sand castle contest.  It was so fun!  But we're not allowed to swim, so we just enjoyed wading through the shallow part.  It's so pretty here; the air is actually fresh!  Our mission is very much a city mission, so it seems like I've forgotten what it feels like to have lungs that aren't full of tricycle and jeepney smoke and pollution haha.  We were able to sleep most of the morning after the activity, so that was nice, because we were definitely feeling the lack of sleep catching up to us.

This past week was Holy Week here in the Philippines, which means that basically everyone was on holiday and didn't have work.  Ideally, that would mean that everyone was home and there was a lot of people we could talk to.  But in reality, what happened is that everyone took the opportunity to go to their home provinces, so we spent the week getting punted.  And I don't know when I've ever sweat so much 😬  It's summertime now here, and even if the sun isn't shining we can literally feel the heat radiating off the concrete.  But at least we have a good time together, so even though we spent a lot of time walking and literally sweat buckets, it was with companionship unity and love haha.
Yesterday after church our ward had an Easter devotional, and it was so amazing!  They shared some of the Easter videos that I think came out this year and it was so spiritual.  #Hallelujah.  They talked a lot about the Savior's Atonement for us and what that really means and how we can use it in our lives.  It was powerful, and I learned a lot of things that I can really apply in my life.

And we have this new thing as kabahays that Sister Consulta jokingly referred to as the Tabernacle Choir.  We have USB's that have approved music for us to listen to, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, EFY songs, and others.  One of my favorites is 'You Raise Me Up', by Josh Groban, so whenever it comes on I've started yell singing to it.  Sometimes I do it by myself and my kabahays just suffer, but sometimes they join in the dramatic singing and then we all just have fun together.  I was never much into shower singing, but my family's going to have to look out because it's one of my new favorite hobbies XD  and it just might make them all go deaf lol.

Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.  This is one of my favorite quotes, and actually when I was at our ward devotional I received a lot of personal revelation that prompted me to do better at focusing on the positive side of things.  I have learned that attitude definitely determines how well things can go for us.

Helaman 5:12  And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I am so grateful for the Savior and His Atonement, and that because of what He suffered for us we can improve and overcome our weaknesses.  I am grateful for this Easter season that we have to remember His resurrection and all He did for us, and I am grateful for the relationship I have with Him.  He's my big brother, and I know that whatever happens He will be here.

I love you all!
Sister Payton Pectol

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Zone Conference, Icebergs, and Birthday Cards!!!

Hello everyone!!

This week has been so busy!  We had our zone conference on Thursday, which was amazing.  President and Sister Revillo are so inspired, and I learned so much from them.  A big part of the conference was about what we need to do as missionaries to achieve our goal of baptizing converts and establishing the church, and it was so powerful!  Usually at zone conferences, when it's lunch or short breaks, it's a great time to take pictures with all your missionary buddies.  But because of everything we needed to get done to help with the mission business, we were running around so much that I was only able to get one picture of us.  And it was while we were waiting for a last minute thing to print so we could distribute it to everyone haha.  We're very involved with helping organize and format and print and distribute all the papers and stuff that the missionaries get, so it's kept us running.  It's busy and sometimes stressful but it's fun :)  I've figured out the secret is just to keep joking with your companion and keep things fun :)

And I got everyone's birthday cards!!  Lol 2 months later...oh well, I was excited to get a big stack of cards in the mail, so thank you all!!  There are replies on their way to you :)
We had the neatest lesson this week with one of our part member families.  Justin is 11 years old and hasn't been baptized yet, even though his mom, Rose, has been a member for a long time.  Justin is super amazing and I love teaching him (he's so smart and even though he's young he's super spiritual), but Rose is completely inactive in the church and we weren't sure what her concern was.  When we taught them last week, we had originally planned on teaching about the Plan of Salvation, but after a couple of questions and a couple of things she told us we realized that that wasn't what she needed.  So what basically ended up was that we had no plan for what she needed and we weren't sure what to say.  But I can really testify of the power of the Spirit in guiding you in what to say.  There's an example in Preach My Gospel that likens concerns to an iceberg; you can only see a part of it but you don't know the whole thing.  But that lesson was so spiritual, and I felt like everything we were saying was being guided.  Our question, our teaching, our scripture references--it was amazing.  We were so united and it was so powerful, and when we left the appointment Sister Consulta said that we didn't just see the whole iceberg; we smashed it with a hammer and got right to the core haha.  I love being able to feel that guidance and know that what I'm doing is not just my efforts, but that Heavenly Father is really helping me.

You were born with the ability to change someone's life.  Don't ever waste it.

Alma 19:36  And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin topour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believeon his name.
I love you all!!  Have a great week!!
Sister Pectol

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Language Struggles, Unity, and Promised Blessings

Hi all!!

It has been another really good but really busy week this week for us.  We have been so busy doing stuff for the mission that we literally only spent 3 days working in our area last week.  It's hard when you want to spend time in the area to help it progress, but I think Heavenly Father knows that we're trying to do as much as we can, so He really blessed us this week.  We were able to find a new investigator that is so golden and is so ready to be baptized, so we are very excited for her, and I have also seen a lot of personal miracles as well, which is amazing.
Last week I was really really struggling with feelings of inadequacy and stress about my calling.  I keep making mistakes and me and my companion weren't super united or getting along and I felt very overwhelmed.  Friday night I had a really long prayer and had a good talk with Heavenly Father about what was going on and what I was struggling with, and I asked Him to confirm to me that this call really is coming from Him and that there's a reason I'm here.  And as we went throughout the day on Saturday I could feel extra strength and support coming from Him.  I could truly feel the love of my Savior as I tried to remember His Atonement, and on Sunday I felt miracles happen all day; within myself, within our companionship and our unity, and everything.  It is amazing to me how well Heavenly Father knows us and how He is just waiting for us to turn to Him so that He can strengthen us. 
It was ward conference yesterday, and in Sunday School the stake president taught the lesson.  It was a very short but powerful lesson about what to do if we want miracles.  He told us all to think of a miracle that we want to happen and write it down, and then he would give us the way to make it happen.  He taught us that in order to receive blessings and miracles from God we need to faithfully obey His commandments.  He said that if we want to have an increase in blessings, we need to increase our faith and increase our obedience.  His testimony was so strong, and even though it was a really short lesson we all felt the Spirit testifying that what he was saying was true.  It was very powerful, and even though what I wrote would definitely be a miracle, I think that it will happen :)
Funny story of the week:  when we were in our Mission Leadership Council, Sister Revillo asked all of us how we were doing with our language.  One of the rules in our mission is English inside the apartment and Tagalog outside.  But it's a hard rule, so when she followed up with the zone leaders and the sister training leaders and saw that we weren't doing so great, we got a little bit of a scolding and she committed us to follow that rule with exactness in order to be an example to the other missionaries. So we've been doing that for a couple of days, and let me tell you, it is not easy!!  Ironically, I'm the one who's having the struggle.  Sister Consulta speaks very good English, so when we're inside the apartment she doesn't have a problem.  But I've gotten to the point that it's very rare that I speak straight English, so it literally takes all my brain power to have a full English conversation!  Maybe this is one of the changes that I'm experiencing here on the mission haha.
Alma 7:23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.  --Harriet Beecher Stowe
Love you all!  Have a great week!!
Sister Pectol

The pictures are of us at MLC, and the night before spending our evening organizing and packing all of the 72 hour kit replacements we need to get to missionaries all over the mission.

Mission Leadership Counsil, March 11, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

First Week in Quirino: A Different Side of Missionary Work, Honest Companion, and New "Skills"

This week has been absolutely much has happened!!  I had my first couple of times working in the office, which wasn't too bad; I just have a lot to learn!!  And it was a very different side of missionary work than I expected.  Before, we would have days of tracting and teaching and getting punted and tracting some more, intermingled with our studies.  We still do that, but now we have extra things to do as well, like coordinating language test schedules and calling missionaries every night and leading in STL meetings and even occasionally bringing the AP's food haha.  It's been quite a week, with a lot of ups and downs, but I am learning a lot and I enjoy it so far :)  I think one of the things I've improved the most in this week is texting...I've never really been the type that was always texting, so I'm usually a pretty slow thumb-typer.  But I can honestly say that my texting speed has doubled in just this first week lol.  I feel like our phone never has a break...

The apartment we're in is nice, but there's 6 of us here, so it's sometimes a little crowded.  And more missionaries means more food and garbage, which means that it wasn't too big of a surprise when I started noticing the mice running around everywhere....ewwwwwww.  We had to go to the mall to pick up flashlights for the missionaries' 72 hour kits, so while we were there I grabbed some mouse traps, and literally within 5 minutes of setting them we already had a dead mouse.  Almost every day since then we've had to throw a dead mouse out.  Yuck.  But at least there's less mouse poop everywhere :)  I'm not so worried about getting some freaky mouse disease lol.

I've also been able to learn a lot about myself this week.  My companion is very very honest with me, which is something that I really appreciate but is also sometimes hard.  I have a LOT of weaknesses, and since I've received this new calling I've really seen them in myself.  Sometimes it makes things difficult for her too, so we've had a couple of good talks this week that taught me a lot about the kind of person that I really am.  I think I have a lot of growth ahead of me this transfer, because one of the things that I've learned so far is that basically all of the things I used to think were my strengths actually are very big weaknesses.  It's really hard to hear that about yourself, but is also really good because now I have specific things to work on.  I was really struggling with feelings of inadequacy at the beginning of the week, but I didn't know specifically what to do.  But now after talking with my amazing companion, I know what I can do to improve and to gain the qualities that I need to in order to magnify this calling and to really give my best.  It's been a bit of a roller coaster week, but I feel very happy and excited for the future :)  I just keep praying that Heavenly Father will take me and help me to be capable in this calling.

My quote for the week is something that Sister Consulta said to me that really impacted me:  It's not about secular knowledge; it's about spiritual worthiness.  I really do know that if we're humble and worthy and let the Spirit teach us, than we will receive the help and strength we need. 
Mosiah 26:18 Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they becalled; and they are mine.  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and as a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ, I testify that I know that as long as we put our trust in Christ and do all we can to follow Him, He will be right with us until the very end.  He will watch over us and guide us, and He will give us the strength to do what we need to do.
Love you all!!
Sister Payton Pectol