Sunday, June 26, 2016

Farewell Conference, and Still Smiling kahit Mahirap :)

This week has been exhausting, but good.  We had our very last zone conference with President and Sister Revillo on Wednesday, which was super fun but also really sad.  It's going to be hard to see them go; they've been my mission parent the whole time out in the field and I have learned so much from both of them.  Our new mission president and family will be arriving this week and next week we'll meet them, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens.  We sang "God be with You til We Meet Again" to close the conference, and there might have been a couple of tears shed.  I'm really going to miss them.  We have one last STL meeting with Sister Revillo tomorrow, so I'm excited for that.

I think that one of the things I'm learning from this area and my companion is to just stay positive.  Our area is really kawawa (pitiful/suffering) right now, and neither me nor Sister Gican really have any idea what we need to do.  It's hard to not feel lazy when you're so close to going home and you're area isn't progressing (it feels like we can't do anything), but we're both really trying to push and finish strong.  We aren't seeing any success yet from our efforts to help this area, but we're just really trying to focus on being positive.  And somehow it happens.  Even when we're dead tired from exchanges and we're sick of the pollution and we get punted from our investigators we were hoping would be baptized this month, we still end up smiling and expressing our thanks to Heavenly Father at the end of each day.  So it's working out, kahit pa-paano.

I believe in Christ, so come what may.  Hymn #134  I was reading through this hymn yesterday at church, and I just felt so grateful for my Savior and for all that He has done for me.  Missionary work is not easy, and sometimes it's downright discouraging.  But every day, we receive the help that we need in order to do the things that He would have us do :)

2 Nephi 4:30  Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

Sorry short email...we report on the exchanges we do so my time's a bit limited :)

LOVE YOU ALL!!  Have a great week :)
Sister Pectol

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day! Lung Cancer and Delayed Revelation

Hi all!!  First of all, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there!  Whether biological dad, stepdad, grandpa, uncle, or any other father figures, I hope that you have a wonderful day and that you can feel how important your role is as a father and how much impact you have on those around you :)

This week has been good, but another busy week with 3 days of exchanges.  I got a virus or something on Tuesday, so by the time we got to the sisters' apartment on Wednesday for exchanges it had moved into my lungs and I'd basically been up all night coughing.  I gained an even stronger testimony of angels helping us in this work, because as we were hiking around and climbing up slick dirt slopes and getting smoked out by jeepneys and singing hymns and all that fun stuff, I somehow was able to continue.  I felt like I about coughed up a lung after every single lesson and I couldn't really breath as we were walking, but I'm positive that there were angels who were pushing me on so that even if I was seriously lacking in oxygen, I could keep walking.  Which just goes to show how important this work is, I guess :)

I also had a powerful lesson this week on how I receive personal revelation from Heavenly Father.  In a recent general conference, one of the speakers encouraged us to take the time to ask in our prayers what we lack yet and what we can do to improve.  I've done it multiple times, and each time Heavenly Father has used someone else to answer my prayer and tell me what to improve.  This time, it was while re-reading the talks of the last general conference that I received my answer.  I haven't been able to read all the talks yet, but I got a good start, and one of the messages that kept repeating itself over and over again was service, and how important it is for us to give service to our brothers and sisters.  I especially like the example of one sister who joined in a service project for people in need across the world.  On her way home, she felt the Spirit's confirmation that what she had done was a good thing, but that now it was time for her to walk across the street and help her neighbor.  I think that sometimes we think of service as huge projects that impact large groups of people, but the most important service is actually the kinds that most people won't notice and that probably won't be recognized.  Things like not complaining, trying to understand others' weaknesses, telling someone how much you love them--they're so simple, but they make such a huge difference.  

I loved this quote by President Henry B. Eyring:  The first thing you must commit to do is to go and serve, knowing that you do not go alone.  When you go to comfort and serve anyone for the Savior, He prepares the way before you.  As we do what we can to help those closest to us, not only will they be helped, but we will receive help as well to magnify our limited efforts.  And the best part is, as we serve others, the Savior feels it as though we were serving him 💕

Alma 26:37 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. Amen.  
I've shared this scripture before, but I wanted to share it again this week because it really impacted me.  I was having kind of a rough morning and in one of our lessons I was having a hard time focusing and feeling the Spirit.  Sister Gican pulled out her Book of Mormon and then asked our investigator to read this verse, and as she did so it really impacted both her and me.  I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me that He knew I was having a rough day and that He understood how I felt, and that He was just right there with me.  It was just a short spiritual thought for that investigator, but I think for me my day started to get better after that.  I really do know that wherever we are in the world and whatever our situation is, Heavenly Father knows us and what we are going through and He will help us.

I love you all!!  Have a good week!
Sister Pectol

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Miracle of Planting Seeds

It's only been a couple of days since my last email so not much has happened, but there was one really cool experience that I had while on exchanges that I would like to share.  We had the opportunity to work with the sisters assigned in Sumulong 2, my very first area.  The sisters are magaling and it was a really good exchanges, but there was one specific part that really touched me.  As I was planning with one of the sisters who is assigned in the part of the area that I was assigned in, she said that we would be visiting a recent convert who's name I recognized.  When we got to this old tatay's house, I recognized him as one of the investigators that we had tried to teach when I was still new.  At that time, he didn't want to be taught.  He was old and sick so he couldn't really run, but I remember so distinctly that whenever he would see us he would hobble as fast as he could to try to hide from us or pretend he was busy.  He's healthier now, so as he led us back to his house I asked him if he remembered me, but he didn't until his wife reminded him that he used to hide from us.  He looked so embarrassed, it was cute haha.  
He showed us the pictures of him at his baptism, and as he told us about how he had quit smoking and drinking and is now going to church every week, and about all the changes and blessings that he's seen in his life since he's been baptized, I was so touched by the things that he said and so glad that we got to visit him.  I remember that when we were trying to teach him, I honestly never thought that he would be baptized and that it was kind of a waste of time--if we did manage to catch him, he wouldn't even listen to us.  But I'm grateful that Heavenly Father let me visit him again, because it was such a lesson to me of the power of planting seeds.  I never saw any progress with that tatay, but maybe because of the seeds we helped plant in his heart other missionaries were able to help him gain his conversion.  I am grateful that even though I wasn't there to baptize him, I was still somehow a part of it.

Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  I know that sometimes our trials and challenges can feel like we are in the "furnace of affliction" (shout out to Maddie), but whatever our trials are--physical, spiritual, emotional, whatever--Heavenly Father truly has the power to deliver us, if we trust in him.

Too much of anything can put a life out of balance.  So let's just stay balanced peeps :)

Love you all!!  Have a great week!
Sister Pectol

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Whitewash! Suicide Socks and Extra Companions

Well my first week in Cainta has been pretty good, we're basically whitewashing here which means we're both new and don't really know the area yet, but we're getting there :) thank goodness Sister Gican got emergency transferred here a week before I came, so she has a little background in the area.  It's a bit of a harder area, but since Sister Gican goes home this transfer and I'm next transfer, we both are hoping to really help the area improve while we're still here.  (It's weird to be old in the mission--sometimes I feel like I just got here from the MTC.) 

So at the beginning of this week, I experienced a slightly terrifying but hilarious moment in our apartment.  We are in a condo on the 10th floor, and since the bunkbed is scooched up against the window and I'm on the top bed, I have a pretty good view of the other condo buildings.  The window is kind of big though and doesn't have a screen, so there's a pretty decent space that something could fit through.  When I was unpacking, I grabbed my very favorite fuzzy zebra socks and even though I meant to just toss them gently on the bed, they got excited or something and decided to take it farther.  So what basically happened is my very favoritest socks suicided out the 10th story window 😩 it was tragic.  But the thing is, the space is big enough that if I toss or turn too much in my sleep, I might fit through it as well...  So since then, that window has been closed and secured very tightly cause I would rather not accidentally roll off the 10th floor haha.

I've also had some experiences this week that have really confirmed to me that missionaries don't walk alone.  There are some parts of our area that have loiterers that sometimes get kind of sketchy, and being a white girl in the Philippines, I get a lot of not very nice attention sometimes.  One of my first nights here, I felt really heavy and kind of depressed because of all the things that were being said.  They weren't necessarily negative about me, but it was rude and discouraging.  When I started to feel those negative emotions coming on, I suddenly felt a sense of peace and Iknew that it wasn't just the two of us walking down that busy street.  There were others surrounding us, and as we continued to walk to our next lesson I was able to hold my head a little bit higher because I could feel that Heavenly Father didn't leave us alone to deal with that, but that He was sending us His angels to help us be strong ❤

Ether 12:33 And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.  I am so grateful for the Savior's Atonement and for all that that means for us.  I have come to really know Him here in the mission, and I know that He is always with us when we let Him in.

Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult.  You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.  Just for a little more humor XD

Love you all!!  Have a great week!!
Sister Pectol