Monday, October 16, 2017

Finally assigned in the BUKID!  Rice Fields!

Today was an interesting week. It was full of both learning experiences and miracles. We are learning a ton here in Naguilian and excited to press forward and see the changes and miracles that will happen in the next few months.

This week was my first sacrament meeting in Naguilian, which was really really helpful to get to learn the names of members and now we have names that are willing to work with us and show us all the areas that we still don't really know. Working with members, I am realizing, will really be one of the most effective ways to strengthen this ward. Finding less active and part member families, strengthening the testimonies of active members, preparing young men and young women and fellowshippers. I know that things are super bigla, but over time I know miracles will happen. We worked with sister Rea yesterday and I think it really strengthened her own committment to serve as a visiting teacher, remember why she was baptized, and why we need the Restoration. I have seen that every time that we teach the Restoration, even if others don't receive the message, that over time we as teachers become more converted to the gospel. Truly I am seeing that even though I am realizing more and more my own faults and weaknesses, that on the other hand I have found myself more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and for me, missionary work is what I wish I could do as a full time job for the rest of my life.

That doesn't mean everything is perfect. I am the first to confess my weaknesses and sins. I feel like Nephi often -- I am easily beset by weaknesses. But I pray every time I feel like I'm not doing something Christlike or I need guidance and He always gives me strength to overcome those feelings. I know in whom I have trusted. I don't understand everything in the past, present, or future, but I do know that God knows the desires of our hearts, and is willing to change us if we give our will to him. I read the Fourth missionary again before I went to bed the other night, and felt a renewed desire to give everything to the Lord -- all personal affairs. Box them up and pack them up. I know that even though I have had so so much to learn and starting to realize that especially at the beginning of the mission that I was a really really rough diamond that needs polishing and refinement. I am really really grateful to my old companions who helped me. I am really grateful to my companion now who helps me be a better more Christlike person every day. She is such a loving person and patient with everyone, always excited for the next adventure and next lesson. Her best quality is that she sees every single person as a son or daughter of God with the potential to become like Him -- every person needs love and someone to support and encourage them on the path back to our Heavenly Father.

We have some really really solid investigators. Aljean Garcia is the son of a less active member and was excited to meet us the day we found his house. It was really sweet. He feels attracted to the church and he is only 14 years old. He came to general conference and didn't come to church this week because he got sick. We are planning to get him some young men friends and try to get him to seminary. I think seminary will help him become solid in the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the moment we met him he wanted to be baptized. Our goals for him are to help him become an involved member and to help him nurture his testimony. He doesn't really know how to read so we are planning to start to help him learn how to read. He will be baptized at the end of November -- November 18th is our goal.

Jerome Bautista is the pamankin of another less active family right next to Islander Antonio -- a young man very prepared to go on his mission soon. He is fellowshipping Jerome and Aljean and lending them ties to come to church. We teach them both at the Antonios house. Jerome is a very good young man. He's 18 and was so excited to be taught by the missionaries. He is shy but listens to every word that comes out of our mouth -- even if I say trumpet in Tagalog on accident instead of a whistle for an object lesson. He opened up to us that he has things weighing on his mind and has a true desire to change his life. He is such a special young man -- truly humbled with a broken heart and contrite spirit. We are so excited to see the joy of the Atonement work on him. Our focus with him is to help him have support and come to seminary too.

Angelito Deleon has wanted to be baptized this month, but we moved the date to October 28th so he was for sure done with all the lessons, are planning to get the elders quorum involved, and to make it a special day for him. Our focus with him this week is the Book of Mormon -- really understanding why this is the true church on Earth. His son wants to learn piano, so we are trying to start some piano lessons with him. Rangelo is his son and is 10 years old and is a candidate for baptism as well in the coming months.

Emilia Rosario is getting there as well. She has a lot of member friends on her street. The relief society members all are excited for her baptism on November 4. She feels the Holy Ghost testify to her when she prays with real intent, when she comes to church, and when she reads the Book of Mormon. She still needs a better understanding of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and she hasn't been able to come to church because Bauang has been far for her knee -- it's been operated on multiple times and when she falls, sometimes she can't get up.

Those are our solid investigators, and we are sure that if we use the help of the members there will be many more part member families that we can teach. I have had to learn that missionaries have to work smart and do our best to strengthen the ward. I've had to learn patience. If I had my way, I would like to work all day and all night, but often there are things out of my control.

 I'm not a perfect missionary, but I will get up every time I make a mistake and I know that Christ will refine me and shape me into the person I need to be. We will never lose faith that there are people ready for the gospel, even though life is messy and we just do not see how things work out sometimes. We know in whom we have trusted, and miracles happen when we have faith. I hope to deepen my understanding of Jesus Christ and of faith this week. 

Love you all,
Sister Porter


Monday, October 9, 2017

Hello from Naguilian

I feel that this week was really a success. I have truly been blessed with seeing God's guiding hand in my life and I have seen my heart change more than maybe any other time in my whole mission so far. I feel more converted to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than any other time before. I just can't even believe what my Savior has done for me and how aware He is of what I need and how I feel at all times.  I believe I was sent here with Sister Ballesteros. Seriously, I know He sent her to me for a reason. I have seen power in my life that has helped me fulfill my calling that I have never had before. It doesn't mean I've been perfect; I have had to learn a lot. But I've seen myself change more than ever before. I'm very very optimistic about training and the future of Naguilian Branch and the people in it.

This week I've had to learn humility. I know that there are many things I still have to learn, to take correcting counsel, to recognize that the Lord has the perfect plan and that I just need to trust Him no matter what happens, and to just love people and see beyond what I see on the outside. That has helped me so much with my relationships with my companion, other missionaries, members, and investigators. That there are things we cannot see and it's so important to pray for the gift of discernment and practice inspired questions, listening and trying to understand their point of view and the struggles they have in their hearts. Every person has those kind of struggles with understanding their identity and purpose of trials and finding purpose in their life. It has helped me look at people with so much more charity. Sometimes I've felt frustrated or hurt or misunderstood, but when I prayed for Heavenly Father and told him the feelings of my heart, those feelings leave me and I can go and try to understand others or have the humility to confess my faults or mistakes, or to try to make decisions based on the needs of others.

I believe with all my heart that Heavenly Father sent my companion to me because I need to just LOVE her. We need each other to learn and grow, and I've seen so much improvement in our How to Begin Teaching and Teach People Not Lessons. We were trying to visit an investigator the other day and he wasn't there so we happened upon a member who invited us in to get to know her. Within 10 minutes she was crying about how she was left to take care of her 2, 6, and 8 year old children while her husband has been working in Saudi Arabia for 2 years to bring money home. She felt that her efforts were not good enough for God and she made mistakes. We were able to testify to her that God sent us to her at that time exactly to share with her the message that Jeffrey R Holland taught about perfection and relying on Christ. We testified to her of the power of the Book of Mormon in her life. We tried to be really cheerful and sing hymns as we tried to explore our area and find investigators. We tried to focus on their lives and show them how the gospel would change their lives and be relevant to them.

We found some teenagers this week with enormous potential. They will be baptized someday in the Lord's timing. Jerome is a friend of Islander Antonio, a 19 year old getting ready to serve his mission. We met Jerome for 20 minutes Saturday Night and offered to teach him later tonight and invited him to General Conference. Saturday morning we found him wearing one of Islander's ties for the first time in his life and listening to General Conference. Truly the Lord is pouring out His Spirit on the rising generation -- I believe this generation is truly a chosen generation as most of the progressing investigators I have met are teenagers or young adults searching for the truth and meaning in their lives. We received a referral yesterday in Lioac Sur -- his name is Wally Lacuanan and he is the 21 year old boyfriend of a member in Bauang. He came to general conference with his girlfriend and we are so excited to get to know him and his family and teach them the gospel.


We are trying to improve our teaching skills in clarity and with responding to the promptings of the Spirit's for the understanding and needs of the investigators. The Spirit is truly what converts and if there is no Spirit, nothing will happen. But I know that this is the true church and the power of the Spirit and the Book of Mormon and the faith of members, missionaries, and investigators works miracles. I am very aware of my imperfections, but I will put my trust in the Savior and trust in His perfect plan for me and improve every day and repent every day. I cried so hard during Jeffrey R Holland’s talk. It was the most powerful conference I have ever had in my life. God spoke to me individually this weekend.
Sister Porter



Monday, October 2, 2017

Yes!!!!

Soooo, Niimbag na malem sa kanyam! So much happened this week and I just feel so happy! All the time! It's the best feeling ever! I don't think I've ever been so excited in my life! There are miracles that are going to happen in the next 3 months.

So, don't laugh too hard, but I have the best trainee ever ever ever. Her name is Sister Ballesteros, she's from Quezon City, and I'm exactly 1 foot and a half taller than her. It's seriously hilarious. She's the sweetest, she's is so magaling, and we hit it off really fast because even though we may be FAR from twins physically, I feel like she is my Filipina twin spiritually and personality wise. We are so excited to share the gospel with everyone, in any situation given us. I LOVE IT. She's an exactly obedient companion and we are having a blast. We are both completely new to the area, but open areas are seriously the bomb. Naguilian might be the best area in the entire Philippines. It's the prettiest area ever. Trees and fields and the nicest and friendliest people I have ever met in my whole life. You can love everyone from the first 10 seconds you talk to them. Honestly we are equal companions and our intentions are the same so we just yield to each other and help improve each other in everything we do.


Sobrang masaya kami dito. I love my companion Sister Ballesteros and I truly believe that the Lord blessed me with the privilege of being her companion. We are so so full of excitement to share the gospel to everyone we can, no matter what. Even the first day we found people that were willing to listen to us. Sister Ballesteros has an incredible testimony of the gospel and we got to start kaagad with everything. The first day we had to figure out where we were but Sister Johnson and Sister Aldred were so helpful and welcoming and helped us get an idea of where to start. Everyone was so helpful, helping us clean the apartment and get settled, so trying to get everything oriented took a little time, but we are ready to get up and running this week full blast. We are full of energy, full of hope that everyone needs to hear this gospel. We had great studies and practiced TCing so Sister Ballesteros is already at an incredible start. I am feeling confident that this might be the best 12 weeks of my life.

We are preparing Sister Emilia Rosario this week for baptism. She is such a humble sweet lady who as soon as we met her told us how excited she was to be baptized. We will have her interview tomorrow with the zone leaders in Neguillion. She is fellowshipped by all the members and recent converts that live on her street. So she is at church. She has been taught all the lessons and believes, even though her knowledge isn't perfect. She notices the feeling that comes every time she is at church. She is willing to follow the commandments. So we feel she is ready for baptism, and is ready to start on the journey of gaining even more knowledge as she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. She is getting baptized at the Naguilian chapel at 5:30 pm on Saturday, October 7th. We are so excited for her. We are hoping to start teaching her anak din.

We explored a little of our area and met some of the members. They were so kind and welcoming and it was so fun to get to know them. So so many of them are already asking to work with us -- teenagers and mothers especially. We found that many of those members are actually part member families and we have permission to teach them this week.

We met President Baybay on Saturday morning and he told us the ward mission plan and what he is hoping for us to do as missionaries. We are going to help him locate members in our baranggays and then find lots of investigators that way. In my experience in Lingsat I have found that our pinaka progressing investigators are results of part member families or less active families. We are going to help President with helping members work with us too. We are so so excited to work with the ward. We had an appointment with the Javier family too and helped establish a relationship with them. They are such great members of the ward. We met the Pimintelle family and the Manalo family too.

We had an idea to try to invite as many people to one big lesson of the Restoration just like the missionaries did in the 1800s. We are hoping to reach as many people as possible.

I feel overwhelmingly blessed with this opportunity to serve here in Naguillion. We are 100% confident that there will be a lot of baptisms in this area, and we are going to work as hard as we can.


Sister Porter



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

AAAAAAHHHH MALILIPAT NA AKO!!!!!

Soooo...
I was really surprised last night (at 10:15 at night mind you) that I'm going to transfer this week! I am so grateful for everything that I have learned here in Lingsat. I didn't know when I gave a talk in Lingsat ward yesterday that it was going to be for the last time. Honestly in this area I think I have grown the most in my entire mission. From the kindness of my companions, to learning to teach and serve others and not be afraid to be bold, confident, and loving as a representative of Jesus Christ. I also am aware of all my weaknesses and perfections and sometimes I feel like Nephi in 2 Nephi chapter 4. But I am humbled and know that I will need to completely rely on the Lord my next transfer as I know that my skills are inadequate to train a new sister. I know that she is going to need so much love, compassion, loving correction, understanding, and teaching to make a transition into the mission field and set the tone for the rest of her mission. I will work my very hardest and not be shy. I will show her love and we will learn together the fundamentals of missionary work as equal companions.  We will fast and pray for our new area. We will be bold in extending baptismal invitations and we will teach the doctrine of Christ. We will focus on the Book of Mormon constantly. We will be happy and work.

This week was a miracle week. Radcliffe Abat is going to be baptized this Saturday!!! He came up to us yesterday and told us that he felt ready to make the step the following Sunday. He received great fellowship of Brother Mike this week. He is taking such a great step of courage for his family which is going to bless the eternal salvation of his entire family. What courage to take that step when his family hasn't yet! He is going to be a great leader and blessing to his family. The Lord had His timing for Him, and I couldn't be more grateful to see his progression and faith. I know that his family will follow his example. The Spirit of God truly testifies of the truth of this church and the Restoration. You can't help but feel it at church, and I especially felt it this week at Andrea Apigo's baptism. She is such a strong convert to the church and has stuck with it even though the hardest trials have come on her ever since she decided to investigate two months ago. She will be the means of bringing other youth into the church too. Miracles are occurring in Lingsat! I am seeing it especially in the youth. Almost all of our progressing investigators are between ages 18 and 28. They are so prepared to hear the gospel. Chris Loren, the partner of the less active Lubiano family, believes even though he admits he doesn't have a perfect knowledge. He works so hard for his family and truly has the Spirit moving upon him to know the truth about the Savior. It's incredible to see his faith and humility. 
Brother Lubiano is slowly getting reactivated. He's good friends with Brother Ciasiko and Brother Padilla. Hopefully that will help all three of them be more regular in church. Brother Lubiano has such great faith and knowledge of the gospel. He's been a wonderful support to Brother Chris and a great example. Hopefully they will continue to feel the love and support of the ward.

I'm so grateful to have had the blessing to work with Sister Daban and her love, understanding, and support to all the investigators. Miracles have happened this transfer. I know it will shape the rest of my mission and I hope there will be some souls that will come to Christ through conversion that I will see. I'm excited for the next part of my journey. I know that things are never easy, but I will do my best and just love others. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth and His work is truly going forward and cannot be stopped or halted. I will labor and the Lord will help us find people to harvest.


Sister Porter


Monday, September 18, 2017

September!!

This week was a pretty normal week. We are learning and trying to overcome every day. I know that there is so much to learn and time flies so fast every week. I just wish with all my heart that I could do everything for the mission. However, I just keep realizing my weaknesses -- kung gaano akong kahina talaga -- and I have this vision of what kind of missionary I want to be and I've never prayed more in my life than I have here. I cling to the hope that the Savior will help me overcome them -- I want to be the most hard-working, charitable, efficient, faithful, fearless, social, obedient missionary possible. I want to look back without any regret that many things were done because of my work.

This week we visited the Sanidad family and they are doing great. Cheryl Sanidad is becoming more and more active every week, getting involved in Relief Society and getting her kids to primary. It's a miracle done through the faith and diligence of the ward -- a true miracle happening slowly and surely in the Lord's time. It's solid proof that no matter what, God's love for us is infinite and unceasing and there is ALWAYS a way to come back to Him. Miracles are possible through Him. Brother Eddie Lubiano is making a huge comeback too. He's so diligent in his scripture study and church attendance now. He, and Sally his daughter, and Chris her partner, all came to the mission home for FHE and had a great time. It was so good for them to see the friendliness and love of the church members. Chris is so receptive to the missionary lessons. He has the blessing of the Spirit to believe on the words of God's servants. He always says, "I don't know everything for sure, but I believe and will do what you ask." He does have a hard time attending church because he is always on call and he is a truck driver that drives pigs all over Luzon. Lester Manzano is our other main investigator. He prayed so hard this week that he could see Thomas S Monson in person. It was a sweet and tender moment and I couldn't helping smiling so hard during his prayer. He referred his classmate and kapitbahay so hopefully we will get to teach them this week.

Something I realized this week is that God does soooo much for us every day that we don't recognize. He literally takes care of us every single day and when we are sad and don't recognize how much He does for us, He is sad too. Counting blessings really is so important. Even when we are discouraged. For me personally, it's been difficult to not have a baptism. I've wondered why and if I'm truly not doing enough. It's constantly on my mind and sometimes stresses me out. All I want is to be the best missionary I can be and love the people. Something I want to do every day is to pray for charity and strength to accomplish everything that God has in store for me!

Cultural Notes: Tag-Pasko na!!!! It's Christmas season in the Philippines! We start in September here I love it. Christmas music all over town and our investigators are putting up Christmas trees! It's the best! Basically this is the best country in the world.

I feel like I'm more Filipina than Americana by nature. Filipinas are so shy and don't like attention or compliments. They just love good close friends and family -- that's what matters to them most.

Picture 1: We have the cutest kids that come to church every week and love primary. Asia and Alex. We hope someday that they will all come to church as a family so they can be one big happy family together for all eternity!


Picture 2: When you find the most Golden investigator -- seriously in just a few short weeks she would be ready to be baptized -- and then she has to move to Davao! We were so sad -- but of course we are referring them to missionaries there. We just wish we could be there for our sweet sister Riya -- a truly elect lady prepared by God to find His church

Monday, September 11, 2017

Manininiwala ako

Marami akong natututunan this week. We focused a lot on finding new investigators to teach that might help this work get moving faster. In faith that the field is truly white already to harvest. But we quickly found out that it's not always that easy to reap, even if a person is ready to receive the gospel. Like Joseph Smith when he was seized upon by that dark unseen power before he witnessed the first vision, I think the same thing happens to missionaries trying to help investigators and investigators ready to receive the gospel. Hard times come before miracles do. We found investigators these past two weeks, and our goal is to strengthen them with the good word of God in order for them to fight against Satan's attempts to keep them from listening to us.

We found a women named Crizelda who was super sweet and wanted to listen and even accepted a date, but her husband was angry that she listened to us. Lester Manzano is a 20 year old who reminds us of Joseph Smith. He reads and goes to different churches to find out the truth. He felt something strong our first meeting and planned on going to church, but he kind of disappeared this week and we haven't been able to get a hold of him. We know that he has a little bit of difficult family circumstances, but we will definitely not give up. And Chris Llorien is a super receptive young man who lives with a less active family we teach, the Lubianos. I think he is one of the most humble investigator I have ever had on my entire mission. When he read the doctrine of Christ on the first meeting, he was so touched and told us we had better come back at least two times a week. When we taught him about living prophets, he listened so intently and told us that even though he didn't perfectly understand or know for himself, that he will believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. What amazing faith! He is truly edifying my own understanding of what faith is. He is willing to leave his old ways behind and start new ones; he told us all the things he would do before we even got to teaching the commandments! He's coming to the FHE at the mission home later tonight.

Something I'm learning is that if we have the desire to repent and change and do our best, Christ will empower us to overcome all things. If we have the faith, it will come. Sometimes we really have to trust in the Lord's timing that it is better than ours and that every weakness we have and all that we are experiencing will turn out for our good if we trust him and move forward and not look to the past. Looking forward with faith in Christ. I know that will help our investigators face every obstacle they will face on the road to baptism and then to the temple and eternal salvation. It certainly counts for my companion and I as well. We are flawed and we are constantly going to be refined through the Atonement, if we have that desire. We have to want spiritual blessings and realize that what the world gives is only temporary pleasure that is tempting but doesn't last. I know that I'm not perfect and I definitely make mistakes. I know I was really bold with an investigator the other day and other times I don't say or do the right thing. But I truly am striving to be better every day and overcome weakness; I love what Elder Cornish said in last general conference that we can compare ourselves with you we are now versus before and see the change. I am definitely seeing change in my life that I'm definitely more devoted to the Savior and His gospel and I know that if I continue to do these things especially reading the Book of Mormon, being faithful in my calling and serving others, and praying, I will never fall away. I sometimes get discouraged that I am not doing enough, and that is something I still fight every day.

The Abat family needs prayers, but our focus with them from now on is the power of the Book of Mormon. I know it is the converting tool whereby the Holy Ghost can testify that this is the one true church of Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that through the prophet Joseph Smith the church and the power of God was RESTORED on the earth.

Photos:
P-day -- we went to the Ma-cho temple and got to explore a little. So beautiful. Basically I just love Asia and the culture with all my heart

We treated ourselves to a little brownie place on P-day just because I haven't had a brownie in I have no idea how long.

I have the cutest companion.


And we have a very special member named Faith who loves the missionaries and we love her too. She celebrates her 27th birthday today!!!!








Monday, September 4, 2017

Working in Lingsat

This week was a great week! I've learned so much in just a few short days. I really feel like what I learned this week will change my mission. I know that things are never going to be easy because the Lord God is always refining us and the salvation of souls is NEVER cheap, but I felt such a renewed sense of faith that truly this is the Lord's work and it is going forth. Miracles happened this week and I feel like Ammon and his brethren right now -- rejoicing in the miracles that God does.

We had a MIRACLE in Less Actives and New Investigators this week. This week we have been really bold to our investigators, inviting them to make commitments and start acting to make it on the path to eternal life. Christ truly is THE ONLY WAY to salvation in the celestial kingdom -- I believe that a desired to never be comfortable where you are and to keep searching for truth and improvement is the way that we have to trust Christ and His Atonement. We don't want to settle for a lesser kingdom of glory because the plan of our Heavenly Father for all of us is truly to gain eternal life. This is the time to prepare to meet God. What we want for our investigators is to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity with their families.

So Sunday morning we were discouraged because the investigators we went to to go to church didn't want to come anymore even though just a few days before they were crying as we talked about the temple. We were so confused and disappointed. But as we stepped in the church we were shocked at the miracle that happened, and I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Our less actives all came to church at the same time, except for one who is confined in the hospital for pulmonia but the elders gave her a blessing of healing so hopefully she will be out soon. The Bishop truly has inspiration for the ward and I know that now.

Eddie Lubiano came to church and stayed for all of it. His testimony is so strong in the gospel and he wants so bad to have the blessings of the priesthood for his family. Little by little his life will change again as he starts following the commandments of God by coming to church. One blessing that came is that we got to teach his daughter's boyfriend. He is so ready for the gospel and he accepted a baptismal date right away -- he set all of our appointments with him and He says he will do our commitments. That is the mark of a strong investigator. He was so excited about the prospect of being with Sally Lubiano for time and all eternity.

Liza Manaois came to church too. We met her this week and they were so excited to see us because it's been a long time since they've seen missionaries. But they are so kind and her daughter Faith (27) is so special we love her with all our hearts. She always is smiling and laughing and loves all the missionaries. All she wants is to go to church and the temple. They came to church yesterday.

Irene and Mae Ann Domingo came to church too. They are 8 and 14 years old and do not have any support from their older siblings or parents, but they still read their scriptures and do the best they can. They are going to be wonderful missionaries someday. Mae Ann is a very strong and wonderful girl who takes care of all the little ones and doesn't have it easy.

The entire Sanidad family came to church too and we were so overwhelmed to see her eldest son come with his wife. It was so amazing to see them at church.

Then, Patrocenia Galvez walked through the door and we were so surprised. She has been going to Catholic church for awhile and something must have changed this week because there she was at the front door! That was a complete miracle and act of faith on her part because life for her isn't easy and she wants a change in her family.

And of course the Abat family came. We had had a bold lesson with them where we promised them that if they would sacrifice their work on the Sabbath day that they would find blessings beyond measure. They had work again this Sunday so they didn't stay for class, but the family truly does want to be ready for baptism they are just still having a hard time giving up the Sabbath day and being all in. They are truly a family changed because of the gospel and becoming better every day -- you can see it in their countenances. Sometimes you just have to trust in the Lord's timetable for them and they are changing and the Lord is refining them little by little. We still have their goal date for the end of September and we will do everything we can do for them to be ready for that date and the rest of that is up to the Lord and the faith of the Abat family. I know that they are truly a wonderful family. We love them with all our hearts.

The mission tour with Elder Schmutz was incredible and I feel like a changed person. I felt the Spirit confirm everything we were learning and that was truly a sacred time for me. I've never learned so much just about Heavenly Father's plan for us to be together forever and become perfect and truly heirs in God's kingdom -- the celestial kingdom. The infinite potential that truly each of us has. My faith was renewed that there are ELECT people waiting for us to share the gospel, and we have to find them. The field is white ready to HARVEST -- not just to plant but to HARVEST. Baptisms will come but we have to have the faith to find, the courage to share the restored gospel to everyone we meet, and the faith to extend baptismal dates. Sister Daban and I that very day took into heart exactly what He said. Elder Schmutz is a general authority and a man of God -- and I want to share my testimony that all our church leaders have power and authority of God to say His words to us. I know that was what Heavenly Father wanted Baguio mission to know, and I am 100% committed to meeting the baptismal goals that he set for us. Not because we want to increase membership in the church -- but because every person deserves the chance to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and receive the ordinances of eternal salvation. I love the people of the Philippines with all my heart -- I have never been among a more sweet and prepared people to hear the gospel. The work here is rolling forward, and it is the biggest blessing of my life so far to see the Lord's mysteries unfold. I was reminded of a parable by Jesus Christ about planting seeds and harvesting as a missionary. It's heartbreaking when you see someone who doesn't want to hear, but when you share your testimony of the restored gospel and promise them blessings, and then sometimes you have to drop them after that. But that's not a bad thing. Christ said that the laborer can leave that seed to be planted and someday other missionaries will come to harvest. I am a laborer that will do this and then go find the people who are ready to harvest.

That day after the mission conference, we met a 20 year old who received the gospel with true humility and gratitude just like Joseph Smith. His name is Lester Manzano, a relative of Ram Manzano in Sevilla ward who got married in the Manila temple not too long ago. Lester has tried so many different churches but has felt a kulong in his life (something missing). He will be baptized in October. He comes from a broken family and life isn't easy for him. We saw the hardships in his eyes. But he is super smart and understands everything we teach. He reads the Book of Mormon when we gave it to his grandparents who were not interested at first but then he feasts on every word of the Book and lahat ng sinasabi ng mga missionaries. We were so blessed with a miracle. And we can't wait to see what other miracles will come.

I still feel like I struggle with the language still but my desire is truly to become fluent so I won't give up, even after my mission. I want to master it like Elder Holland said.

I am so grateful to my wonderful companion. She is incredible and makes me a better person, understanding and loving and bold to our investigators and others. She works so hard and is an incredible missionary and wonderful person. Her faith is strong, and I know faith brings miracles. True faith -- that's how Christ can't help but bring miracles with that kind of faith

JACOB 4:10

10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.








Monday, August 28, 2017

Magandang hapon po!

It was a good week this week even though things didn't go exactly the way we planned them too. We found some of the less actives that our bishop wanted us to find, and we had a great turnout of less actives at church! We were so happy, and a lot of these less actives are now part member families, giving us an opportunity to find solid investigators to teach.

I met Rosemarie Soriano on a bus while I was transferring here to Lingsat from Baguio two months ago. She was active in the 1990s but then her son was killed and her husband went deaf and cannot hear or speak. But they are so kind and so loving and they own a shop. We've been visiting her ever since and are going to focus on her more now because she came to church yesterday and loved relief society, already loving getting involved and friends with recent convert Nida Magleo. She wants her kids to be taught in Naguillion and we are going to teach her husband hopefully this week. We are really excited to teach him because we are going to have to do a new way of teaching because he can't hear. He has great potential.

Brother Eddie Lubiano went to church this week too! He lives on the beach and we met him tracting. From the start he loves the Book of Mormon and has a strong understanding of it and really wants the Priesthood because he never got to get the Melchezidek priesthood. He was a little nervous at church but we will keep working with him and are hopefully going to teach his daughter.

The Domingo kids went to church too. They don't have really much support from their parents in the church, and Mae Ann has to take care of the little kids and she's only 14. But she always reads the Book of Mormon and we are really going to try and get the young women involved with her. She is a key to getting this family to come back. Even Peter Domingo came back which was fantastic because he's the friend of Radcliffe Abat, who was so excited when he came to church.

The Abat family went to church too as a family. Radcliffe is truly ready for baptism anytime. The problem now is Brother June Abat has work right after sacrament meeting and it leads the whole family to leave. We all know that they want to be baptized as a whole family and it would be especially special if Radcliffe or Brother Abat had the priesthood to baptize their family. We are going to work with their concerns this week and keep them reading in the Book of Mormon. Truly little by little this family is changing and it definitely takes time, but they will be baptized and they all want to, it's just a matter now of making sacrifices for the Lord and having that faith. We love them with all our hearts. They are a truly wonderful family that has already changed so much. Even Raven is doing a lot better; she was so shy before and she still is, but she is participating in family activities now which is a true miracle.

We met Malexis Timbreza last week and she is 20 years old and comes from a broken family and lives with her mom. She is such a sweet and incredible girl, and we already love her with all our hearts. She has had it rough and it was hard for her to open up to us, but I truly feel like she recognized that we are servants of the Lord and love her so much that she let us love her. She is truly interested in our message, and she's busy as a respiratory therapy student, but we shared the potential she has as a daughter of God and that she was brave and stood with Christ even before the world was. She is going to work with us later tonight to see what missionaries do. Who knows what God has in store for her! She could truly be a future missionary! We are so excited to see her progress little by little as she learns how important she is to God.

As far as my personal progress goes, I feel like I learned a ton this week and something changed me this week as I read about the Saviors ministry and prophecies about Him in the Book of Mormon. I feel like a different person, although I still have weaknesses and natural man tendencies in me, I know I can overcome them through fasting and prayer just as Jesus said to the disciples that these things go not out but by fasting and prayer. I feel converted to my Savior. I know that He lives, and he is the Savior that ministered among the Jews and the Jews and the people did not recognize him or who he truly was. I feel like the same goes for us, even as believers in Christ. Faith in Christ is strong in the Philippines -- almost everyone here has a strong background of trust and prayer in God. I love it here with all my heart. But I truly want to know my Savior. He abhors sin but has everlasting compassion on the sinner. His love for us is never ending and incomprehensible. I've seen that as I studied his life. He is the Son of God and I will be his witness forever. How blessed I feel to be on the front lines and be His representative. I feel so inadequate for such a responsibility, and honestly I am really hard on myself for it. I struggle with being hard on myself because I feel like I am too weak to do all that is expected of me. But I love the people more than anything else and I wish I could share the gospel of Jesus Christ here until the end of my days. Anyone who wants to come to know their Savior needs to study his life through the scriptures and Jesus the Christ.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Sister Porter

I bear you my witness that no matter where you live, no matter what your circumstances may be, the Lord Jesus Christ stands with you against all this opposition with His redeeming love and His almighty power. Through His atoning sacrifice, He has experienced and overcome everything that could block your progress toward eternal life. In His strength and with His power, you can overcome whatever stands between you and the learning the Lord wants you to obtain.

- President Clark

Monday, August 21, 2017

Itanim mo ang binghi ng pananampalataya

Kumusta po kayo!?!?

This week I learned a lot. I truly think trying our best is opening our mouth to every creature we can reach. I truly do believe that if we do this, that God puts so many people in our path that are ready. Even if something doesn't go the way we plan every exposure to the missionaries and the gospel will leave an impact on people to start preparing their hearts with their first taste of what the Holy Ghost feels like. I will diligently try to talk to everyone I can possibly reach, even when it is hard. I believe that so much.  Our job is very simple: to proclaim the Restoration to everyone and invite them to repent, be baptized, and come unto Christ.

The Abat family is still a work in progress. They really do want to be baptized now as a whole family, but Brother June Abat has work after the first hour of sacrament meeting and doesn't really know if he can change it. We will keep working with them on being converted to the Savior and His gospel and of the blessing of being baptized together as a family with Brother June being able to baptize his wife and children. That would seriously be the most beautiful blessing to see that happen.

We taught Sister Bing Aquitana again too and she really does understand the importance of the Restoration so well. We even got to teach her husband. Sister Bing did a great job at explaining the Restoration to him, but we are going to need to help him understand for himself. She really needs fellowshippers because we feel like she's shy to go to church for the first time by herself.

We met a sweet new investigator named Sister Malexis Timbreza. She's a 20 year old college student that was so excited to talk with us and read the pamplets and the Book of Mormon. We love her already.

I love this work with all my heart and I love the people in my area so much. People here are so kind and selfless and family-oriented and I just love them and wish they would all accept the gospel, because I believe with all my heart that this is the way to know the truth and their purpose and the true gospel in their lives and they all need to hear it. Satan tries so hard to keep missionaries from opening their mouths and I know that I could improve on talking to everyone and always being on the lookout for new investigators. We have greatly improved on that but there is always room for improvement.

Sometimes I feel really weak and inadequate to be a missionary with such a great responsibility that every day I fall short on even when I am trying. I just wish I could see some success and try not to compare myself with other missionaries. But I'm trying to accept God's will for me and will proclaim the gospel to everyone even if the only convert on my mission is going to be myself.

I love the Savior and I love this work. It truly is the way to true happiness for me even when other things don't go the way you plan them to. I am so grateful for an incredible companion who works hard and loves just as hard. She's so patient and kind. I am so grateful to be here in such a wonderful ward, with wonderful members and leaders, a wonderful district, a wonderful people, a wonderful companion.

I've seen progress in my Tagalog too since I've been putting more focus on the Book of Mormon in my life, not just in studies but at all times. I study it every morning and every night, hard. Seriously I believe with all my heart that the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. He is a prophet of God, and this is the dispensation where we need to proclaim the gospel to EVERYONE. This is the time. There is urgency in our message.

Culture Note:
Most places don't have street addresses. We have places called barrangays which are often compounds of houses. Everyone knows everyone and are happy to help you find people. Families often live in compounds -- from the oldest lola (grandma) to all of the children, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. Usually people are related if they live close. Family is so important here.

I love watching fisherman here with their little canoes and big nets. It reminds me of when Jesus was in Galilee telling Peter and James and John to leave the fish and follow him. We have to leave our nets too to follow our Savior. Leaving the worldly things for something infinitely more worth -- truly a pearl of Great Price.

1 Nephi 19
7 For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.
8 And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.
9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

FAVORITE PARABLE OF JESUS CHRIST -- IN JESUS THE CHRIST
Matthew records the Parable of the Tares as immediately following that of the Sower; Mark places it in the same position of sequence a parable found in his writings alone. It is presented in outline form, and by critical expositors would be classed rather as a simple analogy than a typical parable. Read it:

“And he said, so is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”

We have no record of the disciples asking nor of the Master giving any interpretation of this, or of any later parable. In this story we find effectively illustrated the fact of the vitality of the seed of truth, though the secret processes of its growth be a mystery to all save God alone. A man having planted seed must needs leave it alone. He may tend the field, removing weeds, protecting the plants as best he may, but the growth itself is dependent upon conditions and forces beyond his power to ultimately control. Though it were Paul who planted and Apollos who watered, none but God could insure the increase. The one who sowed may go about his other affairs, for the field does not demand continuous or exclusive attention; nevertheless, under the influences of sunshine and shower, of breeze and dew, the blade develops, then the ear, and in due time the full corn in the ear. When the grain is ripe the man gladly harvests his crop.


The sower in this story is the authorized preacher of the word of God; he implants the seed of the gospel in the hearts of men, knowing not what the issue shall be. Passing on to similar or other ministry elsewhere, attending to his appointed duties in other fields, he, with faith and hope, leaves with God the result of his planting. In the harvest of souls converted through his labor, he is enriched and made to rejoice. This parable was probably directed more particularly to the apostles and the most devoted of the other disciples, rather than to the multitude at large; the lesson is one for teachers, for workers in the Lord’s fields, for the chosen sowers and reapers. It is of perennial value, as truly applicable today as when first spoken. Let the seed be sown, even though the sower be straightway called to other fields or other duties; in the gladsome harvest he shall find his recompense.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Family Home Evening with the Abat family

KUMUSTA!?!?!? Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Another good week here in San Fernando. SOBRANG MAIINIT. So so hot this week the weather just switched from raining every day all day to being super hot again. It's typhoon season so it's normal haha. I got to see my first mini typhoon a couple weeks ago -- it's called a bagyo here.

Basically, missionary work is the best work in the entire world and nothing makes me happier. SERIOUSLY. Nothing is better than teaching the Restoration to investigators and serving them. NOTHING. Please please pray for our investigators --- they need all the support and help possible!

It's been another good week in Lingsat! Sister Daban and I are trying our best to help our investigators. This week we are especially grateful to the faithful members of our ward that are so devoted to missionary work. We got help from the young women, the ward mission leader, the relief society president, the high priest's president, primary and of course, our district and mission president, in visiting our investigators. Sister Flora helped us teach Sister Lenie Castigo, and the young women came with us to teach a less active youth, Mark Joseph. Sister Mendoza came with us to visit the less active Galvez family and recent convert Sister Amy Magbanwa. We got to go with a lot of members of the ward, including Bishop, to the Benidez family this week too. Over all, it's been a great privilege to work with the members.

A highlight of our week was FHE of course with everyone at the Abat family. It was amazing that everyone came together to show love and support to this family. They came to church again this Sunday as a family, and except for Brother Abat who has work, the rest stayed for class for the first time. We know that it is so important for investigators to have constant support and friends, to feel important and that people care for them in the church. It helps them stay strong in the gospel and understand more fully the love the Savior has for them. We believe that blessings truly are promised from following the Lord.

Sometimes we can't control everything that happens in the week, but we just have to do the best we can with what God has given us. I know I don't handle every situation perfectly and I have a lot of faults and weaknesses. I wish I always knew what to do and say when I teach, or was perfect in the language or handled every situation perfectly. But I truly want to serve the Lord and be obedient to all his mission rules, and that's what I try to do every day. Sister Daban is such a blessing to me and seriously she's been just an incredible companion. She lets me exercise every day and is so willing to work hard. She is so kind, so much fun to be around, and is truly dedicated to the work. She is such a blessing in lessons, teaching with confidence and clarity according to promptings of the Spirit. She truly was is tune to find some wonderful investigators too. She is an amazing missionary and a great friend.

We have an incredible new investigator, Sister Bing Aquitana. We met her about a week and a half ago, and she is an elect lady. She understands the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and she already believes that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. We love her so much and have the highest of hopes for her. She's amazing and such a blessing.

We have another investigator, Carl Erikson, that is the sweetest little boy on the entire planet and is like my little brother. We love him to death. He is learning so fast and is 12 years old. He is so smart.

I've been studying more deeply the lessons in Preach My Gospel. I focused on the Apostasy, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon this week, and my testimony truly has grown about these principles. Truly the fullness and clarity and beauty of the gospel was lost over time as the Apostles were killed and the world lost the authority from God and the prophets, and revelation. People began to teach according to their own understanding and denying the power of God. Many churches arose and their understanding of the commandments, the Bible, and the nature of God completely changed. Their purposes were different. The truth was lost from the earth and we truly needed a Restoration. I love to share that message with our investigators. God is the Father of us all, then why are there so many churches and different interpretations of the commandments. Isn't he the same yesterday, today, and forever? Shouldn't baptism, faith, and the commandments and ordinances be the same and constant for each of His children? I know that Joseph Smith asked of God to know the truth, and became the prophet to start the dispensation of the fullness of times. This is the Church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth again. The same one that existed before. The salvation of men is in Jesus Christ and the principles and ordinances of the gospel that are the same now and forever. I believe it with all my heart. OUR SAVIOR LIVES!!

Sister Porter
Doctrine and Covenants 1
17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
23 That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Kung ikaw ay masaya, pumalapak!!!!

It's been a great week -- actually to be quite honest probably one of the happiest in my entire mission so far. I loved every minute of it and will forever cherish this time as a missionary. Being a missionary is the best job in the entire universe!!!! Seriously I want to do this for the rest of my life. The Philippines is the best place in the entire world. The people here are literally the sweetest on the entire planet.
I absolutely love everything about Lingsat, I love my companion Sister Daban so very much, and we love the ward we are serving in. Especially we just love the people. Honestly we just love love being here.
We worked so hard this week-- as hard as we possibly could, utilizing every minute we had to share the gospel. As soon as we were outside, we tried to talk to everyone we could, even if it was a few seconds; as a result, we are absolutely astounded at the amount of people that God places in our path to share. There are many people we hope we can get back to. We shared a lot of Books of Mormon and we truly do believe in the converting power there. Even when our appointments fell through, we found people to teach, and actually as a result we found Bing Aquitana, a 50 year old woman who immediately accepted the Restoration story with total understanding and started reading the Book of Mormon. She has great potential! We also met a 17 year old girl named Aira Mae Delos Santos who has a lot of siblings and her parents don't take care of them. She's had a hard time but is very receptive too. We know that God gave us those people to teach; we found both of those investigators after we got rejected a lot of times and we prayed outside for guidance.

A young boy named Carl came to church on Sunday, the son of a less active woman near the church. He is so shy and sweet and little, and needs to know that God loves him so much to boost his confidence. He has enormous potential too. We felt so good about him when we first met him a little over a week ago. We hope that he will be the means of reactivation of his mother.  I am so impressed with the drive for missionary work here in Lingsat ward - -my favorite ward ever!!!!! They all work to reactivate and visit members and we love it! We get referrals and the members are so excited and share so much love. I love Lingsat and Sister Daban so much.  I know that challenges come, but right now my mission is like a dream come true.
I love to run at the beach and exercise every day and I love finding and talking to as many people as possible and also doing my best to plan and teach by the Spirit.
I love the WORK!

Cultural Note:
I found some new favorite fruits -- I love Rambutan. It's a red fruit with a hard shell with long fuzzy like thick hairs around it. You crack it with your palms and eat the fruit inside. SOOOO MASARAP!!!!! I bought dragonfruit too, saging, apples, pinya -- there are soooo many kinds of fruit EVERYWHERE. I love it. Me and Sister Daban are obsessed with Swarma at the Night Market -- we are allowed to go there after work to get dinner sometimes. It's the bomb.
Also, people here love to talk. It's the sweetest thing.
Funny Story:
This family hid from us when we yelled "Tao Po". "It's the Elders!" Then we laughed and yelled at them back that we were the sisters. They hid from us. But that made the stubborn side of me kick in just as we were about to give up. We turned around, hid until they came outside again, then came out and gave them cards and told them they couldn't hide from us and we had a message for their family. Hahahaha Sister Daban was laughing so hard. We are definitely going back there because like I said to her then that families like that need the gospel now.
Mahal ko kayong lahat!!!
JESUS THE CHRIST:

James of old chided his brethren for certain empty professions (James 2:19). Said he in effect: You take pride and satisfaction in declaring your belief in God; you boast of being distinguished from the idolaters and the heathen because you accept one God; you do well to so profess, and so believe; but, remember, others do likewise; even the devils believe; and, we may add, so firmly that they tremble at the thought of the fate which that belief makes sure. Those confessions of the devils, that Christ was the Son of God, were founded on knowledge; yet their knowledge of the great truth did not change their evil natures. How different was their acknowledgment of the Savior from that of Peter, who, to the Master’s question “Whom say ye that I am?” replied in practically the words used by the unclean spirits before cited, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15–16; see also Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). Peter’s faith had already shown its vital power; it had caused him to forsake much that had been dear, to follow his Lord through persecution and suffering, and to put away worldliness with all its fascinations, the sacrificing godliness which his faith made so desirable. His knowledge of God as the Father, and of the Son as the Redeemer, was perhaps no greater than that of the unclean spirits; but while to them that knowledge was but an added cause of condemnation, to him it was a means of salvation.—Abridged from The Articles of Faith, 5:97–99.

Alma 5
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
14 At ngayon masdan, itinatanong ko sa inyo, aking mga kapatid sa simbahan, kayo ba ay espirituwal na isinilang sa Diyos? Inyo bang tinanggap ang kanyang larawan sa inyong mga mukha? Inyo bang naranasan ang malaking pagbabagong ito sa inyong mga puso?



Sister Porter