Monday, April 24, 2017

Ang landas patungo sa kaligayahan -- Ang landas sa Simbahan

Kumusta po kayo Inyong lahat!!!!

This week was amazing-- it was like all of a sudden everything turned around and I really can't explain it. Sister Agner and I were on the same page -- we were both motivated to work so hard and talk to as many people as we could. We met so many incredible people and felt the Spirit so strongly in our lessons as we extended commitments and our testimonies that Jesus Christ and His gospel can change lives. We were just happy even though there were hard times too. We study Preach my Gospel everyday and apply it. Our mission has been struggling a bit so President Bangal came and told us to put our focus on the Book of Mormon. So that's what we did. Everyone we talked to-- we explained and testified that the Book of Mormon is another testament that Jesus Christ LIVES and LOVEs us so very much and is very much in all of our lives. We are flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon talaga! We start and end our day with the Book of Mormon -- and I know that that habit right there changes lives.

But that doesn't mean there aren't hard times. We have this incredible incredible investigator -- Sister Raquel. She is a true convert and living example that the gospel changes lives. She doesn't have a lot and her husband struggles to find work-- he is hardly ever home. But she told us that as she has studied the gospel and the Book of Mormon everyday that her perspective and her family life has completely changed. You see it in her eyes -- expecially this Sunday when all the members were helping her with her baby and her kids love primary. She shares her testimony often to us and is working on getting the courage to do it in front of the whole church. She is live Joseph Smith -- she talked to so many different religions but immediately recognized the Spirit when two girls met her on the street and she started listening to them in March. I wasn't there the first time Sister Agner met her but I was there the second visit. Jesus Christ is so merciful and so loving and I just love Sister Raquel so so much. She was going to get baptized next week but we learned that due to some marriage laws her she has to wait one more year. We all cried. Why did it have to happen now? As missionaries we were so disappointed that we had to wait. But her testimony didn't waver. She came to church with a smile on her face and said: ''Ang landas patungo sa kaligayahan -- Ang landas sa Simbahan'' -- The path to happiness is the path to church. It was incredible talaga. Pray for her! I hope to see her baptism in a year!

Sister Christine is the same way-- she has had the hardest life and cannot pay to go to church every time. She's waited a long time and knows this gospel is true and she wants to give everything to her kids. But she has to wait for her baptism too.
As missionaries -- it was so hard to see everything fall through --we were trying so hard to share the gospel, be bold and loving in sharing our testimonies -- why did this have to happen. But we decided this is a test of our faith -- that we will help our investigators and find more if we trust in God in His timing. He loves all of us and sometimes we just have to be patient. But there is a promise in Alma 26:27 to missionaries: "Now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, and bear with patiance thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." God will help me learn this language in His timing and help us find the people that need us.

Cultural Note: People burn their chickens ALIVE here. It was a little scary the first time I saw it happen to be honest.

Another Cultural Note: Older Sisters and Older Brothers get special respect here! Older sisters are always called Ate and Older Brothers Kuya.

A special Filipino treat that you can all make at home and think of me-- It's one of my FAVORITES -- they sell it on the street : Fry a banana and sprinkle brown sugar over it -- SOOO delicious. But the bananas here -- mga saging -- are way better here hahaha. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Huwakan ang Inyong pagtitiwala sa Diyos

Happy belated Easter sa Inyong lahat!!!

Easter was pretty normal in the Philippines but getting to share the message that Christ lives and loves us makes every day special. Every day I get to remember that His work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man and that through His Atonement, all of us can be completely healed -- Ipapagaling ni Jesus lahat ng mga pagsubok natin sa mundo, sometimes not in the way or timing that we want but He is the hope of us all -- Ang Ating Pagasang Walang Hanggan! Gusto ko na mapatotoo sa Inyo na nabuhay siya ulit at nadaig ang kamatayan. He lives and overcame death and is the light of the world -- Ang liwanag ng buong sanlibutan.
Dito sa Pilipinas, I expected that as a missionary somehow I would be different immediately, that somehow I would automatically know how to use my time most effectively, to talk to people and not be afraid, to not be afraid to stand up to other missionaries, and in discerning the needs of my investigators. I wish I was perfect in making and pushing myself in goals, never getting discouraged. Hahahaha I was so naive. Honestly, I've seen so many of my weaknesses and that my skills are not always enough for this job. But I want to become that missionary that can do these things, because it will help me bless others now and make a difference in the future. But it is completely impossible without Christ and the Spirit -- I need direction and strength from the Atonement to accomplish anything. 
How do we rely on the Atonement? Repentance and faith in Christ is key -- pagsisisi at pananampalataya. We have to keep pushing forward and making little changes in our lives little by little -- line upon line, precept upon precept. That's repentence -- it never comes overnight-- even though we wish that we could automatically change overnight. Everything is this world is a process -- whether we are studying or developing some talent or trying to overcome a bad habit or trying to improve in someway or another -- it's all repentence and conversion is no different. I hope that by the end of my mission I will know how to do these things much better. For now, I'm just going to implement Preach my Gospel in my life as best I can and trust God has a plan. I want to be the best missionary I can be even if right now my capacity isn't as large right now as I want it to be.I wish I could understand everyone, work as hard as I can, and be able to speak the way the Savior would.
But I remember one day in college when I decided to run 20 miles before I was in shape for it. I injured myself for months. We cannot run faster than we have strength, God increases our capacity as we push ourselves everyday.
Alma 37: 6-7 -- Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold i say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
It's so easy to get discouraged but we keep teaching people and hope that someday it will all work out!
Cultural note of the week: Easter week is holy week and everyone goes to the beach. It has something to do with healing. School is already out here!

Mahal ko kayo!!! Your prayers sustain me everyday!! And I know that Christ loves us so much no matter what! He will heal us and comfort us even though life is so hard! I have been completely blown away by how difficult life is for many of our investigators. One of my sisters, Sister Rowena, used to be well off with her first husband and went to college and everything, but when he died she was left with nothing. And she and her kids are living in poverty selling handmade clothes. I love her so much. She's so smart and reading the Book of Mormon and books of scripture because she is searching for the truth in her life. I hope she can feel the Spirit so she knows that through Christ and the Book of Mormon she will have the faith and comfort to endure.
Thank you for everything! Love you all!!!! Your emails make my week!! Thanks for making me feel part of your lives kahit na layo-layo ako mula sa inyo! I'm across the world but I still feel like I'm here for you!!
Kita kits tayo sa susunod linggo!
Sister Porter

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pagtitwala and Pananampalataya kay Cristo

Well, maraming natutonan ko ngayon lingo (I learned a lot this week)

My success of the week: My Tagalog has improved this week-- but it was truly the gift of tongues that helped me speak so much this week! Thank you Mom, your fast truly has helped. I have a lot of vocab to learn, and I don't understand everything, but I was able to answer the questions my investigators asked me this week! I know it isn't me though.. I recognize the gift of tongues during lessons. I say things in the lessons I couldn't outside of lessons. God is real!

I had to learn a lot of patience this week: Sometimes it's so easy to get frustrated when people don't want to read the Book of Mormon when you ask, or you get frustrated with yourself when your capabilities or time isn't exactly what you wish it was. But I have realized that everything is in the Lord's time and not mine. We can just love people no matter what and think about all the hardships in their lives. I know that I didn't understand just how important God's Plan was before I left on my mission, and it takes time to learn it. I just want to be an effective missionary but I know the Lord knows my heart and He knows yours too.

I just want you all to know that praying and reading the Book of Mormon is the only way you will know and understand what I am doing as a missionary. I promise that miracles come from it. 

Cultural Note of the Week:
Filipino Time is worse than Mormon standard time. People show up to things over an hour after the designated time. It's real. Also, People share everything here! So selfless it's seriously amazing!

Second Cultural Note of the Week: So a member fed me chicken liver and gizzard this week hahaha and it was definitely interesting. The fruits and veggies here are the best-- varieties you don't get anywhere else in the world. Singkamas are a sweet watery root I eat like an apple. It kinda looks like a turnip. Luzones are delicious! They look like big yellow grape bunches with hard skins. Camote is a sweet potato I eat all the time! It's a staple food for poorer Filipinos, and I just boil it and eat it all day hahaha.

Spiritual Note of the Week;
I loved a talk by L Whitney Clayton. I finally got to watch General Conference hahaha. It's in English and not many people understand but they love the feeling from watching it and there's a few small TVs with Tagalog subtitles, but they call it Deep Tagalog because street Tagalog is WAY different than written Tagalog or translated Tagalog. So it's still hard to understand haha. Plus people speak Ilakano here. Tagalog is like Swahili in Africa -- it's like a compromise language for the Philippines. You identify yourself by your language--- it's your people and your home. For example, my companion speaks Wari-Wari in Tacloban. But there are SO MANY dialects it's insane -- Bisaya, Elongo and Hiligaynon, Ilakano, Cebuano..... 

Anyway, He told the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Mary told the servants to do anything he asked. She had complete confidence that Jesus could solve any problem, even a simple one at a wedding feast/ She didn't ask specific questions of how things would turn out, she just had a simple trust in God. Simple acts of faith and belief in the Savior will turn into miracles --- just showing God you are willing to do what he asks even if you don't understand how things will turn out. Ating pagkilos ng pananampalataya at paniniwala sa Tagapagliktas natin ay magiging mga himala sa ating buhay. Right now I'm not sure how to help my investigators perfectly understand, or how my mission will turn out in the end. But I know that if I'm obedient and just trust in Him everything will turn out right in the end. Kung akoy magiging masurunin at magtitiwala sa Kanya! You will become what God knows you can become. Little things we do turn out to bring miracles or big consequences that may seem unrelated. Magtiwala kayo sa Diyos! We can trust in God!!!! And we should love others and see their potential just like Jesus did to everyone he saw. He never turned away in disgust or frustration. He just LOVED them, and he does the same for us.

LOVE YOU ALL! Your prayers for my health, and for the people I meet are so so appreciated! I felt the miracles from it this week!

Sister Porter

Monday, April 3, 2017


Nainbug nga aldaw!!! (Ilakano for Beautiful Morning!)
Maraming maraming salamat for everyone's prayers and emails this week!!!! They seriously help me so much knowing how much you believe in me and have faith that I can do this!!!! I love you all!!! 

So, what happened this week? Haha funny story I had my first exchanges!!!!! One was with my kabahay (roommate) Sister Condie. Americana siya. I was supposed to lead my area (what?!?!?! I was scared haha to be honest) and of course I got a little lost. At one point we were on this dirt road -- no one else on the street. Then this teenager just walks by and starts singing a song by Ed Sheeran at the top of his lungs. After he left we burst out laughing. Two Americans speaking Tagalog on the top of this mountain in the Philippines and a boy is singing Ed Sheeran. Bizarre hahaha. Earlier today we chased down this jeepney because meron ang vendor selling lumpia (like a veggie egg roll but way better). 
I met this sweet recent convert tatay this week. He only speaks Ilakano but when I spoke in Tagalog about serving God and showing our love for Him because He loves us-- he told me he understood perfectly!! I was so excited! A miracle talaga. He said my accent is pretty good for an American haha. Although I have a really hard time speaking my mind still and understanding what others are saying, miracles do happen!!!

So, I just want a shoutout to all the nanays everywhere! (mothers) All my investigators are mothers who tell me that all they want is the best for their kids and they want to help them be the happiest they can be in this life and the next. Mothers are so so so so Christlike and have so much faith!!!!!!!!!!! Reminds me of all the mothers in my life back home (Especially my own mom). I just love them with all my heart and I know that's how our Heavenly Father feels about them too. Most of these mothers I have talked to have had the hardest lives EVER!! Oh my gosh I cried when I saw the circumstances of one of these mothers. I won't say it here because it might be too sensitive. But she has the strongest faith I have ever seen. Another mother Sister Raquel reminds me of Joseph Smith. All she wants is to love her kids and to know God. She's talked with maraming religions and even though all the missionaries of other faiths are really professional looking, richer, and older (like in their 30s and 40s), she chose to listen to two girls (one who can't even speak much) because she is sooooo in tune with the Holy Ghost. I just love her to death. 

There are so many people in my area and it's so frustrating when people don't want to listen or I feel like I can't talk to that many people. I want to learn this language and help as many people as I can. But I'm so weak and for sure an unprofitable servant. So many things come up that are not in my control and it's so frustrating. But I'm so so grateful to be a missionary. I just have to trust that God makes up for what I can't do. I have had to learn a lot of patience in the last month with others and myself. Someday I hope I can get this language hahaha. I want to so bad.

Ether 12:4 -- Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with a surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Just believe! We can't see how things will work out! But someday it will! Good always wins because God always wins in the end and so will we because He shapes us into what we can be everyday if our desires are there and we try to be better everyday. That is repentence. Repentance is being better everyday and becoming more like Him, not just forgiveness. If we think this we will always want to keep doing good works!!

So, I met Sister Walters this week and we talked a lot. She has a blog you all like a lot right?? She is so good at the language, super sweet, and she gave me lots of jumprope workouts that are killer!!! I've struggled with finding ways to exercise because I love it so much but you can't really run in Baguio City (too dangerous with traffic) and I found some really intense workouts! I love them!

Views of my area tapos a picture with my new favorite kids in the whole wide world! They found me and just swarmed me and I love them! They took me to her mom who had been given a book of Mormon when she was 9 years old by a missionary! Newest investigator! 
Mahal ko kayong lahat talaga! Maraming salamat ulit para sa inyong mga prayers!!!!!! Know that I love you all!!!
Sister Porter