Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hello po!

Crazy week.... transfers! Sister Baconawa is my new companion and I have to lead the area! It's been a little difficult to be honest. I don't have a perfect understanding of the language, sometimes I'm not sure where I'm going, plans fall through, and sometimes I have absolutely no idea what to do. But she's been patient and full of quiet understanding in my weaknesses. She's super cute.

One miracle happened this week: my Tagalog is soooo much better. It's literally the only language I use to speak right now because none of my roommates or companions or investigators speak any English hahaha. I'm so grateful for the power that Heavenly Father has given my to speak. I didn't do anything different. Just a tender mercy of the Lord -- otherwise I would be completely crippled hahaha. 

Today I was allowed to go jogging today at one of the most beautiful parks in Baguio -- I was sooooooooo excited. People were laughing at me hahaha.

Just want to give the pinakamalakang shoutout to the most amazing parents in the whole world. I cried hearing what you've gone through in the last couple weeks. You guys are my heroes talaga. I know that just like you would do anything in the whole wide world for us, that that is exactly the way that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel for us. Trust Him-- I believe that He can do all things. I am so grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father has sent to my family -- strength in adversity and success in overcoming anything that comes their way. I hope I can be just like you here. I can only imagine what hard work, what pain, and what paghihirap (english--- i forget-- difficulties?) that you have gone through as a family. I can't even imagine. But I want to share with you something that my mission president gave us this week. It's called the Atonement and the missionary... but you can substitute missionary work with the trials of life.

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?

I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.

For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.

If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 11 then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.

When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 12 lives. The whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.

On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the tree of life.

I declare Him to be the Savior of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all. 13

I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. 14 I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world.

Salvation isn't cheap. I know that even though life is hard, we care coming to know our Savior, His love, and never-ending happiness that comes from it. For me, I have no idea why things happen the way they do. I have a lot of weaknesses that make me feel like I'm failing sometimes. But I know I'm way better already with handling depression and going out and working anyway even though sometimes that's all I can do -- function and get out to work on time. We've lost investigators and I feel like it's my fault often, that I didn't bring the Spirit with me. I feel lonely often and that my best is not even close to enough because of the lack of success in my area. But I see the blessings that have come to my family and I'm so grateful. Our Savior truly will give us what we need, even if we have to be patient for those blessings. Someday, if I keep reading the Book of Mormon, I believe that success will come. 

Love you all! Mahal na mahal kita! 
Sister Porter

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Kumusta po?!?!?! 

Pasensiya I didn't send an email last week because of Skype last week and this week is transfer week so I am so sorry I can't to people's emails this week again! But I wanted to make sure you all heard from me so I decided to write a weekly email still! 

Anyway... transfers tomorrow and my trainer is leaving..... Man she is the sweetest trainer in the whole world and reminds me of you Mom. She has a lot of the Christlike qualities you have and really is always there for me in our happiest and saddest moments on the mission. She has been so selfless, unconditionally loving those she serves. I've been so lucky to have her and honestly don't feel deserving because i'm so new on the mission and still have so many things to learn and improve about myself. But there are two things that I think help you  overcome the natural man --becoming a parent or caretaker, and going on a mission. I just want to thank my parents right now -- I love you guys so much and I am just astounded by how amazing my family is in my life -- thank you for supporting me and showing so much faith in Christ.

One quick story. I have been scared to extend a baptismal invitation to a mother who used to be rich but lost everything when her mother died so she makes gloves for a living for her little kids. I had a hard time understanding her desires because sometimes she was distracted in lessons. But I know she believes in Jesus Christ. When I extended a BI to her this week, she told us she had a dream that there was a fountain of a clean water surrounded by wilderness. There was a path leading down into the water but she was really afraid to make the step down there. Then the next day I extended a BI and she knows the step she needs to make is baptism, that we can't ever give up on her and that we have to help her have the courage to take a step towards her Savior and Redeemer.

Something one of the ward counselors told me this week is that all of the members here start out poor and have to show tremendous faith by making sacrifices to come to church and pray and read the scriptures. But over time, their faithfulness brought them the most tremendous blessings. I have seen that in these member's families. The members here are so so so grateful for missionaries and send their kids on missions. These Filipino missionaries are literally the Stripling warriors. Their parents are strong converts and they have strong conviction on how this gospel will bless families more than anything else. I've been astounded by their success. I am so grateful for the faith of members in the Philippines. Salvation isn't cheap and Satan is all around us. It is so hard to help our investigators. But the promises are sure for them and this is the work of God and salvation.

Anyway, want to share a story that Pres. Bangal sent that meant the world to me. Often I feel bad because my skills are not enough to help everyone, although I see that little by little I'm learning things about myself and how to serve others even when I don't know what else to do. I'm already a better person than I was a year ago, and I believe with my whole heart in this work. Sometimes when we feel cut down it's because God wants us to become a better person through our experiences. We are constantly molded in His hands if our desires are to follow Him. We will make mistakes, but every small good decision DOES make a difference. Just trust Him!!!!! I love my Savior and I love His Plan for all of us to become perfect someday like Him. This is the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST for everyone. It applies to everything in our lives -- our hopes, our dreams, our talents, our service, our families. I promise you that no matter what you have done in your life, that you can do anything through our Savior. 

(Just got the sports  psychologist talk from you Mom!! Thank you!!! Maybe thats the best way to send letter because I don't think letters through any other way will work.)

The Currant Bush

by Elder Hugh B. Brown (1883–1975)

Hugh B. Brown was born in Granger, Utah, but grew up in Alberta, Canada. From 1961–1970, he served as a counselor to President David O. McKay. He was a powerful speaker and teacher with a great love for and understanding of the youth of the Church.Previously published in the January 1973 New Era.“Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.”

"You sometimes wonder whether the Lord really knows what He ought to do with you. You sometimes wonder if you know better than He does about what you ought to do and ought to become. I am wondering if I may tell you a story. It has to do with an incident in my life when God showed me that He knew best."

"I was living up in Canada. I had purchased a farm. It was run-down. I went out one morning and saw a currant bush. It had grown up over six feet high. It was going all to wood. There were no blossoms and no currants. I was raised on a fruit farm in Salt Lake before we went to Canada, and I knew what ought to happen to that currant bush. So I got some pruning shears and clipped it back until there was nothing left but stumps. It was just coming daylight, and I thought I saw on top of each of these little stumps what appeared to be a tear, and I thought the currant bush was crying. I was kind of simpleminded (and I haven’t entirely gotten over it), and I looked at it and smiled and said, “What are you crying about?” You know, I thought I heard that currant bush say this:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me because I didn’t make what I should have made. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

"That’s what I thought I heard the currant bush say, and I thought it so much that I answered. I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.’”
Years passed, and I found myself in England. I was in command of a cavalry unit in the Canadian Army. I held the rank of field officer in the British Canadian Army. I was proud of my position. And there was an opportunity for me to become a general. I had taken all the examinations. I had the seniority. The one man between me and the office of general in the British Army became a casualty, and I received a telegram from London. It said: “Be in my office tomorrow morning at 10:00,” signed by General Turner."

"I went up to London. I walked smartly into the office of the general, and I saluted him smartly, and he gave me the same kind of a salute a senior officer usually gives—a sort of “Get out of the way, worm!” He said, “Sit down, Brown.” Then he said, “I’m sorry I cannot make the appointment. You are entitled to it. You have passed all the examinations. You have the seniority. You’ve been a good officer, but I can’t make the appointment. You are to return to Canada and become a training officer and a transport officer.” That for which I had been hoping and praying for 10 years suddenly slipped out of my fingers."

"Then he went into the other room to answer the telephone, and on his desk, I saw my personal history sheet. Right across the bottom of it was written, “THIS MAN IS A MORMON.” We were not very well liked in those days. When I saw that, I knew why I had not been appointed. He came back and said, “That’s all, Brown.” I saluted him again, but not quite as smartly, and went out."

"I got on the train and started back to my town, 120 miles away, with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. And every click of the wheels on the rails seemed to say, “You are a failure.” When I got to my tent, I was so bitter that I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, “How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?” I was as bitter as gall.
And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, “I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.” The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness and my bitterness. While kneeling there I heard a song being sung in an adjoining tent. A number of Mormon boys met regularly every Tuesday night. I usually met with them. We would sit on the floor and have Mutual. As I was kneeling there, praying for forgiveness, I heard their singing:

“But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.”
(Hymns, no. 270)

"I arose from my knees a humble man. And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to Him and say, “Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.” I see now that it was wise that I should not become a general at that time, because if I had I would have been senior officer of all western Canada, with a lifelong, handsome salary, a place to live, and a pension, but I would have raised my six daughters and two sons in army barracks. They would no doubt have married out of the Church, and I think I would not have amounted to anything. I haven’t amounted to very much as it is, but I have done better than I would have done if the Lord had let me go the way I wanted to go."

"Many of you are going to have very difficult experiences: disappointment, heartbreak, bereavement, defeat. You are going to be tested and tried. I just want you to know that if you don’t get what you think you ought to get, remember, God is the gardener here. He knows what He wants you to be. Submit yourselves to His will. Be worthy of His blessings, and you will get His blessings."

Inline image 2We went hiking for P-day. It was the most gorgeous view I have seen so far!!! I love being outside more than anything  else. Going out and doing. I love the PHILIPPINES!!!

Mahal ko kayong lahat! (My Tagalog has gotten a lot better this week! Not perfect in understanding investigators, but I can have fluent conversations now!)

All my love!
Sister Porter

Monday, May 8, 2017

Magandang umaga! O gabi para sa inyo hehe 

It's been another week! It's starting to rain A TON here-- it just comes down in buckets. Even though I'm super lucky to have a drainage system in Baguio because the roads are still steep, the rain just flows down the road like a waterfall hahaha. I'll have photos next week.

Cultural Note for the Week: The native people that live here are called Igarots. They usually have pretty good English and Ilakano because they're all pretty old. They're aren't as many left of them anymore. But I'm pretty sure they are descendants of the Lamanites because they have colorful native clothing, dream catchers, and they worship the Great Spirit -- or something like it. I asked Sister Agner and the predominant Israel tribes here are Manasseh and Ephraim... pretty cool huh?

So this week I've had so so much rice. It's everywhere. No meal is complete without it and people think you're crazy if you don't eat a lot of it. One day I had to cook for my kabahay (roommates) and they are all Filipino so I had no idea hahaha. I ended up frying eggplant and rice, but my roommates weren't satisfied and bought a bunch of fresh fish instead haha.

So, we are struggling with investigators right now, but I know that the Spirit led us to the Buhawi family. Jonathon is 21 and was a member when he was 16 and lives with his girlfriend Grace and his little boy. They let us in and Grace started reading the Book of Mormon even though she is Catholic and doesn't understand it a whole lot -- there's street Tagalog and deep (malalim) Tagalog and it's hard to read deep literature most people don't understand it well. Bishop said we can help them get married and they are really excited. Jonathon left work just to listen to us. The Spirit was in our lesson and I hope we can get them to church because Grace and him have so much potential. I know it wasn't a coincidence that we met them.
I've been reading about Christ visiting the Nephites after His Resurrection. Seeing him descend out of heaven must have been the most incredible experience I can't even describe. He stayed with them when they asked Him to stay and he healed them all. I know that He feels the exact way about us -- His compassion is perfect and I know He will heal us. We just need to have faith and trust in His perfect timing. I know that is true. I know that He loves all of us. And if you read in 3 Nephi about His visit to the Nephites you will know that He is our Savior and Redeemer and will do anything for us. We just have to trust Him and keep moving forward and that faith will lead us to follow Him and repent everyday. That is how the Atonement will strengthen us and change us--- faith unto repentence and then making covenants with God to follow Him -- that is how we can become like Him and live together forever with our families. I just wish I could tell everyone about it -- it's an impossible concept to understand unless the Spirit tells you.
Mahal kita!!! Can't wait to Skype on Mother's Day! Minamahal ko ang lahat ng mga nanay at lahat ng mga ginagawa nila para sa amin! Magtiwala kayo sa Diyos! Trust in God! Trust that mangyayari ng mg himala! That miracles will happen!​

Lahat ng Aking Pagmamahal,
Sister Porter 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mensan, meron lang tayong pananampalataya

Kumusta po kayong lahat! Magandang tagiinit! Happy summer! April is actually the hottest season in Luzon (north Philippines) so it's summer here! Even though I hear it snowed this week back home hahaha. It's killer hot in the lowlands but I'm just fine up in Baguio -- perfect temperature right now and rainy season (tagulan) doesn't start until June or July

This week we got to work with the youth and they came with us to hand out Book of Mormons to people on street! It was probably the best activity I've ever had. I was in charge (just me) of a group of 15 year old girls that were so excited to share the Book of Mormon and their Tagalog was perfect and mine was not so great haha. But they would run up to someone on the street or in a tindahan to share the gospel but then they would freeze because they were so nervous. So I got to help them share the Book of Mormon and show them to not be afraid to share. I thought it was hilarious that this Americana was showing all these native teenagers around and speaking for them hahaha. They all want to go on missions now! 

This week we met a less active 22 year-old named Jonathon. His family is active in another part of the Philippines but he had to leave his family to come here. We had no idea he was a member and he had never been on any of the less-active records we have seen. I hope that we were led to his house for a reason. It was amazing to meet him -- he had forgotten so much but is clearly looking for something missing that he once had.

Prayers for one of our investigators that wants to be baptized in June and has done everything she possibly can to change and align her will to God's will -- is being physically forced by her friends to do wrong. It hurts so bad that she is being hurt and Satan is trying to discourage her.

I learned a ton about faith and grace this week. I just want to accomplish so much and I feel like my skills are so inadequate and often I have no idea what to do.But I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Helaman about how despite trials, the Lamanites were FIRM and STEADFAST in the faith. It really stuck out to me although I've heard that phrase hundreds of times. 

Faith in the Bible Dictionary:
The Lord has revealed himself and His perfect character, possessing in their fulness all the attributes of love, knowledge, justice, mercy, unchangeableness, power, and every other, needful thing, so as to enable the mind of man to place confidence in Him WITHOUT RESERVATION. Strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Alma 32:21 -- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore, if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

We do not know our future or exactly what's going to happen in our lives. We may not understand why we are not like this or that, why something horrible is happening to us or others, why our expectations are not matching up to reality. But we can place our trust WITHOUT RESERVATION is someone that has our best interests in mind, someone who is PERFECT in all understanding, all knowledge, and has perfect love for us. Everything will work out for those who love God. 

Grace is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have faith in the Atonement, we will have help to do good works that we otherwise do not have the ability to do. It is a promise that all we have to do is ask Him and then proceed forward with faith. Things will work out even if things are hard now. By faith all miracles happen. Just keep acting and trying to follow the Spirit and I believe miracles will happen but sometimes we have to wait on the timing of our Father in Heaven/.

I love you all so much! Magkaroon tayong mas pananampalataya kay Cristo! Siya ay liwanag ng lahat ng mundo. The Savior is everything! I feel the prayers of you all!

All the love,
Sister Porter