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.

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!!!

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