Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 24

Nothing really happened this week so I'm not really sure what to say. We had transfer announcements, but Sister Tumagoy and I are staying together. I guess President Reeder only separates a companionship if they aren't getting along and/or the area isn't progressing. She's been so encouraging in helping me learn the language and it's really coming along now. And we have fun together and work really hard. So I'm so grateful for that. I'm so grateful for Christ's example and the opportunity to really work on developing Christlike attributes. This week's sacrament meeting was more reverent. My companion had the idea that we do a one day mission with the youth and YSA next. She is just so in-tune with the spirit and I wonder how she receives all this amazing revelation. Haha I hope I can become as experienced and humble as she is. She just hit her year mark! Anyways, so we will need to get permission to do the one day mission and then we will go on splits. Which I'm kind of scared for because it means that I will be taking one of the sisters from the ward and I'll be the senior companion for the day!!! Ah!!! My Tagalog isn't fluent yet... But I've become less worried about it because I've been doing my best to rely on the Lord for help in all aspects of the work. Mom and dad, I am SO GRATEFUL for the Lord's hand in my life. I would not be able to do this great work without His help. My heart just overfills every time I think of the blessings I've received from Heavenly Father. Also, it's been hard to get our investigators to come to church... but we're working hard. We're going to really focus on the Book of Mormon this week.

Week 23

This weeks email is going to be short because I honestly don't have much to share. This week was kind of a blur anyways.
Us missionaries in the Mercedes ward talked with the youth about reverence in sacrament meeting. We've really been struggling with that in the ward and I really pray that they understand the importance of inviting the spirit during church. We focused on the Atonement and yeah... The youth are wonderful and I've really enjoyed building relationships with them.
Aaaaand we had exchanges this week, so I worked in Daet with Sister Adkins. I love being able to meet other missionaries' investigators!
I'm speechless this week. Probably because this internet cafe is SO LOUD I can't even hear my own thoughts. Sorry, sorry!

I really am enjoying my time here in the Philippines. :) I know this church is true!
Sister Stettler

Me and my companion

Week 22

Hello everyone!!!
Another week just flew by. I can't believe it. Sometimes the days are SO long and then before I know it, I'm emailing home again. Except I'm probably one of the only missionaries who DOESN'T look forward to P-day because it takes me so long to do my laundry and then we are so busy for the rest of the day! As a side note, it used to take me 5 hours to do my laundry and now it only takes me 2 and a half. I think I'm finally starting to become a Filipina! ;)

Anyways, first of all, who is excited for General Conference?? Because I'm stoked! :D I'm just bummed I don't get to watch it until a week after. Buuuut that's ok because the prophet's words aren't going to change, right? ;) haha Conference has just been on my mind lately. I can't believe I left right after last conference. Our lives just kind of fly by. I'm just doing my best to make the most of the time I have now. Especially because it's not my time, it's the Lord's.
We had our missionary workshop this week which went over really well. When we told them we have another one planned for next week, they were really excited. It really surprised me actually. We taught the youth and YSA how they can share the Book of Mormon with their friends/relatives, etc. Some of those kids who did practice teaching with me are wonderful little missionaries! When I did my part of the workshop I asked who wanted to serve a mission and almost all the hands went up. So awesome!
Ano pa? (What else)...... we have a few new investigators! It's sometimes so hard to teach in some places though because all they care about is that I'm white. My last area wasn't like this so it's been taking some getting used to. So I've started to do what the Elders in my district do. Whenever they say "Amerikano!" I'm like, "Saan?! (Where?)" hahaha Um ya. That's actually pretty hilarious. And one time I told some kids that I was convinced that I'm a Filipina. But in reality? All I want is people to focus on Christ's name that's on my name tag. I was even discussing the importance of Jesus Christ's name on our name tags and how our message is centered around Christ with some investigators. Then after that, it leads to our purpose, which is to invite others come unto Christ. Remember Domingo? Well, we were asking him what service project we could do for him after the lesson, and I think that really changed his perspective about the missionaries and about Mormons. During the lesson, Sister Tumagoy asked him why he thinks we are there and he said because we want him to get baptized. I was thinking..... oops. Yes of course we want him to be baptized, but not for our sake! So we did some of our how to begin teaching bullet points (ummm... those basically set our expectations and help us know the investigators expectations as well), and I think he finally realizes that we are here on errand of the Lord and we are here to HELP him come closer to His Savior. Not make him join our church. It was a good learning experience for me.
If there's still snow, please send me some. IT IS SO HOT HERE!!! Sometimes I get done taking a cold shower and then I want to take one all over again. But that's life. And I'm actually loving it. :) And that's really all.
The church is true!!! I'm probably going to continue to end all my emails with that..... because my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel is NEVER going to change. I love my Savior and I know He atoned for each one of us. We never have to be alone because He is there for us. He sees every tear and knows every fear we face and he is there to lift us up and make us stronger. I know that my redeemer lives!!!
I love you all so much!

Sister Stettler :)

White Sand Beach Service Project

Week 21

Kumusta ka??
So this week was kind of crazy but great! I finally found one of those white sand beaches! We had our community service project on an island and cleaned up the area there. Sister Tumagoy and I also had our first workshop too. It was a musical workshop and we taught the youth and YSA how to lead the hymns. Believe it or not, it wasn't my idea. They all loved it so much that we're going to do it again one Sunday. Then we focused on missionary work and sang "Called To Serve." The only other time I've heard the youth sing that song with power was in the MTC. It was so awesome! I'm so excited for the youth in the ward who are looking forward to serving missions.
Ok, I have to apologize because I never proof read these emails I send because I guess I'm just lazy.. And then I've gone back and looked at them and thought... "Oh dear." So..... sorry!

Anyways, a lot of our investigators are doing great in their Book of Mormon reading! And our less actives!!!!!!! When they read the Book, they come to church. It's like, Bam. Magic. Just kidding. It's really the spirit. I am SO grateful for the spirit!!! I've said it many times before and I will never stop saying it. The spirit is ESSENTIAL to doing the Lord's work. Without the spirit, we wouldn't succeed. This week, I had a few experiences where the spirit testified to me of His purpose. One of those was while we were teaching one of our investigators, Domingo. He truly is an investigator. He asks so many questions and really difficult ones too. The spirit was so strong as we taught him, and I knew that we wouldn't have been able to answer his crazy hard questions without guidance from the spirit. But the thing that really stuck out to me was as I sat there listening to his responses, the spirit bore testimony to me that it was bearing testimony to him. And I mentioned an experience before where when the spirit is that strong, I understand everything in Tagalog. It was just different this time because I didn't understand completely the language, but I still just knew what he was saying... I really, really don't know how to explain it... It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had though! :) I'm so grateful to see the Lord's hand in my life. I know that the gift of tongues is real, and the power of the spirit is REAL.

I can't even express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be here on my mission. Heavenly Father called me to be here in the Naga Mission for a reason. I love this gospel so much and I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!
I love you all!
-Sister Stettler

Week 20

I'm beginning to believe that the tower of Babel was built in the Philippines. hahaha There are SO MANY dialects here, it's crazy! At least they really speak more Tagalog than Bikol (hey look, I finally know the correct spelling) in my new area so it's making learning the language easier.
What a week! Sister Tumagoy and I have been planning some workshops lately and we're both really excited for those. We're hoping to get the ward more involved in missionary work. I'll let you all know more about those later as they come up. We also had to postpone our baptism...... again. You know, I'm starting to wonder if I'm just a bad luck charm or if Satan and agency is really a real thing..... But I have to say that I'm so grateful for prayer as I've been able to turn to my Heavenly Father through these discouraging moments. And He makes up the difference because He is blessing me so much!!! On the bright side, we have some new investigators who are really starting to progress! It was just up and down all week with those we're teaching keeping their commitments. Especially church attendance. It was pouring yesterday and people don't really like to go anywhere when it's raining, so the chapel was pretty bare. I almost don't blame them because by the time we got to sacrament meeting, we were soaked. And the church is so small, we have our gospel principles in the clerk's office. Which means Air Conditioning! And one very cold Sister Stettler. I never like to be in AC rooms anyways, raining or not, because whenever we go back outside, I die of heat. But that's the way it goes. haha I laugh at myself because I can't believe I think 75 degrees is cold, and I grew up in Utah. Anyways...
Not much else to share. We worked really hard this week and then we got to go on a little vacation! Okay, not really, we're missionaries. But we celebrated Elder Lapana's birthday and I have never been so excited in my life to buy a birthday cake for someone. Funny how I've been learning how to really enjoy the little, little things. We went to Catherine's after our district meeting, which is a beautiful resort here in our zone. Beach and mango shakes? Yeah, I'll take that any day. I think Elder Lapana really enjoyed his birthday though. We wrapped all his presents in Christmas wrapping paper because that's all I had. Mmm... Missionary life. It's great. Work hard, play hard. :) Yup. Naga mission is the best mission! ;) The church is true!!!!!!!!!! I love this gospel. I love the Lord's work. I love my Savior and I'm grateful He's my best friend. I love you all!

Sister Stettler