Friday, February 27, 2015

The Power of the Priesthood Is Real

Akon Pamilya!!

Thanks so much for the jump-rope! It's light weight, but nice. So perfect! 

I am so sorry to hear about Grandpa. I will definitely fast for both him and Grandma tomorrow. 

We had in-field orientation yesterday. Can't believe that already happened. It was very inspiring yesterday, despite being 8 hours long. I loved how much specific direction they gave us on how to fulfill our purpose. We learn about our purpose a lot in class, but it was nice to learn specific ways. We learned about goal setting before planning, finding, key indicators, referrals, working with members, etc. I loved it. 

In the key indicators section, we learned about finding balance. For example, not focusing too much on contacting so that you don't even have time to teach the people you find. It is a simple enough principle in theory, but I know that will be a hard one to accomplish in practice. 

One thing that I really didn't like about yesterday was that we didn't have any study time. 
We had to make up for it today. Which is great but hard because it means that we don't have enough time to get those other things done that can only be done on p-days. For that reason, p-day is almost always my most stressful day of the week. 

Sister Lewis and I are making good progress on teaching in unity as a companionship. I feel like we are both pretty good at recognizing promptings from the spirit, but we lack faith in following those promptings because we don't know how to say it in Ilonggo, and if one of us does follow that prompting, it isn't a very certain thing that the other companion will understand, and so the other companion is lost. In most cases, that "other companion" is me. I can usually speak better than I can understand. But I'm getting better, and we're learning how to plan better. Especially focusing on inspired questions.

Mom! I get to call you at the airport on Thursday morning! Uh...I leave the MTC at 3:30 in the morning, but I can't remember what time my flight leaves. I think around 8. So I should call you like. 7am? Maybe even earlier? I wish I brought my flight itinerary with me to the computer labs...
We fly to Tokyo and from there to Manila, where we spend 5 days in the MTC. Then we fly to Bacolod. No idea what we're going to do in Manila for 5 days, but I'm sure it will be great. They don't teach Ilonggo there. The Provo MTC is the only facility in the world that teaches Hiligaynon or Ilonggo. 

Another cool fact, the MTC is the number one language learning facility in the world, and we only spend one hour of language study and one hour of language instruction a day. The gift of tongues is real. Seriously.

It was really cool to see Lexi and Natalie! The retainer is a lot better! Much better than the first one. 

I had an early departing interview with Brother White, the 2nd councilor in my branch presidency. He gave me some really great, specific advice. One being to start a journal for scripture stories. Write down the basic story in a few sentence and the main characters and the scripture references. Then write ways that the story could be applied to a lesson. He said that Christ taught through stories. They apply to people. 

It reminded me of the blessing that Papi gave me before I left. He said that I would find ways to apply every-day things to the gospel principles. So I decided to include analogies or examples in the story journal as well. But I think that advice was inspired. I've made three or four entries in it already. It's really fun actually.

This week after devotional, our district president, President P, asked the elders in our district if they had consecrated oil. He told them on Sunday to get some. They hadn't yet. He kinda scolded them for not having it and for not offering Sister V, who lost her voice. (Her voice sounds really raspy. She has Laryngitis. It comes and goes I guess. Once she lost her voice for three months!!) Anyway, so President P let them borrow his oil, and they gave her a blessing after district devotional review. 
It was all of their first time giving a blessing. I held the missionary handbook for Elder Benedict as he gave the blessing. He was super nervous and stumbled over his words. It was the simplest blessing, but he told her not to worry about her voice. It would be healed. 

Directly after the blessing, she shook all of their hands, then went and got a drink of water, and then said, "ayos." Which means, alright or okay. Then she stopped suddenly and put a hand on her throat:
"I can speak!!!" 

She could speak. She was singing and laughing again at the residence hall that night. We were all so grateful! 

Later that night I was washing my face, and Sister A came to one of the sinks next to me. I said to her,

"Do you know what surprises me the most about tonight?"

"What?"

"How unsurprised I am."

The power of the priesthood is real. The gospel is true. Miracles really do happen.
I just realized yesterday when I was looking at my four generations chart that Elder Benedict and I could be related!! Granka's maiden name is Benedict. Hm. Cool. 

Hope you have a great week!! 

Sister Marriott


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rough Day

Pamilya ko!

I have been here for four weeks and two days! Time flies. Just two more weeks! I leave March 5th. Probably at 3:30am. I am supposed to get my itinerary today. 

Hair flying in the wind!!
Aaron and Austin came and ate lunch with me on Saturday!!
It was so much to see them.
Yesterday was probably the hardest day so far here at the MTC. Two of the districts in our zone left for the Philippines at 3:30 in the morning. It was sad to see them go. The halls seem empty and I keep thinking that I see them in the cafeteria, etc. I miss them. There are so many good people in the world! I feel so blessed to get to know some of the best! Then, on top of that, Brother W (Adam's friend who I met before leaving on my mission) asked us to memorize 50 words. Plus, Sister Lewis and I had a discouraging lesson the night before and have been trying to figure out how to improve. And then I was running low on sleep because of the sisters leaving in the middle of the morning. 

It was just a rough day.

Brother R and Brother S (our teaching for the afternoon class) caught on pretty quickly that we weren't ourselves. The elders in our district got close to no sleep since the elders who left stayed up all night. Our sisters got up around 2am, but I managed to sleep through most of it until I got up to say goodbye. Although it took me a while to fall back asleep...over an hour, actually.

I've never had problems sleeping, until here at the MTC.

Anyway, Brother R decided to take us on a field trip, so we went outside and practiced street contacting, etc. That helped.

Good news though...well, sorta. I took it upon myself to memorize 58 words, since I knew that some of them would probably not stick, and so I thought I would ACTUALLY be able to memorize 50 if I tried memorizing more than 50. Well, I reviewed them this morning, and could only remember 45. But still, not too bad. Now I have a new list of 50 today. Brother Winfield challenged us to continue memorizing 50 until we leave. 

I also memorized the first vision this week, another thing that Brother Winfield challenged us to do. 

Brother Winfield is the most stern of all of our teachers and gives us the most homework. But I'm grateful that he does.

We Skyped for TRC yesterday. Sister Lewis and I both felt we should talk about prayer. When we asked what the other companionships were talking about, two of the three said, "prayer." 

My mission president's wife, Sister Pearce, has been a temple worker for the last two years and said she really encourages us to volunteer as temple workers after our missions. She felt like that would be a really good transition for us after our missions. I was wondering what Jameson's thoughts would be on that. Anyway, she recommended us looking up a talk (she said it was on CD) called "The Gift of the Temple" By Elder Pederson. She said that she and President Pearce went to listen to a fireside he gave, and he completely changed their perspectives on the temple. She said he made powerful promises. They starting going to the temple fasting and praying for specific blessings (especially regarding their somewhat rebellious son). A week later, their son came back from church and said that he had brought home his mission papers to fill out. 

Anyway, the point is that I think it would be great if we went to the temple fasting and praying for Grandpa.

I was reminded after our devotional on Tuesday of a story that Sister A told us. One good and one bad. 

1) There were some missionaries walking down the street. One of them dropped a wrapper on the ground and immediately picked it up. A woman was impressed by that and thought, "If missionaries ever knock on my door, I will let them talk to me." Ten years later, they did know on her door, and she listened, and got baptized. 

People are always watching!

2) Two sister missionaries were out past curfew and their investigator knew it. This investigator thought, "How do these missionaries expect me to keep commitments when they can't even keep their own?" The investigator was so turned off by that that she stopped taking the lessons. 

Sister Lewis and I have been trying to do our best to do what we ask our investigators to do. If we ask them to read a passage, we read it too...in Ilonggo. I feel like we can sympathize with them since the Libro ni Mormon in Ilonggo has a lot of deep, old words that most Philippinos don't know. 

Keep praying for me, please! 
Sister Marriott


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Best. lesson. ever.

We love Elder Dapat's selfie stick!
 February 13, 2015

Hi Pamilya!

Thanks for sending me Peter's letter, Mom! I love that kid. I mean...elder.

Thank you so much for the package!! I loved getting it! Life has been better with extra work-out clothes, a mirror, and the hygiene carrier thing. Best package ever! And thanks for the almond rocas.

Which reminds me...Sister Lewis doesn't like chocolate. I keep forgetting. Which I hate, since I hate it when people forget what foods I don't like...

And thanks for sending me the notes from my setting apart! The one that stuck out to me the most while reading through them is "Study and ponder the scriptures. You will know in the very moment what you need to do" because that has already come true!

Okay, here's the story.

I realized on...last Wednesday, that I needed to do a better job at studying  the scriptures, especially during personal study. So I stepped up my game.

I'm the only one actually from the hood!! ;)
Then, Sister Lewis was wonderful and dedicated last P-day. We have study time after the temple on P-days until lunch time, which is when P-day actually starts. And we had been studying and preparing for our lesson in the evening. Well, lunch time came, and me being me, said: "Okay, let's go. It's lunch." She said we needed to finish for our lesson with our other investigator, Chris, for Saturday since we didn't have any study time on Saturday before our lesson with him. So we staying, bumping into our P-day, to plan that lesson too.

I am so thankful for Sister Lewis. That lesson with Christ was AMAZING!

The Spirit was so strong. We shared with Chris about prayer. Sister Lewis asked him if he felt like God heard his prayers. He said that he that he felt like God answered prayer...but then admitted that there are so many people in the world, and other planets, and that he didn't feel like he was important enough for God to answer his prayers.

I have been having a hard time understanding our investigators. But the gifts of tongues and interpretations of tongues is real. Because I understood him.

I gave him the best answer I felt like I could: God was powerful. He can listen to everyone in the world. He said, "Yeah. But I don't know if he wants to listen to me. Just a guy from IloIlo." So...I tried my answer, and that didn't work...  

Then Heavenly Father gave me His answer. I remembered a verse from my personal study from two days before: 2 Nephi 29:7. I used Sister Lewis's English scriptures to find it. Then I found the reference in the Ilonggo scriptures and asked him to read it, which he did. Then he asked if he could read it again, which he did to himself.

When he finished, he quietly slid the Libro Ni Mormon back to me (we were sitting on the floor, as is the custom of Philippinos. There were tears in his eyes. I told him that he was important to God, that God remembered him, that God heard his prayers.

Sister Lewis quietly asked him how he felt. He said he felt the love of God.

Sister Lewis asked him if he knew how to pray. He said: "medyo" (kinda). "Not like you pray." So she taught him how, then she demonstrated how to pray, and then he prayed. We asked him if he would pray to know if the Libro Ni Mormon was true. He said, "Yeah. I'll pray. But, to me, it is true."

Best. lesson. ever.

Granted, I have been going back to not understanding our investigators again, which makes it really difficult to answer their questions or...teach in general.


Then the next day, Sunday, was kinda rough on everyone. I was woken up at about 5:30 to a knock on the door. One of the sisters in our zone, Sister D was there to get Sister M (Sister V's cousin) and Sister Q to tell them that Sister V was in pain on the floor and crying.

It is hard to listen to someone who is in pain cry. It is different from just regular crying. Although, I am different from everyone else, and didn't see any sense in standing outside the door watching as the paramedics took care of her. So I prayed and got ready for the day. I think it came across that I don't care. But...if I was in pain and crying, I wouldn't want a crowd outside the door watching.

She was taken to the hospital, and "passed a [non-existent?] kidney stone" within a matter of hours. Which was a miracle. Same thing the next day. In pain. This time it was her hemorrhoid, which flares up every now and then...I don't know very much about hemorrhoids, but yeah. Pretty tough.  

I have been thinking about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I think it is really important. If I would change anything about my pre-mission life, I would study the scriptures more faithfully and keep the Sabbath day more holy than I kept it.It would be pretty hard to be a "Sunday Mormon" if you really kept the Sabbath day holy. It would be impossible to forget about God the rest of the week.

I sprained my thumb on Tuesday playing volleyball. It still hurts. I just played through the pain on Tuesday, but it kept getting worse and then I could hardly bend it the next day. So I ran instead of playing volleyball (which is what I have been doing just about every day). It felt really good to run. And then in the remaining time of gym, I went to the trainer, and they told me it was probably just a sprain and gave me ice, which helped the swelling go down a lot! It's been doing better since then, but it still hurts to use it.

Gotta go!

Love you!

Tessa

P.S. Devin Quiton emailed me. I emailed him right after I got my call and told him where I got called to. He just NOW emailed back, and signed at the end: "Your black friend, Elder Quiton" HAHAHA!

Dr. Howell emailed me back and said that I should work with the MTC front desk and make an appointment to go to his office and get my retainer fixed. We're going into the outside world!! Dang. It already is weird to see normal people. On the way back from the temple last week, we passed a girl on the phone, and she was saying things like, "But I just don't know if he's ready yet, you know? I just get that impression from him. Like...he doesn't call me...." I can't actually remember the conversation, but it went something like that. After the girl passed, Sister Lewis said: "...our old life...."
Me: "Seriously. I don't miss it."


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Learning So Much

Hi Nanay!
While writing me a letter through DearElder.com, Natalie found out that it is free while I'm in the MTC, so keep them coming!

I hardly know how to start this week. It went by sooo fast! I am learning so much! Mostly spiritually this week, while last week was more language that anything else. Probably my favorite part of this week was TRC. It's when members who speak Ilonggo (mostly RMs but also one Philipino lady) come and are taught by us. 20 minutes each, which flew by! Almost like visiting teaching. Except in Ilonggo. It was great because Sister Lewis and I had just been talking that same day about how it has been hard for us to feel the Spirit when 1) we are stumbling over our words and 2) we can't understand anything that the investigator is saying. But, in TRC we were stumbling over our words and having a hard time understanding them, but the spirit was super strong! It was great! We only have one more TRC with real life people, and then we just skype with people in the Philippines...which I'm kinda bumbed about. Skpe isn't the same as real live contact. 

The temple today was by far the best temple experience I've had so far.I've been thinking a lot about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation and have received a lot of cool insights. It's amazing how many of my own questions I think of when I am about to teach something. I mean, my questions are about things that are beyond the scope of the missionary lessons. But still. Teaching the lessons has opened my mind to my own questions. Poor Sister Lewis--she is so full of faith, and I think sometimes she worries about me when I ask the questions that I do...and also might be a little frustrated because she doesn't have the answers. 

I also ran into my old RS president, Heather, (from my ward at Allred) at the temple. She was walking out just as we were entering the temple That was great.

Lizza's haircut looks great!! 

Tessa

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 2 in the MTC

January 30, 2015

Hi Pamilya!

Wow! I got way more emails from you than I expected!! Keep them coming! We can print them out during laundry, etc. and it doesn't count against our hour on the computer. I'll miss that once I get to the Philippines! But, Dear Elder is basically the same thing as an email except it gets printed for me. If you don't mind the dollar or so fee. I don't how much it is exactly.

Picture of me and Sister Lewis with President and Sister Pearce,







 
The thought occurred to me this week when I was stressed about...well, I can't really remember now. But while I was in Devotional, the thought came to me that I must not be doing too bad if I feel the spirit as often as I do. That was a happy thought. 

I told my companion (kaupod ko), Sister Lewis about how when I feel the Spirit during a meeting or when I'm reading, basically any time that I am receiving a confirmation of something that was said by someone else, I get kind of a bunch of tingles though my body. Well, that has happened SO many times this week. Probably more than I can count. 

Also, music has spoken so strongly to me since being at the MTC. In both RS and Choir, the words "He knows I will follow Him/Give all my life to Him" really spoke to me. 

Choir is great by the way! Already singing better. I can feel it. Not just from choir but from singing so often as well. That's one thing I wish I didn't stop doing: singing. I mean, I always hum at work. I never think about it until Anela asks, "What song is that?" Haha! But Yeah, in choir, Brother Egget, the director, spends most of the time sharing scriptures or stories from the lives of prophets rather than having us practice. It's great. I love how everything here is centered on the gospel. That must be how Zion will be like.

Katie wanted to hear what the dorms and schedule was like. Here's her answer.

The rooms are just drawers, closets, and three bunk beds. Pretty small. There are bathrooms with showers and toilet stalls just across the halls. We have to get up at 6:30, but if you want a shower, you have to get up at 6. Or shower in the evening. Then there is district prayer where you sing and pray without your district at 7am. Then breakfast at 7:10.  "Quiet time" starts at 10:15pm, and lights out is at 10:30. Three hours of studying (usually in the morning), about 6-7 hours of class, and meals, and...yeah that's about it!

I'm glad you're [Katie] going to that mission prep class. Missionary work is for everyone. My greatest regret for not following a prompting is when Sis. Allen's neighbor came to church, and I was prompted to invite her to mutual....and I didn't. Just like in Lehi's dream, if you realize how good the gospel is, you shouldn't be afraid to invite others to partake of it too! 

Peter wanted a sentence in Hiligaynon. So here I go, just improv-ing:

Himuon mo bala nga magemail ka sa week? Haha! Will you email me thing week? 
Paagi sa paghimo sini makaangkon ka sang sabat sang akon. By doing this, you will receive an answer from me. 
Salamat ako para sa emails mo. I thank you for your emails.
Palangga ko sang ka!! I love you!! 

I love the language! We're getting into some sentence structure now. Already, I miss the simple sentences that we started out using. Ignorance is bliss...until you get to the field!!

My teachers are so great! We have six teachers just for one Hiligaynon district right now (the other two districts are learning Cebuano), but the six includes our "investigator" who hasn't taught us yet. We've taught him four times already in Hiligaynon (aka Ilonggo). 

The gifts of tongues is real. There is no way that we could learn this fast on our own.

Our "investigator," Jerry is a Philippino BYU student. He is really tired and often nods off during our lessons...OR is pretty active and asks a lot of questions.....that we can't understand. But it's great anyway! We are learning so much!

I'll be honest though. We are struggling to SYL. Speak Your Language at all times. We sit with our zone during meals...and none of them SYL except the ones in our district, so unless we sit by them...And the girls in our residence also don't SYL since they're in the other district. But that's no excuse. The Lord expects exact obedience! 

Pray for us to be obedient in SYLing. It's hard. 

Palangga ko sang kimo!! I love you (plural you)!! 

Love,

Tessa