Monday, October 28, 2013

Rice Fields - Ready to Harvest


You were probably not aware that Filipinos love Avril Lavigne. We have been sitting in a small computer shop listening to really loud Avril music for the past hour and half haha. I think the owner of the computer shop knows every word. Impressive.

Hello dear family!!! How are you all doing? I loved the pics of the Webster Halloween party! Thank you adults for still letting the child in you come and dress up, I hope that never ends.  I am still trying to figure out who is in the monkey suit! It is Halloween once again, what a wonderful time of the year.  We have curfew almost every day this week -twice because of elections and twice for ‘araw ng patay’ or day of the dead.  On October 31st it is all saints day and then Nov 1st is day of the dead.  At midnight on the 31st everyone goes to the grave yards and they party hard! We will be party-partying in our apartment the entire evening.  I think I am going to steal sister b’s name tag and be her for Halloween! None of my house mates have ever carved pumpkins so I think we are going to buy squash and carve them.

We had a mission tour this week which basically was a zone conference combined with 3 other zones because Elder Ardern from the area presidency came.  We were in the area for three days, one for the conference and then 2 other days for exchanges.  I am going to be adept at sleeping on the floor with only a small sheet and no pillow. I think I am going to want to do a lot of time camping when I get back. The morning before the conference we had a small gathering for mission leadership training with Elder Ardern. We were fortunate to be with him in such a small setting.  One thing that he said that has really stuck with me is that the Lord is easy to please but hard to satisfy.  I think this is true. I know that the Lord is so proud of us when we do our best and try our hardest but one round isn’t enough.  We have to keep pushing through, the enduring to the end part of our baptismal covenant is so vital. We have to do our very best each day.  And then after we have done our best and even be willing to say, “Lord, give me something else.” It was a great conference and it was a spiritual feast. 

We had a baptism on Saturday! It was for a 10 year old boy who is from a part member family and has slight autism.  He is so darling. Every time we go to teach him before we start to teach he quizzes us on pokeymon and tells us all the secrets to temple run. He also has a lot of questions similar to what Spence would ask when he was little… like “how tall was Jesus?”  But he is smart and when he bore his testimony after his baptism he just recited all the articles of faith and then sat down! Priceless!

Because we spend so much time on long bus rides we buy semi healthy snacks that are so delicious.  Our treats this week were dried banana chips and quail eggs.  But not together. There are people that walk through the isles of the bus and sell peanuts and quail eggs and candy. We are their favorite customers. 

Well bug sorry about the state championship - but I’m pretty proud of ya kiddo! You are a rockstar!! Congrats on a great season!

Thanks for all of your emails and support and love.  I feel so grateful for this experience.  Often, when we are on exchanges the sisters ask me when it gets easier. They will ask me about home sickness and about not comparing your success to others.  I tell them that it never gets easy, but it is amazing the miracles we can see every day.  The lord’s hand truly is in this work and I encourage them to keep a miracle journal; that way the miracles become more obvious.  I am so grateful for the gospel, for the direction it gives me and who I want to be because of the gospel.  I love you all dearly and hope you have a wonderful week.

Love from the pines,

Sister Meish

Rice Fields Ready for Harvest

Monday, October 21, 2013

Process of Time

What a week! There was too much greatness for one week! In a quick blurb... nativity, utes jersey, successful stake conference, two separate sets of exchanges, Christmas break, baptisms in goa, finding a smoothie shop and laughing until I cried as Sister Bersola practiced her British accent.   

Well.... it looks like I'll be home for Christmas...  and not only in my dreams.  We got our flight itinerary and I am scheduled to land in SLC on December 21st.  Seems strange. That only leaves a short two months. It truly seems like just a few months ago that I was in the MTC.  


This week I read a talk by Elder Maxwell that noted the "process of time." So, I guess because I am realizing how precious my time here is I have really been thinking about time; how quick it slips away but how meaningful it can be if we use it.  Elder Maxwell says, "With the Holy Spirit as our guide, our conscience stays vibrant and alive. Things which we had never supposed come into view. Seeming routine turns out to be resplendent. Ordinary people seem quite the opposite. What we once thought to be the mere humdrum of life gives way to symphonic strains. Circumstances or a mere conversation which look quite pedestrian nevertheless cause a quiet moment of personal resolve, and a decision affecting all eternity is made. Sometimes you and I even sense it as it happens, but there are no bands playing, and there are no headlines. Therefore, a very significant part of getting settled in one's discipleship consists of coming to terms with the realities around us that seem so routine. Routine, like trials, can bring us closer to God or move us away from him. What seems commonplace seldom is."

This week my process of time was quite full and quite rewarding. We were on exchanges with the sisters from Labo and I was here in our area.  As we visited with some of our friends most of the nanay's were doing the laundry. I am sure that for them, and nanay's (or mom's) everywhere, this task seems routine and unimportant; something that must be done, and it must, but there is such significance in that time spent on laundry. It is a symbol of the sacrifices they are willing to make for their family. They are sacrificing their time spending hours bent over a bucket with a scrub brush. 


While I was on exchanges in Vinzon’s and the Branch President and his wife went with us to our last lesson of the evening.  This couple is humble and kind.  President sells bread for a living.  His wife bore her beautiful testimony at the end of the lesson that she knows they live a simple life and most of the time they worry about finances but somehow each time bills need to be paid or food needs to be bought, there seems to be just enough to get by.  I know that these wonderful people serve in their callings each day with little recognition or applause.  They love the Lord and push forward with joy in their eyes.  This sweet woman gave me a small coin purse to remember her by. When I look at small colored bag I will think of the light and simplicity I saw in this woman and will try a little harder to give a little more warmth to the world.  


Also, a less active member in the ward passed away.  She didn’t live in our area and I had never met her but yesterday we attended her small funeral and felt a similar warmth and simplicity. There were only 10 of us from the ward that attended. We crowded into their small home and sang hymns while the rain tapped down on the tin roof above our heads.  We talked about family and about the savior. This woman was the only member in her family. Two of her four children were there. We sat around and talked with them about their mother after and they shared memories.  I filed this small hour of time away in my mental folder about my time here on my island. I am grateful that the gospel brings us close together. I felt love for this woman who now waits on the other side and I felt love for her children now grown and without the gospel. They opened up to us because that’s what hymns and scriptures and the gospel does; it connects us. 

There was a very bad earthquake in Cebu this past week. We didn’t feel anything but we got a good amount of rain this week. Walking through puddles all day with heavy soaked skirts has become routine and commonplace. But keep the earthquake victims in your prayers.  

I know that evidence of God is in the details of our lives if we look for it. The daily routine seems just that – routine. But it is interesting to me that that is what I like to hear best from your letters; the small details that make up your days, weeks, and your lives.  Maybe I should include more details in my prayers... for "what seems commonplace seldom is."


Cate - good luck this week... you're new tagline is just what i needed to hear too: "To the End!" Keep fighting, never give in. Leave it all out there and mostly enjoy the experience! 

Owey - sorry your lost to Mikey bowling. You're going to need to practice a little bit more. haha! 

Thanks to the Hinckleys! I got a great letter and pictures from them this week! 

Well, I love you all! Thank you for your support and love always! 


Sister Meish


Monday, October 14, 2013

Bagyo in Daet

Hi fam!

Well, I know this is old news to all of you because conference was a whole week ago but we had a great conference weekend. I love listening to those loving familiar voices.  I can’t believe that it was a year ago that I was sitting in a small chapel in Ligao, watching conference for the first time, still in training and still feeling a little homesick as the pictures of Salt Lake came up  - it is amazing how much has happened in just a few short 12 months.  Time doesn’t ever stop moving; I think that it speeds up.

We had a bagyo (or typhoon) come to town on Friday and it was some of the strongest rains I have seen yet. The Streets were flooding and the wind was howling. We weren’t the main target of the storm though thankfully.  On Friday we were trapped in our apartment for a few hours because of the rain but by about 6 p.m. the rain calmed to normal Pinoy weather and we were able to work.  I was thinking how every mission has its own weather problems. Some are freezing cold. Some are so hot. Ours depends on the day it is either pouring rain or really hot. But, no matter where we are we can use the weather that as an excuse not to work or we can dig in deep like the pioneers and push through.   

On Saturday we were able to watch the Saturday sessions of conference but the Bagyo still had lingering effects. The entire day the was power cutting in and out.  So some of the talks we only heard a few words.  I think my favorite lines were:
"Hope is never lost.  If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong."

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
"Between now and Christmas, millions can feel the saviors love (if we all shared the gospel with just one person). What a wonderful gift to the savior." I think this one struck me hard because that is all I have left out here on my island. I want to do all I can to be a part of sharing to the millions. 

I enjoyed how President Monson talked about suffering and sadness being universal but that as we are tested and survive in the trials of our life - we grow stronger. Through our trials we become different and better than what we were.

I got an exciting letter from Crisanto this week! He is working on his mission papers!! I am so, so proud of him and can’t wait for him to be able to share his light and experiences with others. 
Also a young girl we met tracting in Goa has a date to be baptized and one of our other investigators gets baptized on Friday! I miss my friends in Goa but am so happy to hear of their progression and joy in the gospel. It is amazing how each person you meet out here changes you a little and you take a piece of them with you. 

My clothes have endured pretty well over the last 16 months but they are starting to surrender.  Last week we were walking and my skirt snagged on a Tricey and got a nice big rip through it.  Luckily one of our members is a wizard on the sewing machine and got it all patched up. 


Well, I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week.  Speen - still dying about the choir photo. That entire session I was laughing thinking of the humor of my little brother infecting a small Mexican town. 

Sister Meish


Monday, October 7, 2013

In Daet to Stay

Hi family! The great news from Daet is that Sister B and I are staying comps for another transfer! I am so, so happy. This also means that this is most likely my last area - which I am also very happy about.

Last week I received a wonderful package in the mail - it had delicious chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered blueberries... we ate them all within one day haha. But, when we got the package, the bag of almonds had burst open so everything was covered in little chocolate pieces. This morning we went running and I wore the shirt you sent me. I told sister B. it still smelled like chocolate (even though I had washed it) and she said she missed the almonds and blueberries. Haha - that girl can eat more chocolate than any one I have ever met and she is tiny. 

This week we were in Naga on Monday and Tuesday for Mission Leadership Training.  I really enjoy MLC. It is always so inspiring and it is fun to hear President’s thoughts on everything. He was explaining how the mission is growing faster than the church in some ways. There are areas now that have multiple missionaries. The number of missionaries we have in nearly every ward has moved up to at least 4 and some have 8. But there is not an established ward or branch yet in some of these areas. This creates a problem for baptisms because there is not yet an established system for these converts to enter into.  It will be interesting to see how missionary work will adapt again.  A few years ago there was a large push here to focus on less active activation. We now focus on less active work as well as finding new investigators.  There is now, more than ever a need for the members, regardless of how recently they were baptized, to step up and take leadership roles.  It is an exciting time to be involved in this work.  


I have been thinking a lot this week about obedience and the gift of free agency.  I was thinking how Satan must have been in a high calling in the premortal life to have been in a position to present a plan in the grand council. I think that plan must have really sounded compelling – the idea that we would always do right and follow exactly what we were supposed to do.  It also makes me think of the blessings and the glory that await us because our Heavenly Father let us make the choice even though he knew we would make some bad choices. I am grateful for the way I have come to see the commandments as I have been out here.  I never had a problem doing the things I was supposed to do. It has never has been my cross to doubt. Over the past few months that I have come to realize the why of those things we are supposed to do. Missionaries in this area have been visiting a less active family for years now with little progress. About three weeks ago this family finally came back to church. They have been there, as a family, every week since they first came back to church. We also came to find out that this particular mother has also consistently been reading the Book of Mormon every day for these past few weeks. This good family told us that their lives are going better.  When we follow the commandments, we still have trials and problems but for some reason things seem to work out easier. 

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put thine hand into the hand of God. That shall be to thee better than a light and safer than a known way." 

I think many times its hard to see the immediate blessings and results of commandment keeping so we get distracted by other things. I am coming to understand that if we are willing to walk in the dark the Lord will guide us.  


We have rules as missionaries that sometimes don’t make sense or don’t seem important. This can make them hard to follow. But my experience has been that if we do what we are asked to do, things seem to work out.  I bore my testimony of the savior this week - this happens often but I just realized my awe of this being, Jesus Christ.  He is the Savior of the world. He is the perfect example.  I have faith in him. I have a long way to go but I do believe that the gospel provides a solution to the problems and difficulties we face in life. 

Some of the Pinoy’s are very superstitious....  We were running this morning at 6am and there were a bunch of little kids and babies there at the beach. I asked my companion what was going on and Sister Bersola explained that many people believe that if you take your kid to swim in the ocean in the middle of the night it will heal sicknesses and such. Hmmm  

I was sad to hear about DuWayne's death but he was a great man and lived a great life.  I loved the story you shared... "A few weeks ago as DuWayne’s health was deteriorating even further, Alice told us that DuWayne said he wanted to work on their relationship.  She responded and said “Oh DuWayne, we have the eternities for that.” This says a lot about sweet Alice and her faith in the eternities to come.    

Thanks for all your love and support!  We get to watch conference this week and I am so excited!!  I hope you all have a lovely week.  Cate - try not to get any more black eyes in your game this week eh haha! 

Love from the Pines

Sister Meish