Kumusta Po Kayo!!
WOW!!!! GREG AND LINDSAY ARE HAVING A BOY?! I am beyond excited. I thought that because of the history with the Taylor family that it would be another girl:) I can't wait. Ahhhh I love little boys. And Rod and Tanya too?!?!?! So exciting. I love it. I can't stop smiling.
Alright, so not going to lie. This week was a little bit rough. Earlier this week, I was feeling really discouraged. It is because I am the type of person, and you all know this, that looks at the elephant. I want to be the best missionary that I can right now, but I know that Heavenly Father is teaching me patience. I have also learned that I need to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement. I know in my mind that we can do anything through him, but I don't know if I have let it thoroughly sink in my heart. So that is my goal right now - increase my faith in Him. Increase my faith in that we can find those people here in Rosario that are prepared for the gospel, have faith that we can teach with the spirit, that they can be baptized, and that I can obtain the gift of tongues. My mission president was right - it takes a different type of faith here than it did at home. I am very grateful for this experience and I know that I am learning a lot of lessons that will be sobrang mahalaga para sa buong buhay ko (so important for my whole life).
|MHariz Em Flosa, Avigail Ajeda, Mhoj Cisgab and me|
So you asked about a funny story from earlier this week. I am trying to think. Last Monday we were in the SM (super market... almost like a mall) in Lipa and Sister Ott said we should make a guess of how many Jo's we will see. So here in the Philippines, there are many old white American men that come and marry young Philippino women. It's kind of funny. And they are most easily spotted at the SM. We saw 10.
Usually during the day, at least once, someone says "Hey Jo" to me. Haha and then I tell them I am a girl and they just laugh! They are all surprised when I speak what little Tagalog I have to them. I don't think I have ever been stared at this much in my life.
Sister Dicen, a Philippino missionary that I live with... the other day she asked Sister Ott with the most concerned look on her face "Sister....in America....for birthday parties....do you eat rice?" Hahahah we could not help but burst out laughing. We said usually not and she had the saddest puppy dog look on her face..."But why???" I thought she would break out in tears. The people here LOVE rice. They love it with everything. Actually they love carbohydrates. I didn't think that spaghetti would even be a thing here. But they love spaghetti, tinapay (bread), any noodlely, anything, and rice. Typically a meal will be like fried chicken, rice, noodles, and bread. Lots of carbs. Haha so I am trying not to gain weight!!
|our apartment - so spoiled. Not really any bugs. I know I am going to be so spoiled when I go to my next apartment.|
Every morning, my companion will sit outside of our house and watch me run up and down the street (just like Meisha C. ). I also jump rope and I get a lot of weird looks for that too.
But one of the best things here are the MANGOS. Oh my goodness. I have never had a real mango before here. So delicious. ahh. The vegetables are pretty good. It is fun to live with a Philippino missionary too because she can teach me how to cook Philippino dishes - especially adobo which is delicious too - meat and vegetables. mmm... but like I said... I am trying to take it easy. I don't want to become mataba. haha.
But anyway, this area has been a little more difficult because the elders that were here before died here (meaning it was the last area before they went home). According to the members they would either be at their apartments or the computer shop all day which kind of makes me sad. And the area book is a mess. So we have been working a lot with the members and less actives. Trying to get everything organized and increase our teaching pool.
A lot of tracting as well which I actually love - I think I will love it even more when I learn the language. But we do have a few investigators, and one in a part member family that is progressing. But there is so much inactivity here, it is important to bring back the lost sheep. Yesterday, we had a really cool experience. We were able to work with a member who is a return missionary and we went to a family who is inactive. Anyway, we began sharing a message with him and then the RM started teaching. A scripture came into my mind that I wanted to share with him and I could not find it. The next moment the RM shared the EXACT scripture I was prompted to share. The spirit works in mysterious ways. It is 3 Nep. 13:31-34
by the way. The member was saying how hard it is to go to church and sacrifice, but take no thought for the morrow - how will we have money to eat etc. If we obey God's commandments and seek first the kingdom of God and seek righteousness - he will take care of us. It is only after the trial of our faith. Faith requires action. Then after we act - we can see the fruits thereof. It also made me think about when you (mom and dad) were living in New York, trying to decide between paying your tithing and having money for food that week. You chose to pay your tithing and were immediately taken care of. God loves us and is aware of us. He will bless us as we first seek the Kingdom of God.
I also had another experience with an investigator where I was reciting the First Vision and I could feel the spirit so strong - to my bone. I bore my testimony to them - they're still not progressing but I can see how testifying can strengthen my own testimony and for that I am grateful.
I can't remember if I told you, but I have been playing the piano for the ward for sacrament. I'm surprised - it's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Except yesterday they chose a hymn with 4 flats and it was ROUGH. Haha but multiple people came up to me and said thank you because it really does add so much to have a piano. I am grateful that even if I can't be a perfect teacher yet, I can share other talents.
The last thing that I want to tell you is that the people here are so beautiful. So loving and kind - more universally loving than I have ever seen. There is definitely so much poverty and corruption with their government - the cities are run down and dirty. But these people are incredible. So kind. I am grateful that I get to be among them. Despite what very little they have, they are so anxious to give and share. You ride on the jeepney (it's like a jeep they had during war that they extended into which they cram as many people as possible ... look it up on google haha) and people will just pass their money up to the front. No one would every consider stealing your money. So much trust.
Yesterday we were walking to this members house across this beautiful rice field and saw mountains and the sunset in the distance - I truly am so blessed to be here. I am so grateful. I feel so much peace in nature and it helps increase my faith that through Jesus Christ we can truly do anything. It will all work out in the end.
I love you so much. Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.
You are in my prayers.
Sister Haley Rasmussen
A Letter from Haley's companion
I am your daughter's companion. Your daughter has been a blessing for me here in the mission. She is so amazing, she really is a good example to me. She know her purpose here and she really love the people here in our area even we both new to this area. Your daughter is already brave to talk to people. She can share the gospel by herself in Tagalog. She can teach and she is the first American companion I have in the mission. She is so amazing. I cannot describe how much I love your daughter, she really helps me fulfill my purpose to Heavenly Father.
Yep! I am from Tonga., I am a convert and I have 7 brothers I am the only girl in the family, my dad died when I was 3yrs old. My mother marry again and they are not happy for me but with or without it, I'm fine with it because I know Sister that Heavenly Father knows and hear our prayers. I only email with my best friend who is now serving in Naga Mission and all of my family now are member and 4 of my brothers are returned missionary and they were baptized in 2001. I was baptized 2008. I've been avoiding missionary when they come over to our house and one day they were teaching my mum ( she was less-active this time) and they were teaching about the Plan of Salvation where family can be together forever. I was curious of how family can be together forever so after the missionary left our house I asked my mum about it and she referred me to the missionaries and that when I started to listen to missionary. and yeah I get baptized and I know being a member of the church has being the most greatest blessing in my life.
About our area, Our area is doing great and we have investigator to teach, they are receptive, through your daughter's effort. Haley, talk to everyone we meet on tri-cycl, jeepney and she even get us to appointment. We tract many houses and we have 10 investigators for last week. She is amazing, she can teach in Tagalog and she invites people to church and she invites them to be baptized in our first lesson which is so cool . She practice her Tagalog and I tell her that the secret to know Tagalog is to talk to as many people as she can. In our area we are all sisters 4 of us in one apartment and we are in Lipa zone, we are having the same zone with Sister Brown. The elders is in other area, we only have 2 elders in our district.
The people here is so nice. The whether here is same with us in Tonga and we have only few big building in Tonga and in Tonga I am from an island which is in Tonga.
Both of us enjoy eat the food here and I don’t let her eat street food because I know it not good for her and it against our rules here on the mission. I cooked for her and I learned to love eat fruits from her. :)
Haley, is so humble and she is diligently doing her part to Heavenly Father. I told her the first 3 month on the mission will be hard but after that everything will be fine, it all requires Faith, Trust and Patience with ourselves in the language. She speak Tagalog way better than I do when I first got here.
Thank you for all your prayers. I promise that I will take care of Haley for you and Don’t worry your daughter is so amazing and she really is an angel sent form Heavenly Father to be my companion.
I know that Heavenly Father lives, he really cares for us and I know that your Daughter WILL bring others unto Salvation because I can see her strong testimony and her Faith in Jesus Christ in her 1st week here. I am so blessed to have your daughter to be my companion. You are more welcome to mail me and ask me anything about us here in the mission.
Again, thank you for all the prayers.