Monday, August 25, 2014

Letter from Haley's Companion Sister Tafiti

Bro and Sister Rasmussen

Sister Tafiti & Sister Rasmussen

This is Sister Tafit. How are you both?  I have heard so much about you both, she talks about you all a lot. She loves her family so much and misses you all. Quick intro of myself I'm from New Zealand, was born and raised there. We are a family of 12 including my parents, so yes I have 9 siblings haha. I've been out on the field for 1 year and 3 months now will be going home in December. I'm full Samoan and I have the BEST companion right now haha SISTER RASMUSSEN!!!!!!!

 Brother and Sister Rasmussen I just want to thank you so much for raising such a beautiful woman inside and out. She literally is one of my best friends here, great thing about the mission is that you get to make eternal friendships and I have been blessed to be her companion. I have learnt so much from her through her example. She is one of the most hardworking missionaries I have met here on my mission. She knows her purpose and does everything she can to magnify her calling.  

Sister Tafiti, Raywin, Jenny Rose, & Sister Rasmussen

We both have such a great love for the people here and for missionary work. Sadly, I will be transferred this week, we both had our crying session already but one thing I was reminded about is that no matter where we are, we are here for one purpose and that is to invite others to come unto  Christ and there are so many people that are prepared by God to receive us. I have witnessed it for myself. I am forever grateful for Sister Rasmussen, she has forever made an impact in my life. Because of my companions and also the help of the Lord they have molded me and helped my fulfill my potential in becoming more like my Savior Jesus Christ. And for that I have need to thank you both also. We've talked about this but hopefully I can come to Utah and visit her and your family:)

We love you both.

Isa Pang Magandang Linggo

"Another Good Sunday"
Hello po!! Kumusta po??
A Sister drew this picture of me.
 Thank you so much for your e-mails and support.  I love all of you so much and I look forward every week to hearing about the things going on in your life on the other side.  

 I forgot to tell you what Sister Tafiti and I got to do last p-day.  We went early in the morning to a recent convert's eatery.  We wanted to learn how to make Philippino foods and also serve her so we helped her and her husband cook.  It was so fun!!  But it also grossed me out a little bit to see the state of the cooking area... I guess if it is hot enough it will cook out the germs?  

Grabe naman.  Haha but we also wanted to build a relationship with her husband because he is not yet a member and he is too shy and always hides from us when we go over.  Anyway, it was fun and I think they really appreciated.  It softened his heart, because we had an entire conversation with him, which is a success.  
Sister Tafiti
 Then afterwards, another Recent Convert took us to his friend's beach house.

He agreed to let us go and study on his porch, so we got to do our studies with the most beautiful view ever. 

It was fun to do something a little bit different on P-day and take advantage of the beauty here in the paradise of Mindoro.  

 This morning we woke up at 5:30 and went to the church to play basketball and volleyball with the members.  It was my first time doing it here in the field and it was way fun.  It's nice to take some time to relax and have fun too.

Me & Sister Tafiti
Sister Lero, Sister Hingano, & Me
On Wednesday, before we left the island to go to the Trainer's training, the zone leaders shared a cool experience with Sister Tafiti and I.  Right now the mission is really focusing on our faith in Christ.  They told us about how three weeks ago, they were called to go and bless a member in a different branch.  Apparently she was possessed and it was an emergency.  When the elders entered the house, this girl was in a scary state.  She was yelling/screaming/running around/throwing things at the Elders.  The Elders admitted that they were a little bit afraid.  They finally were able to get their hands on her to bless her, but afterwards... NOTHING HAPPENED.  In fact, she got worse.  They looked at each other, troubled, trying to figure out what they did wrong.  While questioning their own worthiness, they stepped outside and called President Mangum.  He advised them to call the District President (President Mones) to come out and administer the blessing  While they were waiting for him, they were evaluating themselves and their companionship, trying to figure out why their blessing didn't work.  President Mones arrived and was completely calm.  He walked into the house not even phased by the girl's behavior.  In fact, he was talking to her and treating her as if nothing was wrong.  He laid his hands on her head, and while he was giving the blessing, it was as if she was asleep.  As soon as he said, "amen" she opened her eyes, was calm and a little confused, and was completely healed.  The spirit was gone.  The Elders were disappointed in themselves that they weren't successful.  They rode home with President Mones and he explained that you cannot be afraid.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  Even the littlest bit of fear diminishes our faith.  The Elders learned a good lesson that day and I am glad they shared it with us.  I was even feeling a little bit afraid to become a trainer, but I know that I must just have faith in Jesus Christ.

The trainer's training meeting was amazing!! So first off, they started by explaining how they have heard lots of sad stories of not-so-good trainer's in the mission (disobedient, controlling, lazy, etc.) and they just let us know how big of a responsibility it is for us to train, because we are building the foundation for the trainee's entire mission.  They quoted a few general authorities who said that the most important calling in a mission is the trainer... that they will have the biggest effect on the missionary's mission and in some instances their life.  Anyway.... there are actually only two sisters training and 15 elders.  President Mangum was teary eyed as he told us that the whole office fasted and prayed while they were picking those to train.  Him and the AP's did not consult with each other at all and made their own lists of who they felt needed to train at this time.  He said that all 3 of them compared their lists and saw that it matched 100%.  No variances.  He explained that the spirit inspired all of them and that it was revelation.  I still feel a little bit inadequate but I am so excited.  I know that I just need to depend on the Lord and it will all work out.  
Sister Hingano, Me & Sister Lero
Oh!! and one more thing.... there are two sisters... and they are both Philippina!! My next companion will be Pinay.  Sooooo excited.


Then Sister Tafiti and I went to Bauan to do exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders.  That night we became a little bit sentimental, and might have cried a little.  Hahahah.... but seriously, as excited as I am to train... I am going to miss her so much.  I feel like we are best friends.  These last two transfers have been the best two on my mission so far.  I have been so blessed.  The exchanges were awesome.  I went with Sister Smart who is actually studying at BYU and I also feel like she will be one of my good friends.  I learned lots from her and we were just laughing the whole time.

I love you all so much.  Thank you for everything.  You are in my prayers.

Sister Rasmussen
This is probably my favorite family in Calapan.  Brother Logmao, their daughter Aica, and her children.  LOVE THEM

Me & Jenny Rose
Me, Sister Tafiti, & Wayne

Jenny Rose & Sister Tafiti

Wayne drew this one of me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

magandang balita para sa inyong lahat

"good news for all of you"

 my beloved family,

let me start this e-mail by saying that i am in the bayan right now here in calapan in a pretty crappy computer shop.  the shift key is broken on my keyboard so it looks like everything is going to be in lower case.  also exclamation marks are going to be rare so just know that i am really happy and excited about everything here even if it seems like i am content lang hahahah i hope that you can be patient with me. 
but i have some very exciting news! i am going to be a trainer this next transfer.  i was hoping that i would have this opportunity because i knew that it would challenge me but i knew that it all depended on the will of the lord.  but it's really happening and i am so grateful/excited/and a little bit nervous.  i can already forsee the stress that i will experience but i know that it will help me to become better.  so i just wanted to let you know and i am asking for your prayers!

there are some other changes as well.  after i emailed you last week, we went to the mall where i cut my hair for the first time here in the field.  i was very nervous because i have heard of horror stories haha but i really wanted to cut my hair because it was getting way too long and it's hot! haha so we went into what looked like a pretty credible place.  the only thing is... in order to become a barber, you don't need any training whatsoever - you just apply.  my haircut only cost the equivalent of 2.50.  anyway so we go in, and the man who cut my hair was very feminine and flamboyant.  

i told him that i was nervous and he scoffed and told me to trust him.  i showed him where i wanted my hair and that i wanted some layers. 

he got super excited and just started going at it.

haha i kid you not - my hair cut probably took a total of 2 minutes.  he was grabbing hair and chopping back and forth like no ones business, with what looked like kitchen scissors.  

anyway.... it isnt as bad as i am making it sound but the right side looks like someone just chopped off the top layer of my hair so i am going to have to cover that up for a few months.

haha i am just lucky that my hair grows fast, that i am serving a mission right now (and honestly it doesnt matter too much what i look like) and that i still have a year to let it grow back.

haha but that was probably one of the most thrilling/scary moments so far on my mission.
I just found out some sad news... sister ramsey went home because she is really sick.  Do you remember her?  She was in my batch in the MTC.

so last week we knew that we had to build up our teaching pool again and we are already so excited about our investigators and know that they are prepared.  one of our new investigators actually approached us on the street.  apparently his best friend growing up is serving a mission right now and so he asked him to come teach him (Ryan) and his girlfriend and brother.  you can see how the example of ryan's friend has influenced him and softened his heart.  they all immediately accepted their baptismal goal date.  they are definitely prepared, but ryan and his girlfriend joanne need to get married, so obviously everyone we teach has concerns that need to be resolved.  on friday we went to teach loyd, a fairly new investigator.  he is a part of this big abelgas family/clan that lives in lazareto.  they all wanted us to teach them but everytime we went back we were teaching someone new and it was outside and a little bit crazy and noisy.  we were wondering why we were continuing to go back because there was no one progressing yet.  well last we sort of singled out loyd... he is in his 50's and is separated from his wife, and hasn't seen her or his children in a long time.  but when we went back to him on friday, he told us the most amazing experience.  he said that the day before he hiked up to the top of this mountain where he was all alone and it was quiet and peacefull.  he read his assignment that we gave him and sincerely prayed to know if the book of mormon is true.  he said that he 100% felt the spirit testify to him that our message is true and he was so grateful that we had come to him and brought him the truth.  haha i tried not to laugh when he added, in english, "praise the lord!" haha but it really was incredible.  he is also getting baptized but wasn't able to come to church because he doesn't have the money for transportation.  but we are working with a member to help him and i know that we can help him to accept the gospel of jesus christ.
Sister Hingano, Me, Sister Tafiti, & Sister Lero
saturday was the baptism of jenny rose and two other children in the ward.  it was beautiful and the spirit was so strong.   

we were a little worried though because jenny rose was a little bit sad - her dad is really upset about her decision and doesn't approve.   

she bore a really sweet testimony explaining that even if her family doesn't support her, she is still getting baptized because she knows that this is the only true church and the only way to truly be happy. she says that she will leave her book of mormon open or some of the pamphlets that we give her around the house in hopes that her father will read it and his heart will soften.  but all of us are continuing to pray for him.  but after she was confirmed on sunday she explained that she feels so much peace and happiness and that she is so grateful to officially be a member.  she is excitingly preparing to go do baptisms for the dead in october in the manila temple.
Our District
sunday was also sweet as we got to listen to and watch both wayne and ricky bless and pass the sacrament.  a month and half ago ricky was slipping back into his bad habits of drinking and was slowly going back off the path.  but i am so grateful to have played a part in helping him to come back to the gospel and progress.  we had 6 investigators at church and it was a really beautiful sacrament meeting.

 later that night, we went with the elders over to the acidilio's to give veronica a blessing.  she has been sick for a month and has tried all different kinds of medicines and nothing is working.  her throat is constantly itchy and she can't sleep at all.  we explained that if the elder's came to give her a blessing for her sickness, it would be through the same power that jesus christ himself healed the sick.  but we explained that it depended both on her faith and the will of god. the elders laid their hands on her head and the spirit filled the room.  elder parry gave such a beautiful blessing - heavenly father was truly speaking to her through him.  he said things about her family and children that he could have never known.  at the end she was crying and really trying to cover it up.  before we left i told her, "wow... heavenly father really trusts you." and she said, "i know...." looked at me and said so sincerely, "i have faith in jesus christ."  it just hit me to the very center.  i am so grateful to be here and help others to come unto jesus christ.  i know that i play just a small part, and this truly is the lords work, but i am so grateful to play that part.

i love all of these people so much and i love the philippines.  i miss you and pray for you.  i cant handle those darling pictures of jace.  ahhhhh he is so cute.

i love you

Sister Rasmussen.
Our District

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pagbabago at mga sagot sa mga panalangin natin

"Innovation and answer our prayers"

Mapagmahal na pamiliya ko.

Kumusta po kayong lahat?  Well this has been another great week.  Of course it is hard to pack every funny/cool/spiritual experience into one little e-mail but I will try and include the best.  So last Monday night I was just feeling really hard on myself.  I went into my room by myself and was praying for quite a long time.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all of my weaknesses and things that I need to work on, so I asked the Zone Leader if he could come and give me a blessing of comfort the next morning.  Man, I have SUCH a testimony of Priesthood blessings.  Has his hands were on my head, I felt like Heavenly Father himself was talking to me.  Literally everything He said were things that I had specifically been praying for.  The interesting thing was, in retrospect, I realized that all of the answers that were given to me in the blessing I had already received through my own personal revelation, but I just didn't recognize it.  I feel like now I understand better how I personally receive revelation and how Heavenly Father answers my prayers.  But I do know that even though there are billions and billions of people, not including all of our brothers and sisters in all of history, but somehow... somehow Heavenly Father knows each of us individually and perfectly and does hear our prayers and DOES answer them... according to our faith. Since the blessing I have received I have felt humbled and much more peace.  The incredible thing is that through the atonement, our weaknesses can truly become strengths.  We must depend on Christ completely... no reservations.

Speaking of faith, earlier this week we were teaching a recent convert, Jane.  Now let me tell you about Jane.  Despite all of the trials in her life, she is one of the most happy, positive, beautiful people I have ever met.  She has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  When she prays, it is so sincere and it feels as though she is truly talking to Heavenly Father, face to face.  She always bears her testimony about prayers and I know she has such a strong testimony about the sacred communication that  we have with God.  Well in a lesson, she shared how she was converted to the church.  She first explained that she doesn't relate this experience to a lot of people.  Let me also preface this by saying that one thing that I have noticed is that Heavenly Father answers all of our prayers in different ways according to our needs.  Here in the Philippines, a lot of people that I have taught have answers to their prayers through dreams and signs... whereas with me it is definitely through my feelings.  I was also thinking of telling you to take this story with a grain of salt, but I think that just shows my lack of faith.  So no... haha... don't take it with a grain of salt.

Anyway, she was saying that she still had some doubts when she was being taught by the missionaries.  So one day, as she was tending her shop, she prayed to Heavenly Father and said, "If the Book of Mormon is true... then have those people (picking out two random people that she saw on the street) come to my store."  The next day, those exact two people that she had picked out came and bought food from her store.  Then, as she was deciding whether or not to be baptized, she said that one night she was kneeling and praying, earnestly wanting to know if she should be baptized in the church.  She knew that the next day was supposed to be very sunny with no rain.  So she said, "Heavenly Father, if this is really the path that you want me to take, and I am supposed to be baptized in this church, then let me see a rainbow tomorrow."  She said the next day it was super sunny and THREE TIMES she saw a rainbow.  She was immediately baptized.  Haha I just thought that was a crazy story and I think it just goes to show how strong her faith is and that anything really is possible according to our faith in Christ.

As for Lovely.... well earlier this week we went to their house and were teaching her parents.  We were teaching the Plan of Salvation on their front porch while lovely and her brother Levvy were inside watching TV.  Well all of a sudden they started fighting, but the screaming and noises that they were making was like nothing I have ever heard in a family.  Her scream/yell was scary!  So her mom went in and was furious at their behavior.  She closed the door and started hitting them with a belt.  Her father tried talking to us and acting like nothing was going on.  Finally he went around the back of the house and Sister Tafitit and I were just solemnly listening to the noises inside.  We looked at each other feeling so bad for their family... the spirit was nowhere to be found inside that home.  We left before we closed the lesson.  Well we went back to teach Lovely and she wouldn't face us because I think she is too embarrassed or ashamed about what had happened the other night.  We don't judge them at all and we just know that the gospel will only bless their family and help them with these problems.  But she absolutely wouldn't come out to see us.  So we're not sure what to do.  We are going to try and follow up with her tonight and hopefully she will agree to be taught again.  So... feel free to keep her and her family in your prayers.  The whole experience was humbling and it just made me so grateful for my loving family, especially my parents, and that we had the gospel in our home.

In contrast to that experience, the next day we went and taught the Acidillio family (AHHH they're my favorite).  When we walked into their home the spirit was there and it was so different than the first time we taught them.  They had been reading the book of mormon together and holding family prayer.  We acknowledged the difference in their home and they completely agreed.  They said that they use to argue all the time but now they don't argue.  We taught them Gospel of Jesus Christ and re-extended baptism to them and they accepted.  When we left, the peace and the spirit were so strong.  No one could deny it.  The only thing we need to help them overcome is Coffee... haha they are really struggling with it.  So of course, we need patience.  But we are really excited for them.

One last teaching experience: we taught Zenaida and Sam, a couple that we haven't seen for a couple weeks.  He started the lesson by saying that he didn't want to argue but the whole time he was soo contentious.  We couldn't get out 3 words before he would bring up another issue.  Two or three months ago, I probably would have started getting like and anxious stomach ache and just frustrated with him.  But this time I had so much peace.  I was just so sad at his hard head/heart and that he wouldn't be able to feast on the blessings of the gospel.  I think that my very nature is changing.  I feel as the missionaries in Mosiah 28:3.  I left feeling sorry for his hardness but so grateful that I had the gospel in my life.  We have dropped quite a few investigators this week, but I know that people have their agency and it just leaves room to find those who are truly prepared of God.

Haha so our mission has really been emphasizing the fact that we need to budget our money well... so Sister Tafiti and I split up our money into four envelopes for the four weeks and we weren't allowed to touch the money in the other envelopes.  Well Sister Lero really wanted to cook together on Sunday, but I had already spent my money for the week and so I just told her that I would have rice and tuna.  She kept saying it was fine and that she was going to cook but I kept telling her that I felt bad and I didn't mind.  That it wasn't fair and I wouldn't eat any.  Well apparently that was super rude... haha Philippino culture... when it comes to food they always want to share and if they want to cook for you and you don't accept it is super offensive.  Well Sister Lero and me are super close but she got SO MAD.  Haha slammed her planner on her desk and marched to her room.  So Sister Tafiti and I hurried and finished planning and then I went in and just laid on her and made her laugh.  I just explained the difference of culture.  Haha she was trying sooo hard not to laugh and keep a frowny face but just gave in.  I also gave in and ate some of her food the next day.  Anyway, I just love Sister Lero so much.  I feel like we are kindred spirits.  It makes me sad that when I go home I probably won't ever see her again... but I am trying to convince her to come visit us so she can see the Salt Lake temple, and Christmas, and snow.... haha so if she does come, I'll make her soo much food to make up for her goodness to me here.  And of course I'll make sure she has rice as well.
Raywin, me, & Jenny Rose
Well, I'll probably cry as Raywin baptizes his girlfriend Jenny Rose this Saturday.  I will make sure to tell you all about it and send some pics.  She is so ready and I know that she is a fruit that will remain.

I love you all.  I am stoked that you got to go to Lake Powell but I honestly am just so happy to be here.  I hope you had fun and I can't wait to hear about your experiences.  Beau those braids are NAPPY.  Haha but I want a hard copy of that picture with your braided locks and face of pure bliss (haha the light on your face is perfect).  So majestic.  Haha I love you!!!

Ingat po kayo huh!!
Sister Rasmussen