"DREAM IS THIS ?! GISINGIN YOU !!! GRAVE"
|Sister Kekauoaha & me|
MINAMAHAL KONG PAMILYA.... I have so much to tell you. I feel that I am living in a dream this is too amazing. ahhhh I am so happy I don't know what to do with myself. Lot's of change, but I am soooo blessed of the Lord right now.
I'll start with the biggest news and then go back to the beginning. So, I am here in Sta. Cruz which is literally the PROMISED LAND of the Philippines San Pablo Mission.... and... I am a Sister Training Leader!! (Basically a Zone Leader but I am in charge of the sisters in two zones) Which means I will get to go on exhanges with all the sisters, including Sister Johnson from my batch in the MTC! But let's go back to the start....
So let's just say that these last two transfers has been full of trials. They have been really hard and my faith has been tried and I have been extremely humbled. As I was getting ready to leave Calapan, I was looking back at the last 6 months questioning whether or not I fulfilled my purpose and if I even did much to help the branch. Tuesday morning, Sister Martinez and I went to the Cranston's in order for them to help her study English and I got a call from President. He said that he counseled with the Lord and they both felt to call me to this position. I was shocked. Honestly and truly that was the last thing that I thought would happen because I felt unworthy. He said that there are three commitments. 1) 100% exact obedience 2) humility. He explained that this calling is about everyone BUT yourself. I need to strip myself of all pride. 3) The courage to call missionaries to repentance. I need to be able to help make corrections when necessary, even when it is awkward or hard because I "want to be liked by my peers." The whole time he was talking I could barely respond on the phone because I was SOO SHOCKED. I got off the phone and told Sister Martinez and she was freaking out more than me screaming and bouncing all over the room. Haha I wish I had it on film it was hilarious.
I feel so humbled that Heavenly Father would trust me with this responsibility, and I know that I can only do it with His help through the Atonement. I am going to do my very best to completely consecrate myself.
The other crazy news is that Sister Martinez is also transferred. She got pulled out!! Her new companion is Sister Seastrand (Ben Seastrand's cousin). She was super sad and started bawling when she found out... but it's part of the mission life. Full of change and adjustment.
Later that day we went and taught and said goodbye to our favorite members and investigators. It was in these moments that I realized that I fulfilled my purpose. The Lord really doesn't require success, but He requires consecration. And I can say that I tried my best these last 6 months.
|Joy, me, Sister Vanjie Soprepenia, and Brother Sopripenia|
We said goodbye to Vanjie Soprepenia (a less active member before) and she was crying when she said goodbye to me and told me how I really helped her to realize again the importance of the gospel in her life and relight the fire of her testimony. It was sad to say goodbye. She is one of my very favorites and I can't wait for you to meet her mom and dad. Although, it did ruin the moment a little bit as we were sitting outside and I thought that there was a raindrop that fell on my neck, when I look up and see a Lizard sneaking away!!
|Joy, me, Sister Vanjie Soprepenia, and Brother Sopripenia|
I GOT POOPED ON BY A LIZARD. That's a first. haha I sent a picture. It reminded me of the time when Julie got pooped on by a bat in Lake Powell. Haha I guess it helped lighten the mood as we were all laughing about it.
We then said goodbye to our referral that we were teaching and is getting baptized next week hopefully. Sister Martinez and I were really focusing on our teaching skills... trying to teach people not lessons and going by the spirit. Our first lesson with her was one of the first ones that we tried employing these new teaching techniques. It really doesn't matter if they understand everything... they just need to feel the spirit which will testify that it is true. She had been taught by two sets of missionaries before and wasn't interested.
|Me, Nanay Chavez, & Sister Martinez|
But our first lesson with her, all we talked about was the nature of God and our relationship to Him. The spirit was super strong and from that time on she was SUPER INTERESTED. She was the one that invited the less-actives who referred her to go to church the next Sunday. She explained to us that with Sister Martinez and I, she didn't know how to explain it but it just felt different and she wanted to continue. Now, I am not saying that we are super amazing or that it was something about us... It could have just been the right time. But I do know that it was the spirit that started to convert her. She said how she used to get so angry at her neighbors but now feels impressions to be kind no matter what they do and she slowly feels the anger leaving her as she follows the promptings and is filled with love. That's the beauty of repentance. She can't wait to be baptized.
All day we said goodbye to members and investigators and I was filled with gratitude to witness the change in these people's lives and know that I could be a part, even if it was just a small part. I was fine with not crying the whole day until we said goodbye to Jane Mores, a recent convert who is struggling to stay active. I had forgotten about this, but she said that she was so grateful for Sister Tafiti and I because she was having a lot of family problems and one day that she wanted to give up, Sister Tafiti and I really had the impression to go and teach her. We went and explained that Heavenly Father sent us to her house. She was crying and was so grateful that He was watching out for her. Anyway, she started crying again when we were saying goodbye and relating back the experience that happened about 3 months ago. I started bawling... haha I feel so much love for her. We would see and talk to her every single day and she is such an example to me of gratitude and happiness in spite of any circumstance. Even though she has lots of trials... she is ALWAYS smiling, giving, and happy. She has truly changed my life and I am going to miss her.
The next day Sister Martinez and I shipped out and traveled alone. Haha it was pretty embarrassing because we had all of our stuff and it was super heavy and we weren't 100% sure how to get to our destinations. But luckily my companion's a Pilipina and the pilipinos are sooooo nice and helped us with our luggage and everything everywhere we went. I think I also realized that I did my part in helping Sister Martinez with her first 12 weeks here in the field. She was really crying when we said goodbye but I know I will see her again. It is amazing to see how both of us have grown and improved these past two transfers.
|A hat a borrowed from one of the Elders. They wear them while working in the rice fields.|
Then I was on my own traveling by myself. Haha I crossed paths with some missionaries and we were about to get on a jeepnee when a random member with a big truck saw us and offered to give us a free ride!! Haha super random but a miracle because it is hard with money during transfers. We were talking to him and it turns out that he served in San Diego and Mom and Dad....actually served in Rancho Bernardo!!! He has been home for about a year and as we were talking he kept asking me if I knew a Norman Jessee. Haha I told him no but I said what about Derek Jessee. He flipped out and said that was who he was talking about. Haha Derek served here in San Pablo but had to go home because of health problems... went to San Diego Tagalog speaking and actually became this member's zone leader!! Super small world. Mom will you somehow send this to him? Maybe on Facebook. Tell him the member said na magaling siyang magtagalog:)
AND THEN!!!! I arrived in Sta Cruz in the literal promised land. Oh my goodness. I don't know if I have ever felt THIS HAPPY. My new companion is Sister Kekauoaha and she is one of my best friends here on the mission. She is beautiful and she is from Hawaii, Laie! (Rod). She is in the same batch with Sister Ott!! We are both 22, she is an English Major and I am a Math Major, she has brown hair and I have blonde hair, and it seems that whatever the weaknesses are in one member of our companionship, is the strength of the other member!! It's so even and I feel that I can truly work my hardest and nothing is holding us back from consecration. She is so amazing and I know I will learn so much from her. Hopefully I will be with her for two transfers because these are her last two transfers here in the mission and I will kill her.
This area is soooooo prepared. Holy cow. They have had baptisms every week and we have so many prepared and amazing investigators. The members are so welcoming and I am so grateful to be here for Christmas. I am also with Elder Adamson and Elder Tabbilos who are my zone leaders and two of my favorite elders in the mission. My housemates are Sister Oldem (the cutest and nicest pilipina ever) and Sister Napitupulu (tiny 34 year old Indonesian lady who is hilarious!!! haha). She is also amazing at cooking and insists on cooking for us every day so we just all put in money into a fund and she buys the food and cooks us lunch every day. Lots of ginger and curry. I am in paradise. My companion also loves to run so we go and run every morning past these ginormous bright green rice fields out to this bay. It feeds the soul. Ahhhh. I guess the only downside is I am back to an area with roosters and dogs that are singing ALL NIGHT. But that is a small sacrifice to be here. I feel like this is a dream and I need to be woken up!! ahhhhhhh....
The weirdest thing is ever since I have become and STL, I feel that all of my weaknesses have become strengths. I still have lots of weaknesses and lots to work on.... but seriously. Haha Sister Kekauoha and I call it STL super powers haha but really it is just the enabling power of the atonement. For example... in my first two areas... I know this seems like a small, silly thing... but I had the HARDEST time memorizing names of places and people. But for some reason I can remember immediately now? I know it's not me but it is so helpful for the work and when I will be leaving the area on exchanges.
I can also feel the gift of tongues kicking in. I really feel comfortable in Tagalog and I love the language. I still want to continue to progress and learn as much as possible. I want to be totally fluent by the time I go home. I feel that I have been humbled and filled with charity (something that I was also praying for and working towards). I automatically love all these people so much and the sister missionaries that we will be serving. I also felt that one of my weaknesses before was teaching by the spirit, but as Sister Martinez and I worked towards it this last transfer, I feel that it is becoming a strength. Looks like it's no coincidence that I chose Ether 12:27 as my mission scripture. I know that it doesn't end here. I can continue working for the rest of my life on my weaknesses.
I will just tell you one last story that was pretty cool. When I got here, Sister K told me about one of their investigators who they have been teaching for a year now. Brother Pamilacan. He is super funny and well known. Everyone loves him. But I think behind all of those jokes is a pretty complex character. They have taught him for a year, but he still hasn't really asked about the Book of Mormon and felt that he has received an answer that it is true. The only thing really keeping him from baptism is that he struggles to stop drinking. They have been pushing and pushing him and I guess he told the sister missionaries before that he almost feels like a child. Sister K and I discussed how he's truly not going to progress until he receives that spiritual witness about the Book of Mormon. That is soooooo critical. So we decided to basically start over with him. Set new expectations, and only focus on Moroni's promise in 10:3-5. We asked him what it would mean for him to know 100% that he has been answered of God that all of this is true and from his answer you could tell that he still has doubt. There were a lot of silent moments hahah but the spirit was soooo strong and he was determined to ask sincerely. We didn't mention ANYTHING about drinking. We were originally planning on following up with him on that but Sister K and I both felt restrained to not ask him. For the first time in months, he accepted a baptismal date for December 27. I have faith that this is finally his time. I love him and I already love all these people we are teaching.
I can't explain HOW HAPPY I AM HERE. I can't stop smiling. I know that I am so blessed by the Lord. Too blessed. So I will give everything to Him. I love all of you so much. Thank you for love, support, and prayers. You are also in my prayers.
Love, Sister Rasmussen
Sorry for the long e-mail but I still didn't even explain EVERYTHING. I love you.
Ps. This week was my first time ever drinking out of a bag. Here they sell sodas and mineral water and just give it to you in a plastic bag with a straw. #tasteofthephilippines #arehashtagsstillathing #probablynot
|Elder Artates & me|
| Elder Richards, Elder Espaldon, |
Me & Sister Martinez
|Sister Martinez, Elder Espaldon & Me|
|Me, Elder Richards, Elder Artates & Sister Martinez|
|Elder Richards & Elder Artates|
|Sister Hingano, Sister Martinez, Me & Sister Casila|