Monday, December 29, 2014

Too many miracles


Sister Napitupulu, Me & Sister Oldem
Oh my goodness.  I already get to talk to you again! I was so happy to skype you and you all look beautiful and happy and I am the luckiest girl in the whole world because of my family.  At zone conference this week, Elder Johnson explained simply and perfectly,".... no matter what shape or size your family is... no matter what you are going through or how alone you feel... there are always those people who love you and care about you and they are your family."  I am so so so grateful for temples and that we have the chance to be together forever.  I love all of you so much and I am so grateful for your friendship, support and love.  I miss you but it will be a blink of an eye and mother's day will be around the corner.
Sister Mangum, Me, & President Mangum
Words can't really describe how blessed I feel.  Wednesday, we had our Christmas Zone Conference and it was perfect.  They had tons of musical numbers and Sister Williams and I sang "Be Thou My Vision" and Sister K played piano.  Because it was Christmas, we were allowed to be more trendy and the melodies/harmonies were super cool.  The only problem is I felt totally fine until I walked up to the microphone and I got SUPER scared. Haha pretty sure President, the AP's, and those others sitting on the stand thought I was dancing because I was SHAKING.  Haha..... I think it turned out ok but haha I haven't been that nervous in a long time.  That's the next fear I am going to overcome...... singing in public.  Haha but I have it recorded so you can listen to it when I go home.  We had an incredible workshop about how families can be together forever.  That really is the best and biggest difference of our church to all others.  Because in the true church of Jesus Christ.... we can live together forever in happiness.  Although... it is conditional to our faithfulness to our covenants in the temple, it is possible.  Baptism is not the goal.  The temple is the goal.  Then, President gave a sweet workshop about repentance and how calling to repentance is an act of love.  Sometimes when we know someone is doing something wrong or sinning, we are too shy or too worried about "ruining a friendship or relationship" by letting them know.  But that is only selfishness.  If we truly love them and desire their peace, happiness, and ultimate salvation, we will have the courage to reach out to them and call them to repentance.  It was a good reminder for my calling.
Me, Sister K & Sister Ott--"My dearest friends"
Then, the departing missionaries gave their final testimonies.  To be honest, I am surprised I didn't cry.  I watched Sister K and Sister Ott up there on the stand and realized that all of my dearest friends here are going home.  How did that happen so fast?  Sister Hingano, my trainer, goes home tomorrow.  Ahhhhhh.... Actually she got permission to call me and say goodbye to me!  Something she promised to do back when we were in Rosario.  She was so happy and said that she was able to return to Rosario.  She said that all of our converts and less-actives there are strong and she had some INCREDIBLE news.  I think I actually wrote home about this a long time ago... but one day she and I were tracting and I had the impression to talk to this girl who was holding a brand new baby.  Myla.  We were really excited about her... and she was fairly interested... but in the end she wasn't progressing and we had to drop her.  Well, Sister Hingano was excited to tell me last night that she is BAPTIZED!!! She is super active and cleans the church every week.  It is amazing and helped me to realize that no effort is wasted.  Who knows when she would have accepted the gospel if I had decided to be lazy and keep my mouth closed.  So happy:)

Me & Sister Ott
After the testimonies, we had a delicious lunch and there was a giant roasted pig on the table.  I am sorry.... I forgot to take a picture.  Fail.  But it was awesome and then we played games.  Sister Ott and I were acting like girls in Jr. High when we got put in the same group.  We were super makulit together... which basically means super hyper/happy/etc.  Haha it was the last time when I would really hang out with her before she goes home in 3 weeks.  I am going to miss her so much!! Mom, Dad, and even Beau you HAVE to go to her homecoming.  She would love to meet you.  And yeah... she's my best friend... so.  Nuff said.

Me & Sister Cortez

Me, Sister Cortez, & Sister K
Christmas was another absolutely perfect day.  Went to my favorite member's house... The Cortez family.  Sister Cortez made us classic Filipino spaghetti, fried chicken, and then we had yema cake.  And yes... this was all for breakfast.  I got to skype my lovely family and then while Sister K was skyping I sat chatting with Sister Cortez.  She is my favorite... super loud and funny. Then Sister K and I went to the hospital to carol and visit some of the patients.  It ended up being a little bit of a fiasco trying to figure out who to talk to and get permission.  The hospitals here are nothing like the hospitals in America.  It honestly looks like something you would see in war.  Maybe I am being dramatic, but it was really dirty and had broken windows and just seemed unorganized.  Sad.  But finally, we got permission from the head-nurse and we went around and started visiting with some of the people and singing Christmas songs trying to cheer them up.  At first it was a little awkward haha and at times we got lost, but overall it was fun and it felt good to try and do something to fulfill my purpose.  I don't know if we really made a big difference, but it was fun.

The Hospital 
Then we studied and went to Conching (Mom.... sometimes she reminds me of you or Grandma Mac.  I can't wait for you to meet her.  I think my favorite RC ever).  We ate a little soup with her and then her daughter-in-law came home in perfect time to watch the Restoration with us.  She has been really hard this entire time but is slowly warming up to us and to the message.  I know that she felt the spirit while she was watching.  Afterwards, she just kept saying, "I don't know how to explain how I feel..." Then, she started trying to defend her beliefs and explain why she is not interested.  We told her it was fine and we respect her beliefs.  We aren't trying to force her to do anything but we know that this message will bless her life.  It was a tiny miracle and I think an answer to Sister Conching's prayers who REALLY wants her son and his family to accept the gospel.  Then we had to go home early (early curfew) and Sister K and I just chatted and hung out.  She really is the best.

But Saturday.... this is the biggest miracle of all.  We returned to teach this guy that we talked to last week.  His name is Adrian Sosong and he has been inactive for a long time now, and at the time was smoking.  His wife and two kids aren't members and he agreed for us to come back.  What happened next exceeded our highest expectations.  When we came back on Saturday he excitedly welcomed us in and told us he had been waiting for us.  His wife and two kids were there ready to listen.  His wife explained that her husband already told her that this is where he wants his family and that he wants her to be baptized.  Of course she was a little hesitant, but we explained to her that we wouldn't force her to do anything and that she definitely would not get baptized unless she knew for herself that this message was true.  The spirit was so strong the entire time and it went perfectly.  Mary Jane (the wife), Lexus Paul (son), and Andrea Rosett (daughter) all accepted baptism for January 24th.  This is officially the first golden family I have found on my mission.  Sister K and I tried to keep our cool walking away from the lesson but when we got around the corner we started freaking out and hugging each other and laughing.  Hahahah it is seriously a miracle and an answer to our fasts and prayers as both a companionship and a mission: to find more families and potential priesthood holders to teach.

The next day, all of them came to church.  All of these relief society members reached out and fellow-shipped Mary Jane.  I think they had a great experience at church.  We are so excited, but I feel like it is too good to be true.  I am just praying that there won't be any random trial coming that will keep them from baptism.  I am so happy for them and we are going back to them later tonight, so I will keep you updated.  Feel free to keep them in  your prayers:)

I am just shocked that even though we had a baptism last week, our teaching pool has immediately filled up again with lots of potentials... especially families.  We feel so blessed right now... and again... truly "unprofitable servants."

Some other experiences I had this week: first time I have taught a lady in her 70's wearing a shower cap... that was an interesting lesson.  I also ate the core of a coconut after Brother Gilbert Salvador whacked at it and ripped it apart like a wild-man.  That is true talent.  Haha it tasted so weird.  It didn't really have any taste.. was slightly sweet, and had the texture of STYROFOAM. I have a sweet video to show you.

Me & Brother Salvador

But, I just want to end with my testimony that I know God lives.  Moses 7 is now one of my favorite chapters of scripture, from which I have gained many new insights about the nature of God.  Enoch is currently my favorite prophet, who I feel I relate to.  He first questioned why he was called and admitted that he was slow of speech and was hated of all men.  But slowly as he "walked with Christ" was made strong and powerful through the atonement.  Finally, Enoch talks to God face-to-face and his word moves mountains.  He beholds the wickedness of the world and asks how God can weep.  God has sooo many creations... beyond our comprehension... and Enoch couldn't understand how Heavenly Father a perfect, and perfectly happy being, could feel so much sorrow for the bad choices of these seemingly insignificant people.

God responds:

 32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them theirknowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
 33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
 35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
 36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all thecreations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.

Although God is All-powerful, all-knowing.... although there are so many creations and so many people...He knows us.  He knows us by name.  He loves us more than we can understand.  And every time we choose to sin, he feels sad and weeps.  He only wants us to return to Him but knows that the only way is through our own good use of our agency.  He respects us enough to give us the freedom to choose.  I know that Heavenly Father lives and that because He loves us He sent His son Jesus Christ to provide the way.  I hope that we can remember to keep the eternal-perpective in mind on a daily basis so that our little choices will reflect our eternal goal.
I love you!! 
Families CAN be forever.
Love, Sister Rasmussen

Me & Sister Lero
Sister K, Sister Mangum, & me
Elder Johnson
And Me

Me, Elder Kulhmann, Sister Johnson, Elder Williamson, & Elder Wooden
Elder Milligan,  Elder Burbidge 
& Me

Me & Sister Napitupulu

                 Playing Games
Me & Sister Oldem & Elder Photo Bomber
Sister Dula (in my zone) & Me
Me & sister Oldem
Sister Kekauoha, Elder Burbidge (AP.. I was with him in Mindoro.  One of my favorite Elders out here), Elder Mallari, Me & Sister Williams)
Merry Christmas from our Zone
Me, Sister K, & Sister & Brother Cortez
 Sister Virgie Salvador, Sister K & Me at the ward Christmas party

Fried Chicken, Sister K & Me

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