Sunday, January 25, 2015

Isa pang dakilang linggo...

"Another great week ..."

Hello po yung paborito kong pamilya...

A bunch of random members.  The only one I know is Nanay Dada who is standing next to Sister Oldem.  That is just her nickname.  But she is a recent convert and is sooo strong in the church.  inspirational.

I miss you!! How are all of you? Another great week. Siyempre... haha what else do you expect?  Honestly though I am so grateful for all of the miracles that we have been seeing.

Tuesday, I went on exchanges with Sister Dula... this awesome little Philippino.  She is super magaling (talented) and we were laughing and having fun the whole day.  While we were teaching one of their investigators sitting on a tiny little bench in this filthy alleyway, one of her neighbors came up to us who was totally drunk.  Haha he came up to us and kept telling us to come and teach him one day.  Haha he was super happy and giggly and then he put his index finger right in Sister Dula's face and said, "make sure you come and teach me ok?" haha and she laughed and agreed and then touched her index finger to his.  Haha it was such a great moment.  Then he did the same exact thing to me.  Haha so the rest of the day, anytime we saw a miracle we would touch index fingers and then laugh our heads off.  Maybe this sounds weird but it was hilarious if you could have seen it.

As far as the Sosong family goes... let's just say that our faith and patience are getting tested and stretched.  They aren't really keeping any commitments and Brother Sosong (the less active) won't even open the Book of Mormon.  He sort of acts like he knows everything and every time we invite him to read he sort of laughs and takes it as a joke.  He seems to think that we'll just be teaching his wife and his kids but really the progress won't start happening until he takes the lead and shows the example.  He is the father.  We are really focusing on and praying for him.  We don't want to give up yet.  I have a feeling we'll see a break through this week.  We did end up watching the Restoration with them which was good because Jane (the wife) finally understood why she needs to ask God and we could tell she felt the spirit.  I can't even tell you how many times I have seen that movie and I never get sick of it.

In stark contrast, something beautiful happened with Ralph Delacruz and his girlfriend (not yet married) Angelica.  These are our investigators that live on the side of the construction site.  We taught them the plan of salvation one night and when they saw it all laid out in front of them they were in awe.  We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask if it and the Plan of Salvation are true.  We returned Saturday night and it was dark and they didn't have any electricity in their shack of a home.  We told them it was totally fine and we ended up teaching them under the light of a small candle and our pathetic flash light on our cell phone.  But the spirit was sooo strong.  We asked them about their experience reading and praying about the Book of Mormon... Ralph said that after our last lesson with them, they both read together as a couple, then knelled together that night, facing each other, and asked God in sincere prayer if it was true.  Then Ralph seemed to be struggling to find words to describe their experience.  But in the end he simply said, "I know that the Book of Mormon and what you share with us is real and comes from God.  I know."  Angelica said that after they asked, they both waited while kneeling and she said that she had chills all over her body.  This was such a beautiful experience.  Ralph and Angelica have absolutely nothing, and they aren't very learned, but they love each other with all of their hearts, they love their kids, and they love God.  They are humble and desire to know the truth.  So just as it states in Moroni, because they asked with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Jesus Christ, they were answered by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Haha Sister K and I walked away from that lesson with giant smiles on our faces with our arms around each other.  We were busy celebrating and talking about the lesson when all of a sudden both of our feet sunk in super deep mud (as we were walking on the construction site).  Haha of course you know I am a drama queen and I started screaming and freaking out.  I tried to yank my foot out and my shoe stayed in the mud and so I ended up stepping bare foot in the mess.  So then I started freaking out more, but still laughing the whole time).  These other construction workers a ways off started laughing pretty hard and then ran over to help us and show us the way out.  Haha the whole thing was hilarious and was just such a classic Sister Ras moment.  But needless to say... it was a beautiful night.

Sister Conching

Sunday, was the birthday of Brother Vitaliz.  He is this 68 year old man whose wife is abroad and doesn't have enough money yet to come home.  I think that his kids have abandoned him.  He invited us over to his house for his birthday and no one was there.  We peaked into his humble home to see bare walls and no furniture.  He borrowed his neighbor's kitchen to make sticky rice and this giant pot of beef stew that he said he learned how to make in the army. He said he wanted to make chicken curry but that his budget was tight.  It was so sad.  He was really excited that we came.  While he ran to his neighbor's house to grab the ginormous ladle for the stew (I am sorry I forgot to take a picture but just imagine a ladle as long as my arm haha) we ran over to Bishop's house to grab his wife so that he could have a little more company.  We sang him his favorite hymn.  He doesn't have a job and is there all day with no company.  He has been less active for the past month and started smoking again because he said he has had a problem.  So sad.  But before we left a few other members from the ward showed up which we were grateful for.  We left just feeling so sad for him.  The thing is, despite his situation, he is always so kind and helpful.  In fact, the day before we went to garden at Bishop's house for service and he saw us and stopped to help.  I think it was good for him and we are going to try and have him work with us more so that he will have company and be in the service of the Lord.  He gave us a ride in his "petty cab" (you will see a picture) which is basically a tricycle but instead of a motor it is a manual bike.

But I left his birthday party so grateful.  Gosh I am so blessed.  We are so blessed.  When I go home I want to seek out the lonely and befriend them.

I think that in my past areas I learned a lot about charity, but I would say the thing that I am learning the most in this area is the role of the Holy Ghost in the work.  I have really learned to recognize the promptings that I receive and to act on them immediately.  The more I seek them and act on them, it seems the more I received.  One simple example, the other day we were on the way to an appointment and I saw this guy who seemed to be rushing.  I kept thinking that I should talk to him but tried to fight the prompting and say that both him and I were in a hurry.  The more I walked away, the more impressed I felt to go back.  Finally I stopped Sister K and we went and talked to him and he was SUPER interested.  Hopefully we'll see him some upcoming Sunday.  Just a simple example of what I have been experiencing.  So Dad... I am trying to do what you tell me to do in every single e-mail... follow the spirit.

I love all of you.  I know this work is real.  This church is true.  God lives and loves us.  His son is Jesus Christ and through His atonement we can be clean, change, and become saints.

You are in my prayers.

Sister Rasmussen

Monday, January 19, 2015

Magandang buhay!!!

"good life"

Hello family!!


I am in shock at how quick this week passed by.  When I reviewed the week, considering the things that I wanted to share with you, it turned out that there isn't too much exciting that happened.  So this will be short and sweet.

I am not sure if you heard, but everyone and their dog here in the Philippines knows that the Pope of that Catholic church came last week.  Everyone was making such a big deal out of it.  Apparently about 7 million people went to Manila to see him.  I am living in Catholic country.  We even got about 10 texts from our cell-phone provider about it and also apologizing for the slow delivery of texts and traffic in the air that was caused by his arrival.  Haha so many people asked us if we were going to go see him.  I was shocked that they asked us this, but they were even more shocked when I said no.  Haha.... interesting.  Apparently people were trying to touch his clothing so that they could be saved... basically treating him like a Christ-figure.  It sort of made me sad.  BUT... that is the culture here.

Earlier today there was a big free medical screening at the church and there was an old mission president here who is a surgeon and is doing service in the Philippines.
Dr William Jackson with Mabuhay Deseret Foundation.  He was a Mission President in the Philippines about 20 years ago.

As far as our investigators go... We found this darling couple.  They aren't married and they are soooo poor.  So poor.  They live in a little wood shack on the side of the construction site where he works.  But, they are so humble and so excited about listening.  They already read the pamphlet and the assignment in the Book of Mormon we gave them (which is honestly rare and amazing for them to do so early).  Ralph doesn't have a day off and he was so sad that his boss wouldn't even give him time to go church.  But, we woke up Sunday morning to rain.  Haha I was thinking... "great... now even Angelica (his wife) won't come to church.." (because she has two little kids).  But, to our surprise we walked up to their house and despite the rain, they were all dressed and ready to come with us to church.  Because it was raining, Ralph didn't have any work so it was PERFECT.  They had a great time.  Unfortunately, as for our other investigators and lots of members.... there were many of little faith who despite the little bit of rain, didn't come to church.  It was sad, but we were so excited and happy about Ralph and Angelica.  I wish you could see them while we are teaching... we basically are sitting on rocks outside their house, holding a flashlight so they can see what they're reading, but they are so interested.  They are very humble and really love each other and their kids.  He has the most sincere, humble prayers.  The spirit is so strong.  There is no better feeling.

As for the Sosong family... Adrian has lots of problems with the word of wisdom.  He is having a hard time with that and just wants us to teach his wife and kids.  So we are trying to focus on him and strengthen his faith.  His wife finally knelt and asked if what we were teaching is true which has already softened her heart.  We still have a long way to go but I still have lots of faith and hope for them.  We're going for true conversion and aiming for them to be sealed in the temple... not just 3 more baptisms.


Haha Conching (recent convert) is doing amazing.  She can't go a day without reading in the Book of Mormon and is so diligent in her studies.  Someone punted us so we went and taught her word of wisdom.  Haha it wasn't by chance because earlier that morning, she shared that she had a little bit of tea left and for the first time was super tempted to drink some because she was cold.  She heated up the water, stirred it in, took a sip, and then spit it out outside! Haha she said it tasted like dirt.  I asked her how she would have felt even if it did taste good... haha she said she still felt really guilty and would have felt even more guilty.  Haha she said she repented and will never do it again.  She has had a lot of little faith building experiences.


Wednesday Sister K and I gave a workshop at our zone training meeting and then on Friday we went on exchanges in Sta. Maria.  They both went super well but it is just evidence of the enabling power of the atonement.  I was pretty nervous for both, prepared as best as I could, but it was really the prayers that made everything work out so well.  Even with working with these sisters on exchanges I can feel the spirit strengthen me and work through me.  It is a weird thing but it is amazing!

I am so grateful to be a part of this work.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that through His atonement we can overcome our sins.  As long as we live the gospel, we can be cleansed.  Not only that, but we can be made saints and become even better, even more Christ-like, even more talented, even more powerful, even more loving.... all through the enabling power of the atonement.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that as we apply the atonement every day... we can be made perfect.  One day we can be made perfect and have a fullness of joy.  I know that because he died on the cross and rose the third day, we will all be reunited with our bodies but in perfect form.  We are so blessed.  So when I am having a hard day or I just feel too tired, I try to smile and think of all of these things.  It is hard to be sad when you do.

I love all of you and you are in my prayers!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen

Sister Ott is going home!

Me & Sister K at the Computer Cafe

Sister K in our apartment
Baby Rex Kanoa Rasmussen is on our wall

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beau!!! Maligayang Kaarawan!!!! Let's eat spaghetti!!!

"Beau !!! Happy Birthday !!!! Let's eat spaghetti !!!"

Well.  I would like to start by wishing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite, oldest, brother: Beau!!  Happy happy birthday!! Lucky for me it is already well into the 12th here but it is still January 11th there.  So I just want to say that I love you so much! You are one of my best friends and I am so grateful for your example of love and understanding to everyone.  You are so talented, musical, intellectual, and hilarious.  There is never a dull conversation with you and I miss you lots but I know we will see each other soon.  Please eat a piece of mom's German chocolate cake for me huh?

Love you.


Sister K, me, Sister Kelleher, Sister To'a
 Hello my beloved pamilya,

Well, time works really weird here.  I was so shocked that P-day already came again, but then as I contemplated the things that I wanted to share with you, and I thought back on this week, it all seemed so long ago! Haha but anyway... it has been an interesting week.

I'll start with one sort of trivial detail.  I have received some earrings from members/missionaries as gifts, and so yesterday morning I decided to try some on.  I haven't really worn any jewelry here because everyone is fairly poor and I just feel weird and out of place.  The right earring slipped in just fine, but I tried putting in the left one for about 3 minutes when I realized it has GROWN IN!! Haha my ear is a little bit sore today... I guess that's what happens when you don't wear earrings for 1 year?  It looks like I'll be taking a trip to Claire's when I get home... to be honest I am a little scared.

I like my housemates!! Sister Kelleher is really nice and I like listening to her talk because she is from New Zealand.  We are actually batch mates.  She is now companions with Sister Oldem.

Haha but as for the more important and interesting stuff, Monday night was incredible.  We went to go teach a past investigator that we had to drop last November because he was just too busy.  Finally, he was the one to schedule with us and the lesson was amazing.  His wife is a member and he is so prepared.  He has so many questions and was listening so intently.  We committed him to be baptized on February 4, his wife's birthday.  After that lesson, Sister K and I ran all the way down his long street because we were almost late for our curfew.  Haha needless to say we were sooo happy and excited and we probably were a funny sight: two white girls, running down the street in skirts, with ginormous smiles on their faces.  Haha when we went back to teach him, he had read and one night had gone into a separate room to kneel and pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true.  He said that he is not really sure if he has been answered yet, but while he was praying he felt like there was a light all around him.  We explained the role of the Holy Ghost and just told him to continue his search.  Then Saturday night, they almost cancelled with us because of this funeral that they were supposed to go to and at the last second asked us to come because he wanted to listen.  We taught him WOW and he said that he had already been turning down drinks and cigarettes because he wanted to change his life.  He said all of his friends make fun of him.  The next day, they were supposed to be at the burial at 9, but they sacrificed and came to church.  He is so awesome.

We also had two interesting teaching experiences this week with Bong and Nellie.  While we were walking down the street, I had a very strong impression that we should go teach Bong (a street contact that we had months ago).  We were right by their apartment, so we walked up to their computer shop and they hesitantly let us in.  The wife was very hesitant because they hold callings in their church (she said she was an Elder in their church) and she said that she wouldn't change religions.  But, we clearly explained that this message is for everyone and that it would bless their lives, so they let us share a 20 minute message.  We actually shared about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and touched on Jesus' baptism.  We asked them why Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist, and they had no idea.  As we began to teach about priesthood, the spirit filled the room.  I could really feel the spirit working through both of us as we testified.  It was so powerful.  Until that point, they had a sort of condescending attitude and didn't really want to listen.  They were confounded and agreed to have us come back.  They both really wanted to know who Joseph Smith was.  When we returned, we were surprised at the different manner in which they received us - excited and eager to listen.  We shared the message of the restoration and the spirit was so strong.  I could see tears in Nellie's eyes during the first vision.  But in the end, their hearts became really hard and they wouldn't even accept the invitation to pray and ask God if this is true.  They didn't like the idea that there were things that were wrong about their religion, and they weren't open to other ideas.  Honestly, I think that Bong wanted to listen more, but Nellie definitely wears the pants in that relationship.  She said that she didn't want us to come back and that they had enough.  It was such a weird turn of events.  Immediately, 2 Nep. 28:30 came to my mind.

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, 
here a little and there a little; 
and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, 
for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that
 receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, 

from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

Although they ended up not progressing, I know that we were supposed to share with them.  Everyone has their agency, but our job is to do our very best to help them to make the right choice and accept the gospel.  I know that we were supposed to teach them.

Lastly, we went to go teach this less-active that we had randomly been running into.  She really wanted us to teach her and said that everyday at4:00 she would wait for us.  So finally, one day we found her house and it was so sad.  It was the tiniest little concrete, one-room shelter.  No kitchen, no bathroom.  They have a little water spigot outside.  The whole time we were teaching her, her little 2 year old boy could not stop coughing.  He was coughing sooo hard (I could see the veins in the side of his neck).  She explained that he had asthma and that he had played too hard earlier, but he would be ok.  I really felt so sorry for them and their impoverished state.  I have really been humbled with seeing how some of these people live.  We truly are so blessed at home.  We have never had to think twice if we would be eating dinner one day.

But Sunday night was perfect because there was a Philippines Special Broadcast where they talked about the progress of the church here.  They really focused on self-reliance and helping people to be industrious, find work, and through obedience to the gospel (including paying tithing and fast offerings) be freed from this poverty.  I know it is true - if we follow the commandments and do our best, we will be blessed and we don't have to live like that.  It is God's promise.  But it is sad because sometimes those poor people have such weak faith that they don't see how it is possible to spend the money to go to church when that money is supposed to be used on food.  That's the test of our faith.

Anyway, I am sorry that I am going off on a rant, but I have just learned so much.  I can't even touch on a small part of it in these little weekly e-mails.  But needless to say, I am so grateful that I am here.  I am so grateful for everything that I am learning and the way I am growing and changing.  Thank you for your love and support.  It means so much.  You are all in my prayers.

I know for a fact that this is the true church on earth.  It is literally led, not by Thomas S. Monson, but by Jesus Christ himself.  I know that He lives and I know that through His atonement that we can repent and change.  I love all of you!!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen
Sister Eder (daughter-in-law of Sister Conching that we're trying to teach), Sister Conching, Sister Kelleher (from New Zealand, my new house-mate), Sister Ellen Garin, Sister K, Sister Oldem.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My beloved family....

Oh my goodness.  It is 2015.  As you can see in the title, "oh my gulay" is a common expression here in the Philippines.  Haha instead of saying "oh my gosh," they will often say "oh my gulay" or "oh my ulam" which when directly translated is.... haha... "oh my vegetable!" and "oh my main dish!" hahah.  And the New Year's Eve/Day celebration here was the biggest event that I have yet seen here in the Philippines. 

I came to find out that Christmas really isn't that big of a celebration.  In fact it turned out to be more of Halloween (which they don't celebrate here).  Basically, kids go from house to house saying, "mamasko!" and people give them money.  Sometimes great amounts of money.  Haha I was shocked.  Although the Philippines is fairly poor, they don't think twice about handing out money to the young namamasko haha.  They did eat some food, but not too much.  There were some fireworks... but not too many.  There were progressively more and more fireworks until New Year's Eve.

 Sister Morales, known as Mamo.  She is SUPER close to all the missionaries.  She is like our mom here in Sta. Cruz.  She is probably the most charitable, selfless person I know.

 Sister Morales made us this FEAST on New Year's Day.  Fried chicken, chicken curry (with pineapple and pickles), chop suey, cucumbers (she knows that's my fave, etc.  So delicious

Sister Kekauoha, Sister Conching & me with Puto

Sister Conching, she is the BEST!
For New Year's.... they cook and eat lots of food.  They eat lots of sticky rice (my fave... with coconut milk) and also this thing called Palamay which is like sticky rice, but the rice is ground up extremely fine and it takes hours and hours to make.  Haha it's pretty good but it sticks to your teeth like crazy.  They eat these sticky treats in hopes that their family will stick together.  They eat lots and lots of sweet desserts - graham cake and buko salad out the wazoo, in hopes of obtaining sweet relationships in their family.  They eat round fruits and hang them above their door in hopes of a prosperous year... money money money.  (Probably to try and make up for all the money they handed out to the munchkins)  They eat lots of noodles and spaghetti in hopes of a long life.
Puto, it's like steamed cake? masarap!

The whole day it got progressively louder and louder with fireworks, videoke, and like canon/firework things?  It is scary because at this time of year, they sell lots of fake guns... but their not the super colorful/obviously fake guns.  They look like real hand-guns haha.  All of the kids have them and it freaks me out every time I hear a firework go off and look and see a kid holding a gun straight out.  Nakakakilabot (gives you chills.)  That night, everyone drinks like crazy and the music is sooo loud.  Haha.... I was soo pooped I went to sleep at 10:30.  I don't know how I slept but maybe I was trained for it from all those naps on the boat growing up haha.  But Sister K said when the clock struck midnight everyone jumped in their cars and tricycles and revved their engines like crazy.  People screaming/yelling/singing and then kids blowing those noise-makers.  Haha it is quite the occasion.  I was so sick of eating by the end.  No matter how hard I tried to reject the food, they basically forced you to eat it.  Haha it was quite the experience and a fun way to bring in the new year..... even though I was lame and passed out... I feel I still experienced the most of it.

Dining on the terrace with the Cortez Family(Ginataang langka, ginataang tulingan, shanghai, pansit bihon,
leche plan at spaghetti salad)

But it is 2015?!  I can't believe it.  This year I will have been graduated from high school for 5 years.  Haha to be honest, this isn't where I expected to be, or the path that I anticipated taking (U ballet program 2 years, change major, change schools, THEN go on a mission), but I wouldn't change it one bit.  Actually, I can see how the crazy turn of events in my life have been prophesied in my patriarchal blessing.  I know that I still have many joys and experiences ahead and I am excited that I still have 6 months out here in the field!! Although... too short.

Me, sister K, Elder Wanoa, Elder Adamson, Elder Tabbilos
Because there was so much traffic during this holiday season, transfer day ended up being on Tuesday and Sister K and I had to go to the Bayan all day long, waiting at the plaza for missionaries to come through.  Missionaries don't go to the mission home anymore.  They just go directly to their areas and so they have certain check points where the ZL's and STL's go to ensure the missionaries made it there safely.  Haha it was such a long day and we were so happy when we finally got to go home but we only snuck in one lesson. 

Brother and Sister Pamilacan.  Sister is a member and brother has been an investigator for more than a year.  
Although, we did meet another black guy at McDonald's who married a Pilipino.  They both live in LA and she was visiting her family.  His name is Promise.  Anyway... we had an interesting conversation and it's always weird to OYM in English but it's fun and feels a little more sincere in some way.  Anyway... they both agreed to be taught by the missionaries so we'll send their name to the church office as a referral.  Who knows?  That would be sweet if they ended up getting baptized and they were introduced to the church all the way in the Philippines.  It made me a little sad talking to him though because he said that because his family is broken and there are so many broken families, he doesn't believe that it can be the true source of happiness anymore.  From everything he said, he only cared about money, traveling, and worldly things.  But he did say he believes in God and wants to find the truth so hopefully he can find where true happiness lies.

Even though it was New Year's and transfer day... this week was one of our best (as far as numbers go) and once again... we saw so many miracles.  We have been trying to meet with lots of members to get referrals and we were super blessed this week.  This truly is the promised land.  Because of our fasts

and prayers (both as a companionship and as a mission) our teaching pool is FULL OF FAMILIES.  I think this is every missionary's dream and I feel so blessed and like I don't deserve it.  As of now... we are teaching 7 potentially completed families! Nuts. 
The Perez Family
Last week, we found the Sosong family.  The father has been a member and less-active for a long time and has been visited many times but has never come back.  Apparently, the Saturday that we met him, he had a conversation with his wife about how he wanted to come back to church and hopefully that she and their two kids would be baptized.  He wanted to help his kids to understand the importance of God and the gospel.  Later that day, Sister K and I were in a hurry but decided to OYM them.  They came to church Sunday and are progressing slowly but surely.  We might have to re-extend their baptismal date and we want to focus on Adrian and build his testimony as he is the head of the house.  We also went back to teach this family that Sister K had taught once before but never followed-up on.  Last time, they only taught the father, haha but when we went back, we saw on his clock that he had cut out the picture of Christ ministering to the Nephites and put it there haha.  He and his wife were also receptive.  We also found the Litan family, which is a referral.... 3 sons... super smart... super potential.  We are so excited and I feel so blessed!!

I took this picture because I thought she was so cute!
Last night, we contacted the families of the siblings of Sister Reyes (recent convert).  She bore her testimony and said that she spent a long time really praying to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true.  Finally, one night she had a dream (almost like Lehi's dream) where she saw all of these people everywhere and two buildings.  One was a safe home that was super stable.   The other was this sort of rock building.  She and all of these members of the church were hurrying into the house when she saw all of her friends and family mocking her and getting into the rock building.  She tried to get them to come but they wouldn't.  Right as she got inside, the rock building and all those in it were destroyed.  For her that was an answer (again.... not really the answer that I feel through the Holy Ghost) but she knew it was true.  She was really trying to explain to her siblings how much she loved them and that she just wanted them to be safe, happy, and know the truth.  It was a cool testimony and she bore it with power we could all feel the spirit.  Her siblings all give her a hard time for becoming a Mormon, but last night they all agreed for us to go back and share more.

I love being a missionary.  I love this work.  I love this gospel.
I know that the church is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives.

I love you!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen
Me, Elder Allen & Sister K

My Area Map of Sta. Cruz

Ward Christmas Party with the Cortez family