Monday, March 9, 2015

Nakapunta pala ako sa Manila!!!!

"I've turned in Manila !!!!"

Back row:  Sister Beaumont, Sister Rickets, Sister Johnson,Me, Sister Mahony & Sister Kinikini
Bottom row:  Sister Vaka, Sister Kelleher & Sister Taufa
Hello family!

I have some crazy news.  Earlier this week, the office contacted us with some ambiguous instructions to get 6 passport pictures taken and put in an envelope for quick access.  Then Thursday, they texted us and told all of us foreigners to be packed and ready to go to Manila Friday night to have our fingerprinting done Saturday morning.  I was super shocked.  Before, they had all the foreigners go and do that before they went home, but they are changing the system so they won't have to keep sending the missionaries there.  Apparently, this was the very last batch to be able to go and there were 46 of us missionaries.  Crazy.  I got to see the Manila temple, but we didn't get to go in. Friday night, after two long bus rides, we finally arrived in Manila and I was SHOCKED. 

We stayed in such a nice hotel.  The beds were ginormous... I dove in.... and I enjoyed my hot shower for a good 20 minutes (didn't realize how much I miss that).  It felt like I was in America.  So weird.  They had a bunch of American restaurants too so we were able to go and have dinner.  I guess I had kind of forgotten what conditions I am living in.  I think I will really be shocked at the
quality of everything when I get home. 

The next day, we went to the MTC, where they had foreigner missionaries from all over the Philippines... there were hundreds of us!  And I saw many of my batch mates from the MTC.  It was fun... and the temple was beautiful...but it just made me sad.  It made me realize how close I am to going home.  It was a really weird feeling.  We had to wait a long time and there was some time to ponder.... It hit me for the first time that all of this will really have to come to an end.  I am not ready and I know that there is a lot more work.  I also feel like there are so many things I need to change about myself.  Of course it was good to see everyone, and we had fun..... but I am so glad to be back in my area and that I still have time here.
My MTC Batch and Sister Kelleher 

Me & Sister Kelleher 

Me & Sister Patolo
from my MTC Batch
Sister Johnson & Me
from my MTC Batch

Elder Burbidge (our AP) & Elder Burbidge
his twin brother

Sister Kinikini, Sister Johnson, & Me
                                                                                                                   Sister Hale & Me

As far as things happening in my area... I don't have too much to report.  Raymond Sanchez (Aldine Teus' brother-in-law) is progressing beautifully.  We watched The Restoration with him and at the end he said it was too short and that he wanted to see more.  Haha we have an extended version at our house that we will lend to him.  But he is really excited for his baptism and is sincerely searching.  Still feels like he hasn't received an answer... but I know as he continues that it will come.

I don't know if I told you about the referral from the Barcenas family, but it is these four couples that live in the middle of a rice field (paradise).  They have now come to church two weeks in a row and are all really excited about the gospel.  Sister Barcenas spoke in church and said that it has felt so good to share the gospel with her extended family.  Aldine also gave a talk on Sunday AND blessed the sacrament.  I was smiling from ear to ear. 

Unfortunately, Connie didn't come to church... which means she won't be getting baptized on the 21st which also might mean that if I get transferred that I won't see her baptism.  But, Sister Morales and I went to follow up with her later last night and taught about agency.  She didn't have a good excuse for missing church and by the end realized how important the little decisions are that we make every day.  She said a sincere prayer in closing, crying and asking for forgiveness.  I think that she learned from that mistake and maybe it was an experience she needed to have to help her towards true conversion.

Other than that we had another good week.  Sister Maagad and I have a ton of fun together.  We often sing/rap along the way.  Today, she taught me to eat my chicken and rice like a true Philippino with my hands.  I love her so much and secretly hope we can have one more transfer together.
I love all of you!!!!

Lesson of the week:

At Missionary Leadership Council, President Mangum started with a really good example.  He asked us what we would do if we had a credit card that every single day when we woke up had 57,600 pesos on it, and we could spend it on anything that we wanted but as soon as we went to bed at night it went back to 0.  We couldn't save up or invest it in any way.  We simply had to spend it.  People were getting creative with all of the extravagant ways they could use and spend the money... travels, food, things, concerts, etc.  But finally, he explained that probably after a while we would get sick of using it on ourselves and would want to try and come up with a more useful and helpful way to spend it.  He explained that that number didn't just come out of thin air but that it was the amount of minutes that a missionary has every single day.
We then discussed how we use that time... if we use it efficiently.... how we spend it and perhaps more importantly, who we spend it on.  He asked each of us how we prioritize our time.  I realized that this is still something I could really work on and it really put it into perspective for me.  Sister Mangum gave a talk on our testimonies and made a good point that I feel like applies: "Spiritual experiences have a shelf life"
Usually the lasting effect of a spiritual experience is somewhat short.  They can be easily forgotten or pushed aside.  We need to consistently be building our testimonies and continually adding to our jar of personal experiences.  Our testimonies are built through our desire, faith, obedience, prayer, fasting, and repentance.  But, if we let the seconds, minutes, hours, and days slowly pass by without diligently striving to build our testimonies, they can slip through our fingers without us even noticing.
I guess the overall lesson that I learned is that one of the most precious gifts given to us is time... and we must make every second count.
I once heard another quote.... "An ordinary missionary counts down the days.  An extraordinary missionary makes the days count."
Anyway..... after my experience in Manila and at MLC... I have really decided to make every single day count.  I want to go to bed every night knowing that I did everything I could that day.
I think the same can apply for all of us... full-time missionaries or not.

I hope that was somewhat helpful.

I love you!!!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen

Sister Dula, Sister Koi, Sister Krisubanu & Sister Japus
Sis Koi Sis Dula Sis Krisubanu Sis Japus and they are picking egg plants. 
Sister Japus
Sister Japus picking eggplants

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