Monday, January 27, 2014

The Confessions of a Nanay

Magandang Hapon to all!
     The word nanay means mom which is the word used to describe trainers to their trainees. So I am a nanay now! And anak ko (my child) is so great! But I gotta be honest, training was not all that I thought it was going to be. I thought I was going to be this dignified, all knowing being who was passing on all of my wisdom to the new, less experienced trainee. But Sister Galera has seriously been training me. She is great at teaching a has a lot of ideas for finding people and working with the ward. Her ideas are all great and exciting but since she doesn't know all of the people or the area that well yet, her excitement is placing a ton of responsibility on me.
    I am learning so soooo much as I do my best to humble myself and be patient. The other sisters in the house have been telling me that I am stressed. I really don't feel like I am. But they say I just stare off into space all of the time. And when I am not staring off, I am eating haha. Apparently I am a stress eater. The most challenging part of our new companionship is probably the language barrier. Sister Tanner and I could talk for days and Sister Galera is very quiet, and speaks Tagalog. But that's a good thing! I hope to find the best way for me to be able to teach her English and her to teach me Tagalog. But overall, I am truly blessed to be working with Sister Galera. She really doesn't need to be trained which is I'm sure why I am the one training her haha. I am really the one needing to learn from her and I am so lucky!
     As far as work this week, things have been moving along in San Juan! I met and taught like 3 or 4 less actives who Sister Tanner and I could not contact for the life of us. It's so nice having someone who speaks Tagalog and we really see improvements in the work! We have a potential investigator named Lily Lim Pulanco. Yeah fun name haha. She is 51 and a widow. Her husband passed away from smoking and alcohol. She has 5 children and 7 siblings! Her family seems really close. Her brother is being taught by our zone leaders in Lingsat and he is getting baptized in February! So he referred her to us this week.
    From the beginning Lily was really friendly and receptive. She said that she has noticed a change for the better in Freddy and is so happy for his choice to be baptized. We met with her twice this week. The first lesson was of course about how the gospel blesses families and she can be together with her family forever. And then we went back and taught about the restoration. She was so into the lesson! She was asking questions like "So which church did Joseph Smith choose?" And we were like "He didn't choose any, he restored the church through the power of God and that is the church that we have today! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" And we were all into it and I was so happy because she even said that she believed that what we shared could be true and she would pray about it later that night. And so we closed our lesson and I was all stoked thinking we for sure had a new investigator. And when we asked when we can come back to teach again, she hesitated. She said, "Sisters, I just feel bad wasting your time. Because I am Catholic." we were just like "Okay so we will come back on Wednesday Sister. See you then!" haha. Although it was a little discouraging that she wasn't stoked to learn more and begging us to get baptized, she still said that she would pray about our message and we still got a return appointment. And we will not be giving up on her any time soon.
    And at church, Nardz was there again! Also Kathleen! Unfortunately, Hesa was not :( which is actually really surprising because when we met with her this week we asked if she was coming to church and she said "Yes!" so happily. Before she would hesitantly say she would try to come. But she was sick this weekend so we are guessing that is why she ended up not coming.
   Like I said before, we had some good contact with less actives. One of them Sister Fely, is a silly old lady. She is not that old but she hasn't been to church since 1992 because someone offended her. The woman who offended her is no longer in the ward and she doesn't even remember what she did to offend her! But she hasn't been coming to church! What the heck? haha. She is just lazy and we are going to visit her this week and make sure she starts coming back already. Her birthday was this sunday so she couldn't come because she already had a party planned. But she's going to come back! I just know it.
    Well that's really all for this week. Thank you guys for your emails last week! I was especially interested to hear how Jakes soccer season is going. Of course I am way more into it that I should be considering it is a high school soccer season and I am in the Philippines haha. But I so so sooo wish I could have been at that game against Kahuku! That sounds like a heart wrencher like seriously. I am excited to hear how OIAs go! Oh! And the game against castle please! I really want to know haha. Hmmm I really can't think of much else to share and I have a ton of pictures I want to send! So I guess I will say goodbye now and until next week! I love you all! Don't forget me! But more importantly don't forget to do whatever you can to come unto Christ in all that you do. Love you!
- Sister Sawada

We love photos :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

She's a Philippina!!!

Ano ba iyan? What in the world??
     So this week I officially ended my training! It was a bittersweet goodbye to Sister Tanner. Bitter because she has taught me so much and I truly depended on her for so many things. Pero it's also sweet because I feel confident in the training that I have received and I am excited to see where things go next! Well I know already where some things have gone. Sister Tanner is now in La Trinidad zone in Baguio. It is so cold up there so I am not too jealous haha. She is actually follow up training my batch mate Sister Neely! She wasn't in my district in the MTC pero we came in the same batch and she is really sweet so I think they will do great.
     As for me, I met my new companion! Her name is...(drum roll)...Sister Galera!!! She is from Bulacan Philippines which is part of the Quezon City North mission. She is the tiniest sweetest little thing and the best part is that she is so ready to work! I was expecting to have to take it easy the first couple of days but she is like a little fire ball. Already complaining about how few lessons we teach haha which is a little bit of a dagger to the heart but it is a good sign because that means she is ready to find people to teach! And that's exactly what we need. But as for the people who we are teaching at the moment...
     Kathleen is back! Kathleen is finally back from Manila. She was exhausted and got home late Saturday night yet she still came to church! It was so great to see her there and we are going to meet with her tonight to hear how her vacation was and check up on her word of wisdom. Unfortunately her IBD for January 25 will not be happening but we know her baptism is so close. Just around the river bend!
     Sister Hesa! I sure hope I have shared about Hesa before but in case I haven't, her name is Hesa. She is in her late 20s siguro (maybe) early 30s and she has 2 kids. Rhianna and Raven. Rhianna is a girl and is 4 and Raven is a boy and is 3. Rhianna is a little sassy thing and already has a facebook haha and Raven is the sweetest. Hesa has been taking the lessons for quite a while now. About 5 months I think and she is so golden. She knows the Book of Mormon is true and prays every night with her kids. Her only pagsubok (trial) is her husband. He is a strong catholic and won't join our lessons. She will not get baptized unless her husband will get baptized as well.
     Kind of a depressing thought considering we are no where close to getting Brother Joseph, Hesa's asawa (spouse) to baptism. So we decided to really focus on the sabbath day with Hesa this week. She still has never come to church. She needs to come to church! At church she can learn so much more than just what us missionaries teach. She can meet more members and see how happy they are. And most importantly she can feel what it would feel like to be a member of the church. So we stressed how important going to church is and I even gave her a skirt so that she could have appropriate clothing (she said she didn't feel like any of her clothes were formal enough) And this Sunday, Hesa came to church! She brought Raven with her and she stayed for all three hours! Unfortunately church was actually 3.5 hours this week because sacrament meeting went way long.
But I think she enjoyed it. I hope she did! We will meet with her this week and see how she liked it.
     Lastly, Nardz came to church again! 2 weeks in a row now! He is pretty much a member already. In our gospel principles class he answers all the questions and doesn't even sit with us in sacrament meeting! Rude! Joke. He sits with members who he knows which is so so awesome. We didn't get to teach Nardz this past week though so we will meet with him this week and hopefully he is still moving along on the road to baptism :)
     So that's really all I have to share about the work this week. I am just really excited to see what Sister Galera and I are going to be able to accomplish in San Juan. Already lessons are so much more effective because there is someone there who actually speaks Tagalog! Also she is very bold and blunt and gets the job done haha. As we work together with the help of the Lord, I really think we are going to be able to do some big things. Can't wait to share next week!
     Some side notes: Jac I am so so so so soooo sorry I forgot to wish you happy birthday last week! I hope it was a great time and I hope you and Mikel are healthy and happy!
      Also President Balledos told me that we are getting a mission nurse in April and she is from the Kaneohe Stake! I think he said her last name was that Aunty Anne?? I couldn't hear him super clear over the phone but it seemed like that's what he said and if so I am so so excited to see her! Hopefully I will be able to see her...
      Sige! Yon lang. I will send some more pictures now! Yay! Some of them are from a while back. Joke lang. The attachments aren't working :/ So you will just have to imagine me having a ton of fun working with a tiny little philippino girl for now and I will send them when I can. I love you all so so much! Take care and until next week!
Sister Sawada

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Well it's about that time. Pictures!! Yay finally! I've got quite a few pictures that I want to send so this will be mostly pictures. But I've got a couple of things to share before these. First, progress with some investigators! Unfortunately with Kathleen, there has been little to no progress. She is still in Manila. She went there for Christmas and ended up getting a job with GMA (a huge TV network in the Philippines) and hasn't been able to come home yet. It is way exciting that she got the job! She is writing for some sort of childrens something haha I am really not sure. But we haven't been able to teach her, she hasn't been able to go to church, and I am pretty sure she is still stuck at 1-2 cigs a day :/
     But on the other hand, Nardz is totally progressing! We were able to meet with him for the first time this week since the holidays. It was great catching up with him and we planned to teach him the word of wisdom but the lesson ended up being about the sabbath day because he had some questions about going to church. He said that he had a conflict because he is about to take the board exam for his nursing studies and he has review for the exam every sunday from 8 am to 5 pm until march! Crazy right? Also he has paid like 10,000 piso or almost $300 to be in the review and if he were to miss too many, he would get kicked out. So we told him he would need to sacrifice. That if he put the Lord, and keeping the commandments first, that the Lord would provide a way for him. So he came to church for the first time this week! Also, when he walked up to us, the first thing he told us was that he went to his review that morning to ask his teacher if he could get excused to miss reviews here and there and found out that his teacher was in the hospital from a very serious asthma attack. And so for now, no review until the teacher recovers! Pretty crazy huh?
     Okay I better get to the pictures now but I also just wanted to share some news. First, we got Elders in our ward! Elder Smiler from NZ and Elder Macababayao from Manila. Or like Sister Tanner calls him, Elder Macabababy haha. They are going to be such a huge asset to our ward because we have a lot a lot of less active young men and priesthood holders. They've got a big job in front of them but we are so grateful to have them. And yes that means 6 missionaries in one ward that doesn't get more than about 60 members at church each week! It's a party haha.
     Also, this week I will be finishing my training! We have transfers this Friday and I received a call from President Balledos on Thursday night asking me to be a trainer this transfer. What? I just finished my- what? Do you really want me to do this? Haha it will definitely be an adventure and I am nervous. Very nervous. But I am excited to work hard with my trainee and the Lord to make our companionship as successful as possible! 
     Lastly, thank you so so much to all of those who have been sending me letters and such. Special thanks to Aunty Ben and the young women! Aunty Bev! Aunty Cathy! And Aunty Shirley! I will be working on letters to write back to them all. Sorry if it takes a while though!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy happy new year everyone!
     It truly has been a happy new year here in San Juan. Before I get into things over here I have some business I gotta get done first! I am so so grateful for all of the birthday emails all of you awesome people have sent me. Unfortunately I am at an internet cafe that does not print right now and so I will have to wait until next week to print them off and read them and then respond to you all the following week :/ it will be a process. Pasensiya (sorry) Next item of business. New year predictions family?? Siguro (maybe) one of you sent them to me in my birthday email pero I would really really love to know the predictions from last year and the ones for this year. I also would like to add a couple. Jacob will have been called to the Philippines Baguio Mission :) and mom will still be Relief Society President with Sister Jaclyn Sawada as her 2nd counselor! Yown lang (that's all) teehee it was fun to come up with those and that's about all I had time to think of. I still think we will have the same couches by the way haha. And last thing! Mama thank you so so much for emailing me your talk! It was soooo good I just wish I could have heard it in person. Everything you said I was like raising my hands saying amen sister haha. There was also a ton of new things that I learned to so thank you for that.
     Sige let's get into this week! So this was a fun filled week because not only was New Year on Wednesday but my birthday was also on Sunday! So New Year was pretty similar to Christmas. We had curfew on both New Year's eve and New Year. It was nice to get home and safe before the major partying began but our 10:30 bedtime was pretty pointless considering everyone else was conducting their very own revolutionary war right outside our window haha. It was fun because it reminded me of home where we would close up all our windows to try to block out as much smoke and sound as possible. But the thing is that here in the Philippines the fireworks have like no visual effect. There are no sparkles and bright colors. Just loud loud booms and pops for days. Some of them straight up sound like cannons and it feels like they shake our entire apartments down into our souls haha. 
     Actually I will share a quick story. A couple weeks ago I guess someone was preparing for New Year and they set off one of those cannon-like fireworks as I was walking around the apartment and I just dropped to the ground thinking we were getting attacked or something. And because I dropped so suddenly I ripped my skirt completely haha. It was a skirt I bought here too! :/ but it's okay Sister Gaddy sewed it right back up for me :)
     Also something else about New Year in the Philippines is that there are a lot of campaigns trying to ban fireworks here. There are numberless injuries each new year especially with children. Either parents aren't very careful or kids just get ahold of fireworks too easily and they don't know what they are doing and they end up really injuring themselves. To the point where the hospitals are all prepared just waiting for all of the people who will be rushing into the ER on New Year's eve/New Year. On the news they were showing how the doctor's mastered amputating with wires only. And they showed multiple children who had fingers and hands amputated even before New Year! Also after New Year there was a story of the death of a 2 month old baby because of fireworks :( really serious and sad stuff so we will see how much longer fireworks are allowed here.
     So now I have two stories from this week that I would like to share with you all! The first was one New Year. New Year day was even more dead than Christmas because everyone was out partying so they seriously just sleep allll day the next day. People love their sleep here and unfortunately 2 oclock, the time that missionaries go out is designated nap time in the Pines haha. Anyway, luckily we were able to catch Brother Noto, the recent convert who we actually saw drinking on Pasko :/ He had all of his non member family visiting and so he took one shot of wine in order to not offend them. The thing is that Brother Noto knew what he was doing was wrong and he is just such a sweet man that Sister Tanner and I did not want to be the ones to have to chastise him. Pero we really felt that a lesson on the word of wisdom was necessary. So we prayed real hard before the lesson and went to his house. He came out and we had our usual small talk and I really didn't want to teach the word of wisdom and I could sense that my companion didn't either. But I just jumped right in and told Brother Noto how much we love him. How much we care about him and that what we were about to share was all out of the love that we have for him, and for the Lord and the gospel.
     And the lesson went so well! The people here are so humble I don't know why I was ever afraid to teach him. At first he told us that he only took one shot so it wasn't that bad. But then he paused for a while and said. "Pero kasalanan pa." (But it's still a sin) and we agreed with him. But we helped him to know that he can be forgiven of the sin as long as he commits to never do it again. He eagerly committed to never drink again even if his family is. At the end of the lesson he told us that he would never forget this lesson and he was so grateful. We hadn't taught the lesson like we normally teach the word of wisdom. It was because we were teaching completely out of love for him and the Lord that it went so well and he received it with such humility and respect for us. He recognized us as true servants of the Lord and we respected him as a child of God who deserves forgiveness and the blessings of following the commandments like the word of wisdom. I know that we can all do this even if we are not full time missionaries. As long as those whom we are reaching out to know that we do it out of love, we cannot go wrong!
     Another really great thing that happened this week was yesterday, my birthday! Haha and the great thing wasn't that it was my birthday. Although it was a great day. Sister Tanner made a delicious breakfast of french toast and fruit! Not something you eat everyday (or ever) here. And Sister Gaddy and Lacdo-o bought be some of my favorite bread and cookies! Haha they all know how to get Although all of these gestures were so sweet and made me feel loved, the ultimate birthday present happened at church. We got to church thinking that we would have a pretty uneventful day. Most of our investigators were still gone for the holidays and none of our less actives really committed to come to church. Jeff, our investigator who came to church last week was planning to come but that morning texted us saying that his water pump was broken so he could't shower so he couldn't come. But first, during relief society (our first hour of church) Sister Cecil (I'm not sure if I have shared about her but she is an RM but her husband is strong catholic so she is now less active) came in! She even brought her daughter who turns 8 next month! 
    Then during sunday school Sister Lacdo-o taps my shoulder and says "your investigator is here!" And in walks Jeff! He had fixed his pump and came to church! Just in time for fast and testimony meeting. We explained that anyone who wanted to could go up and bare their testimony, just express the feelings of their heart. And it was such a beautiful meeting. Philippinos are pretty dang superstitious so I think they all really liked the idea of bearing their testimony on the first fast sunday of the year because usually the only people who go up are the missionaries, the bishopric, and their wives haha. But hey, whatever their reasons at least they went up! And every single person shared such beautiful testimonies. Both Brother and Sister Gaerlan, (the family who won't accept callings anymore) bore their testimonies and it was after a really emotional testimony from Sister Gaerlan that Jeff actually started applauding (haha) but it's okay it was really quiet and then he asked if he could go up. We were like "uh yeah for sure!" so he went up and told the entire congregation that he was so grateful for all of the testimonies before him. He noticed that they all said that they know this church is true with such confidence. He then said that he knows this church is true! That it is exactly what he has been looking for. Whaaaat??? I wish you all could have been there because I seriously had to clench every part of my body in order to not jump out of my chair and run around screaming "He's going to get baptized!!!!" haha. But really I haven't been so full of joy that I felt like I would just about explode. So it would be a true statement to say that my birthday was a wonnnderful day.
     The only down side was that the rule about having another woman working with us when we visit men has been reinforced by our zone so we could not visit Jeff later that day because we didn't have anyone willing to work with us. This is actually a pretty big damper on just about half of the lessons we plan each week because at least half are with men and we are usually alone with them. But the Lord will provide a way!
     I almost forgot! I ate balut!!! I ate it on New Year's eve haha had to bid 2013 farewell with a bang right?? I have pictures of all the fun stuff that happened this week but this net cafe also won't let my camera connect :/ so next week na lang! My time is just about up so I will wrap things up. In my personal study this morning I finished the book of Ether and if I remember correctly, in the last verse of chapter 15 in Ether, Moroni is closing his abridgment and the last bit of advice that he leaves is just so perfect. It is the exact advice I would give all my loved ones. So please go read that last verse and take his advice. "Seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles speak." and never stop seeking Him. That truly is the only way we can achieve full happiness. I love you all! I miss you all! But things are good here. I am happy and I love this gospel more and more with each day. Take care and have a great coming week! Until next week!
Sister Sawada