Monday, May 26, 2014

Bagong Kasama!

    Opo, totoo nagkaroon akong bagong kasama! Yes it's true, I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Nott from Lehi Utah! Oh my goodness she is just like the greatest ever. I will be sure to include a picture we took earlier today. But first, thank you so much mommy for your email last week. This email especially hit me. Probably because it was about the family. But thank you for sharing your expeirences and it actually kind of related to the email that I sent last week di ba (right)? About how God truly does answer prayers and He is just so aware of us. We are so lucky to be His children!
    So lots happened this week considering it was transfers and Sister Quiban actually transferred. Akala ko (I thought but was wrong) that she would be my companion for two transfers! But it's alright because she is now in San Juan 2B. Yes, my old area! So I got to go through all my pictures and show her all the people she was going to be able to see and all the people she would need to work on haha. Actually I received some really sad news from San Juan recently. Brother Noto, the sweetest old man who built the hut outside for the missionaries to teach him, he passed away a few weeks ago. Actually the day before Brother Leonel's farewell. I am not sure if I told you but Brother Leonel, the 22 year old recent convert who pretty much ran the san juan ward went on his mission to Bacolod in the beginning of May. But he and Brother Noto were like best friends and he passed away the day before Leonels farewell. Some other sad things like some strong members going less active have been happening and I am not sure why! But if there's anything I know about trials, I know that we are given them for a reason, and because we can overcome them. So I am sure that Sister Quiban is doing great things down there.
      As for the work up here, it keeps on rolling! Sadly the Bamba family could not come to church this week. Their children all had colds. Everyone up here including me is getting sick because of the bipolar weather. It will be pretty stinking hot in the mornings and then it rains and gets so cold in the afternoon and evenings. No good! The Limbauan family once again did not come to church :( but they once again told us they will come next week. We sure hope we can do what we need to to make sure that happens! Not much new has been happening. We continue to work our very hardest here. Maybe I'll just get to pictures now! I hope you all had a great week and have an even better one this coming! I love you all! Take care!
Love, Sister Sawada

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Hello and Kumusta!
    Well once again things are crazy over here and I don't even know where to start. This morning we had our zone specialized training (sounds way fancy right?) that we have every first and last week of the transfers. So yes, that means another transfer has come and gone. Ang bilis ng panahon (how fast the days go). Yes that sounds silly in English right? I have started to notice that slowly all of my english has started coming out a little different haha. The way you set up sentences in Tagalog is a little different so that's exciting! Ibig sabihin magiging pinoy na ako! (It means I'm finally becoming Philippino!) How are things back home? I hope they are just great! I took a peek of the email you sent me this week mommy and I am so excited to read it fully later on. So let's get into the week!
     It was a fun week because on Tuesday we had exchanges. I am not sure if I have told you but Sister Tanner, my trainer, is now my STL (sister training leader!) And for exchanges I was with her! So much fun. To be honest at first I was hesitant because I thought she would be judging me hard as to how much I have improved since our companionship. But what ended up happening was we have both just improved so much that we had so much fun!
      The rest of the week flew by and it went by so fast I really can't remember much that happened haha. I was sick all week so maybe that's why. But I was able to learn a lot about pushing through, hence the title of this email, Just Keep Swimming. Missionary work is tough stuff! I spoiled myself too much in high school and college and convinced myself if I had a cough or a runny nose, I wasn't able to go to class or do the things that were expected of me. If I could give advice to anyone planning to serve a mission (brother) I would strongly recommend working with the missionaries! There are a great group of youth and single adults who work with us. They really have a better idea now of what serving a mission is like. You won't ever know perfectly until you are a missionary, but at least you will get some experience!
      This week I will continue to be an advocate of prayer! Everyone just pray! If you're happy, pray. If you're sad, pray! If you feel like praying is the last thing you want to do, PRAY! Last week we saw a lot of miracles in church attendance. The Bamba family came to church and so did the Limbauan Family. The Limbauan family have been investigators for about 4 years now. No missionaries are quite willing to give them up yet. They live at the very tip top of our area up a 300 stair hike. I think I sent a picture of some of the kids. They don't even have money to pay for their childrens notebooks and pencils for when school starts but they took the time out of their Sunday to come to church. All 6 of them walked for probably about an hour to get to the church. How amazing is that?
      We had been fasting and praying throughout the week. We decided to do the same this week and we witnessed a huge improvement in people keeping commitments! There is this family, the Velasco family. I have a problem and in each area/ward, I get way too emotionally invested in the less actives and the Velasco are no exception. They were all baptized and active at some point. A long time ago haha. The mom continues to try her best to be active but the father who is not a member and lives abroad right now seems to be having a big impact on their spiritual progression. There are 4 boys and the bunso (youngest) is a girl :) Almost the opposite from us! The boys now have piercings, tattoos, and say that they can't come to church because it is too early. What? I literally laughed when they told me this but when I realized they were serious I stopped hah. Anyway to make a long story less long, Sister Quiban have been praying and pondering our lives away trying to think of what these teenage boys need to hear from us sisters that will make them realize that there is more to life than barkada (close friends) and DOTA (a video game here that like everyone is addicted to)
      We visit their family at least 2 times a week and each time nothing seems to change. We had a super amazing lesson about the Book of Mormon. They admitted that they had never really read the Book of Mormon yet. Well that's kind of a big deal haha. It was only the oldest two sons who are in their 20s and I honestly thought there was no way they wouldn't read after the lesson that we had. But when we went back a couple days later, we found out that they hadn't read. I wanted to cry. But by some miracle (aka prayer and fasting) when we visited them last night, we asked if they had read the Book of Mormon and Carl the second oldest said, "Opo!" I just looked at him for a second and I was like wait really? And he said yes! I wanted to jump up and down but all I did was just give him my best round of applause hahaha and so my companion and the family joined in. And the third son had also read! Goodness gracious who would have thought someone could be so happy about a couple of verses being read out of some book. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that from the Book of Mormon, a couple verses is all you need to find the truth that our Heavenly Father has given us here on earth.
       Other small and simple things have happened here and there this week that have helped Sister Quiban and I to Just Keep Swimming. The Bamba family came to church again! Unfortunately the Limbauan family didn't :( but when we visited them we found out why they couldn't come, and were able to resolve it hopefully and they said they will come next week. Also, Joshua the oldest son finally read the Book of Mormon for the first time in a long time! I am learning about how it is so much more worth it to focus on the positive no matter how little it may be. Because I know that by these small and simple things, great things will come to pass. AS LONG as I stay focused and worthy of the blessings that are in store for me and those around me. I hope you all can realize this in your own lives as well. Wow I was able to share a lot and still have some time to send some pictures! I hope everyone is doing well and will do their best to pray this week! I love you all. Until next week!
Ingat :)
Sister Sawada


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Kumusta everyone and Happy Mother's Day!
   Today has already been a great day because I was able to call you mommy :) And I'm glad I was able to talk a bit more about this area but I'm excited to share more in detail especially about this week!
   There's a song that we listen to from some EFY soundtrack called...I'm actually not sure what it's called but I would guess it's called "That's What Faith Can Do" or "I've Seen Miracles". Anyway I am pretty sure the song talks about being on a mission and how as missionaries we see miracles happen. This week can testify to the truth of that.
    As I explained to you mommy last week Sister Quiban and I were really struggling on keeping focused on our work here. This is the longest she has been in an area and I don't know what was wrong with me haha I was just focusing more on thinking about home than what was right in front of me. So we took the time Monday night to talk about what we needed to do to get refocused this week. We decided we would do our best to resist all distractions and also work on being exactly obedient. The very next day we saw the Lord being to pour his blessings out on us! We saw His hand in our work every single day. There were things that happened that could not have been a result of the work of two imperfect sisters. God was with us. 
    This week we have started teaching 3 new families! I wish I could share about them all but I'm going to focus on the Bamba family. A couple of weeks ago Sister Quiban and I had a while before our next appointment and decided to do some finding. We were passing a sari sari store and saw a woman in their with her child. We smiled at them and we really didn't plan to stop and talk to her but her son called "hi" to us so we went up and said hi back haha. We introduced ourselves and she was really nice. We asked if we could come back and share with her and she said yes! But the next couple of times we tried going back, she wasn't there. Well there was one time she was there, but then we saw her run away and her husband said she was gone. We decided to go back to her one last time but if we got punted again, we wouldn't go back. When we went back, she let us in and we got to share with her.
    We left the first lesson literally speechless. Before we even got to sit down she was already sharing about her childhood, her experiences with religion, and by the end of her talking for a good 40 minutes we learned that she has been searching for the truth. She goes to catholic mass every sunday because her husband is catholic but she doesn't like the fact that it is just 1 hour and her children don't get anything from it. She asked if there was a church that had a place where the children were taught. We just smiled and said yes. We couldn't stay for much longer after all that she had shared so we asked when we could come back. We went back and taught her about the restoration and the book of mormon. After we read the introduction she started crying. She told us that she doesn't know much. She doesn't have too many paniniwala (beliefs) But she was amazed to see that everything she did believe, was right there in the introduction. She looked at us and told us that she has been searching for people who have the same beliefs as her and she sees it in us. It was a tear fest after that haha but it was amazing how strong the spirit was. Their family came to church which was so exciting but so nerve racking. Brother Bamba is definitely more hesitant to accepting our message but in gospel principles class he asked question after question and luckily our teacher of that class is a super magaling recent RM and answered them all perfectly. We went to them Sunday night to see how their church expeirence was and they asked what was required for them to be baptized. Did I mention they have 4 children?
    There is so much more I want to share! But that will have to be all for now. I am not sure if this is as crazy to read as it was to experience, but all I can say is that I know that we have a Heavenly Father who is watching over us. He has a plan for each of us and I have been blessed this week to truly feel Him working with me to fulfill the plan He has for some of His children. I know that the same can happen to anyone else if they take the time to recognize their weaknesses and repent of them and then commit to change and ask the Lord for His help.
     I love you all so much! Once again happy mother's day to all those amazing mothers out there especially mothers of missionaries. I can speak for them all when I say that you played a part in where they are now and you deserve a great prize for that :) Hope you all have a great week! Take care and until next time,
Sister Sawada

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ulan, ulan, and more ulan

Kumusta everyone!
    Thank you again everyone for your loving and entertaining emails. Waking up on pday is seriously like a mini Christmas each week haha. For some reason last night Sister Quiban and I totally lost track of the time and ended up not getting to sleep until 10:45. For me, this was devastating because every minute that we get to sleep is so precious to me. And when I woke up this morning I could seriously feel the difference of that 15 minutes! My eyes were puffier than usual haha. But then I remembered that it was the day that I would get to hear from all of you and had no problem hopping out of bed and saying my prayer to get the day started.
    Mommy the substitute job sounds like it's teaching you a lot! You are so amazing to be working with kindergarteners all day and I hope that everything is going well. Justin and Mimi congrats on the new adventure of real estate! I am praying that it will be a success and admire your hard work. I am so lucky to have such great examples in you to follow.
    Ulan, ulan, and more ulan or rain, rain and more rain! Grabe ang ulan dito! (The rain is crazy here) Rain season isn't supposed to be coming for another couple of months but apparently summer here in Baguio is also rainy season. It is pretty scary how hard it can rain and the thunder and lightning are going off all the time! But anyway let's get into the week!
    To be honest I am exhausted and am really not sure what to share. So maybe I will just send some pictures. I am not sure if I have really described my new area too well so these pictures should help. Baguio is much more Americanized than the low lands where I was dati (formerly). People have iphones, babies have diapers, and there are cars everywhere! It was quite the adjustment at first and still now I miss a LOT about the lowlands. But I have found so many things up here to love and I am grateful to be here. Of course, there is a reason I am here. If there is anything I learned this week it is that God is so so aware of us. He is aware of our wants and our needs. And when our wants and needs are not the same, he knows which one to give us and at what time. I love that there is someone who watches over me so carefully and I can promise you all that He watches over you just the same. Let's remember that this week and do our best to have our actions be actions that would please our Heavenly Father.
Until next week! Love love love,
Sister Sawada