Monday, July 28, 2014

Sandali Lang Promise!

Hi Everyone!
    Happy Birthday Lyle! Hope it was a great day! Sorry this email is going to be sandali lang (just short) because my computer wasn't wanting to work and so now I only have a little bit of time left :( But it's alright because this week was great! But I've had time to think of what I want to focus on. Oh and the email title is sandali lang promise because that is what we have to say to some people sometimes to get them to let us teach them. We say sandali lang kami promise! (we will just be quick, promise!) haha
     Anyway so this week started out a little rocky. On Tuesday we went to the eatery of a new family in our ward. Eateries are super common here. They are pretty much just a stand with food and they often have tables and chairs that you can eat at. I am not sure how else to explain it, I will try to take a picture this week. Anyway so a family that moved here from Manila are opening an eatery and they wanted us missionaries to come and to have the Elders bless it. So Sister Nott, Elder Germaine, Elder Neilsen and I went and thought we would just pray and leave. But we should have known better. They told us to sit down and started dishing up some of their food. The food at eateries are the classic Philipino foods. So they ended up feeding us Dinuguan and Pinapaitan. Dinuguan comes from the word dugo which is blood. It is literally liver and pieces of pork fat mixed in pork blood. Blood. And then pinapaitan comes from the work mapait which means bitter. And it is just the insides of an animal, usually a goat, but the one we ate was cow. The bile of the animal is what makes the broth bitter and it's just not the tastiest thing. I feel like I am pretty good at eating...haha...and the dishes didn't taste too bad actually. But later on throughout the day Sister Nott and I were starting to feel pretty nauseous and we think our bodies just weren't used to eating those kinds of things. We went to the Limbauan family that night and they told us we shouldn't have eaten those things haha. It's funny because they eat it all the time but they really discourage foreigners from eating some of their foods.
     So that whole day was a little difficult, but then things started picking up! Something especially great happened with the Velasco family! I am sure I have mentioned them before. They have like 4 sons but we are focusing on one of them in particular because we really see potential in him to return and possibly even serve a mission! We visited them and we ended up reading/listening to the talk by President Uchtdorf from the Priesthood session this last conference. It's called Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration? I would recommend everyone read it! And then read it again and again because the message in there is so so good and so important. The whole message seemed to strike the son who we are focusing on and he especially liked the point that President Uchtdorf makes about how addictions can start from repeated actions and turn into bad habits. At the end of the lesson we invited them to the ward activity that week and they seemed to kind of just laugh at our invitation. But guess what? They came!!! It was so exciting. And the mother and one of the sons also came to church. We wanted to be a little discouraged when we saw that the particular son who we have been focusing on didn't show up to church, but Sister Nott reminded me that by small and simple things, the Lord is going to make great things come to pass. So we decided to focus on the positive :) I wish I could share more but I'm just gonna send some pictures from the activity and try to share more next week! I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Sawada


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nainbug na bigat!
    That's actually Ilokano and it might be totally's supposed to say good afternoon but let's be honest, I can barely keep up with tagalog let alone ilokano. But the title of my email this week is also in ilokano just to spice things up a little. Something so crazy amazing about the Philippines is just how many different languages people know here. There is not one person who is not marunog (has the ability) in speaking 2 or more languages. Because already, in school they are taught tagalog and english. And then they usually have their own dialect that they speak depending on where they are from. Here in Ilocos and Benguet (the areas that cover the Baguio mission), the most common other dialect is Ilokano. Many people also tell me that most of the Philippinos in Hawaii are Ilokano! If I am lucky I will be able to learn it and speak with people when I get back :) sana! Also the title of this email says "I am Philipina!" This week more people than ever have been mistaking me for a native. Here's a kind of funny story. 
     This week Sister Nott and I were leaving from an appointment and we opened up our umbrellas and started walking. I felt something on my hand and when I looked down it was an ipis! (cockroach) So I may have screamed a little and threw my hand to get it off but in the process also ended up throwing my umbrella into the highway! Luckily there were no cars so I quickly grabbed it. Sister Nott and I were laughing pretty hard at what had just happened and a man was walking by but didn't seem too amused. Still pretty traumatized I yelled something along the lines of "that was so scary!" and that was the time that the man turned around and really started looking at us. He had this surprised look on his face and we realized that he was surprised to hear me speaking english. He wasn't expecting that haha. Things like this happen on a daily basis. I tell people I am from Manila or other places in the Philippines and they believe me! They sometimes tell me that maybe Dad's ancestors are somehow from the Philippines because I look so much like them haha. Annnnyway. This has been a great week!
      Last weekend was a little rough for Sister Nott and I and we felt that we may have not been trying our best. We decided that starting this new week, we would really just forget ourselves and go to work. You may remember though that on Monday I wasn't feeling too great and that continued to get worse throughout the day and ended up being a pretty bad head cold. I was so upset and Sister Nott and I decided that we could either give me time to recover, or take the step of faith and push through it and see what would happen. We decided to do the second. We prayed that although I wasn't feeling well, we would be blessed for our efforts. And we totally were! We have been struggling this transfer to get members to work with us. They are very willing to work with us, but for some reason when the day comes, something else seems to come up and they end up no longer being available. But this week we were so blessed with members asking us if they could work with us! And it ended up being perfect that they were there because they were able to resolve many concerns with the people we were visiting.
       There seemed to be a theme this week of the importance of gaining a testimony. Early in the week we met with the Bamba family. We had planned to share a specific lesson but as we were getting into it, Brother had a concern. He said that he truly feels that baptism is the right step for his family to take. But he is worried that when his friends and family ask him why he made the decision, that he won't know what to say in response. In another lesson that we had this week with the Limbauan family, we asked a question that we thought we already knew the answer to. We asked them if they knew this church was true. We thought they would say yes right away, but Sister humbly said we are still searching. In our lesson with Maribel, she said that she had felt something in church last week and she thinks it was the spirit. But that she still doesn't feel like her questions in her prayers are being answered. All of these concerns can be resolved in such a simple yet deep and important way. This is through our testimonies. I don't have much more time on email :( so I challenge you all to read from the bible dictionary. Read the definitions of prayer, and conversion. These are two ways that we can learn more about testimonies and also add to our personal testimony. I know that a testimony is one of the only things that God cannot give to us. We must search it out for ourselves. He can help us, but we must put in the effort. I have such a strong testimony of this gospel. Of the ways that it blesses God's children and of the ways that it makes us better people every day. I love you guys and hope you have a great week! Until next time!
Sister Sawada
 If you want, email me back about your insights on what the Bambas, Limbauans, or Maribel can do to strengthen their testimonies. I hope this wasn't too magulo (scattered) love you!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Para sa Ating Lahat!

Kamusta everyone!
    Time continues to fly by here in Baguio. This may be a shorter email because I have been a little under the weather and then I think I ate a papaya that was a little over ripe for breakfast and have been feeling somewhat nauseous since haha. But I am so happy to email you guys this week. Sister Nott and I had a pretty cool realization kagabi (yesterday evening). We just left from the home of a less active family. The mother is actually pretty active but her husband is not a member and lives in Saudi Arabia (many Philippinos go there to work) and her 5 children are all quite less active, especially her oldest 3. I may have mentioned their family before but anyway. We were sharing with them the blessings of the priesthood especially when it comes to temples and how we can gain so much knowledge from temple attendance and also be sealed as a family for eternity.
     It was so heartbreaking to see how much their mother desires for them to make the right choices in order to be worthy to enter the temple and be sealed to her and be sealed to their own families. Her husband was a roman catholic and has now converted to muslim and has no plans on changing that. He really doesn't like our church to the point that he won't give her the permission to go into the temple even just to do ordinances for herself. She bore a really sweet and strong testimony that if her sons just did their best to find worthy spouses who they can enter the temple with, then their lives would be so much happier and when the next life came, they wouldn't have to worry about anything! We turned to the sons and asked their feelings about entering the temple. They all said that they have desires to go there some day. But they seem to have trouble connecting their desires, to the actions that are required to get them to their goal. They have this mindset that they can't do it. That maybe this gospel just isn't for them.
      Sister Nott and I left the lesson quite heartbroken and we talked about it for quite a while. I was so sad and just kept saying "this gospel is for EVERYONE!" "There is not one person on the earth who cannot live the gospel. Everyone has the capability! Yet there are sooo many people who are not doing it." And Sister Nott said something that I won't ever forget. She said that of course everyone has been given the ability to live this gospel. If not, this wouldn't be the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Our message as missionaries and members of this church is that He suffered for every single one of us. His suffering, that is what enables us to live His gospel. There is not one of us that he has not already prepared the means for to be saved. So this is what I really want to leave with you guys. The title of my email is para sa ating lahat which means for us all. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He has given us a gospel that is for us all. Every single one of us. It's not easy, but it is possible for us all to live it. So the challenge is on. Let's continue to live this gospel and continue to receive the blessings that it brings. I will try to do so as well. I love you all so much! I wonder if I have sent pictures recently so Sister Nott and I took a picture real quick this morning so that you all know that I'm alive haha. I hope everyone has a great week!
Sister Sawada
ps Lyle you are the best! Did Germany seriously win?!?! And did Brazil seriously lose so bad to them?! Ano ba iyan??? crazinesss

Monday, July 7, 2014

Isa Pa!

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!
     It is a typical foggy day here in Baguio and I am happy to say that sitting next to me in the internet cafe is Sister Nott! Last week was transfers and we were a little worried I would be transferring. It is typical to stay in an area for only two transfers here in Baguio but I have been lucky enough to make it for a third! At this rate I could just have 3 areas in my whole mission haha. And to be honest I wouldn't be sad because I love getting to know the area and people so deeply. Even if it makes it harder to say goodbye. I am also sooo happy that Sister Nott and I have 6 more weeks to work together! The title of this email is Isa Pa! Which means one more! We finally feel like we have gotten into a good groove and are ready to work really hard to show our gratitude for getting one more transfer together.
      This week was a really great week. The Bamba family was able to be interviewed by President Balledos this Sunday. President was really impressed at how true their desires were to do what Christ wants them to do. And President made such a good impression on the family that brother Ben asked President to baptize him and his wife! They will be making many trips down to manila this month for Stephen (the oldest child) to compete in the National Tae Kwon Do tournament! Way cool! Anyway so we all decided that August 2 was the best day for them to be baptized. It is a really great feeling knowing that President is planning on this day as well. Helps us to feel that it is really secure! Or sigurado is what we would say here.
      Also I have realized that I have been here in Baguio for 2 transfers and haven't shared much about it! Mommy I remember you saying something about how you don't know much about the ward and so I would love to share a little more. Our Bishop is Bishop Jaime Canite. He has been bishop for 11 years! He has actually even moved out of our ward boundaries but the ward just can't let him go because he is so great. He is not a return missionary because he was converted when he was already a single adult. But his oldest son is on a mission in the Butuan Philippines and missionary work is so encouraged by him that when his 7 year old son saw his classmate's mom (who is one of our investigators) he made sure that they were coming to church that Sunday. Also his oldest daughter just got her mission call to Quezon City! They are a really great and strong family that set a wonderful example for our members and investigators.
      There are some great strong members here in the ward but there are probably more less active than active here. Which means a lot of work for the missionaries so that's good! There's lots of great stuff going on here! Next week I will try to send more pictures of the youth because there is a good strong group of them! And they all have hopes of serving a mission. It kind of puts a lot of pressure on us to make sure we are setting the right example for them. Anyway, I love being here guys. I am so grateful for all of your support because it would be much harder being out here if I didn't have a testimony of how much this gospel blesses families. I know where everything good in this life comes from and I am so grateful for that. I hope you guys have a great week! Love you!
Sister Sawada

Pictures :)