Sunday, August 31, 2014

Maligayang Season ng Pasko!!!

This is Julia. Please make sure you read the post right after this one too. My mom was in Utah so we're giving you both messages today...sorry about the delay :)
Happy "Ber" month everyone!
    Today is the first of September which marks the official start of Christmas season here in the Philippines. It has got to be one of the greatest tradition they have here. They already have ornament being sold in the malls and mini Christmas trees! They don't have Halloween or Thanksgiving to get in the way of pure, Christmas celebration :) I have attached a picture that Sister Nott and I took a couple of months ago in anticipation of Christmas season haha. We are really stuck on this whole gangster thing...not sure why. Hope you enjoy!
     Other than that, this has been a really rough week. Sister Nott and I have been going from door to door getting punted and rejected. It's funny though because my attitude is better than some other weeks! It was almost satisfying getting rejected so many times. And the people here in the Philippines are so courteous, they never reject you directly. But this week, we finally experienced a man flat out tell us "No. I don't want." and it was so refreshing! haha of course him saying "yes! yes! please come back to visit me!" would be a lot more exciting. If only life were perfect.
      The reason I think I can still be satisfied with the way this week turned out was because we were still working our very hardest. We were literally running some days to try to get some more enthusiasm and energy for the work. And our positive attitudes have seemed to help with the few that let us teach them haha. The Bamba family is doing so so great. Brother and Sister both have callings now. Brother Bamba is preparing to receive the priesthood and we are planning him to be the one to baptize Stephen and Benilda! They have an official baptismal date for September 13 :) We are so so excited and confident that they are prepared. 
     The Cases family, the family who I mentioned in my last email are doing great as well. Unfortuantely their daughter got sick and they didn't come to church. But we are hoping they will come next week! The father of the family is so honest with us and we really appreciate it. He tells us it's hard to believe. Especially as we have been teaching him about our pre earth life and how we will still have a life after this one on earth, no matter how kind he is and how much he wants to take our word for it, he questions us and expresses how it's a difficult idea for him. It's perfect that he isn't willing to take our word for it because then we explained to him the power of prayer and personal revelation. People mistake revelation to be some huge thing that only really holy people can receive. But everyone is entitled to revelation or in other words communication from God. Feelings, thoughts, and things we read in the scriptures are the most common way God will give us revelation. He will give us an answer. What is important is our approach and our follow up. As we ask God our question or bring to him our concern, the Prophets have taught us how it is important to be specific, sincere, and faithful. Then after we have felt, thought of, or read the answer, then we need to act on it. It continues to show our faith and hope in God. I know this is true and as we shared this with Brother Cases, he seemed excited to take his question to God. We can all be excited to talk to God every day!
      Those are the main areas of progression from this week. I saw that Jules and Lyle made it onto wheel of fortune! What the!!!! I am so proud! I will seriously tell every one that I see. Even if it's not on tv here haha. Also, mama that looks like a way great trip you had to Utah. Brother's living in new heritage? I bet he's really gonna like it. It's so nice and new and a really good social place. I bet all of heritage is new heritage by now. That's crazy. Also, I received the package from the YW and from you guys. Thank you so so much. It was so great to hear from all of you and I am working on letters to write in response :) Hopefully they will get to you in a month or so haha. That's really all I have to report this week! I love you all. My love for everything seems to grow each day. We are just so lucky to be children of our Heavenly Father who has made a perfect plan for us.
       The last picture I have attached is of Sister Galera and I! She has transferred up to LaTrinidad so we are way close! This picture was this morning at our combined zone activity. I really missed her so much! Well that's all for this week. Love you all so much! Have a great week and talk to you next week! Bye!
- Sister Sawada

Kapangyari​han ng Banal na Kasulatan

What a great week!
    I mean I don't want to get your hopes too high but all in all this was just a really good week for Sister Nott and I :) The title of this week is scripture power! I have really been able to gain a testimony of the power the scriptures hold. It makes sense that they would be so strongly endorsed by every prophet who ever lived because they are just so beneficial to us. It has made me so happy to hear about all of your guys experiences with reading the Book of Mormon in STOMP this year. I remember when reading 3 chapters a day seemed impossible and now I wish I had more than the quick hour we are given each day to study the scriptures.
     I noticed that you have all mentioned how you are blessed by reading the scriptures. Mika mentioned that both she and Justin felt that their days ran smoother and they communicated better on days that they read the Book of Mormon together. Mommy and Jaclyn shared how they love getting read the stories again and learn new lessons and also saw improvement in their lives just by doing something as simple as reading the words from a book. But this is evidence to us that the Book of Mormon is not just any other book.
     When I was on exchanges a couple of weeks ago Sister Nott and Sister Oco found a family in our area and shared a quick message with them. Since then, Sister Nott and I have tried contacting them ulit (again) but never seemed to find the time. But this week we finally shared a message with them. In the couple of weeks that we hadn't been there, they had read the first few pages of the Book of Mormon and were very very interested in what we had to share. They were so interested that they said we could come back the very next day. On that day, the son who is 11 years old had read the entire pamphlet about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had questions about the Holy Ghost and was already able to converse with us about how things like the Priesthood and the Book of Mormon are available to us in our day through the prophet Joseph Smith. When we shared about the Holy Ghost the father mentioned that he thinks that is what he felt the first time we visited them because as we shared, he was filled with a curiosity and desire to learn more, especially about the Book of Mormon.
     As you can imagine, we were awe struck and SO happy haha. The daughter of this family seems to be the most skeptical because although she is young, she is very active in her calling in the catholic church and school that she attends. But the great thing is that she has such a deep knowledge of the Bible. So as we teach these truths to her, although they are new for her at this time, they make sense to her because of how well she understands the holy writings of true prophets of God. They are filled with so much curiosity and I know it is the Holy Spirit whispering to them that these things we are teaching them will lead them to good things in their lives. And so they should continue learning about it. They were able to attend our ward home evening that we had Saturday night and we hope that soon they will sacrifice their attendance at the Catholic church and try to attend with us in our Sunday meetings.
      I want to share so much more about them but I am trying to get out of the habit of sharing too much information about people and I never seem to have enough time :( haha. But I wanted to share the experience that we have had with them to support the fact that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. No one has been able to or will ever be able to say contrary. The best part about the Book of Mormon is that coming to know whether it is true or not comes at such a low cost. We don't have to pay anyone. We don't have to exert a huge amount of physical effort. All we need is a desire to know. A sincere, heartfelt effort to ask God if it is true. And then the patience and humility to receive an answer whether it is the answer we are expecting or not. It isn't easy, but it's definitely possible and definitely worth it. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it blesses families and individuals no matter their size, color, financial circumstance, or whatever. I know it because I have seen it and felt it in others and in myself. I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Monday, August 18, 2014


Magandang hapon!
     Today was our zone training that we have at the beginning of each transfer and it was so good! We have a lot of new missionaries here in the Baguio zone. So yes, I am still here in Baguio! That means that I will hit my one year here and only be in my second area haha. But I think I remember mentioning to you guys how it has been my wish since the beginning of my mission to just have 3 areas. To be in each area for 6 months which would allow me to really dig deep in the area and get to know the people much better than I could in 3 or 4 months. My wish has been granted so far! And I think this last transfer here in Baguio is going to be the best. I am still with Sister Nott! We really have a great companionship going and we are ready to attack this new transfer. 
      Unfortunately this transfer is having a rough start considering three days this week we couldn't leave the house. A couple of weeks ago on exchanges I may or may not have slipped and fallen a few times. Since then my back has been really achy. I didn't think much of it and continued working. But last week it really got bad and we got it checked up. The doctor gave me some medication and told us to go back to him in a week if it doesn't improve. Tomorrow will be one week since we visited him and I feel like we are gonna have to go back to him. It feels the same and is swelling up now and then. So sadly, since we walk for about 7 hours a day Sister Balledos has recommended that we stay home. Not only that, but my amazing and caring companion has made it pretty much bawal (forbidden) for me to leave my bed haha. I'm actually not a huge fan of getting served so this has been a good humbling experience for me. But I am excited to see what we can get done when we go back to the doctor tomorrow to get back out working.
       Since we were home for most of this week, we don't have much to report. So I guess I will just share what I learned in our zone training kaninang umaga (earlier this morning) because it was sooo good! Sadly this transfer Sister Nott and I had to say goodbye to like our best friends in the mission. One of them is Elder Ete. I think you guys are familiar with him because we have been together almost my whole mission! He is my "dad" which is my first district leader. And he was for my first 2 transfers. Then when I came to Baguio, he came up as well and became my zone leader until now! Also, he is going home the same time as me!! I am so lucky because most missionaries parents go home pretty early on in their mission. It was sad saying goodbye to him but our new zone leader is Elder Masame. Another great friend of mine on the mission! It's funny how the rotation kind of works in the mission. You figure with transfers everyone gets scattered around but it ultimately turns into a rotation and those who you start out with, you kind of stay with, and there may be a few new people here and there. Which is fun, but sayang (kind of sad) because I love meeting new people! But anyway we were in San Fernando zone together before and now he's in Baguio. He gave the workshop today and it was really great.
      He started out by asking how the words, understand, agency, ask and faith relate to each other. He told us that they are all essential to ministering. What is the difference between teaching and ministering? We were all a little stumped but throughout the workshop we came to realize how ministering and teaching are relatable, but here on the mission and in life in general if you are trying to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, you need to learn to be not just a teacher, but to be a minister as well. And then we watched this video called ministering! Can you guys watch it for FHE this week? It is so good. Elder Masame pointed out that the people in the video used the ALDT cycle as they went from home to home. ALDT stands for ask, listen, discern and teach. This is a great cycle for us missionaries but it can apply to anything important! Studying for school, gaining strong relationships, and sharing the gospel as member missionaries! Please watch the video and apply the things you learn! 
       Alright I really think that's all for this week. I am glad everyone is safe from the possible storms last week! I love you all! Have a great week! Please pray for our area and my back if you can :) Thank you! Until next week.
- Sister Sawada

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tiwala at Pag-asa

Happy Monday!
    Once again I would like to apologize for how all over the place last email was. Let's hope this week makes a little more sense. I have more pictures I want to send though! So it may be a few less words than usual haha. The title this week is tiwala at pag-asa. This means trust and hope. To me, these are mostly just beautiful words that have beautiful meaning. But the longer I am here, the more I realize just how important it is for us to develop hope and trust especially in missionary work.
     So this was another great week here in Burnham! Sad to say, it was probably my last full week here. Transfers will be this week Thursday and I really feel like it's my time to go. Which is sayang (too bad) because I am really getting along with Sister Nott and I really love this area. But I would be excited to go to a new place and get to know new people. Also I am ready to get back down to the lowlands! Baguio is so beautiful and is truly a unique experience, but I'm ready to go back down :)
     In this week Sister Nott and I found many new investigators including a family! It's all really exciting and we will see how quickly they will begin to progress. As missionaries, we are told to BRT when we first meet people. This means build a relationship of trust. It's funny trying to build a relationship with complete strangers. Especially as a missionary in a place like the Philippines. There are sooo many different religions here that having missionaries in your home isn't too unique or weird. This makes it nice and easier to be accepted into a home. But then, getting the people to take us serious is where it gets hard. They usually sit us down and then offer us a mirianda. That's what Philippinoes use to describe a snack but sometimes is like a full on meal. But the typical mirianda consists of soft drinks and crackers or biscuits of some sort. Then they will just chat and chat with you like there's no tomorrow haha. They love talking to foreigners as well so that's a plus for Sister Nott and I.
     But how do we slip in that we are missionaries of the true, restored Church of Jesus Christ and we want to share this beautiful and essential message in order to give them the happiness that they deserve in this life and in the life to come? I am still not sure the best way to do this. But I can testify that no matter how hard we try to convince them that we are different, or that we are the only people sharing the fullness of the truth, our words will be empty unless we have the companionship of the spirit. I may have shared this before but I remember in a talk given to us in the MTC. The speaker quoted the saying, "a fish is the last one to know it's wet". He said that missionaries can sometimes be like that with the spirit. We can be so fully surrounded and engulfed in the spirit that sometimes we forget that we even have it. Why are missionaries so lucky to have the spirit with them on such a regular basis? I realized the answer to this question yesterday at church in our lesson about sacrifice.
     Brother Tom, our gospel principles teacher taught us about how key sacrifice is to being worthy of anything spiritual. The reason we fast is to become more sensitive to the spirit. The reason we are asked to give 24 hours to the Lord on Sunday by keeping the Sabbath day holy is to help us remain worthy of the spirit each week. Day after day as members of this church we are asked to make sacrifices. I wonder how willing we are to make them. But if we think about being asked to sacrifice as an invitation to be more sensitive to the spirit and have it's companionship more fully, I would hope we would become more willing to make such sacrifices. Lastly, making sacrifices will build our trust and hope in Christ and His great sacrifice He made for all of us. It's funny how if you think enough about any principle of this gospel, it may seem hard or pointless at first. But in the end it always is for our benefit. My invitation to you all is to try harder this week to attain trust and hope in our Savior Jesus Christ. As you do so, see if you are quicker to make sacrifices, or feel a stronger sense of the spirit with you. It will happen! :)
      Besides these things I've learned this week, Sister Nott and I had a great time visiting with our investigators and less actives. Not anything huge happened though so if it's alright I'll just send some pictures! I love you all! This weeks email was a little different but I hope you get something out of it. Take care and have a great week.
Sister Sawada

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sa Awa ng Diyos

Happy August!
    Is it just me or does it seem like every week we are already welcoming the new month? What a great week this has been! Full of many miracles big and small and I can't wait to share as many as I can! The title of this email is Sa Awa ng Diyos which can be translated to mean by the Grace of God. That is the best way to describe this week.
     It all started a week ago! Last pday, we were able to see how God was watching over us and taking care of us. So like I mentioned last week, I was not feeling too great. During our email time, Sister Nott told me that her stomach was also starting to cramp up and stuff. But we really wanted to have a fun pday. Our district was going bowling at the nearby mall and we payed a lot of money for this pizza that was apparently like the best in Baguio. So we wanted to get our moneys worth haha. So we kind of just ignored it and thought it would go away. Everything was great until like the last frame of our game (I was in second place by the way. Not that it matters) and then my stomach was like doing front flips, back flips, side flips, everything and I couldn't handle it anymore. So Sister Nott and I quickly finished our frames (i finished in second by the way) and we didn't even get to go shopping. We had to just rush to a taxi and get home. Long story short, we made it home and to the CR (comfort room/bathroom) just in time!
    That night was also a family home evening at our Bishop's house. It was the last FHE there because he got released last week and they don't live in our area so they will be going to another ward now! We really wanted to go but weren't sure if we should since we were a little sick. But we said a prayer and were able to make it all the way through! These are kind of silly, but even through these things that seem insignificant or silly, Heavenly Father is still taking care of us!
    So this past Saturday was the date that we had been planning for the Bamba family's baptism. We decided that brother and sister should be baptized first, and then we can focus on Stephen and Benilda, their children and help them to get a desire for themselves to be baptized rather than just do it because their parents were doing it. We were so excited because President Balledos was the one to be baptizing brother and sister and they were showing such great progression. There wasn't a doubt in our mind that the baptism would continue. But then a couple of weeks ago, they had gone to Manila for their children's taikwondo tournament and then they weren't responding to our texts and we were worried about what was happening. They finally texted saying that they had run into a financial problem and were a little ashamed to have us over at their house. They weren't able to be paying for their electric and they were shy to tell us. When spoke with them, they were obviously overwhelmed and stressed.
     Sister Nott and I were worried that we would have to reschedule their baptism. We told them that we might have to reschedule. All they said is that they would text us later. So fast forward a few days to the FHE at our bishops house and we hadn't heard from the Bambas yet. But as we were about to leave the FHE, brother Ben called us. He told us they would do whatever they need to do to make sure the baptism happens August 2nd. They knew that when they accepted the date, it wasn't just a committment to us, but to the Lord as well. We could not have been happier to hear that. Annnnd, this Saturday August 2, Brother Ben and Sister Jen Bamba were baptized! Dang no more time. There is so much more to share! But I will just have to share it next week.
    In closing, here is a scripture I really loved from my personal study this week and it applies well to my email. In 2 nephi 2 verse 14 (I am pretty sure) Lehi is telling his son about how God created all things in the earth. Both things to act, and things to be acted upon. Now my question, is which are we? As humans, we are things which are supposed to act. As I thought of acting, I wanted the dictionary definition but couldn't get it, so I thought of an actor. I thought of one of my favorite actors Madison Eror :) hehe. But I thought about how when she takes on a role, she acts. Her actions reflect who her character is. It can be difficult, because every single action should emulate the role she is playing. But sometimes she could make a mistake and act like someone besides her role. As children of God, we have been given a role to play, especially those of us who are members. I invite you to think about this scripture and think about the ways you are going to make sure your actions help you to fulfill your role. Try not to start playing the role of someone other than who you are, a loved Child of God. Sorry this was rushed so if it doesn't make sense sensiya na! I love you all! Have  agreat week! Bye!!!