Monday, September 29, 2014


Naimbug Na Malim!
   Hahaha I have no idea if that was correct. That is good afternoon in Ilokano! So so much has happened this week including transfers so drumroll....I am now in...Narvacan Ilocos Sur! Mama I didn't get to read your entire email yet pero I saw that you were guessing where I would be transferred. I love that you know so many areas! Haha I don't think I saw Narvacan in there. Although you did guess Santa Maria which is an area right by ours! In the beginning of this week Sister Nott and I were sad to know that it would soon be goodbye and I was especially sad to know I would have to leave Baguio, my second area on the mission that I have grown to love so much. On Wednesday I got a call from President Balledos asking if I would accept the calling of becoming a sister training leader. I was happy to accept the calling but maybe a little hesitant as well. But then he asked if I would serve as an STL in the Narvacan zone. I couldn't say yes quicker! I had been wanting to go to Narvacan since it became a zone!
     There are 3 main regions that make up our mission. The middle region I was in in San Fernando, the southern region I was in in Baguio, and I had really really been hoping to serve in the northern region! The thing is that foreigners are not normally sent to the northern region just because it can be less safe at times lalo na sa (especially) in times of political conflict like elections. I had been hoping to go to Candon or Narvacan and my wish came true! I am actually the only foreigner sister in the zone which is way intimidating but way exciting! I hope to really polish my tagalog and hopefully begin really learning some Ilokano up here. There are some people that we are teaching who only speak Ilokano so the sooner I learn some the better! My beautiful companion is Sister Perez! She is from Cebu! She actually went to BYU H for 2 years! She speaks really great english and is so sweet and patient with me. She and her former companion opened this area the transfer before, so she and I are both pretty new to the area and to being STLs. But we are so excited for this transfer! We really see some great things ahead :)
      In the 5 days that I have been here we have already been able to work with many members from the ward, set specific dates for baptisms of our investigators, and find some great new investigators and even some less actives! Since this area was just opened, we don't know everything about the area and seem to meet another less active every hour or so haha. So there is lots to do kaya (therefore) Sister Perez and I are napaka(so very)excited for this transfer! I have already started to get a tan and I really do feel like I am where I am supposed to be here in Narvacan. Sorry this is such a cheesy email but I am just really excited to be here. Of course there are times where I miss the amazing people of Baguio, including Sister Nott! But I know this is where I am supposed to be.
      To hopefully give this email some sort of substance I would love to share an experience we had yesterday. We had Brother and Sister Ruiz work with us. They are a somewhat newly wed couple in our ward. They are both return missionaries and since they don't have kids yet, they spend their time travelling, doing photography, and working with missionaries. They are the coolest people ever! Brother Ruiz's sense of humor reminds me of my brothers in law so that makes working with them even more of a joy. But anyway so we were on our way to the home of a less active and Sister Perez and I were a little caught up in our conversation until we finally noticed Bro and Sis Ruiz weren't right behind us anymore. Brother had stopped to talk to a man sitting with his son. This man that I never even noticed. His name is Henry. Bro Ruiz was talking to him about his shirt and hat because they said Hawaii on them. He told the man that I was from Hawaii and we got talking. (Side note: there are soooo many people here who have family in Hawaii kaya there are so many hawaii things all around! Little pieces of home everywhere haha.)
       Anyway so Brother Ruiz is way magaling and got this man who seemed not very interested in speaking to us, to let us into his home! We entered in his front gate and saw his wife was sweeping their front yard area, (yes people here sweep grass) and she seemed even LESS interested in meeting us. She looked up for a second and looked back down to her sweeping immediately. But in that second she looked up, Sister Perez was able to catch her eye and so she looked back up from her sweeping and asked "Are you the ones that I hear speaking Bisaya all the time?" Sister Perez's native dialect is Bisaya and so was her former companion so I guess in the last transfer, she would hear Sister Perez and Sister Rozal speaking to each other in that dialect. Sister Perez said yes and the woman lit up automatically. She started talking with Sister Perez and I probably understood 3 words haha but it was alright because she was so happy tears seemed to coming to her eyes.
       We soon came to the knowledge of a major financial problem that she and her husband were facing. Earlier that day the husband had payed for something with 1000 peso bill but he thought it was 100. The person didn't give any change back and he left. That 1000 was going to support them and their 4 children for at least the next week. I didn't fully understand the problem but for some reason they really didn't think they were going to be able to get the money back. But we were able to express that we knew there was a reason we had met them and we shared with them right away about how Jesus Christ has a gospel and can help us no matter what our trials may be. They were listening so attentively and I think it was because they were in such a humbling circumstance. Brother Henry had to get up and go somewhere about half way through but we taught Sister (we learned her name is Baby :) how to pray. We all testified of how the gospel can bless us especially can bless our families. Then we asked Sister Baby to give the closing prayer and ask God to help them through their problem. She got about halfway through but was crying to hard to finish. Brother Ruiz finished it for her and right as he said Amen, brother Henry, came up on his motor scooter and had gotten the money back.
     Sister Baby threw her arms around us and thanked us. We told her never to forget what she was feeling and that she is a daughter of Heavenly Father who is always watching out for her. This is now my invitation for you all. Never ever forget that you have a Heavenly Father who doesn't only love you, but is all powerful and will give you what you need, in the time that you need it. But we need to do our part by keeping the commandments. All of them whether great or small like prayer. This is all I will have time to share! I have my camera but no place to plug it in on this computer :( So next week na lang. I am so so excited to show you the beauty of Narvacan and my companion! Hope everyone has an even better week than the last! Love you all!
- Sister Sawada

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Magulo Pa Rin!

Hey everyone!
    Sorry this email will be way short because I am chatting with you mom which is so great! It is making me so sooo happy :) But this was a great week! Most likely my last full week here in Baguio. And now I am a little more than sure that my time has come to transfer. I am one of the few missionaries here in the Baguio zone that has been in Baguio for 6 months and the rest are all 4 1/2 or less months out here. But anyway I will find out for sure this week Wednesday and if I am transferring, I will transfer on Thursday.
    This week was a little different with another typhoon hitting our area pretty strong, we were told to stay inside for Friday evening and all of Saturday and even the church attendance on Sunday was a lot less than usual. And since Saturday was such terrible weather, the Bamba's baptism will be postponed yet another week :( but they are only getting more prepared and excited as these weeks go by so that's great haha.
     My teary eyed moment for this week came when Brother Bamba and Stephen came to church even though most people used the weather as an excuse not to come and Benilda has the chicken pox. They came! Then, since brother Ben received the priesthood last week, we was asked to bless the sacrament. He went right up to the stand, shaking people's hands on his way up, and sat there with such confidence! Enough to bring a couple tears to my eyes. He said the sacrament prayer flawlessly and just solidified my testimony of the Priesthood and the power that it really holds. I love this gospel! I have seen it bless my own life and now I get to introduce it to others to have it bless them as well! We had some other great lessons this week including with the Cases family but they still haven't come to church :/ I hope that will change! Well I have a lot of pictures to send to you guys and am running out of time. I just hope you all understand how blessed it can be to have a knowledge of the truth, and then to act upon it. There is nothing better that we could do in this life. I love you all! Have a great week! I will most likely be emailing you from my new are next week! Bye!!
- Sister Sawada

P.S. Congratulations Chloe Kava on your mission call!!! I am so so sooo proud of you and happy for you! I know you will not regret this decision no matter how hard it may get. Email me! Also, Aunty Cathy thank you so much for your letter and the pictures of Cassie's wedding! She and Christy and everyone else in the pictures look so great and so happy! And by the way, yes we eat so so many papayas here! I actually buy a big papaya all for myself each week because it is my favorite to eat for breakfast and sometimes for dinner! That is so funny you would ask about that specific fruit because it is probably my favorite here. Also frozen bananas...jac ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

24/7 Missionary

Hello Family!
   Sorry this is going to be a short email. Today has been quite a crazy day! I am not sure how much the news is talking about it in America, but a typhoon has hit the Philippines and for the first time it is pretty close to us! We are lucky to be safe and our area has not much damage. But we are in a brown out right now. Luckily this internet cafe is somehow open so we are just quickly getting some email time in and will try to find somehwhere that we can shop.
    This was a really great week. It was tough at the beginning and I was really starting to feel drained and like I have been in this area for just too long. So our trizone conference came just in time! President Balledos had really been preparing for this conference. Weeks in advance he had been giving us things to study in Preach my Gospel and other things to do in preparation. Sister Nott and I were also asked to give one of the workshops. The entire conference was focused on Chapter 10 of PMG which is teaching skills. We also focused on how to utilize our missionary daily planners. It's funny because teaching is something we do every day and of course our planners are something that we use every day. So you would think that we would be pretty magaling (talented/good at) in these areas. But this conference helped me to realize just how much I can improve in these areas!
    I wish I could explain the entire conference but it was so well done. There was something I learned with each minute but to summarize it all. I realized that I needed to be striving more to be a 24/7 missionary. I had been going most days being pleased with being a 10-12 hour missionary. After getting home from proselyting, I would enjoy just sitting in my chair doing nothing for as much as 30 minutes because of being so tired haha. But the Lord hasn't given me 10-12 hours a day to be a missionary. He has given me every hour of ever day of 18 months to be His missionary. At some points in the conference I found myself thinking that President was asking too much of us. He introduced new ways to set goals and teach lessons and I thought that it just wouldnt be possible to do what he was asking of us. But the thought came to me that if I decided to use every hour to it's fullest, it might actually be possible.
    Sister Nott and I applied the things we learned right away and saw such success! We found 9 new investigators this week, 8 of which we found after the conference which was on Friday. We also were able to extend a baptismal invitation to the Cases family and they accepted! It was the most progress we have seen in the area this transfer. God has seen our desires to repent and change and because of our hard work, he has blessed us for it! Oh and real quick about the Bambas, their baptism was supposed to be Saturday but Brother Bamba didn't get the priesthood until yesterday, so he will be baptizing them this Saturday instead! We are so excited for it and they are even more excited! That's all I will have time to share this week. I love you guys so much! Please pray for the people who are in more danger as typhoon Luis continues. Love you!
Sister Sawada

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mabuting Gawain

Hi Everyone!
    Another week has come and gone here in Burnham! Hard times keep hitting Sister Nott and I but I'm excited to share about the wonderful fast and testimony meeting that we had that helped me really change my attitude at this point of my mission.
    This week was another rough one where Sister Nott and I and I started getting pretty frustrated and even just wanted to give up. I just kept thinking to myself "I just need a new week so I can start over." It was like I was being prepared to really have a humble mindset at this fast Sunday approached. We got to the church earlier than usual and were expecting to see the usual attendance of the Bamba family, some less active members and hopefully some investigators that we had invited. The minutes kept ticking and none of them were showing up. I thought "well that's not a huge surprise considering the week we had." We went in and sat in the front of the congregation and even with the frustration I wanted to feel, I couldn't help but be content sitting inside the church, partaking of the sacrament and feeling the sabbath spirit that can make me so happy.
    Then our fast and testimony meeting started and it seemed that everyone had just as rough a week as Sister Nott and I, if not worse. Sister Escote our relief society president shared about humbling herself in tough circumstances. Then Brother James Velasco, a single adult preparing for his mission shared a tear filled testimony and scriptures in D&C 122 about overcoming trials. Before too long, after a few more testimonies along the same theme, the whole congregation seemed to be in tears. It was such a crazy feeling. Because although we all seemed to be at some of our weakest points as a ward, there was a strength we were all receiving from being together, and sharing these words with one another.
     I decided to go up and share my testimony about doing good. That is the title of my email. Mabuting Gawain or "Good works". I wanted to encourage the members. They all were sharing about how they had faced difficult times, yet they continued to choose the right while amidst these trials. I got up to the pulpit and looked out to see the congregation about double in size than it was when sacrament meeting had started. The whole Bamba family was there, including Brother Bamba wearing a white shirt and tie for the first time. Tears came to my eyes before I even got to start! But I shared D&C 64:33 that says something along the lines of "Be not weary in well doing for you are laying the foundation of a great work." I wanted all of the members who were struggling to know that just by small and simple choices for good, they are laying a foundation for something great. Like Nephi, we may not know what we are laying the foundation for, but we can be confident that if we are following the commandments and teachings of our Savior, it will be great.
      Then Brother Bamba went up and shared the greatest testimony I had ever heard! So sayang because I don't have anymore time to email! But I will share more about his testimony next week and the progress of their family. (Spoiler alert: they are doing soooo great!) After that meeting I literally felt like a new person. Don't be afraid to turn to your fellow members and try to gain strength from them. Or if you are feeling extra strong some days, find those that you can strengthen. That is my invitation for you all. Love you guys so sooo much! I wrote you all a letter and will be sending it today. Hope you get it soon. Hope you guys have a great week. Take care! Bye!