Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - July 7, 2013

Greetings from the Philippines!

So I'm not sure what time it is in America anymore. The middle of the night, I think, but I guess it will be different for all of you since you're in different time zones anyway. It's about 1PM here, on Monday. My first week has had a lot of ups and downs, as I imagine the rest of my mission will as well. One thing I have decided is that I have a much deeper respect for RMs now than ever before. They honestly deserve all the respect and hype they get--missions are hard work. The Philippines actually isn't as unbearably hot as I thought it would be, but I think that's mostly because Heavenly Father loves me and sent me to one of the coolest areas of the mission, during the rainy season, so I'm getting to "ease into it" a little bit. I'm not sure how or why, but I really haven't had any culture shock yet.

My Nanay (trainer) is Sister Campbell. She's from Boise, but her parents are Filippino (kind of like Sister Cutia--but not as outgoing). It's been a bit of an adjustment for me, since Sister Cutia and I worked so well together, and depended a lot more on each other, whereas Sister Campbell is already accustomed to the Philippines and I still have A LOT to learn. I know our assignment is inspired though, and I have a lot to learn from her, I just need to get used to our differences. She is super sweet though and really is a good missionary.

Our area is doing super well. We have 5 investigators with a baptismal date (one of whom I'll talk about more in a bit) and several other contacts that we've met with that hopefully will progress. The branch that we're in (San Isidro 2nd) seems really great. The members are all super nice and seem to want to be involved in the work, so hopefully that will help a lot this transfer. We have high hopes for our area. :)

It's just Sister Campbell and I in our apartment/house, but there are 4 sisters that live in a house across from us who we see pretty frequently. We are actually really fortunate to be in a nicer area. We have 2 showers (which don't have hot water, but it's okay because it's so hot anyway that the cold water feels good once you get used to it) and a water filter for our kitchen sink so we can have clean water.

Travel to the Philippines is another story that I don't have time for, but everything went pretty smoothly and I've managed to avoid jet lag, even though I didn't sleep very much on the plane at all. Just more blessings from the Lord. :)

One of the most beautiful experiences of my week was teaching a YSA named Lisa. She's 21, and doesn't actually live in our area, but she is the best friend of one of our investigators (Regine, 19, who will be baptized in a couple of weeks, on the 27th I think) so we met with her at Regine's home to teach her. We taught her the Restoration on Thursday and then met again on Friday to talk more about the Book of Mormon. She is so prepared and so excited about the Gospel; it is amazing. She just soaked up everything that we taught (if you can really even call it teaching--I honestly felt like they were teaching us as they both bore testimony of knowing the Book of Mormon is true and how it helps us in our lives) and when we invited her to be baptized, she accepted so eagerly and was so grateful. It really felt like giving her a gift that she was so excited to receive. So beautiful. I came out of that appointment and all I could think as we went home that night is: "this is what it's all about." It really is. For all the trials that we go through as missionaries, seeing someone who has been prepared truly embrace the Gospel makes up for everything.

I wish I had time to tell you about all of our investigators. There are so many incredible people here! They aren't all progressing, but they are all wonderful. One family we have been teaching (the Estacio's) really like that I am new to the Philippines, and want to introduce me to a lot of Filippino foods. In fact, pretty much everyone is amused by my being white and new and inexperienced. They are super nice though, and everyone is impressed by how "good" my Tagalog is (shout out to Bro. Mansfield and Bro. Calder, btw, for getting me to where I am. Even though I still have a lot to learn and I sometimes have no idea what's going on when people speak Tagalog to me, I know a lot more than prior missionaries did coming into the field, so that's encouraging).

My spiritual thought this week comes from Matthew 14:31. It's the story of Peter walking on water, and when he stumbles, he cries out to the Lord for help and the Lord says "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" There are a lot of things that can be and have been said about this scripture, but the one that struck me this week is the power of just a little faith. Really, that's so beautiful. Yes, Peter stumbled, but before that, HE WALKED ON WATER. All it took was exercising the "little faith" that he had and putting his trust in the Lord. I know that that's true for every one of us. We have NO IDEA of what we are capable of, if we just put our faith in Christ and let Him transform us.

Sorry this email may not be super informative about life here in the Philippines. Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them next week. Also, I don't know if any of you tried to send Dear Elders, but if so, I won't get them till next Monday (I think we only get mail every other week). Thank you so so much for your emails though! I love and miss you all!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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