Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - September 24, 2013


So--such is the process of Transfer Week:
Transfer day is Wednesday, but the excitement really all starts on Sunday. That is when calls are made to all the missionaries who will be training in the upcoming transfer. Those missionaries then have a fun little period of time when all that we know about transfers is who is training. Lots of speculation is made about who is staying, who is leaving, where they are going, etc. Monday afternoon, there is a meeting for the trainers, so then all the missionaries (if someone from their district was at the meeting) know everyone in the mission who is training, and the trainers learn whether their "anak" (child/trainee) is coming from the Manila MTC or from Provo. Not until Tuesday morning do we actually learn who is staying, and who is transferring and to where. Wednesday morning we all report to "transfer points" (chapels designated for meeting and exchanging companions for travel) or to the mission home, to get new companions.

Thus is the subject of this email:
1) Orphaned
I am being orphaned; abandoned here in San Isidro where I was born just 3 months ago. My beautiful Nanay (trainer) is being transferred back to Cainta (the same area where she was born) to be a Sister Training Leader/Travelling Sister. I am really excited for her, actually. She will love it, and will be so good at it! She is so great at connecting with investigators, right from the start, so she will be perfect for exchanges! :)
My Tatay (Elder Argyle, our DL, and pretty much my best friend in the mission) is going to MINDORO!! :D For those that don't know the Philippines very well, that is the place where pretty much every Quezon City missionary wants to serve. It's hardcore province, and it's beautiful, the people are so great and so loving, and you learn Tagalog super well. Oh, and there's beaches. Not that you get to swim, but you get to be there. And everyone who comes back from Mindoro just says they want to return, because it's such an incredible experience. So I'm pretty pumped for him, Sister Campbell is pretty jealous.
Also, a sister from my batch (Sister Ika) is going to Mindoro as well! She's going to be awesome too!
2) "With child"
Yes, that's right, I'm going to be a Nanay myself. I got a call on Sunday from one of the APs (Assistants to the President) letting me know I will be training this transfer. In about 17 hours, I will have a brand new baby girl (anak/trainee) fresh out of the Manila MTC! Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am nervous. Only a little scared. Except when I think about it, and the fact that I have to lead this area, and teach someone how to be a missionary. And speak Tagalog. The meeting yesterday helped a lot, though, and I am definitely grateful for this experience because I'm pretty sure it is exactly what I need to truly teach me humility and my dependence on the Lord. I'm nervous, but also incredibly motivated. I think it is a huge blessing to be training so soon, because I still remember exactly how I felt (feel) being a trainee. Hopefully that will help me as a trainer.
There are actually 4 of us from my batch who are training this transfer (even though we just finished being trained ourselves): Sisters Cutia, Sanders, and Rupp will also be receiving mga anak from the Manila MTC tomorrow morning. I'm so excited for them!! They're going to be incredible trainers!
3) Catalysts and Conversion
We had Zone Conference/Mission Tour last week. President and Sister Revillo spoke to us, as well as Elder and Sister Ardern from the Area Presidency. It was pretty much the greatest experience of the Philippines so far. I learned so much and was SO inspired and motivated!!
One of the things that really struck me was a comment made by President Revillo (my mission president) about conversion and how conversion, scientifically, is like boiling water that changes from a liquid to a gas. That image/concept for some reason really stuck with me. I started thinking about the science of conversion and how it requires the catalyst (heat) to initiate the conversion from one state (liquid) to a higher, freer state (gas). This catalyst, heat, energizes the particles to be able to break apart. At least that's what I remember/understand from my high school chemistry class. But the point of the whole process/analogy is that conversion requires an increase in ENERGY. Conversion, in Gospel terms, isn't just something that happens TO us. It is something that happens WITHIN us, and it requires work on our part. We could read the whole Book of Mormon and not have a testimony of it. But if we truly search and study it, if we pray about it, if we apply it to our lives, it will change us. That is how the Gospel works. The converting power of the Truth of the Restored Gospel only works is we take the necessary steps to apply it to our life.
On a similar note, I spent some time studying diligence last week. One thing that really struck me is how diligence is paired with faith, and how both stand opposed to laziness because they are both principles of action. As a missionary, I've volunteered and accepted the call to serve as a witness of Jesus Christ, to teach His Gospel as He would teach it if He were here. I've been called to assist in His work: "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Christ, through His Atonement, has already ensured immortality for each of God's children. I am here to help bring about the Eternal Life--to help every person learn and understand the things that THEY need to do in order to qualify for exaltation: immortality living with our Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus Christ, and our families.
I love the way the scriptures talk about diligence in terms of running. Life is a marathon. There are two ways we can run it (if we choose to try to run it rather than just complacently wandering along the road). We can sprint--going all out, doing all we can, and inevitably getting worn out and giving up or stopping to rest and not making any real progress. Or we can pace ourselves. If we pace ourselves and run the race with consistency, doing what the Lord asks of us, nothing more or less, we will have more energy and be able to finish strong. That's what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does for us---it teaches us how to pace ourselves. As someone who is NOT a runner, this is a concept that's a little foreign to me, but from what I've learned from Kristen, it's pretty much the key to being successful as a distance runner.
So that's what I'm going to be working on this transfer: diligence. Consistency. When tough times come, pressing on with determination instead of giving up or slowing down, as is my instinct.
I am so so grateful for this Gospel. It is so beautiful. It is so powerful. Because it is true. There is nothing like it in this world. I am so humbled and blessed to be able to dedicate all my time and energy to sharing this message.

I love you all so much. Thank you for all that you are doing to serve our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ, even if it is just through your own life, keeping their commandments, praying, reading the scriptures. I testify that our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ are aware of you. And they are grateful for every effort you make to follow them and assist in their work (to bring us back to them).

Hope you have a great week! I'll introduce you to my new anak next week!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

P.S. Quote from Elder Ardern about our study:
"It's not about how much you read. It's about how much of what you read goes through you." Application is everything. :)

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