Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - January 27, 2014

Hello again!!

Quick correction from my last email. It was requested that I clarify, for those that aren't familiar, what "po" means. It doesn't really mean anything, actually, which is why it's the hardest thing for me to eliminate from my vocabulary. It's just a term that we use here (coming from Tagalog of course) to show respect. In English, you could try to translate it as "sir" or "ma'am" (i.e. "good morning, sir"), but that's not 100% accurate either. So as our Tagalog lesson for today, we will just let it suffice to say that "po" doesn't actually have a meaning, so if/when I use it, you can just read it as if it's silent. ;)

This week has been strange, but really good for me. Sister Medina spent 3 days last week in Quezon City for medical tests (she's okay--don't worry), so I had a temporary companion for those 3 days and it was definitely and interesting and difficult experience. I never thought I would have a testimony of the importance of working with the companion we are assigned to, but I feel like I discovered this week that, since all our companionships are inspired, we have an added power with us as we work that seems to be absent when we work with someone else's companion. It's hard to explain, but it's like it goes beyond just having a unity in your message or being comfortable with someone else's teaching style. It's something else altogether, like the authority or priesthood power that rests upon something the Lord has designed. It's kind of incredible actually. And I am so happy that Sister Medina is back.

We had a hard time, actually, when she first got back on Friday night, but the experience that followed was probably the most incredible I've experienced here. One of those things that I suspect I will always remember as a kind of turning point in my life. As you all know (or should by now), I'm kind of a super prideful person. I've been praying for humility all transfer, along with patience and love, but I've just been having the hardest time getting there. On Saturday, I was pretty frustrated with Sister Medina. I felt like there were just so many things built up that I didn't even know what it was that was bothering me, or what to try to tell her. Mostly (as is my way, for those that know me), I just didn't want to talk about it. She's super sweet and tried asking if I was upset with her, but I just said no. Finally, before we were going to head out to go to our district service project, she just hugged me and apologized for what had happened on Friday and explained her view of it. At first I was like "it's fine, it's fine" because I just wanted it to be over, but then the Lord stepped in and softened my heart and I really started listening to her and realized I had a lot to apologize for as well. It's like my eyes were finally opened, and it hit me so hard in that moment that I have been a huge part of the problem. I thought that I had been doing all I could to help our companionship, but it turns out I was doing everything I could to change my actions, but without changing my heart. I wish I could explain the feeling of those few moments; it's like I could literally feel my heart melt and all the walls I'd built just crumble. Basically, the lesson I learned this week is one of true humility. Of having the strength to be the first one to apologize, even when you don't think you need to. I now have a newfound, genuine love for Sister Medina, and more respect for her than I ever thought I would. It's transfer week, but we are both staying, and I am honestly so grateful. I know we still have a lot to learn from each other, but mostly I am just happy because we finally have the Spirit back in our companionship (I've kind of been on a high for the past two days because I missed it so much), and I know that we are going to be able to accomplish so much for the Lord this transfer. Which is good, because this area deserves all that we can give it! It is so amazing!

This week has strengthened my testimony of the Atonement more than anything else in my whole life. I've come to know very personally what it means to rely 100% on the Savior for your strength and motivation and just finding the desire to move forward when everything in you just wants to give up. I've discovered how powerful it is to realize that Christ literally knows everything that we are feeling, but He overcame it so that we could be able to as well, with His help. I've also learned/noticed again how hard the Atonement really was to endure, so far beyond anything we can even comprehend--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually-- and yet Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was willing to subject Himself to that pain and suffering just because He loves me and He wants to help me make it back to live with Him and my Heavenly Father. "I stand all amazed" is an understatement for the way I am coming to feel about my Savior's love. I really have no words to express it. I'm just so grateful to have this opportunity to serve Him and invite others to partake of this precious gift and experience the peace that comes from allowing Him into our hearts and lives.

Also, President Revillo asked me after the Christmas Conference if I would consider writing a song for our mission, and he followed up about it in our Zone Interviews last Tuesday. Thankfully, due to having the Spirit back, I was able to finish what I'd started working on back in San Isidro, and I'm actually really happy with it. I sang it in our district meeting yesterday and everyone liked it (which was a relief), so I sent the lyrics to President today. I still need to work on piano for it, but we'll see what he says. This is pretty much the scariest thing I've ever done--considering how awkward/self-conscious I am about my songs. I think that's another good side-effect of being on a mission though. I'm learned to get over it.

I'll send some pictures today too, if I have time. I hope you all have a great week!! I love you!! Also, don't forget to wish my beautiful mother a Happy Birthday today, if you get a chance. :)

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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