Monday, June 23, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - June 22, 2014

Happy Monday!! :D

This week has been so good. So full, too, because we got to go on exchanges in (wait for it) MORONG! It was so fun but so odd to go back. The weirdest thing was realizing that there was a whole transfer (6 weeks) that I was in Taytay before coming to Antipolo. Meaning it's been about 2 months since I left that glorious area. It's weird to see how many things have changed. I hope it is all for the better (I have to trust that it is, because the Lord puts missionaries where they are needed. Doing things differently isn't always bad). 
One of the coolest things about being back in Morong, actually, was getting to have exchanges with my old companion, Sister McCarthy. I think it probably wasn't the most effective exchanges for her, because it pretty much felt like we were just out working like before. But I guess maybe that's a good thing, because at least we were both comfortable. We went on a mission to explore part of Morong (we pretty much just working in Cardona the whole time when I was with her before) and find the members from the branch directory that we hadn't met before. It turned out to be really fun--we got to OYM some people, teach a member lesson to the district president and his family, and find a less-active who actually let us in and talked to us and is willing to let the sisters come back! 
We also got to go back and teach Rafael Pacheko (if you remember my story about "breaking in" to find the less-active who turned out to be a celebrity). He was so cute and apparently remembered me because when we got there he saw me and was like "it's been a long time! I was waiting for you to come back and see me!" I had to explain that I had gotten transferred the week right after we found him, and I'm actually assigned in Antipolo now (so it's not like I can just stop by whenever I feel like it), and he was really good-natured about it, but I'm not 100% sure he actually understood. :P 

Fun little spiritual insight from my language study last week (been a while since I got to share one of these):
The word "bayaan" means "to allow" or "to permit." (Such as "I was permitted to go cliff-diving as long as I was home by 12.") The word "pabayaan" means "to neglect" or "to abandon." The interesting thing about these two words is not just that they share the same root ("baya"), but how intuitive it is that they SHOULD be connected, as we gain a deeper understanding of the Gospel. Even not knowing the details of Tagalog grammar, I think you can still see the cool relationship here. There is a negative connotation to the idea of having too much freedom. Parents (or anyone) who allow too many things are neglecting those whom they should be protecting. The longer I am here on the mission, the more I can see that this is exactly true, especially when it comes to commandments. Our Heavenly Father, because He LOVES US, gives us commandments not to restrict us, but to help us. If we didn't have commandments, we would just be wandering through life, trying to figure things out for ourselves, but with no guidance or direction to go by. The fact that our Heavenly Father doesn't tolerate sin (hindi tayo binabayaang magkasala) shows that he cares and has not abandoned us to be overcome by things which will hurt us (hindi rin tayo pinabayaan ng Diyos). 

I'm so grateful that we have a loving Heavenly Father who understands what is best for us, and who doesn't hesitate to inform us of what we need to do to be happy. That is what the Plan of Salvation (AKA the Plan of Happiness) is all about. It is a guidebook--an instruction manual--for us to know how to live life in accordance with "the nature of God", or in other words, in accordance with "the nature of happiness." (See Alma 41:11). 

That is all I have time for today. I'll throw in some pictures to make up for my lack of words today.

Hope you all have a great week!! I love you and miss you and am praying for you!!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

(Thanks again to Gladys Martinez--our #1 ward missionary/photographer--she's the girl in the front row farthest to the left)
Just a big, happy Filipino Family Home Evening! 
Climbing the mountains in our beautiful area (this is the area called "upper zig-zag"--you can probably guess why...there are a lot more of these curves :D)

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