Monday, September 29, 2014
Sister Franks in the Philippines - September 28, 2014
This was another super fast week! It was a challenge at first, because the plans that we made didn't work out, but of course, the Lord always provides, and it ended up being one of the most successful weeks of the transfer, at least in terms of reaching our goals.
Wednesday, we were able to have exchanges with our kabahays. I was blessed to be able to work with Sister Verdeflor (which was especially fun because I was her replacement in Taytay, so we have lots of mutual friends there)! We worked in their area, while Sister Faka'osi and Sister Tipasa worked in our area. I was honestly having a really hard morning that day, not feeling like a missionary, not feeling close to the Spirit, but as usual I just pleaded for help from the Lord and pressed forward in faith and it ended up being a great day! :) It was exactly what I needed. Working with Sister Verdeflor helped me feel the Spirit so easily, and teaching in their area was so fun and inspiring! The greatest blessing was that, even though we had no ward missionaries working with us, we were able to have members present at every lesson, which I know made a big difference. I think I may have gotten more from exchanges than Sister Verdeflor did; she is so kind and sweet and a wonderful missionary. It was a comfort for me to open my eyes and see that I really am just one small part of the big picture and that even though this is THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK in the world, the success of it does not primarily rest on ME (haha who knew humility is actually a stress-reliever? :P).
As for me, I am doing well. I feel like I am starting my mission over, with all the rollercoaster emotions I experienced while being trained. I guess that is what all the talk about "12 weeks" is about. I really don't feel trunky at all (though I guess I don't know what that feels like to be able to judge). I just feel like I have always felt as a missionary. I am just me, doing missionary work. :) It is a lot easier now, of course, and I can recognize the Spirit working through me and utilizing and amplifying my gifts and talents, but I still feel like myself. Just a new and improved version. :) Little things are starting to get to me though, and as much as I wish I could pause time, I am realizing that it keeps moving forward and my deadline as a full-time missionary is inevitable. They started announcing the Women's Broadcast and General Conference in church yesterday (it is delayed a week for us here, so thank you for no spoilers!), and I got super excited until I remembered that I used to talk about how General Conference would be the month before my release. I am honestly excited for continuing to do missionary work in our home branch, but it is just really intimidating that it is so soon, and every week goes faster and faster. :/ I feel like I still have so much to learn and do before I am ready to attempt all this without a name tag (all the cliches I have heard my whole mission are seeming way more rational to me now). More than anything, I am grateful that, through it all, I feel the calming presence of the Spirit wash over me ever time I start to stress and I am reminded that the Lord is in control. He has a plan, and He is in charge of this work. I am just one small part, and when I am gone (or if I am transferred next week) and don't get to see the harvest of the seeds we are planting and nurturing now, all that really matters is that in the time I was here I gave my all and did my best. :) Another wonderful sister, who has been called and set apart by the same authority I was, will be here to make sure the work keeps going. I just need to exercise my faith and trust in the Lord.
In other exciting news: I got to go to Immigration last week to be fingerprinted, because I guess there was a problem with the visa renewal. No worries though, there are like 50+ of us in the mission that had to go over a period of 3 or 4 days. It's all good now, and I WILL be allowed to leave the country to come home daw. ;) We saw a lot of interesting people at the Immigration place though, and I got to talk to a really cute Filipina who is moving to San Diego to live with her American husband. :)
I am super short on time now (SORRY THIS WEEK ISN'T VERY IMFORMATIVE), so I just want to leave with one thought, from the chorus of "I am a child of god":
Last night, we were walking to a last appointment and of course there are no street lights so Sister Faka'osi was using the flashlight on our phone to light the path. I was walking in front, and quickly realized that it was actually making things worse because, with the light behind me, my shadow was making it even harder to see where I was walking. Suddenly, the chorus of hymn 301 came into my mind, "lead me, guide me, WALK BESIDE ME, help me find the way." I realized that that is exactly how it is with our mortal journey and our Heavenly Help. We must allow Him to lead us. If we try to go ahead ("run faster than [we have] strength") or do things our own way, His Light won't be there to guide us and we will end up having a harder time of things. But if we just put Him first, we can follow Him and be led safely to where we need to go. :)
That is all for now. Sorry again for the lack of content. More next week, promise! I love you all and hope you have a great week!! You are in my prayers!!
Sister Emma Franks