Monday, October 27, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - October 26, 2014 (Tinawag ng Diyos)

Happy Pre-Halloween week to you all! :) (Haha I actually remembered this year!) I'm not sure how I feel about Halloween anymore after being here in the Philippines where Day of the Dead is such a widely celebrated and strange event. But anyhow, at least by this weekend there will be lots of sales on Halloween candy! Treat yourself to some chocolate! :) American chocolate is way better than you think!
This week has been an interesting one, and I have been really inspired. Last week, after our Preparation Day, Sister Panugaling and I were a little lost about what to do for our two hours of proselyting. Our schedule has changed so that we come home at 7PM every night, to avoid being out of the apartment at night where danger may come across our path. Our appointment that we had planned in the afternoon got cancelled though, so when 7PM hit and it was time to go teach, we were unsure where in our area we could work that would be safe. We said a prayer for inspiration, then decided just to go walk around a part of our area we hadn't explored much, and see if we could find any random people to talk to. We went to the Plaza ("downtown" Magsaysay) and were surprised to see it was completely abandoned, though at least well-lit. I thought that would be a prime hang-out spot for socializing, but it turns out the night life in Magsaysay is pretty non-existent. So we kept walking.
We walked until the end of the street lights. Along the way, we smiled and greeted people. One man, with a freshly lit cigarette, said "Good evening" as we passed, and the spirit told me, "talk to him!" Still not the best or most courageous when it comes to acting on promptings like that, I just promised myself I would talk to him on the way back. The end of the lights wasn't far, so we turned back when we got there and I told Sister Panugaling as we walked back, "Let's talk to that guy. I really want to OYM him." He happened to have a stand and was selling fried chicken, so we went over and greeted him and asked him if he knew where the road went to (the part beyond the street lights) and explained that we are new to the area so we are trying to figure out where things are. He was super nice and invited us to sit on the little bench in his tent/stand. So we sat, while he cooked some chicken for us (conveniently, we also love to eat). We were able to get to know him and shortly afterward met his wife and oldest son who were running the stand as well. We talked to them for a little while and explained who we are as missionaries and they agreed we could visit them sometime. It was a huge testimony-builder to me that the Lord really does have a plan, even when OUR plan completely falls through. Also, I can see how the Lord really does answer our prayers, since we have been looking for potential priesthood holders to help establish the branch in Magsaysay.
That is another thing I have been realizing this week serving in Magsaysay: how important the Priesthood really is, and how there really is nothing that we can do without Priesthood holders in our lives. Especially us sisters (women). We do not have authority, nor will be able to receive it, to administer the Sacrament, baptize, confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, or administer any of the necessary saving ordinances.  I thought to myself: what would I do if there was no one to bless and administer the Sacrament? Even just missing one week for General Conference, I missed partaking of the Sacrament. It's like there is a very tangible spiritual lack or hunger that nothing else can mend--not even prayer or scripture reading. My soul yearns for repentance to be made complete and covenants to be renewed through the Sacrament. I can't imagine ever choosing not to go to church and receive that blessing. I just hope every man who holds the Priesthood realizes how important they are in the Lord's plan, and how much other of the Lord's children rely on them to magnify that calling which they hold. We had just 5 priesthood holders from our branch come to church on Sunday. Our branch president presided, his two counselors blessed the Sacrament, and the branch clerk and the elder's quorum president passed it. It was a beautiful and heartbreaking thing for me to witness. Beautiful, because even way out here in the middle of farmland where most families are just struggling to feed their families and get their kids an education (if possible), they are still able to receive the blessings and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heartbreaking, though, because of the hundreds or thousands of people within the boundaries of Magsaysay branch, only about 60 of them were able to partake of those blessings of the Atonement.
This morning in our district meeting we talked about having the vision to baptize. Elder Gonzaga (a sweet young missionary from Iloilo and a new district leader this transfer) shared a message from Lawrence E. Corbridge about why we baptize. We baptize not to add people to the Church, we don't even baptize just to get people the "pre-reqs" to allow them to enter the Celestial Kingdom. We baptize in order to help people experience what Christ Himself referred to as being "born of water and of the Spirit", receiving a remission of their sins through baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is only possible through proper Priesthood authority, and is the only way that we (or our friends, family, and acquaintances) can receive relief from the feelings of shame, guilt, sorrow, and remorse that comes into our lives from sin. Having faith in Jesus Christ is not enough. Feeling bad, and praying for forgiveness is not enough. Even confessing to another is not enough. For the Atonement to be applied fully in our lives, we must follow the Savior's command and invitation to be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, by one who holds the authority to act in Christ's name and perform such a sacred ordinance. Furthermore, even baptism is not enough without the blessing of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which leads and guides us in all that we do and is the source of all feelings of peace and joy and happiness and purpose in our lives. It is the single greatest gift available to us in this life.
We talked about how those who choose not to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ don't reject it because they are self-hating and want to be sad and miss out on these blessings. Those who turn down the opportunity to partake of these blessings turn it down because they do not understand what they are missing out on. They don't understand the blessings of the Gospel, the infinitely greater reward that comes from a small sacrifice. They don't understand (according to Elder Corbridge) because we don't teach them. That is why missionary work is important, and that is why we must learn to teach the Gospel the way Christ would/did. It is not a list of DOs and DON'Ts, but rather an invitation to "come unto [Christ]", to "return unto [him], and repent of [our] sins, and be converted, that [He] may heal [us]" (see 3 Nephi 9:13-14). :)

This week has reignited my passion for missionary work and my drive to help everyone be baptized. I am so excited for everyone in this zone and this mission who still has a long time ahead of them in the mission. I feel like a new missionary, in that I am so eager to go out and work hard and apply everything I am learning and realizing, yet I keep being reminded that my time left is very short. It's awful, actually. I still feel like I have so much to do and become as a missionary before I can go home, and I am scared that I might not be able to accomplish it all. I know that negative thinking is not allowed, though :) so I just keep pushing out those thoughts every time they come and remind myself that the planting of seeds is just as important as anything else. Especially when we think about the parable of the sower and what happened to the 4 groups of seeds (the same kind of seed) and what happened to them based on their experience being planted.

So yeah. That is basically it for this week. Only twice this week have I been mistaken for a Filipina, and only once had a man try to convince me that I am actually Fil-Am. Haha it is kind of a comfort to realize there really are people so not racist that my whiteness and blond hair mean nothing to them. ;) Much better than being in the mainland where everywhere you go people shout English phrases at you. #ilovemindoro
I'm out of time for now. I hope you all have a wonderful week! You are in my prayers! Stay safe and have fun and share the Gospel (with words, if necessary). :D
Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - October 19, 2014 (Ang galing talaga ng Panginoon)

Kumusta kayo?!

Given that I am writing this from the province, it should probably be 100% Tagalog, like everything else here. But since I want you to actually get something from my experiences this week, I'll attempt to English you--just don't judge me if my grammar gets a little sloppy. ;) 

Our first week in Magsaysay was definitely interesting, to say the least! After doing our shopping and whatever here in San Jose (the "city", if you can call it that). Elder and Sister Barlow drove us out to Magsaysay and we got to see our new home for the first time! Now, let me preface this by saying I have never whitewashed an elders area before, nor visited any elders apartments, so I was not quite prepared for the house when we got there. It actually is a nice house (it used to be the meetinghouse before they got a chapel in Magsaysay)--one story, 3 bedrooms, a fairly big kitchen and "living room" (which is where Sister Panugaling's and my study desks are). And we have a front and back porch area! There are windows everywhere so we hardly ever use lights during the day because it is super bright. The house itself is really not bad at all, and the elders who went before us were super sweet and (with the help of Sister Barlow and a couple of the San Jose sisters) cleaned up as much as they could for us. We still had to clean again before we felt comfortable unpacking or sleeping there, but I quickly realized how blessed we are to be assigned in Magsaysay. Especially because our cleaning was interrupted almost immediately by our district president dropping by to introduce himself and welcome us, followed a little later by 3 of the cutest and funniest Nanays stopping by to meet and chat with us as well. :) I am sure having Sisters instead of Elders is a hard adjustment for them as well, but they are all so nice and welcoming and helpful to us! We are SO LUCKY to be in Magsaysay!! 

Tuesday, we got to venture out of the house to meet our new branch president (just two weeks into his new calling) and his first counselor. We were able to figure out a little bit what the boundaries of our area are supposed to be, and basically just digested how much we need to do. We spent the rest of the day with Nanay Baiza (the cutest and coolest old woman ever), visiting less actives in the other sisters area. It was a fun day, though a little scattered teaching in a 4-some with no plans, and cool to get to know the members a little better.

Wednesday, we finally got to work in our area! Our area is what is known as "Boundary" (as in, the boundary between Magsaysay and San Jose), or in other words, hardcore province/farmland. Like legit rice farms. It is BEAUTIFUL!! More on that later though (Friday). Wednesday, we walked to Boundary, using the impressively helpful hand-drawn map that the elders left us, met Nanay Roja, and toured the "neighborhood" there and got to meet some members and teach a solid YM recent convert. And we got a ride home from the branch president! :) 

Thursday, we explored our area a little more, tried to find a map of magsaysay to figure out where our area actually is (turns out those don't really exist at all, even on the internet, hence there being no information), taught some investigators (finally!) and then Sister Panugaling got stolen by the Barlows to come to San Jose and be Sister Delasan's temporary companion (Sister Kahui had to go to Manila to get fingerprinted to renew her visa) and I was left in a threesome with Sister Alailima and Sister Panis. 

Friday, our personal study was interrupted by Nanay Roja showing up at our house (mind you, she walked about 2 miles just to get to our house from hers) to take us to visit another part of our area we've never been to. After awkwardly consulting with the other sisters, we decided instead of making her sit outside for an hour, we would just go work first and do companion study later. Turns out, we really were not prepared for what the day had in store for us. 
Firstly, we walked at least 5+ miles, in the midday heat, without any water or lunch. Our poor little city-accustomed bodies were dying by the time we got home at 3pm. But it was an experience of experiences. Our area out there is SO INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL. Like, I honestly don't even have words to describe it. Sister Alailima and I just kept marveling. If you asked me, all I can say is I couldn't get over the fact that there were sights that beautiful and perfect in existence. I just kept trying to soak it in, wishing I could take a picture of every single sight. Sister Alailima sang "For the beauty of [Mindoro]!" and I thought about how amazingly talented and perfect our Creator truly is to construct such breathtaking beauty that is often overlooked or taken for granted. 
Despite sucking ALL my energy (I was so glad not to have to walk anymore by the end because I really didn't think I would make it), and being SUPER sunburnt when we got back, it was so worth it! I'm excited to go back and work there for real with Sister Panugaling. The less-active members there have so much potential. Especially the Priesthood holders, which is what we (Magsaysay) really needs right now. 

Saturday, not much to say. I woke up with a fever and just slept most of the morning. We went to our branch activity in the evening, which was a success. Heavenly Father is truly amazing to give me the strength to be able to go and fulfill our part in the activity. I was made very aware how much I rely upon Him for strength though, when just as soon as the activity ended, my fever hit again and I didn't think I would be able to endure it. I went straight to bed when we got home and miraculously was able to sleep.

Sunday, I got my companion back!!!! We had just said our prayer before leaving to go to church when we hear the Barlows pull up and Sister Panugaling was back! :) Elder Barlow gave me a priesthood blessing (even though he didn't have any consecrated oil), and we headed off to church! 
Church in Magsaysay was the most unique experience I have ever had. The fact that we lost power partway through the first hour (they have Sunday School first, then auxilaries, then sacrament last), was actually the least strange. The low attendance was also something I had been warned about. The thing that struck me the most was just how uncertain the members seemed to be--even the leaders. As I sat in Relief Society, trying to combat my own pride and "this is how things should be" feelings, I tried to see and listen to these sisters as the Savior would. It was amazing, and my heart was really touched as I realized how each of us has our own trials and struggles, and this branch is doing all it can with what it has. There may not be that many active members, and they may not have any role models to look to really, in terms of what it means to really be firmly rooted in the Gospel, but they have faith and a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, and they are doing their best to live the commandments and serve faithfully in the Church. My love for the members grew even deeper, and I realized how much trust has been placed in us sisters to be assigned here in this branch. As Sister Panugaling and I did our planning yesterday and set goals, that seemed to be the prevalent theme. We just really want to help this branch. It may take a LOT from us--super obedience, super faith, super diligence--but we will do whatever we possibly can to help them. 

I've been thinking this week about how blessed I am that this is where the Lord has placed me right now. When we drove out there for the first time last week, Sister Panis, Sister Panugaling and I all said "I feel like I am home!" (we are all from province areas). Every day as we walk around the small town of Magsaysay (picture a small town in the middle of Wyoming, but green with lots of tropical plants, and that is pretty much Magsaysay), I just think about how happy I am, and how small town life is so simple and so appealing to me now. Haha I used to think I wanted to live in a city, but I think not any more. I would be so happy to just live in Magsaysay forever. :) But maybe an American version will have to suffice. At any rate, I think this is the Lord's way of reminding me of my roots and lessening the culture shock of coming home. I can't even explain it, but I just feel like I am seeing insights into His wisdom more and more every day. God is so good!!

Also, Gladys is wonderful and sent me pictures from R.J.'s baptism on Saturday.
I nearly cried when I say them. :) I seriously love this family so so much. First step down, next step: prepare to enter the temple and be sealed as a family for eternity. THE LORD'S PLAN IS SO PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL!!!! 
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Other random notes about life in Magsaysay:
1) I have eaten more fish (that I actually enjoyed) and veggies in the last week than my whole mission, I think. They say missionaries get thin on Mindoro, but I am pretty sure that is a lie. Especially not living with two Filipinas who love to cook. :P
2) Whitewashing is definitely a test of your missionary skills. EVERYTHING is suddenly the most important thing: finding, teaching, planning, inviting to baptism, working with members, everything. More than anything I feel like it is a test of faith and our ability to discern revelation from the spirit in all that we do. Definitely a cool experience. :) 
3) Sister Panugaling is a great companion! She is so cute and energetic and loves being here in the province. She is diligent and obedient and most of the time a better missionary than me, I think. Just another blessing I can count in my free time. 

Wow, this is super long already. I guess I will close this now, since I can't think of anything else to share at the moment. I just have to say how grateful I am for this Gospel and all the blessings that it has brought into my life. I was pondering to myself earlier what exactly are the blessings that the Gospel has brought to my life that nothing else could have and it really made me appreciate what a beautiful blessing it is. We have access to so many gifts and so much power, real Priesthood power, the power of God, and through that, we are guided by continuing revelation. We have scripture both ancient and modern, as well as the gift of the Holy Ghost, to guide us in our daily decisions and give us the confidence necessary to obey and trust in the Lord's commandments and His plan for us. We have the opportunity to gain a personal witness for ourselves of the truthfulness of the Gospel as we live it and pray about it. That personal witness is the source from which we can draw strength to withstand the temptations of the world and hold fast to what we know to be right and true. The peace and happiness that this knowledge brings is unique, priceless, unlimited, and everlasting. We are so, so blessed. :) 

I pray you all have a wonderful week, and take a moment to count to yourself the blessings that the Gospel has brought into YOUR life. I love and miss you and pray for you always! Stay safe, and good luck in your adventures this week!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - October 12, 2014

Today is the first day of the first week of the best transfer ever!! :)

We just got to Mindoro this morning (there were no flights on Friday for some reason, which I will get back to later), and still haven't gotten to our new home yet. We woke up at 2:30AM, got to the airport at 4AM for our 6AM flight (had to wait on the elders a little bit but it's all good!) and then went straight to our district meeting (after a quick bi-district breakfast at Jollibee--the one food chain restaurant here on "the rock"). It has already been the best day though! :) I got to meet a woman on the plane who is from here in San Jose (didn't get to talk to her as much as I had hoped because she was sleeping, or at least had her eyes closed, most of the flight...but at least I got to give her a pass-along card), and we had an awesome district meeting. Elder Horsley, one of the senior couple missionaries, shared a thought/lesson about the power of testimonies and witnesses, and President Barlow (a counselor in the mission presidency/senior couple missionary here in San Jose) talked about our vision for helping Mindoro become a stake and what needs to happen to accomplish it. We definitely have our work cut out for us, but I am so excited!! More and more, I am realizing the immensity of the task and trust that has been given to us sisters in Magsaysay.
I don't have any experience to report yet, so I will just share what I've been told: 
-Magsaysay has never had sisters before.
-Magsaysay is the second largest branch in the mission (membership-wise), with the lowest sacrament attendance. 
-In the past, the elders are the ones who have blessed the sacrament every week, because their priesthood holder attendance is so low. 
-Magsaysay is SO EXCITED to have sisters! They are the ones who requested it, and they have already started making maps and things to help us get to work right away. :) 
Sister Panugaling, Sister Alailima, Sister Panis, and I are SO PUMPED to get to work here and take part in the miracles the Lord is preparing for this wonderful branch and district!! :D 
It is not only a groundbreaking occurrence that we get to be the first sisters in Magsaysay, but President Revillo made it very clear to Sister Alailima and I while we were waiting in the mission office last night that his main concern here is helping to build the priesthood foundation in the branch here, and that is to be our focus. We are to build and sustain and support the new branch president, nurture the less-active families, and bring back those who were once strong but have faltered a bit. It's been made clear that as we focus on building up the members, the investigators will come with it. 
It is beyond my power of expression to tell you how grateful I am that the Lord has blessed me with such an inspiring task for my last transfer. We haven't even seen our new house, but I can already tell you I am going to hate the day I have to leave Mindoro. Heavenly Father is SO SO good!!! 

Now, to rewind a little bit and review my last week in Antipolo. I got to be in a threesome with Sister Faka'osi and her new companion, Sister Lopez, for the week. It was fun, and I already love Sister Lopez! But it was also an interesting challenge. Firstly, because I am no longer an STL, but I was in a companionship with 2 of them. It was a hard adjustment, because even though in my head I knew I was released, I still felt the same. So when Thursday came around and we knew I wouldn't be leaving on Friday, we had to figure out what I would do while my companions were in MLC. We asked if I could come with them (just to listen in! haha I can just sit quietly, promise!), but was informed I would need to stay with our kabahays. Thursday night was pretty tough, honestly. That is when it really hit me that, whether I was ready or not, my time as an STL was over. I just felt super in limbo, because I wanted so badly to be here in Mindoro, and I just felt like an awkward 3rd-wheel, like I didn't belong there, but that's where I was trapped. Thankfully though, Heavenly Father is wonderful, and our day on Friday (I got to work with Sister Verdeflor and her anak/trainee) was exactly what I needed. It was so fun and productive and a blessing to all of us, I think. I won't share the specifics, but I will just let it suffice to say that the spirit confirmed to me that there was a reason I was supposed to stay home and work with them that day instead of tagging along to MLC and spending the day hanging out at the mission home. :)
Saturday and Sunday were General Conference, which of course was wonderful!!! My favorite talks were from 1) Jorg Klebingat (best talk on celestial living I have heard my whole life! I am so inspired! Haha I am listening to it again right now :P) 2) Lynn G. Robbins (again, living what we believe!) 3) David A. Bednar (I wrote a note to myself: "this is exactly why I am on a mission!" he said it so well!) 4) D. Todd Christofferson (tie in with #1 and #2, agency and integrity). It was interesting to see the themes that emerged this conference, but more than anything, I was so grateful to hear our leaders speaking so boldly the truth and how we can and MUST defend it, in a Christlike way! :) I hope you are all as excited as I am to review and apply the counsel we received from our Savior through his appointed servants. 
Sunday morning, Brother R.J. had his baptismal interview! He will be baptized on Saturday, and even though I am sad I will not be there with them (they were pretty heartbroken to find out I was transferred), I feel truly blessed that I was able to be with them through the entire preparation process and there when he passed his interview. I was reminded once again, as Sister Leslie (R.J.'s wife) teared up that he was finally being baptized and how grateful she was for us teaching him, of the warning/prophecy shared with us in the MTC: "You will be somebody's missionary." They both confirmed what we were told, that they will never forget me. I believe it too, because I know that I will never forget them. I feel like they are family, my love for them is so strong. Once again, it is true what they say: Filipinos teach you to love with your whole heart. In ways I don't even understand, I love these people so much! I have no idea what the future holds or what I am going to do with my life, but I just know I will not be content if they do not remain a part of it. Being a missionary, an instrument in the Lord's hands to the blessing of the lives of others, truly is the most incredible blessing I could ever imagine!!! Like really. It amazes me every single day. 

Another cool experience, from my day with Sister Verdeflor and Sister Tapa. During companionship study, they did a short role-play/practice teaching. I took the role of their investigator. My responses felt awkward and I was sure it was a terrible role play for them, but I just said whatever came to mind. I was amazed though, when less than a half hour later, we went to our lesson and they started teaching and the responses of their investigator were almost exactly word-for-word of the response I had given in our role play. It was crazy!! I think that is the first I have really seen how inspired role-playing can be and how the Spirit really can give us insights into the thoughts, feelings, and lives of those we teach. 

Also, how many of you have heard of "Meet the Mormons"? Is it in a theater near you? If you haven't heard or read about it yet, check out 
or you can watch the trailer here:
It looks so good! I am so excited to watch it when I get back! Definitely going to be my first movie when I am released. Which is impressive that it will beat out Frozen. That is how excited I am!! :) Someone please watch it and/or tell me how it was!! 

Amazingly, I am not out of time today, but I am out of things to say. Really everything just comes back to me being really, really excited to be here in Mindoro. I already love it, and am so happy. :) I am excited to be able to send you more specifics next week. 

I love you all!! I hope you have a great week and remember to pray for opportunities to share with others the great joy that we have access to and experience as members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!! We have tasted of the most delicious and desirable fruit, and we cannot keep it to ourselves. This gospel is designed for the whole world to be blessed! I know with my whole heart and soul that it is true. :) The Lord has a work and a plan for each and every single one of us. Kaya natin 'to! ("We can do this!") :D

Have fun! Work hard! Enjoy our week and try not to get trunky. ;) I love you and miss you and pray for you daily. 

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - October 6, 2014 (In my father's footsteps/RM.T.C.)

Happy Tuesday!!

We have wonderful Zone Leaders here in Antipolo, and were blessed to be called last night and informed of the transfer announcements (instead of this morning). My beautiful companion, Sister Faka'osi, will be training a new STL here in Antipolo, and our precious ("most adorable Asian") kabahay, Sister Verdeflor, will be training a new missionary! Sister Tipasa is going to Pateros, and I will be whitewashing an elders MINDORO!! 
Haha remember how I said how happy I was that I got to visit Mindoro as an STL instead of being assigned there? That one week was enough for me? Well, let's just say that I am so glad that the Lord is in charge of this work, and not us humans. I never expected, and never would have asked, to be assigned in Mindoro, let alone as my last area, my last transfer. Honestly, I kind of freaked out last night when Elder Crowther told me ("WHY???" "I don't want to die in Mindoro!!"), but then I kept realizing more and more reasons why it is perfect for me, and I felt the Spirit confirm that this is the right place for me right now. Actually, every area I have served in my whole mission, and the time I served there, was perfect for me. I truly feel so blessed. And I know that this will be no different. Of course, it probably won't be easy (I've never white washed before, let alone in an elders area), but the Spirit has confirmed that it is exactly the preparation I need before I finish this mission. And there are a whole lot of blessings that come along with it. For example, I get to be companions with Sister Panugaling (Sister Doucette's anak)! I have been missing having a Filipina companion, and I am excited to get to work with her. I know we will be able to get a lot done and have a great and productive 6 weeks in Magsaysay (another of my Tatay's old areas, I'm pretty sure)! :) 
But rather than previewing all the greatness of Mindoro, I'll save that for next week. Because there are so many great things that have happened THIS WEEK here in Antipolo! 

1) We had a super fun district meeting last week about Christlike attributes. We were each assigned one attribute and given about 10 minutes to prepare a talk/presentation on why our attribute was the best or most important. Then, of course, we each got to present ours. It was super fun! And I definitely learned/realized a lot about my assigned attribute, Faith in Jesus Christ, and why it is the greatest. ;) But on thing that came to me after the meeting as I was reflecting on what all my fellow missionaries had shared about their attributes, I thought about what Mormon claims in Moroni 7:46, that we must "cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all." I had just studied all about why faith is the basis of everything, the first principle of the Gospel, and necessary for and a springboard for all the other attributes listed in PMG. It struck me after, as I was pondering this, that faith is an attribute of redemption. We CANNOT be saved without it. It is necessary for repentance and baptism. Faith is what allows us to escape what Alma calls the "bands of death, and the chains of hell." Charity, however, is an attribute of perfection. We cannot be EXALTED in our Heavenly Father's kingdom, if we have not been cleansed through the blood of the Lamb and received His pure love into our hearts. As President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, "The man who does only those things in the Church which concern himself alone will never reach exaltation." We must develop charity if we are to become like our Savior and live worthy of the promises of the Celestial Glory we hope to attain. 

2) I got to have exchanges with 2 sisters from my batch this week: Sister Hivapea'ulu and Sister Sanders. SO FUN!!! :D I can't really say anything else, just that it was such a blessing to work with them, and especially to have Sister Sanders (a former STL) be my last exchange as an STL. Just reminded me all over again how much I love being a missionary and serving and teaching others. :) 

3) Just a quick overview of the progress of an AWESOME member referral: Rene and Edna, husband and wife with 4 young daughters. We've only taught them 4 times so far. The first was really just an intro to Sister Edna. The second, Sister Faka'osi and Sister Tipasa taught both of them and introduced the message of the Restoration and the role of prophets and revelation. Next, we followed up if they had read the pamphlet (Rene read a little, Edna not at all), and taught about Christ's earthly ministry, using both the bible and the Book of Mormon. It was a lesson unlike any I had ever taught, but scriptures just kept being brought to mind (so I used them) and at the end, Brother Rene was very curious about the Book of Mormon. When he found out he could learn more about it in the pamphlet we had left before, he committed to read it. We came back and discovered he had read the whole thing! And even tried to answer the questions at the back, but was confused, daw, by the verses he read in the bible. We shared about the apostasy (loss of truth and authority) that occurred after the death of Christ and His apostles, the Restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon as evidence of this incredible occurrence. :) We left with them a Book of Mormon (which he was shy to accept at first, but excited to read) and when we stopped by the next day to invited Edna to come to the General Women's Broadcast with us, we found him already reading it! This week, I want to testify to the power of the scriptures and using them in teaching. Especially using the Bible and the Book of Mormon together. They truly do support and expound upon one another. We have been blessed with many sources for reading the words of our Lord, we should take advantage of ALL of them! :)

4) Sister Faka'osi and I got to give the workshop in our district meeting yesterday. For our whole zone, actually, because Elder Phelps got Emergency Transferred on Friday so the elders were a 3-some and couldn't split for district meeting. It was really fun. It was cool to see how everything came together, too. I went from having NO idea on Friday night what to talk about, to having a complete workshop flow together (as if organizing itself) by my personal study on Saturday morning. It truly is incredible to see how the Lord sends revelation through the Holy Ghost so simply and perfectly, according to the needs of His children. 

I am out of time now (at least next transfer I won't have any reports to send to I'll have more time to email again :P). I just want to close by testifying once again of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and most especially, the blessings of peace, joy, purpose, and security that obedience to its principles brings into our lives. I KNOW that this is the FULLNESS of the gospel of Jesus Christ and no other worldly substitute can compare to the joy it brings into our lives. :) I hope you all have a great week!!! I love you so much!! I pray for you always! Stay strong, keep the faith, share the Gospel! <3

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks