Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - November 10, 2014 ("Don't scare an 'old' missionary. They might die!")

They say that you have to "lock your heart" on your mission, because it is bawal to develop feelings or have romantic relationships while serving as a full-time representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Confession: I tried to lock my heart. But honestly, I have fallen in love over and over again with the people of the Philippines. They are some of the kindest, sweetest, most humble, most loving, most genuine, most hardworking, most faithful, most loyal, most talented, most energetic, most fun-loving, most loveable people in the whole world. For sure the most amazing people that I have met. They say that you love those you serve, and I can testify that is true. I love these people, both the members, non-members, and my fellow missionaries. 

This will be a short email, because 1) we are short on time, since we had a zone activity earlier and got back late to San Jose and 2) I fly home next week, so I can provide even more stories (with lots of unnecessary details, as you may recall if you are familiar with my poor story-telling skills) when I see you in person, or at least have more free time for writing. 

Highlights from this week: the power of Key Indicators (KI). 
As a missionary, there are certain "key indicators," or certain numbers that we report to our leaders every week, such as how many people were baptized, how many lessons of a given type were taught, how many referrals we received or were able to contact, etc. These KIs help measure the progress of those we are teaching and how effective we are as missionaries in fulfulling our purpose to help others come unto Christ. Occasionally, mission leaders will create KIs in addition to those required by church headquarters, to help us create an even more specific focus in our work. Last week, our zone leaders instituted a new KI (an idea of the wonderful Elder Hart, who was here last transfer), which they called RNAF, or "Referrals Not Asked For," since we are encouraged as missionaries to ask EVERYONE whom they know who could benefit from hearing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For each lesson, therefore, in which we don't give others the chance to suggest friends or family who need to hear the Gospel, we must report one RNAF. As a numbers person (not overly competitive or anything, just conditioned as a missionary to focus on KIs), this helped me tremendously in seeking to overcome my biggest weakness as a missionary (asking referrals). Suddenly, I found myself remembering to ask in every lesson! We started implementing it on Tuesday (we got zero RNAF the whole day!), and were surprised at how willingly one of our investigators invited us to visit her daughter-in-law. The next day, we were able to contact her (Cheryl), had a great lesson, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized if she gets an answer that it is true! She also gave us 2 more referrals!! 
It was amazing to me to see how easy it is to ask people who they know that might want to receive the same blessing they are receiving by having the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared with them. In a way, it is almost easier to get investigators to invite friends than members, because for some reason we as members are so scared that our invitation might not be accepted. To investigators, all they know is that they enjoy what they feel when they are taught, and there is no harm in seeing if their friends or neighbors are interested as well. To them, if their friend or neighbor says no, no big deal. Their loss. :) I feel like that is an attitude I want to develop. All that really matters is that I know how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life. Because of it, I have found peace and joy and direction in my life. I have come to know my Savior Jesus Christ more personally, and understand more about myself as a daughter of God. I am happy because I have been blessed to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The teachings of this Church and the guidance of living prophets and apostles have helped me to make good decisions (though of course I am not perfect either) and saved me from a lot of problems and heartache that I know would have been inevitable if I had lived life only according to my own desires, instinct, and/or knowledge. Because I have been blessed by having this Gospel and knowledge in my life, I want to share it with those that I love (and even those I don't know well yet), so they can experience that joy and peace as well. Of course, I respect their decision and won't be upset if they choose not to accept it (like offering someone a bite of delicious red velvet cheesecake), I will only be sad that they won't have the experience I am having. 
But that is the beauty of our Heavenly Father's plan for us!! We have each been given the opportunity to choose and act for ourselves. "To act...and not to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26). Even the Lord, who knows what is best for us, will not force His will upon us. We get to choose it.
Haha sometimes that principle of agency is really intimidating to me though. As Elder Holland (I think?) once stated, we shouldn't just consider which choices we want. We should consider and choose from the consequences of each choice. 

I also got to go back to the mainland on Friday and Saturday, to be fingerprinted and x-rayed so I can leave the Philippines with a clean slate (approved visa and papers saying I can come home). Consequently, I got to work in Cubao on Saturday (in the city) with Sister Quiban and my old companion, Sister McCarthy. It was a fun day, and I was reminded once again how much fun missionary work is, and how much joy it brings, no matter where you work or are assigned. The Lord is preparing people EVERYWHERE to hear the message of His Gospel. :) 
Speaking of which, I found a cool scripture in my reading last week:
 D&C 35:12 "And there are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth unto this generation." Basically, there are people all over the place who are ready to hear this Gospel, we just need to go find them!! :D 

So let's go find! Invite everyone to partake of this deliciousness. To feel of this peace. To rejoice in this truth. :) We are SO BLESSED. Never, ever forget that. 

That is all for now. Sorry this wasn't a more exciting last email. Let's just say I don't feel like I am done yet. I'll have plenty more to share next week, just give me a few extra days to get it all together. ;) 

I hope you have a great week!! I love and miss you and pray for you!! Don't get too trunky. ;) Finish strong!! 

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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