Sunday, August 11, 2013

Till I die, I will not remove mine integrity


Siempre, I love and miss you all like crazy. It has been another great week. This transfer is absolutely flying!

Here of some highlights of our week:
- Trying to be exactly obedient Sister Walker and I went tracking among the middle class. After being rejected over and over again we were walking down a random street trying to decided where to try next when I saw this women through some bushes, behind her gate just smiling at us. I decided to go over to her and ask if we could ask her a question and just got talking with her. She got all excited and just took us across the street to her friends house to share with her and her daughter. It didn't end up being a very effective lesson but they were all so nice just SUPER talkative. As we were on our way out she said she wanted to take us to her daughters house so we decided to go with her, meet her and maybe set a return appointment. Well we got there and the sister we found had been SO prepared by the Lord. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly in a lesson or been so guided. The gift of tongues is so real! I don't know what will happen as we go back and teach her but I am grateful Heavenly Father's hand in our work that whole day and that even if we just planted a seed we got to be a part of it.
- This week was stake conference so our church attendance was WAY down because the stake center is pretty far. But the Pramoso family came and they are SO excited to prepare for the temple. Also, Maricel Pedral who I told you about last week came despite having every reason not to--- no money and difficulty walking--- AND her less-active mom, Merly, came. She is the sassiest lady who I love so much and I completely freaked out when I saw her walk in. She has been teasing us for 3 months that someday she would surprise us and come to church, unwilling to actually commit to come. Heavenly Father is so amazing! And they were both able to meet the bishop and had a great experience. 
- Also, I ate dugo (blood) this week......luckily it was at the Pramoso's house so they weren't offended at all if I just had a tiny bit. They just prepare it with vegetables and of course eat it with rice. It actually was good you just have to get over the fact that its blood and most likely horrible for you health. Don't worry I only had like two bites so I should be fine right? Haha hopefully I don't come home a mutant. This week I'm planning on finally eating balut....I'll let you know how that goes.
- So you know how in America if you are sitting next to someone and pat them on the leg it means like "Good job." or "I love you." So, I was sitting next to Sister Plame, she is a Filipina, on the jeepney and I just patted her on the leg... well, she turned to me with the craziest look and her fits up like ready to fight me. Haha she did not understand the gesture and I'm not sure what she thought was going on but we got a good laugh out of it after I explained it to her.

Well this work is amazing and there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I still get homesick and frustrated with the language sometimes but nothing compares to the feeling that comes when you see those you are teaching coming closer to Christ. It makes it all worth it. I just feel so humbled by all that God is able to accomplish in this work despite all of our weaknesses and imperfections. I was studying about hope this past week and found Job 27:5-6 that reads, "5 ...till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as live." I am just so inspired by the conviction of Job that despite every trial he faced he knew that above all he had his integrity, righteousness and knowledge of his Savior. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the same knowledge Job had and that I get to share it in the Philippines. I just hope that I remember and live all that I preach and testify of daily. I want to always remember my Savior and covenants, repent and progress daily and maintain a "perfect brightness of hope" that can only come through Him.

MAHAL KO KAYO!!!!!!!!!!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

1- This is our friend 'taba (fat). He lives in our house (actually I think he is more likethey. I'm pretty sure there are at least 3 of them). We have tried getting rid of them but they always come back.
2- 'Taba
3- These are my new kabahay. Sister Criste (far left) is now training Sister Plame (far right). They are great and I just feel like a giant 24/7 :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Hello Family!!!

Oh my goodness I love and miss you all so much. I have so much to tell you about that I don't even know where to begin, but here it goes...

First, we had a baptism this week. It was SO special and it will be a day I will always treasure. It was perfect, but what was perfect about it was that it wasn't perfect. Kirsten was late to the baptism (that was stressful) and the program was pretty disorganized but the moment she entered the water I was so overwhelmed with how perfect this gospel is. I was totally overcome by the fact that the very ordinance being performed was the one our Savior, Jesus Christ was baptized through, the very same one! I am so excited for Kirsten and the change and progress that has come over her as she comes unto Christ as well as her less-active step-sister Mika who has changed and progressed along side her (she now comes to church every Sunday and is now enrolled in seminary!!). One thing that ended up being pretty funny...the elder preforming the baptism I guess got a little overeager or something and Kirsten didn't fully plug her nose so she came up coughing and gasping haha but she was still all smiles and it was a great day!!

Second, transfers... dun dun dun... I am staying in Deparo and my new companion will be Sister Walker!! The crazy thing is Sister Walker was trained by Alexis Bird :) so fun! I am so excited! I have already had the chance to work with her before because she was a sister training leader and we had exchanges. She is amazing and I know I have a lot to learn from her. Also this will be her last transfer before she goes home! While I am so excited for the changes my heart totally breaks at the thought of leaving Sister Yagemai. That sister is seriously SO special and I love her SO much. I can't express to her, my Heavenly Father or anyone else how much she and the time I got to spend with her means to me. She is now opening a new area and follow-up training a sister from my batch from Pakistan who doesn't know English or Tagalog yet. So she has some challenges ahead of her but she most definitely up to the task!! She asked me to say hi to the fam also :)

I'm just so grateful for a Heavenly Father who has such a perfect and beautiful plan for ALL of us. I'm so grateful for the 18 months He has given me to be a missionary. I am quickly starting to see why so many RMs tell me to enjoy the time you have because it flies! I know this church is true with all of my heart. I love the Philippines. I love these people. I love Tagalog and I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also so grateful for all my friends and family who are faithfully serving, recently got home or served in the past. You are all such great examples to me!

I love you all so much!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

P.S. Mom you asked about the language. It really is going great. Of course, its a slow process but its finally speeding up :) Sister Yagemai and I made this whole deal thing and part of it was me speaking Tagalog at all times outside of our apartment. So I was talking to her about something I don't even remember what and said brokenhearted because I had no idea how to say it in Tagalog and she made me try and translate it the best I could so I could keep my end of the deal. So I sat there and thought for a minute and then blurted out, "Sirang pusa" TRANSLATION: Sira means broken, ng added onto a word links it to the next word, pusa means cat unlike puso which I meant to use that means heart. So I instead said I had a broken cat. She got quite the laugh out of it and so have all the other missionaries and members she has told haha all a part of the learning process :)

 Before her baptism :)



 The best day :)


Crazy People, Dogs and as always lots of Pananampalataya

Madandang tanghali pamilya!!

This has of course been another great week.  I just don't know what I did to have two such incredible companions right in a row--I must have really needed some straightening out:) I am just learning so much Sister Walker and 6 weeks is going way too fast.  This week I have just been filled with so much gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this work--something that Sister Walker is constantly teaching me through her example and by always noticing the tender mercies of the Lord everyday (Sister Bird I have a hunch that comes from having you as a trainer haha).  As I was sitting in the temple yesterday I was just overwhelmed by the love Heavenly Father has for each of us.  His plan is so perfect and beautiful.  I can't relieve al the experiences, answers to prayer and blessings He gives me everyday.  Preach My Gospel (pg. 10-11, A Successful Missionary  says, "You should not become discouraged...discouragement will weaken your faith."  I am learning how true that is.  We have no reason to be discouraged if we are doing our very best.  It goes on to say, "YOu can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the SPirit of this work.  We are so lucky!  When we put our trust and faith in HIm all things are possible (Moroni 7:33/Ether 12:6). 

This week we were punted (meaning we had an appointment and it fell through for one reason or another) A LOT but we both feel that our work has been so much more effective. We are getting punted but that is because we have decided we don't want to take the easy way out and continually go back to the same houses that we know will always let us in. We are trying to grow and strengthen our teaching pool and hopefully find some investigators who are ready and prepared by the Lord. Each time we are punted I just have to laugh a little to myself because it seems like Heavenly Father is trying to keep me humble and remind me that this is HIS work and it is all done in HIS timing.

Sister Walker and I are having a BLAST!! I seriously don't know how I got so lucky. This week we had just finished our personal study when we got a call from President. He was asking for directions to our house because he and Sister Sperry were on their way to have companionship study with us. AHHHHH. That does NOT happen everyday haha good thing we are obedient and all I had to do was comb my hair a bit to look presentable. It ended up being so fun. I love President and Sister Sperry so much and I feel so blessed to serve under them. President told the APs after that he would like us two to be the next APs haha oh gosh! Then a few days later we had district meeting and I mentioned before that the mission office is in our zone. So after district meeting we stopped by the mission office to get something and then President came on over and ate lunch with us at McDonalds haha that definitely does NOT happen everyday haha it was fun to just talk and laugh for a bit with missionaries and see President outside of meetings. 

Funny moment of the week (it's impossible to pick one): Sister Walker and I have been teaching this less-active/part-member family and they have a HUGE husky (which is completely unusual for the Philippines because it is so hot) named Dubi. Well every time we go the dog is crazy and jumps on us and he is so big no one can control him, anyways, this time Dubi was especially hyper. We walked in and he just went crazy and jumped up on me and somehow got his paw stuck in my skirt and as they tried to pull him off my skirt came off with him...embarrassing. Luckily I got it pulled up really quick and there were no men around... tender mercy? haha Well then we finally get inside the house and he follows us in and this time decides to pick on Sister Walker. He just starts chewing on her bum and no one is doing anything about it and I am laughing too hard to help her. Well anyways, eventually we got it all under-control and a lessons was taught :) We have fun. I just have to add one more... We were just walking down the sidewalk on our way to our next appointment when all the sudden a man just comes running towards us holding a paintbursh and starts rambling off to us in English. He was talking about ALL kinds of crazy things and Sister Walker kept misunderstanding him haha at one point he was asking if were single but Sister Walker thought he was asking if we had seen Jesus and started trying to respond to that. Then he started explaining to us what he was painting on these stairs in front of a tindahan (little stores everywhere here that sell snacks) that was not his. It was all about "divine laws" and had random crazy equations. He just kept on talking and we just slowly started walking away. Oh the Philippines!

Well this ended up being a very long email but I love and miss you all crazy! You are always in my prayers. Salamat talaga para sa inyong mabuting halimbawa sa akin. Namimiss ko kayo lahat. Paki-tuloy pagiging astig at steadfast kay Jesucristo. Mahal na mahal ko kayo!

Love always,
Sister Porter

  Just living and loving it with Sister Walker

 We had FHE with one of my very favorite families (the Pramosos) who was less-active and is now preparing to enter the temple!! They let us wash the dishes after dinner which NEVER happens so we were excited... they thought it was hilarious and started taking pictures and filming us because I kept hitting my head on the ceiling.

Baby Anthony he is SO cute and the youngest of the Pramoso family


Best Week Yet

This week goes down as one of my very favorites in the mission so far. It was incredible. I can't even explain to you the difference focusing on charity made in the work. Sister Yagemai and I had a blast and somehow taught more lessons each day then ever before. The language totally flowed. So many people promised to attend church this week and didn't show, which is always the case but this week I REALLY thought they were going to be there. However, this Sunday was still incredible. Our new bishop is amazing and so inspired.  I just feel like the Deparo Ward is getting ready to soar. The members are becoming more involved and the meeting on Sunday are becoming much more reverent. We also had many members attend the Worldwide Leadership Training and hope that they were as inspired by it as we were. I can't wait to see this ward and the wonderful people in it continue to progress. We also got up enough courage to tract among the middle class We were painfully rejected but I have no doubt we'll knock on the right door soon :) We've been challenged to not just teach among the poor because they are easier to find and less intimidating, let me tell you the middle class is totally intimidating--- they have huge gates gates surrounding their huge houses haha.

HAPPY 4th of JULY!! Thinking about it makes me totally homesick. Fireworks, family, hot dogs & burgers, POTATO SALAD & CHIPS, parades and celebrating America BUT I have been thinking about it and how blessed we truly are to live in America. I just can't believe that out of all the places in the world I got to grow up in America WITH a knowledge of the gospel in a happy and safe home. WE ARE SO BLESSED!! One of the things I have realized I take for granted is how much hope we have. We get to dream big! And more often then not those dreams become a reality. Ah, I love America. Put your hand over your heart for me will ya :) but I'm also so excited to be here. I love the Philippines!

Love you all. You inspire me.

Mahal ko kayo!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Sister Yagemai is a braiding wizard and did all of our hair for church :)

 The Camarin Zone bowling for P-day. Do you love our zone t-shirts? That was the first time Sister Criste and I think some of the other Philipino missionaries had ever been bowling and she ended up killing us ha

 Sister Yagemai just being great.

When it rains...IT POURS!

Hello Pamilya Ko!

Hope you are all alive well and loving summer life. You are always in my prayers. This week was as always another great week!

We had another temple tour and I got to see Sister Loo again. So great! And we were just talking about how crazy it was that we were in the exact same situation 6 weeks ago...time flies when you're having fun and working HARD. We got to take Michael and Geroldin. They are both 12 years old, cousins and recent converts. Their grandma Sister Villante came with us as well. She was baptized in the 90s but has recently been inactive. It was great. On the was home crammed in the jeepney everyone was so tired and poor Michael fell asleep so when we slammed on the brakes in traffic he went flying. It was pretty funny but he was super embarrassed :)

Last night right as we said amen to the closing prayer of our last appointment the biggest clap of thunder and brightest flash of lightening I have ever heard/seen went off. It was pretty funny and little old Brother Capule was joking that it was God saying, "Amen". Well as we started walking home it started to rain, I mean REALLY rain. Basically we were walking home in a river and the river was EVERYWHERE. Luckily it never went higher then just above our ankles but its still not like anything I've ever seen before. I flagged down a tricycle for the rest of the way home which was a total adventure. We tried to take one route home but a little boy come running up going crazy and telling us that it was too flooded so we turned around and tried another way and made it home safe and sound. At some points when there was a dip in the road or at the bottom of the hill it felt like we were in a boat more than in a tricycle haha. Everyone just keeps telling me wait for the rainy season and then you'll know what rain is...and I just keep thinking this isn't it? Seems pretty rainy to me :) Fun fact: We always know when its going to rain later on because it will get hot, like super hot, like you might as well just get inside an oven. It great, we don't even need a weatherman. 

But its not just the rain that's pouring down, honestly its the blessings. This work is amazing and it really is rolling forth. I loved the talk in conference- "Catch the Wave". It is frustrating and hard but it is His work and He is in every inch of it. Sometimes it feels like we are facing impossible odds and its easy to get discouraged but I'm learning more and more, over and over again, how incredible it is when we align our will and perspective with His. I love being a missionary! 

I love you all so much!! Mahal na mahal ko kayo! Ingat!

Love always,
Sister Porter

 Michael, Geroldin and their grandma at the Manila Temple

This is Sister Yagemai every morning. Her hair is my favorite! It totally explodes. She wears that face mask every night because it gets so light at like 5 in the morning.

One Month In!!

Hello, hello!

Well I have officially been here for a month. I can't really wrap my mind around it. Time is flying! The most frustrating thing is still not being able to speak the language, but it will come. I can only imagine how fast the time will fly when I am really understanding and speaking Tagalog.

It has been raining lots here, of course. So at home when it rains the worms come out right? Well in the Philippines when it rains the FROGS come out EVERYWHERE. Its the craziest thing. When we are walking home in the dark at night the ground will just be hopping. In the morning there will be squished frogs on the road everywhere...super gross but true.

So this is my third time trying to email because the power keeps going out, pretty much just a normal day here. Last night it went out as we were getting ready for bed for the night and we were just hoping it would come back on so we could have a fan to sleep with and not die of heat. Well then the power came back on so we went to bed happy as a clam. As we were going to sleep we heard something in the room. I thought maybe it was a mouse or something. Then Sister Yagemai's fan kept moving (just because its small and kept slidding backwards on the ground because the motor in it vibrates). Well we were joking that something had made the noise and moved the fan because there are stories among the sisters that our house is haunted. Well I fell fast asleep but Sister Yagemai was totally freaked out and woke me up and asked if we could go sleep in the other sisters room. So we dragged our little matresses and fans in there and went to sleep. It was pretty funny but I really think I did a bad job of telling the story haha but just trust it was funny.

The work is going great. We are keeping VERY busy. Our most exciting thing was a less-active sister who we have been working with since week one to attend church and she finally came this week! It was so exciting. She is so tiny and has bad knees so its hard for her to get there but she was all smiles and the members were so kind to her. I hope she keeps it up :)

We just got done with dinner at the Floyds (the senior missionaries in our mission). It was so wonderful and felt like a little bit of home. We had pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans AND POTATO SALAD AND CHIPS!!! It was the best and I felt like I was right at home at either one of my grandma's houses. Of course I had about 5 servings of potato salad :)

I love you all so much!

Love always,
Sister Porter

I look like a beast in these pictures but what's new here haha 
The other sisters bought us pizza one night and the sauce packet I was trying to open exploded ALL over the room

  The American Feast!!!

 Dinner with the Floyds



Hello Family!!

Wow. Such a good week. I've been humbled, learned SO much and seen so many miracles. The Lord's hand really is in this work. Sorry my letter is a few days late. We had Zone Conference this week and so our P-Day got switched. Speaking of Zone Conference, it was amazing. I now understand why every RM is so crazy about their mission president and I'm positive I have the best of them all. I feel so blessed to serve under President Sperry. He really is so inspired and full of so much love for us and the work. He was an institute teacher before and knows the scriptures inside and out. He is teaching be through example and His workshops what true love and appreciation for the scriptures means. Personal study has become one of my very favorite parts of the day. Pouring over the scriptures always gives me the "spiritual energy" I need to make through the day.

The work is going so great! We went from struggling to find any investigators to, through a series of little miracles, having too many to know what to do with. There aren't enough hours in the day! I am really excited about this family, the Dellarosarios, who the Lord completely guided us to. They are so excited about the gospel and we were suprised to find out they were taught in 2006 but then the missionaries never came back! We sat down to teach and they whipped out a Book of Mormon. Talk about a miracle!

For all of you who though I would lose weight in the Philippines, including me, that is definitely not a possibility haha. For as much sweating and good amount of walking we do the members and investigators feed us more rice, pop, treats, pop and more RICE. Its great! This week I discovered all the delicious food the Philippines has to offer that I have been missing out on all this time! SO GOOD! I finally tried the right kind of mangoes. They are truly a slice of heaven on earth! I can't eat enough.

This has also been the week of unpleasant creatures in apartment. We now have cockroaches. They're huge and luckily Sister Criste is really good at killing them. I also finally figured out what the tail and little legs I saw fly around the corner I was telling you about on Skype. Its a rat....gross. Kate Magleby if you are reading this you'll appreciate the fact that I'm afraid it will eat my feet at night :) We also have mice, who nibbled on Sister Noriega's Preach My Gospel during the night. So in weekly planning she informed all of us that her goal was to exterminate the rats and mice. Haha I'll let you know how it goes. We're pretty sure he lives in our couch.

I finally had my first mail run (which just means we got to pick up our mail) since coming to the Philippines! Thank you for your letters :) They meant the world to me!! Again, I have the best family and friends in the world. 

I got to go to the temple today. It was amazing! I didn't realize how much I had missed it until we got into our session. It is always so loud and crazy here so it was amazing to just sit in silence and peace. We are SO blessed to have a temple in a neighboring mission and get to go once a transfer. We are only like 15 miles maybe from it but we had to get up at 4:00 am to get there because in traffic it takes us about an hour. It also made me realize again how blessed I am to come from somewhere where I can get to a temple in about 5 minutes. So many members here ask me about Utah and have told me that their dream is to just get there once before they die. We are so blessed and take all that we have at our fingertips there for granted!

This church is so true and I feel so humbled and blessed to be a representative of Jesus Christ sharing the gospel message in the Philippines. We have a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers all our prayers! We are so blessed.

I love you all SO much! Mahal na mahal po kayo!

Love always,
Sister Porter

 This is our house, Rainbow House, because the neighborhood is called Rainbow. Its awesome. We only live in one half of what you can see and the top set of windows is a different apartment, but the middles set of windows on the left is our bedroom view.

 Pictures after Zone Conference. The only time it isn't too hot to wear that shirt is when we have meeting because it gets so cold in the air conditioned room, which is awesome!

 Just loving it.

  Banana trees outside our apartment

 Temple DAY!!!!!

Manilla Temple :) So beautiful and SO small inside haha

First Week in the Philippines

Kumusta po kayo??

Hello po pamilya ko! Well I've made it a full week and a half in the Philippines and I'm still alive :) I do not even know where to begin. So many things happen EVERYDAY. I am constantly saying to myself, "Oh, I've got to make sure and tell the fam about this!" I wish you all could see and experience this country and work along with me, but this letter will have to do...

Seriously this last week and a half has been a total whirlwind. I go to sleep every night and just think what just happened?? Because we go so many places, teach/meet so many people and experience so many new things and MOST of all I, in all actuality, have no idea what really did happen because it was all in Tagalog hahaha and then I fall straight to sleep because I am beyond EXAUSTED every night and its awesome!

I have NEVER worked so hard in my life! I am still loving the work, the people and my companion, but I'm quickly learning that missionary work is HARD. This work and mostly learning this language is pushing me in ways I have NEVER been pushed before. Everyday I have so many ups and downs, but somehow by the end of each day its an up and I can easily see the Lord's hand in everything that happened. I was really struggling trying so hard to forget myself in the work and become the Lord's missionary, but I realized that the more I got caught up in forgetting myself the more I got stuck on myself. I kind of got a spiritual slap across the face when I was reading some of my notes from a devotional by Elder Bednard. He said, "The character of Christ is a simple thing, He turns out when you and I would turn in...This mission is not about you...Get out of the way and turn to Him. Get over yourself!... Become converted now. But its not about you its to help others do the same. The only way you will find yourself is when you come to Christ, but you won't be looking for it." That coupled with Ether 12:27 was just what I needed. I'm finding a lot of weaknesses and I'm realizing quickly how much I have to learn, but I'm also learning how to rely on my Savior and through Him my weaknesses can become strong. This is all about the beautiful Pilipino people, and I feel so blessed to be here!

Working with Sister Yagemai is wonderful. It gets interesting/hilarious at times because we come from such different cultures and different backgrounds. For example, her and the Pilipino sisters living us say some weird phrases in english that mean something totally different then what they are trying to say so we all get completely confused and frustrated then suddenly burst out laughing because we are all just starring at each other trying so hard to understand. There are so many different languages going on in our house. Sister Noriega grew up speaking Tagalog, Sister Criste was Cebuano, Sister Yagemai was Yapese and me of course English. We are all trying so hard to learn each others languages. Its actually pretty incredible :)

It rained again this week, which is a totally heaven sent because it gives you a minute to escape the heat, but it is the most incredible thing I have ever seen. I can only imagine what the rain will be like when it is actually rainy season. Seriously it feels like the whole ocean is being dumped out of the sky. Sister Yagemai and I were walking through the rain huddled under our umbrellas, pretending they were doing something but really we were totally soaked, when all the sudden there was a big cracking sound and Sister Yagemai smashed into me. We peaked out from our umbrellas and a big banana tree and fallen over and about smashed Sister Yagemai! We were sitting there trying to figure what in the world had just happened when a little blue van pulls over and just sits there. We thought at first they were trying to give us a ride so we kept waving them ahead. Then all the sudden the back door opens and a little Pilipino man jumps out huddled under some cardboard laughs pulls a bundle of bananas off the tree and jumps back in. Sister Yagemai and I just stared at each other, like what just happened? It was pretty funny. 

The other night I had come inside from helping Sister Yagemai hang up her laundry to dry and I walked past Sister Noriega. I would her say "Oh Sister..." and I turned around and she was point at my back coming at me with a hanger...well I went completely crazy! I was picturing all kinds of horrors being on my back. Haha all the sudden a lizard or like geko (I have no idea how to spell that) went flying across the room. Somehow it ended up on my back (I don't like thinking about how) and hitched a ride inside. Haha just another day in the Philippines.

The area we are working in is great! I still struggle to understand a lot with the language but the people are friendly and many are willing to help in the work. One of the sisters we always work with, Sister Vanessa, it turns out was born the same day same year as me! Twins from other sides of the world :) She is so awesome! The Pilipino people are so loving and many are receptive to the gospel but so many then become less-active so we have been focusing, and our whole mission, on reactivation. it has been so awesome visiting and teaching them. We went from having 9 less-active members at church our first Sunday to 23 our second Sunday. Seeing each of those individuals and families walk through the door on Sunday filled me with so much joy and gave me just a glimpse of what the Savoir and our Heavenly Father must feel as His children come back to the fold. This work is incredible. We have been struggling to find new investigators but we were teaching two teenage girls who are investigating and it was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. I have never seen such humble living circumstances. WE started out trying to teach in their house but it was literally a shack and there wasn't room for the 4 of us so we went outside. We were right next to the house under some banana trees on some benches which really did look beautiful but then a smell hit us and it was a pen of a bunch of pigs maybe 5 feet from their house. We had gathered quite a group of kids, who were so filthy and had sores all over their feet. The most heartbreaking was the babies, they looked so sick and uncared for. I just wanted to take each and everyone of those kids and run. I wanted to stick them in a big bubble bath, tuck them into a huge comfty bed with crisp white sheets and read them a bedtime story. But as we started the lesson by singing "I Am A Child Of God" I was completely overcome. I was touched by how much God loves ALL His children and that we aren't here as missionaries to solve their worldly needs but to fill their spiritual. We are here to bring them to a loving Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I have so many more things I want to tell you but know that I love and miss you all so much and pray for you everyday. Keep your prayers coming. I can use them all!!! Someday I will learn this language, but until then I am learning to be VERY VERY patient :)

Love always,
Sister Porter

 Just doing our laundry and loving life in the Philippines :) My back was SO sore the next day and my hands were raw haha it was great.  

 The banana tree that fell

 We got to go to a big mall called SM for P-day and eat at an all you can eat buffet. It was fabulous!!!

We had crepes and thought of you mom and Saturday mornings at home :)

Conference...a little late, Sorry!

Hello, hello!
Kumusta po kayo? I hope you are all doing sobrang mabuti, magaling! As always, I love and miss you all. Thanks for the letters they always keep me smiling. I have the very best friends and family and your support means the world to me. Oh boy, was this a crazy week or what? So many things to tell you about and SO little time.

First of all, CONFERENCE! Was that not amazing? It was really interesting watching it in the MTC because we are constantly having incredible devotionals so it didn't feel real out of the ordinary except we were sitting in the bleachers for hours on end this time, but it was wonderful! (Run-on sentence anyone?) I absolutely loved the focus on Christ, which is always the case but I think I just noticed it more than ever. We were constantly being told to come unto Him. I loved it because that is exactly what our purpose is as missionaries, to "bring others unto Christ". I also love that in order to do that we must constantly be striving to bring ourselves unto Christ. We are told that "if you don't feel it the investigators won't feel it". One of my very favorite words in Tagalog is happy becuase it is "masaya", which is pronounced just like Messiah. Is that not the coolest thing and so true? Coming unto Christ or the Messiah really is the only way to receive true and lasting happiness. I also absolutely loved the story about the BYU student walking across campus early in the morning of an absolutely freezing day and singing "Oh, what a beautiful morning..." Is that not the greatest? First, of all I've totally been him only I wasn't signing I was complaining and wishing I was back in my bed haha. Second, becuase Oklahoma, of course, always makes me think of you fam and watching it over and over again growing up. Third, isn't his attitude awesome! It was raining and getting ready to snow yesterday and we were walking to class complaining and then all the sudden one of us said a few lines from the song. It was pretty funny. But it really is so easy to get discouraged on a mission and just life in general so that picture of positivity is so great to remind me that life really is so good! (Thanks mom for the motto Mom!) Also, bummer you couldn't find me in the Carol Mikita news piece. I saw myself in the choir like 4 times :) I'm next to my polynesian companion who is in a torqoise shirt so she stands out if you watch it again. You can also see me really well during the credits. Wasn't her story awesome! I've seen some of the premissionaries she interviewed here at the MTC now.

I also had such a sweet experience this week with listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It was something that I had been told to do multiple times but had ignored it because it seemed way to random and I was nervous. But I finally acted on it when I received the same prompting AGAIN. Third times the charm I guess. It was so incredible. It still felt so random and I was worried the sister would think I was so weird but I was filled with so much peace and assurance. There is nothing better than that feeling. Well the next day the sister slipped me a note saying thank you and that I had been an answer to her prayers. I was SO grateful that I chose to finally listen to that prompting. I've been working on doing all I can to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and heed the promptings I'm given. We've been told mutliple times here that if its something good don't spend time wondering if you came up with it or if it is the Spirit trying to tell you something, just do it! I love that. But we have also been told that you won't always have that direct guidance and He will just trust you enough to make good decisions and go about doing good on your own. I love that too!!

Early this week an Elder from our Zone had his name called over the loud speaker to go to the front office. He didn't hear it so when our companionship ran into him we told him about it. Later that day we were outside studying and we ran into him. He said thanks for letting him know and then we asked if he had gotten the package, because he had thought it was something from his grandma. He got teary and said it had ended up being about something else. Apparently this has been all over the news, but he said that the doctor who had taken out his wisdom teeth wasn't praticing sanitary medicine and he had just had to be tested for HIV/AIDS. I can't not even imagine going through that. He had to wait TWO days to get the results, which fortunetly were good, he didn't have it! One of the sisters in his district said that after he found out he just said, "I can have a wife and kids now!" He is such a solid missinonary and is going to do incredible things. It definitely gave us all a fresh perspective though.

TWO districts from our Zone left to the Philippines yesterday, which is so exciting but also sad for us. However, we are getting TWO new districts tomorrow. Here is the crazy thing though... one had 7 sisters and the other 6. That means our district will going from the large majority being elders to the the sisters over doubling the elders. Isn't that the craziest!! This work is on fire and it is so fun and inspiring to be a part of it. Although I am happy I won't be in the MTC when it starts to get crazy busy. The lunchroom is already total caos.

Yesterday the president of the Philippines and newly called area 70 came to observe our language class. It was such a great experience. He was the nicest, tiniest man. He came to observe because the Philippines MTC will now have to teach Tagalog, because all missionaries serving in the Quezon City, Quezon City North, San Paublo and Manilla missions will now go straight there. That means they will get to learn the language from native speakers and their branch presidencies will only speak Tagalog. It is going to be amazing!! 2 months later and that would have been me, but I love the Prove MTC so I'm okay with it :)

On a completely other note...vacuums have a death wish for me. Monday morning we wake up early for service which is cleaning one of the buildings here. Well we were assigned to vacuuming. I was just working hard when my vacuum started sputtering and then turned off all together. I went to unplug it and try and different one, but when I tried to pull it out sparks shot EVERYWHERE and I swear there were little flames and a popping noise. It was terrifying! Haha my hand had black burn marks all over but don't worry it washed right off. Well I finally pulled the demon thing out of the wall and all was well. Then that night we had to clean our room so I of course of vacuuming against my better judgement. All of the sudden I'm getting like pulled into the vaccuum. I look down and my skirt is getting sucked into the vacuum through a crack in the back of it!! WHAT IN THE WORLD! I got it out but it ripped a little hole. The little bugger still had a piece of my skirt inside it. And that is why I will never vacuum again. [Also, I have no idea how to spell vacuum and neither does my companions so sorry if that is wrong.]

During some study time I was reading Alma 17:2-3 and it made me think of you sibs, and everyone else. I have just always loved the sons of Mosiah and Alma. They are all so devoted to the gospel and each other. I loved that they had been seperated but rejoiced seeing each other agian and finding that they had all remained faithful and solid in the gospel. Thanks for your incredible examples. You inspire me everyday!! MAHAL PO KAYO!! Alam ko po na totoo ang Simbahan ni Jesuscristo. I am so grateful for it!! Keep the pananampalataya!

Love always,
Sister Brooke Porter
P.S. My pictures wouldn't load. I'll try again but the one I did get is us with the Philippines MTC President :)