Monday, October 21, 2013

Ano yung pagnanais nyo sa buhay nyo?

Hello Fam!!!

How are you all? I'm sorry to tell you that this email once again will not have pictures so you can just stop reading now if you like because I know of that is all a lot of you look at these for :) haha just kidding but really...that was always my favorite part so I'm sorry.

First of all, Sister Sia and I are still alive and well and absolutely loving life. Sister Sia is absolutely hilarious and constantly keeps me laughing. We found a lot of new investigators this week and so we are excited to see if some of them will be progressing in the next few weeks. One women we taught after just talking to her on the street a few weeks ago. It really was such a special lesson and at the end we asked her to pray. After a lot of hesitation we taught her how and she agreed to try. After her prayer I asked her how she felt and she just started rubbing her arms and smiling replied, "I feel like I have electricity going through me and I know God is happy because that was my first sincere prayer." Ah I love missionary work! This week we have been working with a lot of families-- less-actives and investigators-- who we have asked the question, "What do you want in life and for your family?" It is always so interesting to hear their responses but it almost always comes back to their children becoming good people, raising good children and being close to God. I love it and I've thought about that a bit myself. What do I want out of life? For myself? For those I love? And am I doing everything I can to obtain that? 

Second, Ninoy finally got his answer. He knows it is all true! I am so excited for his baptism. He is so ready. 

Third, the earthquake in Bihol (southern Philippines) hasn't effected us at all but we hear about it everyday. Please pray for the missionaries and people living there that were effected by it.   

I love you all so much and I'm constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have all of you in my life. Today during personal study I was brought again to 1 Nephi 1:20, "...the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." I just love that so much! No matter how hard of a day we have or how much it feels like we were unsuccessful I can always look back and see the tender mercies of the Lord in His work. You are all my tender mercies. I love you lots!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:
I still haven't totally figured this one out but burping is totally acceptable but at the same time not here. It totally threw me off when the sisters after dinner would just burp or even people we were teaching in the middle of the lessons. I guess it means you are full...I don't know they all sort of cover their mouth after and say, "Excuse," but then will just do it again a few minutes later haha its random. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Time flies on the wings of lighting

Hey family!

Wow I have so much to tell you. It was another great week and so much has happened.

First, I will be in Valenzuela for another transfer but I will be training. AHHH. I'm super nervous, overwhelmed and excited all wrapped into one. Last week we had trainer's training with President Sperry and it was really special. Sister Loo and Sister Chamberlain (my companions from the MTC) will also be training which is really fun. We've got to go through this whole journey together. This work really is exploding! This new batch of incoming missionaries is the biggest President and Sister Sperry have ever seen... 28 new missionaries! That is so many. All I know so far is that my trainee's name is Sister Sia. I'm not sure where she is from but from her name I'm going to guess Philippines. I go pick her up tomorrow morning. I'm so excited and have been more and more grateful for my trainer, Sister Yagemai, and follow-up trainer, Sister Walker.

Second, this week I saw a lot of heartache in families we are teaching. As missionary constantly talking and to people on a spiritual level it often leads to them telling us about different difficulties they have faced to trials they are now facing. People face so many hardships and everyday I am more grateful for the upbringing I've been given. This week was a testimony to be of what we share everyday-- the gospel of Jesus Christ truly does bless the family. Most of the struggles I've seen with those we teach and serve have come because one person or another chose to stray from the gospel path. It breaks my heart and the heart of their loved ones. I have also been taught over and over how important family home evening is. Its something that I always took for granted, especially as a teenager haha but I've seen what a difference it makes in the family.

Third, I got a letter from some the members in my last area, Deparo, and I bawled my eyes. It was amazing to see the miracles that are still unfolding in their lives and the opportunity the Lord gave me to be a part of it. A letter from Maricel was especially important to me. She really has become new through Christ and turned her life over to Him again. I am so grateful for the time Heavenly Father gave me with her and can't wait to see her again, whether in this life for the next.

Fourth, we had Zone Interviews last week. President and Sister Sperry are so amazing. I'm just so grateful for them.

I know there is/was more I wanted to tell you but I think I'll leave it at that. I'm just so grateful for all that Heavenly Father gives us and that He truly is so intimately involved in our lives. I love you all so much and pray for you every night. 

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact: TRAFFIC. This could be like 600 seperate fun facts but I'll keep it at the basics. When I got to the Philippines I was told there were two rules to the traffic here. One, fill in the gaps, meaning if there is a space fill it. Meaning any and every free space on the road and most of the time this is interpreted to mean that the lane lines on the road mean absolutely nothing haha. Second, there are no rules. It is so true. They truly to whatever they want when driving but they are super good at it. I'm surprised I don't see more accidents. I'm just glad I never have to drive here :)


Hey Family!!

Hope all is well in the states I've been missing America as of lately :) but this was a great week full of lots of miracles. We got in so many lessons, were able to work and teach with the members and SO many people came to church. It was an exciting week after some kind of difficult ones.

This week we went back and taught Nanay Auora (the sister we found after we decided to leave the dinner appointment because there were no sisters there). I just feel more and more blessed by the Lord for finding her. She is amazing! First of all, not only did she read her assignment but she apologized for not reading it again so she could understand it better. She is seriously golden. We had a great lesson with the help of a recent RM who was working with us. But I favorite part was the end of the lesson. We taught her how to pray which is always one of my very favorite things to do as a missionary because often times I get to hear someone pray to their Heavenly Father for the very first time. Well Nanay was pretty nervous about it but as we talked to her she told us she would try. She gave a very sweet and sincere pray and got choked up a bit. After her prayer we asked her how she felt and I will never forget her answer. She is a women of great faith and truly has a relationship with God but she began to cry and told us that as a Catholic always reciting memorized prayers she has never before been able to speak to God and tell him the things of her heart. She has never been able to tell Him what she needs. To ask for help with her children and to talk to Him when there is no one else to turn to. That was incredible to me. I gained a new perspective one the gift of prayer I, we all, have been given and so often take for granted. This week I began studying prayer and how I could improve and better appreciate the gift I have been given and known about all my life. I LOVED what it says about prayer in the Bible Dictionary and I highly suggest reading it all :) but one part reads, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God  is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive one our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other." Ah I love that! So this week I am going to work on my prayers and effectively/actively striving to align my will with my Father and remember who I am as His daughter.

This work is the hardest most rewarding thing I have even done. I am so grateful for all of you and your love, support and prayers. I pray for you always!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:
The people here are in love with Avriel Levine (I think I spelled that totally wrong but hopefully you still understand who that is). Her posters are ALL over the place haha it is the most random thing and I still haven't figured out why they chose her. I think it has to do with her being blonde.


Hey family!!

Do I say this every week? Well I'm going to say it again...time is flying! I can't believe that this transfer is already almost over! 

This week was such a good one with lessons taught and LOTS of lessons learned. This week I was taught a lesson I will never forget about obedience.  We had a dinner appointment with a member of the bishopric and his family to share a message about missionary work and hopefully put the Book of Mormon in the member's hands to share with their friends as we've been asked to do by mission leaders. We were so excited for it and during our companionship study we did practice teaching so everything would go smoothly. When we walked into their home that night they were busy preparing the food and very excited to see us. We noticed that their mother (of a family that consists of all boys) was not in the room. We sat down hoping that she would come out of the next room knowing that it was against mission rules to be there without the presence of a women. We asked the father where his wife was and he said she on her way home from work we waited a couple minutes and she had still not shown up. We asked again how long she would be and he said probably a half-an-hour so we asked if we could start the lesson then eat when she got home-- forgetting for a minute that there was no women. We started the hymn and I heard one of the sons ask when their mom would be home and the father responded probably an hour-- I panicked! Now we were trapped with no women and I did not want to offend a member of the bishopric by leaving. All I could think about during the song was that we were not being exactly obedient, a promise I had made to myself when I started my mission that I would always be. All I could think about as I prayed for what to share with them and to invite the Spirit was the lines from the white handbook that said there were no exceptions to the exact rule we were disobeying. As the opening prayer ended I knew I was  the first one to start the lesson. I looked at them and knew I couldn't teach. I apologized and told them that we were so excited to share with them but would have to come back later as soon as their mother returned. It was super awkward haha they asked a lot of questions but finally said they understood. As we left their house I started praying as hard as I could that they would understand and that we would find someone to teach in the meantime. Long story short we were led to an amazing women who had been taught by missionaries once in the past but moved and didn't know how to find us again. It was a wonderful lesson and after her husband came and talked with us and said they were excited for us to come back again.  We then returned to the bishopric family's home and had a great dinner and were able to tell them the story of finding this women and her family. 

On the way home that night I just kept thinking about how grateful I was that I hadn't rationalized teaching the lesson without a women present like I wanted to do. I would have missed out on the opportunity to find this women and to see the Lord's hand in this work. I kept thinking of a quote from Elder Bednar that says, "As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice. Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon." Then speaking of Brigham Young he said, "[He] was an agent who exercised his agency and acted in accordance with correct principles, and he became a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord." I am not in the least saying I was a mighty instrument in the Lord's hands and I know there are still so many areas that I fall short but I do know that the Lord blesses us each time we choose to be obedient to His commandments and I am so grateful for the opportunities He gives me to be an instrument in His hands in at least a small way. I often hear missionaries say in certain situations of disobedience, "We have no choice." There is ALWAYS a choice and I am so grateful for that. We can ALWAYS choose to obey. Agency is one of our greatest gifts in this life and one of my very favorite things to teach (something I got from Sister Walker). We can always use our agency, and gift we've been given to obey and become more like our Savior so that we can someday return to live with our Father in Heaven.

I love you all so so much! Thank you for your examples to me of obedience. Namimis kayo!! Ingat kayo palagi!! 

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact: They have a very hard time with 'p' and 'f' here and always switch the pronunciation. Its actually pretty funny. For example Sister Baile will always say, "Nasaan yung Flanner ko?" {Where is my planner?} Also everyone here pronounces my name as Sister Foster or sometimes Posters or sometimes even Forter haha its a good time!

I got to see Sister Criste and Sister Plame again at Temple Tour. I have missed those two so much!

Temple TOur with sister Baile and Sister Ayub.  Sister Ayub got here the same day as me.  She is from Pakistan and came here speaking VERY little English and received no language training in the MTC.  She is amazing. :)

This is our investigator Ninoy. He is so amazing. He is so prepared to receive the gospel and is so excited to learn everything he possibly can about it. He will be getting baptized soon :)

Kumusta pamilya ko!

I hope you are all doing great. I can't believe I'm already writing you all another email. Time is seriously flying. Mid-week it gets kind of slow but by the time I'm sitting here emailing you again I can't believe another week has come and gone. I'm already half-way done with this transfer--WHAT?!

The first and most exciting thing about this week was Mission Tour. We had Elder Echo Hawk-- the newest member of our area presidency-- come and speak to us and it was amazing! He and his wife are both converts to the church so it was especially neat to hear their perspective on missionary work. Elder Echo Hawk shared a lot with us about his experience being called as a new general authority and I was just so overcome with how perfect this church is and that the general authorities are truly men called of God. 

After his talk they selected some a apartments to come and check and ours ended up being one of them. Good thing we had left it sparkling clean (well as clean as you can get an apartment in the Philippines haha). It was fun getting to talk with them and President and Sister Sperry one-on-one for a bit. Sister Echo Hawk made the comment about our apartment that its like camping for 18 months haha sometimes I forget that bucket showers and toilets that don't flush aren't normal. All part of the adventure :)

The work this week has been good. We are still working really hard to build up the area and our teaching pool and slowly but surely its happening :) We've got some baptismal dates coming up that hopefully people will keep. I'll let you know as we get closer. One man named Antonino is SO diligent in his studies--as in he takes notes about everything and wants to know ALL the details and asks ALL kinds of questions-- which is awesome and he is coming to church but we still aren't sure if he felt and recognizes the Spirit yet or the truth of what we're saying. We are focusing on that with him this week and hopefully he will be baptized on October 5! 

This companionship is really pushing Sister Baile and I haha we are learning how unbelievably important communication is and how impossible this work is and keeping the companionship of the Spirit if we aren't communicating with each other. I'm learning a lot about myself this transfer-- strengths and lots of weaknesses haha. I love seeing God's hand in my life-- teaching me and pushing me to grow constantly. I know He knows me better than I know myself and I am so grateful I have the opportunity each day to help people realize that same thing. That's what we teach everyday, lesson one, God is our loving Heavenly Father and He has a plan for you! Ah this gospel is so true and perfect. 

I love you all and pray for you always. Thanks for your examples and love! Ingat kayo palagi!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact: This one is a little gross--- actually super gross but I'm going to share it anyways--- the men here have absolutely no shame! No matter where you are-- in the middle of a busy street, in a quite neighborhood or looking out the window in a jeepney on the highway-- you will see men peeing (for lack of a gentler term). Almost every wall you will see "Bawal umihi dito" [It's against the rules to pee here] written in spray paint but you will almost always also see a man doing just that against the wall haha its ridiculous. You just learn to always look straight ahead when walking down the street :)

This is the road that we usually take out to get out to our area. Whenever we have rain in turns into an absolute river. This is an awful picture but the other night we got stranded and stuck in a jeepney forever and then gave up and started to try walking. I felt like I was part of some mass exodus. There were tons of people just walking down the street that had also abandoned jeepneys and hords of people who were driving motorcycles that couldn't go anywhere because the water was too high. "Its more fun in the Philippines!" :)

 Elder and Sister Echo Hawk

 Sister Baile and I in front of the Manila MTC. I love that sister!

Masaya ako dito :)

Hey family!

Thank you so much for your emails. I seriously look forward to them so much every week and they give me just the energy I need to work hard for another week :) For whatever reason this week was a hard one for missing home. I think its because the excitement of being in a new area has warn-off and I am my "trunky" for my old area and for all of you back in the states... but don't worry Sister Baile and I am still working like crazy, loving it and just getting into the groove after the changes with transfers.

This week we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and I had the chance to go work Meycawayan with Sister Winger in her area. It was fun to see a new area and SO weird being back with an American. While we were working that day we truly got to witness the Lord's hand in the work. We were working with this amazing older woman in their ward and while the two of them were talking I started talking to this little boy just chilling playing with a ball. We started playing catch and he was SO adorable. Then we were ready to head to a new area and I said good-bye to him. As we were walking a way I felt someone grab my head and looked down so see him just walking alongside me. I felt the urge to ask him where his home was. He pointed down this tiny dark alley and I just felt that we were supposed to go down there, but it didn't even look like it was possible for a home to be down there and we were working with the older woman who I definitely didn't want to take down there. I just whispered to Sister Winger that another day they should come back and see if there was anything to it. After we were done working with the member Sister Winger said we should just go back now. So headed back and started down the tiny alley. We climbed over garbage, poop and who knows what else and as I got to the end I saw a little opening in the wall. I called out to see if anyone was there and a little old woman came out. I awkwardly explained who we were, not knowing why I had felt we needed to go to this house. She promptly invited us in and I thought perfect this is why we're here. We climbed down into this TINY house that was literally just a square and the entrance had about six inches of water in it. Sitting inside the room was also a young man about 25. We introduced ourselves and he suddenly said, "I used to be a mormon!" Then I KNEW that was why we were there. To make a long story short throughout the rest of the lesson different people would randomly come into the home--- sometimes they were "former-members" and sometimes they were simply interested. I don't know what happened with that family since we were in Sister Winger's area but I'm so grateful for the opportunity we have to be an instrument in the Lord's hand. 

Heavenly Father keeps teaching me how aware He is of His children. This work is by far the hardest thing I have ever done and it is teaching me more everyday. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this work and am excited this week to work on better showing/feeling God's love for His children to be a better instrument in His hand. I am constantly realizing how inadequate I am but I am grateful for His help everyday. Thank you for your prayers and support. It means the word!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:
Once the, as the Filipinos say, "-Ber Months" hit Christmas instantly starts. It is already talking about in everyday conversation and we regularly sing/hear Christmas songs haha its great.

David and Goliath


Well this week was fun and exciting. I am now getting settled into my new area Malanday 2nd in the Valenzuela Zone. It is an amazing area and the people are unbelievably welcoming and kind. I am smack in the middle of city which is taking some getting used to. We spend A LOT of time stuck in jeepneys in the middle of traffic. But its all good because it gives us time to talk to more people and they have no choice but to listen to us because they can't go anywhere :) This transfer is already pushing me so much more to talk to people, anywhere and everywhere and I love it! 

As for my new companion...Sister Baile....she is AMAZING! I love her so much and we get along so well. First of all, Heavenly Father and President Sperry must have quite the sense of humor putting us together because she is by small the smallest missionary in our whole mission and I am the tallest sister. Sister Baile likes to call us David and Goliath and the ward has started referring to us as that too :) Second, she is my first Filipina companion and our kabahay (other sisters living with us) are also Filipina so I literally NEVER speak English except for a half and hour each night to help Sister Baile with her English. It is amazing how much my Tagalog is improving and how much I'm realizing I really can do. I love it. Third, she is only one transfer ahead of me in the mission so we are learning a lot together which is pushing me a lot not really having someone to turn to and ask what to do but I love it and I'm great how much it is making me grow.

I'm learning so much about myself on this mission everyday; Heavenly Father never ceases to teach me something new or reteach me something I continue to struggle with. Something I learn this week in my personal study that I hadn't realized before I found in Preach My Gospel. On page 173 in the Study the Scriptures section it says that faith in Christ is a gift from God that comes through obedience to His commandments. I loved that! I had never thought of my faith in my Savior as a gift from my Heavenly Father, but now that I have I know its true. I love that despite all of our weaknesses and the natural man in us (Mosiah 3:19) as we are exactly obedient the Lord will expand our capabilities/capacities as well as our faith in Christ. It reminded me of a promise Elder Scott gave us while I was in the MTC. He said, "You will have peace when you feel you are stretched beyond your capacity." He went on to say that we have been called to succeed and the Lord would fit the task to our capabilities. I know that's true. I have felt it over and over again!

Well I love you all like crazy and I'm so grateful for all you do! Thank you so much for the emails, letters and packages you send. I'm sorry if it takes me a long time to respond but I hope you know how much they mean to me. I'm so grateful for all of you and your love and support! I have the best family and friends. MAHAL NA MAHAL KO KAYO!
Love always,
Sister Porter

Sister Baile and I

 FHE with the Single Adults

Bored on the jeepney ride and taking advantage of being the last ones in the jeep

Comparing our leg lengths :)

"...and the rains came tumbling down"

Hello Family!!

The time just keeps going faster and faster and I don't know what to do with myself. Sister Walker and I only have one more week together and its killing me! I love that sister and I still have SO MUCH to learn from her. Missions are full of SO many changes and I'm learning to be okay with it :)

This week was pretty slow as far as work went because we had lots of meetings but we still have fun and learned a lot and extended some more baptismal dates that were excepted. I'll let you know what happens as we get closer to their baptismal dates :)

This week I also experienced my first real flood in the was CRAZY!!! Last Monday we were supposed to have a typhoon or bagyo come through and were told not to go out if the wind got too bad. It ended up not being bad at all and most of the wind came through while we were sleeping. But everyone gave us the craziest looks and asked us why we were out working when there was a bagyo. Well yesterday there was no bagyo (storm) just "low pressure" as they all call it but there was WAY more wind and WAY more rain. I don't really get what they classify as a storm :) Anyways, we went to teach Kirsten (our recent convert) and her sisters and after our lesson we walked outside and there was literally a river where the street used to be. IT WAS INSANE and moving so fast! Everyone was laughing at me because I was freaking out. Supposedly it gets way worse but I was pretty impressed by it. So we just headed out to get to our next appointment. Rain or shine we work unless we're told to stop :) Kirsten and her sisters walked with us for a bit because they wanted to see me try and walk through the baha (flood). Also, I am just so glad it was dark because for all I knew the water was crystal clear and clean but Kirsten kept telling me there was ipis (cockroaches) floating in it and randomly things would just hit your legs and I'd freak out a bit. All and all my first flood was exciting and fun and I'm just glad there wasn't any damage done in our area and we could work.

In our last Zone Conference, President taught us about how we all placed our faith and trust in Christ once before this life when we chose to follow him, and didn't let us down when he accomplished the Atonement and submitted His will to the Father for us. Now we have to exercise our faith in Him again and it is our turn not to let Him down. I love that I get to spend 18 months helping people remember the trust and faith they once had in their older brother. I love this work! The Lord amazes me with His tender mercies and blessings everyday. I love you all and pray for you always!

Love always,
Sister Porter 

I wore jeans for the first time in 4 months and probably won't again before I come home haha because its so hot but it was super exciting.

Our Kitchen- Sister Walker is teaching me how to cook :)

Sister Vanessa (ward missionary and I

A really awful picture of the flood. That is in the middle of the street. I promise I was not being disobedient and playing in a pond.


Just riding in a tricycle on the way to church :)