Sunday, April 27, 2014

So blessed.

Pamilya ko, kumusta na kayo?!


First of all, it is most definitely summer now and we are MELTING. I forgot how unbelievably hot it gets here. Like I want to die but good thing it was SUCH A GOOD WEEK! (Is it ever not?) I feel like I say this every time but I have to say it again, we saw so many miracles this week. I love this area, I love Sister Loo and I love my calling. 

This week we did exchanges with the sisters in Deparo. This was great because one I got to see Sister Sia (my trainee) and do exchanges with Sister Pau (her trainee). It was so much to tease her and make her feel awkward while I watched her be a trainer. I love her so much and I'm so proud of all she is doing! It was also great because I got to go back to my first was one of the best/weirdest experiences. It was so weird to walk the same streets and talk to the same people a year later. So much has changed, I have changed. I'm so grateful for it all!! I love my mission more than anything. I also got to see the most important person to me in the whole Philippines, Sister Maricel. I don't know if you remember her but she is a 34-year-old women that is maybe 4'11", if that,who was less-active and we were the first missionaries to find her again. So is doing SO GOOD. She is preparing for the temple and going strong and she just means the world to me. As I walked up to their little cement house my heart was just pounding. The kids outside saw me and started yelling, "Sister Porter is here! Sister Porter is here!" I could just see the top of her head through the window as she came running. At that point I just booked it to her. The moment she came out we screamed, hugged and both started bawling and saying how much we missed each other. Ah that women is so incredible. I will never forget that moment. I just hope she makes it to the temple before I leave the Philippines. I want to be there so bad! She texted later that night and said, "All of my problems are still here but I don't feel them anymore after seeing Sister Porter." As we were teaching she bore testimony to her still less-active family about the difference now in her life. She said that her life changed on April 28, 2013 the first day we came. I am so grateful for God's perfect plan and how exciting it is to see how all our lives intertwine. Who knew I would fall so in love with this special women and so many others in the Philippines....but I am eternally grateful He gave me the chance.

Easter Sunday was so incredible. First of all a less-active sister name Shirley was there with her 11-year-old son with disabilities who for the past month hasn't been able to walk, talk, sit or hardly even eat. We have all been praying for a miracle and it happened. His disabilities are still there but he is walking and beginning to talk again. So blessed. Sister Loo and I had the opportunity to speak about the Savior and Easter. We were seated on the stand a few minutes before the meeting started when I saw a family walk in the door. I absolutely freaked out and just grabbed Sister Loo and ran off the stand haha so was so confused. It was the Pangusan family, the last people in the world we expected to show up. They have been taught for years by missionaries without ever attending church or making any progress. We were re-introduced to them by a member, taught them two lessons and there they were! We grabbed Bishop and the whole ward just got excited about them. It was so great. In our gospel principles class with them, the members were fighting over who would come to their next lesson with us. It was so great. So blessed. 

On a funny note, later that day, on Sunday, we tracted into a family and their neighbors. As we were getting to know them I guess I zoned out for a minute. I had asked one of the men if he had a wife and was prepared to ask how many kids he had when he said yes...well that is what I though happened but when he looked all confused and said one and I looked to my side and saw Sister Loo with a terrified look on her face I knew I said something wrong...then suddenly I realized my mistake. I skipped a question and went from asking if he had a wife straight to 'how many?'. As if we don't already have a hard time helping people get over polygamy and then I asked that hahaha it was actually really funny and we all had a good laugh but it was super embarrassing. We are going back to teach them this week though :) 

I am just so overwhelmed this week by the message of joy and happiness we carry and sometimes we don't ever realize it or too easily forget it. Especially this Easter, and always, I want to do better to remember my Savior-- His sacrifice, His love, His life and His resurrection. We all have the opportunity to live again as families in eternal happiness...doesn't that just make every trial, temptation and doubt seem smaller? I am so grateful for the opportunity to wear His name!

I love you all so much. Mahal na mahal ko kayo at namimiss ko kayo. Mag-ingat kayo palagi. Sundin nyo ang halimbawa ni Jesucristo at tandahan nyo yung ginawa niya para sa inyo. Dahil diyan may pagasa at kagalakan tayo. Alam ko na lahat ay posible sa pamamagitan Niya kahit anomang bagay.

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

This week was Holy Week which is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. They were so little cars on the road and lots of people walking. We saw people to pilgrimages with meat for I think burnt sacrifices. I also heard that a lot of people here will injure themselves for a remission of their sins and in remembrance of His sacrifice, but I didn't see it. So different. Just keeps reminding me I'm in a foreign country but at this point it feels more like home than America :)

Makikita mo ang mga pagpapala...

This week was insane. We were SO BUSY but it was also one of the greatest weeks. We had exchanges, meetings, temple day and general conference so we didn't have a lot of time in our own area which is always tough. However, we definitely still saw a lot of miracles and learned so much.

This week we went to Camarin Zone and did exchanges with the incredible sisters there. The first day I was with Sister Apolinario. Not going to lie, I was way nervous to go out with her. We are batch which is intimidating and she just has a way intense personality I guess but we had an absolute BLAST. We were laughing so hard and I learn a ton from her. The next day I worked with Sister Jenkins (we were together in Valenzuela when she was in her training). It was fun to see how much she has grown and learn from her as well. That day was probably my favorite on exchanges so far. I just had the goal to give it everything I had and just focus on her. It was amazing. We saw so many miracles. My favorite was our first lesson. Sister Jenkins felt like we should stop by to say hi to a less-active sister so I followed her lead. When we got there it didn't seem like anyone was home so we yelled "Tao po." a few more times and as we were about to leave the sister finally came out. She invited us in so we decided to just try and teach. I heard her talking to someone in the back room and then a girl about my age came rushing out but wouldn't really make eye contact with us. We of course invited her to the lesson and began trying to get to know her. She was really quiet and shy-- just keep looking down at her lap while her aunt (the less-active sister) answered all our questions. We found out that Krisa had been abandoned by her mom when she was ten and was currently living with and working for her aunt far from her home in Bicol. As we started the lesson we were sharing about Christ and how through Him we can overcome concerns and trials. Suddenly Krisa looked up and just started talking. It was incredible. She explained that before she had never thought there could be a Jesus because life was too hard. She said that one day she asked her aunt what she should do about it and her aunt told her to come to church with her. So she did. She said that the moment she walked into one of our churches she knew there was a Christ. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. She said that she went for the next 3 weeks and asked the missionaries to come visit her. She said that everyday she waited for the missionaries to come but they never did until we showed up. She said that when her aunt came in to the back room and said said the missionaries are here she was too excited to even comb her hair and just came running out. I am in love with this 19-year old sister. Sister Jenkins extended her a baptismal date which she readily excepted and said, "I'm ready to change." My testimony has grown even more that people everyday are prepared and waiting. It reminds me of conference when President Eyring said, "You hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can possibly imagine." I pray that we can all continue to be worthy and prepared instruments in the Lord's hands. I know that miracles are happening and even more are waiting just around the corner. This work is exciting and inspiring and we are all a part of it! 

I had so much more to say about confernece but time is short and my email is already long...but wasn't it amazing?! 

I love you all!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

I was so excited to hear Elder Teh's talk because he just got released from the area presidency here. It was fun to see everyone in the meeting sit up a little taller when he came on the screen haha. Everything he described about the Filipino people is perfect. I especially loved when he said they have "an abundance of spiritual strength and lack of materiel things." The people here inspire me. They live in the most difficult circumstance. I cannot believe or adequately describe some of the places I have taught in that that those individuals call home. We are so blessed for all that we have been given and I hope to never lose that perspective. 

 Zone Conference

Sister Sia (my trainee) with her trainee (Sister Pau)!!

Loving life

 Exchanges with Sister Apolinario and Sister Jenkins

Isang taon na...parang ayaw ko sabihin 'yon.

Transfers again...mabalis naman yung panahon. I seriously can't keep up with the time. I hit one year this week. It was bitter sweet. It was incredible to read my journal from my first few days in the MTC...I have changed and experienced so much since then, most especially these last two transfers. 

Its not possible to put into words my feelings about the past 12 weeks I have had with this incredible sister. It has been the hardest, most rewarding and changing experience of my life. I am so grateful for the ways the Lord has changed me and the love and appreciation I have gained for Sister Ayub. I can honestly say I have witnessed miracles with her. She has changed and grown so much. In fact on the way to the computer shop she talked a women on the jeepney, introduced a pamphlet and who we are, then asked for her information ALL BY HERSELF...that never would have or could have happened two transfers ago. She is an incredible sister and I am excited for what is ahead of her in her mission and beyond. 

We had a great week as far as work goes. We were so punted the beginning of this week by members and those we teach, but by Friday we were seeing so many miracles. My favorite miracle this week would be Sister Analiza. We have been working with Sister Barredo, an active member, for so long with the Work of Salvation and we finally saw the fruits of it. Sister Analiza came to church with Sister Berredo and then we were able to share a very special lesson with her that Sister Berrado played huge part in. I have gained such a testimony of working through the members even though it may take more time and patience it is worth every time :)

I am just so grateful for the opportunity I've been given me to learn and grow here in Malolos with Sister Ayub. This has been a sacred experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have come to know my Savior in a way I never could have before. I have felt strengthened and given capacities far beyond my own through Him. My prayers to my Father in Heaven have transformed and I have seen and felt answers to those prayers daily. I have gained a love, appreciation and hunger for the scriptures. I just can't put into words how grateful I am for this time or what my experience has been but I have been changed. I am just so full of gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who know us so perfectly and for a Savior who makes it possible for us to overcome our shortcoming, weakness and trials and I am even more overwhelmed with joy that I get to share that message daily for the next 6 more months and the rest of my life.

I love you all!!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

Just like anywhere it is of course polite to take off your shoes when entering a home but here everyone wears flip-flops when inside. One, because the floor in their home is dirt or dusty cement and two because they believe that you will get sick if your feet get cold after being in the heat outside. So it is always so funny when they freak and realize I have taken my shoes off to come into their home and then try to give me flip-flops or sandals to wear while we teach...its funny because the people here are tiny and I am NOT so I always have to try and shove my feet into the sandals or awkwardly just rest my feet on top of them :) 

One-Year-Celebration/Birthday Party the other sisters had for Sister Ayub and I :)

Sister Joyce got her mission call!!! I am so excited for her. She works with us every week and has become one of my best friends. She will do amazing things.

Our Zone got to go back to WaWa. It is so breathtakingly beautiful there. I love this country!

Changes and answered prayers.

Hey Family,

Where to start...I don't even many changes and so many surprises. 

This past week was Zone Interviews. This is something I have been looking forward to since last transfer. I love every opportunity to interact and learn from President Sperry and I was especially looking forward to his council with all the adventures of these past two transfers. It was a really incredible experience and a lot of what we discussed was of course personal but a few things he said I wanted to share. I told him how grateful I am for the time he has given me here with Sister Ayub. I explained that it has changed my life and he said, "And you have changed hers." I am so grateful for the time we have had to learn, grow and change together. He said, "You've helped Sister Ayub more in two transfers than has happened her entire mission." I think the same could be said of what she has done for me. The last thing he said and repeated several times was, "I don't think you realize how good you are." Isn't that so true of all of us! Why do we always underestimate ourselves and our capabilities? It's something I have worked on a lot in the mission with the help of the Lord. I am learning to see my weaknesses and opportunities to grow while also recognizing the strengths and talents the Lord has given me. I don't think He likes it when we are constantly beating ourselves up and I know I sure don't enjoy it either. 

Okay time for transfer announcements... I am leaving Malolos and Sister Ayub is staying. I am so sad to leave this area. So many good things are happening but it will be so good for Sister Ayub to stay here and have a chance to lead the area again.

My new companion will be Sister in my companion from the MTC...I couldn't be more excited or grateful to a loving Heavenly Father. He is so good to all of us. Sister Loo and I have both been called as Sister Training Leaders. I am a bit overwhelmed by the calling but so excited to serve, love and support the sisters in the mission. 

Also, I found out that Sister Sia (my trianee) is training this transfer and its an Australian sister. I am so excited for her!! She is so ready :) 

I am just so humbled by all our Heavenly Father does for us. His plan is so perfect. I am just so grateful to Him and my Savior. We taught the plan of salvation a lot this week and I was just filled with awe at the knowledge we have. I can't believe I get to share that message and happiness that comes from His plan daily. Missions are just really the best thing in the world. I am so happy to be here and grateful for every minute I have been blessed with. Even after being here a year, sometimes I just walk down the street in amazement that I am in the Philippines. I never would have pictured it but now I can't imagine my life without this country, these people, my nametag and experiences as a missionary in it. I love you all and pray for you daily!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

Fun fact this week is the first picture I attached. I am going to let it speak for itself haha gives you a little bit of an idea what the bathroom situation is like here. The picture is hanging in the bathroom at the church here in Malolos.

Community Service Project

Amazing sisters from Relief Society after Ward Conference.

Fun Fact :)

Sister Evelyn...she is definitely the hardest person for me to leave here.

" soul filled with joy.."

'Musta na kayo?

Such a good week. Sister Ayub and I learned a lot and again saw so many miracles. This area is finally beginning to progress after hard work and prayers from missionaries and members. Sister Ayub did so good this week and is still working so hard. I am so proud of her and everything she is accomplishing. We continue to push each other and we're excited for what the rest of this transfer will bring.

I am so in awe with this ward. They are all so diligent in their callings and inspire me to do more as a missionary and give me an idea of who I want to be when I return. They know our investigators and less-actives and are intimately involved in their progression. I will forever be grateful for the time I've been given here. This week as we fasted to find those that would receive us we felt prompted to visit the home of some investigators who have gone through so many sets of missionaries without ever going to church or keeping commitments. From the moment we sat down we could tell things were different this time for two of the family's youngest teenage daughters, Marilen and Maribel. After a great discussion and lesson about the Atonement they both committed to attend church...and then they did! The ward was AMAZING at fellowshipping and they are attending the Stake Youth activity with the young women this Saturday. Now if we could just get the rest of the family to sit down, listen and be filled with the same desire... they have 13 brothers and sisters :)

These last few weeks I have just been filled with an absolute thirst for the scriptures that I have never experienced before. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the power that it holds in drawing us unto the Savior and truly changing lives. This week as I read about the sons of Mosiah and Alma I, of course, was so inspired by all they accomplished and their devotion to their calling. I can't say that my mission has gone the way I imagined it leaving my family a year ago but I can say that I share the feeling of Alma when he says, "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me...and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy...When I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer...then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." [Alma 29:9-10] I know that God's plan is perfect and the experiences here have been better then I could have imaged because He knows each of His children so perfectly. Here I have found my greatest joy, working in His vineyard.

I love you all!!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

The people here yell, "Hey Joe!" at all the white people. I don't know where it came from but I'm going to guess World War II when all the American soldiers were here. 

Ikaw talaga.

Dear Family,

This week definitely started out a little rocky. We couldn't seem to get into houses that we are usually welcomed into with open arms. We were just feeling more than a bit unwanted ha but our Saturday made everything worth it. We saw so many miracles and answered prayers. We had two especially special lessons. 

Our first was teaching Sister Gaudaliza. She is living with her less-active aunt and we have been trying to teach her for weeks. She has NOT been interested, but we kept smiling talking to her and hoping she would let us teach her. On Saturday we decided to stop by one more time before a meeting. She told us her aunt wasn't home and we were prepared to tell us to just come back another day, but suddenly she opened the door and said come in. Ha it took us a minute to react because we were so surprised. She is so awesome and has totally changed. Before she was cold and evasive, this time she was all smiles, laughing and all around happy. As we began teaching we explained that we know how important this message is and that it will bless the lives of the people and families we teach and that we why we are willing to leave our own for 18 months. She began tearing up, rubbed her arms and said, "That makes me feel good." The lesson was great and we can't wait to go back. As we were leaving see said, "Wow, its surprising that it feels so good to be with you." [That was super awkward to translate but hopefully you understand.] 

Later that night we went back to teach Merilen Salamat, one of the two teenagers that came to church last week. This was one of my favorite lessons of my entire mission. I can't even explain to you the change we have seen in this sister. It is amazing. This night we decided to reteach her lesson one because it has been awhile since she was taught it. She was just loving it, all smiles and caught on every word. At the end we just began to talk a bit and she just suddenly spilled her heart to us. She said that the missionaries have been coming here for over a year and it never really meant anything to her. She didn't used to care if she missed the lessons and she just wanted to debate with them. She said now its all different. She said I get so excited when I know you are coming and I can't stay away from the lessons even if I wanted to. She said she will keep coming to church every Sunday. We explained that she needs to find the truth for her self and that the Book of Mormon and her prayers are the way to do that. She said she wants to and will and is just so excited about everything! We felt impressed to bring up a baptismal date again, something we had done in the past before we dropped them and she had argued and said she was already baptized at the Catholic church and happy where she was and so was her family. This time was different. She took it very seriously and said, "That is something that I am willing to do when I find the truth for myself. It is something I want to do for myself, not for you or my family." Ah she is seriously so amazing and I love her so much. We are just praying that her family will get on board. The problem is her parents live in a different area so we are trying to coordinate with the elders to begin teaching them.

This gospel really does change lives. It is the reason for living. I read a quote the other day from President Uchtdorf that reads, "In the end, happiness does not spring from perfection but from applying divine principles, even in small steps." It is so excited to know that as we do our best to be obedient each day and follow His plan for us we can change and grow. I am so grateful for the opportunity to overcome weaknesses and further develop strengths together with my companion. It is also equally exciting to help others do the same each day. I love you all! Have a great week!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Facts:

Filipinos LOVE their game shows and apparently a new one came out called "You Are My Foriegnoy/nay". Its a show were foreigners who have been living here compete by speaking Tagalog and doing some sort of Filipino talent. Well I can't even tell you how many times a day I get yelled at, "Hey! You are my forienay" or get told that I should join it because most of the people can hardly speak Tagalog haha maybe after the mission :)

Also a fun fact, in the past few weeks I have eaten horse (that felt like eating my best friend) and chicken lungs and heart. Next on the menu according to the members here is dog. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Run with Patience"

Hello Family!!

I hope you are all doing great. Sister Ayub and I had a fantastic week!! We saw so many miracles and definitely felt strengthened by the Lord. Her back pain has been gone, which has made a world of difference. I am so proud of all she accomplished this week. We went on splits with the ward missionaries and she did fantastic taking charge. Then yesterday in one of our lessons she was throwing out so many new Tagalog words. I couldn't stop smiling; I felt just like a proud mama as she taught. Random adventure that happened to the two of us...Sister Ayub was frustrated with on of the other sisters who was singing during language study so she went to our room to study and when I went up to check on her she had fallen asleep sitting on the floor with her head on her books spread out on her bed. I shook her to tell her it was time to go eat and she just tipped over but didn't wake up. I tried everything to get her to wake up and nothing was working. She was breathing normal and everything she just wouldn't wake up. The other sisters and I tried EVERYTHING we could think of to wake her up and NOTHING had any effect. She we talked to our district leader who called president and apparently it had happened before and we were supposed to just wait it out. So I went downstairs to keep studying and 3 hours later she came downstairs and just said, "Why didn't you wake me up?" It was the weirdest experience.

This week was full of sacred experiences and miracles. The last few weeks I had let myself sort of slip into a hole of self-pity where I felt inadequate and incapable. No matter what I did I just couldn't seem to pull myself out of it. But this week Sister Ayub and I did it together with the help of the Savior. There were a few times where I could feel myself slipping again and suddenly felt strengthened and encouraged. Something told me that that strength came from the prayers of loved ones at home. Thank you so much for your examples, love, support and prayers. It means the world to me and is felt everyday. 

We also saw so many miracles in the work itself. Doors seemed to open that weren't before and we simply felt very guided. The bishopric is doing amazing things in furthering the work of salvation and placing responsibility on the shoulders of members, ward missionaries and full-time missionaries as a united force. I am so grateful for this area and the people the Lord and placed in our path. We are beginning to see the fruits of our labors in using the work of salvation to teach members. 

After district meeting last week we were asked to focus on a Christlike attribute. I chose faith and hope. I am so grateful I did. The Lord has taught me so much this week. As I was studying faith I was brought back to the scripture President shared with us awhile back from Hebrews 12:1-2. I know that as we "run with patience" the Lord truly does become the author and finisher of our faith, expanding our capabilities and welcoming miracles into our lives. A women we are teaching who constantly constantly tries to Bible bash in the kindest way with us has asked us a few times, "What is the good news?" I have been thinking about that a bit and I am so grateful for the knowledge that we carry the good news. Our message is the gospel of Jesus Christ which brings all hope, peace and happiness. We know that through Him all things are possible. I love this work and I love all of you!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

This week is another Pakistan fun fact because it is so funny to me. The other night during nightly planning Sister Ayub suddenly says in her broken English, "I want to see a real American." I just sort of stared at her and then stuck my hand in her face and said, "Guess what I am one!!" Haha she just started laughing and said, "NOOOOO. Babies. I never to see a real American baby. They are so beautiful." She explained that she has only seen them in movies and wants to see one so bad. Haha I invited her to America to my baby someday in the future when that happens. Life is never dull with her.

 The elders in our ward and crazy Tatay Bong.

I got to see Sister Sia this week!!! All the foreigners in our whole mission had to suddenly meet to take pictures and fill-out some things for immigration so we got to see lots of missionaries. So fun.

 The sisters that work with us every week. They are amazing and preparing for missions.

"...may the peace of God rest upon you..."

Hello family,
So, this week was hard. Super hard. Sister Ayub's back has really been troubling her and it has thrown everything into a bit of ciaos but hopefully we have that figured that out and things will calm down a bit this week. It was frustrating to see so much of what we have been working on reverse in a few days. However, these last few days the pain has been gone and she has been doing so good. On Sunday she gave a talk in Tagalog and the whole ward has been complimenting her on how much she has improved which motivates her to keep going. She really has improved so much. It is amazing it see and be a part of. Her Tagalog still isn't really understandable but she speaks it instead of English in lessons, which is so far from where she was coming from. We have been preparing her for splits with some amazing ward missionaries this week, something that really helped me progress when I was new. I am really excited for her!

We had a really sad experience with Sister Evelyn (the less-active I smiled at and began attending church again) this week. I won't explain all that happened but she was abused by her husband and left searching for somewhere to turn. We were with her during and after this experience and I have never felt so helpless. We helped her get in contact with the bishop but have since lost contact with her. Please pray for her. She is so special and searching for happiness. It is amazing to see the difference in her life and the life of all her loved ones she left in Bacalod who are active, return-missionaries now married in the temple. She told us that her dad calls her every Sunday to ask if she went to church and he has been so happy to finally hear yes for the past few weeks.This message has the power to change lives, even those who have lost their way and left the path for a time. There is always hope! You can always come back!

Our ward is so involved in the work and wants to see its success but have been struggling to find a solution for the lack of referrals and progress. As leaders and missionaries of Malolos 1st ward we met and organized a ward wide fast this coming week for the Work of Salvation in our area and we are excited to see the fruits of their faith and trust in the Lord. I love this ward and want so badly to help them. I feel like miracles are just waiting around the corner for them and the people of Malolos.

These last few weeks have definitely been a refiners fire for me and I feel as though I might still be in the middle of it, but I am already eternally grateful for this time. Never at any point in my life have I become so utterly dependent on the opportunity to pray to my Father in Heaven, my Savior's enabling sacrifice and the power of scripture study. I know that as we are obedient and do all that He asks, "the peace of God [will] rest upon [us]." I have felt it. I know that the message we carry is true and that our Father's plan is perfect. We may not see the answers or have the experiences we expect but His plan is infinitely better-- always. I know that He has called us all in our weaknesses and that He always qualifies those whom He calls. I am so grateful that He has called me and each day gives me the opportunity in some small baby-step-of-a-way to overcome my many weaknesses. I am so grateful for all of  you. I love you and miss you!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

This is one of my very favorites. So Filipinos are VERY superstitious people and believe in a lot of myths and stories. I have people ask me all the time if there are really vampires in America and if Abraham Lincoln really is a vampire slayer? Haha they are being 100% serious when they ask that. So one of the mythical creatures that they believe in here are called Duwende. They are supposedly tiny elves that are too small to see. They make little homes that look like ant hills (they definitely actually are ant hills) and you must NEVER kick or step one their homes or they will curse you. When I asked what happens to you because of the curse they said it depends on how mad you made them but you could even possibly die from it. So in order to avoid all that, when passing a Duwende home or ant hill you say, "Tabi po. Tabi-tabi po." which means "Please move to the side. Step to the side please." That way they have time to get out of the way of your big feet and not get squished :) So there you have it. This is all very serious. The other day when we were working with our ward missionaries Sister Ayub put her foot up against one and they starting FREAKING OUT at her and she was so confused and scared because she didn't understand what they were saying haha super funny and we all laughed after I explained it to her.

Playing Filipino games with the ward missionaries on P-day.

Leaving Valentine surprises for the other sisters.

Finding surprises from them.

I love these sisters! P.S. That mattress we are laying on is my bed :) 

Maraming ang mababago sa inyong sarili dahil sa gawain nito

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat! (said in a deep Filipino preacher voice)

How are you all? Is it really time for transfers again. That blows my mind. I really have no idea what will happen. I am torn in a lot of ways I feel like Sister Ayub and I have another transfer together but I could also see one of us transferring. I guess we will just have to wait and see. Whatever happens I have complete and total trust in President Sperry. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have to serve under that man. He truly is called of God. Having said that...

This is a transfer I will never forget (not that I will forget any on my mission) but this is one I will forever be grateful for. Coming into it I really was scared to death. I didn't know what to expect or even where to begin. This transfer has taught me to rely on prayer and the enabling power of the Atonement. I can say now without any shadow of a doubt that our Father in Heaven lives, hears and answers all our prayers in His perfect way and timing. I can also say that I know I have a living Savior and Redeemer who strengthens us constantly giving us capacities far beyond our own. I have seen it so many times in others and experienced it myself.

Now for Sister Ayub... oh my goodness I love that sister SO much! She has taught me so much and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a witness to her growth and progression. She has come so far and I am so incredibly proud of her. This Sunday we had a fast together for those we were teaching to have the strength and desire to attend church...and nearly no one came...AGAIN! We have really struggled with progress in our area this transfer no matter how hard we have worked and how much we have given these people. When they didn't attend church AGAIN I was so frustrated and as the sacrament started I was trying to hold back tears. I just began praying for strength and understanding of his plan. As individuals began bearing their testimonies Sister Ayub leaned over to me and asked me how you say, "In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen." in Tagalog. I gave her a quick response because I didn't want her to notice I was struggling. Then a few minutes later she asked if she could get past me to go up to the front. I was shocked. She never wants to speak in front of anyone, especially in a crowd that big because she is still working on Tagalog. I couldn't stop from smiling as I watched her walk up to the front and was filled with complete peace as she bore the very best testimony she could IN TAGALOG for the first time in her whole mission voluntarily. She thanked the ward, bishop, me and the Lord for all they had given her. It was such a sacred experience and one I will never forget. I am so proud of this sister and all the hard work she has put into this transfer. She is an amazing missionary. I have no doubt that our Father in Heaven is perfectly aware of each and everyone of his missionaries and children throughout the world. 

I am so grateful for all that this mission is teaching and the depth and understanding I am beginning to develop. Thank you so much for all your love, encouragement, prayers and advice. I am continually learning more from your examples! Love you all.

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:
Yet another jeepney fun fact...when you pay on the jeepney you just say, "Bayad po." meaning this is my payment and stick your arm out then someone ahead of you in the jeepney will take it and will be passed down until it reaches the driver. He will then ask you how many of you there are and where you are going and then pass you back any change you need the by sticking his hand back and the people will just pass it down again until it reaches you. I was absolutely amazed by this when I first got here. One, because of the honesty that no one is policing any of it. It is just expect that everyone will pay when they get on and that no one will steal the money as it is passed around. And two, because the driver has a whole jeepeny full of people passing money to him at one time while driving and starting and stopping because people are getting on and off but somehow the whole time he keeps track of it all and gets everyone their correct change. 

Boodle Fight with the zone. All food is eaten with your hands and laid out on banana leaves.  Squeezing coconut with Sister Cestona for our chicken curry.


I am serving in Paradise :) It is breathtaking here!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Siya nawa

Hellooooooo Family.

This was a great week. My mind is sort of blown. Lots of crazy growing experiences.

On Tuesday at district meeting one of the elders came up to me and asked if President called me. I was like, "No....why?" I have been planning on going home two weeks early for school as well as this elder and he said President asked him to go home a transfer early in order to accommodate the new mission president in July. When I heard that my heart dropped. I'm not ready to go home! If I was asked to go home a transfer early that would mean I only have 6 months left...WHAT. That would day I was super overwhelmed. Before going out to work I just prayed for peace and an assurance that whenever I was asked to come home I would be prepared and just focus on the time I have now to learn, grow and teach. I went out that day to work and just wanted to talk to everyone I saw haha and use every minute. The next day at zone conference (which was of my very favorites so far!) I got the chance to talk with President. He told me that instead he would send me home in the middle of the transfer on August 14 with none other than...SISTER of my companions in the MTC who I flew to the Philippines with. I couldn't have gotten better new. Heavenly Father is so aware of each and everyone of my children. I know it. I've felt it and I see it EVERYDAY in this work. 

On a funny note. I have lost my voice the last few days. Considering that Sister Ayub still can't speak Tagalog it has made lessons very interesting haha but maybe this is just Heavenly Father telling me to be quite and giving Sister Ayub the opportunity to push herself even more.

Sister Ayub and I had a good week. However, It seems that no matter how hard we work and pray we can not get the people-- investigators and less-actives-- to attend church. That has been frustrating but we did see a few miracles this week with individuals attending church. Sister Evelyn the sister who attended church after I smiled at her has now come 3 weeks in a row. We are so excited for her! Now if we could just start teaching her non-member family. We found a Book of Mormon her husband has that the missionaries gave him in 1998. It was so cool and one of the first translated copies. He still hasn't read it, but he will soon!

I know I've talked about this before but I am again just so grateful for the Lord's tender mercies. This morning I read "The Lord's Tender Mercies" by Elder Bednar. In the talk he said, "The Lord's tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord's timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessing." Love it! One of my favorite things that my companions and I do each night before falling asleep is each say our miracle for the day. There ALWAYS is one, usually many. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this work and witness and experience His tender mercies.

I love you all!

Love always,
Sister Porter

Filipino Fun Fact:

The traditions at a death are very different here. After someone has died they are prepared for burial and placed in their casket then left at their family's house in the living room or outside for about a week. During that time family members and friends will come and visit from different provinces and cities. There is usually drinking and karaoke involved...basically a must for any gathering in the Philippines. Then on the way to the cemetery the casket is usually pulled in a glass type carriage thing behind a truck (I don't no how to describe it ha google it) but the kicker is music will be blasting from the car carrying the casket. Anytime of music but most times rock n' roll. Also as a side note, just like in America you usually wear black to funerals but you CAN'T wear red. Red is worn for parties, especially birthdays, and would be VERY disrespectful.

Jeepney ride to zone conference. We left super early so everyone was way tired. Also, it was cold, well more of like a little brisk, but I wore a sweater for the first time in a year ha.

This is our view on our morning walks...its breathtaking. Too bad I took it right after the rice was harvested, usually it is a SUPER vibrant green but now its just brown.

Trying to teach yet another one of my companions to do a push-up haha so much fun!