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Monday, April 14, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #42

Man oh man. Lets just say that sometimes transfers are a very very very good thing.

I am now in a different city. And my new companion is Sister M, a Tongan from Alaska. I've got my first American companion! WOW! It's super fun but I've realized just how Filipino I've become. It's pretty weird.

So my week in review...
Monday:We had p-day and it was really fun. Last day with all four of us and so we went and had fun together. We did a family home evening and yup. Just had fun.

Tuesday:This day was interesting because we were all really preoccupied with the idea of transfer calls. We went out and worked and both W and D worked with us. We visited some investigators and I honestly don't remember the whole day. But at the end of the day we ended up in Balintabog with those crazy kids. On the way there both W and D told me that they had the feeling that I was gonna be transferred. But I didn't feel anything so I just shrugged it off. And then Sister T kept texting us and freaking out because we hadn't got the text yet and I was freaking out every time she texted because I thought it was the ZLs. And then they finally did text. And I got transferred :) I wasn't sure how I would feel about it but the initial reaction was just a big YES! and then I sighed a big huge sigh of relief. I think if I had stayed there one more transfer I might have gone crazy... So we headed home and I started packing and didn't get to bed until 12:30 that night.

Wednesday: We got up at 5:30 and headed to the victory bus station. We got on the bus and rode all the way to Olongapo. Then we got off that one and rode another bus. And then we got on a trike and went to Pizza Hut. Man oh man I miss American pizza. It was soooooo good. Then we went to the apartment. We went out and worked and taught Sister L who got baptized on Sunday. She's super sweet but all the people that we visited kept saying that they miss Sister Ma a lot. I don't blame them. She was here for a really long time. But the people here are really nice. This area is way different from my last ones because it's kind of like a city. But it's cool.

Thursday: Went out exploring the new area again. I got to meet Brother H Z who is the son of L. He's really funny and he told me that I need to only speak Tagalog to him and he will only speak English to me so he can have practice. Ok sounds good to me :) His family is great too. We also taught G, one of our 17 year old boy investigators. He's super funny. The whole day, everyone was shocked by my Tagalog. 

Friday: We went back to Sister L's house and visited some less-actives too. The less-actives here are really progressing which is weird but awesome and they're all gonna return next month :) yesss. 

Saturday: First session and second session of General Conference. i looooove General Conference. I learn so much every single time. 

Afterwards, we went and visited the B family who are less-actives too and are super funny. Brother B is a college professor and super smart. We talked about the different languages here in the Philippines for a while. Did you know there are more than 97 different languages in the Philippines? it's super awesome. 

Sunday: General Conference again. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk and Elder Bednar's talk. Soooo good. After church we had L's baptism. She was super happy and so are we. And now I'm sitting here writing all of you.

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ and I know that families can be together forever in this church. I love this work so much and I can see how much it has blessed my life. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. I love you all

Mahal ko kayo! Ingat kayo palagi!
-Sister Hess

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week 41

In times like this, I'm glad my daughter knows just who's got her back. It's been a tough couple weeks. From everything I hear, though, she's heading in the right direction. This is a kid who doesn't get down, so now that she's facing that, she's got to learn how to barrel through and keep her chin on but not carry the load alone. I have no doubt that she'll make it through just fine and there will be big rewards on the other side of that hill.


Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Honestly, this week has been the hardest week of my whole mission. And I thought the 12 week training was hard.... Nope. Apparently, Heavenly Father still thinks that I'm not humble enough and that I need to improve faster.

I guess I didn't really tell anyone about my week 40 either. I'll just say it was good and that I learned a lot. If I say everything that happened this email will take me 3 hours to write. 

So week 41.... it was super interesting. 

Monday: So for March we had a goal of getting 200 baptisms or more in the whole mission for the whole month. We aimed high but we didn't hit 200. Instead we got our mission standard of excellence. We have 188 missionaries in this mission and we got 188 baptisms. Woohoo! So we all got to go the mission home. Every missionary here. It was so happy. We had a giant water fight and watched 17 Miracles and ate Lechon Baboy which is one of those giant pigs that they roasted on a spit. It was a lot of fun. And we didn't get home until 9:00 that night so we didn't work.

Tuesday: This was technically our p-day. Kind of weird to have a p-day on a Tuesday but it was ok. We got everything done and went out to work. We got to teach J R, one of our recent converts. He's super funny and I honestly think of him as one of my little brothers. Then we went and taught B who is one of our recently returned less-actives. He's bi-polar I swear. He was feeling really stuck up that night so we just teased him the whole time. It was quite entertaining. 

Wednesday: We had MLC finally. Got to meet up with everyone again at the mission home. And I learned a lot. It was a lot about recognizing our weaknesses and working harder than ever before because this is the work of Salvation and Heavenly Father is hastening his work so we need to work harder too. We then went home and got to go out and work again. We went and taught Sister J again. She's really funny and doesn't really realize that a lot of the things she says are really really rude but at least it's entertaining to teach her :) Then we went and taught C (one of our investigators). She's really really quiet but promising. She just has to realize that the Born Again church isn't the true one... Then we went to teach Brother D. This is where my week started going downhill. Brother D has recently been hanging out with a whole bunch of his friends that are skaters. Not sure what exactly has happened but he doesn't want us to teach him anymore. He says he's happy he met us but he says that it's probably not his time right now to become Mormon so he's going to return to how he used to be and wait until he's ready. WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Why did I just spend all this time caring about you and praying for you and fasting for you and teaching you, just to have to throw it all away? And then I got really sad and mad at the same time. 

Thursday: Still pretty mad and steamed up. But I got through the day. We went and contacted a bunch of referrals from the zone leaders. They weren't actually home but we got to teach members of their families. They're all so awesome and so promising and I'm so excited to teach the actual referrals haha We also taught L and he's doing pretty good. He still has a coffee problem but we're working on that with him. Then we went and taught the Balintabog kids and played with them again. 

Friday: We had a district meeting and this one was fun. And afterwards, we went to this burger place and got Yolanda burgers. Those things are HUGE. It's a three layer bun with hot dog, ham, two patties, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, egg, and a bunch of other stuff. The bun is maybe 6 inches across. And I finished that thing in 20 minutes :) hehe yessss it was so good. We went back out to work and contacted more referrals and had more fun.

Saturday: We got to go watch the women's broadcast and it was really good. I learned a lot from that too. Then we went out to work but we were sooooooooooooo punted. We taught the S family and that was fun but now our area is nearing the finals of their basketball season so EVERYONE was at the plaza watching the game. So we wandered and tried to find.... Unsuccessfully.

Sunday: I love sundays. Went to church and it was fine. Got to do a MCM afterwards. We then went out and actually got to contact one of the referrals. She just wants us to make her mormon right here and right now. YES. That's what Im' talking about haha so yeah. And then it started pouring rain. So yup. Completing my day in the best way :) (no that's not sarcasm). 

That was my week. Now that I look back it wasn't that bad. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts. I love you all. Keep smiling. 

Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess

#1's Weekly Email: Week #40

Oh, my goodness! I am the BIGGEST SLACKER EVERRRR!!! 

This is #1's email from two weeks ago. Last week, because of a mission-wide celebration, she didn't write a weekly email, so this is the most recent. She should write again in the next couple hours, so it'd probably be a good idea to get caught up, no?

Anyway, enjoy this one, and more'll be on its way soon.

I almost got a pregnant cat thrown on me and I saw a spider the size of my hand. No joke.

Well.... Good morning everyone. How are you all? How is life over there (wherever you all are)?
This week has been interesting and... yeah... interesting. That's all I'm gonna say about it.

Monday: P-day. Just normal. No one was home so we went and taught E, our recent convert and that whole lesson just swatted at mosquitoes so they wouldn't bite us :P 

Tuesday: We headed to the District Meeting and then I got to hold a meeting with the ZLs and the DLs too. So after that, we went out to work. And I was on exchanges with Sister T. I love that girl. She's so awesome. We went straight out and started finding right away. We found one part member family and taught
them and they're very promising. We then joined up with our Branch Mission Leader and kept finding. It was so much fun. We also went and taught the O family and D and also the S girls. It was just a good day and super fun. And at the end of the day when the ZLs called to check in, I got to tell them that we got 3 new
investigators. Woohoo!

Wednesday: Me and Sister T went out in the morning and taught Sister P. Then in the afternoon we went out and found again. We found a new investigator named J and taught her and her 91 year old grandpa. That was fun. Then we went and found another member of the T family that we hadn't taught yet and we taught her. Evey time we go over there to teach them we find another member of their family that we haven't taught yet (all the others are mysteriously not home) and we teach them. Now we've taught 4 members of that family and there are more that we still haven't met yet. Then we went and taught the So. family again. The kittens all tried to follow us out again haha We walked to Balintabog and taught the little kids there too.
Brother D was home so we went and taught him too. He's starting to realize that his baptism is coming up really soon. He doesn't seem too excited about it. And he won't tell us why. 3 new investigators from

Thursday: Went back and taught the part member family that we taught on Tuesday. They're super receptive. They have an old lady that lives there and her name is S G. She is the funniest little old
lady ever. On Tuesday, it turns out, she had actually been there, just sitting in the other room, because she wasn't feeling good and listening. And then she let us teach her and we extended all of them a BGD and they all accepted. We then continued finding and found two other older ladies and taught them. After that we taught D again and are trying to get him ready for his baptism too. That day we got 4 new investigators.
Friday: We went out in the morning and taught J D who is an old less-active. He's the funniest little old man ever. We went back later that day and taught J. Her aunt was there and she would not stop going on and on about how cute I was and how good I was at Tagalog. And then she said she wants me to become her
daughter-in-law.... Oh dear... And then she admitted to us that she was drunk. hahaha man oh man that was a funny lesson. We taught her and her daughter and J and her grandpa. I've never had anyone offer their sons to me before... that was an experience. We then went to visit Sister G. Now this trip was really annoying. Sister G is my baptist friend who is married to a Canadian and thinks I'm a tourist. Yup. We've taught her before but apparently she didn't listen because whenever we go over to visit her she doesn't want to be taught. She just wants to compare America and the Philippines and tell me all the English swear words that she knows... Ok, sounds good. We won't be going back to visit you though. We then went and taught the So. family again and went to Balintabog again. Super fun. 3 new investigators again.
Saturday: Saturday wasn't as productive as the rest of the week because we got invited to a wedding of the older brother of our branch mission leader. And Filipino weddings are soooooooooooooo fun. And
there's so much food. But we still got to teach some lessons. We taught Sister M and Sister G S again. Then we taught L, one of our referrals. We also went to visit D to teach him and his mother told us that
he couldn't be baptized. What?! Apparently she could give permission for him to be taught and permission for him to go to church but he couldn't be baptized without the permission of his dad. Dangit. So
that's one baptism that's not gonna happen this month. Then we went and taught the S girls again. And then went on over to Brother D's house.

We got over there and reviewed the baptismal interview questions. Then we gave him the BCR and asked him to sign and he asked what it was and when I explained that he was giving us permission to baptize him he adamantly exclaimed that he wasn't going to be baptized. He said that he's not ready yet and then still wouldn't say why.

Sunday: We went to church and there was Brother D. We attended and I texted the ZLs and told them that they shouldn't come to the church because Brother D wasn't going to be baptized. Elder R. our ZL asked to talk to him on the phone and he did and the verdict was the Elder R would be coming anyways to interview him. So he did. And then we found out afterwards that the reason why Brother D wasn't ready to be baptized. The good news is that he can still be baptized soon. Woohoo! So yeah. and work was good too on Sunday.

That's a total of 14 new investigators in one week and on that happy note, I'm going to say goodbye until next week and ingat kayo palagi.

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Hess

Lessons in Hindsight

When I served a mission all those years ago, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Now that my daughter is serving, I'm beginning to see some new lessons the mission experience taught me. Here is what I'm starting to see….

First of all, serving a mission gave me experience. As a mother of a
missionary, this is priceless. I don't worry about my daughter. I know about travel for missionaries. I know the basic schedule, and more importantly than any of those, I know how I was protected and guided. I knew I was in the Lord's service. There are experiences you can't share with everyone because no one could really understand unless they were inside your heart, but there were almost daily experiences that reminded me that Heavenly Father was close and was watching out for me, my companion, and others.

Second, I learned about agency--the ability to choose. A missionary experiences excruciating situations with this topic. You grow to love the people you teach. You watch them draw closer to the Savior and you encourage and challenge them to draw even closer. When they take what you say or ask and choose not to do it, it rips your heart all up. You quickly learn that, want to as you might, you cannot take another's agency away. You cannot control what another chooses to do. You learn, over time, that your right to choose is yours only. You learn where your limits are. Painful as it may be, you learn to respect what others choose good or bad.

Third, I learned to fight through exhaustion. Mission life taught me to be low-maintenance. I realized that what I looked like didn't matter as much as what was in my heart and the more I sacrificed, the bigger the blessings. I learned that being tired didn't matter. You just went and did, and believe me, NOTHING holds a candle to mission exhaustion…NOTHING!

Fourth, I learned to step outside myself. Going up and talking to complete strangers isn't an easy thing for most people. I was among those ranks. One day, I finally decided to make a game out of it….I told myself that I owned the street. Anyone on that street was visiting me, and it was my job to introduce myself to him/her. My job was to make the lives of those who visited happier even if just for the moment I introduced myself. Of course, no one knew they were visiting my street, but it got me to step out of my comfort zone and made me take risks.

In hindsight, I can see what a life-changing experience 18 months dedicated to serving the Lord was. I am thrilled that my daughter and so many young women and young men are now getting that same opportunity. What a difference it will make on their outlooks on life!

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