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Sunday, February 23, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #36

Sounds like it was an interesting week. The fascinating thing is that the Thursday experience she had teaching R is identical to one I had nearly 25 years ago. Crazy that her response mirrors mine. It was how I learned what the gift of tongues really means. What an experience!

Well, this week was very very very interesting. Lets just say that I had two people try to convince me that the LDS church isn't true. Good luck with that….

But yeah, lots of fun times this week but my testimony is stronger than ever.

So Monday: It was a normal p-day and then at night we had a FHE and it was super super fun. We made some more people members of booga booga and then we had a hair fight (we'll play that when I get home) and then played the needle game (Sister C knows what that is... hehe).

Tuesday: We were really really punted. We went from appointment to appointment and no one was home. But we still got some lessons in anyways. We taught L and D to help them prepare for their baptism and then went and taught De again. He was smoking 8 cigarettes a day and then he dropped down to 7.

Wednesday: Today was one of the interesting ones... We went and taught the S family (recent converts) and then taught N (one of our investigators) and then we taught brother De again (only 6 sticks today!) And then went back to the Methodist lady's house. She wanted to feed us and she had ordered my favorite Filippino food (Bicol Express). But there was a catch to that meeting... Someone had given her an Anti-Mormon magazine. I asked her about it, and she said she didn't want to talk about it because it might "ruin our friendship" and then we were like ok fine with us. But then she proceeded to tell us things about it and read us things out of it that were possibly the most ridiculous things I've ever heard about the Mormon church. We told her that they weren't true. Even though we kept telling her that it wasn't true and that it wasn't even written by Mormons, she said that she didn't know. Well, alrighty then. And then she proceeded to lecture us again about being "inclusive and not exclusive". Hmmm ok. Yup. That was the first interesting lesson that I got to be a part of this week. The good thing was the food was delicious :)

Thursday: Thursday was another punted day. We went and contacted the referral of one of our recent converts, and she's awesome. She really, really wants to go to church. The only problem is that they're really far away from the church, and they don't have any money to ride to church. So we'll see if we can fix that.

Then we got to the other interesting lesson. This one was to one of our less-actives that I had actually never taught yet. His name is R and he has actually been taught by another religion and they gave him a bible of theirs, and he's been studying it religiously. We went to teach him and we answered all his questions but he didn't accept them as answers because they're built on faith and not on fact. Let's just say that he made me really mad and yup. But the one thing I actually like about the hard lessons like that is that they solidify my testimony. There is no way they're going to convert me to their religion because I know that mine is true. Don't bother trying to convince me because I'm just as stubborn as you are... Ugh. So that was fun. 

Friday: This day was a lot better because I got to go on exchanges with Sister T. We went around her area and taught a bunch of people. I tried to help her resolve some of her concerns. We taught one less-active who says I look like Taylor Swift (when she came to church on Sunday that's what she called me and hugged me) and taught some more investigators and it was fun because it was two white girls walking around speaking English and everyone was pretty amazed haha

Saturday! Baptism day of Tatay and Nanay M and L and D. It was great, and they were all so happy because of it. Then we went to visit the O family (recent converts), and I got to play with their three little girls and their son. Man it made me miss my siblings so much. But it was fun. I felt like I was home.
Sunday: This day was good too. I got to be the pianist at church, and I also got to give a talk about our Missionary duty. I forgot how much I love giving talks. We also got one more of our investigators interviewed for baptism. Then we went and taught the O family again about missionary work and then went and contacted another referral and then went and taught Brother De again. He's down to two cigarettes :) His goal is to be completely off them by March 1st. I love this Gospel and seeing it change the lives of people. 

I'm so grateful for the chance to be a missionary. I know this is the true church. Not a doubt in my mind. Thank you for all the love and support that you give me. 

Mahal ko kayo!
Have a great week! Until next time.
Sister Hess

Sunday, February 16, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #35

Jeans, Sun, Wishing wells, Sand everywhere, Exchanges, Nutella, and Jam sessions on the piano
Greetings from planet Earth! I'm Jimmy Neutron and YOU'RE an Alien life form....
Hahah juuuuust kidding. 
Sister Hess here again. 

This past week has been super fun and we've noticed so many blessings in our work. 

Monday: As you heard last week, we had a zone activity on the beach over here in our area, and it was amazing and gorgeous, and I wanted to swim sooooo badly but I'm a good girl and I didn't. We also did a family home evening in our area and made a whole bunch of kids members of Booga-booga. That was super super fun. 

Tuesday: I went on exchanges with Sister A (trainee of Sister T). That was a lot of fun too. I learned so much from her. She's a great missionary and even though she's only been out here for 5 weeks. We got to teach a lot of people in their area and that was a lot of fun to get to know a whole bunch of new people.
Wednesday: We had a zone conference. It was great and I got to see a lot of my friends, and then we got to eat at a fancy restaurant. We came home and got back to work. We visited L and D and then headed to teach Brother D. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and found out that he has a drinking problem and a smoking problem. But he is so willing to change. That's always one of my favorite things about missionary work, seeing the change come over the people we teach because they know that the Gospel is true. I love it so much. 

Thursday: We were actually quite punted today which means that we go to our appointments and no one is there or they're super busy. But we still got to teach some people anyway. We went and taught the S family and then taught J (who is going to be baptized on the 28th) and then went and taught the O family. They're a family of recent converts, and they're awesome. They have 3 little girls and they always hang on me because they think that if they do, maybe some of my whiteness will rub off on them haha I gave the three little girls and their older brother and their mom some CTR rings and they were so happy. 

Friday: We were really punted today too. Because it was Valentine's day, and no one was home at all. It was really weird. But we still got some teaching appointments in anyways. We taught Brother E who is a recent convert too. He's a little spitfire. He's 14 years old and super funny. We pretty much just tease each other through the whole teaching appointment. And then we went and taught L and D again. They're ready for their baptism too. And then we went to our dinner date at the house of Sister Z, the Methodist. This was like us making up for the last time we tried to teach her. And it was actually pretty good but mainly because we didn't teach her anything. But it was fun anyways.
Saturday: This day was super super fun. We got to do a CSP or church service project. We went to the M's house and we got to chop up a bunch of vines that were making a mess everywhere and then we got to help pick mangoes. And *bonus* I got to wear my jeans! :D That makes a very very happy Sister Hess. And then we taught them the Law of Chastity and the Law of Tithing and reviewed all the baptismal interview questions in one sitting hahaha that was fun. And then we went and visited L and D again and reviewed the baptismal interview questions with them too. 

Sunday: Went to church and so did 6 of our investigators. We had a jam session after church and I learned to play some new songs and then 4 of our investigators got interviewed for their baptism next week. And yup. Now I have to go.

Thank you so much for all the love and support. I love you all. Keep working hard and keep smiling. 

Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #34

I know….I know. Sheesh! It's about time!

We didn't hear from #1 at the usual time this past Sunday evening. I had, stupidly, told my husband that my goal for the week was to be in bed at 9:30 just a few hours before this, so of course, I had to live up to what I'd committed to. Ugh!

I woke up thinking it was 5:30am--the usual time I wake up and immediately thought, "I wonder if [#1]'s written yet." So, I grabbed my phone. Sure enough. She had. I started in reading right away. After a bit, I looked at the time…..It was 2:07am. Haha!

I stayed awake for an hour reading but never got things posted here. Oops! I can't do that stuff on my phone, that I'm aware of.

Finally….here we go!

It is February and I am soooooooooooooooo sunburned. I love the Philippines :)

Magandang hapon po sa inyo lahat! Kumusta na po kayo? Seguro, gusto ko magtagalog lang dito sa email ko sa inyo haha pero hindi pala pwede kusi hindo nyo naiintindihan. Sayang naman…..

Alright English na lang. 

How is everyone?

I'm great over here in the Philippines. You know that statement that says, "It's more fun in the Philippines."? Well if you didn't know that well now you do and it's definitely true.

This week has been a lot of fun.

Monday was a normal p-day. Got everything done and got back to the house, cleaned and then went out to work. We went and visited a recent convert who right now is living as a single parent because her husband (who is also a recent convert) is working abroad. We shared a scripture verse with her and then she just opened up and told us all about the many problems in her life. Apparently she's having a really hard time with her youngest son.... We could only encourage her to keep praying and having faith. 

Then we went and visited a husband and wife who are members and they've been members for a while. That was a fun lesson too. They're both pretty old but the dad's a big joker. 

Tuesday was MLC or Mission Leadership Counsel. So I got to go to the mission home. And I got to see Sister Lo and Sister Le and Sister P and Sister Ja and all my friends that are also ZLs and STLs right now. And it was super fun. I learned so much, and after that I actually felt like I might be able to do this STL thing.  

And then we went and visited Brother D who is my favorite investigator right now. He's 23 years old and he reminds me a lot of Brother R over in Lubao. He plays the guitar and used to be part of a band and so we had a jam session :) That was super super fun. And then we shared a scripture verse with him and committed him to ask God if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. 

Wednesday was my first Zone Meeting here in Botolan Zone. Our Zone Leaders are Elder C and Elder E. They're both awesome. If I was going to use one word to describe Elder C that would be "intense". He loves missionary work and he is a very, very hard worker so of course he expects all of us to be that way too. Elder E is just kind of quiet but he's also a very good ZL. Their workshop was all about finding because they want to make sure that we're prepared for next month too. And then they challenged us all to find at least one new investigator every single day. And then it was time for me Spiritual Instruction (that's what STLs usually do in zone meetings). My SI was on improving yourself everyday and pushing yourself. My favorite quote (that I forgot to share) is, "The only person you should be better than is that person that you were yesterday." And then I compared missionary work with Cross Country hahaha yup, I actually did. I think it was good... but I'm not exactly sure because the only person I asked for an opinion from was Sister L and because she's my companion... She's kind of biased haha but oh well. 

Wedneday was the start of the finding game. The ZLs texted us and told us that we had from 2pm to 9pm that night to find at least one new investigator and then to text them the names of them right after we get out of the appointment (I hope that makes sense... my English grammar is so bad right now). And then once they knew who had investigators they would send a mass text to everyone so that we would push each other to keep finding. It actually worked out really well. 

So we went out and taught a lot of people and everyone we saw we would talk to and so we got two new investigators and a bunch of return appointments :) Woohoo! "It's fun to find, it's fun to find, it's fun to find." 

Thursday, this was a good day too and yes, the finding game did continue. We headed straight out to visit the M family who lives really, really far away. They live about a 25-30 minute tricycle ride away. But they're awesome. But the sad thing was that we got there and Tatay told us that Nanay wasn't there. She was at a funeral... Darn. We taught Tatay anyways. We just resolved his concerns again and he said he was 99.9% sure that he was ready to be baptized. YAY! But because we spent so much time there resolving his concerns, we didn't get back in time to do some actual finding because it was dark by then. We went and taught Brother J who is going to be baptized on the 28th and that was fun because he's a 15 year old kid that's really quiet but has his own way of joking. Filippinos loooooove joking so I fit in perfectly here haha After the lesson for J, we got to teach Brother D again. We asked him if he prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and after the prayer he said he heard a really loud "Oo" (oh-oh) in his head which is Tagalog for "yes." It said it scared him really bad hahaha So he knows that Joseph is a true prophet of God. We then proceeded to teach him about the Book of Mormon and it was a really good lesson too. Then we committed him to be baptized on March 8th and he accepted :) yeehee.

Friday was a lot of fun because somehow we ended up with four members to work with us. All young men. The young men here in San Agustin Branch are craaaaaazy. There was Brother W, Brother Du, Brother B (one of our returning less-actives), and Brother Je. They are a hilarious group of boys. We got two new investigators on Friday too. One of them, Sister M, has a lot of potential and we're really excited to teach her again. The other, Brother A, probably won't progress very much but at least he listened. He told us straight up that he wouldn't go to church at our church because when he does go to church it's only at the Catholic church. Well, we'll see about that. 

Saturday, we went and visited a lot of less-actives. And that was fun and at the same time not so fun. Sometimes less-actives are really hard to teach because they are members that already know that gospel. So sometimes it feels like running head first into a brick wall.... But oh well. At least we keep trying. We went back and taught Brother D again and had another jam session. We shared a scripture verse and he had invited his two cousins to listen. It was a good lesson too.

Sunday, church time! And we had 6 investigators come. And they all have baptism dates :) Looks promising. Work after church wasn't as good as it was on the other day. We were so punted. There was no one home. But we still went and taught Le and De who are two little kids that are gonna be baptized too. They're super funny and I love teaching them. They're 13 and 11 years old and they've got a lot of spunk. 

After teaching them we went and visited our Methodist friend, Sister Z. It was a very interesting lesson.

So yeah. That was my week. Everything's good. And it was all fun. Gotta go now. 
Love you all. Thank you for all your love and support. Until next week. Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

This was on Facebook when I woke in the morning….

This is where she'd been instead of emailing at the usual time.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: Groups for the Philippines

I can't, in good conscience, keep things hanging on the typhoon end of things, so it being early Sunday morning, and everyone still being asleep, I'm going to go for another ten minute post…..

I fully trusted that the typhoon wasn't going to hit where #1 was. We were told that they might
experience 30-50 mile per hour winds and some rain. Knowing where my girl comes from, this is an average day, so not a biggie. If anything, it would just remind her of home. No stress.

The morning of day that the typhoon hit, though, I woke with very different feelings. I wasn't so worried about the typhoon as I was the Facebook groups. Suddenly, the words of #1's Mission President were there in my heart…..All families with missionaries in the Philippines should have a Facebook group. I this thing was going to be as bad as they were predicting, and if missionaries are serving in that area, surely the parents are going to want to be able to lean on each other like those with kids serving in Olongapo do.

I can't deny that I felt this, and strongly, but it was frustrating. What could I do about it?

As I lay there and pondered on it, I just felt that I should try. What would that hurt?

I pushed the "Create a group" button and ventured. I quickly learned that in order to start a group, you have to have someone to invite to the group. Okay, first road block. Who did I know that I could invite?

My mind went to my Facebook friends….I had a friend who lives nearby whose daughter was serving in Cebu East, I had instructed her on how to start a group one day when we were out together, so I knew that one was good to go. She was doing a great job. I was also pretty sure that some of the missions already had groups, so I didn't worry too much about Manila.

Who else did I know who had kids serving in the Philippines? I started to remember a few of them.  I actually ended up with five of them, so I got to work. I contacted these friends to see if they'd be interested in opening a missionary family group for their son/daughter's mission. We ended up with a few groups that morning--Quezon City, Cebu, and Tacloban, to name three.

Ten Random Minutes: To Shovel or Not to Shovel

image: mrboll.com
Forgive me for interrupting my own train of though yet again, but that's just the way this random brain of mine works…..

This morning, I ran across a question from a woman who's new to my area. She asked if anyone was renting from an apartment complex around here where the sidewalks are being kept up in this snow we're experiencing.

Everyone was replying that no, they were not.

Then, another woman chimed in that she used to manage in Washington state and that it is foolish to try to. When a manager shovels and attempts to de-ice the walkways, sometimes they can become more slick. A person can fall and sue.


Then you think well, what happens when they don't and someone falls, can't they be sued for that as well. Really, we're just damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't. Screwy!

I have a friend who manages apartments, and I know for a fact that she was out shoveling her walks last night. She called us because she wanted advice on how to do it best. Clearly, this woman cares about her tenants. She also has a kind heart and doesn't think about the other side of that coin--that there are rude and vindictive people out there.

Here's what really bugs, though….It seems that once something is in the legal books, there it remains to draw upon for time immemorial.

How do we change things like this? I feel like it's kind of like cleaning out the fridge….You have so much old nasty stuff on the records--things that really shouldn't be there--that the mold and scum dominate, and the good stuff can't be found.

Clearly, my friend isn't out to make someone fall. If anything, she's attempting to make her tenants lives easier. Yet, the written laws make her out as a criminal for doing a kind act--this can be applied in so many situations in our world. It's maddening.

I believe that laws should be out to punish criminals--those who do things to intentionally screw people over. Now that this law is in the books, though, we have punished kindness.

Wow! This just gets me all riled up inside.

I shared about my friend after this woman's comment, and she urged me to warn my friend against doing it. If she gets sued, she could "lose everything."

This is so frustrating!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: Threats of Haiyan

Today, I need to dive into the next portion of Facebook for missionary families. I want to explain some things, but I want to make sure that it is understood that this was all very guided. It was a matter of following what I felt and understood. The things that followed after that were astounding.….

With our missionary family group going so wonderfully well, I recall a conversation wherein the Mission President felt that all of the missions in the Philippines needed groups like ours. He had, in a meeting with the other Mission Presidents, explained our group and the benefits of Facebook groups such as these.

I remember, when he shared this, agreeing and thinking how nice it would be if every mission did have a group like ours, but my thoughts didn't go much further than that. I mean, what was I supposed to do? I kept thinking how great it would be if a parent in each group would start a group, but I didn't know how to contact parents in each other mission, so I kind of sat and waited. Nothing happened.

Then, one morning in early November, a few days after rumors of a large typhoon heading for the Philippines had started to bubble to the surface, this map showed up on the Facebook group's wall:

Along with this map, which was posted by #1's Mission President, was the reassurance that the missionaries in the Olongapo Mission (if you look at the top, gray portion of the map, the Olongapo Mission is the western, face part, of the profile--#1 was then located at the nostril) would not be affected by the coming storm. The areas in the red, would. The concerns in my heart immediately eased.

To be continued…..

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: The Most Important Trait to Teach

School has been canceled because of snow. It's 7:20 in the morning, everyone but one boy, reading in his bed, is still sleeping. I have been awake since 5am. Husband seems to be ill, so even though it's a day off for everyone else, life remains the same; although, maybe a wee bit more complicated--taking care of a sick husband while trying to keep the noise level down with six extra people in the house--for me.

I want to stray from the specific missionary-related topics I've been writing on lately. The next bunch of things I have to write about are tricky. They are important and a bit sensitive, so I'm not quite sure how to get them down in writing.

I guess, for today, I just want to write about randomness (I have no clue where this is going to go)….

I have learned over the past few years just how vitally important my role is. I am the queen bee. I am the line drawer. If something's going to happen around here, I'm the instigator, the planner, the scheduler, the follow-through-er. I am it.

Some may say, where's your husband in all of this? But let's be real. He has his own world at work. That's where he's in charge. It's there that he has to instigate, plan, schedule, etc. He doesn't do that in both places. He shouldn't have to, and he's not here most of the time….I am. I have the full picture of just how our home runs.

I have been learning the importance of obedience, and not just obedience, quick and exact obedience. These are values I learned from childhood, but I don't believe my parents required them as much as I do from my own children, and lately, I'll admit, I've been slacking….BIG TIME!

I learned how very vital obedience is on my mission. This is one thing I appreciate #1's Mission President for. He is very much like my mission presidents. Obedience is job one. Once I learned, hearing from other missionary parents, that he was all about missionaries being obedient, I was able to relax and enjoy the ride. I knew my daughter was in the right place under the right leadership. I knew she'd be safe and that she'd learn life's important lessons.

As a parent, I figure my role is to show my kids just a glimpse of what God might be like. Not that I'm their god, but my character traits should be so close to His in justice, mercy, kindness, generosity, consistency, etc.--inasmuch as a human being can muster these characteristics--that they come to know Him by interacting with me. I figure my example is CRUCIAL to how they learn to trust and how they grow to be moral people.

One thing I want for my children is what #1 is now experiencing day-to-day. She's learning, in real time, to trust God. She is learning to listen with her whole heart. She is learning to obey the voices that she hears as they strike her mind and her heart at the same time. She is also learning from her mistakes as she, at times, ignores some of those whisperings she receives. This, to me, is one reason why I want my children to choose to serve missions. This is why I think it's so important.

For now, in my home, they learn to obey me in preparation to learning to obey God. Like I said before, I sometimes slack on my job. I have noticed that the words, "Yah, I'll get to it" and "Just a minute" and sometimes, heaven forbid, even outright "No" are used increasingly around this house. I am learning, the hard way, that this cannot be. I need to rally my troops and bring them back to where they need to be.

I figure our home is their training ground. I realize that if they can learn to say, "Okay, Mom" and "I'm on it" and "Coming" now, while they're in my home, the greater the chance is that, when they're out on their own, they'll be able to say "Yes" and "Here I am" when they are called and sent forward by a greater power….Not just on their missions but in life in general.

This is what I desire for my children. This is what I want for their futures--that they might recognize the voice of God and learn to follow it obediently throughout their lives.

Now, to take care of the sickie and hold down the din. Off to send some kids out to the snow….and off to figure out just how to write these upcoming posts…..

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: Anodyne vs. Evil

We interrupt the regularly scheduled topic for yes,….a rant.
For some reason, these 10 minute time limits just make other topics build up until I just can't contain them any longer. So, for today, here you go…..

What on earth is wrong with Miriam-Webster?

I enjoy a good dictionary for what it can teach me about this ever evolving language that we speak. This morning, I was studying about satan. Yup…I was. I'm not even kidding. It's not like I want to be his minion or anything. Actually….it's that I don't.

When I was a kid, I remember being taught how to respond in certain situations…..If someone offers you drugs, do this…..If someone wants to cheat off of you in school, do this…..

I had those things down. I knew just what to do in SO many situations.

The sad thing is, I grew up. Suddenly, no one was telling me what to do or not to do in life's situations. I mean, the most I knew going into adulthood was that if I'm ever in a car accident, I'm supposed to call my insurance agent, but you know, life just doesn't come with a manual once you're out on your own.

So, I guess I've figured that the time has come to create my own.

At this point in life, I figure anything goes. But the biggest question of all is am I prepared for what lies ahead? What will my kids be throwing at me as they hit adulthood? What will others throw at me as I move beyond this phase in life? What about all of those who think I need to be thinking like them when I don't think like them at all? How do I respond to them? Am I ready for what life has in store for me?

I've decided that the one thing I'm sure of is that that guy I mentioned at the beginning of this post?...I don't want to be anything like him.

I figure that if I don't want to be like him, I'd probably better be doing the opposite of what he stands for. If he represents evil, then I want to represent ALL that opposes that.

So, in an attempt to create my manual for myself, I decided that the dictionary was as good a place as any to turn. If I went to "evil" on the Miriam-Webster dictionary app I downloaded onto my phone, I could then look at the antonyms, and I'd be good to go. Those words would give me a plethora of things to strive for.

Here's the list I found:

  • anodyne
  • benign
  • harmless
  • hurtless
  • innocent
  • innocuous
  • inoffensive
  • safe

Puh-leeeze! What the heck is that? The opposite of evil is safe? Huh? Since when? I don't get this at all.

If I had read this from an actual book, I would have burned it, but that wouldn't have been innocuous or inoffensive, would it? Instead, I deleted the app. Much more passive aggressive of me, wouldn't you say?

Instead, I crossed my fingers and went back to the app store. There, I found Dictionary.com and uploaded it…..

  • auspicious
  • decent
  • good
  • honest
  • moral
  • sinless
  • upright
  • virtuous

Yay! Yes, those are the things I want to be. Forget safe, I want to be moral. In these days, being moral is anything but safe.

Then I got to thinking about satan and how he works, and I believe that what I found in Miriam-Webster is just exactly what he wants. He wants us to believe that there is no evil and/or good. There just is. It's all just shades of gray. He doesn't want people believing that he even exists because as long as we don't believe in him, he can get away with whatever he darned well pleases. He has free reign.

Then, I get a little baffled by things in this world….When we have a choice, and when we know from childhood--through trial and error--that good choices bring good consequences and bad choices bring bad consequences, why would we abuse the choice we're given so much as to choose bad?

I think I've decided that it's because the bad choices are the easier ones to make. They don't fight gravity. They don't rise above. They just are.

So, Miriam-Webster, I think you've sold out. I think in selling out, you sell out society. Yay for Dictionary.com. I'm a fan. Forget "innocent" and "innocuous" and for heaven's sake, "anodyne." I want to be "good," "decent," "moral," and "virtuous." Thank you, Dictionary.com, for keeping these ideals alive. Thank you for giving us something to espouse, something to hold on to in this ever changing world of gray.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: President's in the House

I just started my ten random minutes today and started telling something then realized there was an in-between step that I had forgotten to share, so today's post might be extra short, but it's an important step to share….

After the group had been going for a bit, a mom shared a photo of her son with the Mission President and his wife. It seems like everybody who's ever served a mission has a picture like this. I know I have one from way back in the day, and I really wanted one of #1, but I hadn't seen one.

Seeing this photo gave me hope.

I asked the mom where she'd gotten it. I'd heard that we'd be receiving one by mail, but I hadn't received one yet.

She replied that all I had to do was find the Mission President on Facebook, and she was sure he'd send me one.

What?! Find the Mission President on Facebook?!


I did a little search, and sure enough, there he was. I, very tentatively, knowing what a busy man he is, sent him a private message on Facebook asking if such a photo existed and if, by chance, he'd be willing to share it with me.

I received a reply the next day!

He had one. He would find it and send it on to me. Within a day. There it was. I was so happy!

After this came about, knowing that he was on Facebook, we added the Mission President to the Facebook group.

When we first added him, I was a bit concerned. There are always parents who are overly concerned for their kids. Traditionally, before we were all so connected technologically, parents very rarely, if ever, contacted a Mission President. It just wasn't done. I have to be honest, this move made me quite nervous. Would parents overstep their bounds? Would he be far too accessible, and would they make his job much more difficult than it needed to be?

I turned to the Warden and asked his opinion. He warned me against doing it. At this point, though, I had already added him. Yikes! What could I do now?

I went forward with the idea that #1's Mission President has his right to choose, and he could leave the group at any moment. I wanted to be sure he knew that, so I sent him another private message telling him that if he chose to leave, our feelings would not be hurt in the slightest but that we understood and didn't want him to feel that he had to be there and had to participate….We respected his calling as our kids' Mission President and wanted him to be able to do his job without parental intrusion.

Surprisingly….he stayed. Not only that, but he added his wonderful wife to the group as well.

In hindsight, this was the most wonderful thing that has happened to our group. I will explain more of why I say that tomorrow.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #33

I got emergency transferred?! SAY WHA?!

Well this week has been super duper interesting.

I got emergency transferred on Wednesday. That means (for those of you not familiar with missionary terms) that I got transferred to a new area on a day that wasn't a transfer day. So it was Wednesday, Sister C and I were just sitting there talking and then the APs (assistant to the president) called. Elder F asked to talk to me and then told me that he had news for me. I was being emergency transferred that day, and I had to be packed in 2 hours. And that was all he told me (later he told me that he likes leaving out important details so we freak out....). So of course we ran next door to tell the other sisters and found out that three of them were being emergency transferred as well. CRAZY. So we're all freaking out a bit and packing like mad-women and of course, speculating... Why are we being transferred? 

And then President Q and the APs finally got to Lubao. President told us that we're all being transferred because the Sisters from the Tacloban mission are going back to their mission. 

So I got transferred. I'm back in Zambales! I'm so happy :) And we're super close to the ocean. In fact, it's in our area :) WOOHOO! I'm happy now. 

Also my companion is now Sister L. She's super sweet and I like her a lot. And then to top it all off, President Q made me an Sister Training Leader (STL) which is a leadership position for a sister, kind of like a Zone Leader. 

The main problem with emergency transfers is that your brain and heart are kind of still in your last area. My first two days here were kind of a blur but then I got into the flow again. I'm comfortable here and the people are so nice. 

So I have to tell you about my awesome experience this week....
We have this couple that we're teaching. Tatay and Nanay M. Nanay is awesome and she's so excited to get baptized. She know's it's true and knows what she needs to do. Tatay is a little resistant. He has a few concerns but their all in his head. 

So we went to teach them the other day and it was my first time teaching them. Our topic was obedience and baptism and confirmation. It started out really, really good. And then he started asking questions. He wants to know everything before he gets baptized. 

And then a question popped into my head and I asked him, "Tatay, sa tingnin mo, hindi po kayo pwede patuloy na mag-aaral pagkatapos ung binyag nyo?" (or in english, "Tatay, Do you think that you can't continue studying after your baptism?")

Of course that made him stop and think for a second and then I continued in encouraging him that being baptized is the right decision for him and we shared some scripture verses with him and followed the promptings of the Spirit and then in the end, he agreed to be baptized on February 22. YES! Man I love it when lessons go like that. And the Spirit was so strong too.
That was probably my favorite lesson that I've been a part of in my whole mission. 

The rest of the week was really good too. The members here are awesome and they feed us all the time. 
We also had a baptism on Friday night. Brother A is 15 years old. And he got confirmed and ordained a teacher on Sunday. The work is progressing all over the world. 

Thank you for all your love and support. 

I know this is the true church on earth and that God loves all of us and wants us all to get back to him. 
Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess


#1 also mentioned that her photo card has a virus on it, so no photos. Bummer!

Ten Random Minutes: More on Mission Facebook Groups

The mission Facebook group has been wonderful. Every Sunday night is a party….I'm not kidding.

The missionaries in #1's mission have P-day (Preparation Day) on Mondays. She usually writes at 10:30 on Monday morning her time, which is 6:30 Sunday night our time.

About that time, on the mission page, parents start chiming in about their kids. It is SO fun! Pictures go up, parts of emails are shared, blog posts get thrown on the wall. It's seriously a celebration. We all cheer for each other's missionaries.

That's what I'm sitting here waiting for tonight--to hear from #1 and to read what everyone else has to share.

We now have more than 175 members. It's moms, dads, grandparents, close friends, siblings, etc.

We've had numerous questions answered and great advice has been given. If you don't know something, almost guaranteed, another missionary family does.

So, anyone interested in doing a missionary Facebook group, here's my little piece or two of advice…..

Make it a "closed" group --BUT-- keep it so that anybody can add friends to the group--BUT--keep it so that the administrator has the final word in who stays and who goes.

After creating this mission group, I learned that there are Missionary Mom Facebook groups--those that I'd read about in the Missionary Moms email. They said they'd created a mission group on Facebook for every mission in the world. There are a couple of problems with those groups, in my opinion….

1. It's run by someone who doesn't have any interest in any of those missions. I found that when starting a group, you really have to find people to add to the group. You also need people who will add discussions and things to get things moving.

2. They're named "Missionary Moms…." This kind of leaves out the rest of those interested in missionaries. I chose to name ours "[Name of mission] Missionary Families." It just seemed a bit more welcoming.

3. I've decided that there really have to be two administrators. There are just times in everyone's life when things get busy or hectic or you just don't feel like getting on Facebook for a week. That's when it's awfully nice to have someone else to share the load with.

Okay, those are my two cents for today. My email has come…..I'm off.

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