Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Investigators

Kumusta kayo, ang pamilya ko? 
I have so much- so much to write this week! Wow! I hope I have enough time! 
First off, We found 7 new investigators to teach with 2 new referrals from our ward. They all seem very promising and we are so excited to finally have people to teach. 5 of our new investigators come from one family. Here is the awesome story of how we found them! 

So it actually goes all the way back to Sister Williams days. We have an investigator close by their house and I would think almost every time we passed their house, "We need to talk to them!" But we never seemed to have time to do it! So what does Heavenly Father do? Give us time. 
Haha, remember last week when we didn't have any appointments? Well, this week started out pretty much the same. We were tracting, tracting, tracting. We had one appointment that we were really excited about- the investigator next to "their house." Of course, our investigator cancelled on us. So we look at each other and say, "Tract." I admit, I was just a little upset. I wanted so badly to actually be teaching people! But of course, Heavenly Father knew better- and led us exactly where we needed to be. The first house we went to was their house. 
We start telling them that we are missionaries and our purpose- and we didn't even get a chance to ask for a lesson. They jumped up and said, "Oh! Come in! Come in!" They were so excited for us to share our message. I kept thinking- what is this? Are we about to teach a lesson? A real lesson? To investigators? 
As we began teaching, I prayed harder then I ever had  that they would accept our message. And the more I prayed... the more I loved them. And the more I felt, truly truly felt, that I knew them and I was supposed to teach them.They were so receptive. The father would take time to internalize each part of our message- reading scriptures over and over after we shared them to really get the message. The Lola (grandmother) kept saying, "Yes... true. That's true." I couldn't believe what was happening! We gave them the Book of Mormon and immediately after the prayer, the father started reading it. 
We went back to teach them the next day- and the father wasn't there. But his brother was! We taught the first lesson to him and to a friend of their family. He was just as receptive. He said he would always see us walking by and feel so good about us. He would always ask himself, "Who are they? Why are they here?" And then four days before we started teaching him he said he felt so strongly that we were "messengers of God." He said that he called out to us because suddenly he felt the need to speak to us! But because people are ALWAYS calling to us, we didn't stop. 
But then, four days later we taught him. Wow. He was like a sponge- he just soaked it all in! He said he couldn't wait to read the Book of Mormon- "The word of God" as he said. We checked up with the wife from our previous lesson who said her husband spent all night reading! And she was reading too! 
I seriously feel that I don't realize the magnitude of what has happened here- but I am so grateful and humbled to be apart of it! These people are so ready! 

So now, for my brothers who might be a little too young to appreciate that part of my email- some funny stories. 

First, some stories about my companion. She truly is the greatest and I love her so much! She is also, down right hilarious at times! 
There we were, studying quietly- when suddenly, she started pounding the table. I looked up and said, "Um sister, are we okay over there?" But she didn't answer, she just kept pounding! After one final smack- she exclaimed, "Ants!!!!!!! Don't come back to this place!" I laughed so hard! She had been smashing ants! (In case you didn't know, ants pretty much crawl over everything here. Including us! We always have ants- everywhere!)
Another funny story about her. For the first week and a half- she was always super early to everything. She would start personal study early and wake up early... I just thought that she was extremely dedicated. But then, at 7:50 am one morning as she was kneeling to start her prayer, she suddenly looked up and said, "Sister can I ask you a question? What time is it?" I looked at my watch. "7:50." "Oh, that makes so much sense!" She said and got up off her knees." My watch is ten minutes ahead!" Ha, for a week and half I thought she was being really early and she thought I was being really late! Too funny!

Now, one about me. Remember those Johovah Witness missionaries we ran into that one week? Well, we saw them again on a Jeepney coming home. They had another missionary with them- another American. We chatted on the way home- asking questions about how learning tagalog was going and everything. But then we pulled up to our neighborhood and had to get off. As I got down off the jeepney,  I turned back and said, "Good luck!" And then my mouth fell open. I turned to my companion with big eyes and said, "I just wished other missionaries good luck! What's wrong with me?!" We laughed forever! 
During a lesson this week, a little boy came up and started combing my hair. It took me by surprise and I quickly said, "Hindi! Hindi!" But now I feel so bad! All he wanted was to brush my hair! It reminded me of my siblings too and made me miss you all! However, it was probably good I said no because that comb looked a little sketchy.

Last of all- bugs! 
First, the soup. I made egg drop soup again this week- which was super tasty. But it's been sitting in the fridge for two days- no one daring to eat it because as I was pouring it into the container to put in the fridge, we found a worm! It was only about as big as your pinky nail- but it was enough to make me dry heave and take every pill you ever sent me with!!!!!!!!!! Ewwww.... I still am traumatized by it! 
And, the cockroach. As we were studying one morning, I reached into my desk drawer and pulled out my pencil bag. And then suddenly, the cockroach crawled off my pencil bag and onto my finger. I freaked and started screaming, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY DRAWER?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!" I jumped to my feet and still screaming, took off my flipflop and smashed it. It was more fun than traumatizing but still! I hope the picture does him justice!

Anyway, got to go now. Love you all! 
Till next week, 
Sister Beaumont 

Her Church

Yellow Watermelon

Cockroach from the story

Just a fun picture (they didn't really jump in)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tracting Ever Tracting

Kumusta Po Kayo! 

Well, as you probably guessed from the title- We did a lot of tracting this week. We hit that point in every missionary's life where you have a ton of baptisms all at once and it's really exciting and wonderful- UNTIL, you realize... wait, I just lost all my investigators. We also lost a few investigators (dropped, quit the lessons...) so now, we are square one again. Finding. Anway, don't worry too much- we still have a few great ones that are progressing toward a baptism for the end of this month. It was just a little like, "Wait, what just happened?". And then of course, because I'm leading the area, it was up to me to direct our tracting. I'm pretty sure we got lost a few times- I wouldn't know. Ha, as long as we always make it home right? 

But we had another Baptism! Our twelve year old investigator. It was a beautiful baptism. She was so, so excited to be a member. Her testimony was very sweet too. She is so strong! Her father is a LA and her mother is a Non-Member. Only her mom and her little sister attended her baptism- and she was still so happy! She really made an influence on her mom too, I think. Her mom told me later that she was "So happy" at the baptism. Wow. What a champ!  

Like I said, we did a lot of tracting and finding this week. We did find a lot of people- but they were all like- "I can't be taught until April 12th or May." Great.... thanks. But we did find a lot of wonderful potentials too that we are hoping to contact this week. One of them, I'm particularly excited about! She was really sincerely interested and said we could come back this Tuesday. Yay! 

We had exchanges this week. I taught my first ever door-approach lesson (the ones that you teach right on the spot.) They waited until AFTER the whole lesson to tell us that they didn't want another religion- that they were perfectly happy in their own. Oh well... planting seeds. Also on the exchanges, we got a new investigator- the sister from one of our investigators. She told us that she believed the only way to receive an answer is through revelation from God. YES! She's already on board. We are teaching her again on Tuesday and I'm really excited. 

As far as stories go... 
We saw a baby in a backback the other day. Yes, really- a one year old baby inside a rolling backpack. The younger sister was dragging him around behind her. I had to exercise some real constraint when she started running down the street with him- the backpack/baby swaying back and forth about to capsize. Yikes. What a dangerous childhood he's leading.

I saw a mouse get trapped in a liter of soda during one of our lessons. Don't worry- it was empty. It was just a little distracting for the rest of the lesson. I couldn't decide whether I wanted him to get out or not. 

As we were walking back from an appointment yesterday, this man suddenly called out to us- "Hello Sisters!" So we look- and then immediately wish we hadn't. It was a man, smoking... and peeing. Out in the open. Rule one, if your peeing... don't say hello to people passing by. It's just awkward for everyone. 

Sister Feinga has the most Christ-like, sweetest disposition of anyone I've ever met. She is so loving and kind- full of service. So... it's a little like, "Um- did you just say that?" when she yelled, "SHUT UP!" to this car that kept honking at us. Seriously, WAS.NOT. EXPECTING. THAT. I laughed for like an hour. 

Wow, I wish I had more to say! But, I guess I spend the rest of my time sending pictures to you all from last week. Sorry this is soooo short! 
Next week I'll write more, I promise! 
Love you, 
-Sister Beaumont

Friday, March 21, 2014

Transfer Two Begins

Hello, hello! Week eight begins!  Thank you to everyone who has emailed/ written me! As a missionary, its so exciting to get mail. It's like, proof that you actually all exist. Weird. Haha, joke-lang. I know you exist. 
So this week has been so hectic! What with transfers and leading the area and a baptism, I've barely had time to breath. 
So, I have a long list of stories to tell you on a sticky note in my planner. I'm sorry if this is a little disorganized, but I'm starting to run out of time so I'm going to go fast.

First, is my embarrassing fumble with the lovely Tagalog language. I usually have quite a few fumbles everyday, telling someone goodnight when it's really morning, or saying "po" (sir) to children. But, every once and a while, I just tank it. Monday, I tanked. We have the most amazing Relief Society President. I really, really love her so much and because Sister Williams was leaving and I was soon going to Lead the Area, I wanted to get to know her better. DO NOT try to get to know someone better on a tricycle, ESPECIALLY if you don't speak their language very well. There we were, bumping along inches from the ground with the sound of a motor blazing in our ears and she started saying something about Sister Williams and I. I caught "I'm sorry." I thought that she was saying that she was sorry about missing an appointment or something. So I patted her knee and very enthusiastically said, "Ayos lang, ayos lang, talaga!" (Means, it's okay, it's okay really! Basically, don't worry, I'm fine about it.) 
Turns out, she was actually saying "I'm sorry Sister Williams is transferring." Um... yeah.Sister Williams nearly and I nearly peed our pants laughing about it later. I don't think I'm very good at making first impressions out here. 

Second, most cartoon network cartoons are made here in the Philippines! So cool! A councilor in the bishopric is an animator for one of the directors and was showing us his animation. I can't remember all the shows he said, but I remember Johnny Test. Whatever that is. Do you boys know it? Oh yes, and transformers. He does transformers. In fact, he designed it I think. So cool. 

Third, The tricycle ride in the rain. I love the rain here because it cools us off in the heat and since we are always wet, it doesn't really matter if we get soaked. EXCEPT if you are riding on the outside of a tricycle. Then you get really, really soaked. Basically, it was like riding splash mountain or something. It was super fun and adventurous- even though our bread from the bakery was a little on the soggy side. 

Fourth, my new companion, my lava lava, and humming hymns. My new companion is named Sister Feinga. She is the best. I love her truly! She is from Tonga and is really good at Tagalog, and pretty fair at English too. No "ayos lang" situations with her around, thankfully. She always, always hums hymns. But, like really. Always. While she's brushing her teeth, while she's eating breakfast, doing her personal study... twice I'm even sure she was humming during the prayer! I'm pretty sure she hums the whole hymn book in one day. And maybe the children's song book too. She also is very loving and giving and always is doing service. The first service was teaching me how to tie my lava-lava. She actually LAUGHED at the way it was tied when I came down into the kitchen that first night and without a word, came over and UNTIED IT. Um, hello. I'm in my garments. In the kitchen. No biggy. Then she proceeded to tie it until it was basically cutting off my blood supply. But hey, at least it stayed on all night. :) 

Fifth, Leading the area and a baptism. This week was a little hectic what with Sister Williams leaving, Sister Feinga coming, and a baptism! 
The hardest part was that I was suddenly in charge of everything. Texting, speaking, setting up appointments, and directing the baptism. Stress is an understatement. Just like in the MTC, the goal was make it to P-DAY. Don't worry, here we are- alive and well. So no worries, I'm okay. As long as I can find a good bakery, we're covered. 
Our amazing investigator that I've been talking about forever is now a member of this church. I'm so happy for her and grateful to God for the opportunity I had to witness her flourish in this gospel. She read the entire 3rd Nephi this past week leading up to her baptism. What a champ! As she bore her testimony after the baptism, I noticed a very big difference in her witness of Jesus Christ and of this true church. She really, really knows it now! That bore witness to me that it really is the Book of Mormon that changes hearts and converts the people, nothing else. 
At first, she didn't read much of the Book of Mormon. We were getting close to her baptism and she knew it was true, but we knew that her testimony could be stronger. We decided to set aside a lesson for the Book of Mormon again. Through that lesson we found out that she couldn't understand the tagalog very well. We gave her an English one and she diligently read after that. 
She invited her friend and her mother to the baptism and afterward gave her mother the Book of Mormon in Tagalog after bearing testimony that it was true. SHE. IS. AWESOME. 
I think Heavenly Father allowed us to give her a tagalog Book of Mormon so that she would have it to give to her mother. Her mom was sincerely interested in the church and when she moves here in June, she wants us to teach her. ( She lives far away from a church currently). I love this work! It is so humbling and fulfilling to be apart of it! 

Well, whoops out of time now.
Love you, 
Sister Beaumont 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week 6 One Transfer Passed and Gone

Week six. Transfer week! I've been here a whole transfer already! Crazy! Where, where does the time go?! I'm pretty sure it's been maybe 2 weeks. Almost three. But not six! 
Along with Transfer week comes the sad news- my companion is getting transferred to a new area to train again.I'm going to miss her so much! We've had some amazing spiritual experiences together- as well as some really good laughs. It's so hard to say goodbye to someone you worked so hard with.  My new companion is coming on Thursday. We've been all placing bets- everyone says that she'll be a Filipino. Yay! I'm so excited! I'll finally, really learn the language! If not though, we are going to be setting records for the longest time of four American sisters in one apartment. I think we'll set records at least. I actually don't know. :) 
So this week- this week was so wonderful. It felt like the harvesting part of this work. We have so many of our investigators preparing for baptism in the upcoming weeks. And of course, we had the baptism of our investigator. That was one of the sweetest experiences I've had since being here. It was so beautiful to see the joy in his family's faces as he took upon the covenant of baptism. As we took pictures, I watched as more and more people gathered in- until there were over thirty people. I looked around at the group and started crying! At last this family can be sealed together- forever. What a beautiful plan Heavenly Father has provided for us! 
The joy in their faces- the radiance beaming from each soul was so beautiful. I will never forget it. 
I have also learned just how important it is to always practice the piano! Ha, when I thought of playing it on my mission I always imagined time to practice for some reason. Literally 10 minutes before the baptismal service, a member pulled me out from the hallway and said, "Will you play Families can be Together Forever for the baptismal musical number?" Ahhhh! Not only did I play for the musical number, but also the entire service. Will a lot of praying, I made it through alright. 
Remember the investigator I talked about that had received a witness that this church is true? Well, she is going to be baptized Friday! I'm can't wait. She is so ready, so prepared. I love her so much and I love how much she wants to learn in this church. She reads Gospel Principles all the time and always asks questions. She is truly, truly converted. To top it all off, she's made a goal to finish all of 3rd Nephi before her baptism. Isn't she wonderful? I can't wait to see her receive baptism. She is truly so prepared! 
So now, for my brothers who keep asking- a few funny stories. 
We taught at the bamboo house again this week. Because it is out in the jungle and we always teach at night, it is VITAL to wear mosquito repellent. So there we were, on the jeepeny ride toward their house and I suddenly turn to my companion with big eyes. 
"I'm not wearing bug repellent!" 
"I'm not either!" 
The feeling of doom set deep inside us. We were going to be eaten alive. The only thing we could do was pray, so I started praying really hard. "Um, Heavenly Father, we uh... forgot bug repellent.... HELP!" 
We got there just as the sun was setting. The mosquitoes were waiting for us, ready to harvest the Americans. We sat down and literally, it was like a scene from a horror movie. There were about twenty or thirty mosquitoes descending, like blood thirsty vampires. Pretty sure the Psycho theme was playing in the background.  The worst part of mosquitoes is that you can't feel them biting you. We couldn't see our legs because the bamboo chairs are high chairs, so we just started kicking our legs back and forth trying to ward them off. It was so hard to close my eyes for that opening prayer! But of course, Heavenly Father does answer all prayers, even ones from two unprepared missionaries. One of the sons got up after the prayer and started burning the shell of a coconut, which actually works as a repellent. Thankfully, it worked and they all left. I could have cried, I was so relieved. 
But I left that house with about 12 bites. My ward keeps commenting on how many bites I have now- about 36. It looks like I have chicken pox or something. The mosquitoes just love our blood! 
The other story is about soda. There is a lot of soda here. It's okay and most of the time I don't mind it at all. Sometimes however, we are given A LOT of soda in one day-  so much that I think that we probably drink about two liters in one day. We had just had one of those "two liter" days and Made a solemn oath that we would go an entire day WITHOUT soda. We were fed a lot of snacks throughout the day and were getting pretty full. Top it off with a stop at the bakery and we were fit to burst. We were early to this investigators house and so her mother decided to feed us. We insisted that we were okay, "busog!" (Full) when we heard the pop of a soda bottle. I felt my heart drop. I turned to my companion and said, "I can't. You have to drink mine. I can't." 
We started whispering about who was going to drink whose soda, saying "kaya mo!" back and forth. ( you can do it!)  She came back in with this 1/2 liter bottle for each of us and a package of cookie-snacks and that was the end. Like good missionaries- we forced it down. We were pretty much waddling out of that house. A day in the life. 

Well, the time has come. I love you all so much! Until next week, 
-Sister Beaumont 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Great and Marvelous Work

I'm so excited to write you this week! I've got so much to tell you!!!!! 

 We were really busy this week- either with lessons or meetings. We had 4 week check up, (can you believe I've already been here for a month?) which was really insightful. President Peterson helped me to realize that it's okay to not be perfect. It's okay to feel unprepared and scared out of your mind! Just don't stay that way. :) 
We taught Lola again. She is so amazing. She prays each night to know if it's true. Seriously, each night! And she's 84! She's reading and coming to church each week- I'm so happy for her. And this week, I saw a light start to grow in her countenance. She seems brighter and happier. It's so beautiful. I love seeing that light! Haha, as we were teaching her about Joseph Smith, we showed her a picture of him. She studied it for a few seconds and then said, "Hmmm, Pogi siya." (Po-gee Shaw) It means "He's cute!" And then she chuckled this 84 year old, toothless chuckle. It was so, so funny! My companion and I have been laughing about it all week. 
Speaking of teaching about Joseph Smith, last week I asked my companion, "When we teach that Joseph Smith goes into a 'grove of trees', do you think they picture palm trees or what it actually looks like?" We got our answer this week. As we were teaching our twelve year old, we asked her, recapping, "What did Joseph Smith do?" She answered, "He went to the jungle and prayed!" Haha, yes. Yes he did. 
I tried a new fruit this week. I can't remember what it's called, unfortunately. It's green and spiky- maybe you could look it up. It's about the size of a papaya. ( Not Jack fruit) Anyway, it straight-up tastes like laffy-taffys- but natural laffy-taffys. It even has laffy-taffy texture! It's weird, but strangely addicting and delicious! 
We ate with the Bishop again this week. He took us out to eat at this fancy bamboo hut restaurant the night before Fast Sunday.  It was so, so good! I love Filipino Food!  I ate pigs feet. Yum, yum. ;) I love our Bishop! He's so great! We actually ate at several people's houses this week. We are so lucky to live in a ward that loves to feed us! And that they are all such good cooks! 
As we were walking this week, I stepped into an ant hill by accident. It was the worst! I had about 30 ants crawling all over me- biting me everywhere. As if people didn't stare at us already, now everyone can watch the white american hoping on one foot and throwing shoes and socks off the other. I still have bite marks. It looks like a rash all over again.
Okay, I saved the best for last. 
We have had this secret investigator for three weeks- One we weren't even allowed to write home about. Until now. Here's why. 
He is married to a member, his children are members, and all his family (uncles, aunts, parents, brothers sisters) are members. They have been waiting for him to be baptized so they can be sealed together, all at once. Up until now, he always joked about baptism but never was serious. His family has been praying, waiting for forty years to all be sealed together. He's actually ready for baptism. He obeys all the commandments and even attends church. He's an "Active- non member". 
Anyway, the lot fell to us to teach him. We were SOOO nervous. To make it worse, he brother bore testimony in church that we were going to his house and maybe we could change his heart. Talk about pressure!!! We prayed all week long that we would be inspired to teach what he needed. We felt that we shouldn't teach baptism for the first lesson, (he understands the doctrine well enough to be taught like a member), and instead teach faith. When we got there, he was really excited for some reason. We were trying to bring a reverent, quiet spirit in- but it was difficult. I could feel excitement and I could understand why. (Now I really think that it was several of his ancestors, excited for what was about to take place.) 
We started the lesson and asked him what faith meant for him in his life. He answered and then before we could get anywhere else, he went off about why he wasn't baptized. We tried to bring it back for about 7 minutes! I could feel our lesson getting farther and farther away from us! We asked another question and then suddenly, he was off on a tandem again! His tandem ended with, "So, when can I be baptized?" His immediate family had no idea that he was willing, or ready. They jumped up and the happiness that flooded the room was indescribable! His wife, tears in her eyes, started immediately planning out when his baptism would be. She even planned out when we could teach the lessons, while he sat back smiling, looking smug. It would have probably been really funny to us too, but we were trying to get our jaws back off the floor. He had just committed HIMSELF to baptism. Um, ano? 
He put us under solemn secret to not tell ANYONE about it. So for three weeks we've been teaching him in secret. Finally, this Saturday he had his interview and it was announced on Sunday. His family is filled with ineffable joy.  They kept asking that day, "Are you sure that he's not joking, Bishop?" But he's not. His mother started crying as soon as it was announced. 
I couldn't believe the spirit I felt that day.I started crying for them!  Seriously, to see their happiness- at last they can be together in the church, at last they can all be sealed together as family- forever. It was such a testimony to me that this work is true. 
And further more, I learned that this is Heavenly Father's work. It isn't ours. We literally did nothing but sit back with our mouths hanging open. It was the prayers of his family, for forty years. Prayers will always be answered, no matter how long you wait. 
Well, I've got to go now! Love you all! 
-Sister Beaumont