HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in such an energized mood today! I dunno why but I am! Life is good people! LIFE. IS. GOOD :) I struggle so much writing these emails because I want to say so much but I never have enough time to do it! AHH! Lol but its okay. Worry not kind friends and family. I WILL LIVE LOL. I also have to say that I LOVE my district. We are all SO different in many many ways, except where it is important. And that is why I am so grateful!!!!!!!!!!! After our Tuesday devotional we met back at our classroom to discuss what was shared with us and important things that we took away from it. And amazingly we all pretty much took the same things away from it. We all want to go to the Philippines and truly love the people. Even tho my language is dodgy AT BEST I don't want that to stop me from sharing the Gospel and sharing the love that I have for them. I don't want to be the kid sitting in the corner looking up words because I am afraid that people will laugh at me. I don't want these things to stop me! I don't want to put myself in a tiny little box as a protection from things that DO NOT MATTER. NO! I want to go forth with faith. And humility. Acknowledging that I cannot do this alone! That I need him! I need him to lift me up when I am incapable of doing it myself. I want to go as far as I can so that when I cannot go any farther I will be able to let go with FAITH that all will be well and that He will take care of me. I know that life is difficult! I know that we have our good days and our BAD days, but I also KNOW that there is a specific purpose in all things. I know with out a doubt that my Father in Heaven cuts us down because he loves us. In Words Of Mormon 1:7 it says "And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to will." These words are so beautiful. And they are so TRUE! How can I deny their truth when I feel it so deep in my heart? I cannot! And I will not!
My struggle with the language has gotten so much better. I have been studying and memorizing like crazy and I can see each day I improve just a little bit more. The Spirit is truly and wonderful thing! What I know after just 4 weeks? Its crazy! I can understand so much in Tagalog and I can speak so much more! Every lesson we teach we teach IN Tagalog. And each time my companion and I get better and better. Wednesday morning started out like most of my days here. I was tired but I felt great! And the thought of sitting in class for 4 hours wasn't appealing but it didn't bother me. Our morning class went great! I felt the spirit and I was so happy! After lunch we had an hour to prepare for the lesson that my companion and I were going to teach and as soon as I started preparing I got a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. And the Spirit just left me. I tried my best to make the feeling go away but it just wouldn't. I got a blessing and it helped a little bit, but I couldn't shake that feeling for the life of me! So while we were waiting I was praying with all my heart that I would be able to feel the spirit at least by the time we had to teach. And before I knew it we were knocking on our investigators door, and I STILL felt that feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach. We were teaching her about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how you can receive revelation from God through it. My companion sort of took over the lesson because I was still in that funk. After about the second scripture she shared our investigator asked us about the last sentence in it. I hadn't really contributed until this point so I jumped in and said I can help you! Now after this point I wish someone had popped into the room and said BIG MISTAKE. CLOSE YOUR MOUTH. But because this is REAL LIFE no such thing happened. No because this is real life I just tripped over myself and fell on my face. No big deal. So I opened my scriptures up and asked her to read the highlighted verse. As soon as she started reading I knew it was wrong, so I apologized and got another scripture, as soon as she started reading that one I knew AGAIN that it was WRONG! So I found the third and final scripture and asked her to read it. While she was reading it I felt nothing ladies and gentlemen. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. So when she finished reading it and looked at me curiously trying to figure out where I was going with it, I had NOTHING TO SAY. Not in English OR Tagalog! So I sat there in total and complete silence just staring at my scriptures. I occasionally would look up at her and then quickly back down, sometimes I would look at my companion and then again look down quickly again. I was BRIGHT RED. Like siren red it was terrible. Eventually my companion realized that I was blanking in the worst way possible and she took control of the situation and finished it off. This awkward silence lasted probably 3 maybe 4 minutes? It was awkward and embarrassing but it was also a priceless learning experience. Heavenly cuts us down because he loves us. And ever since that experience I haven't been afraid to speak my language. Why? Because literally for me it doesn't get any worse than that. Since then my language has improved significantly! Its a miracle! Information and concepts are sinking in and I am able to understand more and more! I am so grateful! Our lessons are awkward and choppy because we can't say what we want to say exactly how we want to say but that doesn't matter! Because in every lesson I FEEL THE SPIRIT! And I am reassured that my hard work and perseverance WILL pay off. Brothers and sisters I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS! My faith has increased with every day that I apply what I learn. Never before in my life has this happened to me and I am so grateful that I have been blessed to do this!
Yesterday during class our teacher Brother Pierce gave us an example of how to teach people through versus in the scripture and to let the Prophets of old testify of what we are trying to convey to them. I was 1 of 2 who volunteered to be "investigators." When it was my turn he asked me how I was doing and I answered him honestly. I'm okay. He looked at me and said that he didn't believe me. So I told him in my broken Tagalog that I was okay a little bit lol. He asked me how my language study was going. I answered him honestly and I told him it was going better but I was still terrible. He asked me how confident I was speaking it and I told him that I didn't use it as much as I should because I was afraid of being wrong. And I didn't want people to laugh at me. He went around the room and asked each elder and sister to share a scripture that they think would be able to help. 8 people rose their hands and shared beautiful passages. But it was one that stood out for all of us. And it is found in Moses chapter 6:31-33. He had me read it out it says 31 " And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? 32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give the utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. 33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you." These words pierced my heart with such power that I didn't know what to say at first. Bro Pierce asked me what I felt when I read them and I answered him honestly again. I felt really guilty. Why? Because I was making myself more important than the needs of the people. And instead of going forth with faith I tried AGAIN to do it by myself. I felt so silly. And I felt guilty and ashamed. I was wrong! And I fully acknowledge that! After I said these things he read those words to me like this,
"And when Sister Fonua had heard these words, she bowed herself to the earth, before the Lord and spake before the Lord, saying : Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and I am only a girl. And all the people of the Philippines hate me for I am slow of speech, wherefore am I thy servant? And the Lord said unto Sister Fonua: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you."
By the time he was finished I was in tears. This changed my heart brothers and sisters. It changed my heart, my mind, and my whole perspective. I know I am here for a purpose! And I want to be worthy to fulfill that purpose. I also want to be humble and willing to receive it. I didn't know it before but deep down in my heart I wasn't! Because I was afraid! Fear and faith cannot abide in the same space and in order to cast out that fear my Heavenly Father had to cut me down. I am so grateful for this Gospel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In 3 Nephi 18:16 It says "And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the LIGHT, I HAVE SET AN EXAMPLE FOR YOU." I want with all of my heart to follow that example and emulate Christ's love. I know that I cannot be effective without it! But its more than that! I know that I cannot be happy without this example in my life. And I know I will not feel joy with out serving others and expanding my capacity to love more and more every day.
I love all of you so much! And mom! I really miss you! But its okay! Because I am where I am supposed to be. I love you!!!! With all of my heart! I hope you are all healthy and happy! I keep you in my personal prayers! I love you so much!!! Until next saturday! :)
Love you always!