Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hello Family & Friends!!!!!

Okay first things first. We are all okay! Typhoon Yolanda came through our area but it wasn't nearly as bad as any of us expected it to be. We were obedient to the instructions that were given to us and prepared our 72 hour kits, we also made sure we had lots of buckets of extra water and that everything electronic that needed to be charged was charged. On Thursday the rain started to get really heavy and well on our way back to the apartment were literally drenched. We got back to the apartment safe and sound and as soon as the rain stopped we went out again. We only had time for a few appointments due to the curfew our mission president set for us. By the time we got back to the apartment we finished some of our study and my companion got started on our dinner. Which was fresh crab! One of the less active members that we teach, the husband goes crab fishing every night and if we ask they will bring us a few in the morning. Well this time we got 6! Lol and they were big! And they tasted so good! My companion really knows how to cook! Lol way better than me! But anyways about halfway through cooking dinner the power went out, it was alright tho because bought flashlights and we had emergency LED lights so we just turned those on and continued cooking lol. The 4 other sisters in our apartment complex shared dinner with us and also temporarily moved into to our tiny apartment because 1) we are on the second floor and 2) during big storms and typhoons, the chance of flooding is very high. They had to move all of their stuff off of the ground and prepare the apartment in case of flooding since the level of the Typhoon was #4. We worked it out tho and it was awesome! Lol we were able to watch a little bit of "17 Miracles" before bed, because my companion has a bunch of church movies on her flashdrive (including "The Other Side of Heaven" and "Johnny Linggo"). Anyways the power stayed off through the next day and around mid afternoon Friday the water stopped working. It was okay tho, we had our personal, companionship, and language study in the morning and then we had our weekly planning. After that there was literally nothing to do so we watched "The Other Side of Heaven" and once the little DVD player died we played games hahaha. It was nice getting to know the other sisters! Having no work for the day even if it was for a typhoon was a little challenging. Lol the day was long and very boring. Once everything died down there was still like 3 hours of sunlight left before dark and we tried getting permission to go out just so that we could visit our investigators and less active members and see how they were doing. A lot of the people that we teach live on the beach and so we were really worried while the storm was raging. We didn't end up getting permission until it was almost dark and by that time we had enough sense to know NOT to go out after dark. For lots of reasons but mainly because there was still a black out. We stayed in and played more games and then puttered out around 9:30PM lol even tho we did nothing that day we were all so tired! Its strange, we teach 5-7 lessons every day and I am never that tired! I was sick last week and we still went out and even then I wasn't that tired lol.

It just goes to show how real and powerful this work really is. Since we had so much down time this week it really gave me time to ponder. Ponder who we are teaching and WHAT we are teaching. I had a neat experience on Friday before lunch. Before I tell it tho I will give a little background story. So in my last email I explained how my area won the zone activity for our mission. It is actually pretty awesome because our area has the least amount of missionaries compared to the rest of our mission. We have 18 yet we are the highest baptizing area. During the closing remarks at our devotional, my mission president President Guanzon said some really powerful things. He commended us on our work and the honest effort that we put forth. He also blessed us, and invoked the keys that he holds as a mission president to promise an "outpouring of the Spirit" as we strengthen our areas, and also as each of us strengthens our companionship unity. I felt the Spirit so strong as he was gave us this blessing and I also felt God's love. Now on Friday I was determined to memorize the first vision in Tagalog. I had sort of been trying before but honestly the words and the dictation were just beyond me and my brain literally would not process anything past the first few lines, so just before lunch I said a prayer. I said that I wouldn't eat, and I wouldn't do anything until I had memorized the first vision, and I also invited the Spirit as well as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to help me overcome whatever mental block was keeping from getting it down. Well to my apparent surprise I was able to memorize everything perfectly in under 45 mins. Sister Reategui came in and helped me for a while (which I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR) and then when she went to eat lunch some how shortly after she left I knew it. I had tried for weeks before this, yet thru my faith in Jesus Christ and His power I was able to get it. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an amzing even in any way but it really means something to me. It tells me that Heavenly Father is there, in all things. Big or small. And that He truly does desire to bless us with exactly what we need, when we need it. The only thing blocking each of us from the privilege is ourselves. I know with all of my heart that this Gospel is true, but more importantly that it is REAL. And that is DOES change lives. I know that in life, when we are struggling and when we feel like we are at our lowest point it is because we are being humbled. I know the importance of trials a little bit better now because I know that it is necessary for our own personal and daily conversion. I know Heavenly Father brings us low so that we are in a position to RECEIVE His council and to RECEIVE His guidance. I emphasize receive because He is ALWAYS willing to give, yet we are not always willing to receive. I am slowly learning how essential humility is in life, and what a special blessing the process of "being humbled" is. In Mosiah 4:11-12 it says "And agan I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known o fhis goodness adn have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remebrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-sufering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge fo the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." Now these are very bold words which King Benjamin declares in his teaching, but I have realized that it is good to be bold. Some of these words can be offensive but we must ask ourselves why? To be in the "depths of humility" is to be in a truly powerful position, because it is then and only then, that we can receive His way. And that we can "grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you" the blessings that follow the sacrifices that we make and the humility that is required to make them is great, and is cannot be measured. I am learning through small and simple things how our Father in Heaven teaches, and I am guided through small and simple things to a better and happier perspective. There are lots of other words you could replace perspective with but that is the most accurate. Because at the end of the day that what it comes down to, our perspective. We could choose to complain and dwell on all the things that are wrong, OR we could choose to ACT and be grateful and humble for the things that WE HAVE. Because I guarantee that no matter how little we THINK we have, once we stop and truly look at what we do have we will realize how great and marvelous the blessings of God are. And how REAL and beautiful they can be. 

Like I have said many times before, I know that this Gospel of Jesus Christ IS TRUE. And that this church is REAL. I know that the blessings that come from choosing the right, and becoming obedient to the commandments of God are REAL. I know that faith and prayer are connected and that they are essential in enduring to the end. I leave my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love you all so much! And I miss you so much! You are in my prayers ALWAYS! 

Sister Fonua

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