Saturday, August 31, 2013

26 August 2013

   Thank you for the update and the pictures- they are sooo fun! I have a confession though I did not read it in detail because I know I will get trunky. Not trunky... but the recovery is harder for me. Oh and to add to the sugar on the cake they celebrate Christmas here starting in September..... soooooo.... I get lots of time to think about how my family will be having Christmas without me. Its ok... I am sooo happy you had such a wonderful time. I am glad you all got Jess surprised too, hahah, I am so proud of you all. How I love you. You all look soooo fantastic!!! AHh I love you all!\
   Ok, I am actually at a members house right now because all of the internet shops are out so I have less time than ever to write this. It will be shorter.. I apologize.
   Soo this week I experienced my first earthquake. haha. It was weird because part of me was like "WOW this is the coolest thing ever! I'm studying the scriptures in the middle of an EQ and the other half of me was like... WAIT I COULD DIE!! hahaha, so I ran downstairs but don't worry it wasn't a big one. No after shock. Just a little excitement.
   I taught FHE all by myself for the first time in Waray... yea it was short but progress is progress right? lol Oh om guess what.... Burping is A O K here! ahahha So expect me to come back just the same in the account. hahaha
   We had zone interviews this week. So the president and I had a little chat. The language barrier made it hard to connect but I appreciated his counsel. He had me replace priesthood with spirit in Doctrine and Cov. 121. ... sorry I don't have time to explain further... but the gist was just that I cant expect to have my power and authority now. These things take time. Time time time! Why is that always the answer? lol Its ok, I will wait and work and pray! Sister Andaya said I am healthy so that's good to know too. at least that is my blood pressure is good.
   COOK FAMILY!!! I got your package! Thank you so much! It was a totally unexpected surprise but it made my week. I'm sorry it is sooo expensive! But I appreciate it! The chocolate and beef jerky especially--- perfect!! You all are wonderful! Thank you for the words of wisdom and support as well. You are so kind!! I love you all very much!
   Josh Erickson congratulations on your wedding!! I'm so happy for you!
Rebekah! I did send your letter off -- but its going to take (here it is again) Time. (=
Love you!
   OK I just want to share one experience... I am sorry I really do not have time other wise I would give more details. But this week we went to go visit a LA family and ended up just being one of the daughters. We were going to teach the atonement and right as we were starting the neighbor (and owner of LA's house_ blasted "SO Call Me Maybe" so AKA our LA would be distracted the whole time and the spirit could not be there. I knew that for sure. I brought this up to my companion and the member with us but no one was willing to say anything. So I stood up and walked over and .. I honestly I have NO idea what I said to her to ask her kindly to turn off the music, but she did. I was scared, haha, but I knew it needed to be done. We continued with the lesson and the spirit was super strong and tears were flowing. I know that could not have happened if we had let the music just play. I know that the spirit is real and it is very sensitive. I know that as we take time to ponder (not just study, not just read) the scriptures we gain more revelation in our lives. I love this gospel!! I'm sorry this is short but I must go, I love you all and am so glad you are all safe and well! Please stay that way! You are wonderful! I pray for you all!!\
   All My Love,
   Sister Sarah Ralph

Sunday, August 18, 2013

18 August 2013

   Here it is for this week (=
Family I want to know how the Reunion went!! Wish I could be with you, but just be Safe!
   Alright, so transfers are coming up soon and who knows what will happen. So my companion and I are working super, super hard trying to get this whole language thing in control, haha. I don't know if I told you already, but my companion Sister Cruz is from Manila and speaks Tagalog, not Waray. So we are both learning. I just laughed this week because the two big topics that people bring up when we are around is schistomisos being a huge problem (the worms that stay in your body forever) and how there are so many languages in my area. No joke, every 2 miles is a different language. Hahaha, I decided this week that I have been blessed with a gift already. Maybe not the gift of interpretation on tongues, but just the fact that I do not get frustrated with the language now is a huge blessing. My ZL before said when I get frustrated I upset God's plan for me. So I am going to just do my best and accept the fact that God's will might just be that I struggle for a long time with this whole three -languages-at-once thing. I have to admit though... alot of my lack of language is my own fault. I really struggled (still do) to open my mouth sometimes. After asking their name, age and where they are from... haha I don't know what to say. But this week I prayed super hard for courage to just open my mouth and so I did. I talked to way more people this week.. don't get me wrong they are not elaborate conversations or anything... but step by step right?? haha, I'm slowly learning that true joy really does come from thinking and serving others. When I open my mouth and talk to people life just seems so much... happier and worth living (that sounds depressing, but its true). I am soooo far from perfect that it seems like every time I spend a long time thinking about all my weaknesses... I just feel worse and I question my worth and my testimony, I question whether my Father in Heaven is proud of me or not... but when I am just out talking to people and getting to know them and sharing the gospel... I don't question. Those are the times when you feel the spirit work through you. Crazy how simple the gospel is, yet the application sometimes can be a stinker. I am grateful my companion is trying to push me to open my mouth. I forgot how much I love people. I really do.... I just love people, they make me happy!
   Any way, sorry for that rant. This week we went and taught at Asian College. We taught the Plan of Salvation. Oh my goodness, did this make me grateful for my education. All the classrooms are connected and so it's pretty much impossible to hear the teacher because you can hear everything outside and the other classes as well. We got a few referrals and some of the kids really participated, so hopefully something wonderful will come from that.
   This week was big with our LA's. Not so much with investigators, we actually had to drop a few for various reasons. They moved to Manila for work or their parents won't allow them. But this week, three of the less-actives we were visiting just broke down to us. All for various reasons. Either they were having marital problems, struggling with their testimony because of a death of their child or they found out their children were into drugs. Talk about a wave of emotions and problems. I can't understand the language of most of these people, but my heart just aches for these women. It's so easy to get into this trap of thinking you are the only one in the world with problems. But oh boy, we all have problems! All of us! My heart just ached for these women. They are doing their best and we pray fervently for them in all of their various trials. On a HAPPY note!! Oh man!!! This Sunday was SOO AMAZING!! Our attendance goal for sacrament was 125 ( I tried to get my companion to make it higher but she is big into being "realistic" hahaha. 155!! 155!!! came to church! Oh my goodness! I was so soo so happy! Almost all of our LA's and 3 investigators came to church! WOW! I just wanted to cry.... well actually I did. It was the best feeling. Scratch that, the best feeling was when I was trying to herd people into their various Sunday school classes and I saw the sisters in the ward truly embrace and surround and love a LA we have been teaching forever and until now has not come to church. AH... If I could just express to you my joy. That is what the gospel is all about.
   We had a new investigator this week- Rubilitha- we met her through asking a referral from the members and when we taught her there were 7 of us young girls kneeling at the end of the lesson- out in this shack in the middle of the night. Hopefully Father in Heaven will forgive me, but during the prayer I looked up at the 6 other girls with their heads bowed and their arms folded, kneeling on the ground, speaking with our Father in Heaven. It was perfectly beautiful. I knew at that moment, that Our Father in Heaven loves each of us and no matter where we are, He wants to speak to us and bless us. Oh, how I love this gospel.
   One of the struggles we are having is people only wanting us to teach them because they want "Sister Barbie" to come into their house. Ok.... Sister Ralph is not a Barbie!! Ridiculous! I try to explain this to people, but it's useless. I say "give me a ball...I'll show you how "Barbie" I am"... but we just try to listen to the spirit so we know who really has true intentions. In the mean time I just try to ignore the kids and guys taking pictures of me during the lessons and the kids that grab my skin while we are teaching. P.S philippino people are soo patient. Time is not the same here as it is there. People just live and ... it's fairly refreshing.
   Yesterday was the first time that we walked all the way home! No dogs this time- Blessing!! (= It was a nice long walk to make up for the lack of exercise and the ridiculous amount of food I eat. I think I have "pets" as Sister Cruz calls them because no matter how much I eat... I am hungry and it's really not good. Oh also.. I bought my first Lice Comb! I will be using that too... Oh and my hair and the hair on my arms is turning dark and my legs look like I have leprosy...I'm turning Philippino!! (=
   I was struggling earlier this week during my personal study. A very good friend of mine told me that he is happy because he knows his standing before God. And I wanted to know my standing too. I studied and prayed and just didn't know what to think, or if I received an answer... but during companionship study my companion reminded me about the sons of Mosiah and how they too "struggled in the spirit." I don't know who I was or why I thought this whole "losing yourself in the work" would be easy. It's not. It's hard work. It wasn't easy for the Savior why should it be easy for me? Don't you think that is a testament in itself of the truthfulness of the Gospel? I mean... here we are as members and we believe in the Gospel, we believe that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, but I'm not here proclaiming any easy way out. I'm not here to tell people that the gospel is easy and full of instant gratification. That's not the point of this life. The point is we are here to be tried... and we are here to spread the Truth that Yes its hard, yes you will struggle... but with Faith in Jesus Christ we will grow to be Like Him. We will be blessed beyond measure, we are loved! Oh man... I am not explaining myself well at all... Just know that I love this gospel and I know that Struggling is part of the plan for each of us. We have the truth!
   Thank you for being willing to read my long rants. I love and miss each of you dearly and pray for you always,
   With All My Love,
       Sister Ralph

Monday, August 12, 2013

12 August 2013

Isabel's baptism.
   Wow! What an exciting week mom! Haha Oh Family! I miss you all and love you so dearly. Mom I want to make sure you understand something. Just because my letters get shorter does not mean I don't want to talk to you or are talking to other people more... it's just at the beginning everything is new and exciting and foreign but over time there are less things that stand out and I am use to things and we do a lot of the same things over and over, hahha so I just am not sure what to tell you. I would love to share spiritual crazy stories every time... but that just is not missionary work. Sometimes missionary work is just keep on trucking along with a smile even when we are not seeing the fruits of our labor or feel like we are making much progress. I love you and would spend every second I could talking with you. I love you Mother! Very much.
   Yes... I believe my place was dedicated, but we have not had a problem since that one night so I think we are ok.
   HAHAHAH Tell Liz that I did get what she meant and it made me laugh a lot... out loud, hahaha, I love you so much Sister!!
   Why was Rebekah in Vegas? Random! Tell me how the blessing goes! I wish I could be there for it. Take pictures for me too!!
   I've been thinking about Megan Tyler a lot recently. That is crazy she is going to be a pilot WOW! Tell her Hi and I love her and hope she is doing so well.
P-day Activity at the beach.

   Tell Dad HI for me and I love him and think of him too! OH HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!! I know its on the 12th but I don't know if today or tomorrow or yesterday was the 12th for you sooo... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Thank you for marrying each other. Thank you for loving each other and for putting up with all of us kids for so long and for your testimonies and service and love for the Lord. You both are the most incredible parents any one could ever ask for.
   This week had a lot of events. This last Saturday we had a baptism. Isabel. She is a nine year old part member and she is super quiet, but it was a great experience to finally help her make that covenant. The baptism was short because Saturday was also Fiesta for Bobon. Every barangay or town I guess you could call it celebrates a catholic holiday where they go to church and eat a lot of food and drink.
Spicy Mango Pizza at Fishville where we got flooded in.

 So we were not allowed to work on Saturday- lots and lots and lots of drunk people every where. We were fed delicious food however and then just went home and did role playing. Oh... so this is what I learned this week. Ok... so I am struggling with the language. But its my own fault. Its really hard for me to open my mouth.. I am not sure why. But I know that role playing is super important. Yes its uncomfortable and no one really enjoys it... but for me I get excited to role play- when we plan. Then when it comes time to actually role play my walls of rebellion shoot straight up. A lot of the time I just want to be alone or just not do anything. When this happens I know that I just have to pray. I have to get on my knees and pray for my walls of pride to be torn down. I have to pray that I can look past myself and practice. Its hard to explain, but I know that prayer is essential in my ability to progress and every time this happens our role plays are very effective and I learn a lot. Missionary work is so much more than what it seems for the surface.
Me in the tricycle going home at night.
 I do not fit in them and so I am getting a super bad hunch back- sorry mom.

   Something kind of funny that happened this week... we were teaching an investigator one afternoon and out of no where a giant pig runs in and starts banging up against everyone. He was feisty! So we spent like ten minutes trying to get this pig out.. unfortunately it kind of killed the spirit but... oh random is that haha.
   I had exchanges this week and it was fun! I learn a lot about myself when we do exchanges. My STL told me that I am really good with the language... the problem is Tagalog! lol Waray I can mostly understand and fairly speak ok la but my area is mixed with a ton of Tagalog/... so I really really really need to start learning that language too. Oh humility. Humility! Pray, pray, prayer, patience! Another storm came while we were out and so we got stuck at a fancy restaurant until the water went away. Haha rainy season has not even started yet, hahahah. Oh goodness.

Sisters that I go on exchanges with.
   Yes we just had a crazy fun P-day experience. The zone all jumped in a jeep and then we had to ride a 1/2 hour on these long motorcycles to the beach! Its soooo beautiful! I could have ridden all day- don't worry. I wouldn't, but its just gorgeous, I did take pictures but they really don't do it justice. At the end of the activity we always do food-fight. Its where we lay down banana leaves and they fry fish and chicken and put rice and random foods out and everyone just grabs with their hands and eats haha. Its way fun! I love my zone- they really are good missionaries and super inspiring for me.

Our transportation.

 Any way, thank you to anyone who takes the time to read my emails. I know they are not super exciting and sometimes its a pain to read the whole thing but I appreciate all your love and support. I hope that each of you know how much our Heavenly Father is aware of you. He loves each of us so much. Please never underestimate the power of prayer. Take the time to listen to him. I know that He lets us endure hard things sometimes because He knows it is better for us in the long run. We will be more like our Savior Jesus Christ as we pass through our own Gethsemane- but He will never leave us. I know this with all my heart. I love and pray for you!!
 With All My Love,
Sister Sarah Ralph

Monday, August 5, 2013

4 August 2013

Ok Family Here is another week!
    Sooo. I highly underestimated the rain here when I bought my Wally World umbrella. It is now completely destroyed and I will be purchasing another right after this email, haha. The rain dumps like crazy here!! It's kind of hard to explain. This week was not super eventful. But I am learning to cook! It's rice with every single meal, haha. It's a Pilipino thing. But really...I am cooking... it's so weird but vegetables like eggplant... Me... Sister Ralph. I am cooking.
   We are still house hunting with very little success. Oh, so this Wednesday we had a dinner appointment with members and it went kind of late because we showed up late and the lesson was really good. So we ended up leaving their house at 9:00PM. In my area normally we go home at 7PM because it's dark by 6:30 and not safe and our house is around 3 miles away. So at this point there are no sakay (rides). Sooo we begin to walk. Two sisters with one flashlight, its dark and we have a long way to go, haha. After a few minutes the members we had dinner with showed up on a scooter and followed behind us walking till the cross way by the church (about 1/4 mile) and then they had to go back. So Sister Cruz and I just started singing Christmas songs and walking. I had to hold her tight because she was scared and super upset about how late it was. I said "It's ok Sister, It's an adventure!!" So we walked and walked.... until ... hahahaha we looked ahead of us and there was this big ole group of dogs barking like crazy at us. We looked back and there were dogs behind us. Ok... so at this point my heart started racing super fast. No one was in sight and we did not buy a load (for the phone) so we could not call or text anyone. I pulled Sister Cruz over to a street lamp and said we were just going to keep walking AFTER we prayed. We began to bow our heads when a motorcycle came out of nowhere and we decided on the fly to wave it down (could have been bad but we were desperate), haha. He stopped and we begged him to take us home. It turns out that his uncle is the Bishop in the Catarman 1st ward, haha. MIRACLE!!! Wow we were so blessed! Heavenly Father is watching out for us....
   SO THEN... we get inside our house and are winding down when there is this weird scratching on the kitchen window. Then something or someone was hitting the window. I still have no idea what it was, but we were scared. I tried to just shrug it off and say it was just a cat or something but it didn't go away and it was no cat. We turned on all the lights and while she was bathing with the door open so I could see her I pretty much shouted Hymns at the window. We prayed so hard for protection and strength. Whenever I was on my knees with my eyes closed I felt safe. I knew we would be ok, but I also knew my companion would not sleep. So we were up till way way late reading scriptures and singing songs. Kind of crazy, but apparently most of the sisters houses in the mission are haunted. What's up with that? Hahaha.
    Yesterday we watched a clip about missionary work with a number of different prophets speaking and I just love, love, love the words of the prophets. When I hear them speak, especially testify of Jesus Christ... my whole soul shakes inside and I feel like I am being called home. I love the Prophet so much. Also yesterday, during Sacrament (fast and testimony) I felt the spirit and knew I needed to get up. ... So I did. I don't know if anyone really understood me AND I was wearing my huge boots and looked ridiculous (everyone commented on them- embarrassing) but I was glad I got up still.
   I realized again just how dependent I am on my Savior and His atonement. I have nothing to boast of. Nothing I have is from my own doing. My health, my ability to learn, my body, my ANYTHING is all because of the Lord. I am but a fool... how merciful Our Father in Heaven is. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and My Heavenly Father because he truly has given me all that I have. I am learning to be patient... haha I have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for our Father In Heaven who is Always patient and forgiving and eager to help each of us. I love you all and am so thankful for each of you and pray for you always!
     All My Love,
  Sister Sarah Ralph