Monday, October 28, 2013

27 October 2013 - 6 months down.

This week we did some amazing work! Ok, opening my mouth is not a strength of mine. But I realized at the beginning of last week that I don't have many strengths right now.... HELLO Sister Ralph you have to work at it! Silly Sister! So we spent hours on Tuesday just opening our mouths and getting names and return appt.s and sharing our message with literally everyone. It felt so so good. I felt soo proud of who I am and who I represent. I felt like we really were on a mission to save souls and so we would not be ashamed or silent. We invited everyone to listen to our message and we got quite a few return appt's and investigators. I felt like.... like we really were speaking with a trump and it was a beautiful feeling. We blew our key indicators out of the water this week! We worked so hard! I love it! Sister Agreda is my anak (my child) but really she is training me, haha. I'm serious. She is so in tuned with the spirit, so understanding of my weaknesses and I just love her to death. She is a huge, huge blessing to me! I really, really hope we stay together over Christmas- I am learning a lot from her.

Ward reactivation- we take bread and put that noodle (pancin) inside and just eat.
    Can you believe I hit my 6 month mark??? AHHH!!! Of course... I celebrated with ice cream... of course, haha, what else would I do? I have to keep reminding myself that it's still only been 4 and half months in the Philippines to make me feel better about my lack of understanding skills. Don't worry... I know... it will come little by little.
   OH GUESS WHAT!! RAUL came to church! WOOT! WOOT! We stopped teaching him because he was not keeping his commitments and I think he really just likes talking to us, but I continued to (through txt) invite him to church and play ball with us on P-days. And he CAME! AND on top of that our 1st counselor in the bishopric who is inactive came to church and turns out He and Raul are old time friends! BAM!! Instant fellow-shipper... so we are using our missionary strategy skills by teaching Raul at Brothers house... so they both can be edified and Man am I excited for that.
   Jessica - she is another investigator. Uyab (girlfriend) to a member in the ward and we started teaching her this week. She is GOLDEN! She is sooo willing to learn and try. She is reading like crazy and loved church and wants to go to the RS activities.... man! I feel so blessed right now. Leslie is continuing to progress too. Every time we teach there are tears and the spirit is so strong. I love her soo much. She has not been able to come to church because she has been out of town.. but for sure things are going smoothly.
   OK... how weird is this? I had the most vivid dream ever that I was training Jennifer Lopez to be a missionary here in the Philippines. It was crazy. I woke up and honestly felt like it was true... I had to take a few minutes to remember where I was and who my companion was... oh the random little joys of life.
   Mary Pierce is a (RC) recent convert in our ward and she has been off and on coming to church but in these last few months she has just changed soo much. I keep close tabs on her and she worked with us a ton this week. She is wonderful- 16years old and her family is really struggling (she is the only member) but she has become such a good friend to me and she makes me feel like I am home. I love that she loves being with us, I know she is learning and feeling the spirit more in her life and that makes me so happy!
   Soo one experience that I had this week that kind of opened my eyes.... We randomly decided to go visit the Alecha family this week. They are one of the few complete active families in our ward- strong and just great people all in all. Well when we showed up we just were visiting with the mother and grandmother and we asked them how they were and they were silent for a while and then grandma broke down in tears. Mama Alecha was right behind her. They expressed their problem ..... they have no food. They have 6 kids and no food. .... I also followed and just broke down with them. I honestly had no idea what to say in the moment, all I could do is cry with them. It was so so tempting to offer them the money in my bag, but I knew that was not what the Lord would want. That is a lack of faith. We testified to them of the reality of our Savior and that he Always keeps His promises and pleaded with them to rely on those promises and continue doing their best. It was yet another eye opener for me. I think I got stuck in thinking that even though they have little food they are always happy. These people are always smiling, always laughing so it's so easy for me to forget that behind all the laughter and smiles--- life is so, so hard. There are still pains and experiences in their lives that I cannot relate to. Oh how grateful I am that I can tell them there is someone who can help and who understands. It is not me. It is our Savior and Redeemer. I had to renew my own faith after that experience and self evaluate. Prayer is always the answer. Prayer and Work.
Me and my companion this morning just spending time talking with ward missionaries after bball
   I love you all so much. Thank you for your incredible examples. I honestly feel that my testimony of eternal families is one of the strongest things I have to testify because I know that I am part of one. I know the gospel is the reason we are so happy and we know where to find peace. I love you and am soo grateful for you both! So grateful, words really can't express it. Give Samuel and Beka a huge for me and tell them I love them.
 Sister Ralph

Monday, October 21, 2013

21 October 2013 - After the Earthquake

Alright so here goes my letter.
   So this week my companion and I have really been trying to improve our finding or OYM open your mouth skills. You might think its easier being a missionary and all but its really not, haha, at least not at first. We are practicing our one minute messages and just trying to talk to as many people as we can. We have four new investigators so we are excited about that.
   This Sunday was wonderful because after weeks and weeks, Leslie came to church!! Ahh!! We were sooo happy!!! Ahh! She is amazing, I love her to death and she just has such a beautiful spirit about her. The last few lessons with her have been really touching and the spirit is always there. We have her baptismal date in November!
   Regarding the earthquake, hahah, its amazing how my attitude towards things have changed since being here in the Philippines. I was doing studies with my companion when it happened and we just looked at each other like... is this what we think it is... it only took a few seconds to realize it was! Then we hurried to the other room to get the sisters especially Sister Webber because she was slightly freaking out. We just waited until after a few minutes it went away. There was no damage in our area, it was mostly in the Cebu area where a lot of my batch from the MTC is. The only news I know of is that a HUGE catholic church there got demolished, but I do not know more than that. The power was out here for the day, but past that we just continued life as we know it.

An eight year old girl who was baptized in the ward. I love her family...

Going on splits with ward members.

   We had zone training this week which is always good. It was all focused on being obedient and so I am grateful that my companion and I are obedient. President was pretty upset because he had to send home a missionary this last week. He was really, really heart broken about it. But I learned a lot and appreciated the chance to see a lot of the Sisters from the MTC. I will forever love those girls so much! They are amazing!
   Alright so this week was good, because we worked hard and I got to know my companion Sister Agreda a lot better. She is wonderful! I really feel like she is training me more than I am training her. She is so understanding and fun! We love being companions and we have some really random things in common that makes life that much more fun! She is very courageous and helps me, as I am still struggling with that whole confidence thing. She is a huge help. Why am I so stinking blessed? I am so grateful.
   There is also a baby missionary, Sister Webber in our apt and its really entertaining and a learning experience for me to see how she is handling the adjustment. It definitely brings back some great memories and I realize how much I have learned. I take for granted that I know what to buy when I go to the mercado, what is a good price, what brands are good and not good, am I supposed to wash my clothes like this or with soap now or what?
Washing clothes...
 Am I allowed to say this, should I have waved at him? How do you say this? Questions always questions and I just love it. The mission is just an incredible experience. Its kind of like a mini life. I am so grateful that I am here. So grateful for the Atonement and for a Father in Heaven who Loves me. I Never really ponder that thought before my mission. But I really do know that I have a Father in Heaven and He is always looking out for me, He is in control and that is such a comfort to me. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it brings hope to life. I love you all and am so grateful for each of you! Please be safe!
All My Love,
Sister Ralph

PS - This morning I went with the Elders. We hunted Rat and then we cook it and eat it!! Crazy huh! Actually we could not find any rats, so next week we will try again. I'm kind of excited!


Monday, October 14, 2013

13 October 2013 - TRANSFERS

From my old area.... Good to see old friends.
Alright here I go... I am going to summarize this email if that is ok. The summary is... I’M TRAINING! ahhh!!!!!!!!!!
    Sister Sousa and I spent 6 blissful weeks together and now she is transferred and I am here with my new companion Sister Agreda. She is a sweetheart and speaks Cebuano. 
Sr. Agreda standing on a bench.

So we are going to learn Waray Waray together. Philippinas obviously pick up the language wayyyyy faster so I am excited. She knows English and she is teaching me Cebuano too. She knows like 5 languages, her native language is Ilakano. Way cool language. Balango is where she is from. My companion is not my height, in the pictures she is standing on a bench. She loves the Lord and we both want to work hard, so I am excited to see what happens. I have to admit, the first day... man! I could tell the devil was working soo soo hard on me. My thoughts were soo......Not good. No more Sister Sousa, Sister Ralph you have no idea what you are doing, you are not ready for this, she should be training you... etc etc....
Sr. Sousa and me at the market

Changes in companions....

    But it’s ok, I only let that happen for part of the morning and then I just kicked it. I have learned and feel with all my heart that God really does have a plan for each of us. He is in charge and we have to trust that plan. Yes, pain and suffering and tears are sometimes PART of that plan for you. But its divine and it is for our good. So I am excited, no more easy roads. I am just going to pray really hard and remember to be thankful for everything. I am soo soo blessed. My life is ridiculously blessed. It’s almost scary.

    General conference was this weekend for us. I loved general conference, but it was quite different from home for sure. Lots of people talking and kids screaming and so it was kind of hard to concentrate, but I can’t wait to read them! I really appreciated Holland's talk and boy did I feel the need to OPEN MY MOUTH! AHH! Kill me! That is something that I am just going to own this transfer! Meaning... right now I am not super good at it, but we are going to be experts by the end of this transfers. I feel very strongly that the Lord wants us to do this.
    I apologize there is not much more to report. I had to travel to Tacloban to get my companion and be trained a tiny bit so our work this week is tiny. But we did get to teach Sister Leslie and she is wonderful, the picture of the lady laying on the table with the baby... that is her. I love her sooo soo much! She is progressing, asks amazing questions about the Book of Mormon.

Investigator Leslie with Sr. Sousa and Sr. Ralph
    I have to go now! But I love you all and thank you for writing me!! Mom, please give Jess a giant hug for me, tell her she is beautiful and that she can do this! I am so proud of you all and so grateful! Please be safe!

ALL My Love,
Sister Ralph

At the mall with KFC..... yum

Sunday, October 6, 2013

6 October 2013

  Paxenxa for my uneventful week. I did learn a lot though. So Lunes we went to Tacloban to get our support (our money for the month) and that is always interesting.. its the closest place to America here. That took up most of the day because we have to travel forever to get there. Martes- frustrating for sure. We got punted ALL DAY LONG! Punted means no one was home or would listen to us... All day! That was my first experience of having that happen all day. Not my favorite, but missionary work still the same. We did however find this family that were playing outside. They looked like they were enjoying themselves and were friendly so Sister Sousa and I decided to attempt to make a smooth transition from family and game to family and gospel. We joined them for a few minutes until we realized they were gambling, hahahah. That whole "avoid the appearance of evil" scripture came quickly into my head. I felt pretty stupid, so we left a small message with pamphlets and told them we would come back another day. It was fairly amusing.... I'm learning more and more just how naive I am. It's not good /:

   Every Saturday we have reactivation in the morning where we work with members to go visit LA's and leaders in our ward. They were late and so Sister Sousa and I bought pina and ate it on the street while we waited. I wish you all could try the mangos and pineapple here... soo good!
   After reactivation we got to attend the R.S broadcast. It was a heartbreaker. 45 min into the broadcast, Sister Sousa and I were the only Sisters from the entire stake there. We just sat there in shock. We had been talking about this for weeks and how excited we were... and no one else was there. We spent all morning walking and walking to every sister in our ward reminding them and still no one came. Ahh!! Well... if nothing else, my testimony was strengthened. I was in tears before he began to speak. I just love Thomas S. Monson so much. The whole time he was speaking I just was full of this overwhelming love for him and I know with all my heart he is our prophet, called of God. I feel this truth with everything I am made of.

   His message was perfect and just what I wanted to hear. There were a few sisters who came straggling in after a while. One sister from our ward came. She bore her testimony yesterday (Sister Brier) a recent convert about the prophet, even though it was in English and she did not understand a lot of it, she was touched. And I was a mess during Sacrament too. When Sister Brier testified of the prophet... ahh I felt this swelling inside, this urge to stand up and shake everyone in the room and pierce their hearts with this truth. Why, how do these people not understand what an incredible blessing the gospel is, the prophet. I just want soo, soo badly for them all to know for themselves, to feel this truth burn in them, to feel the way I feel when the prophet speaks, when I pray, when I partake of the sacrament. My words are insufficient. I know only the Holy Ghost can do this... Again I feel I can relate with the prophets in the Book of Mormon that wet their pillows at night and cry throughout the day. I love these people so, so much. They are so kind and so good through and through, now I just need to figure out how to reach them. Don't worry, I'm still happy, still in love with the work; It's just that my desire for their understanding has increased 100 fold. I love this work. I love this time I have to feel a tiny miniscule amount of what Our Savior feels toward us. I love you all! Please be happy!
   All My Love ,
Sister Ralph