Thursday, June 27, 2013

"I'm pretty sure the light goes on in your head way more dramatically than anyone elses"

Hello everyone!

Pamilya, we're in the same state! I was thinking about you last night on your airplane and I hope you had so much fun and ate all the fruit snacks that you wanted. Have so much fun with our wonderful family here and send my love to everyone! Every day I feel so loved, and I'm so grateful for our wonderful heritage. Tell me all your adventures and the family memories that I'm missing, so I can feel like I'm part of this. On Tuesday, Janice Kapp Perry spoke to the MTC and we sang Primary songs and it was so great. But my favorite part was her family song that she wrote. Everyone had a part- even her sons who didn't sing (They sang "we're mama's boys, we're the back up singers" the whole time") and it was so fun, but I wanted to sing with all of you, and talk with you, so I sang all 7 verses of How Beautiful is the Green Earth to join you when you have to drive down to Southern Utah.

We do so much here and it's hard to know what to tell you, but I think I can best explain my time by telling you about the people I'm with all the time.

My district has 9 missionaries, 4 sister going to Cebu, and 3 sisters and 2 elders going to Tacloban. Many districts are like that now- with 2 elders to be the district leader, and then sisters. Lots of fun! First, my companion is Sister Rugg. She's from Stansbury Park Utah, just outside of Tooele, she's 21 and a microbiology major. I kind of already told you about her, but I didn't know her amazing sense of humor yet. She seems really quiet, and then out of nowhere, she'll make the funniest observation or call someone out on their bragging or talk about her love for One Direction. It's always an adventure, especially when we're trying to speak in Cebuano all the time. Next, we room with Sis Perrigo and Sister Wechsler. They're both 19, and they're both really big personalities, in different ways, but it really helps them be great missionaries, especially together. Sister Perrigo's from Meridian, Idaho, and Sister Wechsler's from Chino Hills, California. Sister Perrigo absolutely loves sand volleyball and keeps encouraging me in my very limited volleyball skills, and we love to sing together. 
We live next door to our other sisters- they're a tricompanionship. Sister Anderson is from Salt Lake City, she's 23, and she's one of the funniest people I've ever met. She's so good at caring about all the people around her- and our classroom was a sad room the day she was sick (There was a flu going around the MTC, but don't worry, my immune system's doing great- I'm feeling wonderful). Sister Malietoa is from Samoa, and I keep finding more wonderful things about her. She taught seminary and Relief Society, and she's 20. I love learning more about Samoan culture from her- she tried to teach us some Samoan dancing and singing, and it's like a little bit of home. Laie has so many connections in this place. She loves to drink Coke all the time, and she looooooooooves Sister Rugg more than anyone else. Their third companion is Sister Smith from Elkeridge Utah, She's 19, and went to BYU before- she lived in a building right near me. We're very sad that we didn't meet before, but we're definitely going to be friends when we get back. She's an amazing artist and such a sweet girl. And the Elders! They both came to the MTC 18 years old, but they'll leave 19. Elder Burton is from Layton. He never planned on a mission, but when he finally asked Heavenly Father if he should go, he couldn't come with any reason not to, and way too many reasons to go. His faith and trust in God amazes me, and he's done some really cool things in his life- he runs his own landscaping business. Elder Lloyd is our district leader, and he's the greatest. He's from some suburb of Salt Lake, and loves Utah State University more than anyone I've ever met. He's great at keeping us together, and he's super humble. So those are the people I spend all my time with- oh and our teachers!

Brother Taylor just got married, so we only met him last week, but he teaches Cebuano more clearly than anyone, and he's great at personal help.

Brother Young is crazy and fun, but he follows the Spirit in everything he does. The other day, he'd planned to teach us about the Plan of Salvation, but Elder Lloyd asked a question about the Apostasy, and he changed everything. It was exactly what I needed, because teaching the Apostasy scares me so much- telling someone that their source of goodness and light is actually false, and it sometimes feels like we're trying to prove something which I really don't want to do. I don't think we talked about anything I hadn't heard before, but things came together for me. The Spirit taught me directly, and showed me the way I can teach this. I was so grateful that Heavenly  Father could see my concern, and could inspire Bro. Young and all of that, for me to be able to teach one thing and feel secure in that. I feel encircled in love here.

And the broadcast! Wasn't that the best? What a vision for the future of missionary work and the entire church! Mama, I love your ideas about missionary work on the boat- that will be so cool. I'm pretty sure you couldn't see me on the broadcast- I was way on the edge, but I was singing! We're called to serve our king! We don't know what internet missionaries means for us in the Philippines yet, or guided tours where there isn't always a church building, but it's all exciting! And I hope that the members in Cebu want to help us, because we're going to need their help! Cebuano's coming, and I can kind of communicate, but not using real grammar (which might be okay, because Cebuano doesn't always have real grammar- you usually just do what sounds best to you, or to someone from Cebu!), but once I have to talk about something that's not the gospel, I 'll be really lost. It's such a cool language, because they have so few words, so everything has to be described. Charity is "Pure love, -gugma nga putli" and Trust and depend and rely are all "sa pagsaad" and a contrite spirit is actually just "paghinulsol nga espiritu" or a repentant spirit. It helps me see the simplicity of this gospel. Oh, I forgot my favorite one. Faith is "hugot nga pagtuo, or a firm belief" That's what it is! By my firm belief, I can see miracles here and in the Philippines, in my life and especially in the lives of others as I do my best to invite them to come unto Christ. 

I love you all! The gospel is true.

Sister Tueller

P.S. The title is a quote from Sister Anderson to me- they all laugh at me when I put things together and when Cebuano works in my mind- but it's just exciting! And I love the light and knowledge that the Spirit brings.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tinguha sa pagambit ang ebanghelyo‏

Pamilya and friends and anyone who's reading this,
I love you all so much. I feel like the luckiest sister missionary ever because I know all of you. You know what else? This gospel is true. There is infinite light and peace and joy that comes in this gospel. And I love this work.
This week has flown by; it's crazy. I feel like I was just emailing you. I think it helps that we have a real schedule now, full of wonderful things. We get to start each day with personal study, and then breakfast and then class. Our teachers are wonderful- our class has two teachers- one for the afternoon, and one for the morning, but we know all 8 of the Cebuano teachers. They are huge blessings to me in language help, but also in teaching me how to be a missionary, or how to do this thing that I'm going to do for the next 18 months. The rest of the day changes throughout the week, but it all helps. We get to do TALL- technology assisted language learning, which is the coolest program, and I'm pretty sure it's inspired because it helps me learn vocab like I'm never learned before. We have more class, and we teach! We teach a lesson everyday, and I'm still nervous everytime. But I'm learning that fear and faith cannot dwell together, and that my faith can blot out any fear that I have. Plus, Cebuano comes. We learned some grammar principles this week, so I can put together sentences, and say some of the things I want to share with these people. It's still really frustrating to have this message that can make someone happy and only be able to tell them a few things. But I try, I have faith, and the Spirit will take my words to the hearts of the people I teach. It's also been really reinforced to me this week that any weakness I have in this language can be turned into an advantage of vulnerabilty, sincerity, and simplicity. That's so great.
I learn so much everyday, which is just fine by me. My understanding is getting better, and my love for this language grows. Even more importantly, my love for the people I'll teach grows. Thanks for that picture, Mom. The people of Cebu can't be ready for all these sister missionaries coming to them.
We definitely eat three meals here everyday like Pres. Purcell blessed me- sometimes it feels like we study and eat and that's it. But there's lots of great salads and fruits and vegetables and food prepared for us. We get mail after lunch and dinner, so that's another really good time. Seriously, you're all the sweetest people. We get to have gym/exercise everyday in the gym, or at another gym, or the indoor track, or the field outside, which is a great time to tire myself out, and think about the day. I end each day feeling like I gave my best effort, and even if I'm disappointed that I didn't learn more, that's all I can ask of myself. The Lord will help me do the rest. I absolutely know that- He can do anything, and through him, with him, and standing beside him, we can do the same.
Sundays are so wonderful in the MTC- and we're especially excited for this Sunday with the missionary broadcast. There's an amazing spirit of enthusiasm here in the MTC about everything. It's so fun to sit in the Marriott Center with our 1600 person choir and sing Hark All ye Nations. That's what we're doing- we're calling to every nation, that all may rejoice. This Sunday, Sister Rugg and I went to watch The Testaments- which I don't think I'd ever seen in its entirety. Christ is real. That's all I can say. He knows me and you and every other person. He knows exactly how to help us and he is working in our lives to lead us to good. This week, I think I've really gained a testimony of the Holy Ghost. As I try everyday to be worthy of that gift and that inspiration, I'm learning more about how the Spirit speaks to me. It can be little things, like the word I wanted to use in my prayer (tinguha-desire, oh and the rest of it means a desire to share the gospel), that I didn't remember before or after, but I did in the moment. Or it can be bigger things, like the confirming feelings, or precious messages that tell me that I'm here in the right place. The speakers and teachers here at the MTC know how to access that Spirit and we all hear something we need. On Tuesday, Robert C. Gay of the Seventy spoke, without notes, without a script, and he said things we all needed to hear. (He served his mission in Spain, right at the beginning of missionary work in Spain, so I got to think of my Mom and Dad- He told a great story about being inspired to put up streetboards to teach, even though they weren't allowed under Spanish laws at the time- did you use those to teach?) After Tuesday night devotionals, we come together as a district and have a testimony meeting about our thoughts, and I think that was my favorite part of this week. It's hard to choose, but there was something so special about each of us teaching each other, when two weeks ago we were doing entirely different things with our lives. My district is so great- half of my district is going to Tacloban, and that's sad because we love them so much, but right now, we all gain so much from each other. I think one of the blessings of a mission is learning to love people because of their differences from us, not in spite of.
We get to go to the temple again today, so that might become my favorite part of this week, and after dinner, we have our first TRC appointment, teaching someone we don't know in Cebuano. Faith not Fear Sister Tueller.
Thank you so much for your love and messages and thoughts and prayers. I have the greatest family. Thanks Mom for sending the news of my cousins who are serving. Their wisdom is such a blessing to me. And we're all here together, inviting others to come unto Christ.
I'm healthy and happy and thriving in this work. Ultimately, this is the best thing I can be doing right now, it's Heavenly Father's plan for me, and I'm gaining so many blessings as I try my best to do His work. Nasayud ko nga tinuod ang niini simbahan ug ang Basahon ni Mormon. Jesukristo mao ang Manluluwas. Buhi siya! Nasayud ko nga naa Amahan sa Langit og plano para ako. I love you all so much. How are all of you? How is life in Hawaii/Utah/ where ever you wonderful people reside? What's exciting in your life right now? I love any updates, and I care about your life!
Ayo Ayo ug Gugma,
Sister Josie Tueller

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Marriott Center Devotional

MTC Overflows With LDS Missionaries, Moves Devotionals To Marriott Center
(photo 15!)

Gihigugma ko kamo!‏

Akong pamilya ug mga amigo!

I love you all- that's what the title means and it's so fun to say. Thank you so much for your letters and uplifting spirits. Dear Elder is the greatest invention ever. I love hearing about all of you! Are you having an exciting summer? Did you have so much fun with Yuna and Yaya and David? I love those pictures Grace- you model you! 

The MTC is a wonderful place. I already feel comfortable here, and I've started to get the routine- I guess that's what a week and a day and the Spirit can do for you. There's such an amazing enthusiasm here with this wave of missionary work. On our first night, we had to fill four different auditoriums to be greeted by the MTC president. The first few days had a lot of information. As soon as I walked in with my host sister, I walked through a building where I was handed papers and grammar books and scriptures and all sorts of things and they put a name tag on me. I stand in the mirror for a few seconds every morning looking at it. That's me, right there, wearing the badge of a missionary, with my name, and Christ's. So cool! I got to put down some things and then they took me to class, where my teacher spoke Cebuano the whole time. I could feel the words flying over my head. But it's okay! We were all so scared and nervous, but also strengthened by our Heavenly Father. I told you a little about my companion Sis. Rugg, but I just want to tell you that I've been blessed. We're so similar, which isn't always good, because we're both a little more quiet, but her dedication and diligence are an inspiration to me. I get to be senior companion for the next 3 weeks and then we switch, so I'm being blessed to learn about decision making and being in charge even when it's scary. We went to all sorts of devotionals and firesides the first two days- I'm here to teach people. And not even people, I'm here to teach a person, one person at a time and help them feel God's love and plan for them. That's reassuring. I can do that. There is a tangible force present here. I can't wait for us to go out to all the world. 

We got to have more class, everyday- I live in my classroom, but I like classrooms, so that's fun. I've gotten to a point where I can kind of understand what my teacher's saying in Cebuano. I can testify that miracles happen here. On Friday, we taught a lesson to our "progressing investigator" named Cixto who's actually a teacher here. I taught a lesson in Cebuano, and then I taught 3 more. I'm sure he's holding in the whole time with our halting words and mixing up consonants and making up words. In our first lesson, I kept slipping to Spanish and he kept reprimanding me with a "Castellano!." I'm trying not to do that again. We're teaching our fifth lesson, completely in Cebuano without notes- only our scriptures and Preach My Gospel. That should be impossible, but it's not. I can feel myself being helped by the Lord. Cebuano is so fun. I love it already. It's a lot more Asian-sounding that I thought, and the grammar is always interesting since it's not actually a written language. We're always trying to memorize more words and sometimes it feels like there's no more space but I find some more. More importantly, I can pray and testify and commit and promise blessings to the people that my Heavenly Father wants me to teach.

We get to exercise almost everyday, at a gym on treadmills and Mormon Messages, or a big indoor track, or volleyball and basketball. It's a good time to make sure that I'm still doing okay and assess the day. So I know that I'm doing great. It's hard work, but it's what I want to be doing. I know that.
Sundays are so cool in the MTC. We have a huge mass Relief Society meeting, and Branch sacrament meetings, and 1600 people choir practices and a Sunday night devotional. I think I needed to here each of those messages. Isn't this gospel great?

Tuesday evening was also incredible. Walking to the Marriot with the mass of missionaries was great. We stopped traffic, and got to see places that I had been just a few months ago. My whole district is in the choir, which will also be singing for a worldwide broadcast on the 23rd, so you can look for me! We walked over and filled 5 sections of the Marriot. Singing Called to Serve among thousands can't be described.

I absolutely love my district. There's so much pressure here and we all want to do so well, and so the littlest things seem hilarious. I think I've laughed more here than in the past month. It's good for us. It helps that they're all hilarious people. 

Dad, I met an Elder Cameron Perkins in the laundry room, who stopped me because of my last name. He asked if I was from Logan. He's Heather Tueller Perkins's son, grandson of Uncle Rod. He's going to the New York New York North? Spanish speaking mission. It's certainly a small world.
I'll try to send pictures next week. I haven't been very good about remembering to bring my camera places, but I'll get good picture for next week. 

Family, when do you actually leave? I don't want mail to miss you, and I like to know where you all are.
Thank you for the pictures Mom- I love all of them- I'll try to be the best elementary school teacher missionary that I can be. 

Thanks so much to the Tuellers and Daltons in Utah for the best send off ever. I feel so loved and supported among all of you and your wonderful examples. 

I'll add my testimony for your testimony meeting. I know this gospel is true. In Cebuano, there's a word for "I know with my heart" and " I know with my head", nasayud and kahibalo. I love that distinction. The gospel is somethign that we can know in our mind and in our hearts, but I think our hearts have more power. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, revealed for our day, and it can change lives. I know that with God, nothing is impossible, and that faith can always conquer doubt and fear. I know that Heavenly Father loves and looks after each of his children. I know he has a plan for each of us, and I'm so grateful that I have the knowledge that I'm accomplishing some of my plan right now. I know that I am strengthened and forgiven and uplifted only through Christ's Atonement. He is the light, and the way.  Thank you for being my wonderful family, and teaching me so that I can live my life in the way that makes me the most happy. I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers, and the love and support of my family, and people thinking of me, who I know I can't possibly imagine. Thank you Dad for that reminder. I'll try my best to always remember. I love this work and I'm excited to learn more.

Love wala'y katapusan (forever, without end),
Sister Tueller