Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Family! And friends!

It's been a crazy week. So much happened- but also, just morag gihapon, more of the same. 
The weather seemed to reflect that too. I've now broken two umbrellas. There was some kind of storm and we walked in this wind that had the leaves stirred up all around us and then really weird rain- kusog kaayo (super strong) one minute and then nothing, and then kusog again and at weird times. But we didn't get too wet ever, so that was a blessing. 
First, Sister Bibing's baptism! This was in the middle of this storm, and there was a point where we couldn't hear because of the wind- but there was a real calm there. Despite all of Brother's insistence that he knew how to baptize, he didn't actually, so he got help, but it was all great. Aren't they cute? The day before, they'd both joined our branch's dance performance so they're just part of the branch now.

And on Monday, we had zone conference! With all the missionaries on Negros, 3 zones, so there were lots of us. And lots of sisters! And we're so young- 58 out of the 62 sisters here are either training or being trained- and more than 60% of the whole mission. It's not going to change next transfer either. It's just crazy stuff. We'll see what happens in two weeks when I finish my training. So Zone conference: President Schmutz is so wise and loving, and he knows the scriptures and further, he knows how to apply them. That's a skill that I want so much, and I'm always so excited to learn from him. We learned about the Doctrine of Obedience and its centrality to our purpose here on Earth.  It was so cool to feel the power of so many missionaries together. Then, here comes the crazy part. We were given 10 minutes to study 4 different topics, and then 4 missionaries were selected to give an impromptu talk about them. Out of all those missionaries there, I was selected to be one of them- so I gave a talk about why commitments are central to our missionary purpose. We truly must invite others to Come, just as Christ invited Andrew and John in John 1:39, and the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11:14-16. But not just to come- but to "Come and see", or to "Arise and come forth." You all know that an impromptu talk wouldn't be the easiest thing for me to do, but I did it anyway because the Lord helped me. 

And then yesterday! The Sister Training Leader came, with her companion who's also in training (Sister Wechsler from my MTC district). And instead of a normal situation where we'd have an experienced missionary in both companionships, she asked me to go with Sister Wechsler and lead the other side of our area. Family, that was a really scary moment. The two of us together, not fluent in Visaya, very new missionaries. But we really got to lean on our Faith. Yesterday was truly amazing. We taught lessons, we found new investigators, we talked to everyone we met, I understood people who I'd never understood before, and mostly, I learned I could do it! As long as I love these people, they'll forgive my shortcomings, and as long as I'm doing my best, the rest comes.

Thanks so much for your love and support! You're in my prayers every day and I love hearing about your lives and your learning and your progress and your joy.

Ampin mo,
Sister Josie Tueller


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Naa ko'y kanding! (I love goats!)

It's been another exciting week in Bayawan!

As you can see, I held a goat. It was the cutest thing ever. My companions just laugh, because we see cute puppies and kittens all the time and I couldn't care less, but there were three baby goats while we were doing a service project, sweeping leaves, and I just couldn't contain my joy. Isn't it cute? We were helping Sister Valentina- Cristina's mom, and it was tons of fun. There were only 3 brooms/rakes (I use the term broom loosely- picture 30 thin sticks bound together, or some straw sewn together), and she insisted on working with us, first just using a stick to sweep. I took the stick away from her, so I spent time hitting leaves with a stick trying to get them into the pile. I got a golfing technique down by the end- and in the meantime, I provided entertainment for Sister Valentina plus everyone on the beach. Of course, we were quite the spectacle in our skirts, and mostly just our American-ness. But we got to teach a lesson to Sister, and I know she felt the spirit- from our service, and from our lesson!

The same kind of thing happened this week when we went by the Tumabini family's house. They run a little tindahan from inside their house and so Sister is always busy. Or she just runs away from us, or refuses to talk to us. Her husband is really progressing to being temple-ready, and their son is sort of on his way to a mission (he's another story entirely, he was so strong a few months ago when he was baptized, but he's lost a lot of purpose, and now we have a less-active recent convert. But he'll make it- I know it.) As we walked by their block in GK, Sister Merlinda was putting charcoal in bags to sell. Our appointments had fallen through for the day, and so we sat down and helped her. She tried to stop us, but she really did need the help. It's not a fun task at all- you breathe in all this charcoal, and you squat for a long time, and your hands get so black and filthy. But it was the funniest part of my week. All our neighborhood children friends gathered round, plus more, plus their parents, and just watched us. They kept talking about us- I guess forgetting that we can understand them? Mostly, they just wanted to say we were fat, or white, or that we shouldn't be getting our nice clothes dirty. But as they all walked away, they said- That's what missionaries should really be doing. Isn't that true? All the time, I'm trying to do what Jesus Christ would do- and I know that Jesus Christ would want to help Sister Tumabini put charcoal in bags.

A little miracle of the week: Do you remember Roselyn? I think I told you about her my first week. She's from an inactive family, who live right behind Cristina, and she joined our lesson my first week in Bayawan- mostly for the American curiosity. We always drop by on our way through GK Village, and while they never let us teach them, we're building a little bit of relationship. I held a hamster outside their house, but no picture evidence. This week as we walked by, Sister Bohol was sitting outside looking worried. When we talked to her, she opened up a little and told us that Roselyn had been gone for a week without calling (she's maybe 20, and she's a little bit of a wayward youth). We listened to her, and then reminded her to pray. Of course, I prayed for Roselyn that night. And yesterday, when we stopped by again, guess who greeted us? Roselyn. She came home the next morning. Lots of people might call that coincidence, but I know that the Lord works miracles. Does it mean that they're going to progress, or come to church? They still have agency, but I saw the miracle, and I know they did too.

We're off to another adventure- we have a zone activity to Balanan Lake, so I apologize to everyone who I didn't reply to. Next week, I promise! I'm wearing pants right now for our activity, and it's really weird- I guess I'm getting used to this missionary thing. Actually, I know I am. I'm learning to love the work more everyday.  And this week is Sister Bibing's baptism- so look forward to the next update in the life of Sister Tueller.

I love you all so much. Every night as I pray for you, (and if you're reading this, then you're a person that I pray for), I feel close to all of you and it's a great part of my day. Of course, I also get to feel close to my Heavenly Father, and that makes it the best.

Have a wonderful week!
Sister Tueller

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sept. 10, 2013

As always, it's been another wonderful week. To let you have some better details, I think I'll just tell you about Sunday, and then you can imagine the rest from there.

But first, I am certainly praying for all of you- with this busy semester, with Olivia being in charge at home, for Clark Proffit, for Danny, for Bonnie, for Sarah, for my missionary cousins, my missionary friends, my soon-to be missionary friends and then my gratitude for all of my family and friends.

So Sunday. I woke up and got ready and ate my mangos and oatmeal. I'm blessed kaayo.

This is one of only 3 days a week that we go out of the house in the morning (Monday to travel to district meeting and Wednesday to come email you all) so I'm not as quick to say "Maayong buntag" as "Maayong hapon." As we walked, our neighbor who is 14, the only member in her family, and the branch pianist came running to catch up with us and give us all hugs. She and the other young women surrounded us and told us all about their week, even though we'd seen them frequently. Our walk was short, because we live two houses down from the chapel.

Inside the chapel, all the primary children were gathered for the primary program. The Elders were tying ties and we were put to work tying sashes- all green silk. Each girl was wearing all white, and the boys were all wearing their white shirts and these ties. That's the kind of pageantry that we have here. We also stand by the door and shake hands as everyone comes in. This week, 3 less actives (Sister Cherry Maglangit, Sister Tumabini, and Brother Timbangan) came to church for the first time this year!! We've been working so hard to get them to come, or to get whole families, and it finally happened. Of course, the Primary program helped- so we'll see about next week. 

And we had investigators in church! 
Cecil and Jenabel finally came to church after all sorts of barriers ( I really hope I've told you about them- they're Cristina's (the recent convert) neighbors and they love to read the Book of mormon (Side note, not from Sunday: we had a lesson this week with them where we used 4 different languages (Ilongo, Visaya, Tagalog, and English) of the Book of Mormon, and everyone just understood. It's crazy stuff.)) That was a lot of parentheses- I apologize.

We have a new investigator who's amazing: Sister Leah Grace Mesa. Two weeks ago, her husband called us over (maybe while he was drunk, we're not quite sure) and told us that he wanted to learn about our religion. We promised to come back some other time. Last week, while Sister Rugg and I were on the other side of the Boulevard on splits ( I can't remember if I told you about that- if I didn't, make sure I do, because it was incredible), Sister Yanga and our member present couldn't find anyone at home, so they went back. Sister Leah describes herself as "hanging" because she's looking for truth, and she can't find anywhere to plant her feet firmly on truth. And we get to show her the stepping stones where she can put her feet to lead her to the foundation of the gospel. So incredible. She didn't come to church because she'd committed to going to the Born-Again, but her 9 year old son really wanted to come, and he just joined the Primary program. 

Of course, Sister Bibing Carcasona came. She's the wife of the less-active, and her baptism will be on the 21st. She's so ready. We had a great lesson this week with her when Brother wasn't there so she wasn't as quiet. She truly has been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That's all my time for this week, so no events, but lots of people. That's what's really important here.
I know that this gospel is true and that through it, we can gain everlasting happiness. Thank you so much for all your support and prayers for me and these people. You are working miracles here!

Nahigugma ako kaninyo!
Sister Tueller

Thursday, September 5, 2013

(no subject)

Dear family,

Oh it's been another great week in Bayawan. Somehow, I'm short on time again, but I'll try to fit all the details I can into this letter.

Here's a store that's almost directly across from our house, and it makes me laugh every day.

If you can't read it, it says "Frincess"- the other sign is even better, because it used to say "Prencis", but they've painted over part of the P to correct it to Frencis. It's just great.

And then here are my companions with our "Apostleship"

As for details for this week, we had some real adventures. On Saturday, we went on splits with members! So Sister Yanga went with one 18 year old girl preparing for a mission, and Sister Rugg and I went with the other 18 year old girl. Suffice it to say, I was terrified. I was also supposed to be conducting, so I was in charge, without a trainer. So I prayed a lot, and I relied on the Spirit and my faith, a lot. Family, it worked. When the Lord asks you to do more, he makes you able to do it! We taught lessons and taught them well, and I understood so much, and was able to talk to our member present as well, and we met wonderful people. It was a huge faith building experience. In one of the lessons, we ended up teaching faith in trials, instead of agency like I'd planned. And it's what we needed to do, and even though I didn't have my notes written to teach about that, or scriptures picked out, or really anything except a genuine love for Alona, it was enough. I thought I'd learned that God allows me to do things through him, but when I test it more fully, I learn it even more.

Updates on my People here: Sister Bibing is getting baptized on the 21st. She's so great. We can't even believe what a miracle she is- we're the first sister missionaries to visit the Carcasona family, and they needed sisters. Brother was a less- active, an occasional church attender, but he's now preparing whole heartedly for the temple. He made the sacrifice to go to District Conference last week, which is 2 hours away!

Elvie Valor: She's the one with the paralyzed husband. The one who can know sit alone, move his hands completely, speak, move his toes, and his legs are coming! She has so much faith- and she's promised to God that she will join his church once she can attend when her husband is well- I think with her faith, it could be in this week.

Okay, that's all for the installment this week, I promise more next time!
I love you all so much! There are moments when I can just feel your prayers really close, pulling me up, maybe through the heat, and I'm so grateful!

Love, love love
Sister Josie Tueller