Thursday, February 27, 2014


I don't quite know why that's the title of the week, but it just feels right. The Lord has been placing me in calm waters, and I'm grateful. 

Here's some tender mercies of the week, or life or something like that.

My companion- Sis. N is wonderful. We're from the same batch- but you already knew that. she turned 21 on Sunday (chocolate birthday cake was a tender mercy!), she was a linguistics major at BYU. Right now, she's learning a lot about leadership- and I know I'm here to help her with that. I'm at this cool point where I can see the Spirit helping her and that's the best thing ever. 

Balamban is beautiful. The people are really friendly. I'm excited to keep meeting more of them. But they are all tender mercies. We met someone named Alma Nephihah (okay, it's actually Nipaya, but it certainly sounded like that) the other day. That has to be destiny or something. We're going back to teach her next week. We also crossed into the magical jungle land again. Some of our contacts there weren't actually that interested- they will be Catholic until they die, so that's sad, but it's not my agency. Anyway, we did have some more great success there, especially considering that it was pouring rain. Poor Sis. N didn't have an umbrella, so she used a banana leaf as we were trodding across these mud fields. We're going back tomorrow, so expect more adventures.

And of course: people! 
The DumDum family. They're a less active family, but Brother came back to church for the 4th time last week. My first week here, the oldest son Ronnie also came to church. He's apparently struggling with a video game addiction, but he's got some good friends in the church. This week, he joined our gospel principles lesson, and then after church, he went out on splits with the Elders! Yay for progress.

Sis. A has a really complicated life story- but the main problem is that she doens't want to come to church to see her ex-husband. I'm not actually really sure how to help her with this problem, but the Spirit is helping her. She did come to church last week- we're not really sure why. But we had a lesson this week with her- she just needed someone to listen to her so badly. I can do so little as a missionary, but I hope people can feel God's love.

I actually learned that lots this week- I can't actually do much as a missionary. In my past areas, I learned a lot about my potential, and how much I could do through Christ. Now, and I hope for the rest of my mission, I want to learn about how to help others do it. I have to help my investigators do it themselves, I have to help the members help them, I have to help my companion lead and then hopefully, I can just step out of the way. In this vein, we had a really powerful member present lesson with the Diano family, our investigators, at the home of their neighbors the Magalsos. Sis. Magalso served a mission and then her husband joined the church when she got back- they have 3 cute kids. I don't think I'd ever had someone just "get it" as much as that- because we weren't just talking about how the gospel will help them in the future, but because they could see and feel the blessings of a gospel centered home. Actually, it breaks my heart, but when we went back to the Dianos, they said we can't come back- the father won't allow them to join the church. It's so hard to see people so close, but I know their time will come. Genevieve Diano had so many questions and she found so many answers, so the day will come.

And I almost forgot! I actually helped build a house this week! I'd been wanting to do this my whole mission- so I actually did it. We helped the Saavedra family build the side of their house. I actually didn't get to do much because some talented Filipino priests and members of the Elders quorum were enjoying themselves, but they kindly let the two white girls pound some sticks into the ground. It was so cool to see the way we didn't need fancy construction things and we built this house!

For a funny story: I taught my first lesson to someone while they were high. A woman told us to come back because she liked our religion, but when we went back, she was kind of acting weird. We started teaching, and then finally realized what was wrong (we're two little innocent girls!- but we finally smelled the marijuana.) Don't worry, she's very nice and she loves us lots. Regardless, God still loves Sis. Noemi and maybe she'll have the courage to change.

I've been learning more how to study by the spirit. And the Lord carries us in deep waters, and helps us through the rivers, and teaches us the constancy of our waves, and quenches us with his kind of life. 

I love you all so much. Wala koy duhaduha pero kahibao ko nga kitang tana makauban didto sa pikas kinabuhi uban sa tinuod nga kalipay way katapusan! Remember the eternities and let them change us.

Inyoha og matinudanon,
Sister Tueller

Here's Joshua's baptism as promised. 
And me with a less active. She taught us to make puso. I really did make that all by myself. She's so funny. She kind of has a memory problem, so we have the exact same conversation every time we visit. She asks why we moved to our new apartment, and how much the rent is, and then asks who taught us to make puso? We can't figure out if she actually forgets these, or just thinks she might get new information. She also gets a kick out of knowing that she taught us to make puso (they sell them, and put dry rice inside and then cook it in boiling water and it makes rice in a convenient little container). Then she tells me that I can make a restaurant when I go home and sell puso and I will be rich. She's a dear. She'd be more of a dear if she'd come to church regularly, but we're working on that.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Kaisgoonan (Isn't that a great word?- it just means brothers and sisters)

This week. It's been one of the best. Where do I start?

I miss Sibonga. That place is mine. I am part of it. But it's okay because I'm in Balamban! It's so exciting to be in this new area. There are so many people here who haven't heard the testimony of Sis. Tueller- so we're working towards that. We've had all sorts of miracles already.

First, Wednesday. We visited the Gonzales family- Joshua and Brian. They were so active and just about devastated that I was leaving- so I got lots of "Baletis" - or Valentine's if you're not a dyslexic, Cebuano 9 year old recent convert. They are the best. Everyone should be excited for Joshua and Brian's mission stories in a matter of years.

then, transfer day! I ended up having to travel by myself to Cebu City on a bus- since I hadn't been alone for over 8 months, that was a little different. But there's still the Spirit, and the Savior, so I was okay :). Basically, after lots of organization, we were on the way to Toledo- to Balamban. 

Here's a really quick story that I learned a lot from. We had just left the bus station and on the other side of the road, I noticed a man walking with his small family. He was very obviously poor, and desperately searching for something, for anything. (This might not be the cool story you think it is- I was stuck on the bus). I see people like this quite frequently- it's a different kind of poverty than the simplicity, and my heart aches. As we drove by, he tripped, he fell, his pack was too heavy. He stayed on his knees, and just looked up. I hoped in that moment, that the missionaries would find him, that the Spirit could comfort him. I saw even more clearly how important our role is- not just us missionaries, but all of us. So many in this world are stumbling, searching for anything- and we have the gospel light. I've been studying this, and I feel so inspired to help those that stumble. Christ will take away our stumbling blocks if we simply let him in! (1 Ne 13:29,32-34)

To Balamban- it's adorable. the area is divided into two branches- and we have the one right next to the beach. It's exciting. It's bigger than Sibonga, but it's still not city by any means. There are quite a few active members, so that makes me happy- we're working with people going to the temple, and still less actives- but there's lots of room for our people who don't have the gospel yet! We've had some great success with new investigators this week- we've gone forth with faith to find them, and they just come. This week will be exciting as we go back to some of them- a few of them have already committed to be baptized when they know its true, now we just let the Holy Ghost do his thing!

Okay, I'm doing an awful job of capturing the sublime beauty of this week. On Saturday, we got to go to the city for a mission conference with Pres. Nielson of the Philippines Area- we learned about the Atonement and personal strength and becoming. The Lord's aware of his children- and I know that for myself. I also got to talk with President Schmutz about some of what he wants me specifically to do here in Balamban- what a blessing. But don't worry, it gets better.

For the first time in 7 months, I got to enter the house of the Lord. The Cebu Temple is breathtaking. So many things worked together. A temple worker knew Aunt Anna. Sis. S and Sis. K got to come. God loves his children a lot. We got to see the new, new temple film. I feel edified and closer to God than ever before. Go to the temple whenever you can!

Family, others who I love, my time's about up. The miracle stories will have to wait til next week. There should be pictures of a magical land we discovered- we had to ride a river boat over there, with some baby caribou and a woman selling things from her head. We found a family with a recently deceased uncle- Sis. R is one of our new investigators who wants to be baptized!

Less actives came to church, investigators decided to continue to learn, Sister N and I are doing great and learning together. I love being a missionary, I love you all! Let us choose not to stumble but to keep in his path- and then to help others.

Sister Tueller

Our magical fairytale land!

Me and my wonderful companion!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Maglakaw na ko! (I'm going already)

Dear everyone,
 First things first, I'm transferring! I'm not quite sure how to feel about this, but mostly I'm excited. I'm going to Balamban. Still on Cebu, but on the other side of the island. It's still a little town, which I love. My companion will be Sis. N, who's from my batch, so I'm sure we'll have a grand old time. Even more exciting, this is where Sis. Y, my trainer first served, so I've heard all sorts of stories about the wonderful people who live there, and they'll know her. Next week, I promise a full description of the place, but I've never been there, so it will have to wait until then.

I will miss Sister K so much. She's become my sister, and she even told me that I get to be Polynesian now. You know how excited I would have been about that. She's been sick for the past couple of days and we've been in the house just talking and studying the gospel and I'll miss her tons. Missions are such a cool time to bring all these different people together and teach us all the beauty of differences.

Plus, summary of the week! Lots happened. We moved houses- again. We had to move to the house right in front of us, so that was an interesting day. I've now cleaned a house from top to bottom 3 times on my mission- useful skills here. Just for one specific detail: there's a magical thing called Permethrin that kills all of our insect friends so they don't eat our food or shower with us. I sprayed the whole house and mopped the floors with it, etc. From then, (it's now been a week), I go into the kitchen and count how many uk-uks (cockroaches) are lying on their backs and sweep them up. Today was the first day that it was under 10. Life in hawaii prepared me on some levels for this, but don't worry- it's more fun in the Philippines!

We had a wonderful zone training- about our first and second estates. I can't do it justice, but I do know that the doctrine changes us! Every time I study it, I'm inspired to do more. 

We did have an incredible sacrament meeting- more than 40 people came to our dear Sibonga branch. One was a less active sister who we visited for the first time this week- she just needed someone to tell her to have faith and she came to church. She was the first one there- somehow, this is turning into a pattern with my less actives. Maybe, we should all have that same desire to be cleansed. Sacrament meeting means so much more when I'm thinking of these people who haven't come in years and then they can be renewed and finally forgiven. 
One of my favorite less active families also finally came to church- the Cuderas. Their problem is mostly financial, but of course, that also means having faith. My dear Nanay was so happy- she just cried through all of the closing hymn. They have been a family to me here, and I think I've been able to make a difference with them. Someday, they will be sealed- when Tatay overcomes his pride and addiction and yields to his testimony growing inside of him.

I'm excited, but I'm sad to leave Sibonga. It is sacred ground for me. We walked past some places and I could see all the miracles that happened there, usually when I wasn't sure what else would happen. Sibonga wasn't soft on me- my Father isn't afraid to use a strong blow on the rough stone of my soul. But I've gained such a fierce bold love for these people, for this work, and for my Savior. I'll miss the girls at the bakeshop, and the teenage boys on the side of the street, and my favorite mango selling stand, and the pristine tennis courts in the middle of town. It's a special, special place that needs lots of love. I'll miss our meeting house- weeds and all. That's what my Father can see in us- weeds and stones and all- he sees who we will be, and loves us for it. Pray for charity and he will give it- and then we will be changed, and then, then, we will be like him and see him as he is. That glorious promise is my message. I love you all. Your Savior loves you. Do something today to show that love!

Nasayud jud ko nga tinuod ni! Nahigugma ko ninyo. Amping kanunay!
Sister Tueller

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Dear ones,
I love hearing about your adventures in Japan and all over the world. Keep the reports coming!

This week has had all sorts of highlights. First, to finish my story from last week- Sister Quinto was the grandmother who found us on Friday night. Her daughter is Marcela. Marcela’s only 18, but her second child passed away on Thursday morning. She’s done a lot of growing in the last week. We (the missionaries) had to do all sorts of organzing because priesthood is hard to come by in Sibonga, especially when the Elders were gone. But we got missionaries to come so we had priesthood. Early on Saturday morning, we went to their little home up the mountain path. They all tried to be busy and cheerful- they are strong people. The Elders conducted a short funeral service and then they walked to the cemetery with the coffin. As we sang I am a Child of God, every single person was crying- especially the non member family members. I was just so grateful for our knowledge that the 1 year old child will be resurrected to a celestial glory and live with God. This week, we've been working with Marcela and her boyfriend Joel. They are seriously preparing for the temple in a year from whenever they save enough money to get married. That should be soon- and we're seeing the miracles for them

First, we had a little bit of a difficult week in terms of lessons- we had lots going on and lots of dropped appointments. On Saturday, we weren't anywhere close our goal. At the beginning of the transfer, we'd set a spiritual goal to have 28 lessons every week and committed to work for that. We asked God for his help, and felt sure that he expected us to achieve it. On Saturday, we had a choice to have faith or to make an excuse. We chose to have faith that in one day, 11 lessons would happen. We trusted that nothing is impossible for the Lord and that there were people prepared. We went out after church determined to find those people prepared and we did. From that one day, we had 6 new investigators, some former and lost, and some truly elect and ready for the gospel. By the end of the day, we'd taught 12 lessons. It's not about the numbers, but in a way it is. We'd committed to the Lord, and when we worked to keep that commitment, he poured out the blessings. I'm learning the importance of goals and planning, once again. 

The Lord is so merciful. The promise of D&C 4 to "Ask and ye shall receive" is true. This week, we'd been meeting all sorts of elect people from other areas. We'd laughed about it and joked that everyone else was getting referrals from us. We weren't discouraged, but we'd hoped for new investigators for Sibonga. Yesterday afternoon, we got a text, with a referral from the missionaries in Basak. I'm excited to contact this referral, but moreover, it was another testament to me that the Lord is keenly aware of us. 
And a baptism! Joshua was baptized this weekend- my camera just died, so picture will be forthcoming. It was wonderful. Sibonga doesn't have a font, so we go to CarCar. Some of the members from Sibonga made the sacrifice to come and we were so grateful. I was also grateful for the missionaries who came to support us and Joshua- we did end up having a full room- our Zone Leaders conducted the meeting and witnessed the baptism. We're working on the priesthood. The night before was even better.  he practiced his testimony that he'd prepared, but then he stopped and bore his own true testimony- He knew that God was happy with him and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was a sublime moment in my life- a true tender mercy of God. That's it. The gospel's just true. 

Next week, we’ll know about transfers. Sister K keeps making fun of me because I always want to know ahead of time. But I get to learn some more about patience! We’ll just see what happens. There’s been exciting news about Tacloban as well- there are now 50+ missionaries in the Tacloban mission. The work of the Lord just goes forward.

I know it's true. I too know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that God is happy with me for my service. That's the biggest blessing I can think of.

Sister Josie Tueller