Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Dear ones,

The time is far spent! Thank you for all the news and every single detail.
I loved hearing about Easter on the ship, and in Oak Hills. I've felt so
full of gratitude for our heritage of faith. The funeral sounded beautiful-
Last week, as I read emails, one of my house mates noticed that I wasn't
normal, asked what was going on, and offered this help: She's with you now.
Grandma and the Spirit have been helping me in heaping spoonfuls this week.

And now for miracles:
First, the biggest miracle is that Christ lives! I've been able to teach
that, and it's true. The doctrine tastes good. More on that later.

We had a baptism this week! Ardgie Dumdum is the 13 year old nephew of the
Branch president who lives with his other uncle, a recent convert. He's
actually been coming to church for 8 months, but his parents wouldn't give
permission. Sis. N and I dedicated some fasting to that, and Ardgie
prayed everyday, and they gave permission last month. But then he needed to
be interviewed by Pres. S because he's so young. That took lots of
waiting, because Pres. is rarely here, and then he wasn't even going
to be able to interview him, but prayers works and lots of jeepney
rides and calling people, we got Ardgie an interview, and had a
surprise baptism. Plus, we hustled and visited all of
our LA families with 8 year olds and got interviews for them and made
sure everyone had the priesthood who needed it, and we had this
wonderful baptism!!

So, the power went out in the middle of me writing that story, so this
is now 2 hours later, we're about to go to our zone activity and
that's the end of that story.

We also had interviews and I was so grateful for someone who knows me and
has seen my progress.

Here's my Easter experience. With Sis. A, we talked to Sis. Lizil, who
didn't seem interested at first, but finally said we could come back the
next day. So, of course, we go back- like Elder Ballard taught us- Follow
up!  Her family was watching TV (This was on Good Friday, so everyone had
work off), and as we came in, everyone left except a few. They weren't very
happy about turning off the TV, but Sis. Lizil insisted. We sat on the
floor and watched the wild dogs come in and out for a while, as they got
themselves situated. I almost felt like we needed to just get this over
with, but I was humbled really fast. We sang, prayed, began teaching, etc.
Sis. Lizil seemed very quiet, but at least nice. She asked us one question-
"Why don't you use the sign of the cross?" This is a super common question-
people have themselves convinced that this and saints are the only
difference between Mormons and Catholics. So I'm used to answering this.
But somehow, I was guided, and answered her question clearly. "Sister, what
do we celebrate today?"

"His death."
"What is the cross a symbol of?"
"His death."
"And what will we celebrate on Sunday?"
"That he lives."

And she just looked at me with a new kind of light in her eyes and said
"Bitaw, no?"- which I can only really explain as "I've never thought of
that, but of course."

I wrote in my journal about that that night, because I felt it, but I
wasn't sure what would happen. However, later, we were working with her
,e,ber neighbor, Sis. Capuyan. She almost couldn't hold in her joy to tell
us. Lizil had been talking to her and she couldn't stop saying- It makes
sense. She understood. Lizil couldn't come up with any other way to
describe it, but she understood. I know she'll do so well, because of
course, our Savior lives.  She's really busy with work, so please pray that
we'll be able to visit her.

I will try to back log next week-but so much happens!! Balamban is a
place of joy and growth. I'm filled with peace and like Nephi, "I know
in whom I have trusted." He lives. He stands with us. Let us choose to
live like Him.

Pinakamaayo ikapadala nako ninyo,

Sister Tueller
The Balamban District

Our lunch at General Conference

The baptism!

Here's Ardgie.

My two mga anak

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love More and Love Better

First, I can't wait to watch conference this weekend. Due to our time difference here, we get everything a week later, but it gives me an extra week to prepare to hear these words, to ask questions, to prepare myself in the Spirit. What did you love from the words of Christ?

Miracles abound in this place. I've been really struck with the miracles that happen when the members are involved. The work is beginning to hasten here in Balamban- we as missionaries are understanding our weakness alone, and slowly but surely, the members are also finding their responsibility. It's a hard thing to teach- but as we pray, the Spirit is working with them. Example: Our branch president is the best, and this week, he finally got it. He's decided that we need someone to work with us everyday. Obviously, he can't force people to help us, but we're understanding.

The Sugabo children came to church! Because we involved members. We got their uncle to go pick them up. He was willing, just waiting for an invitation. We were hoping for an April baptism for Jerico, MariCris, and JeriMae, but we need to make sure they understand. They have very little background in the gospel, because they've been less active for so long. It makes me so grateful for the good primary teachers in my life who helped my learning. But Sis. Cuajao was a primary teacher in her ward at home, so we're doing great. Jerico and MariCris have stopped being shy and can pray on demand, JeriMae's still working on it. The light of the gospel is spreading in them.

I can't remember if I've talked about Bro. Christian. He's the partner of Sis. Cherisa a less active. I think he's actually my age, and Cherisa's a year old than me. They have an adorable daughter with the chubbiest cheeks. Christian's been an investigator for over a year and a half. He comes to church faithfully. He brings his mini Book of Mormon to work and reads during his lunch break. He wants to bless his daughter. The problem is the wedding papers. But we have a deadline of May 8 before other papers expire, and good news in terms of funding help, and I can feel that we're having a wedding this transfer! I'd had a hard time understanding him before this week. He seems to joke about things and not focus- like asking about the price of land in Hawaii after reading about the Atonement, but then have a deep understanding when asked. He finally opened up this week about some of his problems and the ways he's been transformed by the gospel and his family. He's light hearted, because he chooses not to be heavy hearted. Christian understands who his Savior is. That change happened before I ever taught him ,but I'm grateful to see it. That's why we work. In some small ways, I have come to know my Savior and so I invite others to him. Their door is the cutest- it's in the middle of all these little bamboo/other wood houses, and then their door has this huge picture of the Savior's second coming. They're looking forward to it. Pray that we can make this wedding happen!

Sis. Mercy was a tender mercy in my life this week. We were working with Nanay Capuyan- more miracles because she invites everyone to listen to us. But Sis. Mercy was special. She was baptized when she was very young, and has avoided missionaries ever since her mother changed to Seventh Day Adventist. She's been confused, and I can't even begin to describe the trials in her life. Suffice it to say that she was recently diagnosed with brain cancer- she's only 26, and it's the latest in a chain of many problems. Sis. Mercy decided to visit with us in Sis. Capuyan's house, and the Spirit was so present. We shared about Christ's atonement, and she told us she needed to come back to him. I don't have any other response to that except YES! She's got a lot of steps to take, but Sis. Mercy will come to Christ. 

I'm excited for this coming week- we're spending the next four days in meetings- zone training, interviews, and general conference. We won't get as much time to work which is hard, and I worry about our people who need to progress, but I cannot wait to be edified and filled. 

God answers our small prayers. He's uniquely aware of us. We labor diligently. We labor in his way. Slowly, our hearts turn to him, and then we are filled.

I love you all. I'm sorry this is all over the place- I think I'm developing a head cold and my thoughts are flying a little bit. But I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect and true. I'm so far from perfect, but somehow, he makes me so much more. I'd never understand about the Lamanites receiving the Holy Ghost, and the baptism of fire and not even knowing it, but this week, in reflecting on who I'm becoming, on who Sis. Tueller is now, I think I saw that a little bit. We may not even realize, but as we work, the Master Carver is making something of us. I'm glad to be able to fill my role, my branch on his perfect vine.

More power coming your way,

Sister Tueller

Friday, April 4, 2014


Katawo nga gihigugma nako,

Life is good. The Lord is good. Prayer is great. Balamban is the best! 

We're enjoying life here a lot. Sis. C is on fire! To quote the district, she came pre-trained! Obviously, she's better than I am at the language, so I do my best to teach doctrine, and I do know people are feeling the spirit, and then Sis. C explains it in the way that makes sense to them. I feel like it's this extra step that gets things into their hearts, not just unto their hearts. She's also one of those really fun, talented, good at everything, life of the party kind of people. I'm grateful and I get to learn.
Also, she's an amazing cook. I haven't really had Filipino food immersion yet- but this girl eats rice everyday now! And dried fish heads and salted egg and adobo and sayote and mongoes and things I don't know names of, but I'll learn to cook.

This week has been full of miracles! 

Yesterday, Sis. C ended up with a migraine (even for Filipinos, the heat of working takes some adjusting) and so we had to come home for a little bit. I was so impressed because as soon as she could, she sprang up and we went out to work. We had to change some plans, and we ended up at a less active who we hadn't visited in 2 or 3 months- not really progressing, having a hard time with having enough faith. Dear Sis. Calatrava looked so hunched over and burdened by her load. She was just looking down. But we sat down on the benches, and with all sorts of loud motorcycles and sikads driving by, we taught her. It was one of those times that the words simply came, not from me because I'm good at this, because I have so much left to learn, but because Heavenly Father loves his children. We talked about bearing our burdens, and Sis. Calatrava really understood. Her whole countenance got really light, and finally by the end, she cracked a little bit of a smile. The problems of looking for dinner, and caring for her disabled son, and worrying about her daughter are still there, but she could smile. Her prayer was so sincere. The best part for me though, was watching Sis. C testify of the strength we can get to do things that are hard. She said it, and then paused, and then said it again, because she felt it- even though the first week of a mission is hard, she can do it. We're so lucky as missionaries, because usually we learn just as much as the people we teach.

On Sunday night, no one seemed to be in their homes, and I didn't quite know where to go (I've noticed that this is usually when my best stories happen :)) But we walked out of this little neighborhood and a nice Nanay called us over. Turns out, she was the former investigator we were looking for, who'd just gotten back from her brother's funeral. He's a stake president on another island, and she had been filled with the spirit. She has lots of questions and she sees the strength of the family that is in the church. She's not sure if she can make the journey into the church, but I know we can do anything! We're going to keep praying for Sis. Ymelda.

We were teaching Ardgie- the 13 year old who'll be baptized as soon as we get an interview with Pres. Schmutz. We asked him to describe how he feels when he prays. He thought about it for a long time and couldn't quite come up with something. His 8 year old cousin Samuel who was raised in the church could come up with things, like - I feel light, and I feel love, but Ardgie couldn't quite articulate it. We talked about that a little, and eventually he found his answer. 

When I pray, I feel nindot. 
Nindot is the jack of all trades word- it means cool, neat, nice, beautiful- anything positive. I say that lots of things are nindot, because I love to have a positive attitude. Sis. C actually uses English words to be more expressive- so everything is Amazing and Enticing and So interesting! But family, prayer is nindot. It's nindot kaayo.

Also, we walked in the jungle and a woman calls out :"We like you. Come!" So we taught them a lesson. Not very common, but hey, someone likes us!

I hope your week is also nindot, because I love you all very much. You are blessings in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful.

Keep doing good things, keep trying harder tomorrow.

( I've been just making up all of these closing lines- people don't actually write letters in Visaya, or they finish in English, but I asked Sis. C what's a normal Filipino sign off, and this was her answer- "It means like, you're giving them power in their lives"- so take some power today everyone!)

God bless and more power,

Sister Tueller