Friday, May 30, 2014

The Pure in Heart See God

Beloved people,

This week has been crazy and so so good. We had splits twice and meetings and I don't know where time goes. And the next week won't be much different, we have more splits and the weekend and then MLC again, so no rest, lots of work, more miracles to come!

I did a really bad job of taking pictures with the people we worked with this week- but Sis. Mandid and Sis. Wilcox and Sis. Bareng and Sis. Masau all get their own place in my heart. One of the greatest miracles of my mission has been the love I've gained for the people around me. We do have to choose to love- it means being willing to risk yourself, but then Heavenly Father will bless us. Old Josie was scared to love- I don't quite know why, but love is how we do the Lord's will.

There are so many people to tell you about. We are teaching the most elect people that I've ever met on my mission.

On Saturday, we had a service project and Sis. Luyong just got to work. There was a bunch of bamboo and nails, and we managed to make two parts of the fence while the Elders worked for their one, plus the posts. The branch had to supervise me, but I got pretty good at hammering! You can all be proud of me. Our fence was made so that the goats don't run away when this less active family goes to church. And then on Sunday they all came to church together. And I'm really very happy about my carpentry skills. We had another service project on Monday and I got to hammer some more- we made a door for a house and then ended up doing their laundry for them. It was the strangest situation- we were all hammering- probably 6 missionaries on this plank of wood between two houses, with videoke going on, and lots of drunk grandpas passing through and little children coming and offering their family's hammer because we'd gone through the whole little barrio asking if any one had a hammer we could use. I don't quite know how to do these situations justice, but I laugh a lot.

Sunday was incredible. So many people came to church! I shouldn't be so happy that some people walked in a door- but it's the door to the true church and true happiness!

Bro. Ben Buhat from last week recognized his answer yesterday. He loved church and said it's different than any other church he's ever tried. He's finished with 1 Nephi and wrote a huge list of questions on the back of his grocery receipt and proceeded to ask all of them- what's a gentile? why is the first last and the last first? Why is it called a Liahona? It was so fun to answer questions, and then when he said he doesn't feel confused when he reads the book, but peace of mind, he paused and then smiled really big. That's it? That's it! June 21 right?. That's his baptismal date, and he's going to be ready.

Sis. Sally is my favorite person this week. She reads the Book of Mormon every day and when our gospel principles teacher asked us to share our blessings, she volunteered first. She stands up and says, "I'm so grateful for salvation through the Book of Mormon, and for Sis. Tueller and Sis. Luyong." June 21 is going to be the best day ever. She got her answer when reading the beatitudes- she wasn't sure if Joseph Smith could really see God, but then this scripture came. And so every doubt will peel off and the truth comes.

Time is up and I haven't even shown you how much I love Sally. She quit smoking for good on Monday night and made us all cry with her sincere repentance. Please pray for her in that, but otherwise, she really only needs baptism!

I can't believe the Lord trusted us enough to teach her, and yet I can- I am grateful and I live with that gratitude in my heart.

I love you all- more stories next week! Keep loving, purify ourselves, pray more sincerely. That's what I'm working on.

Sister Tueller

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nakamata jud ko nga "bitaw no?"

People of my heart,
I love you dearly. I love the comfort that I can pray for you and know that you're all happy and doing well. So keep going! Is Laie different after being world travelers? What's the same? Are you back to normal life by now?
I don't even really know where to start this week. In San Carlos, we work really hard and we have lots of miracles. This is incredible. I honestly come home at night exhausted but invigorated- it's sort of a hard emotion to describe but that's it. Having faith to move mountains, or to talk to the next person, or extend a commitment by the spirit takes real energy, and we do it. Sis. Luyong looked at me last night and said, "If we're not tired, then we need to repent. Good thing we are!" So true.
Sis. Luyong. She's the best. I love teaching with her- she looks people in the eye and tells them the truth and then they nod. When we talk to people on the street, they all stop talking and just listen because she's so powerful and kind. And she has faith to the moon and back.  Her new hobby is learning obscure English phrases and using them whenever she can- like I'm happier than a fox in a chicken coop! or Let's blow this popsicle stand! Any suggestions would be appreciated to add to our repertoire. Here she is in a picture with President!
Also, I've been feeling the weight of responsibility. Not in a bad way like it's too hard, just in the way that Elder Bednar talked about "the load" Somehow, the Lord has trusted 19 year old (almost 20!) Sister Tueller with the teaching of so many of his precious children, plus strengthening the church and then other sisters and their areas.. But it's made me a better missionary this week because like Nephi, "I know in whom I have trusted!" The Lord's also trusting us more- we have much more complicated situations than I ever thought I'd deal with when I started my mission, but kaya nako gihapon! we can do it!
Yesterday, I did my first set of exhanges with Sis. Loquias from Mindanao and Sis. Chong Gum from the Marshall island (Mom, her aunt is Julita who was our neighbor. Small world, or just the love of God!) Sis. Loquias and I got to work in our area and we had a great time. Lots of our appointments fell through but we found the people who were ready any way. Like Ben Buhat! Yesterday was our 3rd lesson with him in the past week. He was a contact who seemed to have no potential but I started talking to him again and then he invites us to sit down and teach him. He's a 60 year old retired teacher who's searched for truth since 2003. He met with the missionaries once in 1976 and didn't say a word to them, a friend just forced him to do it. But when we started sharing about Joseph Smith, he tells us the whole story- he's remembered this since then. And then he himself told us that if he remembered it for so many years, it has to be true. He's coming to church this Sunday and we're working on committing him for a specific date for his baptism, but the Lord is good! Sis. Loquias did a great job teaching him, and I really enjoyed the whole experience.
Sally and Lisa! They've read almost all of 1st nephi this week and we just barely gave them the book, but they didn't have the courage to come to church because both were recent converts to other churches. I promise more updates when I know what's actually going on with them- hopefullly tonight. But Sally had a dream and knows its true, so they need to do it!

My favorite part was probably at the end when we got to talk about what they'd learned and questions etc. The title is from Sis. Loquias which basically means, when you all said things, I really woke up to the absolute truth of things on a higher level. I'm so lucky to get to do that- the Spirit is the best thing in the whole universe. And we got to hear their sweet testimonies- I love being a missionary!
Ronico managed to come to church again, and we talked to his father who said that actually, maybe it's okay if he goes to church. I don't think I've ever prayed harder than in the moment- thanks for combining yours with ours!
Our Zone motto is now Walk on Water- and I honestly have been feeling the Lord help us. My favorite part of Luke's wonderful account of Peter walking on water used to be that even Peter doubted and the Lord pulls him up and helps him. But here's my new favorite- Peter walked on water!! We focus on the fact that he faltered but he did it! The Lord called him and he walked on water- the mere mortal Peter did it and we can too. And then when it's a little too much for us alone, he walks with us.

I love the promises of eternity to us- And it all depends on here. Wear out our lives in bringing the hidden things to light (D&C 123: 13) that's all he asks and then he does the rest. Keep being the beacons of light to others!

Love gani,
Sister Tueller

Happy Mother's Day!

Dear ones,
First, it was so fun to see your faces back in our home and talk to you. The promise that we get to be together forever is the best! Enjoy Laie, I'm sure it's missed you. Mama, I love you more than I probably understand. I'm so grateful to see how I'm becoming like you, because if I can be like you in even a small way, I'd be happy. To  everyone else, I love hearing about your lives and successes and you inspire me. That is all.
Second, I am ridiculously happy. This week has been one of the most jam packed weeks of my mission, and I don't expect this to change too much, but I am so so happy. (I completely understand that this does not sound like old Josie.  But it's true, because I'm Sister Tueller!)
First, I said good bye to Balamban. The gift of charity is great, but it's hard when we have to pull ourselves away from these people. But they'll be fine. On Wednesday night, the YSA organized an FHE for their less active friends all by themselves and invited us to give the lesson and then brought everyone and their non member friends and it was at the house of our Less actives' , but the DumDums are actually active now. It was this wonderful culmination of our efforts to get members involved in the work, and all our work and then to see them stand and bear their own testimonies... I love this work!
Then, it's been a week of meetings: STL meeting, and then an Area coordination meeting, and then a branch council meeting and then district meeting and then Missionary Leader council and now I'm meeting with you all! But I have learned so much. MLC was incredible. Pres. Schmutz is filled with the spirit and we all just want to be better because we've been around him and Sis. Schmutz. One of the coolest part was looking at my peers, and my examples in the mission and seeing how much we've grown. Missionaries are a special group. One thought from the meeting: there are two kinds of faith. First, the kind that helps us endure and keep going and trusting. That's a stepping stone to the second: creative, active faith that not only allows miracles, but creates them, and pleads them down from heaven. That's where we're going!
Plus, we got to go to the temple! I love the house of God. Eternity is real. I just looked around at all these people who I've come to love so much- and I was so glad that we had made it there. For one day, we made it! And tomorrow, we have to be worthy and do everything again. But we can make it!
And I am in San Carlos! Everything about San Carlos feels like I'm meant to be here. I don't quite know how to explain that except that a lot of light and tropical green life  is surrounding me, probably more fully in a spiritual sense, but also in a very real gorgeous sense. Sis. Luyong is the best. She says everything like she means it, and she's so cute and sincere, and everyone wants to listen to her.
As for others, the people are wonderful. One story- we have a great recent convert- he's probably the most converted 18 year old that I've ever met. Ronico sells ice cream everyday from a bike to support his family because his father drinks all the time. And the gospel of Jesus Christ was exactly the light they needed.  And he's being fellowshipped by a wonderful member family, the Baltasars. But on Saturday night, he had a huge problem- his father has forbidden him to go to church anymore. We had to work it out, and then a miracle happened- he showed up on Sunday!

And then on Monday, we stopped by before leaving to Cebu and taught Ronico and his half deaf mother who's read the book of mormon 3 times, but is scared of being baptized. Ronico was scared, but just needed encouragement. He needed someone to tell him that he can do it and I'm so grateful that I get to do it. We asked if he'd read, and he says "Sisters, I'm not going to stop reading the Book of Mormon until the day I die, and not even then." That's what we need. We have no idea how this hard situation is going to work out, and I'd love prayers for Ronico, but I know it'll work out. We'll make it in the end. It's not going to be easy. But it's possible through Jesus Christ!
We found amazing new investigators, stories to follow, 
I love you all!
Sister TUeller

Drink of His Cup

Mga gihigugma nako,

Family: How is Laie? Mao ra gihapon- same as always?

First news: Transfer calls came and went and I've been called! I have to leave this Balamban part of my heart, but I'm going on to different things. I'm going to San Carlos City which used to be part of Bacolod mission but has recently been made part of Cebu mission. Plus, I'm now going to be a Sister Training Leader which basically means I go on splits with other sisters and help them become better and help other people more. At least, I think so. Not quite sure how to do this, but I'm sure the Lord will help me out. My companion is also an STL- Sis. Luyong is one of my favorite sisters and  I can't wait to be companions with her. She was also trained by Sis. Yanga in Bayawan, so the common experiences have made us really good friends already.

Family dearest, it’s been an incredible last week in Balamban, but I spent most of my time writing to President Schmutz and so this is not going to work out very well.
So one story, because the other even better one should have another part tonight- that’s the followup of Lolita and her husband Felipe. Thank you so much for your prayers for them!
But this is Chingbee, who is Lolita’s sister in law. She’s also a long lost member. We stopped by Lolita’s to invite her to the baptism of the Elders investigator – another story that I promise to tell you next year! And Chingbee was there, and with a reluctant grimace agreed to come with us. We made quite the parade walking to the chapel, but it was great. When we got to thechapel, some members took our guests under their wings and fed them cassava and pancit, and fellowshipped. Chingbee sat in the corner and sulked and I couldn't figure it out. But I looked over, she looks at me pleading, and then starts crying. Ching Bee went through a lot- two husbands dying, 4 children to take care of, abuse and so much more. But she came to his house. She's actually leaving again today, but we got to talk to her, and I felt a little bit of that saviors on Mount Zion idea. We just have to help each other

I've spent this week thinking a lot about water- we've had an incredibly hot and sticky week, so I have to be conscious of not getting dehydrated. But I was reading in 2 Nephi about God taking away the cup of wrath. How true is that! Sometimes, we sit drinking this cup of sin and doubt and fear, thinking that it's going to fill us, and we can't really stop ourselves. Until he comes and offers a new cup- his living water, or a new covenant in remembrance of his suffering that we at least can remember every week. The sacrament is life changing if we allow it to be. We do it every week, but it is not common place. This is salvation every week, every day in prayer and preparation. 


Thursday, May 1, 2014

April 30, 2014

Family- I mean Pamily,

(This is the funniest part of Visaya for me. Sometimes they use the English word interchangeably, especially if it's latin derived. but you have to say it in a Filipino accent or they can't understand. Like if you want to buy ice water, you can't just say that, you have to say iccce waterrr, with the emphasis on the e. It's lovely. But English with a Filipino accent is sometimes the best mode of communication- if someone's from the city, they don't understand half of what I say in Visaya because I learned it in really old regions. I love life)
Actually, continuing that thought, I love life. I've been struck every day this week with how much I love being a missionary. It's the coolest experience. I get to hike around in the rice fields and beaches and nipa huts of the Philippines or ride tricycles and jeepneys and act like Jesus Christ would want me to act, and see miracles everyday. Nobody here believes that we're not given a salary, and it's my favorite thing to explain my job. Someone yesterday told us that we had our crowns waiting in heaven, and that made sense to her, but it can't even be about that. We are beggars who love to serve our Father. I was reading 2 Nephi 7 this morning and was struck by our inability to redeem ourselves- we're a bunch of worthless coupons and expired gift certificates until we are put into the hands of the designated Master Redeemer, and then suddenly, we're a treasure trove of infinity bills. 

This week has been chock full of miracles. For times sake, here's the sample:

1- Last week, in visiting an investigator for the first time, a woman peeked in the window and says, I"m a member. What?? Okay, join us!! But then she left  and we didn't get a name or anything. This sunday, we were in the neighborhood again, so we wanted to look for her- a little girl comes up to me, says "Are you looking for Aunty Lolita who's Mormon?" UM, YES.

We went to her house, with Nanay Capuyan and we found out that her whole family was taught and almost baptized and she used to work with missionaries, and she's having a hard life, and she misses the church. Last year, her 1.5 year old son died. She couldn't even say that without this look of despair. 
I sometimes forget how lucky we are to have knowledge. We were able to talk to her about the true plan of God, and when I told her that her son was without sin, she lit up through the tears. That's something that I learned in Sunday school in primary- and I have hope. And I internalized that truth in Sibonga with our funeral for Precy. But I forget how many are searching. Pray for Lolita okay?

2- We met someone from Sibonga, right next to the home of our recent convert and progressing investigator- Jeramae is very devoted to her church at home, but she's so open to truth. She has faith in that same plan of God, even though she has very little idea about it. These people will teach me more than I ever teach them.

3- Last night, we taught a member family as part of our Hastening the Work program and I kind of just got things more. We all need each other in this Zion. Also, the strength of the Priesthood is incredible.

Also, on Wednesday, we played tennis! That was my first time holding a racket in 10 months and I convinced my district that this would be a great idea. We went to these beat down tennis courts behind the chruch and nicely borrowed rackets from little children and then they all gathered around to watch, plus another 30 or 40 people, while we played around the world and mostly made fools of ourselves. They were all very willing to go get the ball for us :) The Lord made life for the enjoying. Letting myself laugh has been the secret to missionary work in the Philippines. So little Dodong sitting by the net becomes another laugh in this beautiful place.

I love you all! I can see your infinity bill worth and I'm grateful for the promises of eternity. Eyes of faith!
Sister Tueller

This is Sis. B- assigned in Balamban 2- mostly I just enjoyed the picture and the very strange colliding of worlds

Here's what happens when you try to play tennis in the Philippines