Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are you really happy?

I've been thinking a lot about daily miracles this week. President Uchtdorf's talks from this conference and last: being grateful in our circumstances, and seeking spiritual light have really settled on my mind. We can be grateful for pure gospel light in any time. And we can't see far enough into the galaxies to know why these circumstances are good for us, but we are grateful because there are stars and we know that they mean something more. I know that daily miracles is the way to get through any trial in our lives. 

Happy Halloween diay! And Happy Birthday to Dad last week, and to Gracie girl this week!

Siaton is teaching me. I'm applying what I call "practical optimism" which comes closer to true faith than practicality or pure optimism alone because it encompasses planned action. 

The people here are doing so well! In Siaton, I think we've been blessed with more new investigators than I've had in any other area, and then they sometimes don't progress, but we don't stop believing in them. It's still so exciting to enter someone's house and sing "I am a Child of God" and really see them as a child of God who he needs and wants in His church and I'm somehow lucky enough to be an instrument in doing that.

We found this family, across a rickety bamboo bridge who is so ready for the gospel. The Sabihon family sat in awe while we told them about truth, not just anything that someone tells us. Bro. Roland is a computer repair man, Sis. Jinky just had a new baby, and we need some strong families and a new clerk who knows how to use a computer here in Siaton. 
Plus all of their neighbors want to listen and are looking for truth. 

Of course, with sucess comes trials. Sis. JingJing is choosing to listen to the voices that tell her not to leave the religion that she's used to and so she isn't ready now. But the seed is there.
Bro. Santo has also gone back to alcohol :( a bunch of their family came down from the mountains and then that was it.
But Cheryl is doing well. We talked about repentance but I'm not going to say we taught because she taught us. Sis. Cabrera and I just looked around- she had explained all the steps of repentance that we learn in Sunday school- because she understands.

I love my companion Sis. Cabrera. She is so refreshing and loving and a missionary and I love working with her.
We also worked with our senior couple the Henrichsens yesterday. They were such good sports and I saw that testimony has no bounds. That was the gift of tongues in action. We taught the Tinguban family at this big house that we always pass, but we've never been allowed in- miracle of having a nice American couple with you! And we thought that they might just say, "We're Catholic, but we'll listen" In fact they did, probably 5 times. But then, Bro. really understood the apostasy and sat up a little and said, "Then what?" Sister and Elder Henrichsen told him the amazing story of Joseph Smith and he sat back a little with a smile. "He saw Heavenly Father, didn't he?.... Come back on Saturday. We'll study this."
They would be so good for Siaton

We taught the Agir family. I feel like we gave them a telescope last night. No one had ever really explained to them why we go to the temple- it was just something we should do and it's really pretty. So we talked to them about the highest level of the celestial kingdom and we asked them if they were happy. They are much happier kono now than they  were 3 months ago when they didn't go to church. But they think that they could probably be happier if they went to the temple. Please pray that they'll have a way to do it! I love Bro. Junie and Sis. Leoncia. 

Here's some wise advice from Preach My Gospel (specifically about how to work with ward (okay, branch) leaders, but it's a pretty fix it all formula) : Develop a "How can I help?" attitude. 
Don't you love that? We don't look at the problems and say well, that's too bad. Or say, "Here let me fix that." And we don't just ask, "How can I help?" and then walk away. But we live it! We make it our attitude and the thing we search for everyday. I've been trying it in my prayers and it's incredible. How can I help Heavenly Father today?

I know He has something for each of us. And he loves you. I'm really grateful. More next week!

Sister Josie Tueller

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Siaton Round 3

Mahanturong family,
How was FHE this week? I love the news from Laie and every otherpart of the world. (Just bear with the technical difficulties- the space bar doesn't always work..)
I'm feeling so happy right now. Siaton is this special place. The rice fields and the NORSU college, and the putputs and the videoke. We have this gorgeous area called Maloh and the beach there is rocks not sand and then the fishermen go out there and we stand and wait for a tricycle as the sun is setting- it's literally pink and red. I can't even describe it. Pictures don't do it. But I'm lucky and blessed.This is something coming from the girl from Hawaii. I just love the Philippines, and mostly the Filipino people.
We had transfer calls! Sis. Joson is sadly leaving me. She's one of my best friends.
(I'm sorry my time is short..)

We found some new areas!

Updates on old people- no news yet on Cheryl! But the former investigator family is doing so well. Her uncle hasn’t had any alcohol in 3 weeks- first because he didn’t have any money and then he justdecided that it would be better that way. So he’s there withhisadorable children all day every day. And then Bro. Santos cameto church.He just happens to be really good friends with Bro. Agir, our returned less active.  That works well. Bro. Agir went all the way out to the gate to fetch Bro. Santos and his adorable children.

Maybe a picture’s worth a thousandwords..

I am so happy. 

Our Branch FHE had a low attendance but those who came were strengthened! The success was that it happened!

We also had a baptism for the Elder’s investigator Sister Mercy. She’s church hymn belting mini skirt wearing Christian woman who loves the Mormons. These are the 3 ladies I sit by at church while Sis. Joson playsthepiano.

Sis. Jing Jing came to church. And she talked the whole time. And now she wants to join the church activities.  She’s scared to be baptized because last time she switched religions, and the time before, she had a family member die. But I can see how she’sbeen prepared by God.

I’m trying to read the whole book of mormon(not in my personal study, because I have questions for Siaton) before I go home, so that’s my free moments rightnow. In my personal study, I’m learning a little bit about how to do this grand work. I love to gather Israel and that happens for ever! We’re building towers, adding peace, praying in faith, enlarging the memories, and learning how to love more. I smile every minute.

I loveyou all. This really is thework of salvation.
Keep doing the best things! That's what we can take with us!
Sister Josie Tueller

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prayer of Hope

Minahal ko,

Siaton is a marvelous place. I'm at the wonderful point in an area where the people are starting to recognize me, and I know every place, and then you still find new ones!

Thank you so much for your prayers for those wonderful people!

Cheryl has been utmost in my thoughts recently. She is a sweet 18 year old away from her family going to college. She's some how related to Nanay Marciana so she lives with them. This week is semester break, and they get new schedules next week which I pray will not conflict with going to church. Cheryl has grown so much. She used to be very much like any 18 year old. I think she wasn't quite sure that there was a God. (She's about 4 foot 10 and a little bit like a teddy bear. She looks a little worried all the time, but if you smile at her, she beams back.) But this week, when I asked her if she knows that God loves her, she says. "Of course Sister!"
Why can you say that Cheryl?
"Because I felt his love when I prayed with the missionaries and when I read the Book of Mormon."

She's this wonderfully innocent deep thinking spirit and I know she has a role to help Siaton. She's committed to a baptismal date that we've set without knowing her second semester classes, but we know that she's going to make it. She has such a strong new testimony.

General Conference was a miracle. In previous years, Siaton has had to go all the way to Dumaguete for conference, an hour away and enough money to make it a barrier. This year, for the first time, we had conference right here in Siaton chapel! And it'll still take some adjusting, but on Sunday morning, we had even higher than a normal church attendance! They tried so hard to understand the English broadcast and some of the dear sisters sat glued to the TV. Saturday morning was a little bit of a different gathering. We set up the whole sacrament hall with chairs, and we even waited 5 minutes, but it was just the 4 missionaries of Siaton watching the prophets counsel the whole world. But I think I felt more strongly there than I did in 5-C or in a large stake center in Talisay that this church is led by God. God isn't grand and big and flashy usually. Granted there are pillars of fire and the Lazaruses raised from the dead and I believe in those. But I also believe in a smile of growing belief, a tear that we don't understand, a word written on paper in answer to a question. Truth is truth. 

Bebe Rose also came! The Davis family is a wonderful less active family we work with and they are coming back. Their son Eman came back from working in Mindanao and he is so strong! He brought Bebe Rose with him and their cute fat little baby. A week ago, she wanted nothing to do with the church, on Sunday, she came in Sunday best and smiled the whole time and we're setting a baptismal date tonight. They need to get married, and then I can see them strengthening Siaton for years to come.

If you could pray that the branch will be inspired by the Branch Home evening on Saturday, that would be well appreciated!

I'm doing great- the scriptures answer my questions, Heavenly Father and my beloved companion listen to my silly concerns. No coconuts fell on our heads in the storm! I use my sky blue rechargeable flashlight and read the Book of Mormon with people every night. Israel is becoming more united everyday. That all makes me incredibly happy.

I love you all!

Sister Tueller

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gihigugma kita sa Diyos

Mga palangga nako!

How is everyone this week?

I'm incredibly excited for conference. Sis. Joson just laughs at me now whenever I turn to her and tell her that I'm excited for conference. But it's true. This time, I really want some answers for Siaton. It's such a special place. 

My companion dealt with some sickness this week. She's doing much better now. Thank you for all of your prayers. I felt them really acutely as I stayed in the house for a couple of days.

Sister Catherine’s baptism was incredible. We had a few bagyos pass through here which made it a special experience. We weren’t able to go visit her on the day before her baptism (see sick companion) and so on Saturday, we worried if she’d be able to make it, or if they were flooded or any manner of things that float into a worried missionary’s head. Sis. Joson had great faith and managed to shower (this is the Filipino belief. You can’t shower if you have a fever. But once you shower, it will completely go away.) and we got to the chapel for our 3 o clock baptism.
Luckily, the Elders had remembered to fill up the font, but it was going really slow, and very very green. We spent a few minutes - I'm sure we were a really funny sight- 4 missionaries, plus the couple missionaries, and then some of the YSA at the church, all trying to use the 2 brooms in the chapel to get out some of the slime and fly wings from the baptismal font, with the mirror reflecting us on the other side. Then we realized that Sis. Catherine wasn't there and it was 3:30. 
THen comes, The Henrichsens to the rescue! Catherine actually lives really far away from the church, but she makes to church faithfully. Sis. Joson stayed at the chapel, I hopped in the truck, and we drove out to Catherine's house. Sis. Henrichsen came in with me. We navigated the rooster houses and the puddles. First, her father in law- who is supposed to be baptizing her- came out and said, Sister Tueller, it's raining.

Yes, Tay Senda, I understand that. I'm soaking wet.

Well, I guess she could still get baptized in the rain...

Yes. That would be best.

Okay, well, I can't come because it's raining. So you can just baptize her.

(Sis. Henrichsen didn't understand any of that exchange, but she started laughing at this point.)

You know, I actually can't. But we can find some one else.

Catherine came out at this point, and changed faster than I thought was possible. She looked great. She and her sister in law ran out with us to the car. That car ride was so beautiful to me. Catherine and her very pure desires with her young less active sister in law who wanted to see and then the Henrichsens in their shiny silver van and then a Sis. Tueller who was just really happy. 

I got a chance to share my testimony right after Catherine was baptized. I read Mosiah 5:8 and I was completely struck with the simplicity of the gospel.There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh. And as I testified of my Savior, as I said Jesus Christ, it was just really real. I think I got it a little more. I bore his name a little more fully that night.

More adventures: We drove through a bunch of fiestas. We ate MacDonalds. Missionary Leadership Council was the exact inspiring words I needed. We watched President McCurdy is awe over rice fields. We got a really great referral- Bebe Rose

The title is the first phrase that I knew how to say in Bisaya. It means that we're loved by God. I learned it first because I knew it was true. And I figured if I couldn't say anything else, or when I got really lost in a lesson, I could probably just say this, and it wouldn't work out too badly. I didn't ever forget it, but I did learn to say other words, and maybe it just got crowded out. But I've made a point to use this phrase more recently, because that is what people will understand.

That is what I understood in the front chapel one night. That's what I understood again on an airplane going to college. That's what I understood again and again as I opened the scriptures and they opened to me. There's not really any reason for conversion except for love.

So if you could pray for Arnel, JhayJhay, Nali, Francis, Bebe Rose, Cheryl. They have so much potential. They are ready, but they really need to come to church. I know there is power in prayer!

I love you all so much. And I think I mean something different when I say that than I did a year ago. So that makes me happy.

Sister Josie Tueller

Monday, October 6, 2014

Love, like Faith, is a principle of Action

Dearest family,
Is everyone excited for conference? Send me what you learn and then I can look for them when we watch it tape delayed next weekend. Assignment from Sister Tueller: Ask a question, I promise there will be an answer!

I'm so glad to hear that every thing went well, that life goes on happily in Laie. Walk by the temple for me and let it bring joy and peace!

We had a PEC this week and I got to translate for the couple missionaries. I really loved something that Sis. Henrichsen said- I think it's made sense to me more as a missionary who spends half of my time with Less actives. "The temple is the point of this meeting, or anything we do in this church." Isn't that great?

Nali and Francis are doing so great (they didn't come to church.... but they wanted to!) We had a family home evening with their neighbors the  Conde family. Everyone was so simply happy. Our dinner of rice and dried fish felt like heaven to me. 

 More experiences:
There was a woman who only wanted to debate with us, she’d lived in America for many years and felt that she knew the Bible completely. She wouldn’t allow us to even open the Book of Mormon- we were in this small Filipino store, just a closet really and I felt the most challenged I had in my mission. She called herself a Master of Divinity. And I left sort of frustrated with the world. Our next appointment was with Sis. Michelle, the wife of our less active who doesn’t understand more than 7 minutes of talking. But she loves the gospel. She wants to know. She knows it is good. Another woman, Emma, we just talked to on the street and she said she’d come to church. She had to ask 3 times where it was because she kept forgetting. But she came and loved it. She felt the Spirit. She yielded, she let it teach her. I pray every day that I can be half as humble as the wonderful Filipino people.

They were all so helpful when we went to look for a former investigator who supposedly lived 10 mins away from the high way. And after 15 mins, we still weren’t there. They all just said “Subayi ra!- just follow it, the path” It was a little harder than that! But after multiple cute goat encounters and lots of high grass and not too much mud, we made it, to find that he’s not there. Next time!

Catherine is doing so well. She’s been an investigator since May and she’s just itching to be baptized. She was so nervous for her interview so she studied for 3 hours. She walked out of her interview and said, “Well, that was easy.” We also had fun playing with the monkey at their house!

I know the Lord places us in exactly the right place at the right time. I’ve been feeling that very profoundly this week. People are the important things here.  We can’t be saved without charity. My kulangs (lack) can be filled. Bamboo grows because of its roots. Be ready to serve in an instant. Heavenly Father listens with love!

I love you all!
Sister Tueller