Sunday, March 5, 2017

Blessings from Heaven :) 3/5/17

Magandang Umaga ulit ang pamilya ko! 
Grabe mabilis ang oras! I can't believe another week has already gone by!
This week has been awesome :) We were able to get our number of 9 investigators with baptism dates up to 21! Blessings from heaven are coming in the form of families! 
We have a new investigator, Renato. He is going through some rough times, but the gospel is really the greatest help we have! :) As we were teaching him about the restoration, we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about Joseph Smith and he was like "sisters, I believe it's all true". Then we invited him and his 8 year old son to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, he said "yes, I will follow, I will be baptized" without any hesitation! Haha we need to make sure he really understands it all but he's so so great! :) I am excited to teach him! 
I was able to go on exchanges with Sister Faalogo from Sydney Australia, she is soo nice and has such a strong desire to serve! I learned so so much from her about really serving with all your "heart might mind and strength". We had an experience looking for a less active in their area, when suddenly this girl comes up to us and asking about our church, our religion, and she invited us in to teach a little bit. We of course were excited, but, long story short, this girl really gave it her best effort to convince us to join her families born-again church haha. I am grateful for Sister Faalogo's example, she handled it so well and kept the situation from turning into a Bible-bash. 
These past week's I have been reading the New Testament along with Jesus the Christ (I finished it, yaay!) and I have really thinking about the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son. It is really emphasized in the scriptures of how much rejoicing went on when the lost was found. I really have felt Heavenly Father's love for His children, especially as we have been working in our ward to bring some non active members back to church. All of God's children are so so important, and of course He wan't them to all return o Him! That's why this is all so important. I was really struck by a quote in Jesus the Christ where it says, "the loss of a soul is a very real and a very great loss to God. He is pained and grieved thereby, for it is His will that not one should perish..". I am so so grateful to be a part of this great work, in helping to bring back those lost sheep. I feel Heavenly Father's love every day in the little miracles that happen, and I am so grateful to be here :)
Mahal ko kayo! Ingat palagi :) 
-Sister Behunin

Baptisms and Boodle fights 2/26/17

Magandang Hapon family!
This week was greeeat! I have noticed throughout my mission how we go through all these rollercoasters with our investigators and we are filled with "how is this going to work out?"... and then the Savior calms the storm as always and things are good!  
Nina was baptized! It was such a spiritual day. Her older brother Ken was the baptizer and he gave a really awesome musical number as well! Before Ken was the only member in their family and now they are two! We are praying that the rest of their family will see the light as well and eventually become members...we know Heavenly Father has a plan for them :) 
On Saturday after Nina's baptism there was a broadcast with Elder Bednar to all the members in the Philippines. It was basically a question and answer with Elder Bednar and the area presidency, Elder Bowen, where members submitted questions and they just talked about them. It was great! I really love how bold Elder Bednar is when he speaks. There was a lot of questions about how we can have Faith even when things are hard. Elder Bednar said that we need to just keep pressing forward. We will probably have questions along our path in life, but we need to ASK and PRAY and move forward in the Gospel. One thing I really liked is when he said "there is faith that makes things happen, and faith to accept that somethings won't change...we need both!" I really testify of how important it is to have faith that things will work out as it should, as we do our best. We don't need to be perfect at life, we just need to be giving our best :) It will all work out! I have seen that over and over with our investigators. 
We had a lesson yesterday with our flight attendant investigator, Kathleen. She told us that she feels she is ready for baptism! Just a few months ago she told us she didn't really know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God...and now she wants to share the gospel with her family. It has been such a remarkable blessing to see the converting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in people's lives. She is excited for her baptism on the 25th, she is going to wait until her boyfriend comes back from the U.S. so he can be the one to baptize her. :) 
Today we had a zone activity at the church. It's against the rules to have zone activities at places other than the chapel, so we just played games together and had what's called a "boodle fight". it basically means that we lay out banana leaves, cover it in rice and food, and then everyone just eats with their hands. Haha it's a Filipino thing and it's a blast :) I laughed when one of the elders said "ya know if we had never been invaded by the spanish we would all still be eating like this" haha it was fun. :) 
Anyway, that's all for this week! Mahal ko kayo! Happy late birthday Rachel :) 
-Sister Behunin

Magandang umaga po family! 2/12/17

Magandang umaga po family!
This week has been great! It's a new transfer and my new companion is Sister Soriano! She is from Pangasinan, Philippines. She is the sweetest person alive and I have already learned so much from her! She's great, she's always starting conversations with anyone, everyone, everywhere we go! 
Not much is new this week, we've had some ups and some downs as usual haha :) It's crazy in our area because we have some really progressing investigators, but they are all only available on Saturdays and Sundays, which pretty much means Monday-Friday the work goes slow and then on weekends we are overloaded with appointments haha. It's been a challenge, but it's good :)
We have finally been able to contact and teach on of our investigators from the closed area we are covering, and she is soo awesome! Her name is Charmaine, she already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. We've had trouble helping her get to church, because she had her legs cut off and she is in a wheelchair. We are blessed though with some pretty awesome ward members who are more than willing to pick her up, but every time Sunday morning comes around, she just isn't able to go. Grabe talaga Satan is real...but it will work out, Heavenly Father has a plan and I know she will get there and eventually be baptized :) 
As far as life here in the Philippines, this is still the greatest country every haha. The people here are truly the best. I love that we can be sitting on a Jeepney,and have awesome conversations with complete strangers about Jesus Christ. I love the feeling of seeing investigators come to church or praying to Heavenly Father for the first time. I really am in love with this place, I love missionary work, and I love this Gospel and the joy it has brought to my life and to our life as a family. :) 
Thanks for everything, I love you all!
-Sister Behunin 

Celestial Moments 2/19/17

Magandang Umaga!
Kumusta na kayo? How are you all doing? :)
This week has been great as usual :) I've learned to see the little miracles that happen everyday and I am so grateful to be a part of this awesome work!
Our little part member investigator, Nina, will be baptized this coming Saturday and we are soo excited for her! She has been ready for a long time now and we can't wait to see her make this sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father through baptism :)
We had a visit with a family that was baptized a few years ago and something that she shared with us about her journey into the church really stuck out to me. She said it was a difficult start, as when they started attending church they didn't have any clothes, so she had to hand make some church clothes for her and her children. She said looking back on those times, and seeing how far her family has come in just a few years, she is really seeing the blessings from Heavenly Father in her life. I just thought how true that is sometimes...the blessings don't always come in one big "you've won a million dollars!" moment haha, but little by little, as we continue to do our best, Heavenly Father is always really showering us in blessings, sometimes without us really even realizing it.
 I wonder sometimes how much I have changed since I started my mission last year. I don't always see it, but I know that it has happened. I really love to look back and see how far we've come, it helps me to see the hand of the Savior in all of it :) It's such an amazing plan we have! 
There are really big and little "celestial moments" in this work, from when we share the gospel with someone hearing it for the first time, or when someone accepts the invitation to be baptized, or even in the little kids running up to us and giving big hugs, yelling "ate, ate!" (big sister). Everyday I think we can have those moments of just pure bliss, not from the worldly things, but from thinking of the things that I know are eternal. 
Basta, life is real good haha :)
Love you all! Ingat palagi :)
-Sister Behunin 

"I am an Optimist!" 2/6/17

Wow transfers are here again and I can't believe how fast the time is! 
My companion sister Mainit is done with her mission and is going home, and my new companion is (drumroll...) Sister Soriano! I have been on exchanges with sister Soriano in the past and I absolutely love her, and I am so excited we get to be companions at this time :) In my whole mission I have only had companions who are Filipino, and I am so so grateful because it has been such a huge part of helping me grow in the culture here and really come to love the Filipino people. Yay!!
We had our Mission Leadership Council and the workshops were exactly what I needed. We focused a lot of having faith in our investigators and in the work. It's been a concern in our mission that we are not projecting investigators for baptism because we are not sure they are going to make it to their dates, so President Koster really focused on the topic of having Faith in the Lord, in our investigators, and in ourselves. I am really sticking to the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Do your best, and it will all work out." I really testify how important it is to just be optimistic in all things, like President Hinckley said. 
We have seen so blessed in the work this week after weeks and weeks of just not knowing what was going to happen with our investigators. Our investigator, Nina, is going to be baptized this month! She is a part-member, her older brother just returned from his mission and is such a huge support to her. She is a teenager and underage, so of course we need permission from her mom to be baptized. It's been so difficult because she comes from a family that is devoted Catholic, and her grandmother and mom have been so against her getting baptized. But we prayed and prayed and last week when we met with her and her mom, they finally gave permission for the baptism to happen. Yay for miracles! 
I really know that Heavenly Father is answering our prayers. It's in HIS way and in HIS timing but they are always answered. We found two new families to teach to replace the family that dropped us last week. Analyn and her daughter may not be baptized until March because of word of wisdom, but I have faith that their baptism will happen. I know as we continue forward with faith, putting in our best effort, things will always work out :)
I love you all! Miracles are happening in Pasig :)
-Sister Behunin 

Ups and Downs 1/29/17

Magandang Umaga po Family!
This week has been very up and down. Haha. 
I'm very much in what is called "the green zone" in terms of the work, It's happy, I love every single day, I love the people so so much. The hard part is though, the more and more I grow to love the people we teach, the harder it is when they don't progress!. We had a lesson this week with a family that I have just grown to love soo much, and the mother at the end of the lesson told us they need some time, and she doesn't want to take the lessons anymore. It really is for me the hardest part of missionary work, not the physical things but more on the emotional/mental things. As I have grown to really love the people here in our area, my heart just aches when they are not taking the necessary steps to come unto Christ and to be baptized. I have been really pondering on the Plan of Salvation this week, and the one of the greatest gifts that we have is the principle of agency. We do our best every single day to work hard, to be obedient, and to help people feel the spirit and understand Heavenly Father's amazing plan for them, and then in the end it all comes down to their choice whether they accept it or not. When they do accept it, the joy is really indescribable. When they don't...it's hard but of course we have the faith to move forward and keep finding those who are ready :)
As I have been thinking about agency this week in terms of our investigators, I came across something in our "adjusting to missionary life" resource book that said, "Don't try to control the things you cannot: while you will make your best effort to meet your proselyting goals, the outcome of your effort is dependent on the agency of others, which you cannot force". I really thought about this and realized that we just can't force people to accept the gospel haha, and as much as we do know the blessings that come from it, and desire them to have those blessings for themselves, it's really up to them, and of course it's up to the Lord's timing as well. We just need to continue inviting everyone to "come and see", and then follow the words in D&C 123:17:, "Therefore dearly beloved brethren, let us CHEERFULLY do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." :) I really know that as we cheerfully do our part to invite others to come unto Christ, the blessings do come. They don't come when we expect it or how we expect it, but they come :) I am so grateful that I get to be a full time missionary at this time of my life and for the things I am learning every day :)
Mahal ko kayo! Ingat po palagi :) 
-Sister Behunin 

Mindoro and the Flu 1/22/17

Magandang umaga po family!
This week has been a great and terrible week! 
Last Monday I got slammed with the FLU. It's the first time I've ever really gotten sick on my mission and it was the worst. Vomiting, high fever, the whole deal. We were scheduled to fly to Mindoro for exchanges and I'm laying in bed thinking how can I get on an airplane when I can't even get out of bed? But the Priesthood of course is real, and after a blessing from our district leader we made it to Mindoro! The first day there Sister Mainit did exchanges with both of the sisters in one of the areas (she's so masipag!) while they took turns staying with me at their apartment while I got over my sickness. After that, I was able to do exchanges the rest of the week so YAY!
Mindoro is soo beautiful. The people we got to teach were so so awesome and so so humble. A lot of people live in just small bamboo homes, and yet they are the happiest people I have ever met. I just loved the week we had there to work with the sisters and the people who live on that Island. :) 
As for our area, our investigator Annaline has gone from 5 cigarettes per day to just 2! Yay! She just needs a little more and she's there. She wants more than anything to be baptized as well has her 9 year old daughter, and we have just been praying and praying for her to completely stop smoking. Anything is possible through a sincere desire to change and of course the Atonement of Jesus Christ!
Anyway that's all for the week! Thanks for the emails! 
Happy Birthday Dad! Matanda ka na! 
-Sister Behunin 

"Talk to the Mormons" 1/15/17

Magandang Umaga po Family!
Wow what a miracle filled week! I am really seeing how amazing God's plan is for us all! 
As a mission, we have really been making it a goal to implement Family History into our finding every day, especially through using the "my family" booklet that the church has given us to start documenting our own family history. And we have seen miracles!
Here in the Philippines the family is a pretty big deal. Everyone lives close to each other, it's great to go sit down next to a Lola and have her proudly talk about her kids, grand kids, cousins, nieces nephews and how happy she is they are all together...it's a great setting to introduce God's plan for families right?!
Well anyway let me tell you a story about an old lady we met this week and the power of family history: 
This woman was trying to find some old records of her grandfather, who was Japanese by birth. She went to the Quezon City government and asked if they had anything there, or a way they could help her find these records she was looking for. Their response to her: "Go talk to the Mormons". Haha the next day, our zone just so happened to be having a "zone finding" thing where we had half of our zone working in one area (our area) and the other half working in another area. Here we have this lady, sitting outside her house, pondering what the Quezon City workers said, trying to figure out how she's going to go "talk to the Mormons" and guess who starts talking to her? The Elders who were finding in our area! With a message about family and family history! God's timing is just perfect. We got the referral from those Elders and contacted this lady right away, and not only were we able to refer her to the family history center, but she is very very interested in why the Mormons are so crazy about doing family history! We have a return appointment with her and her daughter this upcoming week. 
With this experience and many others as we have been using our Family History as a finding tool, I am really feeling the Spirit of Elijah, probably more than I have ever felt in my life.  I am realizing more and more that family history is not just a boring thing that Dad does all the time haha, but I see how truly important it is to connect our families together. When we put it in a eternal perspective it's not just research, it's helping those souls who did not have the chance to receive the gospel in this life. The plan of Salvation is just not complete without the eternal family! 
Anyway, that's all for the week! Let's do our family History! haha :) 
Mahal kita!
-Sister Behunin

Beautiful feet after a long day haha, passalong card a tricycle driver had taped in his tricycle , on the way to our district activity, "alison wonderland." 

exchanges, rainforest district activity:

Good Things to Come 1/8/17

Magandang Umaga po family!
Wow it sounds like it's very cold back home. It's been cold here too, with temperatures at about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit in some mornings! haha joke lang. But really i've actually been seeing some people actually wearing jackets haha. 
Oh what a week. We have seen miracles in finding the investigators of the open part of our area, even though they have no phone number and that their address in the area book is just the name of a general area haha. It's fun, we basically go from house to house asking if they know so and so and we get some new contacts out of it so it's great :) 
Our area is really at a rough spot but it has a lot of potential. We are teaching a few families (yay!) and we are receiving member referrals all the time (yay!) but we are struggling with getting them to church, especially because the meeting house is kind of far from our area. It's hard not having baptism projections, especially when we are in such a receptive, Christ believing country. I mean we are not having doors slammed in our faces or anything haha. We just get a lot of "I was born catholic and I will die catholic". But really, I know the field in the Philippines is white and already to harvest and we just need to think positive, work hard and rely on the spirit and we will help these people to be baptized :)
I have really been reflecting on a talk given by Elder Holland, titled "Good things to come". He talks about a rough experience he had as a young father trying to move his family across the country. I really like where he says "Don't you give up! You keep walking! There is hope, and happiness ahead. Some blessings come now, some come late, and some don't come 'til Heaven. But for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ...they come." <----This has been so encouraging to me! I know that as a missionary and as a child of our Heavenly Father, we all have blessings that are coming as we diligently live the Gospel. We just need to be patient, and rely on the timing of our Father in Heaven. The blessings will come. Not always when we expect or how we expect, but they come as we do what's right :) 
Thanks for the love! Keep sharing the gospel! :)
-Sister Behunin 

Happy 2017! 1/1/17

Magandang umaga po family! 
Oh what a week. Transfers are past now and the area next to us has been closed, and so it's me and my new companion (Sister Mainit) who are in charge of that area as well as ours now. It's a little bit of an adjustment, we are the only two in the apartment now and in the ward, but it's fun because we get to meet lots of new people! :) Our area is a whole lot bigger now and we are adjusting to managing time in both parts of it. 
Grabe the New Years here! It's just the two of us in the apartment and we had an early curfew so we cooked food and listened to the bombs exploding outside haha. It was sooo LOUD! There isn't really any rules here on kids playing with matches and fireworks haha so we have had a few heart attacks as we've been working these past few days. 
Sister Mainit is my new companion and she is soo kind. This is her last transfer as a missionary, and then she goes home to Isabela Philippines. Her last name in English means "Hot" so she gets teased a whole lot haha because she's "sister hot" but she's very gracious and kind so I'm grateful I get to have her as a companion at this time :)
I've been called as a sister training leader. I don't really know what to expect other than really just an opportunity to serve the sister's here more. I'm a little nervous about it, I just hope I can do what the Lord needs me to do :) 
We have seen miracles even though this week has been a bit slow. We had a whole day the other day (new years day) of everyone either sleeping or being out of town, but at the end of it all when we were about to go home, we decided to try one last street. The first person we talked to ended up being a member from another area and he introduced us to some people and we ended up with some new investigators! Miracles! I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who really guides us in this work to get where we need to be :)
Love ya!
-Sister Behunin