Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Play to Your Strengths

Hello Pamilya!

 Compared to last week, it has been just a plain old normal week of talking to people and teaching. Yesterday, we taught these two investigators we have - whom we love to pieces, they are wonderful! - the law of chasity. This was a big deal because they've been doing really well in progressing and their testimonies are strong, but we needed to have this discussion with them because following the Law of Chastity really can make for stronger future families for them both.

 Suprisingly, they took it wonderfully. They seemed to really understand the blessings they can receive from it and they decided right then and there that they were going to get married! Hahaha, in my American cultured mind, I was freaking out. I was thinking this is way too fast; we don't want them to rush into this decision... but everyone assured me that that's what the culture is like here. People just up and decide to get married that quickly, sometimes with a week in advance.

 Anyways, because of this they will likely be two more baptisms we will have in March. Which is super exciting because it will probably be the first one I will get the privilege of attending while here on the mission!

 This next part right here is the biggest thing I learned this week and it's all about perspective. Everyone in the mission talks about how usually it's somewhat of a struggle for a foreigner to get along with a Filipino companion. I've always thought, "why?!" Every missionary I've met thus far from here is absolutely wonderful. This week, I really realized why, and it's all because of the attitude here towards foreigners.

 I don't think anyone will fully understand this unless you have been to the Philippines but people here think Americans are the most beautiful thing they have ever seen on the planet. Not a joke. I realized this week just how...unimportant (maybe that's the right word?) that must make my companion feel. Everywhere we go, people want to talk to me, but they don't talk to her. I get told I'm 'Mahusay' (pretty) at least 10 times a day by random strangers, people stare and point everywhere we go, and today someone even yelled at Sister Erandio because she wasn't holding her umbrella above my head in the heat. If I wasn't a missionary and could actually speak the language, that guy would've gotten it. It's so hard because there's nothing I can do about it, but at the same time, I'm getting a better idea of just how inferior it can make someone feel when their companion is getting that kind of attention.

So after that whole concept really hit me, I've been trying to be an angel of a companion. I know my attempts are far from it but better to try than not. The whole thing is weird, because a lot of people envy the attention I get and I absolutely hate it. They're thinking highly of me because I'm white, not because I've done anything special they know of. Haha, it's just such a different experience.

 On the other hand, another thing I have learned this week is how to use it to my advantage. Let me explain with this quote, "You are the falcon, you will never be the eagle". This is a quote directly from the man of my life, my father, which he would use during my soccer days. The point was, I am never going to be the big strong player that can push other players around and use my weight to my advantage. It's not in the cards for me. I can't be the eagle. But what I can be is the falcon on the field, because I was fast and quick and could use that to my advantage.

 This is the notion I have taken here in the mission field. I used to get so frustrated that I couldn't talk on the same level with people as other Filipinos could, because of my choppy language and just that I'm a foreigner - of course they're going to feel more comfortable around other Filipinos. But what I've found I am good at is that first conversation because people want to listen to me. I'm better at the OYMing - stands for Open Your Mouth - what the missionaries refer to when you first go up to someone and ask if you can share a message with them.

 We can't be everything to everyone. It's important to play to your strengths, but at the same time be focusing on strenthening your weaknesses as well.

 Last thing: I wanted to share something I read this week in Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage. "In the contemplation of the miracles wrought by Christ, we must of necessity recognize the operation of a power transcending our present human understanding. In this field, science has not yet advanced far enough to analyze and explain. To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be, and that therefore, he is able to comprehend all that is. The miracles of record in the Gospels [Mathew, Mark, Luke, John] are fully supported by evidence as are many of the historical events which call forth neither protest nor demand for further proof. To the believer in the divinity of Christ, the miracles are sufficiently attested; to the unbeliever they appear but as myths and fables."

 This can be applied to not just the miracles of Christ, but also to everything else - the existence of a God being a crucial one. Before the above paragraph, Talmage talks about the many things that have come to pass that were at one point nothing but miracles - present day technology, man on the moon, etc.

 Faith is a huge part of God's plan and is crucial to see miracles. In every account in the Bible, Christ never permits a miracle to be done because someone demands of him a sign and simply will not believe it can be done without seeing it for themselves. Those who have faith first, are the ones who receive the miracles in their lives that prove to them what they believe in is true.

 Furthermore, I challenge you all to read, study, and ponder the talk Lord, Increase Our Faith By Elder John K. Carmack. It's so good!!!

 Love you all. Love this gospel. It's changed me in ways nothing else could and I've seen it do the same for so many people here as well. Be happy!
Love Sister Russon

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