Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day In Day Out - Traveling

Hello Hello!

What a week it has been! Not too much to report on this week - most of it has been spent in the van vans driving. :P Wednesday and Thursday - MLC in Tacloban > We received a great training from President Maurer and Siser Maurer on helping the misionaries in our zones be more centered on the work:) Friday - Zone Training in Calbayog > We trained the zone on everyhing we learned at MLC. Today - Calbaog Zone Activity> Played a bunch of games with zone. Tomorrow - Specialiazed Training in Tacloban > Sister Maurer will give us a training on health and cooking!
Other than that, the branch has been doing awesome in their improvement from when I first got here. It's so exciting!!! On Saturday we organized an aciviy wih the Relief Society to clean the chapel, wash the baptism clothes, and organize the library. The members are happy with their chapel looking clean and everything in better working condition!
One family I've been super excited about this week is progressing like crazy! They are huge! Their are 10 children, all grown up who now have their own children, and most of them have been listening and accepting us for some time now. Sister Healey and I found them a couple months ago and they are just so receptive. This family has everything - Catholics, Born Again, and Jehovah's Witness members. This last Saturday when we visiting them, many of them invited friends and neighbors to listen as well as we taught them the 10 commandments out of their own Bible. It's amazing how many of them did not even know they haven't been following them. Sister Healey and I were able to teach a group of over 40 squished in this little house. And the message just...clicked with them. They get it:) Sweet moments of mission life.
This week my testimony has really grown on the Law of Chastity. It's amazing the confidence I've seen recently come into people's lives as they repent and commit to follow this commandment! I heard a quote the other day by one of our General Authorities that went something like this, "Do not do anthing to make your soul any less pure than it was meant to be". I love this quote. It's so true. There is a new light and confidence that comes, and a weight to be lifted when we fully commit to live his commandment. That means living a Godly sense of cleanliness and purity. That means clean thoughts, clean actions, clean words. It means put yourself as far as you can from pornography and don't look back. It means commit now to be temple worthy at all times.
God loves all of us. He gives us commandments BECAUSE He loves us. 
Commit to live the way our Savior did.
Love you all:)
Sending hugs,
Sister Russon

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

Hello Fam!

Another week has gone by in the Philippines. The time is just flying. I feel like I email, go to sleep, wake up, and look at that! I'm emailing again!

Something wonderful happened this week. It happened yesterday at church. Mind you, Sunday's for me are always the most stressful part of the whole week. Trying to give enough people attention and welcome everyone on top of striving to make sure everything runs smoothly and new investigators are welcomed and treated well....that's not even the half of it. On top of that, Sister Healey and I were surprised yesterday 2 minutes before sacrament meeting started when we were told we would need to be the ones giving the talk. Haha. The Philippines is so fun;)

No worries though; the spirit was with us and we had some heavenly help:) This is where the wonderful part comes in...we finish our talks and are sitting up on the stand singing when we realize in the congregation are THREE Less Active families that haven't been to church in the last three months. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

There is a scripture in D&C 18:15
 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

This is the reason a mission, even though hard, can be some of the best 2 years (18 months) of your life. The joy is overwhelming when you get the privilege of seeing these families progress in the gospel. Why? Why is that? Because you know how much it can bless their life! Hello! This is why we serve missions! Leave families, work, school, we receive no salary for our work, no extra presents. Why are their so many missionaries especially here in the Philippines? So we can get a good tan? NO! The gospel is true and every family needs it if they are to receive a fullness of joy. True joy comes from living a righteous life, from knowing God is happy with your actions, from knowing your clean from every mistake you've made in the past, from knowing the Plan of Salvation, and that whatever happens, your family will be together forever in the temple:)

That is true joy my friends. 

Sending love:) Magnify your callings - whether that's a calling in the church or your place in your family. 

Love Sister Russon

The Elect

Miracles are happening and happening and happening. 

We had interviews this week with President Maurer. It's always great to talk to him and get his advice and insight about things in the mission and life. 

I've got 3 weeks left of time with Sister Healey here in Catbalogan. I'm trying my best to enjoy it while it lasts. I'm gonna miss her tons! She's been by far one of my best friends in the mission and I've learned tons from her. It's amazing to see Heavenly Father place you with the people that will help you grow the most. He knows everything:)

This week, we met a woman who is, "Searching for the truth". I love it when we actually get people like this because they seem rare. Most people are stuck in their religion, which is mostly Catholicism because it's culture and tradition. It's been in the family for generations. This particular lady though, I spoke with while on exchanges with another missionary while we were riding a tricycle going to an appointment. She had so many questions and has been investigating other churches. 

Doctrine and Covenants 29: 7, 8 says:

 And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine electfor mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;
 Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in untone place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.
Heavenly Father knows where the 'elect' are - those who will soften their hearts to the message and follow the Savior. Some are truly looking for the truth, and others haven't yet realized that the gospel is missing in their lives. And the only way we're going to find them is if we open our mouths and prayerfully ponder each thing we do. 
One thing we've been focused on teaching lately is the process of repentance. Most people know it's important but don't know much about it. This is something I've definitely learned more about being on the mission. It's SUCH an important part of our lives!!!! We should be repenting every day. This means each night, we review with Heavenly Father our day and the things we want to work on and improve upon in our lives and our selves. We ask for forgiveness of the things we've done wrong, and follow through on plans we've made with Him to do better the next day. We fix things we need to with other people we've wronged, and if needed, talk to the bishop about things we've done that are weighing on us. The result of this continuous process is tremendous. None of us are perfect and we each need to actively apply the atonement to our lives every day. Every day every day every day:) The freedom and lightness we receive is tremendous, and I'm grateful to have seen repeatedly throughout the mission how people have changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Apply the Atonement. Live the Gospel with ALL YOUR Heart. "Be Not ashamed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, Withersoever thou goest". 
Love you tons:)
Sister Russon

And the Typhoon Season Begins


Oh how I miss you all!

It's been a pretty crazy week! One of my favorite families was able to attend church and we've been able meet a lot of new people this week. 

We met a pretty 'golden' family recently. They haven't got much; two little kids, a rickety bamboo home with a dirt floor, and a little tindahan outside their home. The father has a rare sickness that causes him to cough up blood occasionally and he is unable to work for their family. This trial has put a lot of stress on their family, particularly because their not sure whats wrong with him or how to help him. Despite these trials however, they have welcomed us missionaries with open arms! They came to church 2 weeks after we met them and were able to attend General Conference. On the side they read the Book of Mormon often as a family. This wonderful sweet family experienced quite the miracle recently. In one of our visits, they explained to us why all the stock and supplies were gone from their tindahan. After hanging up inside their tindahan the picture of Christ we gave them, they had so many customers the following 24 hours that all of their stock was purchased! ALL OF IT! Miracle! With the money, they are sending Brother to Manila to get special treatment from a specialist to see if they can find what's wrong. We and they know this was a miracle from Heavenly Father himself for their family. Blessings come when we have the gospel in our lives. 

We had our first 2106 typhoon this week! Typhoon Karen. It was not much here in Catbalogan, just a lot of rain. But Leaders titled it a signal 2, which means we were not allowed to work. We stayed in, updated our journals, and couldn't wait to get out of the apartment after being stuck in there all day long!

Another small miracle happened last night. We locked ourselves out of the apartment and didn't realize it until we came home at 9:30 at night. We did not have an extra key and our landlord is in Manila. So I attempted to implement one of the wonderful skills I have learned on the mission - how to pick a lock. Then I tried the second wonderful skill I have successfully learned on the mission - how to card a door. After failing, Sister Healey and I said a prayer, she attempted to card the door, and success!!!! We got that baby open! We probably had a bit of angelic help on that one, that lock on our front door is pretty solid. Thank you Heavenly Father. 

Pray, read the scriptures, have family home evening as often as possible, go to the temple!
It's pretty hard to not feel God in our lives if we're doing all those simple things. 

Love you all! Sending love and prayers always, 

Love Sister Russon