Monday, April 27, 2015

We Talked About How Our Father In Heaven Is Mindful Of Our Situations And Is Always Watching Over Us

Hello :)

It has been another great week!  Yep, this week we have been teaching a lot of recent converts and less actives. We found some more less actives as well this week!  About half our lessons are to them, and the other half are investigators!  Most of our investigators right now are part members, so their parents are members but they haven't been baptized yet.  Our investigator, G--, is getting baptized this saturday!!  A year or two ago she and her family met the missionaries, but she wasn't really interested.  But two of her sons were, and got baptized!  So since then, she's seen the difference the church has made in their lives, and they've taught her a lot about the gospel as well. She started meeting with the missionaries about a month before I got here, and has came to church and been progressing SO well ever since!!  She understands the gospel and the book of mormon SO WELL and we are very exctied for her :). 

Yep sister culangan was assigned in cebuano her first 6 months, so she knows cebuano too.  And her english is good too :).  Haha we always joke that our prayers and everything else we say are a mix of english, cebuano, tagalog, and waray waray.  We speak a little of everything!  Hahaha. Yep us two are the only missionaries in our ward.  The tanauan 2nd ward sisters are in our house too though!  Which is SO fun, living with other missionaries.  They are GREAT missionaries.  

Yes there are still signs of yolanda here.  Buildings that haven't been rebuilt, and stuff like that.  I'll try to remember to take some pictures!  We hear lots of stories about yolanda though. Most everytime we ride a put put, we'll ask where they were for yolanda.  Everyone has a story and its hard to believe what happened.  I can't remember if i told you, but my companion before, sister gaono, was here in tanauan during yolanda.  She was in the chapel when the storm hit, and then walked all the way to the mission home after, since there was no transportation or communication. 

Our ward has about 400 members, and about 120 at sacrament meeting each sunday.  So lots of less actives to go and find!  We asked for a list of some we could go visit and will hopefully get to go find them this week :).

Yep i have heard that there will be no more foreigners in our mission...i'm not really sure why.  All i've heard is that they want the Philippines to be self reliant with missionaries.  But, how lucky am i that i got to come!  Wow.  I am SO grateful that I have gotten this chance to serve in this beautiful country!  I couldn't be more blessed :).  I honestly LOVE my mission, so so much.  :)

I'm glad you got the letter!! Sorry i can't send them more often :).  And jax, I'm glad you had a great birthday!  Haha the night of you birthday, i guess I was thinking about that, becuase I had a dream about you!  Haha you were my companion here and I was training you how to be a missionary :).  Haha so cool!  

Josh!!  WOW you're about to graduate from high school!  Holy moly.  and then you'll get to go on the church history tour!  ahhh i'm so excited for you :).  

So, this week i'm going to start focusing on the Chirstlike attributes!  My and my nanay did this, and I wanted to do it again now :).  This week is FAITH!  So i'm gonna study faith and focusing on strengthening it and teaching it.  And pay attention to how faith effects the work here!  So i'll let you know how that goes next week:). 

This week we've seen a couple of times how hard life can be sometimes. There was one night in particular around 8 where we had one hour left to teach before we headed home. We were walking to go teach a recent convert.  We were a little behind schecule, so there was one less active family that we had planned to visit that night that we weren't going to have time for.  But as we walked, we were talking about it and thought we maybe should go visit the less active family instead.  When we got there, we could tell something was different.  Usually the 5 little kids are excited to see us and come give us high fives.  But this time they just stayed there on the porch.  And their mom looked tired and worried.  We sat down and asked how everything was, and she started tearing up, but wouldn't tell us what had happened.  With a little persuasion (aka...stubbornness...haha see, it's a good thing sometimes :) ) she finally told us that her husband hadn't been home since early that morning.  She had no idea where he was or if something had happened to him.  And she didn't have any money for food for her kids.  They had had some noodles for breakfast, and no lunch or dinner yet.  Ahh.  Me and sister culangan told her we were actually feeling hungry now and ready for dinner, and wanted to share it with them :).  We went and got some rice and chicken, and then hurried back to them.  We shared a quick message with them.  We sang Abide with me tis eventide, and then shared alma 26:37.  We talked about how our Father in Heaven is mindful of our situations and is always watching over us.  Her husband is being taken care of--she just needs to rely on the Lord. Everything will be alright. :).  Throughout the lesson, the kids would touch the bag of chicken and look at their mom.  One of them said 'it's still warm!" haha :).  The spirit was so incredibly strong though.  I could feel how worried she was, but I could also feel that everything was going to be all right.  We told her how the spirit had led us to come visit her that night, which is just one of the evidences of Him watching over their little family.  I definitely cried though that lesson.  We didn't stay long, so they could eat and then get to sleep :).  That was such a great lesson to me to always follow the spirit.  Many times, it's as simple as listening to a thought that comes to mind.  I really need to be better at paying attention to its promptings. But I know the Spirit is SO important in this work. We went back the next day to this family, and the father had made it home :).  The mother was gone at the time so we didn't get to teach, but they seem to be doing alright now :).  I'm sooo grateful the spirit led us to them when they needed some extra reassurance.

Time to go :).  Till next week!  Goood luck with everything you do! be safe! be good! and be happy!  listen to the spirit always :).  God is watching over you! 

Love you :)

Sister Mortensen

Last Pictures From Serving In St. Bernard

Monday, April 20, 2015

We Ride Until We See A Green House, Then We Get Off And Go Talk To Them

Hey everyone!  

It's great to hear from you!  You've been busy this week!  Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend in Joseph with the family, I'm so glad :).  Brayden good luck with finals!  haha yep that's always some crazy weeks. That is some crazy weather!!  It's been SOO hot here the past few days. I thought I was used to the heat by now, but nope!  It gets hotter :).  Hahaha!  

I always loved those YM/YW missionary nights!  One of my favorite activities.  Jax got to go as well!  you're getting so old!   and your BIRTHDAY is this week!!!  Happy birthday!!!  I hope you have a  WONDERFUL day and eat lots of cake or ice cream or whatever for me :).  

Yep my companion sister culangan is SO great :).  She's from Laguna, near Manila, and yep she went to the manila mtc.  This week was really busy, teaching lots of recent converts and working on finding less actives and more investigators!  We're hoping to turn the recent converts over to the branch missionaries mostly, so we can focus more on less actives.  That way the ward missionaries get more practice teaching, and the recent converts get more friends at church!  We'll see if we can get them going :).  

Waray-waray is coming alright!  from the little i've learned so far and the similarities between that and cebuano, i can kinda understand most of the time. haha.  it's easier during lessons, since most of the words i've learned so far are gospel related.  still have a LONG ways to go though.  and it makes me realize how much cebuano i really did know!  There is one family that we have taught a couple times from Mindanao, so they speak cebuano. and it is so so much easier to understand them!  Hahaha. 

 My week has been great as well :).  Yep, there are two wards here in tanauan. We're part of the Tacloban stake.  There's 2 or 3 stakes (i think) here in my mission, and then the rest are districts. Tanauan is a lot bigger than my past two areas!  It's a lot different being in a city.  Tanauan is one of the areas that was hit really hard by Yolanda.  I think you've heard stories where there was the chapel that the storm surge seemed to go around?  Everything around it was washed out, with floods over the roof, but in the chapel was only a few feet of water.  Thats our chapel :).  After Yolanda, the church helped rebuild the members houses, and so they are all green!  So it makes it really easy to find members.  we've been using that as a way to find less actives!  We'll ride until we see a green house, then get off and go talk to them.  It's worked great! we're probably going to keep doing that this week as well :)

Yep!! mothers day is coming up, i realized that a couple days ago!  i possibly might be able to skype, but not sure yet :).  I'll let you know as soon as we figure it out!  

Hope you have another fantastic week!  Love you all so much, and know I'm praying for you all the time!  take care!

Sister Mortensen 

Monday, April 13, 2015

She Understands The Gospel So Well

hello family!!  

yes, jocelyn cinco is the branch presidents wife :). I'm glad you get to keep in touch with them, while I can't very well!  I miss them all :(.  But, I'm am excited to be here!  I transferred to Tanauan 1st ward in tacloban zone!!  so yep, waray waray now!   My companion is sister culangan, my batch! and she is SO incredible.  love her :).  there are lots of recent converts in this area right now so we have been teaching them lots this past week!  A lot of them are from part member families, which seems to help the rest of the family be active in church as well :).  

One of the investigators we have been teaching is named G--!  She is the mother of one of the members here, and is preparing for her baptism on May 2!  and she is VERY excited, and very prepared.  She understands the gospel SO well.  When we teach her, she'll ask questions and clarify to make sure she understands.  Then after, she'll read the pamphlet again to make sure she really does understand, and ask questions about it again the next lesson.  Yesterday we taught her about the Law of Chastity and she had already read the pamphlet and knew most everything already.  Holy moly!  She is so wonderful :).

Thank you mom, for that song.  I love that one :).  hopefully next week i'll send pictures!  But till then,  i LOVE you all and am praying for you every day.  RELY on the Lord, because we can do all things with His strength :)

Take care!!

Sister Mortensen

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Spirit Was So Strong Throughout The Lesson

Hello everybody!!

With transfers this coming monday for sisters, our p-day was moved to today :). still haven't found out anything for sure, but i'm feeling like i'm gonna transfer :(. but....we try to just not think about that right now :)

I-- was baptized earlier today!!  she is M--'s cousin and is nine years old and is SO CUTE.  no pictures right now (sorry) since i gave my card to a member to copy them.  she was SO excited and has been waiting a long time to be baptized.  The elders two transfers before me taught her most of the lessons and were going to baptize her, but then because of a few different things that happened, she wasn't.  she still wanted to be baptized but was a little discouraged since she was being taught and understood and everything but still had to wait.  so now, she was sooo excited that she was finally able to be baptized! afterwards she shared her testimony of the gospel and of God's love for her :). she is soo sweet.

Thanks to Ytsirch for pictures of I--'s baptism.  

(I love how through Facebook we can be friends with people Brianne has come to know and love!)

This week we received about as golden of a referral as I've heard of! He's from butuan (where my anak is from) and is visiting his family here in anahawan, another city kinda close to us, in our area.  on wednesday, he went to the elders apartments in hinunangan and asked if they could teach him and his family!  They told him he was actually in the st. bernard area and could contact us, the elders texted us his info too so we could contact him.  Then, thursday morning, we went jogging with some members early in the morning.  When we get back to the apartment, he's there waiting for us and asks if we can teach him! right then!  we told him we would just set up a time on saturday and come visit him and his family.  he also asked where the church was so he could come this sunday. soo, this afternoon after I--'s baptism, we went to visit him!  our branch p president and his wife and another member, C--, went with us.  We sat down to teach him (just him since his family was busy)  and Pres Cinco was confused since he thought he was a member!  That's how great this guy is. His father was there with us too and is a high preist in butuan. (baptized in 1934! He was one of the founding members in his area.) so he has a pretty good back ground with the church it seems, and is anxious to be baptized.  the spirit was very strong throughout the lesson and he understood everything very well.  We are SUPER excited about him!  he and is father are coming to church tomorrow, so that is gonna be GREAT.  can't wait for tomorrow :)

Lots more I wish I could tell you about, but time to go!  talk to you all later :)  can't wait to hear from you next week! 

Sister Mortensen

Pictures from Cherlita.  Thank you!
Sister missionaries jogging with sisters from the branch.