miracles. (mga himala). (milagros…they use that, too)

ang GANDA talaga yung week na ito! grabe naman, ang mga himala na nakita namin sa linggo na ito ay sobrang malaki.

aka, best week yet.
We set some weekly goals last week we thought would help us stretch, and we surpassed every single goal! We worked a lot this week trying to improve our diligence and obedience, and we have just seen so many miracles. One of the biggest–this week, one of our recent converts, Jenick, brought a friend with him to our lesson (we also teach two of his other relatives, Joshua and Jerico(yeah, ironic, I know), and two other less-active relatives, Neil and Mark. they are all between 13 and 16 years old, and hilarious.) and they said, “This is Wally. He wants to change his life.” so we testified that we could help him do that, and we started teaching him. We taught him to pray the other day, and then he gave one of the most sincere, best prayers I’ve ever heard about how he wanted to change his life and become a good person and become a Mormon. He has a baptismal date for the end of February.
 
Let’s just say we’re still extremely excited about Wally.
 
Another miracle from this week: we finished our personal and companion study Sunday afternoon, and we were really sleepy. But we had a goal to get 9 finding efforts so that we could surpass our goal, and we knew if we stayed in for even a little longer we would probably not reach our goal. So we went out, we taught a lesson, and then we decided to go drop off a Book of Mormon with a less-active (hers got ruined in a bagyo) who lives at the edge of our area. We walked all the way over there, dropped it off, and then we were walking back to the main road and there was a family outside their house. The little boy was just running around, and we’d waved at him the other day, so we waved again and said hi. Then we asked him what his name was, and started talking to the parents, when suddenly they invited us inside! We went inside and talked to them for a little bit, and then they asked what we do. We testified of who we are as missionaries and asked if we could share a message. We shared a Book of Mormon verse from Alma about Christ and tried to HTBT the best we could and help them feel the spirit. they were really paying attention, and they said we could come back and teach them again. I am really excited to return, and so yesterday, not only did we reach our finding effort goal, but we found a family to teach! 
 
my companion is hilarious, and we love working together every day. we go running almost every day and we’ve just been enjoying missionary work so much. every time it is time to go out and work, I get excited and by the end of the day I am exhausted, but feel good about what we have done. We still have a lot to do here, and I know the next few weeks will be really great.
 
on Friday morning, Pres and Sis Rahlf called, and just wanted to take the Ilagan sisters out to lunch. so the for of us got to go out to lunch with them, and it was so great! I love the Rahlfs and I am so grateful for all they do. We have Zone conference tomorrow and I’m really stoked about that.
 
This week we had over 40 finding efforts, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do because it used to be so hard for me to talk to people, but the Spirit has helped me so much and I can make conversation with almost anyone now. I know I”m not completely fluent yet, there is still a lot more I need to learn, but I hope I can just continue to learn and progress so that by the time I come home I can be really fluent. I”ve made a lot of progress for just 6 months here, though, and I’m really grateful for that.
 
I learned a lot this week about hard work and how I can apply those principles more fully to my life, as well as about how the Lord leads and teaches us piece by piece. Sometimes I get frustrated when I can’t see how all the pieces fit together, but then I learn over again that the Lord has more wisdom than me, knowing that a puzzle isn’t built all at once by smashing all the pieces together, but piece by piece, portion by portion, until it all comes together. He expects us to study, search, counsel with Him, exercise faith, and be diligent as He guides us step by step to a much greater future than we could have had without His guidance.
 
Dreamers can only get so far before they need to become Doers. 
and Doers get a whole lot further when they ‘diligently do,’ or put their whole heart into the work of the Lord. the amazing thing is, even our school and things like that can further the work of the Lord (He gives us talents for a reason) and when we seek His guidance as we diligently do our best, He expands our abilities and potential. or as they said in relief society this week, “kailangan natin ilabas yung potential natin.” we need to release, or get our potential out of us. just like in physics, potential energy is useless until it’s converted into kinetic energy. once we start doing something with our potential, God can really do miracles with it!
 
I love you all!
 
Love,
 
Sister Carr

You wouldn't believe how excited Sis Jensen and I got over that American mac and cheese. pretty much the greatest lunch. I never realized how I took that food for granted, haha. oh, and the sour patch was the greatest. AGYAMAN! :)

You wouldn’t believe how excited Sis Jensen and I got over that American mac and cheese. pretty much the greatest lunch. I never realized how I took that food for granted, haha. oh, and the sour patch was the greatest. AGYAMAN! 🙂

DSCN0636

the gorilla picture..it was just like that in someone's house and I thought it was hilarious so I took a picture.

the gorilla picture..it was just like that in someone’s house and I thought it was hilarious so I took a picture.

ILAGAN

Hello!!!!

Well, this week was my first transfer! and I have been transferred from Tuguegarao to Ilagan! Ilagan is a lot closer to Cauayan. it’s also colder than it was in Tugue, but I suppose my ‘chilly nights’ would probably be welcomed in the states. Still not quite jacket weather most of the time, but I could get away with wearing a sweater if I wanted to.
My new companion is Sis Jensen!! she is WONDERFUL! I love her so much already! I am her follow-up trainer. She is American and just finished her 12 week training, so I am two cycles ahead of her. Her Tagalog is still coming along and I definitely remember struggling the same way she is now, but I know she will improve so fast. She is a wonderful missionary and wonderful at teaching the gospel because she always teaches from her heart. the people here love her, and are amazing, and I feel so blessed to be in this area, with this companion, and in this ward! the members love to help with missionary work, and the ward missionaries go visit less-actives every Sunday. I think it does wonders in reactivating the less actives.
the Lord is so merciful in His blessings. I was kinda nervous about follow-up training an American, because that means my Tagalog and my understanding is the bulk of the lesson and the getting to know people. but the gift of tongues is real in every sense, and in the past few days alone, I have been amazed at how well I can understand and communicate with people. I haven’t had a question I haven’t been able to answer or understand. I’m starting to see the horizon of true fluency and thinking that I might actually be able to get there, and that is a great feeling.
The ward members were nervous when they first met me because they all thought I was brand new, and were worried they wouldn’t be able to communicate with us, but once they learned I can speak the language, they were okay, and they are all really great.
I love my new area and I am so excited to be here. it’s actually very similar to my last area (which is funny because there are very few city areas like this in our whole mission) but just a lot smaller of an area, which is really nice.
I now live in an apartment with two other sisters, and so that is a whole new experience, but I am really enjoying it.
I made a not so great decision the other day and I’ve been feeling kind of chastened because of it for a few days. However, I have been learning more that even when we make mistakes, the Lord chastens us to help us be happier, and to become better. with the beginning of a new cycle, in a new area, with a new companion, the Lord highlights all sorts of new weaknesses, and I know those will be the ones I will focus on for the next couple months. I am happy to know the Lord still wants me to continue improving and doesn’t just leave me at ‘pretty good.’ I feel Ether 12:27 every day here in the mission field, and it’s with that that I think some of the biggest miracles occur.
I love you so much!
Love,
Sister Carr
The following are excerpts from letters between Amber’s Mom and Amber:
Hey sweetie!  I can’t wait to read your letter this week.  I am also hoping that you are feeling better and that the rashes have all gone.  Also if you google higad, there are a lot of accounts on what to do about these caterpillar attacks.  They actually call them attacks.  If you don’t have tape to get the hairs out, the internet said you could use candle wax or anything that you can put on and peel off like rubber cement or facial mask or nail polish.  After you wash with soap and water, don’t touch as you just spread the irritation.  You can also use ammonia or oil to soothe the irritation.
I did the candle wax thing for the caterpillar-ness…it hurt like craaazyyyyy, but the next day it wasn’t itchy anymore, so it worked. it just hurt  super bad, because the rashes covered half my back by then. they’re gone now, though, since the candle wax thing, so all is well!

The area right by our house. the view is GORGEOUS

The area right by our house. the view is GORGEOUS

DSCN0620

The river in Ilagan!

The river in Ilagan!

That is the first Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I've had in 6 months. It was pretty much heaven for a second there. Also a great way to start off a rockin companionship. :)

That is the first Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup I’ve had in 6 months. It was pretty much heaven for a second there. Also a great way to start off a rockin companionship. 🙂

Sister Jensen!

Sister Jensen!

ang bastos na higad. (the rude caterpillar.)

kamusta kayong lahat! happy transfer week!!

This morning I found out that I will be transferred on wednesday! I will finally be heading to my second area. I’ve already been in Tugue for 4 cycles. ang bilis ang panahon. well, I won’t know where I’m transferring to until wednesday morning, but I do know I will be leaving my area. I will miss many of the people here that I have grown to love so much, but I also have felt really excited and at peace and know that I am going to the place Heavenly Father wants me to be. Baka next week’s email will be much more exciting! 🙂
This week waaaas…weird, to say the least, haha.
Tuesday was pretty good. I don’t really remember what we did on Tuesday, but I think we contacted some new people and had a full day.
Wednesday was soo greeeeat!!!! We went to Cauayan so I could help write the new mission song. when we got to Cauayan, we stopped at chowking for lunch before we went to the mission home, and guess who we ran into?! Sis T and Sis Wilkins!!!! 😀 haha that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it was one of the greatest moments for me. they were there for the career workshop, since they leave to go home tomorrow! we got to eat lunch together, and it was so great to see them again before they leave.  my companion went on splits with my nanay, Sis Barril, in Cauayan 🙂 I stayed in the mission home with 9 other missionaries and we worked on writing the lyrics to the song. President and Sister Rahlf had found the music they liked for it, and we liked it, too. President also wrote the chorus. So as a group, we picked three topics for each of the verses, and then split into three groups to work on the verses separately. It took all afternoon, but when we put it all together at the end, it was wonderful. The Spirit was so strong. it was an amazing experience being able to help, because as we worked on it, we just got to get into really deep gospel discussion as we tried to write lyrics that would contribute to the Spirit of the song. I am so grateful I was able to be a part of that.
One of my favorite concepts that my group talked about was the Hastening. somewhere in our conversation, we started to understand a deeper idea–that it’s not just ‘the hastening,’ but that all of us involved with it are ‘hastening towards Zion.’ that’s the goal of the hastening, really– to prepare as many as people as possible to come with us to Zion. Zion is one of my favorite concepts to think about. It’s incredibly motivating. But Zion is more than just a concept. It is a very real place that we are hastening toward right now. I’ve watched 17 Miracles and Ephraim’s Rescue tons of times on my mission, and they never get old. Their enthusiasm and desire to reach Zion strengthens mine, because just like them, we are going to Zion, too. And Christ will be there. That’s where we are heading, and knowing that gives a lot more purpose to our role as members in bringing others to a knowledge of the Gospel, whether we are full-time missionaries or not.
The rest of the week was pretty difficult for me. The feeling of the days was pretty weird all-around, and we had some hard lessons. Some of our investigators had kind of started to progress–gathering interest, reading the pamphlet. But then they got really hung up on some things, mostly because they believe that faith is all you need to be saved, that it doesn’t matter what church you belong to as long as you have faith, etc. So those lessons were really difficult because they have soooo many questions, and don’t give you enough time to answer. The direction we decided to take both those lessons was the Book of Mormon. We just kept emphasizing over and over that if they would read and pray about the Book of Mormon, they would find answers to their questions and concerns, whether their concerns were about Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, a true church–the Book of Mormon would answer those questions. Then, like Sister Cristal Burgoyne said some time ago, ‘let God do the convincing.” I know if they read and ask, He will do the convincing. If they don’t, then they’ll just continue to be confused. So I hope they really read it so that they can continue to progress, because we love them all so much and really want them and their families to have these wonderful blessings of the gospel and the restored church.
in other news, we were leaving a lesson with the Tamayaos on Friday and I felt something crawling on my neck. I thought it was a mosquito, so I smacked at it, but then quickly realized it wasn’t a mosquito. I grabbed it and threw it on the ground, and discovered it was some sort of caterpillar. Shortly afterward, my whole neck was suuuuper itchy. The next day, it was still incredibly itchy and I had really bad rashes all over my neck. Yesterday, still itchy and the rashes were just spreading toward my face, down my back, onto my arms. Sweet. Today they aren’t as bad. Sis Diola told me it should last about three days and then go away.
Well, this week will be full of new adventures, and I’m excited for some change! Haha, I will miss my heated shower. 😉
I love you all!
Sister Carr

Sister T, me, and Sister Wilkins at the mission home! :)

Sister T, me, and Sister Wilkins at the mission home! 🙂

 The super, super cute kids that live by the Tamayaos who call us "Tita" (aunt)


The super, super cute kids that live by the Tamayaos who call us “Tita” (aunt)

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve

There's a jungle in that bathroom.

There’s a jungle in that bathroom.

This week was great!

Hello!

This week was great! haha I’m trying to figure out where to start, so I’ll just start and see where we end up.
mabalo taaru! ha, I learned how to say thank you so much in Ibanag. it’d be great to learn another language here, because everyone speaks more than one. On that note, though, yesterday I had an awesome experience with the gift of tongues! It was fast and testimony meeting, and I think I’m getting transferred next week, so I got up to bear my testimony. The whole couple of minutes I spoke, it was crazy, because the language has never felt so normal in my mouth before! Usually it feels clumsy and awkward, at least a little, but yesterday I could just talk and talk and say whatever I wanted and hardly had to think about it. It was an amazing feeling and I was just blown away. I’ve been working extra hard on my language this week, and have been really trying to speak almost all tagalog all day. I’ve been learning a lot, and it’s really helped me to progress.
New Year’s Eve was a party!….haha, well, we were just on lockdown in our apartment. at 6pm we were inside our apartment, and we just kinda hung out, cleaned up, and ate cookies and watched 17 Miracles. people do fireworks here like crazy (paputok–firework) and the smoke from them was so thick outside we could hardly see our neighbors’ houses. they were doing fireworks for about 3 hours straight before midnight. I have no idea how people have so many. people are still doing fireworks every day, but just here and there.
Our apartment was inspected the other day by a senior couple, Elder and Sister Mills. they came and after they inspected, shared a wonderful message with us from Omni, verse 26. the Spirit was really strong and I was so grateful that they had come and shared that with us. I really encourage you all to read that verse and then ponder about what more you can give to the Lord, what more you can work on or change, in order to more fully give your whole soul to the Lord. I know that doing so is the only way to be truly strong, at peace, and happy.
Our area has been pretty dead since I became a trainer. we kind of finished up the ‘harvest’ from our first two transfers here, and then it died. we’ve had almost no investigators, and no progressing, for about 10 weeks. We’ve been working really hard and improving ourselves and doing all we can to find investigators, and this past week, we found so many new people. I know if I get transferred next week that Sis Solis will have many people to teach, and many progressing investigators. I really learned that when we keep being diligent through the hard times, keep seeking the Lord’s comfort and help, give all we can give and don’t get discouraged, the Lord really blesses us. Reporting yesterday at Ward Correlation Meeting felt so wonderful, because for the past few weeks we’ve had nothing really to report, but this week we were able to report so many results. I know it’s not just the results of one good week, but the result of 10 diligent weeks. It feels really good, and I went to bed really full of gratitude last night. It definitely related to that lesson you had in young men’s, Dad.
We had a dinner appointment on saturday with a wonderful family in our ward, and they took us to this suuuper nice restaurant! haha it was really good, but it felt weird being in such a fancy place.
I also had a brownie(the blonde kind)  this week for the first time since the MTC. like, a legit, oven-baked blondie, with lots of dark chocolate on it. ohhhh man. it was sooooo good! haha we don’t get baked goods like that often because nobody really has an oven, but one of our new investigators gave it to us yesterday and man, it was super fantastic, haha.
this week will be super great! Sis Rahlf asked if I wanted to help write the new mission song! so I will be going to Cauayan on wednesday to do that. I’m really excited. We will also have many lessons and people to meet with. hopefully we will have many progressing investigators by next week. I’m really excited about it!
time is flying by! more than 200 days na ako dito sa mission.
grabe!
I love you all! the Lord loves you so much, and He wants you to succeed. No matter what, if you are diligent in a worthy cause, in time, He will bless you with success–maybe not the way you expect, but success nonetheless.
ingat kayo!
love always,
Sister Carr
We went to a birthday party for someone's one year old. What I'm holding is traditional birthday party food. A hotdog skewered between two marshmallows. We also had spaghetti with pineapple in it.

We went to a birthday party for someone’s one year old. What I’m holding is traditional birthday party food. A hotdog skewered between two marshmallows. We also had spaghetti with pineapple in it.

Christmas Eve and Balut

magandang hapon po!

well, this last week had some days which were full of adventures, and some days that were pretty much empty. Sis Solis was sick for like 3 days, so those are always long days sitting in the apartment watching and rewatching whatever LDS movies we have on hand or going through the Area Book.
We had a little gift exchange last tuesday in our zone, which was fun. It kinda lasted a long time, though, so we didn’t work as much, but the work we did last tuesday was good. But that night and that Christmas Eve in particular will be a memorable one! Haha as we walked home, there was a guy selling balut. there are lots of those guys..they just walk around at night yelling, baluuuut! baluuut! until people come and buy. so Sis Solis wanted to get some, and that meant the time had finally come where I had to try it, haha. so we got some and went back to the apartment. you open the egg a lot like a regular boiled egg, but there are juices in it that taste a lot like egg drop soup. and then if you peel off the shell, there’s like this yellow egg yolk that looks like scrambled eggs, but around that is like this ugly, gray, almost feathery…bird.
I’ll be honest, it looks downright awful, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to eat it.
But you just bite into it and eat it til it’s gone, which is what I did. It wasn’t awful, I’ve definitely eaten worse things, and I could eat it again if it was offered and it’d be fine, but I’m not by any means going to go looking for it. although if I ate it a bunch of times, it might actually start tasting good, haha.
By 4pm Christmas Day, I was pretty sure I was never going to be able to eat again. We had four lunches. all of them were good, though. We had really good vegetable and chicken lumpia, filipino spaghetti (which is way sweeter than at home), a lot of macaroni salad (which usually has like…these gelatin things in it (not like jello. jello has flavor. the gelatin people use here is flavorless) and then coconut milk, some fruits, and then cubes of cheese. I’m not the biggest fan of the cheese being in everything we eat here, haha.), we had ube ice cream, which I”m starting to get accustomed to I guess, because it tastes a lot better than it used to (it’s like yam flavored ice cream..but purple), mangoes, fried fish, and sticky rice with coconut on it..there was so much food.
we had some good lessons though on Christmas, and I”ve really enjoyed spending Christmas as a missionary and having this time to really focus the season on Christ. I’ll be really happy to spend Christmas with family again next year, but I know the way I think of and celebrate Christmas will be heavily influenced by this Christmas I spent as a missionary. I’m really grateful that I had this opportunity.
this week is New Year’s! 2014 agad, grabe naman. I’m working on thinking of some goals I have for this year, which will almost entirely be spent in the mission field, and I will also see the end of my mission in 2014. Next New Year’s will definitely have a lot of unique reflection. I’m excited for this upcoming year, though, and I know it will go quickly. I am happy to be here serving the Lord and feel so blessed to be learning so much every day.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and that you stay safe! our curfew here is early because people have been doing fireworks like crazy since it got close to Christmas, and people of course will be celebrating and being loud and crazy to celebrate the New Year. The Christmas season hasn’t really ended here, though, and I heard it lasts until at least mid-January, haha. then it’ll start back up again in August or September, haha. it’s pretty much almost Christmas again!
Remember that, as in Alma 34:33, we are to “improve our time while in this life.” as you think about the upcoming year, keep that in mind, and think of the things you want to improve upon this year. then make sure you make a plan to do something about it! one thing I’ve learned in the mission is about goal setting and effective planning. it’s great to set a long-term goal, but if we don’t set up shorter-term goals and means of accomplishing those, we’ll never accomplish our long-term goal. I know you will see miracles as you try to actively work for your goals this year.
I love you all!
Love always,
Sister Carr
DSCN0518

Balut

Balut

Balut

Balut

maligayang pasko!

magandag hapon po!
 

So great news! a member offered to let me skype at their house (which president said we could do if it was offered), so I will be able to skype you on Christmas! I’ll plan on about 10am here then christmas day, so about 7pm for you Christmas Eve. just be on your email about that time so we can work out the logistics. 🙂

 
wow Dad, it sounds like you had an adventure that second christmas in your mission! that is awesome! Christmas usually helps for the most part…there is a cultural thing here with caroling. people go around all the time and stand out in front of your gate and sing loud, off-key tagalog christmas songs until you come outside and give them money. and it’s such a part of the culture that if someone comes, you almost have no choice but to give them money. it’s expected. so we went caroling with the youth, but instead of taking the people’s money, we gave them a Book of Mormon. the caroling really helped because it gets people outside and talking to you at their gate way better than us just trying to “tao po” the doors. people usually look outside and then don’t come outside to talk to us, so the caroling helped us a lot in tracting yesterday.

 

 
Though it doesn’t feel too much like the Christmas season here in Tugue, I have been taking the opportunity to spend time learning about Jesus Christ. We went to Cauayan on Thursday for a Christmas devotional with President and Sister Rahlf, and it was wonderful! I am sooo grateful to be able to serve with the Rahlfs. I have learned so much from them. They are a wonderful blessing in my life. 

 

 
I just want everyone to remember the real reason for Christmas, which is to celebrate the birth of our Savior. It was such a long-awaited occasion–at last, the One who could give us the assurance of a path to our eternal home would be born. and so now we celebrate the fact that He was born, that He lived a perfect life, that He atoned, that He died, and that He rose again the third day. Because of Christ, we have access to the power that can help us gain eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I hope we all take time this Christmas season to kneel in reverent prayer and offer gratitude to our Heavenly Father for sending His Son, and for blessing us with the gospel in our lives. It’s never been more real to me than here in the mission field, and it is truly a message of glad tidings and great joy!

 

 
well, I am super excited to talk to you this week!!! I will see you soon!!! 😀
 
love always, 
 
Sister Carr

Hello!

Well, this week was pretty hard because we only have one progressing investigator right now, and despite our hours and hours of finding efforts last week, only one investigator came to church and none of the 30+ people we invited to the Christmas devotional showed up (besides the one investigator who went to church). so we will continue to be doing a lot of finding this week as well. 
 
We did have a miracle last week where one ward member gave us 8 referrals! however, we’re having difficulty contacting them, so we’re still working on those. hopefully at least one of them will be interested. 
 
We got to watch the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional last night! It was great. I loved Elder Nelson’s talk about Christ’s role as the Prince of Peace. I’ve been studying Christ and His life a lot this week. I don’t have much commentary about it yet, but mostly just coming to a better understanding of who Christ is, and all His many roles in our lives. It’s been wonderful to continue to grow in my relationship with my Savior. 
 
This week at zone meeting, we learned that they DID get rid of “Oyms”! or the key indicator that we count how many people we introduce the gospel to for the first time. oym’ing is kind of hard. but they changed it to ‘finding efforts,’ which I like a whole lot more, and includes oyming as well as other things that measure a lot better the efforts we make to find new investigators. the fact of the matter is most of your finding efforts don’t really yield much right away, but if we keep making those efforts, we will be able to find the people who are prepared to receive the gospel.
 
this week we will go to cauayan for a Christmas thing, so I’m excited for that! we are also going on splits this week with the STL’s.
 
To end I will just share something I learned this week while we were sharing Mosiah 2:41 with Sister Uanang, our relief society president. It says, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness…”
 
and as I was testifying of the scripture, the Spirit taught me something from it. I learned that our happiness is not dependent on the situation we have in life. It’s dependent upon our obedience to God’s commandments. We could have zero trials and still be completely miserable if we are disobedient. But on the flip side, we could have every sort of difficult trial and still be happy–because of our obedience. For we are blessed temporally and spiritually because of obedience. We just have to recognize that, and know that we can always find greater peace and joy and true happiness through our obedience to the commandments of God. that’s why He gives them to us in the first place–that’s the whole reason they exist, and our whole purpose here on earth. to be tested, to learn to be obedient, and to be happy through our obedience.
 
I love you so much!
 
Love always,
Sis Carr