And so ends March Madness

Hi! kamusta ka nga na? haha, I”m starting to learn a little ibanag. It’s insane. There are some similarities with Tagalog, but a lot of it is completely different.

Carmen was baptized on Saturday! in our ward we have had a baptism every week of march, hence, ‘march madness.’ but now it’s over, but we are preparing some more people ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so great, and she was incredibly excited. She was so prepared, and is so ready to live the gospel the best she can. She is already excited to share the gospel with her family and friends. She truly has a testimony of the gospel, and that is so wonderful to see.
Also, Sis Jensen said something pretty funny the other day. We were walking around, and it’s probably 100 degrees and we’re sweating like crazy, and she’s like, “can you IMAGINE living in this country without aircon?” and then I was about to agree before we both realized….we live in this country without aircon. Hahaha. Hooray for electric fans!
While we were out tracting the other day in Camunatan, we stopped to talk to an active member and a less-active who were just sitting outside a tindahan. The less-active says, “they’re out looking for the lost sheep!” and the active member says, “You’re one of the lost sheep!” hahaha.
Not too sure I have much else to say about this past week. Ah, wait. So we were walking down a street in San Vicente, and there was this funeral thing going on. Well…what usually happens when someone dies is they print a giant banner with the person’s face on it, hang it up outside their house, put up like a…tent thing…like those things you set up at soccer tournaments to create shade…can’t remember what those things are called, haha. anyways, they put one of those up, put tables underneath it, and all these people come over and gamble. This goes on for at least a few days, but usually about a week, people just sit outside and gamble. However, with this one, it was unusual because nobody was outside gambling on this particular day. There were a few people sitting outside at the tables just talking. One of them was a member, so we said hello and started talking to him. And he does the greatest thing. Usually when we meet members as we walk around and they are talking to nonmembers, they will say, “these are the missionaries from my church!” and then look at us like, “okay, go ahead and share the gospel now.” and that creates a really awkward situation for us and for their friend. But this time, the brother introduced us, and then introduced the message that we share and connected it to their specific situation, which then allowed us to easily testify of the message and set a return appointment with someone who was actually willing to listen. It was so simple, but because he had enough courage to share his own testimony first, it really opened up the way for us to share in a comfortable way our testimonies with one of the people there. I was really grateful for that.
We have a brother in our ward who has cancer. He had his second round of chemo on Saturday. We visited the other day, but couldn’t stay because we didn’t have a fellowshipper and he was the only one there. We gave him a conference talk to read…then we went back on Sunday…but we both thought his daughter would be home so we could teach, but she wasn’t, and we felt really bad because he wanted us to teach him so badly and we couldn’t. It was our fault for not preparing, and I felt really bad. And I was just humbled seeing how humble he was, and how much he relies on the Lord at this big trial in his life. I can’t even explain the feeling, but it was immensely humbling.
I know the Lord wants us to learn how to rely on Him completely. I know the Lord has a plan for each of us. His plan, His great eternal Plan of Redemption, is so much bigger than any of us know. We must learn why Christ is important. We must learn to become like Him. We live in a time that is truly incredible. A time foreseen by prophets since the beginning of time. I never realized how much of the Book of Mormon was about the Second Coming, but….pretty much the whole thing is. the Book of Mormon is written for our day, I testify of that truth. Read it and ponder it…we have no greater help available to us than the words of God that were spoken for us in the last days. It’s amazing! I am so grateful for it.
magimuguk ka! ๐Ÿ™‚ take care. iddu ka!
nagmamahal,
Sister Carr
my lovely 9 month mark picture! haha. that's a piece of some chocolate bar Sis Jensen's mom sent her...apparently it's "the world's greatest chocolate" that willow valley middle school was selling for a fundraiser. and the paper is all weird because I was already holding the chocolate in my right hand (and it got melty really fast...melty to the point where it was going to drip out of my fingers) so I had to write the paper with my left hand. but hey. happy 9 months ;)

my lovely 9 month mark picture! haha. that’s a piece of some chocolate bar Sis Jensen’s mom sent her…apparently it’s “the world’s greatest chocolate” that willow valley middle school was selling for a fundraiser. and the paper is all weird because I was already holding the chocolate in my right hand (and it got melty really fast…melty to the point where it was going to drip out of my fingers) so I had to write the paper with my left hand. but hey. happy 9 months ๐Ÿ˜‰

one is us with Vian, one of our awesome investigators. She has just been boarding here and is going home this week, and we have to refer her to the Elders there :( we're sad and will miss her!

one is us with Vian, one of our awesome investigators. She has just been boarding here and is going home this week, and we have to refer her to the Elders there ๐Ÿ˜ฆ we’re sad and will miss her!

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9 months!

Hello!

Well, the big news this week is…this week Sis Miller and I will both reach our 9-month mark, our halfway mark! that is so crazy! time is going so quickly and I know we still have so much left to do. It’s cool having batch (someone who came in at the same time as you..people here use the word ‘batch’ for everything, including graduating classes) as a housemate (Sis Miller) especially for big…landmark? points in your mission. but after this week, we’ll be on the downhill slope! that is so insane!
This week, Nichole Kim, Roselle, and Rose Marie were baptized! they are so cute, and the baptism was awesome. President and Sister Rahlf even came to watch it! They were also confirmed on Sunday. It is always a relief when they get confirmed because it means it’s complete. then you can start working on all the recent convert stuff.
This week I got kinda sick for a bit there…I have to be more careful about not having the fan blow on my face during the night. Cold, wet air all night long is bad. It’s hard because it’s so HOT! so we didn’t quite work as much as we would’ve liked to this week, and we got punted a lot, but we still had a pretty good week.
We started teaching an English class, and that’s been really fun so far. We are also beginning to teach mission and temple prep in our ward.
Not a whole lot else really happened this week…oh, I sang in sacrament with Kaye Ann, one of the SA in our ward. Haha we had to tell people not to clap afterward. I don’t think musical numbers happen too often. But it was good!
We started doing our Book of Mormon reading challenge this week! 60-day challenge. we are already into 2nd Nephi. We are supposed to circle every reference to a name of Christ, and then in one color highlight all His words, and in another, anything that references His mission. I’m only 6 chapters into 2 Nephi, and I’ve circled over 1,000 references to Christ. The Book of Mormon truly testifies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I have learned so much about Him already, and about the work of the Lord–the work of salvation! Also, so much about the last days and the Second Coming. I know all of it is real, and it is all true. My testimony is growing every day, and I know the gospel is the only way for us all to be really happy and truly free. The gospel liberates us from every form of captivity. Christ empowers us to become something wonderful. And Heavenly Father’s plan is perfect for each one of us. He tries to reach us and speak to us every day. Are we listening to Him? Do we see His hand in our lives? I know now more than ever before that if we open our ears and our eyes, we will see Christ in every aspect of our lives.
I love you all so much!
Love,
Sister Carr

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Nichole Kim, Roselle, and Rose Marie

Nichole Kim, Roselle, and Rose Marie

 

March 10

 

Hello!

This week was pretty good! one of the best parts was Joshua’s baptism! He is 14 years old, and his brother Jenick was baptized just a few months ago. Jenick was able to baptize Joshua, and it was a really great experience! ๐Ÿ™‚
We have three more baptisms coming up on Saturday, of Nichole Kim, Roselle, and Rose Marie. They are all 8 years old, the adorable granddaughters of one of our members. They are all really excited to be baptized. I think all their parents are less active, so hopefully we can teach their families as well.
We have another baptism on the 22! (march madness, anyone?) and it’s Carmen’s. Carmen is wonderful! We had this experience with her on sunday at church that was….really inspiring to me, I guess, because of her faith and her understanding of how important commandments are.ย a member from the other ward walked outside where we were sitting with Carmen, and I guess they are friends and they started talking. Carmen asked her friend where she was going, and the friend said to go buy some treats for the primary kids. We had just taught Carmen about keeping the Sabbath Day holy a few days before, and she said, “bawal iyan!” you can’t do that, that’s not allowed! and the lady made some excuses about how the primary kids were hungry, and Carmen continued to insist to her how important it was to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and the lady kind of awkwardly makes some more excuses, and Carmen asks her, “Who are you going to follow?” and the lady got quiet and then just made some more awkward excuses and went to buy the snacks. Carmen was so confused as to why anyone would go buy something when it is not in line with the commandment. I hope she continues to grow in her faith and dedication to the Lord. she is so excited to be baptized and to make that covenant with her Father in Heaven.
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We had an AWESOME lesson with a less-active brother the other day. His daughter is preparing for a mission and was working with us, and all of our plans fell through. She said her dad was home and that we should go teach him. We got there, and he was trying everything to get out of us giving him a lesson. But we were able to start. We didn’t really know what to teach, but I found a scripture from my personal study a few days prior that I thought would be good. It was Helaman 8:14-15, which talked about Moses and the brazen serpent, and how all that looked to it might live, and then compared it to Christ, how He was lifted up on the cross, and that all who look to Him will live, “even unto life eternal.” We testified of the love Christ has for him, and how Christ just wants him to look to him and be healed, and receive life. the scripture really hit him, and he cried. He talked about how he knew he needed to change and when he prayed at the end, he prayed he could be committed to changing and becoming strong again in his faith. the Spirit was so strong, and his daughter’s many prayers were answered that night. It was a really special thing to be a part of.ย 
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There are so many miracles around us each day. I know the Savior is there with open arms for all of us, if we will just look to Him.ย 
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I love you!
ย 
Sis Carr
An excerpt from Amber’s letter to me:
We found out there is a dirt track here, and we ran on it today, and I got to run two whole miles uninterrupted and without people yelling things at us the whole time, and without all the weird smells everywhere, haha. it was so great. man, I haven’t really ran for a loooooooong time, though, so it was definitely the slowest two miles I ever ran, but it really felt good.
We’ve been cooking lots of vegetables because Sis Osteniane is really good at cooking and teaches us a lot of things. It’s super helpful, and way nice to eat vegetables all the time instead of all the other random stuff we were eating.
I can’t believe things are warming up again for you guys! haha it’s funny to hear about the seasons changing but never feeling or seeing it. time here pretty much feels like…it’s still the same as when I got here. it’s weird. but it’s nice to never be cold or have to wear a jacket or something as a missionary.
Us at the Lleva's for Sis Jensen's birthday last week. Super fun! :)

Us at the Lleva’s for Sis Jensen’s birthday last week. Super fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

Joshua's baptism! :) Joshua and Jenick Manaligod :)

Joshua’s baptism! ๐Ÿ™‚ Joshua and Jenick Manaligod ๐Ÿ™‚

Weird well area behind our house. I've never looked down the well....I guess Sis Jensen's old companion looked down there and there are snakes and other creepy things down there, so....I just didn't want to look.

Weird well area behind our house. I’ve never looked down the well….I guess Sis Jensen’s old companion looked down there and there are snakes and other creepy things down there, so….I just didn’t want to look.

Filtered water vs. unfiltered water. We had to filter our water to do our laundry this morning in those buckets.

Filtered water vs. unfiltered water. We had to filter our water to do our laundry this morning in those buckets.

A lizard and a birthday cake

Hey!

So this past week was interesting. We got punted all day yesterday and taught just one lesson. the other night we came home for dinner, and Sis Jensen opens the fridge door and SCREAMS. I run in and to my surprise, there is a lizard in our refrigerator. aweeesomee. So we take some stuff out of the fridge and flick it til it jumped out of the fridge and crawled up the wall. of course there was more screaming involved with that adventure, but it was definitely unusual! although I would be more than happy if I never found a reptile again in the fridge.
great news! our investigator, Joshua, passed his baptismal interview! he is 14, his brother Jenick was baptized in december, and will be able to baptize Joshua next week. He is so excited, and we’re so excited for him!
These crazy miracles happened this week. Friday night a bunch of our appointments fell through and we still had a half hour before we could go home for dinner, and we didn’t really know what to do. There is a street by our house where all the food vendors come out at night (they barbeque and fry like…chicken, hot dogs, pork, isaw (chicken intestines), all sorts of things. there’s always lots of people there, so we decided to go street contacting, even though we were both pretty nervous at the idea. we start going over there and we saw one of the less actives we have been teaching. we talked to him, and he introduced us to his sister. After that, Sis Jensen was buying some barbeque pork while trying to attempt to oym (talk to) the vendor, but the vendor wouldn’t even look at her. haha hate that. however, while she was doing that, I started talking to another vendor who was surprised to learn that I speak tagalog, and we oym’ed him and set an appointment with him for Saturday. Saturday comes, and we think he isn’t showing up, but we still had to be at the church for some other appointments, and to our surprise, a half hour late, he came! we taught him and it was really great, but we found out he lives in the elder’s area. his name is Mario. we invited him to church to the time of the elder’s ward so we could introduce him to them. Sunday came, and we waited and waited but had to go teach in relief society, but later we came out and were waiting to go to Sunday school, and he walked in right then! we took him upstairs to the chapel and introduced him to the elders. it was really cool, and we were sooooo excited.
Another of our investigators, Carmen, has a situation where she and her husband aren’t actually married because the guy has a first wife and family but isn’t divorced (because divorce doesn’t exist here). she’s been progressing really well, but we knew there would be an issue with the baptism. the AP’s said she could be baptized, just not go to the temple…but for us, that wasn’t good enough, because temple blessings are so important. so we taught them the Law of Chastity. Brother knows because he is a less active, endowed returned missionary. we suggested they talk to the bishop. they did! yesterday. they went and he said they would have to separate for her to be baptized and have to get things worked out so they could get married…it’s trippy. but we talked to her yesterday, and she understands so well how important temple blessings are and how important baptism is, and she wants so badly to really be clean when she is baptized…she is willing to be separated until they can get things to be worked out for them to be married. her faith is so strong and it was amazing to see that.
It’s Sister Jensen’s birthday today! Bro Lleva has a cake shop, and Sis Miller and Osteniane secretly ordered her a cake from them…with her face on it in fondant. seriously..so hilarious, haha. maybe it wouldn’t have been as funny if I didn’t have weird missionary humor, but we laughed really hard. we’re having a great time here in Ilagan ๐Ÿ™‚
I love you all!
love,
Sis Carr
Sis Jensen's awesome birthday cake

Sis Jensen’s awesome birthday cake

Me and baby Kim :) the bishop's daughter who is soooooo cuuuuuute!!!

Me and baby Kim ๐Ÿ™‚ the bishop’s daughter who is soooooo cuuuuuute!!!

jollibee…bukid….flower mountain!

ui! ‘musta kayo lahat a?

Ha, hope you read the subject of this email like the map from dora the explorer, because we went adventuring today!
We went to Santa Victoria today, walked through some caves (with a couple tight holes to crawl through), hiked to a waterfall through this jungle/bukid(rice field)/corn field/mountain place, and held a giaaaant python! (aren’t you proud of me?) it was super fun to just go somewhere beautiful and hike. my feet are still soaking wet from the river, but it was a blast. probably the first real activity I’ve had here in the last 7 months, so I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
The pressing news of the day is that transfer day is this week….and neither of us are being transferred!!!!!!! It doesn’t mean much to any of you, but I’m STOKED. I never expected Sis Jensen and I to have more than one cycle together, but I’m incredibly excited to work with her for six more weeks. the last six weeks were the fastest of my LIFE! Our housemates/wardmates, Sis Miller and Sis Osteniane, ย aren’t being transferred either, so this cycle is going to be AWESOME. Sis Miller is my batch, so we will celebrate our halfway mark together in a few weeks! It’s also Sis Jensen’s birthday next week and so we’re all excited to still be together for that.
In terms of the work, we’ve been doing a lot to try to help this ward become part of “the hastening.” we’ve started to completely reform the coordination meetings with the ward missionaries, and I think it’s going to help everyone a lot. Everyone’s intentions are in the right place I think, but it’s just a matter of channeling everyone’s enthusiasm the same direction so that we can all be unified and work together.
We also got these new family history booklet things for the people here. they’ve started handing them out at church. they are really awesome. it’s even cooler because Sis Miller’s dad is one of the people involved with FamilySearch and he came up with the idea, and she got to see them passed out at church, which was really exciting for her. the people here have gotten really excited about family history recently, and especially the youth, as they are preparing to go to Manila for a temple trip in April. we are so blessed to have so many temples so close by.
This week we had a lesson where we were teaching a primary-aged girl named Nichole Kim, plus some of her cousins. Their grandpa is a solid member and so he is always in the lessons with us. Their grandpa was talking to them about something or other for like 5 minutes straight, when suddenly he starts singing, “In Our Lovely Deseret” in Tagalog. at first we were just a little surprised (although it’s not unusual for people to sing parts of songs…or whole songs…in their sacrament talks..) and then Nichole Kim, the little girl joined in, “mga bata umaawit…” and they sang the whole song together and just seemed so happy in that moment. it was really a sweet moment and now we’re trying to learn that song in Tagalog, too. ๐Ÿ™‚
Ha, there was this other moment where Sis Jensen was trying to ask our 12-yr old investigator what she remembered from her reading about the pre-mortal life, but what she ended up asking was, “What do you remember from the pre-mortal life?” haaaa. the girl’s face was priceless as she was like, uhhh…nothing…ahahaha. then I had to reword the question and made sure she knew that none of us can remember the pre-mortal life. hahaha. the communication issues we have sometimes are really funny.
So things are going really well and we are enjoying the work. it isn’t easy, but we do our best and we see miracles every day. I love continuing to learn about the Atonement and about the plan that God has for us, and continuing to strengthen my testimony of the gospel, so that I can share it with more conviction to others. I know this is the Lord’s work! I know He loves us all so much.
love,
Sis Carr
Tingnan nyo sa ahas! gaaah haha. mabigat siya eh! look at the snake! he's really heavy..

Tingnan nyo sa ahas! gaaah haha. mabigat siya eh!
look at the snake! he’s really heavy..

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it’s your time to shine po!

Hello!!

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Grabe naman, we are beginning week 5 of our cycle already, which means next week is transfer week again already. we are dreading it. I think one of us will be transferred, and I am going to miss Sister Jensen soooo much. She is a wonderful companion, and an amazing person, and I learn so much from her all the time! Even despite our many weaknesses with the language and culture, we’ve been able to see so many miracles and really enjoy the past few weeks. I’m so grateful we have been able to be companions, and we are going to make this week awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚
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This past week was pretty good! we went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders last Tuesday and Wednesday. It was kind of stressful getting out to Gamu. The STL’s gave us directions, but she tried to give them to us in English…which meant there was a miscommunication and we got off the jeepney in the wrong place, haha. So me and sis Jensen are just standing in the middle of the highway in the middle of the bukid (fields). then we had to get a trycie to go the rest of the way. it was an adventure. the splits were good, and I learned a lot from Sis Manguil. She is going home next week, and she is a really hardworking missionary, so it was a great learning opportunity for me. It was kinda different being with a Filipina again, but nice to not have that communication barrier there.
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Valentine’s day! haha it was sooo great. we had weekly planning since it was Friday, and then we went to work. pretty much got punted for a while, and then we went to the ward family home evening. It was hilariouuuus. we had an opening song and lesson and things, and then they had games. funny games for the primary (all the primary there was our investigators) and then the youth, etc.. super funny. I really enjoyed it. we had some investigators come as well and they enjoyed it, too. this party is where the subject line of this email came from. they always have someone emcee these sorts of parties and it’s a riot. another thing here is when you play games, you go til you have a few losers, and make them do a punishment, usually a dance or song. so another one of my favorite quotes from the night was, “mga losers, up on the stage!” ha. taglish cracks me up. another person we met asked us why we were “evangelizing” even though it was so hot. I think I like that word better than proselyting.ย 
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In other news, my english is turning into taglish. sometimes I can’t believe the things I try to make into words, haha. it’s easy to make english words into tagalog–people do it all the time here–“winiwork-out,” “priniprovide,” “mag_(insert verb here)” “makapag__” . but when I reverse it, it gets weird. last week I tried to write “re-ulit-ed” (ulit means to repeat) in the area book, and this week I said, “Did he church last sunday?” and “some of my learnings…” oops. haha it’s getting kinda bad!ย 
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This week I was doing language study, melting my brain trying to read the tagalog version of the Liahona, when I get to the last page and realize the article was written by Tiffany Starr’s mom!! haha! It was so great. I then tried my best to read her article, but it was in Tagalog and was really hard…but I’m pretty sure I got most of it ๐Ÿ™‚ made my day, though!
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We had a lot of first lessons yesterday with some referrals and some oym’s, so hopefully we will have more progressing investigators soon! we have been very blessed–especially as we do our best to work hard. I’m really grateful for the Lord’s tender mercies in this work.
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This week I studied more about charity and the love of the Savior for each of us. I am grateful to know that He loves us perfectly and that through His love, we can become the people that our Heavenly Father designed us to become. I also had to give a spontaneous talk in sacrament meeting. I spoke on obedience because I’ve been studying the stripling warriors in my personal study. I know with all my heart that obedience brings BLESSINGS. the promise in Mosiah 2:41 is that we are blessed spiritually AND temporally through obedience. I knew as I spoke that whatever our needs are–temporal or spiritual–they can be met as we are obedient. the Lord takes care of us. obedience is so powerful and we can all do a little better each day. those blessings are rich, and the Lord wants to give them to us.ย 
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I love you all!!
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love,ย 
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Sister Carr