Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventure of Sister Elsmore 71

Or should I say Hi? How are y'all doing? 

Sorry, I meant to write back about the last part of my mission sooner, but yah... did not happen. Not because I'm particularly too busy or anything, just tired and a bit lazy. O.o ^_- I've been chilling out here in Texas (LITERALLY!!! WHY USA?!!! WHY ARE YOU SO DANG COLD HERE!?! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE I WAS GONE!!!!???? O.o). Pretty much, I sleep, eat, sleep some more, puzzles, games, movies, go to the doctor, drawing, read, sleep some more, family bonding, etc... Its weird to get off such a high of doing ALL THE THINGS in a condensed schedule and time then drastically doing things at a slower pace with WAY MORE FREEDOM. O.o Its taking some times to adjust to not talking to a at least 20 people a day on a one on one personal basis. But, its been really good to bond with family and have some me time too. :)

Anyway, my last week as a missionary was a interesting and a AWESOME one. Reflecting, it really was cool to see how much the area had progressed and how peoples lives had or had not changed due to choosing to live the gospel. Also, realizing that the Spirit had created strong bonds between me and the ones that I was teaching. SO saying goodbye might have been harder than I thought it would have been. But at the same time, it is time. ^_^ We learned and grew from each other and developed a love for the gospel and for Jesus Christ. 
Also, people were really funny after they found out that I was going home, they were like...So this means... YOU CAN GET MARRIED NOW! 
WHAT? O.o This is your first reaction? O.o?
Then they start making up these stories in Korean drama style of my future love life with a random Filipino. 
BAH HA HA HA!!! Oh man. These people REALLY love their romance and/ or love to tease me. ^_-
And its not just the members but the investigators as well. O.o

At the baptism on Saturday before going home, we had brought 5 investigators to watch it. Roni was sitting next to me and was looking through the back of the Hymn book through the topical guide and says. 
"Sister Elsmore, ito para sa iyo" (this is for you)
Then points to the word marriage. 
ok.... Did not have to be trunky because everyone else was trunky for me. HA HA HA! 

Honoring our Fore Fathers
We went the Manila American Cemetery which was AWESOME! SO PRETTY!!! It was nice to walk around the peaceful environment and ponder about what has been accomplished in life and the sacrifices made by our fore fathers. It was here that President Gordon B. Hinckley opened up the mission of the Philippines and dedicated the last for missionary work. :) We read from the dedication prayer with President and Sister Revillo, and as one of the many thousands of missionaries that have served in the Philippines, I can definitely say that the blessing has been coming to pass. Thousands are being converted. Missionaries are teaching by the gifts of tongues (many many MANY tongues!). This work truly is a work of God.

Atlanta Sleep Over Party...well... sort of.... ^_-
So I left at 3:00AM on Wednesday, in the Philippines, which is 5:00 PM, Tuesday in Texas for the Airport. Total Flying hours:
Manilla-Tokyo Japan=4 hours
Tokyo Japan-Atlanta, Georgia=13.5 hours
Atlanta-Texas=2.5 hours

Things were going pretty smoothly until I reached Atlanta. Got there around 1pm, and found out that my flight was rescheduled for the next day due to winterly weather, but everyone was super wishy washy about everything. Like, ok MAYBE you can leave. just 20 more minutes. Plane coming. Ok plane here, waiting to find pilots. then flight attendants... Pretty much this was the problem to everything. People could not come into work because the roads were really bad. O.o However, it was fun talking to a bunch of people. ^_^ Felt like the Lord was leading me to people that need me and that I needed. ^_^

Sat next to a Filipino on the Plane from Japan to America. Talk to each other in Tagalog about life in the Philippines and she gave me some tips to survive in the United States. ^_^

Fell asleep randomly on the floor leaning against a window. A Indian family found me and started freaking out. Woke up surrounded by people and a man offered me his chair. Spent the next 30 minutes talking to one of the Indian woman about my water bottle (apparently she has been making them for the past 10 years. Huh, small world.) 

Entertained people in line for 3-4 hours with Phycology tests and talking to them about their families, dreams, ambitions, and the mission. ^_^ (collected some business cards from who are interested in the missionary work and church along the way)

Had a Sleep Over with a RM girl who used to work at the MTC. :D We talked about the mission most of the night and found a nice corner to sleep by. She then treated me a breakfast. "I don't get many opportunities to treat the missionaries, and even though its still at the end of your mission, it still counts right? 
Me, "Yah, I'm pretty sure the blessings will still count for ya! ^_-

A woman came up to me and asked, "Are you going out or going home?"
Me, "Going home"
Have you called your parents yet? Here take my phone. Call them and let them know you are all right. ^_^ 
She has a son on a mission, and we talked a bit about how having a missionary out brings TONS of blessings and missionary experiences. :)

The Gospel, Simply and Plainly...
On February 16th 2014, at Frisco 4th ward, Frisco Texas Stake, Gave my Return Missionary talk today. It was about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our part in it. I shared a comparison we often use in the Philippines of the 5 steps to hand washing clothes to the 5 steps of the Gospel. Made me finally realize I guess that this missionary chapter has come to an end and I'm starting a new chapter in my life. One of applying all of the things I learned and experienced on the mission to this next chapter in my life. :) The gospel is very simple. We follow the five steps of Faith, Repentance, Baptism (keeping our baptismal covenants), Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, over and over again. Until little by little we are perfected through Christ's Atonement and our own efforts of following Gods Plan. 

Made me realize, how important it is to Lose Ones Self in Christ. Right now I'm in a interesting part in my life where God (and everyone else for that matter ^_-) want me to rest, because I NEED to rest. For the first week and a half, I was doing it out of expectation. My heart and mind were not in it. I did not WANT to rest because of my own impatient and selfish desires to move on with life and go and do ALL THE THINGS! ^_^ However, after pondering, I had forgotten a important lesson. When your heart and mind are not in a action, even if you are doing the right thing, you will not be happy. Nor will you experience the miracle of change in your life, because your not allowing God to change your heart and mind. You have to give it all! 

Like it says in Matthew 10:39
"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

I was so obsessed with what was to my done ahead, that I forgot to enjoy the moment. Slow down, rest, and be grateful for this rare time I have to have one on one time with the Lord, my family, and myself. Which is really all that matters in the long run. :) I just need to trust the Lord at this time. Do my best to recover and enjoy the simple blessings in my life. The Lord will prepare a way. He always does. Doesn't mean that I have give up on dreams or hopes for the future, but I can take satisfaction and peace in using this opportunity to rest to prepare myself mentally, physically, and spiritually, for the things that lay ahead. Slowly, yet surely, in the Lords time and way. :)

I know that this Gospel is True. That God is our Father in Heaven and he loves us dearly. I know that Christ lives and his Atonement is real. May we continue to depend on them through this wonderful plan that they have provided for us. Love life more and little by little reach our divine potentials as heirs to the Kingdom of God. 

Love Y'all! Praying for Y'all Always!

Mandy ^_^

PS: This is REALLY THE LAST LETTER!!! ^_- Sorry, its a Novel!