Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care

I don't even know where to begin with this week, it's probably been the most eventful week of the MTC so far! We just came out of our last temple session for 17 months and I was more than a little hesitant to leave. I staying in there probably an extra hour than I really should of but I know that I will be uplifted throughout my mission through the work and the time will go quickly until I can be there again. We went proselyting in Quezon City again this week. The investigator we taught our lesson to was the man! He gave us a ginormous bag of spiky fruit and told us the Book of Mormon was true because he took Moroni's challenge. Can't wait to get some of my own investigators to teach!
This is our last week here in the MTC and we are all more than a little devastated to be leaving, but also super excited to get into the field and start the real work. One of the things I'm going to have to get used to is growing to love people too much and then having to immediately leave them behind. So sad, but I know that I will see all these people who I love again, especially Sister Rea who is now my permanent twin. This week was a spiritual feast! We watched a fireside Elder Holland did at the Provo MTC which basically changed my life. I've never been so aware of all my failures and shortcomings and felt so strong and prepared at the same time, but he tends to have that kind of amazing effect on anybody who listens to him speak. I also have a deeper love and respect for President and Sister Beck who are like our super parents here. President Beck was talking to the whole MTC about handwashing the other day and was getting the 5 year old granson of the general authority who was present to help him demonstrate how to use the alcohol sanitiser. At the end he goes "Happy 5th Birthday kid, here's come alcohol!" The man.
In other funny news, we have leadership counsel once a week where all the district leaders and us give reports on our groups. One of the Philippino Elders reported that his district had been disobedient and were flushing their toilet paper down the toilet but he had worked hard and gotten them to stop. Another one reported that they hate using the toilet paper and would rather use their hands. President shut them down pretty quickly and we were all on the floor laughing. It was at that moment that I realised why were not allowed to shake hands with anyone in the MTC. We all got mission rings and the Elders are so excited they've started proposing to me and singing to me in the lunch room about 12 times a day, until someone yells BAWAL and shuts them down. I don't know if you guys will even find these stories funny or this is me just being really really easily entertained. Can't stop laughing here though, always something hilarious going on.
One other lesson I learned this week is that being on a mission doesn't make you a good missionary. As leaders we've had to deal with way too many issues with sisters in our zone that just shouldn't really happen, and even we as leaders have to assess ourselves daily and pick out where we are going wrong. But I can testify that the mission will change you in a million and one ways for the better and as long as you put in the work you will go home exactly who you want to be. Last night I layed in bed for ages thinking about how much I never ever want my mission to end, and I haven't even got to the field and seen the real miracles yet. Its one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced when I start speaking in Tagalog I don't even know and words come to my mind I've never before spoken in order to tell and investigator what they most need to know. This work is real, and we all need to be doing it whether were out in the field or in our own houses. It's incredible hearing from you all every week about who's getting baptised, people getting their mission calls and other people having amazing experiences. I know as you draw closer to the Lord He will bring you the further light and knowledge you desire.
So I'm about to go cry my eyes out with my class for our last P-day here in Manila. I hope to hear all about whats going on from you all. There's nothing like seeing all your emails and your letters arrive here. I wanna hear from you all so write me please even if its just a couple of sentences, all mail is good mail! Send me pictures too! I haven't taken too many pictures here so enjoy this one of a kangaroo and an emu having a chat.
Mahal po kayo,
Mga guapo at maganda mga tao!
Kita kits
Sister McKim

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight.

To the loveliest of people,
This week man, every week is insane here I don't even know where to begin! We went proselyting for the first time!  We went to Quezon City and did trade offs with the missionaries there, I was with a Sister Andrews for San Francisco, she was the loveliest thing! Shes only been in the field for seven weeks but somehow between the two of us we managed fluent Tagalog, true miracles! We met with one investigator whos reading the Book of Mormon and her mother and sister joined in too! We had them all reading their own copies and praying, so good! And at the end the grandma gave us like 6 referalls of people she wanted us to go teach, so good! I'll obviously never get to teach them, but I'm waiting anxiously for an email from Sister Andrews to see how they go. On our way to the other appointment we could see people staring at us two blonde chicks walking down the street so we would stop for chats, teach some of the Restoration, hand out a pamphlet and invite them to church. It was almost too easy, probably just a lucky day but I have no complaints. We met these three men on the street that pulled out a bench for us and just sat there and listened to our every word. The longer I spoke Tagalog the more excited they got, then I told them I'd only been here for three weeks and it blew their minds. Yep, living the dream. We talked to this guy for half an hour, his family are members in Adelaide! The Reyes family he said, I don't know them but he said they want him to go to church. He was mega funny and said he was searching for the truth but didn't believe us when we said we had it, until I gave him the hard word and he gave in and invited us over to his house on Sunday. SUCCESS! Apparently thats my missionary style, I basically don't take no for an answer and then eventually they say yes and realise they actually are loving the church after all! Serious win. One of the other elders in our group Elder Mo'unga taught with Elder Attwood, Robbie and Emily's cousin! They had been struggling with an investigator who was supposed to get baptised last week but wasn't actually sure if he believed in the church. Mo'unga busted out this lesson out of nowhere in fluent Tagalog and committed him to be baptised on the spot. MIND BLOWN! Miracles all over the place here, and we were only out there for a couple of hours!

I've met about a hundred more missionaries from Fiji who know and rave about Manasseh, Brother Garcia in the kitchen always gives me updates on Jared Paton who was his trainer, and everyone just knows everyone from here, the church is seriously way too small, which is why we need to make it bigger!
So my advice for all you preparing missionaries is, don't worry that missions are hard. I remember that being a big thing for me. I'd be like, I don't want to have to work hard all day every day with no break and never get to chill and blah blah. No. Don't think like that. I'd say the word is challenging, but its you challenging yourself. You love your area and the people and the work so much that you put pressure on yourself to achieve the best you can in such a small amount of time. There will be trials along the way but nothing more than real life, and at least when you're here you know you have the Lord on your side a hundred percent of the time and that you can do anything as long as you beleive it enough. Sounds like a soppy movie, but its true. This is living the dream. GET OUT HERE ASAP GUYS! Can't wait for all your mission emails and to hear your crazy stories. Been getting so many emails so thank you all, every little thing makes me so happy! Tell those people whos emails I don't have to get off their bums and write me, and all letters from now on go to my Laoag address!
Love you all, remember who you are and what you stand for.
And remember that anything you do that isn't furthering the work of the Lord is a complete and utter waste of time and you need to get your life together.
Mahal po kayo!!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Nearer, my God, to thee

Dearest Friends and Family,
Having just left the Temple about 20 minutes ago, I'm literally about to burst open with joy as I read your emails! You all are the best, you had a part in changing my life and I hope I can have a little part in changing yours. All of you just need to get on a mission asap, I already don't ever want to go home, I don't think its possible to be this happy all the time anywhere else.
So I've been waiting for that moment when my bad Tagalog haunts me and I say something terrible to someone, I just didn't think it would come this early into the mission. We were teaching our investigator the Plan of Salvation pretty impromptu as we went in with the intent to teach about something else, but she asked us what her purpose in life was so we were like, here goes nothing! It was all going well, even I was impressing myself with the words I was saying, until it got to teaching about the spirit world. What I meant to say was, 'when we die...' but what I actually said was 'when we kill you...'. She freaked out then asked if thats what we meant, and I was like 'Opo, opo!' meaning yes. Then she freaked again and I realised what was happening and was like no no! And started screaming the word for death in Tagalog, which didn't make it better. We eventually realised what was going on and corrected it and then we were all laughing about it, maybe she was nervous laughing, nobody knows. Anyway, we still got invited back again so its all good apparently! The words death and killed came up too many times in lessons over the next couple days so I made sure I was using the right one. Awkies as, but great times.
I must tell you all a little story. I recieved a revelation that I was to learn piano for my mission, I think a few of you know the whole story so ask me one day if you want to know the whole thing. In the nine months between deciding to go on a mission and leaving for my mission I actually attended a total of one piano lesson. My disobedience has already come back to haunt me as literally no missionaries in the whole MTC can play the piano, so when there was no leaders at our Fireside that could either, guess who was assigned! It was only a little bit terrible, but everyone loved it. I promptly went to the distrubution centre and bought an easy play piano Hymn book and practice them whenever I can. So my advice to you is, don't ever ignore a revelation, or you will be filled with regret and have to awkwardly fail at piano in front of a lot of people.
Being a Sister Trainer is way harder work that I ever thought it would be in the MTC. You'd think because everyone here is a missionary that obedience wouldn't be a problem and that people would get along and love each other? Not always hey. Dramas all over the place. Sometimes it feels like I'm an EFY counsellor and constantly having to tell people off and prowl the halls at nighttime to make sure people don't sneak off. Other than those issues, everyone here is great and has great desires. Theres just a lot of young kids who haven't finished growing up yet, but I don't doubt that that will happen quickly, and having said that, my District Leader is 18 and my companion is 19 and they're the best examples of missionaries that I can imagine.
This place, man. I have never laughed so much in my life. I have never loved people so much. I am learning more and more about this Gospel and my Saviour every day. Word to the pre-mish kids especially, and to everyone who hasn't. Read Our Search for Happiness, read Our Heritage and when you're mentally prepared to process some big words and deep doctrines, read Jesus the Christ. Theres a reason these are the only books were allowed to have out here besides the scriptures, because in all of our time out here will still never be able to understand enough of them, so we must do our best.
I love you all, and I want you all to be happy so I exhort you all to be your best selves, to feast upon the words of Christ, to love your fellow man and to not waste any time.
And laugh and cry and tell somebody you love them at least once a day.
Love always,
Sister McKim

Sweet friends and family!
This week has been incredible! The only way I can think to describe it is this: the hours feel like minutes, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like minutes. Weird right. It feels like we've been living here for years, I can barely even think what home its like anymore! Except thats its filled with amazing loving people. Sappy I know but I only speak the truth! The food is much improved! There is still rice for literally every single meal but we now have a higher abundance of ice cream, cupcakes and other fun things. We had pasta night, taco night and burger night this week too so really cant complain, except that we might all get real fat, but, yolo! Its pretty random though because its never what it seems. The bread is the most sugary thing on the menu, the fruit tastes like nothing, and they'll give us fries but then cover them in sticky melted sugar, or give us spring rolls for breakfast, or sausage rolls filled with brown sugar. I've started this thing where whenever we walk into the dining room I decide what it is and pretend I'm eating that. When we have weird noodles I just pretend its Pad Thai, and when its weird vegetable pancakes I just pretend its veggie burgers, and so forth. Makes it legit. I'm only a little bit sick now which is good! Rea and I got matching illnesses and we get sick on an off at the same time of day. We finish each others sentences. I swear we share a brain.
We have made huge progress with the language. Its incredible what you can say in a lesson without actually knowing it. The gift of tongues is real and I can testify of that! Yesterday 3 of the Elders had a real investigator walk in off the street and they taught her an entire lesson in fluent Tagalog. Afterwards they couldn't even recall what they said or how they said it, or speak those words again. I get goosebumps when I think about it. The spirit is so present here! I could pray and bear my testimony in Tagalog within the first few days and yesterday we taught the whole Plan of Salvation! Elder Ramsay was a boss at the language, he left on Wednesday and I miss him already. He was literally the MTC's favourite person, but having said that, out district gets twice as much work done without him bursting randomly into our room twenty times a day gabbing away in Tagalog. He's probably the most committed person to language learning here!
We watched a devotional with President Bednar on Sunday night which changed my life. Its incredidible that the more you learn the more you realise how much stuff thats said by general authorities just goes over your head when you've not ready to hear it. We had a Tagalog testimony meeting after and we all cried. This place is changing us before we go out there to change other peoples lives. President Misalucha of the MTC presidency gave a talk about things we should know about the Philippines and how rediculous the language is. We are learning proper Tagalog here which might not even be understood by the locals who speak street Tagalog, and they can just make stuff up and their own culture will understand it. Apparently all you really need to say is one syllable per word, so if you're asking if the elevator you're in is going down, the question you would ask is "Ba ba ba ba?" and if the answer is yes they say "Ba ba ba!". I know right. If thats all I have to say I don't know why we have to stay here for 6 weeks but :-) I hope you all got to see the Missionary Devotional! If you haven't watch it now! Literally our entire district knew people in the video. My Oklahoma stake President Boman is in it, hes the man! The sister missionary in Florida is a girl heres best friend and we ALL spotted people we knew from the MTC in the audience. The world is so small hey. Hey so, there is an Elder Cava from Fiji who knows Manasseh, an brother in the kitchen who served with Jared Paton, my companions brothers served with Imps and Poomba, theres a sister from Kirabus (can't remember her name right now) who knows Austin Bogaert and Lachlan Thomas, and she said Casper served in her ward and threw away her dads cigarettes. I don't know if Caspar knows but he didnt stop then, but he later on stopped because of that! So good!
Being a sister trainer is hard hard work. We thought it would be smooth sailing but there has been an unprecedented amount of dramas and sickness and its taking up a lof of our time and energy, but Sister Rea and I feel blessed that we were chosen to help these sisters. We have learned a lot of things. I was reading in my patriarchal blessing this week, and I previously hasn't thought there was anything about serving a mission at all, but as I read I found many insights relating to this exact time. And when I need more info I read Sister Rea's, because were literally the same person and hers is like 5 pages long.
One final word for you all. This week the thing that has hit me the most is that this work isn't about us. I'm not on a mission for me, I'm on it for the people, and it just so happens that this is the best experience I have ever had and I'm learning heaps. THIS IS THE TIME. We are so close to the end, the war is coming and we can either be part of the army and fight for it or we can sit back and let other people drag us along with them. Don't be one of those people. If you haven't prayed about a mission, do it. Unless you get a solid no, you need to come out here. You will never be happier, you will never be more fulfilled, and you're life will change in a million ways for the better. We see miracles every day and we're still in the MTC, we haven't even hit the field yet and started the real work! I can't even explain in words the happiness I feel here so I hope you're feeling it from me! Get everyone out on missions that can go. Get everyone active that you know. If you're number one focus in life isn't for the benefit of eternity thats a day wasted. Remember I love you all and remember how right I am about things all the time, so listen to me please. Save souls guys, even if the first one is your own.
Alam ko po na totoo Simbahan ni Jesucristo. Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa ebanghelyo at pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo. Dasal araw-aray. Mahal kita.
So much love
Sister McKim