Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas, curses and other shenanigans

A million and one stories from the week,

- The commitment curse continues! So every time I go to commit someone
to something important, something bad happens to drive the spirit
away, eg baby farts, dead bugs in my eyes, dogs breaking their legs in
bamboo chairs, kids faceplanting the concrete, but this one is
probably the worst one of all. We were teaching on the porch the dad
of a lot of our RC's, and hes the critical one because once we get him
we really are gonna start baptising the rest of the families up there,
plus hes only home one afternoon a week if were lucky. So he was
really feeling the spirit, I had just borne testimony and was about to
ask him to be baptised. We all sit in a big circle around the porch,
and the two year old grandson walks into the middle of the circle,
just pops a squat and poops right in the middle of everyone. I was
willing to ignore it. I continued, but it truly ponged so so bad, and
everyone pulled their shirts up over their mouths and ran away from
the porch except us and him, and hes doing his best to be polite, and
I'm doing my best to continue, but it reached a point where I couldn't
have my mouth open anymore. It was bad. Were still working on him now.
On that note, they don't have nappies here for kids so they either
just go straight into their shorts or pop a squat wherever they are. I
can't lie and say I haven't been hit by spashback more than a few
times. The worst is when you're teaching a mum holding a little kid
and all of a sudden she looks down and her shirt is all wet with baby
pee. Most of the time they just carry on, doesn't seem to phase them.
- All Christmas people kept inviting us over for Tupig and were so
excited for it. Everyone I asked I double checked to ask if they were
actually talking about having two pigs at their Christmas parties and
they all said yes. I was super disapointed to find out it was this
coconut rice cake thing made in banana leaves, until I had it and it
was delicious.
- Christmas Eve we went on lockdown at 5pm and had a lot of time to
kill. We bought a brownie mix and made experimental cupcakes in the
toaster oven of every single mix in we could find in our house. They
were all delicious and we have struggled to exercise ever since. On
Christmas Day we skyped our families which was so good! Afterwards we
went out for lunch, and in true 'A Christmas Story' style, I had
Chinese food on Christmas.
- The husbands...have all hit little roadblocks as they all went away
to visit their families over Christmas and quitting smoking has been
hard. I'm hoping to see at least one of them baptised before I leave
but they have to go a month with no slip ups so when we see them
tonight we will find out how they've done. Fingers crossed and a ton
of prayers for them.
- Our 17 year old has quit smoking and was looking solid for baptism.
I think I mentioned last week that he had a second girlfriend that
came to church. Turns out he actually has 6 girlfriends and one of
them is pregnant. Sooo. Baptism isn't looking close on the horizon no
matter how much he wants to straighten his life out. Sad result of not
having come from a loving family, so take note!
- There is the sweetest old man in our ward, hes 87 and he was born
without fingers but he is this rediculously amazing carpenter, plus he
can't read, he can't hear and he can only speak Ilocano. He comes to
church by himself as hes the only member in his family and he keeps a
pocketful of candy to give to the kids at church. We were talking
about how hungry we were just as he walks out and reaches into his
pocket and give us each a box of fish broth seasoning cubes that
expired in 2008. And then three candies to the girl standing with us.
Great. But hilarious. Hes so nice.
- New Years Eve we go on lockdown at 5 again but are gonna get zero
sleep as our street already resembles a Ministry of Sound club on a
regular day, let alone New Years so thats gonna be fun. They've been
selling fireworks on every street for the past week and groups of tiny
kids have been buying them and lighting them off in the middle of the
streets. There's no sort of safety restrictions here and kids are just
yolo. Its awesome though, and were jealous, sort of.
- I realised the other day that convention is on right  now and I
couldn't care less that I'm missing it. I love it here and life is
good, and were doing work with eternal consequences. I love my

And I love you all. Peace be with you,
Until next week!
Sister McKim

Monday, 23 December 2013

Two down, three to go

Hi all, so!
Another husband entered the waters of baptism, and they were once
again murky brown waters that nobody wanted anything to do with,
except our awesome investigator being baptised, and his baptiser his
best mate who was baptised just two week ago! With the combo of
Philippino time and Mormon time which means there is no need to ever
be concerned about being late, we arrived the chapel around 6, which
was when the baptism was supposed to start and nobody was there so we
started to set it up. We took a sneaky peek at the font which someone
had finally graciously emptied after about a months worth of baptisms
in the same filthy water and found it stained brown and it smelled
nasty as. So being committed to the cause, shoes off, hair up, I
jumped in and started scrubbing it like a boss. The things we do for
our investigators, luckily we love them. While we were sitting waiting
for the service to start he said he was going to cry and was really
trying to stop. He just sits in all of our lessons just itching for us
to ask him a question so he can speak. Yesterday Bishop took us into
his office with our three men that we baptised for a meeting and he
gave them all English Bibles and told them all to start prepping so
they can be the Bishopric of their own ward closer to them in a few
years time. Its actually going to happen. I can't comprehend that I
actually helped make this happen, I know it all happened through the
Lord, its not because of my own skills in any way, but if I didn't
actually pull myself together and actually get out here this never
would have happened. Miracles

Our Christmas party was awesome! But in usual Philippino /Mormon time,
instead of starting at 5 like it was supposed to it started at 7.30
and we missed the food, the presents and the skit we'd spent days
practicing and didn't even get to do. Its been a week now that Sister
Lainhart and me have been living in our house by ourselves, and its
not been bad, its definitely quieter, but all of a sudden we seem to
have so much free time. Which were not really allowed to do anything
else but study so we just do more of that. One of our RC's made us a
wicked Christmas tree out of a tree branch and an old tin can which
we've now decorated and put our like, 3 presents under. But still so
fun. We have a LOT of dinner appointments coming up this week so were
gonna get nice and fat this Christmas. Plus were gonna commit a lot of
people to baptism, people seem to respond better when we don't try to
convince them in lessons and when were all just sitting around eating
together talking about how good it is to be Mormons they realise how
not good it is to not be Mormon and want to join. Our third husband
has gone totally wala na on cigarettes after being a pack a day and
hes all set for January! We had this great awkward moment this week,
their neighbour is their 17 year old cousin, his whole family have
died so they all take care of him. Hes quit smoking and is getting
baptised in a couple weeks. We barged into his house the other day
yelling for him and he was sitting with his girlfriend who lives in
another area, so we told her all about meeting with the missionaries
out there and got her set up. On Sunday we got to church and we saw
him standing outside with his arms around a girl and were all like HI
AGAIN, so good to see you, and shes all confused, and hes like, uh
this is a different one. So next up, chastity! Haha hes a sweet kid
though, we'll just mention that having two girlfriends probably isn't
really for the best and he'll happily oblige. We're setting her up
with the missionaries too so it all works out!

Man I swear I always have a million stories to tell but when it comes
to email times I go blank. I just love the spiritual ones. Know that I
love you all and I'll be thinking about you all this Christmas.
Remember to think about all the other presents that our Heavenly
Father has given you every single other day of the year.

Love you guys,
Sister McKim

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Malapit na!

Hello po family!

So. I don’t even know what to say about this week, I’ve been sick as,
feeling like rubbish so the whole thing has been a bit of a blur. I
was at that point the whole week where if I was at home I would’ve
taken the whole week of work and stayed in bed, but on the mission
there is an extra level of sick you have to be to stay in, and I think
I was just on the edge where I was just well enough to function, so
good times. BUT we had Christmas Conference, which was amazing! The
morning we had a big devotional where the entire mission was in one
room and I got to see everyone from the jungle who I missed so much.
The AP’s got up at the pulpit and made everyone who’d gotten Dear
Johned stand up in front of everyone – I was dying it was so funny. I
love the missionaries here, everything is crack up. We had a fancy
catered lunch and dinner with fancy round tables and serving staff,
and in the afternoon we went to the university and all played sports
for the whole afternoon. I played soccer barefoot for hours and I was
so incredibly happy I forgot how sick I was and how much I was going
to regret it later. At night every zone did a skit and a traditional
Philippino dance. Ours everyone was partner dancing except us few
lucky single ladies who got to do basically a chicken dance which was
apparently a lot funnier than it was supposed to be. Anything for the
lols! It actually is finally starting to feel like Christmas here, our
Christmas party is this weekend and I cannot wait to party with my
ward, its literally gonna get wild, all the ward leaders are crack up
so its gonna be good. Plus our own little Zion of recent converts and
investigators are all planning something huge, some skit of some sort.
They love the gospel so much, but they also just love being Mormon and
all the goober stuff that comes with it. We've been having wicked
family home evenings out there and we get new investigators every
time. Last week we assigned one of our recent converts the spiritual
thought, she didn't know what to share so she prayed, opened her
scriptures to a random page and really liked the verse she read, Ether
12.27, which fit in exactly perfect with the lesson. After I asked her
how she knew to share that verse and she said the spirit. I about
cried. Shes awesome. We've made our work this way that we really love
everyone we teach because they're all our best friends and it never
feels like work. It feels like we're always just sitting around
chatting and cruising around with the kids but in there we're still
teaching powerful lessons to converted people. It makes me so happy as
before my mission I was expecting to become this spiritual robot and
become this person  I didn't really want to be, but I'm still exactly
me, I'm just better at planning and more organised and know how to
bring the Spirit into a lesson. I know the Lord is helping me.
We also have this huge new problem where we have a ton of
investigators who want to get baptised but they can't for complicated
reasons. We have a couple who are pregnant but they can't get married
because its illegal to get married under 18 even with parents
permission, we have an investigator who can't because her live in of
20 years refuses to sign the marriage papers and another one who has
been living with her fiancee for four years but can't marry him for
another 7 years until her divorce finally becomes legal. Its super
rough because technically they could all just start living the law of
chastity and be baptised, but they're all people who want to be
married to their partners but can't because of the law. Its
frustrating and sad for us and them but we just have to teach them to
be faithful until the time comes.
In other news, one of the areas in our ward is getting cut so our
housemates are getting pulled out and its just going to be me and
Sister L in our house by ourselves. We are devastated but it
may be for the greater good as we now won't be having pre-bedtime
brownie parties and getting distracted in study. Next baptism this
weekend, baptising our second husband! All the rest are bossing
quitting smoking and should be good for baptism in January!

Love you all,
gotta go,
Sister McKim


Our kids putting up the Christmas tree their dad made from stuff he
found, and our ride! This is what we cruise around on every day, and
theres always like a hundred kids on there too!


This week we had another family get baptised! Miracles I swear. I feel
like a lot of the miracles are coming from the promise that we made
never to baptise anyone that wasn't truly converted. That way instead
of just rushing people through and spending all our time trying to
keep them going, we work harder to make sure they are truly converted
then they do all the work for us. They are 24 and 21 and have two kids
and they are like our actual besties here. The mum is the sister of
our recent convert family and she has been investigating for a long
time but her husband wasn't interested, and one day almost out of the
blue, without having ever come to church he told us he was reading the
Book of Mormon and wanted to get baptised. It really was a miracle and
we didn't really understand what had happened but as the weeks passed
a lot of the stories he has told us have helped us to understand. We
found out that when he was a kid after his dad died he moved into the
city for a while and went to the LDS church there with his relatives
before he came back home. He remembered things that we had told him
back when he wasn't interested that really hit him hard, and he had a
lot of crazy experiences that really helped him realise the church is
true. One of the major ones we didn't realise until now is the day we
met his wife and taught her for the first time, he was at the hospital
getting really serious treatment. He found if he worked on Sundays he
got sick, and when he drank alcohol and coffee he got really sick.
When we taught his word of wisdom and Sabbath day before he'd even
come to church he agreed immediately. I love them. I love them.
The baptism was stressful as, well I got stressed out, which is
something that never happened to me until I realised I had peoples
eternal souls on my shoulders. It was supposed to start at 6 and we
told everyone to get there early, at about 6.30 the Bishop arrived and
then the people being baptised, and then everyone else. Mormon time is
bad enough, everything is late, but mix it with Philippino time and
nothing starts til at least 45 minutes after its supposed to. They
were so so so happy. Ah man I love baptisms. On Sunday all of our
recent converts sat together in Sacrament meeting and pulled out their
tithing slips and taught each other how to pay tithing and fast
offering. I love them, I about cried they're so great. Plus they
brought a neighbour to the baptism and we convinced him to come to
church. He said afterwards that as soon as hes allowed he wants to get
baptised. Miracles.
Progress with our husbands has been incredible. We've started having
weekly family home evenings with all of them, and last Monday all the
people that we want to get baptised but haven't yet committed sat on
the outside and we're too awkward to join in, but throughout the week
we worked with them all and are helping them to progress. We decided
everyone who lived there that didn't have their own personal Book of
Mormon needed one, and they ALL started reading them. The two husbands
that smoke told us this week that they have cut down and are working
on quitting, and all four of our recent converts husbands will be
baptised by the end of January. I can't even begin to describe the
miracles that happen here. San Nic is the promised land!

I just want to share my favourite scripture in the world, that I
shared at my leaving talk, I put it on my missionary plaque and I read
this morning in personal study.
Alma 26: 11-12
11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in
my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with
joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak;
therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for
in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles
we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name

To think I could even be the tiniest part of the missionary that Ammon
was, maybe I won't literally baptise thousands like he did, but
through the work I do here thousands will know of the truth.

This work is the work of salvation.
So get to work.
Love you all.
Sister McKim xx

The baptism! For some reason its not a thing to look happy in photos
here? But these people really are all awesome. This is their baby, she
is so cute I can't look her in the eye sometimes, she peed her pants
in the chapel and he had to make her pants out of cleaning paper. I'll
take more day, I'm the worst!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Week of George

Hello po!

So. This week is the first week in my mission where I was medyo tired
and medyo grumpy, but still loving the work. Naps are 100% BAWAL
forbidden in this mission and were not allowed to go to sleep any
earlier than 10.30 at night. But its all good, because theres always
something to get excited for.

This week, man I learned a lot this week. We have another family
getting baptised this Saturday so we've been working with them a lot
and they are the most solid people, testimonies going out the roof.
The wife is the sister of our recent convert mum and they've been
working together to get here. The wife was set to get baptised weeks
ago but just before her date we had this miracle week when everyone in
the world came to church including her husband. He had always avoided
us when we came and one day the miracle of miracles happened and he
just told us that he was going to get baptised, so this week after all
this time she gets to get baptised with her husband! Hes another
future bishop for sure. We've started having weekly family home
evenings in the area where all our investigators and recent converts
live and every week more and more of their neighbours come! We always
get a member couple to come teach the lesson and then its also a good
opportunity for them to ask the deeper doctrines to the members that
we can't explain so well. The ward is mind blown at the progress out
there as they said before it was kind of a hopeless place because it
was so far away. Now the members are asking us when they can come and
be the ones to teach out there! One of the husbands who decided last
week that he is going to get baptised has been awesome in helping the
rest of the husbands to come around to the gospel. Now we just go to
their houses, turn off the tvs and make them come and listen, give
them Books of Mormon and tell them to read. One by one miracles are
occuring. We're baptising all of them. You know people are truly
converted when they're doing everything without even asking them to,
on Sunday the new converts paid their tithing, they were just too
excited. I'm gonna ask to stay here my whole mission. President will
say no, but, can't hurt to ask :-)
We also had another funeral this week, this time it was an old lady,
the mother of a less active member in our ward and the church put on a
service for her. We went down to the house and there were tons and
tons of people there and she told me they were all less active members
but she wanted to come with us to reactivate them. Uh, WHAT? So thats
happening. Thats our new strategy and its working. We don't have time
to visit less actives so we get them to come fellowship with us, then
they get active! Who would have ever guessed. Plus we were given this
list of all the less active members in our ward, apparently theres
over 900 and we get 120 at church, and we were supposed to go track
them down and find out if they still live here. We haven't even had
time to look at it in weeks so finally we take it to a members house
to see if he knows anyone, he grabs it off us and says to leave it
with him and he'll do it for us. We're cheering about it, then hours
later we see him again and hes treked every house in the neighbourhood
to find them. The man! Couldn't have a better ward. In other news, our
neighbours just bought the worlds cutest puppy, but we live in an
apartment building so our backyards are tiny tiny concrete areas, so
he hates it there and always escapes into our yard. We always come
home and find him chilling and pooing in our yard, but its secretly
the best, we love him and we named him George. The little boy next
door said his name is Dog. He's wrong, its not.

Just a quickie this week. Life is good and the work is better. Working
hard every day and love being a missionary. Be good. Be happy.
Love you all,
Sister McKim xxx