Monday, 28 April 2014

Going South

I don't even know where to begin this week! So I'll go straight to the
good bits.

The last day in Sanchez I couldn't find ANYONE, nobody, so I didn't
get to say goodbye to anyone I teach and they didn't know I was
leaving. Sad. But I guess thats the point of the late notice. But we
had a big FHE with some of our fave members which was wicked. Also
found out that the week before Easter there were a couple of
crucifixions on the main street. Apparently its a belief here of
another church that they need to crucify someone every year at Easter,
but then they will be free from their sins. I mean literally nailed to
a cross. Its truly awful, I really couldn't believe it.
Bussed it down to Santo Domingo on Tuesday. I like, I knew I was
coming down here. And now I'm here I know I belong here. My comp is
Sister Ramos, she is like one of those Asian air hostesses that is too
pretty to be real. She is the Philippino version of me just obviously
more beautiful. We're the same age and she just gets me, we just have
chats all day every day about life and the scriptures and everything,
I love love her. And the other sisters in my house are amazing, its a
really hard working group of people so its good to just get down and
work hard.
Met the district president, which is the same as the stake president
except were not a stake yet. He is, oh my, hes amazing. Him and his
wife and so funny and so in love and they just live for the church, if
every member family was like them then everyone in the world would be
a member. President Barrientos called him a couple months ago and said
they needed a house for our Elders and didn't know what to do, so he
suggested he give them their house - joking I think, I never know with
President. So President Tabunar says yes, but give him time to build a
new house. Six days he says. So in 5 and a half days he knocks up a
one room house out the back of his workshop and now his family live in
there so the elders can have their big nice house. They just, oh man,
they inspire me. Just this week they also did a sneaky trip to Manila
and bought scriptures for all of our RC's and fed us a massive healthy
feast, which was heaven sent as our house was devoid of food. So good.
Ah man.
And the people in our area are amazing and love us. There is this one
family in particular, the mum and the 3 teenage daughters got baptised
2 weeks ago and the dad is coming to church every week but isn't
willing to follow the WoW yet. But they are incredible. The mum was
telling us that just before the missionaries showed up they were about
to split up because of all these terrible things that were happening.
But then she found the gospel, and it saved their family and saved
their marriage and changed their lives. The dad still needs work, half
the time hes amazing and studies the scriptures like crazy and then he
goes out and drinks and does things like before. But we will help him
to change, I've been prepared for this situation before so I know
we're going to see miracles.
Got locked out of our chapel so had to do a sneaky trip down to Vigan
for district meeting, saw the other district in our zone which just
happens to be all of my favourite people I haven't seen in ages,
including Sister Lainhart. Why does the Lord love me so much? He takes
care of me.
The other day I didn't have time to eat breakfast and I was struggling
for energy because its hotter than imaginable here right now. And this
member sees us and hands us a bag of apples and I was cheering, I
needed it so bad. So also in the bag was a ton of balut. Balut is
basically a duck abortion. Its a half formed baby duck in an egg.
Didn't realise there was 3 in the bag until I pulled my scriptures out
and they smelled like rotten egg vomit mixed with feet. One fell out
and covered EVERYTHING in my bag, my scriptures, my money, everything.
Our house pongs, everything pongs, CURSE YOU BALUT. Ugh. The balut
knows I hate it so its fighting back.
In Vigan again for p-day. So Vigan is like a huge tourist capital and
is amazing and beautiful. We got a horse and carridge around for an
hour and it literally felt like I was on vacation for a minute there.
Then we went to this massive free zoo where the animals just roam
around free and you can ride everything and hold everything for free.
But. President shot us a text this morning that apparently the Area
Presidency just declared we can't hold the snakes or hang out with the
tigers anymore. Like literally today. I was a little devastated, but
its fine, I've done it all before anyway.

So, am I having the best year of my life?
I keep hearing songs and things that remind me of my days in the
States, parties and travelling and all that fun stuff. And then I'm
reminded about the MTC and my old areas and mission memories and they
are so much more special. I don't ever wanna leave!

Love you so much,
especially those who write me..............................  :-)
Sister McKim

Monday, 21 April 2014

Goodbyes, as usual

They started this new thing where they do transfer calls on Sunday
night, which means you only get one day to pack and prepare before you
leave at the crack of dawn on Tuesday. Even though I've only been here
two transfers I really felt I was going. BUT! I have the special skill
of predicting transfers, like, I am spot on everytime. So I predicted
that I would go to Vigan Zone, that our district leader would come too
and be the zone leader there, that our two areas here would be
combined and the place that our other housemate was going. Its a gift,
truly haha. So yeah! I'm going to a place called Santo Domingo, just
outside Vigan which is the tourist capital, the most beautiful place
in the mission apparently. Really I've just been praying that I would
go somewhere where I could eat real meat so I wouldn't be so
malnourished, so it truly was meant to be!

On Monday night we had a ward FHE at this awesome members house. Hes
90, hes the only member in his family and he is the man! He also hates
Tagalog so he only lets people speak English or Ilocano to him. He
also can't get to church anymore because hes old and has been telling
the sisters hes going to day any day now. So we were going to have our
final goodbye to him. We meet him out the front and when we get to the
gate a lady tells us we can't come inside because her husband is
drunk. Then out of nowhere the husband comes storming outside, throws
his wife to the ground, smashes the fence and starts coming towards us
screaming so we all run. What we then had to witness was pretty bad as
he was seriously out of control. After he stopped beating his wife he
came for the elders and they swear he was coming for them, then just
stopped and walked away. It was awful, I hate thinking that this
really does happen in the world. We had to leave and our old Tatay
couldn't understand why we couldn't stay for his FHE, he was so upset
but he didn't even understand what was happening. The rest of the
night we all kind of reflected on how blessed we all are in our lives,
and how important our work here really is so that we can stop things
like this from happening.

Our baptism this week was out of control. Our investigator Cristy was
awesome, we only met her this transfer and she was ready from day 1,
her son was less active and she'd just been waiting for us to come and
find her. The whole process was pretty easy until the last week before
her baptism. I knew I was going to get transferred so I was making
sure we were on top of everything so she wouldn't have to be pushed
back a week and I'd miss it. So we're going through the baptismal
interview questions with her to make sure shes ready, and we get to
one question and she starts telling this story but I didn't quiet
catch what she was saying about it but at the end my comp is like oh
yeah yeah thats fine. So I'm like, yep sweet fine. We walk out onto
the street and see President driving past, have a chat and he starts
driving away. After a little while comps like siyang she has to get
interviewed by President because of that thing and I'm like WHAT! So I
get on the phone straight away calling President telling him to come
back. We live 3 hours away from him so hes rarely out here and we'd
just seen him literally outside her house and we knew he wasn't
planning on being back anytime soon. So hes like well too late now,
but because hes the man he said he'd come back a couple days later. He
is the best, so he did an extra 6 hour road trip for us. So we get to
the day of the baptism, and the two people getting baptised from the
other sisters just decide they don't wanna come anymore so everyone
was way upset. So half the branch has turned up for them and theres
just our one. So we get to the river to baptise her and she is deathly
afraid of water. She was literally in the water for over half an hour
and she would not go under the water. She would'nt go deeper than knee
deep and didn't quite understand that she couldn't actually fit under
that much water. Everyone was yelling their advice, one of the members
even jumped in fully clothed and got fake baptised to show her but she
didn't budge. So after all that she said no. So we get on the phone to
the nearest chapel which is almost an hour away and tell them start
filling the font, were on our way! But apparently the font takes like
4 hours to fill, so we send everyone home, and then AGAIN four hours
later everyones back at the church ready for the epic baptism
roadtrip. Everyone was so pumped, it was way fun! Made me love our
branch so much more, everyone just really made her baptism so special.
When we finally got there she was too scared to get in the font too,
but she did it in the end and it was amazing!

Love you guys, love the mission, and I love Sanchez Mira and everyone
here. Read your conference Ensigns when they come!

Sister McKim

Monday, 14 April 2014


This is going to be a whole lot of conference insights, because if
you're only going to remember one thing from me this week, it better
be one of these things!

I loved President Monson's talk about the pouring rain on the
festival. The people needed it so much and they showed their faith by
asking for it, and even though it seems like it came at a really
inconvenient time, to me it seems like the Lord was literally
showering them with blessings at a time when all the people could
witness the miracle together.

Elder Holland didn't disappoint as usual. I freaked out for a second
because he was first and I wasn't ready for him yet, but he made his
point and he made it well. It's so true what he said though - there
will come a time for all of us where we will be called to defend our
faith. The day will come where we can't sit on the fence anymore, you
can't just come to church on Sunday and do whatever else you wanna do
during the week, you stand up for what you believe or you stay behind.
And like he said, only the proud will be offended by the truth, so if
you were offended by anything, take a look at yourself. The whole
Saturday session was amazing talk after amazing talk, and rebuke after
rebuke for the members of the church. And every talk led so well into
each other. I too have seen LDS people on Facebook slander others
because they stood up for what they believe, or made a comment.
Honestly, how dare someone say they are a true follower of God and
then slander someone for saying they believe in marriage between a man
and a woman. Like Elder Anderson said 'no earthly law can change God's
law' and He is the 'same yesterday, tomorrow and forever.' But how
dare anyone slander anyone for saying the opposite too. Would Christ
have done that? I think we all know the answer. Or as Elder Nelson
said 'no amount of public opinion is grounds for disobedience.' We are
not immune from Satan because we are members and all he has to do is
confuse you to think that something is ok because everyone else is
saying it. People seek to be popular and that is not what we're
looking for. Christ was loved by so many, and so many sought to be
close to Him, but so many slandered Him, and cursed Him and opposed
Him, and part of becoming like Him is willing to accept that standing
for truth and righteousness will often involve a little bit of that as
well. I could go on all day. But one thing I've noticed here on my
mission more than ever is that the Kingdom of God in a certain area
will only be as strong as the members, and if the members are prideful
and disobedient, they ruin it for anyone else that could hope to be a
strong member close by to them. As members, I hope we all went home
from conference at took a good look at ourselves and what we're doing.
I can say for myself I realised a few things that are severely lacking
in myself this conference.

I, like I'm sure many others, have made the same mistake by walking
away from conference in the past and thinking certain things don't
apply to me. Gary E. Stephens talked about our 4 minutes in this life
and how we're going to use them, and what I took away from that is
that this is it, we're getting so close to the end, and we don't know
when its coming, so we better be ready. The most important thing in
the entire world at this present moment is being involved in the Work
of Salvation. This means missionary work, so if you can get on a
mission, get on on one right now. Do not wait. And if you want,
fellowship with the missionaries, give them referrals, and start
acting like a Latter-Day Saint should ALL of the time. And everyone
who is not on a mission right now needs to be in the temple as often
as possible, and don't rely on the hard work and sacrifice of others,
get online and do your family history and take your own names to the
temple. When Elder Cook was talking I was thinking about this picture
I saw on the foyer of the chapel before I walked in. There was a boy
sitting on the couch watching tv while above him were all his
ancestors in spirit prison, and this had a great effect on me because
I was suddenly riddled with guilt for avoiding family history all
these years. So even though I can't do it right now, I hope you will
all do your part and get started. I had a thought, and this isn't
doctrine of course, but I was thinking about if we were in heaven,
walking the path to the Celestial Kingdom. Along the way we see all
the damage from our mistakes and sin, and we will see imprisoned all
those who never had the chance to hear the Gospel, or who were held
back because of us. Will we walk past them and enter the gates? No. I
think the guilt would stop us before the Lord even would.

I truly hope you all took as much away from conference as I did, and
felt the Spirit testify to you of truth and enlighten the path in your
mind that you should take to progress on your journey. I love you all
and I'm so blessed to know so many strong and steadfast members and to
have already made it this far. I would love to hear all your insights
on conference and the things you study each week. And if you don't do
it because I told you, do it because Elder Ballard did.

Stand strong or fall to your knees.

I love you!

Sister McKim

'We will heed not what the wicked may say but the Lord alone we will obey.'

Monday, 7 April 2014

Whom the Lord calls He qualifies

Another week in the field and another week short on time, so this one
really is gonna be a quickie for all of you playing at home.

CONFERENCE! Since were still in the future we have conference next
weekend, but I've been loving all the conference notes people sent me
today! But on Saturday we did go and watch the womens conference
broadcast at out meetinghouse. They went to rediculous extents to go
an pick up the dvd from an hour and a half away so we could watch it
right here in Sanchez.....and then they forgot to mention it to
anyone. So an hour after it was supposed to start it was just us 6
sister missionaries sitting there. Then towards the end a casual two
hours a couple other people stroll in and sit down. We run on
Philippino time here. I don't know if I've mentioned this before but
literally every clock in this country is between 10 and 20 minutes
wrong. Like as in, one persons clock is 15 minutes fast and the next
persons is 20 minutes slow, so people rock up to places thinking
they're on time but there really like half an hour apart. Its kind out
of control, and kind of funny, but sometimes we can really make it
work to our advantage. A little while ago at a mission conference they
made all of the missionaries set their clocks to the exact same minute
so that everyone would be on time together. Somewhere along the line
that went wrong again and nobody knows what time it is anymore. I love
it though, cracks me up every time, people here are so chill. They're
my people now!

It was April Fools Day on Tuesday, and conveniently my companion was
sick on Monday night so I took this as a perfect opportunity to plan
pranks! I was so excited and she had no idea what April Fools Day was
and she really didn't get it, so we just, did nothing......haha sad.
Next time na lang.

We're trying to start this new thing where we take out less-actives
out to lessons with us and its actually working rediculously well. We
were trying to teach these two less-active boys in their 20's but we
didn't have a girl to sit in the lesson so it wasn't allowed. So I'm
like, you should just come with us to the next lesson and they were SO
EXCITED! So we take them down, turns out the next lady we went to
teach was their friend and they sat there like missionaries with their
Book of Mormons out finding scriptures and testifying about baptism. I
had a glimpse of them in a year or two when they're active again and
finally getting out on their missions, and then after we left one of
them told me that his latest girlfriend is a married lady in her late
30's. Yeah. But theres still hope for him!

This week I've been learning about praying to change ourselves instead
of changing our circumstances. We literally have everything so who are
we to sit back and ask for more if we're not doing everything we can
to use the resources we've been blessed with. Just like Nephi said, we
know that the Lord will always provide a way, so we need to pray that
we can find that way that He has provided, and we can't do that by
just sitting there and waiting for it, we have to go look. We've
experiencing a lot of hardships in our area at the moment and while
some of them are inevitable, I know that the Lord has provided good
opportunities too and prepared people for us. Nobody can sit and say
they're not having success because they're in a hard area. There are
no hard areas, because the Lord qualifies us for the area we have been
given, maybe we are just hard-hearted.

I cannot wait to sit and watch conference surrounded by the faithful
saints here of this district, where the church is still so new and the
people are so prepared. I really love this place and everything about

I love you all,
Sister McKim