Monday, April 6, 2015

Jessica's Seventy Seventh (VERY LAST) Email! April 5th, 2015

Uhhh, I don't even know how to start this! I guess by sating I'm beyond pumped cause I just saw MAREZ!!!!! One of my recent converts from Camaligan! And if I can add in, one of my favorites also! We are here in Naga so we were walking across the SM parking lot to come email and someone hugged me from behind haha. She was so out of breath and had literally chased us down! She is so funny and gave me the happiest updates about her life and ahhh, sweet reunion! I think she'd give Christie a run for her money with the breaths per minute while talking. We're gonna head back to SM after we email to meet her for lunch!

My suitcases are all packed and sitting in the mission office! We left Pamplona this morning and you would think it's hit me by now that I'm really leaving but it 100% hasn't!!!!! Like everyone asks if it just feels like another transfer... but it doesn't even feel like that! I feel like in a few hours I'll get back on the jeep and go home to Pamplona, sleep in my bunk bed, shower with the bucket, wash my clothes by hand.... but that phase of my life is OVER. Ahhhh Freak out.

But let me just say, it was a wonderful week to end on!!!!! So Monday, I told you about the district activity but I didn't realize until that night how FRIED I was!!!!! So red hahah and really added to the farmers tan. I even have a hair tie tan. Tuesday we went to Naga for MLC. We rode the train with the zone leaders again, fun tradition! Except when you forget there is no more school (they have early summer!) which means there will be no tricys driving down that road which means we ended up walking the 3.5 kilometers to the train release! hahah But it was fun anyway. MLC was just as wonderful as always. All of the departing missionaries bear their testimony and I think I would classify myself as a non-crying type. But it just hit me hard. The mission life is coming to an end. So weird. I was grateful for the chance to testify of Christ. How He is the only way I have endured and enjoyed my mission. I am so grateful for the Savior who suffered and atoned for each of us. I know He felt those moments when I just thought I couldn't go another day or kill one more cockroach. He gave me the strength to get through those days. He blessed our investigators to be able to make hard changes and do hard things. He blessed me and my companions to know how to best help them. I love Him and I am so grateful I had this time to serve Him. To share His gospel.

On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Libmanan sisters in our area. I worked with Sister Gonzales. We had some hilarious moments tracting. Gotta love it. Overall a great day.

Thursday night I went through my stuff and decided what to get rid of. I filled the whole extra bed with clothes, school supplies, tools, random junk I have collected the last 18 months. It was so fun, like I had a little shop, and everyday after that when we went out to work, I would just look at my planner at who we were going to visit and put a few things in a bag for each of them. They were all sooooo grateful. I felt like Santa Claus hahah.

Friday we had zone training. Good times. At the beginning there are discussion items. So the zone leaders go through and talk about all the concerns we discussed at MLC. Most are just simple things and there is no reaction. Well, the wonderful zone leaders handed the time over to me to talk about the obedience part hahah. There are a few new rules we had decided on, mostly about the DVD players and stuff. So that got quite the reaction. hahah, those zone leaders! It's a good thing they're so nice or I woulda killed them! That's when it's not so fun being a solo STL hahah, all the blame goes to me. But I've gained such a testimony of obedience on my mission, so I just bore testimony that we will be so much more blessed and worthy of the spirit when we follow what the Lord wants for us. I know it's true. Not just for missionaries, but for all of us! When we follow the commandments we will be happy. We will be blessed. We will be guided. It's just simple!

Let's see, sorry, this is getting so long. Saturday we went to the women's general broadcast. It was so good. Like loved it all. But can I just say that the video of the families singing kinda killed me. I'm sorry, but can anyone agree? Like, even just a little?? K sorry I'll stop, but just imagine the Richmond fam doing that! ahahha. Ray taking the lead. It really gets me.

I also watched a Mormon message on Saturday night. It was one of those classic stand in holy places ones. So there is a party at this house, you can picture the scene right? There is loud crude music, dark, smokey, sketchy stuff going down. Anyway. I just thought how grateful I am for our home. I am grateful for parents who did everything to make our home the kind of place that it is. I couldn't even image our house being like that. It just totally doesn't fit. Our house is a happy, bright, and loving place. It is a place where the spirit can dwell. And I am so grateful for that. Thank you mother and father for all the sacrifices you have made to make it that way. I love you!

Alright! I'll get outta here now! But I am so grateful to have served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that this is His kingdom on the earth and we all have a responsibility to build it up. I know that He and our Father in Heaven love us. I know that they have a perfect plan for each of us to return to live with them. I am happy to have worn His name on my chest for the last 18 months, I can't imagine taking this name tag off. It makes me want to cry. But I know I can still be a missionary for the rest of my life. I love the Philippines, I love adobo and sinigang. I love Tagalog and humidity. And most of all I love the people I have been blessed to serve here. I am grateful for the relationships I have developed. I LOVE YOU ALL AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU IN A FEW DAYS!!!! Mom and dad, can't wait to hug you in 2 days and show you around this place that I love so much. Talk to you all soon!

All my love,
Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. I served a mission in the Philippines. Made it out illness free and a new person.
2. MLC
3.Women's general session
4. Exchanges with Libmanan sisters
5. Zone Training, elders gave a great workshop on following the spirit!
6. Giving all my stuff away
7. I will see mom and dad in 2 days! Safe travels :)
8. In a few days I will REST... what a concept
9. Off to the mission home for 2 days... my favorite place!!!
10. Just so happy and glad I decided to serve a mission

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jessica's Seventy Sixth Email! March 29th, 2015

OK! I know these emails are supposed to get a lot better as the weeks go by, but here we are, one email to go and I'm just gonna let you know this will be the worst email you will get from me! It was a wonderful week as always! We had exchanges with the San Fernando sisters and I worked with Sister Ramos! We were here in our area and got to visit a lot of really great people. We had a baptism on Saturday! Our 2 investigators, Jam and Joshua got baptized! Joshua's still 8 but only his grandparents are members so technically he's a convert, but that kid has been coming to church forever! Jam was soooo happy. We were in the bathroom after while she was changing and she said it was like the best shower she ever had! Clean inside and out! Then she bore a great testimony all about the blessing of repentance and forgiveness! Like I said, a new person! We also just had a district activity at the beach!!! It was so beautiful. My companion cooked some delicious food and we had a lovely game of volleyball. It was quite the hike to get there! Makes blacks feel like a piece of cake! I have no pictures from the baptism or district activity! Elder Ondivilla has a nice camera so he is the designated photographer and I will copy his pics next week! haha just picture a really good time!

I can't really think, I never sleep anymore!!! Like I'm up all night! And I just hit my head getting off the jeep which doesn't help! I swear that has happened at least once every week of my mission! These things are just not American sized!

Oh!!! We had zone conference on Friday. Such a highlight!!!!! Oh my! And we watched Meet the Mormons which was AMAZING!!!!! Such a cool movie to show we are actually normal people! Loved it! If you haven't seen it yet, you should!!! Also I was sitting next to two elders from Salt Lake and that Snowbird scene got us!!!!! We were dying. I told them I'll be there in 2 weeks, so let's pray for snow hahah.

CHRISTIE'S BIRTHDAY!!!!! Happy birthday to the best sister ever! Love you so much! Hope you enjoy your day!!!! :) I'll give you your birthday hug next week! And yesterday was Grandpa's birthday! Miss him every day! Such a good man. Not sure what it was about this week, but we ate lots of spaghetti! That's what everyone here eats for birthdays! Question... do we put hotdogs in spaghetti?? I can't remember. I feel like I thought that was strange when I first got here, but now I can't imagine it without?? Also the spaghetti is really sweet here.

Another perk of this week, free rides! On the highway there are always buses going to Manila and they won't stop if they know you are going local. Well this week there were like 3 nights when we didn't have another way home so we stood there trying to wave them down. And all 3 times one stopped and let us in even when we said where we were going! Then when we went to pay they said it was on them!!!! SO kind! There was the creepy guy who said our payment was our phone number, but he let us ride for free too even though we didn't give it to him! These people are just the kindest!
Could this be any more all over the place?? The work is good! We have progressing investigators and found 8 new solid investigators this week!!!! I hope you all enjoy conference this week!!!! When I email next week, mom and dad will probably be heading to the airport to come here. SO INSANE. I am excited to work hard this week. We have MLC tomorrow and then the rest of the week will just be GO TIME! I love you all!!!!

Sister Richmond

Top 10
1.  Jam and Joshua were baptized!
2. 7 more cold bucket showers
3. Watched Meet the Mormons at zone conference!
4. Got letters from Sister DONCHEVA and Sister RAY!!!!! Good day :)
5. Personal study in Jesus the Christ. I'm learning so much from that book!
6. District activity
7. Perfect score on cleaning check
8. I can swim when mom and dad come!
9. Free bus rides!
10. A progressing area!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jessica's Seventy Fifth Email! March 22nd, 2015

We cleaned for over 4 hours this morning! No exaggeration! It was like I was in heaven. I couldn't even sleep last night cause I was so excited to clean the house! It was like Christmas morning. Even invited all our cockroach friends for the festivity! But I'm being completely serious. It felt so good to scrub every corner of that house. We actually turned the house into a lake, just for a few hours. Took everything out from the first floor! We're talking the fridge, table, stove, chairs, bookshelf, EVERYTHING. Then we started at the side, away from the door, and just poured buckets of water down. Mixed a generous amount of bleach around (was that safe?? idk...) and got scrubbin! Then swept, and mopped for the final touch. Scrubbed everything down outside (appliances, fridge, all that stuff I said) and organized! We even rearranged a bit cause you know I love a little change in the room arrangement! It was a spiritual experience. And now we are soooo late emailing, but it was worth it! We better get a 60 on our apartment check this week haha. 

Alright this week! There is no way it has been a week! I feel like it's been maybe a day... if that! On Monday night we were blessed to teach 3 member-present lessons! That just doesn't happen on a Monday night! Then Tuesday we headed to Milaor and I worked with Sister Mariano while Sister Gisala worked with Sister Apsay! It was good! Learned lots from her and it was a great day of hard work! It's not about the numbers... but Sister Mariano and I taught 12 lessons that day! Fun to work in different areas and see what we can change in our own work! 

I make a lot of enemies during apartment checks though!!! haha on our way home on Wednesday morning we also stopped by the San Fernando sister's apartment and checked there! But I am passionate about clean apartments haha. No I'm kidding, it's always the area book that's the problem! But I think we'll be friends again one day.

Wednesday was just a normal day of work in our area. Thursday was my LAST DISTRICT MEETING!!! Can anyone believe it?!?!? We have zone conference this week and then zone training the next, so yep! My life of district meetings has come to an end! Weird! It was a good meeting though!!! And then we did a little potluck for our district lunch after! We brought rice and cookies from the mix mama sent! Thanks mom! The elders brought the BEST chicken curry I have ever tasted in my life!!!! And the best mango float!!!!! Too good. Thursday work was good as well. We literally have so many progressing investigators that the hardest part is just finding the time to get to all of them! It's a great problem to have as a missionary! 

Friday we did weekly planning and then just as we were getting ready to go work, the secretary called and said we had 40 minutes to get to Naga for Sister Gisala to take her Michigan test! The test so she can apply to BYU after the mission! It was so fun though cause there were a ton of missionaries there so we were just waiting for our companions who were in taking the test. And it was at the institute building! So fun. Maybe I'll try out institute when I go home! 

Saturday we were soooo busy trying to catch up on all the appointments we planned for Friday!!! Also!!!! Jam and Christian had their baptismal interviews and both passed! So they will be baptized on Saturday along with one of the Elder's investigators. Life is just too good to be true sometimes! Like yesterday when we had 7 very progressing investigators show up for church. That was like I was in a dream. I love these people. And I love the Lord for trusting us with them. He is so good to us. I am happy, healthy, and well! I just don't get how time works! Have a wonderful week and keep smiling. Life is meant to be enjoyed! Until next week :)

Sister Richmond

Top Ten
1. Tons of investigators giving up coffee!
2. Deep clean of the apartment. 
3. Rearranged the apartment! Much more functional now! And we get use of a window that used to be blocked my a bookshelf!
4. Threw away soooo much junk this morning!!!! I think I get it from my dad, my favorite thing!
5. Exchanges in Milaor with Sister Mariano
6. Last P-day was so hot that when we got back from emailing allllll of those clothes we washed were totally dry!
7. Had a few days of rain. Not my fave, but I was starting to feel bad about the farmer's rice crops! 
8. Mom and Dad's plans are getting real. You are coming!!!!!!
9. Baptism this coming Saturday!
10. So much progression in this area! 

Jessica has had trouble uploading all of her pictures the last few weeks so many of these are up to a month old. 

 I think his mom is trunkier than mine!!!

An elder counting my weeks hahah

 Sister Falcon on the left and Sister Gonzales on the right

 Food you gotta work for!!!!! 
The worm/snail thing I told you I tried!

 Are you jealous??

 After tatay told me I'm not good at eating Suso
 and I should just stick with the fried chicken hahah

 Sister Apsay on the left and Sister Mariano on the right!

I forgot how much I love COOKIE DOUGH!!!!! Thank you mother

District selfie with the Zone Leaders