Sunday, November 30, 2014

WEEK 66: Guys, It's December!

HELLO TO ALL!!!!! Well, it's that time again. Hahaha the weeks go by extremely fast and I don't know how it's already Monday again. AND, it's now December first......WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE? I never want to leave this place.

Well, it's been such an incredible week and I feel yet again SO extremely blessed to be a missionary and see the gospel working it's magic in the lives of others. 

Time is short, yet again, but let me just share some of the miracles that happened this week.

MELFA. Oh man I love this girl so much. She is our investigator that was baptized on Saturday!!! I can't even put into words all the miracles that happened this week with her. Rememeber when I told you all how her father was super against her to be baptized and then suddenly let her? Well listen to this. Last Saturday was the day of Melfa's baptism. We were a little sad because we knew that she didn't really have support from her dad, and her mom passed away a few years ago, and the only support she really had was her aunt and older sister who are both less active members. (side note Melfa has reactivated both her aunt and sister since she's been coming to church but that's a miracle to explain another day.) Well, Saturday morning we were in one of our farther areas when I got a prompting that we needed to go personally invite Melfa's father. Haha okay we were far away and at first I thought it was a little crazy because her father is either always at work or he is drunk and doesn't really want to talk to us. This day in particular he was scheduled to go to work so we figured he wouldn't be at home. But, this prompting was SO strong to me, so I told Sister Villeza and we went over to their house. GUESS WHO WAS THERE AND NOT DRUNK?  HER DAD!!!!! AH. It was a miracle. He had taken the day off work for some reason. Coincidence? There are none. We invited him to the baptism but didn't think much of it because he has never really been interested in anything we say. Fast forward to before the baptism when we are taking pictures at the front of the church and we see a man walking up.....We looked at Melfa and the three of us shed a few tears as we ran over to get her dad. OH MAN. Can you say miracle? His heart was softened to the max. The gospel is real. The Lord is in the details of our lives. Her father stayed for the whole baptism! And he shed some tears as Melfa bore her testimony after she was baptized. It was such a special day. Many tears were shed because we have seen the power of the gospel in the life of Melfa, and she has been truly converted. She shares the gospel with all those she knows. Well after her baptism, she was able to talk with her dad a little about the things she felt and the things she's learned at the church. She asked him something like "why have you changed?" If you knew Melfa before, you would really see the change in this amazing daughter of God. She used to just get drunk and party all the time but she is completely different now. The gospel has become a part of her. She knows her purpose on earth. Her precious answer to her father was something in English like "Pa, I now understand that we have a Heavenly Father, and He has a plan for us to live good lives." She gets it. AHHH I learn so much from these great people. Well, fastforward to the night after she was baptized, we had an appointment with Melfa's neighbor (all of her neighbors are our investigators now because she reads with them and shares with them all she learns) well her neighbor wasn't there. Jokingly, I said to her dad who was right there, "we are just going to teach you now Pa!" Hahahaha he laughed and then it got quiet and then he said "OKAY!" and went up for a high five. Hahahahaha WAHOO!!!!! Guys if you knew him before this...his heart has been completely softened. We were able to teach him just because of a little joke I made!!!! Hahahaha it was awesome. We just shared with him a little and mostly had Melfa share the things she has learned. She was SO nervous but so cute. She was like "Pa, did you know we have a living prophet? and there is another testament of Jesus Christ!" And then she full out invited him to read the Book of Mormon! Hahaha and then invited him to church! And then she closed the lesson and invited her father to pray!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA Oh man I wish I had a video of it. It was the cutest thing. Melfa has been our "investigator present" in most of our lessons and worked with us even before she was baptized so she is like a pro at all things missionary now. Hahaha ahhhh this work just brings me pure happiness!!!!!!!

Well story short, I know that when we follow promptings we will see miracles in our lives. I know that the Lord is in the details of our lives. He loves us. He wants us to feel of His love every second of the day. His plan is great, and He knows all. 

I'm sorry this email is all over the place....hahaha I had so much planned that I wanted to share with you all but my time is up. I hope you got something from my rambling. Just know that I love you all and you are all so special to me. See you all in 3 short months! 

Sister Reategui

pictures: baptism!

more pictures....
exchanges with sister sanoy! we worked in our area! we tracted in the jungle again! guys there are actually houses out there! we found a lady who has two brothers that are members and we got to teach her! in the middle of the lesson she pulled out her Book of Mormon that she's been reading for years but we are the very first misisonaries she's ever met! coincidence that we tracted into her house? no. miracle!


wendy aka my new bff

LOVE THIS FAMILY. I've learned so much from them

last week we had district activity. we did the amazing race and boy it was crazy!!!! if you can see the picture, sister villeza and i won!!!! we even had to drink a raw egg. yucks talaga but it was so fun!!!! the other pictures are from yesterday at church. love the members here!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

WEEK 65: "Ahh, Sister, the wind is cold, Christmas is coming!"

Yes the title is what my cute companion says every time we walk outside or anytime a gust of wind comes by. Which is a good 15 times a day. Hahaha! So, for you all to know, Christmas is coming. Because it isn't extremely sweaty anymore, but it's just 'sweaty.' Counting our blessings :) Haha joke lang, I love the heat. And everything that has to do with this great island of Masbate. Even though it's 5 times hotter here. IT'S SO GREAT!

Well the work is working everyone. We stay busy every single day and come home completely exhausted but also completely and utterly HAPPY. GUYS. The work is so happy! Pure happiness. I am obsessed with it. 

Let's see this week....This week was a week full of lots of ups and a few downs and not knowing what will happen one second and the next second finding a solution and then it happened again and again. Hahaha but that is missionary work! It is unpredictable but that's what makes it happy. 

We worked hard and were able to find so many people that the Lord has prepared for His message. We were also able to see the growth and progress of our investigator who is preparing for baptism. Melfa will be baptized on Saturday and IT WILL BE SO GREAT. I wish I could share her whole story with you all. She has come a long way but is now so ready for this sacred ordinance of baptism. AH. Being a missionary is so great.

Guys, do you want to hear a funny story?? Okay I will tell you all. Remember last last week when I told you all that there was a group of boys that sang "Cecilia" to me? Well when that happened last week I joked to Sister Villeza that we have to find them and teach them because that's revelation and they are in tune with the Spirit. (guys that was a good joke in the life of a missionary haha look at my sense of humor now) Okay well we went tracting this week over close to the basketball court they are always at. Well we got to the door and said "ayo po" (yeah it's not even the normal "tao po" here) haha and then a man walked out, looked at us, then called to all his friends in their house and screamed "hurry! Cecilia is here!" HAHAHAHAHA oh man like what do I say to that??? Hahaha it was great. Anyways we were able to teach them and turns out they are SUPER receptive and even came to church yesterday!!!! WAHOO!!!

On Saturday we got to go on exchanges yet again. This time I was able to go with Sister Erickson. We are like BFFs because we live in the same house and two of the little bit of foreigners here on Masbate. Our exchanges were AWESOME. We worked in their area and we had a lot of really awesome lessons. One really stood out to me. We taught a less active woman that has been a member for years but inactive also for many of those years. One reason I love the Filipino people because there is no hiding anything with them. You can look at them right in the eyes and see that they may be struggling. I looked at this Nanay straight in the eyes and could just really feel all the hard things she has gone through. It was as if I felt those burdens that she was carrying. It was the weirdest thing because I had just met this lady this day. But suddenly I really felt FOR her. I saw her how our Father in Heaven sees her as a daughter of God with so much potential. Well, at the beginning of the lesson she just looked at me with the saddest face and said "Sister, by the way you look at me, I feel like you can finally answer the question I've been asking for so long. I feel as though I have made so many mistakes in my life, is there any way to not feel that anymore?" OH MAN. I really felt for this lady. How grateful I was to be able to share with her the power of the Atonement and our chance to repent of our sins and overcome our weaknesses. I am grateful to this lady who simply taught me of the importance of this knowledge is. "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ." We have hope through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. My gratitude for Him has grown this week as I have seen the excitement of others when they come to the knowledge of the power of the Atonement. 

Well, in other news....
>last night we finished all of our planned lessons at 8:50 and decided to tract with our time left. We tracted into this AMAZINGLY receptive family who were former investigators! They even went to church about 5 years ago! We walked in and they were so excited and welcomed us warmly and fed us all the fruit in their house haha. We were able to teach them and they even gave us two full bags of fruit to go home with. (it was a mistake in telling them bananas are my favorite because they went in the backyard and picked all the bananas on their trees for us. hahahahaha i <3 the Philippines) anyways, it was a little tender mercy. we went home feeling like we were 'walking on the moon' (S/O to dad for his awesome saying haha)
> this week we also attended the self reliance opening for Masbate. They had the Mayor's "representative" there and they gave him a chance to talk. Hahahaha HE WAS AWESOME. He said to us at the end of his speech, "I will tell all of my students to convert to the Mormons! You are a beautiful people! MASBATE WILL BECOME RICH BECAUSE OF YOU! Let's all clap for the Lord!" And then walked off the stage. HAHAHAHA LOVE IT.

Well there's so much more I wish I could share with you all but time is up. Know I love you all and think of you all often! 

Sister Reategui

PS eat lots of Mashed potatoes for me this week because they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here!

tracting in the wilderness
headbands and hairdo by the great Melfa

picture from my exchanges with the beautiful sister Sanoy! the people in her area are so awesome and so loving even though that was my first time working in their area!

why buy toys when you can find free toys in your front yard? aka spiders.

this is the sister that worked with us on our exchanges, and then their recent convert. aka my new bffs.


 zone training! this is from last week.....hahaha sorri po.

the beautiful sisters of MASBATE ZONE!

more from exchanges and Melfa's birthday yesterday!!!! all the members that attended!!!! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

WEEK 64: Traveling...

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Yes, I just quoted the Sound of Music as my title. Don't judge me.
Well it's been another week and really out on the island it seems to get crazier and crazier every week. BUT I LOVE IT! Ah, I just really love it so much.
It is now November 10th, still as hot as ever outside, and Taylor Swift's "White Christmas" is currently playing here in the internet shop. If you didn't know, us Filipino's are now deep into the third of the four month Christmas celebration here in the Philippines. Here the celebration starts with the "ber" months, so started way back on September 1st and will continue on like this until Christmas comes. Stores are decorated and Christmas music is playing everywhere we go. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
Guys, life is just so good! Although this is probably the most stressful part of my mission so far, I am SO HAPPY!!!!!! I love this work and am SO grateful for the opportunity my Heavenly Father has given me to be a part of His great work. This week was crazy in so many ways. I always reflect on the week and wonder how we did all the things we did, and how we are still breathing. But I say as Alma said in Alma 26:12, "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 forever." I have really felt His strength these past few weeks which was greatly needed. Ah, I am just so grateful to my Heavenly Father.This week we were able to go on exchanges with two different sets of sisters which was great. I learned so much from both of them and am grateful for this unique calling I've been given. I have been able to learn so much about humility. The sisters here in Masbate are just so great and I love them!!
Let me list some things that happened this week:
--on exchanges we climbed a HUGE mountain to get to a few families of recent converts who lived at the top. the people of the philippines are so great and I really don't know how they do what they do every day. oh man i learn so much from them!!!
--on the same exchanges we went out on a bridge over the ocean and taught some houses literally on top of the ocean!!! they are up on 4 pieces of wood about 8 feet above the water. when we started the lesson my chair felt like it was sinking into their weak wooden base to their house and i really thought the whole time my chair was going to fall through and i would fall in the water. guys i prayed i wouldn't fall through and i testify God hears and answers our prayers. i didn't fall through! wahoo.
--on the SAME exchange we went BACK UP the mountain that night. hahaha i fell like half way fell i mean like ran almost falling head first to the bottom which is a river...hahaha yeah talk about adventure exchanges.
--have i told you about our AWESOMELY PROGRESSING INVESTIGATOR MELFA??? yeah. she is great. she came to church again and brought her less active friend! and she referred us to her sister and their family! see picture attached of us going to their house. she told us her house was in cagba, which is one of our areas. we start walking there and i asked her if it was far. she just said something like "just down the road!" hahaha so we started walking. next thing you know it's 20 minutes later and we are walking through straight jungle haha and you can't see any houses but one super far away on top of a mountain we didn't even know was in our area. i jokingly pointed to the house and asked if it was her sisters (because remember she said it was just close) and she was like "yes sister that's it!" HAHAHA OKAY. guys we went at 12 and we were thinking it was super close and church started at 1. yeah we didn't even get up there until like 12:30 hahaha and just laughed because we only had 5 minutes to share and then 20 minutes to get back to walk to church and get there on time. hahaha we were able to share with them though and next time we will go a little earlier because they are super receptive!!!!! hahahaha just wait for the ending of the story. we leave their house around 12:40 and literally run down the mountain and get to church just in time, with us sweating buckets and bright red. hahaha oh how i absolutely love the philippines!!! and i love being a missionary here.
--guys this is super random. so we were walking down the street this week and there was a huge group of guys playing basketball. when we walked past them, they all stop playing basketball, and suddenly start singing to me in unison (while all pointing at me) "CECILIA, YOU'RE BREAKING MY HEART!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHA WHAT??? Yes. that's my middle name. how in the world did they know???? hahaha that probably makes the top 5 weirdest things that has happened to me on my mission. now everytime we pass them, they call me Cecilia!!! I even asked my Filipina companion and she had never heard that song. how do they know that song? why did they sing it? i will forever wonder these things. but it made my week!!! hahahahaha.
--we are sitting with a recent convert in our area who is 75 and going strong. he was just baptized last month i believe. well in the middle of our lesson, he gets a phone call. he was all excited because it was his sibling that hasn't called in a while so he hurry and took it. hahaha this is what he said when he answered the phone: "Van! You have to call me later! I have visitors over right now! Yeah! Two chicks! One is a beautiful Amerikana! Yeah there's an American in my house! They are missionaries of Christ! Do you want to talk to them? We are talking about Jesus Christ! I love Him!" Hahahahahaha he then opened up his Book of Mormon and kissed the picture of Christ. Hahahahaha oh man. We were laughing so so hard.
Well guys this email is basically everywhere and I have no time left. But I want you all to know I love you all so much and I love this work! This is the work of the Lord. It is the best thing that I have ever been a part of.

Sister Reategui

HELLO TO ALL! this is just a teaser first...we are emailing for just a little bit and then taking a boat over to Legazpi and I will email again later when we get there in about 7 hours or so. But, here's a picture of a pig that we helped feed this week....hahaha #shoutouttomymomma.

PS it's name is Jesse.

more pictures from this week:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

WEEK 62: He is in the details of our lives.

Hello to you all! I'll probably say this every week until I leave this great island, but...IT'S BEEN A GREAT WEEK. SO busy. SO spiritual. And SOOO happy.

Well like always, I have NO time. No words can even begin to explain everything we do as missionaries all day long. We seriously are running from appointment to appointment all day long until we have to come home at 9:30 every night. I've learned so much in these short few weeks that I've been here and am so grateful for it all!!

This week we saw so many miracles I have no idea where to start. We have one investigator, Melfa, who is just amazing. Since investigating the church, she has brought back her less active aunt and less active sister, after being less active for YEARS. And her sister who is now active, also brought her husband and family into investigating also, and they ALL came to church yesterday!!!!!!! She has also referred all her friends and neighbors! We have received over 10 solid referrals from our awesome investigator. Guys, the gospel is real and is AWESOME. SHARE IT!

This week was a holiday so we had curfew for a few nights and no night work. We were praying that we would be able to be given many opportunities to teach during the day, despite the holiday and business of people. Well, our prayers were answered like CRAZY. We were able to teach 48 lessons this week! More than I have ever taught in a single week in my mission, and we even had curfew!!!! The Lord is great and there is no stopping HIS work. I am so grateful to be a part of it.

I have been focusing on trying to notice all the simple miracles and tender mercies in this work and have been so overwhelmed. I have seen His hand in this work so many times this week. We were literally led to houses where people were just home and just READY to hear the gospel. I wish I could record us all day and just send you all that. It is so great. One time we went tracting this week and decided to go to little part of our area we never had been to. We got there and found this super golden family that were all gathered together and just sitting together waiting for us. Haha we approached their house and before we could even say anything they said "come in sisters!" Haha and we were welcomed in and they immediately asked US to share with them the message we carry. Hahaha, when does that happen?? They are the ones that asked us! Ah. I love this area and I love this gospel. 

This week I really studied a verse that has become one of my favorites that we are all familiar with...
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1:5-6.

I never really noticed how significant these verses are. These are the verses that Joseph Smith read that became his answer straight from our Heavenly Father, resulting in the restoration of the gospel. These are the same verses that became my own answer to my prayers this week. This is an invitation of our Heavenly Father to pray to Him and ask in faith, with no doubts, with trust in him that He will answer us. I know He will because He has in my life and He will for you. He is just waiting for us to talk with Him. He is ever so loving and caring and knows the details of our lives. I know it. 

I hope you all know that I love my mission so much and treasure my time here. Thank you all for the support every week!!!! You all are the best. 
Till next week....

Sister Reategui

on the crazy doesn't even look that cool in the pictures..hahaha

 welcome to masbate!

with the Jeramos family!

 a sister that worked with us!

 family home evening with Melfa and her family!