Monday, November 30, 2015

If you don't have one, get one. All your Mormon friends have one!

Happy Thanksgiving!... JOKE.
Walang Nothing Thanksgiving. Except everyone knows about it here, and they were talking about it being Thanksgiving. I got SUPER bummed out. Because.. I LOVE THANKSGIVING. I love the food, I love the movies, I love the little Hallmark holiday aspect. It's literally the greatest thing ever.  But what I did was walk down dusty roads, and have people shut the door in my face. I didn't feel grateful! It got dark,  I felt sick. My companion said we should buy a cake (they have a cute bakery here called Goldilocks) and I said fine. We walked all the way to the bakery, it was closed. At this point, I felt like crying.  The only thing open that we had time to stop at was 7/11.  I bought expensive American snacks (a can of MUG root-beer and a bag of Cheetos) for my Thanksgiving dinner. It's now 9:00pm and we have to get home like, NOW. So we walk home, and I cry a little. My companion hugs me. I feel so very UNGRATEFUL, and homesick.  We go home, and finish planning for the next day. Sister Devi and Sister Manzano hug me because I'm super crying at this point.  We finishing planning, and I go to get dressed for bed when  Sister Devi comes in and blindfolds me, and my companion takes my camera and they take me down the stairs to find... THANKSGIVING FEAST! Sister Devi is from Fiji, but her family is Indian. She COOKED and Sister Manzano COOKED Fijian and Filipino food, and lit candles, and turned the lights off and prepared for me.  They wrote a sign,  HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY SISTER ZIMMERMAN!

My thanksgiving

The food they cooked takes a long time to make, and it was the sweetest thing ever! Of course it made me feel so close to my kabahays (house mates) but also to my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Don't you think He was aware of me in my situation? I felt terrible. I was just going to go to sleep early.  But instead, He blessed me with wonderful friends, loving friends, who would do such a thing for me. I really seriously love my mission! I love being a missionary! And I cannot believe another month has passed by.  My time here is soooo short, and goes by so quick.  

Thanksgiving moon 

I love it.  Felizardo Molina has stopped smoking and is now getting baptized on December 26.  We have another baptisim scheduled for Dec 19, an 18yr old named Dan. We have SO MANY INVESTIGATORS, it's so many, oh my goodness. We don't have enough time to teach all these people. They are all truly prepared to hear the gospel.

Have a wonderful week!  BE POSITIVE, is what I want to share.  You believe in God, right? You know He is real, and He is your father, right?  Then stop complaining that life is hard. I do it all the time, I know it's not helpful. It will not help you progress.  And just trust Heavenly Father! He knows YOU perfectly. And if you don't have faith, if you don't know God, or know He is your father, then get on your knees and ask Him yourself. Search the Book of Mormon. If you don't have one, get one. All your Mormon friends have one, the missionaries have A LOT. They'll give it away for free. But stop being dumb and thinking life is SO HARD and this is SO HARD and what can I possibly do to make my life easier, better, happier? Turn to the REAL God, the REAL HEAVENLY FATHER, the REAL Plan of Happiness, and start to serve those around you. God is not some made up character. This church is not lead by some crazy old white man. God is real. He calls Prophets today to teach and guide us BY HEAVENLY FATHER'S authority and power. God is not dead, He's not ignoring us, He's not forgetful. YOU are the one who forgets, YOU are the one who ignores. PRAY. PRAY EVERYDAY, and as an authorized servant of the Lord Jesus Christ I testify and promise you that as you DO this you WILL become happier, and life WILL become easier. I am NOT here in the Philippines wasting my time on some fictitious Restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ. I am not wasting my time on some fake Lord and Father. This is REAL. This is REAL LIFE. You are LITERALLY a  CHILD OF GOD. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE. If you want to be happier, talk to the missionaries.  They really can help you.

I love you all, and send love and prayers your way!

Have a great week.

Sister Zimmerman 

Monday, November 23, 2015

No one reacts the way I expect, it's not in their culture.

Dearest family and friends,

I miss you all so much!  At this point, it no longer pains too bad, but I miss you all.
I am so glad to be here in the Philippines! My week was great.  I found out something awful this week about someone here that we work with. I won't write about it, but please send prayers of peace and comfort.  I'm working on it with my companion to act as the Lord's healing hands and sometimes I don't want to see or know what it is that is broken, but I am learning a lot from these experiences.

It can be hard, because life is so different here. No one reacts the way I expect them to because.. well, it's not in their culture. Luckily, I love my companion, Sister Dacalcap (the picture below is us in a tricycle, our only time to take pictures).

I love my companion because even though we both come from very different backgrounds, and our cultures and reactions are so different, she accepts me and works with me. 

Good news!!! Felizardo Molina, our GOLDEN investigator, has stopped smoking!!! Today is his 3rd day without smoking.  HOW AWESOME!? I've prayed over him and his problem and sought lessons and scriptures that would bless him and now we are finally seeing a end to this journey and a beginning to a better one! How great shall be your joy... totoo. Alam ko na ito simbahan totoo at si Jesucristo pagmamahal lahat mga tao. true. I know that this Church is true and that Jesus Christ loves all people  It's the greatest blessing sa buhay. of life

I am having the greatest time. I love being here. It's hot. All the time. Alam ko. Pero, I know. but I'm okay with it. All is well and I'm happy.

I miss home, and I miss DRIVING.  There are certain people, places and things that I took for granted that I truly miss, but every time I think of home, I think of what I would be doing, and honestly... I'd rather be here. Not working, not going to school, not dating. Not right now.   It's so very mahirap difficult. So brun. (?? in French it's brown...couldn't translate this one...anyone else?) But worth every tear, and stress filled moment.

Peace, be still, the Savior said.  We follow Christ in all the ways we can, di ba? right? So follow His commandment this week to be peaceful.  

I love you all and miss you lots!

Have a great week, and remember... be peaceful.

Sister Zimmerman 

Teal's companion at their apartment
Their home is considered REALLY nice that the wealthy live in. They have running water, a flush toilet and electricity.

Living Room of their apartment-no AC I'd sit in front of the fan too

Their kitchen-only a cooktop and slow cooker

Their water filter system-all fruits and veggies
have to be washed in a bleach/water solution before eating

Monday, November 16, 2015

Like, seriously, JUST COME TO CHURCH!

Dear family,

I cannot believe another week has already gone by.  My mission is already flying by! I have been here in Noveleta for a month! That's almost my entire MTC time! And it felt like nothing! Like it just flew by!

My companion and I are finding about 20 people a week to teach. We have only 4 progressing investigators though.  Progressing means they keep commitments and and let us return to teach. That's not too perfect but it's a start. I love these people.  I am so frustrated with them sometimes. Like, seriously, JUST COME TO CHURCH!  I don't care if you are offended, you need to come to church! And they don't.  Everyone is offended here. Someone said something, or the Bishop didn't do this or whatever. Get over it. They complain to us, like I can punish the people or something. We listen, and then share scriptures about not getting offended. They usually get their feathers ruffled, but then they love us anyway. I am kinda amazed at how often I feel like I need to shake these people up a little.  I have to ask hard questions a lot, and require an answer.  My Comp and I are never mean, always smiling, always kissing and hugging our friends here, because they really are our friends, but we have to ask questions that they don't always want to answer, but it's so important that they do.  We felt a great sense of success this week.  We worked out butts off. It was great. I loved it.

Not a lot to report this week. We just worked. Lots. And it was fabulous. I miss you all, and I miss the USA! I just miss familiar. Also, I found out today that I am the only white person in Noveleta, which is why I get stared at so much.  Anyway, I miss you all! 

Sister Zimmerman 

Teal & Sister Decalcap's decorated front door
Teal's zone.
(Missions are broken up into Zones, Zones into Districts, Districts into an Area)
Teal & Joyce a recent convert to the church. She is 17.

Teal with Joana & Christina (13 & 17) Christina recently joined the church.
Joanna's sister is a member, but she is not. 

Noveleta Ward at the ward Family Home Evening.
That's almost the whole ward! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's crazy, it's loud, it smells like so many not nice things, I love it!

Dear pamilya,

I miss you all so much! I love you.

Philippines! It's crazy, it's loud, it smells like so many not nice things. I love it. LOL  I had a great week.  A little bit rough, but really good. We teach all day, everyday.  Because I teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the First Vision and the story of Joseph Smith so much, I have been surprised how much my testimony of theses things and people has grown.  Halimbawa, Alam ko na si Joseph Smith totoo propeta tinatawag ng Diyos.  "For example, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God are true."  I know Joseph Smith truly was called by God, and he really is a prophet! This isn't some made up story that we share to make people feel good.  It isn't some great big lie that we, as idiots, all believe. It's true. It's real.  It's a fact that is just as undeniable by me as the fact that the world is round and the sun sets and rises.  It just... is.  God doesn't change. He's our Father. He loves us.  Why would he call prophets only during biblical times and then just leave us to wander around confused? How do you know what's true and what's not? Pray about it! God is our literal Father. Our Daddy.  Why would any Father withhold truth that would help his children learn? Answer: He wouldn't. I know, through personal answers from God, that Joseph Smith is a real and true prophet. He did restore the Gospel. He really did translate the Book of Mormon.  It just is.  Katotohanan.  Reality.

Sometimes it's hard, because I know this is true, and a good amount of people use their agency to reject it.  That's their choice.  I feel so responsible for all the people here.  Someone (I don't remember who) told me that my assigned area is literally Heavenly Father giving me responsibility over these specific children of His. I love it, and also am overwhelmed by it.  

I tried really hard to respond as Christ would respond this week.  Just being Christlike and remembering that Jesus Christ never asks WHY.  Why did you do that!? That's gross, wrong, evil whatever... he always opened His arms and accepted THEM. Not their wrong doings, but he accepted them. And forgave them. He let them go clean.

So  I worked to not ask WHY when people told me how they failed to keep commitments that week. I worked to accept and love them anyway, tell them that it was wrong, and give them a new direction.

I think I already said this, but I did not think about or even realize that I would be playing a role in other peoples repentance. It didn't even cross my mind. With our investigator, the one with the smoking addiction, we have be helping him overcome that the last several weeks. At one point I thought to myself and later told my companion "What are we doing!? I am a 19 year old kid, helping a 50+ year old man overcome smoking! And I'M holding him accountable? What is this? He asks me for advice, and seeks OUR counsel!? What is going on? How does a 19 year old American girl help a 50+ year old Filippino man overcome an adiction!?" I was shocked.  I was shocked by my own calling! But I was reminded of the fact that a true Prophet of God, someone I sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator, called me.  He called me to the Philippines. That's not a joke, or a fake call.  It's real.  God wants me. There is great power in that knowledge.

Even if it was a crazy week, filled with dissapointments, it was also so great.  I loved it.

I miss you all.  I miss home. But I love it here! And I am so grateful for this chance to be here. I love you!

Sister Teal Zimms

Teal & Sister Dacalcap riding inside a tricycle (motorcycle with a side car)

View from inside the trike looking out-she says it's scary fast!

Family home evening with a family in their 1 room house

Sister Havili from Tonga & Teal, they were companions for the day in Cavite City while on missionary splits

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saint's Day festivities

​Magandang umaga po! Kamusta po kayo? Good morning! How are you?

Sister Zimmerman, her kasama Sister Dacalcap, Sister Devi from Fiji & Sister Manzano

This last week was a lot of things.  I was feeling really out of place, and a little scared and overwhelmed when I first got here.  Last week was rough.  But this week I tried really hard to forget how much I miss home and family, and forget about all the things I want and do the things the LORD wants.  He wants me to be happy, but He also wants me here right now. I had to learn that both of those things can and are the same. It was difficult to learn, but I am getting there.  I still love being here, and I love the Philippines.  It really is such a cool place to live and be!  There's SO many people!  Last night I wanted to see the All Saint's Day festivities so my kasama (companion) took me to the graveyard and I got to see!  I didn't take any pictures because it felt really disrespectful to do that, but it was literally a HUGE graveyard that reminded me of a neighborhood.  Remember the colorful houses in the movie Edward Scissorhands?  That's what it's like. Except with a bunch of concrete coffins and mausoleums.  They light candles at the graves of all their ancestors and  then just chill out and have a BBQ right there.  Eating food, talking with the people in the next "house".  It's like a concert because they also have SUPER loud music playing.  It was awesome.

Scene from the movie Edward Scissorhands

We taught a lot of lessons this week.  One gentleman in particular, Tatay Molina (Tatay means father, but you call everyone who is older Tatay or Nanay and then their last name. Nanay is mother.) Tatay Molina wants to be baptized, and has accepted almost everything we teach.  He is a perfect investigator, except he has a smoking problem.  We text him everyday, and check up on his progress.  We teach him a lot as well! I feel like we are helping him overcome his addiction because he no longer is looking so discouraged and upset. But he says he is determined and ready to stop... tomorrow. And still smokes 2 sticks a day. (They call them sticks here). It's frustrating.  We haven't given up on him yet, and I know the Lord is working on him. So I continue to pray for him because I know he can do this. He wants to follow Jesus Christ so badly and wants to be baptized! And his whole family will be baptized as well, but they won't unless/until Tatay is baptized first. I don't know why.

Sister Dacalcap, Teal's kasama

At a member's home

I have truly been growing so much closer to my Heavenly Father.  Imagine this: You are in a foreign country. You don't speak the language. You are put in an apartment with 2 Philippina's and 1 Fijian.  They speak broken English. You don't understand the currency. It's loud, everywhere. The smells are nasty. You smell fish, excrement, and rot everywhere and it's overpowering. You don't know a single soul for at least 50 miles.  You understand NOTHING. That's how I felt last week. I cried a couple times. It was hard.  BUT.  A HUGE STOPPING BUT: I knew someone who was going to hear me no matter where I was. Someone who knew me perfectly! My Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I had that hit me like a ton of bricks because I feeling so sorry for myself that I forgot to remember the God who is my purpose for even being here.  I felt SO much better after I prayed. I really truly felt like Heavenly Father was standing or kneeling next me and had His arm around me. It was really a special moment. I've felt that a lot this past week.  Like He has His arm around me, and is pushing me forward, but also supporting me upward.  *Mom note: She doesn't mention it here, but I know it would add to my stress if I was in her shoes...there is no shower in her apartment, she is lucky she has a toilet most people don't have one...but no shower would make me cry.  They have a bucket and a ladle. So next time you take a hot shower or throw your clothes in the washing machine think of Teal and send a little prayer her way, this is a big adjustment.*

I love my Heavenly Father so much. I know He loves us so much, and takes care of us! He wants us to be happy! He trusts me, and wants me to help Him make His other children happy! The people here in the Philippines are ready for the gospel. Not all accept right now. Some people laugh at us and what we share, but I know Heavenly Father still loves them and so we share and leave.  But always do we love these people. I love them because God loves them. and because I love them.

The gospel is true! Jesus loves you!
Have a safe and WONDERFUL week!

I love you family! 
With her house mates

Sister Teal