Friday, November 28, 2014

Christ IS the gift

Monday I got to eat at the Lion House for free  because I passed off giving a tour. 

Each week our zone has a theme we are to focus on and study about.  Last weeks was "How we view ourselves and others."  Interestingly enough this really stuck out to me.  For whatever reason I became very self conscious of myself.  I began to worry what the other sisters thought of me.  I was also losing confidence in my teaching.  Friday evening we were at EF (Eternal Families) desk and a lady was sitting on the couch watching the mormon messages.  She had been there for a while so I eventually decided to go and talk with her.  She was an RM (Returned Missionary) as of a few weeks ago.  We were talking a little bit about her mission, and her family.  Then out of nowhere she said something that she tells every new missionary. "You know enough.  Never think that the older missionaries know more than you.  Their experiences will always be different.  God called you here because he needed you here.  No one else can do what you do.  You were set apart and you know enough.  Trust Him because He trusts you."  I became teary eyed.  I needed to hear that.  She didn't know me, she didn't know my fears and needs and yet she was able to make that statement as if she did know me and my struggles that week.  The power of God never fails.  This experience is one of the many that has taught me that my Heavenly Father knows each of His children personally and will send angels to guide, comfort and protect us. 

On our way home Friday evening I saw my friend Alexa from BYU Hawaii!  She was in her car and when she saw me she quickly changed lanes and came out to see me.  I was so happy to see her!  That totally made my evening!
Saturday it rained pretty hard.  I really do NOT like walking in the rain unless I am in Hawaii.  especially do not like being in the rain wearing a skirt.  Not only can a mission change you, it is also meant to help you like things you usually don't.  I haven't appreciated the rain yet...
Tuesday we sisters got training for the new church video "He is the Gift".   Watch this video! (you can click on the link here...  He Is the Gift
It is very moving and peaceful.  The church bought the front page space on youtube for December with this video on there.  In New York the church bought billboards!  In the Temple Square North Visitor Center they built in a T.V. on the wall that plays the "He is the Gift" video.  Also they covered the Old Testament paintings with the Nativity story.  Yes this video is huge!  I am so excited!  

Tuesday evening I was at EF desk again and to my surprise guess who came walking in?  Bishop Garrett and Adam.  It was nice to see them and chat with them for a little bit.  I didn't have a camera, but Bishop got a picture of us on his phone. 
Hi Bishop Garrett!

Wednesday Sister Palmer and I (along with other TS sisters with Hawaii connections) were invited to eat at a missionary couple's home, the Serraos  They know Tutu and Aunty Val very well.  We ate local food; spam, Portuguese sausage, crab egg, musubi, POG.  So delicious!  I have left overs :)
No sign of snow yet! I feel like I am in California.  It is so weird!  How am I supposed to make my Christmas card if there is no snow!  Hopefully it will come sooner than later.  It did snow a little bit on Sunday and I got super excited!  I took a picture in it!
so excited for this little teaser of snow

Today the Christmas lights will be going on.  I cannot wait! 
Temple Christmas lights testing in the morning

I love this gospel.  I love that our relationship with the Savior is personal.  Christ's gift IS a gift to us all.  I love my Savior and the peace He brings into my life.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sister Aquino

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Savior of the World"

There is still no sign of snow!  It is a little warmer, but I am ready for the snow. haha.

Friday we gave a tour to three ladies who were all friends and visiting.  We began our tour introducing ourselves, getting to know them and briefly explaining what the tour would consist and our purpose as missionaries.  We were about to start when one of them asked what the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible were.  We somewhat paused for a few seconds and out of nowhere I simply explained the Restoration the Gospel.  I could not believe it!  The spirit had directed me to do so and when I opened my mouth I taught the whole first lesson!  I was so grateful to the Spirit for giving me the confidence to do so.  I usually feel comfortable teaching about the Restoration, but I don't think I have ever taught it as efficiently and simple as I did that day. 

Sunday I was sitting in Guest Services and Sister Palmer got a call.  I then heard her say she would transfer them over to me.  I was a little surprised.  I answered said my line "Welcome to Temple Square Services this is Sister Aquino"  "Hi this is Erin."  Awww!!!!!  I was so excited!  We got other sisters to sit at the desk for a few minutes. We ran upstairs and I was just so happy.  It felt so nice to see a familiar face.  I had fun!
Surprise visit with the Parkes...Love you guys!

I spent most of Monday in the dentist office because Sister Palmer had to drive a sister so she could get a root canal.  We got another contact on chat who really wants to learn more about the church!  Yay!  In the Evening we got to take a  member family through "God's Plan."  They have six children as well and they made me realized how grateful I am for my family.  The Spirit was calm and powerful during that time.  It is difficult to explain the feeling of the Spirit at times but know this, Heavenly Father IS aware of every single family that exists.  He knows your family names and each individual member.  He knows your strengths and your weaknesses.  He knows the trials and hardships your family is going through.  He also knows how important an eternal family is.  That is why He provided the Savior to atone for us.  That is why he created temples so that our families could be sealed together for eternity.  The temple is the only way for us to be an eternal family.  I know this to be true. 
Tuesday evening we went to watch the LDS production "Savior of the World"  Oh my goodness if any of you are out here in Utah during Christmas I encourage you to come see this production!  It does not matter what faith or your belief in God is, I promise you it will bring joy into your life.  The production depicts Christ's birth and his resurrection. My testimony of Christ's humbled birth grew that evening.  I really admire the obedience to God of Mary and Joseph.  Once again the spirit touched me. 

With "Mary" from "Savior of the World"

Wednesday we had another Explore Day!  We went to the Humanitarian Center.  This church is incredible with all of the relief efforts and service they do through out the world.  It is really fascinating to see how efficient they are.  It really is their purpose that drives though, that is the Savior.
Humanitarian Center

Every new missionary has to pass off giving a tour to their zone leaders and I passed!  Yay!  Sister Palmer and I get to go eat at the "Lion House' for free!
I bare testimony Christ's birth is a precious gift to us all.  I love the joy and peace I feel her eon Temple Square. I know God loves everyone here in this earth. I know Christ is our one  perfect example who wants what is best for us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Love, Sister Aquino

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christ Lives!

Little flakes of white are beginning to fall from the sky!  I know I am a beach girl, but I am so excited for the snow to come!  Did I just really say that?... The things a mission can do to you. :)  I love being here on Temple Square.  I would never change it for anything else, honestly.  A mission is very exciting, but also hard work.  I know I have just begun, but I have had such remarkable experiences, just this week, that have really strengthened my relationship with the Savior.

On Thursday November 6th, my class (all the sisters that came the same day as me) attended "The Living Christ Meeting" with President and Sister Poulsen.  The Living Christ is a document written by 12 apostles of the church, bearing testimony of the Savior.  We sisters were asked to read it before the meeting and to write our testimony on the back of it.  In the meeting each sister stood and shared a favorite part of the document that stood out to them and shared their testimony.  Words cannot express how strong the spirit was in that room.  The love that each of us has for the Savior is wonderful.  I invite everyone to read or re-read this The Living Christ so that you too can come closer to Christ. 

Friday morning Sister Palmer and I had a friendly visitor come to our door as we were on our way out.  His name was Hunter.  Hunter is a beagle!  He was being brought to do a bug inspection in our apartment. (Today we found out we do have bugs. Yikes!)  I took a picture of him and he reminded me of our dog, Lehi. 

We had TC (Teaching Center) in the morning and we called (a man that) Sister Palmer found on chat when the two of us were on exchanges a few days ago.  He is a single dad.  He is very busy and stressed with work.  He owns a car body shop.  One day a couple of ladies brought their car in and gave him a card.  He decided to check it out and chatted with Sister Palmer.  She sent local missionaries to his home and they happened to be the same ladies whose car he fixed.  Go figure! :)  So Friday we called him, and he was in the middle of cooking dinner for his son, but he said we could call him Wednesday (yesterday).  Sister Palmer and I were on exchanges yesterday as well, but she did not get to talk to him because he was meeting with the local missionaries!  Yay! 

Saturday morning Sister Palmer and I went to the DA DI and scored some clothes!  Love free cute clothes! For my workout that morning I did the  French zumba with my roommates.  Daddy would probably get a laugh at it.  It is more dance workout moves than stretches, but it is still a workout.  It is so funny! Our other roommates are from Japan, Madagascar, Brazil and Venezuela.  I love them all!  

We had Zone meeting which was really fun!  We had a lesson on comp unity and the activity was to try and get the smarties into your comp's mouth. hahaha.   

Monday was Explore day!  Explore day is any day we as Temple Square sisters choose to go to the church history sites and take tours and pictures.  Sister Palmer and I went with Sister Taylor and Sister Fraiser.  It was so fun!  We went to the Releif Society building, the COB (Church Office Building) and Welfare Square!  We had lunch at the COB.  Delicious!  While we were getting food I saw a lady wearing a pretty scarf.  I complimented her about it.  She came back to us insisting she pay for her food.  Of course we respectfully declined, but she continued to insist so we allowed her to...I was very grateful for her generosity.
Tuesday we took a tour.  They were three guys, all members.  One of them reported to the MTC (yesterday).  He is going to the Philippines.  He is a convert to the church.  The other two guys were the missionaries that taught him.  One was the first one to teach him and the other was the one to baptize him.  How neat!  I got to do the TAB (tabernacle) pin drop demonstration for the second time.

This morning we got Christ mas training!  I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo  excited for Christmas!  We will also get to see "Savior of the World".  I cannot wait!

Christ does live.  I know that through our faith and obedience to the Lord we will be blessed.  I have already witnessed the Lord's hand in the work.  I know that families can be together for eternity.  The family is a beautiful and precious gift given to each of us.  The temple is the gateway to binding families for eternity.  I believe in miracles.  I know the experiences that I had this week were no mistake and they were not a consequence of anything I have done.  It was the Lord's way of testing my faith, building my character and showing me His love.  I did grow so much from the trials that I had.  I am far from perfect, but through Christ I can do anything.  I believe in a loving Heavenly Father who IS aware of our needs.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

I love you all!
Sister Aquino
Thank you family, Granny Wade and Perry Family!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Priveleged I Am to Be Called to Serve the Lord!

On Halloween the Square closed early and the WHOLE mission got to do a temple session together!  We had potato bar for dinner and then headed over to the temple.  I had never been in the Salt Lake temple before.  It was beautiful!  I love being in the temple.  The temple is a place you will always feel the spirit.
Happy Halloween with a yummy potato bar
  Saturday Sister Palmer and I got to do "Explore Day".  This is a time when we can go visit the historic sites so we can learn more about the history to improve our teaching skills.  It is also a time I am allowed to take my camera out and be  "tourist". If you know me, you  know that I brought my camera. :)  We went to the Beehive House and the Conference Center.  Along the way I was trying to think of ways to tie the history to the gospel.  We had a lot of fun!  Later that evening all of the new sister had the chance to go to Walmart to buy food.  Let me tell you this was not a pretty site to see.  Why?  I have never had to shop for my own groceries before.  I have gone grocery shopping, but my mom usually has a list of the specific items she needs and I use her Safeway coupons and discounts.  That's the other thing I have never bought my groceries form Walmart.  I know I'm lame, but adulthood go the better of me.  :) I was worried I would spend all $200.  Guess what my bill was?... about $50.  I know you are all shaking your heads right now.  That's Sister Aquino for you.

Beehive House

Sunday I got to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing!  Oh they sounded beautiful!  I absolutely loved it!  For most of Sunday I am in GS (Guest Services).  Here I schedule tour appointments or give information for anyone who has a question about Temple Square.  My two favorite places to be are out on the Square or GS.
Music and the Spoken Word

Guest Services

 I love my Savior.  I love this work.  I know that through the Atonement all things are possible.  Trials and tribulations will come our way, but if we rely on the Savior for strength He will help us overcome our sorrows and heartache.  I believe the Book of Mormon to be the most correct book.   If read with an open and humbled heart, you will find answers to your questions, worries and fears.  I love the priesthood and I am grateful for how it has blessed my life.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

I love you all!  Have a great week!