Friday, December 26, 2014

The Book of Mormon IS the word of God

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Christmas is my very favorite holiday.  It is one that is filled with laughter, joy, peace and love.  If you live in a place like Utah it also brings you snow.  :)  Can you believe the snow did not arrive until Christmas day?!  Crazy right? 

Saturday was my very first 24 hour exchange.  I was with Sister Leavitt and Sister Palmer was with our district leader, Sister Garcia.  Sister Leavitt is from Nevada.  She such a sweet and nice friend.  One thing she taught me was to always introduce the Book of Mormon to the people we talk with.  She said that three things she always says to introduce herself is 1) her name, 2) who she is representing and 3) the Book of Mormon.
While we were at TC desk (South VC), we met two college age guys who were visiting Utah because one of them was checking out one of the medical programs at one of the schools.  They didn't know much about "Mormons."  (For privacy purposes I will use different names to tell the story).  Joe is the one applying to schools and Bob is the other guy not applying.  One thing we shared with them was what the Book of Mormon was.  I decided to give Joe a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Bob, who seemed to have a funny sense of humor, asked if we had a kids version of the Book of Mormon because there is no way he could ever read something like that.  We showed him that here are actually pictures in the front.  I turned to the picture of Lehi and his family on the ship.  I was about to share the story when Bob pointed to one of the kids in the picture and said "Look at this kid!  He's so ripped!"  Then he started laughing.  Sister Leavitt and I couldn't help it, we laughed too.  haha.  We eventually were able to talk about the story.  Some other sisters gave them a tour.  They ended up both taking their own copy of the Book of Mormon.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book ever written.  No matter what your beliefs are, if you ever have a concern or need some uplifiting, read the Book of Mormon.  If ever in your life you feel lonely, read this book and it will give you the peace you are never alone.  If you want your own copy go onto and ask the missionaries to have a copy delivered to your home.  The Book of Mormon is not just a book, it contains the words of God.  As you read it, I promise you you will feel of His personal love for you. 
Not very many people know this, but I am Filipino.  I was invited to the Filipino lunch on Saturday.  The food was delicious!  Before we ate, the other Filipino sisters sang some songs, all in Tagalog, of course. haha.  Other sisters walking past the room we were in had confused looks, because they didn't know I was Filipino and I wear an American flag on my tag.

Monday I got to go on a 24 hour exchange again!  This time it was with my awesome district leader Sister Garcia, from Spain.  We were in the TAB for our assignment and I met this man (I will call him Rob for privacy reasons as well).  Rob was not a member of the church and he had never been to Temple Square before.  He had been going through some rough things.  He was raised Catholic, but since then has just been a "non-practicing" Christian.  We talked for a while and I got to know more about his beliefs.  As we were talking, the thought came to my mind that he needed a Book of Mormon.  I waited for a while and kept talking.  He eventually said he wanted to have a look around the Tabernacle.  A few minutes later he asked me to take his picture.  I was ready to invite him to read The Book of Mormon.  Well, he kind of said "bye" and left too quickly.  By then our time was finished at the Tabernacle and as Sister Garcia and I were walking towards the North VC I told her about the experience and the impression I had.  Rob was actually by the North VC looking at the Nativity on the lawn.  We saw him make his way the opposite direction from us towards West Gate.  Sister Garcia told me that we needed to go after him and give him the Book of Mormon.  I was honestly surprised, but we went and found Rob near the Assembly Hall.  I had never really, I guess you could say, chased someone down before, but I knew Sister Garcia was right.  I told Rob I had the impression to give him a Book of Mormon.  I said he could read it when he felt ready, but I promised him the Book of Mormon would bring him peace, especially at this time in his life.  He accepted the copy.  I am very grateful to Sister Garcia for encouraging me to have faith in the promptings given to me by the Holy Ghost.  Sister Garcia taught me it is far more important to "fear God more than man." 

Monday evening I got to see the Guerreros! There is a whole long story of how they kind of surprised me, but I don't have time to share.  Basically they had their phones out taking pictutes of me talking with people.  They are so funny!  Love them!  It was fun to see Gabe and Lem and Shawna's new baby!  She is adorable!  I wish there was no rule saying that we can't hold babies :(  I understand the reasoning behind it though.

Christmas morning we woke up to snow!  Finally!  I was so excited! I, of course, got my camera out!  Sister Palmer and I had breakfast with out roommates, Siter Nakmatsu and Sister Atchu.  So fun!  After opening our gifts we went to another Filipino lunch/ song practice for the Christmas program.
Since I am part Filipino, I was asked to sing "What Child is This" with  the Filipino sisters in the program.  I wish I had more time to write about the beautiful and spiritual program that was put together.  At the end, President Poulsen began reciting "The Living Christ" and one by one sisters stood up reciting one paragraph at a time.I also got to call home which was so special.

I love you all!
Sister Mikeila Aquino

Christmas Morning

Thursday, December 18, 2014

He Hears and Answers Every Prayer

This past week has gone by so fast!  I feel as though I just had P-day not too long ago!
Sunday I got the chance to announce!  Every Sunday after "Music and the Spoken Word" Temple Square sisters get to recite a little paragraph, in their native language, inviting people to take tours with them.  I, of course, only speak English, so recited it in English.  It actually started snowing on us while we announced.  As freeeeezing as I was, I had so much fun seeing the snow!  Unfortunately, once again, the snow melted away, later on, but it lasted long enough to be in my pictures and that is all I care about.

Monday we were treated with delicious soup for dinner!  Six families got together and made soup and desserts for our mission.  Some young women also made rice and corn bags for each of us!  I got a corn bag of course, because that is what my mom made for us growing up.  I love it!
Ahhh, there's nothing like a warm corn bag!
So we got a referral from another sister missionary and this man is from Liberia, where missionaries for the church cannot serve.  Tuesday we called him and he was very nice, but it was difficult to understand him because of the fuzzy phone connection.  In the middle of the conversation the phone disconnected so we tried calling again.  I said a silent prayer to Heavenly Father asking Him to help Sister Palmer and I be able to understand him.  I believe Heavenly Father blesses us with simple miracles everyday because when we continued the conversation we were able to understand him much better.  Some of you might think that your prayers are insignificant or unheard, but I testify to you that they are not.  God does hear every single one of us.  

Wednesday we had the wonderful opportunity to have Christmas dinner at a member's home, the Bowman family.  The Bowman's served in the Oakland California mission a few years ago and absolutely loved it!  They shared some wonderful experiences they had with us.   Sister Bowman made what she called, "a snowball".  It tasted like a chicken roll.  We had salad and broccoli with it.  For dessert we had strawberry ice cream (my favorite flavor!) with different cookies.  After dinner we sat in the living room and sang Christmas hymns while Sister Bowman played the piano and Sister Garcia played the violin.  The Bowmans have such a strong and special spirit in their home.  I felt like I was at home because my family always stands around my mom while she plays the piano and sing.  Sister Bowman gave each of us a miniature Christmas tree.  I cried with so much gratitude and humbled heart.  This will be my very first Christmas away from home, but Heavenly Father really does take care of His missionaries.
Christmas dinner with the Bowmans
Our very own Christmas trees
I have felt the love of my Savior so much this week!  Serving a mission has shown me my weaknesses, but it is through the Savior that I can make "weak things become strong".  I am learning to persevere through trials and hardships because I know that the Savior will always be there to uplift me as long as I obey Him.  I love my family.  The temple is where families can be united for eternity.  I pray and hope that all families will have that sacred opportunity one day.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

I love you all!  Have a Merry Christmas and share the love of Christ with all!

Love, Sister Mikeila Aquino

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Shared the Book of Mormon with a Panda

I cannot believe I am done with my first transfer here at Temple Square!  Crazy how fast time goes by!  I have learned so much from my companion, the other sisters, President and Sister Poulsen, various people I meet on the Square and so many more!  I really have been blessed to be here on Temple Square at this time.

Thursday evening, one of the local church stake Relief Societies, brought us cookies and made individual Christmas goodie bags for us sisters.  We sang "Called to Serve' (Temple Square version) to them and then sang "Silent Night" with them.  Everyone in the room had a smile on their face and I could just feel the love and happiness from the Spirit.  I am very grateful to those sisters that took the time to bring us these gifts, because it definitely brightened my day.

Saturday I took my very first hospitality tour!  A hospitality tour is when a large group reserves for a tour on Temple Square and more than one companionship takes them around Temple Square.  I was nervous at first because I have a really soft voice and the microphones we had weren't working, but then we found working ones.  I had a lot of fun.  I had the opportunity to share my testimony of the Temple.  The Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to build and it still stands to day.  Just like the foundation of the temple is solid, our faith in Jesus Christ must be also.  I love the scripture Heleman 5:12 of the Book of Mormon, which says, And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. 

Sunday evening I had the opportunity to go to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional!  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a remarkable sight!  I loved all of the talks given.  I really enjoyed the one given by Richard J. Maynes.  He shared that because of the obedience of Mary and Joseph and Jesus, each of us have the opportunity to have eternal life.  Each of their role's leading up to the birth of the Savior was vital to our salvation.  Mary, Joseph and Jesus are remarkable people.  It is because of them I have the opportunity to be with my family for eternity!

​So you probably read the title and said "What?"  I don't blame you.  Monday I gave a Book of Mormon to a Panda!  I was at MAP desk (in the North VC) and a guy with a camera comes walking in with someone dressed up in a Panda costume.  They walked over to the Jerusalem model.  I looked at Sister Palmer with a confused face.  She started calling security.  The is nothing wrong with dressing up in a costume, but walking on a place like Temple Square, probably is not the best place to do something like that.  I decided to go over and talk with them.  On the Panda's head an chest is said "".  I asked what the company was for.  The guy with the camera told me they were taking a cross country road trip giving socks to the homeless.  Not sure why this next statement he made was important, but he said they knew the mayor of Provo very well.  They then asked what there was to see around here on Temple Square.  I told them about the different buildings and various things to see in the visitor centers.  They left and walked up to the Christus, taking pictures of the panda.  Then security came in and politely asked them to leave.  I didn't know, but costumes are not allowed on Temple Square.  Temple Square is such a sacred and peaceful place, having someone dressed up in a costume could be distracting.  It was funny though and random.

Wednesday was transfer day!  Early in the morning, we drove a sister to the airport to go back home.  She was form Italy.  The whole day was so strange and I honestly did not like seeing sisters go.  I was really sad to have to say good bye to my district leader, Sister Yang and her companion, Sister Liao.  A lot of sisters also went outbound. :(  Goodbyes are so hard, but I will always remember that wonderful memories I had with these sisters.

My First Transfer District with our Zone Leades
Wednesday evening, we were stationed at EF( Eternal Families; South VC) desk.  Three guys came walking in and I said "hello".  I asked some questions about their evening and how they were enjoying temple Square.  They were enjoying it.  They were Young Men's leaders for their ward and they brought the youth to Temple Square.  After we talked a little I gave them a challenge.  I said "Jesus Christ is a gift to all of us and He has given us so much.  If you were at the birth of our Savior, what gift would you give to Him?"  I then asked them to give the same challenge to their youth and to the discuss their answers with them.  They accepted the challenge.  Well later on in the evening some youth went up to Sister Palmer and asked if she was from California, the Bay Area.  She said no.  I over heard and told them I was.  They came over to me and said "Either you have a question for us or we have a question to ask you, we aren't sure which one."  My response was "What?  I'm confused."  All three of them laughed.  They told me their bishop had talked with me earlier and I asked the a question.  My mind was still blank.  Then, finally I remembered I had talked with their leaders earlier. hahaha.  I was surprised, but happy the leaders had sent their youth my way.  So I asked them the same question and they all agreed to think about it.  Well, by now I am sure you have figured out that I am all about giving out challenges, so my challenge to for this week is to watch the He is the gift video and ask yourself "If I were present at the birth of Christ, my Savior, what gift would I give Him?" 

I believe in a perfect Savior.  I am grateful to Joseph and Mary for their sacrifice and obedience to God and bringing Christ to this earth to save us all.  I am grateful for all of the natural beauty that is all around me.  It is a wonderful reminder of how peaceful and simple the gospel of Jesus Christ is.  I will never be able to repay the sacrifices Christ made for me, but I can love and serve everyone around me, just like Christ did while He was here on the earth.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"The "Light" of Christ

I cannot believe that this is my last week of my first transfer!  I seriously feel like I was just in the MTC! 

Friday night was the first night the Christmas lights went on!  I was really excited!  The Square was filled with people, joy, peace and the Spirit!  It was pretty chaotic.  It took Sister Palmer and I 10-15 minutes to get from one side of the Square to the other side. 
Saturday was just as busy and crazy as Friday.  Seeing so many kids running around was "heaven" for me.  I loved seeing all of the families coming in and out of the visitor centers.  This year Temple Square created something new for Christmas called "Sing and Smile".  It is basically caroling, just a fancier term for it.  My district did it together.  I loved it!  Singing not only brought peace to my heart, but it also brought peace to the people passing by us.  There were tons and tons of people trying to get in and out of the gates and there was so much traffic and noise.  But when we started singing the atmosphere changed.  Instead of trying to rush by us, people would stop to listen and others would join in and sing.  Children would smile and wave at us.  Parents stopped their children, hugged them and smiled as they listened.  I wish everyone had the opportunity to see this.  It was incredible to see how God brought His children together, to take time to remember His son, Jesus Christ, to remember His birth and resurrection.  As I was singing I could feel the warmth the Savior and Heavenly Father had for these people.  What a blessing it was for me to experience that.
Monday evening we were walking by the reflection pool in front of the temple and a couple of guys stopped us.  One guy pointed to his friend telling us his friend was not a member of the Church so if we could tell him in 30 seconds why he should join the church what would we say?.  Sister Palmer said she could say it in two words, "Greater Happiness".  Then they turned to me.  At first I said "what my companion said" and smiled.  I felt a little nervous and under pressure, but I calmed myself down and said "Because the Savior loves you."  They were both happy with our answers.  They then asked us if there was any significance to some of the Christmas lights being red.  I told him there is no significance to the lights being red, but all of the lights do symbolize something.  The lights here on Temple Square represent the "light" of Christ.  We are blessed to see and feel His presence here.  I continued saying that unfortunately we cannot always see these lights, but if we look for it each day we CAN see Christ's light throughout our day.  I then challenged him to start that evening by looking for the "light" of Christ each day.  He said he would.  I want to give all of you this same challenge.  Throughout your day look for that "light" of Christ at work, school, in your homes, on our jog,etc and write down what you observed at the end of the day.  Then express your feelings for the Savior and why you were grateful to Him that day.  I hope you will all take this challenge because I promise you your day will go much smoother and less stressful.
Today the General Relief Society Presidency of the church spoke to us for Relief Society.  Sister Linda Reeves gave the talk.  She talked about the importance of Relief Society and the incredible role we as women have to serving the world.  She gave a wonderful talk and shared some inspiring stories from a book called "Daughters of my Kingdom."  I got to hug them and talk briefly with them.  They radiate the spirit of our Savior and I was very blessed to meet them.
For lunch we went to Leatherby's with our roommates.  Sister Depablos and I shared this huge ice cream!  We were able to take the rest home. :)

I got to see Aunty Patty today!  We were on our way to Harmons and she was coming down the escalator as we were going up!
I have a strong belief in my Savior.  He lives.  I love this gospel.  I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father knows me personally.  Whether storms or sun come my way I know I am watched over by Him.  I love this gospel I say these things int he name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Sister Mikeila Aquino