(Guest post by Florence May Espina – Filipino Native)
Every missionary’s experience is unique. I believe that one of the best experiences that could happen to every member in the church happens in the mission field.
Deciding to Serve a Mission
The decision of going or not going has not been easy for me. The answer came after much thought and fervent prayers. I knew I was answered. The answer was as concrete as holding a stone. After that day, there were no negative opinions and challenges that have stopped me from preparing and deciding to go and serve him with all my might and mind.
Before my call came, I was wondering how it would feel to be serving in a foreign land.
Honestly, I was excited to be called outside my country. I thought it would be more exciting and memorable.
When my call arrived, it says I will be serving in “Philippines Cabanatuan Mission”. It’s in the Philippines, yet I have not been in that place yet, so my excitement continued.
A question popped, would they like me? Would they be as happy to greet me on streets as they were to the missionaries I have worked with? These questions were obviously answered when I arrived in the field.
Arriving in the Philippines Cabanatuan Mission
When I was finally there, I was fascinated with the kind of enthusiasm that they displayed towards missionary work. Filipinos by nature are warm and accommodating. Some helped us by working with us and some helped us through their personal prayers.
People are always ready to smile. Even the nonmembers could uplift you spiritually, everytime you see them ready to give their big smiles.
One experience that I could never forget was in my first area.
An Unforgettable Experience
My trainer was trying to prepare me for the unexpected. She had this feeling that she might leave me anytime, since there will be new missionaries coming and she might be training. And that I might be called as a senior companion as early as two weeks. I was overwhelmed. How can I be a senior when I haven’t been to a follow-up trainer yet to evaluate my skills?
Transfers and other special instructions are given during zone conferences. Two weeks after we went to our Zone conference. That was my first Zone conference. Our Mission president announced that there will be a new missionary who has just been two weeks out from the field who will be training an American sister.
He slowly walked towards where I was sitting. I didn’t give any meaning to his gestures. He looked down to where I was sitting and pointed at me.
I was speechless; I did not know how to react or what to react. All I can remember was I said “No”.
To shorten the story, there I go, training an American sister missionary and at the same time reopening an area. My experience in that area was successful not just because of the skills that I have learned while I was preparing back home, but also with the help of those people who were there, members and nonmembers .
I give credit to the nonmembers too because they made our work there less of pressure through their smiles and excitement to help us find those who are in our records that we need to look for.
This innate attitude that Filipinos have which is to smile no matter what the situation is made my mission more meaningful.
With God Nothing is Impossible
Every missionary is unique. If we will allow the Lord to work in us and with us, nothing is impossible.
I know I made it all the way through the end of my mission term because He was their guiding me, and I allowed Him to do so.
And please allow me to share this. I marvel with how Heavenly Father has assisted me while I was in the field. I had symptoms of some disorder while I was in the there. I did not know what it was and not even aware that, that was it. Six years after my mission, I went to a health professional for some evaluation with my husband. I was diagnosed with the kind of disorder that cannot be cured but can be treated with meds.
After that I was thinking, how was I able to endure the pressure of training and reopening an area with such disorder? He was carrying me.
He kept his promise in Doctrine and Covenants section 84 verse 88, and I quote
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my angels round about you shall bear you up.”
Without any doubt He will do the same marvelous work to you if you will allow him, regardless of where you serve and who you serve.