Update on pictures!

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"Companions that match together, stay together" 

Week 3: Almost Halfway There - July 25, 2015

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What a week! It feels like just yesterday I had my P-Day. This week has flown by which makes me 1) excited, because Philippines and 2) scared, because Philippines. Our Sister Training Leaders (like Sister Zone Leaders) just left to the Philippines this week and it was a sad parting. You find family in the people you serve with, especially those who took care of you during your first few weeks. The night before they left, all the sisters in our zone gathered together to say goodbye and there were testimonies, crying, and LOTS of singing and dancing (which is forbidden in the MTC..oops). It sounds really cheezy and it was. I have found that I all of a sudden kinda enjoy cheezy things and I have just accepted it when it happens. I can't wait to be in the Philippines though, we saw some videos and photos of our teachers' missions and OH. MY. HEAVENS. The Philippines is a beautiful place, and the people are even more beautiful. ALWAYS a huge smile on their face and they live in these really humble conditions. I have been told about this over and over again since I have had my call, but it wasn't until I saw actually pictures and videos, accompanied with their stories and I really understood. I am not gonna know a lick of Tagalog when I get there (not really, my goal is just to be able to pray and bear my testimony completely and I am hoping everything else will fall into place), but I will be able to love those people, and they know when you care about them, that's the most amazing part. If I can just love them, as a representative of Jesus Christ, they will be able to recognize a small portion of what our Savior feels for them. That is amazing to me.

Tagalog. Yep. Thats all I can say about it. I improve only a tiny bit everyday. BUT I have noticed, that I struggle with English and I cant remember words in English anymore. SO now I am losing English and will eventually be unable to communicate. so that's cool. Joke-lang ( just joking) I am probably becoming worse at English, so that I have the motivation to work even harder and learn tagalog. God knows how I am, I have somehow managed to procrastinate learning a language and He is simply helping me feel the urgency a bit sooner. Tagalog will come. The Kaloob ng mga wika (gift of tongues) is indeed a real thing. I feel the power of it everyday. No it doesn't make me fluent, but it most definitely helps me know what to say, and when to say it - all within my realm of ability. I don't know really how to explain it. Just know that it is really cool.

I have definitely embarrassed myself in some of our lessons to investigators this week. I think I have mentioned this in my previous letters, but your "investigators" (actually teachers at MTC) don't speak any English. SO this week, we were teaching about Christ's ministry and the Apostasy and we told our investigator that "Christ killed the people." (sentence structure in tagalog is really weird and if you're one letter off, it completely changes the meaning) Our investigator looked at us in horror, and asked why would we believe that Christ was a murderer?!? Yeah it was pretty hard to come back from that. But we did. I bore my testimony about the Savior and how grateful I was for how He died FOR us, just to make sure she understood Christ is not a killer.

2) We were teaching and I was sharing a scripture and I said, Mahal Kita banal na kasulatan ito (which translates: I love you this scripture) and our investigator actually broke out of tagalog to tell me, that does not make any sense and continued to laugh for a couple minutes about it. Obviously I was laughing on the outside with him, but inside, I was crying.

3) I asked another investigator, "Puwede po ba kaming bumalik sa mundo?" which translates: Can we return on earth? I was trying to reschedule and ask if we could returnon Monday (which is actually lunes) He also, broke out laughing while I sat there red-faced, crying on the inside. There is a lot of Spanish in Tagalog and I am very disappointed in myself for taking French all those years.

Don't worry though, I do have faith and know that the language will come! There are a lot of mistakes made and a lot of times, where I understand and get it write. Like I said, Gift of Tongues in real and God is answering my many many prayers.

The testimonies that are born and strengthened here are numerous. My testimony is one of them. I can not believe how much my love for others, for this gospel and for my Savior, and Heavenly Father has increased. We heard a talk by this general authority about 10 pieces of advice to missionaries, and he said, "continue this life beyond your mission" and I get it, missionaries are kinda weird and it is easy to be on a spiritual high when you are literally removed from everything else, but this feeling, this love is not something I want to lose. It makes me genuinely happy, I truly feel I have been able to find out who I really am (the sassy is still there) and I hope that I can manage to maintain it once I return. I understand why people talk about their missions all the time now, so sorry in advance to all those who will have to listen to me talk about it all the time.

Its been fun to see so many people here, I have been able to see Sister Peel and Sister Fouts, but they just left this week :((( I also see Elder Nixon everyday and Elder Hughes (from Vegas ward) and a bunch of other people from BHS and BYU. It makes me seem really popular to my DL... but nevermind that.

Thank you for all the letters again!!! P-Day is such a happy day cause I get to hear from all of you! There isn't a person I don't want to hear from, so keep them coming! I am trying to respond to as many as possible, but an hour is tough! So be patient, it will come!

(P.S. Also, thank you to everyone who is so concerned will my stomach issues. My body is indeed rejecting MTC food and punishing me for eating it. But all is well. I live on and will survive. Cereal has become my best friend ( it kinda already was) but mom feel free to send some human food and some fruit in any form :) I miss it.)

MAHAL KITA LAHAT ( I LOVE YOU ALL ) Thank you for everything and I am praying for everyone of you araw araw (everyday). Thank you for the PICS sarah, the kids are so cute and the house looks great, keep em coming! Elise's pictures were Perfect, Can I just say, we are a really good looking family, thats all, hopefully my future kids wont ruin that :)

Sist-ah Gentry

Week 2

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It was so great to hear from everyone this week! Thank you so so much! I miss everybody and the letters and emails I received were so uplifting and just so good to hear from everyone. I miss being able to speak to people so immediately... Letters are great because I am able to respond anytime of the week, so feel free to use good ole snail mail, and who doesn't love a good old fashioned letter.

KUMUSTA PO KAYO everyone?!?! I hope everything is going well with everybody! I hope everyone is safe and having a great time ( like obviously everything is better when I am there, but hope everyone is still having fun despite my absence!) The MTC is getting better with time. I was talking to an elder who described MTC time as "The days feel like years and the weeks feel like days." Pretty much the most accurate description I could possibly come up with.

ernesto: Tagalog is HARD, but through a lot of prayer and relying on the Lord, the language has come fairly well. While teaching our "investigator" Ernesto three times this week, Sister Whitehead and I tried a bunch of different teaching methods to see which was the most successful. One lesson we REALLY prepared, like every word and sentence was in our notes and we basically read off it like a script. That lesson was no good. Ernesto didnt have time to ask questions and we could tell that he did not feel the spirit of our message.

The second lesson involved a lot less prep and more PRAYER. (Sister whitehead is patient with me, I literally have us pray probably like 15 times a day). The lesson was not good again, and I was really discouraged because I assumed that God would just let the words flow out of our mouths and Ernesto would feel the spirit. I do feel in that lesson the spirit was felt, because we were able to teach him how to pray and he prayed to understand us and thanked us for our efforts in the prayer, but there was no way he knew the message that we taught him (He is actually a white skinny BYU student who went on his mission to Philippines, but he acts like he doesn't and oz of English). At one point in our lesson he said, "hindi ko inggles" (or something to that effect) which means I don't speak English, and slightly frustrated I replied, "Yeah and I dont speak Tagalog." I felt so bad about the sassy comment!

SO finally, on our third lesson, we prepared A lot, but we prepared in both English and Tagalog and instead of writing down words we had not learned we just used words we Knew and spoke Tagalish. And we once again, said MANY prayers, but instead of praying for our abilities, we prayed that Ernesto would feel the spirit, that Ernesto would understand what we were telling him, and that ernesto would feel the truthfulness of our message. We enter with our notes, say a prayer in Tagalog with him and we kinda glanced at our notes and gave our lesson. When preparing we decided, that if the spirit told us to say something, to just say it, even if it was in English. However, WE WERE NOT GOING TO ASK "do you have any questions?" because there is no way we can understand him. Anyway, Lesson was going great and we got our message across, he said he felt the spirit and liked what we were telling him and right before Sister Whitehead gave him a baptismal invitation, I felt the spirit tell me, "You have to ask him if he has any questions, it is too soon in the lesson to ask him to be baptized" I turned to sister whitehead and apologized, and then asked, "may tunong po ba kayo?" and she looked at me so afraid, and i was so worried, (this is all slightly dramatic in retrospect, but its a good story about the spirit) Ernesto just went off really fast and I was so lost, but somehow I understood what he was asking, and we were able to answer all of his questions, in very terrible tagalish, but we answered them nonetheless. THE SPIRIT WAS POWERFUL in that room! Usually our lessons are about 10-15 mins and this one was about 30. At the end sister whitehead read the Baptismal Invitation and Ernesto said "siyempre! ( of course)" and then we asked if he and his family would come to church every sunday and he replied "siyempre!" and He told us a bunch of other stuff that i couldn't understand, but i am 98% sure it was good stuff because he was smiling. We ended with a strong prayer and came out elated. I was teary when he told us yes to a baptism, I didnt realize how much joy is found when one of your brothers and sisters accept to come unto Christ and except the gospel. You feel unexplainable joy because I know of the joy that Ernesto is going to feel. Although, he is not a real investigator, the experience gave me a lot of excitement to head out into the field and really be able to see the change and the light that the gospel will bring.

Sorry I have definitely turned into one of those missionaries. But don't worry I still have to work on my sarcasm and sass. I keep making a goal, "okay today I am not going to be sarcastic" and without fail, my district sisters have to say, "sorry Sister Gentry maybe tomorrow." It'll happen one day. Today isnt that day though...MY District is the bomb. Like honestly, the best district in the MTC I'm sure. We are all really close, the Elders are so great and we all do EVERYTHING together (even gym and laundry).

This week my stomach has been WACK. I blame the MTC food, but it could be a number of things. Either way, it felt like the wrath of God was taking place in my stomach... and it was rough. I'm being dramatic but either way, I hadn't eaten a full meal in a few days and it was no good. So I finally asked my district leader if I could have a blessing. Him and his companion were so nervous, but so sweet about it. Elder Evans hands were shaking so much, and then Elder Smith (DL) gave me one of the best blessings I have been given, He was pausing and taking time and you could tell he was really listening to the Holy Ghost. It was amazing and had me shocked that a 19 year old could give such a powerful blessing. I was so grateful that I was able to have that experience. and I feel better today, so YAY! Priesthood Power is real!

Two elders in my district are 20, and they both have serious girlfriends, that they cannot stop talking about. One elder from Idaho was actually engaged to be married this month and they had already bought house stuff and picked out an apt and amonth ago he said, "I really need to go and his girlfriend was completely supportive and they'll just get married the day after he gets back apparently. My first name has now become Sister. During the blessing, when I sat down, I was like do you need my full name? and the elders told me no, because as a missionary, your official name becomes Sister Gentry. Its weird getting used to and when I see my real life friends I have to call them sister and elder too. I kinda really like my first name, but its chill, whatever.

"In this world it is what we give up that makes us rich."There have been so many revelatory moments this week, where I have really strengthen my testimony and felt the love of Heavenly Father and my Savior. I have become a spiritual crier, so I have cried more in the last week than probably the last 5 years of my life. I had this ah ha moment when I was wondering how in the world, I - a 19 year old girl- was going to teach older more experienced people. There is no way I can understand what these people have experienced in their lives and they will have been through so much more that I could ever imagine. How was I going to do this, as I was personal studying, I read a scripture in D&C 1:20-24 :

20 But that every man might speak in the name of God theLord, even the Savior of the world; 21 That faith also might increase in the earth;22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed bythe weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, andbefore kings and rulers.24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; thesecommandments are of me, and were given unto myservants in their weakness, after the manner of theirlanguage, that they might come to understanding.

Now I wont be teaching any kings or rulers, but I am most certainly weak, but the Lord is not, the gospel is not. So were my inabilities cause me to fall short, the gospel and Savior, Heavenly Father and the Spirit exceed the difference. I am simply a representative of Christ, sharing the light and truth with those who have lost it, bringing them back to their Father in Heaven and helping them realize there relationship with him. And there is not one person who does not deserve to know that.

Too hard to fit everything in, there is so much!!! My address has changed, my departure date is now August 20th because I'll be spending 5 days in the Manila MTC. Also, I MISS THE KIDDIES. I WOULD love to have some pictures of them mailed, so that I can brag about them. Everyone shows pics of their boyfriends and girlfriends, so I can at least have something to brag about. I LOVE LETTERS OKAY! I Love you ALL so much. Miss you and I am praying for you EVERYDAY.

Much love,

Sister Gentry

(working on the pic things... PC's dont make sense to me"

Week 1

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Magsandang hapon po everyone! (good afternoon)

I have officially survived more than 3 days in the MTC. Everything about the MTC is absolutely wonderful, except for the food... Everyone in the MTC is the most friendly person I have ever met in my life. My companion is Sister Whitehead and she is a doll. She is from Pleasant Grove and has been at Utah State the past year. She is pretty chill and kinda lets me boss her around which I sort of like... Sister Whitehead is always pushing me to get out of my comfort zone though. She encourages me to say companion prayer in Tagalog and is very patient when I am "umm-ing" and peaking at my paper, and she even got me to play a game of kickball with the Zone, which is something I would never do.

Tagalog is going okay. I guess I assumed that I would be essentially fluent by now, but that is not the case. It is really frustrating to have thought and feeling about what you want to say, but not being able to express that. Yesterday, we taught our first investigator and let me tell you, IT WAS ROUGH. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. The investigator spoke such fast Tagalog, Sister Whitehead and I looked at each other and looked through our notes the whole time trying to understand. we just kept saying "Pasensya" (sorry) the whole time. Finally we kinda gave up and asked if we could pray. the investigator said "yes" obviously and Sister Whitehead gave a powerful prayer. She said it in Tagalog so it was limited and simple, but the spirit was felt and in a lesson that is all you can ask for. After the lesson I felt discouraged about the language, but not about the teaching. We prayed to have the Spirit present during our lesson and our prayers were answered. I think I assumed it would be in the form of us knowing how to speak and understand, but rather it came another way. My teacher told us that we could have spoken perfect tagalog, but if the spirit was not felt, then it wasn't a successful lesson. The spirit was felt and even though our tagalog was deplorable, our lesson was successful.

It is really amazing the spirit that can be felt her. There are TONS of missionaries here, all who are in constant prayer and have that missionary light about them. The other day at lunch, while I was walking back to my table with my food, an Elder started having a seizure in the middle of the cafeteria. He was immediately given a blessing and medical help, but as I looked around I noticed that just about every missionary in sight was praying that the Elder would be okay. There was an undeniable spirit in the room and the Elder taken care of and okay. Little things like that kind of happen everyday here where I can just feel that Heavenly Father is watching over his missionaries and he is right there answering our prayers.

I have thankfully been so at peace here in the MTC. Although I have missed my family and my home, I have not felt homesick. I have not cried (YET) and I have been ready for the day ahead every night, even on days where Tagalog has made be want to DIE. btw, "Mabuti saski" is pronounced Ma-Boo-Tee Saks-ee. It means Good witness, but Sister Whitehead and I say it all the time because it sounds like "my booty sexy" and also because it is essentially the only Tagalog we now. (sorry. I am probably not supposed to be saying sexy in my emails).

My district is so wonderful. The elders are really great, really nice guys who are very encouraging. The other two sisters in my district are the sweetest girls ever. Sister Strohn is from Woods Cross so we talk about B-town all the time, and Sister Tanielu is from Kalabass???? I have never heard of it, so i dont know how to spell it, but it is a country by Fiji. So she just learned english to come to the MTC and now has to learn Tagalog. AMAZING. She only brought one medium sized suitcase with her and she is just such an example. she is so humble and so sweet, and her testimony is POWERFUL. I talk to her a lot and I am pretty sure she has no idea what I am saying. I am so so so grateful for my district!! My teacher is really sweet but we just got a new one. His name is brother kaka and he is from New Zealand and he is kinda strict, and he keeps calling me Sister Gentry, with a hard "G." He always is calling on me very first and every time he has told me my answer is wrong. He has definitely helped me get over being ashamed of making mistakes. I have grown to like him more, but I was not his biggest fan the first day.

Listen. Everyone in my district has received a letter or a package already. Now i am not asking for letters or packages, but I am actually asking for letters and packages!!! :))))) I will be expecting one everyday this week. Thx. xoxo

I love all of you! Mahal po ang Diyos kayo (God loves you)!

Sister Gentry

Hi all!!

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Hi!! This is Lynnette, one of Samantha's roommates from summer semester at BYU! She has put me in charge of this blog and her Facebook and Instagram (wow) while she's serving in the Philippines. I will be posting her weekly emails as well as pictures right here on this blog. Follow along! :)
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