Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Tuesday, January 24, 2017
love looks like this,
on the coldest of winter afternoons.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
This is it.

My last email home, as a missionary.

My last email home, as Sister Teo

Thank you.

Thank you for staying strong with me on this journey. 

Thank you for always praying for me, praying so hard, that from countries away I can FEEL of that extra power, heaven-sent. 

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Thank you for encouraging me to come on this mission. Thank you for being pushy but not over-pushy. Thank you for the obstacles we overcame together to get me on this mission. Thank you for your trust in the Lord. 18 months and 10 days later, I still remember Daddy's last words as he hugged me for the last time at the airport: "Alright, we'll leave you in God's hands now." You literally sent me off to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language. You sent me off into the world. You trusted God enough with your 19 year-old daughter. Thank you for helping me to enjoy this journey. Thank you for allowing me to grow. Thank you for never giving up on me during those "terrible teens." Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

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I love you both SO much. There have been times on this mission where I have felt a little upset that I couldn't be with the two of you while you are going through some of the most crucial stages of your lives. (Is my English correct?!?! Ugh. #itsmorefuninthePHILIPPINES!!!) I have prayed so much. SO much. For the both of you. That you would always be safe. That you would always make the right choices. That you would never walk astray. That you would be there for each other. You are two of the brightest, more beautiful girls on planet earth. I am so proud to be your older sister. And I cannot wait to see you this week. WE GOIN' ON A LOT OF SISTER DATES OKAY?!?!?!?!?! 

I echo my Dad's words to you in his email. Thank you. Thank you for writing me every week, without fail. Thank you for being my second parents. Thank you for your love and support and encouragement that has been ever-present ever since the first time I announced to you all that I would be submitting my mission papers. Thank you for your advice, Patsy, that has stayed with me over these two years. I remember you telling me once that if I had fun on this mission, that the time would fly on by. I've remembered that as I've tried to overcome any temptation to be miserable. Thank you for loving me like one of your children. Thank you. 

(Annabelle deserves special mention!!!) Thank you too for supporting me on this journey. I know that before this Valerina was super weirded out that I wouldn't be on social media for 18 months, and we were all sad that it would be two years again before we would see each other...but look! Look at where the time has gone. Thank you for loving me through high school and beyond. You girls played a crucial, crucial role in those important years leading up to this mission. I love you all so much. Val. Anna. Helena. Jo. So much love. 

the Lockwood women,
Thank you, Sis, for being the angel that God sent to me to become my first companion on the mission. I cannot imagine having started out my mission with anyone else. Our innocence and our love for the Lord helped us work miracles. Thank you. You have become one of my best friends. A best friend that I found in the Philippines. Thank you for loving me from day 1. Maybe we can just forget our awkward first meeting at the Cannon Center (ha!!!) and just remember me getting out of the Palawan airport and asking you, "Do you know who I am?!?!?" I love you so much, Sis. 

And to Laura- I got your beautiful card a few weeks ago. Thank you for always keeping me in your prayers. I cannot wait to meet you one day. I know that only an angel mother like you could have raised an angel daughter like Kayla. I can't wait to see you in person!

I am at a loss for words. Nothing can describe how grateful I am, to the very depths of my soul, for you, and for all you are, and your support for this mission, and for your emails each week. For every word of encouragement. For every prayer offered. For lifting me and lifting me and lifting me, these last two years that we've been apart. I am grateful for my parents, for your parents, for my sisters, and my girlfriends, but...Ether. Thank you. Thank you for having been there for me during the lowest of lows of the mission, and the highest of highs. Every Sunday (your Sunday, my Monday) for the past 18 months, I know that you have been sitting across a computer screen, anxiously waiting for my emails to come in. Thank you. Thank you for trusting the Lord with me. I know that it was hard sending me off. I know that we had no clue in the world what the next two years would do to me. But you always believed. You always believed in me. In what God would be able to do with me. And you never gave up. Thank you. Thank you so much. You are truly my best friend. 

This is it. 

I'll see you in Shanghai, or wherever we'll see each other when we see each other. 

This morning, I got on my knees to start personal study with a prayer, and immediately it hit me: 

Every morning for the past 18 months I have knelt in prayer at 8 a.m. in the morning to open personal study with a prayer. Personal study time has been sacred time to me on this mission. I have kneeling bruises on my knees to prove it. My prayers. Have developed SO much. Over these past 18 months. I have prayed for literally everything imaginable. 18 months. A year and half. 


LOGISTICS: I'll see President Dyer that same Wednesday night, RIGHT? To get released? RIGHT? We'll go there altogether right after the airport. Right? Okay. Good. 

I'm a little scared about entering China. I have nightmares they will find out I was a missionary and then capture me and never let me return home. Just kidding. 

God is with me.

And if He is with me...who can be against me? 

I'll see you all very soon.

And for this last time,
This, my last email,
is sent,

With love,

Sister Teo

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Harder Right

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Dear family,

For a father
      Daddy- you celebrate your birthday this week! Happy early birthday! I hope you know that you are one of the greatest heroes in my life. I don't think that I've ever met someone as great as you are. You are my role model in my life. I don't think that I've ever met someone as great as you are. You are my role model and your example of hard work and selfless service and charity have created a deep crater of impression on me. I look up to you so much and I know that although you have blessed MANY, many lives...the greatest blessing you have bestowed has been on my life, as well as on Mommy's life and Gladys' life and Krystal's life. "Your righteousness is the greatest honor that a father can receive," said Elder Christofferson in his talk at General Conference. I will spend my whole life trying to make you proud of me. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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They say you dream of zombies
     When I "killed" Sister Pamesa (I was her last companion; that's the term they use) and she was about to go home, she told me how they say that you dream of zombies during your last couple of weeks. Or, in short, your dreams just get weirder and weirder. Well, I didn't dream up zombies but I did have two crazy dreams two nights in a row. I woke up each morning thinking, "What!" and had the biggest grin on my face. I wonder who the Dream Master is and how we dream things up.

     The first night I dreamt that I was at my wedding reception, but that it was a mix of being on a Texas ranch and the Buendia chapel at Makati. There were aLOT of people around me. I was in my wedding dress. But everyone was just walking right by me (I think they were zombies, now that I think about it...), not really caring to "enter" the door to my reception or something. And then I dreamt that the reception was in Buendia, and the decorations were super lame and my guests were running everywhere and it was a HUGE FAIL! And then I saw Ether there and I was freaking out at what a disaster this "wedding" was but then even Ether wasn't freaked out by anything! I was SO confused. I woke up shortly after and had no idea where that dream came from.

     My dream the next night was of me cleaning the bathroom. What?!?! I dreamt that the toilet bowl was clogged and I was trying to plumb it and fix it. EW! 

     So I guess I have officially joined the ranks of missionaries that dream of zombies and other weird things before they go home???

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It's never goodbye!
     This weekend we said goodbye to the Addurus! I was really sad to have to say bye. They have been transferred to Palawan, meaning, Mom and Dad, that we won't get to see them when you guys are here. I tried not to cry and I succeeded. Because I promised them that one day Ether and I will go to Jerusalem with them. YAY! 

     The Addurus deserve a shout-out here, because I KNOW that they were sent to this area to bless MY life. They were a direct and tender mercy from God to me. I don't think that my last two transfers in this area would have been as memorable and spiritually uplifting if they hadn't kept working with us. I KNOW that God is aware of me, because He sent the Addurus to me. They've helped SO many people. Senior couple missionaries do just that. They bless so many lives. But I know that the Addurus started out their mission in MY area, in MY ward, BECAUSE God loves me. And He knew that I would need the support and encouragement that the Addurus always offered us. And so, yes. We parted ways with them, but it's never goodbye! I'll see them again soon!

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Tuesday the 19th
     So...whoever shows up at Buendia next Tuesday...just know to be there at around 7 a.m to 7:30 a.m. Okay? Okay. If no one shows up I am booking MYSELF a ticket home on the 20th. I am swimming out of this country if I have to. Rain or shine. The end. 

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The race
     This is my last, full week of work. At General Conference I got the distinct impression to keep working as if this week...were my FIRST. And I remember my first week. I was as green as any missionary could get. Sister Lockwood knows. :) 

     But until the race is over...we just keep running. I also love what President Monson said in his talk: "May we choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong." 

I know that God is there.
I know that He will not forsake me.
I know that one day, I will understand.

With love,
Sister Teo

P.S. No pictures this week because WE SEE EACH OTHER NEXT WEEK ANYWAYS!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I was never supposed to go home this week

Sunday, April 10, 2016
Dear family, 

Happenings from this week

2. SISTER VERAS (NICOLE!!!!!!!!!!!) was there. I was SO SURPRISED! I walked into Sister Mortimer's house (she's a senior couple missionary who is a professional hair stylist!) (I got my hair cut for free! Yay!) and someone opened the door but was standing BEHIND the door and didn't show his/her face. When I first walked in I thought, "Okay, it's Elder Adduru just playing a trick on me" - because I saw SISTER Adduru sitting on the Mortimers' couch- but then I just turn around...and...I SEE SISTER VERAS!!!!!!!!!!! I died right there. Oh my gosh. She is home now. She is also probably reading this now on the blog. I was going to cry when we said bye. But it's okay. She will be in Utah. RIGHT? She will be in Utah. This summer. For me. Yay. 

3. POLITICAL ELECTIONS IN MAKATI...are...quite something. I'll just leave it at that. Last week I wrote about the Easter procession. This week I saw processions too, loooong lines of people, except it was for humans now. THE CANDIDATES for Mayor/Vice-Mayor/Assistant to Mayor/Some Office. And I just keep thinking to myself: hashtag-its-more-fun-in-the-philippines!

4. YESTERDAY WAS FAST AND TESTIMONY SUNDAY. One of our returning less-actives went up to bear his testimony. His name is Jamel, and he was in the pictures I sent home a couple of weeks ago where Sister Kumari and I brought two young men to the temple for a temple tour? Okay. So he's Jamel. And Jamel goes up and bears his testimony, and he's come a LOOOOONNNNGG way. Like, a LOOOONNNGGG way. He has made a lot of changes in his life to be where he is now, with light in his countenance and in his eyes. So Jamel bears his testimony, and then he says that he has "some people to thank." He starts thanking the missionaries, and I think, "Oh that's nice, the missionaries have played a big role in helping him come back to church," but then he goes on and says "Especially for Sister Teo". And I'm sitting there thinking, "How sweet," but then he keeps going on and says "She inspires me" and "I want to go on a mission now because of her" and things along those lines and all the members are turning around in their chair looking at me!!! And I just wanted to dig a hole in the ground and bury myself in it because it just sounded funny, the way that Jamel phrased his words! I didn't know if I should've been mad at the undue attention that he threw my way or if I should've been embarrassed. Well. Thank goodness that the members of the Makati 1 ward are friendly and understanding. We all just had a good laugh about it afterwards and shrugged it off. Whoo! What an experience. 

5. THIS WEEK I ALSO LEARNED NOT TO RUN FASTER THAN YOUR BODY HAS STRENGTH TO. Says it right there in the Book of Mormon. And it's true. 

Mom, Dad. Gladys. Krystal. 

When I get home, I am requesting that we have at LEAST ONE day where it's just Mom and I, Dad and I, Gla and I, or Krys and I, where we do absolutely NOTHING but just go out and be with each other. Meaning...Daddy, no work for one day. Like, no cell phone, no nothing. No calls. No work. Okay? That's my request. For me to get one day with each of you guys where WE are just together. Thanks. You can't say no to this request! So start thinking now what we can do while we are out. The time is nigh! 

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     April 6 is this upcoming Wednesday. I am still keeping my eyes peeled as I try to figure out and try to understand...why God decided to keep me here two extra weeks. I'm not expecting a big sign from heaven with flashing lights that say "THIS IS WHY YOU NEEDED TO STAY," but I know that these last two weeks will be very special to me. There are more lessons for me to learn here.

And I will realize, by the end of it all, 
that I was never supposed to go home this week.

With love,
Sister Teo

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3 (this mission is a dream)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Dear family, 

Grow Up
     This is a random way to start off this email, BUT. Last Monday as we were leaving the house, passing by the church (because we live near the church, remember?), we saw that there was a big group of high school students gathered nearby. Turns out...they were watching a "street fight" go down between two students. Oh my goodness. 

     I am rolling my eyes a million times now as I am writing this. And pardon me for my little rant here. But these students need to grow up! I guess it's because I've been on this mission for a year and a half now and that is why I really know what it means to...be an "adult", and...well. Ugh. Those students need to grow up. I remember trying to cross the crowd and I passed by one of the two boys that were in the fight, and his eyes were dead fixed on his "opponent," and just right before I crossed him, he spat on the ground right in front of me. Phew! One more step and he would've spat ON me. I was NOT happy. But thank goodness I am a missionary and have to be polite. Okay. My rant is over. 

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My sister
    So here's another random fact. Did you guys all already know that I have a sister? On this mission? Sister Lockwood's OTHER "anak". Her second "anak," here on the mission. Her second trainee. Yes! So my sister's name is Sister Narag. She is Filipina. This last week I had exchanges with the STLs and ended up having to spend the night in their apartment- coincidentally Sister Narag's apartment, too! So we bonded and chatted and get this: Sister Lockwood, Sister Narag, and I have ALL served in the EXACT same areas. What! Talk about being one big family. Sister Lockwood and I served in Santa Monica C. Sister Narag got sent there too. Sister Narag was "born" in Makati 3/4, with Sister Lockwood. After Sister Lockwood left that area, I replaced her. 

     We're just too tight of a sisterhood! Makes me laugh. But for real, though, getting to chat with Sister Narag and to hear of how the people back in Santa Monica are doing was great. It's good to know that people still remember you from when you served there. You plant, and others harvest! 

     (P.S. Sister Narag is the sister in the picture with whom I am holding ice-cream cones with! She passed her one-year mark the day I was in the apartment so I bought her 12 ice cream cones. And then my STL said, "You're so good at celebrating!" Ha.)

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Easter: it's more fun in the Philippines
This week I saw: 
1. People carrying statues of Christ and walking down the roads in a looooonnnnnng line of procession
2. People re-enact the scene at Jerusalem right before Christ gets crucified, meaning, people were wearing Roman soldier outfits and there were men carrying wooden crosses on their backs and the "Roman soldiers" were whipping them. Ya. They whipped them. Okay. 
3. Statues of Christ.
4. Statues of Christ.
5. Statues of Christ.
6. A lot of statues of Christ where He looks very sad. 

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My lot
     As a district in the Makati 1 ward, we have seen a lot of miracles happen over the course of these last three months. The work has definitely picked up in each of our individual areas. The elders are seeing miracles in their areas, as are we. 

     During our weekly coordination meeting with the ward council and ward missionaries, we get to update everyone on individuals that need help in order for them to progress (more quickly). When the zone leaders stood up to give their report last Saturday and they started telling us about how GREAT everything was going and how soon all these people could get baptized...I found myself thinking, "I am so happy for them. They deserve the rewards of their hard work. Sister Kumari and I have definitely seen our area improve from the first time we both came into it, both of us being new at the same time. But how come all these people we have found/are finding/are working with...have so many problems that they need to overcome, before they can get baptized? How come the people the elders are finding are so golden that the way to baptism seems to be easy peasy, lemon squeezy? Why are OUR investigators having it so hard?

    I don't think I'll ever be able to fully comprehend why some people suffer more than others. I love these people. How I wish that I could give them the WORLD. How I wish that I could take away all their sadness and fix their broken families and give them TVs and build them nice houses. How I wish that it would just be so easy for them to believe everything that we share with them. How I wish for them to be happy. The real, true kind of happy. 

     I guess it is just me and Sister Kumari's lot to be working with THESE people. There are specific lessons we are learning from THEIR trials. I have no doubt that these investigators and less-actives of mine can do it. I know they can. It'll take time and a lot of hard work, but I know that they can do what it takes to BECOME happy, through the gospel of Jesus Christ. But until then...we'll just keep working hard with them, right? 

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Lopez letter
    Many updates today, huh! This week I received from Sister Narag (who just got off Palawan recently) a letter that was....FROM THE LOPEZ FAMILY! Oh bless their heart. And bless mine for waiting ONE WHOLE YEAR!!!!!!!! To hear back from them!!!!!!!!! I wanted to CRY just seeing the envelope and the words "Sister Teo" on the front. Attached is a picture of their letter. SO much love for them. 

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Goodbye Nicole
     I just told everyone Sister Veras' real name. 
SISTER VERAS GOES HOME ON WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
     All the exclamation points in the world cannot sufficiently describe how I feel about that. #MYfightisnotover

     I love you all so much! I am sorry to hear about what happened to the Coffins. My heart broke hearing the story from Gladys. I wish I could heal broken bones too so that Sister Coffin will be alright. But thank goodness that...we have the Savior. 

    And how much I have come to love, adore, and be grateful for Him. 

With love,
Sister Teo

With love, Sister Teo © 2014