Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 11 A New Companion and a Baptism

Okay, well this has been a pretty good week. D was baptized last Saturday. She wasn't able to be baptized on November 2 because of the typhoon, and so that's why her baptism was postponed. She is so cute. On Sunday, her family was planning to go to the beach, and she really wanted to go, but she chose to go to church instead so she could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I just love D so much.
We are preparing P to be baptized on November 23. We told him we would need to teach him almost everyday so he could be ready for his interview on November 16. There was one day last week that he wasn't available to be taught, so he texted us and asked us if we could do "overtime" the next day, and that we would just text him his next reading assignment. We did. He is so cute. Whenever he reads his reading assignment, he always understands super well, and he explains to us what he read. He already has a strong testimony. He already wears a white shirt and tie to church every Sunday. He looks and acts just like a priesthood holder, except that he's not a member yet. I just love teaching him.
My new companion is Sister I. She is a newly-called Sister Leader. She is quiet, but she is very nice. She is also a bit of a germaphobe, like me, so we get along. I've been trying to help her learn the area this past week, but it's been a little hard because we are teaching so many people that we haven't been able to visit all of them yet. But we still have this week before we will start our exchanges, so it's all good.
Well, that's about all. I love you all! I am so happy to be serving here as a missionary! It's really hard, but it's the best thing ever. Thank you for your emails every week. I honestly don't know if I could get through my mission without them. You're the best family ever! Keep living the gospel, reading your scriptures, praying, going to church, and going to the temple. Mahal kita!!!
Sister Boekweg

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 4 -- Our First Real Typhoon

FYI -- The typhoon described here was Typhoon Krosa, a category 3 typhoon that made landfall on the Northern provinces of the Philippines on October 31 with winds at 160 mph. This is a different typhoon than the recent Typhoon Yolanda, which made landfall farther south, but did not affect the Laoag mission.

We had a typhoon warning on Thursday morning (October 31). President told us we couldn't leave our apartment. I was in Aparri at the time because we had had exchanges, so President allowed us to switch back to our areas in the morning, but after that, we had to stay inside all day. We thought it would be one of the routine typhoon warnings that we sometimes get where there is a little wind and a little rain, and everyone else goes outside, but we are stuck in our apartment. We studied, and we did our weekly planning, and we made fried pizza sandwiches with spaghetti sauce, cheese, and hotdogs, and then we went to our backyard and got some coconuts and tried to carve them for Halloween. But then it started getting super windy. And the power went out. And it started raining really hard too. We slept in the bedroom of Sister H and Sister W because our bedroom is floor level and we were afraid it might flood, and their bedroom was higher up. We had to tape plastic over the windows to keep the rain from coming in and soaking us. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof of our kitchen would be torn off. It was kind of scary. And then our cell phones lost their signal. And then we went to sleep.

When we woke up, we went outside. A tree had fallen over in our yard. Our cell phones still didn't have service, so we walked down the road to see if we could find someone who did. No one did. But there were a lot of houses that had been damaged. So we went back to our apartment, put on our normal-people clothes, and went to the houses of our investigators, less actives, and recent coverts to see if they were okay and if we could help. We couldn't proselyte that day because everyone was busy fixing their houses. There were a few houses that were completely destroyed. Everyone we talked to said it was the worst typhoon they had ever experienced. It was a weird day. We still didn't have cell phone service until Saturday morning. And we still don't have electricity. That means we also don't have water. But we have a water pump in the back that we are using. It's kind of an adventure. But don't worry. All the missionaries are safe.

Anyway, the church is true. Heavenly Father loves us. He really is aware of what we need, and He is taking care of us. I know that He wants me to be a missionary right now. Even though being a missionary is not easy, especially as the end is coming, I'm really grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission right now.

Sister Boekweg

Saturday, November 2, 2013

FHE Brings 8 New Investigators

This week has been pretty good. One of our investigators who will be  baptized on November 16 has been coming to church, and he even was going to seminary before, but he was never taught by the missionaries until a couple weeks ago when we taught him. He is super cute and super interested in the gospel. We left him a reading assignment last week of the Book of Mormon introduction. When we came back, he had read it, he explained it to  us, and he had already applied the invitation to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I really enjoy teaching him.

 Another young investigator had her baptismal interview last Saturday. She passed, and she will be baptized on November 2. She is super smart. She always remembers everything we teach her. She's really cute.

 Last Friday we had an FHE with one of our investigator families. It went really well. A lot of their neighbors also came. We got about 8 new investigators just from that, and 4 came to church yesterday.

Well, that's about all this week.

Sister Boekweg

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jollybee Food -- A Dream Come True

This week has been pretty good. We've been seeing some really good things happening in our area.

We taught an investigator about the Restoration, and then we told her how important our message is. She was SO excited for us to teach her. She had read 3 Ne. 11, and she had lots of things to say about it and lots of questions. She accepted a baptismal date, and she has recognized the Spirit already. She is progressing a lot. 
We also found a really nice family the other week. We were looking for a less active, and we saw them outside of their house, so we asked them about the name of the person we were looking for, and then they invited us in. The husband told us he is really looking for the true church. They have accepted a baptismal date. 

This area is really progressing. We have trouble fitting everything into our schedule because there are so many people we need to teach. Before I was transferred in, there were already 20 recent converts in just our area...yeah, sister Woahn is awesome.

So, random story. We did apartment checks for another zone last Friday, and it took us until about 3pm, and we started at about 8am, because the area of that zone is really big. The zone leaders gave us peanut butter sandwiches and tang when we came to their apartment. I love elders who give us food when we check their apartment. It just warms my heart. Anyway, it was super nice. We were still hungry though when we got back to our area. Sister Woahn was just telling me how she was craving fried chicken, and she told me later that she was wishing there was a Jollybee restaurant close by at that moment. And just then, two Jollybee workers appeared out of nowhere holding grocery bags of boxed Jollybee meals of fried chicken and spaghetti. They walked up to the tricycle we had just climbed into and asked us if we would like to buy some for 95 pesos each. Sister Woahn had a really astounded look on her face at that point. We bought some, and then we laughed all the way home. Seriously, that was probably the funniest thing that has ever happened in the mission. It honestly felt like something you would see in a movie, where someone is daydreaming a wonderful daydream where everything they desire magically appears before them, but then they snap back to reality and realize it was just a dream. But for us, it wasn't a dream. It really happened.

Today we came to Laoag because all the foreign missionaries have to get fingerprinted for our passports tomorrow morning. So we took a 6-hour bus ride at 6am. We went to the mall in San Nicolas for our p-day, and I saw the San Nicolas 1 sisters, and they told me about my recent converts and investigators there, and they said they all ask about me, and I suddenly missed San Nicolas so much. I also saw two of my recent converts as we were going to email. I just about started crying. I love them so much. I miss them so much. 

I am out of time now.
Sister Boekweg

October 13 -- The Gospel is True

Hello Family!

This week has been pretty good. The spiritual highlight for me was  probably last Friday when we taught an investigator who has come to church a lot, and he has even attended seminary, but  he had never been taught by missionaries. We talked to him about our  purpose as missionaries, and we talked to him a little bit about  baptism, and he accepted the invitation to be baptized on November 2.  He seemed really excited when we talked to him about that. We asked  him why he likes attending the LDS church even though he was raised  Catholic, and he said it is because he can see that we only worship  Jesus Christ, and when he attends church he feels like all his  problems are gone. I'm happy about him.

We watched General conference last Saturday and Sunday. We had 4 investigators there  for the Sunday morning session.

I think this is the prettiest area I have served in so far, and the most rural. There are lots and lots of rice fields, and our area runs along a river, which is really pretty. There is an island on  the other side of the river, which is technically in our area, but we are not allowed to go there. P-days here are a lot less distracting than they were when I was close to Laoag because there is nothing here...except a palengke and some little stores. There are no malls or  supermarkets, so there aren't a lot of worldly things to distract us.

Well, that's about all for now. The gospel is true. Keep magtiising hanggang wakas!...I mean, keep enduring to the end :).  Mahal ko kayong lahat.

Love, Sister Boekweg

October 8 -- A Giant Spider And An 8-Hour Bus Ride

This last week has been pretty good. You want to hear something cool? So, I knew that I would be running out of pages in my journal, but I didn't realize how close it was until about Tuesday last week when I was writing in my journal, and suddenly I was on the last page. "Uh oh!" I thought. "How will I make it until I can get another one?" But I just finished the page, and decided to think on it. Then the next day when I came home from working, I saw a package on my desk that the AP's had delivered earlier that day. And what do you suppose was inside? A journal--among other things. I was astounded. I couldn't have timed that journal's arrival better if I had planned it. I guess it just goes to show that Heavenly Father really does know and care about what we need, even if it seems insignificant, and also that I guess journal-writing is important to Him, and He didn't want me to miss more days than necessary.

Anyway, thank you so much for sending me that package! The chocolate, and gummy bears, and pictures, and yummy things inside excited me greatly!

Haha...funny you should ask about giant spiders...the other day, we walked into our apartment after working, and there was a huge one above the doorway to the kitchen. All of us freaked out, especially when it fell on the floor, and we hopped on top of our desks and chairs, but then I thought, "there is no way I'll be able to sleep tonight if we don't take care of this." So I got the broom, and Sister Walker (one of the other sisters in the apartment) got some bug spray, and together we shooed the spider out the door into the backyard. It was an adventure.

I am happy to be serving here. My area is one of the farthest areas from the mission home -- about an 8-hour bus ride from Laoag. I've heard  some missionaries refer to it as the promised land. And it's a good area. A lot of the people are very receptive. I think it is kind of by the ocean, but there isn't a beach in my area that I am aware of. But we are right by a big river, and it's pretty. I love sister Woahn. She is super nice. My Ilokano is fine. I found an Ilokano dictionary at the national bookstore a couple weeks ago. Sister Woahn saw my Ilokano grammar book, and now she is excited to learn Ilokano too. But we still get along just fine with our Tagalog.

We are still serving as sister leaders fact, we just had MLC yesterday, so I got to take that 8-hour bus ride twice in the last three days. Earlier today, on the bus ride home, a policeman guy was sitting in the isle by where we were sitting, and he started talking to her. I think he was bored and just kind of wanted to make conversation, but he was curious about what we do as missionaries. I just opened my scriptures to look for something because I wasn't really part of the conversation, and he looked over and said "I want you to tell me about that book." So we told him. And Sister Woahn pulled out the lesson 1 pamphlet, and he wanted her to tell him about it. It was a cool experience. We got his information to forward to the missionaries where he is from. It's possible that he was just interested in talking to two American girls, but even so, maybe he's really prepared for the gospel and just doesn't know it yet.

Anyway, that's about all I have time for at the moment. I'm so happy to be a missionary!

Sister Boekweg


September 29 -- Lots of Jeepneys!!!


This has been a  pretty good week. I really like working here.  The branch seems really supportive of missionary work. I really like working with sister Woahn. I like the way she teaches. The third day I was here, we planned to teach an investigator couple about the Restoration. I haven't been very comfortable teaching the Restoration up to this point because if we don't explain it well enough the people don't understand, and I'm always afraid if we teach it too soon, the investigators will reject it. But we taught the Restoration to this couple, and it was pretty much the first visit. We did practice teaching in our companionship study, and then when we went to teach them, the lesson was really good. I've never experienced teaching it so well before, and the spirit was really there. I've always had trouble explaining the part about the Savior's earthly ministry, but that time I really understood how to explain it well. I think practice teaching is great. :)"

Anyway, this has been a pretty interesting week. My current area is definitely different from Laoag. It's very small. There are lots of fields. The transportation is different too. The tricycles here look like miniature jeepneys, and then there are these other vehicles that I don't remember the name of that are like slightly bigger miniature jeepneys, and then there are the real jeepneys too. I think I've come to the land of jeepneys. There are families of jeepneys all over the place: daddy jeepneys, mommy jeepneys, and baby jeepneys. I'll try to take a picture soon. It's not so very Ilokano here as I was expecting. I've been getting along just fine with just Tagalog. Maybe it's because so many of the missionaries here are foreigners, and so the people are more willing to speak in Tagalog. There are six missionaries in the branch. 4 are American, and 2 are Filipino, and we all live in one apartment. It's kind of different. I must admit, I've been experiencing a slight culture adjustment, going from being with a Filipino companion 24/7 to being with an American companion 24/7. It's fun though. But I must admit that I'm still adjusting to not eating rice every day for lunch. :) We have the sweetest senior couple in our branch. They are not full time, but I think they are service missionaries or something. The Sister works with us all the time. I've never had a senior couple in my area before.

Sister Boekweg