Monday, November 9, 2009

Letter from November 2, 2009


Here’s my attempt to summarize all that’s been happening this week! Whoa that’s crazy that it has been snowing in Mount Pleasant! It has snowed only a little here and didn’t stick. Today was actually quite bright and sunshiny! This morning we went to the temple. Great way to start off the day.

It was great to see you on Monday, Lisa! I wish I could see you every Monday – but I probably won’t be there after 3:30 (which is when we go back to our rooms). After I saw you, I told my teacher: “Nakita ko si Lisa, Kapatid ko! Nagtratrabaho siya sa mailroom. Binigay ko ang yakap sa kaniya!” (which being interpreted, is “I saw Lisa, my sister! She works at the mailroom. I gave her a hug!” I got letters from the Balinskis, Katie, my old roommate. Thank You!!! Oh, and thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Chipman. Also thanks for sending me the newspaper thing about Katrina! You all are wonderful. You sure know how to brighten my day.

Guess what! Elder Perry came to speak to us on Tuesday! It was a total surprise – They didn’t announce it beforehand – a lot of missionaries were suspecting it might be an apostle because of that very fact.

He spoke about the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, and how we should prepare and teach by the spirit – using the scriptures. Have you ever read the introduction to the D&C? It’s amazing! Wow, it’s amazing how much we use the scriptures in the MTC. I’m so thankful for the scripture masteries! It helps immensely to be able to know where a scripture passage is off the top of your head, and to know/be familiar with scripture stories and contexts. One of my favorite things we do is find scriptures to go with each principle of the lessons we are preparing to teach. It’s fun! Brother Doria had us do an activity where we teach someone else in our district the first two principles of a lesson – we back up the scriptures instead of using the scriptures to back up our own words. It’s SO much easier that way, so much more effective, and that’s how it’s meant to be. The MTC has really motivated me to study the scriptures even more than I have. I’m so grateful for family scripture reading! And for Alex’s example to me of marking them so much! He’s so awesome.

Sister Leatham, my other teacher, is such an inspiration to me. She has a very strong testimony and whenever she gets excited, she’ll make these way motivating “pep” talks. She talked to us about having enthusiasm for the gospel. Hey, so I found out that John Bytheway went to my same mission – Baguio! And he and his companion would walk so fast and enthusiastically, on their way to appointments, that Filipinos would stop them and ask them where they were going and what was so important, and they would say “Something AMAZING has happened! And we’re trying to tell as many people as possible! We’re on our way to someone’s house right now, but we’d love to come share our message with you too—what’s your address?” Isn’t that awesome? Really, the gospel is an amazing message. The Restoration and the Book of Mormon are indeed *miracles* to tell everyone! It’s true!

Guess what! On Saturday morning I got to work at the Referral Center, doing outbound calls (to confirm if people received Bibles/DVDs they asked for, and to offer them an opportunity to meet with the missionaries and learn about the Book of Mormon). I spoke with two people who accepted the missionaries to come to them and teach them! One was an older guy who had never heard of the Book of Mormon but knew a little about the Bible. The other was a cute southern lady who seemed open-minded to the idea and was curious to learn more. Oh boy, it was so neat to share my feelings over the phone and to have my first “real” finding opportunity as a missionary! It put me on a high. I also talked with another man who thought I wanted “$100 million dollars” from him for the Joy to the World free DVD we sent him. He went off in a mad rage over the phone – my first experience of literally being yelled at over the phone – and he wouldn’t even let me put a word in edgewise. It was pretty ridiculous—kinda funny, but sad when you think about the lost opportunity. Finally he asked, “who are you?” and I bore my testimony before he hung up. It was interesting, but really weird.

Wanna know how to say “joke” in Tagalog? It sounds just the same as English, but spelled “Diyok.” Hehe! OK – what else . . . Oh, every week on Thursday night we have a “teaching appointment.” The last two weeks we’ve taught the restoration story – in English. (We do 15 minutes of Tagalog – get-to-know you beforehand). This week we are preparing to teach the Plan of Salvation (or Plano ng Kaligtasan). Pretty soon it will have to be in Tagalog – yikes!

Funny story: On Thursday, we were particularly stressed – getting ready for our teaching appointment and Sister Parks gave Sister Young and I a Dove chocolate (with the fortunes inside on the wrappers). We all opened ours, and all three of them were the same fortune: “Don’t stress. This too shall pass.” Wouldn’t it be awesome to design fortunes that said: “The Book of Mormon is True” or “Invite the Mormon missionaries over today!” Hehee! I love being goofy!!

We have a big district: there are 12 of us. Me, Sister Young, Sister Parks, and Elders Ball, Gilles, Stevens, Hales, Page, Leavitt, Latu, Schneider, and Grow. I love singing hymns in Tagalog. I feel like I’m singing in some sort of baby babbling “Gag a” “Ba ba” “Pup u” etc. It’s so much fun. It is also very beautiful too!

Wanna hear more about my companions??? I can’t remember what all I’ve told you already – but one thing is creepy cool: Sister Young reminds me so much of a mix between Elyse and Katrina – two of my bestest friends! (I’ve seen Katrina several times – she came in on Wednesday. Yah! So happy!) Sister Young’s Katrina similarities: She loves the outdoors/animals, never gets cold, knows ASL, same birthday: Aug 31, always has a “toolbelt,” very physically active, and loves playing leaves and being kid-like, and sews. Sister Young’s Elyse similarities: LOTS of the same type of personality, and sense of humor, talks kinda like Elyse, short brown hair, & loves Eyeore. Sister Parks is so awesome – I love her example to me. I love my companions SO much! Sister Lapana left for Baguio this morning! She is another Sister here at the MTC. She is really nice!

Wow, this is a LONG letter! Well, I hope you’re doing great. Is there anything you want to know about still? Sometimes I don’t remember to answer all your questions! The MTC is wonderful. I have been very happy. I sure miss you all! Sometimes it has been hard to not have people to hug – I’d hug my companions, but the MTC policy won’t allow us to shake hands or hug because of the colds going around and Flu season. I guess it’s just weird for me to suddenly go from lots of hugs at home to none here. But that’s ok!

Thanks so much for everything. I love you!

Mahal kita! (I love you!)
Ingat! (Take care!)

Love, Sister Rebecca Marie Boekweg

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