Monday, February 22, 2010


Hello! Happy Birthday Lisa on Friday! You're almost 2 whole decades old! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Hehehe, I loved the birthday song recording - it felt like you all were right here. And Grandma and Grandpa's too - that made my day :) I love you! This morning, Sister Garma, Sister Bellones, Sister Tobias, and I went jogging along the beach. What fun. Guess what. I found real cheddar cheese in the store last week. Not the americanized sliced stuff. Real cheddar cheese in the block. Yes, it was a moment truly to be celebrated.

This week was great. I love the phrase in 1 Nephi 14:7 "knock and it shall be opened unto you." Often when Heavenly Father gives us commandments and we face obstacles or challenges, it can feel like we're up against a wall. But we don't realize that this "wall" is actually a door until we exercise the faith to "knock" (or to pray and ask Heavenly Father to open a way for us to pass through our difficulties). He can make walls into doors. But we have to have the faith to knock. And whenever He gives us a commandment, He will prepare a way for us to be able to accomplish the thing that He commands us to do. I was able to share that with Sister Vidal, who is facing some obstacles to returning to church. I love how little insights like that from personal study often are recalled just in the moment they are needed in order to help investigators. Also, I've found that when testifying that we have a living prophet, it is helpful to share some of the things he has counseled (i.e. food storage) in order for people to see how a living prophet has relevance for them.

The biggest challenges is that there are many other proselyting missionaries of other faiths in our area (Jehovah's Witnesses, Born Again, Baptist, Muslim, etc) and sometimes it's hard to help people see that we're not just one of the many, and that this is actually the true church of Jesus Chris restored in its fullness. I think the only way to do that is through the Book of Mormon and through the witness of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon really speaks for itself.

Sister Lea Ceralde is progressing - she is such a golden investigator, and so humble and teachable and lovable. I love the soft hearts of Filipinos. They teach me so much. She loves the Book of Mormon and has many questions. We finished teaching her about the Plan of Salvation and she is very willing to be baptized. She still needs to work out things with her husband however, so we'll see what happens. Sister Lea is due for having a baby at the end of March :)

Well, I gots to go! Thanks for your love and prayers! I love you.
Love, Rebecca

P.S. Fun cultural note:
There are guys who ride trike bikes down the roads and holler "Baluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!" (selling balut)

I haven't been taking very many photos because we're not supposed to take cameras while proselyting, and I don't want to look like a tourist. There are many things I'd love to take pictures of, but I'm afraid it would be offensive to the people (especially those in very humble circumstances).

P.P.S. Thank you sister Balinski, Tuminezes, 3rd ward YW, Sister Height, for your letters! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

And happy birthday mommy tomorrow! I love you!
This week has been great. I recieved your valentines in the mail and they made me smile. Thanks!!

On Wednesday we had Zone conference. I looooove zone conferences! They are so much fun. And I love President and Sister Jensen! Here's a few hilghlights from this week. We started teaching a sister, Martina Dulay - she used to work in Hong Kong and some mormon brothers gave her a small book of mormon, but it was in English and she couldn't understand it - and so we gave her one in Tagalog, and she has been interestedly comparing it to the Bible and thinks it's really cool how there are cross-references between the two. She is a member of a born-again church that is still small and growing, and she's ghesitant to fully embrace the BofM because her pastor is counting on her to show her support and help the church grow. She's afraid to tell him about the Book of Mormon because of what He might think. She also goes to a "Bible Study class" every week. We were pretty bold. I told her that she should bring the Book of Mormon to her Bible class and share with all her friends as well as her pastor because it's the word of God, and Heavenly Father would want her to do that. I thought how fun it would be to offer to teach a workshop to her Bible class entitled, "How the Book of Mormon can enhance your Bible study!"
We also found a sweet sister, mother of 4. After we taught her about the restoration, we introduced the Book of Mormon to her and I bore my testimony about it's truthfulness, and shared how it is the most precious gift we had to give to her, and then she started to cry. It was a really special and such a neat experience to be able to participate in helping others feel the power of the Holy Ghost in their lives. Wow. I love this work!

The Moreno family referred us to their neighbor, a sister whom we had given a pamphlet to a while ago - she has been talking to the Moreno's about what we have been teaching them, and she really really wants to be taught as well. But she is a house-sitter and her landlord won't allow her have the missionaries over, and she's not allowed to leave the house. She cried as she explained to us how she had read the pamplet we gave her and really wanted to learn more. I pray that the landlord's heart will be softened. We left her with a Book of Mormon.

Fun side notes:
There are icecream trikes here!
Every morning I wake up to the sound of jeepney horns honking and roosters.
Sunrises and sunsets here are gorgeous.
There's been a chicken-pox break out in our mission recently.
The most frequently heard phrase at the dinner table is "Kain Pa!" (eat more!)
I love the Philippines!
Send my love to Alex! :)

Love, Rebecca

P.S. Bilobilo is yummy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I love the Philippines!

Hi! What a happy week. Thanks for the picture and video! (yes, it did come through). It was fun to see and hear your voices :) Is Jenny feeling better from her fever last week? Guess what! I found a sea shell this morning in our backyard. I guess it got washed over here from the typhoon a few months ago. Cool huh? Yes, my apartment is on ground level, but it has two floors. our kitchen and "comfort room" (bathroom) are downstairs, and then there are 2 bedrooms upstairs, and each of us has a desk. We have a wooden couch/bench downstairs, toaster oven, refridgerator, stove, and a water filter that hooks up to our faucet. Now hot water, but who would want it anyways in this hot climate! ;)
The neighborhood is hard to describe. On the road, you see a lot of Jeepneys, cars, motorcycles, and trikes. (by the way, when you come to pick me up, you have to ride on a trike - I don't ride on them often - usually Jeepneys - but they are my favorite!) Almost at every corner, there are "sari sari stores" that sell basic stuff and snacks. And yes, they have outdoor street markets downtown - it's fun but very crowded and noisy. You can see all sorts of vegetables and fish/seafood laying out for sell (heads and all). I should take a picture of it sometime. We usually go to Nepo Mall to get groceries, but Sister Garma likes getting vegetables at the outdoor markets because it's cheaper. Nepo Mall is like a normal mall - and it has a KFC, where we usually eat on P-days :) Hehe, one funny thing--so, you know how in America, they have buscuits at KFC? Well, here they wrap up "rice" in a KFC wrapper, so it looks like a buscuit. I got excited thinking that they had buscuits, but no-it's rice :) Hehe, Filipinos don't like to eat anything without rice. I asked Sister Garma if she had ever gone an entire day without eating rice, and she gave me a funny look and said, "That would be miserable!" I love the culture here. It's so fun. Oh, and basketball is huge here. It's the sport everyone loves.
Sister Bellones is native. Most of the missionaries here are native. Now that Sister Parks is gone, I think I may be the only blonde sister in our mission!
Just a couple of highlights: We've been teaching a sweet young mother, Sister Lea, and her mother Violeta. They are both so humble and sweet and teachable. I love them! Yesterday we answered some of Sister Lea's questions about Nephites and Lamanites and read and explained the "introduction" to the Book of Mormon to her. She is very interested and it has been neat to see her countenace brighten as we have taught her how to pray from her heart. In our first lesson to her, we invited her to continue to learn more the gospel and to prepare to be baptized. Her husband, however, is not interested,which is unfortunate because families are so central to the gospel. But we encouraged her to continue to pray for him and to exercise faith in continuing to read the Book of Mormon. I love using gospel art pictures when teaching and also singing hymns with them. I love Lehi's vision of the tree of life! It is so full of meaning and symbolism that can apply to so many different principles of the gospel! Have you read "Our Search for Happiness"? Wow. That's got to be one of my all-time favorite books. It is amazing! It gives such a powerful testimony of the restored gospel. I wish I had a billion copies to distribute througout the world! It's amazing to think about all the blessings that have been restored, after being lost for centuries - temples, priesthood, gift of the Holy Ghost, etc! One nice thing about the area I am serving in is that just about everyone is religious and believes in Christ. It makes it so much easier when we all have that same starting ground. Even jeepneys and trikes often have religious decorations and things about Jesus painted on them.
Well, life is great. I'm loving every minute. Thanks for your emails. I love them. Be safe and take care! Thank you for your prayers!
Love, Rebecca

Thank you so much to the Beck and Rex Family for your Christmas greetings in the mail! It was great to hear from you! :)

P.S.I'm sorry if I've neglected to respond or answer questions from anybody! Sometimes it's hard to keep track of things in the rush of P-days! love you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

(that's Feb 1st, right?)
Guess what? Sister Broadhead got transferred out of Dagupan, and so did Sister Jover. I'm going to miss them. But I now have a new "roommate" - Sister Ballena. She is 25, short, jolly, spunky, and hard working :) Oh, and also I found out on Saturday that Sister Parks has to be reassigned to serve the rest of her mission in Minnesota (because I guess her stomach problems got worse). She's being shipped out tomorrow. I wish I could see her before she goes. It's sad, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for her there. At least she's still able to serve stateside! I'm glad she we got to be companions in the MTC. Lisa, might you be able to look up the Minnesota mission address at the mailroom? Also the address for Katrina's mission in North Carolina. Thank you so much, that would be amazing!

Adventures this week:
I tried a yummy Filipino dessert called Bilobilo. It's made of a special kind of rice rolled up in balls on banana leaves and cooked in some kind of liquid with bananas and fruit. Kinda hard to describe, but tasty! Also today I tried "Halo halo" - another Filipino dessert - with ice, cream, flan, fruit, nuts, coconut. :)
On Tuesday, we had a CSP service activity as a district at an investigator's house, cutting/pruning banana trees. It was cool. I kind of felt like I was an amazon woman in the jungle with my machete knife.
This week, we started teaching the Moreno family. Sister Luna, the mom, is soooooo sweet, and I feel like their family really is prepared to receive the gospel. We were able to teach them about the restoration and felt we needed to emphasize the Book of Mormon, because that is the key in gaining a testimony of the restored gospel. We may not be the most eloquent teachers or "presenters of the message of the restoration, but if we can get people to latch onto the Book of Mormon, therein lies the power of conversion.

Yesterday, Sister Garma, Sister Tobias, Sister Balleno, and I sang a special musical number in Sacrament meeting "Love is Spoken Here" in Tagalog. We also sang it on Friday for a baptism in our ward. I'm so glad I have a Tagalog Primary songbook, because although we sing all the songs at church in English, the Filipinos love to use the Tagalog version for special events or programs.
Well, that's a little of what's been happening for this week. I've got to go now! I love you. Especially You :)
Love, Rebecca