Monday, March 15, 2010

Lots of Love to My Favorite Family :)

Magandang Umaga! (Good morning!)
Thank you for your emails! Guess what - Sister Garma was transferred on Friday! (We found this out on Wednesday) and I now have a new companion, Sister Niebla. She was Sister Young's trainer! She is from Bicol, Philippines, 23 years old, and goes home in 5 weeks. She is very cheerful and giggly :-) I just realized that I didn't really tell you much about Sister Garma, did I? Well, she was wonderful. She is from Isabella (close to the Baguio Mission) and her native language is Ilocano but she speaks Tagalog and English fluently. She was a soldier in the Armed Forces of the Philippines for 5 years before coming on a mission. Her parents were devoted Catholics before meeting the missionaries and joining the church (in fact, before being introduced to the gospel by her dad, her mom was preparing to become a nun). I learned so much from her, and I will miss her. Sister Tobias was also transferred, and Sister Walker (from my batch--the one from Mount Pleasant) is now Sister Billones' companion, and so we live together!

Hehee, so I finally gave in. Sister Billones taught me how to eat rice the true Filipino way: with my hands! Hehe, it was funny. They say it's an art, and I guess I shall learn to master it.
Also, on Thursday I learned how to peel coconut tree leaves (they use the spines in the middle of the leaf for making brooms). The brooms here are really cool looking. Not like the ones in America ;) Anyways, it was fun.

Well this week was great - it has been an adventure trying not to get lost without my navigator with me anymore, but it makes it fun :)

We had a family home evening with some recent converts on Monday, and taught an object lesson where you tie string around someone's hand - each strand of string represents one obstacle to becoming worthy to be sealed as a family in the temple) until the person is tied down with so many "excuses" that he can't break free himself. And then we talked about the Savior and how, despite all of these obstacles and our many weaknesses, we can overcome them through the power of His atonement. So we used "scissors" to represent Him - He can cut us free from the things that are holding us back, if we put put our trust in Him and seek him first in our lives. Object lessons make me happy!

Our investigator Sister Lea Ceralde is such a joy to teach. She is so desirous to be baptized! Her baby is due in one week. It's been so neat to see her grow in her testimony, and especially in her ability to pray sincerely from her heart. At first, when we taught her the steps of prayer, her prayers were very short and simple. And I've been able to see her progression. It's so cute and sweet because when she offers the prayer before we teach, she expresses simplly and honestly everything she feels in her heart. It reminds me of a little child. She truly understands her relationship with her Heavenly Father.

I am so happy because of being able to help Brother Solano, who has been sealed in the temple but had gone inactive for many years, return to church! And now he is here to stay. In our visit with him, he expressed his happiness in returning and his desire to remain active and stay true to his covenants. He is sad because his years of inactivity have affected his wayward teenage children. I shared with him about Alma the Younger, and the power of his father's prayers and example on his behalf. It really touched me how in Sacrament meeting, Brother Solano sat near the front and presented his young son to the congregation to be given a name and a blessing. What humility. I love how humble these Filipino people are. I learn so much from them. The most wonderful thing has been to see his countenance change - there is definitely a sense of peace and joy that wasn't there before. That's been worth everything :)

Hehe, I met an old man from Germany the other day. He didn't speak Tagalog and only spoke a wee bit of English, so it was fun trying to communicate with him.

I love you! Thank you so much for everything. There are still challenges, but I love it here. Thank you for your prayers!

Love, Rebecca

P.S. We fry everything in coconut oil here.
P.P.S. the visiting general authority at stake conference recognized my last name and asked if I'm related to Marilyn Boekweg who works for the church. Do you know her?

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