Monday, April 26, 2010

Greetings from Caba!

Hey hey hey! Yep, I got transferred! On Friday I arrived in my 2nd area: Caba. I'm really happy. I already really love this area. It is in the Agoo Zone (pronounce: ag-OH-oh) and right next to the ocean. There is also a small mountain in our area. It's kind of a smaller town than Dagupan (more rice fields). I am emailing you right now from Agoo (about 30 minutes away). And Caba is also a little less hot than Dagupan, I think. The biggest difference is that ilocano is the main language here. It's more widely spoken here than Pangasinan was used in Dagupan. (in Dagupan, even though Pangasinan was the main language, most everyone used Tagalog at church and other activities as their staple language) but here, Ilocano is more the staple language rather than Tagalog. At church, they used mostly Ilocano and only some English and Tagalog. Fortunately most people can still understand Tagalog, and most of our investigators can speak it. Also, English is used here a lot more than it was used in Dagupan. We had a branch activity on Saturday with LOTS of food. I love the members here! They are so nice. The people here are really surprised when they find out I can speak Tagalog. Sister Dollenes said that the American sisters assigned here previously haven't been able to speak the language, so it blows them away when they start speaking to me in English and I answer back in Tagalog. Hmm.. I'm hoping to be able to pick up some Ilocano too so that I can at least understand what people are saying a little better.

My companion is Sister Dollenes from Makati (near Manila). She is so sweet and very talkative. I especially like that she always talks to me in Tagalog only (my previous 2 companions preferred to practice their English rather than talk in Tagalog). I am her first "junior" and so we are able to help each other a lot, more like equal partners, which is nice. She is 27 and graduated in accounting.

I got to see Sister Young at transfers! I miss her! She got transferred to Dagupan - not the ward I was assigned in but another one. Oh, and I was actually able to say goodbye to most of my investigators in Dagupan (when I came home to pack for transfers), which was a blessing. I can also write to them for free through pouch - yay! Working with Sister Gungon for a couple days was a lot of fun. She is a sweetheart. I love seeing the different areas. The Philippines is so much fun! I love it here.

I'm happy for Alex that he gets to serve as a district leader in Trelew! Thank you for the letters/emails, Grandma Maria, Tuminezes, Balinskis - thank you so much!! I wish I had the time to respond to every letter, but at least you can forward the emails to everyone.

Ok, time's up. Thank you so much for all of your support and love. I know that this is Heavenly Father's work. I know that the church is true - It makes me so happy! I love you Jennifer and Jessica! Mommy and daddy dear! Lisa loo! Stay safe and happy always. (Especially *you!)

Love, Rebecca

Sorry I haven't sent many pictures recently - next week I'll try to send a few of some recent baptisms :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life is happy!

Dearest family, I love you!

Sorry this is a little short this week - not much time!

My companion, Sister Niebla, will return home from her mission tomorrow! Wow, time flies. I will be working with Sister Gungon, another sister in my zone (Dagupan 4th ward), for the next few days. Transfer day is on Friday. They are closing one of the areas - and so they will be transferring 2 of the remaining 3 of us, but we won't know who gets to stay in Dagupan until Wednesday. So for the past few days I've been working with Sister Billones in her area, and Sister Walker has been working with Sister Niebla, in order for us all to be familiar with both of the areas, for whoever has to take over both of them. It's been fun and busy, and I've loved getting to know the other investigators. But it's also been kind of melancholy since I won't have a chance to say goodbye to my investigators (if I end up being transferred). But maybe I'll get lucky. We'll see what happens.

I will miss Sister Niebla. She is such a happy person and spreads sunshine wherever she goes. Also, working with Sister Billones has been so wonderful. She is such a hard working missionary, and we've grown to be very good friends. The other day she told me about how she grew up in very poor cirumstances with 7 siblings and no electricity in their home. Often they only had 2 cups of rice to share between all of them, and so their mom would add water and make it into a soup to stretch it. I've felt the spirit very strongly as we've been teaching together. It has been amazing. I love Dagupan! I love the people here. I love the culture. I wouldn't mind if I just served in this same area for my whole mission, but I know that I'll grow to love other areas too.

Ok, gots to go! I love you! (especially you!)
The Gospel is true! We are so blessed! Life is so wonderful!
Thank you for everything you do!
Wow, you're really in the Bahamas right now?! Oh jolly! Have fun!

Sister Boekweg/Rebeccca

Monday, April 12, 2010


Hey there! Happy Monday! Today is a great day! We went bowling as a zone today and ate lunch at McDonald's (yep they have it here).
Yesterday and Saturday we got to see General Conference! It was sooo good! We were able to bring 9 of our investigators with us. Sister Delores Balolong, and her 3 yound daughters, and Jordan and Veronica Decena. Several of our investigators don't really understand English, and so I was almost hesitant about inviting them to conference. But beforehand we counseled them to pray for the gift of discernment and promised them that if they came, they would feel the Holy Ghost manifest to them that President Monson is a true prophet. So they really manifested their faith by coming, and we tried to help them understand as best we could. There was a special feeling in the room.

The Sudical family was able to come as well! They are such a wonderful family! The father, Joel, told us last night of his experience. He said that right when he entered the church building, he felt a feeling different than anything else he had ever experienced in any other churches that he had visited. He said that a warm peaceful feeling of relief and rest from all his anxieties swept over him. I love teaching them. Their 3 boys (ages 9, 11, 12) are really sharp little boys. They will be great future missionaries!

Our ward got a new bishop - Carl Trono. He is 29, and we just recently found out that he is really good friends with Chona Decena. It's neat because it seems that this could really help in the whole sheme of things. Unfortunately, she was not able to attend General Conference with us. But that's all right. Hopefully she'll still be able to view it on the internet. There are lots of distractions in her life right now that are making things difficult. I've noticed that whenever there is something is really important in Heavenly Father's plan, the adversary tries to hedge up the way by adding noise and distractions that can keep us from having the faith-building experiences he doesn't want us to have. I still feel very hopeful. I'm almost certain she will accept the gospel, whenever she's ready and willing to start applying it into her life.

The Book of Mormon is so true! I wish I could get every person in the world to just read it! I know this church is true. I have no doubt that this is Heavenly Father's work. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out how to present the message of the Restoration in such a way as to help others catch the essence of it and realize that this is really "the real thing," but thankfully we have the Preach My Gospel manuel to help us. Wow, we have sooooo many blessings as members of the church! So many people are looking for what we have, and we have the privilege of bringing it to them.

I agree with Alex. I was thinking about the same things during conference! ;) I love you!

I really liked how President Uchtdorf said "Every person is a VIP to our Heavenly Father"
and another speaker said "never let an earthly cirumstance disable you spiritually."

Love you,

P.S. Have fun in Florida! Thanks for the pictures! That's so fun!
PPS Aunt Marilee is expecting her 16th child??!! Wow. Hehe, what a lady. That's pretty much amazing! :)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Hello! Life is great! I love it here in the Philippines. The longer I'm here, the more I think it's going to be hard to leave. Hehe, do I miss the snow... sometimes, with how hot it gets, yes! But I am loving it here.

This week has been full of little miracles. We are teaching a wonderful family with 5 children! The mom was taught by missionaries in 2002, but stopped investigating. Just recently, she has felt very desirous for her family to grow up in the gospel and asked her Mormon friend to please send the missionaries to them "as soon as possible." They are progressing and it seems they have really been prepared by the Lord.

Sister Chona is receiving answers to her prayers. As she read the pamphlet we gave her, she felt the spirit enlighten her mind about the truthfulness of Joseph Smith as a true prophet. She is still wanting to prove all things for herself, but she is progressing, and I'm so happy for her. Please pray for her. She is such a special daughter of Heavenly Father, and I want her to receive the gospel sooooo much. I feel that if she was the only person I came to the Philippines to help, the whole 18 months would be totally worth it.

We are also teaching sister Christine (8 years old). It is fun to teach children. She is picking up the lessons very quickly and excited to be baptized. yay!

On Wednesday, as we did a CSP clearing land, about 10 little girls, Jennifer and Jessica's age, crowded around me and wanted to help. It was cute. They asked all sorts of questions and wanted to touch my hair. I think it was the first time they'd seen a foreigner. I taught them the song "I am a Child of God." It was great fun.

Those are some great questions. As for General Conference, we're all in suspense here ...we have to wait a week. They will rebroadcast it on Saturday and Sunday (April 10 and 11) so everyone here can watch it at the Stake center. I'm excited! I look forward to General Conference like it's Christmas. We are really trying to persuade Chona to come. Oh I hope she'll be able to so much! I'm pretty sure that it is broadcast in English - perhaps when the Liahona comes out, there will be Tagalog translations available. At church, during Sunday school they use mostly Tagalog. Hehe, in our new-investigator class, Sister Velasquez, uses English, Tagalog, and Pangasinan (the native language of most people here), while she teaches, so it's kind of fun to hear the mix. In Sacrament meetings, usually they use about half and half (Tagalog and English). Sometimes mostly English. Most understand English to some extent but prefer Tagalog in normal daily conversation. Also, many of them prefer English scriptures at church, because the Tagalog translation has "deep" Tagalog words and is often harder to understand. We always teach the missionary lessons in Tagalog however. But it's funny because even the Tagalog is sometimes Taglish because some words are easier and they prefer the English. So by the time I come back, I'll be very fluent in Taglish! hehe. But actually, the language is coming along great. There are times I still feel really inadequate, but then I look back and see how far I've come, and I begin to realize how much Heavenly Father is helping me.

P.S. they have "cheese and corn" ice-cream here. I haven't tried it- it sounds weird ;) Hehe!

Sarah Dixon! Boston, that's awesome! She will be a great missionary :)
That's awesome Taylor is engaged!
Wow, have fun in Florida! How exciting! Enjoy the heat - think of me! hehe.