Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pula na ako!

Naimbag a bigat! Ilocano --> Good morning!

Hehe, on Friday I went rice planting with the Agoo Zone. It was a new adventure, squishing around in bear feet in a big rice field mud swamp almost up to our knees for several hours. It was fun to learn how Filipinos plant rice. Woweee, it was verrrrrry muddy and I got really sunburned for the first time since being here. But what fun. I'll try sending pictures next week -this computer doesn't seem to want to let me right now.

The branch here does something called a "1 Day Mission" every few months. I think it is such a great idea. It's where all the branch members meet at the church on a Saturday morning, and then split into groups and go visiting all day to inactive members. We had 4 missionaries there - and each of us split to go with a group of about 6 members. It was interesting because the missionary was asked to take the lead in the visiting/teaching, but a couple of the members we visited only spoke to us in ilocano, which I still don't know much of - but miraculously I was able to discern their needs and teach and it ended up being a really wonderful experience. It's situations like that when you really gotta just rely on the spirit and Heavenly Father's help.

Caba is an interesting little town. There are 17 Barangies (or villages/blocks) and 19 churches. And our church isn't even in Caba itself--it is in Aringay, the next town over. Needless to say, there is a lot of religious diversity here. One question that many people ask is "why are there so many churches??" and that's the question that we LOVE to hear because we know the answer! It's because of the great apostasy! Another really interesting thing I've discovered is that, although most everyone believes in Jesus Christ, they don't understand his atonement. They know that he died on the cross, but they don't understand that his crucifixion was only a part of it. They miss the whole point of him suffering for our sins. When we show them a picture of him in the Garden of Gethsemane, they don't understand what it is. Before coming on my mission, I kind of always assumed everyone understood that. I think that is one of the greatest blessings of the restored gospel, that Heavenly Father has restored a complete and correct understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ and how to access it.

All righty! gots 2 go, Ingat!
Life is happy! Thanks for being the bestest family ever! Minamahal ko kayo lahat!
Love, your missionary,

P.S. Happy Anniversary on the 29th! Thanks for being the wonderfullest parents ever!
P.P.S Did you know- there's a plant here that you can break in half and then blow bubbles through! Ha! It's amazing!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mahal Kita! I love you!*

Hello! It's been quite rainy this week and we had a few adventures slipping and getting stuck in the mud on the way to appointments. It's very slippery! Chilly too--we even warmed up some hot chocolate one day during a storm. I saw a tornado on the ocean the other day - luckily it wasn't very close. Yesterday the Orcales family was able to come to church. I am soooo excited for them. Brother Oliver, the dad, is yearning for the truth so much - you can see it in his eyes. It's so neat to be a missionary, and to have the opportunity to help others on their spiritual journey. I love the people here so much. Brother Juan is doing great. He told us that ever since we have started teaching him he has felt a feeling of lightness and relief. One thing that I've learned as a missionary is the important role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work. This week we've felt led by the Spirit in many ways while teaching in discerning needs and concerns, about which scriptures to share with them. Some of the neatest experiences have been when I've learned something new or gained a new insight from the scriptures right then and there while I am teaching! This gospel is true. I know that we're led by a living prophet.

I love you! got to go no!
Love, Rebecca

Monday, June 14, 2010

Magandang Hapon! Mahal Kita!

Happy Birthday Jennifer and Jessica!! You're 11! Wow, I can't believe it! I was 11 when you were born! Here in the Philippines, the tradition for birthdays is to have spaghetti, pansit, or some kind of noodle dish. I like to cook spaghetti a lot, and my companion always asks me whose birthday it is. Thanks for the pictures! I hope you have a great birthday! Also, Happy Father's Day on Sunday!!

On Sunday I got to see the Cebu Temple Dedication! It was so wonderful. President Monson, President Eyring, and Elder Oaks were there! On Saturday, we attended a cutural event where there were a lot of native Filipino dances, where they danced in really colorful costumes and used bamboo sticks, coconut halves, balancing pots and candles. It was really neat. Oh how I love the Filipino culture.

I am really happy because we have a lot of progressing investigators right now! 3 of our investigators, Trixie, Erica, and JC Supnet, accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 17th. They were "born again" before, but have received a witness that this church is true. Also sister Erna, another of our new investigators, has received a witness for herself that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. It's amazing to see the way people find out for themselves that all this is really true. We are also preparing Reynante Bucao for baptism - he is 15, but quite mature for his age, breadwinner of his family, and is really searching for the truth. It kind of reminds me of Joseph Smith. I love Caba. At night, we can see lights from Baguio (from all of the houses on the mountains). It's pretty. I love Sister Dolojan. Most nights we spend so much time talking and planning for our investigators that we only have 5 minutes before lights out to eat a quick snack. I admire her dedication and willingness to work hard.

Well, there's a little bit from my week this week. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. I love you very much! Have fun in Texas! Ingat!

Love, your missionary,

P.S. The other night walking home I saw a spider as big as my hand! I almost stepped on it, thinking it was a branch in the dark. --Also, one thing they eat here is baby chicken heads - the whole thing, BBQed on a kabob stick. I haven't tried it yet.
--Also, last night we discovered a big furry friend in our apartment - a rat the size of a rabbit... it was a little hard to sleep after that. But we are going to get some traps and poison today...thank goodness :)
--oh and did you know there is a monkey-eating eagle here in the Philippines?

Monday, June 7, 2010


Thank you so much for your emails.

Guess what? I have a new companion again! Sister Dolojan. She is probably the sweetest person I've ever met! She is 25, Filipina, and everyone calls her sister Dollente's twin (because they look so much alike. They both also came from the same singles ward before coming on the mission). Also, sister Billones got transferred into the Agoo Zone, which makes me so exceedingly happy because we will now see each other every week at district meeting. Yay! While waiting for our companions, I got to work with Sister Lapana and Sister Broadhead, which was great :) I love them both very much. I heard that Sister Walker is in the Missionary Recovery Center in Manila because of an ulcer. yikes, I hope she is doing ok.

Let's see, what fun things do I have to tell you about this week....

We've been teaching The Orcales Family, and they are really progressing. It's kind of a funny story about how we came in contact with them. We were teaching their neighbor (who is a less-active member), when Oliver Orcales (The father - in his 30s) came over - he was drunk and wanted to join in on the lesson and kept saying "Please, can I listen to? I want to hear the words of the Lord.... I want to know how we can be saved." - although he was drunk, there was something about him that was really sincere. and so we set an appointment to return and teach his entire family. Well the first couple times we returned, he wasn't there, so we just taught his wife and children. But this week, we were able to catch him when he was at home, and we started teaching them all. At first, he was really quiet - I think because he was embarrassed about being drunk the first time we met him. But then he brought out several sincere questions about the gospel, how we can be saved, who Jesus Christ is, and what we need to do here on earth. It was really neat. He and his wife have both received a witness that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and they are reading the Book of Mormon. They also accepted the invitation to prepare themselves to be baptized. Anyways, it's just interesting some of the ways that the Lord leads to the missionaries people who are prepared for the gospel ;)

We are working with helping Brother Juan abstain from tea and alcohol. At first he was nervous because his doctor told him that he needs to drink tea every morning for his heart, but we reassured him, telling him that Heavenly Father knows what is best and he promises to bless us if we obey this commandment. He is the ultimate physician.

Well, I am loving the Philippines. Sometimes it is quite hot indeed. It's fun sometimes to be teaching a lesson underneath a coconut tree, on a bamboo bench, overlooking the beach, to about a dozen little children who are crowded around to hear, with dogs, chickens, and goats running all around. Hehe...what fun.

Well, got to go now. I love you! This work is true!
Love, Rebecca

Did you know, one of the favorite past-times of Filipino children is tying big beetles to a string and flying them around - hehe, it's really funny to watch :)

I found out that the word lobo in Tagalog has two meanings - wolf and balloon :)

P.S. Daddy, the pictures you sent made me laugh :) Thanks!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lots of love from your little missionary in Asia!

Hello! Well, the rainy season is starting to kick in now! I like it. I love Caba. Tagalog is coming great. and I'm picking up a little Ilocano, which is fun!

This week, Sister Dollente and I taught a workshop about "Companionship Unity," which was a lot of fun. I enjoy working with Sister Dollente.

We extended a baptismal invitation to Sister Ruby. She believes it's true, but she really wants to wait until her whole family can join the church with her. So we are working on finding a time to be able to teach them all. Yay! She mentioned how impressed she is with the doctrines we are teaching her. She says that she doesn't feel content listening to any other religions because she doesn't understand their doctrine, but that every question that she raises, we are able to answer to her contentment, using the Book of Mormon. When she offered the prayer at the close of our lesson, it was cute to hear her tell Heavenly Father, "Nagpapasalamat po ako na contentong-contento ako sa mga bagay na itinuturo ng mga missionaries" (I am grateful that I am very content with the things that the missionaries are teaching). I love sister Ruby. She is a sweet humble lady.

One thing that is neat is that many of the people we teach, when we ask them how they feel when they read the Book of Mormon, they answer on a similar theme: it gives them a "light" feeling as if their burdens are being lifted and all problems dissolving. There's something about being a missionary that really gives you the desire to know the Book of Mormon like the back of your hand. The Book of Mormon has an answer for everything! It is the most powerful resource for teaching. One of our investigators, Reynante (16 years old - whom we set a baptismal date with this week) said that as he is reading the Book of Mormon, he is finding out "what God is like."

Some adventures of this week: we found 2 dead rats in our apartment, got drenched in the rain, had to shout while teaching (because the rain was so loud) and poor sister Dollente - all of her photos from way back to the beginning of her mission (she's been out 10 months) were deleted (when she lended her camera to a ward member). She is taking it very well however. I really admire her optimism, forgiveness, sense of humor, and eternal perspective. What a gal!

I found out that the Sudiacals (a family of 7 that I started teaching in Dagupan) are finally getting baptized on June 19th! The whole family. It makes me so happy! Also, Christine, another of my investigators from Dagupan, got baptized on Saturday!

We found a very sweet old lady this week: Lolita, 87 years old. After teaching, she asked how much the Book of Mormon cost, and when we gave it to her, she cried. How sweet. It was funny when we taught them the steps of prayer, because we wrote it out for her but she didn't realize that it was just a pattern, and so she simply said, "Heavenly Father, we thank thee.... we ask thee......in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. So we taught her that she could use her own words and add what she was thankful for and what blessing she desired, instead of just reading it.

Got to go! Time's up! I love you very much! The church is true! Lots of hugs and kisses!
Love, Rebecca