Monday, August 30, 2010


Surprise! On Friday I was transferred to Urdaneta! My new companion is Sister Caras, from Cavite (Philippines). I was assigned to be her follow-up trainer. Sister Caras is such a sweetheart. You know, I've really lucked out when it comes to companions. It seems every transfer Heavenly Father has paired me up with some of his very best, sweetest angels. Sister Caras is a recent convert. Her mother was the first to be taught by the missionaries - her mother works in California now. She's really cheerful, hard working, thoughtful, and kind of reminds me of Johannie Everett.

I was thinking I would stay in Caba for another transfer, so the transfer kind of came as a surprise. But I am happy. Sister Garma (my trainer) got transferred with me to Urdaneta as well. It was great to see her - we are both follow-up trainers. She has only 2 transfers left in the mission. Urdaneta is a larger city than Caba. There is lots of vegetation here and it's a lot more humid. It's more inland too - no ocean here. It's also a higher-class town, not quite as poor living conditions it seems. They speak Ilocano here as well, but they speak Tagalog at church a lot more than they did in my last area. I'm getting better at picking up what people are saying in Ilocano. It makes me happy. Sister Caras speaks it fluently, so it's also nice to have her for a reference.

Guess what? We found a frog that somehow hopped its way into our apartment. Here in Urdaneta, the apartment is way nicer - no rats or cocraches at all. yay!

That's great that Alex gets to stay in his area for his last transfer! Wow, crazy how time flies. Has it really been 2 years? Also, I'm not sure where I should start sending letters once he gets home. Wisconsin, Utah, or somewhere else? Anyone know? Thanks!

Inaro Taka! (I love you - Pangasinan)

Love, your missionary,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Email from August 23: Kumusta, minamahal kong pamilya!

Kumusta, minamahal kong pamilya!

That is great to hear about Daddy being called as the ward mission leader! How wonderful! You will be the missionaries' best friend!

On Saturday we had a one-day mission in our branch. I am impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the members of the branch to reach out and invite the less-active members back to church. Our elders quorum president, Brother Aglubat, is very active and diligent in his reactivation efforts and going out and visiting everyone he can. If every member in Caba and Aringay was fully active, we'd have a stake! Hopefully that time will come.

This week we taught Brother Dominar Garcia and his wife, Arlene. They are a very wonderful family who seem ready for the gospel. As we started to teach them about where we came from, they realized that they had no idea. It is always such a sweet experience to help others discover the answers to the great questions of the souls, and to help them see that these things "are truly manifested to us from Heaven." (D&C 123:13). We have the Book of Mormon, and we have living prophets, and we know who were are, why we are here, and where we are going. We need not be confused. Heavenly Father has given us knowledge concerning all of these things. I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation that has been revealed to prophets for us. There are many in the world who need help. So many people. If we could each just help one person find their way home, and if we could make that the object of our lives, how many of Heavenly Father's children would be brought back into the light of the gospel!

I've been thinking a lot about one of Daddy's poems - "The Trick" and how that is very much like missionary work. A lot of the time, we don't realize it, but we are like mirrors in our interactions with people. We are either the ones who merely imitate, or we are the ones who "set the mood" and others automatically will reflect back that same attitude. This is especially important when teaching the restored gospel and helping others make and keep commitments to apply it to their life. If they reflect a casual or uncommitted attitude, we need to be careful not to be mirrors and act casual about the gospel too. We need to follow Elder Holland's advice and realize that "much of the time we are just too casual about this. This is eternal life. ...They may not know that, but at least you do! So take control of the situation." I love that quote. At Zone Conference, Elder Co of the 70 came to speak to us, and he and President Jensen taught us about this principle. We need to be the ones that "set the stage" so that we can awaken our brothers and sisters to how important this really is. If the way we speak and act reflects the attitude that this is the most important thing in the world, others will see how it is and adjust accordingly. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only way to true and lasting happiness.

We went to Baguio for Zone Conference on Wednesday, and I got to see sister Dollente again :) I also met a new American sister, Sister Eldredge, who told me, "Sister Boekweg, I have a message for you!" and then gave me a big hug (from Lisa!) Aw thank you Lisa!!! That's neat to think that she saw you just recently in the MTC!

I love the parable of the sower in the New Testament. I think a really huge role in teaching the gospel is first trying to soften hearts and create a climate and environment that can foster the growth of testimony. We all need to receive the seed (gospel) into good soil. As missionaries, friends, neighbors - we are all "plowers" - helping to plow the ground, and prepare people's hearts to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love Helaman 3:29-30. It didn't use to have much meaning for me, but recently it has become of my favorite scriptures because of seeing so much distraction, contention, and confusion in the world. There is only one way to find our way through life safely and triumph over "fiery darts of the adversary." We must hold to the iron rod/word of God. All other attempts will fail if we don't have a sure grasp on that one sure anchor.

I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes it is overwhelming, and I know that I have many weaknesses and shortcomings, but I am grateful for this opportunity to be engaged in this work and do what I can to move this work along. I am learning so much. Thank you so much for everything - I think I'm pretty sure I was blessed with the sweetest happiest family in the world! I love you!

Happy Birthday to Grandma Gunn and also to Grandma Boekweg coming up!
I love you bunches! Especially *you!
Love, Rebecca

Here's an Alex quote of the day: "If you feel depressed, sad, or any negative emotion, do the following things: Pray, serve someone and make someone else happy, think of your blessings, and understand that you cannot bless others very well with a frown, and then make a conscious effort to turn it upside down." I love that. It is very true. Every time we feel any kind of negative feeling, it does not come from God, and we need to learn to recognize and acknowledge it's source.

P.S. Let me know if you have any insights/object lessons about sacrifice, mighty change of heart, or covenant keeping!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello from Caba!

Greetings! Today is a great day! This week went by fast. On Tuesday I went to Aringay to work with Sister Caspe for a day. Sister Caspe is Filipino and very smiley and talkative. On Wednesday morning we went to a service project to help a member harvest corn, and it actually turned out to be more of an adventure than we expected. His corn field was at the top of the mountain, and we hiked up in flip-flops the steepest hike I've ever hiked. There wasn't even a trail, and so Brother Diaz took along a bamboo pole to make a foot hole so we wouldn't slide down. Looking back on it, it was kind of funny, because by the time we got to the top, it was just a tiny little plot of ground, and the actual harvesting took a lot less time than the hike.

I love teaching the gospel everyday. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I love the Tree of Life story. It describes the whole Book of Mormon story. We contacted Brother Juan again, and he was sober. He is very thin though-- he got really sick from drinking too much. but now he's stopped. He still has a testimony and the desire to continue to learn about the gospel.

It always makes me excited when investigators tell me that they gave their Book of Mormon to their pastor - because hopefully the pastor will read it, pray about it, and come to know that it is true too!

I love the story of the 10 virgins. It has a lot that we can learn about. it's interesting that all 10 virgins had a lamp, and all of them fully expected to be able to attend the "wedding feast." but only those with oil were admitted. So it is like us as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We all hope and expect that we will be admitted. But In D&C 45 it talks about that parable, and how it is like those who have "taken the Holy Spirit to be their guide." That's how important getting and keeping the spirit is. One of the most important ways to keep the Spirit with us always is by partaking of the sacrament every week worthily.

I love you very very much!
Love, Rebecca

P.S.I ate chicken intestines on a stick this week! interesting.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is is really August already?

Wow, time seems to be flying on wings of lightning! I've learned that it is important when teaching investigators, to "Point them to the Savior" and make Him the focus, no matter what we are teaching. It is a sure way to invite the influence of the spirit and provides stronger motivation to apply His teachings and live the restored gospel.

The Reotorio family is a great example to me. Although they are extremely poor, they are absolutely faithful in attending church every single week. Even though Brother Lito (the father) has been out of work for an entire month. One sobering experience the other day -- because of a lack of food, they went to trade their dog for a chicken. But then, somehow, the chicken was stolen from them. Sister Merlene was so stressed and upset over it that she spent hours outside looking for it in the rain. Finally they found the remnants of it and evidence that whoever had stolen it had already eaten it. It was sobering to see them in that situation, and Brother Lito holding a plastic bag with the feathers only, and their 5 small children. But we testified to them that blessings follow obedience, and just a couple days ago, Brother Lito found work again, which is a huge blessing and proof that Heavenly Father really does take care of His children and delights to serve and honor those who put their trust in Him.

Sometimes I feel like a disney princess here with all the little children flocking to say "hello" and use whatever English they know. Filipino children are so cute.

Some sad experiences this week have been when we have taught to some investigators who have treated us and the message of the Restoration with spite and contempt. I feel sad especially when people choose to disregard the Book of Mormon, close their hearts to the message, and refuse to pray about the things we are teaching them. Many of these belong to Iglesia Ni Cristo - a very prominent church here, to which my companion belonged before she met the missionaries. It's interesting, because it's kind of like our "counterfeit" -- some of their doctrines/history are somewhat similar to ours, but they firmly believe that they are the only true church. But you can definitely tell a difference. I've heard lots of rumors that the founder was actually a former LDS member who apostatized. Anyways, during one such visit, I felt the spirit very strongly testify through me - I bore as fervent testimony as I could about the Book of Mormon and receiving answers to prayer through the power of the holy ghost. I love to share 3 Nephi 11:39 - about how contention is of the devil, and that the doctrine of Christ is for "such things to be done away." I love how one of the main purposes of the Book of Mormon is to confound false doctrine and do away with contention. One thing that really helps when it can be easy to get discouraged is to recite "The Standard of Truth." It is very comforting to know that no matter what happens, no matter how many people reject the message, the truth will go forward boldly, nobly, and independent. Truth will triumph! It will continue to roll forth until it has sounded in every ear and the work is accomplished!

Yesterday we went on splits because we had so many appointments. I went with Shiela Lorenzo, a member who works a lot with us. She becomes a really good friend and huge support to the work. She knows all of our investigators and it almost feels like she's a third companion. She will apply for a mission in 2 years from now.

What a joy it is to be serving as a Baguio missionary. Whenever there are challenges or big tasks to do, President Jensen always says, "All right! We can do it! We're Baguio missionaries!" This work is true! I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's wonderful plan. It is perfect!
I love you! Thank you so much for being the best family in the world!
Love, Rebecca

P,S. If you know of any really good object lessons, I'd love to hear them. I'm trying to collect all the ideas I can.