Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hello hello hello!

Magandang Hapon sa Inyo Lahat!!

Hello! The typhoon started Monday night and lasted until Wednesday, so we were told not to work, just to stay inside, for a couple days. A lot of the houses of members and investigators got flooded. Some in the lower parts were flooded pretty bad, but most were just up to the ankles. Luckily our apartment stayed 100% dry. It was kinda exciting - at times we could feel our walls vibrating because of the wind. It was pretty cold too. The lights were out for a while and we used candles and made lumpia and sang lots of hymns about sunshine, just for kicks and giggles. On Saturday we went to one of our investigators houses, only to discover that the entire road leading to their house was completely flooded over, so we got pretty wet making our way over there.

We went to a birthday party this week at a member's house - she had cooked spaghetti and was complaining that it tasted sour, and my companion said "What? they forgot to add sugar!" But I told her, "Wow, this tastes American!" hehe--spaghetti here is very sweet :)

Mary Roces (recent convert) is really catching "the spirit of Elijah." It's interesting- ever since she's gotten baptized, she's kept having these reoccurring dreams where her family members (who have passed on) come to visit her and ask if she can do their ordinances in the temple. How neat! So we've been helping her record their names and send them to the temple. The other day she found a really old Book of Mormon the other day that belonged to her father, who investigated the church a long time ago. How exciting!

I've been thinking a lot lately about Satan tries to distort our perception of things as they really are. He'll use any means or strategy he can. We need to be so careful about what we allow to enter into our thinking. Mainstream media and popular culture often send messages that distort our perception of things as they really are. It can be very deceptive and very subtly distract us away from the things that are most important. I think the words of the living prophets and visiting the temple often are excellent ways to combat that and to see things clearly.

I love you very very much! Stay happy and safe and know that you are loved!

Love, Rebecca

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's raining!

Hey hey hey! It's a great day! This has been a great week too. Looks like a typhoon is on its way tonight! We were all pretty scared a couple days ago, because the forecast showed a signal 4 (President Jensen said that's "very bad") and it was heading straight for Baguio. So we were warned to get ready with all our 72-hour kits and "prepare for the worst." Luckily, yesterday we were notified that it has shifted a little northward and is now aimed at the more northern part of Luzon. We'll still get a typhoon, but it will be signal 2 instead of 4. It's supposed to start I think sometime tonight. Don't worry, we'll be just fine! Our apartment is on high ground.

Wow, it's hard to believe that I reached my 1-year mark this week! It's gone by like a dream. The other night I fell into an deep and unexpected mud swamp and lost my shoe, but then dug it out again. It was a really funny sight. Gotta be careful during rainy season--you never know what you'll step into! We had a two-day sisters training here in Urdaneta, with all of the sisters in the mission. It was great. President and Sister Jensen taught us a lot about the new "simplified curriculum" - helping us to be more effective teachers. We learned lots. And it was so wonderful to see all of the other sisters, especially my former companions sister Dolojan and Sister Dollente! Sister Broadhead and I went on splits that night in my area (it was my first time being companions with another American) and they slept over at our apartment. It was the first time all the sisters in the mission have been in the same place at the same time! What fun.

President Jay E. Jensen (president of the 70) and Elder Co (area 70) also came and gave a multi-zone conference on Thursday! They came to check possible sites where to build the temple here in Urdaneta. Wow, their talks were amazing. We learned the great importance and power of using the hymns and primary songs in our teaching, and how to "teach people, not lessons."

Sister Jerrene Manzanilla, 16, is progressing really well! She is great. Her mother is a member of the church, and used to be really active, until, in a tragic accident, the other two of Jerrene's siblings drowned in the ocean (ages 6 and 7). As a result, she went completely inactive and returned to Catholism. But here's the neat part: In their home they had the children's book "Stories from the Book of Mormon" (the one with pictures) that the missionaries had given to her mom many years ago. And even though her family stopped going to church, Jerrene continued to read and cherish that book. And it was that book that kindled her testimony and helped her feel the spirit, and eventually led her back to church with the desire to be baptized. It is very worn-down and old now, but she still reads it, along with the Book of Mormon that we gave to her. She often brings it out to show us with excitement the pictures associated with the stories she has read in the Book of Mormon. It made me realize how little things can really make a big difference. Those missionaries who gave her mom that children's book probably had no idea the impact it would have on her daughter's conversion. Sister Jerrene is going to be a shining beacon and light to her family. She is so childlike and sweet, and valiant! I'm sure she will be an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands in helping her entire family receive the full blessings of the gospel someday. We are working with her mom to help her come back. She is a such a sweet sister -- she still has a lot of anger and bitterness that has built up inside over the years, but we sang hymns and comforted her. Hopefully we can help her come back and let the Savior heal the hurt. The gospel is the answer to every question and every problem. I know that's true.

I love you lots and lots!
Love Always,

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hi!!! It makes me so happy to be able to email all of you today! Especially you :)

Wow, Alex is home! That is wonderful you all got to talk to him on the phone! Yay! How exciting!!!!!!! I got 3 emails from him already! *Thanks!* It will be super exciting to be able to email him directly now. Yippee!

This week has been splendid! Sister Young (my MTC companion) got transferred to Urdaneta! She is now companions with Sister Garma. It's funny. I killed her mom, and now she's going to kill my mom. I guess it's all one big family feud. Just kidding--Mom means "trainer" in missionary language, and we always say "kill" to mean the one that "sends you home" (your last companion). I was sister Niebla's last companion, who was also Sister Young's trainer. I love Sister Young! I was so happy to see her after a long time of being in different zones! She and Sister Garma are getting along great. Sister Caras got transferred to the Agoo Zone with Sister Walker as her companion. Sister Jerrene loves studying the gospel and whenever we ask her what she learned from her reading assignment, she teaches us pretty much the whole lesson before we've even begun. Her baptism will be October 30th. She's elect!

General Conference was amazing, wasn't it?! We watched it Yesterday and Saturday! It was funny because none of us could really understand what President Monson said, when he said "Urdaneta" - and so it was a good thing that we all got the announcement beforehand, or else we may not have caught it. Hehe! One of my favorite talks was Elder Holland's. I also liked what Elder Gong said about how we can give children "roots and wings." I liked how a lot of the talks focused on purity and integrity. I loved the music too. My favorite hymn is now definitely "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd." I love missionary work. We have so much to be grateful for. This life is full of blessings, especially family and the restored gospel. I am so grateful for everything you have done for me throughout my whole life. I have the bestest family in the whole world. Be safe always!

I love you always! Mahal na mahal ko kayo! (I love you all very much!)
Ingat kayo palagi! (Take care always!)
Piliin ang tama! (Choose the right!)

Love, Rebecca

Monday, October 4, 2010

We're going to have a temple in Urdaneta!!!!!!

Yippeee! I'm was so excited when President Jensen announced to us on Saturday morning that there will be a new temple built right here in Urdaneta!! I've heard rumors it's even going to be in Sister Almaquer's and I's area! yippee! How lucky can we get? I just wish I could be here when it happens! It is such a huge blessing! Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, they extended the time because of how many wanted to bear their testimony and express gratitude for the new temple. I am so happy. In fact, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about the many investigators and members that we meet who simply can't afford to make the trip to the Manila temple. Sometimes, when we talk about the great blessings of being sealed in the temple and show them a picture of the temple, I feel their disappointment when they realize how far away it is. And now, it's going to be practically next door! I'm so happy!!!

On Wednesday, Sister Almaquer and I did a workshop for our district about "Finding." It was fun, and this week we found 16 quality new investigators! Happy! We also worked really hard to reach the mission standard of excellence, but were short by one lesson. But I'm happy because we did our best! Sister Mary Roces (recent convert) is so happy. Ever since her baptism, she has just radiated purity and is so excited about doing missionary work. She loves to talk about her baptism and loves to encourage her friends to be baptized. You can tell she is truly converted. Our new investigator, Jerrene, is great. She is 16, and is really really sweet. She reminds me a lot of Elisabeth Houghton. Anyways, she came to church on her own last week (we were delighted!) and said she wants to be baptized. And she is reading the Book of Mormon almost every night already. She loves the children's one with pictures :) Her mom is a member, but quit coming to church when 2 of her children died. We are hoping to be able to teach her with her whole family and help them eventually be sealed in the temple. I love the work here in Urdaneta. It has been very fruitful!

On Friday I had the blessing of going on an exchange with Sister Garma (so I got to return and visit the 2nd ward). It was wonderful to be able to work with her again. We work really well together. I'm sure going to miss her a lot. We visited Brother Laurel, a member who had been really really involved in missionary work when I left. He would always take us to appointment, give us referrals, and contributed a lot to the ward and to the church. Well, one week before I left, he got released from the bishopric - and by some oversight he was not informed of the release until the meeting. Well, turns out he was offended and quit attending that ward (he went to other wards). Well, about a week ago I felt to write him a 6-page letter and then we had the opportunity of having a really wonderful visit with him, and to make a long story short, he returned to his ward and triumphed over offense! It was a miracle!!! I'm happy! Sister Garma and I will be going on more exchanges in the future.

I love this work! I'm so happy! This morning we went to visit the 2nd largest dam in Asia, which was neat.

Welcome home Alex!!! I love you oodles! I can't wait to hear how you are doing! I can't believe it's October already! Give yourself a big hug from me!

Love always,

P.S. Happy Birthday Grandma! Happy Birthday Emma!
P.P.S. The other day a great big lizard flew and landed on my head. hehe!