Monday, January 31, 2011

Magandang Hapon, Minamahal Kong Pamilya!

Hello! Hope you've had a great week! (P.S. I got the package you sent, and also one from the ward...thanks!) I sure hope Grandpa is doing okay. That's good to hear that he is in a really nice place now.

Well, sister Nielsen and I are going running every morning - it's funny, we actually cause quite a scene - 2 white girls sprinting down the street at 6:30 in the morning :) Hehe, yesterday we were so happy, laughing and talking on the way to our appointment, that the trycicle driver was really surprised and asked us, "Why are you so happy? Is it your birthday?" hehe! Well we told him no, but then told him that what really makes us happy is the gospel and shared with him the message of the Restoration.

This week has been kind of sobering in a few ways. We found out that one of our investigators committed suicide (yesterday morning) which was quite a big shock. We also found out about what happened to Mark (the one who suddenly disappeared before his baptism). Well it turns out, he has another family in Manila he never told us about, which was a shocker as well. But we went to visit him on Saturday, to try to help him - he mentioned how he really needs our prayers right now. I don't know what will happen, but hopefully he'll continue to want to be baptized.

We started teaching a lady named Lourdess, who has some major health problems. Apparently she was taught by sister missionaries last year, but they stopped coming. She told us of how she hasn't been able to sleep for the past two weeks, but that she remembers when the missionaries came before, she was able to sleep just fine, and how she really wants us to visit her so that she can feel that peaceful feeling again. We taught her about the Holy Ghost and how that's s what she was feeling before - then we told her about the importance of repenting and being baptized in order to be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Yesterday we were really happy because 8 of our investigators came to church on their own! Th Agustin family is doing so well! The ward members are really falling in love with their family. Brother Amor Delacruz is really being fellowshipped by the members as well :)

All right, well I love you tons! especially you! Have a great day!!
Love, Rebecca

P.S. Lisa - one of the letters I sent to you got returned, and I don't know why. But I'll try to send it out again!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Day!!

We cooked Bangus fish this week.

Hello! How are you all?

We are both feeling better this week, thank goodness! Hehe, yesterday Sister Nielsen gave the world's bestest talk in sacrament meeting about being on time to church. She wrote it, and I helped her translate it in Tagalog. It was funny because we were both really nervous that lots of the members were going to get really offended by it, but it turns out that it made everyone laugh and they all loved it and wanted a copy of it. hehe!

It's really hard to see several of our investigators really having a hard time right now financially. Filipinos are so hard-working, but sometimes, despite all they do, it's hard to survive just the same. It almost breaks my heart when the Agustin children pray, "please bless that we will have food today" in their prayers to Heavenly Father. But that's really reality for a lot of people here. We in America are really truly spoiled, and we ought never ever to complain about anything. We need to always be humble and grateful

Last week we had a Family home evening with Jerrene's family. Her little siblings are so cute. We did an object lesson where her little brother got jelly all over his hands, and he tried to rub it off, but it just got all the more sticky. Then we likened it to how sometimes in life we have problems or sticky situations that we really can't get out of without the Savior's help (the atonement). But if we let go of our pride and turn it over to him, he has the power to wash us from our mistakes and help us start over. Sister Jerrene never ceases to amaze me - she showed us her autobiography English portfolio for a school project, in which she has a picture of her baptism and writes her testimony and talks a lot about Jesus Christ and repentance. And then she relates the story of the pre-existence to her teacher and how it all began (the creation, etc.) She said that her goal is to become so well-versed in the scriptures that someday she'll be able to teach us (missionaries) like we teach her.

Life is great!!! I love Urdaneta!!! I miss you all, I miss the temple, and I miss Mexican food. But other than that, I absolutely love it here, and it will be hard to leave. I know that the Book of Mormon is really true. I'm so happy. Thanks for being the bestest family in the whole world. I love you!

Love, Rebecca

Monday, January 24, 2011

Magandang Hapon :)

Pomela Fruit -- The coolest fruit ever!

Well this week I don't have a whole bunch to report on because Sister Nielsen and I have been really sick. We've both had fevers for a few days - her's was 101.6 and mine was 102.8. I'm not sure why. so we've had to take it a little easy. I'm still feeling a little sick still with achiness and chills. Yesterday, We thought we were ok, and we went to pick up Brother Amor for church, but then I almost threw up as we were walking with him to church. It's been a really weird few days, but that's ok.

Oooh I do have some happy news though! Sister Jerrene (16) completely surprised us when she showed us her book of mormon reading chart that we gave her, all filled out- every chapter! And what shocked us even more is that she told us that she read the whole thing in just 4 days!!! She didn't sleep -- in fact, we could tell as we were teaching and her eyes would start to droop. hehe! But I'm so proud of her! And she even remembers and understood everything she read too, and made note of her favorite chapters. Sister Mary Roces is also doing great with reading the Book of Mormon - she's in Helaman already, and absolutely loves to relate to us the stories she's been reading.

Sorry - I'm not sure if my letters are getting to you all through the snail mail. I've sent several to family/friends, but haven't heard if any have been received. Have you received any of them? Just want to say thank you for the emails! Karla, if you are reading this, you're baby is adorable!! Thank you for sending me pictures! And Alex, I got your package this week - oh boy! Thanks!!! Sorry if I"m not always able to respond to everything - I'm sure I lose track of all your questions, but I'll do my best! Thanks for being the best!

Mahal-na-mahal kita!
Love, Rebecca

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Jerrene and her friend and I

Jerrene and her friend with Sister Young and I on P-Day

Hey, this week was a good week.
I'm really happy to see the Agustin family all reading the Book of Mormon consistently everyday! The kids are so cute! hehe, a couple weeks ago we taught them about fasting once a month, and it's so funny because Maria Luna (8) has brought it up somehow in every lesson since then with a question such as "oh, I forgot again. how often do we not eat for a really long time?" It's funny because it seems she likes to eat and is really is concerned about that. Of course we made it clear that for the kids they may have to start out gradually with that -not all at once. They all came to church on Sunday, and the children love primary.

On Sunday we were really shocked and sad to find out that our investigator Mark didn't come to church, and spontaneously went to Manila (without telling us or his girlfriend). He was scheduled to be baptized on Saturday, but I guess that's not happening anymore. It was really a big surprise and really hard for us and the ward members. But oh well, I guess maybe he decided he's not ready, or maybe satan is working extra hard on him right now. That's too bad.

I got locked inside the bathroom in our apartment on Saturday for more than an hour. I don't know how it even happened but the doorknob went wacky all of the sudden, and I couldn't get out, no matter how hard Sister Nielsen and I tried to jam open the door. hehe! Finally we got someone who had a special tool thingy to take out the doorknob. While in there, my companion fed me cupcakes through the vent and I taught her how to fill out a mission-form thing on the other side of the door. It was a funny adventure!

Yesterday we did a 1-day mission/ward record cleaning with the ward, finding all the inactive members and inviting them back to church. This will be a weekly ward project. It's really a good thing!

We taught brother Luis (76) and sister Norlita (64), two of my favorite investigators. We read the story with them in the bible where a great feast is prepared and guests are invited but they all make excuses for not coming. We likened it to the church (because we've been inviting them for a long time and they always have a new excuse). We testified of the Savior and the restored gospel, and read Jacob 6:6-12 with them. Sister Nielsen said it was the most intense, passionate lesson we've ever taught. I sure hope they felt the spirit. Sometimes I feel like I'm pouring out my heart to these people, and sometimes it just feels like it's not sticking.

The Living Christ document is amazing! It's a great way to build faith in Jesus Christ. I love Alma 62: 4-5 when Moroni raises the standard of liberty wherever he goes, and thousands flock to it. I think that, in a sense, we as missionaries are doing that too. We raise the Lord's standard, and those who recognize it's truth will flock to it.

I love you. That's all!

Love, Rebecca

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 2011!

For New Year's Eve, We made Mexican food for us and our zone leaders who live next door. Sister Nielsen and I made homemade flour tortillas, but they didn't turn out quite how we expected ;) They tasted more like biscuits. But it was fun! A nice family in our ward also came to our house and gave us some spaghetti and fruit salad. The members here are really nice. For New Year's everyone does fireworks. At midnight, it was sooooo loud throughout the whole city. Looking out our window it looked like a battlefield with all the fireworks going off everywhere. This week Sister Nielsen was sick quite a bit. She is getting better now though. We were invited to a dinner at a member's house who served us goat innards (w/onions and mayo). It was interesting, and I don't plan on eating that again.

Our investigator Mark (24) passed his baptismal interview on Saturday. He will be baptized on January 15th! We had an FHE with the Agustin family, and our stake president and his son came. It was a really good experience. I've never seen Brother and Sister Agustin laugh so hard (as we were playing the games).

The work is great! The field is white, already to harvest! I love being a missionary. I was happy because Brother Amor Delacruz (an investigator we've been inviting for a long time) came to church again, and says he plans to continue to do so every week now. He really wants to be baptized. We also visited an inactive member, brother Israel, who told us of an experience where he has had several dreams recently of someone telling him to come back to church. And then when we met him on our way to the house of one of our investigators, he told us how he felt a very peaceful happy feeling (obviously the Holy Ghost), and we came to his house to teach him, and he committed to come back to church. It was neat to hear him during sunday school - he was invited to give the prayer, and he began to relate all those things to Heavenly Father in his prayer (about his falling away from the church, and his dream, and us visiting him). It was a really heartfelt prayer; you could tell He really was talking to Heavenly Father.

Oh I have to tell you about two of our recent converts: Jerrene (16) and Laurena (13). They both come from part-member families. Well, Laurena was sleeping over at Jerrene's house, and they really wanted to work with us at 3:00 pm the next day, but we had to postpone it until 6:00 pm, so while waiting for us, they read their scriptures together, prayed, and practiced teaching (like missionaries). Then they actually went out "proselyting" to their neighbors, scriptures in hand, ready to teach the gospel. Haha! That ticked me to hear that. They both really want to be missionaries. They are really amazing girls.

I've been reading a lot in the general conference Ensign, and I've really been impressed with the messages. A couple themes I've noticed in the talks are: 1. Satan is real. He wants us to be miserable. He's very intelligent and knows what he's doing. He knows our weaknesses. None of us are immune to his subtle temptations, no matter how strong you think your faith is. That's why we must constantly be striving to nourish and strengthen our faith. As long as we have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can stay protected. 2. Exact obedience is important. It's easy to try to rationalize letting go of the iron rod "just a little bit" here and there, or to justify "partial obedience" based on the circumstance - but little exceptions to the rules can lead to bigger transgressions. Sometimes we don't always see it that way until we look back on our choices and realize we could have done better.

I love you very much!
Have a great day!
Love, Rebecca