Monday, February 28, 2011


Hello from Binmaley!
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, etc.! Sister Lapana, Sister Walker, and Sister Dolojan and I made homemade ice cream and pasta on Tuesday. We brought it to our district meeting, which meets in Aguillar every Tuesday morning :)

This week was fine. Sister Lapana is a great companion. She is very genuine, down-to-earth, and humble. On Saturday we did a workshop for all the leaders in our ward, to help get the ward mission process going. We also talked about how counseling can be a revelatory process, if we "put off the natural man" (humility, patience, respect, letting everyone express their feelings, and avoiding debating/shouting. If we strive to invite the Holy Ghost into our meetings, it will flow more smoothly. For some reason that's been somewhat of a challenge here. Sometimes it seems more like a city council meeting ;) Hehe, well it was interesting to say the least. I think we may need to do a few more workshops perhaps. We've got a very good dedicated bishop and ward mission leader.

As far as investigators go, we found a new lady named Norma Alejo, who seems very much prepared for the gospel. She is already making quite a sacrifice to attend another church weekly (in a much farther location than the one in Binmaley) so we are thinking she will be a great strong member of the church once she gains a testimony that it is true. At first, she seemed closed-minded and hard hearted, but as it turns out, she had lots of questions, and has already read the first part of 1 Nephi and wants to read the whole Book of Mormon. Yay!

We also found an elderly man, Renaldo Balagot, because his grand-daughter came to church on her own. He was taught by sister missionaries before, and he eagerly asked us "how long until I can be baptized?" on the first visit! I'm excited when investigators are excited to take the next step!

Ok, Well I'm doing great here in Binmaley. It's a lot hotter and there's a lot more mosquitos here in the Lingayan zone than in my other areas. I think I heard that Lingayan is actually the hottest zone in the mission. Ok, well, got to go! I love you!
Love, Rebecca

P.S. you might want to check the time difference again, because some of your emails don't end up in my inbox until the following week :) so just a thought to consider if you have any questions you need answering right away. Love ya :)

Email from February 21: Maraming Salamat!

Thanks for the birthday song video!! Haha! Holy smokes Jennifer and Jessica, you both look so old! I'm really shocked! Jennifer looks strikingly like Lisa all of the sudden! And Jessica, you look so tall and mature! Looks like you haven't lost any little-girl energy though, so that's good! Well, I hope you had a great week. I sure did. I'm here in the Lingayan zone doing great! Lisa, Happy Birthday on Saturday! We have a big cockroach who is hiding somewhere in our room. I tried to hit him with a broom but then he disappeared. He tried to cuddle up with me in bed the other night! errggg... ;)

This week we've been trying to seek out the inactive members and invite them back, and help new investigators through them. I've noticed a lot this week how important it is to point people to Christ. You can never go wrong in pointing them to the Savior. It always is sure to bring in the spirit into any lesson. One of my favorite investigators, Rowena, (19) is getting married on March 5 to the son of our ward mission leader. She's a very sweet girl. We committed her to be baptized on March 19, and she's really excited and her faith has grown a lot recently. Yay! It's amazing to be a missionary and to have so many people open up to you every day and share their. you get to observe a lot of people in a lot of different situations, and they look to you with trust for advice. My testimony has really been strengthened that Heavenly Father gives you what you need to say right in the moment you need it, to help someone. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the most wonderful and precious gift anyone can enjoy in this life. I wish all people could understand that.

There's a path we have to walk at night a lot, and they say there are snakes on either side, so we have to keep in the middle, or we'll get bit. kinda scary. But | was thinking how that's kind of like life. We've got to keep on the "straight and narrow" path and not make any deviations from keeping the commandments, or we might end up getting bit.

Serving a mission is the best thing ever! It's like an incubator for spiritual growth. You learn so much. And the more you learn, the more you realize you still need to learn. There's something about serving a mission that really changes your perspectives about life and realigns your priorities. It's really good. I've also been thinking about the difference between "happiness" and "fun." I've observed a lot of people who try to find happiness by having fun. While it's true that happiness can encompass fun, fun alone will not assure us true happiness. There's a difference. Happiness is lasting, whereas fun is a fleeting thing that leaves as soon as the music, lights, glamor, and noise all fade away. It's really sad because I think it's easy to deceive ourselves and become blinded to the fact that we are not truly happy, as long as we are absorbed in our little world of chasing after one "fun moment| to another. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to feel loved. But it's crucial to step back and realize that concerts, food, parties, drugs, material things, etc. can never produce true happiness. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can. And that's what we as missionaries are on an errand to help people discover for themselves.

I love you!! Thanks for all the wonderful emails!!

Love always, especially you :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

I've got a better idea!

Hey! I've got a better idea! So, I love the Philippines! and I don't want to leave! here's the dilemma - I miss and love all of you tremendously (especially you!)...but I also love being a missionary here in the Philippines...I feel like I just want it to keep going on forever. and the reality is starting to hit me that I'll be coming home soon and it kind of is melancholy. so how about this: why don't you all just come on down over here, and then I'll petition to President Jensen to let me stay here forever, and arrange to go on splits with each of you everyday! and I'll teach you all Tagalog and we'll build a community of bamboo huts and eat rice and lumpia and chicken curry everyday, and live happily ever after! Ya, I think that sounds like a grand idea! Yippee! Hehehe.

So I just got transferred to my last area! Binmaley, Lingayan Zone! And I'm so happy because my companion is Sister Lapana, who I already know from way back in the MTC! And we've been in the same zone for most of our mission and we're already friends! She goes home in 5 weeks. And I'm also super happy because we live with two of my favorite other sisters, Sister Dolojan (my former companion, who also goes home in 5 weeks) and Sister Walker (my batchmate from the MTC from Mount Pleasant). Life is great!! They speak Pangalato here. It reminds me a lot of Dagupan, but more fish ponds, coconut trees, and windy. We're right next to the ocean.

Guess what Jennifer and Jessica! We are teaching 11-year old identical twins right now. They thought it was neat when I told them I have 11-year old twin sisters too :)

Happy Birthday Mommy! And Happy Valentines Day!! Thank you Alex for the valentine's video!

As far as wedding fun goes, please let Alex know I'm sorry I haven't answered his question for a few weeks. some of the emails come later than when I log on, and It's hard sometimes to remember all the questions in emails. how about you forward him this secret message: jkasdkjasdjkl;asdjkl;Junejkl;dasjkl18kjl;dsajkl9:45jklasdjkasd.... hehe!

Question: When can I sign up for fall classes? I really need to know when the date is so I can make arrangements with my mission president and see how I can get that done. Could you find out for me??

I love you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Greetings from Urdaneta Philippines!

Hello wonderful family (& friends)!

Today is a great day! Being a missionary really puts life into perspective. I love it here. You know, I've been thinking a lot about the importance of strengthening others. After the things that happened last week, and many other experiences lately, I've come to realize how important it is that we are aware of those who need help. I think it's easy sometimes to just assume that the people we associate with are doing ok. But a lot of times, they are really having a hard time and need help, and we just don't know it. I've learned that it's good to treat every person we meet as if they are in great need of encouragement, help, or a friend. There are those among us who are wavering in their faith, on the brink of going inactive/off the deep end, or struggling with low self-esteem, but too often we just assume they're fine, and it's not until later down the road that we realize they might have needed our love and help to keep them on the right path. I think if we really understood how much of a positive influence we might have on someone's life, it would totally change how we view our visiting teaching and home teaching assignments at church. We would be so much more eager and take more seriously our responsibility to serve, nurture, strengthen, and teach. Just some thoughts.

I really admire Sister Nielsen for her willingness to serve a mission! She was so determined to go stateside and she didn't ever want to have to learn a foreign language. In fact, she changed her major to a major that didn't require a foreign language. She's tried to avoid it her whole life. And on top of that, she's a germ-freak (worse than Lisa). But she's here, and she's such a good sport. And she's surviving and learning the language. I'm so proud of her!

I love you! We're doing good here in Urdaneta :) I'm guessing I'll be transferred to another area on Friday, but of course, we won't find out until Wednesday.

I love you lots!

Love, Rebecca

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The back of our church building where the mission home is being built