Monday, December 31, 2012

Hi to my favorite family!


Hey there!

Well, first of all, I have to tell you that I was awakened at 3:30am last night by what sounded like two cats arguing outside about who could meow louder. Seriously, they kept going "meow...MeOw...meow...MEOW!" And then every once in a while, a dog would cut in to try to quiet the quarreling kitties, but they just kept up their meowing. And pretty soon a chicken started bak bak BAK-ing as if it wanted to join in. Let me tell you, it's exactly what I wanted to listen to at 3:30 in the morning.

It was actually pretty cold last night and this morning. I actually kind of wished I had a light blanket. I never thought I'd want one here in the Philippines, but I guess I was wrong.

So, tomorrow is transfers, and ...dun dun DUN...Sister Cabato and I are staying together! Yay! I don't have to leave Laoag 3!

Oh, and guess what, last Thursday, I had an exchange with Sister Woahn, the one that Mom is emailing her mom. I wasn't sure how it would go because we are both American and relatively new and still working on our Tagalog, but it went really well. It was a really fun exchange and it was really nice to be able to talk to another American sister. I really like Sister Woahn, she's really nice.

Wanna hear something kinda cute? We have these 2 little girls who live on our street, and every time we come out or go back to our apartment, they run up to us to shake our hands and give us high fives and kisses. They are really sweet. :)

So, I just love Sister Mimi. She is so excited to learn everything she can about the gospel. She is so excited to be married in the temple someday. She is so different from other people I have taught. Teaching her makes me more excited about teaching the gospel I wish we could teach her every single day. Her grandma usually sits in on her lessons, and she is really cute and old, and she forgets things a lot, and she'll ask us the same question 2 or 3 times in a lesson. It makes me smile.

I love the gospel so much, and I am so grateful to be able to share it. We really are so blessed to be members of this church. I hope none of you will ever take that for granted. Read the Book of Mormon every day! I cannot emphasize that enough.

I love you all so much!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy December 17th!

Hi family!

This is what I wrote to President this week:
"My spiritual highlight for this week was kind of interesting. On Saturday night we went to the house of an LA family to teach them, but before we could start teaching, a pastor from another faith came in and started talking to us and to them, and then one of our investigators also came in, and he started talking to the pastor and asking him questions. The pastor went off for about 15 or 20 minutes, and it was obvious he was very educated about the scriptures, but the spirit wasn't there to back up his words, and the whole time it just felt really tense in there. It doesn't sound like this would end up being a spiritual highlight, but after the pastor left, we taught the less active family, and we opened with a hymn, and the spirit was there very strong, and I could really tell a huge difference in how it felt when the pastor was preaching and when we started teaching. It made me really appreciate that I don't have to be very eloquent, and I don't have to know the answers to everything off the top of my head, and I don't have to speak Tagalog perfectly in order to teach. I only have to have the spirit with me, and the people we teach will be able to feel that we are teaching the truth."

Yesterday was a great Sunday! We had an LA family come to church who we taught for the first time on Saturday. They didn't really understand why this is the only true church, and so sometimes they would go to a different church, but we taught them the Restoration, and then they came to church yesterday! We were so surprized and happy! The mom and dad of the Guillermo family also went to church yesterday! This is the second time for the mom since we've been here, and the first time for the dad. I'm so happy! And Tatay Alfonzo came to chruch again too! I really think he really will be baptized.

Oh, and Sister Mimi passed her baptismal interview yesterday! So her baptism will be this coming Saturday! I'm so happy!

Being a missionary is so great! It's super duper hard, but it's sooooo worth it when people accept the gospel and change because of it. I've noticed that Sister Mimi's countenance has really changed since she started learning about the gospel. I love seeing that happen to people.

I love you all! I love the gospel! I love the plan of Salvation! Don't ever stop reading the scriptures, or praying, or going to church! Those things are SOOOOO important!!! It is really true that "by small and simple things, great things come to pass." I know if we will keep reading the BOM every day, and praying every morning and night, and going to church every Sunday, it will keep us on the path that will lead us to eternal life.

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy day-after-the-exceedingly-great-typhoon!

Hi family!

Hahaha! I just wanted to startle you with the subject of this email. We were supposed to have a typhoon yesterday. President texted us on Saturday night and told us to prepare because there would be a typhoon the next day. I guess it changed its mind, though, because all we got was a little rain and a little wind. Oh well.

So guess what! On Saturday I recieved 2 packages!!! One was from Mommy and the other was from Rebecca! Thank you so much! I was so excited to see real authentic canned ravioli! and Enchilada mix! Wow! Thanks so much for the CD player and CD's! I listened to "Consider the Lilies" tab choir cd yesterday morning, and it was soooo wonderful! Most of the other sisters have mostly efy music, and I didn't realized until yesterday how much I have missed tab choir. And thanks for the goodies and letters and stickers and vitamin c drinks!

This is what I wrote to president this week:

"This has been a good week. My spiritual highlight for this week happened on Thursday when we were teaching sister Mimi, one of our investigators with a baptism date. She hadn't yet recognized her answer about the church and about Joseph Smith. I felt I should share Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) We asked her if she had felt any of those feelings when she has prayed or read the Book of Mormon. She said she had twice while reading the Book of Mormon--she had felt peace as she read--and she was able to make the connection that that was an answer. She also said that she used to have a lot of doubts, but now whenever we teach her she just believes what we say. I'm so happy that she was able to recognize her answer, and that she has a great desire to learn about the gospel."

I love sister Mimi so much. What impresses me the most about her is that she speaks really good English and she is a teacher, so she is really educated, and she is really intelligent, but when we are teaching her about the gospel, she is so childlike, and she has such a great desire to learn, and she is so willing to believe what we teach her. She will be baptized on December 22.

Yesterday, Tatay Alfonzo came to church again! I am so happy! We thought he was going to turn out as one of those eternal investigators who always promises to come to church but never does. But he has come to church 3 times now in 4 weeks! He is really progressing! He is the cutest old man! I love him so much! Sister

Crisamel also came to church with her granddaughter Angel! I'm so happy!

This week we taught the 8-year-old daughter of the Icalia family. She is not yet baptized, and technically, she doesn't have to be taught by us in order to be baptized, but she really doesn't know anything about the gospel, so we're teaching her. She is really cute, but she isn't all that excited about being taught. Do you have any ideas of ways to make the gospel seem exciting to an 8-year-old who just wants to go out and play, and doesn't want to read the BOM, or pray, or go to church?

Anyway, thank you so much for everything! You are the best family in the world! I love you all so much! I love the gospel! I know it is true! I am so thankful to be a missionary!

Love, Sister Boekweg

P.S. I went to the Mexican restaurant last Monday. It wasn't exactly like Mexican restaurants in America, but it was close enough to satiate my craving for mexican food. :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy December!

Hey everyone!

Guess what! I got a package in the mail yesterday! and it was from you! It had dove chocolate, dried apples, andes mints, pie crust, chocolate pudding mix, my favorite granola bars, and a present that is all wrapped up, which I'm still deciding if I'll wait until Christmas to open. Thank you so much! It's so exciting to get packages, especially when I can share the things inside with my companion. I also got a letter from Mommy, which I haven't had a chance to read yet, but I'm excited to read it!

This is what I wrote to President Barrientos this week:

"My spiritual highlight for this week was yesterday when Shiela, one of our recent converts, shared her testimony in sacrament meeting. She is usually reluctant to share her testimony, but the spirit was so strong as she did, and it was very clear that she knows the gospel is true and it has made a huge difference in her life. It was really great because we had an investigator at sacrament meeting too, and I kept watching her face as people shared their testimonies, and I could tell she was feeling the spirit as they were speaking, especially when Sister Shiela shared her testimony. It was a good day. I love seeing how the gospel changes people's lives when they accept it and are baptized."

We've been having Sister Shiela work with us sometimes, and it's always really powerful when she shares her testimony about how she came to know the church was true. She didn't want to be taught by the missionaries at first, but it was when she read the Book of Mormon that she really knew it was true and she started seeing changes in her life. She read the entire Book of Mormon before she was baptized.

So, I have to tell you a really cool thing that happened on Saturday. The power went out in the morning all over our area, and it stayed out all day long into the evening. At around 6pm, we remembered that we were planning to show a DVD to the Guillermo family later that night, and we couldn't watch it with them if there was no power. So we found a bench on the side of the road, and we prayed that the power would come back on so we could watch that DVD with them. Then we walked to our next appointment. I kid you not, after we had walked maybe 2 or 3 blocks, the power suddenly came on and the lights in all the houses turned on. It was really cool. I just started laughing because it was so incredible that five minutes after we prayed for the power to come on, it happened. That experience strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father really does hear and answer prayers.

Tatay Alfonzo came to church again yesterday! I was so happy! One of the fellowshippers that came with us to teach him this week said that he has really changed from when the missionaries were teaching him before. Apparently he used to say to the missionaries that they were a lot younger than him so he knew more than them. But now he is so childlike, and when we teach him he seems to just soak in what we tell him, and he is really willing to do what we tell him to do. He is the cutest old grandpa ever. I just love him so much. He accepted to be baptized. At first he was hesitant to set a date to be baptized because he wanted to know everything first, but we told him he just needs to know the gospel is true and to keep the commandments. He accepted January 29 as his baptism date because it is also his birthday, and he just kept laughing becuase he was so pleased that he could be baptized on his birthday. He makes me smile so much. The only problem is that he can't see well enough to read the Book of Mormon on his own. We're trying to figure out what to do because we feel that he needs to read the Book of Mormon every day. We thought about buying the Book of Mormon on CD, but he doesn't have a CD player and we can only find it in English. We would go read with him everyday, but we don't always have a fellowshipper, and we can't teach him without a sister with us. Do you have any suggestions for how we can help him to read the Book of Mormon every day?

I don't know if I've told you about Sister Crisamel yet. She is probably in her later fifties, and she is a really sweet grandma. We found her one day when we went to the side of the road to pray because we remembered we hadn't prayed when we left the apartment and we werent' having any luck in teaching. We happened to be next to a sari-sari store where Sister Crisamel was working, and Sister Cabato bought a snack and started talking to her. She said she had been taught by missionaries before, and she agreed to let us go with her to her house to teach her (she was just getting off work right then). So we began teaching her. At first she said she couldn't be baptized because she had been baptized in another church before and the bible says "one baptism". After we taught her about the restoration and the plan of salvation and emphasized the need for the priesthood in order to baptize, she started to understand, and she said she would consider being baptized, but she said she would have to think about it "not once, not twice, but many times". The next lesson we had with her, we taught her about the restoration of the priesthood, and we read the verses in JSH about John the baptist restoring the priesthood to Joseph Smith. At the end of that lesson, she accepted a baptism date. It was really unexpected, and it was really a miracle that she was able to understand and accept baptism. Her scheduled baptism date is January 12. She is such a sweet lady. I just love her.

Well, that's about all I have time for. Thank you so much for your prayers and your letters and emails! They help me so much. Thank you so much for supporting me to go on a mission. It is such a wonderful opportunity, and I am learning so much! I love you all!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Happy Monday!

Hello family!

Here is what I wrote to my mission president this week:

 "My Spiritual highlight for this week happened when Sister Cabato and I applied what we learned from our district meeting. Our district leader taught us a new way to plan at night, where we center our lesson plans around a commitment that the investigator needs to do. When we tried doing it that way--thinking of the commitment first and fitting our lesson around that, I was shocked because for the first time on my mission, I enjoyed daily planning, and I felt like I was planning for people, rather than just planning lessons, and I felt inspired in my planning. Before that, I usually just felt tired while planning and wanted to get it done as soon as possible, but since we've been applying that, planning has become more spiritually uplifting. I'm learning a lot about my purpose as a missionary, and I'm really starting to enjoy the work more and to love the people I'm teaching. I hope I will continue to progress in that way.

"I'm learning a lot from Sister Cabato. She is very good at explaining the gospel in a way that helps people understand it. I think that is one reason we are having some success getting people to accept baptism, because I think they really understand what we are teaching. I want to learn how to explain the gospel as well as Sister Cabato does. I love having her as my companion. Thank you so much for putting us together."

This has been a good week. It's so fun to have Sister Asuro and Sister Cabato in the same apartment with me--my trainer and my trainee. There has been a lot of giggling going on in our apartment this week. I'm so happy! Sister Asuro told me that Marlon was baptized on November 17!!! She said he bore his testimony afterward, and the spirit was really strong, and he even started crying. She also said that he said that after he was confirmed he couldn't sleep that night because he was so overwhelmed and happy to think hat he had the gift of the Holy Ghost. She said he really wants to share the gospel with his family, and he wants to go on a mission!!!! When Sister Asuro told me about that, I think it was the happiest day I have had on my mission so far. I have been praying so hard that Marlon would be baptized, and that he will go on a mission, and I cannot express how exceedingly happy and overjoyed I am to hear that he was baptized, and how strong his testimony is now, and that he wants to serve a mission. It is really miraculous the difference the gospel has made in his life, and it really strengthens my testimony that the gospel is true, and that it really has the power to change lives.

At the last Zone Training Meeting we had, it was emphasized that we should focus on families as much as possible. So we've been trying to find families. It's hard because families here are very busy and it's hard for them to find time to meet with us all together, so we've still mostly been teaching individuals. But last night we had an appointment to teach Brother Mario, one of our new investigators, with his wife. We have taught him twice, but we hadn't taught his wife before. When we got there, he was gone, but his wife was there, so we just taught her, and she said we could teach them both again on Tuesday, so we're hoping it will work out. 

Sister Maria Luisa (Mimi) is doing really well. It makes such a difference when the members refer investigators to us. She will be baptized on December 22. She is so humble, and she has such a great desire to learn about the gospel. It is such a pleasure to be teaching her.

Life is great. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. I still have a lot to improve on, but I'm really grateful to be able to spend this time serving Heavenly Father and His children, and learning how wonderful the gospel really is, and how very much everyone on earth needs it.

I love you all a lot!

Love, Sister Boekweg

P.S. I found a Mexican Restaurant here in Laoag. I haven't eaten there yet, but I'm planning to. I hope it's yummy. Wish me luck. ;)

Yay!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Guess what! Last night I made Thanksgiving dinner for all the sisters in my apartment with the food you sent me in my Thanksgiving package, and they all loved it! They told me to tell you you're super awesome! I forgot to take a picture until it was mostly eaten...oops! Oh well. It was so yummy! Thank you so much! It was kind of a farewell dinner for Sister Gundaya because she is going home today. I'm sad she's leaving. She's one of the best friends I've made on my mission so far. She is Filipino, but she gets my sense of humor, and we laugh exceedingly a lot together all the time when we are in the apartment. But guess who is moving in to replace her--Sister Asuro. So we'll have 3 "generations: of missionaries in the same apartment because I'll be with both my trainer and my trainee. Hehe.

So, I dreamed the other night that I became fat on my mission, but I was happy because there was going to be a famine, and so I was prepared. Maybe it will come true. People keep telling me that missionaries usually gain weight in this mission. :)

On Saturday we taught the Icalia family. They are less active. We taught them about the plan of salvation, and we used Alma 34:32 about preparing to meet God during this life. Well guess what! They came to church on Sunday!!! We were so surprized because they always say they will go to church, but then they don't. But they did yesterday. I am so happy! They are such a cute family, and I want them to be active. They have a little 8 year old girl who reminds me a lot of Alina Tullis. She's very very cute.

Tatay Icalia gave the prayer in Sacrament meeting, and Sister Gundaya said that in his prayer he said "Salamat po na, kahit hindi namin gusto humarap, kumokolit and mga misyonero" which means something like "thank you that, even though we don't want to face the missionaries, they still get after us." :) We also had two investigators at church. Sister Maria Luisa came. She's doing so well. I love teaching her. She is so desirous to know the truth, and she is so sincere. She has a baptism date for December 22. I am excited!. Tatay Alfonzo also came to church! He is an investigator that we found while we were looking for a less active, and he told us he had been taught before, and he was very willing for us to teach him too. He is the cutest old man, and he's always teasing. He also always says he'll go, but then for one reason or another he doesn't. We tried to go get him for church yesterday, but he wasn't at his house. But when we got back to the church, he was there! He went all by himself! We were soooooo happy!

It's been a good week.

Oh, and I ate frog on Tuesday. We were supposed to eat dinner at the bishop's house, but his wife was at a practice until right before, and so she left the bishop unsupervised to cook the food. He fried frogs. When his wife came home and saw what he had made for dinner, she bought us food at Jollybee, but we did get to taste frog before we left. It tastes like chicken, but it looks like a very small person. It was interesting. We took pictures. i'll try to send them at some point.

Well, I love you all! Thank you sososososososo much for your emails!

Love, Lisa

Hey!

Guess what! Life is super duper great! That's all.

Thank you so so so so so so much for your Thanksgiving package! I got it on Saturday! I'm so excited to have real Thanksgiving food! Thank you so much!

This has been a pretty good week. On Monday we tried to go teach Sister Ivy. She is 11 years old, and she really wants us to teach her. We taught her once before with her cousin, but her cousin doesn't seem to be interested in having us contine teaching her, so we were just going to stop, but then Ivy ran over to us one day on the street and asked us when we would teach her again. She said even if her cousin wasn't interested, we should just teach her. So we planned to teach her again. We tried going over there a week ago, but we couldn't find an adult to go with, and we can't teach children without an adult present. So we rescheduled. But when we went back, Ivy told us her parents don't want us to teach her. :'( So we cannot teach her. She was really disappointed. But we told her to keep reading the Book of Mormon, and we invited her to come to church. Last time we saw her she told us she had read all the way to 1 Ne. 22. She told us about what happened in the chapters she read, and she really had read it. We were really excited. She didn't come to church yesterday, and we're wondering if her parents didn't allow her. I'm really sad we can't teach her, but I'm really happy she is reading the Book of Mormon and that she has the desire to learn. I really hope she will keep reading the Book of Mormon, and someday she will be able to be baptized. We will keep stopping by and checking up on her.

Yesterday we taught Renz, the 11-year-old son of a less-active in the ward. He hasn't been baptized yet. We weren't sure if we'd be able to teach him becuase we had tried to teach him a couple times, but he wouldn't let us in to teach him. Miraculously, he let us teach him yesterday. We had planned to teach him the Restoration, but somehow it didn't feel right, so we taught him the plan of salvation and emphasized the doctrine of Christ as the purpose for life, and also as the way to go to the Celestial Kingdom. And he accepted to be baptized on December 29. I was amazed.

I don't know if I've told you about Giovannie yet, but he is a 17-year-old investigator, and he is just delightful. He's reminds me of a child because he is so willing to believe what we teach, and also because he was hungry at church last week and asked us if he could go buy a snack before sacrament meeting. Well, that wouldn't do, so I gave him some crackers that I had in my bag. Then after church we went to our apartment to get him a snack because he was staying for MCM (he was with some members who were going to MCM, and that's why he stayed). It made me laugh inside. He has a baptism date too. He's just the most delightful investigator. Sadly, we had to give him over to the Laoag 5 sisters because that is where he lives and he is not going to be in our area as much now that school has started (he is friends with a less-active family). I feel kind of like I'm giving my little brother away, and I really wish we could keep teaching him. But at least he will be taught. And we can probably go to his baptism too becuase he lives in our zone.

Anyway, thanks for being the best family ever! Thank you so so so so so so SO much for emailing me every week. You have no idea how much I look forward to your emails. I'm sorry I don't have time to respond to them individually. I'm really trying to focus on missionary work, so I haven't been able to write to y'all as much as I would like. But just know that I pour over your emails whenever I get them.

I love you all. The gospel is true!

Love, Sister Boekweg

P.S. It's hard for me to answer your questions sometimes, because I run out of time, so if you could write any questions you want answered all together at the top of your emails, then I can just type in the answer, and it will make it a lot easier for me to respond to them. Thanks!!

Life is Wonderful!

Answers to questions y'all have had:
1) I haven't had problems yet with buying unrefridgerated meat. We go at 5:30 or 6am, so the meat is still pretty fresh.
2) Sister Cabato is a really fun companion. She likes to joke around, and she get's my sense of humor most of the time, so it's pretty fun. She is very good at singing, so we sing together and harmonize the hymns when we are walking between teaching appointments. Her first language is Chevacano (Idk how to spell that). It's mostly spanish with some words from other languages. But she is fluent in both Tagalog and English as well.
3) The Indian sister in my apartment has been on her mission for 11 months. She doesn't have to learn Tagalog, she just can teach in English. She actually was transferred back to India last week--all the Indian sisters in the mission were. Now Sis. Gundaya has a new companion. She is just here on a short-term mission for 2 weeks until sis. Gundaya goes home. She is nice.
4) I went to Mang Inasal 2 mondays ago. Yummy!
5) There is a mall in Laoag called Robinson's. We will go there today because they have the American cheese there. But usually we shop at Savemore, which is kind of like Wall mart.
6) I actually don't wear the little socky things anymore. Pres. Barrientos told me to wear stockings so the mosquitos don't bite me as much, so that's what I do now.
7) I haven't actually used the fels naptha soap yet. There's a kind Sister Asuro had that I used when I was with her, and it works pretty well.
8) We always take our laundry to the laundry shop around the corner from our apartment, all except our garments--we still wash those by hand
9) Our area is very small. We don't even ride tricycles except for p-day. It used to be bigger before they put 4 sisters in our ward, and even then the area was kind of small. Our area is in a little bit less busy part of town, but it's still in the city, so Sister Cabato has to keep me from walking into the street in front of tricycles sometimes. I can't really take a lot of pictures because we're not allowed to take pictures while proselyting, and there's not a lot of time on p-days. At the edge of our area is a river. We've been out to where we can look out on the river a couple times, and it's really pretty.
10) I don't know if I've mentioned this, but there is a new 12-week training program for new missionaries. I used it when I was being trained, and now Sister Cabato and I are using it while she is being trained. It's really good. It gives us an extra hour of companionship study every day except p-days and the day we have weekly planning. We get to study and practice a lot about the 8 fundamentals of PMG. Because of that, we go out at 1pm instead of 12. We proselyte until 8pm, and then we go home.

This is what I wrote to President Barrientos today:

My spiritual highlight for this week happened on Friday when we went with a member to teach a referral. I was so amazed at how much of a difference it made that the investigator was referred by a member and that the member was there during the lesson. It was a really good lesson, and at the end the investigator started to cry and said that our visit was an answer to her prayers. She came to church on Sunday with her friend that gave her as a referral, and I really feel like she will continue to listen and will be baptized. I am very convinced now of the power of finding investigators through members.

Well, Life is great! I love you all! I am very grateful to be a missionary! I know the gospel is true! I am so thankful to know that. I love the Book of Mormon! I love the plan of Salvation! Life is so great. Keep reading your scriptures every day, and praying, and going to church every week. These are the things that will keep you from falling off the straight and narrow path. Keep striving to be an example to others. You never know when your testimony might be needed to help someone.

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello!

Hello to my wonderful family!

I'm sorry to hear about Grandpa. Isn't it wonderful to know about the plan of salvation?

I am so grateful to be a missionary! I love it so much! It's hard, but it's so wonderful. I am learning so much about the plan of salvation, and about repentance, and about how everything in the gospel fits together so perfectly. It really is such a perfect plan that Heavenly Father has for us! I was reading in Alma 29 this morning, where Alma says, "Oh that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul...repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." When I read that, I thought, wow, that's so true. Repentance and the plan of salvation are there for us so we can be happy--so there won't be any more sorrow upon the earth. I used to think repentance was a sad word because it means you are bad, so you have to repent. But now I know it is the happiest word in the world because it gives us a chance to change who we are, and to have peace in our hearts. I am so thankful for repentance! I don't ever want a day to go by where I don't use it. I love this gospel so much! I want everyone to have the gospel so they can feel how very very happy it feels to use the Atonement!

This week was the baptism of Shiela. I've only taught her for the past 2 or 3 weeks, but it was so special to see her be baptized, and to hear her testimony about how the gospel has changed her life. The gospel is true! I love it so much!

Love, Sister Boekweg.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This is a good week!

Hello, my wonderful family!

This week has been a good week. I still don't know my area very well, but we're slowly figuring things out. We're teaching a really sweet, nice family, the Guillermo family. They are less active, but the mom really wants her family to be active again. I'm excited to keep teaching them.

On Saturday I had a really cool experience finding new investigators. I've been kind of shy up to this point about finding new investigators on the street, but we had some teaching appointments fall through, so we decided to try it. We found Wendy (17), Sheryl (21), and Ivy (11) sitting at the side of the road, and we decided to ask if we could share the gospel with them. They said okay. We started teaching about the restoration. Then when it was my turn to teach about the apostasy, I felt very strongly that I needed to bring up that the gospel helps us become clean from our sins. So I did, and I explained that the gospel is the way that God has given us to become clean from our sins, and that was what was lost during the apostasy. I was really amazed because at that point they started seeming really interested in what we were saying, and at the end of the lesson they seemed like they really did want us to come teach them again. That was definitely a new experience for a first lesson because usually people will allow us to come back because they are nice, but they don't really seem to understand the importance yet of what we are teaching. I really feel like it was the spirit that told me to take the lesson in that direction. And I guess it's also because I related the restoration to them in a way that they could really understand why it is important for them. It really taught me how very very important it is to always make sure we always teach the gospel to people in a way that very much relates to their lives. Sister Cabato and I walked away from that lesson saying, "wow." It was a great day.

I love my Companion, Sister Cabato. She is really good, especially in interacting with people and teaching them. She worked with the missionaries a lot before her mission, so she's basically already been trained quite a bit. In fact, sometimes I feel like she is training me, rather than me training her. It's great! I'm really glad she is Filipino because I have no idea what's going on a lot of the time while we are out proselyting because Laoag is kind of a big city, and I'm still not familiar with everything. I think if she wasn't here to guide me, I would probably walk out into the street and get hit by a tricycle or something because there are not very many cross walks, and I have no idea when to cross the street. We've been jogging to the palenke (market) on p-day mornings. I didn't really do that with Sister Asuro--we just bought at the little grocery stores. It's a different experience, especially when we are buying meat because it's not refrigerated or anything; it just sits on the counter and then you buy it, and they put it in a little bag for you. We buy all our vegetables and meat there because it's cheaper than at the supermarket.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. I've definitely had some challenges, and it's definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life--it's definitely not a job for anyone who isn't willing to work and to sacrifice. But I have learned so much about the gospel, and I feel like I am becoming a lot better than I was before. I'm really grateful I decided to go on a mission before getting married because I definitely feel like it will make me a better mother someday. I'm so happy that sisters can now serve at age 19 because it means so many more will have a chance to go.

I love you all! Thank you so much for your letters, emails, and prayers! You have no idea how much they help me.

Love, Sister Boekweg

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Transfers...dun dun dun!

Hello Beloved Family!

Thank you so much for the package you sent me. I recieved it earlier this week. Thank you sooooooo much for the chocolate, and gummy bears, and alfredo, stroganoff, and brown gravy mix, and for the pudding mix, and the SEASON ALL!!!!! and the t-shirt! (If you can't guess, I am pretty excited about the season all). It was just like Christmas! And thank you for all the letters from the baby shower. I received those this week too.

So, tomorrow we have transfers, and today we found out what's going to happen for that. So...I'm being transferred to Laoag city...and I'm going to train. It's the goal of President Barrientos for every new missionary to train after 12 weeks, and so I guess this proves he's serious about that. I don't really know how it's going to work, training in a new area, but I guess if it's what the Lord wants me to do, I can do it. 

Tonight we are teaching Marlon, and Dave Ashley, and Harlene, Christy and Jessica. I'm really glad because I want to say goodbye to them. I'm glad Sister Asuro will still be here in Paoay to take care of the area and make sure Marlon gets baptized. I REALLY want him to be baptized, and I'm kind of sad I won't be here to see that happen. Oh well.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, October 1, 2012

This is a happy week!

Hi Family!

Yesterday was the happiest Sunday of my entire mission so far! We had 13 less actives at church and 6 investigators! Marlon came to church!!!!! You have no idea how big this is! this is not your everyday neighborhood newspaper headline. This is front-page-of-the-New-York-Times material! We have been trying for so long to get Marlon to come to church, but he was too shy. We were trying to get Ryan, one of the less actives we're helping come back to church, to go with Marlon to church becuase they are friends, but things kept coming up that kept Ryan from going to church. So we got Franklin, one of the other YSA in the branch to go with him instead. On Wednesday we taught Marlon, and he said when he prays he feels that what we've taught him is true. We also taught him about the Sabbath day, and he said he really wanted to follow that. We committed him to go to church with or without Ryan, and he did!!! And I think he had a good experience! And he will be baptized on November 3! 

We also taught Dave Ashley this week, a 12-year-old investigator from a part member family. We've been teaching him with Jackielyn becuase he's really shy and he prefers not being taught by himself. But we taught him with his mom (who is less active and hadn't been to church in a long time) on Saturday. After the lesson he told sister Asuro that he wants to be baptized! And he and his mom both came to church the next day!! 

Life is happy! the church is true!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, September 24, 2012

This is not an email from your favorite missionary. This is a slice of pizza. You are confused.

Hey family!

Life is good. Today we had a district activity. We went to some kind of resort/wilderness place and ate food and played some games. It was fun, but it was hot. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I’ll be grateful to change back into my proselyting clothes. Pants and t-shirts are hot.

So, when you come to pick me up at the end of my mission (Mommy and Daddy), you have to try empanadas. They are pretty much the best thing ever invented. Random side note.

We had the baptism of Jessica on Saturday. It was really good. Her mom and two of her sisters came which was really good because her mom is really inactive, and her sisters are not members. So it was cool that they were able to come.

On Sunday I gave my second talk in sacrament meeting. It went okay. We had two investigators at church, Jackielyn and Dave Ashley. Dave is 12, and he is the brother of one of the young women. His mom is also a member but inactive. He’s really shy, and so we weren’t sure he was very interested, but then he started sitting in on the lessons with Jackielyn, and he’s started reading the Book of Mormon and praying, and now he’s come to church. He’s really cute. Marlon still didn’t come to church. It’s because our fellowshipper for him is a kind of less active, and he didn’t go to church either. It was a little bit disappointing, but we’ll keep working on both of them.

Oh, we had zone conference on Tuesday. It was really good. We had Elder Nielsen of the seventy come to train us, and I learned a lot. It was reemphasized that we need to keep working on less actives, even though we’re also trying to focus on investigators. He also said we need to teach not only poor people, but also the rich and educated because they are the ones who will most likely be able to become strong leaders in the church. Mostly we haven’t really attempted teaching rich people because the poor people are a lot more receptive, but we’re going to try it.

Oh, one of the less actives we’ve been teaching, Nieves Paligat, came to church the last two Sundays. She’s a little shy to go with just her 2-year-old daughter, but she said after she went the first Sunday her daughter kept saying “Simba tayo,” which means in baby Tagalog, “let’s go to church.” Isn’t that cute? So I think because of that she went this last Sunday too. We were really happy.

Well, that’s about all the time I have right now. I love you all.

Love, Sister Boekwe

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another email from your favorite missionary who is SO EXCITED to be an aunt! You have no idea!

Hey Family!

So, I have just one word for you to start out: BABY!!!! AHHHHH! I’m so excited! You have no idea! Actually, you probably have a pretty good idea. I was so excited after printing out my emails this morning, so sister Asuro and I bought a whole bunch of yummy snacks when we bought our groceries. We love snacks. It’s our weakness. And today we had a good excuse to buy them. I took a picture, which I am hoping to include in a separate email. I’ve been talking sister Asuro’s ear off about Nephi ever since this morning because I’m SO EXCITED!

There’s a little 1-year-old boy in the branch here who loves to play peek-a-boo games with me. He’s so cute! Nephi will be about that age when I get home. Maybe he’ll be like that too! I’m so excited!

Well, I guess you want to hear about what’s happening here. Yesterday we were really hoping Marlon would come to church. We arranged for a couple of the YSA guys in the branch to pick him up for church, but he didn’t end up going. It was really disappointing, but I guess we just have to really think more about how we can help him. He is reading the Book of Mormon and praying, and he says he’s noticed a difference in his life because of it. He feels happier and less bored. He just needs to go to church so he really can be baptized. Rebecca, if you can think of any ideas to help people go to church when they are shy to do so, that would be really helpful (unless you’re too busy with Mommy stuff).

We’re also teaching a woman named Lisa. She is in her 40’s and she works as a maid at a member’s house. She has a lot of trials, especially financially. Her husband is sick, so he sometimes can’t work, and they sometimes don’t have food, so she has to ask for help from neighbors. She is very humble, and she needs the gospel so much.

Could you all pray for Marlon and Lisa. They really need prayers so they will accept the gospel. If you could, also pray for Jackielyn. I don't remember if I've told you about her, but she is the 16 year old sister of one of the members here, and she is really excited to learn about the gospel, but she also has a hard time coming to church. she has a baptismal date for October, but she needs to come to church every Sunday before then. She's such a cute girl, and I really hope she will be baptized.

Hey Daddy, can you think of any experiences where the gospel really blessed your family when you were growing up that you can share with me? Especially financially because most of the people here are very poor, and especially examples of how living specific gospel principles brought specific blessings. I want to be able to share it with the people I teach.

Oh, and Mommy and twins, thank you so much for your letters! You have no idea how happy it made me to get real letters in the mail! And Rebecca, thank you for your dear elder! I love getting letters!

I love you all! Thanks for your emails and letters! They always make me SO HAPPY! You're the best family ever! Give Nephi lots of hugs and kisses for me! Make sure he doesn't forget his Auntie Lisa, since I'm not there to remind him!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Pictures for my favorite nephew!
  Sister Asuro and I with our birthday cards that she made for her dad and I made for Nephi
  Me with all the goodies I bought with Sister Asuro today to celebrate the birth of my favorite nephew
 An ube cupcake to celebrate!!
My birthday card for Nephi
 Paoay and Batac sisters
 My district
Harlene and Christy's baptism

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Another email from your favorite missionary!

Hey family!

So here’s some random bits of information, if you care to know.

1) I found out from Sister Asuro the other day that I am the only American sister in my mission right now. We’re getting two more next transfer though.

2) Everyone laughs at me when I eat fish because I don’t know how to avoid bones. Even President Barrientos laughs at me.

3) One of my favorite things about the Philippines is all the yummy snacks they have here. They have so many munchies that you can buy in small quantities to snack on, like crackers, and cookies, and chocolatey yumminess.

I love how the people here love to be with people. In America everyone wants to be on their computer or listening to their ipod, or doing whatever, and their always busy. Here, everyone loves to just sit and visit with each other, and it's not weird at all to just go up to someone sitting outside their house and just start talking to them.

So, this week Marlon accepted to be baptized! He still needs to recieve a definite answer first, and we need to get him to come to church, but I believe he will be baptized because he really wants to do what God wants him to do. I'm really happy that he wants to be baptized.

Well, that's about all for this week.

I love you all!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Weekfulness!

Hey hey hey!

It's me again! Your favorite missionary! So, this week has been good. We had a baptism on Saturday for 2 girls we have been teaching, Harlene and Christy. They are really cute, sweet girls, and they were really excited to get baptized. It was really cool to see them be baptized and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost. Christy said after she was confirmed she really felt like her sins were gone. Before her baptism, she was really shy to share her testimony, but after she was confirmed, she was sitting in on a lesson with 2 of our other investigators, and she wasn't shy about sharing her testimony about baptism. It was really cool.

We are also teaching a girl named Jessica. She is the cousin of Harlene and Christy. At first she was just sitting in on the lessons, and we didn't think she was really interested, but then she surprised us by asking us when she can be baptized. So we have scheduled her baptism date for September 15. It's cool the change we've seen in her since we began teaching her. She really seems ready to be baptized now.

Another of our investigators is named Marlon. We found him while we were walking around one day looking for someone to teach. He was out on his front porch, and he we said hi to him as we passed, and then Sister Asuro suggested that we should teach him. So we found one of the young women in the branch to come with us (because we can't teach guys without a girl present), and we went back to his house to teach him. It seemed like he had a lot of doubts when we started teaching him, and I think he still has some, but little by little he's been more and more receptive to the gospel. Last time we taught him, he said that he feels closer to God since he has started praying everyday, because before we started teaching him, he only prayed when he needed something. He also said that when he reads the Book of Mormon he doesn't feel that it is bad, so he feels like it's true. He still hasn't come to church, and he still hasn't accepted to be baptized yet, but I really, really want him to be baptized SO MUCH! We're going to try to get some college-age guys from the branch to fellowship him because he is shy and that is why he hasn't come to church.

Sister Asuro and I are still staying with the Batac sisters. It's been really fun to stay with them. In fact, we might stay with them for the whole next transfer. We've been looking in Paoay for a new apartment, but housing is kind of limited there, so it's kind of hard.

I gave my first talk in Tagalog on Sunday. It went okay. I read the whole thing, and it lasted about 3 minutes. I think I should've been the first speaker, but sister Asuro went first, and her talk was a lot longer than mine. Oh well.

Oh, by the way, I think I experienced my first earthquake today. It was very small, so don't worry. I was sitting on a bench, and suddenly it started moving a little bit like a little-kid carnival ride. It was fun. :)

Well, it looks like I'm about out of time. I was going to attach photos today, but it's not letting me for some reason, so I guess I'll send them next week.

Thanks for your emails and your prayers! They really help a lot! Sorry I am not able to answer your individual emails today. I'll try to do that next week.

Love, Sister Boekweg

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hello Again!

Hey everyone,

It's P-day again. Sorry I haven't been able to respond to your individual emails yet. Last week my email time was limited and I wasn't able to print, so I haven't had a chance to read them yet.

It's still been raining quite a bit. We are staying with the sisters in Batac right now until we can find a new apartment because water comes in every time it rains.

Right now we are teaching a girl named Shadel. We found her on an old teaching record from some past missionaries. The first time we taught her, she said she wants to be baptized. She stopped meeting with the missionaries before because she got busy, but she says she knows it is true. As we were walking back from that appointment, I told Sister Asuro that I felt like Heavenly Father had just scooped me out a big scoop of "golden investigator" ice cream and plopped it in my bowl. It's really cool to find people like that who are prepared.

Life is great. The gospel is true. Keep reading the Book of Mormon, and praying, and going to church.

I love you all!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hi!

Hi wonderful family!

Life is good. It's been raining a lot this past week. Our house has been flooded twice (only about 2-4 inches of water though, so don't worry).

Sister Asuro and I are the only missionaries assigned to Paoay. We have a really great branch here, and the members who are active are really willing to work with us and help us. There are a ton of less active members though. I think there are about 300 people in the branch, but average sacrament meeting attendance is about 85. It's really hard because a lot of the people live too far away from the church to walk, and it's hard for them to sacrifice the money to pay for a tricycle ride to church.

I haven't ridden a Jeepney yet. The only thing I've ridden in is a tricycle, and we ride those almost every day. They are pretty fun, but very small, and usually kind of bumpy. We go out to the more rural areas a lot, and it's too far for us to walk. It's really pretty here. There are a lot of trees. And cows. And goats. And water buffalo. And chickens--in fact, when we wake up in the morning, it sounds like a choir of dying chickens because of all the roosters crowing. :)

At church they speak mostly Tagalog, I think, but they also speak some English here and there, and the songs are in English. The Branch President asked me to bear my testimony the first Sunday I was here. It was very short, but I did it in Tagalog, and people seemed to understand me.

The food here is really yummy. I'm not having as hard a time adjusting to it as I thought I would. So far here I've had pansit, empenyadas (I have no idea if that's spelled right), Filipino spagetti, and various kinds of meat and rice. It's all really yummy.

Heavenly Father has blessed us with some really great investigators, who have been really prepared to receive the gospel. We started teaching a girl named Winalyn recently. We have taught her three times, and she says she knows it is true and wants to be baptized. She has been diligent in reading the Book of Mormon, and praying, which is hard to get investigators to do sometimes, and right from the beginning Sister Asuro and I both felt she would be baptized. She just needs to start going to church, which she is shy to do at this point (which is really common among the investigators I've been teaching so far), but she knows it's important, so I feel like she will do it.

We also found a really great family, the Ninobla family. They live really close to our house, and we found them on our way home one night, when we had a little bit of time before it was time to go home. We didn't know what to do for the few minutes that we had, so we decided to find someone to teach. So when we saw them sitting outside their house, we started talking with them and asked if we could share a message with them (okay, well it was Sister Asuro mostly talking to them, since my conversational Tagalog skills are still really limited). They were really nice and let us in. From the beginning, the mother was very receptive. They are Catholic, but they are very open to our message. We gave them 2 copies of the Book of Mormon, and they have been reading it together. Sister Ninobla said she is really interested in the Book of Mormon because she hasn't heard about it before, and she wants to take it to work with her so she can read it during her down time. She has 2 sons, ages 11 and 8, and one daughter, who is 2. Her husband is away working in Saudi Arabia. Last time we visited, we asked her if she would be baptized when she knows it's true. She said she hasn't received an answer yet, but she won't say no because she still wants to learn more. Sister Asuro and I both feel that they will be baptized.

Tagalog is coming along little by little. I'm getting better at speaking, but I still don't understand everything that people are saying, so it's really hard to follow along in conversations, which makes it kind of hard to know what to say when we are teaching. But it's okay. I need to remember that I've only been here for 2 1/2 weeks.

Well, I'm about out of time. I love you all! Thanks for your emails and prayers, they really help me a lot! 

Love, Sister Boekweg

P.S. I ate cheese cake this week. No, not the stuff in a pie crust that you eat with cherry topping, but actual cake that was cheese flavored. It was interesting, but it actually wasn't bad.

Monday, July 30, 2012

2nd week!

Dear family,

Well, the mosquitoes are being more well-behaved this week. I think it’s because I remembered to wear insect repellant. I actually haven’t had any huge problems with bugs in my house. It’s a blessing.

I think the Laoag area is pretty rural. However, Laoag is a pretty decent size. I think there might be a mall there. The town I am serving in seems like it might be about the size of Mount Pleasant. We have to go shopping for food in an adjacent city, but we bought produce last week here in Paoay. My mission President wanted to keep the new sisters semi close to Laoag. I don’t know if I’ll be assigned further out later.

My trainer, Sister Asuro, is really great. She is very patient and kind. She likes to run, so we exercise together every morning. She also likes to eat healthy, so we get lots of vegetables, and we usually just share food, rather than each shopping for our own food. I’m learning a lot from her about humility and prayer, and loving others. She is a good example to me.

It has been raining quite a bit. Almost every day. In fact, right now it is raining super hard, and it has been all morning, and our house is flooded downstairs. Luckily we don’t have anything on the floor that can’t get wet, and our bedroom is upstairs. So we’re just chilling up here in our room right now. I guess we’ll try to deal with the water downstairs after the rain stops.

We wake up at 5 a.m. on P-days to do our laundry. We wash it by hand. It’s been taking about 2 hours each P-day to do our laundry. I like getting it done in the morning so I can have more time the rest of the day.

We have a big bucket in the bathroom with a scooper for showering. It’s actually not a bad way to shower. I thought it would take longer than a normal shower, but it doesn’t. And the cold water feels really nice because it’s hot.

Well, missionary work is definitely work. It’s good though. It’s a great experience to be able to bear my testimony every single day. I’ve really been learning a lot about how important it is to always have the spirit with me. The more of the spirit I have when I am teaching, the more I know what people need and how to help them. On Wednesday we visited Brother and Sister Degollado. Brother Degollado is not yet a member. As we talked with him, I felt the Spirit testify through me that he needs to be baptized.

It’s incredible to see miracles happen. Whenever the spirit is present while we are teaching and those we are teaching feel it, I count it as a miracle. We planned to visit a less active family at 5 pm today, but they weren’t home, so we decided to find. We found an old lady named Gartrudis at her house, and she invited us in. She is 82 years old and reminds me so much of Grandma Gunn because she seemed so tickled that we would come to visit her, and she was very receptive to what we taught. We taught her about prayer, and the proper way to pray, and she said she would start praying that way. We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she said she would read it. She was just tickled pink that we would give her the Book of Mormon as a gift. She said we can return to teach her.

I know the gospel is true!

Love, Sister Lisa Boekweg

Lisa and Sister Asuro


Lisa and her "birthday cake" house :)

Lisa's flooded basement ;)


Sister Asuro



Monday, July 23, 2012

Dito na ako sa Pilipinas!

Hey everybody!

Well, I'm here in the Philippines! My area is called Paoay. It's very pretty with lots of trees. It's a town that seems to be somewhere around the size of Mount Pleasant. I live in a really cute little house that looks kind of like a birthday cake. It's painted lots of different colors. I'll try to send you a picture of it soon. :)

My trainer is Sister Asuro. She is Filipino, but she speaks English very well. She is super sweet, and kind, and patient, and very grateful and positive all the time. After we pray together she always gives me a hug and says "Thank you, Sister Boekweg."

My mission president, President Barrientos, is really nice too. He likes to make a lot of jokes. He is also very kind; he gave me and Sister Asuro food on Friday, so we wouldn't have to worry until P-day.

The mosquitos here love me! I feel so blessed to be in a place where even the insects are happy to see me! Hehe! Seriously though, the people here are so nice. Whenever we go to teach someone, they are so happy to talk to us. We are working with a lot of less actives right now, trying to get them to read the Book of Mormon daily, pray daily, and go to church. Even after just being here 5 days, it has really struck me how important reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church are. Once people stop doing those, they really quickly drift away from the gospel.

I think the Tagalog is coming okay. I've been able to help teach, and Sister Asuro says the people are understanding me. It really helps to teach with a native Filipino because she can correct me if I say something wrong.

I love you all! Keep up your scripture reading, prayer, and church attendance!

Love, your favorite missionary, Sister Lisa Boekweg

Me and the other new missionaries in front of the Manila Temple when we arrived because we stayed in Manila for 1 day before flying to Laoag, so we got to go to the temple!

Me with my mission president and his wife

Me with the other new missionaries and President and Sister Barrientos

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Only one week left!

Well, this week has been rather eventful.

We got our flight plans on Friday! When I was at the mailroom, I used to hear missionaries get really excited about their flight plans coming, and if they didn't come, a piece of their heart basically died, and I never fully understood that until last week when we were waiting for our flight plans, and every day that the flight plans didn't come we sort of went crazy. So I was really happy when they came. I'm leaving from the MTC on Monday, July 16 at 4:30pm. I'm really happy I don't have to wake up super early to leave. I still get to have class on my last morning here. I'm leaving with all the elders from my district, and with a few missionaries from the other district in our zone that arrived the same day we did. Sister Christensen and Sister Aree are not leaving until Tuesday, July 17, so it's kind of sad that we won't be flying out together. But I guess we'll have to say goodbye either way, so it's all good.

Today my district was chosen to help clean the Provo Temple. It was really cool. We helped clean the chandeliers in the sealing rooms. They were disassembled, and then we cleaned the little pieces and then put them back together. It was fun. They gave us really comfy white clothes to wear while we worked.

Last night, I was nestled snugly warm in my bed, when all of a sudden, I was awakened by a loud piercing noise. At first I thought it was someone's alarm clock, but when I was sufficiently pulled out of dreamland, I realized that it was a fire alarm. It was about 12:45am. So we all got out of bed, and went outside to one of the parking lots. We stayed there in our jammies for about 20 minutes while the policemen went to check things out. When they determined that there was no fire, they let us go back to bed. I still don't know why the fire alarm went off, but it was an adventure.

On Sunday, we had our last temple walk as a district. Next week we will have our departure fireside during our temple walk. It was nice, and we got some cute pictures. Sister Aree and I both wore white shirts with black skirts on accident, so everyone in our district matched except for sister Christensen (she was wearing bright purple), so we got some cool artsy pictures (or at least we were trying to make them artsy--I don't know if we succeeded). Sister Richardson was in Provo, so she came to see us during out temple walk. It was great to see her, and we got some pictures with her as well.

As you all know, last Wednesday was the 4th of July. We had a program in the evening with a speaker and some musical numbers. After that was over, they gave us ice cream and made us watch the fireworks. Seriously, they told us "Please don't go back to your residence halls until the fireworks are over." So we got to watch the fireworks. It was fun, but we were kind of tired.

So, apparently lava lavas are the thing in New Zealand. That's where Elder Sloan is from, and he gave one to each of the elders in our district. (If you don't know what a lava lava is, it's kind of like a wrap around skirt that is meant to be worn for relaxation--and apparently their the cool thing for elders to wear during their free time). Last P-day, I saw two of our elders in the bookstore wearing them, and it made me smile. In the words of Sister Christensen, "we can't wait to get out of our skirts into pants, and they can't wait to get out of their pants into skirts." :)

Well, I love you all! Life is great! Missionary work is awesome!

Love, Sister Lisa Boekweg

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kumusta!

Kumusta, Pamilya ko!

 It's P-day again! The temple is now closed, so we didn't get to go this morning, but Sister Christensen and I went on a run around the perimeter of the MTC this morning, and it was awesome! We don't ever get to exercise in the morning because we are always in class or at the temple, so it super nice this morning.

Last Tuesday, Elder L. Tom Perry was our devotional speaker (not President Uchtdorf, like I thought). There were 10 Apostles there (all except Pres. Packer and Elder Hales), and we had pretty good seats. It was so awesome! Especially since Sister Aree had never been in the same room as an Apostle before, so it was really cool for her.

Last Tuesday we also got a new district in our zone. There is only one sister in that district, and she is going to Laoag! Her name is Sister Tauti. Since she is a solo sister, they assigned me as her companion (probably because we're both going to Laoag). Basically, we just have to be together whenever she is not with her district. I'm also still in the threesome with Sister Christensen and Sister Aree, so I kind of have three companions. It's maganda.

I'm so glad I'm on a mission! I am learning so much. It's amazing how much I've learned. I understand a lot of things differently than I did before I was a missionary. I'm really excited to go to the Philippines! I was really nervous, but I'm feeling more and more prepared, so I think it will be great! Tagalog is coming along really well. I'm amazed at how much I'm able to communicate in Tagalog already. I still have a long way to go, of course, but it's coming really well.

Yesterday, there was a spider in my classroom. It was crawling along the wall by Elder Paige's desk, trying to look innocent, but we all knew it had malicious intentions. Elder Paige tried to kill it, but it fell to the ground, and it could not be found (haha...I rhymed!). It was a little disconcerting. Fortunately it was later found and squashed. :)

Quote of the week: "I'm going to wake up at 6:35, go swimming, hug some girls...." --Brother Ward

I love you all! Thanks for being the bestest family ever!

Love, Sister Lisa Boekweg

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is the song that was sung at Lisa's missionary farewell. My mom wrote it years ago, originally meant to apply to visiting teaching, but I think that it's message is perfect for missionary work:

If The Savior Were Here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3 more weeks!




So, it struck me recently that I only have three more weeks here at the MTC! Where have the last 6 weeks gone? At the same time, it seems like I've been here for 5 months. The MTC does weird things like that to your perception of time. Anyway, so I'm just slightly freaking out a little bit because I know I have a lot more to learn before I leave. But it's all working out.

This week is Mission Presidents' Seminar, so I got to meet my mission president on Saturday night. He is Filipino, and he's really nice. He gave us the opportunity to ask him any questions we had about the Philippines or our missions. We really should have come up with questions ahead of time, but we didn't think of doing that. Oh well.

Teaching has been getting better for me and my companions. Every day our teachers play the role of investigators and we have to go teach them. Brother Langer is playing the role of Jeffrey, and Brother Ward is playing the role of Omar. We teach them every day. It's really interesting because, even though we know they are really our teachers, it feels like they are real investigators when we teach them. It's really cool. We've been improving a lot in our teaching. When we first started, we basically just wrote down what we wanted to teach and read it off the page, and we didn't really try to ask questions because we were afraid we wouldn't understand the answers. But now we teach a lot more by the spirit, and it's amazing that we can actually understand and speak enough to ask questions and let that sort of guide our lessons a little bit. It's hard, and sometimes our lessons flop, but if the spirit is there, it always works. We're really trying to help our investigators understand revelation right now because it doesn't seem like they're really getting it yet. We spent the whole lesson yesterday with Jeffrey trying to help him understand that we ask him to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and go to church because that's the way he can receive revelation. It's a really great experience being able to teach like that in the MTC.

On Sunday night, we watched a recording of a talk that Elder Bednar gave at the MTC a few years ago, entitled "Character of Christ." It was absolutely the most amazing talk I have ever heard. He said  the character of Christ is that He turns outward in compassion, love, and service to others when the natural man in each of us would turn inward. He gave lots of examples from the scriptures. It really made me want to be better. He also suggested a really cool way to study the scriptures. He suggested that we buy an inexpensive paperback copy of the Book of Mormon and read it cover to cover, and mark it up according to a question that we are trying to research, and then when we finish, to write a half page summary of what we learned. He suggested that we do it over and over with new copies of the Book of Mormon. I thought it was a really cool idea.

Last night, we had a really good lesson. It was about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. The spirit was there really strongly, and by the end even the elders were crying. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen. 

This morning we went to the temple as a district for the last time. The temple is going to be closed from July 2- July 23, so we'll be gone before it re-opens. It was so good to go to the temple together.

Well, I'm about out of time. I'm excited because we're pretty sure President Uchtdorf is speaking at the devotional tonight! :)

Thanks for everything! I love you all!

Love, Sister Lisa Boekweg

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kumusta!





Kumusta Family!

Life is good :)

This week has been somewhat eventful. Last Friday, Sister Richardson (one of the sisters in my district) found out she needed to go home for sugery. She had to leave the next morning. She was super sad to go because she doesn't know if she'll be able to come back. Everyone in my district got Philippines T-shirts from the bookstore, and we took pictures together before she left. We all went with her to the travel office at 5am on Saturday to say goodbye. It was super sad. We all miss her, and we're hoping she'll be able to come back and finish her mission. Now Sister Aree, Sister Christensen, and I are in a trio. It's good so far. It's harder to teach with three people, but I think it's good.

On a happier note, teaching is getting easier. I am getting a lot better at Tagalog, and I'm able to say most of what I want to say most of the time...it just takes a while to process it in my brain (pus having to look up some vocab I don't know). My district is trying to SYL (speak your language) a lot more. Our teachers are really trying to get us to communicate as much as possible in Tagalog, in and out of class. It's been kind of hard to get that going because it's so much easier and faster to just say what we need to in English, but we're getting better at mostly using Tagalog.

On Sunday, Sister Dalton (the general YW president) spoke in Reliefsociety (Reliefsociety is with all the sisters at the MTC). It was really, really good. She talked about the enabling power of the Atonement in helping us do things beyond our own power. It was a really good Sunday. Every Sunday is good at the MTC.

Brother Ward (one of my teachers, if you didn't already gather that) has been gone for the past few days, and he won't be back until Thursday or Friday. It is very sad. He is a really good teacher. He is very good at Tagalog grammer, and he is just hillarious all the time. I often get into giggle fits during class, and he always says "Sige, Sister Boekweg." (Meaning, "okay, movin' on"). Now everyone in the district says that whenever anyone has a giggle fit.

Sorry I talk about this a lot, but I just love my district so much! I am going to be so sad when I have to say goodbye to them when we leave the MTC.

I'm sorry I don't have any dramatic spider stories to share this week. I think the spiders are all cowering in fear after last week's episode. Hehehe!

I love you all!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hi!



Hi family!

Life is great!

So, I've already started becoming disaccustomed to my first name. More than once, someone I know has called out my first name to get my attention, and I just don't recognize that they are trying to talk to me. I'm too used to being called "Sister Boekweg". It's kind of funny.

The other day, Brother Ward was gone, so we had a substitute named Brother Lopez. He was super super nice, and he gave us a lot of advice for our missions. He said that struggling in Tagalog is actually a good thing because it shows people that you love them enough to struggle in their language, and it shows that your message is really important. He also said that becoming fluent in Tagalog is not as important as becoming fluent in the language of the spirit. I think that's really true.

Last Tuesday, Marlin K. Jensen spoke at the devotional. It was SO good! Everyone in my district thought it was the best devotional we have had yet. He talked about how important it is to have the spirit with you when you teach, so that people will recognize that your message comes from God.

The other day, my district and another district that has been here for 7 weeks took turns playing investigators for each other. It was really cool. It was a lot easier to teach them because they couldn't give a us really long complicated answers in fluent Tagalog, like our teachers sometimes do. It was cool because I was able to come up with how to say the things I felt like I should say, just on the spot, without memorizing it beforehand, which is pretty awesome, since I've only been here 4 weeks. I still have a long way to go in Tagalog, but it's coming pretty okay.

Yesterday, I had a service assignment at 6:05am. I was assigned to clean the drinking fountains in 10M (which is the building Liza works in, and she was the one who told me what to do). As I was cleaning one of the drinking fountains on the second floor, I suddenly beheld a very grievous sight. There before my eyes, on the very drinking fountain I was cleaning, stood a fiend of deathly terror. I do not like finding fiends of deathly terror on my drinking fountains, especially fiends with eight legs and maliciousness in their hearts (okay, the fiend was a spider). It very much displeased me to the point of condemnation unto death for the spider. The spider was almost lucky enough to escape death, however, because it was big, and ugly, and nasty, and I didn't want to touch it. But death and destruction won out in the end because my zone leader was just around the corner, and I appealed unto him for help. The spider didn't stand a chance. With one mighty swing of his shoe, the spider was destroyed forever, never again to cause pain and sorrow for the children of men.

Well, that's all the time I have today. I hope you're all doing great! Thanks for all your letters!

Love, Sister Boekweg (ha ha! I remembered not to sign it with my first name :D)

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNIE AND JESSIE!

P.P.S. I will probably send home my SD card today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kumusta!


 Hi Family! 

Thanks for all your letters! They make me so happy!

It's so easy to lose track of time here at the MTC. I seriously feel like I've been here 3 months, and it's only been 3 or 4 weeks (I don't even know). :)

I hope everything is great at home.

On Saturday, it was the birthday of one of the elders in my district. We decorated our classroom. It was super awesome. I wish I could send you pictures, but I can't attach them to email, and the bookstore no longer prints photos.

I don't have a ton to write about this week. It's been a pretty normal week. Tagalog has been coming along okay.

We started teaching in the TRC last week. It was really fun.

Last night there was a big spider in my room. I became distraught, and Sister Richardson (one of the other sisters in my district) had to come kill it. She said "you are going to die in the Philippines." It's probably true :)

Every night, there is a choir in the bathroom. Someone starts singing in the shower, and a bunch of people join in. It's kind of funny.

I'm sorry I don't have more to write.

Love, Lisa

P.S. Quote of the week: Sister Christensen to Brother Ward: "What would we do if you weren't our teacher?" Brother Ward: "There would be a hole in your heart that you didn't even know was there...filled up by big ole fuzzy me!" Brother Ward is hilarious. I love having him as my teacher.

pps: I had stroganof for dinner last night at the cafeteria, and it was pretty much the best dinner of my life (since coming to the MTC anyway) :D


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kumusta magandang pamilya!



Kumusta magandang pamilya! So, you know that investigator I told you we were teaching last week? We found out on Friday that he’s actually our other teacher, but he was just pretending to be an investigator for the first week. Apparently they do that to all the new districts. His name is Brother Ward, and he’s a really good teacher. He’s really good at teaching us grammar, and he’s really laid back and goofy, but in a good way that is really motivating. Yesterday he talked to us about SYL (speak your language), which is what they really want us to do in the MTC. We have to speak Tagalog as much as possible, and use all the Tagalog we know at all times with our teachers, and companions, and district. Our “MTC Experience” book says that if we do this, we will qualify for the gift of tongues, which is really cool. After he talked to us about that, we were really excited to speak more Tagalog, and my whole district is trying to speak it as much as possible now. It’s amazing how much we’ve been able to learn in the short time we’ve been here. We still have a ton to learn, but I feel like I can kind of communicate in Tagalog now, to an extent.

Every Sunday there is a Fireside for the whole MTC. This week’s fireside was awesome. I can’t remember who spoke (it probably wasn’t anyone any of you would know), but he talked to us about obeying with exactness, and really applying the principles in “Preach My Gospel” to our lives. It was really inspiring. We also have a devotional every Tuesday night. I’m excited for the one tonight. Apparently the Tuesday one is usually someone really awesome. Last Tuesday we had Elder Rasband, and the week before I came in I think it was Elder Perry, so I’m excited to find out who it is today.

After the Fireside on Sunday, we were able to watch “Legacy.” It was really entertaining to watch it in an auditorium with lots of missionaries. I didn’t realize how funny that movie is in parts, until I saw the reactions from all the other missionaries. It was really fun.

So, I haven’t even made it two weeks, and I have already won the reputation in my district as the one who eats french fries with a fork. I suppose that is a little odd.

I love the MTC. It feels like I’ve been here for about 2 months, and it’s only been two weeks. I’m not even joking.

This morning I went with my district to the temple. It was so wonderful. I love the temple so much.

Tomorrow we will start teaching at the TRC. Up until this point, we’ve been able to use notes and grammar books, and other such resources when we teach, but from here on out we have to use only the Tagalog in our brains, pamphlets in Tagalog, and scriptures (although we can bring both Tagalog and English ones). It’s a little intimidating. When we were teaching Brother Ward last week (before we knew he was Brother Ward), we just wrote down what we wanted to say, and then just read it while we were teaching him, but now we have to memorize what we want to say. I think it will be really good though. We are still going to be teaching investigators every day. They’ll just be Brother Langer and Brother Ward pretending to be investigators, but we’re supposed to treat it like it’s totally real. We have to teach completely in Tagalog.

Life is so great! The gospel is true!

Love, Lisa

P.S. I found my theme scripture today during personal study. It’s somewhere in D&C 46 (or some section close to that). It says “Let all things be done in cleanliness before me.” I definitely endorse that scripture. Hehe.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Being a missionary is hard work, but I love it!



Kumusta, Family!

I don’t have very much time, so forgive me if this email doesn’t flow very well. This week, we’ve really been diving into Tagalog. We even started teaching our first investigator–completely in Tagalog. The first time was nearly a disaster because we couldn’t understand anything he said, and it took us forever to respond to anything he said, but it was okay because we started with a prayer, and so the spirit was there. Our investigator’s name is Nino Rivera, and he is really sweet and cute, and he asks a lot of good questions, and he really wants to learn a lot.

So, the first day I got here, I went to class, and our teacher spoke to us only in Tagalog. He told us English is bawal (forbidden). It was a little intimidating at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. My teacher is Brother Langer. He is really nice, and he is very patient with us.

I love my district. I’m pretty sure I have the best district in the whole MTC. There are 4 sisters, and 4 elders, which is really wierd (for it to be half and half), but it’s really fun. Three of our Elders have cool accents. One is from Hawaii, one is from New Zealand, and one is from Australia. Sister Aree is the only sister who is not from the US. She is from Kiribati, and she is super sweet and cute. She has a very cute giggle that makes us all laugh. My companion is Sister Christensen. She is really sweet. We were actually in the same ward at Stadium Terrace two years ago. We get along really well. We both like to run during gym time, and so we both run together. We also both really want to follow all the rules, so I’m really glad about that. She is allergic to gluten and dairy, so she can’t eat most of the stuff in the cafeteria, which is really sad, but she has a really good attitude. Our whole district eats together for every meal. I really like it. I feel like my district is really united, and we all love each other. It’s weird–we’ve only known each other for a week, but we already feel like we’re a family. It’s awesome!

So, exciting story: the first night I was here, someone burned a bag of popcorn, and it set off the fire alarm, so we all had to go outside in our PJ’s. It was great fun.

Just so y’all know, the MTC is hard work, but it’s really worth it. We leave our residence hall at 7:00 every morning, and we don’t go back until 9:30 at night. During that time, we have class, language study, personal study, TALL (technology assisted language learning), and basically we just sit in our classroom all day and study our hearts out. It can get kind of tedious sometimes, but I’ve been getting better at really focusing, and using my study time effectively. Brother Langer told us everything we do–even our language study–needs to be about our investigators, so I’ve been trying to keep that in mind, and it really helps motivate me.

I’m not exceedingly skilled in Tagalog yet, of course, but I’ve learned how to pray in Tagalog, and how to bear my testimony, and how to sort of get to know people in Tagalog. I’ve heard from a lot of missionaries who have been here longer that after about 3 weeks, you start to pick it up a lot more.

Quote of the week:

“We ran like maniacs; and by maniacs, I mean slugs” –Sister Christensen, telling one of our roommates about us running at the missionary field during gym time.

Well, I love all of you. Sorry again that this email isn’t very flowy–hopefully I’ll have more email time out in the field.

Thanks!
Love, Lisa