Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 11 A New Companion and a Baptism

Okay, well this has been a pretty good week. D was baptized last Saturday. She wasn't able to be baptized on November 2 because of the typhoon, and so that's why her baptism was postponed. She is so cute. On Sunday, her family was planning to go to the beach, and she really wanted to go, but she chose to go to church instead so she could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I just love D so much.
We are preparing P to be baptized on November 23. We told him we would need to teach him almost everyday so he could be ready for his interview on November 16. There was one day last week that he wasn't available to be taught, so he texted us and asked us if we could do "overtime" the next day, and that we would just text him his next reading assignment. We did. He is so cute. Whenever he reads his reading assignment, he always understands super well, and he explains to us what he read. He already has a strong testimony. He already wears a white shirt and tie to church every Sunday. He looks and acts just like a priesthood holder, except that he's not a member yet. I just love teaching him.
My new companion is Sister I. She is a newly-called Sister Leader. She is quiet, but she is very nice. She is also a bit of a germaphobe, like me, so we get along. I've been trying to help her learn the area this past week, but it's been a little hard because we are teaching so many people that we haven't been able to visit all of them yet. But we still have this week before we will start our exchanges, so it's all good.
Well, that's about all. I love you all! I am so happy to be serving here as a missionary! It's really hard, but it's the best thing ever. Thank you for your emails every week. I honestly don't know if I could get through my mission without them. You're the best family ever! Keep living the gospel, reading your scriptures, praying, going to church, and going to the temple. Mahal kita!!!
Sister Boekweg

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 4 -- Our First Real Typhoon

FYI -- The typhoon described here was Typhoon Krosa, a category 3 typhoon that made landfall on the Northern provinces of the Philippines on October 31 with winds at 160 mph. This is a different typhoon than the recent Typhoon Yolanda, which made landfall farther south, but did not affect the Laoag mission.

We had a typhoon warning on Thursday morning (October 31). President told us we couldn't leave our apartment. I was in Aparri at the time because we had had exchanges, so President allowed us to switch back to our areas in the morning, but after that, we had to stay inside all day. We thought it would be one of the routine typhoon warnings that we sometimes get where there is a little wind and a little rain, and everyone else goes outside, but we are stuck in our apartment. We studied, and we did our weekly planning, and we made fried pizza sandwiches with spaghetti sauce, cheese, and hotdogs, and then we went to our backyard and got some coconuts and tried to carve them for Halloween. But then it started getting super windy. And the power went out. And it started raining really hard too. We slept in the bedroom of Sister H and Sister W because our bedroom is floor level and we were afraid it might flood, and their bedroom was higher up. We had to tape plastic over the windows to keep the rain from coming in and soaking us. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof of our kitchen would be torn off. It was kind of scary. And then our cell phones lost their signal. And then we went to sleep.

When we woke up, we went outside. A tree had fallen over in our yard. Our cell phones still didn't have service, so we walked down the road to see if we could find someone who did. No one did. But there were a lot of houses that had been damaged. So we went back to our apartment, put on our normal-people clothes, and went to the houses of our investigators, less actives, and recent coverts to see if they were okay and if we could help. We couldn't proselyte that day because everyone was busy fixing their houses. There were a few houses that were completely destroyed. Everyone we talked to said it was the worst typhoon they had ever experienced. It was a weird day. We still didn't have cell phone service until Saturday morning. And we still don't have electricity. That means we also don't have water. But we have a water pump in the back that we are using. It's kind of an adventure. But don't worry. All the missionaries are safe.

Anyway, the church is true. Heavenly Father loves us. He really is aware of what we need, and He is taking care of us. I know that He wants me to be a missionary right now. Even though being a missionary is not easy, especially as the end is coming, I'm really grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission right now.

Sister Boekweg

Saturday, November 2, 2013

FHE Brings 8 New Investigators

This week has been pretty good. One of our investigators who will be  baptized on November 16 has been coming to church, and he even was going to seminary before, but he was never taught by the missionaries until a couple weeks ago when we taught him. He is super cute and super interested in the gospel. We left him a reading assignment last week of the Book of Mormon introduction. When we came back, he had read it, he explained it to  us, and he had already applied the invitation to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I really enjoy teaching him.

 Another young investigator had her baptismal interview last Saturday. She passed, and she will be baptized on November 2. She is super smart. She always remembers everything we teach her. She's really cute.

 Last Friday we had an FHE with one of our investigator families. It went really well. A lot of their neighbors also came. We got about 8 new investigators just from that, and 4 came to church yesterday.

Well, that's about all this week.

Sister Boekweg

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jollybee Food -- A Dream Come True

This week has been pretty good. We've been seeing some really good things happening in our area.

We taught an investigator about the Restoration, and then we told her how important our message is. She was SO excited for us to teach her. She had read 3 Ne. 11, and she had lots of things to say about it and lots of questions. She accepted a baptismal date, and she has recognized the Spirit already. She is progressing a lot. 
We also found a really nice family the other week. We were looking for a less active, and we saw them outside of their house, so we asked them about the name of the person we were looking for, and then they invited us in. The husband told us he is really looking for the true church. They have accepted a baptismal date. 

This area is really progressing. We have trouble fitting everything into our schedule because there are so many people we need to teach. Before I was transferred in, there were already 20 recent converts in just our area...yeah, sister Woahn is awesome.

So, random story. We did apartment checks for another zone last Friday, and it took us until about 3pm, and we started at about 8am, because the area of that zone is really big. The zone leaders gave us peanut butter sandwiches and tang when we came to their apartment. I love elders who give us food when we check their apartment. It just warms my heart. Anyway, it was super nice. We were still hungry though when we got back to our area. Sister Woahn was just telling me how she was craving fried chicken, and she told me later that she was wishing there was a Jollybee restaurant close by at that moment. And just then, two Jollybee workers appeared out of nowhere holding grocery bags of boxed Jollybee meals of fried chicken and spaghetti. They walked up to the tricycle we had just climbed into and asked us if we would like to buy some for 95 pesos each. Sister Woahn had a really astounded look on her face at that point. We bought some, and then we laughed all the way home. Seriously, that was probably the funniest thing that has ever happened in the mission. It honestly felt like something you would see in a movie, where someone is daydreaming a wonderful daydream where everything they desire magically appears before them, but then they snap back to reality and realize it was just a dream. But for us, it wasn't a dream. It really happened.

Today we came to Laoag because all the foreign missionaries have to get fingerprinted for our passports tomorrow morning. So we took a 6-hour bus ride at 6am. We went to the mall in San Nicolas for our p-day, and I saw the San Nicolas 1 sisters, and they told me about my recent converts and investigators there, and they said they all ask about me, and I suddenly missed San Nicolas so much. I also saw two of my recent converts as we were going to email. I just about started crying. I love them so much. I miss them so much. 

I am out of time now.
Sister Boekweg

October 13 -- The Gospel is True

Hello Family!

This week has been pretty good. The spiritual highlight for me was  probably last Friday when we taught an investigator who has come to church a lot, and he has even attended seminary, but  he had never been taught by missionaries. We talked to him about our  purpose as missionaries, and we talked to him a little bit about  baptism, and he accepted the invitation to be baptized on November 2.  He seemed really excited when we talked to him about that. We asked  him why he likes attending the LDS church even though he was raised  Catholic, and he said it is because he can see that we only worship  Jesus Christ, and when he attends church he feels like all his  problems are gone. I'm happy about him.

We watched General conference last Saturday and Sunday. We had 4 investigators there  for the Sunday morning session.

I think this is the prettiest area I have served in so far, and the most rural. There are lots and lots of rice fields, and our area runs along a river, which is really pretty. There is an island on  the other side of the river, which is technically in our area, but we are not allowed to go there. P-days here are a lot less distracting than they were when I was close to Laoag because there is nothing here...except a palengke and some little stores. There are no malls or  supermarkets, so there aren't a lot of worldly things to distract us.

Well, that's about all for now. The gospel is true. Keep magtiising hanggang wakas!...I mean, keep enduring to the end :).  Mahal ko kayong lahat.

Love, Sister Boekweg

October 8 -- A Giant Spider And An 8-Hour Bus Ride

This last week has been pretty good. You want to hear something cool? So, I knew that I would be running out of pages in my journal, but I didn't realize how close it was until about Tuesday last week when I was writing in my journal, and suddenly I was on the last page. "Uh oh!" I thought. "How will I make it until I can get another one?" But I just finished the page, and decided to think on it. Then the next day when I came home from working, I saw a package on my desk that the AP's had delivered earlier that day. And what do you suppose was inside? A journal--among other things. I was astounded. I couldn't have timed that journal's arrival better if I had planned it. I guess it just goes to show that Heavenly Father really does know and care about what we need, even if it seems insignificant, and also that I guess journal-writing is important to Him, and He didn't want me to miss more days than necessary.

Anyway, thank you so much for sending me that package! The chocolate, and gummy bears, and pictures, and yummy things inside excited me greatly!

Haha...funny you should ask about giant spiders...the other day, we walked into our apartment after working, and there was a huge one above the doorway to the kitchen. All of us freaked out, especially when it fell on the floor, and we hopped on top of our desks and chairs, but then I thought, "there is no way I'll be able to sleep tonight if we don't take care of this." So I got the broom, and Sister Walker (one of the other sisters in the apartment) got some bug spray, and together we shooed the spider out the door into the backyard. It was an adventure.

I am happy to be serving here. My area is one of the farthest areas from the mission home -- about an 8-hour bus ride from Laoag. I've heard  some missionaries refer to it as the promised land. And it's a good area. A lot of the people are very receptive. I think it is kind of by the ocean, but there isn't a beach in my area that I am aware of. But we are right by a big river, and it's pretty. I love sister Woahn. She is super nice. My Ilokano is fine. I found an Ilokano dictionary at the national bookstore a couple weeks ago. Sister Woahn saw my Ilokano grammar book, and now she is excited to learn Ilokano too. But we still get along just fine with our Tagalog.

We are still serving as sister leaders fact, we just had MLC yesterday, so I got to take that 8-hour bus ride twice in the last three days. Earlier today, on the bus ride home, a policeman guy was sitting in the isle by where we were sitting, and he started talking to her. I think he was bored and just kind of wanted to make conversation, but he was curious about what we do as missionaries. I just opened my scriptures to look for something because I wasn't really part of the conversation, and he looked over and said "I want you to tell me about that book." So we told him. And Sister Woahn pulled out the lesson 1 pamphlet, and he wanted her to tell him about it. It was a cool experience. We got his information to forward to the missionaries where he is from. It's possible that he was just interested in talking to two American girls, but even so, maybe he's really prepared for the gospel and just doesn't know it yet.

Anyway, that's about all I have time for at the moment. I'm so happy to be a missionary!

Sister Boekweg


September 29 -- Lots of Jeepneys!!!


This has been a  pretty good week. I really like working here.  The branch seems really supportive of missionary work. I really like working with sister Woahn. I like the way she teaches. The third day I was here, we planned to teach an investigator couple about the Restoration. I haven't been very comfortable teaching the Restoration up to this point because if we don't explain it well enough the people don't understand, and I'm always afraid if we teach it too soon, the investigators will reject it. But we taught the Restoration to this couple, and it was pretty much the first visit. We did practice teaching in our companionship study, and then when we went to teach them, the lesson was really good. I've never experienced teaching it so well before, and the spirit was really there. I've always had trouble explaining the part about the Savior's earthly ministry, but that time I really understood how to explain it well. I think practice teaching is great. :)"

Anyway, this has been a pretty interesting week. My current area is definitely different from Laoag. It's very small. There are lots of fields. The transportation is different too. The tricycles here look like miniature jeepneys, and then there are these other vehicles that I don't remember the name of that are like slightly bigger miniature jeepneys, and then there are the real jeepneys too. I think I've come to the land of jeepneys. There are families of jeepneys all over the place: daddy jeepneys, mommy jeepneys, and baby jeepneys. I'll try to take a picture soon. It's not so very Ilokano here as I was expecting. I've been getting along just fine with just Tagalog. Maybe it's because so many of the missionaries here are foreigners, and so the people are more willing to speak in Tagalog. There are six missionaries in the branch. 4 are American, and 2 are Filipino, and we all live in one apartment. It's kind of different. I must admit, I've been experiencing a slight culture adjustment, going from being with a Filipino companion 24/7 to being with an American companion 24/7. It's fun though. But I must admit that I'm still adjusting to not eating rice every day for lunch. :) We have the sweetest senior couple in our branch. They are not full time, but I think they are service missionaries or something. The Sister works with us all the time. I've never had a senior couple in my area before.

Sister Boekweg

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Area--New Companion!

This week was pretty good. We had a really good lesson yesterday with a part-member family. The wife is a returning less active, and this is the first time that we have been able to teach the husband. We weren't sure how receptive he would be because the wife had told us he's super Catholic. But we talked to them about how the gospel blesses families. And the husband was really receptive. He said he wants to attend church with his wife next Sunday. I really think he will be baptized.

We also had a baptism for two of our investigators who are the children of a returning less active. It was the nicest baptism I have attended here in the mission. It was held in the chapel, and a lot of the members wore Sunday dress, and it was a really reverent atmosphere.

The baptism was for Brother J and Sister C. They are so cute. They were so excited to be baptized--especially Brother J. Even though he is only 14, he is super excited about the gospel. I am super impressed with him. 

So...tomorrow is transfer day, and...I'm being transferred to Cagayan, which is the province in the mission that is super rural, and super Ilokano. I'm a little nervous. I've never been more than 1 hour away from Laoag before. Oh, and I will have my first American companion...Sister Woahn. I've got to admit, I'm really sad to leave San Nicolas. I've been here for almost 7 months, and I feel like this is the area where I really learned how to be a missionary. I feel like I've been here forever. I'm really sad to leave Nanay A. She's still working toward baptism, and I've been working so hard on her for the past 7 months, and she has really progressed a lot.

I am so thankful to be a missionary. It is such a privilege to be able to use all my time to serve the Lord. I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach the gospel every day. Mahal ko kayo! Ingat lagi!

Sister Boekweg


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We Got To Meet the Area President (Elder Nielsen)

Last Friday, we had the opportunity, along with one other set of sister leaders and a set of zone leaders and the AP's, to meet with Elder Nielsen (the area President) to talk with him about what's happening in the mission and so forth. It was pretty cool. We were chosen because our areas were closest to the mission home. He told us that when he is in Salt Lake, his office is right between two Apostles, and he sees them in the cafeteria every day. Cool, huh?

Two Baptisms This Week

This was a pretty good week. We had a baptismal interview yesterday for two of our investigators, Brother J and Sister C. They will be baptized on Saturday. It will be exciting. When we were filling out C's baptismal record, we discovered that we have the same birthday. :) We took a picture to document that monumentous discovery.

We have been trying to find investigators lately through part-member families. It's working pretty well. All of our appointments yesterday were with couples, where one of them is less active and the other is not yet a member. They seem really receptive.

Transfer day is coming up in one week. I'm not sure what will happen, so if you don't receive an email from me on Monday, do not fret, it will probably get to you on Tuesday.

Other than that, I can't think of anything notable about this week. It's been pretty normal. The gospel is true. Just keep choosing the right. I love you all.

Sister Boekweg


September 9 -- The Temple is Wonderful!

This week has been pretty good. I love our investigator, Brother F. He is so super receptive. He has an ipad, and every time we visit him he is excited to show us new church apps he has found, like the new testament videos, and the Book of Mormon where the voice reads it to you. He came to stake conference yesterday, and he really liked it.

Our stake conference yesterday was really good. There are 38 missionaries in our zone, and we all sang "I'll go where you want me to go." And President and Sister Barrientos spoke. And the theme was obedience. It was really good. We had a lot of investigators who attended, even though it was far away (in Paoay!--I saw my recent converts from Paoay there). I am excited for general conference. Conferences are so great.

I read from "Preparing to enter the Holy Temple" today during my personal study, and it made me really excited to go to the temple. I cannot even tell you how blessed we are to have so many temples so close in Utah. Take advantage of that, and go as often as you can. The temple is the most wonderful place in the whole world. I hope someday there will be a temple close to Laoag."
Sister Boekweg


September 1 -- Lots of Rain!!!

This has been a really good week, despite all the rain we've been having. We had so much rain on Tuesday and Wednesday that in flooded on our street so much that it looked like a river. We couldn't go out until 5pm on Tuesday and we didn't get to go out at all on Wednesday. And those were both days that we had exchanges, so they were kind of interesting exchanges, just sitting inside trying to find ways to be productive while not being able to go out and proselyte. But it was okay. We had story time on Wednesday with the gospel art picture book, and that kept us occupied for a few hours, and it was pretty fun. But I really have realized how much it feels like being in prison when you're a missionary, and you can't go out and teach. I used to think it would be fun to be stuck inside because of flooding, but I'm really grateful for the days when we can go out and proselyte. 

"This was a good week. We taught brother F, one of our investigators about the restoration, and about the Book of Mormon, and he was so excited to learn about it. He read his assignments and underlined the parts he thought were important, and he had lots and lots of questions. And he accepted to be baptized on October 19. He came to church yesterday, and I think he had a good experience. I'm so excited. He is such a golden investigator. I know he will be a great leader in the church."

I love teaching YSA. Especially when they have the potential to go on missions.

We've really been blessed. Even though we didn't have very much time to work this week, many investigators and Less actives came to church. We had 13 less actives there, and 7 investigators. It was a good Sunday.

Being a missionary is really a blessing. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. I have learned more about the gospel than I ever could have in any other way. I am so excited to continue to do missionary work also when I go home. The gospel really is the best thing in the whole world. Words cannot describe how wonderful the gospel is.

Sister Boekweg

August 25 -- Too Much Rain Kept Us Inside

My spiritual highlight for the week was yesterday when we went to church. One of the investigators that I taught before with Sister Serrano, came to church. He is now in the area of Sister S and Sister M, but it made me really happy to see him there.  Yesterday when I shook his hand, he said, "it's good to be back." I am so excited about the change I saw in him because, when I was teaching him before, he wouldn't ever admit that he wanted to learn about the gospel. But now his pride is going away, and I really think he will be a great leader in the church. 

I am so thankful that there are 4 missionaries in San Nicolas 1 now. I am so excited about the progress I'm seeing in the ward. So many more people are progressing and coming to church than ever would have happened when it was only me and Sister Serrano here. I am so grateful to see the Lord's work progressing. It's very exciting.

Last Tuesday we had to stay inside all day long because it had been raining since Friday, and the area presidency didn't want the missionaries to go out because there were two missionaries who were injured from going out in the storm. So it was an interesting day. But I started reading the Book of Mormon in Ilokano, and it really helped me. So that was good.

Yesterday we taught the cutest family...well, the mother and children anyway. The mother is less active, but Sister C has been helping her to come back to church, and so we are now teaching her children.  All three of them have baptismal dates now, and they are really progressing. Before we ever taught him, he asked Sister C how he can be baptized. He is reading the Book of Mormon, and praying, and going to church, and now sister is starting to do that too. Yesterday was our first time to teach their other brother, but he wants to be baptized too. I'm excited about them.

The gospel is so wonderful. I never realized until I came on my mission how lucky I was to grow up with the gospel in my life. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. 

Sister Boekweg

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Love Being a Missionary!

This has been a pretty good week.

I had a really cool experience this week with one of our new investigators. We were teaching him about faith, and it was only our third lesson with him, and we hadn't said anything to him yet about the Restoration or Joseph Smith, but at the end of the lesson, he said, "may itatanong ako. Paano naging propeta si Joseph Smith?" ("How did Joseph Smith become a prophet?") So we gave him a Restoration pamphlet and pointed him to page about Joseph Smith, and he started reading it right away, and he was very eager to know about it, and he had lots of questions. It was very exciting to see an investigator become very excited about having a living prophet.

I just love being a missionary so much. I can't even tell you. It just gets better and better. I can't imagine that I'm going home in 4 months. Time is sure flying. I really like being with Sister Quiles. She is a really dedicated missionary. And she is also a very fun companion. 

Last week, Nanay A's granddaughter was diagnosed with Asthma. It was a really hard week for her and her family especially because they don't have money to pay for health care. We got the Bishop to come give the granddaughter a blessing, and now she is starting to do better. The granddaughter’s mom sat in on Nanay's lesson on Saturday, and then she came to church with Nanay yesterday. I really hope she will continue. I hope their whole family will accept the gospel.

I love being here as a missionary. I am so thankful for the gospel. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary. I love you all!

Sister Boekweg

August 12 -- Typhoon Warning

There was a typhoon warning this morning, and we weren't allowed to go out of our apartment until noon, so we did our laundry, and cleaning, and studies, and then President texted us that the typhoon was about to come so we still couldn't go out, and we were about to just have our p-day tomorrow instead. But all we got was some wind. It didn't even seem dangerous outside. So I was about to go crazy from staying inside...but then President texted again and told us the typhoon had turned and was heading toward the Baguio mission now, so we still got our p-day. Yay! So for those of you who thought I died in the typhoon, don't worry anymore.

This has been a really good week. I had a cool experience when I was on an exchange last Wednesday. We went to teach an investigator who had not seemed very receptive. We went to teach her, and she kept saying how she didn't understand what the missionaries had taught her, and that's why she didn't really want to listen. So we taught her about the Book of Mormon, and I felt like I should use the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon to show and explain the history of the Book of Mormon and how we got it. After that, she said she understood it. And she was excited to read the Book of Mormon, and she was willing to let the missionaries come back. And she was receptive. I am so thankful for the Spirit because sometimes we don't know how to teach someone so they will understand, but the spirit always knows.

Also on that exchange, it was in an area that has a beach! I miss the beach so much. I was sooooo happy! And we got to teach a lesson on the beach. And we saw hermit crabs crawling around. And I must admit, I'm kind of jealous of missionaries who are assigned by the ocean. It hasn't happened yet for me. It was kind of funny because the Sister R. (the sister I had exchanges with) said she saw a shell moving, but I looked and didn't see anything. But then after a couple minutes, I saw it...and then there were lots of them. They were hermit crabs. We were teaching about faith at the time, and so I connected it to faith because Sister R. told me there were moving shells, but I didn't see it yet, but I trusted her that the shells really were moving, and so I saw it, and then there were many...just like we don't always see blessings at first, but if we trust God we will see them, and then there will be many blessings.

I just have to tell you, being a missionary is great! The gospel is true! Just live it!

Sister Boekweg

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Object Lesson About Baptism

This has been a great week. And a very busy one. We woke up early every day except this morning. We had 2 exchanges and 1 or 2 apartment checks for the elders, and also MLC. It was busy, but good.

We had the baptism of Sister C. and Tatay F on July 27. It was a great baptism. Tatay F.'s daughters also came to the baptism. Two of them are less active, and his youngest daughter is not yet a member. It was really great for them to be there. We are now teaching the youngest daughter. She is 10 years old, and she now has a baptismal date for August 31. We taught her about baptism by using a hard-boiled egg, and having her color the shell with a black marker to represent sin, and then she cracked it and peeled off the shell to represent what happens when we are baptized. It was really effective. We are planning to use a lot of object lessons for her. I'm excited.

My spiritual highlight for this week was probably yesterday when she taught one of our investigators with a baptismal date, and she was able to open up to us and share her concerns about being baptized, and we were able to help her resolve them a little bit. She knows what we're teaching is true, but she is just worried that after she is baptized she will stop going to church and then lots of problems will come because that's what happened before when she was baptized into another church. But we encouraged her to really pray to know if she should be baptized on August 31, and she said that she really felt happy during that lesson.

I am so happy to be a missionary. I know I say that in pretty much every email, but it is still true. I have learned so much more about the gospel than I ever thought I could. I love being a leader! It's taken me way out of my comfort zone, but I am so thankful for that. I have really grown a lot. I feel like a different person than I was when I started my mission. I can't believe I only have a few months left. Time sure flies. I am so excited to have a calling when I go home, and to do family history, and also volunteer at the referral center at the MTC (if that's still allowed).

Sister Boekweg


July 22 -- Great Week

This week has been great. One of our investigators who has really been struggling with the word of wisdom is finally starting to have success. She didn't drink Friday or Saturday, and she said she thinks it will continue. I'm so happy for her. She has changed a lot since the first time I saw her. She is starting to have an angelic aura about her when she is not drinking. I love seeing the gospel change people. Because she didn't drink on Saturday, we had a really wonderful lesson with her about prayer, and the spirit was very strong, and we were able to teach her about how prayer will help her to give up drinking and smoking if she will pray always and also do her part to avoid temptation.

We also had a really great lesson the other day with Tatay F. (one of the investigators who will be baptized on July 27). It was about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It seemed like Tatay didn't really understand a lot about Jesus Christ before, but I feel like after we taught that lesson, he understood a lot more. His faith is really growing a lot.

We met a really cute lady the other day. She just asked us what religion we belong to, and we told her, and we invited her to come to church. She told us she belongs to a church in Laoag, and her pastor will be angry if she changes her religion. My companion kept persisting and giving her all these reasons why she should attend our church, and the lady kept saying, "Oh, that's a good point...that's really nice...oh yeah, that actually makes sense..." but then she kept going back to how she is scared of her pastor. We gave her a Lesson 1 pamphlet and told her to read and pray about it, and we will try to go visit her sometime. It made me smile to talk to her.

Sister Boekweg

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy To Be a Missionary in San Nicolas

This has been a pretty good week. I am so thankful to be serving here in San Nicolas. Lots of good things are happening.

We found a really good new investigator this week. She is the wife of a less active member, and we started teaching her because they both came to church. Last Friday, we taught them about the Restoration through Joseph Smith. I think I felt the spirit more while we were teaching them than I have ever felt it before when teaching that lesson. I really felt the spirit testifying to me that what we were teaching is true. My testimony about missionary work is really growing, and I really know this is God's work. Yesterday when we taught them again, she accepted a baptismal date.

I also had a cool experience the other day when I was preparing to go out to work, and I felt like maybe I should bring an Ilocano "Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple" booklet. At first I shrugged it off because I didn't think I would use it, but then I decided to follow that feeling, and I stuck one in my bag, along with a Tagalog one. We taught 2 less actives later that day who are good friends, and they just started coming back to church the Sunday before, and the subject turned to the temple, and they mentioned that they don't have a "preparing to enter the holy temple" booklet but they want one. So I brought out the 2 I brought and gave them to them. One of the less actives I gave it to doesn't understand Tagalog very well, just Ilocano. So now I know why I was prompted to bring it.

We have at least two baptisms coming up on July 27: Tatay F. and Sister C. I am so happy about Tatay F. He really is a miracle. The elders were teaching him before we got to the area, but he wasn't progressing when we started teaching him, and he was just depressed and discouraged because he had a stroke and he felt like he would die at any time because he felt so weak. It took us such a very long time before we could get him to come to church because it's hard for him to walk, and it's also hard for him to prepare himself for church because of his physical condition. He also had a hard time accepting a baptismal date because he thought he might die before that date came, and he wasn't sure he could continue to do the things required if he got baptized (like going to church and reading the Book of Mormon). We tried everything to help him to agree to be baptized, but he just wasn't making any progress, and so we were on the verge of just dropping him as an investigator. But then we taught him a lesson about how much God loves him, and when we taught him that, he felt the spirit so much that he accepted to be baptized. And then he just started progressing like a rocket. he started coming to church, and he has come to church for 4 Sundays now in a row, and I can really see how his faith is growing. Yesterday we taught him about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and sister Quiles asked him if he feels excited when Sunday is close, and he said yes, and he said that when he is at church he feels happy, and his walk gets straighter, and he said he felt so good at church yesterday even though the power was out and it was hot (he has a hard time handling the heat). I can just see how hope is just building up in him. He doesn't say anymore that he feels like he will die soon, and he smiles now. I'm so happy. :)

I am so so so so so so so happy to be a missionary here in San Nicolas. I love seeing the gospel change people's lives. I am seeing so many more miracles now than I ever have before in my mission. I think it's because I'm striving harder and harder to be obedient, and to focus and be diligent, and to plan effectively, and to apply the trainings that we receive from our mission leaders. I really know that this is the Lord's work. The gospel is true. I am so grateful to have been raised in the church. I am so grateful to know about the temple. The temple really is what it's about. I miss the temple so much, I am so excited to go there again. We don't realize in Utah how lucky we are to live so close to the temple. Don't take it for granted; go as often as you possibly can. 

Sister Boekweg

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Busy Week with Lots of New Sister Missionaries

Our Mission Leadership Council

This past week has been super busy. Last Wednesday, Sister Barrientos had us come to the mission home from Wednesday to Friday morning to help with the new arriving missionaries. 19 sisters came, and 7 or 8 of them were American. We got to go to the airport to greet them. The airport has improved a lot since I last saw it. When I arrived, it looked like a barnyard, but now it's a pretty nice building. We got to help Sister Barrientos orient the new sisters about the culture and stuff like that, and she also just wanted us to help make the new sisters feel welcome. It was pretty fun. It brought back memories from when I first arrived in the mission. When I arrived, I was the only American sister in the whole Laoag mission. And I arrived with only 7 other missionaries. We got 2 more American sisters a couple transfers later, and a couple transfers later we got one more, and then one more came a couple transfers after that. Then the explosion came and the new missionary age really started kicking in. 7 more American sisters came the next transfer, and this transfer there were 7 or 8 more. Now there are so many of us here in the mission! And the groups of arriving missionaries have just gotten bigger and bigger, and more and more sisters have been coming. There were more sisters who arrived last week than elders. President Barrientos said that soon the ratio of elders to sisters in our mission will be 50/50. It's really exciting to see the Lord's work growing!

Last Friday, we were trying to find the house of a potential investigator who had called out to us on the street one day because he said he had been taught by missionaries before, and he didn't know why they had stopped coming. So he told us where his house was so we could visit him. He said his house is right by Brother D, who is a less active we hadn't met before. His house was also close to the house of Brother M, one of our less-actives whom we haven't been able to get to come to church ever since we have been here. So we went to find his house. But when we got there, no one answered the door. So we asked the old man next door if this was the house of the investigator we were looking for. He said he didn't know. So we asked if he knew the house of Brother D. He said he was Brother D. We talked to him for a couple minutes, and he said he would go to church the following Sunday with brother M. On our way out, we stopped and told Brother M what Bro D had said. We didn't really think Brother M would come to church because we've been trying and trying to get him to come to church, but he never has. But when we went to church yesterday, they were both there! And they stayed for all three hours and they said they felt happy after. We didn't ever find that investigator, but I know the Lord led us to Brother D to help him and Brother M return to church. It was a really cool experience.

Just keep living the gospel. I really know blessings come when we trying our best to be 100% obedient to the Lord. Sometimes it doesn't seem like our efforts to serve God are doing any good. I've seen that here in the mission. Sometimes investigators don't keep commitments, sometimes members don't work with us, sometimes less-actives have many excuses, sometimes Satan works so very hard to destroy all our efforts to help God's children. But even at those times when it seems that our efforts are doing no good, if we just do our best to be obedient and to serve with all our might, the blessings come. God' is so much more powerful than Satan, and He will always win in the end. I am so thankful to be a missionary. I really know this is God's work.

Sister Boekweg
The sisters in my apartment

Monday, July 1, 2013

Another Good Week in San Nicolas

This has been a pretty good week. Today is transfer day, but I am not being transferred, and neither are any of the other three sisters in the apartment, and so it's just a normal p-day for us.
We currently have 3 investigators with a baptismal date. They are attending church faithfully, and one of them has been bringing some of the children from her family compound. We also had a less active family come to church. The father is an RM, and we hadn't been able to visit them until last week because their house is very far away, and he's only available in the evening, and it would be hard to find a tricycle to go home, but last week we took the Eddington's, the senior couple with us who are serving in Laoag, because they have a car. They talked to the brother about how much the church needs him and how happy the members will be when he comes back to church, and how he can help others come back to church too because he's been there and knows what it's like. He was really inspired by what they said to him, and he said he and his family would go to church, and they did. :) Senior couples are so great. They really bring a wisdom and perspective that young elders and sisters just don't always have yet. They are going to work with us again next week. I am excited.
The Leadership Broadcast yesterday was so inspiring. I don't know how many of you had a chance to see it, but it focused a lot on member missionary work, and it made me really excited to continue doing missionary work after I go home. I'm really seeing how the work of the Lord is growing and moving forward, and it's just going to continue. The missionaries today are really being prepared to be leaders. I can really see it. Within just the past few months, a lot has changed in missionary work, especially how every missionary is now expected to become a leader very quickly. It's a really exciting time to be a missionary, but it's also a lot of pressure. But the pressure is good because it really makes us give everything to the work. It sure feels great to not have time to focus on myself. I really feel like I am growing. It sure was hard to get to the point where I am really focused on the work, but it sure is worth it. If anyone is deciding whether to serve a mission, DO IT! And realize that it will be more of a blessing than you can ever imagine. But also realize that you have to give everything to your mission or you won't get those blessings. Okay, enough of my soap box.
Keep living the gospel. Read the Book of Mormon everyday! Don't ever get casual in serving God!
Sister Boekweg

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 23 -- Lots of Good Things Happening in San Nicolas 1

This has really been a great week. Lots of good things are happening here in San Nicolas 1. We had a really good recent convert move into the ward recently, and I'm really excited that he's here because I can really see how much potential he has to help the ward. He is really excited about the gospel, and about being active in the church. His mother has a baptismal date. They are both really excited to share the gospel.

Also, one of our investigators attended Relief Society for the first time yesterday. She usually goes home after Sunday School because she is the one who does everything around the house, and she has to cook breakfast for her children, but she just stayed for the whole time yesterday, and I think she enjoyed it. We always have really good lessons in Relief Society in this ward, so I love it when the investigators come to Relief Society.

I am so happy to be a missionary here! I know it's one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is HARD. But it is the best experience ever. I know the gospel is true. I KNOW IT! I just want everyone in the whole world to understand that the gospel is the only way to be happy, and that if we turn our life over to the Lord, He will make it better than we could ever make it on our own.

Love, Sister Boekweg

June 16 -- Raining Super Hard

This has been a great week! The other day it started raining super hard, probably almost harder than I've ever seen it rain. We were walking on the road at that time, and we got soaked. We found shelter in a tindahan (store), and we had to stay there until is slowed down, so we talked to some people who were standing there too. Maybe the Lord knew they needed to meet missionaries. Who knows?

Last Saturday I had an exchange with one of the new American sisters. I like doing exchanges with new American sisters. I especially like helping them with their Tagalog, and also with their adjustment to the culture and everything.

One of our investigators has had some big health challenges. Yesterday, we felt like we should share with him about how much God loves him. It was raining really hard, so we scooted really close so he could hear us. We shared D&C 18:10, and Moses 1:39, and we shared that the reason God has still allowed him to be alive right now is because He wants to give him eternal life, and so he is giving him a chance to accept the gospel and be baptized. He felt the spirit, and when I asked him if he will prepare to be baptized he said yes! I'm so happy. I am so thankful for the spirit.

Yesterday we taught Sister M. and Brother D. We taught them about how the gospel will bless their family. They just had a baby, so they are already thinking right now how they will raise her and help her to become a good person, so we used that, and we taught how blessed their daughter will be to grow up in the church. Brother D. felt the spirit as we shared Mosiah 4:14-15. They both want us to continue teaching them. I am so happy because they are so receptive, and I really feel like we can help them to become an Eternal family.

Well, I'd like to say more, but my time is about up, so I'll just say how grateful I am to have such a wonderful family. The more I see families here on my mission that are not happy and that do not live according to the gospel, the more I appreciate so much having grown up in the church with righteous parents.

Sister Boekweg

June 9 -- Observations On My Mission

I've had some observations while I've been here in the mission:

1) I've discovered why people grow so much on missions. It's because when you go on a mission, you basically start at the "baby" stage, and then you go through the preschool, elementary, high school, college, etc. etc. etc. stage. I'll tell you what I mean by that. Being a missionary is so much different than what we're used to before we go on a mission. The expectation is so much higher. So when you come in as a new missionary, you really are like a baby, compared to where you will be at when your mission is done. I feel like right now I'm maybe at the high school senior stage. I remember at the beginning of my mission, and how much different I was back then, and I really feel grateful for how much I've changed.

2) I've discovered the magic of enthusiasm. Before, when I first met someone to try to share the gospel, I was kind of just quiet and basically tiptoe-ing trying to get them to accept to learn about the gospel, because I wasn't sure how they were going to react. But I just recently learned how much power there is in showing enthusiasm. If I go up to someone and act super excited to meet them and super excited to share the gospel with them, they have a totally different reaction. They are so much more receptive. I've found out how effective it is to say, "excited talaga po kami na makilala po kayo! At excited po kami na makapagbahagi sa inyo ang tungkol sa ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo dahil gusto namin ibahagi yung kasiyahan na meron po sa pamiliya po namin dahil sa ebanghelyo!" Translation:  We are really excited to meet you! And we are excited to be able to share with you about the gospel of Jesus Christ because we want to share the happiness that there is in our family because of the gospel.

Sister Boekweg

June 2 -- Leadership Training

Today I have to go to Laoag for a leadership training. There are so many sisters coming in that they have made leadership assignment for sisters.

It's been really fun to have another American in the apartment because she asks me for help with her Tagalog, and it makes me feel smart, and it makes me realize how much Tagalog I know. It's great.

Life is good. The gospel is true. Just keep living the gospel and striving to do whatever the Lord asks because it really is the only way to be happy. This life is not a time to be relaxing in our comfort zone. If we're not being stretched, we're not doing life right. We really are here to grow, and growing is never comfortable. That's one of the things I'm learning here in the mission.

Sister Boekweg

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27 -- A Great Week

The fruit in this picture is dragon fruit.
Our most recent baptism.
This has been a great week. Okay, it was kind of stressful at the beginning because of having to lead the area here in San Nicolas 1. This is my first time to lead an area. It was hard for a few days because of having to make decisions all by myself because I was the only one who knew the area and the people we are teaching, but I feel like it's been helping me grow. One of the things that has been really hard for me has been memorizing the places in my area and how to get to the houses of the people we teach. But this week it's been really amazing because as I was leading the other sisters around, sometimes I really didn't know how to get to where we were trying to go, but everything that sister Serrano told me to help me remember how to get to places always came back to my mind, and sometimes I really feel like the spirit led me to where we needed to go. Like yesterday, we were going to pick up an investigator for church, and I forgot exactly how to get to her house, but I remembered it was in barangay 10, but I didn't know how to tell the tricycle driver where to turn or anything, but I just told him to turn at the beginning of the barangay because I just kind of felt like that would be a good place to turn, and it turned out to be exactly the street we had to turn on. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about leading the area, but it's been good.

There are now 4 sisters living in my apartment. We split the area in half. One of the sisters is new from the MTC. She is an American. It's the first time I've had another American in the same apartment here in the mission. It's been kind of interesting especially to see how she's adjusting to everything and remembering what it was like when I was new in the mission. I'm realizing just how Filipino-ized I've become and how some of my American culture is disappearing (like how I am now so very accustomed to eating rice for breakfast every morning). Anyway, it's kind of interesting.

Oh, and I'm excited because I'm finally feeling pretty fluent in Tagalog. I still have times that I get stuck or can't think of the word I want, but it's getting so much easier for me to speak. It's fun. I love being bi-lingual.

Oh, and I'm also super excited because Sister Quiles has an Ilocano grammar book that is similar to the really good Tagalog one that I got in the MTC, and she is going to copy it for me, so now I will be able to learn the Ilocano grammar, which is what I've been wanting to do for a while, but I just didn't have any resources for it.

Anyway, life is good. The gospel is true. I'm so happy to be a missionary. Thanks for being the best family in the whole world! I just have to say the going on a mission is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. It is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's so worth it because of how much I have learned here. So if anyone is wondering if they should serve a mission, I will tell them YES! But make sure you prepare really well first because, if you are not prepared, it's super hard.

Sister Boekweg

May 20 A New Companion

This week was pretty good. We had the baptism of sister A and sister M last Saturday. I was kind of worried that it wouldn't go well because the youth and the primary children who attended were being kind of rowdy before it started, but it turned out really well, especially when the bishop spoke afterward. 

Last week I was kind of sick with a cold. Sister Serrano was so sweet because she made soup for me on two of the nights. We usually don't eat dinner, or we just eat bread, but because I was sick, she went out of her way to cook for me. She is so sweet.

Speaking of Sister Serrano, I'm not with her anymore. She's going home this week, so she is now at the mission home. My new companion is Sister Quiles. She is really nice. She is from Cebu. President is adding two more sisters to San Nicolas one, which means we are splitting the area. One of them is going to be new from the MTC, so we are waiting for her to arrive. There are a ton of new missionaries arriving, especially sisters. There are so many new sisters coming that most of the sisters are training, even some who have been here for only 6 weeks. I am not training though. By July President said the mission will be 50/50 elders to sisters, and pretty much all the sisters will train. It's kind of exciting to see the missionary work progressing a lot.

Well, thanks for your emails and everything. You are the best family ever. I love you a lot! I'm really grateful to be a missionary here in the Philippines. I really am learning so much. I feel like I'm finally getting what missionary work is all about. I'm really grateful for the opportunity I had to be with Sister Serrano the last 2 transfers. She really taught me how to be a missionary.

Love, Sister Boekweg

May 13 Grateful for My Family and the Gospel

This week I had a couple of interesting experiences. A drunk guy came up to us last Wednesday while we were walking and asked us to teach him because he wants to change his life. We taught him about the word of wisdom, and he kept saying "ganoon ba iyon?" ("really? is that how it is?"). It was really funny teaching him because he kept saying, "I love you... I love your teaching" and going off on random tangents. He said, though, that he would not drink or smoke anymore. We haven't gone back to teach him yet, so we'll see.

We had a similar experience with a nanay the next day. She was also drunk, and she also wanted us to teach her so she could change her life. It was really funny because she translated everything I said into Ilocano for me. We taught her about how the Book of Mormon can help her change.

Other than that, it's been a pretty normal week. We are preparing two investigators for baptism, Sister A, and Sister M. We are also teaching the family of Sister M, and her brother and sister were going to be baptized with her, but she is the only one who is ready to be baptized yet. Sister A's husband is the brother of the husband of Sister S. They're both really cute, fun girls.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I've really come to appreciate the gospel so much more than I did before my mission. Seeing families that don't have the gospel has really made me see how blessed I am to have been born into a family that has the gospel. I can't even tell you how grateful I am for that. So thank you, Mommy and Daddy, especially for being married in the temple and being active in the church and teaching me the gospel as I was growing up. You're the best parents I could ever ask for. I really think I have the best family in the world. That's another thing I've really come to appreciate on my mission as well, what a wonderful family I have. I miss you all a lot.

Thank you for all your emails. They brighten up my p-day every week. Just keep living the gospel, and doing the little things, like reading the Book of Mormon, praying, going to church, and going to the temple. It really makes all the difference. And you really don't know how blessed you are to be so close to the temple. I miss the temple so much. I think when I go home I will go there 3 times a week. Anyway, I love you all!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Been Pretty Hot

It's been a pretty normal week, so I don't have a lot to tell you that's new. It's been pretty hot lately, but we did have some rain a few days ago, which was a little weird for this time of year. I've gotten to be very close with my umbrella. If I don't use it I tend to get sunburned. I learned how to clean electric fans this morning. I've been experimenting with food lately because I don't know how to cook so many things, and I don't want to cook the same thing every time it's my turn to cook. It's been turning out okay. 

I miss all of you. You're the best family ever! Thank you for all your emails. I look forward to them every week. Just keep living the gospel.
Love, Sister Boekweg

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 29 -- Three Baptisms

Last Saturday we had the baptisms of Sister S, Nanay E, and Brother B. It's the most baptisms so far that I've ever experienced in one day. It was really nice. It was also a very long day. By about 4pm, after the wedding and baptism were over, I was about ready to flop down on my bed and sleep for 5 hours, but we still went out to proselyte (of course--we're missionaries; we don't take naps) for the rest of the evening.
Today we ate lunch at KFC. It's one of my favorite restaurants here in the Philippines--it's different here than in America, and it's yummy. I also love Jollybee, Chowking, and of course McDo (McDonald's).
I am so thankful to be a missionary. I'm finally starting to figure out what missionary work is all about. Sister Serrano is such a good example to me. I'm going to miss her so much when she goes home at the end of May.
Just always remember to live the gospel, no matter what happens in life, no matter what sacrifice is required, always put the gospel of Jesus Christ first, and everything will work out. I really know that is true. One of my favorite verses in the scriptures is D&C 97:8 ( I think that's the reference). It's about observing our covenants by sacrifice, and that's really what it's all about.
Sister Boekweg

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pictures from Zone Conference

Zone conference--me, Sister Cabato, Sister Diamond (Sister Cabato's trainee), and Sister Serrano
Our Zone
Balut at the mission home. I didn't eat it. It was sister Cabatos