Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 24 – Transfer Week

Hi family!

This has been a pretty good week. I've enjoyed being in a threesome with Sister Cabato and Sister Deyro. Sister Deyro is from Bacolod, but her first language is actually English because that's what her family speaks at home. She's really fun to joke around with. I'll have to say goodbye tomorrow though because I'm being transferred to San Nicholas, which is pretty close to Laoag city still.

This is what I emailed to President this week:

"My spiritual highlight for this week happened on Friday when we were teaching an investigator about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I suddenly felt I should share a story from my dad when he quit a job that required him to work one Sunday each month, and he was blessed to find a better job. It's sometimes hard for me to think of what to say while we are teaching, but I really felt the spirit prompting me that time that I should share that. I am really grateful for the spirit."

Yesterday, when we got to church, the bishop told us sister S wouldn't be coming to church because she injured her eyes at work and needed to rest and to sleep (she lives with the bishop's family because she works for him). So I didn't expect to see her there. But right as Relief Society was starting, she walked in the door. It made me so happy that going to church was so important to her that she would come even though she had a really good reason not to come. I am so happy to have recent converts who are so dedicated to the gospel.

Brother A came to church yesterday for the first time. The Elders quorum president in our ward is YSA and he came with us to teach Brother A last Friday, and also sat with him in church, and I think they are becoming friends. It's such a blessing when members really go out of their way to fellowship the investigators. N.C. didn't come to church because she had a fever. We taught her the other day, and even though she is still praying to know if this is the only true church, she still wants to be baptized, and she also told us that she hasn't been drinking coffee. She drank coffee before we taught her about the word of wisdom, and it took her a while to completely give it up. But she said she doesn't drink it anymore. Even when she was visiting her siblings in Manila, and she didn't feel good, and they told her she should drink coffee to feel better, she said, "No, I'll just drink hot water".

On Friday, Sister Asuro visited Laoag with her parents, and President allowed her to work with us. It was fun because there were 4 generations of missionaries there: Sister Asuro trained me, I trained Sister Cabato, and Sister Cabato is training Sister Deyro. We also figured out that it goes in alphabetical order (Asuro, Boekweg, Cabato, Deyro).

Anyway, my time is a little short today because I'm transferring, so I guess I'll end now.

I love you all! Thank you so much for your emails, and for the birthday package!

Love, Sister Boekweg

February 18 – Zone Activity at the Beach

Hey family!

We had a zone activity this morning, which is why I am emailing late today. We went to the beach and cleaned up some garbage, and then we played ultimate frisbee, and then I helped some elders dig a mote around the salt lake temple they were building in the sand to protect it from the waves. It was really fun. I got quite sunburned. I also found a hermit crab while we were cleaning up garbage, and some of the elders wanted to name it "Shiz", you know, like from the book of Ether. Anyway, It was fun to go to the beach.

This is what I wrote to President Barrientos today:

"My spiritual highlight for this week happened on Sunday evening. We were teaching an investigator about faith, and she was telling us about how she didn't come to church because she has so many things she is doing, and Sunday is her only day off. I suddenly felt I should tell her about the prophet Elijah and the widow, whom he asked for food, but she only had enough to make one meal for her and her son and then they would die, but Elijah promised that if she would give him food, she would not run out, and she trusted him, and she didn't run out of food. I related that to giving our time to God first, and he will make it so we don't run out of time to do everything we need to. Sometimes I have things come to my mind that I should say, but that time, the prompting was really strong, like the feeling when I am sitting in testimony meeting and I feel prompted that I need to bear my testimony. I also noticed that when I am following the spirit, the gift of tongues is a lot more powerful--both in helping me to be able to put my thoughts into words clearly, and to be able to speak Tagalog."

This has been a pretty busy week. We moved to our new apartment on Tuesday. It's a lot nicer than our old one. It was pretty dirty when we moved in, so President let us take most of the day on Wednesday to clean. Now it looks pretty, and there are no more cobwebs in the CR (comfort room or bathroom). We have a shower, but it is really weak, and I still prefer to use the bucket anyway.

Also, Sister Cabato is training a new sister, Sister Deyro. She came early (transfers aren't until February 26, but she came last Thursday), and so we will be a threesome until transfer day. She is really nice. It's fun to be three in the apartment, instead of just two.

Oh, wanna hear something funny about Tatay A? Well, he's 68 years old, and he's still single, and this last week we needed to teach him about eternal marriage. We weren't exactly sure how to do that, but we decided to emphasize that eternal marriage is required for exaltation, but if we don't have the opportunity in this life, we will have it in the next life as long as we do everything we can and are faithful. After we taught that, Tatay told us he is determined to find a wife. He says he will go to Cagayan (another province in the mission) in May to look for one, and if she isn't a member, he'll have her be baptised first. He's so funny. Everything we tell him, he takes to heart.

Oh, did I tell you about Sister P? She is one of our new investigators. We have taught her 3 times, and I am so impressed with her. We gave her the restoration pamphlet to read after our second visit, and when we came back, she had not only read it, she had looked up the scriptures in the back and answered the questions that went with them. She is the only investigator I have ever had who has done that. And when we invited her to be baptized, she accepted right away. I am so pleased about her.

Oh, and we gave Sister M's daughter an illustrated Book of Mormon stories book for her birthday, and M said her dad has been reading it. It makes me smile. Maybe we will be able to teach him too.

Well, that's about all. Thank you so much for your emails every week. I look forward to them every Monday, and they brighten my day so much. I love you all. I'm so thankful for the gospel. I know with all my heart that it is true. there is nothing in this world that is more important. Poeple need to realize that so much. I am thankful to be here in the Philippines sharing the gospel.

Love, Sister Boekweg

February 10 -- Changes

Hi family.

I'm so happy about Tatay A. He is such a happy, jolly person that it is pretty much impossible to be around him for a few minutes and not be happy too. The other day we went to teach him, and I hadn't been feeling all that great that day, but when we left that lesson, I was smiling and I felt happy. He always does whatever we tell him to do; and he tells us that whatever we tell him to do, he'll do.

We had a zone training meeting last Thursday, and we found out some changes that are happening in our mission. First of all, the schedule is now different. Companionship study and language study are combined, and now we go out at 1pm and come home at 8pm. President wants to give us more time to prepare for teaching. Also, hugs are now bawal (forbidden), even between companions. Also, President wants us to look more professional, so backpacks are no longer allowed, just shoulder bags. There's a lot of stuff that is now against the rules, but I felt the spirit as the zone leaders were talking about it, so I know it is from God, so it's exciting.

Oh, and we're moving to a different apartment on Wednesday. It's kind of funny because every area I've been in so far (which is just 2, but still...) we've changed apartments. That's why I'm emailing later than normal today, because I was packing earlier today before we went out.

Well, that's about all.

Thank you so much for your emails. I love you a lot!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Few Pictures

 Halo Halo Dessert

February 4 -- A Pretty Good Week

Hi there.

So last week was pretty good. Tatay A was baptized on Tuesday. He was so excited. It was cute. He was at the church an hour early. It was also his birthday, so Sister Cabato and I bought him a couple brownies and some of those birthday candles shaped like numbers, and we made him a card, and we gave it to him before his baptism started. The only problem is that I spelled his name wrong on the card. I wrote a "z" instead of and "s". Oops. Oh well, he was forgiving about that, and it's now hanging up on his wall. It was a really nice baptism. I'll try to maybe send a picture next week.

Well, I guess that's all. I'm grateful to be a missionary. I know the gospel is true. I know there is power in reading the Book of Mormon. Do it! Everyday!

I love you all! Thanks so much for your emails and everything!

Love, Sister Boekweg


January 28 -- Life is Great in the Laoag Mission

Hi there Family!

It's P-day again! Today we ate at Chow King. It was super yummy. I love being in Laoag city where we can go to restaurants on P-day.

You know what's kind of funny? I really feel like a Filipino sometimes because whenever I see an American who is not a missionary, I stare in bewilderment because it's so rare, and I wonder what in the world they're doing here. Especially the other day when I saw a blond little white boy riding his bike down the street, and  while back when I saw an mom with her two little blond children shopping at Novo (my favorite store--it has all sorts of stuff, like notebooks, clothes, household items, hair things, and all sorts of random stuff).

You know how Baguio means storm? Well, I found out that "Laoag" means "light" in Ilocano, so it is nicknamed the sunshine city. So Rebecca went  to the storm mission, and I m in the sunshine mission. :) I thought that was pretty cool when I found that out.

The other day, we were teaching K, and there were two little children there, and when we left to go home, we said goodbye to the little children, and Sister Cabato asked "why do they only giggle when Sister Boekweg talks to them?" and K said "It's because she's imported." Hehe. That made me laugh.

Oh, and the other day, I was helping K with her English homework, and it was HARD. No wonder Filipinos get so good at English. It went into all sorts of complicated grammar stuff that was even a little bit hard for me to figure out for some of it. I was really surprised. But I am no longer surprised that most of the Filipinos can understand English.

My ward mission leader has the cutest of all the cutest babies on earth, except for Nephi. He is about 8 months old, and he is so shy. You can make him cry just by looking at him too long.

Oh, and Tatay A had his baptismal interview last Saturday, and he passed! He will be baptized tomorrow, which is his 68th birthday. He is so excited. He was there an hour early for his interview. I'm so excited.

Anyway, life is still great here in the Laoag mission. We're teaching Brother A now, who is the 18-year-old son of Sister C. We're also teaching the siblings of the stake president's wife, and they are really progressing. They come to church almost every Sunday, and they have a baptismal date for February 23.

I'm so happy with my Tagalog. I can read the Tagalog Book of Mormon now almost without having to look up any words, and I really feel like I'm understanding almost everything. I was really surprised the other day when a guy was talking really fast, and I understood everything he said. I know the gift of tongues is real. There is no way I could learn Tagalog this fast if it wasn't.

I know this is the only true church on the earth. I love the gospel. I am so thankful to be able to help others come unto Christ. I love you all! Continue reading the Book of Mormon every day, and praying every day, and going to church every Sunday. Never ever stop doing those things. They are so so so super important in order to stay on the straight and narrow path.

I love you,

Love, Sister Boekweg

January 21 -- I Love Mangos!

Last night, just as I was snuggling down into my bed, enjoying the quiet of the night, about to drift off into dreamland, a rooster started crowing its heart out, as if it were trying to protest against people sleeping, and to summon the day by the force of its "cock-a-doodle-doo". It was kind of funny to listen to.

President Barrientos worked with me and Sister Cabato on Friday, and it was really funny because people kept calling him "Sister", especially the little children, but even some older people. :)

I'm really happy because M is getting excited about sharing the gospel with her friends. Before, she felt too shy to try to share the gospel, but the other day we went to her daughter’s birthday party (her daughter is 3, and she is sooooooo cute, but she is super duper shy), and some of M's friends were there, and she was excited to introduce us to them so we could maybe teach them. We found some potential investigators that way.

I'm so so so so so happy because Brother and Sister G are continuing to go to church! They've been coming pretty regularly now for about a month.

Tatay A is so so excited for his baptism. It's so cute because whenever we mention it, or someone at church mentions it, he lights up and get's a really pleased look on his face, just like a little boy. It's coming up pretty quick. I'm excited. When we first started to teach him, I really thought he'd be an eternal investigator and wouldn't ever really be baptized, but he's so happy about the gospel and to go to church. Whenever we teach him he always tells us how, if it were not for us, he wouldn't know the way to go, and he always says how thankful he is that we were there to show him the way to the true church. I just love him so much.

I love so many foods here! I love mangos! The ones in Utah are yucky, but the ones here are the best things that ever did live upon the earth. I also love superstix. It's like a wafer stick with chocolate, or ube flavoring, and it is so yummy. I also love adobo! I recently learned how to make it and I am happy. Oh, and I found muffins at the store the other day. It has been so long since I have tasted a muffin, so it made me so happy, so I bought them and ate them with pleasure.

I love you all so much. Thank you so much for all your support and emails.

Love, Sister Boekweg

January 13 -- Missionary Work is Worth It

Hi Family!!

My spiritual highlight this week happened on Friday. We taught “K,” one of our investigators whom we found through someone else we were teaching. When we first met her, she seemed interested, but we weren't really sure if she would progress or not. On Friday she told us how she is so grateful that we are here to teach her, and she would rather spend time being taught by us than hanging out with her friends. I can really see how the Lord has prepared her, and how she is so desirous to learn the gospel. Yesterday she came to church by herself, and she was so excited to be there. It makes me so happy to see people who are so excited to learn about the gospel.

We found Sister K through Sister C; they are next door neighbors. K sat in on a lesson one day, and then we found out she is really interested to learn. She is 15 years old, and she has a friend in the ward, which makes it really nice so she isn't shy to come to church. She is preparing to be baptized on February 9.

We also have started teaching Sister C’s 18-year-old son. We've only taught him once, but hopefully he'll start progressing. It will be really nice for C if she has someone in her family to go with her to church.

Remember Tatay A? Well, he is just the most delightful investigator. He always comes super early to church--like an hour early. He is still preparing to be baptized on January 29.I'm really excited.

One thing that is really funny that I have noticed is in the stores--apparently people here love buying things that have something free included--but they'll stick really odd stuff together, like air freshener and peanut butter. I kind of did a double take when I saw that. I'm still trying to figure out what air freshener and peanut butter have to do with each other.

Another funny thing is that many big stores have their employees dance, either outside the front of the building, or just in the aisles. I love how enthusiastic they are. It makes me laugh.

Well, life is great. Missionary work is hard, but it's worth it. I'm learning a lot. I can't believe I already have less than a year left--time flies.

Anyway, I know the gospel is true. Sometimes I feel like Alma who wished he could be an angel to teach repentance and the plan of salvation to people so they would have to listen and believe. Sometimes I really wish I could just make people understand why the restored gospel is so important, and to read the Book of Mormon, and to go to church, and to do all those things that I know will help them. But I realize that everyone has to use their agency to choose to listen or not. I can't make them accept the gospel. All I can do is give them the opportunity.

Well, I love you all. Thanks for being the best family ever!

Love, Sister Boekweg