Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 11 -- A Good Week

Hi everyone!

Guess what. Yesterday we had stake Paoay! So I got to see Brother M! I was so so happy to see him there. I got to talk to him afterward, and he said he is happy that he is a member now. He is preparing for a mission now. I'm so happy. :)

Oh, and last Tuesday we visited a less-active who has a son who is deaf and uses ASL. At first I thought he would be using a different kind of sign language because it's different between countries, but then he showed me his ASL book, and it was the same as I learned in my ASL class, so I got to talk to him and practice my ASL as little bit (which is very rusty now--I've forgotten a lot). I never ever imagined I'd be using my ASl here on my mission, but I'm glad I took that class at BYU. I've been teaching sister Serrano a little bit, like the alphabet, and the numbers. It's fun.

The members in our ward are really supportive in working with us, especially sister S. She worked with us every day our first week, and 3 days last week. She has a 9-year-old daughter who comes along too sometimes and is helping me learn Ilocano. Sometimes I practice making sentences in our apartment--or while we're out walking between appointments. My favorite (and Sister Serrano's favorite to tell people that I said) is "Awan ti ulom." That's the thing you say to someone if you want them to be your best friend forever. Just kidding. It means "you have no head." Hehe.

Sister Serrano calls me a walking hymnbook. I didn't realize what a great blessing it is that we went through the hymnbook during family time while I was growing up until I got to my mission, and I realized that I know almost all the hymns. So thank you, Daddy, for that tradition.

The other day, we found a new investigator. She was really nice and receptive. It was really funny because she was just tickled to death to hear me speak Tagalog. She said I look like a doll, and she begged for me to say both the opening and the closing prayer. It made me smile. 

The people here in the Philippines are so nice. I love that you can just go up to anyone and start up a conversation with them, even if you don't know them, and they don't think it's weird at all. I think if I were serving in a country where the people are less friendly, it would be a lot harder to have the courage to talk to people, and so of course it would be a lot harder to be a missionary. I think maybe that's why I was sent here.

Well, that's about all. Thank you for everything!  Thank you so much for your emails every week. You don't know how much I look forward to them.

I love you all!
Love, Sister Boekweg

March 3 -- New Area and New Companion

Hello family!
This has been such a great week! One of the best I've had in my whole mission. I got transferred to San Nicolas last Tuesday, and my new companion is Sister Serrano. I am so grateful to be with her.
This is what I wrote to President this week:
"This whole week has been a spiritual highlight for me. I love being with Sister Serrano so much. She is such a good missionary, and I always feel the spirit when we are teaching. Sunday especially was a spiritual highlight because two less actives whom we had visited earlier in the week came to church, and they both bore their testimonies and said how they are so thankful for the spirit they felt when we visited them, and for one of them it was the first time he has been to church in many years."
I love my new area. It is just outside of Laoag, but it's more a lot more rural. Our area is really big, and there are some really pretty places that we go to teach. I'm always tempted to take pictures, but then I remember we are proselyting and I restrain myself. The other day, we had to get to the house of a member, and the only way was to go accross a little bridge that was only wide enough for one foot at a time, and there was a big gap betweent the bridge and the handrail, and it was kind of scary to go accross because Sister Serrano and I are both afraid of heights. It was only about 10 feet above the ground though.
Oh, one funny thing that happened: we were teaching an investigator, and a little 2-year-old boy was there, and they were trying to get him to shake our hands, and he was totally fine with Sister Serrano even though she is new to the area too, but when they tried to make him shake my hand, he wouldn't do it, and he started whimpering and said "Ayaw!" which means "I don't want." I think he's gotten over the shock now because he was totally friendly when we went there again.
Also, I am trying to learn Ilocano now. I didn't have as much of a desire to learn it before because I felt like Tagalog was enough to worry about. But now my Tagalog is okay, and I am realizing that I need to learn Ilocano because it really is the dominant dialect in the mission. In Laoag most people knew Tagalog, but Sister Serrano said that if I am transferred up north, the people there are very Ilocano, and many of them can't understand Tagalog. Also in San Nicolas the people mostly understand Tagalog, but they speak Ilocano most of the time. I'm really lucky to be with Sister Serrano because she knows Ilocano, so I've been asking her a lot what words mean, and then I write them down on a sticky note in my planner. The members who have worked with us always laugh because they say I'm making a dictionary. The people seem pleased, though, when they find out that I am trying to learn Ilocano.
I love the ward here in San Nicolas. The members and leaders are really supportive, and they like to work with us. They seem really excited to have sisters serving in their ward now.
Well, I love you all. Thank you so much for your emails and letters and everything. The gospel is true!
Love, Sister Boekweg