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

April 21 -- Life is Great!

Hello to my wonderful family! I love you all so much!

Last week we were teaching an investigator named A. Her husband is a less-active that we are helping to come back to church. They have two cute little girls. One is just a few months old, and the other is about 3 years old. The little 3-year-old wouldn't sit still, so I whipped out my gospel art book, and taught about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end using the pictures in there, just like I used to when I taught sunbeams. It worked. She settled down and paid attention. It brought back my days of teaching primary. I wish all our investigators had little 3-year olds.

So elections are coming up in May here, and so there's been a lot of campaigning going on, and the way they do campaigning kind of makes me laugh. They use popular songs, and they change the lyrics so that it's about the candidate, and then they play it really loud out of these vans that drive around the city. Sometimes it inturrupts our lessons, like last Thursday when we were teaching, and then the van with the music stopped right down the street and a whole bunch of people came to shake our hands and give us flyers. It was kind of funny.

Yesterday at church, the pianist was not there, so they asked me to accompany the hymns. It was kind of on-the-spot, so I just played right hand, with lots of mess-ups, but it all worked out. That's one thing that would have been helpful to work on more before my mission--playing the hymns. Oh well.

Anyway, life is great. I'm so happy to be a missionary. I am so grateful for the gospel. I am also so grateful to have been raised in a family that has the gospel. I didn't realize before my mission what a great blessing that is, but it really is. Just keep living the gospel. I love you all.

Love, Sister Boekweg

April 15 -- General Conference in the Philippines

My spiritual highlight for this week was general conference. It really helped me to know what I need to do for this transfer and for the rest of my mission. I am really grateful for personal revelation. We had 8 investigators attend general conference yesterday. I was really shocked. I was praying that the investigators would feel the spirit and understand the messages, especially one of our investigators who is nine years old. When the prophet started speaking, I told her to listen and notice what she felt. I asked her after it was over what she felt while the prophet was speaking, and she said that she knew he was a living prophet. I told her it's the Holy Ghost that helped her to feel that. I'm really grateful Heavenly Father answered my prayer to help her feel the spirit even though she couldn't understand what was said."

I've got to tell you about one of our investigators right now. She is in her 50's, and the first time we talked to her, she was a little reluctant for us to teach her, but Sister Serrano is really inspired when she is teaching, and by the end of the first teaching visit, this investigator committed to be baptized. As we've continued teaching her, she has really started to progress, and she is becoming more and more desirous to be baptized. There's a member who lives really close to her and has been fellowshipping her and bringing her to church. Her baptismal goal date is April 27.

We are also teaching a 19-year old girl right now. She is so cute. She came to General Conference yesterday and stayed for both sessions. She asked me to translate for her during one of the talks because she couldn't understand. I wasn't sure if I could, but I tried, and I was surprised that I was actually able to do it. I mostly just summarized what was being said, but it was cool to know that I can translate okay if I need to.

Oh, one funny thing. So we pass by this group of tricycle drivers a lot when we are going to cross the street to go to the other side of our area, and whenever they see that we will cross the street, they usually go out to the road as if they are policemen and blow whistles and try to direct traffic to stop for us. It's kind of silly. It makes us laugh. I think that's the reason they do it.

Well, anyway, that's about all. I love all of you!

Love, Sister Boekweg

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 8 -- The Shoe Blows Away in the Wind!

I am very happy today :)

Today is transfer day, and I was really expecting that either Sister Serrano or I would be transferred because President kind of made it sound like we would only be together for one transfer, but last Saturday we found out that we get to stay here in San Nicolas together for another transfer! I'm so happy! Sister Serrano is happy too because she will go home in May, and she really wanted this to be her last area. I am so so so so so so so happy! I love Sister Serrano so much. And I love San Nicolas too. The members here are really kind and supportive to the missionaries. They love to feed us. We had dinner last night at our bishop's house. He had mangoes for dessert because he has a business making fruit shakes, and so he always has fruit at his house. I love mangoes! Bishop knows that, so he kept telling me to eat more. I was obedient. I ate six slices of mango. It was so yummy! And he gave us about 10 mangoes to take home. We are going to make a mango cake with graham crackers, cream, and condensed milk (and mangoes of course). It's really yummy. I'm excited.

So, funny moment of the century. First, some background. So the places we walk are usually kind of sandy, so I get sand in my shoes a lot, so I just take off my shoe for a second and kind of kick it to make it roll over so all the sand will come out. So anyway, we were walking to Barabar last Saturday. It's the farthest place we go to proselyte. We were walking part of the way because there weren't any tricycles or jeepneys that we could find to ride on. Anyway, it was really windy--it was the windiest I have ever seen it. We were trying to use our umbrellas to keep the sun off, but it was really hard because the wind was blowing so hard. Well, anyway, my shoe had some sand in it, and not thinking anything of it, I took it off to get the sand out. But as soon as I took my foot out, it started blowing away, and before I knew it, it was across the road (and it was a big highway that we were walking by). So there I was standing with only one shoe, and some guys standing by the side of the road who had seen it were laughing, and actually we were laughing too, but I wasn't sure how to get my shoe back. Luckily, one of the guys who laughed at me was kind enough to go across the road to get it for me. Seriously, if you had been there, you would have been dying, because it was one of the funniest things that has happened to me on my mission so far.

Anyway, life is still great. I am learning so much. I've really been learning how important it is to be unified in a companionship. If companions are unified, everything is happy and wonderful, but if there is any contention, nothing goes right. The song "Love at Home" is really true--even for a missionary companionship. I'm so thankful to have Sister Serrano as my companion. She is such an angel. I am so thankful to be a missionary. It is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is definitely worth it. I've grown a lot.

Thank you for all your letters and emails and everything! You are the best family in the whole wide world!

Love, Sister Boekweg


April 1 -- Halu Halo Queen

It's been a great week. There were some rather interesting happenings this week. First of all, sometimes when we are walking, some random guy calls out "Hello Sister, good evening, I love you" or "Hello Sister, I miss you". It really cracks me up. I think the people here are still getting used to the novelty of having an American sister here because it was an elders' area before. Also, somehow the children in the neighborhood where our apartment is found out how to say my name, so whenever we pass by them they all call out "Sister Boekweg!" All the little children here are so cute. Sister Serrano says they probably think I'm a giant barbie that's walking around. Everyone here thinks I look like a barbie, it's really funny.
Last p-day, we received a phone call from brother M while we were studying; we were a little surprised because no one really calls here, they just text, so we thought it must be some kind of emergency, but he was just really bored because school is on vacation now, and he really wanted us to come teach him right then, but it was p-day, so we had to tell him to wait until that evening. he's funny. He was baptized last Saturday. A lot of the members attended his baptism, which was great, except that the ward mission leader couldn't find anyone who was willing to be a speaker, so Sister Serrano and I had to speak. It was a little nerve racking, since I didn't have time to prepare ahead of time, but I just shared a scripture and talked for about 2 minutes, and it was okay. I'm happy about Brother M. Even though he is only 13, I think he'll stay active because there are a lot of members fellowshipping him, and he loves to come to church.
I had homemade halu-halo for the first time last week. It was really good. One of the less-actives was selling it. I like it even better than the halu-halo at Chowking. For some reason I'm a really fast eater here, and I usually finish eating before the people with me are even halfway through--I don't know, maybe people like eating slower here or something, but anyway, I finished my halu-halo before the people we were with, and so they offered me another one free, so of course I had to eat it because it was just too yummy, and then the little brother of sister D (the one selling the halu-halo) was eating one too, and somehow it turned into a race, and he was working as hard as he could to finish it before me, but I still won, and I was even still using my spoon, while he was trying to drink it. So I am an the halu-halo queen now.

I am grateful to be a missionary! I love the gospel! I know it's true!

Love Sister Boekweg

March 25 -- Zone Conference

This was a pretty good week. I'm really happy to be a missionary, especially with Sister Serrano as my companion. She is really an angel. Last week she couldn't really eat anything except bread because she was sick, but she still cooked for me because she didn't want me to get thin by not eating rice. I really love her a lot.

We had zone conference last Thursday. It was really good. It really inspired me to strive to be a lot more focused, and diligent, and Christlike so that I can finish my mission without any regrets. I can't believe I'm already more than halfway done with my mission. Anyway, we learned how to teach so that we are mostly asking questions and letting the scriptures teach, in order to help the investigators participate more in the lesson, rather than just us talking and spilling knowledge onto them.

The other day we went to teach a less active, but there was really loud babylon music playing across the street, and it was hard to feel the spirit or concentrate on teaching. One of our fellowshippers had some speakers with him with church music, so we asked him to play it in order to try to drown out the other music. It worked. As soon as he started playing his music, the spirit was there, and we were able to teach. It's really profound how much of a difference it made. I didn't realize until I became a missionary how much music affects the spirit--I mean, I did, but I didn't realize it as much as I do now. A lot of the popular music people listen to (even members of the church) really doesn't bring the spirit at all. I really feel that we need to be careful about the music we listen to. It really does affect our ability to feel the spirit, and we need to have the spirit with us always, or Satan will attack us. That's one thing I've really learned--the moment you distance yourself from the spirit, you put yourself in Satan's territory.

Anyway, we have a baptism this coming Saturday. It is for a 13-year-old boy. He will be the only member in his family, but the young men and the YSA guys in the ward have really been fellowshipping him, and he always comes to church, so I think he'll be able to stay active after he's baptized. He's really cute  

Anyway, life is still great. The gospel is true. Always fight Satan. Don't give in to him! Just keep reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to church. Always always always do these things, no matter how busy you get. Always remember the purpose of life is to be obedient and to sacrifice. Always put God first. Okay, enough of my preaching to you. hehe.

I love you all. Thanks for everything!
Love, Sister Boekweg

March 18 Great Support from San Nicolas Members

This week has been pretty good. Sister Serrano has been kind of sick this week, so we didn't work on Friday, and I worked for only 3 hours on Saturday with one of the sisters from San Nicolas 2 (we did exchanges so we could teach Bro. M, who has a baptismal interview coming up). Sister Serrano is such a great example to me. Even when she was sick and couldn't work, she didn't ever complain. She is always happy no matter what. I am learning so much from her.

One thing that Sister Serrano always tells me is that fear comes from Satan, and so if our fear is higher than our faith, our faith decreases and it is impossible to teach by the spirit. I know that's true. Sometimes it's a little out of my comfort zone to teach, but I know I just need to have faith.

So, the members in San Nicolas 1 really love to work with us. There are a lot of YSA, and yesterday we had 8 fellowshippers working with us at one time. I felt like we had a fan club following us around. Hehe.

So, one funny thing that happened the other day: we were riding in the tricycle, and I needed to tell the trycicle driver to turn. But instead of saying "kanan po" which means "right" (or "turn right"), I accidentally said "kanin po" which means "rice". I quickly corrected my mistake, but not before Sister Serrano and the tricycle driver heard me. They laughed at me. I laughed too.

Anyway, that's about all for now. Thank you so much for your emails and everything! I love you! I know the gospel is true. There is really nothing like coming on a mission to really strengthen your knowledge and testimony of the gospel. I thought I knew what the gospel is all about before I came on my mission, but my knowledge was really very limited. I have learned so much as a missionary. The gospel is so much more simple than I used to think. It all centers around the Atonement and the doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end). I am so grateful for what I have learned. Study "Preach My Gospel". I know it will bless you and your testimony will grow.

Love, Sister Boekweg