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