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