Barugo Week 22, and the LAST

I'm not sure if we are going to email next monday. I don't really think so. Next monday, we're going to be spending the day with President and Sister Malit. Tuesday morning we're leaving for Manila. And then we'll spend the day in there and at the temple. Wednesday evening we'll be flying from Manila to Hong Kong, and then Hong Kong to LAX. I'll arrive in LAX around 10 pm Wednesday. haha. The same day I left! (Because of the time differences) The longest flight is going to be about 13 hours.

We haven't watched General Conference yet. The broadcast is going to be this Saturday and Sunday, my last weekend in the Philippines!!

One of our branch missionaries, Raymond Cortel received his mission call! The stake president invited him to read his call on the stand during sacrament meeting last week. He got all choked up as he started reading his mission call to Philippines Angeles mission. I remembered over 18 months ago when I felt the same way as I read my mission call to all of my sisters and my roommate at BYU. :) It's a really special moment when you feel the Spirit testify to you that you are
really called of God to go to that mission.

I used to wonder why I was assigned to go into the MTC November 4 instead of the transfer beforehand with Sister Dustin. It was difficult, being a solo sister in the MTC. I used to think: "Wouldn't it have been much easier if Sister Dustin and I were companions in the MTC?" My availability date was available the time that Sister Dustin went into the MTC. Why was I just waiting at home the whole time? Nevertheless, I trusted that
someday I would figure out why. About 1 week after Sister Salando arrived, I shared that thought with her. If I had been with Sister Dustin in the start, I probably would have opted to go home in March with the rest of them instead of extending. In other words, I would not be Sister Salando's trainer. So in my limited understanding of God's super great plan for all of us, maybe this is one reason why I had to be assigned at this specific space of time here.

We had two investigators come to church. One is named Andres Bustillo. I've taught him on and off since I've been here. His family is completely inactive. They say they want to come back to church, but they tell us that they're too busy and they have too many problems. I just want to yell at them: You got all those problems BECAUSE you stopped going to church! Andres is interested and always willing to listen to us, I think his real problem is a fellowshipper. So after several times of trying to get members to go pick him up for church, one branch missionary, Ariel actually went and picked him up. After we had church services on Sunday, Ariel told us: Don't worry, I'll take care of it so he can get baptized. I just smiled at him and said: That's what EVERY MISSIONARY wants to hear! It makes SO much difference when members are willing to be friends and help investigators.

We've been working with MarieGrace, our recent converts' younger sister. She's really cute and she wants to be baptised. We taught her almost everyday this week so that she would be super ready for the baptism interview. We even reviewed the entire interview on Saturday so she would feel ready on Sunday. But after Elder Benaries, our district leader interviewed her, he said she wasn't ready yet because she didn't know about Joseph Smith, Sabbath day, law of Chastity and some other stuff. I told him that we KNEW she knew all of that. I think what really must have happened is she
froze during the interview! haha. She's super shy so the fact that she didn't know Elder Benaires must have affected her a lot. But that's okay. I would feel better too if she waited to get baptized until she was confident enough to be able to answer everything clearly. We'll continue to teach her. Maybe near the end of April she can get baptized. :)

The young men we've been teaching in Banana Island have been in the basketball tournaments in Barugo the last two weeks on Sunday. If Jojo and Mark don't play, they might lose their spot on the team. We told them to "Choose the Right and Sacrifice!" because that's what Jojo would say to us after we sang "Choose the Right" with them and taught them about Sacrifice the first week we taught them. They haven't been able to attend church again since the first time we brought them. But... it's OKAY. These things take time, right? Jojo is always telling us he wants to make a change in his life. Real change takes time doesn't it. I may not see the end result, but it's still possible. I believe in them.

So like I said, this is quite possibly my last email in the mission. YIKES! :D I'm super happy to come home soon. I'm also super happy that I am SO blessed that I can visit the temple once a week. I miss the temple too.

I love you all a lot.

~the end~

Barugo Week 21

So I opened my email today and I had like TWENTY emails. So it took me a really long time to read them all! haha. I got some good news that I was accepted into the Dietetics program at BYU for the fall! Yay! :) And then of course you all had lots of remarks that you emailed me. It was really good seeing pictures of my nieces and nephew! :) I showed them to my companion, Sister Salando.

It's getting so CLOSE!!

My schedule is actually a day earlier than I said it was last week. I found out that everything is going to start 1 day earlier. I'll arrive home the evening of April 13. I actually am leaving Hong Kong nearly midnight April 13. And then I'm going to arrive home around 10 PM April 13. Haha. I'm going to arrive home 2 hours before I left! Yay! I'm so excited to see you all. :)
I am going to be flying into LAX because the layovers going to Long Beach Airport would have been KILLER. Like 8 hours of layover in San Francisco airport! Ahhh. So I opted for LAX instead. I hope that doesn't really inconvenience you, but that's the plan now.

People keep asking me how I feel now that there are only two weeks left. I tell them I'm trunkie and they laugh.

We taught MarieGrace, Robert's sister and Jojo/Gardo/Mark almost everyday this entire week! They're the ones we're working the most with right now so that they can get baptized in April! :)

But NO ONE came to church! :( Ahhh man.

But at least the gospel's still true.

Love you all! <3

~the end~

Barugo Week 20

We've been trying to teach our investigators about sacrifice. President Malit has focused a lot on sacrifice the past couple of months. I think I'm finally starting to understand... at least a little bit. For me, I've realized that the motivation for sacrifice is LOVE. Of course there are people who make sacrifices for their personal benefit, but when those sacrifices are for someone else the only motivation can be love. I've realized now a lot more of the sacrifices that my parents and my sisters or friends have made for me, and how much they really do love me. :)

I wrote last week about how we had a Tsunami threat for a while because of the earthquake that happened in Japan. The Tsunami never happened, but there was a lot more flooding in our areas. And then for some reason, ever since Tuesday it has rained almost straight everyday. Yesterday and today are the first time we're really seeing the sun come out. Some communities in our area have flooded, but Sister Salando and I never really noticed. Some other missionaries areas are up to the waist with flood. All and all, I think that we got off pretty well. No major problems.

Out of all those young men we've been teaching in Banana Island, one of them came to Church again on Sunday! :) His name is Gardo. It's so funny how these young men are all peer pressuring each other to do good. "Hey, you should read the Book of Mormon!" "Hey, let's all get baptized!" But like I said last week, they still get kind of embarrassed of Churchy kind of things.

Since Mom asked, this is somewhat of what the schedule (I think) will be.
I'll be leaving my assigned area on April 12 and be in Tacloban for the day. Early in the morning on April 13 we're going to fly to Manila and visit the temple. :) I don't know if we'll spend the night there in Manila, or if we will only spend a couple of hours there.

So I'll probably actually arrive home about April 14 or 15. I'm not sure of the date. I'll arrive home the same date I leave though (because of the time differences haha.)

I love you all lots! I'm excited to see you!

~the end~

Barugo Week 19 Pictures!

Barugo Week 19

This will make you happy!
I attached pictures! I realized a while ago that seeing your pictures made me SO happy. So I realized that you must all feel the same way when you can see MY pictures! So I've been trying and trying to remember so I can get pictures, and now I can! YAY! :)

Sister Mangubat and I with our matching dresses (in design, not in color)
Sister Mangubat and I with our matching umbrellas!
There's one of me with my new companion and McArther park in Tacloban. President and Sister Malit are there with us.
One shows all of us Sister missionaries that have been assigned in Barugo. We all had transfer meeting and just happened to be in the Tacloban chapel at the same time, so we took a picture! Yay! :)

There was no problem with the Tsunami here. The earthquake in Japan was over 8 magnitude?! That's HUGE! They told us that we were on Tsunami alert number 2 which means the wave would be about 1 meter if there was one. There wasn't anything though. The water level did rise near all the beach fronts though. One bottom part of a member's house got flooded, but there wasn't really any damage.

We found and taught 3 teenage boys this week and they visited the church on Sunday. :) Their names are Jojo, Mark and Gardo. It's really funny teaching young men because they tend to be so embarrassed about talking about spiritual things.

We taught Nanay Luz last week about Apostasy 3 times before she accepted the idea that there's only ONE church that can have all the correct doctrine. So I was a little surprised when she told us she was not there for our last appointment because she got out late from Catholic church. haha. So we talked a bit more about she needs to pray if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church.

Lots of people are a little shocked that I'm going home soon. Pretty much everyone that ever finds out. The ones that are most freaked out are the Elders that started their missions before me, and now I'm going home before them. Haha.

Culture note:
If you can cook really well, Filipinos will joke "Pwede na magasawa!" or "NOW you can get married!"

~the end~

Barugo Week 18

I was not transfered. Sister Mangubat was transferred! Ahh. She was super sad because our investigators are awesome.

I'm actually training my last transfer here... Wow! Sister Salando is my new companion. That makes a grand total of 12 companions in the mission. hoho. 8 in the mission field. She's from Manila and speaks Tagalog. Because I've been here for so long, I already understand really basic Tagalog, so I mostly understand her. I just speak English to her because she doesn't understand Waray-waray yet. Ahh! Languages in the Philippines are so mixed up all the time. I still speak a crazy mix of English, Tagalog, Waray waray and Cebuano. Most of the challenges of training are not even there, because Sister Salando is Filipina! She already knows how to cook and do laundry and there's absolutely no culture shock. She just needs help with the paperwork and the language haha. She has a family of 9, and only 3 are members of the Church. She's the only one to serve a mission. I can already tell she has great love.

We had a great lesson with Laziel this week. As we were talking to her I just asked the two questions that President Malit asked us to ask our investigators: "What's the biggest problem why you can't come to church?" She told us the biggest problem is pamasahe. (travel fare) So I asked the second question: "What can you sacrifice so that you'll be able to have 20 pesos to come to church on Sunday?" She looked at us and said: "Alot!" She said she would wait for the bus after school instead of riding on the sidecars so she can save 5 pesos on her way home, and she said she would stop giving her friends pesos whenever they ask for one. haha. And then on Saturday afternoon, we asked her how it was and we asked her if she had saved up pamasahe for tomorrow and she said Yes she was going to go.
But for some reason she never showed up on Sunday! Bah. But that's the closest she's ever come to coming to church! Baaaaah! Maybe next week.

Sister MayAnn and Mila came to church too! It was super awesome. :) We went to their house to pick them up, and they were just waiting for us! They just locked the door and then we all went to church. :) Sister Mila has already read up to 2nd Nephi 2. Sister MayAnn is in chapter 18 of 1 Nephi. They've read more in the Book of Mormon in 2 weeks than ANY OTHER INVESTIGATOR EVER! They're both so nice and sweet. I'm glad I get to be their missionary.

I love you all so much! <3 I'm excited to see you all fairly soon. Everyone is shocked I only have 1 transfer left. I don't remember what life was like back home. x_X

~the end~

Barugo Week 17

I'm so sorry I don't have any pictures. I've been trying to send some for a while. We weren't able to go to Tacloban today, so the internet cafes here in Carigara don't let you upload pictures. :( I've been meaning to for weeks!

This week felt long, but not because it was bad. It was pretty good.

On Tuesday, we had Zone conference (it's been a long time since I've went to one! They only do it every 3 months now instead of every transfer.) We started out with a great training from the new traveling Sisters (Sister Jones and Blonquist) We left the chapel so we could practice teaching by asking inspired questions from the Spirit in the cultural hall. As we sat down and started, I quietly prayed in my heart that I would be able to understand our investigator's needs. And then I had the most amazing experience where the Spirit told me a very specific question as we were teaching E. Benaires as the investigator. I asked him that question, and he said, yes it was true. I was OVERWHELMED with the feeling of the Spirit. I just started to cry. I couldn't even speak, so Sister Mangubat took charge of the rest of our small lesson. It was amazing. As I've been reflecting on that, I realize that was the exact same feeling when I first went to the temple. I felt so full of a strong presence. I especially feel very grateful that my Heavenly Father gave me that experience.

The next day we had splits with the traveling Sisters. I was with Sister Jones. We had a very wonderful lesson with our new investigators, Mila and Maryann. We spent a lot of time teaching about finding out if it's true through prayer. We also taught about what exactly the Spirit would feel like. And then we had Maryann give the closing prayer and ask if it was true. She was apprehensive about giving the prayer (usually they are when they are not used to praying) After some encouragement she gave a very nice prayer and then paused. She asked if the Book of Mormon was true and asked where is the church that they should be going to. She closed the prayer and then she started to cry! She couldn't even talk! She just kept rubbing her eyes. (Just like what happened to me... haha) We told her that feeling was the Spirit. It was so GOOD. We were able to teach them several times this week, and last Saturday the entire family (all 10 of them!) came and listened to the Plan of Salvation. We're so HAPPY to be able to teach this wonderful family. :)

We taught Robert every single day this week (except Monday, because the Delmo family don't want us coming over because they have Family Home Evening haha). He is ALL ready for his baptism scheduled this Saturday! Yay! :)

(Nanay means "Mom")
We were also so happy when Nanay Luz came to church! She's this sweet old lady who just nervously laughs all the time. This is her second time she has visited the church. But it was even more special this time because she came to church on her OWN! She had a tendency to talk about how "We all believe it one God, so it doesn't matter what church we go to." So we taught specifically about the Apostasy and how only 1 church can be the one that Christ established. By the time we left she said: "So there's only 1 true church?" And then we invited her to pray to know if this was His church. And then she came to church! Yay!

It's transfer week this week. This next assignment, whether it be in Barugo or another place will be my last transfer! Ahhh!!

~the end~

I am a LDS sister missionary serving in the Philippines Tacloban area. I made this blog so that I may share my experiences with my friends and loved ones and anyone who may need to hear my story. My sister will be updating this blog with letters that I'll be writing home.