Barugo Pictures

Barugo Week 7

So I've included pictures of my companion for the last six weeks, Sis Sacayanan and I in front of the Carigara chapel.
A picture with Mark, who was recently baptised and the branch members.
Our thanksgiving dinner! Sis Sacayanan said 'Thanksgiving is delicious!' haha.

Thank you for the packages and the love that was inside!

In order to form a branch here, we need a minimum of 15 Melchezidek priesthood holders who are full tithe payers. We probably have like 5 active Elders in Barugo area. There aren't even 15 potential, INCLUDING those that are inactive right now. So I am about 100% sure that I will not 'live' (in the mission) to see Barugo actually become its own branch. The next city, Carigara is about 7 kilometers away.

I really need to practice Waray Waray. The first 3 days I was here I just asked Sis Sacayanan how to say this or that in Waray, and I picked up the transition really well. I just am lacking in vocabulary, because I haven't been putting new words in recently.

I'm totally fine with my needs Mom, don't worry. :) In fact, I received FIVE toothbrushes in total from the ward Christmas box. FIVE! That's a lot. o_O I'm totally just going to give them to the Elders. Haha.

Maybe you won't recognize me when I come home! I remember taking a double look at Eva when she came down the escalator from the airport, cuz we weren't sure if it was her. haha. I think you'll all be fine.

Filipinos love basketball. They love it! There are makeshift basketball courts everywhere. On trees, on big poles, or suspended from other things. Most of it isn't even standard sized hoops or basketballs. They just love to play. So when there IS a standard sized court, it tends to be a really big hangout spot. Sometimes if the churches are open, non-members will ask permission to play on the church court cuz it's so nice.

I don't know if I wrote about this. Filipinos love to talk about tall noses. Meaning American/European noses. They say their noses are not attractive because they are short. I just laugh. I tell them we don't care about noses in American, because there are lots of different kinds of noses there.

Sometimes people call me Sister Lovely. And then laugh really hard. I generally don't respond to people unless they call me by my full last name, just so they know that that's important. Sometimes they call me Sister Love, and then I ask: Who's that?

So we have a recently new investigator named Liezel who is pretty awesome. We've only taught her 3 times. The first time, a short Message of the Restoration, the second time a full MR and the 3rd time all about the Book of Mormon and her prayer to know if it's true scripture. I felt like it was TOTALLY guided by the spirit! We asked how her prayer was to know if it was true. We asked if she felt different. She said yea, but it's difficult to describe. So we asked: Well, is it a good difference? She said yes. So then I sat there and thought about what to say next. I thought "I need to know what to say!" So I was silent for about 15 seconds just thinking and I thought: Did she get a desire to read the Book of Mormon while she was praying? I was kind of happy and hesitant at the same time because I thought: Yay! I thought of a specific question that could have some good results. On the other hand, I was thinking WHY would I think of that question? What if she says no? So this inner battle of sorts turned over I should ask the question, because I won't know until I try, right? So I asked her: "Did you get a desire to read the Book of Mormon while you were praying? And she said yes! Of course, I was so excited. I told her that was definitely an answer to her prayer. But I personally, was rejoicing inside because I feel like maybe I am starting to understand that the Spirit IS using me. I still have a lot to learn though about understanding the language of the Spirit. Whew.

We met a recent convert of another religion (Yikes!) that refused to accept the Book of Mormon we offered (haha.) But the funny thing is that when we told him it was our Christmas present, he just looked at us. "Oh. So you have Christmas in your religion." "Uhhh yes, cuz we celebrate the birth of Christ." "You don't need 1 day to be nice and kind to your family." He told us that if we believed that Christ was born on the 25th of December, we were mistaken. We agreed, because we DON'T believe he was born on that specific day. haha. But honestly, I see nothing wrong with spending a certain time of year to celebrate the birth of the Savior. Honestly, this time of the year is a time when all Christians can really unite with one another, regardless of certain doctrines and remember Jesus Christ. And even people who are not religious spend the Christmas season being able to spend time with their families and be reminded to show more love. I feel like if there was no Christmas, there would be less joy in the world and less unity as a people and families.

Christmas conference was lovely! I love how Elder Uchtdorf quoted 'The Grinch' in his talk about the true Christmas spirit.

~the end~

Barugo Week 6

I read a nice article in the recent Liahona about giving kids assignments so they can feel like they have a responsibility, and gives them something to do at the same time. I don't know, but maybe that will help a little bit?
It may be really really hard teaching Primary, but I know that I will FOREVER be grateful for Primary teachers from now on. The branches here usually do NOT have a strong Primary organization because Primary seems like the last priority for the branch. There are ALWAYS kids running around during church. Running down the halls, in and out of Relief Society, even during Sacrament meeting they just run in and out of the chapel. X_x So yea, I thank you Eva and Morgan for your good work!!

The date we're allowed to have phone calls is December 25. I'll email you with more details later about that, like the phone number you can call.

We had a little Thanksgiving of sorts because I really wanted to have SOMETHING to show Sister Sacayanan, about this crazy American holiday where everyone just EATS. I ended up making mashed potatoes (FOR REALZ! FROM REAL POTATOES!), some pork and beans, corn, and lechon manok (rotisserie chicken basically). We got a really cute picture of the two of us with the food, but the internet cafe doesn't let me hook up my camera here to upload pictures. :(

Don't worry about those packages you sent! I got them already! Wow super fast. ;) One reason is because our zone is somewhat close to Tacloban, so the Zone leaders go to Tacloban fairly often. I haven't actually SEEN them yet (there are 3! oh my!) because they are the Elders apartment, but they've arrived here safely. :) The Elders told me that they were reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally tempted to open them, just because the boxes are so big and inviting and probably full of candy. Haha.

I don't know if I told you about Athena, She's the niece of a less-active member named Liberty. We just talked to her the second day I was here in this area and said: We'd like to teach you. She said sure, and she committed to baptism on the first lesson! ;) The only reason she hasn't been baptised yet is because she hasn't come to church. She has a 2 month old baby and it's been raining a lot. We've also been working on re-activating Liberty. She has a really crazy conversion story. She was working at the most presigious Catholic university in Region 8, which is Samar and Leyte when she decided to get baptised. (She had been attending Institute! haha) So it caused quite a stir at her school, because she was a gospel doctrine teacher there. HAhaha. I think the only problem is that her fire for the gospel might have dimmed a bit. She says she knows its true, even if she hasn't come to church in a while. So this ENTIRE transfer, we've been working on getting them to come to church. We taught Atuz, who is a 9 year old boy that Liberty basically adopted as her son because his dad died. We asked him if he thought it was important that we go to church on Sunday. He nodded yes, so Sis Sacayanan and I just looked at Sis Liberty and Athena with a smirk. Heheeeeeeee.
The great end to this story so far, is that we were sitting in Relief Society and I was again thinking that they didn't show up, when Sis Sacayanan turned to me and said: Athena's here! And the first person to come through the door was Sis Liberty!! I jumped up and gave her a hug in front of everyone, cuz I was HAPPY. I know Liberty had a good experience because at the end she asked about the last General conference and remarked that she should get a subscription to the Liahona. :)

We taught the Baquiran family and showed them the Restoration video. They hadn't read their assignment in the Book of Mormon, so my heart was broken. They are just such wonderful people, I want to help them GET THE BLESSINGS OF THE TEMPLE. After we watched the video we testified we knew it was true. Sis Sacayanan started to cry. The Spirit was just really STRONG. The Spirit is always especially there when we teach the Baquiran family. I'm not sure why, I've just been thinking that it might mean they're ready to accept the gospel. They've been taught for 15 years by Baptist missionaries, and we've only taught them for 1 month. But I believe in miracles with the power of the Spirit. After we left the lesson, the feeling came to me that the thing that might be stopping them right now, is Sister Becky is scared of changing, because she's felt the influence of the Spirit and understands that what we're teaching them is very important.

Sister Merlita is having a lot of personal problems, and she said the time isn't right now for her to be baptised or continue the lessons. We're heartbroken. We still need to talk to her about everything to see what we can do to help.

Mark was confirmed a member! YAY. A week late. haha. Oh well, it's all good. He knew he didn't have the gift of the Holy Ghost yet, so we were happy that he at least knew he needed to be confirmed to be complete. During fast and testimony meeting, he got up and bore his testimony! AHHH. It made me so happy to see him smiling so hard and talking with his new friends in church.

We taught Abraham 3 times this week. He's DIFFICULT to teach. He's very well educated in lots of things, so he tends to go on a lot of tangents. >_< There are points in the visits that I look at sister Sacayanan and SMILE because what Abraham is saying is REVEALED truth! He says a lot of things that are consistant with the doctrine restored in clarity in the gospel. Like eternal progression, that the righteous will become HEIRS with Christ not just angels in a heavenly place, the gathering of Israel, agency... it's alot. But he has a LOT of other stuff that's not right. Like, God the Father is JUST a spirit, Adam chose to follow Satan and FAILED in God's plan, that there were no Prophets after Christ... He really loves his Bible. And I can tell that he really loves God too. I was mistaken when I said he was 7th day adventist, because he told us he has no religious affiliation! o_O I guess he hasn't found the "right church" yet. Hahaha. Anyway, it's really slow with him just because it takes FOREVER to go over one principle because he always has a lot of things to say.

There are various reasons why I'm glad that I did go on a mission. I feel that I am more appreciative of everything, that I can be more considerate of other people, that I can really try to truly love EVERYONE. I feel more influence of the SPIRIT. I am not very well versed in understanding the Spirit, but I feel that I made progression this week. We had interviews with President Malit, and I ALWAYS feel the spirit when I get to talk to him. :) I was able to have some really nice prayers too this week. It's just hard to stay on the high sometimes.

I love you all! I pray for you! I know you pray for me too. :) Thanks a lot.
~the end~

Barugo Week 5

Hi my family!

Our Branch Mission Leader is looking for a wife, so he keeps teasing me. It's worse though because Sister Sacayanan teases me too now. But she told me that he did the same thing to Sister Garcia, who was her companion before I got here.

I saw a 4 year old smoking a cigarette last week! That was HEARTBREAKING. All his little friends were laughing at him. Hehee cigarelyo! Sister Sacayanan and I just looked at each other with open mouths.

Mark was baptised! :) Mark is 16 year old young man who really wants to do whats right. He was found by Sister Sacayanan and Sister Garcia last transfer. Before he met the missionaries, he would drink and smoke with his friends. But not anymore! Whenever we ask him a question while we're teaching him, he looks down and holds his head with one hand and makes little noises like he's thinking REALLY HARD. hehe. Whenever we would ask him how he feels about his baptism he would say... I'M EXCITED! So of course, I was so sad when I thought that he wasn't going to be there on Saturday. Someone told us that his dad was making him work and he was going to miss his baptism! But he showed up! (apparently disobeying his dad) So I started thinking, what's better to do, disobey your parents by being rebellious and drinking or disobeying your parents by going to church? o_O

We currently have about 12 people that have agreed to be baptized. The hard thing is that most of them don't have transportation to church. We didn't have any investigators at church on Sunday, including Mark! AHHH. HE HASN'T BEEN CONFIRMED A MEMBER YET!! But I'm mostly scared that his dad might not have let him come to church.

We gave Laura her Book of Mormon! She was excited that we found one in German for her. (It was hardbound too!) She asked how much it costs, and we said: It's free. o.O She just sort of looked at us for a second not really believing us. haha. So we said that we hand it out because even poor people who don't have money deserve to be able to read it. We gave her 3rd Nephi 11 as her assignment, so when we went back to teach her, we were a little surprised at what she said. "I read what you told me to read. It was kind of negative." "Huh?" "It was talking about how... if you do this, bad things will happen." So I asked her where she read, and it was page 66-69. But her assignment was actually 566-569. So she started laughing. She actually read the end of 1st Nephi and the beginning of 2nd Nephi, where Nephi is exhorting his disobedient brothers to keep the commandments of God or they'd be cast off. So we just all started laughing. We read the beginning of 3rd Nephi 11 with her, and it was a really nice experience. In the part where Christ invites all the people to touch the wounds in his hands and feet, I asked her how she would feel if SHE was being invited by Christ personally to touch his hands to know that he died for us. She said: "Wow. I can't really describe that." It's really weird teaching in English. hehe. When we read the BoM together, she reads her German book and we read our English books and follow along with each other. :)

We also taught a VERY active 7th day adventist church member named Abraham. He and his family are basically the reason why there is a 7th day adventist church in Barugo. His relative in America gave them the money to build it. So in other words, YEA they are active. Our second visit, he basically told us when we got there: "I don't think there's a point in us continuing, because this is not the gospel that's found in the Bible." I thought: "MY GOODNESS, all he's read is the Restoration pamplet!" He was very advent about not accepting the Book of Mormon, because he says the Bible is perfect, in terms of doctrine. We spent almost the whole hour just trying to use scriptures to help him see that the Book of Mormon is ANOTHER WITNESS. It felt like going against a wall for a short time. Sister Sacayanan turned to me and said: "Gahi siya" (meaning, he's hard [not accepting]) My only worry though was if he was WILLING to read the Book of Mormon or not. So I did my best to just TESTIFY and ask him to read it. He said he would. Wheeeeew.

We also taught a woman named Jenny, who told that she's a member. It turns out though that she is not all there in her head. It seems like she has the mental capacity of a 5 year old or something. But she says her grandma is a member in Tacloban, so it's likely that their family are members. Anyway, near the end of the lesson, the following conversation happened:
"Does your husband have time, so he can join in on the lessons?"
*She shakes her head no*
"Oh, he's always busy then?"
"We don't have a clock."

Yea, they don't have time because they don't have a clock. hahah. It was just really funny. :)

I love you! I think about you all alot! Maybe too much. Agoy! Miss you. I will get to hear you in December! Yay!

~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.