Barugo Week 14 (1/31/2011)

Wow! A lot of great things happened this week! :D

I know now HOW to study the Book of Mormon and scriptures! Before I just used to just read through and I guess I was just able to sort of glean information as I read, but NOW. I can spend 1 hour reading 1 chapter! It's COOL. I feel like my mind can think of all the deep stuff. hehe. Part of it is because President Malit read 1 Nephi 11 with us and explained to us the meaning of certain passages. NOW I understand that chapter! haha.

We met some great new investigators this week! One man named Luis that is interested in lots of religions, a referral of Athena named Faye, and sister Amparo! Sister Amparo told us outright that she is a devoted Catholic, but we just responded by telling her that we respect the fact that she is devoted so we just asked if she would allow us to share our message with her. We ended up having a very nice lesson, and by the end of the lesson, she was smiling with us and telling us she would be sure to have a lot of questions when we come back. :) The Spirit was totally there as we were teaching her! That's why it was able to be a good lesson. :)

Sister Mangubat and I were flying HIGH on Sunday because we had a family come to church!! Brother and Sister Delmo are returning members that used to go to church in Luzon (the top part of the Philippines). But none of their children ever became members because it was so long ago that they stopped coming to church. We went to visit them on Wednesday and we could see lots of tuba on the coconut trees outside their house. (They make tuba by keeping bottles over parts of the tree near the top. Then they either sell it or drink it.) It made me so sad to see that because it reminded me about how Brother had told the missionaries that he had a drinking problem. Selling tuba doesn't help a lot if you have a drinking problem! So I remembered something President Malit shared to me about helping some members understand God's promise in the scriptures. Mosiah 2:22 If you want to prosper in the land, keep the commandments!
So we shared that though with them during the lesson. "I know that your family has a lot of problems. But if you want to prosper in the land, the only way for that to happen is if you keep the God's commandments." So we committed them to keep the Word of Wisdom and not drink anymore. And we committed them to come to church on Sunday. A member helped them so that they would be able to come to church and they DID! Brother and Sister and their two older boys, Paul and Robert. And now they have a plan to come to church NEXT week by borrowing a pettycab on Sundays. We are SO excited that we were able to help this family come back! They had such big smiles on their faces and Sister Mangubat and I just felt like we were flying on cloud 9. :)
Athena came to church! It was so good because we saw the members helping her with her small baby and having conversations with her. She was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. :) We're so happy to be able to see her tomorrow so we can ask her about the difference she feels in her life now!!

A man we met on the street asked us: "So Mormons is the lost 13th tribe of Israel that Smith discovered right?" He's actually a Catholic minister for the Catholic church in Barugo, so he probably discusses a lot of weird things with other ministers. haha.
(Almost everyone here says 'Mormons'. "I am a Mormons!"They tend to pluralize a lot of English words that don't make sense either, like foods and peoples. haha)

I had a wonderful reading experience when as I read in the Book of Mormon I reflected back on the first time that I really felt that Heavenly Father answered my prayer, and I saw that Nephi had exactly the same experience as I did! That really helps me feel that God LIVES and loves us and answers the heartfelt prayers of his children!

I love you all so much, but I'm out of time now. Thank you for all your emails and love! I LOVE YOU!!

~the end~

Barugo Week 13

Happy Birthday Mom!! :)

Transfer week is over! Sister Sacayanan is gone! :( There goes another companion after 2 transfers. I seem to go through them pretty quickly.

My new companion is Sister Mangubat. She's really sweet and wants to make sure that we're both happy together as companions. :) She's so quick to want to offer a helping hand, or find some way to give service. She's from Manila, but just came from Sogod, a Cebuano area. She's scared of Waraywaray! Hehe. I've already learned a bunch of Tagalog in the last 3 days. Wow!

I went though a reality check when I saw that after this transfer, I have 2 more transfers! AHHH. It's hard not to get trunky sometimes.

This week I've had some roller coaster emotions. Tuesday, Athena was BAPTISED!!! I was freaking out the whole morning because there were no white suits at the church for baptism, but the Elders said that they had 2 at their apartment. There was one very large one, and one smaller one which was more exact for Athena's size. It had some spots on it though, which really annoyed me because it's supposed to be CLEAN. You know, because baptism represents washing away of mistakes and regrets and sins and becoming clean?! It also rained BUCKETS. Like SUPER super hard the whole morning. So lots of members were late, and Athena was the most late. She had a lot of trouble getting to the church. Because of the rain, she chose to ride a bus instead of the side car because of her baby, but while they were traveling, the BUS BROKE DOWN! Ahhh! So they had to wait for the next bus so she could get to the church. She came alone with her baby, but even though there were lots of trials she made it! Earlier that day, I was just stressing out A LOT so I went into a empty room and just told Heavenly Father all that I was worried about. He told me it would all work out. And it did! :)

I had really high hopes this Sunday for church. We had several people arranged so that someone could take them to church. No one showed up though. :( Athena didn't show up either for her confirmation. I cried because I felt so let down. After church, we went to her house and it turns out that her family made her help them with their preparations for the Fiesta in District 1. We taught her about the Holy Ghost. She knows it all already. So it'll just have to wait for next week. She's waiting to tell everyone that she's a member until after her confirmation because she knows she's not done with her baptism yet.

~the end~

Barugo Week 12

It's transfer week! I don't want Sister Sacayanan to transfer, cuz if she does, I'll be left alone again after only 2 transfers! I don't know Waraywaray yet! Agh!

Driving in the Philippines. Usually there are 2 lanes on a highway with opposing traffic. But if there's no one on the other side and the putput/pedicab/or car is slow, they just honk their horn and use the other lane to pass. When I first got here, I would always turn around when someone would honk until I realized that they just honk to let the people in front know a vehicle is coming.

I have a funny experience about the compliment note I wrote last time. There is a branch missionary here in Barugo that is preparing to go on a mission named Raymond. An Elder gave him a copy of those REALLY compact scriptures, that has the leather snap case. They're so CUTE and small. So I was talking about how cute they were and he said: "You want them?" So I said "Okay!" and started to walk off with them (I was joking) He got this funny look on his face and he started to chase after me a little with that worried look on his face. Another Elder and I just laughed at him. :)

We have a Catholic Jesus statue in our apartment. I don't really pay any attention to it anymore, but it looked REALLY out of place when I first got here. haha.

We taught Abraham this week about why the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, because he commemorates the 7th day Sabbath. It is because Jesus Christ resurrected on the 1st day of the week. After he met with us again, he said he was really bothered by the scriptures we used that say "On the first day of the week, Mary went to the tomb" It says that in EVERY single gospel. Mark, Matthew, Luke and John! I don't think he's ready to quite believe the Sunday Sabbath yet though, cuz he says if Jesus resurrected on Sunday, it wouldn't have been a complete 3 days and 3 nights.
Abraham also has told us that he did pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is true, but he hasn't continued to do so. So we were trying to impress the importance of continuing to ask. I related an example, that if I was a mother, and my son wanted a bicycle, I wouldn't buy it for him if he just asked once and never said anything again. So Abraham said, If I was your son, I would have to be patient! I wouldn't press the matter, but I would show that I wanted it by borrowing other bicycles etc. So from our discussion, I would have to say I think I understand Abraham a little better. We're always worried that he doesn't really want to know if it's true or not, but after conversations like that, I think maybe he is trying to find out in his own way.

We committed Athena to come to an activity (Family Home Evening) with President Malit and other missionaries and their investigators. When it came time for the event, Athena texted us and asked "Is it okay if we don't go, cuz it's raining?" There was no possible way we could say it's okay, because that would give her permission TO NOT GO! We couldn't say NO either, because we couldn't force her. So we just replied how much we wanted her to come. And then we went to her house and waited while they changed and helped them with our umbrellas in the rain. I think what was really going through my mind was: "She just needs to be able to listen to President Malit, and then she will REALLY be able to feel the Spirit." So when we arrived there, I pointed out to President who Athena was, and President made a special effort to say Hi and to include her in the games we played. After the games and comments by President Malit, we were eating refreshments when President Malit asked me how Athena was as an investigator. I told him her concerns, mostly about attending church because of her baby, and we really wanted her to want to come to church and be baptized. So he asked if he could talk with her. So I told Athena, and she went and chatted with him for about 10 minutes. After that, President called me over and pointing to Athena he said: She will be baptized! I looked at Athena, and she had tears in her eyes. She promised to come to church this Sunday, and President said if she did that, he would authorize her to be baptized this week.

Athena came to church yesterday! She's going to be baptized tomorrow! YAY!

I love you all lots! Thanks for your prayers and support. :)
~the end~

Barugo Week 11

Some more Philippine culture facts:
If you compliment someone on something, they either downgrade it (oh it's not nice, oh it's old) or sometimes they even offer to give it to you! You have a cute wallet! You want it? It's yours! haha.

If you walk by or see someone while they're eating, they offer you food! They say: Kaon kita! (Lets eat!) At the very least, it's polite to offer them your food. ;) It happens all the time, people we don't know or if we just walk by them always offer us food. "Kaon kita!"

They really like to tease one another about buying each other's food. "You're gonna pay for me right?" "Yay! Sister Loveland's going to treat us all to lunch!" Like that. I had one zone leader who did it to me all the time in my first area. I ended up really irritated cuz he was ALWAYS saying I would treat everyone. >_< But I understand it a bit more now.

I had a GOOD WEEK. Lots of spiritual highs!

President Malit asked President Daganasol (the branch president) how Barugo was doing. We don't know what the future holds for Barugo.

We are trying to figure out if there's something stopping Athena from really having a desire to come to church. The lessons are great with her, she understands everything and she continues to read the Book of Mormon when she can. It's just that it's RAINY season now, so she can't really take her baby outside (meaning... to go to church) >_< So as a thought, we decided to really help her get to know who Christ is. We showed her the Finding Faith in Christ video and it was GREAT. Afterwards we talked for just a little bit and told her that THAT amazing feeling we were all experiencing was the Holy Ghost.

I feel like that was a really good experience for me as well. I felt the spirit strongly as we watched that. I think I felt my faith and my love for him increase just as we were watching. The past couple of days It's been easier to remember Him more often. I think I was changed for the better as the spirit helped me understand how amazing He was. And that he died for me. And that he did EVERYTHING he did out of love. Everything he taught, everything he lived and died for. As a result of that I felt my fears and hesitations just fade away about being a missionary.

We taught the Baquiran family again. It was AMAZINGGG! Most of them had read, but Sister Becky told us she hadn't. And then in the middle of the lesson, she starts telling us about how she realized that Joseph Smith must have been an instrument in bringing to pass the things that we were telling her. She told us that she reads EVERY SPARE CHANCE SHE GETS because she wants to know about the Book of Mormon. She just told us she hadn't because she didn't want us asking her questions cuz she forgets things easily. I suggested that we all kneel down and ask if the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are true. So we DID. The entire family and both of us missionaries kneeled down on the floor. I started the prayer, asking for help to receive an answer. I asked "Is the Book of Mormon true?" "Is Joseph Smith a true prophet?" As I asked, I felt a warmth from inside envelop me! I had asked before if it was true and I know I had received an answer, but this was even stronger than I've felt before. I was on the verge of tears. The family members all took their own turns as well asking if the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith, and Sister Sacayanan closed the prayer. I know that they felt the spirit. They said they were not sure yet if there was an answer, but that was such a wonderful experience. That family is ready! Ever since the beginning when we first met them, the Spirit was always strong when we taught them. We just have to find out what they need to get that answer.

This is Jesus' Christ's church! It was restored through a prophet called of God and Jesus Christ! I'm so happy that I can say that with certainty in my heart. Because I asked, and I've received answers time and time again. It's true.

I love you all. I know we'll see each other soon enough, but I still have some work to do here. :)
~the end~

Barugo Week 10 Pictures

Barugo Week 10

I love your blog entries Eva, because they include pictures! That's probably why you all enjoy my pictures too. :)

We're in Tacloban today, so YAY I can upload pictures!
Me and my district leader. SUPER Sister Missionary!
The blue sign is written on a motorcycle side car, the kind we ride all the time.
This is me in the mission home garden with ALL my companions! (That are still in the mission field right now, hehe)
Me in the yellow line is the sisters in our zone! Yep, everyone coordinated to wear yellow.
The other line is a line of missionaries that were assigned in Palompon! I'm going to give this picture to a branch missionary there because she loves us so much.

I told you about the firecrackers last week. I'm ALMOST used to them now. Bah! They just go off randomly, and sometimes they get REALLY LOUD. I find no amusement in them! :( (Which is good, cuz we're not allowed to play with them anyway)

New years eve we were instructed to be sure we were home by 8 because of possible fireworks and gun shootings (in the air... ya know?) So we just went home and went to bed. haha. We were woken up by fireworks going on outside at about midnight. Sis Sacayanan said they were pretty. I was too lazy to get off my bed on the floor (which cannot see out the window) so I missed the whole thing. haha. New Years Eve seems just a lot like Christmas in the Philippines. People stay up until midnight, and then eat a lot. The food includes macaroni/fruit salad, sliced bread, spagetti, lechon chicken, whatever else is special. It really depends on the house.

Filipinos turn their books from the bottom of the page. They just grab the side of the page with their fingers and flip it on the bottom. I know it's a Filipino thing because I've seen TONS of people do it. It's different than the "lick your fingers and daintily turn the page from the top corner" american style.
They also tie their shoes (or anything) differently too. Sister Malicdem looked at me really strangely when I tied a bow using a shoelace. She said: DO THAT AGAIN! I had no idea what she was talking about, because I didn't think she was interested in my tying a bow. They don't do the "over under around and through" thing. They fold two "overs" on both sides and then tie those together. Haha.

We had the funniest experience with Tatay Avila this week. We usually go teach him around 4 o clock, but we ended up being a bit early. So we were walking down the road when Sis Sacayanan sees him in the distance. So she calls out to him and starts running! I guess she didn't want him to get away, but he's old and had a stroke and can't walk very fast with his walking stick, so I don't know why she ran. haha. Anyway, it got to the point where we KNEW he heard us yelling for him, because there's no way that he wouldn't. But he refused to turn his head around, and to me it looked like he tried to pick up his pace. (But like I said, he can't walk very fast so we easily caught up to him.) I had a suspicion that he was probably drunk so he was trying to avoid us. We could smell tuba on his breath.

Tatay! You were drinking!
Yea. (WOW he usually denies it!) But I told them, only a little bit!
Well, how's your cigarettes?
Waray na! (Meaning he doesn't do it anymore)

So Sister Sacayanan goes behind him and notices that he has a box shaped thing underneath his baseball cap. We just start laughing as we ask him: "What's this under your hat?" (4 cigarettes in a box)

It was just a funny experience, but now that I think about it, so sad at the same time. :(

Sometimes its hard having the truth, but knowing that you're the minority.

I had several nice experiences this week spiritually. Praying about my testimony and feeling more confident in promptings from the Holy Ghost. Some of them, I'm not always so sure about, but I feel more confident in doing things, so that might be a sign that its from the Holy Ghost.

I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God! The Book of Mormon is true! The temples here in the church are really Houses of the Lord! I'm excited when I can visit the temple again.

I miss you a lot and love you!
I think about all of you often, individually. :) Mom, Dad, Eva, Jessie, Emily, Cyrena, Lizzie, Tiffany, Kristian, Patrick, Katie, Zack, Autumn, Eleanor. I think about all of you often and I love you!

~the end~

Barugo Week 9

This was a pretty strange week. For one, last P-day was on a Tuesday, so we had to randomly make schedules with people on Monday, when we dont usually have schedules, and then Tuesday and Wednesday we were in Tacloban because of Christmas Conference activities. Every single missionary in the mission was there! I took an awesome picture of me with 5 of my companions. :) I'll upload some pictures next week because the internet cafe here doesnt allow us to use usb ports.

The next day after that was Christmas party for the branch. They had games and dance numbers that the youth, primary, and a couple other people prepared and food! The party started 1 and 1/2 hour late though. >_< clear="all">
Everyone's been using firecrackers lately. I find it REALLY annoying. All they do is make a loud noise and disturb the peace. They don't even light up or look pretty or anything. Some of them get really loud too. Sis Sacayanan says they'll be even bigger when New year comes. Grrr.

A member recently asked if one of my siblings has gone on a mission. I said yes, so he asked: "where?" I told him Bolivia, which is in south america. He said: "It's just the same as the Philippines - purely Catholic!" I laughed thinking about how there might be a lot of similarities there with Eva's mission and mine.

The Filipinos also have a tradition called "Remembrance". You basically give someone a gift so that they'll remember you when they see it. So there are always people asking me for a remembrance. "Give me a remembrance, ok?" Yea, they use the English word remembrance too. It worked to my advantage when I asked one of my companions for a scarf that she found for 20 pesos. "Remembrance, pleeeease." :P It's kind of weird though when people ask me for remembrance, and I don't really even know them. :\

Christmas eve and Christmas day we didn't have any set appointments, and half of our investigators and member families were all GONE somewhere else, so we spent the day finding whoever was left and reading Luke 2 with them, the story of Christ's birth. For others, we would sing them a Christmas Carol. :)

On Christmas eve, the owner of the Salon near our apartment gave us a TON of food! We had made an appointment to teach her and her family, but they canceled on us. But she's a really nice lady, so she gave us a ton of food. haha. Cookies, cake, spagetti (that's really special in the Philippines), macaroni salad, fried chicken. That is really really Filipino. haha. Everyone celebrates Christmas here on Dec 24 midnight. They eat special food and open presents. I told my companion that we usually celebrate it Christmas morning, so that Santa has time to bring his presents. :P

So the owner of the Salon is named Susan, and she's related to Athena, our investigator. I knew that they canceled on us, but I really wanted to figure out a way to give them a Book of Mormon. So I thought it would be really nice if we gave it to her family as a Christmas present. I wrote a nice little note inside and we went to their house and sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing. (People really like it when we sing :) ) And I read to them the note inside the Book of Mormon. I was basically on the verge of tears as I read it and gave it to them and I'm sure they were feeling something too, just because of the look on their faces. They said thank you for the book. :) I hope they appreciate it.

I've started reading through D&C. There's a LOT of stuff in there about missionary work! That was teh BIG topic i guess during the early time of the Church. Go forth and declare the glad tidings of great joy!

Well I'm so glad that I was able to talk with you all over the phone. It's really nice being able to HEAR your wonderful voices. I started to cry too, so don't make too much fun of mom for crying anymore. I can totally relate with her more now. :P
Love you all <3

Tell me if you get my letter!

Barugo Week 8 Pictures

Barugo Week 8

My email is a day late because they changed P-day this week to Tuesday because of Christmas conference. So, I hope you didn't worry or anything!
I made this paper Christmas tree so we could have one in the apartment. hehe.
These other two are trees that the branch members made for the church. There is NOTHING like real evergreen trees here, so all Christmas trees are fake or made with other stuff very imaginative-ly. heh
There's one of the church in Carigara,
The family here is Athena and our less-active member named Liberty. We're at their house NEARLY every day because we teach Athena tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays at 2, and we teach
I sent a letter home this week with a check in it from Sister Baker. Uhhh, please watch out for it. haha. It also has a small letter for mom, dad and emily. :)
There was a really big change with Abraham this week. We tried reading the book of mormon with him, and it didn't work very well. We read the introduction about Lehi, so he asked: Who's Lehi? Why isn't he in the Bible? And then he set his book on the table and sat back. Anyway, it was just really stressful situation. He doesn't want to pray any more with us during lessons. He tells us he wants just to do it. So we're just worried about his spiritual progress.
So the very next lesson, we were a little hesistant about going to teach him, just because we don't know what to expect from him anymore. We prepared what we felt was a good lesson, (but we've never been able to actually TEACH him because he usually goes off on crazy tangents. So, I figured we might as well just try to charge forward. We actually TAUGHT him! He sat and listened as we talked about 2 Cor 13:1, having more than one witness and Ezekiel 37 about stick of Judah and Joseph. I REALLY felt that the Spirit was guiding us in the lesson. Mostly because we were so nervous when we started, but once we got started, Sister Sacayanan and I just KNEW what to say and when to let the other one start teaching. Afterwards, Abraham told us he doesn't agree with those interpretations, but we know that something must have touched him. He had a different spirit with him. When I decided to pray to ask for help from Heavenly Father in helping Abraham read the Book of Mormon and have a spiritual experience, I didn't know it would be SO HARD. The Book of Mormon really seems to be his stumbling block, but he's still willing to keep reading. I think someday, the Book of Mormon will definitely be the strongest parts of his testimony. ;)
Liziel is getting persecuted from her family and friends. So she told us she's still a question mark about baptism. She DID read the for strength of youth pamplet though, and she said she agrees with everything she read! WOW. That is going to make teaching the word of wisdom, and law of chastity a LOT easier! haha.
Tatay Avila came to church! He was lying to us about his Word of Wisdom problem this week, and then he showed up at church! o_O So we're not really sure what's going through his head. But I think that definitely helps us know that there might be some desire there to really change.
I'll talk to you at Christmas! Love you! :) Think of some great stuff to talk to me about! weeeee.
~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.