Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Welcome to Bohol!




Maayong Pasko!
I hope you're all enjoying Christmas Break with your families :)
Bohol is the most beautiful place I've ever seen, it's like a tropical paradise. The typhoon didn't hit Cebu, but there was some scary rain and darkness and no power for a while. We had nightly planning by candlelight haha. I actually slept without an electric fan and the wind from the open window was amazing.
I love teaching these new people. I'm also enjoying being in a trisome. My companions are from Vanuatu and Fiji. They are so much fun. Their first languages are not English and they aren't yet fluent in Bisaya. I usually teach most of the lesson because of the language levels, but I am so amazed at how fast they are learning and how they can learn English and Bisaya at the same time! The gift of tongues is real.
The branch here in Baclayon is small, but the members are active and so welcoming! I'm excited to help them turn the branch into a ward. We are doing 20 TC's everyday and trying to figure out the area because it's really big and there's tons of work to do! :) We want to flood the area with the Book of Mormon!
We have an IBD, Jane, she just started coming to church last month and said she was taught by some elders a year ago and really wants to be baptized this Saturday. We are trying to teach her everyday and review all the lessons so she can prepare to be interviewed and baptized. 

This morning we taught a less-active family and then decided to go find a referral we received on Friday. She was so happy to receive us and set out tons of chairs. Then all the people on the street and outside her tindahan came up and I asked all of them their names and talking to them and soon enough we had 6 new investigators and taught them all an intro to the Lesson 1 and about our purpose as missionaries. One of the men grew up playing basketball with "mormons", he said he always thought they were really fun and has a lot of respect for them. and he really wants to learn about the gospel. Then they said, let's all meet here this time next week! The Spirit was so strong during that lesson. It was a great morning and a great start to the week! Hopefully though we'll be able to teach them more one on one to help them individually progress.
Places we taught lessons this week:
1. under a dense grove of coconut trees on a hill during a spectacular sunset. One of the coconuts fell though, right next to us and it probably would have knocked us out if it had been a foot closer! But the Tatay told me not to worry, he's lived here for 30 years and hasn't ever been hit by a coconut!
2. standing up outside because the house had no chairs, the child was sick inside, and the ground was flooded from the rain.
3. on a nanay's bed because she has a bed-ridden daughter
4. on a dirt path outside a tindahan surrounded by onlookers

I hope you all have a merry christmas :)

-sister bertoldo

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Transfer Call!

Eventful Week!

Pagtambayayong

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kinsa si Jesukristo?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wala'y Tubig



The plumbing in our CR (bathroom) is broken, so the landlord shut off our water until they fix it. So, for the past 24 hours there hasn't been any water in our balay....it's tough to shower, cook, brush your teeth, and wash your face, etc. with no water.... 
we had to ask our neighbors, who have a hose, to fill up basins and trashcans with water. Then we used a ladle flush the toilets and to "shower". 

Sometimes at night as I'm hanging my laundry (hay-hay) out on a line, still in my dress, out on the terrace under the palm trees, and then dump the extra water out over the side of the terrace, and then go down to iron (plantsa) my other dresses, I feel like I'm living in the 50's or something. It's kind of cozy, but mostly it's a huge hassle haha. And I'm not very good at it- I have a burn on my hand from the iron- now a permanent scar.

I have a year left of my mission! haha. It's interesting to be a foreigner and speak a different language. I'm now the only American living in our house, so I spend most of my time trying to understand and join in. Sometimes I'm successful! and sometimes I'm not haha. Because the language uses different ways of saying things and has different "sayings", you kind of have a different personality if you learn a different language. It's weird to think that there now exists a side of me that my family might never really know or understand. 

It's the same for Jared, he will come home being an expert in Italian and in the cultural ins and outs of Italy. I understand now why RM's either always want to talk about their missions, or never want to talk about it. 

The Philippines has a thrift store kind of thing, called an ukay-ukay, and it is quickly becoming a huge weakness of mine! :) it's just tons of clothes piled in a tent and they're all really cheap. Every month my companion and I stop in and buy a new skirt or a new blouse. Then we have to hand wash it (because who knows where it's been!) and line dry it, iron it, and spray it with a little fabric softener and there's a new outfit! Sister missionary weakness. The salesmen recognize us as "Mormons", they all say "Sister, sinina! sayal! blouse!" (dress! skirt! blouse!) haha. They know, now, that I can speak to them so now they try to persuade me to buy all kinds of things, but we are very frugal in bargaining with them. It's a good opportunity to share the gospel because they ask us why we are so dressed up? Do we get paid for missionary service? NO? Whey then, are you serving a mission? It's a great way to bear testimony to them of the gospel and our purpose as missionaries.

Yesterday I was just sitting in church and then the Branch President announced that I would be the concluding speak, give a 20-minute talk about prayer. So caught unawares, I just went up and found that I was able to comfortably deliver a 20 minute talk in Bisaya about the principles of prayer and the importance of individual and family prayer. I felt so much love for the people looking out at all of them from the pulpit.

Our area just went through realignment, so it's a lot smaller now. That means we really need to focus on less active members and finding new investigators.

I love you all, have a good week.
-sister bertoldo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wherefore didst thou doubt?

Last P-day we went to Odlot Hideaway Beach Resort with the Branch President and some of the members....it was like my own personal form of torture, because I just wanted to jump in the ocean and swim! Haha. I did get pretty soaked by some big waves that crashed over the side of the seats! There was a diving board extending out over the rocks for people to jump into the waves, and man it killed me not to jump!

But it's ok, rest assured that I'll return to the Philippines after my mission aron sa pagligo sa dagat! Lami gjud siya!

We had a training meeting this week, so we went back to the mission home to discuss successes and problems with training. It was neat to see the trainers' side of the meeting this time, and it's always inspiring to hear President speak.

I've been having ups and downs of course, but through fasting and prayer and study and work, it's amazing how Heavenly Father speaks to us through personal revelation. I've been especially touched by reading Alma 26:27 (bear with patience thine afflictions and God will grant you success), Helaman 10:2-5 (work with unwearyingness and you will be blessed) and I've been studying the life of Christ from the book of Luke a lot. I know that if we focus on the Savior and doing his will, we are steadied, supported, uplifted, and ultimately successful. But the miracles and success come AFTER the trial of our faith.

As I was staring out at the ocean that I can't swim in I thought of Peter walking out to Jesus on the water, showing such great faith, but when he takes his eyes off of Christ and focuses on the waves and winds, immediately he begins to sink. Christ then asks him, "wherefore didst thou doubt?" How often are we like Peter, letting the winds and waves of life falter our faith!

I hope you all have a great week! Do a little something extra for your spiritual welfare, like pray a little longer, study the scriptures a little deeper, or seek a few extra ways to help others.

-sister bertoldo

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Balaan Espiritu ang Yawe

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Birthday Week!

I had the best birthday so far because I got to spend it surrounded by the Filipino people here in Bogo. I got to spend it here in the Philippines under the heat and the palm trees and the flowers and teaching and testifying to people of the truthfulness of the gospel in Bisaya. I love this crazy language, and constantly learning new words. 

I also got to teach an FHE lesson this week. We had about 30 people there. I used an analogy of three cotton balls. One got no rubbing alcohol (doesn't keep the commandments) one got a little bit of alcohol (sometimes keeps the commandments) and the third was completely doused in alcohol (always keeps the commandments). Then I set them all on fire. The first one masiga dayon. The second one burned more slowly, but still burned. The third one stayed a white cotton ball despite the flames. We then discussed how the commandments are a protection to us and how they strengthen us from within. Then we played games and ate pancit, bread, and soda (a Filipino party classic haha). 

This week I learned how to weave a puso na saging (hanging rice)! But I'm not sure if I remember, I may have to be shown again haha.

I spent the day after my 21st birthday throwing up, but not for the usual reason 21-year-olds throw up. I hadn't eaten all morning, then at lunch I ate 1/2 a kilo of landsonies I bought off the street, followed up with cold water (shocking to the system in this heat) and a LOT of walking. Then during the last lesson of the day, I felt soooo nauseous. I managed to finish the lesson and get out of the Nanay's house before I started vomiting up the water and fruit. Then it was awkward because the lady and my companion are both rubbing my back and holding my hair and suggesting things like massages and menthol oils (the cure for EVERYTHING here haha) but after getting it all out of my system, I was totally fine.

I hope you all had the chance to hear General Conference! We just barely got to watch it this weekend, and it was wonderful! I especially loved President Monson's simple and direct invitation to live the gospel and be an example to others. 


Last night we had a choice experience. We went out to work in this little baranguay on the mountainside. We have been praying to find investigators. We were seeking the name of a potential investigator in the area book. Instead we found her sister who agreed to listen to us. She then invited her cousin, her two sisters and her cousin's wife! Nindot! Soon, Sister Dayhop and I found ourselves teaching the message of the Restoration to five young women! One left before the lesson began, one left before the lesson ended. Of the 3 that stayed for the whole lesson, 2 actively participated. Of the two that participated, one requested for us to continue teaching her and set an appointment. 

That is the difficulty of missionary work. We need to talk to MANY people if we want to find ONE who is actually prepared and ready to accept the gospel into their lives. I'd like to invite all of you to talk about the gospel to your friends and peers and passersby. The Gospel is the way to happiness. Walay laing agianan. Without the help of members, without the courage of the members to speak up and share the truth, the work can't progress!

"As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God's commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society's future." -Elder M. Russell Ballard "The Lord Needs you Now" ALSO SEE Mosiah 2:41

Sigi, wala na, amping kanunay!
-sister bertoldo


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pagkananay



Kamusta!

I'm feeling more like a "real" missionary as a trainer- I get to take initiative and make things happen. It's scary, in a good way

 Right now we are working on strengthening less active members through:
1. Setting up Home and Visiting teaching
2. FHE every Saturday night at a different LA's house
3. bringing active members as kuyog
4. Inviting EVERYONE to attend General Conference

My new companion is a huge blessing....she is pure Bisayan. My past companions spoke English and Tagalog and learned Bisaya here on the mission, but Sister Dayhop is PURE Bisaya. I just copy her pronunciation all day, and she's under strict orders to correct what I say wrong. It's so helpful. I know enough of the language to teach, but I want to expand my ability to: fluency- I want to really converse and relate to the people. It's hard to be patient with myself in the language! I'm really loving Bisaya.

Favorite new foods:
1. Landzones and rambutan fruit.....for description, read 1 Nephi 8:11 (haha)
2. Tamarind candy, imported from Thailand, it's so good! Not sweet, more like "aslum".
3. Natural Ginger candy....Relieves stress. So good!
4. Fresh Lato (a type of seaweed) with vinegar and boiled camotes.

You can't imagine unsa ka lami until you eat it for yourself!

Great Teaching Experience as a Trainer:
We were in a lesson. I felt a lot of pressure leading, opening, inviting, teaching, TALKING! I started getting scrambled, like my thoughts wouldn't align and I was messing up my Bisaya and trying to memorize things on the spot. Then I paused and a wave of calm came over me and I felt the words "you don't need to do everything. Let your companion talk, she has something to say" So I stopped talking and turned to her. She proceeded to relate a personal story to them that was just what they needed to hear. The Spirit filled the room. She was crying so it became my turn to take over and continue the lesson. Without thinking or reading anything, I just tied the lesson into her experience and into the commitment for them in seamless Bisaya. The words just came. I know that when we let the Spirit work instead of trying to do everything on our own, mahimong ta malampuson. 

"Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true" -Alma 32:21

cge amping mo, kita kits!

sister bertoldo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

God id Mindful

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Butterflies and Balut

Kamusta kamo!

I finally ate Balut this week! If you don't know what it is, google it! It is a delicacy here. We had a Family Home Evening with a less-active member, her non-member husband, and her younger brother who is our investigator. They said, "Sister, we'll have an FHE with you if you eat Balut for us! So I did it!

When we showed up at their house for FHE though, they weren't home, just the investigator was there. So I suggested that we still hold the FHE with him at the chapel with the branch president and his family. It turned out really great because we got to show him the chapel and there was a youth institute class going on, so he got to meet all the youth of our branch. Then we had our family home evening lesson with him and his sister and her family got there just in time for the lesson! It was really great, Sister Fernandez had an object lesson with fire and everything (I would explain the object lesson, but too complicated! It was really cool though!) Then after we closed the lesson, they watched me and filmed me eating Balut.....

And it turns out that Balut is delicious, as long as you don't look at it.

We're really working on finding investigators through the members. Referrals are always the best way to find people interested in the gospel. We give "referral cards" now to every member we meet with and ask them to write the name and address of one person we can go meet and hopefully teach! But we also still continue to focus on strengthening the members, and we are see a lot of success! This Sunday, fast and testimony meeting, we had 2 investigators come to church and two of the less-active families we've been working closely with attend church!

One of our investigators told us, during the testimony meeting, that he felt so happy, that this was different than how he feels at other churches he's attended. He really felt the Spirit. He said "I want to be up there too, once I have my own testimony." We even saw that he was tearing up a little. My companion and I also went up and bore our testimonies. I have decided that I'm going to bear my testimony in Bisaya every fast and testimony meeting. That's 18 Bisaya testimonies. So far, I've given 4!

I'm really grateful to be in the beginning of my mission: I'm reveling in all the TIME I have left on my mission. I can already tell I'm going to miss this place so much, so I want to make all the most of my time starting from the VERY beginning!

I'm learning so many skills here that I probably won't ever use after my mission. These include:
1. opening cans with a knife
2. chopping wood with a blunt knife
3. cooking Filipino-style sud-an
4. catching butterflies with my hands
5. killing various kinds of bugs
6. hand-washing laundry
7. making keychains out of seashells
8. cleaning bathrooms that don't have proper drainage
9. taking apart and putting together electric fans
10. how to find and buy various delicacies of the Philippines

We taught a member about the Word of Wisdom last week and she said, "Sister's I've been selling cigarettes out of my tindahan, and as I'm listening to your lesson, I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't do that." We really appreciated her humility and honesty!

Funny story: 
We spent one day tracting in an area outside of Bogo city and to get there you have to take a little forest path through a thicket of palm trees and these little heart-shaped flowers. It was a BUTTERFLY SANCTUARY, millions of them! So naturally, we caught a few. Then we went and taught a few lessons, all the while holding the butterfly by its wings. It was a good way to meet people because they thought it was so funny. On the way back, Sister Fernandez was like, let's keep them and make bookmarks out of them! So we put them in a spare Book of Mormon I had and shut the book....I felt so bad killing it, with the Book of Mormon even! We caught a third one and I didn't close the book very hard. Then during our next lesson, I opened the BoM to share a scripture, and that third butterfly, still alive, flew out! The person we were teaching was shocked, like the scriptures really are "living scriptures" haha. I love the Philippines.

There's so much more, but for the sake of time, I'll leave it at that. Have a great week everyone!

"The opportunity to work is a privilege, 

The privilege to work is a gift.
The power to work is a blessing.
The love of work is success.”

-David O. Mckay

Monday, August 24, 2015

Teaching Moments!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Don't Fear Imperfection!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Praise Him in the Islands"

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tears, Trials, Trust, & Testimony

Kamusta!

Every morning I wake up, like, I wonder what I'm going to see/eat/hear/and do today? And sure enough it's always an adventure!

This was a very unusual week! We went on STL exchanges, worked with the senior missionaries, had Zone Conference, and even got flu shots!

Today we were blessed to help with a CSP (community service project)! We went to a less-active family's house and helped them dig a giant hole for a septic tank. "Digging a hole" really meant cheseling away and shale and mud and rocks haha. So from 6-10 AM we did that. Then they made us breakfast and it was the single greatest meal I think I've ever eaten:

1. rice
2. tiny fish straight from the boat into a frying pan
3. mangoes
4. a dash of soy sauce mixed with hot peppers
5. and for dessert....a pile of coconuts with a machete! We got to hack off the top, drink the juice, then hack it in half and eat the meat! so fresh!

Okay, now for the "spiritual food" of the email. I was having a particularly rough time one day. "How can I teach people and get to know people without speaking the language?!" is the main concern. But on our tryke ride to one lesson, I said my own personal prayer (we had already prayed as a companionship of course) that I would be able to speak by the Spirit during this next lesson. That I would be able to have a meaningful contribution. Later during the lesson, I had no idea what was being said- none at all! But the lull in the conversation came and my companion turned to me, and her eyes were saying "your turn!" haha. So I started to continue what we had planned but instead I stopped. She was looking really downcast. Her son was there and her mother-in-law. I realized I didn't know anything about her. So instead of our plan, I asked her a bunch of questions like, "How is your family?" and "What role has religion played in your life? How has it affected your family?" She answered the questions vaguely at first like she had been the whole lesson. But as I kept asking more questions, she talked more and more and soon she was looking into my eyes and crying as she detailed the answers. I was a little bit shocked at how much she was suddenly participating. I didn't know what she was saying, but when she finished we jumped the lesson to the Atonement of Christ. Later I asked my companion what she had said? And she said that her extended family is far away and that she has been dealing with missing her relatives and she has made many mistakes in her life and she doesn't know what to do about the feelings of guilt she's been dealing with. It was EXACTLY the part of the lesson we had switched course to. Even though I didn't really understand her, it didn't matter. The Spirit teaches both her and us, the missionaries. The gospel of Jesus Christ applies to everyone, in every language.

Fun experience: I got to play with a group of kids. It went from throwing a ball to one kid to playing full on soccer with about 20 of them! So much fun to hear them yelling "Sister! Sister! Sister!" haha

"Success is rarely simple. Generally it is preceded by tears, trials, trust, and testimony...servants of God take comfort from the Master's assurance: "I am with you always". This magnificent promise sustains you. It comforts you during those moments of discouragement, which come to all" - President Thomas S. Monson

-Sister Bertoldo
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