Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dinhi Ako sa Philippinas!

Dear family,

 They gave me a few minutes to email just family to let you know I got here safe! I"M IN THE PHILIPPINES RIGHT NOW in the Manila MTC! There are palm trees everywhere and the air is heavy and humid. Right now the sky looks like it's about to storm! It's weird to be here because we are now the foreigners, the minority, the ones that stick out! But they're all super excited we're here!

 So far today I have killed a giant cockroach and gone to a welcome meeting and class all in Cebuano. For breakfast there were two pans: one of rice and one of a vegetable meat stew. Oh, and a peanut butter sauce that was good. So begins the diet of meat and rice :/ But I"m SO excited to be here. I am really feeling the jet lag. The journey here is rough, not going to lie. That one 15 hour flight from LAX to Hong Kong! But reading all of your letters on the plane made it way better! Thanks so much for that by the way! Knowing all the things you've all been going through helps me go through my own difficult things.

Dad, I'm glad you are okay! Jared, I'm so excited you got all your papers done! Lindsey I can't believe you're a working girl! And Stacey and Michael I loved your letters! Ashley and Brooke, I hope you are dealing with everything okay! Sorry, I'm super tired and can't think of things to say right now haha, especially in English. My mind is medio jumbled. From 2-6 we are going out proselyting with the Tagalog missionaries. Not sure how that will work exactly, but we're excited!!!!! And it is definitely going to rain on us!!! Okay....that's all I can think of right now. I love you all so much. Mom, sorry I didn't ever call yesterday, the MTC ran out of call cards and by the time I could buy one we were in Hong Kong and it would've costed a fortune! We lost a day travelling here: we left Thursday at 3:30 am and arrived Friday at 11:30 pm. We will be in the Manila MTC until Wednesday early morning. On Wednesday I will finally get to Cebu East, get my trainer/comp, and my first mission area!

You'll get a picture from my mission president at that point. Love you all, goodbye! Have a good week!

Ayo Ayo Amerika!

Kamusta! We leave the MTC tomorrow at 3:30 in the morning! So they gave us a chance to do laundry and send a quick email today. It's a roller coaster of emotions, but mostly I am SO EXCITED! I feel like I've been waiting for this moment my WHOLE life (even if I didn't know it). I feel like a puzzle of a missionary... like all the pieces are here and I can see flashes of the missionary I want to be, I just have to do the work of putting it together now!

 I've sent home my straightener, curling iron, and blow dryer are about to get so cute!!! haha joke lang. Also, the rainy season has JUST BEGUN in the Philippines, so we'll spend our first months drenched in RAIN! The pictures from the Philippines from other missionaries we know are so great...I can't wait to be there, difficulties and all! Matt 9:36-38 "the harvest is truly plenteous, but the laborers are few". I just want to be a quality "laborer" and give my whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the work in my area! And what is the work? It's just teaching people the truth and helping them receive the gospel for themselves. In Cebuano!!!!!

 People living their lives without a knowledge and understanding of the gospel are like actors stepping into the 2nd act of a 3 act play. They need to know what happened before and what happens next. They need to know the Plan of Salvation and how it APPLIES to them personally. Otherwise they just live day to day, living good lives but not knowing WHY they should or shouldn't do certain things and not knowing HOW to get clarity and direction for their life's course and not knowing WHERE to find the truth and direction they seek. Moroni 6:4 people need to be helped, nourished by the word of God, feel the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost in their lives, and continually receive guidance. And the answers are ALL in the Book of Mormon, it is so simple and beautiful and I can't wait to become better at teaching it!

 Basta, I hope you are all having a good week :) look for ways to make the gospel a bigger part of your life and the lives of those around you! Goodbye Provo MTC! Goodbye America! Ayo Ayo Ingles! Kita kits sa 17 mga balan!

Sister Bertoldo

Friday, June 19, 2015


 I hope everyone is having a great week! I know I have! This is my last P-day and my last Friday and my last time emailing in the MTC! As much as I love the MTC....that makes me really happy! I want to be in the Philippines and I want to get started helping the work progress and I want to get the hard part (the beginning) started! I have learned and grown so much this past 6 weeks. But all I need to share is that I know God is our Heavenly Father and that He is aware of us and our individual needs and He hears and answers our prayers! I know that Christ is our Savior! I have felt His love for me each and every day in the MTC, but I've also felt His love for my family, my friends, and people I'm about to teach and haven't even met yet! Yesterday we got to do In Field Training! It took 9 hours and was a little repetitive, but I still learned a couple of new things so that makes it worth it! Then after that we had our last TRC Skype lesson (where we get to skype a person who is either in the Philippines or who is from the Philippines and speaks Cebuano and teach them a simple lesson!). There was one extra person, so the coordinator asked Sister Ross and I if we would teach two lessons instead of just one! We said "Oo, siyempre!" Of course!! It was such a blessing to us to get to meet with two Filipino people and to get more practice in! Plus, our second lesson went much better than our first! I'm really going to miss sa akong kaubon si Sister Ross! We make a good team! Since we're going to the same mission, Cebu East, we'll probably get to see each other frequently though, so that's awesome!

 At In Field Training that used a lot of similar phrases I've heard as an athlete. Such as "set goals that make you stretch, but are realistic and attainable!" and "use your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses!" and "Be yourself, but remember who you represent!" and of course always "the secret to success is just to work hard!" I love being involved in things that challenge me and expect the best from me. Life is not about resting and coasting and feeling comfortable....It is about progressing, learning, and refining ourselves. It is about learning of Christ and striving everyday to become like Him! (Moroni 10:32) With our last 5 days here in the MTC, we'll just solidify what we already know and try to keep learning more and more before we go! We've seen so many missionaries come and go and finally it's about to be our turn! I've been having trouble sleeping at night due to the anticipation, and between studying the gospel and studying the language, it's difficult to get my mind to quiet down enough to sleep at night. This morning I woke up at 6:30 still kind of in a daze and kind of slept-walked into the bathroom. Someone was showering and playing hymns. Right when I walked in the hymn "Come, come ye Saints" was playing and the light blinded me since I was still waking up. For a second I was like Where am I? Did I just die and go to heaven? haha but then my eyes adjusted and I woke up fully and I remembered I'm in the MTC bathroom haha. But in a lot of ways the MTC is like a "heaven". Not because the actual place is special but because every person that enters in does so with the desire to serve others and serve God. Everything we learn we learn with the intent to use it to bless the lives of others! Everything the teachers teach is taught with the intent of blessing the lives of others. Anywhere on earth can feel like the MTC! The Spirit of the MTC is brought by the people's choices to follow Christ! Well I hope everyone has a great week! Read Alma 36:3 and Alma 38:4-5!

Sister Bertoldo ​ ​ ​

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mga Alibangbang!


 Sometimes we go around saying "kamusta!" to people and they just think we're saying really bad Spanish haha. No, not Spanish, Cebuano! So lately I've started saying "Musta ka!" because it is a casual/slang way to say hello and it sounds more like Cebuano to people. One time I was reciting a scripture I just memorized to Sister Ross and some elders walking by were like "What is that language?!" Haha, I love how unique and fun this language is! I can't wait to speak it with more fluency....... This has been a busy week! Linda K. Burton came to speak to us, the General Relief Society President! She gave an amazing talk, but what really touched me was what her husband shared. He had a young Elder join him up by the podium and had him take off his own suit jacket and put his on instead. It was way to big for him haha. Then he likened the over-sized jacket to the calling of being a full-time missionary. When we first receive the call, it's way to big for us, it's intimidating, we can't fully fill it. But each day we try, each day we progress, each day we build our spiritual stature, rep by rep. We grow into that jacket (become the missionary we set out to be). By the end of the mission we report back to the Stake President to be released from our called and the "jacket" is removed. But underneath, we have become stronger, more capable. Even though the jacket is removed, the spiritual stature we've cultivated remains with us and we move on to the next stage of life. I'm definitely one for analogies and similes, haha, probably mostly due to my Mom! But this one really stuck with me! It got me thinking, "what is my oversized jacket?" What kind of missionary do I want to be? What are my goals for my mission? And how can I achieve them? Is what I'm doing RIGHT NOW helping grow into that jacket? And it's been on my mind ever since!

 Another thing this week: our district got to host new missionaries! It's a cool opportunity- only foreign speaking missionaries get to do it since English missionaries aren't here very long! We got to wear a badge that said "New Missionary Host" and be the first person to greet the new missionaries to the MTC. For 3 hours (600 missionaries came in, in one day!!!) I shook parents' hands, took last minute family pictures, watched tearful goodbyes, and helped nervous Sisters haul all their luggage to their rooms. Then we helped them get their book and dropped them off at their classrooms. It was kind of exhausting, but really fun. As a missionary who's been here for a whole MONTH, I could credibly tell them that they'll be okay and that the MTC is an amazing place! One month of my mission down, 17 more to go! And I want every day to count! We get our travel plans to the Philippines tonight! Ahhh! We got to Skype with people in the Philippines last night and teach them a 30 minute lesson in Cebuano! We were so nervous beforehand, but once we got to talking and teaching, it went away. They are SO nice and SO patient with us! It was the best 20 minutes of the MTC so far! I can't wait to be constantly around the Filipinos and constantly trying (struggling) to understand! I can't wait to be in my actual mission field! But for now I'm going to enjoy and take advantage of the MTC's showers, toilets, and food! (taking your advice Elder Wilcox!) Bisayan word of the week: alibangbang (butterfly; there are a million butterflies in the MTC/temple grounds right now so we had to learn the word) Bisayan grammar principle of the week: there is no 's' to make things plural, instead you put a 'mga' before it (mga alibangbang- butterflies)

 Motto for the week (or for life, but I'm always finding new favorite scriptures so it changes!): Luke 6:39 (trust not in the arm of flesh, but trust in God!) and D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not, fear not."! Have a great week everyone!


Sister Bertoldo

Saturday, June 6, 2015

MTC Week 4

Musta ka!

 I'm now on my fourth week in the MTC, about 2.5 more to go. I'm getting kind of anxious to get out into the mission field. But I am enjoying the MTC :) Next Friday we get our flight plans to the Philippines and I'm SO excited about that! I think we're flying from Seattle to Japan and then stopping in Manila for a few days before ending up in Cebu City. We leave the MTC June 25th. This week for our devotionals, Janice Kapp Perry and Elder D. Todd Christofferson came to speak to us! Sister Perry is a gifted musician and songwriter: she wrote most of my favorite hymns and primary songs growing up, like A Child's Prayer, Love is Spoken Here, I Love to See the Temple, the EFY Medley, and the list goes on! It was so cool to meet her! And she had us all sing a chorus of all her songs and I was just thinking "Wow, my mom would love this!" So Elder Christofferson coming this week make two apostles in two weeks! What a great time to be at the MTC! He was much softer than Elder Holland, but his message was equally motivational. He started off by talking about Elder L. Tom Perry who just passed away. For his talk he addressed commonly asked questions among missionaries and gave us his answers using the scriptures. It was simple, but powerful and really helpful. One of the questions was about how it says in the scriptures to "speak nothing but repentance unto this generation" (Mosiah 18:20, D&C 11:9, 14:8, 19:21). And so he broke down for us what that means. If we are teaching people that they can repent from mistakes, then we are teaching them that they can be forgiven. To be forgiven, there must be someone who is able to forgive, a Savior and Redeemer. So preaching repentance to people means sharing your testimony of Christ with them. It means teaching them that Christ loves them and that He died for them. And then it means teaching them the way to come unto Him by following His gospel: faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And there you have the Missionary Purpose! (Ang Inyong Katuyoan!)

The Gospel is so simple. I love Alma 5, where it teaches us that the purpose of this life is to prepare to meet God. But I especially love verse 26. I have felt, and continue to feel, the redeeming love of the Savior in my life. And I want to share that with the people in the Philippines. I've been using my personal study time to study missionaries from the Book of Mormon. Of course a classic favorite is Ammon in Alma chapter 17. He loves the Lamanites so much that even as they have him bound with cords he tells them that he just wants to live among them, perhaps his whole life, and serve them. You don't say something like that without meaning it! This astonishes the people so much that they allow him to serve them. Then as he serves them, they are astonished by his courage, his faithfulness, his diligence, his expertness, his great power, and that he is a friend to them (Alma 18). After all this, they finally just ask him who he is and he humbly tells them that he is just a man, sent by God to teach them and serve them. To be a missionary with that kind of power, we need to be missionaries with that kind of love for the people. Elder Christofferson told us: that the Lord knows we love Him and want to serve Him. But the way we do that is by serving others. We need to love His people. I was also reading in Matthew 9 in the Bible. Christ is moved with compassion for the spiritual welfare of the people. He says that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. You wouldn't know that the laborers are few looking at the MTC right now....since school just got out it is now PACKED with new missionaries! But looking from the perspective of the whole world, this is so true. The world if FULL of people ready to hear the gospel and learn of Christ (the harvest), but the laborers are few. To me that is motivation to be the most diligent and obedient and hard working and Spirit-led missionary that I can be, so that the Lord can work through me to my maximum potential. The language is still difficult and progressing a little slower. It is an oral language, which means that there is only so much we can learn in the classroom. This is partly why I'm getting anxious to leave the MTC. Then again, the MTC has hot showers and a gym and American food, so I can just enjoy that haha. Plus I NEED to soak up as much of the language and learning and practice teaching as possible!

 During our hour of gym time, I usually run for about 30 minutes and then do some other things, but one day after I ran I did a circuit where I would run one lap around the track and then do 5 pull-ups and I did that about 4 times. Afterwards, some elders came up to me and asked, "What were you before your mission?" and I just said "I was a swimmer". Afterwards I felt kind of sad briefly because I realized I've never said that before...I WAS a swimmer. Sometimes I don't feel like myself without spending any time in a swimsuit or in the water training! But at the same time, I feel more like myself than ever. I love training to be a missionary and getting to spend so much time studying the language and the scriptures and preparing lessons. I honestly feel so happy to be right where I am! Some good things this week: I can now recite the whole First Vision in Cebuano and a few other scriptures too! Right now, my Cebuano mostly relies on memorization or translating things in my head before I speak. Soon I won't have to translate or memorize because I'll be more comfortable with the language, but that day hasn't come yet! It's amazing though, how things that I mess up in class I can usually recall much smoother during a lesson (D&C 100:5-6), Anyway, there are 2 elders here that speak Cebuano and are from the Philippines, so I always stop to talk to them when I see them! The good news is that they can understand me when I talk! The bad news is that I can't understand them as well....they talk so fast! I have to accept that I'll be kind of lost at first in the Philippines when I first get there!

 Okay, well, I hope everyone has a good week! Enjoy life outside the MTC for me! Go swimming for me! And do one more thing for me: Read D&C 88:63 and consider how you can draw closer to Christ in your life. He will be as much a part of you life as you will let Him! Also read 2 Nephi 22 because it is a beautiful and short chapter and it echoes how I feel right now! Sorry, still no pictures! But I'm sure you really only want to see them once I'm in the Philippines, drenched in rain and proselyting under palm trees!

 Uban sa gugma, Sister Bertoldo