Thursday, May 19, 2016

Daghan Drama sa Danao

It's been a busy few weeks! I got to skype my family, attend my first MLC, and Sister Allen and I went on 3 exchanges with sisters in our zones and we even got some apartment checks done! Some of the big dramas this week:

1. the sisters living in our apartment with us had to be relocated because they had a stalker in their area...but it worked out because the branch out on Camotes island has been growing so fast and it's about to split into two branches, so President decided to try out having two companionship there to help the split!

2. Our dear President and his wife, the Tanners, go home this June 30th! So we are all wondering what changes will come with the new president! President Tanner gave us the challenge to all read the entire Book of Mormon before he goes home! I started it last week and I'm in Mosiah, so I'm making good time!

3. We focused so much on our less-active members this week and 10 of them came to church on Sunday! Sister Allen was playing the prelude music while I just went around the chapel shaking everyones' hands and there's nothing like a chapel full of people you've been visiting all transfer to warm a missionary's heart! haha.

4. As for our investigators, Ruby and Ken continue to attend church and reject other religions' efforts to "recruit" them... they tell everyone that even though they aren't baptized yet, they know that they have found the true church! We are still working with them on their kasal (marriage) papers....

5. The bishop's wife has been inviting her little brother for years to come to church and he came yesterday! We have an appointment with him later to start giving him the missionary lessons!

6. Early this morning Sister Allen and I went jogging at the boardwalk here in Danao with 2 women in our ward- one who is an RM and one who leaves on her mission in June! There is nothing like laughing with Filipinas, exercising, and staring at the ocean to make me feel rejuvenated!

7. We finally got a blender for our house, so we've been drinking green smoothies every morning!

8. It's mango season in the Philippines, and that means HEAVEN!

9. Roger Jr. Maningo has finally accepted the baptismal date of June 18! His whole family wants to support him and answer all his questions! It was such a spiritual lesson because we were teaching about temple work and family history and they were so interested in doing missionary work for their ancestors and then we asked them shouldn't we start with our immediate family? We just know Roger Jr. is ready for this step and that it will bless his life and family!

I am so grateful that "the Lord has made the sea my path" and to be here in Cebu helping the people here to come unto Christ....I know that "great are the promises of the Lord unto those upon the isles of the sea" and I'm so grateful to be a part of the fulfillment of those promises that they will ALL get the chance to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 10:20-21).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Near Death in Danao

Right now I'm in an internet shop and there is a little Filipino boy touching my arm asking me for pesos...I have no pesos on me and I keep telling him, but he won't stop so I'm just going to keep emailing you all, haha!

This week was great- 2 STL exchanges, and 2 new IBDs! Our IBD's are Ruby and Ken, a young couple that has been wanting to be baptized for a while now, but are still trying to get their "kasal" figured out....but marriage papers cost money, and kwarta is hard to come by! I'm trying to help by paying her mother, a recent convert, to do my laundry for me (she's much better than I am at it anyway, I'll be honest!) and a member has also offered to help them out. Last night we set a baptismal date for them for May 28! I'm feeling pretty hopeful for them!

Also this week, I taught the most lessons EVER in my mission in one week, so that feels good! We found 5 new investigators, discovered an entire barangay of less-active members, and contacted a referral sent to us all the way from SLC, Utah! 

Danao is not as much of a "tourist" city as Tagbilaran was, so people are a lot more shocked here to see 2 young American's fun though, we always have a trail of children following us and saying "Sister Bertoldo! Sister Allen!" and one day we stopped to buy some mangoes off the street on the seawall, and before we knew it we were surrounded by about 20 kids all watching us eat mangoes....haha, but we were able to talk to some of their parents too- we called it "BRTing the neighborhood"!

On a more worrisome note, I now have some kind of "virus" that gives me a "roaming rash". There are no other side effects so it's not too concerning, and Sister Tanner, the mission president's wife, was kind enough to get me an ointment to help me get rid of it's all good!

One funny story: one day we were trying to find a referral and while we're asking around for her name, this young Filipina invites us in her home and calls her cousin, a sikad driving, to come pick us up. Then Alvin shows up and takes us all over the barangay looking for our referral! Sister Allen and I were just sitting in the sikad like, "what is happening? He's finding our referral for us!" Then Alvin leaves us on the side of the road to go ask some people, and then a giant garbage truck starts backing up and almost ran us over, and we screamed and all the people on the streets screamed, and then Alvin ran over and wheeled the sikad bike out of the way JUST IN TIME. Then he got reprimanded by the onlookers for almost killing his "American passengers" haha, and then we never ended up finding that referral anyway, but we tipped Alvin because we felt pretty bad for all the trouble he went to! Filipino people are possibly the MOST hospitable people on the earth!

I'm sorry, the computer is just not letting me upload or send pictures, but maybe next week!

Love you all!
Sister Bertoldo

Switching Islands

I've been here in Baclayon for 4.5 months, 18 weeks, 3 transfers, 4 different companions, 2 baptisms, various different sicknesses, and TONS of priceless memories....and now I have to say goodbye!

I'm called to serve as a sisters training leader (STL) in the Danao Zone, which means I'm going back to Cebu Island! My new companion is Sister Allen, who is one of my MTC batch! She's great, and I'm excited to learn a lot from her! I'm definitely going to miss Bohol....mingawon na ko og mga Boholano! 

This transfer went by so fast, it seems like just yesterday Sister Pulotu joined Sister Smith and I in our companionship! Training her has been so great, she's the funniest and most proper Tongan I've ever met! She'll be staying here to lead the area in Baclayon, so we've been going over with her how to get to members' and investigators' homes, and how to tell the trayke driver where our balay is! She's going to do awesome :)

This past week Carla got to attend the youth conference, but she had UTI and had to come home one day early! We've been visiting her in the hospital, and we've been so grateful for the wonderful members here in Baclayon branch because they really took care of her; the youth even went as a group to visit her on Sunday!

I spent my last Sunday here in Baclayon branch doing a branch activity: less-active caravan! We got together and split into various groups- Sisters with the Relief Society and Elders with the Branch Mission Leader, and then the branch presidency, and we all went to visit less-active members. Then we met back up all together at Nanay Edith's balay to administer a special sacrament service her. Our transportation was 12 people stuffed into the back of an elf truck, and Sister Pulotu and I almost fell out the back on a sharp turn, haha, but we were okay. As I sat there with wind whipping in my face and blurred palm trees flying by listening to the members here discuss the various needs of the sisters in Baclayon branch, I just thought  man, I love the Philippines, and missionary work, and Baclayon! It was a perfect last Sunday.

Scripture thought for you: "Strengthen your brother in all your conversations, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings." (D&C 108:7)

Both of my companions had a death in the family this week, and I've been so impressed and inspired with the way they chose to handle the natural emotions that come with news of a death- they both turned toward their faith, their testimonies of the gospel, and to comforting and strengthing their families. They both talked about the temple and the doctrines of eternal families that we are so blessed as members of the church to know. 

"There is a connection between heaven and earth. Finding that connection gives meaning to everything, including death. Missing it makes everything meaningless, including life." -John H. Groberg

Amping mo, have a great week!

Love, Sister Bertoldo