Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Farewell President and Sister Tanner!

The big news this week is that our mission president, President Tanner, finishes his 3 years this June 30 and will be leaving us!! He left us with these words:

Elders and Sisters, these are your days! This is your time! You were chosen to live now because you were strong spirits and our Father knows you can stay strong in mortality even in the face of adversity, IF YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. Please "open the door" (Revelation 3:20) so the Savior can enter your life more abundantly.

We love you all and pray for your eternal joy and peace.

Our new president, President Maughan, will arrive this week and we'll get the chance to meet him at a Zone Conference this July 7. We're all so excited to welcome a new president and help him in his new calling! We hear he has already been studying his Cebuano too!

This week we went to work down in Liloan because one of the sisters has been sick and they needed us to go on splits with them in their area to keep up with all their work. That meant taking time away from our own work, but somehow everything we needed to do got done because as we sacrifice to serve others, God is always there to magnify our own goals and abilities! As of yesterday, we have a new IBD, Catherine Hermosilla, set for July. We used to teach her lola, grandmother, who is a less-active. As we taught and came to love Nanay Minda, she started expressing a desire to come back to church. She came with her granddaughter, who we are now teaching. We also found the home of her daughter, Lesel, who is also not a member. It's really so effective to work through families and referrals in missionary work- the whole purpose and focus of the gospel of Jesus Christ is, afterall, family.

Also this week we had an old British man tell us that we weren't helping anyone by teaching and sharing the gospel- that we should help people physically, not mentally- and that as for himself, he believed in "Mother Nature", not God. I thought, how sad it is that although he can love and appreciate mother nature, he  knows and loves and thanks not the Father in Heaven who created her (Mosiah 4:9, Alma 30:44, Moses, Genesis, etc.) Also, I have seen so many hearts, and therefore lives, change from simply hearing the gospel, reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and living the principles taught therein. Including my own.

I know that this work is the Lord's work. Sometimes it can be frustrating or disappointing to see people reject the truth or fail to live up to our hopes and expectations for them, but God has given each of His children our agency for a wise purpose- he "hath given us a knowledge, and he hath made us free" (Hel 14:30-31). I also know that when his children realize their mistakes and come unto Him in repentance, he is ALWAYS there to receive us (Alma 5:33-34); a pretty big role to emulate as a missionary!

Also this week, Sister Allen and I realized we have a frog swamp living behind our house (the croaking of frogs sounds like straight out of a horror film!), we made stove top 'smores, and we now get called "Amerikana'g Bisaya!" instead of just Americana :) 

I 💙 the Philippines!

Have a great week!

Love, Sister Bertoldo 

Pictures: starfish!, I love the Tanner's!, exchanges with Liloan sisters, and being reunited with Sister Dayhop!

Cebu Temple

Today marks 13 months in the mission.....This week may have been one of my busiest so far in the mish! 

Monday: We met with our sisters in Liloan to go over our STL implementations. Then we had our STL meeting with President and Sister Tanner, and I got to be reunited with some past kabalay and companions!
Tuesday: This day started out with attending a session at the Cebu temple! It was my first time getting to go, so you could say I was kind of excited! The temple really is like a university of sorts- there is always so much more to learn. After the temple, we had our Missionary Coordination meeting with the other zone leaders and sister training leaders, and the best part was at the end. There were 8 missionaries who are going home this transfer, so they all got up to bear their final testimonies- it was one straight hour of listening to such pure and powerful testimony, and I love it! Then getting home we took a 2 hour bus ride (standing up, no more seats!) And that night, the sisters from Camotes came over to start our first set of exchanges.
Wednesday: exchanges! with my former trainee, Sister Dayhop! Oh how I missed that fiesty Filipina! :)
Thursday: Sister Allen and I travelled down to Consolacion to meet with our sisters there and go over our implementations. We also participated in their Zone Training Meeting and gave a workshop about what Sister Tanner taught us in MLC- Sister Allen and I have grown a lot in our companionship unity, and it's been so fun to teach together! Then that night after our work sisters from Liloan came to our house for our second set of exchanges!
Friday: Exchanges! It involved all of our lessons miraculously working out and really getting to hear the heart of these sisters' concerns. I love being an STL because I love learning from the other sisters, and helping them to see their STRENGTHS and how to magnify them!
Saturday: We woke up early and headed down to Liloan again to help with the stake "mini MTC" activity for the youth. Each missionary took 2-3 youth and taught then the basics of missionary work. Then we went out in the city and helped them talk to people and pass out the Book of Mormon and get referral information! They were so cute and nervous, but also excited to share with the people we met! I was blessed to have Sister Tanner come along with me and my group too! Later the youth had a Filipino cultural dance show, but we didn't get to watch, we had lessons and work to do, of course :) 
Sunday: We started the day off with weekly planning, and then I gave the talk in curch since the called person didn't show up. I love giving talks because I get to look out over all the members in the ward and just speak their beautiful language and feel how much God loves them!

The only new news this week is that Ruby is back! Her boss took on another helper. The problem this week is that Roger Jr, right before his baptism, had to take a job in Cebu and now we aren't sure when we'll be able to schedule his baptism. We just continue to pray for him- he wants to go to school and be baptized and go to church, but his parents need the money, they need him to work.

I love this work. Our lives are hard and there are many distractions, fears, concerns, and things getting in the way, but I know that "when we put god first, all other things fall into their proper place, or drop out of our lives" -Ezra Taft Benson

-Sister Bertoldo

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Danao, Round 2

So the big news is: wala'y transfer! Sister Allen and I are both staying here in Danao :) I feel like I'm only getting started here so I was so relieved that I'll be staying! Also, we are now the STL's over 3 zones: Consolascion, Liloan, and Camotes, so we'll be delightfully busy this transfer! :)

We have our baptism all set for June 11 for Roger Jr. Maningo and we are really seeing his faith growing! We saw a lot of miracles this week in the Maningo family. The parents are recent converts and the father, Roger, was contemplating taking a job far away in Leyte- he would only be home 1 day in every month for a whole year! Sister Allen and I prayed and fasted for a better job opportunity to come his way or that he would decide not to take it. Then one day we went to teach their family after church and their home teachers were already there. They were teaching them about how important it is to put family and our dedication to God above all else, even work. They shared personal experiences and testimony. This week, we learned that he decided not to take the job. Roger Jr. was offered a job opportunity starting June 15th that allows him to come home every Saturday night to Sunday night. We were so overjoyed to see them exercising their faith in God and being blessed because of it!

The sad new is that one of our investigators, Ruby, is moving to Manila this month! I admit I actually teared up in our lesson with her this morning because I've come to love her so much and she wants to be baptized so much. Also, she will be leaving her husband and their baby for a whole year. She promised to look for a church and to bring her Book of Mormon, but I still cried because even though I trust that God has a plan for her, I won't get to be a part of her journey anymore!

Also this week, I found a new way to tract: I make friends with the children who follow us around. Then they invite us to come teach their family, and help us navigate through all the payags to their balay. I love Filipino bata so much.

I could go on and on about stories from my weeks that have touched my heart or made me laugh, or been so difficult and stressful haha! Suffice it to say that even though all I do is teach, I learn so many more lessons than I'll ever teach and I'm so grateful for that! This time here is worth the sacrifices because the lesson I've learned and the people I've loved are so priceless!

"The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls" -President Spencer W. Kimball

Love, sister bertoldo