Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sagbayan Peak

This week we had exchanges with the Calape sisters, Zone Conference with President and Sister Maughan, and then we also had District Conference on Sunday...so a lot of time was taken out of our work! Also one of the sisters in our house got Dengue, so we went on splits with them too to cover their appointments as well as ours! 

This week we also tried out a finding activity by showing "Meet the Mormons" projected onto the side of our little meeting house and we set up a bunch of chairs out on the street! Then all week we've been inviting familes and pretty much everyone we talk to to come watch with us. It turned out to be pretty successful- we TC'ed a ton of bystanders and friends that the members brought and I think we have some solid potential investigators from the activity!

Jovilyn's sister Jonalyn came to church with her today, as did 9 other investigators here in Sagbayan branch! It was amazing because we had to travel all the way to Calape, but we rented a bus and all the people willingly packed in for the 45-minute drive! Two of our investigators who came, though, stepped out to get something to eat halfway through the conference and never came back. After searching for them and calling them, Sister Ross and I had to just go back and home and hope they had a way home.....we may have lost our investigators!

This morning I also got to see some....tarsiers! For the first time! They are so tiny and so cute! You aren't allowed to use flash, hence the quality of the picture, but I wish you all could see it in real life!

Scripture thought: It's tragic how many people do not KNOW the nature of the Godhead, they don't know who God is. The "spiritually fatherless" as I like to call them, because they don't know they have a literally Father in Heaven whom they can trust perfectly. Without a correct understanding of who He is and what His attributes are, we can never exercise sufficient faith in Him to reach salvation. The first thing anyone needs to understand is who Heavenly Father is and who Christ is. Think about that while reading Moses chapter 7! 

To go along with that, President Maughan has invited all of us to pray more earnestly- to start by picturing Heavenly Father in your mind, and then really, really talk to Him, counsel with Him, ask Him questions and listen for answers. I think sometimes we don't really pray as well as we should!

Love you all!
-Sister Bertoldo

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Families can be Together....still working on Forever!

Last week Jovilyn Castro was baptized, in the ocean, and it was a very sacred experience because of how wholeheartedly she has accepted the gospel into her life, despite the challenges she's faced. She was confirmed a member the next day and we also had her son receive a blessing. 

This week was National Family week in the Philippines, and it turned out to be quite prophetic! We were able to teach Jovilyn with her husband (he only comes home from work once a month), then we went to teach her older sister Jonalyn and her husband Richie. We were told that Richie won't let missionaries in to teach his family, but we biked all the way out to them anyway. It turns out that they have a pet monkey (unggoy), and so we bonded with him over talking about his monkey and we just spent about a half hour helping them "lubo" their "mais". Afterwards, we asked if we could share a short message, and he let us!

Here in Sagbayan, we are still a branch and usually have about 65-70 people in our little meeting house on Sundays. But this Sunday, the first missionary ever to come from Sagbayan came home from her mission! Due to that and the 12 investigators we had (3 new familes!), we had about 89 people stuffed in that little room! It was amazing to hear Joan Racoma's talk; she shared that when she left on her mission, there were only a couple familes in this group. She was shocked at the growth!

Today we are planning on giving Mercy a baptismal date, since she was able to come to church yesterday with her children. We're still working on her husband since he has work every Sunday morning, but they're all very on-board with learning about the Church and coming closer to Christ as a family!

Love you all!
Sister Bertoldo


This week our IBD Jovilyn Castro, had her baptismal interview and she is all set to be baptized this Saturday! She is a truly converted individual- she loves to learn and she loves to ask questions and she really applies the gospel to her daily life. She's even been sharing with her neighbors and friends that she is "Mormon" now and explaining to them what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really is. She is amazing and I really love her! We got permission from the branch president to have her baptism in the ocean in Calape rather than having it in the chapel in Tubigon- they're the same distance away, but here in the Philippines the ocean is a way better location than anywhere else- it's going to be a memorable day!

At the beginning of my mission I made a goal to share my testimony in sacrament meeting every first Sunday of my whole mission. And I've done that.....up until yesterday! The members here in Sagbayan are all recent converts and there is a family here that just got sealed in the temple- in other words, the level of conversion and enthusiasm for the gospel is very high. I didn't even have a chance to bear my testimony, and I wouldn't have taken time from them for anything! I feel so blessed and so grateful to get to be a part of the history of Sagbayan branch- they are a truly converted group of saints nestled here in the "bukid" of Bohol!

As for the biking, I'm getting a little better at the whole mountain-biking-in-a-skirt thing....good enough that I can high-five all the kids as I ride by them without falling over! But just as I though I was the greatest biker in the Philippines, it rained on us yesterday (really hard) and I may have crashed my bike and gotten a few scrapes to show for it!

And last, I wrote a poem about conversion and I'd like to share it with you all because it's in English so everyone can understand!

"All is counted filth and dross;
What I once called gain I now call loss
Here in me resides soul fire
To refine and purify my heart's desire.
Forsaking all to pursue this quest-
To faith I cling and forget the rest.
Faith tested and tempered, tried and true
Edifies and fills me through and through.
If carefully nourished, carefully grown,
Things once hoped for now are known.
This knowledge fills me with God's light:
An expanding joy in what is right!
All else is counted filth and dross,
For truly my gain far exceeds my loss!"
(Lectures on Faith 6:5 Phil 3;8-9, Alma 32)

I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ and I know that even though the world is ever-increasing in wickedness, sorrow, and confusion, if we seek the Spirit in all things and follow the commandments of our Heavenly Father with exactness, we will be kept safe and guided toward peace and happiness. Tinuod lagi kana.

Love you all!

sister bertoldo