Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hello Baguio!-October 27,2013

Wow I am actually in the Philippines, I can't believe it! After a long 19 hour flight, we finally made it to Manilla and got to our hotel around midnight. It was the longest two days of my life. I have never flown for so long before, and my poor ankles were swollen for about 3 days haha but they are to their normal size now!
But it has been a whirlwind being here, the days go by so fast and every hour I am doing something. So the night after we got to Manilla, we took a 6 hour bus ride to San Fernando where the mission office is. It was really hot like everyone said that it would be haha, but it was nice to get tan again. After just two days, I had a tan line on my feet, I was stoked! So we stayed in San Fernando for two days and met our Mission President, President Balledos and did some activities with our batch. It was really fun getting to be with all of the Baguio missionaries from the MTC as well as the missionaries from the Manilla MTC. Filipino people are so nice, it blows my mind! So I really liked being the lowlands for the first couple of days. We even got to eat at President Balledo's house which is right on the beach in San Juan. It was gorgeous, and we loved getting to put our feet in the water. We also had something called a budofit (sp?) that night where we all eat with our hands, it was so fun! I never thought that I would love to eat with my hands, take bucket showers, and hand wash my clothes, but I really do! Everyday is an adventure and I'll never get tired of it!
So after those two days in San Fernando, we had our transfer meeting, and were assigned to our trainers and first areas. My trainer is Sister Lazan from the Philippines! I was super stoked to get a Filipino companion becasue she can help me with Tagalog, I need as much help as I can get! I also got assigned to Baguio city! It's really cool that I'm starting off in Baguio, but I was so sad when Sister Sawada and Sister Tapusoa got assigned to be in San Juan. I cried so much when we were separated, but I will see them again, so it's ok. I'm really happy that I'm in Baguio now though. It's high up in the mountains, about a 2 hour jeepnee ride, and it's cold and foggy. It's sobrang maganda here! Everyone keeps asking me if I am cold because I never wear a jacket, but the weather is just perfect! Excpet it does get cold at night. I never thought that I would sleep in sweat pants in the Philippines haha or have to heat up my water for the shower! But I love it, it will be hard to go back to the lowlands where it's so hot. Baguio is high up in the mountains, and we have to climb so many hills everyday. Also, there are a lot of stairs and alleys that we have to go through which can seem kind of sketch at times, but the ward missionaries here have helped us so much! So both my comp and I are new in this area, so we have had the ward missionaries tour us everyday, except today we will go out on our own. But get this, the ward missionaries are all like 17 years old! They are so young, but use all of their free time to help us out and go to lessons with us. They really love the church so much, it is their life! It made me feel guilty for not going out with the missionaries back home as much, because they are so great and helpful. Being here has really made me realize how simple life really is. You don't need a lot of physical things to be happy. The people may be poor, but they are always smiling! The first night that I came to Baguio, I went around and met some of the members, and they would offer me food and hug me. One member even washed my shoe for me after I stepped in dog poo. They are seriously the nicest and most humble people, I want to me more like them. I know that I was called here for a reason and that God has a perfect plan for me and the people that I meet here. I am so excited to begin to find investigators in this area and hasten the work! The ward that I am in is decreasing in numbers, so there is a lot to do here. Pray for me that I will be able to learn Tagalog quickly so that I can get to know them better and help them in any way that I can!
Thank you Mom for your letter, it made me so happy to get that when I was going off on my own to Baguio. You can still dear elder me if you choose the Baguio Mission and I get them once a week. Thanks so much everyone for all of your love and prayers, I really need them! But know that I am doing very well here. The power of prayer is real and I am learning and growing in my faith every single day! I love you all!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Goodbye MTC-October 19, 2013

Wow, I can't believe that this is my last week in the MTC! It has gone by so fast, and now in two days I will be in heading for the Philippines, it's so unreal! I was beginning to feel like my entire mission was just going to be the MTC haha so I cannot wait to finally get out there and start doing real work with real people, it's so exciting!
Well, I just want to give a quick recap of some of the highlights of this past week before I talk about stuff that actually matters.
1. My district is super layed back, and we're all such great friends now, that sometimes we call each other by our first names. It's bawal, but nice to know that we're on a first name basis now haha. So a lot of the time, people will call me Stacey, but our obedient District Leader, Elder Waldron, has never called me by my first name. I even wondered if he knew that my name was Stacey haha. But anyways, one day I was trying to ignore him (because that's just how our relationship goes, we tease each other like a brother and sister), and he kept trying to say things to make me react to him, and at the end he goes, "How do you like that....STACE!" I just about died I was laughing so hard, he finally called me by my first name, and he didn't even mean to. He was so embarrassed and ashamed that he called me Stace and not Sister Bangerter haha his reaction made it even that much better!
2.We had devotinoal up at Main Campus this tuesday, and since we lived at West Campus, we had to take a shuttle up because it was raining. After the devotional, we were all waiting in this foyer type thing that was made up of all glass while we waited for the bus to come. We were all standing there talking when Elder Rujke comes in and tries to go through the glass doors, but it was actually just the glass wall haha. He rammed into it face first because he thought that it was the door lol! Ok it was probably one of those you had to be there moments, but oh my goodness, we were all dying, and I'm pretty sure only me and SIster Tapusoa actually saw him dot it. Well and all the people on the other side of the window who just stared and panicked to see if he was ok lol so funny!!
3. Last saturday when we were leaving the temple to walk back to main campus, this car drove by us really slowly and then they stopped. This little Japanese guy got out of the car and said that he was visiting from New York but he was originally from Japan. He was a member of the church but had never been to Utah before I guess, and he wanted to take a picture with the Sister missionaries! He was so adorable and could hardly speak English, but he made us feel like celebrities or something. It's really funny because everytime we're walking down the street, people will wave and smile and honk at us haha missionaries are famous in Provo.

Ok, I think that's all my pointless stories for this week! Hope you enjoy those! But now on to important things. Last sunday, our Branch President told us that he would be leaving. He got a new calling to be over 40 mission presidents in Europe, so he left for Germany this past tuesday. It was sad that he left because he was such a great Branch President and really cared about all of us missionaries, but our new Branch President is just as great. It's President Howard who was the first counselor before, so we all already know and love him and his sweet wife. I feel like there have been a lot of changes this week which is why it has gone by so fast.
On Tuesday, Dallin H. Oaks came to speak to us at our devotional! He is definitely one of my favorite apostles. I remember when he came to Sherman to speak in our stake conference, and I was so bummed that we couldn't go to Mckinney to see him in person. But this time, I was sitting about 3 or 4 rows away from him, so I finally got my chance to see him again! He is such a great speaker and has the spirit with him so strongly. He and his wife talked to us about missinoary work and how to be great missionaries. He taught why this is the true church, and how that can help us in our lives and in the lives of our investigators. What I liked most about his talk though was when he said that he doesn't know all of the mysteries of God and why some things are like they are, but he does know that he has felt the spirit and has had truth revelaed to him through the holy ghost. Never deny the truth that we know from the Holy ghost. I feel like we have been talking about the spirit a lot lately, and it's made my testimony of the power of gifts of the holy ghost so much stronger. This is an amazing gift that I am blessed with, and I should always rely on the spirit and tust in it to bring me peace and let me know what is true. I have felt the spirit so many times here at the MTC, and I know that this is the work of the Lord, and I'm so grateful to be one of His servants for 18 months.
We moved back to Main campus this past tuesday, and I can honestly say that it feels so great to be back here. We also got into the newer residence and classroom buildings, so I can now say that I experienced all the different forms of the MTC! I will really miss it here, I have had so many great experiences that I will never forget. I have had the best teachers here, Brother Soderquist and Sister Stonnick. They have both helped me so much to realize my potential as a missionary, and to come closer to Christ myself in order for me to proclaim His great gospel. Most of all though, I have loved the MTC because of the amazing district that I was blessed to be a part of. All of the Elders and Sisters have become like my family, and I will miss them so much when we have to separate. I was blessed to have two of the greatest people as my mga kasama. Sister Sawada and Sister Anien have become such great friends to me, as well as Sister Tapusoa and Sister Lowham. Things never get boring with these Sisters, and I'm so happy to know that we will stay in touch even after the mission. Then all of our Elders, Waldron, Loitz, Rasmussen, and Rujke, are some of the best guys that I've ever known. Even though they are so young, they have testimonies that are so rock solid. They will do amazing things in the Philippines, and I'm so happy that I could get to know them and see their growth. I have truly loved the MTC. I love mission life and being a missionary for the Lord. This is what I'm supposed to be doing right now in my life, I know this without a doubt!
Thank you everyone who sent me letters this past week, and the whole time that I've been here! Your love and support really helps me when I'm feeling down! Thanks for the package Mom, Dad, and Dori! I love the pictures Mom :) and I haven't eaten all of the food yet Dad and Dori, but I will get the other sisters in my zone to help me out haha.
Well, so long America, it's been nice, but I'm ready for the hot and humid Philippines! Mom and Dad, I leave at 3:30 AM on Monday, so I'll call you once I land in Detroit most likely, but if I do end up having to call super early, please answer! I love you all so much!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter

the little islander is the infamous Elder Larron

Last day with our teacher Brother Soderquist

Last day with our teacher Brother Soderquist

Last day with our teacher Brother Soderquist

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stories on Stories on Stories-October 12, 2013

Okay, I feel like I have a lot to say this week, or at least a lot of stories that will take some time to explain, so hopefully I can get it all in here in this hour! I apologize in advance Mary Claire if you have to type this email out again because it will probs be long haha!
Alright, so this past weekend was conference, and it was probably the best session of conference that I have ever watched! Even more than last year when they changed the mission age! Sobrang magandang! My favorite talks were Uchtdorf's come join with us talk, S. Gifford Nielson's talk about member missionaries and missionary work in general, Holland's of course (I especially loved how he talked about Stephanie Nielson, I was fangirling), and President Monson's on the Sunday Morning session. GO READ THESE TALKS! There are a lot of other great ones, but these ones stuck out to me the most. I definitely got a huge spiritual boost from Conference, and got reanimated about missionary work. Not that I wasn't before, but it just made me that much more excited to get out to the Philippines (which by the way is in 9 days!!). After conference, our Sunday devotional was by BYU's Vocal Point which I was super stoked about! They sang some hymns to us and talked about their missions and how important and hard missionary work is, but how rewarding and great it is that it can bless your life, your families lives, and those you teach. It was probably the best devotional we've had here. Then all this week, we've been listening to their CD since they performed for us haha thanks Katie for the CD and Tami for the ipod, I was so grateful for it this past week! Also, we got both of our investigators to accept baptism! I was super pumped because before these lessons, they were both kind of skeptical about our message, and especially baptism. In our lesson with Rose specifically, the spirit was so strong, and I knew that there was no way that she could turn down our invitation. It pumped me up so much for mission work, because even though these investigators are fake and I'm super excited, I can't wait to see how exciting it is when my investigators are real!
 So yes, general conference was grand as usual, but the most memorable part of conference weekend happened in between sessions. So we went up to Main Campus to watch Gen Con, and we were eating lunch there. A few of my kasamas and I got this fruit salad that was super yummy, but there were walnuts in it. One of the Sisters is allergic to walnuts, and didn't realize that they were in the salad until after she ate a piece of one. We all kind of panicked for a second because she ate a little bit of it, but she said that she would be fine and could just dilute the reaction with some water. So we just kept on eating thinking she was fine, but then she started coughing a lot and said that the water wasn't enough. All she needed was some benedryll, but since we live on West Campus, she didn't have any with her, and the bookstore was closed for conference. We decided to go to the front desk to ask if they could get her any medicine. We waited at the desk for about 5-10 minutes before anyone decided to pay attention to us and our coughing/dying kasama. When someone finally got off the phone to help us, we told them what happened and how she just needed some benedryll. They had her call the MTC doctor to see what she should do. Again, she talked to the doctor and asked for some benedryll. She shortly got off the phone, the front desk person walked away, then came back with a security guard holding an Epipen. Wait what? Yep an epipen. All she needed was some benedryll, but I guess it had come to this. We were all in shock, and as per usual, I was trying not to laugh just because I had no idea what was going on, and things just escalated super quickly. This was real life, she was about to get her first epipen shot and the reaction wasn't even that bad! At first, she thought about if she really needed it or not, but then she sat down, and the security guard gave her the shot right there in the middle of the MTC front lobby! The room was silent, there was so much adrenaline in all of us in just that 10 second period when she had to get the shot! So yeah I guess crazy things do still happen at the MTC!
Which leads me to another story! So last time I told ya'll about Elder Lauran and how he's a little bit scary. Well we were talking to his kasama, Elder Jarvis from Washington. Poor guy is just so sweet, and patient, no wonder he got the scary kasama! Well Elder Lauran used to be a knife fighter back in the day before he got converted, but he may or may not have some scary things here at the MTC. I'm still not sure about that haha but one night they were going to bed and it was time for lights out, so Elder Jarvis was going to turn the lights off. Elder Lauran wanted him to wait, and said that he would stab him (um what?) if he turned the lights off. Elder Jarvis just laughed it off and turned the lights off anyways. It's pitch black and silent in their room, and then all of a sudden, Elder Lauran is shining a flashlight in Elder Jarvis's eyes and rummaging through a draw "looking for his knife". Elder Jarvis is being blinded by the flashlight and so all he can hear is Lauran looking around for something. All of a sudden, the flashlight turns off and it's silent in the room again for a minute or two. Then Elder Lauran jumps on top of Elder Jarvis and pokes him with a hanger! Hahahaha Lauran was kidding the whole time, but Jarvis was freaking out for sure, I don't blame him!
All right, one last story and then I'll get to the important stuff. So here on West Campus, we are super close with the other districts in our classroom. By this I mean close in proximity, not friendships (but we are good friends). Anyways, we got the short end of the stick with our classroom. It's the size of a small bedroom, because it used to be a small bedroom, and there are 9 desks in here and then our teacher along with all of our books and stuff, so it gets really cramped. Not to mention that our AC doesn't work in our classroom, so we just bake in the room all day, and it's right next to the bathroom, so yeah we have a hot, cramped, and smelly room. Well one day, someone from another district decided to bomb the bathroom, and guess who were the lucky ones to smell it all day, yep that would be us. But don't worry, after two days of this, some janitors finally came with I kid you not, 6 plungers. I'm not making this stuff up people, this is all real life. Ok, that was probably way too much information, sorry, I'm done now haha.
Now on to more important stuff like the fact that we are officially the oldest district in our zone! It's such a weird feeling, but you can definitely tell the difference between someone who has been here for 5 weeks and someone on their first or second week. I feel so old and ready to leave, but at the same time I will really miss the MTC. Especailly my distrtict, they are my family now, and we have all gotten so close. We decided that it was rude of the MTC to put us together because we're not all going to the same missions (Sister Sawada, Tapusoa, and Lowham are going to Baguio with me, Sister Anien is going to Olongapo, Elders Waldern, Loitz, and Rasmussen are going to Cauyan, and Elder Ruiski is going to Naga) so now it's even harder to have to say goodbye! I will really miss our Elders, especially Elder Loitz! He is just so innocent and hilarious. I will never forget the other day when we were talking about Nagpapa verbs that we had learned for example, Nagpapatotoo. Out of no where, Loitz starts to sings Nagpapatotoo to the tune of Don't Drop That DunDaDun. Sister Sawada and I were dead! Just imagine this tall lanky star wars loving kid from Orem Utah singing that hahah best thing ever! But all of our Elders are so great! I'm sad because they aren't even going to be on our same flight either. So I leave at 3:30 AM October 21st from the SLC airport to Detroit Michagan, then striaght to Manilla from there. It will be about a 20 hour flight. But then all of our Elders are flying from SLC to Seattle, then Tokyo, and then Manilla, and they even get there almost an hour before we do. I really wanted to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong, but at least this way we only have one stop so that's pretty nice. But yeah, saying goodbye to our Elders is going to be rough. And then there's Sister Anien! She will be with us the whole way, but once we get to the Philippines, she will be in an entirely different mission! I can't imagine mission life without Sister Sawada and Sister Anien as my mga kasama! It makes me sad right now to think about it, but we will stay in touch for sure, and I will even go to the Marshall Islands if I have to! Oh and quick story about Sister Anien, so the other day, Elder Waldren's Mom sent him the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. He left them in the room with Sisters Sawada, Anien, Tapusoa and me. In about a couple of hours, the whole bag was gone haha Waldren came in all upset that we ate his cookies, and we were all defending ourselves saying that we ate one or two, and then sister Anien goes,"I only ate 5!" hahahhaah again I was dead, so funny!
So yeah, this week was pretty great, and now I just have one more week to enjoy the MTC before I head out to the Philippines! I am so stoked, and I know the time will go by so fast. Especially since we are MOVING BACK TO MAIN CAMPUS!! Almost forgot that little detail. So we move back to Main Campus this Tuesday. My new address will be
Sister Stacey Bangerter
Oct 21 PHI-BAG
2011 N 900 E Unit 226
Provo, UT 84602
So if anyone wants to write me for this next week, send it to that address, but please don't send any packages because I probably won't get it in time. Speaking of packages, thanks Aunt Alice and Uncle Vyrl for the candy! I set the Reeses and Startbursts out, and they were literally gone in about 3 hours! But yeah, I'm excited to move back to Main Campus because I like it there a lot more compared to the West Campus. The people who came to the MTC speaking Tagalog on September 11 are the only ones in history who have ever moved to Main campus, then West campus, then back to Main campus before. They should put a picture of us up at the MTC for this haha!
I hope you're all doing well, thanks for all of your love and support! Remember to always put God and the gospel first and everything else will fall into place :)
Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pinaka Maganda Araw!-October 4, 2013

So this has been the best week of the mission so far, and today was definitely the best day ever! Ok, I'll start from the beginning though. So last week was kind of lame, and hard. I felt like I wasn't progressing with the language, we moved to West Campus in the middle of the week and I didn't know where anything was and had to adjust to it being so different here, and then we got a whole bunch of new missionaries that I had to meet and get to know. So yeah, last week was kind of crazy and slow, but during our district meeting, we decided to make some new goals and try our hardest to keep them this time. So from Sunday on, I could tell a huge difference in my attitude and progress with the language and my teaching. We had an awesome devotional Sunday night about temples that made me so happy and grateful to be able to go inside the Lord's house, and receive the blessings from the temple. Go to the temple this week! It's the greatest place on this Earth, and you can feel God so closely there, I love it! We haven't gotten to go to the temple the past two weeks and I'm getting withdrawals, I just want to go back so bad!
Then some other cool things that made this week so great were my district, of course, and getting to go to Brigham's Landing haha. I love my district so much, we have gotten so close just these past few weeks, and they are like my family here at the MTC. We got the elders to give us blessings, and that has bonded us even more, not to mention that Elder Waldren's family sent us cupcakes. You can always buy my love with food haha. But my district is amazing! Then the best thing about West Campus is defintely going to Burger Supreme and Great Harvest, it's nice to have real food every once in a while, but sad that I consider fast food real food now haha oh well. I'm just ready for the rice in the Philippines, that will be the best! But the food here at the West campus is actually a lot better than at the Main campus. The cafeteria people are super nice, and they remember all of us Pilipino missionaries, the head cafeteria guy even gave us some fresh peaches from the farmers market that he had gotten the other day, they were delicious!
My classes are going great here, I feel like I am learning how to speak gospel stuff in Tagalog really well, but I can't really carry a normal conversation yet haha. I didn't realize this until we had our first English fast this week, and the whole day was pretty much silent because none of us knew how to talk to one another! But now I'm learning more words that will help me to carry a conversation. I know that I can bare my testimony though and talk about the Book of Mormon, so that's all that I really need to know right now. Our lessons with our investigators have gotten a lot better I fell like. We have started to take only notes in English with us to teach, so that we are forced to translate on the spot if we can't remember, and it has helped so much! I'ts amazing how I can always feel the spirit during my lessons even when I can't understand what the investigator or my kasama's are saying. The church is true people! But other than classes, my favorite part of the day is gym time. The gym is pretty pitiful here at West. There's only basketball hoops, four square, and a sand volleyball court. I like to play volleyball here, but there is one Elder from another district in my zone who is terrifying to play with. He's from the Marshall Islands and doesn't speak english that well, and he had a pretty rough upbringing. He used to be a knife fighter and sometimes, steals butter knifes from the cafeteria and goes around pretending to stab people, it's a little creepy, but you just have to laugh it off I guess haha. But he always plays volleyball with us, and he will just hit the ball as hard as he can, not caring if he hits anyone. He's really good, but when he gets set, I literally run off the court because I don't want to get hit my him haha it brings some adrenaline to our gym time that's for sure!
But even though this has been a great week, today was the best day because I got to see Brigham after TWO WHOLE YEARS!! I was so excited and it felt unreal, I couldn't believe that I was finally able to see him again! He definitely has some mexican in him now because his English was a lot slower, and he pronounced some words wrong haha. I just can't believe that we've switched roles basically now with me being the missionary and him at home. I think he's still more of a missionary than I am at the moment, but I'll get to that point too haha. He gave me some great advice about being a missionary! Brigham, you're such a great example to me and I'm so happy that I could see you even if it was just for an hour. I hope that you enjoy being back home, and get used to not being with a companion 24/7 haha.
This week will continue to get even better though because of General Conference this weekend! I am so excited, I've been looking forward to it since I got into the MTC. So this is why I'm emailing today instead of on Saturday becasue we won't have a P day because of general conference. I am so grateful though for this opportunity that we have to be able to listen to the prophet and his apostles, and hear the Lord's counsel through His servants. My branch presidency asked us to write down some things we want to learn more about from conference as we watch and listen this year. My three things were to be able to increase my testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration, Priesthood power, and the Book of Mormon. I want you all to think of what you want to learn more about from general conference, and I know that you will receive an answer. The Lord is real and He loves us and will answer our prayers and questions that we have. Have faith and trust in the Lord and our Savior and you will be masaya! I love this church, and I know that it is true :)
Thanks so much for the letters! I know it's kind of confusing to write me now that I'm at West campus, but if you sent it to the main campus I will still get it, it just takes longer. But special shout outs to Katie, Sara, Shanoah, and Sydney for writing me and sending me packages, I love it so much, ya'll are the best!

Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter
Finally seeing Brigham! Reunited and it feels so good!!