Sunday, February 23, 2014

Becoming Filipino 2/23/14

Magandang Hapon sa inyong lahat!
Hello family and friends, I hope that you're all doing well! It was a great week here in Baguio. Well, more like a great weekend haha the week it self was pretty normal, but this weekend was amazing! I have seriously been so blessed and spoiled here in Baguio, I've gotten to experience so many things that I could never even dream of doing. Like for instance, this weekend, we had the special privelage of having a devotional with the Relief Society General President Sister Burton, the Young Women's General First Counselor Sister McKonkie, and the Philippines Area President Elder Nielson come and visit us in Baguio! They gave a devotional on Saturday that was centered on women and our duties to become good mother's and raise a righteous posterity. This is why sisters come back from their missions hungry for that temple marriage haha. I'm telling ya, everything on a mission turns back to marriage and eternal families, so this devotional was no different, but it reminded me of the covenenants that I made at baptism to always remain worthy and endure to the end so that I can raise righteous children in the gospel one day. So the devotional was great, and we even got to shake their hands and hug them at the end! Funny how I had to come all the way to the Philippines to meet some general authorities when I lived in Utah for over a year and even went to general conference ha. I know that these people are truly called and inspired by the Lord, and I'm so grateful that I got to hear their counsel and meet them. But what was even more exciting is that on Sunday, all three of them came to my ward!!! I was so stoked, they all spoke in our sacrament meeting, and then Sister Burton herself taught our RS class! It was so cool to have the general relief society president talk to us so personally and share her experiences and the experiences of other women that she's met around the world. I love this church and the modern day revelation that we receive, and we are so truly blessed to have these church authorities and to feel their love for us no matter where in the world we are.
So this weekend was really great! And this was probably the best Sunday that I've had here so far, not only because of the general authorities that came, but we had 3 of our investigators at church this sunday and a few of our less active families too! Sunday is usually like D-day for us, and I was really scared that our investigators wouldn't come to church because of the Panagbenga parade, but they came!! If I end of getting transferred this week, it was the best Sunday to end on, I got to see the ward progressing and know that I had a hand in helping these people come closer to Christ and gaining a testimony of this gospel.
Sorry, this email is a little bit random and scattered, but it's getting harder to remember what all happens during the week now. But I can definitely tell that I'm becoming more and more filipino now, and I'm starting to forget what America is even like. I seriously forgot what a snowcone was, and then when I saw one I couldn't remember if they had things like that in America or not haha. Also, things that are butter flavored are just normal and delicious, as well as putting cheese on random things like cinnamon rolls, you have to be in the Philippines to understand I guess. Also, I got to see the floats from the Banagbenga (flower festival) and it was awesome, these floats are made entirely of flowers! I'm trying to send pictures, but my SD card is being dumb, so hopefully next week!
Well thanks for your love and prayers everyone! Sadly, I think it's getting to that point on my mission where I'm not getting as many emails and letters, so remember that missionaries need love too! Blessings to those who write me ok :)! And happy birthday shoutouts to Sara, Beljica, and Cara! I love you all and hope that you had fantastic birthdays!
Sige, I hope you all have a great week and remember to be nice to the missionaries!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day 2/16/14

Kumusta family and friends!
Happy late valentine's day, I hope you all had a great week this week and did something special on Valentine's day regardless if you had a valentine or not. Just remember, there are thousands of valentine's-less missionaries who are in your same boat haha! But I did have a good valentines day/ half birthday here in Baguio. Me and Sister Aroa went and treated ourselves to some McDonalds at te end of the day, so it was a good day haha.
Well not too much happened this week, we have some progressing investigators now but they're special cases so we need permission from the parents for their baptism. Hopefully by next transfer they can be baptized though and we have received a few referrals for the first time ever that we're trying to contact! So far no luck, but we'll keep trying!
But the greatest thing that happened this week was that we got water again!! It's such a great sound to hear the water running in our apartment again, but those long weeks without water made me realize that I can survive of the minimum, so I'm grateful for the experience!
Sorry I don't have much to say this week, it was a good week though and I'm so grateful to be here! Also, I got some letters this week so that always makes for a great week! Thanks Sami, I loved the valentines day card haha Parks and Rec for life! Also thank you President Rogers for the letter as well!
I love you all and hope you have a great week, remember to put your eye single to the glory of God, and all will work out!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter

Also, Happy Birthday Deanna and Sister Tapusoa! I know there's a lot of birthdays coming up this next week too, hope ya'll all enjoy getting old ;)
Me and Sister Aroa in some traditional igorot clothes

Me trying Korean food, so spicy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Almost 5 Months! 2/9/14

Kumusta pamilya at mga kaibigan! Tomorrow marks my fifth month on my mission, it's crazy how much time flies! Not that I'm really counting down, but I just look at my calender and suddenly it's halfway through February and I've been living in the Philippines for like four months now. I had one of those moments the other day when I realized that I can approach people and have a semi-understandable conversation in Tagalog, and I know my way around Baguio like the back of my hand. Taking a jeepnee is no problem for me, and I'm pretty sure I've climbed up and down stairs and mountains so much that walking on flat ground just seems weird. I love it here, and I especially love how I don't feel like a stranger in a foreign land anymore. Yeah sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm literally the only white person in the neighborhood, but I just feel so comfortable that it doesn't even phase me anymore! I'm truly becoming Filipino! Being on my mission has really made me realize how wasteful I used to be. Filipino's are so creative and find ways to conserve and reuse just about everything. I now know that I can live off of a budget, and I only need about half a bucket of water to shower with. The pleasures of a simple life for sure! And for those of you freaking out about my water situation (aka Mom haha) don't worry because we have a really good system going now. You really only need about a couple buckets of water to do everything that you need to do like shower, wash dishes, and even flush the toilet haha so life is happy, I'm still clean everyday!
Well this week was another normal week of missionary work. It's starting to get a little bit hot here, and I don't know if I can take the heat in the lowlands yet, but I think I'm ready to experiecnce the rural Philippines now that I've experienced the city. We'll see by next transfer if I'll be blessed to stay in Baguio or not, but I already bought more than enough souvenirs that I'll have to lug around my whole mission haha but you never know, I could only be in Baguio once! But I am way excuited to be here in February because only in Baguio they have a huge flower festival called Panengbenga that like everyone comes here to see. So my last P-Day in February I get to see Session Road in Bloom and the entire main street of Baguio will be covered in flowers and souvenir shops, I can't wait! Also, the General Relief Society presidency is coming here to talk to the Baguio stake and we get to go to that too! It will be next week I think, so I'll talk more about that when it happens, but I've been so lucky to be here because only the missionaries in Baguio stake have gotten to see Elder Ardern of the 70 and now the releif socitey presidency and another member of the 70, it's awesome!
I did have my first interview with President Balledos this week though. He gave us a workshop about obedience, and we had to do a quiz from an email that he sent us. He said that if we got less than 25 points we wouldn't get our lunch (jokes) but it was really hard and fill in the blank and since I had only read the email about 5 minutes before hand, yeah didn't do so hot on the quiz haha but don't worry, I'm still obedient and I still got food! But I was super nervous for my interview with president, but it only took about 5 minutes and it was very laid back. I love my mission president, he's seriously an inspired man and he cares so much about us missionaries. Especially with the situation with the water in my apartment haha he's doing all that he can to make sure that we get water again asap!
Well family and friends, I love you all, and even though sometimes I day dream about life before the mission, I still know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I can see myself growing and changing in so many ways, and I know that what I learn on my mission will set the pace for the rest of my life. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He would never forsake us. Sometimes the days go by slowly when we're trying to find people and they reject us, but I still find happiness in the fact that the Lord is aware of my efforts, and He will lead me to those who are prepared. We're hoping to get some referrals from the memebers soon, becasue it really is true, there's a better way to do missionary work and it's if the ward and the missionaries work together. I hope all of you can find time to go out and help the missionaries whether it's feeding them, letting them share a message with you, or even better, giving them a referral!
I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter

PS- thanks Mom for the packages, I've been craving those almonds for days now! You're the best :)!!

PSS- I forgot to mention that I ate dog this tasted like beef, but it was dog and I just can't forgive myself for eating it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Come What May, and Love it! 2/3/14

Kumusta pamilya at mga kaibigan lahat!
I hope that you all had a wonderful week back home enjoying your heated homes and running water. Being on my mission has really made me appreciate the little things that i took for granted back home for sure. Like carpet, man I think when I get home, I'm just going to lay on the carpet and never want to move again haha. But this week I had to really appreciate the small things, and be more aware of the tender mercies the Lord has given me. Things have been a little slow in my area. We've gotten punted a lot more than we ever have before, and none of our investigators are progressing because they won't come to church. We even had a really devastating experience after we extended IBD's (baptismal dates) to a family and they accepted, but then told us that they will never be able to come to church because their family doesn't want to switch churches. It was heart breaking really, but made me take a step back and re-evaluate my reasons for being here and wanting to serve a mission. Despite every hard day with punted lessons, walking around trying to find for hours, and then coming home to our freezing cold apartment to find out that we have no water to shower with our wash our dishes, I am still so eternally grateful and happy to be here! This week was hard, but I was able to still be happy and positive despite the challenges, because I know my purpose here, and i know that this church is true. So what if we don't have running water in our apartment every other day, or we get punted 5 lessons in a row, or we have to wander around aimlessly in the night trying to find someone to share the gospel with. It's all worth it, because in the end, the message that I'm offering is eternal life and happiness with God. Knowing that helps me to push through another day, and when i go home at night, I can sleep happily knowing that I tried my best that day to be a good servant to the Lord. I just finished reading Our Search For Happiness by Elder M. Russell Ballard, and he said something that is just so true about missionary work. He said,"I often suggest to those who want to know if the church is true that they spend a few hours working with our missionaries. It doesn't take long to learn that no one can do all of the things a missionary does everyday without knowing beyond any question that what they are doing is right and true." I testify that what Elder Ballard said is true! This work is hard, but so rewarding and I've never felt so fulfilled in my life, even when it may seem to others that we aren't haveing much success, I know that the Lord recognizes my efforts and He's proud of me.
So basically what I learned this week, was to laugh and let things roll off of my shoulders that could bring me down. The worst thing for a missionary is to get discouraged, so instead, I'm choosing to laugh and look on the brighter side of things. God is good all the time, and He has promised that he will not let me fail! I love the Lord and I know this gospel is true more than I ever have my whole life!
Well, I love you all, thanks for your emails and prayers, I really appreciate it! Also, happy late birthday Haleigh and Elder Dunn! And happy birthday to Leslie Carlson and Tatie Tinie!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember, come what may and love it!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter

PS- We went bowling today for a zone activity and I got 4 strikes, just thought ya'll would like to know :)