Monday, June 30, 2014

Gusto Ko Maging Bold sa Inyo 06/30/2014

Kumusta sa inyong lahat!
This week, I ate a burger made out of the heart of a banana with banana ketchup, try getting that in America! Also, I ran into a group of students from Texas A&M, and one was from McKinney, Texas! This world is too small, and it made me realize that I feel much more comfortable being around Filipino's than Americans haha I just love these brown people.
Anyways, this was a really amazing week! Brother Erick Gaerlan was baptized this past Saturday, and I'm so happy to see another worthy priesthood man join the Agoo 3rd Branch. I think that best part of his baptism was just seeing how happy he truly was. He really has repented and humbled himself and is so excited to be a member of this true church. Even better, his parents really want him to serve a mission! He's only 21 so he could if he wanted to, and I could really honestly see him being such a great missionary and sharing his conversion story with others. Baptisms are my great, but I also really love all the little steps leading up to baptism that remind me of why I'm on my mission. I saw a lot of those this week as we worked with our other investigators like little old Nanay Huling. She is a referral from who other than Gaerlan family. We have been teaching her for a while now, and at first is was more Bible study to her, but now, she feels the spirit, she told us she knows this is Christ's church, and she said a REAL PRAYER!! This is huge because every time we would teach her, she'd always pray "Lord Jesus", no matter how many times we explained that we pray to our Heavenly Father, not Jesus, because we follow the example of Christ. Like I said, she's old, and can't really hear, or read because she doesn't have glasses. But the last time we taught her, she said that her granddaughter read the BoM to her and she loved it, and then she prayed the right way, straight from the heart and had tears streaming down her face by the end. It was such a tender moment that I will never forget. She wants to come to church so badly, we just need to get a wheelchair for her, but next week she should be able to come. Please pray for Nanay Huling, she is like my grandmother in the Philippines. We are continuing to have investigators that are really making strides in the gospel, I'll talk more about them another time, but just know that the work is great here in Agoo!!
Now onto other business, so the title of this email says that I want to be bold with you. This is something that my comp says right before she lays the hammer down, I love it! Anyways, I was reading through Elder Ballards conference talk about following up, and just felt really inspired that I should follow up with all of you! The apostle of the Lord has counseled us to invite 4 people a year to listen to the missionary discussions. That is four of our most loved and cherished friends and family members who are missing out on the blessings of the gospel because they don't know where to find it. Family and friends, this is our responsibility to share this gospel with them! Be that example that they want to follow, and then act, invite them to an FHE, a church activity, or to have dinner with the missionaries. Nothing happens in missionary work until we act and actually do something to invite others to listen to the gospel. The Lord is hastening His work of salvation. SALVATION people, this is for the eternities!! Something I've really learned on my mission is that we can't just be bystanders and expect to obtain the kingdom of God, we have to act too, we have to be worried about others salvation and not just our own. So I want all of you to take on this challenge from our dear apostles, and give those referrals to the missionaries. Pray to prepare people, and then actually prepare them! I know you can do it, it's so simple and will give you the best feeling when you see your dear friends and family members enter the waters of baptism, I can promise you that!
I love you all! Shout outs to Sister Behrmann, Shanoah, and Grandma for the letters! And Mom for 3 packages this week, you're still the queen of packages and I think the AP's hate me for always having to deliver them haha, but I appreciate it so much!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Bangerter
My current companion, Sister Panganiban, and Sister Del Rosario

Me and Sister Sidwell 

Me and Sister Hatch 

Pics from the conference in Baguio last week. Me and my old companion Sister Sawada

The coolest shirt ever, thanks Mom it's literally me on a shirt!

Ericks's Baptism 

Ericks's Baptism

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Love Gaerlan Family! 06/22/2014

Kumusta everyone!
My email is dedicated to the Gaerlan Family this week because they are probably my favorite people in this whole country, and I'll tell you why.
1.Leonardo and Elena Gaerlan were baptized when I first transferred here to Agoo, and they have been the strongest converts I've ever met! They have such a strong testimony of this gospel and they're not afraid to live it and share it.
2.Their son, Erick Gaerlan will be baptized this Saturday! He has come a long way and really wants to change his life so that he can too live the gospel and be sealed with this family in the temple. I bet he'll go on a mission one day too, I hope he does! I know that his testimony could change lives!
3.You can tell when someone is really converted to the gospel by their desire to share it, and Brother Gaerlan has that desire! In this week alone, he's given us several referral's, come to lessons with us, and brought a ton of people to church this sunday including his mother, niece, and the kids of one of our investigators. When we talked to him after church, he was telling us that he is just going about doing Christ's work and he wants his friends to be happy like he is. Brother Gaerlan is truly converted to this gospel!
I truly love the people that I've had the privilege to serve here in the Philippines, and I'm so glad that I was assigned in Agoo so that I could meet wonderful families like the Gaerlan's and I know that they have influenced my life more than I could have done for them. There are so many families that I've met here that I love and adore, and I know that I had to go on my mission so that I could be friends with these people for the eternities.
For some random news, we had a conference in Baguio and I got to see my old companions Sister Sawada and Sister Hatch again, so that was really great! I took some pictures, but my SD card is corrupted so I'll have to send them next week. Also, I found out that I have a bacterial infection in my eye haha but no worries, just gotta be 4 eyes for a couple of weeks and then I'll be fine again!
The work here is great and I'm loving this area, I know that the Lord and the Gaerlan family are preparing so many people for us right now, and I'm excited to go to work!
Shout outs to Mary Claire, Hermana Minnick, and Sami for the letters, be expecting some mail soon!
I love you and all and pray that you may be preparing people for the missionaries to teach too!
Mahal Kita.
Sister Bangerter

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day! 06/15/2014

Kumusta sa inyong lahat!
First of all, I want to wish Dad, and all of you other great father figures in my life a very happy father's day! I've learned so much on my mission to be thankful for my family, especially my parents and all that they have done for me throughout my life. So thank you so much Dad for always teaching me to choose the right and to live this gospel, I love you!
Well, this was a great week here in Agoo, I feel like I'm starting to see the work hastening here in our little branch! Right now, we have one IBD who's the son of our recent converts, the Gaerlan Family. His name is Erick, and he really wants to change his life around and be baptized. I love people like this. But with every golden investigator, there's always some little problems that come up right when it's getting close to the baptism. One of these was with the Law of Chastity. He doesn't have any serious problems, but here in the Philippines, there are a lot of calenders that have some not so great pictures of women on them, and it's normal for people to have these in their house, but if we really want to live the LOC, we should take them down. So we had taught him this lesson, and for about a week, the posters were still there. So we had a really bold and loving lesson with him about it, and it turned out to be the most beautiful lesson of my entire mission. The spirit was there so strongly, and tears were shed by all of us as we truly felt God's love and His desire for us to follow His commandments. I know it might sound weird to say that, since it was about LoC and normally this can be a very awkward lesson, but it just really showed to me how the spirit can touch our hearts and compel us to change in just a few seconds. As soon as we left, we could hear the posters being torn down. The gospel changes lives people! Erick is progressing really well, just needs a miracle to be able to get off of work for church, pray for him!
This week we also got to watch this special Northern Philippines Broadcast for our stake conference. The Saturday session was focused on missionary work and how the members and missionaries need to work together. We have already seen the results of this as we've received referrals from members, and this week, we're going to focus on teaching them how to share with their friends. Hope the members are ready to do some role plays ha! Then the Sunday session was a broadcast from SLC with Elder Teh, Bishop Davies, Sister McKonkie, and Elder Quentin L. Cook. All of the messages were focused on the blessings of temple sealings and temple work in general. I am so grateful for the blessings of my temple covenants and to live so close to one back home. For those of you who live close to the temple, take advantage of this opportunity to go as often as you can! The people here have to travel at least 6 hours to get to the temple, and most people don't have the money to make the trip. We need these temple and their ordinances, and people are waiting for us to do their work, so go and do it!
Our work here in Agoo is going really well, I've seen the fruits of our faith as we try to find new people to teach. So far, it's all been really old women who can't see to read and need a wheelchair to go to church...but I know that the Lord provides a way for his purposes to be fulfilled. With faith nothing is impossible, I testify of that.
Sorry this email is pretty scattered, but there was just a lot of good things that happened this week. It was also my half way mark last wednesday, crazy to think that I've been here for 9 months, and I'm excited to see what the next 9 months have to bring. I know that I have changed a lot just thinking about where I was back in my training or even the MTC to the point I am now. I still have so much more to learn and I'm excited to see what else the Lord has in store for me. In celebration of hitting my halfway mark, we ate balot again! Ok, worst decision, and it'll be the last time. As you can see from the pictures, I literally ate a baby duck, it probably would have been alive and kicking the next day if I didn't eat it. I took a video too that I think our Branch Presidents son put on facebook, so hopefully ya'll could see it, it took a lot for me to do that ok, and the fact that I flossed some baby duck hairs from my teeth after was a bit scarring! Well I guess now I can say I did it, and I really never want to do it again haha.
Well, I love you all and I'm so grateful for this gospel in my life and hope that you are all taking full advantage of its blessings! Another thing that I learned this week is that obedience is the key, be obedient people, that's the only way we obtain the blessings!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter




Monday, June 9, 2014

Welcome Tagulan! 06/09/14

Kumusta everyone!
So I'm a little late this P-Day cause we just had a super legit zone activity where we went to some waterfalls! It was some intense hiking and rock climbing, but no one got hurt luckily, and it was so beautiful! I've been waiting my whole mission to do a super fun activity like this, and it definitely didn't disappoint.
Anyways, this was a really great week of missionary work as always and we had a couple of exciting things spice up the week a bit. First of all, I went on exchanges with my sister in the mission (my trainer trained her and then me) Sister Spjut! It was probably one of the most fun days that I've had so far, and nice having no language barrier ha. And then Sister Sidwell turned 20 this week, and we had an FHE with our Branch President's family on her birthday. They had a little surprise for her of pictures of her since she was a baby until now and a little brithday video at the end from her family, it was really nice and made me excited for my birthday on the mission, I already feel so old now!
Well after writing that, I guess it doesn't seem that exciting, but I promise it was! Then of course we had a lot of good teaching opportunities this week, and we're working really hard on trying to meet the Standard of Excellence of our mission each week, so we're working on being really diligent and using our time to the fullest. I've learned especially, that's it's really important to constantly be finding new investigators who are really prepared and ready to accept this gospel. This was made apparently clear, when we went to teach one of our investigators for the 2nd or 3rd time. When we got there, they tried to hide, and then the Mom left without talking to us. So we taught the daughters, but they were just laughing the entire lesson and not taking it seriously. I really understood what Elder Holland meant in his talk about being a disciple of Christ and sometimes we may have to face ridicule for our beliefs. A part of me just wanted to storm off and leave as soon as I could because it was apparent they didn't care. But as mad as I felt in that moment, I just thought to myself how much more Christ grieves for them. All people have their agency to accept it, but it's not my right to pick and choose who deserves the gospel, because it's for everyone.
So despite some mean investigators, this week was still great, I know the Lord is guiding our work and leading us to those who are prepared to accept it. I've really learned too, that the Spirit is the teacher and the guide, I'd be nothing without Him. This was again made apparent to me when I had to give an on the spot talk this sunday at church! One of the speakers didn't show up, so they asked one of the missionaries to give it while we were in Relief Society. My companion was going to, but then during our Gospel Essentials class, she tells me she can't because she's sick and her throat is scratchy ha. So I spent like 10 minutes writing down some bullet points to give a talk in Tagalog about missionary work. I was doing some serious praying for sure within that class hour and during the sacrament. I was the first one to speak, and I ended up talking for about 10-15 minutes! The spirit was on my side Sunday for sure :)
Well I love you all, and I hope you know that I'm really enjoying my mission. Sometimes it's hard for me to really describe in these emails all that I do each day and throughout the week, but it all leads to the same thing. I'm on the Lord's errand and loving His gospel and learning how to really live it each and every day. I know this church is true and puts us on the path to eternal salvation with our families. That's what's most important to me. I love you family ( you should write me more ;)!)
Shout out to Mom for always sending me packages, you're the best and I love you soooo much!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter
Sister Sidwell's Birthday!

Buko juice (aka coconut)

Hanging Bridge

Hiking to the falls

Hiking to the falls

Hiking to the falls

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Never Ends 6/1/2014

Kumusta sa inyong lahat!
Well I made it through the first week of my training, and I feel like these next 12 weeks will really go by fast! Sister Panganiban is a natural, I really feel more like we're in a co-senior, not a trainer/ trainee companionship. I'm excited to see how much we can both learn and grow together during our time together.
This was a pretty normal week as far as the work went. We managed to find a lot of new investigators this week, and we're really close to meeting the standard of excellence for the mission. Now that I'm a trainer, I'm trying a lot harder to lead by example, meaning really trying to be as exactly obedient as I can, and I've definitely seen the blessings of it, even out of the little things. Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles, I'm gaining a testimony of this for sure.
But one of my favorite parts of this week was getting to go to a training meeting with President Balledos. I think this is one of the things I will cherish the most from my mission, getting to be trained, taught, and nourished every single day in the gospel and how to apply to my own life as well as the lives of others. This really is the only chance in my life when I'll be able to study my scriptures for so long without any interruptions and just really focus on the blessings of the gospel in my life. My personal study has always really been my favorite part of the day, and it just keeps getting better and better the longer I'm here! I know that I truly am changing and maturing, and hopefully by the end of my mission, I will be the person God has always known that I could be.
Sorry I don't have that much to say this week, the work is still moving along, and hopefully we should have a baptism at the end of this month, I'll keep ya'll updated! But I love my mission and my area here in Agoo, I've seen people's lives change because of the truthfulness of this gospel, including my own. I encourage you all to go out and share these blessings with others, we're all trying to work on our own salvation, but one part of that is helping others achieve theirs as well!
Shout outs to Brent for the letters, and Happy Birthday Emily (Graff) and Liz!
Remember that I love you all, and pray for me cause the frogs are coming out now...mamamatay na ako!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter
Working with the members! They're the best here!

I love my area

This giant lizard that people were selling to eat, takes like chicken daw

CSP with the RS