Monday, February 9, 2015

Amazing Week!

Hey family! 
Sorry this is a bit late, we've had meetings and a lot going in preparation for a general authority that will be coming to speak to our mission later today.... yeah we're stoked! That's like Santa Claus for us missionaries.
hmmm where to start.
I guess I can start with my exchanges in claveria. Yup I got to go back to paradise. It was amazing. I went and worked in the other sisters area so that my next transfer, I can go back to my area. It was so fun and I really loved it! I got to see the sasis family. This family is the rock in claveria and since I've been gone they've been sealed. Right when I pulled up in the tricey all of the little kids started yelling Sister Aby!!! including B-boy, who by the way could not talk last time I was there. We had a good visit and there house has all of the pictures of us on their wall! Ahh so fun! I was so lucky to go visit them.
We had some great lessons this week. We've been teaching a family, the father is actually a pastor in another church and they are very receptive. He even told us that he knows the church they are joined with is not true, but it's the closest they've found and are just looking for it. He has been really searching, but lately has been held up with how we use more that one cup in the sacrament because Jesus Christ only used one. We explained about how the church has expanded and we now have modern day revelation from a living prophet so we know exactly what to do. He couldn't let it go. I was trying to think about what scriptures I could share with him to prove it when a thought came to me... Sister Testify. at that moment I just bore my testimony about how I know this is true because I have asked God myself. I explained that I don't know everything, but I know that God does and He loves his children and will answer us if we ask Him. After he looked at me and said Sister I feel like what your saying is true, i'm just confused. I will ask. It was really cool and taught me that sometimes we don't need to say all the elaborate things or know all the verses in the bible. We just need to rely on the Holy Ghost and testify. 
Then after a sleep deprived week of hard work we had a baptism of Leonardo Gabuten. He has been an investigator for quite some time. His wife is a member and has been active for awhile just waiting on him.

A piece of advice for anyone that will be serving in the Philippines, Learn to Laugh. The church here is new and you will experience some crazy things... For example:
If when you arrive at the church and the gates are still locked.
Church starts 30 minutes late because nobody shows up on time.
the relief society president calls a return missionary to repentance because she hasn't married yet.. in the middle of class The gospel principles teachers asks everyone to give an example of a sin they have done.
the opening hymn in sacrament meeting sounds a little bit like a bunch of cats dying
everyone bares their testimony in sacrament meeting about all of their sicknesses they have and how strong they are if your baptism starts one hour late because they forgot to fill up the font.
These are just a few examples maybe i'll give more next week haha. Bottom line: I used to be so frustrated and stressed on Sundays, but I now I just smile and laugh and think, they're doing their best. 
For all of you Read this, It's amazing and changed my life:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1966&tid=7
I love you all have a great week, 
Sister Aby

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy 2015!

Hey Family and friends,
First of all Happy 2015! 
This year for new years was.... well yeah this is what happened.
We had to be home new years at 5pm because everyone does fireworks and drinks... not the best combination. So yeah my plan was just to just sit home read scriptures, right in my journal, and eat cookies (thanks mom(: ) but my companion had a different plan. haha we did training.... not missionary training. thai kuan do training.... It was way legit, but I was dying and for the next five days following my body was in pain. haha I couldn't even walk, my companion was laughing at me. sorry man I haven't exercised any of those muscles for over 15 months. 
Our area is doing good. It's progressing, but of course there is room for improvement. We just need to do finding finding finding so we have more investigators! My area is beautiful and is right on the beach yaaa love it. I'll get ya some pictures next week. 
Lots of cool things are happening, but yeah can't really remember. Just know I'm happy and Miracles are real in the work of the Lord!
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." Matthew 19:29-30
Never forget what is most important in this life, our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. They know our sacrifices and our un-commended service. Everything will be made up in the end hundredfold. Never forget which way you face! 
I love you all! 
Give everything to the Lord this 2015! 
Sister Abelhouzen

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Maligayang Pasko ang magandang pamilya ko!



This has been a great week! We started the week with having our annual Christmas Conference. Is it already time for that again? Crazy... The Devotional was first in the morning. It was amazing! I felt so motivated and excited to be better. A lot of great news came! First our mission had a goal for 2014 to have 1000 baptisms. We exceeded our goal! So for 2015 our Mission Standard has been raised and by raised I mean almost doubled when it comes to the amount of lessons in a week and quadrupled when it comes to the amount of baptisms.... yeah. at first I was like oh no... I'm going to die. haha I mean I'm already working hard right? Then I remembered a scripture, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" This is not my work, it's the Lord's and if President Barrientos has received this revelation, then let's do it. The Lord is hastening his work, just like he said he would in D&C 88:73. It's time. I'm so lucky to be apart of this work at this important time!
After our Devotional we had an amazing race. yes mom, I know you love that show. well that's what we did! We had to run all over Laoag and figure out clues and due certain tasks... did I mention I was wearing a skirt... yeah awesome. but It was really fun, I forgot how competitive I am.... I was sprinting everywhere. 
After Christmas conference we just worked really hard and taught way more lessons than we usually do. I didn't think we could work harder, but when you have a positive attitude and keep a prayer in your heart. Mircales happen! Get ready for a year full of miracles in the Philippines Laoag Mission! 
Love you! Have a great Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

'Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God'

grabe pamilya ko. november na. ang bilis. wellllll this was the first week of the transfer and it was a good/ difficult one. 
My new companion is sister Morallos and she's from Tacloban, Philippines. She has been in the mission a little over 10 months now. She's awesome and was home when the huge typhoon hit one year ago... she's got crazy stories! 
This week was so fast... 
somethings that happened: 
-we walked for two hours because there was no transportation... we may or may not have gotten lost and my feet may or may not have been bleeding by the end. gotta love it. 
-lots of parades. haha oh man the parades here are so funny. people just get on their motors and drive in a line with lots of people walking and holding balloons. no floats. but literally everyone is involved. nobody could do anything because they were all walking in this parade. 
-we worked hard. We had a lot of awesome appointments we saw a lot of great changes in these people that we're teaching. 
- I was so stoked for sunday we had visited our investigators saturday night and we had expected a turn out of 15 investigators at church. turns out there were more parades and none of them showed up.
I was really disappointed and have been praying about what I need my investigators to understand. I got my answer. 
'Seek ye first the kingdom of God.' 3 nephi 13: 33 
I feel like sometimes we forget which things are most important and push spiritual things aside because 'they can wait'. the truth is, they can't wait. This is the most important thing. The awesome promise is if we seek first the things of God, he will give us EVERYTHING we need in return! 
Love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BBBBAAACCCARRRAAA is the BEST

Hello Family! 
Aw man we have had an AMAZING week! After weeks and weeks of struggling in this new area, we are starting to see some big things happen! This is one of the best parts of being a missionary finally seeing all of that hard work paying off! 

Let's start off with some of the cool things we got to do this week! 
We volunteered at the church where they were doing free screening for free surgeries for cleft pallets, clubbed feet, and cataracts. They had a doctor come up who lives in Manila. He's from Utah and is a retired surgeon. Many years ago he served as a mission president in manila and when he retired he decided to move to the Philippines and start a charity where they do free surgeries. It was amazing. Before we started volunteering he advised us that we should not share the gospel at all. He said, "We serve them and we don't expect anything in return. We serve them first, then when they see what the church is all about and they show interest, then we teach them." I thought that was really cool. When Christ came to America in 3 Nephi- He first healed all the people then he taught them the gospel. 
We had the opportunity to fellowship with a lot of the members this week! Yes you heard that right, THE MEMBERS OF BACARRA WARD ARE FELLOWSHIPPING. It's a miracle. We saw a lot of success and the members really enjoyed it. In fact most of them came up to us at church and thanked us and asked when they could work again. They've caught the vision and felt the sweetness of the work! 
Sister Lumanog and I gave a training at a Zone Training Meeting about what more we can do to be consecrated missionaries. It was really awesome and I think really motivated our Zone to be better! Big things are gonna happen in Laoag 2 zone. 
Alright here are some miracles that happened this week: 
We found a new family! Not just any family. This family is really prepared and are soo receptive. After the lesson we were really feeling the spirit and the mom told us to keep coming because her husband never listens when other missionaries come, but he sat right down and was really receptive! 
Our sacrament attendance in the last week increased from 95 to 140. do you think members make a difference?
We were just sitting in sacrament yesterday and I was just laughing and listening the the talks, when my companion leans over and says, "wait you understand this?" I realized they were speaking in ilocano... yeah I do... awesome. 

We have just been working so hard so get excited for all the big things coming up. I just want to leave a scripture that I read in my personal study today. " And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. 
And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation." 3 Nephi 26:9-10
 We have to trust in the faith that we already have in order receive more. It's sometimes scary and doubtful. But you just press forward until that faith grows into something that you truly know. Keep doing those things that help your faith grow. 
mahal na mahal ko po kayong lahat. Ingat palagi! 
Sister Abelhouzen

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let's Feed the Dead People Day

minamahal kong pamilya at kaibigan, 
grabe, deba kahapon lang ang lunes? mabilis ang panahon.
This week has been so great! Great but difficult. We have worked soo hard. We just worked and worked even though it's so hot and everybody is punting us we just kept working. there would be some days where I'm like wow... that was hard. Even if the sun is beating, you're sweating, and you are just looking for people to except your message with no one listening, you just keep smiling and when you return home at night you feel complete peace and you know that the Lord is pleased.  That my friends is the joy of this great work. I love being a missionary. Even though it was rough we are still making progress. we managed to find two new families this week and heeps of new investigators and we hit our mission standard of excellence in lessons. 
I have to share some of the things I saw this week... crazy stuff. This was my first Halloween in the Philippines because last year, I was still in the MTC.
They actually call it All Saints day and it's on Nov 1 then Nov 2 is all Souls day. I don't really know the difference... maybe they celebrate the nice people or 'saints' that have died on the 1st then on the 2nd they just celebrate everyone that's dead?? haha di ko alam. 
So this is what happens everyone makes food, like a lot of food, and takes it to the cemetery and leaves it out for the dead... I don't think they can eat that. however some people just leave it out side their houses. so there is just ALL this delicious food sitting out side going to waste and did I mention it was fast sunday?... yeah rude!  after that... i'm actually not really sure what they do with the food, cause I know the dead people don't eat it... basta its gone now. That night,  they turn off all the lights and light candles and leave their doors open. I asked my companion about it and she said its so the 'spirits' are guided to the door?? but they don't leave their gates open... soo how's that gunna work? 
yeah so that's the philippines. It was really hard to teach those days because everyone was at the cemetery or had to entertain their dead guests with the lights off. but all is well we still taught even if a few lessons were with the lights off.
Man I just love this work! Yesterday we had a broadcast where a lot of the area presidency and Dallin H oaks spoke to the whole Philippines. It was awesome I got to see sister Lainhart and Sister Simangan. I wanted to talk about some of things they focused on. 
Family first- if we put our family and God first, we will always have enough and will be blessed
scripture study- if you want to stay spiritual strong read your scriptures EVERY DAY. "it's not about how many times we go through the Book of Mormon, but how much of what we read goes through us." Elder Ardern
Please if you aren't already, read your scriptures EVERYDAY. we need it to overcome temptation and the evil effects of the world. As we do we will, as Nephi promises "be made strong.. it persuadeth [us] to do good.. and  it speaketh of Jesus and persuadeth [us] to believe in Him and to endure to the end, which is life eternal." 2nephi33:4 Don't we just love the scriptures?? 
Love you all! Have a good week! The church is true! 
P.S. shout out to my momma who's birthday is this week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ingat Claveria

Hey fam,
So looks like this will be my last day in Claveria. That's right I'm heading off to my 4th area, Bacarra It's kinda by Laoag. I heard it's kind of a rough area, but hey magbabago ang bacarra. (: My companion is Sister Lumanog, she just finished training and I'm sure is super magaling!
Dang, I'm going to miss Claveria. This place literally changed my life. I have learned so much in the last few months! I'm going to miss grandma and grandpa (the Pettingils), they have helped me so much. I'm really sad to be leaving because I know a lot of big things are about to happen, but it's okay I left my area stronger than I found it. The Claveria Branch is now the strongest Branch in our mission with a sacrament attendance of 200+ I'm very pleased with the progress!
This week was so great. Me and Sister Simangan worked super hard! We taught 39 lessons and found a lot of really great people that have been prepared by the Lord. It's incredible how if you just work hard and be obedient, the Lord will lead you to those who he has prepared!
We made huge progress on the Dalo Family. We were actually planning their baptism for this last Saturday, but we received a text from nanay telling us that she had to go to an emergency training all week so they'll have to postpone their baptism. Sayang! I won't get to be there, but that's okay. The important thing is that they get baptized! I just love this work!
We visited the Benigno family, the less active family of about 30 people. They are also making a lot of progress, but they just can't seem to forget about the person that offended them 14 years ago. Every time we go they just always bring it out. Finally I just pulled out the secret weapon. Revelation 3:11 "Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." I told them that this is not about this person that offended them, but about Christ. We don't know when time will be too late, we must hold fast. We can't just give up our salvation for something as silly as offense. After tatay read the scripture he just looked up and said, "we will be at church next week, thank you for reminding us." So I'm excited to see what happens!
Thank you for all of your support and love! I know that this is Christ's church and it has been restored in these last days. this is a divine work and am so grateful to be apart of it. To all of you, Hold fast and 'let no man take thy crown'. Love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen

Sandcastles & Sugarcane!