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!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Salvation is not Cheap

Hello My dearest family and friends! 
Well I left Claveria Tuesday. It was bittersweet. I love claveria and really love those people. Monday was FHE at the Curamengs. It was mahirap to say good bye. Members were crying... man I hate good byes. 
When I got to Bacarra... wow what a change, everyone is so rich and soo ilocano. I have never seen so many nice house my whole mission and I've had to step up my ilocano came since my companion is no longer an ilocana. It is crazy. The nice thing is that there are a lot of investigators here. So even though they're rich they're still willing to listen to the word of God. Now we just gotta getem' to church (: The Ward seems strong, a lot of good leaders and a lot of Return missionaries. That makes a big Difference.
My new companion is Sister Lumanog. She's awesome! She's pretty new in the mission, just finished her 12 week training. She's from Bacolod, Philippines and is a hard worker! It should be a good transfer! 
This week we've just been working hard and meeting all the people here. Once I get to know them better I'll tell you some awesome stories haha! 
This weekend we finally got to see conference! ah! It was amazing! I love how they are able to speak in their native tongue now. Maybe next year, Tagalog! 
I really loved the talks. This time I wrote a bunch of questions on things that I can do to become a better missionary. They were ALL answered better than I could have imagined! Our leaders are truly inspired and called of God! 

I've grown up always thinking that we live in a generally good world. You hear stories about bad things people do, but subconsciously I've always thought that that would never happen to me. or be done by anyone I know. I guess I was thinking I just lived in a protective bubble where nothing bad happens around me. I've always heard stores about persecution of the Church or Truth. They're everywhere, The bible, Book of Mormon, church history, even other missionaries in our day. I thought yeah people will reject our message I guess, but I didn't quite understand. It absolutely blew my mind and still does to this day that people don't want to listen and when they do listen that they aren't absolutely astonished. I mean this is the truth, Why aren't people flocking to the baptismal font? Let me put this in terms that we can understand, well at least us girls. For me, I felt like we are offering people a 100% off sale at H&M, or sportsman warehouse for you guys,  I mean right?? Wouldn't everyone be all over that?! The only thing is, it's way better than 'clothes' or 'things'. its the truth! The literal way to our salvation. YOUR SALVATION PEOPLE AH! 
Elder Uchdorfs and many others talks really put it into perspective for me! Something I remember Jeffrey R Holland Said to missionaries, "How could we ever expect it to be easy for us, when it was never ever easy for Him. Salvation is not cheap." What we're offering is not a 100% off sale at H&M, we're inviting others to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and to know how to return to our Father in Heaven. But it's not cheap and it most certainly is not free. We must give everything. The only people that will see that and understand are those that have truly been prepared by the Lord. To everyone else we're just another church or another place to go on Sunday. What they don't understand, this is everything, Everything we are and how we live. 
But we can't be discouraged because there are those out there that are searching, that truly want to know. We just have to find them. and through the miracles of God, we will! 
I love being a missionary! 
Sister Abelhouzen
Picture: a part of God's army Bangui Zone.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Baguio Season


sige po, wag po kayong magalala buhay pa ako. 

There was a big typhoon in the Philippines and it knocked out the power in our area and I'm not sure how long it will be out. but today we traveled to laoag for zone conference and got to email. also I had a cold glass of water, it was awesome. 
The  zone conference  was incredible and really motivated me to be better! We focused on a lot of things but these are some of the things that stood out to me: Leave behind all personal, this mission is not about us missionaries, forget it all. retain recent converts, the work is not done. asking inspired questions takes obedience and planning. fear is not real! I always seem to get exactly what I need to be a better missionary!
last monday was pretty awesome, we got to go to some more waterfalls. It was a pretty funny story though this cute little nanay in our ward said she knew where they were and we went, but we went to this random little swimming pool with a little spout. "nanay where is it??" "there! isn't it beautiful" gotta love filipinos they definitely find beauty in the little things! but don't worry we found it Tuesday we had the chance to Volunteer for a program that the church is sponsoring, it's called ligtas sa tigdas. Basically we just went around with the Health department and gave this children vaccinations for free for a disease that really harmful. for us in the U.S. we receive our MMR shots when we're babies, but most of these families can't afford it, so a lot of children get sick. It was really awesome to help out. My companion gave out vitamins and I gave the kids candy and comforted them after and before their shots. I loved it and the parents were really grateful we were there. It reminded me of volunteering in the E.R. 


When we got back from Zone Conference I was ready to work, Thursday we worked all day. It was so awesome! We saw so many miracles! I found my jam again... it's rough when there are storms and you're stuck inside.Well to my surprise Friday Morning we received a text from president telling us that we would not be able to work that day because another storm was coming...noooooo. ah I hate it. On the bright side we did get to stay with the petinggils again and ate delicious american food. but in the afternoon I felt like we needed to go visit one of our recent converts and so I text president and told him the storm wasn't too bad in Claveria so he approved, but told me to be careful and come home right after. So we did. Turned out being an awesome lesson. His son's whole family was in town and we taught about temple sealing, they seemed very interested so we told them we'd come back again. storms can't stop the work of God. Saturday we woke up to a sunny sky! "yes, this means work." I thought. After a few appointments, president texts again. "Nobody go out and work. don't be a hero. it's not safe." WHATTT? it's sunny! but don't worry, I did what I was told and went home. within a few hours the sky turned black and the storm was here. It really wasn't bad in Claveria, but in other areas it was. I heard in Vigan (my first area) their apartment was so flooded they were up to their chest in water... crazy.Sunday was good, but our attendance was really low because of the storms. Everyone just pray that there are no more! I wanna preach the Gospel! 

Love you all! have a great week! 

Sister Abelhouzen

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The bitter makes the sweet that much sweeter and Uhh... Merry Christmas??

My dearest family and friends,
This week we had a lot of bitter and finally some sweet. However it's okay because you can't appreciate the sweet without the bitter!
The thing that has been the hardest this week has been the Dalo Family. I love this family so so much but they aren't sure if they want to get baptized anymore. Ah no! In fact they were supposed to baptized on August 23, they were interviewed, passed and everything, but then they told us that they weren't ready. They needed more time so we picked a date with them and they decided September 13. However now they are second guessing. I can feel that Satan is really working hard on them. Please pray for them so they can push through and be baptized!
As for some of the sweet:
-We taught one of our investigators (a chain smoker) about the word of wisdom. He has been texting us every day to tell us that he is quitting and will prevail. He really has a desire to be baptized!
-Got to witness a beautiful blessing. A father of one our recent converts asked for a blessing. The problem is that he has tuberculosis. for those of you that don't know, this is a extremely contagious disease and it's air borne. We asked Elder Pettingil if he'd be willing to give the blessing and he just smiled and said, "I've never heard of anyone getting sick from giving a blessing." He then, because the father couldn't move, had to stick his hands through this window to give the man a blessing. It was beautiful and afterwards the man was so grateful and so happy that we came. #PriesthoodPOWER
-one of our investigator families was really struggling with coming to church. We had a powerful lesson about the Plan of Salvation and they need to attend church to be baptized and return to our Father in Heaven. Then early Sunday Morning we pull up to see them waiting out side the church. That is one of the best sites ever!
-I have found my love for family history. We did Tatay Caalim's family history and since it's really hard for him to speak and nanay can't remember anything we were just planning on doing a little bit. But then we come to find out that tatay had done it years ago but hadn't yet sent it to the temple. We were able to find all these old records and miraculously tatay was able to help us put it all together. It was so fun! I can't wait to do my work when I get home.
As for things here in the Philippines.. It's still hot and always rains, don't worry the bathroom is still full of spiders and it's incredibly beautiful. Apparently it's Christmas season... Everyone is putting up lights and Christmas trees and lot's of Christmas music.
This week in the scriptures: I just finished Alma and I'm so inspired by the stripling warriors. Just when you think they will be defeated they prevail and this is why, "They did obey and observe to perform every command with exactness; yea and even according to their faith it was done unto them and I did remember the words which they said unto me, that their mothers had taught them." Alma 57:21
So a big shout out to my momma. She's incredible and I know the reason I'm here fighting this fight is because of what she has taught me. I hope when things get tough we can do as the stripling warriors and keep fighting for our faith in Christ and remember what we've been taught from our mothers!
Love you all! and I guess Merry Christmas!