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!

Monday, September 1, 2014

CPR the small and simple!

Kumusta ang magandang pamilya at mga kaibigan ko.

This week was a little bit more difficult than I'm used to here in Claveria, but that's okay. Still a good week and lots of miracles! 
Last monday we went to Laoag to withdraw our money for the month. It was awesome we went down with the Petinggil couple in their car! We went to the filipino mall and ate pizza hut! then on the way back up we stopped at this really cool light house! the oldest in the Philippines!
The rest of the week we worked hard, and were actually pretty punted. I think Heavenly Father is just trying to keep me humble because these last couple weeks we've been having tons of success. Well it worked and I really had to pray and fast this week for help. One of the things I've really been struggling with is Ilocano. Now I'm pretty comfortable saying that I'm pretty fluent in tagalog, but we still have quite a few investigators that only speak Ilocano... I feel like I'm starting over, but I'm still working hard and not ready to give up this fight. by the time I leave this place I will be tri-lingual ( is that right?) haha.
but after a couple discouragements we started seeing the blessings.
One of the families we have been working with said they know the church is true. their baptismal interview will be this week, because they have been consistently attending church for weeks now. They have the coolest story, but I'll save that for when their baptized(:
We had an incredible lesson with the Vega family. This family is very influential in the community and would really help our little branch. they are truly investigating and want to know. As I taught them I really felt that they will be baptized!
Sunday was really great. So I spoke, you know us missionaries always prepared. Our recent convert Tatay Cresendo and his wife sang in church how great thou art. They sang acapela  and tatay harmonized. the whole audience was in tears. It was incredible. They were so nervous, but I'm so glad they shared their talent! They also mad history being the first musical number in sacrament meeting in Claveria.
I arrived to church to find out that one of the speakers didn't know he was giving a talk... well sister Abelhouzen to the rescue. As the leaders were stressing out I volunteered to speak. the relief on the faces were priceless haha.
My topic was centered in the scripture "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." Alma 37:6
Something I have really learned on my mission is how important the small and simple things are. They may be 'small' but they make a big difference.
For example: Every morning we must be out of the apartment at or before 8am. One morning in my first area, my companion and I were running late. Everyone was late to shower and nobody had eaten. Earlier that week my companion and I had set a goal to be out the door before 8am every morning. It was 7:55 and we hadn't eaten yet. Though hungry we decided to pray and leave so we could achieve our goal. Right after we left a man on a tricee passed and we flagged him down to take us to our first appointment. "perfect timing." we thought. we started talking to him and turns out he was pretty interested. we went back to visit him later that week. That man's name is Maurito Rigunay and in April he was baptized a and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Can you imagine if we would have decided to eat or if we were just one minute late?
I promise you that as we are exactly obedient to the commandments of the Lord, even the small and simple, the Lord will provide and we will see miracles.
This is true not only for us missionaries but for all of us in our lives.
We missionaries have a term we use a lot. CPR
C-attend church
P-pray daily
R-Read Daily
This three things are commandments of the Lord and are basically the commitments we leave to everyone. Though simple, it makes a big difference. I have seen that as people follow these small and simple commandments their spirituality becomes more sensitive, their desire to do good increases, and the distance between them and our savior is shortened.
I hope all of you will do the small and simple things in your lives!
The Church is true
The Book is blue
if you do these things, the Lord will bless you.
Yes cheesy... but true.
have a great week
palagi may pagmamahal ako para sa inyo!
Sister Abelhouzen

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Work is Hastening

Hello my dearest family! 
This has been a normal week full of hard work, brown outs, lots of rain, and miracles, always miracles.
A few experiences that we had:
1. my companion is fearless. She killed a rat by hitting it over and over with her shoe... while I was on top of my desk.
2. I ate chicken intestines... again. I've gotten pretty used to the food here; fish heads, chicken fat, balut, that's all fine, but I still can't get over the intestines... so weird.
3. yesterday at church we had a powerful Sunday school lesson. It was gospel principles and there were probably around 20 investigators in attendance. We were watching Finding Faith in Christ. It was amazing until, all of a sudden, a brown out. Everyone was sweating and the teacher was scrambling trying to find ways to fill the time. I was praying so hard that the power would come on and I didn't understand why it wasn't. Finally I just said, "Thy will be done." At that moment one lady stood up and bore a powerful testimony of Christ and how he has helped her in her life. The spirit was so strong and I realized that our investigators needed to hear that. 
4. Yesterday was also fast and Testimony meeting... the power was out so that means no power. which also means no microphone... nobody could hear anything President was saying as he started his opening announcements. Incredibly, just as they were about the bless a baby the power came back on. Coincidence? I think not (: Fast and Testimony meeting was incredible. Member after member stood and bore powerful testimony that Jesus is the Christ and this is his church. It was so incredible that it went over 30 minutes because they couldn't stop the heaps of people that wanted to share.
5. Have you ever tried sitting on the back of a tricycle in the pouring rain and then arriving to your meeting like you just stepped out of the shower? Welcome to the Philippines(: you just haven't experienced pouring rain until you've experienced a baguio in the Philippines. 

The area is doing pretty amazing here, everyone around can see how much it has started to progress and the incredible investigators that have been coming out of the wood works! Members have gotten really excited about the work and many people are preparing for baptism. There are a lot of factors that go into this: Hard work, obedience, quality teaching, but I do have to say that there is one thing I have noticed to be causing this work to hasten: Family History. I have been working very close to the senior couple, the Pettingills,  here on the mission. They're my secret weapon (; haha. Friends and Family across the world I would like to share a secret. If you want to see the work hasten and the baptisms increase, make family history a priority. People here in the Philippines didn't focus on their ancestors temple work, but once we started our work started to explode. The reason? These people in the spirit world have waited hundreds and hundreds of years and once they realize they have a chance, they will do everything to see that their name is found. These people started to see that the missionaries in Claveria are looking for their names, and just as Malachi prophesied, "The hearts of the children will turn to their fathers." Their hearts are definitely turning. People are stopping us on the street, begging us to teach them, Members are referring their friends, people are all of a sudden interested in what the "Mormons" have to say. When we ask why, they say "I don't know we just want to know more about your church." Or "we just felt we should." That feeling isn't just coming out of nowhere it is coming from those on the other side. When prophets and apostles have told us that we have help from the other side, they were not kidding. This work is real and the people that have passed need our help just as much as those that are sill on the earth. Please, if you haven't yet, do your family history work. And for my friends on missions, get your recent converts, members, and even investigators involved in family history. These people will bless your life in more ways than you can imagine. 

I am grateful everyday that I am a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I love this gospel and I know it is true! 
I hope you all have an amazing week! 
Sister Abelhouzen


Friday, August 1, 2014

Hello my darling' family!

So this week was fast... and not to much happened. I got stranded in Laoag waiting for my new companion. She was stuck in Manila, because of the typhoon. don't worry we didn't experience much here except a lot of rain... what's new?

One good thing is that I got to work in my old area and see my old people it was great! Loved it until president told me I couldn't work anymore, because apparently I had a disease and was going to kill people. okay Ma, before you start freaking out. I'm totally fine. I just woke up one day with a rash all over my body. I asked some of the members and they told me I was allergic to air... okay? yeah I'm just going to text Sister Barrientos. I text her and she told me to go to the hospital and get it checked out. turns out I had a viral infection... don't worry I'm not allergic to air. haha but I wasn't able to go out because if a pregnant lady gets what I had it could be harmful... so I just had to sit inside... sound fun? no, it wasn't. All I wanted to do was work! 
Finally on Friday I was all better and I picked up my new companion! Her name is Sister. Simangan she is from Isabella and speaks ilocano! Yay! She's awesome! I just feel bad because when we got to the area we did weekly planning. Then I was so excited to work that on Saturday she must have thought that I worked her to death. She'll get used to it(;
But on Sunday our work payed off we had investigators come to church that are preparing for baptism in August! I'm really excited for all that's coming up! 
Thank you all for all your love and support! Have a great week! 
P.S. A lot of you have been asking about foods... I guess it all just seems normal to me now... hahah still eating fish heads on a regular basis. 

Picture: Me and Sister Simangan... it's flooding here like always (: 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat.

Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat.
This week was a great week and the last of this transfer... My dearest Sister Buduan is getting transferred. and here is for the big shocker... I'm training haha kawawa ang trainee ko. diyok lang. pero yes I'm very excited. I love new missionaries, because they're just so excited to get out there and do the work of the Lord. It'll be an awesome experience!
I had exchanges this week with Sister Teely! It was awesome! I learned a lot! She's from Fiji and is a   boss! 
Remember that less active family of over 30 that I told you about? well yesterday, nanay came to church. It is a miracle. She told me when I first met her that she would never come back to church, pero sapagkat masdan yesterday morning there she was!!! I was so excited! I know this is just the beginning and many more are going to return!
We also had baptisms this week yay! Brothers Sherwin Tuberra and Cresendo Agcaoili are officially members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
Sherwin Tuberra was met by the missionaries a week before I got here and was extremely prepared to hear this gospel. He was at a point in his life where he was on the search for happiness, but he didn't want any of that temporary stuff. He wanted long lasting. That's when he saw the missionaries laughing and walking down the street. "I want that." He said to himself. Then he stopped them and asked for a pamphlet. When we met him for the first time he sent us away because he was embarrassed he was drunk.  We came back and he informed us that he has spent his whole life drinking and obtaining temporary happiness, but he wants real happiness, he wanted to change. He has not had a drink since.  He saw something different in us. The first time he came to church, he felt at home and found what he has always been looking for. He was confirmed yesterday and has already been called as a ward missionary. People used to refer to him as the drunk on the block, he is now Sherwin yung mabait. or 'the kind one'
Tatay Agcaoilie has been an investigator forever. let me give you a little time span. Elder Asuncion was one of the missionaries to teach him, after his mission he moved back to claveria, got married, is now the district president, and has 4 kids the oldest being 14 years old. Long time... the reason being tatay is just a little stubborn he wants to know everything, which I absolutely love because now I know he will remain a faithful member of the church for a long time. He has changed his life as well and is a good example to everyone around him. Everyone loves tatay he's incredible and KNOWS this church is true.
This gospel changes people! I'm happy to report that both will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood next week and both cried during their testimonies! The church is true!
pictures: this morning we went hiking to the falls! and the baptism!

Monday, July 14, 2014














Hello family! 
So this is going to be short one because I didn't have time to think about what I wanted to write about... We woke up at 3am this morning to come to Laoag so we could withdraw our money. I was planning on thinking it about it on the bus, but those of you that know me know that I can sleep anywhere... so I was out haha.

This  past week was the fourth of July!!! how is it in the good ole US of A. don't worry I celebrated. I wore red and we sang the national anthem and america the beautiful for companionship study. My poor companion had no idea how to sing it. 

So on the mission I have this rep... I'm the fearless white girl. I have to confess that is so false. I have fears... I get nervous every time I go talk to someone, but the Nike phrase just goes through my head. JUST DO IT. so I do. I will just walk up to someone, help them wash their clothes, run up to catch someone on the street, crack jokes in the jeepney (usually not that funny, but they laugh because I'm trying to speak Ilacano), or help them gather their vegetables.Then, it usually turns out pretty awesome, we've found a lot of really great people. Don't get me wrong I have been horribly rejected as well, but you've just gotta shake it off and go to the next one. "I just think about Jesus Christ, He wouldn't even care, he would just do it; because he loves them." David Archuleta said that. Pretty cool, and soo true. 

Other than that we had an awesome Zone Training, some baptismal interviews, and I realized just how tall I am. 
We have two baptisms coming up this week so It should be great! 

Love you all so much! Stay strong and remember, they too are children of God, Love them! JUST DO IT! 
have a great week! 
Sister Abelhouzen

Pictures: 
The counters in our kitchen
One of the cutest ladies in our ward! 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good is the Enemy of Excellence

Well family another week has come and gone... I feel as if each week goes by faster and faster.
This week we have done a lot of traveling. Not a fan, but it's alright you gotta do what you gotta do. We traveled to Laoag (4 hours) for zone conference and back the next day and then one day later to Pasuquin (3 hours) for district conference and came back the same day. Now don't get me wrong, I love road trips.But this is more like riding hours in a bus like the one in Harry Potter. They move so fast and turn so fast and slam on th ebreaks to stop. It's absolutely crazy. I steel feel a little sick. The hard thing is you don't really know how long it will take because you don't know how many times the bus will stop. There is no such thing as bus stops here. You just stand on the side of the road and flag one down then when you want to get off you just stand up. The picture is at the mission conference with the sisters in my apartment. My outfit is from ukay ukay and probably cost 4 dollars!
           So a couple more things about Claveria. I have fallen in love with Ukay Ukay... don't worry that's not a filipino haha its a store. It's actually the filipino version of the D.I. There are so many cute things for like 10 pesos (25 cents) yeah it's good. Also there are bugs everywhere. Yesterday we made spaghetti, but didn't realize the noodles had ants. when we poured it in the boiling water they all started popping up. The sad thing is, we were too tired to cook something else. So we just tried to get them all out but ended up eating it anyway... is that bad? I mean they were boiled... extra protein?
          This week we were finding all these little white balls and we didn't know what they were. Turns out they are lizard eggs. I thought it was awesome, but the other sisters thought it was gross. Maybe they'll eat some of the bugs?
          I have to tell you about Zone Conference because it was amazing. Elder Ardern from the 70 came to speak to us. I learned so much. His wisdom and his intelligence inspires me. He had no notes, but his thoughts were so organized and so profound. Something I really like that he talked about is that for missionary work to reach it's potential, there can't be a single missionary that settles for average or "good". He quoted someone when he said "Good or Average is the enemy of Excellence." We must not settle for average. We should always strive to become better. Even if we thing we are good enough, because "good enough" is never good enough. There will not be one should in the celestial kingdom that settled for good enough. WE must follow all of the commandments and put our focus on the weakest parts of ourselves to make it strong like Moroni did with his army. "The most important commandment is the one that gives you the most difficulty." President Lee. I hope none of us will settle for average & we will all strive to be better.
        Miracle moment: Yesterday while I was traveling back from pasuquin, I sat nest to a man. Then, like you're supposed to, I struck up a conversation with him. He then stopped me and said, "I appreciate what you do, but I'm Catholic." Politely, I responded with, "That's okay we both believe in Jesus Christ and that's most important." Then I proceeded to ask about his family and work. He eventually opened up and told me his whole life story. When I saw he trusted me I pulled out one of my pamphlets and said "I can see that family is very important to you, I'd like to give you something that I know will bless you and your family." He accepted and told me how he has a desire to move closer to our Savior. I took out my Book of Mormon and shared with him 2 Nephi 22:2, one of my favorite verses. "Behold God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he has also become my salvation." After he read he said "Thank you that was beautiful." I handed him my Book of Mormon and said "As you read this book, you will move close to our Savior Jesus Christ. These are His words." As he held the book he explained that he was feeling something and he feels that what I am saying is true. I just smiled and said "It is true." After a few moments he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "thank you so much, this is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me." When can you come visit me and my family?" Unfortunately he doesn't live in my area so I explained that I would give his name to the missionaries there. He was so excited.
Don't give up on people if at first they reject the gospel. They will come around.
The Church is True!
Sister Abelhouzen