Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunsets & Trees

                                             gabi-gabi here in vigan... sunsets are magical 

This week was rough: 
We didn't get to teach very many lessons, literally nobody was home or everyone turned us a way... oh well a mission is like a tree.

One of our investigators, Jovan, who is 11 and had been struggling to understand, we found out only speaks Ilocano. HE ONLY SPEAKS ILOCANO! why did nobody tell me this??... oh well a mission is like a tree.. we'll keep working

All of our investigators with baptismal dates in December missed church yesterday and since you have to go to church 4 times before getting baptized we have to push them to January... oh well a mission is like a tree.

Sometimes it's hard, especially being a new missionary, because I want to conquer the world and teach everyone. We've been working so hard, but sometime it doesn't show... Then I remember the parable of the Chinese Bamboo tree. It grows underground for 4 years, but nothing shows. Then on the fifth year it shoots in the air up to 15 ft. I feel like that's how it is here. You work so hard, but nothing shows until finally that miracle happens that makes it all worth it! Not a lot is showing right now.. but it will. 

I know Heavenly Father is aware of me. One night this week I came home feeling like a terrible missionary and I just fell to my knees asking Heavenly Father to forgive me of my short comings and I remember having a distinct feeling that I needed to read D&C I opened my scriptures and the first page it fell to had 10:4 highlighted. It read " do not run faster or labor more than you have strength or means... but be diligent unto the end." That is all he wants me to do is be diligent and keep working!

Miracle of the Week: One of our less actives, Emma, hasn't been to church in a year since she came to get the Holy Ghost. She really didn't understand the importance. Missionaries have been trying to get her back and we went to her house this week and taught her one of the most amazing lessons! The spirit was so strong and she started crying. She promised she would come to church and she did! All the members were so happy to see her! 

Funny Story of the Week:  Yesterday my companion and I went to visit Mercy, our investigator who we haven't been able to teach in awhile because she's always busy and really catholic. Not to mention her husband doesn't like that she's taking lessons from us. When we got there she said she was busy because she was trying to understand her sons math assignment so she could explain it to him. I immediately asked, do you want some help and surprisingly she said yes. I then proceded to teach her how to add complex fractions and her husband listened to. They then fed us and were so thankful. We asked if we could come back and teach them a lesson on Tuesday and BOTH of them agreed! Who would have thought that I'd get to use my math tutoring skills to bring people into the Gospel? Ah! So awesome... so sisters... take school seriously haha.

Family thank you so much for everything! I love you all! I love being a missionary! Have and amazing thanksgiving! And never forget to be grateful for the Savior and his infinite atonement! 
Mahal kita!
Magandang lingo!
Sister Abelhouzen


Monday, November 18, 2013

Being in the Philippines

Uhm what? Is this real life?
Alright let's start from the beginning of my Philippines adventures.
When I got into the airport in Manila I was hit with humidity and heat.
We then got to stay in this very nice hotel in Manila. Seriously I was like alriggghhtt, I can definitely do this haha oh little did I know... ha they fed us dinner and welp I just ate rice, not really used to the meat yet. Then I took the last hot shower I would take for 18 months and went to bed. Since we didn't get to bed till 2:00 am we got to sleep in which also was my last time for 18 months.. sad day. So we woke up and they brought us breakfast which was the same thing we had for dinner except with some eggs. yum. so I ate eggs and rice. haha We got dropped off at the Manila airport 4 hours early... so we did a lot of contacting. dang, Filipinos are a lot nicer than Americans haha I gave out so many cards and pamphlets. My favorite was a man named Dente... he's a gem and said he would add me on Facebook haha Is that allowed? hindi ko alam... oh well We finally met up with more Elders and Sisters from the Manila MTC and since our flight was delayed we got real acquainted. They're great mostly Filipino, have I mentioned I love Filipinos? Finally we got on our planes and it was one of those awesome planes that you enter from the ground, I felt like I was on a movie or like the Queen. NBD. We finally got to Laoag and some Elders and our mission President and his wife picked us up. AH I love my mission President! He's really funny and his wife is a sweet heart!
We got the mission home which is really nice and they fed us Pizza and McDonalds, uh alright I'll take it. We woke up the next morning and had orientation about money and food and the rules. Most of the rules are great, like there is a rule saying that we have to shower twice a day... uhm don't mind if I do. We got to meet all of the Trainers including Sister Brewer ( from home) and Elder Glover (Zac's roommate) ahh I was so happy!.

After placing we found out who our Trainers were and what area we had. I got Sister Bettilyon, she is sooo hilarious! seriously we're going to have fun. but the thing that scared me was that she's American and has only been out in the field for 3 months. Her Tagalog is pretty good, but she's not fluent, so I'm going to have to step it up. We've been doing pretty well in our lessons though! My area is Vigan and everyone is so jealous because supposedly its one of the most beautiful areas in my mission! Alright so we got to our area and did some proselyting... I'm pretty sure the language I learned in the MTC was not Tagalog because I have no Idea what these people are saying... It's so frustrating because I want to be able to teach them so much, but I can only say a few things. Everyone says I'm speaking well but I feel like I'm so behind. All the older sisters here are telling me that I knew more than they did, but I don't know it's just a humbling experience haha.We finally got back to our apartment, which is pretty nice considering we are in the Philippines, but I was EXHAUSTED. Literally I felt like I was going to collapse any second so after showering (we just installed a shower head so we don't have to bucket shower!) I passed out.
After the first day I was super overwhelmed, but I decided I would keep a positive attitude cause I knew it would get better! and it has! I still can't speak the language, but I pray at least 30 times a day so I'm sure that will come soon enough. After meeting our investigators it makes it all worth it. Seeing people's faith grow and watching them come closer to Christ brings so much joy!
When we were teaching one of our investigators, I saw a rat running across the wall. After I asked sister Bettilyon about it and she said it was a mouse... She said the rats are much bigger like the size of Chihuahuas... uh what? apparently everything is bigger in the Philippines except for the bananas and the people.
Sunday was our first time at church and we had FIVE of our investigators there which is awesome because it's really hard for people to come to church here because it's expensive and kind of far away. In relief society and sunday school I basically had no idea what was going on, but its okay I just kept smiling and nodding. In sacrament I had to bear my testimony.. people just kept smiling and you could just tell they were thinking oh how cute she's trying to speak Tagalog haha.... yeah. After church so many people came up to me... oh I just love them.
alrighhhttyyy so some things about the Philippines:
There are goats, chickens and dogs everywhere outside
There are ants and spiders everywhere inside
The people will just burp... all the time... its just normal... Ashton would like it here.
You call every women over 50 nanay and and every man over 50 tatay sorry mom and dad when I put that on your letter I thought that it meant mom and dad... nope just means your old and cute (:
They hook up little side cars to motorcycles and call it a transportation system.
It has a certain smell here... like curry mixed with smoke
They Love white people... seriously I will pull my hair in a bun, wear glasses, with no makeup, and every person is like ohhh so bran maganda.. uh what? ahaha plus most people will listen to us just because we're white.

It's weird how fast I've adjusted. I love it here.  I sometimes have to remind myself I'm in the Philippines and stuff happens. its whatever. I often find myself saying well that just happened. I just love it here!
This is hard a lot of the time, but the good out ways the bad! Heavenly Father is blessing me so much! I've never known more than now how much people need this gospel!
Love you all and miss you so much!

Sister Abelhouzen
P.S I'm happy to report I've only gotten three bug bites. I have been drenched with bug spray.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Safely Gathered in!

I made it to the Philippines! My mission president is letting us email real quick so that I can tell you that I arrived safely! It's amazing here. I absolutely love it. I got to meet all the trainers including my friends Sister Brewer and Elder Glover from college! I get to find out who my new companion and what area I'm serving in tonight. My mission president is so awesome! soo funny! and his wife is a nurse so they'll take good care of us!
 The air is wet. Rice is everywhere. the gospel is true!
 Love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen
We would like to let you know that the typhoon Haiyan(locally known as Yolanda) did not majorly affect any of the areas in the Philippines Laoag Mission.
                  All the missionaries here are safe. Thank you for your love and support.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ready to Fly out!

I'm finally finished at the MTC... it's a bittersweet moment!
I'm almost finished packing and ya'll should be proud because I fit everything into a big bag, that I'll check, a carry-on and a backpack! WORLD CLASS PACKER! I have a great time at the MTC and it's flown by! My time here has consisted of lots of studying, laughing, par core (joke), food, and amazing growing experiences! I can't believe the moment is here! I'm going to be a REAL missionary!
Flying out Monday morning 5:30am- Salt Lake to Seattle to Tokyo to Manilla to Laoag-whew!!
Things I'm going to miss about the MTC/ America
1) Mga kasama ko- My companions have been so awesome! It will be really hard to leave them! at least we'll be in the same mission! 
2) Hot showers- I have thoroughly enjoyed my showers in the MTC. sorry sisters... but I took about thirty minutes each time.
3) Mint brownies- I have developed a love here at the mtc... I'm crying.
4) ENGLISH- Kay don't get me wrong. Tagalog is awesome, but I know I have a long frustrating three months ahead of me. Good thing the Lord is on my side!
5) Dance Parties in the dorms- Halloween was epic.

okay, now what I'm stoked about!
1) BEACHES! -literally everywhere! I'm so excited
2) Messy hair day every day
3) No make up, no worries!
4) my new companion! I'm sure she's awesome! 
5) meeting the people known as the friendliest in the world!
and finally, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all those who don't have it!

It's times like this that I start doubting my self. I don't know the language, I'm not a scripture master, do I really have what it takes? but then I remember that I'm not alone! God is with me! I can do ANYTHING with him!
 Wow I'm so lucky to be a missionary! Heavenly Father has blessed me so much on my journey so far and I know I have so many amazing experiences ahead of me! Thanks for all your love and support! You're all amazing!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Abelhouzen