Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Miracles, Punting, Giant Spiders and Such!

Wow I love skype. It was so great to see you! This week was full of so much! probably one of my slowest weeks... it feels like ages since I Skyped you!
Christmas Eve was great! First I got to skype you, then of course we went out to work! We worked hard then went to a member's house for food! It was great! This guy owns his own channel and his house is MAGANDA. They fed us spaghetti! People here usually only eat spaghetti on special occasions because it's kind of expensive to make. It's delicious, but here in the Philippines spaghetti is sweet! They put sugar in it! I thought it was perfect for Christmas Eve because I felt like buddy the elf eating it. not even mad. 
After we ate we had to be back in our apartment by 5 because everyone get's drunk on Christmas Eve. So we thought we would just go home and study... not our best idea. I don't know why, but everyone here LOVES karaoke... people are always playing it... especially on Christmas eve... way too loud...all night long... and the next day... awesome. 
Christmas was good, we spent the morning going around inviting everyone to the Christmas party later that day and sharing messages about Christ. At night we had the branch Christmas party. It was a great turn out! The Amecay's came and stayed the whole time, they're basically members it's awesome. Us missionaries of course had a part in the program so we broke down angels we have heard on high. Oh you know me and Sister Mafi were all over that. It was way fun! Then they fed us. Sorry mom! I was going to make Christmas Dinner you sent to me, but now I get to save for another night! but I want to fully enjoy it so we're cooking it this week! Instead for Christmas I ate fish (the whole thing), clams, seaweed, rice and chickenish stuff. The weird thing? I loved it! haha I'm truly becoming a filipina! 
The rest of the week was rough we got Punted to no end. We couldn't teach anyone, because everyone was busy and recovering from the Holidays! So we just walked around and met new people. No effort wasted right? 
Saturday the Elder's had a baptism and Melinda Amecay came with us. She loved it and afterwards told us that she can't wait for her whole family to be baptized! I had little dance party on the inside. It's times like that that make everything worth it! 

Funny Story of the Week: On Sunday the speaker got up and said he wanted to share a couple quotes from President Ox Troff. I thought that's weird.. I don't remember him so I just listened and then I recognized the talk as President Uchdorfs! hahaha he literally said Ox Troff like 6 times and I couldn't help but laugh a little each time. Why can't Filipinos say Uchdorf? Earlier that week the ward mission leader said President Ot Duff. hahahaha I'm sorry but can't you just picture a short chubby little filipino tatay saying Ot Duff? Great times. 

Miracle of the Week: Monday night we received a referral for a part member family from some other missionaries who said the man was their tricee driver. We decided to contact them the next day because we were in their area. We go there and come to find out the Mom has been a member for a long time and loves the Church, but her husband died and she got remarried so she moved and hasn't come to church because she didn't know anyone and has been scared. One sunday she even came to the Church, but was too afraid to go inside. Se we taught her and her family and she has said that her son (now old enough to be baptized) wants to be baptized as well as her husband. They came to the Christmas party and to church yesterday! Heavenly Father does not forget about these people. 

I love being a servant of the Lord! He is definitely working through us! Jesus Christ's mission is still not over! It won't be over until EVERY son and daughter of God, who want to, will be able to return home. I am so grateful to be a part of this great work and how lucky I am to be able to do it during Christmas time! 

Love you all! 
Sister Abelhouzen 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Spiders & Snake & Machetes-Oh my!

The weeks are getting faster and faster!  I feel like I'm already a different person. Today I was doing laundry (have a mentioned how much I hate that?) anyways I looked down and saw a spider on my foot. I didn't even freak out! I just flicked it off! After sister Bettilyon just looks at me and says, "wow, you've come a long way." When I first got here I would literally freak out when there were bugs anywhere.

Christmas conference was this week and it was so great! I got to see Sister Lainhart and Sister Odom as well as all of the other missionaries in the mission! It was a lot of fun! We started the day off by having a devotional from President and Sister Barrientos. They're so cute and always uplifting! After we went to a nearby college and played sports (soccer, rugby, ultimate frisbee, capture the flag...) I was in heaven. I miss sports! You can only run for so long haha. Afterwards we went back to the chapel and performed our skits and dances. Apparently we're the righteous zone, because our skit was spiritual and everyone else's was hilarious..whoops!

So remember how I said our bathroom was fixed... yeah that's a lie. Oh well, welcome to the Philippines.
Here people love Christmas and carolers are constantly coming around asking for money. Yesterday these carolers came buy that were very talented! I'll attach a picture. They had drums and trumpets! We aren't allowed to give them money so I just walked out with an Aklat ni Mormon and asked if they wanted it. Suprisingly they said yes and played three more songs for us! I love Filipinos!
This week has been a little rough... it started off with our new schedule, which I actually really like, but now we go out and work at 8 to 12, then study, then go back out at night. We just got punted and punted! We didn't teach very many lessons at all.. Then came time for us to teach Eloysa about the Sabbath Day before her baptismal interview. We knew this would be hard, because after church she works every Sunday. Her mom and dad were not very happy with the fact that we were telling her that she shouldn't work on Sundays, but she agreed to follow. Two days later when we went to pick her up for her baptismal interview... wala siya. She was gone and her friend called her while we were at her house and said that she said she wouldn't be back until the 24th... She didn't come to church and we haven't been able to talk to her so she won't be getting baptized on the 28th anymore... I literally wanted to cry. I've known Eloysa from the beginning and we've grown so close. Hopefully we'll be able to talk this week and work everything out.

Funny Story of the week: So something about the Philippines is that most old people don't have any teeth so when they are just walking around they look very unhappy and kind of scary, but then right when you wave they get so excited, I think they're going to have a heart attack. One day Sister Bettilyon and I were walking and this nanay is staring at us holding a machete... we're kind of worried what she's going to do so I just say Hello po Nanay. Immediately her eyes got so wide and her Smile got so big and she started waving the machete (as if saying hello). Haha I thought it was hilarious I was laughing so hard and Sister Bettilyon was just saying ahhhh Ingat Nanay Ingat! (Be careful)

Miracle of the Week: Do you remember Jovan the 11 year old that can't read? His sister's name is Augustina, but everyone calls her Tin Tin. She has a birth defect so her neck is always crooked and people make fun of her for it. She's a really cute girl, but it's really sad. She has very low self-esteem. When I first heard of her, I asked Sister Bettilyon why we don't teach her and she told me that every time they try she runs away or starts crying. A couple weeks ago I caught Tin Tin hiding and I just walked up and said "ayyy Maganda Kayo! woww. Ako si Sister Abelhouzen." She just smiled and didn't say anything. Every time I've seen her since I've been working on trying to get her more comfortable around us. Now every time we see her she runs up and yells SISTTERRRR!!! and a few days ago she told us that she wants to be baptized!

It just amazes me how much the Lord is aware of us. He is preparing people, all we have to do is follow the spirit and be there to teach them. I am more amazed each and every day when people are willing to change their lives mostly because I'm pretty sure Sister Bettilyon and I are very hard to understand. We are not fluent in Tagalog, but we don't have to be. The spirit speaks to these people and touches their hearts. I know this church is true! If it wasn't, the missionaries would have messed it up a long time ago. Anything is possible with God. I thank him everyday that he's with me. Thank you for everything family!
I love being a missionary. Sometimes it's hard and as much as I wish I could be with you on Christmas, there is no where I'd rather be than here! I get to witness the atonement of Jesus Christ work in other's lives! HOW GREAT IS MY CALLING! I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because through him everything is possible.  

mahal ko tayo lahat!
Sister Abelhouzen

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas is in the Air!

Hey fam!
This week flew by! It was great too!
The week started off with one of the nanays in our ward offering me to make me a skirt for christmas conference! I'm picking it up right after this! Also remember goat lady? We met her this week! She's awesome and hopefully we'll get to keep teaching her!
Eloysa is getting baptized on December 28! haha I know you don't know who Eloysa is but still it's exciting! My first baptism! Eloysa is a 18 year old who's dad is Less Active, in fact he's so less active that none of his family knew that he was a member! We've been working on the rest of the family, but Eloysa is just so prepared! The family sells fish and shrimp so one day we decided to buy some. When we got it we realized something... this fish had no meat. It was dried fish. which means its the skin, bones, eyeballs, and teeth..... yum. but apparently they really like it so we'll see. 
I taught my very first lesson to a drunk person... exciting. we went in to teach some of our investigators and half way through the lesson this drunk guy just walks into the house and sits down... uhmm okay? haha so we kept going until he interupted us every five seconds. finally Sister Bettilyon just said really fast: Mensahey namin ay totoo sa pangalan ni JesuCristo Amen Pray muna Tayo! I said a quick pray and we got outta there faster than you could have thought. haha we could have been frustrated, but we chose to laugh instead. 

This weekend was great, it was fast Sunday so we thought we would be smart since we still have to proselyte on Sundays by starting to fast Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, but then our branch President gave us pizza at one of our meetings and well we had to eat it for two reasons: Pizza here is very expensive and that was really nice of him! and I LOVE PIZZA. no regrets. haha it was the most delicious meal I've had since being here! So we just fasted all Sunday and we were fine, Plus I HAD SIX INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! that's so great especially because all the other missionaries usually have 1 or 2 ahhh we were so happy! What a great Sunday!

Funny Story of the Week: We were walking to one of our appointments when a lady stopped us and wanted to take a picture with her (not uncommon) So we took one and of course used it as a teaching opportunity! We ended up going to her Giant Maganda house and she was telling us about her family when this man walks out. I immediately turn and say "Kamusta, Ano ang Pangalan mo brother?" he just looks at me when the lady says "oh no he doesn't." the guy looks and me and says "Hi i'm Ron" with no accent and perfect english. I literally forgot english for a second so I said "ay magaling kayo sa Tagalog" he just laughed and said "you know I don't know what you're saying? I grew up in California" I just say "you're english is so good" hahah. I honestly think I was just shocked couldn't believe I was speaking to an american! It was great! We ended up talking for over an hour and he is very familiar with Salt Lake and the LDS church! and get this, he LOVES family history! Who knew when they said you'd use it in the MTC they weren't kidding. We have an appointment with him this week! I'm just so excited to teach him in English!

Miracle of the week: One of our investigators JoJo is a born again and Sister Bettilyon and I have been getting really frustrated because he just hasn't been progressing and thinks he knows everything. When we teach him, his whole family usually listens. Finally one week we asked everyone to come to church and stressed the importance! Sunday came and no Jojo, but his sister, Melinda and her kids came! This week we taught just Melinda and found out that she has been really sick and been in and out of the hospital for years because she has blood clots. She loves our gospel and believes that if she turns to Christ, he will help her. We asked her if she wanted a priesthood blessing and she said yes. Some of the Elders in our district came and gave her a priesthood blessing and the spirit was so strong! She said she already feels stronger and she excepted a baptismal date for January 18. Priesthood power is real! 

Here in the Philippines, it's Christmas everywhere! Lights and Christmas music! We have Christmas conference this week where we will be performing a filipino dance. Stoked!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season! Never forget what Christmas is all about: Christ! Honor him by serving others and always remember his love for us! Thank you all for you love and support!
Sister Abelhouzen