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!

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!

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Trust in the Lord with ALL Thy Heart

This week was amazing. My companion and I were so unified, we taught a lot great lessons and found a lot of great people I have come to love this area so much. we have really turned it around. Then, last night I received a call telling me I will be transferred to Claveria. It's bittersweet. I would have loved to stay one more transfer in Laoag, but I'm excited because claveria is beautiful and has a really great branch. you should google Claveria, Cagayan, Philippines. It's in the mountains, but also right by the beach. Rainy season is soon so I'll be getting lots of rain. Oh and I'm getting another filipina (: 

I'm excited, but it's hard to leave. That's the hardest part of a mission.. leaving. Time just moves so fast. Sometimes I just wish I could freeze time and take it in a little bit longer, but that's alright this is where the Lord wants me to be. Here's to new adventures with the mountain people. I'm sure I'll love it. 

As for this week. It was great we learned a lot and had a lot of experiences... good and bad. 
We slept outside again and I got sick... I know not my brightest idea. anyways I was sick, I had a fever and the power was out for 1 day. Yes it was awesome. It's hot here plus I had a fever.. I slept with frozen vegetables.. I got desperate. In the midst of all that, I still went out to work. I wasn't too bad, because every time we started to teach a lesson it was like I was barely sick. 
That's why president always says that work is the best medicine. The Lord will bless you. I testify. I got better quick and the rest of the week we were able to enjoy. 

One day we were walking to one of our appointments at night when an army of about 20 kids ran up and started chanting boom banes, boom boom banes banes over and over again. It's a chant that means Boom rotten... I don't really get it, but It's just a chant that all the kids do. It was awesome. Like an army of kids chanting as we walk. it was so fun! Man I love it here. 

This week I took part in one of the most humbling experiences of my life. we helped one of the sisters in our ward look for her 2 oldest children around the town. This woman has 6 children around the town. This woman has 6 children under the age of 14 and is pregnant. She has an abusive alcoholic husband. and is one of the strongest women I have ever met. we wnt with her at night and walked all the way around the town when finally we found them. There were selling necklaces they made from flowers just for food for the day. Sister told us that they usually don't come home and she has to go look for them every night, and sometimes she can't find them. the saddest part was there were with about 12 other kids. that don't want to go home because their parents are abusive or addicts. So they're left to provide for themselves. They told us they make anywhere from 50 to 100 pesos a day which is about $1-2.50 and that's what they live on. We knew we needed to do something so we bought them dinner. I can't even tell you the looks on their faces . It's like the first time they've had a good meal in a while. I can not believe people live like this and you know what, they're usually really happy. I hope everyone that reads this realizes how blessed they are.
With that said I know that sometimes in this life we have trials and we don't understand why. Something President Barrientos told me is, whom the Lord loves, he tries. because he knows that through trials we will become the person we are meant to be. Trust in the Lord and learn to be grateful for your trials, and through them the Lord will bless you. I love you all so much! 
Sister Abelhouzen

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lovin' life in the philippines

Hey guys, so the funniest thing just happened. 
I'm sitting in this computer shop when two young boys are behind me speaking in ilacano... and they're talking about me. haha but they don't think I can understand... I let them talk for a little and then I just turn around and say in ilacano, "yes I know my nose is big and i'm white." I wish you could have seen the look on their faces hahah then I just laughed and took it as a missionary opportunity. so they will be having some missionaries visit their home (: I love knowing other languages. 

I hope all you had a good week, mine was amazing. It started off with skyping my dearest family. You're amazing, I love you. After that I was so motivated to be the best missionary in the world. We went straight to work, me and sister Rodelas worked hard and it definitely payed off. We found two new amazing FAMILIES, had 5 investigators at church and 7 of the Less actives. yes I am in Laoag. 'the hardest part of the mission' and you know what... it's pretty awesome. 

Miracles are possible if you're exactly obedient and trust in the Lord. "Anything is possible if you just believe" cliche but it's true. 

Being on a mission has taught be so many things, but I think the most important is that I've realized how real the effects of the adversary are. I have been set apart from the world, so I see the adversary work and just how strong he is. He affects every single one of us and it is critical that we protect ourselves. We are fighting a war and we need the armor of God that is described in Ephesians 6. "We  have the  responsiblity to stand strong with a shield of faith against the fiery darts of the adversary. We are role models to the world, protecting God-given, inalienable rights and freedoms. We stand in defense of our homes and our families... How will you resist [Santan's] aggressive tactics? Put on the whole armor of God." Robert D. Hales 
Here is my  selfie with caribou!
 
Love you All!
 
Sister Abelhouzen

Friday, May 16, 2014

LOVE THIS WORK


So this week was pretty great! On tuesday I had exchanges and got to stay in the Sister Training Leaders apartment, which means HOT SHOWER! Yeah it was a great nights sleep. Their beds are twice the size of ours and they have a real mattress. Man it was so great! I felt so clean! My new companion became Sister Bobier. She's incredible. I was truly inspired by her story. She is the only member in her family and her parents don't support her serving. She came because she knows it's true. It made me realize how lucky I am to have your support!

Besides that it was basically a really great week of working hard, sweating lots, and eating rice.  It's amazing the things I am learning here. I have never grown so much. 

Baptisms-so wonderful!. First is John Rey. He's a 16 year old boy that basically found the missionaries and asked them to teach him. I had the privilege of helping him come to know the truth, work through word of wisdom problems and he is  baptized and it was on my Birthday! Before preparing him for his interview, He asked us if he could share his testimony to us. He looked at us with tears in his eyes and said he finally felt like he was where he belongs. He said that when he first started taking lessons from the missionaries he wanted to stop, but then he had a dream. In the dream Jesus Christ was reaching out to him and told him to find the missionaries and join his church and then he would inherit the Kingdom of God. He bore a powerful testimony and told us he knows without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth. 

That's why I came on a mission, to help people know the truth and finally end up where they belong, next to our savior Jesus Christ! 
We had a lot of fun this week! 
1. I realized I'm addicted to rice. I went one day with out it and was craving it so bad! 
2. We went through the drive through in a tricee. so if you remember, I told you that tricee's are these motorcycles with side cars attached. so it was a pretty interesting experience. haha but hey I love McDo so it was worth it!
3. John Rey's Baptism He was so so happy. After his confirmation on Sunday he just came up to me, shaked my hand and said, I'm a member! he was so excited, ah it made me so happy
4.My Birthday!! I'm 20 now. that's weird. Everyone made it so amazing! My investigators , Members, Less actives, all text me and president brought me a cake! It was a good day  
5. Mother's day! It was great having mothers day here, I reached out to the mother's day figures that I have in my life. How lucky we are to be members of this church that teaches us how to respect and honor our mothers. Mom, thank you for everything, you are incredible, strong, smart, beautiful, and an amazing example for me! I love you! So glad I was able to skype you, best B-day Present!

Something I learned this week is from one of my favorite scriptures, "Just be wise, What can I say more?" Jacob 6:12 So true. We know what's right, we know what's wrong. Just be wise. Follow the commandments and the example of the savior and you'll be happy. How hard is that? God has given us everything we need to succeed. Just follow him.
I love you all! Have an amazing week! Church is True! 
Sister Abelhouzen

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

There's a beach... in Laoag??

Hey family! soo some exciting news my companion is awesome, the area is huge, and we are busy!!! I"m loving the mission right now and I think this might be one of my favorite transfers of my mission! 
Monday before Sister Quimpo and sister Jornacion left we went to the beach!!! yes the beach! In Laoag city! and It's in our area! It was so fun with the members and so so beautiful! I'll attach a picture! 

Me and my companion are doing really well, we have been trying to work our hardest and be exactly obedient and the spirit has been really strong in our lessons. There have been so many times this week when people have told us they know what we are sharing is true, because what they feel in their hearts and the hair on their arms is standing up.  amazing! I love being a missionary! 

On tuesday- thursday we had two sisters come and stay in our apartment. They were waiting for their apartment to be done. one of the sister's first area is our area now so president said she could go on exchanges to visit some of the people. It was really fun to see how happy the people were to see her! It just made me think of when I go back to Vigan. I just heard my favorite family (Amecay) was just baptized and are so happy! They still write me all the time! I can't wait to see them again! 

This week 2 of our members were in the hospital and we went to go sing for them. It was a really humbling experience. So many people are sick here and they don't get the care they need. They get a huge room with no air conditioning and no fans (unless you can pay for one) and stick 20 sick people there. We went and sang for all those people and they told us our voices sounded like angels. well that was definitely the spirit haha. but it was a really good experience and I'm glad I got to help them feel better spiritually, and hopefully someday physically too! 

I really enjoy being a missionary, but sometimes it's hard because you feel a lot of pressure to be amazing. I have been really shown all of my weaknesses. At first it was overwhelming, I wanted to be the best so bad. Then I realized, like it says in the scriptures, that God gives us weaknesses so that we rely on him. That is the reason I we continually fast, pray, and study. So that we may have the Lord on our side. We need him. All we do is the best we can and then he'll make up the rest! I know that weaknesses are just a technicality if we turn everything to Heavenly Father! 

Love you all, 
Sister Abelhouzen 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Masarap ang Holy week

Hey family!
So first off, transfers... I'm staying in Laoag, but my cute companion is going to Sinait which is my old Zone in Vigan, she'll love it! I'm just really sad to see her go, she has become my big sister and we've worked really hard together! My new companion issssss.. Sister Rodelas! haha she actually is living with me right now, and she is soo awesome! Hilarious and from Canada, but her family is from the philippines so she grew up speaking Tagalog! Our two areas are becoming one, which means we will be sooo busy. we have baptisms coming up onnn MAY 10 my birthday!!! Best gift ever! And many more to follow that. We have really turned Laoag upside down and the area is now progressing. I think I'm getting good at this whole missionary thing!
 
On Thursday we had a district meeting about helping people to pray at the end of a lesson. It may seem simple, but people are really shy to pray and really don't like to. We learned a lot and started applying it right away. Every person we taught prayed and the end of the lesson. It was amazing we had so great experiences! sometimes it's really awkward when you ask someone to pray because they just say ikaw na lang. or you! but after a lot of patience they finally pray and most of the time really open up to our Heavenly Father. It's really sad that a lot people don't think of praying as a way to converse with our father in Heaven. It truly is a telephone line to heaven. That we were able to help people understand that and develop that relationship is very rewarding.
 
I hope you all had a fun easter! Easter in the Philippines is a bit different. It's basically a week that they call Holy Week. They celebrate it by first not eating any meat then marching around all night with candles and graven images, screaming catholic songs (with microphones) to jesus statues, whipping themselves for their sins, and nailing themselves to crosses (yes I promise that is real). So it was kind of a rough week for us missionaries here, because well not a lot of people were home and well we don't really celebrate easter like that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To be honest, it makes me really sad because Christ doesn't want us to cause our selves pain or do anything rediculous. He just wants us to remember him and keep his commandments. He atoned for us so that we may have hope (Moroni 7:41). Hope that we may return, be made clean from our mistakes, and supported in our trials and afflictions. He want's us to be happy!
However one highlight is that all the members feel bad for us so they just keep feeding us! haha therefore we have Masarap ang Holy Week!
 
Funny story of the week: we were at a less actives house when alllll these people started arriving, we were stoke when they asked us to stay for lunch and even more stoked when they asked me to pray, probably just because I'm american that speaks tagalog, but still I grabbed that oppertunity. Before I knew it they all stood in a circle and pushed me in the middle and said okay lead the prayer...uhh okay. So I just prayed like I know how, but during the prayer people are taking pictures and saying hallelujah and stuff. when I finally end the prayer everyone looks up and does the sign of the Cross (catholic). It was really scary, because here I am in the middle of the circle just smiling, while they all do the sign of the cross and stare at me like i'm a sinner... but don't worry, I just kept smiling.
 
I hope you are all doing amazing! mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat!
Sister Abelhouzen
p.s.
picture: cute little nanay, she's a recent convert, 83 years old and reads her BOM every day (she's in 4 Nephi).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Where is your treasure?

Kumusta ang pamilya ko?
This was a really great week, they just seem to go faster and faster... it amazes me next week are transfers so I'll let you know what's going to happen. I'm pretty sure my companion will get transferred because she's been here for a long time. I'm really sad to see my cute little filipina go she's absolutely awesome. She spoke to me in english today and I about tackled her because I had no idea that she spoke english... seriously well that would have been nice to know. we've had some pretty funny moments of me trying to explain a situation... haha oh well that means I've gotten a lot better!
So this morning we had our zone activity it was way fun! we got to play volley ball! man I miss that, every one was like dang who's this white sister? haha but I'll attach a picture of the stadium it's pretty awesome.
Today was one of those weeks that you could look at some of the things that happened and think wow that was a rough week, but I really have hope that everything will be okay. One of our investigators died. He was only 35 and left three kids under the age of 16. My heart ached when I heard the news, and I had no idea how to comfort his wife. I decided to just sing, "I know that my redeemer lives." after that I told her that I promise she will see her husband again and she just smiled with tears in her eyes and thanked me. We gave her hope.. so that's all I could really ask for. A couple other things happened that were really quite downers, but I didn't get sad because I knew I had conference weekend to look for!
I am amazed by strength of the saints here in the Philippines. I walked into the stake center and could not imagine the amount of people that filled the church. Every single room. and the craziest thing... it was all in english. There had been a problem and weren't able to get it in english. So imagine all of these people gathered just to see the prophet, fill his spirit, and hear him speak. Even though they didn't understand. Truly inspiring!
The talks seem to just get better and better every year either that or I'm listening more and more.. but this year was amazing. I loved Elder Hollands talk about being bold. He told a little about missionaries. don't worry mom, I've never had anyone thrown food at me, but I do have a couple stories that could compete. Yes sometimes being a missionary is hard, but like Elder Holland said, "It's worth it." People will hate us for speaking the truth, but it's the truth and we must defend it. "Be Strong. Defend your beliefs with courteousness and compassion, but defend them.
Finally I loved the talk from good ole Elder Teh. Filipino yeah represent!!! We were all stoked to see a filipino speaking in general conference. His talk was amazing as well. Something I've really come to understand here is that we shouldn't waste anything. People here don't have a lot, and most simple things in life like washing dishes or cleaning the house take hours. so they don't waste anything, things or time. But when it comes to Jesus Christ he is usually peoples top priority. I was thinking about a scripture that Elder Teh shared, "For where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also." 3 Nephi 13:21 What are our treasures in life? our car? our job? our cellphone? or instead is it the gospel, our family, or our Savior? I would challenge all of you to make the things that matter most, priority in your life. Don't waste time or money on things that are good instead of things that are better!
I love this gospel, The church of Jesus Christ has been restored! I love you all, have the best week ever!
P.S. pictures: Stadium at zone activity

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Here I am, Send me"

Hey family! 
So this week was pretty good, but it just went by so fast It's hard for me to remember everything that happened. I'll try to do my best! 
first off, I'm turning into a filipina. last week I bought a duster... it's like a night gown that they wear to clean, yeah I know attractive. 
This week we had a family home evening and our investigators came, it was fun and really nice to see how all the ward members really got involved with fellow shipping our investigators.
Something we've been having a lot of success with is rescuing less active members! There are a lot of less actives here that still have very strong testimonies of the church. A lot have been coming to church and it's been amazing for them to feel that spirit that they've missed for so long! One of our returning Less actives is actually our ward mission leader... yeah that's not how that's supposed to work, but it's all good he's active now and has really started to magnify his calling!

Alright so I have a story that I'm kind of embarrassed to say, but I know you all will get a good kick out of it. So this week I broke the word of wisdom. yes I know, but it's not what you're thinking or I wouldn't be here' I'd be there with you. haha anyways yeah so this week I bought some juice from a ward member and she just looked at me and said sister, bawal ba iyan. or isn't that not allowed and I looked at the ingredients apple and green tea. I told her it was fine and I drank it... later on I was thinking and I asked my companion, she looked at me and told me uhhh I thought it was bawal. what? I decided I probably should text and ask president he responded with yes that's bawal... oh no.... I literally had gone my whole life with thinking green tea was allowed. now,  I was convinced he was going to send me home, but I knew I needed to text him. I text him and told him that I drank it and this was his response..."hahaha" yes. I thought he was going to send me home and he is laughing. His next text was "masarap?" or in english "delicious?" haha seriously?? I just broke the word of wisdom! He called me later and told me that I was innocent. I just can't do it anymore. obviously. So there you go, that's my story about how I broke the word of wisdom on my mission. and green tea is bawal. 

The rest of the week was good, we have been finding a lot of great new people and I think the area is really close to having a lot of success. I also set a plan of for next week so I'll let you know how that goes (: 

I'm glad you all enjoyed conference... unfortunately it's a week late here in the Philippines. but we did get to watch the womens conference and one of my favorite talks was about serving the Lord!

I know there will be times in our life when the Savior needs our help. Are we too caught up in our job, school, problems, or life to remember to help him. When the Lord calls you to serve him are you going to say sorry I'm too busy or like Isaiah, "Here I am, send me."

I want to challenge you all the be ready to serve the Lord, because you never know when he'll need you. This Church is true and If we have an eternal perspective we will understand that our purpose here is not to work or play, but actually to become like our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all! 
Sister abelhouzen

Monday, March 31, 2014

I FOUND MEXICAN FOOD!

Kamusta  ang pamilya   ko
This week was a rough on the missionary work aspect, bottom line the work is just not as easy here, but it's allll good. I'm still seeing miracles and life as a missionary is still amazing
As you can tell from the title, I'm pretty excited because I found a Mexican restaurant in Laoag. I'm so beyond happy.   yes I love my new area. Also this week I ate fish eyeballs.. so that was interesting. 
We had exchanges this week and I worked with sister Pammitan. It was really awesome. Her first area was vigan as well so we got to share all kinds of stories! and her apartment has an Oven so they made me butterscotch brownies... hallelujah. I found out afterwards that her apartment has hot water and I was so mad I didn't get to take a hot shower, but don't worry she promised me I'd get to take one before the transfer is over.  My first hot shower in five months... I can't even imagine. I think I might cry. 

I met a crazy American from New York that doesn't speak any tagalog or ilacano and he wanted me to teach english to koreans?? wait I'm in the Philippines last time I checked, but okay.. ha anyways he was pretty impressed when I told his tricee driver where he wanted to go and then asked me for a book of mormon... unfortunately I didn't have any in english, but he said he would be coming to church so we'll see what happens.

Miracles!
We have been teaching the Molina family and the dad is really sick. He can't come to church because he always has to be hooked up to oxygen. any ways he can't speak because he literally doesn't have enough energy so he just sits and reads his Book of Mormon. Last week we set up a priesthood blessing and when we came back the next time he was sitting up and wasn't even hooked up to his oxygen AND he was talking to us! MIRACLE soon enough he'll be able to go to church and him and his cute little family of 5 will be able to be baptized! 

We met this lady this week who has been taught by literally every religion and she said we could share a message with her. The spirit was strong in that lesson and as we were testifying she stopped us and said that of all the missionaries she's listened to she's never felt what she felt with us. We know that to be the spirit! We explained what she was feeling and he eyes lit up and said yes! My heart is burning and the hairs on my arms are standing up. I asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said yes! She told us to come back next week and we could teach her whole family!

I'm so grateful that I am worthy to have the spirit with me! I know that even though I will experience disappointments as long as I'm obedient and work hard, the Lord will lead us to those people who are prepared to receive the true gospel of Jesus Christ! 
I love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We all have walls to face, but we are not forgotten

Hey fam.
Sooo I'm sitting here in Laoag and everyone is speaking Ilacano... awesome. I just barely got good in tagalog and they're like hey we're gunna speak a different language now. okay whatevs I can handle this.
haha anyway my last few moments in vigan were rough. First off, our apartment got nice and flooded so that means I lost pictures and letters and allll that jazz, but It's okay no damage to the Book of Mormon. tapos It's hard for me to say goodbye. I felt like I was saying goodbye to family, except worse, because to be honest I don't know if I'm going to see them again. Yes I cried like a baby. 

My new area is Laoag, it's fun, but there are a lot of problems here. The area really isn't progressing as much as I'd like it to. So it's going to be a challenge, but on the bright side this is going to be one of the times (besides all the time) when I'm going to really have to rely on the Lord. I know that I'm going to see a lot of miracles. 
My new companion is Sister Quimpo. She's filipina, 24 and  so great! Probably one of the sweetest people I've ever met! She cooks amazing food AND speaks Ilacano! She's teaching me and I'm learning so much! Can you believe I will know two languages by the time I come home?? 

This week has been a lot of fun! The sisters in my apartment are so fun and I'm really growing a lot as a missionary. My Zone Leader (Elder Crandall, who also happened to be my District Leader in Vigan) Called to tell me how great I 'm doing, he told me that I've become a very effective missionary and he's excited for me to "turn Loaog 2A upside down." what a great compliment! It really makes me want to work hard. There is this family that President Barrientos always uses as an example of quality converts and every missionary has their baptism picture for inspiration and guess what, this family is in my area! I taught them yesterday and they are amazing! The gospel has really changed them. I'll share you there story sometime! And this morning: FREE MCDONALDS. yes I know right. There is still some america in the philippines, even if it does have rice and spaghetti with it... haha anyways so good! 

During my personal study kanina I read a scripture that really hit me. " Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me, but he will show that he hath not.. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands: Thy walls are continually before me." Jesus Christ is who he is because he loves us. Everything he does is literally for us. He hath 'engraven us in his hands' and is always there to help us face those walls in our lives. He knows us and he loves us, and hes is ALWAYS there for us! 
I love you all so much! Have a good week!

P.S. Pictures of some of my peeps in Vigan The Amecay kids and the Reals Tricycle! 






Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't trust turkeys. Baptism and My Good Byes

P a m i l y a   k o

Woah. what a week.
So to start things off: I'm getting transferred. The day has come and I'm a little in denial. These people have truly become my family. To say goodbye I've been visiting 10 people a day and today's my last day. I also got to speak and sing in church and it was really neat, because so many the the branch members came up to tell me how much better I am at the language. Dang, I'm going to miss Vigan! The amazing ward; All the kids running and yelling sister A and randomly giving me flowers; the families I teach; all the good times!
My next stop: Laoag City 2A. I'm going from the bukid (farm) to the City. Every one has told me it's hard there, but it's really fun! So It's a little bittersweet, but I'm ready for my next adventure!
Paolo's baptism was on Saturday! Ah it was so amazing! He bore his testimony after and he said he has never been so happy in his life! Paolo has been an Investigator for almost 3 years, because his parents said he needed to wait until he was 18 because they didn't approve. His birthday is not until may, yes folks miracles do happen. His parents told us they will allow him to be baptized. His mom even came to his baptism and threw a party for him afterwards. It was a great day and I'm glad I was able to be there before he left!
I definitely got chased by a turkey this week. dang they're fast! I was doing my professional turkey call that dad taught me, but then my companion said, "sister what are you doing?! they are mean." I just laughed. I mean it's just a turkey right? no they're evil. It started charging haha my companion and I just booked it, I've never ran so fast. when we came to a turn the turkey stopped following us and we just laughed and laughed. yeah. Don't trust turkeys.
I want you all to know that I know this church is true! I have been exposed to SO much on my mission! It's true! It's all real so real. I love you all so much! Keep on Keepin' on!
ay ayeten ka
Sister Abelhouzen

P.S. Happy Birthday to my darling sister Ave! (I've sent you some pictures) I love you so much & hope you Have the best day ever!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Is anything to hard for the Lord?"

Hey family!
This week was pretty awesome, but I'm sorry I forgot my planner sooo this is going to be really short! We found a lot of really awesome new investigators! And I had exchanges! again! with sister Rosell! She's awesome, I always learn a lot from her.

We had 10 investigators at church yesterday and Some of the families we are teaching are really progressing! The best part of the whole week had to be when Melchor, one of our recent converts, bore his testimony. He shared about his conversion story. It used to assist the Priest in the Catholic church, but he always knew something wasn't right. He spent a year attending different religions until the missionaries found him. The moment he entered the church he knew. He has felt the spirit testify this is true. He testified of how he knows this church is true and how he can't wait to go to the temple with Sandrie and be sealed!
Jojo and his family came to church. Hallelujah It's a miracle!
Paolo is getting baptized! Okay so paolo is 17 years old and has been an investigator for about 2 1/2 years. He has such a strong testimony, but hasn't been able to be baptized, because his parents said he had to wait until he was 18. until a few weeks ago when his parents randomly told us that he could be baptized! So hopefully next week we will be having a baptism! Also paolo just told us that he is planning on serving a mission one year after his baptism!
I love seeing people be truly converted of the Lord. Even if my mission were over right now I would call it a success, because I got to help bring these people the gospel!
I know that God is aware of all of us, he knows what we're feeling and he knows what we are going through. I know that if we turn to him in all things he will help us and guide us. All we need to do is trust him! He can do anything! 
 "
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27
Have an amazing week! And to my precious sisters Ashton & Avery - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, March 3, 2014

5 months! Another Crazy fast week!

Hey family! So today I hit my 5 month mark on the mission! Sister Brewer wants to go to the cake shop to celebrate, she's always looking for a chance to eat cake. "it's my cousin's friend's birthday, lets go to the cake shop." I can't say I'm mad. 
Before I get into the good stuff, I have a crazy (literally) story for you all. This week we were going to teach this family that we've been teaching for about a month, let's just call them the Brown family. Anyways we've been teaching them for awhile and they have a lot of potential. But as we went to go visit them a grumpy tatay not wearing a shirt comes out of the house and tells us that we can never come back again. When we asked why he told us that Mr. Brown had gone crazy and his siblings found out we were teaching him and are pretty sure we did it. Of course we didn't believe it so we asked him if we could please talk to Mrs. Brown, he told us no and that we needed to be quiet or he would hear us. all of a sudden we hear banging in the house and someone yelling, "SINO IYAN" or who's there?! We look into to she Mrs. Brown trying to hold back Mr. Brown and then he runs up to us and says, "Sisters! May Problema!" Okay now we believed grumpy tatay, we besides the fact that we did that to him.. that's ridiculous. To be honest me and my companion were a bit scared, but before we left we made sure that Mrs. Brown was okay and she just apologized and ran to follow her husband. 
When we left, my companion and I were so sad, we had lost one of our families and frankly had never seen anything like that. After that I told my companion I had an Idea, "Let's teach the Amecays and Reals on the beach." so yes that is exactly what we did. It was amazing. We taught a lesson about the Holy ghost and then just enjoyed the beach! It was so fun, then to top it off we had some fish balls. which are now my new favorite thing. When I first got here I thought they looked and smelt disgusting, but I finally tried it and I LOVE them haha. 

Funny story of the week: Jessa Amecay is 6 years old and probably one of the cutest kids here. The other day while we were teaching the family she put on my name tag and was walking around shaking everyone's hand and saying "Hellllloooo magsimba po kayo!" haha something I say often. I have attached a picture, it is probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen! 

yesterday we had interviews with President Barrientos. It was so good! He is so motivating. He talked a lot about obedience and how it's for our investigators not ourselves. He so awesome! and to top it all off, I got my packages and mom you'll probably be receiving some thank you cards, because the elders loved the candy haha. It didn't last 20 minutes. You're awesome! 

On a mission, we study 3 hours a day. 2 hours gospel study and 1 hour language study.  While studying I have just learned so much! It's amazing how everything fits together. There is so much proof the church is true in history, the Bible and of course the Book of Mormon. I often think of ways I could share all of this information with my investigators, but I know I can't. It doesn't help to prove anything, because no matter how much proof you show, sometimes they still have doubts. It's crazy how many miracles I see here and my investigators see too, but sometimes they still don't believe. How is that? How is that in the Book of Mormon Lamen and Lemuel saw an angel, but were still disobedient? 
the reason is simple: miracles don't create faith, they strengthen it.
This is the same reason that before Christ performed miracles he asked the person receiving if they had faith. 
So how is that we have faith? By humbling ourselves enough to act on what we believe. Alma 32:16-18
We must act, because we receive no witness until after a trial of our faith. Either 12:6
I Just love this gospel. I promise this church is true. Trust in that! Thank you for all your love and support! 
"Let's doubt our doubt, before we doubt our faith." President Uchtdorf 
have a great week! Love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen