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
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