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