Friday, March 29, 2013

Sister Stabenow's Arrival

This morning we got an email from Sister Stabenow's  Mission President telling us that she arrived safely.

Her first area is Bambang B in the Solano Zone.  Her companion is Sister Manguil.  
The newest group of missionaries in the Cauayan Philippines Mission

President and Sister Carlos with Sister Stabenow
We are excited to hear from her on Monday to hear how her first few days have been.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

She is in Cauayan!

She is in Cauayan!!  They spent the night in Manila in a hotel and then were able to fly to Cauayan.  The first group of missionaries able to fly instead of a 12 hour bus ride.  The flight was 45 minutes long and she is with a group of 22 missionaries. 16 from the Manila MTC and 6 from Provo MTC.  Her words were it is sooooo Hot here!  She sounded great and happy and glad be there.   Whew!  What a relief.


We woke up Monday morning to a 6am phone call from Sister Stabenow.  She was all checked in and waiting for her flight from Salt Lake to San Francisco.  She was so  excited and ready to head off to the Philippines..  She bore her testimony in Tagalog for us and we all thought she sounded great.  She said one of the things that she really learned at the MTC was that your attitude makes all of the difference.  She shared that she felt like even though the language wasn't going to be where she wanted it to be it was all going to be fine.  And that she needed to be focused outward and not inward.  It was great to hear her voice, and when her Dad asked her if she was nervous at all she said no!  We tracked her travels on a website called   She arrived in Manila this morning at about 6:30 am.  We aren’t sure how she is getting to Cauayan from Manilla, they thought that it looked like they might be going by train. It will be much faster than a bus which could take up to 12 hours.  So she is still traveling today and we are hoping to hear that she is finally in her mission safe and sound.  What a long interesting journey can’t wait to hear all about it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Happy Travel Plans!


We got our travel plans on Thursday last week.... and I'm going to GUAM?! Our district was so excited reading our travel plans- we headed over to the big map and had to find where Guam is haha. Only 7 of us are heading to Cauayan, me and four elders from my district and two elders from another district. The other districts going to the Philippines are going through Hong Kong. But for my travel group, we'll go from Salt Lake to San Francisco, then to Guam, and then to Manila. From Manila we'll start our long bus ride to Cauayan :) We'll meet at the travel office at 4 AM on the 25th! I am so pumped!! I'm making the most of my last week here in the MTC- eating lots of cereal since I wont have that in the Philippines, and hanging out with Jaden. We usually get to see each other for ten or fifteen minutes before we head to bed. It's so fun to have her here! Her P-day is tomorrow, but she is doing good and loves it here already! It was the best thing seeing her walking into the MTC! I will definitely get more pictures with her before I leave. Today was our last time going to the temple before we leave, and it was really sad to leave it knowing that I won't be going to the temple for a long time. One thing I will really miss about the MTC is all of the great devotionals we have here. I've got one more tonight, and then my last one will be on Sunday night. Such great speakers and messages. Saturday night I started feeling pretty nervous about leaving, but we had a great Relief Society talk on Sunday morning by Sister Jean Stevens from the General Primary Presidency. She used the Olive Tree Allegory and said that- the servants go out, and He goes with them. So when I find myself wondering- can I really do this? or- Is this beyond me? I need to remember that I haven't been called to do this on my own. I will have Him helping me.

I love singing here in the MTC with such a huge group of missionaries. We sang How Firm A Foundation on Sunday and it was SO powerful when all of us were singing- I'll never no never, no NEVER forsake. We also sang I believe in Christ and my favorite line- I believe in Christ, so come what may. I was so comforted on Sunday, and now I'm not so worried. My district asked our teacher for some advice and he said we are going to have to force ourselves to talk to people, to not be shy, and to use Tagalog all of the time even if it sounds horrible haha. Next week is going to be so crazy.

On Friday last week my companion went with a group of international missionaries to see temple square and the humanitarian center. I was just with the other sisters from my district for that morning, but it was so weird to not have my companion with me. It's going to be so sad saying goodbye to her since we wont be going to the same mission.

I must be studying a lot here, cause every night while I'm trying to fall asleep I have Tagalog words popping in my head haha. Tagalog is fun, every word is like a tongue twister. One fun word is nakakapagpabagabag. I probably spelled it wrong, but it means bothersome or annoying. Me and Sister Savage (another Sister from my district) have been trying to SYL (speak your language) more. We've decided we need to keep a dictionary close by for those conversations haha. Oh mom, be sure to tell Landon and Alyssa to not be too jealous of me since you've been sending me stuff- just tell them that every day of mine consists of more than ten hours of study time. That should do the trick haha. But really I'm loving it, we're learning so much both about Tagalog and about the gospel.

I hope Kels and Landon and everyone else has fun at the Imagine Dragons concert this weekend. I bet it will be amazing. I want to see pictures and hear about it!

Thats awesome that you got a map of my mission! I wonder where my first area will be. We'll find out in about a week I guess :) I'm glad you got the stuff I sent home this past week, and I'm glad you liked the song! Dad, thanks for the details about Disneyland- it all sounds so fun! I just imagine being there at night time enjoying the music, lights, and smell of the popcorn of course. :)

We had a really good day last week with a good lesson with our "investigator" and also a fun night in the TRC- thats what inspired my kasama to hug a tree rather than kick one in her frustration haha. She is heaps of fun.

Oh and I found out from my teacher that I can get language credits from BYU with Tagalog when I get back. I'll test out of the first two classes and then if I'm at BYU when I get back I want to take the 300 level course of Tagalog. Our teacher said it was really fun. Well this is going to be a crazy week, I'll try and start packing soon. Lot's to do! K time is up! I love you all and can't wait to tell you all about traveling to the Philippines!

also the travel plans say we're going to hong kong in may to renew our visas, but i think that is just a precautionary thing. i think our mission president can go and renew them for us even

Yay!  Jaden is here!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ako Po si Sister Stabenow :)

(this picture is me in front of our residence hall)

Magandang Hapon!

No floods to report this week :) well, maybe a different kind of flood- LOTS of missionaries coming in here tomorrow! I am SO excited for Jaden to be coming here! I screamed a little when I got her letter saying that she is coming. More awesome things about this week- I got the cookies that Alyssa and Karina sent, they were so so so good, my district loved them! And Mom, we loved the caramel and chocolate dipped pretzels that you sent too- they didn't last too long cause everyone loved them. I think my district likes it when I get packages :) Thanks for sending me everything! Thanks Dad for the note with my package :) glad to hear that Disneyland was fun! I loved getting the pictures too. I love the pictures of Alyssa and Michael, and of Kelsey and Dad and their birthday presents. Did Kelsey get her hair done? It looks cute! And Mom, you asked in your last letter if I wanted to hear about things going on at home... YES :) I love hearing about things happening for all of you still, and it doesn't make me homesick, so we are good. I always love getting letters. I'm glad that I'm in the Provo MTC and can hear from you all so easily right now while I'm still here. It's weird to think that I'll actually be leaving the MTC someday haha, and that someday is kind of soon! 13 days to be exact! We will be getting 2 new sisters in our room, so there will be six of us sharing the room. It'll be tight, but I'm okay with it :) Our zone will also be getting two new districts. The district that left yesterday is heading to Naga. Oh and super exciting... I will be getting my travel plans either Thursday or Friday THIS week, so I will let you know what the plan is! 

This has been a good week- after a much needed lecture from one of our teachers everyone seems to be working harder. I used to be frustrated that we weren't spending enough time on the language here each day as I would like, but I am glad now that we've spent a lot of time on gospel things. I won't be leaving here knowing a ton of Tagalog, but I'll leave here with a greater understanding and testimony of the gospel. My Tagalog has a long way to go, but I know it will come. It know it will be rough too when I get to the Philippines and can't communicate all that I want to, but I know it will teach me a lot. I think that learning a language is a blessing for me at least because it forces me to explain things in the simplest ways possible because I can't do it in any other way. The gospel is simple, and sometimes we talk too much or try to explain too much- but it really is simple. A simple testimony is all it takes. I think it was President Hinckley who said something like this... Preach the Gospel, and use words if necessary.  The biggest thing I've learned about missionary work- luckily, it's not about how good of a teacher we are. The spirit is the one that does all of the teaching. I just need to be able to recognize the spirit, learn to listen to and understand and follow inspired thoughts. I feel like I am learning so much here! I can't wait to be in the Philippines though. My companion will point out a Filipino from across the cafeteria and run over to talk to them, so we've been able to become friends with some Filipinos already. Well I hope everyone is doing well :) If you want to know any specifics about what I'm doing here just ask :) DearElder is great cause I get them throughout the week. I've only got one more P-day in the MTC after today!!! Love you all!


Sister Stabenow

p.s. Tell Jaden not to be nervous at all :) I may or may not have done some snooping, and I found out not only is she in my residence hall, but she's on the same floor, just a couple rooms down :) I can't wait   to see her!:)

This morning at the Temple!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week #3

 (Doesn't She Look Beautiful!)
First off, Congratulations Alyssa & Michael!!! I loved getting your dear elder this week and hearing your news :) It made me so happy! I am so excited for you two and loved the pictures that mom emailed me! (i can't open them up big though so they are tiny, but hey i'll take what I can get!) 

Mom, thanks for the Dear Elders. We liked hearing about the new mission president that will be coming to Cauayan in the summer, they sound great! By the way, those mints (fruit duos?) you sent were super good, and I loved the tomatoes! I'm glad to hear that you and Landon had a good time at Emily's baptism, I can't believe she's 8 already. Let Grandma know that I got her card & appreciated what she had to say. I hope my package got there okay for Kelsey and Dad! I hope they had a great birthday! I want to hear more about their trip :) also if you could insert the pictures big in the emails when you send them I could probably see them better. Also, I'm considering sending my ipod home- would you be able to download conference talks in Tagalog and put them on the ipod? I'll wait to hear back from you before I send the ipod home. I'm not sure if I mentioned last time, but thank Alison for the Dear Elder she sent me :) 

I got a package yesterday from the Burtons! Do I have the best family or what? :) Seriously I am so lucky. It totally made my day. Their letters were SO sweet and the cookies were delicious (nice work Tarv & Ginger) My roommates and I loved them :)

BUT... the craziest thing of all this week... at about 4:45 this morning a voice comes on the intercom and announces to the building- "there will be male workers coming in the building, please dress appropriately." It totally scared me and woke me up. I was so confused. Then I could hear the men outside of our door and I could hear their radios. I heard something like this- yeah the third floor is flooded and the second floor is starting to flood as well. Well my tired mind put it together and I sat up realizing that I am on the third floor. I did not want to be up so early, but I climbed down from my bunk bed, and sure enough I was standing in at least and inch and a half of water!!! I woke the other sisters up, and then I went out in the hall to see what happened. They told us that a worker must have been filling up a bucket last night and forgot about it and left the water funning. Three rooms on each side of our floor got flooded, and ours got the worst of it. The water went all the way to the back wall! Luckily, and surprisingly the only things in our room that were on the floor were our luggage. All four of us were up and working to clean it all up within a matter of minutes. We started out with mops until they were able to bring in some big shop vacuums. We worked for 3 hours trying to dry everything out in our room, the hallway, and in our neighbor's room. It was a pretty eventful morning I'd say. Some of the sisters on our floor were so nice and brought breakfast for us 4 since we couldn't make it over to the cafeteria. I'm super tired now. We definitely didn't make it to our scheduled temple time, but we were able to go later. I don't think we'll be moving rooms or anything (there isn't really anywhere else to go), but they said hopefully they'll send in carpet cleaners. Luckily. It already smells. Haha it totally felt like dejavu, considering this just happened at home before I left. By the way, how is Grammy's room?

This past week was an interesting one. Elder Ballard came and spoke to us last Tuesday night. It is so cool to hear an apostle speak! My companion was SO down about the language for several days, and normally I can handle it and stay positive. But, one day last week it was just so discouraging. I had no idea to help her. She didn't believe that we could do this and that she could learn Tagalog, and I let it get to me. I was SO discouraged and frustrated. I didn't want to have to be the strong one all the time. It was not a good day here. BUT I learned a lot from that day. Feelings of discouragement are NOT from God. I need to completely believe that I can do this and trust that I was called for a reason to go to the Philippines and speak Tagalog. I CAN do this. I've been even more determined since that day to work as hard as I can so that I can qualify for the gift of tongues. My teacher pointed out that we're about halfway through the MTC now. I think there is just 20 days left. I don't feel super ready with the language, but I know it will come. I am so pumped!!!

I talked with one of the counselors in my branch presidency on Sunday after class, and he said- I can tell you've crossed a bridge. And he is definitely right. I LOVE being here. I LOVE being a missionary. The more I realize how amazing missionary work really is the happier I become. We've been talking a lot this week about the Book of Mormon, and I have loved it. The Book of Mormon has changed my life so much and I LOVE talking about it and sharing my testimony about it. It's amazing how happy I am even just teaching our fake investigators and doing role playing. I can't wait to do the real thing. My testimony has been strengthened so much here already! This past Sunday was my favorite Sunday I've had here. I'm just happy :) The provo temple president gave our devotional on Sunday night- one thing he said- "the way you serve you mission will be a good indicator for what you will do with the rest of your life." I really liked that and want to do as much as I can in these 18 months.

Sunday movie nights are great! This week we watched an old MTC devotional from Elder Holland called Missions are Forever. It was so good! My favorite thing he said-  "Why is missionary work so hard? Because salvation is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy for us if it was never easy for Him?"

I love this fire and excitement that I have right now about missionary work. I hope to carry it with me throughout the mission and throughout life :)

I had a lot to say this week I guess! Well I love and miss you all!


  Sister Brynn Stabenow