Monday, April 15, 2013

Banaue Rice Fields Today!

Banaue Rice Fields
this is one of the natives from this area

Sorry this is later than usual, I had a fun P-Day in Banaue!! It was so beautiful! I hope you like the pictures. Sometimes I think I was made for the Philippines… no snow, lots of sun, and the beautiful outdoors! I’m really tired and kind of sunburned now from the day, but it was really really good.

We got to watch conference this weekend at the stake center in Solano, and we watched it in English!! :) (they did have other rooms for Tagalog).

Reunited with half of her MTC District
We went to Cauayan on Thursday last week, and it was a 3 hour bus ride up there. It was gorgeous! I was SO excited to see my friends there from my district- haha they were all happy to be reunited too. We couldn’t believe it had only been 2 weeks since we got here. We’re all doing and feeling about the same. Actually I was surprised to realize that I’m probably doing a little better than some of them in terms of adjusting.  It was crazy to see the changes in all of us already. It really surprised me that one of the most confident elders from my mtc district almost went home after being here a couple days. He was at the mission home getting paperwork done to go home, and he called his family to tell them he was coming home, but the phone call helped him, and he’s still here. We’re all pretty shocked at just how different literally everything is here. It was so good to talk to them and know that we all have similar feelings. I hope they’re all doing okay. We talked about how our missions are totally different from the ones shown on "the district" dogs and chickens every where, crazy weather, and so many other things haha. None of us feel like the language is clicking, we don't absolutely love the food, and we all had funny stories to share about things people have said to us. It was a short morning in cauayan, and it was sad to say goodbye!

Oh, I saw my first white person (non-missionary) here last week at McD’s. Then today at Banaue I saw a few more…. Exciting stuff haha :) and before I forget, I was going to tell you that the Wellman’s nephew is in my zone.

So this week has been both good and bad. Sometimes I’ve felt pretty alone, but long story short, I was able to learn another good lesson. I reread most of the October conference talks this past week, and one quote has really helped me. It’s pretty simple – “self-pity is debilitating.” So yes there are ups and downs here, but I have to cling to the good and not let the bad bother me. I had a cool realization this past week as I was trying to pin down the overall feeling I have here. I especially notice this feeling as the day is winding down, we’re walking home, and I’m thinking about the day. I think I figured out the feeling- I remembered all the times I’d drive or run over to the provo temple. I’d sit and think and pray and every time I’d think to myself “I wish I didn’t have to leave, I wish I could stay and have this feeling forever.” I have felt that feeling of peace many times here, and I am so thankful for that. It confirms to me just how special missionary work is.

I’ve heard others say and have even thought to myself- you just have to get through the beginning months of the mission. That made me think of how I just got through 9th, and then 10th, and then 11th, and then 12th grade. I did get through those years, but without many memories to take with me. So I want to do more than just get through challenges here, because I am sure there will be more to come in the mission, and all throughout life. I want to enjoy it all. I liked the story that was shared in conference about a boy walking across campus in the snow storm singing a happy song. Haha maybe I’ll have to try that out to enjoy the snow when I get back.

One more thing I got out of reading past conference talks was a quote from Henry B. Eyring. I’ll tweak it a bit for me. Everything I’ve been able to accomplish and become so far in my life is “because individuals who knew me saw things in me that I couldn’t see.” I am so thankful for those that have done this for me. I am so happy now, knowing what I know, and especially knowing who I am. I am so blessed to have so many people (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, amazing leaders, and teachers) who loved me, saw more in me than I saw in myself, and as a result have changed my life. I am so very blessed, and I hope I can do that for others here.

Thank you all for the prayers and emails :) sorry I can’t respond to many this week! Time is short, but I’ll print the emails and try and read them later this week!

Mahal Kita!
-       Sister Stabenow
Looking out at the Rice Fields today

Brynns attempt at keeping a family tradition of RootBeer Floats after Priesthood session of conference.:)
Loving the rain!
DUGO- I saw this at the night market. I asked my companion if it was brownies, she laughed and then I realized it was blood. Yuck. I was not willing to try this one

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