Monday, August 26, 2013

I Love My Life!

Kumusta! Thanks for the emails, it sounds like you all had a good week! We had a fun branch activity this morning up in Paitan. I’m just realizing more and more how HUGE and beautiful our area is. It was SO much fun. We did some hiking and I’m feeling way tired now haha. My hiking buddies (little kids from the Guiner family) walked with me and taught me how to sing I Am a Child of God in Tagalog. So cute! I wish you guys could just take a peek into my life sometimes, it is just such another world here. Ha we were sitting up there by a members house eating some rambutan and chewing on some sugar cane, and I just thought about what you’d all think if you could just see for a second this place that I’m in.
With the other Sister's going to Mrs Bakers
                                                                                                                      Well this week was a good one :) we celebrated Sister Miller’s birthday by going to Mrs. Bakers- the best restaurant ever. We liked it so much, we’ve already been back since haha, and we’ve got plans to keep going back. Oh so good, they have real pizza, and real brownies! Haha and that is big news. On Wednesday we got up super early to get ready and head to Cauayan for the follow up meeting for trainers and their trainees. It was alright, I didn’t know too many people there, since there was only one other sister there from my batch, but it was really good just cause I got to sit and talk and eat lunch there with Sister Rahlf. Also, Cauayan is way way hotter than my area, I’m so lucky I get to be in the cold part of the mission for probably a total of 7 months!
The Sister’s trainers came to Bayombong this week and we had our splits with them on Friday. I love those sisters, and just really love it when they come to have splits. I don’t even know exactly why, but I just have felt better since they came and worked with us. I had been feeling super frustrated with myself, and my progress as a missionary and with my Tagalog… but I got some answers to my prayers this week, and things are better than ever when it comes to confidence level that I can really do this. I found this good quote from Pres. Monson that I’ve been trying to apply “Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust, and believe, and have faith.” So I’m working on this, and wow it works haha. We’ve been finding new people like crazy and I love talking to them even if it isn’t all correct Tagalog. I’m excited to see what happens when I really trust, believe and have the faith I need.

This past week was another fast one. Tomorrow we’ve got our quarterly interviews with President Rahlf, which I am way excited for. Tomorrow also marks 5 months in the Philippines. I am so glad I’m still in my first area, I love it so much, and I feel like I’ve grown so much here. Also today one of the 11 year old girls I’ve been friends with since I got here (the one who taught me the Tagalog “I Am a Child of God” this morning) told me that her and her mom want us to come and teach them now :) I’m way excited! This really has been such a good week. I love my area, I love my companion, I love the sisters in our apartment, I love this branch, I love my life, I love this work, and I love the gospel. Haha “I love my whole house!” (youtube quote). But really though, I love this gospel so much and how it has blessed my life. I love what it has done for our family and I couldn’t ask for more in my life. We are so so blessed to have the knowledge that we have of the gospel, of the fact that we have a living prophet, and that our Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for each of us that is made possible because of our Savior and friend, Jesus Christ. I love and miss you all so much! Good luck with everything coming up with school, I can’t wait to hear all about it! Mahal na mahal ko kayo! 

- Sister Stabenow

On a Hike with members of the Branch

Hiking with the kids!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello Family



A picture with her District and Pres and Sister Rahlf





This week went by really fast. We had some fun things to go to, a missionary farewell for one of the members here who left for the Cebu mission, a fun FHE with the Gacad family, and a fun birthday party/FHE with the Taeza, Pacis, and Gacad families. Ha this is going to be a bit shorter. I literally feel like I just barely emailed and caught you up on the latest here. We had our district conference in Solano yesterday and it was great :) All of the primary kids sang I am a Child of God, first in English, and then in Tagalog, and it was so cute! So the damage from the storm wasn’t too severe, broken trees, and some areas were more flooded than others, but life seemed to get right back to normal here. This is going to be a fun and busy week, one of the sisters in our apartment has her birthday this week, we’ll head to Cauayan for the follow up training meeting, and we’ve got several dinners with members this week. The members have been super helpful lately with the work, and we’ve been getting a lot more referrals, which is awesome. Also, with 3 out of 4 of us in the apartment being foreigners here, we’re starting to get together each night after work and help each other with language questions :) It’s definitely needed. Also I’m feeling really attached to this area, I can’t imagine how it will feel after 7 months here! Well we’ve had a good week here, my companion is awesome and we’re loving the work. I'm learning even more about myself as a trainer. Sometimes I feel way different, and I know I'm changing, but all for the better. I find myself doing the same things my trainer did for me, and I hope I'll be able to do that with each companion I get here. Sorry this is short, I Love and miss you guys! Hope you all have a great week and are getting ready and excited for school to start! :)




The Birthday Party





Sister Stabenow's buddy:)






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Typhoon!!!

In their courtyard after the storm
Watching Typhoon Utor  from her window

TYPHOON!! So on Sunday we got several texts from the mission home warning about a typhoon coming. Ha, and the texts got more and more interesting- saying to go to the store and buy emergency things, food and water, that we’d be on lockdown for the morning of the storm, and then… they said that the storm had shifted course and the eye of it would be heading almost straight through Bayombong, and that it was upgraded from a category 3 to a 4. So we got prepared- got food, and charged the phones and flashlights. I didn’t really know what to expect. The night before the storm coming home from work was so weird, definitely the calm before the storm. So the storm hit Monday morning and woke me up at about 4:30AM  since it was really noisy. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I just sat up in my bed and watched it. It was really cool, ha I’ve never seen trees bend like that. I felt safe in our apartment, but I’m worried about some of those we visit who don’t have strong safe homes. I’m eager to go visit them this week. 
   Well on to other news from this week. It's definitely different being the senior companion, I'm the one that is a little more comfortable with OYM-ing and talking to strangers on the street, so I'm the one instigating it and I am really enjoying it. Also, for the first time out here in the field I can say that all 4 of us have a really great relationship in our apartment. Haha it's about time. The other day all 4 of us went to celebrate one of the sisters 1 year mark in the field , and we went to our favorite pizza place- Mrs. Bakers :) I'm thinking today we will hopefully go celebrate my 6 month on the mission mark, and then next week we'll be celebrating one of the sister's birthdays. Oh so i don't know if i told you already, but my anak LOVES fried chicken haha and I can't help but think of the funny youtube video us cousins would watch of Mz. Peachez- Fry That Chicken! Haha, I was surprised that i pretty much know all the words still. Also my anak can't get over how different our diets are haha- one of our first days together she said to me "how can you take your day without eating rice?" haha :)


The 2 Companionships in her house!  Enjoying some pizza!
   So training is going well, and my anak is adjusting to everything, and so am I. This week I was feeling kind of frustrated though just really wanting to see some sort of success or progress with those we teach. I basically wanted to feel like we are doing some good here. We know we need to find new people to teach, so we've been praying and praying and praying to find people who are ready. Well we had a really great experience this last week. The Sunday before a member brought his friend, Prinz, to church, and we talked to him after and set up a time we could come visit him. I don't know why but I felt nervous about our first appointment, ha I just wanted it to go really well, cause he's actually really interested. My companion and I were prepared and excited to teach him. So we taught him in the Gacad family home and it went so well. It's one of those things that I can't fully describe. It was definitely the best lesson I've experienced here on my mission, the spirit was so strong. It was such an answer to my prayers and I am excited to find more who are ready and eager to accept the gospel in their life. We set a baptismal date with him, so hopefully in about a month he'll be baptized. He's been to church a couple times now and I'm just way excited for him. Hopefully all will continue to go well for him, and I hope to have more experiences like that one. My anak and I were so incredibly happy. Lots of good things this week, but that was probably the highlight. I love missionary work, and I love the gospel. It truly is the greatest blessing in my life, and I'm so glad I get to bring that happiness to others. I love you guys, thanks for the prayers and emails this week :) Mahal ko kayo!
- Sister Stabenow

Nanay Catalina :) Blue Eyed member





Monday, August 5, 2013

Life is Grand with Sister Grande :)


New Companion Sister Grande!
So I’ll start with the news, I’m training a cute Filipino!!!!! Her name is Sister Grande, from Bacolod and she’s 20 years old, and  I think she came pretrained. She’s awesome :)  This has been a busy week, we went to Cauayan for the departure fireside and of course for the transfer meeting. It was fun seeing friends that used to be in our zone, and way fun to talk with them and see how I’ve progressed a bit with the language. When we pulled up to the chapel the day of the transfer meeting I got super nervous about my trainer leaving me and about getting a new companion. It was definitely sad to say goodbye to Sister Manguil. But I already love my anak. She is excited and ready to get to work! She was way excited about meeting our investigators. Ha in a lot of ways she reminds me of my Nanay- loves fried chicken, ukay ukay shopping, ice cream, she’s studying IT (info tech), likes to sing, doesn’t like vegetables, and on and on. Haha. For sure we’re going to be good friends. I am happy with the set up in our apartment, the other sister is training a new American, Sister Miller, so it’s fun when we can sit and talk about home or Provo for a bit. Our Zone was changed so much from this last transfer. Almost every companionship had changes, and most of those new to the zone are new American missionaries. Ha I wonder if our district/zone meetings will mostly be in English now.  I’m feeling a bit more pressure being a trainer, way more responsibilities now, but I’m looking forward to this so much. I'm also way happy that I'm not the brand new ones any more haha. I am feeling better about where I am with the language, and I can tell I'll make some good progress with it here in my first area. Hopefully I'll have some more news for you next week :) One thing I'll share we met a less active Nanay a couple weeks ago who hadn't been to church in a long time. Her name is Nanay Catalina, and she has way pretty blue eyes (only filipino I've seen with blue eyes).She came the Sunday after we visited her the first time, but not the Sunday after. So we visited her again on Saturday and she told us her birthday would be the next day, Sunday, and she'd just been praying to be able to have the money to make it to church for her birthday. So she was praying and we were praying, and she made it :) I'm glad she got her birthday wish, and I really hope she'll continue to come. I love getting out each day and working, I can't help but smile and be happy. Well that's all for now :) thank you (family and friends) for the letters and emails! I'll write back to you guys hopefully soon! Love you all! 

-Sister Stabenow
Matching by accident :)

Great companions and friends!

The Gacad Family!  The young man in the suit is going to New Zealand!

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