Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello!


Chicken Head?  Really!!


Kumusta po kayo?
Thank you Mom and Dad for the package! Loved it, and the kids here loved the candy! It’s been another happy week here in Bayombong. It was a weird week for work since my companion was sick a couple of days, we had a family day celebration, and one of the days we were in Santiago for a meeting. So we weren’t out working as much as I would’ve liked, and sitting at home reading just isn’t the same as being out working. I’m excited for this week to just have things normal! Random things from this week: we’ve been exercising as an apartment in the mornings, and it is funny to see these Sisters limping around from being sore haha. We have been doing a lot as an apartment this cycle, and it has been such a blessing. We started having prayers with all 4 of us morning and night and I’ve never been living with such a happy group of girls. I really love the set up right now and will just enjoy these last few weeks before the next transfer day. Also, this week my companion was buying some BBQ here and told me I should try the helmet/ulo ng manok/chicken head, I didn’t want to at first, but she told me I’d be considered a Filipino if I’d eat it. So I gave in, haha and ate the chicken head. It wasn’t horrible, but I don’t think I’ll eat it again. I’m friends with our little next door neighbor Trian. When I’m out doing my laundry she comes and hangs out with me and she helps me with Tagalog. She’s this little adorable girl. I don’t want to think about leaving my friends here, but in some ways I think it is time to get a new area. We’ll just see what happens on Transfer day. I hope you all enjoy conference this week! We won’t watch it until October 12 and 13 in Solano. It will be my second conference on my mission and I’ll be in my same area watching it.
We’ve been teaching a somewhat new investigator and it has been great, I can just picture him being a great priesthood leader here. He’s come to church twice now and even came to the Family Day activity on Saturday. I also am happy seeing less actives becoming returning members here! I love this work, I love these people, and I hope this branch will just continue to get stronger.
We had an awesome zone conference on Thursday. President and Sister Rahlf are spiritual giants and I loved hearing from each of them. It was just a very powerful meeting and I was able to learn things that I’ve specifically been needing. One of the Sisters gave a musical number and played “Be Still My Soul” on the Violin. That’s such a special song to me, and it was just so powerful and beautiful. One missionary bore his testimony at the end and mentioned the song “I Stand All Amazed” so I thought of the words “to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.” I truly do stand all amazed at His love for me, I in no way am deserving, yet I know He loves me so much. My time here on a mission is teaching me so much about faith and the atonement. Two things I thought I understood before, but wow I had no idea how important those things really are. I’m learning just how important it is that we really believe in Christ and believe Him and what he says. I pictured him asking me the questions, do you believe in me? In my timing? In my plan for you? And in my ability to help you? I know I can improve on these things and face my challenges with more faith and less fear.
                Grammy I wanted to thank you for emailing me your conversion story last week. We were having our companionship study the other day and I decided to read to my companion your email, and I was surprised that I got really choked up reading it to her. Thank you for joining the church even though it wasn’t convenient or easy. I love seeing what a huge blessing that choice of yours has been to me and many many others.
FHE this last week!
                At the zone conference this week I said goodbye to a good friend here in the mission. She will be heading home to Utah in December, and I probably won’t see her again before then. I can’t believe that she only has a cycle and a half left to go. She was a sisters trainer over this area, and we became close on the few times that we got to go on splits. I’m also surprised at how quickly I become friends with so many of these sisters, these friendships have been such blessings to me. Sister Miller (from our apartment) and I have become such good friends and this past week discovered our mutual obsession with Peter Pan, Becoming Jane, and a crazy long list of many many other things. She’s from Alpine Utah and most people in this Branch ask us if we’re siblings. It’s been such a blessing having her in our apartment too. Well hopefully I’ll have more to tell you next week about work! I love you all and am so thankful for each of you and your testimonies and encouragement. Enjoy conference!!! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good Week!

Dear Family,
Sister Trainers
It’s been a really good week :) I LOVE seeing progress, with the area, and with myself. From the words of my mission president, this is how missions work: the Lord changes you before you can help others change. I’m being changed so much, and I love it. Heavenly Father is giving me the people and experiences I need right now to learn what I need to. We have a VERY happy house, and oh my we’re such missionaries.
 
 We come home at night and share experiences from the day and share scriptures that get us PUMPED about missionary work. D&C 35:13 

 “Wherefore, I call upon the aweak things of the world, those who are bunlearned and despised, to thrashthe cnations by the power of my dSpirit
 Haha we love the wording of this scripture, and we’re determined to “thrash the nations” (in a good way). Also, our district meeting this last week was super good, as we talked about finding. This past week I have pin-pointed some things about me that I want to and need to change, and wow the Lord will help you change when you’re willing and really want to. So just in life in general I’m content with being quiet, but that’s definitely changing. I want to talk to everyone, I want them to know what I know. I read a good quote this week:
Why should I speak to anyone about the gospel who seems content? What danger is there to them or to me if I do or say nothing?..... Well, the danger may be hard to see, but it is real, both for them and for us. For instance, at some moment in the world to come, everyone you will ever meet will know what you know now. They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, was to choose to enter into the gate by baptism at the hands of those with authority from God. They will know that the only way families can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the temples of God on this earth. And they will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you.”
I love this, so to do my part, I’m opening my mouth and telling people what I know. We talked in district meeting about how no effort is wasted here, and how OYM-ing people might not be the most effective way to find, but how it is the most effective way to show our faith. We want miracles here, and we know that our faith has to come first. So we’ve got the motivation, and enthusiasm we need, and I’m very excited to see what will happen. I’ve got one more month til transfer day, (and yes I’m assuming I’ll be transferred) and I want to leave here on such a high note, I want to leave this area better than I found it. I’ll be leaving here so changed, and hopefully I’ll have helped this branch in some way. We had splits with the sister’s trainers this week and had a good time, it is really nice just to see how other people do things and to learn from them. We went and visited a man this week that we hadn’t seen in a couple weeks, and we gave him a Book of Mormon last time, so we talked with him for a bit and he told me he’d been reading the Book of Mormon every night since we gave it to him. Yeah I was surprised. It was awesome, and then he’s like what time is your church/where is it. Ha it was awesome! And… he came to church yesterday! Also, this week we went and visited a boy from the branch who used to always come and work with us when I first got here. But anyway he’s been inactive for the past few months, but he told us he’d try and come on Sunday… and he came too! And even cooler, so he was sitting all alone during sacrament meeting, but once all the boys got done passing the sacrament they all just swarmed him and welcomed him back and sat with him. I got such a huge smile on my face, it was so sweet to see what great youth there are in the branch. Oh it was just such a happy week. So we have zone conference on Thursday this week in Santiago. It will be a busy week, I think we have FHE’s scheduled almost every night this week haha. Oh and Friday marks 6 months for me in the Philippines, kinda crazy! Well, I know there was a lot of random in this email, hopefully it made some sense haha. I’m just very happy and loving this work and the things that are happening here! I want the gospel for life, I see too many people and hear too many excuses of why people don’t come to church anymore and I’m determined to never get to that point. I’m convinced that if we read the scriptures and pray every day we will never fall away and won’t have to experience that in our life. That is the power of reading and praying. The church is true, the Book of Mormon is true and we’re so blessed to have the gospel in our lives. Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for the emails and pictures :) Mahal ko kayo!

-          Sister Stabenow



Rice Field



Monday, September 16, 2013

Hello Fam,

We went to Cauayan on Tuesday for the departure fireside, and I was way happy to see my trainer, Sister Manguil! We had a fun time catching up and we laughed realizing we’d each brought things to give to one another. She is a sister’s trainer now so I got to hear all about her cycle and funny experiences.  So I think this will be my last cycle in Bayombong, and I’m hoping my next area won’t be so far from the mission home, traveling is pretty exhausting here!
It is so weird to me that I’m not considered a new missionary at all. Ha and people are saying I’m old here in the mission, but I’m glad to be at this point. I’ve learned some important lessons lately and the confidence I’ve needed with everything is getting to where it needs to be. I’m done worrying about my struggles with Tagalog, my grammar, my pronunciation, cause what is more important- bringing people unto Christ. How to help them to understand, to recognize the Holy Ghost, and understand the gospel IS important. This isn’t about my concerns or struggles, and I hope they can feel how much my companion and I really do care about them.  I can do all of these things, I can be a good, effective missionary even if I’m not perfect at Tagalog. I’m really so glad to be moving on from this problem, cause there is work to do! This is one of the quotes I read last week that has helped me a lot, of course… it’s from Jeffrey R. Holland “I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.” There is no reason to doubt, ever. I know that we have the help of the Savior every step of the way. He loves us and we can trust in him. I love this gospel, it is something I will never give up. I have learned so much from these 7 months of my mission, and those are also things I would never trade. I know, so much more now, how loved and how blessed I am. I have been given an amazing family, a life full of opportunity and best of all a knowledge of the true gospel.  I love you all and am so blessed to call you family :) thanks for the emails this week :) Hope you all have a great week!
Mahal ko kayo!
-          Sister Stabenow   

picture- me and my pal Erika

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dear Family
            It is the end of another cycle here, end of my 4th one in the field actually, and there are no changes this transfer for me. Staying here in Bayombong for life haha. It is weird thinking that I’ve probably only got one more cycle here and I’m sure it will fly by. So we had a zone activity this morning in Bagabag to say goodbye to a couple Elders from our district that are going home. We had a good time. I spent most of my time hanging out with the new Sister that is from Sri Lanka that got here a couple of weeks ago, Sister Wellayan. We’re gonna be good friends, ha we talked about Bollywood movies, and she told me all about life for her and her family in Sri Lanka. Way cool! We mostly used English, but we’d switch to Tagalog sometimes, ha it was fun talking even with the language barrier. So tomorrow we’re heading to Cauayan for the departure fireside, and rumor is it will be the last one since the Philippines is changing the rules for foreigners, we now will have to go and spend a couple days in Manila doing finger prints and stuff like that before we can go back home at the end of our missions. It will be a bummer to not have these meetings, but oh well, at least I got to have them for part of my mission. So the Samoan sister from our apartment is being transferred, which wasn’t expected… we thought she’d be staying here til she goes home in December. So I’m curious to see who we will have in our apartment now with us. Yeah so the picture from last Monday- me on a caribou. I can now check that off of the list of things I really wanted to do here in the Philippines haha. We had an audience just watching us and probably laughing at how excited I was.



  
 Also, I think I mentioned this last week, that we ate horse at our Branch President’s house. It was fine, super chewy. I’ve become so less picky about food here which makes things easier for sure.
This week had its highs and lows, and I am learning a lot about myself this cycle. But I have to say I’m very excited to start a new cycle, I feel like it is going to be a really good one. Our mission president has given us all the assignment to study one Christlike characteristic for the next 3 months and strive to improve on it, so it took about two seconds to decide I’d study faith. So one night this week the other American sister and I were talking about the topic of Faith. It was such a good talk we had and we shared some good things with each other, and it just got me so pumped up about the work and about what things are possible when we have faith. I need to trust my savior more and remember that he is capable of working miracles for me, for my companion, for our investigators and for our branch. We had a good week of work. I am worrying less and less about the Tagalog, our lessons are becoming more and more spiritually powerful for those we are teaching and even for myself. I feel my testimony growing here more and more. And I am so thankful I am learning the things I need to learn about faith. Thank you for the emails and support and pictures this week! I love and miss you all! 
-Sister Stabenow 

With Ephriam after his Baptism!
FHE 
Out working hard!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to the "ber" months... Its still really hot!

September already, time to start celebrating Christmas in the Philippines. For real. haha. There are just a couple weeks left of this cycle. It is still going so fast. Thank you all for your emails this week :) It's been a nice P-day, laundry, studying, Ukay Ukay, and then later tonight we have 2 dinner appointments. not sure how that happened haha.. Our branch president said they're going to feed us horse... I have to at least try it so I can say I've had horse before haha.  We had President and Sister Rahlf down here on Tuesday for our interviews, and the timing was just right. Ha I am so thankful to have them here and for their love and counsel. I am learning so much this cycle and even though it is challenging, I know that it is teaching me things that I really really need to learn. My companion and I had a really great week of work. We started teaching the lady who we got pedicures from last week, and she invited six others to come and hear our message too. So we get there and realize we've got quite a big group to teach. It was a lot of fun, my companion and I were excited. Also I'm sending a picture of a baptism we went to on Saturday of an eight year old from the ward. We visited him and his family this past week to make sure he was excited and ready for his baptism day. Oh my they are such a cute family. We will be having dinner with them first tonight actually. So the baptism on Saturday, in the words of young Landon... funniest thing I've ever seen. So his toe came out of the water the first time, and he refused to do it again haha. We waited and talked with him for a good twenty minutes probably before he'd stand up and do it again. But still, he didn't want to go down into the water, so I'll just say after what looked like a really funny wrestling move he was baptized. My companion and I couldn't get over how funny it was. We had a good fast Sunday yesterday, we have some really great families in this ward. The Gacad family came and worked with us for a couple visits, they are so sweet and always really good to give us referrals. Members are seriously SO important in missionary work. I like one thing they said a couple months ago in the worldwide leadership training that the members are the full time finders and the missionaries are the full time teachers. I can't wait to do more member missionary work when I am home again. There really is so much to do, and I know that because this work is being hastened it means that more people are being prepared! As always my companion and I are praying to find those who are ready here in Bayombong. Even though there are challenges and disappointments I know that this work is so important! Thank you all for your emails and prayers this week. They are needed and appreciated! Namimiss ko kayong lahat, at mahal ko kayo! 
- Sister Stabenow
Baptism of Ephriam... Funniest thing I ever saw!