Monday, August 11, 2014

LAST EMAIL FROM SISTER STABENOW

Well worn and ready to come home!



Dear Family,
       Well, like we always sing here in the Philippines, “The time is far spent, there is little remaining” and it looks like my time is just about up here. None of this feels real yet, but I think once all is packed and done it’ll start to hit me, and I’ll start to reflect more about what really has just happened in the last 18 months of my life. There are lots of sad goodbyes still up ahead these next few days, but I am excited to see you all so soon! Like I said this hasn’t really sunk in yet, and it’s because life is still busy here.  This past week we had another wonderful MLC in Cauayan, I love being surrounded by such good people, the Rahlfs and the senior couples here are all SO great. We had one last splits this past Thursday and I got to spend the day with Sister Howard who’s from Vegas. We both enjoyed and needed splits that day and were able to learn a lot from each other. One success from the week was our Ward Home Evening that we put on this past Friday night, we had a lot of fun with it, and were so happy to see so many people that we are teaching come and enjoy themselves. Sorry I’m going to keep this kind of short for now since there is still much to be done today. But I do want to share one story from our work. We have been teaching a woman named Jamaica for just the past couple of weeks, and I LOVE getting to go and teach her. She asks the best questions and is SO interested and excited about learning the gospel. Well we taught her last Tuesday about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and invited her to pray about it. We went back on Thursday and were disappointed because she wasn’t feeling well so we didn’t get to teach. Well we returned again on Saturday and she explained what happened. She told us that that night after we left she decided to really pray about it, she explained her sweet and simple prayer to us, she prayed and asked if God is there, and if He is our father. And she said- if you are our father, will you help me to know you are there and will you help me to overcome my smoking problem. (we’ve still not taught her about the Word of Wisdom even yet). Well that night she began to get sick and was sick for about 4 days, and she said that ever since that night she can’t stand the smell any more of cigarette smoke, and she hasn’t smoked since. She recognizes the blessing coming into her life right now and she’s very thankful for it. She says they even seem happier now and she feels more love within their family. I LOVE getting to teach the gospel and see it change and bless lives. It is really just the best feeling. I walked around that day with a huge smile on my face just so happy. The gospel is true, it is the very thing that these people are in need of. I totally took for granted what I had growing up, but because of the experiences I’ve had here, I now treasure what a huge blessing the gospel is, and what it has done for our family. I am eternally thankful for this chance I had to come here to serve others and that I was able to learn and grow myself as well. I’ll keep this short and save the rest for another day. I love you all, thank you for being the greatest support to me! I truly am so blessed. Love you, and see you soon!

Love,
Sister Stabenow
Her Last District in the Philippines

Sisters in her Apartent



Us with the Sebastian family

Monday, July 28, 2014

Take up our crosses and follow Him



Well it has been a very interesting week and one I won’t forget. We have lots of meetings and splits so it’s definitely keeping us very busy. Having only one cycle with a companion goes very quick, and we’re always excited when we can get to have a normal day of work together. Because we are so busy it still doesn’t feel real that I’ll be leaving here soon. We’re going going going and trying to work hard to improve this area. It will be weird to just sit and relax for a minute when I’m back.
                So this past week we went to Cauayan and had a really good zone conference all about the Restoration. It was fitting with Pioneer day this past week, and I loved the reminder of all that people were willing to do for the restoration of the gospel. I am so thankful to be a part of this sacred work. I now understand a bit better how our whole lives are dedicated to this. The hastening can’t move forward without the efforts of the members of the wards or branches, fulfilling callings, and sharing the gospel with others. So I’m excited and ready  to do this in the next chapter of my life as well.  This morning I was reading from Uchtdorf’s last conference talk from the Priesthood session – “Are you sleeping through the Restoration?” and it was awesome. I loved this quote from him- “There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all.” I’m thankful for these things I’m learning on my mission. I had no idea before how big of a role we all play in missionary work.
                Yesterday I’m sitting in relief society listening to the lesson where we talked about Elder Holland’s last conference talk about the cost of discipleship. The teacher shares the story about the missionary sisters getting talked bad at and having food thrown at them, ha and I’m sitting there thinking- I’m pretty lucky, I’ve never had anything too bad happen to me like that on the mission. Well maybe Heavenly Father took note of that thought and went and said “Oh Sister Stabenow, we must have missed you.” Haha. Well it wasn’t that bad, no food was thrown or anything like that. I’ll be able to give you more details of it when I get home, but for now I’ll fill you in on a bit of what happened. We were looking for the house of a man we’d met a few weeks ago, since he said he had more questions for us and is usually available on Sundays. We met his sister, a woman in maybe her 40’s or 50’s and ask her where we can find the guy, and all of a sudden we’ve got this angry woman to deal with. We explained why we were there and that her brother had invited us to come teach him. She was staring me down with such a disgusted look on her face and was using the most condescending tone. To add on to it, we’ve now got a little audience of people watching this go down. I’m ready to walk away but my companion keeps her cool and keeps talking to her. Again though the lady is directing everything at me and is staring me down. She’s using pure English the whole time even with me responding in pure Tagalog. She says several mean things and then continues in her insulting and mocking tone to say “Do you understand?” over and over. I keep my smile on my face, but could feel my jaw clench as she tells us we should not come back or be working over in that area and that we should go out to the mountains to teach the ignorant people. That was definitely the first time in my life where I felt my blood boiling. I did my best to remain kind, ha and I could just keep hearing my mission president’s words of- “a kind word turneth away wrath” over and over in my mind. I was happy to have a companion there who was aware of how I was feeling. I’d respond to the lady respectfully and in pure Tagalog and I was doing so well to not say anything mean or react how she was probably hoping. We explained we were there for a good reason and so naturally doing the inviting that I do as a missionary I told her she’s welcome to join and listen if we go back and teach her brother another time. Again I’m doing this all in Tagalog, but unconsciously one English smart alec comment slips out when she responds to my invitation and says “No no no no no, because I already know EVERYTHING” to which I respond “Oh Really?” (but still in my happy nice voice). Haha oh man. I knew after that that it was time for me to keep quiet. It was an unforgettable experience. And even though it’s no fun to be treated badly, and especially with an audience watching, I’d gladly stand up and do it again. We may not be asked to do as the pioneers did and walk thousands of miles, or be willing to die and give up our lives for the restoration of the gospel, but we’re asked to LIVE for the gospel, and to do our part in this time- To take up our cross and follow Him, which I will forever be glad to do. I love you guys and thank you for your constant love and support that lifts and strengthens me. Hope you all have a great week!
-          Sister Stabenow


Drying their shoes:)

On splits!



Monday, July 21, 2014

Catching up

Dear Family,
I’ll try and catch you up a bit on the last couple of weeks. We had a great time in Cauayan last week aside from me being sick and not able to eat much at that point. Our meetings were great and my comp and I were way excited to be staying over at the mission home. Me and a couple other sisters were there preparing for a lesson we’d be teaching the next day to the new sisters training leaders, and we talked about all these concerns we have about how to make a few things more effective- our splits and companionship study. We combined ideas and then President Rahlf came and listened to what we had to say and agreed with the changes that we’d like to see made. It was really fun to just sit in as a group and see how President really valued what we had to say. Now there have been some really great changes taking place and it has helped our work so much. I’ve really enjoyed the past couple of splits trying out the new way we are doing it. Ha all of these changes are so helpful, and sadly happening at the very last second of my mission, but hey better late than never.
My trip last week was fun, but I was SO happy to be back in Santiago with my companion. It was so weird staying in Manila that night alone without a companion. There was lots of good food in Manila and shopping, but I sat there at the end of the day by ocean realizing that adventures are fun and all, but what really matters are the people you’re with. So yeah I was happy to get back to these sisters that I love and I’ll be very excited as well to get back to the family that I love so much.
We’ve had some great things happening in our work, with more less actives returning now to church and coming consistently. The ward is getting more involved in our work and it is such a blessing when that happens. We are seeing progress with our investigators we just need to get over the obstacle of them not coming to church yet. But I know we’ll get there. We’ve been even more prepared for our work these past couple weeks really applying the changes that have been made. We have had really great experiences with our lessons and it is the happiest feeling walking away knowing that the spirit was there guiding us the whole time. It’s been really rainy the past few days, so we usually come home wet, with muddy feet, but happy and just enjoying this work. We love being missionaries. This is such a great end to the mission and I’m so glad it has become what I hoped it would be. Happy Birthday this week to Mom and Alyssa! I love you guys and can’t wait to see you all soon!
-          Sister Stabenow

Monday, July 14, 2014

Manila!

Dear Family,
I’m here in Manila right now!!  It is weird to be back here in Manila this time not as overwhelmed by everything and actually understanding what is happening around us. :) We had a fun day, flying here from Cauayan, then going directly to the fingerprinting place, and after that we were free for the day, so our driver took us and just dropped us off at the Mall of Asia for the day. Lots of fun, but it would have been better to have had sisters around haha. Me and three Elders at the mall was funny, the most exciting thing for us was eating…. A lot ha. Wendy’s, Krispy Kreme, Subway, all these food places that we haven’t seen our whole missions. We were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to at the mall, I got to spend a few minutes in… Forever 21! :) But I really enjoyed just sitting out by the bay watching the sunset and eating dinner. I have missed seeing the beach. Ha what a weird day. But back to my week, we had MLC this past week on Wednesday, and New Leadership Training on Thursday for my companion. Both really great meetings. We got to sleep over Wednesday night in the mission home, and it was good timing I guess since I was feeling really sick this past week. So I was able to rest a bit there. But despite that, it was over all a really great week. We are LOVING this cycle and are doing great. Sorry this will be short and is just some details for you. I’ll have to write you a bit more next week. I love you and hope you’re all doing great! 
Off to Manila for Fingerprinting!




Wendy's!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Save the best for last…



Great friends from Alicia came to visit




 Last Cycle na! So I’ll fill you in on the past fun week I had here. Tuesday morning we said goodbye to Sister Maestrado, she then left us behind at the apartment and headed to Cauayan for all of the farewell stuff. It was sad to say goodbye! We will miss having her here. That day I worked with Sister Hirst and Sister Molisi and we had so much fun covering both areas and just laughing all day long together. On Wednesday we had transfer meeting. It was SO good to see some old friends and say goodbye to a few of them since that’s the last time I’ll be seeing them here. I had a feeling before about who my new companion might be, and I was right! I get to be comps with SISTER ILAGAN :) It’s only been a few days together as comps, but already we are way close and are having so much fun working together and getting to know each other. She is an awesome missionary and I feel like I’ve learned so much from her already.
Having a good 4th of July!
            Glad to hear that you had a good 4th of July, I loved seeing the pictures. We found our own ways to celebrate it here and make it a fun day. Pancakes, watermellon, and rootbeer floats :)
 Our work has also been good this past week, Sister Ilagan has been getting to know our investigators and members here.  Our investigators this week are doing good. We are teaching this awesome sister named May, I can totally see her testimony growing, and she said she feels really good about what we're teaching and feels like it is all true. Her husband is always gone and busy with work but is supportive and says its a good thing that she is doing having the missionaries come teach her. One problem is that they aren't married yet, so that's a big obstacle. We are going to try and find a time where we can hopefully teach her husband as well. We also have another investigator who is really interested. She opened up to us about abuse and problems with in her family. They aren’t married yet either, but she has 3 little kids and is currently 6 months pregnant. She can see the hope of the gospel though, and loves how she feels when we come and teach. She wants to give her children a better life. We also have this cool tatay investigator, who knows so much already about the church it blows me away haha, like where joseph smith was killed, who Gordon B. Hinckley is, etc. We love teaching him. My comp is new here but has been doing a good job at getting to know these people, gaining their trust, and making them feel comfortable. I know this will be a great cycle together. And I’m pretty sure they saved the best cycle for last :) This will be a busy 6 weeks with all that is scheduled and planned, especially with meetings, but we are excited and are going to make the most of it. I feel like I’m going to blink and it will all be over. I’m just going to make the most of it and enjoy this time left here. I’ve been so happy here and feel like the real test is coming up- if I’ll now apply all these things I’ve learned the past year and a half to life when I get home.
            One very special thing from the week- yesterday my sweet friends from Alicia came to our ward here in Santiago to see me. I loved seeing them again, and I’m so thankful that I’ve been so blessed to have made such amazing friends here on the mission. I am doing well and can’t wait to see what good things are up in store this cycle. I love you and miss you all! Take care!
-       Sister Stabenow


Sister Spencer and Sister Stabenow

Monday, June 30, 2014

Changes are coming!

Dear Family,
     Lots of changes will be happening this week! My companion will be heading home this week, meaning I’ll get my new and last companion here on Wednesday. I’m excited to find out who it will be. One of the other sisters from the house will also be transferred so we’ll get two new people in the apartment. I have really enjoyed this past cycle with Sister Maestrado and can’t believe how fast that all just flew by. We are happy with all that has happened this past cycle and glad we were able to see some great things happening for some of our less actives coming back to church.
            This past week was kind of weird for a few reasons, 1 seeing my companion packing up her things to go home, and 2 going to Cauayan for a workshop for all of the missionaries leaving within the next two transfers. It was weird to be a part of that. One way happy thing, I ran into Sister Miller at the mission offices and got to talk with her. Once again, so glad to have her as my good good friend here in the mission. We usually only get a couple minutes to talk, but we can catch up so quickly and then have time to just talk and laugh about how far we’ve come in our missions.
            We had two splits, back to back this week which is always a little stressful, but they went well. I had SO much fun going on splits with Sister Molisi, we’ve lived together this cycle and she and I had such a fun and good day of work. I loved seeing how much she is loving the mission and is doing so well here. For the next splits I was with Sister Leoncio, once again, such a good missionary here. I loved teaching with her and learning so much from her that day. I am so glad I’ve been able to meet so many great sisters here. We’ve been able to do lots of finding this past week on our splits and I’m excited to just get to meet more and more people and they seem so welcoming and friendly. Loving it. One serious challenge we continue to face is that those we teach are not married yet, so we’ve got a ways to go with them, but we are excited about the potential changes.
            When we walked into sacrament meeting yesterday our Bishop told my comp she’d be talking, ha then he also announced to the ward in the we’ll be having a farewell party for her tonight (Monday). Ha, we weren’t expecting either of those things. We’re lucky to be serving in such a sweet ward.
            It was over all a good week, and I’ve got some good things in mind right now as goals to finish strong and use well what time I have left here. I will have more details for you this next week of all the changes! I love you and miss you!
-       Sister Stabenow  
p.s. sorry my letters are getting kinda boring, i'll just have to share more of the details with you in about 6 weeks ;)

our happy apartment of sisters

Sister Stabenow and Sister Maestrao at the
career workshop

splits

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blessed

Dear Family,
Going out on Splits!



         This has been a busy and fun past week here in Santiago. One huge blessing this week was seeing the progress with some of our newer investigators, and receiving good referrals who are now are newest investigators. I love referrals! I feel so much better when I can see the excitement in our investigators as they come to know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Another huge blessing was seeing so many back at church yesterday who haven’t come for a very long time. It was a good week of work. We had two splits this past week. Both of which I really enjoyed and learned a lot from. We really are thankful to have them come and do splits with us, our area could definitely use the boost of having us all working there together. One big theme of this past week was unity. I’ve recognized how much it is needed, especially as sisters on the mission, and I love the unity that is within our apartment. We really all take care of each other and help one another out, and as a result we’re all happy :) I feel way blessed to be living with the sisters that I am right now. I have been reading over the talks from the past conference and one that was especially perfect this past week was the one by Bonnie L. Oscarson about Sisterhood. It was about how greatly unity is needed when it comes to building the kingdom of God. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my mission it is how much we need others in our lives to support one another, build each other up, learn from one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately to develop a Christ-like love. Really none of that would be possible all alone. I’m thankful for the people I’ve been blessed to have in my life, friends, family, companions, whether we have a lot in common or not so much. I’ve loved learning here on the mission that people don’t have to be like you in order to be liked by you. A good quote from the talk… “if there are barriers it is because we ourselves have created them.” Then she leaves a good invitation for us all, “I invite you to not only love each other more, but to love each other better.” I’m, trying to apply this more and also share it so that there will be a greater sense of unity and strength within our mission.




   Thank you for the prayers, they have been felt this past week and we have seen the blessings in our work. I know Heavenly Father listens and answers prayers and is so willing to give us what we are in need of if we’ll just ask and be willing to work and do our part. My companion and I were out walking around the other day in one of our further areas heading to an appointment after we’d just been punted, the streets were quiet and it was just a good time to think and have a little prayer in my heart. I feel like we’ve been going out doing our best and just said a little prayer basically saying that I know people are being prepared and are in need of our message, but the concern…. Where to find them? So I just asked if they would just talk to us, haha if I could just know where and who they are. So we walked on a bit and walked past this little house that I’ve passed by several times this past week, and I’ve just had a good feeling inside about it. Well this time, the Tatay was outside, I smile and wave to him and he smiles and waves back and says “Latter Day Saints?” well at this point I get a huge smile on my face! That’s not usually a response we get. So it turns out this man and his wife were taught years and years ago by some Elders, his wife and son were baptised, but he was not. We talked with him and realized that he knows quite a bit about the church. We will be going back this week to teach him and his wife who has been inactive for maybe ten years now. I’m so excited that our teaching pool is growing and that we are able to share this message with those who will hopefully accept it into their lives and progress and be blessed by the gospel. I love being a missionary and am so happy with the blessings happening in our work. My companion is going home next week, so on the 2nd I’ll find out who my last companion will be! This is crazy. I love you all and miss you! Have an awesome week! :)
-       Sister Stabenow

Monday, June 16, 2014

i love CLS!

Dear Family,
   I loved seeing all of your pictures from this week! Looks like you had a great trip and got some good sun :) You really all look so good! This will be a kind of short letter this week.  We had quarterly interviews so I got to spend a few minutes this past week talking with my mission president and his wife. It always brightens my day getting to talk to them and feel their support and encouragement to us as missionaries. It is crazy that that was my last quarterly interview, it was definitely a special one. On Wednesday my companion and I headed to Cauayan so that she could take her CLS (English) test, and afterwards they fed us banana splits :) Work was kinda slow this week, and I’m definitely motivated to get out and get finding so that we can fill our time with good visits. Splits was good this week, I got to go with Sister Quijano, a tall Filipino sister from Naga who joined the church just two years ago. On Saturday we had Stake conference and on Sunday we had an awesome area broadcast from speakers in Salt Lake. The messages were great. My companion and I are way happy as companions, we get along super well and both are on the same page and here to help improve this area and to also help our sisters here in these zones. We’ve been focusing a lot on unity and on speaking well about one another. We both are thankful for the things we’ve learned here on the mission. She is going home soon and we are working hard til the end. This is going to be the fastest companionship ever, so we’re making our time count! Hope you all are doing well and loved your Father’s day. I know I’m so blessed to have the dad that I have, and I’ve learned that even more here on the mission. Love you all and hope you have a good week! Hopefully more to share with you next week!
- Sister Stabenow 
Splits this week!


We Love our Philippina!

Out working!

Monday, June 9, 2014

All that you have and are

Dear Family,
Great week here in Santiago. It’s been really fun getting to know these sisters. We are a happy group of sisters in our apartment, all SO very different, even complete opposite at times with one of the sisters, haha but we get along WAY well and are having lots of fun being in the same ward together. We loved our splits this past week, and I got to work with my apo (grandchild) in the mission, Sister Sae. She’s from Samoa and is super sweet and a hard working sister. She’s a real missionary here and likes to work hard. She, like I, started her mission in Bayombong as well so we had so much fun sharing stories, and I was so happy to hear from her about the changes and progress happening back in my first area. And according to her I am still remembered down in Bayombong- I mean a sister who falls off of the back of a tricey is not easily forgotten haha. We just had such a fun day together, worked hard and saw lots of blessings, aka referrals! (Which is exactly what we are in need of right now in this area.)
            My favorite day of the week though was Wednesday when we went to Cauayan for MLC. I was SO happy to see and talk with Sister Broqueza about all that is happening in Alicia, one of the couples we taught getting baptized just this past Saturday, and hearing the great news that our awesome investigator has stopped smoking and now has a baptismal date! Ah so so happy! Yep my heart is still in Alicia haha. But I am coming to love this new place and these new people here in Santiago as well. It was also fun seeing other great friends here and feeling their support, I’ve been blessed to have such good friends on the mission. These are sisters I will really be friends with for life.
So, long story short, MLC was amazing. President and Sister Rahlf are spiritual giants and I always learn so much from them. Our topic that day was all about the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work, and it really is everything. I loved the topic of qualifying for the spirit- clearing out the junk and distractions in our life to really focus on the spirit. Sister Rahlf compared it to clearing out an irrigation channel on a farm to let the water flow through freely. But I, coming from the beautiful southern California desert :) will compare it a little differently… and relate it to the wonderful days of building popsicle stick boats with the cousins and sending it down the stream of water that would build up out in front of our houses whenever it would get raining pretty hard. Once we set the boat down we’d watch it and run along side of it as it made its way down, but occasionally it’d get stuck on rocks or sticks, tumble weeds, etc. and we’d have to clear it out of the way so the boat could continue down its path. So, the comparison Sister Rahlf made there is to a life cluttered with trivial distractions, things that prevent the spirit from flowing freely into our lives. So we read in Doctrine and Covenants 4 about what things do qualify us for the spirit, and invite it more into our lives:
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the gloryof God, qualify him for the work.
 6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience,brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
She had us look at the list and then come up with what things disqualify us for the spirit- doubt, uncleanliness, ignorance, impatience, unkindness, ungodliness, pride/hate/selfishness, and several others. I looked at that list as a good self-check, what things I can work on to feel more powerfully the spirit in my life. I am learning that more and more here on the mission. We must have the spirit in this work, and like it was mentioned in our meeting we may not be perfect teachers, but we’re striving to remain worthy, and once we do he will endow us with the power that we need. And I can’t leave out the wise words from President Rahlf to us that we must continue to focus on the spirit, yes we’ve been here in the mission for a while now, so he said- don’t get too comfortable in what you know. Don’t do this work on your own.
I’m so thankful for the great things I’m learning here. I love being a missionary and love learning to recognize and rely on the spirit- I feel it so much more in my life and I feel so very grateful for all that the mission has done for me. The bus ride back to Santiago after MLC was some very good reflecting time on all that has happened and changed in the past 16 months of my life. I am so happy with the life and opportunities I’ve been given. The song “I feel my Savior’s love” has become a special one here as the words come to mind- He knows I will follow him, give all my life to him. It went well with what I’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon this week- Mosiah 2:34 “render to Him all that you have and are.” I am determined to live out my mission and my life this way. My time here is winding down, and I can feel it, but I will continue to give my all each day being a real missionary up until the very end.
We are seeing some good things happening in this area, and I know that there will be more good news to come! Keep us in your prayers! Love and miss you all and I hope you have a great week!
-       Sister Stabenow

Monday, June 2, 2014

Basta, Patuloy, Patuloy, Patuloy


Sister Stabenow and  Sister Guttenbeil

Dear Family,
    It has been another good week here in Santiago. Still a bit of adjustment, but things are good. Once again I’ve been given a really great companion here on the mission. We both are kind of new here to the area and are excited to do what we can to strengthen and improve our area. We’ve got good goals and new ideas in mind of how to improve our work. It’s definitely an adventure. And even though I still don’t really know my area or the people we visit we had splits on Thursday this past week, and I got to work with Sister Guttenbeil who is from Tonga but has a German last name. She and I met a long time ago here in Santiago actually back when I was assigned in Jones. She is way sweet and it was a way good day together. She’s been in her area now for 6 cycles which is probably a record, and she’s been on splits before in my area, so she was probably more familiar with the area than I was and it was super helpful.
   This week we put a special emphasis on teaching and explaining to our investigators what our purpose is as missionaries. There are several people who’ve been taught for months and months and have finished all the lessons, but haven’t progressed at all, haven’t come to church. That was a huge concern to me, but it just proved how important commitments are as we teach, and how change and progress don’t just magically happen in our lives, it come through work and it comes through faith. We are really searching right now for those who are prepared and ready and waiting for the gospel to come into their lives. We don’t have too many active members in our area, but are working with what we have and this week they were definitely a blessing to our work.
   Even though I’ve been on a mission forever now haha, there is not an end to the challenges, whether they are personal or with the work. I am so thankful for the continued strength given to me. I am thankful for the things I am learning, and for the changes and growth that continue to happen. I’ll just say the poem that Brandon sent was perfect for this week.
    I am excited for these last couple of cycles where I can really give my very all, and be effective. I know these will be a very special few months up ahead and I cannot wait to see what will happen. Me and my companions theme- basta, patuloy, patuloy, patuloy. Which basically just means keep going! We get along really well and are happy for the small successes. There really is so much happiness in seeing a less active come back to church after a very long time and in seeing an investigator who’s been taught for over 8 months come to church for the first time. I’m thankful for the little things right now. We’ve got MLC this week in Cauayan and I cannot wait to go and learn from the Rahlf’s and also get to see several friends from the mission. Hope you all have a great week and enjoy the beach and Disneyland! Love and miss you all! Thanks for the emails and for being my best friends :)
-          Sister Stabenow

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dear Family,

Fun Games!
     So after lots of packing and lots of hard goodbyes I’m now here in my 4th and final area- Santiago :) My new companion is Sister Maestrado (My-Straw-Dough) haha just if you want to know the right pronunciation. This is her last cycle which means I’ll be the one to “kill” her in the mission. She is great and so sweet! We’ve already been pretty busy here with a few things, apartment checks, a CSP, a church tour that our ward put on and that we helped with, and of course working and me getting to know the people and the area. We’ll have splits coming up this week, so I need to get ready for that first. Even though I wasn’t expecting the transfer and even though I really am missing our investigators from Alicia I can tell that the transfer was exactly what I needed. I am loving being here and applying the great things that I’ve learned from my past few cycles in Alicia with Sister Broqueza. Really this past week being here I’ve realized how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown. I must be old here in the mission, cause I feel like I’ve got a pretty good hang of being a missionary. I am loving it here and am going to really enjoy these last two cycles. My ward so far seems great and they seem very excited and enthusiastic about missionary work, telling us all about the people that they are preparing right now to give to us as referrals. So we could possibly have a few new families to be teaching here in the new future. We definitely need to get a good teaching pool going here, so there is a lot to do, but I’m way excited for it. Everything is so new right now here but I’m excited to get to know everyone. The sisters that we are living with right now seem really great too. Oh and if I didn’t mention it already, I’m living in a dream house. Ha I didn’t know that apartments like this existed in the mission, and we’re way close to everything, I feel blessed. 

Saying good-bye in Alicia!
   So hopefully this next week I’ll have a bit more to tell you about my new area. But for now, some updates on my old area- Saturday was Jen’s baptism! And even though I didn’t get to be there for it I’m way happy for her and excited to see what is up ahead for her. She wants to serve a misison, and I know she’d do a great job. The couples out in Callao are doing great as well and it was super hard saying goodbye to them. I’m also excited for them, knowing that some baptisms will be coming up for them. It was also way sad saying goodbye to one of our investigators (my little brother here), but once again I’m so happy for him and proud of the good decisions that he is making and I don’t doubt that it wont be long before he is baptized as well. I’m just typing this and realizing how many miracles I’ve been blessed to see in these past months, and it is hard to explain how happy it makes me. People can change :) We can do hard things, because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being here, I know my life has been eternally blessed by these amazing experiences and amazing people I have met and grown with here in my mission. … and, I’m glad that I’ve still got a bit more time to learn and grow! Hope you all have a great week! Love and miss you!
- Sister Stabenow



Service in Santiago!  Her new area
Sister Stabenow and her new Companion Sister Maestrado

Monday, May 19, 2014

Guess What!

Well I'll start with the transfer news....... I'm being transferred! My companion was SO sure that she'd be the one transferred, so I was really shocked this morning when my name was on the transfer list. I guess I have some saying goodbye to do and LOTS of packing to do before Wednesday. I think it is safe to say that I'm heading to my last area here on the mission, so my 4th area coming up and 3rd zone. 
    So since this was our last week as companions, Sister Broqueza and I decided to make it extra fun. So we went on several little running adventures this past week for our exercise time. One time to go and pick alatiris, another morning to this cool river and bridge, and for the last one we went pretty far and circled around our favorite area- Callao. 
Sister Davis & Sister Stabenow on splits
    This week we went on two splits. The first one I was with Sister Berghout (from Ogden), and it was a lot of fun getting to know her and work together and also hear from her about their work back in Jones. The next one was with Sister Davis, and it was so great, we have a lot of fun together and I'm pretty sure I was just smiling and laughing the whole day. She's awesome and it has been fun being in the same zone and seeing lots of growth for both of us. 
     On Saturday we had a one day mission with the branch, and it was great to see so much support, especially from the relief society here. It also made me so happy to see our awesome recent converts there- Rocky, Cesar, and Dennis. I can just imagine them going out and serving missions as well. But any who, for the one day mission we all went and visited those members who are off and on, and we saw the fruits of it on Sunday when several of them came to church! 
    The youth in our district had a camping trip this past week and went to the caves that us missionaries went to just a couple of weeks ago. Well, one of our investigators (JR) went and once they got back we went and followed up with him and he really enjoyed it, especially the testimony meeting, ha he said he wanted to get up and share as well, but got too nervous at that point. He is doing so well and is progressing towards his baptism. I will really miss teaching him and am hopeful that he will be baptized some day :) 
  Saturday was also Sister Spencer's birthday, so we made sure to eat yummy food and have fun. She and I had so much fun together and had as much missionary fun as possible- listening to our favorite church/efy songs haha, and lots of singing. Oh I'm going to miss her. She is getting transferred as well, we were both surprised and a little teary eyed this morning since we'll be leaving this great area. She and I were the speakers this past Sunday, ha and we didn't know it, but I guess that was our goodbye to them. After church we worked in Callao and our investigators are doing so great, I know they'll join the church. They've got some big ideas now for their lives- ha they even want their boy, little Rem Rem to serve a mission some day. And the other couple is doing so great too, they've got their baptism coming up in just a few weeks. There is something so great about teaching couples, they support and encourage each other as they are both making these difficult but important changes. Another of our awesome investigators, will have her baptism this Saturday- this little group of friends continues to grow as they share the gospel with their other friends. We're excited for these 4 best friends, all recent converts to be able to go hopefully this summer on the temple trip to Manila. 
    This has been a great area. I've grown and learned so much here and cannot wait to apply all that I've learned to my next area and companionship. I will miss this branch, I sat up on the stand this past week before my talk and just thought about how happy I've been here and how much I love these people here. It will definitely be a hard day saying goodbye this Wednesday to this area. I'm glad I was able to speak on Sunday and share my testimony with them. I ended with sharing a recent favorite scripture of mine in 3 Nephi 12:14-16. We are meant to be a light to those around us. We've got the gospel and that happiness can shine through us to those around us. I'm so thankful for the life I've been given, for the blessings that we have because of the restored gospel. It has been a great week, and I'm looking forward to another great one, full of lots of changes! I love you and hope you're all doing well! 
Love, 
Sister Stabs










Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mothers's Day!

Birthday Package!
Dear Family,
Skyping this morning was SO great :) I loved seeing and talking to you all. Ha I really couldn't think of what to say to you all, but hey I'll just explain it all to you when I get home in a few months. I really had so much fun talking to you and am so happy I get to call you all family. 
    This past week was great! We had MLC in Cauayan on Wednesday and it was great getting to see so many friends. I said goodbye to Sister Daelo as well since she'll be heading home at the end of this cycle. I am so thankful to be a part of this mission and to be able to learn from our wonderful mission president and his wife. I will forever be thankful for them and consider them good friends of mine. 
    We saw some exciting progress this week with one of our investigators (the 17 year old) he is growing more and more excited about the gospel and I think he's starting to see and understand more about his potential. He will get to go to the youth camp this next week and I'm excited for him to have that experience and be strengthened from the other youth and from the leaders. The couples that we are teaching are also doing well and their growing faith continues to amaze me. 
     My birthday was SO great. I was seriously so happy with how the day went, I was able to spend it exactly how I wanted to, doing something special for our investigators. We invited them to come to the chapel to watch the Restoration and to eat some yummy food. I'll be sure to send you a picture. I felt very loved that day, treats from the sisters I live with, opening the packages from all of you, reading the sweet letters from both ours and Blake's family, and all the help from a couple of the branch members to get everything put together that day for our investigators. It has been a week full of celebrations, and the celebrations continue with all of the birthdays here this May. 
The Sisters at the church to watch The Restoration with their investigators!
     One of my favorite things this past week was finishing our 60 day Book of Mormon challenge on my birthday. I love that book. What a special thing to get to finish it on my birthday and to think about how it has blessed my life these past 22 wonderful years. I love the Book of Mormon, and I know that it is true. It is a daily source of peace, of guidance, and of comfort. It has the power to change us and to help us become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I never tire of reading it and am so thankful that my love for it and understanding of it has grown and become deeper here as I read from it. We are so blessed and so loved. I love seeing it bless and change so many lives. 
       I hope you all have a great week! I love you and keep you all in my prayers! Love and miss you!
- Sister Stabenow