Monday, January 27, 2014

Is this real life?


It is so cold!  They huddle in the tricee to keep warm

Dear family,
            Things are good. Real good. We had an awesome past week, and I am feeling so blessed. My companion is amazing, and I am learning so much from her. I feel like we have a really strong companionship, and we are working so hard here. I love work, I love my area, the branch, the leaders, our investigators, and our fellowshippers. This really might have been one of my favorite weeks, just because of all the work we were able to do. Our investigators are progessing and are preparing for baptism, and we continue to be blessed and we’ve found several new investigators.
This week we had our first splits of the cycle, and I absolutely love how it has changed and now the other sisters come to our area. It was such a good day of work. My companion was Sister Pavino who has been out for a month or two now on her mission. I was a little worried about the splits just because I’m still new here in Alicia and don’t know the area or the people that well yet, but we were blessed and everything went perfectly that day and we had a really good time. Sorry if my excitement is killing you, but… really I just get so pumped to go out and work every day haha. So much good is happening here, and it makes me way happy. My companion and I talked about how at the first of our missions we kind of had to put on the smile when we’d go out and work, but how now it really is just the normal and natural thing that happens.
Sisters in the ward exercising
Sister Stabenow leading the group in exercising
Our branch is doing well. We had a half day mission with the branch on Saturday and were able to find less actives, and also several new people along the way. Another thing that is really helping this branch is the Family Home Evenings that we have with less active families. The missionaries, the branch presidency, the BML, and several members from the branch usually attend. I love seeing this branch’s unity and desire to be a part of the Lord’s work of salvation. We have a ton of fun as well at our family home evenings, and you’ll be happy to know that the game of Roadkill is being spread all over the Philippines, and that my sign (moosay) in the game still hasn’t changed :)
Today marks my 10 month mark in the Philippines, and that is so crazy to me! It has been an awesome 10 months, but I am also excited seeing what the next few months have in store. I love my mission, love being a part of this, and I am so happy with all that is happening, the changes happening in other people’s lives as well as in my own. I know this is the Lord’s work and that we are so blessed to be members of this church. I know that He loves us so much and has a perfect plan for each one of us. I also know I am so blessed to have so much love and support from each of you. You’re all still in my prayers and I hope you know I love you and miss each of you. I hope you make this week a great one! Love you!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Alicia!

New area and new companion! This has been a really fun past week, with lots of changes. Well first of all, my new area is Alicia 3B. There are a total of 8 sisters in Alicia, each branch has 4 missionaries. My new companion is Sister Broqueza from Manila, and she and I are batch. So we’ve been here the same amount of time in the mission field, so it’s fun getting to talk about what has happened in our missions so far. She is such a hard worker and I’m happy to be coming into an area that is having so much success right now. We have two other sisters in our apartment, a Filipino sister who just finished being trained, and a brand new AMERICAN sister who is being trained now. I love the whole set up, and I feel really comfortable already in the new apartment. I also feel really welcomed already into this branch since I have met quite a few of the members already on previous splits that I went on here in this area. I am so impressed by this branch. They are thriving and doing so well. They work really hard and are involved in missionary work. I spoke in sacrament meeting and felt very comfortable there and excited for all that is up ahead in this branch. We had a baptism on Saturday for two young men, and once again it was all just done so well and nice. President and Sister Rahlf, as well as the Honeycutts (senior couple) attended. I really can’t believe this is my area sometimes. The contrast between it and my past areas is so huge!
Speaking of Jones, I took the two sisters (a Filipino and a brand new Tongan) that are now assigned to Jones back to their area the first night to get them settled in. We also went back with them to Jones after district meeting on Thursday and we had 3 hours to show them around the area before we had to leave to head back to Alicia. Ha, 3 hours isn’t enough time to show people an entire area, but we made it work, we were nonstop, just going place to place. I am excited for those new sisters in Jones. Yes it is challenging, but I know they’ll see progress as they are able to focus all of their time on that area.
Few random things, we were sitting there after an appointment last night and I could faintly hear music in the background, ha it didn’t take long to figure out that it was Billy Gilman. Haha it was way funny. Another random thing, I am now the oldest sister in our zone, when it comes to who has been on their mission the longest. I am getting old here. I am glad I am at the point where I am, my focus doesn’t have to be on trying to adjust to culture or trying to speak a new language. Work is so good, and I am excited for what Sister Broqueza and I will be able to do this cycle. We have some really cool investigators that are definitely searching for the truth in their lives. Well I am excited for this upcoming week and to see what will happen with our investigators here. I love this work! I love you all and miss you!
Love,
Sister Stabenow



Saying Goodbye in Jones

New Sisters in Jones!


Baptism of 2 young men on Saturday

The American Kalabaw!:)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pulled out-- Goodbye Jones






Nanay Abad :) she is like our mom here in Jones.


So this was my last full week in Jones, and I can say it definitely was my favorite one there. Even with our MLC meeting one day and splits and zone meeting on another it was our best week of work in Jones. It’s a little harder to leave it now that things are really getting good there, but I’m glad that it is ending on such a high note! We had great lessons this week, were able to help with a mutual activity for the youth, had a family home evening, had 74 people at church yesterday (highest my comp and I have seen here!) and even had lots of fellowshippers to work with us yesterday. Such a good way to end it.
            We had our Missionary Leadership Council meeting on Tuesday in Cauayan. We were able to discuss as a council and set the Philippines Cauayan Mission Standards of Excellence for the year 2014. It was a great meeting, with great messages shared. We started off with talking about Helaman 5:9,12 where it mentions the word “remember” over and over again. That was the overall message of our meeting, to remember that all that we do and all of our focus should be on Christ. It was a spiritually uplifting day, and I always come away from our MLC meetings so pumped and ready to get to work. We’ve got some great goals now for this mission and are working on having a greater vision here, and on helping the other missionaries to catch the same vision as well and see what is possible here in the Philippines Cauayan Mission.
                This week the Mills (couples missionaries) came to Jones to do the cleaning check on our apartment. I was expecting it just to be an in and out thing, but luckily it wasn’t. After the check they sat down with us and Elder Mills shared Omni 1:26, we took some time, pondered the scripture and were taught so much. I loved the message of it- “… come unto him and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him…” The message was just what I needed that morning. I had just read the parable of the talents from Matthew that morning and thought about what kind of servant I am being here, the one who used what he was given and went and gained more or the one who went and hid it in the earth and did nothing with it. I was feeling frustrated that morning over my same weaknesses, and just wondering when I would finally get over those things. We each shared about what the verse in Omni had taught us and after I had shared, Sister Mills talked about similar feelings she had had with weaknesses, just wondering when will we not need the Lord’s help for that certain weakness any more, and that of course the answer is never. We will never not need the Lord’s help any more, and that is okay, we are like children, totally dependent on him and that isn’t a bad thing. I loved hearing from Elder and Sister Mills, specific questions I had were answered, and I loved what Elder Mills also said-  to pray in the morning asking how I can truly give the Lord my heart that day, promising to do and then doing whatever it is he is asking, and then at night asking him if I did enough and feeling more of his love for me.  I know that my time will be best spent here if I do those things, and I don’t doubt that continuing to do that will bless my life even after the mission.
Sister Stabenow and Sister Perkins
            We had a great time on our splits this week. My companion was Sister Perkins from… Kaysville Utah! Small world haha, we both went to Davis. I had a really good day working with her, we had good appointments, met nice people, talked about good old Kaysville, and even learned a few words of Yogad, one of the dialects in Echague.
                      This morning we had a zone activity and went to Madella to Governor’s Rapid, we crossed a beautiful river, and crawled through some caves to a waterfall that was inside. Way fun! This place is beautiful! We also got the transfer list this morning and confirmed what my companion and I already knew, that we are getting pulled out of Jones. Sad, but I am excited about the changes up ahead. A new adventure here, with a new area and new people. Can’t wait! Well I hope you have a great week. I love and miss each of you!
Zone Activity to Govenor's Rapids!
-          Sister Stabenow

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jones ba ito?


The Americans cooking while the Filipinos watched Narnia
Happy New Year! Ano ba iyan? Jones ba ito? Haha. I’ll just say this was a really good week here. We had a good time bringing in the New Year with the Sisters in the Alicia 3 branch :) Good friends, good food, and we were allowed to watch a good movie- Narnia :) The day of New Year’s was really good too, lots of members taking care of and feeding us all day long. On Thursday in Jones we were visiting an investigator of ours and her cousins were there, so we talked with them too, and I was way excited because they’re from Bayombong! It was so fun talking with them, turns out they’re from my exacxt area in Bayombong, back in District 4, and they said they remember seeing me there. We were able to share a message with them too, and the 17 year old told us that he sometimes goes to church at the Mormon church in Bayombong but that he’s been too shy to approach the missionaries, so  we got their info and were able to pass their information along to my anak, Sister Grande. Ha I really am still quite attached to Bayombong, I don’t know if I’ll grow that close with any of my other areas. My little friend Erica even sent me a cute little Christmas present this past week and sent me a bracelet. I hope I’ll be able to go back and see all of them some day.
                Our splits this week was in Echague with Sister Davis and Matautia. We had a good time there, and I was really happy to see the good things happening in their branch and with their work. They’re both foreigners here, so the language is stressful for them, but I was happy to see how they are still being blessed with successes.  Friday was an awesome day of work in Jones, I asked the question a couple of times, “is this really Jones?” haha. We were able to visit and catch up with people that we hadn’t seen in a while, and we also have a new family of investigators now as well. Ha things are improving a lot here in our area, just in time for transfers haha. That’s life.  But really we are trying to get things nice and ready for the new missionaries that will be coming in, we hope they are good missionaries and will take care of our investigators and less actives that we love.
                I’m not sure if it’s just because of New Years… but our attendance was up this week at church :) 64! Ha we were really happy about it, and happy that our investigator was able to come to church for the first time and make friends quickly with the young women. This is our 14 year old investigator, Marinella. We teach her and her mom and have really enjoyed them. Her mom told us that Marinella has been saying that she wants to be a missionary. I picture some of these young women as missionaries some day and it makes me really happy, just knowing how great of a blessing it would be for their lives especially. This week we have also seen what a great blessing it is to have members of the branch be willing to work and fellowship. It makes things a million times better. Oh and this next week we’ve been invited to two Family Home Evenings, haha which hasn’t happened here in Jones for us yet, so yep, it’s just been a happy week. Oh and we’ve had awesome weather, I get funny stares and comments for being the foreigner walking down the street not using a payong (umbrella) while it is bright and sunny outside. Enjoy your snow ;) Thank you to my friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family for the constant love, support, and emails. I love hearing from you, and I know I’m so blessed to have the good friends and family in my life that I do. I hope you have a great week, and are using this time of New Year’s to find more ways to be happier, create the kind of life you want, and become the person that Heavenly Father intends for you to be. Happy 2014, see you all this summer ;) 
Love,
Sister Stabenow

Squatting like a Filipino!
New Years Eve!