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