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Sister Abish Curtis

November 2012- May 2014

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Letter


Merry Christmas!!!

I hope your Christmas has been magical. Not Harry Potter magical. Or even Santa Clause magical. But magical because of our Savior Jesus Christ, and because you get to spend Christmas with friends and loved ones.

I used to think that being a missionary was the best gift I could give to Heavenly Father for Christmas. After all I am giving literally my whole life for the purpose of serving Him and His children. But I'm beginning to see that being a missionary is not a gift that I give, rather it is the greatest gift I have ever received. I feel so blessed to be able to wear this name tag every day that not only says my name, but also says the name of Jesus Christ. This incredible holiday is all about our Savior. How humbling it is to literally be a representative of Him.

For a missionary every day is like Christmas, because every day we get to give the greatest gift. We are a link for other people to eternal life. The message that we have for the world is that the Heavens are open still. God still talks to His children on the earth. Christ's church has been restored in it's fullness, with everything that we need to return to live with our Heavenly Father. The gospel blesses us in this life and also in the next. The true message of the restoration is that we now have complete access to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The gates are open for us to use the Atonement in it's fullness. We need to be good receivers of this precious gift.

Christmas/Christmas Eve here at the MTC is a lot like it was during Thanksgiving time. They do a lot to make things special. Last night we had a special Christmas Fireside, and then we got to watch "A Christmas Carol" (The one with George C. Scott). This Christmas morning we got to hear from no other than Elder Russell M. Nelson. It was magical. Tonight we have a Christmas Talent Show/Program and then we get to watch "It's A Wonderful Life." And we get lots of neat stuff in between. Unfortunately they don't let missionaries call home on Christmas here at the MTC, but they do let us all email home. My thoughts are defiantly on my family, I miss you guys terribly. But I'm also happy to be where I am.

I'm excited about the gospel of Jesus Christ!!!

Love, 


Sister Abish "I'll be home for Christmas, but only in my dreams" Curtis






Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Typical Day


No day in the MTC is typical so my title my subject line is a little misleading, but I just wanted you to know what I do all day. So here goes:

All missionaries everywhere are to be up and awake by 6:30. But since we have to be to class by 7:00, we usually wake up closer to 6:00 so we have enough time to get ready. There are 4 sisters to a room, and 11 rooms in a hallway. There are two bathrooms in a hall, but still that's a lot of Sisters with a limited amount of showers so sometimes it's crazy.

We are supposed to be in our class by 7:00. There is no teacher, just us missionaries with our district leader in charge. We have an opening song and prayer (in Tagalog) and start planning as companions for the day. There is some time to fit some studying in before breakfast at 7:45.

All meals at the MTC are great. They make the best food and you can eat as much as you want, so that's great. The cafeteria is also a great place to see all the missionaries that you know. I see my friends from before the mission there a lot and I love that so much! Me and my companion either sit with our district, or with the other sisters in the zone. I love it.

Then every morning we have three hours of class time with a teacher. During that time we teach our "investigators" or have companionship study. We have language instruction and also English parts were we learn how to teach and just be awesome missionaries.

Then the teacher is gone and we are left by ourselves for an hour of Personal Study time. I study The Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, or I prepare for lessons I will soon be teaching.

Then what do you know, it's lunch time!

Not every day is the same, but every other day we have gym right after lunch. Not the best timing, but still pretty great. There is a track upstairs for running, and workout machines and stuff. Not my cup of tea. I prefer the lower level where missionaries play volleyball, basketball of four square. I must admit I still have not tried four square, I'll occasionally play volleyball, but the majority of the time you will find me with a basketball in my hand. Me and Sister Latimer will sometimes play in the three-on-three games, but lately we have been playing a lot of knock-out (speed, lightning, bum... it has a lot of names). I actually gotten way good at shooting those free-throws, and all the Elders are afraid to be in front of me because I keep getting everybody out :) It's lots of fun and I've made good friends.

Everyday we have an hour set aside for language study. No teacher. Just us studying it on our own. We also have an hour almost everyday to go to the computer lab and use the language program they have here.

There is some additional study time stuck in here and there between other scheduled things. Again, most of the time there is no teacher.

Before you know it, it’s dinner time. I love chocolate milk. I just thought you should know that. They have it here and I have it probably more than I should :)

In the evening we have another three hours with a different teacher. Class time is separated similarly as in the morning. It's pretty great.

9:30 is when we head back to our residences. Quite times starts at 10:15 and then lights out at 10:30. This time always goes by way too fast!

Okay I know this was not the best description of a day because I gave you the general outline, but there is so much that happens during that time I could not possible have enough time to write it in the super short time I have to write each week.

Highlights of the week include: Preparation Day- our "weekend" kind of. We don't have any classes. Instead we get to walk up the hill to the temple, do laundry, write letters and email and just kinda chill. It's way nice, but goes by too fast.

Every Tuesday night is a devotional. They are always soooo good!

Sundays are a favorite of mine. For Relief Society all the Sisters in the MTC gather and have cool speakers. This week it was Linda Reeves (General Relief Society 2nd Counselor). We have District meeting (like Sunday school), Sacrament meeting. We get to walk to the temple and take pictures and stuff. There is also a fireside every Sunday with awesome speakers. We are so lucky here at the MTC!

Have a Merry Christmas! Remember Jesus, He is the most important part of this great season.

I wish I had more time, but I don't. Love you all!!! Write me please!

Sister Abish "Mahal ko kayo" Curtis

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Climbing a Mountain


I can't believe I've already been here three weeks. Time is so funny here at the MTC.

I don't feel like I've learned three weeks worth of Tagalog. How am I supposed to learn an entire language in 9 weeks?!?! When I compare myself to where I was yesterday (when it come to language and also just personal growth) it's hard to see the difference. But that is where my title comes in: It's like climbing a mountain. Most of the time you are just so busy concentrating on climbing, focusing on the things right in front of you. But then, you turn around and suddenly realize how high you have gotten and how much more you can see. It's hard to see the difference from where I was yesterday, but when I look at where I was and who I was when I first started I can defiantly see the change.

It's true compared to the missionaries who are about to leave to the Philippines, I am more illiterate than a two year old. But even two year olds more than infants. I am slowly learning the language. Because teaching about the gospel in Tagalog is so important, they already have us doing it. We have 'investigators' that we are working with now. Me and my companion can successfully get to know someone and teach them basic principles. We both feel pretty inadequate, but that is perfect because then we turn to the Lord.

The MTC is just the best. We have so many opportunities to feel the spirit so strong!!! Also I love having fun and that is also something that you can do at the MTC. I am so grateful for all the people who act as angels in my life.

Love you all!!!!

Sister Abish "Hiker" Curtis


 

This is the sign that a lot of Filipinos do in their pictures.  It means guapo good looking
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Thanksgivi​ng I spent with an Apostle


Thanksgiving morning there was a special morning devotional. We knew a member of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles would be speaking, but we didn't know who. Turns out, it was no other than Elder Jeffery R. Holland. So good!!!! He said that since we weren't with our families, he would adopt us for the day. Pretty cool, especially since his family is so amazing. His grandchildren came. They sang, played piano and bore such strong testimonies. It was increadible. Then we heard from his sweet wife, and then from him. Listening to an apostle of God really has a way of helping you see the big picture. I love it!!

Thanksgiving overall was fun. We had a service project where we put together humanitarian kits. They had a fun little program were one district acted out the first thanksgiving story (I laughed the whole time), we sang songs (including "Around the River and through the Woods), heard some powerful conversion stories and just loved life.

That evening we had yet another MTC wide program. We had no idea what it would be... turns out it was a movie night. They passed out popcorn and we watched 17 Miracles. It is such a good movie about the Willy Handcart Pioneer Company. It was so good!!! Also, I just cried the whole time.

They certainly did a good job of taking care of us. It was a great day, but I also missed my family. I can't wait till we can all have Thanksgiving together again.

So I mentioned last week that I got a new companion: Sister Tuia (pronounced like what's it "to ya"). I seriously love her!!! She is from American Samoa. She is a mix between our wonderful samoan friends from the Blue Mills ward and Adrianna Hill. She is the best. It was weird that since she was brand new, she looked up to me as the experienced one. But I'd only been here for a week, I still felt new!! But she is catching up so quickly on the language and everything else. She inspires me to be better and I love it!

So we went to a workshop this past week, and the woman presenting looked kinda familiar, but I could quite put my finger on it. Guess who it was???? Sister Voyles, the blond sister from the District 2 missionary movies!!!!! Her hair is longer and blonder. She is way skinny now, and she looks much taller in real life. It's a pretty sneaky disguise, but it didn't full me!!! I asked her to confirm that it was really her. Then I said "I LOVE YOU!!!!" as any creepy fan would (she pretty much is a celebrity). She just smiled and said "I love you" back. Oh man I was so excited!!

My roommates/companions found out pretty quick that I talk in my sleep. They have reported me saying things like "Sisters", "Nap" and "Yes". I made it a goal to sleep talk in Tagalog (pretty crazy goal since I have absolutly no control over it). But I did it!!! I said "Opo" which is the respective way of saying yes. (oo the regular way, pronounced "ohoh") Best day ever!!

Last week I mentioned being kind of frustrated with my district. Things didn't really get much better, they got worse. I kept wondering why I was stuck with these people. don’t get me wrong, I really do love them and enjoy being around them, I just felt like they were hindering me. (Not a good attitude I know). I was talking to Sister Hayden, my coordinating Sister (girl version of a zone leader) I was counseling with her about the things that were bothering me. She gave the best advice ever and has really helped resolved some issues. But one of the best things she did was change my perspective. She said she knew the Lord had placed me in this situation at this time so I could be a positive influence (or something like that). With my mission being delayed a year I am always looking for reasons why it happed this way. What special circumstances has the timing put me in? Sister Hayden probably had no idea that that statement would have such an impact on me. My thoughts have changed from self-pity and frustrations, to thoughts on how to improve others. How can I help the people around me learn and grow? How can I be brave and loving in helping them be more obedient? It has made a huge difference in my attitude and over all happiness.

God answers prayers. The church is true!!!

Love you sooooooo much!!!!!!

 

Sister Abish "Sleep Talk in Tagalog" Curtis

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm a missionary!!!

The day I reported to the MTC was an adventure itself (a wonderful adventure). Lyndee Unsicker and her friend Ashley gave me a wonderful prep talk as we drove down to Salt Lake City. Megan Maxfield Hammond who was to pick me up at Temple Square was running a little late, but Lyndee and Ashley had to be on time for their Student Teaching so they had to leave me at the Temple Visitor Center. I was talking to a super nice temple worker while I waited, but that is when I realized that I had the wrong suitcase. So went the beautiful Megan came to pick me up, instead of going inside the temple like we planned, we went to the airport to try to figure things out. I dropped off the bag I had and could only trust that eventually my bag would get to me. (Luckily it did. That same night it was brought to the MTC. Tender mercy!!) Also I just want to say I loved every minute I spent with Megan. She is such an inspiring person. She dropped me off at Great Uncle Ray's house. I got to visit with him and his wife for a while, then he dropped me off at the MTC. Yahoo!!!


There are no new missionaries coming in this week because of thanksgiving. That means that last week when I came in, there were twice as many. 675 new missionaries!!! 111 of those were sisters. So many!!! Ours was the biggest group the MTC president had ever seen, but he says pretty soon we will be just the average size. They are expected so many more missionaries in January when all the younger ones will start coming. So exciting. I'll be here to see a little bit of that, since I'm not leaving till Jan. 21.


For the first few days our Tagalog teacher only spoke to us in Tagalog! Pretty crazy. But it was surprising how much we could learn still. It was pretty much like a big game of charades. The language is coming slowly, but I do pretty good compared to the rest of my class. On the second day we were already teaching an "investigator" who only spoke Tagalog. We taught him as an entire district and that kinda helped. Still it's super frustrating because I know if we could only speak English, we could teach so powerfully!! But in Tagalog we are so limited in what and how we teach him. I know that the lord will help us learn Tagalog, but it is hard to be humbled sometimes...


I have not told you about my Kasamas (companions)!!! My companion did not come until today, so for this whole week I have been companions with the other two sisters in my district (Sister Tupua from Fiji, and Sister Latimer from Washington) They are both great, I've loved being there companions! But at the same time I am so grateful to have a companion of my very own. Sister Tuia is from America Samoa. I've only spent a couple hours with her, but I love her so much already!! Life is good.


We spend most of our time with our district. They are a hoot. There are ten of us... well eleven now that my kasama is here. We have an Elder from Fiji, one from New Zealand and one from Hawaii. The rest of us are from America, though one looks Korean. We have so much fun together, sometimes too much fun. Sometimes things happen that I don't think are that great. But I think it is not because they are trying to be disobedient, they just don't really understand all the rules. (They thought we could email our family everyday.) But we are all learning and growing together.


The first couple of days they don't really give you a lot of instructions. They just kinda let you swim, and we feel lost sometimes. But turns out that is part of their plan. It has been good for us, and now that we are getting more help (our teacher will actually speak to us in English) it is getting a lot better.


I've seen my old roommate Kelsee Gates every day so far, though usally just for a second. But I love every second of it!!! She actually sleeps in the room exactly above me, and that is actually a huge comfort. I've seen lots of other friends. Tara Denkers, Breanne Drisel, Lucia Blasko and a couple others. It it just so happy to see them!!!!


I was going to attach pictures but this computer won't let me. I'll see if I can use another one next time.


I love you all!!! My family is just the best!! Thank you for all the DearElders, I ust love them!! I see if I can snail mail you, since I am literally out of time.


Love you soo much!!!!!


Sister Abish "Real Missionary" Curtis

Monday, November 12, 2012

Address and Such

I will be in the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center (MTC) for two months. There I will be learning the Tagalog language as well as how to be a superb missionary. Then I fly to the Philippines where I will spend the remainder of my 18 months.

Now I know you are all just dying to know how to write me letters (at least I'm dying for you to know how)

You actually have several options:

1. DearElder.com
      It is probably the fastest and easiest. I'll get it the same day you write it when I'm in the MTC.
     When you go to the webpage you just click the little grey box that says "Write a Letter" (found on the right side of the page).  You will have to enter your address and then the following address for me:

      When I'm in the MTC:
            Sister Abish Curtis
            MTC Mail Box: 316
            Mission Code (optional): Phi-Ang 0123
            Estimated MTC departure date: Jan 16

    You can still write me DearElder letters in the Philippines. All you'll need is my name :)

2. Snail Mail

     MTC address (Use until mid-January)

         Sister Abish Curtis
         MTC Mailbox #316
         PHI-ANG 0123
         2005 N 900 E
         Provo, UT 84604

     Philippines address (Use after mid-January)

        Sister Abish Curtis
        Philippines Angeles Mission
        1827 Gumain St, Redwood Villas
        Clark Field, Angeles City
        2009 Pampanga
        Philippines

3. Pouch Mail
     (Safer and cheaper way of sending me snail mail in the Philippines) Go to this think to find out how you do it: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/51446/Pouch-service-has-new-regulations.html
     
        Sister Abish Curtis
        Philippines Angeles Mission
        POB 30150
        Salt Lake City, UT 84130

4. Email
     I'm allowed to receive emails from whoever, but as I understand it I'm only allowed to email back to my family. So if you email me I can only write back if you include an address for me to send a letter to.

     abish.curtis@ldsmail.net

Background Story




Hello, hello and welcome to my blog. Thanks for reading.

This blog is going to be how you can hear all about my adventures as a missionary. I'll email an update to my family each week, and they will post it here. Thanks family!!!

Alright, so I'm sure you know by now that I am going to the Philippines Angeles mission, to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints for a year and a half. But let me tell you a little about something that you might not know: how I got to this point...

When I was 17 our small branch in Missouri was assigned Sister Missionaries. I loved and admired them so much. Over the next three years I spent a lot of time with them. I did everything from morning exercise to mission wide conferences. I often spent the whole day with the Sisters, going to all their appointments and helping them find new investigators. I loved that time in my life. I love all those missionaries so much, I learned so much from them, and they forever changed my life.

I had always had a desire to serve a mission, but being around missionaries all the time strengthened that desire tenfold. I had a count down till my 21st birthday years before I could turn in my papers. I made important decisions based on my plans to go on a mission. And I could often think of little else. 

When the time came I went to college, but continued to prepare for my mission. Finally it was time. A couple months before my 21st birthday I started working on my mission papers. I got my physical and dental examinations. I filled out all the paperwork. I had interviews with my Bishop and Stake President. At last my papers were officially in! I sent out a mass text telling everyone my papers were in. I had a hard time concentrating in my classes because I was just so excited! But instead of getting a mission call, I got a phone call...

You see I had torn my ACL a couple months previous and I knew I needed knee surgery for it, but I didn't think it would delay my mission so I went ahead and turned in my papers anyway. But some office from Salt Lake called my mom and told her I needed to have my surgery taken care of before I could turn in my papers... What?!?I actually took the news pretty well. At the time I figured it would just delay my mission by a couple of months, I could still be gone by the end of the year.

When I got home for college we set the appointments to get everything taken care of as soon as possible. When I finally got in with the Doctor who would actually be doing my surgery, I talked to him about a mission. I explained what it was, and how long he thought I would have to wait after surgery before going on something like that. He told me a year. A YEAR!!!!!!! What?!?!!?! Hadn't I waited for my mission long enough?? This news was a lot harder to take.

I was so confused with what the Lord wanted me to do. All the time I had been preparing to go on a mission I had prayed about whether I was supposed to go or not. I never felt like I got a solid answer either way. So I decided I would just go ahead and plan for it, and if it wasn't right God would stop me. Well... I wondered if this was Gods way of stopping me.

After struggling for a while I came to the conclusion that maybe I was not meant to go on a mission. I was trying my best to accept God's will, but I'm not gonna lie and say it was easy. That was a super difficult time in my life. Not only was I dealing with the physical pain of knee surgery and needing to rely on so many people for everything, but I was also dealing with the emotional pain of losing literally the biggest dream I had ever had in my life.  I learned how much I needed to just trust the Lord.

Eventually I returned to school in Idaho, figuring that God had other plans for me besides a mission. My knee's physical abilities were still pretty limited, but that didn't stop me from having so much fun. By a small miracle I was able to be on the Student Ambassador's council again. I love serving in that program so much!! I had great roommates, great classes and great friends. I was happy, but I still couldn't get a mission out of the back of my mind.

Then towards the beginning of my second semester (after consulting with the Lord) I began working on my mission papers again. Oh boy was I excited! It took way longer than I thought it would. I kept running into problems and I had to jump through so many hoops!  Again the Lord was teaching me patience. At last at the end of the semester my mission papers were in again. (Side note: I was excited about putting my papers in and getting my call, but not as excited as I had been the first time. I think my heart was afraid of getting hurt again and so sometimes I had a hard time believing it would actually happen)

But glory to God it actually did happen!! I got my mission call in the mail the first week I got back home from college. Once I had that envelope in my hands there were no doubts, only excitement. I tried to attach the video of me opening my mission call, but I could get it to work. So if you are friends with me on Facebook just go look up that video and you can see for yourself how excited I was :)My mission call could have been anywhere in the world, but I was lucky enough to be called to the Philippines Angeles Mission!!!!

Things don't always work out the way we plan, but I'm so grateful that they do turn out the way that God plans. I've had many experiences this last year that were worth delaying my mission for. And my testimony has also been strengthened that I'm going exactly where I'm supposed to go, exactly WHEN I'm supposed to be there. I can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has prepared for me in the Philippines.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important thing in my life. It is what I center my life around. It is the source of all my happiness. I love my Savior and I am humbled to have this opportunity to serve Him. I cannot wait to share the happiness I have with others.