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Sister Abish Curtis

November 2012- May 2014

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:

      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

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:
        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.

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.