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Sister Abish Curtis

November 2012- May 2014

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Week in the Philippine​s

Shout out to my sister Solana who just got her mission call!!!!! To the Adriatic South Mission! Albanian speaking, reporting to the MTC April 10th! That is pretty much the coolest thing I've ever heard (besides getting called to the Philippines that is) Love you Solana, I'm so excited for you!!!


I don't even know where to start...

I am really here in the Philippines!!

I'm serving in the Conception Ward, in the Tarlac zone.


My kasama is Sister Calinisan from here in the Philippines. She claims she is not good in English, but she actually is really good. I've had no problem talking to her in English... only Tagalog :) She is short (she barley comes up to my shoulder) but she is funny and we find lots to laugh about. She is a hard worker and I love it.


So what have I done so far since I've been here? I walked through rice fields and corn fields. I ridden on trikes, jeepnies and a bus. I've spoken during Sacrament meeting, I've sung during Sacrament meeting. And most importantly, I've taught people about Jesus Christ.


Here in the Philippines missionaries have a little bit of a different focus. We focus a lot on strengthening people who are already members of the church. We don't just want more people on the ward rosters, we want more people in the chapels. A lot of our visits are to recent converts and less actives. But we also teach investigators. There is a boy named Allen that we are teaching that is going to be baptized on Feb. 16th. It is exciting!!


Most of the people here in the Philippines live in poverty by American standards. But it is the most beautiful poverty I have ever seen. They live in plywood houses, or concrete houses, or bamboo houses. They are small and simple. They effectively use all the space they have. Sometimes when we visit them we have a chair or something to sit on, but a lot of times we just sit on their floor.


We teach several times a day and we begin each lesson with a song, I love it. My companion had me actively participating in lessons right away. It's been hard, but I've already improved so much. Heavenly Father is truly blessing me.

We have a goal to OYM (Open Your Mouth, and share about the gospel) so many times a day. I OYM more animals (dogs, chickens, water buffaloes, goats, etc.) than humans, but it's good practice. :)


I kinda feel like a celebrity here. Because I am a foreigner (tall and white), people are constantly staring at me. I'm not really sure how to handle it. I just smile. Little kids are my favorite. One day as we were walking, my companion told me that the two girls behind us were arguing whether I was a foreigner or if I had just used a lot of whiting soap. They have that here. It's opposite from America, because here it is considered more attractive to be pale and white.


So the address that I had for sending letters to me was wrong. The mission home has moved so below is the new address. If you've already sent something to the old address it will still get to me I think, it will just take longer. Use this one instead:


Philippines Angeles Mission

F. Tanedo Street

Tarlac, Tarlac 2300



Sorry that this letter is so scattered and random. There is just so much to write about and I didn't even get to half of it. This is an experience like none other I've ever had in my life. It's hard. There have been moments when I just want to give up. When I wonder what in the world I'm doing here. But then I remember that I have been called by a prophet of God to serve the people here in the Philippines. I remember that God has promised to help me, and I know that I can do this with his help. I have received so many tender mercies that help me get through the day. I love being here in the Philippines. I love the gospel. I love being a missionary. I won't trade this experience for anything. I know God lives and loves me. I know this is God's work. I know He given no commandment, except he prepares a way for us to accomplish it.


Thank you for your love and your prayers. I love you all!


Sister "Foreigner" Curtis


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The End of the Beginning

I just passed my two month mark!! That means I only have 16 months left. Time goes so fast.
This is my last week in the MTC. I'm so excited to go! I'm ready to go, but unfortunately my language is not. I have almost a whole week left and you better believe I'm going to work hard.
So I have my flight plans!! I leave the MTC Monday January 21st at 5:30 (that means your last chance to write me a DearElder is Monday before noon). We fly to Los Angeles, and then to Hong Kong and then to THE PHILIPPINES!!!! I'm so excited!!
Just a heads up, I won't have Preparation Day next week so it will be two weeks before you hear from me again. Sorry. I'll miss you.
This morning we went to the temple like we do every Tuesday morning. It was probably the last time I'll get to go to the temple for the next year and a half. I'm pretty sure I won't get to go to the one in Manila until the very last week of my mission. It's pretty sad. I love the temple. I am so grateful I've been able to make regular temple attendance an important part of my life. I love the peace and the spirit that is at that Holy Place. I am grateful that the covenants I've made and the promised blessings I've received in the temple will be there to guide and protect me throughout my whole mission. It will be a while before I am in the temple again, but the temple will always be in me.
I have a challenge for you. The next time you go to the temple, imagine that it is the last time you will get to go for a year and a half. It makes things a lot more meaningful.     And if you haven't been to the temple yet, do all you can to get there.
Sorry this is so short, but I'm going to try to send pictures. Love you!!

Sister Abish "Goodbye America" Curtis

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Listen to Your Cat... I mean heart

So I thought of a funny language mistake that I forgot to include last time. Something that I like to say a lot in English is "Listen to your heart." Back at the beginning of my MTC stay I learned the word for heart: puso. I would often tell people to "listen to your puso."  Well, after a while I accidentally started saying pusa instead of puso. Pusa means cat. Yep. I kept telling people to listen to their cat.

When we first got here we were told that we would be leaving January 21st. But this last week we've heard some rumors that we might be leaving a week early. We don't know for sure. Some days I am pretty sure we are leaving early. Some days I am pretty sure we are not. Today is one of those days I'm pretty confident we are still staying until the 21st. But it has really made us start thinking pretty seriously about how close we are to going to the Philippines. I have gotten pretty used to life here at the MTC, and I feel like leaving to the Philippines is going to be an even bigger life change than just coming to the MTC was. Life is about to get pretty intense.

When we had only been here for about 3-4 weeks (we still felt very new) all the disticts in our zone that were older than us left. We were suddenly supposed to be the old and experienced ones. It was pretty crazy, but it helped us grow up quick. Usually whenever old disticts leave a couple days later they are replaced by a new district. Well, when the old two districts left they were replaced by one small district of five Elders. As Sisters we were pretty sad, because we loved the old Sisters with all our little hearts, and we couldn't wait for more Sisters to come. We have been waiting for a long time. Things have been pretty crazy around here lately as the MTC is preparing for the income of so many new missionaries. The missionaries that come in tomorrow are the first ones that will be effected by the shorter MTC time. And for our incoming Philippino missionaries it doesn't mean that get to leave the MTC three weeks early, it means the day they arrive at the MTC was delayed by three weeks. We thought we were going to get new missionaries a couple weeks ago, but turns out they are not coming till next week. (If we leave early that means we won't even get to meet them!)

 I don't know if you really wanted to know all that... but that was kind of a long intro to explain the next thing that I will say. You see our Zone is pretty small now. And it just so happens that I am the only one that plays piano. The thing is, I don't really play piano all that well. But using my simplified Hymn book I manage to get through all the songs in Sacrament meeting (making plenty of mistakes along the way). But I am grateful. The whole reason I started to learn piano, was so that I could be of use at such a time as this. I hear that in the Philippines there are not a lot of piano players. I wish I was better at piano, but I'm glad I've developed enough skill that it is at least better than singing with no piano at all. The Lord has prepared me for years for this mission.

Like I said earlier, things are getting pretty exciting here at the MTC.  A couple weeks ago they asked all the 18 year old Elders and 19 year old Sisters to stand. At the time there was maybe a dozen of them. We gave them a standing applause (I don't remember if we actually stood, but in my heart I was for sure standing) But now there are more and more of them. Last Wednesday I got to be a Host (meaning I helped the brand new missionaries bring their luggage to their residence, and bring them to class) The three Sisters that I hosted were all 20 years old. I am so excited for them, and for the hastening of the work!!

I know that the church is true and that the message I have for the world is real!!! I see evidence of it everywhere.

Love you all!!!

Sister Abish "I'm a 22 year old missionary and I love it" Curtis

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

So someone told me today that I am in the Church News :) I sang in the choir for the Christmas program when Elder Nelson came and they got a picture of us. Someone should find a copy of the Church News and tell me if I look good :) I wrote you halfway through Christmas day, and just so you know the second half of the day was great!!!

Thank you family for the stockings. My companions/roommates were very grateful! Sister Latimer had presents that she let us help open. But for me, Sister Tuia and Sister Tupua the stockings were the only thing we had to open on Christmas that were for us. But Christmas isn't about the things you get. We all had a wonderful holiday.

So I realize that I haven't really talked much about learning the language. It's hard, that’s for sure. But we also have lots of fun. Here at the MTC they have you practice teaching lessons in your new language right away. I love my companion Sister Tuia. We have some of the best teaching experiences. But we also have something to laugh at after almost every lesson. Here are some mistakes I have made. "It is important to read your scriptures every spouse." (instead of every day) "If you pay tithing you will get many repentance" (instead of blessings). I told someone just yesterday that there are 20 apostles instead of 12. One time I was trying to complement someone's hat, but I said shoes instead. My companion was explaining about fasting; She explained that we fast one Sunday every month. But "lingo" the word for Sunday, also means week. So our investigator thought that we fasted for one week every month. Fun stuff. Also, when I don't know how to say something in Tagalog, I just act it out. Usually with sound effects. I may not be able to speak the language very well, but I can still communicate. Right now we are teaching six different "investigators". It's pretty intense because of how much preparation has to go into each lesson. But one of our "investigators" is getting baptized this week, so that's pretty exciting. Two of my favorite teaching experiences are as follows: We have this investigator who we haven't had the chance to teach very much, and honesty we didn't really look forward to it because he just was not very receptive. But this last time we focused not on teaching a lesson, but teaching HIM. What exactly did he need. We laid it down for him. We straight up asked him if he was even interested in learning. We bore testimony to him of how important the gospel is to us (I almost cried) and told him how important it was to him. Then we told him that he wants to find out for himself, it requires action. We committed him to read (he hasn't been keeping that commitment) pray and go to church. I'm excited to go back and teach him again.

My other favorite was right before Christmas. We were going in to teach a new referral: someone we had never taught before and didn't know much about. We had prepared a Christmas lesson for him, but when we got in there we were lead to teach someone else. He just opened up to use and we were able to see his needs and help him. As my companion was bearing testimony I turned to a scripture. Right after I got there he asked a question that my scripture answered perfectly. When he admitted he didn't really know how to pray we taught him how, then knelt down with him right there and had him pray. It was so sweet! He was so prepared for the gospel!

I know that most of our teaching experiences here are just role plays, but the spirit is still there to lead, help and testify. I can't wait to go teach real people!!

Okay so I said I would talk about the language... but I only talked about teaching. So here goes... Tagalog is a mix between piglatin and the sentence structure that Yoda from Star Wars uses. There are some words that are so ridiculous that you just have to love them. Here are some examples:

Pananamalitaya- faith

Pagpapakumbaba- humility

Pinikamakapangyarihan - most powerful

Kapayapaan- peace

Mahal Kita!!!

Ingat po!!!

Piliin ang Tama araw-araw!!!

Sister Abish "Pinikamalakas" Curtis

P.S. Happy New Year!! You should make lots of great New Year's resolutions. Here is a good halimbawa (example) of one: Write more missionary letters!!