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Sister Abish Curtis

November 2012- May 2014

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Love to See the Temple

When I left the MTC I thought it would be my last time to see the temple for a year and a half. But miracle of miracles I had the chance this week to go the Manila Philippines Temple. The Temple is not in our mission, but our President has given us permission if someone we have taught/ are teaching is going to the temple of endowment or sealing.

It was a Branch Temple trip with about 30 members going, so we rented a mini bus for the 3 hour trip. There were two people going through the temple for the first time, that is why we got to go. On the way we picked up two Elders, because Elder Royal was the Elder who actually baptized Nanay Rose. Fun side note: I read Elder Royal's blog before my mission, so it was neat to actually meat him in person.

It was so amazing to be back in the temple. It was so peaceful. I felt strengthened and determined to be and do better, and I know the Lord will help me. 

I loved watching as the two sisters went through the temple for the first time. It has been a year since I first went through the temple, and I've seen the strength its been to my life. This is what I want for everyone I've ever taught. Baptism is but a step that leads to the temple. Now when I imagine the people I teach in white, it won't just be the white they'll wear on their baptism day, but also the white they will wear on their temple day. Missionary work isn't about baptisms. It's about Salvation.

I'm a Mormon. I know it, I live it, I love it.

Sister Abish "Temple" Curtis

Monday, August 19, 2013

Beautiful Philippine​s, Full of Adventures

This part of the Philippines is absolutely gorgeous! I got to go on some grand adventures this week.

We are trying to find a new apartment to rent, since president is planning on adding two more sisters to our area. Some members in our branch brought us to a beautiful house that I really hope gets approved. We had brought along our zone leaders as well so they could check the place out. Afterwards the members suggested we go out to eat lunch. Since it was just about lunch time we agreed. The Elders joined the members in their trike and me and my companion joined the other members in their vehicle (a motorcycle with a side cart, more suitable for hauling pigs then people. Sitting on some wooden boards we had quite the exciting ride, I'll try to get better pictures next time we ride. One of the pictures below is the five of us who were riding that day) They brought us to a restaurant at the top of a mountain. It was a beautiful view. While we were up there I got to hold one of the pet snakes they keep at the restaurant (see pictures below).

We had a service project this week as a district. What people do in America with a lawn mower, people do here by hand. And often time rather than just chopping the grass, people prefer for their long grass to just be pulled out at the root. So that is what we did.

Earlier today we had a zone activity where we hiked up to some falls (Every Monday we take a break from teaching all day, and sometimes get to do something fun like this). It was in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The mountains were as beautiful as the Utah mountains, but as green as Missouri. A river we passed reminded me of a river I once saw in Yellowstone National Park. The rice fields were majestic, and the weather was perfect. And all that is just what I saw on the way to our hike. The hike itself was magical. But we didn't actually make it up to the top. You see each time we crossed the river, it got higher and higher. After the 5th time crossing, the water was getting up to our waist. We are not allowed to swim as missionaries, so this was not good news. So we decided to end there, with hopes that we could come back at a drier time of the year. But we got lots of great pictures, and what we did see was totally worth it.

Now, I don't want you to think as missionary its all fun and games. Nope, it's fun and work. This week, every lesson that we taught to investigators was with a member present. This is the first time this has happened on my mission. It is all thanks to our wonderful branch missionaries Sister Rosa and Sister Erlinda. Both are the cutest old ladies. They are both in their sixties.
I want to tell you about Nanay Rosa. She is about to turn 67. She was baptized about 3 years ago, and she loves the gospel. And she loves missionary work. Her goal before she dies is to help 10 people become members of Christ's church through baptism. Some five of her referrals to the missionaries have been baptized. And she is not slowing down yet. I love the days she works with us. She is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and boldly invites anyone she can to listen to the missionaries. She is amazing and I wish I was as good a missionary as she is.

Yesterday we were behind on our lessons, and we had more people to teach than me and Sister Sarto could handle on our own. So we got permission to go on splits. Sister Sarto and Nanay Erlinda taught five lessons. And me and Nanay Rosa taught five lessons. I loved it. I love our Nanays!

I love the gospel! I love being a missionary! I love the Philippines!

Sister Abish "Snack Master" Curtis

Monday, August 12, 2013

1000 Lessons and a Miricle

Once upon a week I used my weekly key indicators from all my planners to count how many lessons I've taught so far here in the Philippines. By teaching 30-40 lessons a week, it was this week that I taught my 1000th lesson. How crazy is that? But the truth of the matter is, it's not the most important thing the number of lessons that I teach, or even the number of people I prepare for baptism. The important thing for any missionary, no matter where they serve, is that they do their best. True story. True church.

Recently all the non-progressing investigators in our area have been dropped. So when I got here, our investigator teaching pool was very, very small. Me and Sister Sarto have been praying for and searching for new investigators to teach. We studied about it as companions. We fasted about it on fast Sunday
The following story is an answer to our pleas:
One of the great Sisters in our ward (Sister Adonis) told us about Brother Bondoc, a less active member. His wife and four children are not members. His parents and siblings are all strong in the church, held various leadership callings, but they all now live in far away  places such as America. At the request of his father, Sister Adonis has been asking the missionaries to visit him. But for whatever reason, the past missionaries were not able to do it. But when me and Sister Sarto received the referral we made it a priority. Using a hand drawn map Sister Adonis had made we found his house, and luckily he was even outside. He let us in his house and met his wife (none of the kids were home and available). We had the neatest lesson with them. When we asked Brother Bondoc what he misses about the church (he was baptized with his family when he was 16, but I believe he went inactive when he married a non-member), he started crying as he talked about going to church with all his family. It was the sweetest thing. It turns out his wife was taught by the missionaries years ago, but her parents who are devout Catholics, were opposed to her being baptized. But now that her parents are dead she is more opened to the idea. She even accepted our invitation to be baptized on September 14th, if she feels like she is ready by then. We explained the things that would help her to be ready. Besides continuing to listen to the missionaries, she needs to sincerely ponder about the things we teach, and pray to our Heavenly Father to know if they are true. She will need to read from the Book of Mormon (they already have one in their house, but we will teach her more about it next time). And she will need to come to church. 
As we committed them to come to church, Brother's answer was sure, but his wife was more hesitant. We talked to her about what she is unsure of, and we helped to calm her fears. By the time we left she was much more sure about coming to church the next day, along with their children. But come Sunday morning we got a text from Brother Bondoc saying his wife wasn't ready, and that it would be hard for him to come without his family. None of them ended up coming.  But we will not give up. I know that this family is an answer to more than just my prayers. I am sure Brother Bondoc's faithful family has been praying for him for a long time. I know the Lord has a plan for this family, and I am excited to do my part to be His instrument. 

I continue to fall in love with my new area: Kalikid. I love our branch. 
Our Sunday School somehow lead to our class of about 20 sharing their conversion stories. More than half of them are converts. It was one of the most inspiring things for a missionary to hear. It strengthened my faith that there are people prepared and waiting for us missionaries to find them. 
Our regular branch pianist was missing yesterday, so I played the piano for sacrament meeting. My playing was far from perfect, but I was still so happy to be able to serve this branch anyway I could. 

I'm a happy missionary.

Sister Abish "1000 and counting" Curtis

Monday, August 5, 2013

2nd Area!!!

I would like to address the following things:

a) Goodbyes

b) I'm a grandma!!!

c) New Area
     -My companion
     -The Branch
     -The Area
     -The house
     -The zone

d) Language

e) Birthday

f ) Fun fact

Sige, lets get started.

a) I've been transferred! I'll tell you more about my new area later, but I just want to tell you now how much I've loved serving in Concepcion. I just love it! I had to say goodbyes this week and it was hard. As I've taught and served these people I've really come to love them. It hurt my heart not knowing when or if I will ever see them again. But I will continue to always pray for them. 
One of the hardest goodbyes was probably to my companion Sister Ocampo. I really have just really loved these past 12 weeks with her. We worked hard together. We felt comfortable with each other, and were able to just be ourselves. She is a fantastic missionary, which leads to my next point.....

b) I'm a grandma! Sister Ocampo is my "daughter" in the mission, and just like me she is training immediately after being trained herself. Her "daughter" is my "grand daughter." I love it! I have a lot of faith in Sister Ocampo, she is an amazing missionary. She is nervous about it, but I know with the Lord's help they will do miracles.

c) New Area!!!!!!  I now am serving in the most amazing area ever: Kalikid. 
- My new companion is Sister Sarto. She is 23 years old (I still have yet to have a companion who is younger than me) She is from the Philippines and she is just great! She has been out for 14 months so I am happy that I will be able to learn a lot from her. 
-The church is just a branch here, but a strong one. The weekly church attendance average is close to 100. This branch reminds me a lot of my home branch back in Missouri. I already love the members here so much. 
-I thought my last area was pretty "bukid", but it is nothing compared to where I live now. We are close to some beautiful mountains. Our area is huge because of all the rice fields and such. We are pretty far from the nearest grocery store. It is actually in a different zone in the mission, and we only have permission to go to it once a month. Yikes. But there are lots of little home based stores all around, so we will be good. I hope :)
-Our house is a small one. It's just me and my companion who live here. I will miss living with other missionaries, but I am excited for. I fill more like a adventurous missionary now. Our toilet's flusher is broke, she we flush by dumping a bucket of water down the toilet. That bucket is filled with water from the faucet that never stops leaking. Our kitchen sink doesn't work, so we have our water filter on the sink outside. That actually makes it easier to cook since our gas stove is also outside. But that also means we have to go outside when we want to brush our teeth.    One of the great things about our house though is that we have air conditioning in our bedroom. Yeah!! I actually love our cute little house a lot. I'll try and get pictures for you next time. 
-The Zone. I went from being in one of the biggest zones to one of the smallest. In my last zone there were 13 companionships, 6 of which were sisters. I loved being able to be around so many sisters so often. But in my new zone there are only 7 companionships, and me and my companion are the only sisters. But I've always been one to prefer a smaller number of people, so I'm actually quite excited for my new zone. 

d) Language. Last week I think I was overacting a little bit when I talking about how my language is coming. Or maybe everyone who read my letter last week felt sorry for me and prayed really hard for me. But here in my new area I am feeling so much more confident with the language. I actually understand closer to 80-90% of what people say, or at least know what they are talking about in general. And with my new companion I try to speak only Tagalog (something I have not really been good at in the past), and I'm surprised at how much I can actually say. It is building my confidence.

e) My birthday is coming up! September 9th. It's time to start thinking about it, because mail takes a while to get to me. This is the only birthday I'll have on my mission, so don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to write me.

f) There are 215 missionaries in my mission. 65 of those are sisters.

I love being a missionary. I am filled with excitement and hope for this next transfer. There are great things a head. I know this is the Lord's work, and I know there is a specific reason he has put me here in Kalikid at this time. I am excited to do His work here. Because I love Him. 

Mahal ko kayo,

Sister Abish "Kalikid" Curtis 

Someone I said goodbye to in Concepcion
My new companion Sister Sarto

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Of Time, Language and Baptisms

Today is July 29, 2013. Do you know what happened July 29, 2012? I opened my mission call. I read the words "Sister Curtis you are called to serve in the Philippines Angeles mission." That was a happy day indeed.

Back then I knew very little about the Philippines. I knew even less about the Angeles Mission. But there is one thing I did know: The Lord had called me to be a missionary. 
It seems like that was just yesterday. Time goes by soooooooo fast. Speaking of time, this week I also celebrated my 6 months here in the Philippines. I can't even believe it. Although fast, the time has been very rich in experiences, memories  and miracles.
One of my first days here I was talking to one of the local missionaries about the language. She said, don't worry by six months you will be fluent. At the time I thought "6 months! I can't wait that long." I planned on being fluent by 2-3 months. 1 month if I worked hard.  
Well. Here I am at 6 months and far from being fluent. I understand around 50% of what people say. And I still struggle to express all the things that I want. I still am working on figuring out what I am doing wrong and trying to fix it. But I don't let it get me down, and I don't focus on my inadequacies. I focus on the work that the Lord has called me to do. I am still able to speak the language of the spirit, and with that language I am able to prepare people for baptism. Which leads to my next point...
Rudy got baptized!!!!!! He is a old man who has been coming to church with with his recent convert sister. He has been faithful in his church attendance, but not so faithful in living the word of wisdom. But we have been working with him and he was finally ready for baptism. It was a happy day.
Transfers is this next week. Who knows what will happen.
Love you all!!
Sister Abish "6 months" Curtis