Follow by Email

Sister Abish Curtis

November 2012- May 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Work is Not Yet Done

Happy Mothers day! Sunday was amazing because I got to skype my family. My
whole family. Solana was online from her mission in  Albania, Corban online from
BYU-Idaho, and everyone else back home in Missouri. It was celestial (in this
case the definition of celestial is being together with your family)  There was
some great news: My 19 year old brother got his mission call!! He will be
serving in Ogden Utah!! He reports May 28, exactly one week after I go home. It
will be great to spend at least a little time with him and then pass him the
Missionary Torch. I love my family!! I would like to dedicate this scripture to
them:


"For
God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that
without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
 Making
request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the
will of God to come unto you.
 For
I long to see you...
 That
is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you
and me.
" (Romans
1: 9-12)
I cant believe this time has finally come. Wasn't it just yesterday that I
was emailing home for the first time. And now here I am, emailing for the last
time. I want to thank all my faithful email/blog readers. 


 I wish I could say something great and profound, but I'm kinda at a loss
of what do say. The past 18 months have been incredible. I wouldn't trade them
for anything. They have shaped and refined me. I am not the same person I was
before. I am better now. 


I don't think it is possible to measure all that is accomplished in one
mission. Like the saying goes "You can count the seeds
in an apple, but you cant count the apples in a single seed.
"  You may be able to count how many baptism I had, or
how many members I helped return back to activity. But there is no telling all
the good that will come of it, how many future missionaries, how many future
generations blessed.


I know my own life has been infinitely blessed. One of the greatest things
that has happened on my mission is how I have come closer to my Heavenly Father.
I thought I was pretty close to Him before, but now it is even more so. And I
will the spend the rest of my life striving to know Him more.


Just because it is the end of the mission, it doesn't mean I'm gonna take a
rest. There is no slowing down, there is no going back. Progression is my goal,
so resting is not allowed. 


I still have one week left and I'm gonna give it my all. Next Sunday I got
permission to go to church in Kalikid, my last area. Then I will spend Sunday
Night- Tuesday Morning at the Mission Home. Tuesday we will get to go to the
Temple in Manila, and then I spend all day Wednesday flying to home sweet
home. 


I will miss the Philippines more than I can possibly describe. 


Sister "Farewell Philippines,
the 
beautiful" Curtis 





1- Service Project: Helping lay the foundation of a house. This is my "don't take a picture of me or I'll
through this dirt on you
" face


2- The
Philippines Tractor


3- Cute
companions


4Isn't this place beautiful 
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Finding a Family

Kumusta, 

Once upon a time I had been praying for my whole entire mission to find a family that could be baptized together. It had never happened.... until last Saturday. On this particular Saturday we were fasting to be able to find people to be baptized in June. That is when we found them.
The neighborhood we were working in is one where the neighborhood kids will just randomly sit in on our lessons. We were just leaving from a house where we had seen the woman run away to hide from us. One of the little girls we had seen around randomly started talking to us. She apologized that they couldn't come to church tomorrow because they didn't have the fare for the travel. I was thinking "Who is this girl?!?" The answer is she is a little 5 year old named Yeng. We talked to her for a while and she invited us to her home. We followed her there, and then explained to her Mom that she had given us permission to teach them. We laughed about it, but she let us in. The whole family was actually home. Mom, Dad and five kids; the Balinton family.  They had actually been taught by the missionaries back in 2008. They went to church and different activities, but they weren't able to be baptized because they weren't married. When the Elders got transferred they somehow lost contact with the church.   In the years since they have gotten married. They have seen the missionaries in the neighborhood but have been too shy to call them over.   But luckily 5 year old Yeng wasn't too shy.    They are excited to come back to church and told us they can come teach them everyday, haha.     I won't be here to see their baptism. But I will do everything in my power in the time I have left to help prepare them for that day. I believe in miracles!!! 

Speaking of the time I have left... Next week is my last week to email. The week after that I will be in the mission office, and then on May 21st I should be sleeping in Missouri. Grabi! This has been the fastest/best 18 months of my life. 

Love,
Sister "Balinton" Curtis

1- The church hallways here are so small. In this picture I am touching both walls.



2- Us with the STLs
 
3- Baby bird
 
4- Picture from our hiking this morning
 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Preach My Gospel Members

For those of you who watched the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference, you might remember when Elder Ballard said this: 

"I invite all members, regardless of your current calling or level of activity in the Church, to obtain a copy of 
Preach My Gospel... Read it, study it, and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ through invitation and follow-up... Brothers and sisters, can you imagine the impact if family and friends included things they are learning from their personal study of Preach My Gospel in their letters and emails to their full-time missionaries? Can you picture the blessings that will come to families when they know and understand better what their sons and daughters will be studying and teaching on their missions? Can you even begin to fathom the extraordinary outpouring of atoning grace that will be ours, individually and collectively, according to the Savior’s promise to all who bear testimony in the process of inviting souls to come unto Him—and then following up on those invitations?"

I would like to follow up on what he said by asked all of you how your study of Preach My Gospel is going. I would love to hear about what you are learning. This is something I was studying about this week. In PMG chapter 10 it gives some suggestions of what we can do to invite the spirit. The List includes praying, using scriptures, bearing testimony and expressing love for the Lord and others. One that I want to focus on right now is sharing experiences. It invites the spirit in a powerful way. It helps them to see how the gospel relates to real life situations. I challenge you as you share the gospel in simple ways to share experiences and let the spirit testify to their hearts. 

This week as been an interesting one. On Tuesday I had to go to Manila to take care of some stuff for Manila. It was a long trip there and back, but it was fun because I got to spent it with Sis. Tupua and Sister Latimer, my roommates from the MTC. We have all changed so much in the last year and a half. Missions are amazing. 

My poor companion Sister Baraiti has had a rough week. She has a boil on her thigh that makes it hard to walk and uncomfortable to sit. We haven't been able to go teach as much as usual, but we still have been able to do missionary work. I just love her. 

Saturday was National Day of Service. Our ward had a service project where we went to go clean up a local cemetery. The best part was getting to wear the "Mormon Helping Hands" vest for the first time. Just kidding, that wasn't the best part. The best part was serving. And also the following story: I talked to a woman who was sitting near the grave of her son. He had committed suicide about 3 years ago. She keeps having dreams about him, and came to his grave all the way from Manila hoping to learn what she needs to do to help him find rest. I taught her about Temples and proxy baptisms for those who have already died. I bore my testimony to her. She was interested so I got her information and I will send it to the missionaries in Manila so they can help her help her son, and at the same time hopefully she will accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love being a missionary. True story.

Love,
Sister "Helping Hands" Curtis

Highs and Lows

A mission is a strange experience.
It is a trial and a test.
A mission throws at you the worst,
Yet teaches you the best.
 
I’ve never been so happy.
I’ve never been so depressed.
I’ve never felt so forsaken.
I’ve never felt so blessed
 
I’ve never been so confused.
Things have never been so clear.
I’ve never felt my Heavenly Father so distant.
He’s never been so near.
 
I’ve never been so discouraged.
I’ve never been so full of hope.
I feel I could go on forever.
I feel I’ve come to the end of my rope.
 
I’ve never had it quite so easy.
I’ve never had it quite so tough.
Things have never been so smooth.
Things have never been so rough.
 
I’ve never traveled through so many valleys.
I’ve never ascended so many peaks.
I’ve never net so many nice people.
I’ve never met so many freaks.
 
I’ve never had so many ups.
I’ve never had so many downs.
I’ve never worn so many smiles.
I’ve never worn so many frowns.
 
I’ve never been so lonely.
I’ve never had so many friends.
Boy, I hope this is over soon.
Gee, I hope it never ends.


Wouldn't it be really cool if I was the one who wrote this poem. To bad I'm not, but I really like it. 

Love,
Sister "I'm a Missionary" Curtis

Pictures:
-Service Project
 
-I'm trying to be like Jesus
 
-The Sisters in my Zone. 
 

First Week of My Last Transfer

Transfer Week! Me and Sister Foukimoana enjoyed our last couple days together. I sure do love her and I will miss her. 

My new companion is.... Sister Baraiti. She is from Kiribati, which I think is part of the Micronesia islands. She has only been here in the Philippines for four months, but she is already pretty good at Tagalog. At luckily so is her English. She is so kind and humble and sweet. But at the same time is funny and has a contagious laugh. We have good days everyday.

She was only baptized less than three years ago. Because of her influence her parents and one sibling were also eventually baptized. And since she has been here on her mission, her remaining 3 siblings were also baptized. It is actually a really cool story, and I in no way did it justice in the telling I just did.  

General Conference!! We got to watch it this weekend. I loved it!! Besides the miracle of me getting to listen to modern day Prophets and Apostles, my investigators also got to experience the miracle. I was worried that none of the people we teach would come because it was at the Stake Center which is farther away. But we had 3 investigators there, one who had walked a good distance to get there. Also we had two less active members come, which is the first time in a while. Amazing!!

Another great thing about this week is all the people I got to see on Transfer Day. All my past companions (who have not gone home yet) were there. And so many of the other good friends I have made here. I am sad that I will not see them again on my mission. But I pray that somehow I will see them again afterwards. 

God is good. 
Mahal ko kayo,

Sister "I'm still the only white girl in my zone" Curtis

1- Batch Picture. This is the first time me and Sister Tupua and Latimer have been together since our first day on the mission.
 
2-Kabahay picture before the transfer
 
3- Our last picture together. Goodbye Sister Foukimoana
 
4-My new companion Sister Baraiti
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Would You Die for Joseph Smith?

Here on my mission I've had the chance to stand up countless times for the things I believe. This week I had an experience that was a little bit different from the rest. We were teaching a member who often comes to church, the only problem is he doesn't really have a testimony of The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. As he attacked the things I hold so dear to my heart, I was able to see how strong my testimony is. Nothing he said had any effect on me. Everything I've seen and experienced my whole life testifies of God and of His church. Nothing any man can do or say can make me deny the things that I know. When he asked if I would die for Joseph Smith, I with all assuredly said YES.    Not that Joseph Smith is anything more than a prophet of God. But he in a way represents the reason for everything I know about my Savior. He was the instrument God used to restore the Church of Jesus Christ again to the earth. Along with that came all the missing knowledge about God and His plan for us. It came with the keys and authority necessary for our salvation. It came with a way for me to personally know and love my Savior. Yes, indeed that is a cause worth dying for. 

This has been a week of goodbyes. Next week is transfers and we are 98% sure Sister Foukimoana is leaving. Everyone here absolutely loves her (Me included). We have been trying to make this last week a special one for her. (side note: She has been on her mission for 9 months now, and she has been here in San Jose the whole time). Next week I will get my next and last companion. I wonder who she will be. I'm praying for the best Sister in the mission.

Love,
Sister Abish "Solid Testimony" Curtis

 
 
1. Philippines Money
 
 
2. Our last district picture (w/ Philippines flag)
 
 
3. Climbing a tree for a flower (my companion really wanted the flower)
 
 
4. We are sad Sister Foukimoana is leaving :(
 
 
5. Cutest kids ever!!! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Week in this Philippine Paradise

Things that happened this week:


-Most of the people we teach don't have TVs or DVD players. So one day we brought our portable DVD player (we use it to watch training videos) and showed everyone the Joseph Smith Movie. It was a good day. 
-I got a hair cut (I trust my companion enough to let her do it, even though this was her first time. It actually turned out pretty good) You can't really tell in half the pictures I'm sending because it was pretty windy...
-We have so many Ward Missionaries who work with us on Sundays that we go on splits every week. Good times, good times. 
-Because today is our preparation day we went on an adventure as a zone. See Pictures.
-At the above mentioned adventure, I got to ride on the top of the jeepny for the first time in my life. I loved it with all my heart. 
-As it is drawing nearer to the end of my mission, I have been evaluating myself and who I have become. I am reviewing the goals that I set at the beginning of my mission and evaluating how I am doing so far and what I still need to improve. My plan is to sprint to the finish. I still have a whole two months left. That is a long time. But I will do my best to sprint the whole way.


Love,
Sister "I can watch the Joseph Smith Movie a milliontimes in one day and still love it" Curtis

Friday, March 21, 2014

Elephant noise... a very useful skill for a missionary

One of my talents in life is I know how to make an elephant noise. I had no idea how useful it would be on my mission. I use it regularly in Family Home Evening games and talents, or just to impress little kids. If you are preparing to serve a mission that is a skill you should develop.   Just kidding, there are more important skills to develop such as the following: asking inspired questions and really listening to people (and the spirit). I was super inspired with what Sister Wheat did to prepare for her mission; she talked to one new person every day. Talking to new people everyday is a very important skill for a missionary to have. 

This week we had an amazing zone conference. There were five different zones who went, which means about 100 missionaries.

My favorite workshop was, of course, from President Martino. It was all about the Atonement. The first 45 minutes we watched the Bible videos (biblevideos.lds.org) about the last 24 hours of Jesus' life. We sang songs in between each video. It was super powerful. Afterwards we had a discussion about the Atonement. Then President Martino gave us all a Book of Mormon and challenged us to spend the next 6 weeks using it to study the Atonement. I'm super excited. I've already been so enlightened. 

Another great thing about the zone conference besides the spiritual boost was getting to see so many missionaries. I got to see old zone mates, old house mates, and the best of course was seeing old companions. My two anak (daughters/trainees) were there, along with two of my apo (granddaughters). *pictures included below*

On the down side of the week, Sister Foukimoana has been pretty sick. For three days we barely left the apartment. I spent the extra time studying, catching up in my journal and doing anything I could for my poor companion. On the third day we were understandably pretty sick of our apartment. We were sitting outside on our porch eating ice cream when a 10 year old boy came to our house asking if we had any plastic bottles. We gave him our plastic bottles and a bowl of ice cream. We sat him down in a chair and while he ate his ice cream, we taught him a lesson and he said he would come to church.  
Also. Our neighbors are from India and they have pet pigeons. After we taught the boy a lesson, our neighbors let us play with their pigeons. *pictures included*

Thanks for reading. Tune in next week.

Mahal ko po kayo,
Sister Abish "Elephant" Curtis

Pictures:
-Pet pigeon
-San Jose Sisters
-Sister Carter is my youngest granddaughter and I just love her (and all my posterity) 
-My daughters and granddaughters. Left to right: Sister Carter, Sister de Guzman, me, Sister Ocampo, Sister Tui'one
-What happens if you kiss a pigeon? Do they turn into a prince?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to eat a dog....you just don't.

Sister Foukimoana told me I don't just talk in my sleep, but I also teach entire 10 minute lessons in my sleep. She was still half asleep when she testified what I was teaching was true, and then she remembered we were not really in a lesson.
 
We had some pretty awesome service projects this week. On one day we harvested onions by hand. It made me cry. Another day we helped someone move a big pile a rocks. I know that doesn't sound fun, but it actually was. 
 
Sometimes in the Philippines people eat dogs. It is definitely not an everyday thing, but it does happen sometimes. I ran into this week for the first time of my mission. The next door neighbors of our investigators were eating it. My companion asked for some and ate it. They also eat dogs in Tonga so it was no big deal for her. But for me... I completely refused. I don't think it would taste that bad; I just can't endure the thought of eating dog.   My companion had us take pictures with the head (see below).
 
A handful of young woman/ young single adults worked with me and my companion yesterday. I went with half of them and she went with the other half. I am so impressed with the youth here. I am excited for the future of the church in the Philippines. 
 
You know, missions are pretty amazing. Not because every day is amazing, but because you learn amazing things from all the different experiences, both good and bad experiences. Missions are hard. But that’s what makes it worth it. One of the missionaries we are living with is brand new. At times it is pretty rough for her, as it was for everyone (myself included). I don't know if there is anyone who doesn’t struggle at the beginning of their mission. But it gets better. Before she knows it, it will be near the end of her mission and she will wish she still had more time. 
 
I know the message we teach is true. I know God loves us. I know we need to know the truth about God and how to return to him. God reveals that knowledge to us through prophets; men who have authority from God to teach. After the death of Jesus Christ and his apostles, this authority was lost. But God has again called a prophet to teach and establish His church. Because there is a prophet in our day, our knowledge of God and His plan for us is complete. If you want to know more about it… ask the missionaries they can help.
 
Sister Curtis “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfers!​!!!

 
 
We had transfer announcements this week and.......... nothing happened!!! Me and Sister Foukimoana will be staying together again. We are going to rock San Jose city to pieces because we are just that awesome. Fun fact: I  have never been with a companion for only one transfer. Always two. 
 
 
 
But one of the Sisters we lived with got transferred, and now we have a brand new missionary living with us. Sister Ofahulu from New Zeland. She is Tongan and her and my companion are so crazy together its funny. Sister Ofahulu was so convinced that she new me from the pre-mortal existence, but then she was looking through my pictures and realized that she had read part of my blog before her mission. Even if we weren't friends before this life, we sure are good friends now.     
 
We went to two birthday parties these week. And many dinner appointments. If it weren't for Fast Sunday I might have gained a lot of weight. Just kidding. 
My companion was pretty sick this week so we didn't get to go out for the full day of work for a couple days. But we still did amazing things in the time that we did go out.
 
It's always a bummer when you find out your golden investigators are married yet to their live in partners. That happened this week. 
 
Two of my favorite testimonies that were borne this last week at church came from two primary aged boys. They were super simple, but super powerful. 
 
I know when things are hard and we can't do it on our own, God will help us. 
I know we need God. 
 
Mahal ko po kayo,
Sister Abish "Almost all grown up" Curtis

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just a Short One

-I found out last week that someone that I taught in my first area was finally baptized. I was so happy. Also, this last weekend three people that I taught and loved from Kalikid were baptized. I feel so blessed to have been able to help them prepare for their special day. 
-I taught more lessons this week than any other week of my mission: 51. Crazy no? Me and Sister Foukimoana are rockin' this city.

-Last week we took an old woman on a church tour. This week we were asking her about it, and she doesn't remember it happening. After the lesson she asked us to take her on a church tour.  So we took her on another one. Hope it's the last time... 
-My Tongan companion tried to teach me how to hula dance. I'm defiantly just a white girl, it was a nice try. 
-I had to go to Cabanatuan to sign some papers for my Visa or something. I was there the same time they had the trainers/training meeting so I got to see Sister de Guzman and meet my "granddaughter" Sister Carter. The four hour round trip was totally worth it because of the 5-10 minutes that I got to talk to them. 
 







Sorry I'm short on time and things to say.
I love you all.
I love my mission.
I love God.  

Sister Abish "No middle name" Curtis

Sunday, February 23, 2014

People

These are some people I want to tell you about:

-Sister Marita: We met her because we are always teaching her neighbors and family. She has a husband and four young kids. She has been to church twice now and she loves it more than her old church. Her three-year-old daughter has some sort of soars on her legs and so she hasn't learned how to walk yet. But ever since we started teaching them, her legs have been improving. Sister Marita loves the Book of Mormon and sleeps with it close to her. She prays with her children every night.  She is coming to the Relief Society activity on Saturday. If all continues to go well, she will covenant with God through baptism on March 8th. We love her.
 
-Sister Lucilia: She is a 85 year old woman who is too old and weak to leave her house. Her husband died 20 years ago and she still loves and misses him. She loves when we come and teach her, and she believes everything. She asks us to pray that she will have strength to go to church. She says she will never forget us. I will never forget her. I am excited for our reunion in Heaven. 
 
-Abish: a young woman who lives in my ward. We have the same name.
 
-Sister Esirom: One of the missionaries that lives in our apartment with us. She was only baptized two years ago. She is from Guam, from the same ward that my family used to live in 10 years ago. She doesn't remember me personally, but she remembers when my family would give her and her cousins rides to church. I love it. She is also my "granddaughter" in the mission (I trained Sister Ocampo, who then trained Sister Esirom) I just love her with all my heart.
 
-Sister Merwal: The other missionary that lives in our apartment. She is from here in the Philippines and I also love her with all my heart. She always makes me laugh. I love her story of how she came back to church after being less active for several years. (She prayed that the missionaries would come talk to her, but then when they finally would come to her house she would always hide or run from them. But occasionally they would catch her and eventually she ran out of reasons to not come to church. At first when she came to church she didn't have anyone there to welcome her. She would just sit by herself. Every week she would say to herself that she would not come back next week. But the next Sunday she would somehow end up getting dressed and going to church. She decided to test the promise of the Prophet that if she made Institute a priority she would make friends and learn more about the gospel. Of course it happened. Her testimony became solid, and it was the start of her becoming close to all the members in her ward. True church.)
 
-Sister Foukimoana: My companion. She loves mangos. A lot. I love her. A lot. 
 
-Jesus Christ: He is the whole reason I am here in the Philippines, thousands of miles away from my family. He is the reason I have purpose in this life. He is the reason I have hope for the next life. He is the reason for who I am. I love Him.
 
Love,
Sister Abish "Happy late Valentines Day" Curtis

Pictures:
1- It is common to see 3-4 people on one motorcycle. In this case it is a family.
2- Declaring the gospel to every creature
3 & 4- Marita and her daughter
5- One time when we taught we would teach a lesson, when instead they invited us to eat spaghetti and pancit at their birthday party.
6- Nanay Lucilia who I will remember for the rest of my life. 
 
-Getting ready to BBQ Filipino style. (This is what we did on Valentines night)
-The bamboo bridge that we were slightly afraid would break with our whole district standing on it. (this is on our way back from a service project)
-Proselyting in a cemetery. The work was pretty dead there.
-Me and Sister Esirom
-Me and Sister Merwal
-My companion loves loves mangos!