Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 4 in the Philippines

Your Favorite Missionary It has been another difficult week in the Philippines, but difficult in different ways than I was previously experiencing. But, I do not want to talk about the bad, I will focus on the fun and wonderful few things that happened this week! I guess I should let you know how chicken feet tastes! They made it special for me, without wheat breading so that I would have no excuses! Ha. They made adobo feet and then I think just fried it. I tried and ate most of both. It is really hard to eat feet as you can imagine because you have to somehow get the meat off without all those tiny little bones! It actually wasn't too bad. I would eat it happily again... I bet that you can guess it tastes like chicken!!! Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Also last Monday I was very sick of all the ants in my room. I kept finding more and more in my closet and they had been biting me and basa as we studied. Our spray bottle was broken for the permatox, so I took a spray thing off of something of mine and used that, it was about 50% effective. anyways, there was an ant holocaust in my room that day. I found that they had made their little home under my socks and they all died. Hundreds of them were drowned in permatox. I hope they never return. They still bite me when I study, but there is much much less of them... not surprising since I killed literally hundreds. It was disgusting. Their new home is on the other side of the room, so I’m thinking I might just let them be since I don't want them on my side again :) I also got an email from (ok, most of my family) but I am very proud of my brother Brandon, he is striving to be a good member missionary where he lives, I have been praying that my family would look for ways to help the missionaries where they live. Because the member's are so effective! They do miracles they don't even see! Thank you Brandon, for trying to help the missionaries in Mesa. I hope the rest of the family follows your example, I know the boys are watching you. Tuesday we had our Zone Interviews.... the Gines fed us real American food!!! It was so good. Taco Salad, baby. They got REAL CHEESE from manila. I am jealous of manila. They have cheese. But it was delish. They also fed us watermelon that is yellow and very delish and rambutan!!! (my favorite) It was so good to see other's. Me and sister wilks asked sister Mckinney who has been here three months or so and also the AP Elder Burton what they do/did for language study. They gave really good advice and I am seeing a big change in my learning of tagalog from following their advice. Also, coconut jello? it's disgusting. don't ever try it. We also learned from president that we needed written permission from ej's parents to even be teaching him (not just for baptism) so we went to his house to tell his guardians, they were not very excited about needing to go to lucena to get it, because they said that they had verbal permission. EJ saw us and went and grabbed his pamphlets and aklat ni mormon and sat down all ready for us to teach him he was so excited. I was so sad to not be able to teach him. Anyways, they got the permission the next day! And we are very grateful because we can continue to teach him!!! We also have been punted all week (had an appointment, but they were not available to be taught) it was horrible! So we did lots and lots of tracting... we even had a day with 17 oyms!!! easy!!! (Usually it is difficult to get to our daily goal of 10) so that was good. The highlight of the week was definitely Saturday! The sister's we live with: Carmichael and Cayanan had a baptism/wedding! Bro Matos is a previous less active, and his now wife is now the newest member of the Tayabas Philippines ward! It is very exciting. The ward really came together to put the wedding together and it was marvelous. To be honest, the spirit at the wedding was nothing compared to a wedding in the temple, when you are sealed together as husband and wife for time and all eternity, instead of just for time here on earth. I had the wonderful opportunity to witness my cousin Shayne get married and sealed to his new bride just a few short weeks before I left on my mission. The spirit and happiness of an eternal marriage is a million times greater than one simply to just be following the law of chastity. They will begin working towards a celestial, temple sealing in one year’s time from now and I am very excited to see their family grow. I am hoping to stay in tayabas for 6 months. 3, here to be trained, and then another 3 to train someone else. A wedding and baptism is just such a good way to end your week! I was reading this week in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi, I believe it was chapter 3. I learned a lot about what it is like to live in a war zone, how to stay strong in the faith, and how to live to protect yourself. Today we live in a physical and spiritual war zone. Satan has gotten so good at getting the children of god to fall into his traps. It only takes about two seconds to find a temptation or something that could lead you away from living the gospel truth. I wish I could explain what I mean better, but I don't have my Book of Mormon with me. Anyways, the lord guides us, and we need to have the spirit with us, just they their chief captains to protect ourselves from the gadianton robbers of today. I love you all! And I hope you are loving summertime! Eat some corn, cherries, and raspberries for me!!! Love, Sister Hellewell
Add caption
Me, Basa and sister Marina (member who goes teaching with us multiple times a week and is truly a blessing in my life)

Monday, July 22, 2013


July 22, 2013

Here are the addresses to send a letter.  I was trying to fix the address and deleted it.  so until I can figure out how to put it back  I will post it at the top of the letters.

Standard Mail:                                                   
Sister Stephanie Anne Hellewell                         
Philippines San Pablo Mission                           
Brgy San Juan, Alaminos                                   
4001 Laguna

Through the Pouch System: Single sheet letter on white paper. NOT LINED. folded in thirds and taped at top.  No envelope.
Stephanie Anne Hellewell
Philippines San Pablo Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEND A LETTER THROUGH THEY WILL DELIVER IT TO THE SALT LAKE OFFICE EVERY MONDAY MORNING. You do not need to pay postage!!!!! Just click on "pouch letter" then Philippines San Pablo mission, then type in Stephanies name and type your letter.

Alright, Friends and Family, it has been another crazy week here in Tayabas. It definitely helped having so many encouraging words from my family and a few friends. I have two friends on missions who email me too and that helps so very much. Kaylyn and Marcy are so amazing and a great example from a million miles away. I am going to start with a few random things and then end with how I have grown spiritually this last week, and how I have seen the atonement work in the lives of people I already love.

 While I cannot say I completely love the Philippines yet, there are people whom I serve here that I love, as well as the ease of transportation without a car! 

 My mom keeps asking me about the food and what I think... I can't really remember what I have already said. I ate Rambutan... and it is pretty much the greatest thing I have ever eaten in my life. I am sending a picture of this spiky fruit! you don't eat the inside, and when you buy it.... covered with ants. but sister Carmichael interrupted my laundry for me to come try some.. I wish I could describe the taste.

There is every size of banana and they all taste a little different. I love them all more than those ones we get in America! Geeze, USA get some variety!!! I tried papaya, it isn't that good on it's own... but I put it with some powdered milk and pineapple juice in the blender and loved it! I love the mangos... as always.

I'm supposed to be fed chicken feet tonight for dinner so we'll see if that follows through... yikes. pray for me, by the time you read this in the morning I will probably be eating it. yuck. 

We also had a party last night in our apartment to celebrate sister Basa's one year mark... we took a picture. ME: two months, sister Carmichael: 16 months, and sister Cayanan is at 18 months, and will hit the 19 month mark here in a week or two.

Our party! also we ate ube icecream! Grossss.... it is a purple yam type of vegetable. but it came in a trio with mango and chocolate. their ice cream tastes different though.

This week was a rollercoaster. Sister Basa was sick, and then I was sick for three days, I tolerated it the first day, and then only went to scheduled appointments the next two. it was not fun. But, I learned a lot in my extra study time, and I know that I do not want to get sick and sent home. 

Story time! 

I have been teaching MC at M legados house. She is teaching me so much. I had an exchange with sister Carmichael for the day (sister training leaders do that twice a transfer) and she taught me so much. We had a great lesson with her and she understood Moroni's promise perfectly. Sister Carmichael said shr understands better than anyone in her entire mission. Me and sister Basa returned two days later. and the Lord taught me that he is guiding me in every aspect of my life right now. Something from my personal study that morning was needed to teach mc. Turns out she was praying to Joseph Smith if he is a prophet... yikes. She was having a hard time understanding that he was not just an ordinary person who organized a church because of the modern clothes he wore, not a robe like prophets of old. We explained to her how God calls prophets time and time again, Adam, Moses, Abraham, and then Joseph. We talked about priesthood authority, how it was restored through Peter, James, John, and John the Baptist, to Joseph Smith and talked a lot about authority. Then we kept finding more and more things we needed to share to her. Sister Basa had to translate a little for me to understand what mc was saying but that is the greatest lesson I have ever taught. I felt the spirit so strongly telling me what mc needed to hear and I was given what I needed in the exact moment I needed it. I was not thinking; what can I say in tagalog, but what does mc need to hear. I honestly, am not sure what I said. I really don't. I shared three scripture, two all by myself, and I talked more in that lesson than any lesson before. At the end of the lesson I felt the spirit so strongly when mc prayed I hope everyone else there felt it too. As we knelt down in prayer, there were ants crawling all over my legs, in the burning heat, on a cement floor, next to the busy highway, but I’ve never had a stronger feeling of the spirit witnessing of truth in my entire life. I am learning so much about teaching by the spirit, asking inspired questions, and the hand that the lord has in preparing me in his time for what I need to be able to teach. I will learn what I need to learn when the lord needs me to.  If I have to train in 9 weeks, I will be able to do it if I continually focus on the needs of those I teach, not the needs of myself, or my level of tagalog. Sometimes in lessons I really struggle, I don't know what to say. Or I let myself get frustrated because I don't know how to say it. I am learning time and time again so many things about believing in myself, and having the faith to start teaching without preparation or language study. I still struggle a lot, but I am learning so much more. 

Another thing I have learned is to talk to everyone I meet. Sure, sometimes it's just people approaching the American (blond hair= everyone stares at you) sometimes people turn away when they don't understand my tagalog, but I cannot let myself get discouraged. Yesterday me and Basa decided to walk to Lalo and “OYM” (open your mouth---introduce yourself, build relationship and trust, and share two things about the gospel) We had been punted by both our appointments and back up and had an hour. It felt wonderful outside (by wonderful I mean it was cloudy but not raining too much and I was still sweating like crazy, but according to Basa it felt really good) We treked to Lalo and OYM'd many people who did not want to hear from us. We only needed two more oyms to meet our goal when we passed a man on the main road who was weeding out front. he looked really busy, but I felt I should just talk to him. Turns out that wasn't me, that was the spirit. This man has already been to church in Lucena (big city nearby) with his old manager who is a member. He is really interested in learning more so I can't wait for Wednesday! I learned from this that I need to talk to everyone, I do not know who the lord has prepared to accept and learn the gospel, but I do know he will put them in my path or send me to their path when the time is right. I am really learning how to listen to the spirit, and follow what I hear. 

I am also learning that the Spirit will help teach what I cannot teach for myself. 

We had a lesson with sis C this week. she is less active. But she shared with us... after many many sets of missionaries talking to her, why she is not coming to church. It turns out after becoming a member she went abroad for two years. When she returned her husband and children did not come to church anymore. It is uncomfortable for her when people ask where they are. We talked to her about being an example. We shared the story of Alma the Younger, how he rebelled, but after the prayers of his father, he eventually made a complete turn around in his life and was a great blessing and prophet for the church., We also talked about faith in alma 32 and how faith is a hope. We talked about why we need faith, and about praying with faith. The spirit prompted me to promise her that if she would return to church, show her faith to the lord, and pray to him in faith (something she understood maybe better than I do) that her family would see her example and follow her while she follows Christ. We said that it would take time and be very hard, but that the first step is repentance and being an example. I hope to see her at church this next week and am excited for the changes she is planning to make in her life. 

I am going to end this so that I can email a few other people, but thank you for your support and love and prayers. To my family: I just spent 85 pesos to send you some mail, so I hope it gets there soon. Caiti Hall, yours is in the mail today too, sorry it is taking so long to reply. I love you all, and thank you family for all you are doing for me. Carolyn, I hope you are not too bored in Utah without your favorite niece... but I’m sure you are keeping busy with your grandkids and jess and  your parents around. Show Thomas pictures of me!!! 

sister Hellewell

View from my window

m and r legado Family Home Evening (picture from last weeks story
when we played the game and put flour on our faces)

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Here are the addresses to send a letter.  I was trying to fix the address and deleted it.  so until I can figure out how to put it back  I will post it at the top of the letters.

Standard Mail:                                                  
Sister Stephanie Anne Hellewell                        
Philippines San Pablo Mission                          
Brgy San Juan, Alaminos                                  
4001 Laguna

Through the Pouch System: Single sheet letter on white paper. NOT LINED. folded in thirds and taped at top.  No envelope.
Stephanie Anne Hellewell
Philippines San Pablo Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEND A LETTER THROUGH THEY WILL DELIVER IT TO THE SALT LAKE OFFICE EVERY MONDAY MORNING. You do not need to pay postage!!!!! Just click on "pouch letter" then Philippines San Pablo mission, then type in Stephanies name and type your letter.

July 15, 2013
Thank you to all my friends who have been in contact with me. Caiti-I got your letter, and I am sending one back to Hurricane it came at the perfect time that I needed it thank you for being such a good friend to me. You are actually the first friend to write me! Hannah Byers and Nichelle Zuniga I got your emails, and I read them.  If I get time today I will email back, they ,made me so happy. Sorry I don't have very much time, but I really do appreciate them. To all my siblings I got your letters and thank you everyone for the advice and comfort. It has sure been quite a week! Congrats JJ for getting your eagle all done in only two weeks. Now all you have to do is learn to be productive even when Samuel is around! 

It sure has been a crazy week. Me and sister Basa locked ourselves out of the apartment this morning. I went to go grab my shoes that were hanging up to dry and forgot the key on the table. She thought I had the key and shut the door... bam! Locked out! We had to jump over the fence in our skirts cause we didn't have the key to unlock the gate. This is hindi mabuti. Because sister basa is sick and we didn't plan on staying out longer than to email but now we will just have to find things to do until the other sister's return from zone p-day. We are going to go to SM and hopefully there we can find some food that I can eat. I have to eat oatmeal for breakfast. gross. So to get into a story about chicken feet I will start by talking about some investigators. There is a boy we are teaching here in Tayabas, I will call EJ, cause we are not supposed to use names, but there are so many legados I want to talk about I will just use initials. EJ is in fourth grade and living with his aunt and uncle who are members. We spend a lot of time over in their area because they live right next to two inactive families. One of which we get the brother and sister to go tracting with us to find inactive members houses. It works quite nicely to get the inactive members to go tracting with you. We had a great lesson with EJ on the Plan of Salvation. We asked him to say the prayer and he started crying because he felt the spirit so strongly. It was so precious. After the lesson M legado offered us bread and pineapple juice. I re-explained why I can’t eat bread and so he decided I will just have to eat chicken feet instead! It is funny how people seem to need to rhyme what I am going to eat.
My MTC district told me to come to the Philippines and eat rice, mice and lice. M legado says if you can't eat wheat you must eat feet! I told him I would try it but I don't promise to finish. He said I will but I don't think I will. I told him hindi ko alam (I don't know) and left it at that. He kept pushing it and I said I might be allergic to chicken soon too if he's gonna feed me feet all the time! We are going to his house for FHE one week from today, so I guess you'll have to wait two weeks to see how I feel about eating chicken feet. He also plans to feed me bulot, fetal duck. Yuck! I usually just don't ask what I am eating.

Since my companion is sick I made my first adobo yesterday! I really only knew the ingredients she puts in it, well I guess I guessed the right ones. And apparently I guessed the right amounts too because it was quite delicious and the three sisters who ate it were impressed. I guess I’m a natural, I love adobo. and even if I am convinced that the meat here is going to kill me after going to the open meat market. I can survive off of adobo, as long as I don't think about where I got the meat from. 

Another thing, everyone looks at me everywhere I go. I'm pretty sure the little adorable Filipino kids only know one phrase in English "what's your name" they are quite surprised when I answer them in tagalog and ask what their name is or something like that (I may not speak tagalog very well but that is one thing I can do!) it is annoying sometimes when they follow us down the road screaming at me, but it's alright. There are two little girls Kim and Monica that live near the legados. They spent the first week I was here peering at me over the corner and breaking out into fits of giggles all the time. One day I ran into them head-on in the alleyway and decided to talk to them. They are adorable little friends of mine now.
We also had a successful FHE with a different Legado family that is related to the ones I just talked about. We had to reschedule our FHE to Thursday night I believe it was and it was so fun! I have no idea what Sister Basa taught in the lesson or what ma lagado taught either, but the spirit was present and I understood that. The entire family was there as well as another family that lives close by that are also inactive. The legados have come to church two times in a row now after rarely coming so this makes me very happy. For our activity I taught them how to play “down by the banks of the hanky pankys,” and they loved it! Sister Basa taught us the number game. We would just count to ten, and you just speak up to say the number, if you say the same number as someone else you get to put powder on each other’s noses! It was so fun and I hope I have time to send the picture to you. I loved it. Mom, you would love playing this game at a party.

There is a lot I wish I could include in this letter but I must pick and choose. I have really been struggling. the mission is so hard, I feel like no one understands me (because they don't and I’ve had people just ask me to teach them in English cause they don't understand what I am saying) most of the time I just want to go home. I really do, but I know I truly don't. So I stay, plus I don't know how to get home anyways let alone to the mission home. I have been reading the Book of Mormon specifically to learn about faith and I was reading 1 Nephi 17:51. And in it Nephi is talking to his family.

“And now if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?”

If the lord can do all those things, all those miracles, and even teach Nephi how to build a boat from nothing... well than I’m sure he can teach me how to teach a simple lesson, four simple lessons plus some, to people in understandable tagalog. I know that this will take time, I wish I could learn faster, but the lord will help me as I start teaching in faith. I have decided I need to focus on learning the doctrine not necessarily  all the language, I need to teach it. I need to know the doctrine really well first. I feel extra pressure because there is a high possibility that my batch of missionaries will be training in just 10 weeks and that really really scares me. Lots of tears have been shed but talking to Sister Carmichael the sister training leader who lives with us, she’s from Utah, and it really helps to talk with her. I am out of time. To my family: I have written you a letter that you should expect in the mail in a couple of weeks. I didn't include a lot of what was on there in here. So be expecting that. Thank you for all of your support and I am sorry I don't have time to respond to all of you but I really love your emails and letters.  They really do help me. I love you! 

Sister Hellewell

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

I don't even know what to say to start to explain my first few days in the Philippines. My district and I said a nice goodbye to the MTC by singing the new, “Sisters in zion and army of Helaman” song, with two violins and a cello... goodbye violin, I will miss you. 

MTC District

Saying goodbye to friends from the MTC at a DELICIOIUS meal outside.
Goodbye kasamako! This is me and sis Waldrom, our last day at MTC.

We then proceeded to travel to Oregon and then Tokyo and then Manila. Totaling 6 hours of sleep in 48 hours! 
 Sister Cowley and I... we're on our way to tokyo!

We spent the night in manila and I saw a monkey. It was legit. By spent the night I mean stayed three hours in a motel. We then looked like a big bunch of lost Americans until we got to the mission home by bus.
   We ate breakfast there, were put through a million orientations, went to sm to exchange money, and then by that time we were all dropping like flies asleep everywhere, with so little sleep, so we ate dinner and went to another motel for the night. I passed out quick since the shower didn't work. The next day I went on my first jeepney ride!

Me with Sister Smart and Sister Wilks

This is me with Sister Basa at my new favorite resturant, 
or rather the only one i've been to. don't ask what I eat there.
 I have no idea and I don't really want to know...
 all I know is it is better than dried squid.

 Then I went to go meet my new companion, Sister Basa. She is great. She is Philipino too so I don't really understand her English most of the time and she doesn't understand my tagalog cause I don't know much.

This is me, Sister Basa and the two sister's we live with.
Sister Carmichael and Sister Cayanan. They are the
sister training leaders. Behind us is our little house. 

We are serving in Tayabas with the sister training leaders!

  I don't even know how to begin to explain what the Philippines is like. Well for the first few days until today I felt jet lag, and then I’m still having culture shock. It is crazy. I love riding in tricycles and jeepney's though. If my mom saw the driving here I’m convinced it would kill her. She thinks my driving is bad...... yikes she should just see the skilled craziness at which you drive on the roads here... sometimes I think I’m going to die in a tricycle accident but I haven’t yet so we're good!
   Sister Carmichael taught me a really cool trick. Since we have to shower from a bucket of cold water, I boil a pot of water and then stick it with the freezing water and then suddenly I have a warmish shower! It is great! I’ll never have to take a cold shower again! Maybe JJ should try this little trick,  since sometime he always takes all the hot water!
   Also, for my first meal with a family here I have no idea what I ate. it was slimy, and I think there was chicken, and of course there was rice... I also ate... wait for it.....  dried squid!! It is disgusting if you were wondering, and I hope it is not common here. I honestly was just praying I would not barf. At the dinner appointment there were three neighbor girls who just could not stop looking in and giggling.
    Everywhere I go people look at me, say,” there’s an American” in tagalog and sometimes ask my name. Sometimes they say lots of things but I don't understand! some teens asked if they could go to the church and use the basketball court too. It’s funny really; people think I don't understand them. and actually I don't but I catch words of what they say most of the time. The first tagalog word I heard that I understood from an actual native was magsimba which means church... that was actually in Tokyo. Hmmmmm....... so while we were tracting Saturday we said tao po at a big house (which is what people use for  their doorbell) and then we started talking to this Japanese lady. well I think she said she was Japanese I know that the little kids only spoke Japanese. anywho. They are the Torres family. We taught the mom and two daughters. The first lesson, I spoke a lot of English. The nice thing about the Philippines is that they all speak English, sometimes not very good, but they all understand my taglish. Sunday we returned to their house for our return appointment. The mom was busy so we taught the father. and gave him a Book of Mormon. We also extended the invitation to be baptized, and he accepted.  Hopefully this can be an entire family that continues to want to hear from us. it was awesome!
   We just talk to random people we see on the street and it's great! I've taught a lot of first lessons. Sometimes the Philippines feel like a dream or something not real. Because it is hot, gross, there are bugs crawling on me, and in my first week I’ve developed a nice collection of red spots on my hand. I thought they were bug bites but it is spreading like a rash so I’ll do something about it soon. I’m sure I will adjust better when I am not in culture shock.
     A mission is sooo hard. It also doesn't help that I am already horrible with directions. For those of you who know my driving in Provo, I get lost sooo easily! Well sister basa is worse than me at directions, so it is pretty interesting sometimes. Usually we just get in a tricycle and tell them to take us to st. jude. neighborhood at night and we get home that way. Pretty convenient actually! it's practically a dream come true when you get as lost as I do! hop in, tell them where you are going, when you get there you give em 20 pesos and life goes on as normal! I could get used to this!

I am so scatterbrained right now I don't even know what to share with you. Sometimes I just want to go home, it is scary, I don't understand what is going on, and it is hard. but I know that I would never forgive myself if I left nor would I know how to tell my dad I wanted to quit so I keep going one day at a time! I hope some of these pictures work to send to you! and maybe next email I will have more of a brain to tell you how it really is here. I eat weird food a lot. Sometimes I ask what it is but I don't normally understand what they say back, sometimes I just don't want to know! Ha.

This is me doing laundry today! it sucks. count your blessings :)

 Oh! I washed my clothes today! Not a big deal you say? Well it is cause it took three hours! I had to wash all my clothes by hand! This includes scrubbing and refilling water with every cycle for three different sets, whites, colors, and darks, it took forever. you do a rinse cycle, a soap cycle, two more rinse cycles, and then a third rinse with fabric softener and then hang to dry. each "cycle" you have to dump and refill your bucket of water. I’d say it's pretty great, but in all honesty it sucks. It really does. Then add ants crawling on you and it makes it better! It’s all in the experience though right?

I know I have been called to San Pablo for a reason, and I will learn to love it here. it all just comes together. I am teaching the parents of a young women who was taught by one of the sister's who taught us at the mtc (sis watkins) so it is pretty cool. All the missionaries here know my friends from the mtc: bro roxas and jerico lopez, and sister watkins and bro poole. It’s pretty cool. I wonder how the rest of my friends from my mtc district are doing.... anyways. I am running out of time. But thank you for your prayers and for supporting me. mahal kita. 

Sister Hellewell

Stephanie with her mission president and his wife.
President Peterson and Sister Peterson.
This is the one sent from the mission home. sorry it didn't turn out so good.