Monday, August 26, 2013

Talking to everyone and their chicken

How do I begin to describe the adventures of two American girls in a foreign land.... I have no idea. 
It sure has been an interesting week to say the least! It has been the hardest but most successful week of my mission. We hit the ground running last week and it just turned into a sprint. We ended the week with 18 lessons 81 oyms and 5 referrals down. It is a struggle getting the ward to work with us, they gave us names to go visit but I don't think they realize how important it is for them to work with us after the referral or that we ask people to prepare for baptism in the first visit.

President came to church yesterday and brought us a phone!!!!!!!!! Really, I don't think you realize how excited I am to be able to text ward members and investigators. Especially since the sisters we live with are rarely home because they travel to train.... this last week we went to our zone meeting in lucena that was apparently canceled because of all the flooding.... which wasn't in my area yet. Bleh. It wasted so much time and money to go there and come back for nothing. But I did get to translate for my mission president's wife at church!!! I think I did alright. I translated what I could and sometimes I would just have to say.... Sister Peterson I have no idea what they just said... it was great. President seems surprised at how well me and Sister Baird are doing.... in fact everyone seems surprised.... it makes me wonder what they even expected of us! Cause we sure don't except any less of us even though we don't speak tagalog very well.... We had plenty of rough times this week though... one day in particular I got bleach on my skirt, broke an egg on the floor while trying to bleach it clean, our rice cooker was sparking, drama with the fan,  it was super hot, my shoes broke, and since another sister was upset that we were "using too much electricity" with our fans and we opened the window....well it rained.... and we did not think about it being open and we returned to our room to find PUDDLES all over our desk, and many books are now ruined... usable, but ruined. It was quite the day! We left the fans drying our stuff but some of my books are still wet cause they are so big and sometimes things take time to dry here..... yikes. 

But we also had a very successful week too! We had 81 OYMs I don't think most of you reading this realize how hard that is to achieve... we literally talked to everyone we came in contact with.... shared 2 principles about what our church believes and invited them to do something. It was crazy! We have been so tired when we get home that we are like passing out when we are filling out the area book and planning. I am working harder than I even thought was possible. Alma 8 gave me a lot of support this week. Alma spent so much time praying to help people in his area. They rejected him and he felt down.... weighed down with sorrow... I feel that sometimes. But he was told that he should be rejoicing! Because he is doing what the lord asked him to do. When we are doing what we are supposed to we don't need to feel down that we aren’t getting the results we hoped for but we need to be rejoicing we are doing our duty and we will be blessed for that! We are giving people the opportunity to hear the restored gospel. To learn the plan that the lord has for them, and how their family can become eternal! (Not just death till you part). It was a rough week.....

MC legado came to church! I was soo sooooo happy to see her there... maybe one of the happiest times in my life. She has so much faith and a testimony of the Book of Mormon... she struggles with a testimony of modern day prophets, but I know that she will gain one, if she hasn't already. 
We also had the other legado family all at church which made me really happy! They really want their 9 year old relative to be baptized that now lives with them but they are not active in the church themselves so we are afraid to let him be baptized and give him so much responsibility without enough support! We have just met too many people who were baptized in their youth and not supported enough to stay. I am really excited for this coming week! 

We also have been teaching J. She is a miracle. We met her from oyming her boss last week. We set an appointment to teach her Tuesday but the church wasn't opened because of the temple trip to manila. She really wanted to be taught so we found a rundown waiting shed and taught her in the rain. She has been taught by missionaries before and attended youth seminary classes.... she says that she wants to be baptized and be a missionary just like me because what we do is help teach people how they can learn for themselves that what is taught at church is true and we teach people how to learn from the scriptures on their own. We give up 18 months of our lives to help others, and she wants to do that too.... did I mention she also speaks really really really good English? It is a miracle. And I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in her life. We taught her family and they have a lot of potential too.... they have so much faith it is a miracle! She also quit her job and already found a new one so that she can go to church, institute, and church activities when she wants to... She is truly an elect daughter of god. I feel blessed to have even met someone like her! 

I know that the true church, originally established by Christ on the earth has been restored. I know that the Book of Mormon is evidence of that restoration, and I know that the Lord wants all of his children to have the opportunity to learn his gospel for themselves, his whole gospel, not just what is included in the bible, which is vitally important as well. I know that even though it is hard it is a blessing in my life to be here in the Philippines learning and teaching these truths for myself. In the name of Jesucristo amen.

Much much much mahal....

Sister Hellewell


In Lalo next to the rice fields

The city of Opias

Sister Baird and I eating ice cream after a hard day of being punted.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Best Ward Council in the World and a New Trainer

OH MY GULAY!  Well I sure have had quite the biggest adventure in the history of my mission, according to my mission president. Lots has happened, and I’m sure that it is just the beginning to a new crazy adventure here in Tayabas!! (Also oh my gulay is a phrase I picked up in Candelaria that I can't seem to get rid of, gulay is vegetable) 
First off I would like to define trust:
Putting two white American sisters who are not fluent in Tagalog one with 3 months down in the Philippines and the other with only 6 weeks experience and only four weeks in a new area that is being opened. All in the Model stake for the mission. Without a cell phone. Living with sister's who are gone a 1/3 of the time.  (model stake means that only our stats are reported to the area presidency each month)

That my dear friends is trust. And the Lord and my Mission president sure are trusting me and Sister Baird right now. He sure is helping us a lot too. As you know sis Basa is sick and still at mrc. I have been given a new trainer! With only 6 weeks more experience than me. It sure is an adventure opening a new area with a language barrier but we have sure hit the ground running out of our own efforts. Also, we have possibly the best ward council in the history of the world.... Kuna... take an example of this! They came together and all the auxiliary leaders gave us two or three sometimes more of names that they want to contact with us to share the restored gospel with their friends. This is such an act of faith and we are so excited to get the ward working with us better than in the past and the 21 referrals are going good  for us.... some stats for the world are: one out of every 250 people contacted by missionary efforts alone results in a new member of the church but one out of every eight referral given by and contacted with members results in a baptism..... the stats say it all folks... and with the humble faith of the members here in tayabas. Prepare yourselves to see miracles ladies and gents! 
Before this little transfer happened I was so scared and nervous. I had a feeling that my new trainer would be new too and American as well.... But as I said in my journal we never grow I guess if we don't do things that scare us. Me and sister Baird can do what is necessary, we can invite other's to come unto Christ and teach them the restored gospel.  We may not be able to do everything other missionaries can and we may not be the best at everything. But the lord is trusting us and he truly is qualifying us to do his work here in the lucena zone. My tagalog has increased so much! I think my prayers have also doubled and my sincerity increased as well.... I would not be able to do this without the gift of tongues and the power of discernment and the lord truly is blessing me when I need it. Also, as in 2 Nephi 33:1 “…for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.”  The holy ghost will teach what I cannot say as I am teaching with and also BY the spirit. I got sick this last week because of lack of sleep and because of all the travel and nerves but I’m fine now. It was hard, but I refused to take a rest and me and sister Baird saw a lot of success because of our actions of faith. I am under a lot of pressure right now to succeed but I’ll be fine. I live with the Sister Training Leaders; my new District Leader just got transferred from being the AP so if we need anything, experienced help is close but I know that most importantly the lord is on my side and really really really helping it! 
Here is a quote: 
"Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the high priest of good things to come." Jeffrey R Holland
Well, I hope you will be ready next week to hear the adventures me and Sister Baird are getting ourselves into! 

Mahal, Sister Hellewell

Monday, August 12, 2013


Happy birthday to me! cha cha cha.... happy birthday to me cha cha cha... happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to me! (here in the Philippines they sing the happy birthday song in English but don't include your name in it they just repeat happy birthday another time) yep! It's the big 21! Can you believe it? Well... me neither. It has been an eventful week. Everything from a snail in my shoes and a praying mantis attacking sister Carmichael in my room... and then getting lost in there... to emergency transfers to Candelaria interesting exchanges.

Sister Basa is still sick. President came to Tayabas with the AP's and I practiced my tagalog with elder Burton and Pascua while president talked to Basa for a really really long time. She has been sent to the missionary recovery center in Manila and I have been transferred to Candelaria until Thursday which is transfer day and I will get a new companion. It will be interesting to see if president gives me another companion that knows what they are really doing and speaks the language so that I will be more ready to train or if he will put me with a native who has been here only 6 or 12 weeks. Whatever happens it will be what I need in order to be able to be my best as a trainer in probably six weeks. Many in my batch are supposed to train I am told.

I was able to help comfort sister Basa by reading her some of the letters that my sister sent to me in the MTC concerning her health. Lizzy is really going through a tough time but she has learned so many things about herself and the lord and about trials and their purpose it was a blessing to have something to share with her. She has a high possibility of being sent home.

I am cursed! This week I sent Basa to the ICU graveyard of little return and since I feel like the sister training leaders have been a big part of my training these last three weeks I have been companions with them so much and gone out to teach with them more than Basa I feel like I’m "killing" them too... Sister Cayanan is going home and sister Carmichael is being transferred for her last transfer and I have sent her to her deathbed.... all figuratively of course! It will be a new adventure here in Tayabas with all new sisters.

I have been transferred to Candelaria! And in my first transfer I have officially worked with every sister missionary and in every single area in my zone. Rare. But I learn a lot from watching and teaching with the other sister's. This week is going to be interesting because of who I am working with. Sister Maka is good. But sister Mckinny has only been here 12 weeks and Mecham only 6 like me, and we do not know the language very well... and we are also a bunch of white American girls from the Philippines.. wish me luck cause I’m working with Mckinny today again and Mecham on Wednesday (Tuesday your time) it will be interesting, but I know the lord will keep us safe and that we will learn a lot and grow. Thursday I will return to Tayabas with whoever my new trainer is. I have been able to see what my weakness's are and my strength's compared to the other sister's and it gives me more insight on what I need to work on. So that is a blessing.

 I have been getting a little sick from all of the stress. It really stressed me out to be taking sister Basa to the hospital and translating to my mission president and his wife, who both do not speak tagalog, what is going on. I think I am just starting to relax a little. so with that and only four hours of sleep the night we found out sister Basa was being sent to Manila cause we had to pack at night and then wake up early for travel my body just couldn't handle it very well... plus I accidently ate some wheat so it was a rough day but I managed.

 Working with sister Mckinny has been crazy! We don't understand sooo much! I am a little nervous to work with Mecham but excited as well. It will be an eventful week to say the least! I am excited but I also just want to return to Tayabas because my investigators are sooo neglected! But I guess I need to work in the lords time. I am learning a lot about how inspired my placement here in the Philippines in Tayabas really is. And just as my brother told me but I never really truly learned until now that many times missionaries are put somewhere to be a missionary to or to help their companion just as much or more than the people in the area, that has been more than true in my case here in tayabas. Sister Basa needed me. and I needed the experiences. And since I have not worked with her much in the past two or three weeks I have been compelled to excel and use what I can and I have gained a lot of confidence and been humbled to rely on the lord. I learned things I could only learn in this situation and that scares me a little... some of the things I have learned... what is the lord preparing me for!?!?! But he also sent me to live with the sister training leaders who had the abilities and authority to teach me things that I have to be learning when my companion is too sick to do so. I am very sad to see them leave!

Me and sister Carmichael had quite the adventure this week! When I was on splits with s. Cayanan, a member took us to a house of some of their investigators that just moved in the middle of the banana jungle in the baragay Wakas..... I thought I could find my way back and show sister Carmichael where it was.... well I got to the jungle all right and made the necessary turns for a while... but then I couldn't remember which of the twenty million little dirt paths off of the main path were for the house we were looking for... nor could I find it... and since it was a little later in the day and it was getting dark, we admitted defeat and returned to civilization before it got too dark... It was pretty cool to be in a banana jungle and not just a coconut/palm tree one.... And it sure was a sight... two American white girls walking around in the jungle... the few people we passed and talked to sure were confused and amused! It was great! I'll have to send some pictures next week cause I forgot my adapter!

Also I ate the cutest little bananas I have ever seen in my entire life.. they were also the most delicious.

I had to travel to Diversion this morning with Mckinny to get more book of Mormons and pamphlets from the zone leaders which means I also got to get my pouch mail! And I got my birthday card on my birthday! How cool is that! It had some really cool party glasses in it. I also got a letter from my mom from around July 9.... that took a while.... :) But thank you to everyone who has sent me happy birthday emails! See you when I’m 22! haha... It is always good to hear how everyone is doing and it sounds like at least Josh is really enjoying his last week of summer!

I love you all..... and a special happy birthday to my cousin's Jessica and Maren. It is a little weird not to celebrate my birthday with Jess... but I ate some ice cream at jollibee at the diversion so that was quite delish!

Much love sister stephanie hellewell

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5 2013

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

 It has been quite the exciting week here in Tayabas, it is really sad that I was not able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary most of the days. Instead I got to go to the hospital 3 times! Be emergency but temporarily transferred to Barra and have quite the exciting week of fieldtrips! Let’s start from the beginning....

 Lizards. Long story short, you should always check your shoes for baby lizards... you never know what you will find in them. Two: the snails... I figure I might as well mention our pet snails we cannot seem to get rid of... I love them much more than our cockroaches and ants though. anyways, they gross me out I don't know why... but they are just big and slimy.... bull frogs: so there are ginormous bull frogs here that are really loud!
We had a sleep-over in Barra Wednesday night. I believe it was to make it to San Pablo in the morning for the new missionary one month check up... I’ve seen them here in tayabas, but mostly dead on the road... I’m actually quite afraid someone is going to feed me one, so I just don't ask if they do...... ha.

 Barbie: I've spent a lot of time traveling this week I went to Barra twice, San Pablo, and a few other places.... I’ve never been called barbie so much in my life before... I’m used to people staring at me now though. I just turn the stares into oyms...

 Now as for the hospital.... We were going about our day, and sister basa has been sick, really for a while now... I feel like she is always sick. We had to walk to opias for our lesson with sister teoxon who is probably my favorite investigator right now, because she is young, and actually keeps commitments! She is so great I wish I could chica-chica (chat) with her better. After that we walked to Lalo, another Barangay and taught mc legado. Which was only about a 15 minute walk. sister basa was pretty much about to pass out by the time we got there... but mc was actually available (she likes to punt us) and I had to teach the entire lesson number two by myself.... I don't know how many of you have taught the plan of salvation all by yourself, let alone in Tagalog, to someone of whom you cannot understand for the life of you when they talk (and it is also next to a loud busy street) but I did not understand a word she said to me, and she has trouble understanding me too, so I have no idea how that lesson went or what her concerns were, but hey I taught the lesson, tried really hard to listen to the spirit, and had her read lots of definitions in the pamphlet.... I hope she's alright cause before she was praying to joseph smith to know if he was a prophet... yikes... For those of you who don't know, we only pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ, not to prophets or apostles or "saints"

 anyways, after that lesson we went home and called sister P, (mission presidents wife) cause sister basa said that the pain spread to her chest not just her back, and she was having trouble breathing. Sister P sent us to the hospital here in tayabas. I have pictures... but it is really not much. The emergency room is one big room probably not larger than my family’s living room and dining room and is just four gurneys and two desks. It was a little scary. I'm told it is one of the good hospitals though. It is in the same hallway as the x-ray and ecg we had to get for sis basa which was nice! I only spent about 20 bucks on the ER trip, x-ray, and ecg... and that's without insurance! then plus the money for the medicine! it was crazy! I made friends with the doctors, whom a few spoke English which was good because I had to translate to president and his wife what was happening because they do not speak tagalog either. It was pretty exhausting, but it was good, and my knowledge of anatomy and physiology really came in handy and I knew what medical things they were talking about. Let’s just say I hope I never get sick enough to go to the hospital, and if I do I pray they just send me to Manila. Medical care is much much different in the Philippines. It’s no wonder there is such a problem when such a big city like tayabas has a natural disaster! The ER alone only has four beds and four doctors! The next day we returned for results... and traveled to the city of Barra for the night! With sister ombao and sister wilks

 The next day we went to San Pablo for our new missionary training check-up. It was so great to see all of my mtc batch mates and get to talk to them... we all have the same frustrations with the culture, language, and abilities or lack of trying for our trainers... which means I’m normal YAY! {?}

 The next day sister Basa was throwing up again and the pain was much worse and what would ya know... spreading.... again! We called sister P and were sent back to the hospital. They told us earlier in the week we could only see the specialist if we got her admitted... we tried to get her admitted but it was so confusing if there was even the doctor she needed and the secretary lady did not speak any English like the doctors do, and I didn't understand completely, just some, and I was trying to translate to president and I just didn't know what to do... president just got frustrated and decided it was best for us to go to San Pablo, to a better hospital with someone who could help us. We got back to the apartment to pack, and he called again saying sister basa was to travel alone to san pablo and I was to stay in my apartment until the Sister Training Leaders returned from Barra and they would take me back to Barra to work with sister's wilks and ombao, planning for four days. We packed, sister basa left, and I had two hours or so of some nice relaxation and study time alone... that is the first time I have been alone in the last two months or so... it was a little weird, and not that fun since there wasn't really anything I could do but stay in my small apartment with ants as company.

 They returned soon and took me to Barra, it is practically an island, but is connected somehow... it is also a bit hotter there, but it felt soo soo good to get out and teach after a week of being cooped up or in the hospital, stressfully trying to translate what was happening. turns out I should've just stayed in tayabas with the other sister's because sister basa ended up not being admitted in san pablo and came back 24 hours later... but she is still sick, and I am losing diligence in my excess study time... not good.... but for Sunday the sisters did an exchange with us so that we could go teach (since I can't teach alone, basa can't really teach at all, but she could go out, and the STL's can teach alone or with a new missionary) which was a blessing...

 Today for P-day I went to the OCEAN! In San Juan. It was soo so so beautiful! It was also really hot, and as missionaries we are not allowed to swim... so that was a little annoying. I am very burnt and still hot, but it's alrgiht it was so pretty I will send pictures... mom dad and jj I’ve decided I don't want you to pick me up from my mission. I want to go home, get released, and we come out here over Christmas so that I can go swim in the ocean!!!! I was almost praying I would trip and fall in! Ha. I'm sorry this doesn't seem to really relay the things that I have learned this week I do not feel, but it was quite the week of travel and adventures! I will probably either go back to the hospital this week or be transferred again while basa goes, because the results and prescription of the doctor in San Pablo did not help at all and she is still the same.

Wish me luck!

 I love you all. and Family, it is good to hear how much fun you are having with aunt carolyn, her kids, and grandkids! It sure looks like a lot of fun from the few pictures I saw!

 Mahal Kita, Sister Hellewell