Monday, December 30, 2013

Balot, the Hospital, and a Maligayang Pasko!!!!

there are two letters from stephanie today  We were out of town and I didn't get last weeks posted.

December 24, 2013

Well this has been a very eventful week. Luckily we did not have a transfer here in batangas and so Williams and I get to spend Christmas together along with Waldrom and Teaotai. We are very happy about that and so is our ward! This last week was eventful. We had Zone Meeting, Jimmy and Julie-Anne told us how they were led by the spirit to meet us, and Teaotai's 24th Birthday, the ward christmas party where we got to eat Balot for the whole ward... (they like having foreigners too much) and then Christmas Conference and a trip to St. Patrick's Hospital for yours truly all ending with nice Christmas email to you! 

Let's Start with the most recent-----HOSPITAL! 

So I've been having a pain in my chest the last two or three weeks just for about a minute or two at a time and only two or three times a week. Then this last Friday it starting getting more often and then saturday more painful, and by sunday I was just dying. But I got a blessing from elder Kaifoto and Pablico (which we have officially made Kaifoto Jealous of our microwave---only one in the mission baby!!!) But I decided to just try and stick it out. Monday we had Christmas Conference which I will talk more about later. By monday night I was just in tears over how much pain I was in so Waldrom called the Peterson's and they told us to go to the Hospital. Not really sure that we could get a Jeepney late at night we got our nice neighbor with a car to drive us there... you think driving in the philippines is scary? Try it with a philippino who thinks he is an ambulance..... he drives fast and crazy! But we got there and Sister Teaotai is just a gem. She HAD to bring my pillow for me, she is very sweet. I didn't actually need to use it though. We get to the hospital and they ask me all these questions, and then my american insurance company won't respond and I'm in enough pain I just agree to pay whatever without insurance (let's face it... the ECG was only about 10 bucks in american dollars... and the ER about 6) They hook me up like I’m frankenstein... we're talking metal clips on my ankles, and wrists. And then four on my chest... kinda wish williams wasn't over paying the bills so I would have a picture. but I'm all hooked up like they are gonna electrocute me or give me super human powers and get my ECG done to check out my heart. The nice doctor guy looks at it for a while, he was really good at english it was awesome. But he said that there is something wrong with my heart-the beats are sometimes off, but that would not cause my pain. they think it is something like costochondritis. It is only supposed to last two or three weeks daw (they say) but I hope I'm just at the tail end of it. Anyways they then do this skin test to see if I'm allergic to some pain meds they want to give me, seriously that skin test shot was the worst shot I have ever gotten it burned and was really long and horrible! But I was good so they gave me an IV and then some pain meds that just made life wonderful. So then we were on our way to get some nice zzz's after paying a fortune in pesos for some nice pain meds that actually aren’t so great! But anyways then we were out in the real world at like 11 at night. It was a little weird but the Christmas lights and stuff were so pretty in the Bayan! I love it! lights hanging on vines and it was great. Sister Teaotai was so confused at why people were out and about.... "Don't they ever go to sleep?" Apparently in Kiribati the whole island goes home to bed around 9:30 and wake up at 5. Weird huh? Then a trike driver tried to rip us off but me and waldrom talked him down in price... and we were on our way home. That was my adventure. It is really hard to be sick on christmas in a foreign land, but it doesn't feel like christmas because I'm in short sleeves and still sweating more than I ever have before in my life. 

Now I will tell you about our Wonderful ward christmas party! It was SO MUCH FUN! BEST CHRISTMAS PARTY I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!  Our ward is very talented, and they turned up the air-con so I won’t sweat which was awesome! We had quite a few investigators and less actives in attendance too! But we perform Angels we have heard on high with williams on the Violin... and then the ward says that they have a present/surprise for us... they have us turn around and then they are all super loud and talking about how we are all foreigners and stuff and other things being yelled in tagalog that none of us understood. They have us turn around and the ward is set up like stadium seating to see us... They've got primary all sitting in the front and then the youth and the adults and some standing on chairs... all in a grand semi-circle to see...... four sister missionaries eat BALOT! Let's be honest it was awesome. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this I’ve been avoiding it... it is a fetal chicken and you eat it warm with salt and vinegar... my first bite I got some of the bird and some of the other part. I just about died. To be honest it was only half as bad as I thought it would be the taste was ok if I didn't think about what I was eating, but then I got some bones and I knew what I was eating and I just about died. But I have survived and it was more entertaining to see the ward just on fire laughing and taking millions of video and pictures... they had the time of their life it was awesome! Family- I hope you are ready to come to the Philippines and eat some nice balot! 

It has been a hard week, but I have had the best of moments and the worst of moments. 
I am very grateful for the opportunity and blessing to be serving my God as a representative of Jesus Christ at this very special time of year. I have been studying the life of Christ- his attributes, and how to become like him this last month and I have learned so much about charity and humility. I love you all and I hope that you have a maligayang pasko! See you Next Christmas!!! 
Love from the philippines, 
Sister Hellewell

ps. sorry I am out of time and can't tell you how much I love my investigators and how wonderful they are. 

December 30, 2013

May Sakit Pa! = I am still sick.

I'm sorry I don't have really much to report about this last week.
Since Christmas I've pretty much just hung out in the apartment with
Teaotai, Waldrom, and Williams. I was going to just send you a nice
collection of pictures of me in the hospital or hanging out with
Teaotai who had an IV in for two days or maybe even some great ones of
all four of us sisters sick and hanging out. by hanging out I mean
laying on mattress's and laughing at the fact that all four of us have
gotten sick. We officially set the record in the mission! We are the
first apartment to have all four missionaries sick at once! Waldrom
picked up some stomach virus when she and Teaotai were at the hospital
and then shared it with Williams. I felt sick, but I got some good
medicine for it before it really hit. Pretty much, the Batangas
missionaries have done almost nothing this past week. IT IS KILLING
ME! I want to get out and work soooooooo badly! I miss our
investigators and members! Speaking of the member's here... they are
just angels from heaven. Doctora Acosta has taken good care of us. She
has given us lots of prescriptions, and taken sister Teaotai to the
hospital practically for free! All we have had to pay for is the
medicines. And she is a specialist in the area that Sister Teaotai is
actually sick in so it is perfect. Really though, she comes to our
house twice a day to give Teaotai med's in her IV or to help us with
anything and check-up she even went and got MacDo for us the other
night. And then her mother made us Chicken and Rice Porridge sunday
morning! It was VERY delicious. Then Bishop and his wife brought us 8
apples, 4 mangoes, a huge bunch of Bananas and GRAPES! I love grapes,
but they are so expensive because they have to be imported. It was
amazing. There are so many ward members that have helped us. Sister
Mondano drove the other sisters to the hospital, and just so many
people are being blessed i hope for their service to us.

I'm still not better, almost getting worse. I havn't really talked
that much about me being sick, but my chest really hurts, now my back
is aching and I am getting exhausted by doing small things. President
came to give me a blessing last night. I was not doing very good.
Luckily I started some new medicine that helps more than the last one,
but I'm still in pain. I didn't think that our situation was really
that bad, but I made sister Peterson and Elder Merriam tear up, and
president is really worried about us, and today elder Malit texted us
and said that we are amazing and thank you for the humbling experience.
I think they are pretty worried about us cause they brought me some
delicious gluten-free food today that I am just excited about.
President said that if I don't start feeling any better in the next
few days he will send me to Manila to recover and figure things out.
Part of me wants to just go to Manila so that I can really rest and
stop worrying about Teaotai or keeping Williams cooped up.

I had a very precious experience when president gave me a blessing. It
is very personal, and I don't really want to share it with the cyber
world. But When president gives blessings it is just like the door of
heaven is opened and the spirit witness's truth unrestrained. He
is just so insiteful. He talked some about the pre-mortal life and who
I was and about a great purpose that the Lord has prepared for me to
accomplish at this specific time. I have about 3 full pages in my
journal about all that was said, but I don't really want to share it
with everyone yet. But I am prompted to start studying more in the
scirptures on who I was in the pre-mortal life.

Also this last week I have had the wonderful opportunity to read the
conference issue of the Liahona from this last General Conference.
After studying the atonement, and character of christ, and how to
become like christ this last month I can clearly see one big theme in
every talk in Conference-- The Atonement. Every single talk just seems
to be talking about the atonement and what it does for us, and how it
can strengthen us to accomplish the lords work. I also love that most
the talks are about missionary work. My friends, now is the time to
get into missionary work and family history is the prophet telling you
that wasn't enough.... go back and read his words and listen now.

Here is a quote I loved from conference of someone quoting  Geroge Q Cannon:
"There is not one of us but what God's love has not been expended
upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed.
There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He
has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not
given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and
contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth
remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually
given His angels-invisible being of power and might- charge concerning
us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping."

Well Family and Friends, I hope you had a Maligayang Pasko and are
looking forward to a Manigong Bagong Taon!
Mahal Kita!
Sister Hellewell

Monday, December 16, 2013

"I talked with God last night"

It is still hotter than ever here in the most beautiful islands in the world. But it has been a very good week! We have had a lot of fun and had much success! Transfers are here and I'm just hoping with all my heart that I get to stay here in Batangas! I just love it so much and want it to continue!

My testimony has really  grown this week as I am learning how truly prepared my generation is to hear and accept the Gospel. We have started teaching many more youth and YSA's. Trisha is 12 is already coming to church and asks us if she could be baptized. Her dad has been less active for YEARS and her mom tries to run away the entire lesson, but she loves every minute of it.

Reya and her brother Romel who are 12 and 16 are just amazing. Reya was a referral from a family in the ward, she has been coming to church activities and her mom came to young women in excellence. a week or so ago. Her brother is really into the lessons and is truly reading the book of mormon with the intent of learning the words of god and to find if it is true. I had to buy one of those really cool flashlights with the light on the side for their lessons because their house doesn't have electricity and we want to teach the family together... and they also live forever and a day away so we need to go there last or first. but I am excited to see their progressing. Romel didn't even hesitate to say he would read or pray or be baptized. I almost cried, we didn't see them or the Martinez family at church. And now let me tell you about some of my new favorite people in the world! The G family. Ok, so it's two siblings and some friends. But I love them! We have known JulieAnn for quite some time and always enjoyed seeing her mainly at Franco's Tindihan. But then our Zone Meeting got canceled and suddenly we had nowhere to go! So we texted JulieAnn first thing to try and teach her. Other attempts have been unsuccessful. She agreed to have us over and her brother and their friend Mallorie joined the lesson. I think that it was one of the greatest lessons I have ever taught. One, because it was taglish, two because the spirit was strong, but really because they understood, they intently wanted to listen the entire time. They have all been going to different churches and then leaving when there was something that just didn't feel right. We had a really long lesson but really it felt like 5 seconds. They had so many questions and were excited to read the book of mormon for themselves! Mallorie actually started reading it during our merienda! We taught them the Plan of Salvation this week as well and jimmy was better at answering JulieAnne's questions better than we were! They came to church yesterday along with Dolan and Maricell and it was just like heaven to see them there! Best day in a long time. Jimmy is the best! He told sister williams that he "talked with god last night and it is true" 

I want to add my testimony to that of my friend Jimmy's that the Book of Mormon is true and that I know that my savior lives and I look forward to continuing to share his gospel throughout the season dedicated to him. I love you all and wish you a merry Christmas! To be honest it doesn't feel like Christmas. I saw the first presidency devotional and saw all the lights on temple square... it just is too hot for Christmas around here. Either that or I've just come accustomed to having decorations up for Christmas since we have had them since September! Anyways I love you all. And family, I will plan on skyping you on my Christmas morning but your Christmas Eve, but with transfers you never know what will happen, and my p-day may be a different day next week. I love you all!

Sister Hellewell

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bindi's Bangles and Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the Best Older Brother in the World and one of my Greatest Friends!!! Brandon! Also a super special happy birthday to Thomas! I love you boys! 

I hope that this email finds you all happy and doing just dandy. My mom said that it was -2 the other day at 10 in the morning in Idaho... you can take some of my heat cause I’m still dying. I actually met some random folks from Eagle Idaho yesterday. They were picking up their son from his mission and took a vacation in Mindoro and came to the main island for church and then went on their way... random and weird to find someone who knows where Kuna is all the way over here... our ward was a little confused at who all the white people were. It was great! 

me and Williams and our bindi's and bangles
This week we had dinner with Franco and his family. They are our Indian Friends here in DeJoya. They are just about the nicest family in the Philippines and sister sure can cook! They gave us Bangles and some Bindi's really from India and we loved it! I sent a picture. 

Jane Kate and mikee 

 We also continued to teach Jane. We taught her the Law of Chastity today and she asked about how mormons are married. We taught her about the temple and the spirit was strong. She loved it. We loved it. and I just about cried that she did not go to church this week. 
us with Jane and her daughters 

We also started teaching Marilou and her family. She has nine kids the youngest is 17 and her husband just died at the end of November. Sister Williams actually met her when we were on exchanges and se finally got to teach her and some of her family today. I loved it! We taught the plan of salvation and the spirit was strong. Roxanne said that she is no longer scared of death and sister maritoni said that she just feels blessed to learn the plan and Marilou didn't want us to leave! 
She feels lots of comfort that she knows where her husband is at this time. I believe that Sister Williams and Ortiola were inspired to talk to her. I just can't wait to go back and teach them! 
Well my letter will be short this week because I’ve got some other things to do on the computer with my pictures and writing random awesome people but I hope that you all have a great week!

Sister Hellewell
 my district right now. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


So today I went to the biggest christian church in Asia. It's pretty awesome, it’s in Lemery, Batangas or I guess TAAL. That's the Zone Leader's Area. It was an amazing experience. It is GORGEOUS! And there are the sounds of birds in the church and it was just so historical and beautiful. I bet you could guess it is made of cement and stone like all other buildings here in the Philippines! We had a wonderful experience. Everything was either written in Tagalog or Spanish or what I think was Latin. Check out the Pictures. I especially like the one on the creepy spiral tunnel staircase and the TAAL one with the cathedral in the background. We were up at the top of the church right at noon so we got to watch the bells ring... loudly... twelve times! But I just loved every moment of it. We got a great view of the city, the ocean, and some coconut jungle! I LOVE the Philippines! There is no place more beautiful on earth! 
Sometimes those places are a little creepy though. I was thinking about how different it is from our churches. We decorate our Temples to perfection, but our church buildings are much more simple. Also they have a huge statue of Christ dying on the cross in the front. Don't get me wrong it was more than beautiful I can hardly describe. But I love that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we focus on the living Christ, after his resurrection. We know that Christ still guides His Church by revelation to living prophets. Of course, the atonement is the single most important event in all of time and eternity but the resurrection is part of that. 

 Teaoti and Waldrom, Stephanie, Williams in front of church.

Add caption
Kaifoto, Williams, Stephanie, Perez, and Waldrom 

Stephanie and Teaotai on the steps

Williams and Stephanie

We have been getting our recent converts involved in missionary work and it is wonderful. If there is one person I wish I could meet it would be Erica Mondano. She is on a mission right now in Japan, but she was a very good member missionary. (Rye is her friend) and we are now teaching another one of her friends that she invited to her farewell and gave a copy of Our Search for Happiness. It is amazing just seeing people searching for the truth for themselves. I just love it! 

I have also learned this week how thin the veil is between this life and the next. I know that our ancestors and loved ones are right here with us. Helping us and guiding us. I have felt it. And I know with no doubt that they are about us helping us achieve the things that the Lord has asked us to do. The life after this one is closer to us than we think it is, and I know that this is true. Sister Williams' Grandmother and Best Friend died last week and president came to give her a blessing. He said that her grandmother is right here with her, and is where she wanted and needs to be. And that she can now help her family like she wants to from the other side of the veil. He talked about how thin the veil is, and I have felt this. I know that it is true. Those who have died are working in the spirit world to help us and to teach each other the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can feel their presence and receive help from them. We can request specific ancestors to come and help us at times. This may be very deep doctrine, but I am learning that this is true. And I can testify that I have felt in my heart and mind that it is true. 

My heart and prayers also go out to the Martinez Family right now. I know that the Lord has a hand in all that happens, and he does not let us return to his presence before he needs us to. I am sure that Nick is right here with us, and helping you everyday more than he ever could before. He is now involved in Missionary Work in the Spirit World and he is with many who love him. The Lord has called me to share his love in the Philippines, and I have learned with no doubt how much he loves each of us and can help strengthen us during trials. Sometimes we may not understand why bad things happen to good people, but the lord has given us agency and trials and will help strengthen us as we rely on him. 

I don't know if I have mentioned this in a previous email home but my mission has been studying the atonement these last few weeks. Anyone who wants to learn something they never knew before should read Elder Bednar's talk on The Atonement (the journey of mortality). It is just so enlightening. I have learned so much from studying that, other talks on grace and the scriptures. I have learned that Christ suffered for everything. Not just our sins, but the pains, trails, and all unfairness in the world. Because of this he can succor- I mean literally run to us-and help us at any time. He understands perfectly each of our individual situations. I do not understand how he did it fully yet, but I know that he does. And now I can look back on my life and see the lords hand in all the trials I have gone through. IF you know anyone who is going through a trial right now please refer them to this talk. As members of the church, and really all christian religions focus enough on the strengthening and enabling power that the atonement gives us. The lord's grace. Or even necessarily understand how it works. I know that this part of the atonement is one that we need to learn to acknowledge and rely more on in our lives. Through Christ we can do all things. He can literally give us power to do things that we could never even come close to doing in our lives without him. I feel the enabling power of the atonement every day in my life right now, and I'm sure I will feel it every day for the rest of my life. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me so much that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins and pains of the world. And through Christ I can return to dwell and become like God after this life. And I say these things sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, Amen. 

The Philippines has been on Christmas for about 3 months now!! Has it started in the States finally?? 


Sister Hellewell 

Elder Lalangan, me, elder sembrano, and sister Williams... helping hands!