Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Life is very hectic for our family right now. I could not be more excited because for Christmas I get exactly what I want! My family will join me in Idaho the day after Christmas! I have missed them hugely for the last 3.5 months! It will be good to be a family again. And then, come August, we will have our sweet Britney back too. Of course, until then, we are more than thankful to be able to share her with the people of the Philippines. We know that both she and they are blessed for it.

We truly hope that our family and friends have an amazing and spiritual Christmas season this year. Please pray for Britney, her companion and those that she teaches.

God bless you,

The Landrum Family

Email December 8th, 2008

Hello, so we guessed wrong :) companion is Tongan but from Hawaii and I love the way that I've learned to be relaxed in my life because of all these different cultures. We work hard still, I mean for the few days that I've been with her, but I don't feel the tension that was there with two American's (not meaning it was bad at all just tense sometimes because we were stressed about work) and the stress and worry I brought when it was just me at the beginning still being very American/ just Me. I may still be a stress case but I'm pretty sure I'm relaxed now a lot, go with the flow culture. I love that our mission has so many Tongan's and it wouldn't be the same without them at all. Her name is Sister Pasi and she turned 25 in October. My district leader and an Elder in the other district in our zone are Tongan also so today when our entire zone got together it was quite the mix of English, Tagalog and Tongan -- nobody would have understood what was going on if they just showed up. At transfers I got the package with the garments and other things, thanks. I'm not sure if it's a lot more expensive to use a box but sending the yellow envelopes is maybe not as safe, they keep getting ripped and they come to me in new plastic from the post office and tape and all of that, I think the little boxes for sending things arrive safer. I did get the star ring and now a necklace :) As for the American from Rupert(?) Well her name is Sister Wilson, if it's the same one, and she goes home the same time my last companion does, in May. Today at interviews President asked me which ward I would be in, probably knowing I could end up there where his friend/sister? is...but I still didn't know. That's pretty funny, small world I live in, I tend to know everybody or be connected in some way. Well, it's good to hear that Casey and her baby are safe...I can't imagine just having a baby and -- well it just seems wrong and now how I would picture having a baby but I hope she's happy and knows how much God loves her. I've had companions who teach about families and about the ten commandments and honoring parents etc. and they seem to focus on that and I know it's important and I could use a lesson in it or could have even more back in the day, haha... but I find myself teaching parents about how their children are God's children and they are their "Kayamanan" or wealth in this world and should help them learn the things of God which is what will truly help their futures more than anything. God teaches us the way we should honor each other as a family and as people and as his children, respect comes from giving respect and love first and that is a place where learning can occur and we are taught by the spirit and grow together understanding one another and being edified daily...I've had this conversation with some of the other missionaries about questions they have or I have or just discussions about parenting, and I really like what Elder Oaks said to the people in the Philippines in their district conference broadcast, that as parents you are missionaries and your children are your investigators so to one question an Elder brought up and said, "well what do you do when your investigators right now act that way or do that...maybe that's what you can adapt to be what you do with your children?" I saw Sister Mabalot for the last time before she goes home, it was kind of a sad parting but I really hope to see her again some time in this life. They go home in January, her and Sister Victorino! It was weird because Sister Thompson and I were talking about that and then we said, “oh and Elder Iongi next” he was my first zone leader and is now AP and the next transfer my current zone leader and our other AP and a lot of people actually…they go home then it’s Sister Thompson then my other Zone leader who was just transferred and then me! What! That’s so crazy. I’ve spent half of my time in the Philippines now. Sixteen months her and eight are over, eight left. I sure can split my mission in half in a lot of different ways, haha. I got a wedding invitation from Andrea’s little sister. I also got a letter from Amanda and she has some news about a certain current boyfriend, but it wasn’t very detailed at all so I really have no idea. She’s about to graduate though and life will be so strange, all my best friends form high school and junior high are done with school and married and things like that. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like anymore if I hadn’t served a mission. It was so much not a part of my plans for my life and yet it was clearly exactly what I needed to do in my life. I can’t imagine returning to where I was, back to my apartment and to school and my job and people that I was with before even who are still there at he same apartment and jobs…because I feel so different and I don’t think I can place myself back in it properly, like I don’t fit anymore but I don’t know where I fit. I can only imagine life here at the moment and like it will continue on like this forever or something. As far as the testimony meeting thing goes, I wish everyone would read Elder Oaks talk about bearing testimony and the recent talk by – I don’t remember maybe even Oaks again, about sacrament meeting. If everyone read those and internalized in and decided to live by it going to church would be a lot more sacred, less awkward and a good place for investigators! I guess that’s a lot of why I wasn’t so into the idea of being a missionary that spoke, it just seemed weird, I don’t want any focus to be about me in such an important meeting where people already have a hard time remembering the part that is important. In one of my wards here the person conducting would always get up and say “Welcome now to the most sacred part of our church service, the sacrament, please observe reverence.” I heard that over and over again every week and I don’t know how much anyone else heard it but I thought about it even more because of that. It sounds pretty appropriate to be celebrating my birthday by moving – I’ll be celebrating by tracting, it’s a just a regular Tuesday, no meetings or anything. It sure has been the season for new apostles. They were all the same for so long and now it’s just time for all of them to be done and we’ve nearly lost the bottom six and started over within the last couple of years, strange. I appreciate getting closer to the leaders than I was before and hearing their words and learning from their lives. Sister Thompson and I were talking about Sabbath day observance which I think I wrote about in my last hand written letter, but I was thinking that right now is really the time in my life and all others like me (meaning not married etc.) to decide what will be important to you and how you will live your life. If you don’t decide certain things then there is a good chance you will marry someone who won’t make the same decision you might later and then it might not happen, it will be hard to change. Of course, we all need to make changes our entire life and if married you have to start making them together to stay equalized but I think there are certain things you need to have decided if they are important enough to you and start living them first or you might just be influenced back into another way. I was thinking about this because of my own Sunday activities throughout my life. They changed a lot between my first year of college and my next then before my mission. I can see how if I don’t decide to have that set and be a habit for me and truly how I live that I could be influenced by whomever I marry to change it again to maybe a lower standard, and we aren’t meant to lower our standards for anything, and not any kind of standard. There are a lot of things I expect and probably idealize (and realize it’s idealized) about my life but I know that if I don’t first learn to live it then I can never expect it out of anyone else or of myself for later in my life and so now is truly the time to decide and the better off my entire life will be. I wonder if I will be “too picky” as mom calls it, who knows I don’t know what will happen but sometimes I worry about getting trapped in something that I would be unhappy with or that it’s easer to just fix things on your own and be who you should be but I realize that’s not really the plan and it doesn’t work that way, you can’t save yourself in the end, you have to give it all to Christ who already did the hard part, suffer with him but sacrificing all you have now and drag others along with you and push them sometimes and sometimes maybe they’ll drag and push you but if nobody is doing that and you don’t walk in together – well nobody will walk in. Now is the time to be one, if we are not one we are not his because he suffered just the same for all of us and we are meant to build upon that, forgive one another because we have been forgiven – have you read Elder Holland’s talk in the December Ensign or New Era – he talks about the great sacrifice of forgiveness and I’d never thought of forgiving in that way, it is us doing what Christ did and bearing their sin through our forgiveness to him. That statement makes more sense if you just read the way he said and explain it but anyway it was a really good talk.Anyway, I’m just kind of rambling now and my time is probably almost up so I will end here. Hope the month of December is going just great for everybody, one week in now. Maybe tell me the new address so I can start sending letters there and they don’t miss you? I don’t really know what to do about that and am not sure how long my letters always talk to get there. I will also need all of our new stake and ward information for the mission. I’ll be getting my “trunky letter” in January I think and they will ask of my address or stake president changed so I’ll need to give them the new information. Oh yeah, did you sell the house you currently live in. I guess I really just don’t know what’s going on with all of that but that’s okay because I can’t do much about it, haha…and did you ever buy another car? Does Savanna know what she’s going to do with school now, graduating, working now, which college? I still say she goes to Provo, art program at BYU, yeah! That’s the safest place to study art, that’s all I have to say about that. And, where there’s a will there is a way! We could even take a dance class together or something, yeah. Of course, I’m all old and out of shape and not flexible now, hopefully that doesn’t last once I return to normal life with clean floors to stretch on and a good place to run or something but I don’t really know that I’ll do much more with dance in my life, maybe that time is beyond me – anyway now that more rambling has been accomplished in my email I wish you all a great Christmas month and will talk with you again next week (over email that is) Love from the Philippines form the Island of Mindoro (or Kingdom of Mindoro, haha).Britney (aka Sister Landrum for now)

Email December 1st, 2008

Hello to my family on the first day of December 2008. My birthday is in 29 days now and I will be 22 – that’s kind of old…especially when I consider that I will quickly be 23 after I come home to real life and continue on with wherever my life takes me. Today we found out about transfers again and I’m following Elder Winn’s theme these days – since his first companion he’s only been with any of them for six weeks and Sister Thompson is being transferred so my last companion was six weeks and so is this one. In some ways (meaning only in learning Tagalog) I guess it’s better but it makes time seem to go by even faster when we’re always going to transfers and getting new companions and new areas etc. One of my companions also went home today and next month two more will go home, crazy. Sister Mabalot was still really new to the mission when she trained me and now she’s going home! This week will be busy again with travel and I’ll have news about who my companion is on Monday. This week was productive, however. We didn’t have anything significant in the way of our teaching and so we got around to a lot of our areas and we ended up with a lot of people committing to baptism which was really exciting. As for the “family” mom keeps asking about there wasn’t one particular just that week we taught a bunch of full families and it was odd to me because I’d never taught a full family before. There is one family we continue to teach. They are catholic and active for the most part and we taught them the word of wisdom last time. It was funny because when we asked what they had problems with the mother pointed to her husband and said alcohol then he said coffee for his daughter and their children pointed to mom and said cigarettes and then they all pointed to their younger son and said “DRUGS” which was a joke, entirely…but it was funny because they were all pointing out each others vices. We committed them to make goals to stop and gave them a lesson about the power of Christ in our lives. We’ll see what happens with them. There is another woman we are teaching and some of her older and younger daughters. Classified her as older and younger because she’s about 38 I think and her oldest daughter who has daughters and a husband is 22 I think and then her youngest daughter is the same age as her daughters daughter…that is rather frequent here however. She came to church with her children and their neighbor who is 22. She said she used to have a very hard time remembering anything from the bible that she studied but she used to be catholic and then she was iglesia ni cristo but she doesn’t like any of them and disliked the gossip and attitudes etc. and she’s been praying to find the truth and one day she said “I’ve been remembering things better and I think you are the answer to my prayers.” There are two girls that are cousins and the first time we taught I asked the one what she felt about Joseph Smith’s story and she said “I’m just happy he has found the true church!” In our later visits we asked if they had prayed and read to know if it was true and they both very simply said that it was true and we taught about baptism and they both agreed to prepare for baptism…neither of them have come to church yet because it came so fast so the baptism is far in the future but it’s amazing how some people progress to that point so quickly and seek and find an answer immediately, they truly have the gift of the spirit to believe the truth that is within the testimony of others.As for money – I could attempt getting pearls if that’s really what you want but the couples that used to buy them went home this weekend, their mission is over. Sister Victorino might be able to for me once she goes home she said so I’ll see, andI had this one other thing I planned to try to get just for the family. As for me using my pearls, I just have them kept away because I wouldn’t wear them here. The problem is – it’s still really hard for me to get cash meaning impossible actually because the ATM doesn’t work and these are all things that require cash and I’m in an area where I can’t use my card frequently to buy my food like before and that way was kind of hard anyway and I don’t think always worked out evenly. If you could accomplish sending me even ten dollars at a time in cash in letters I don’t think anything would happen to it or in a package you could send some cash then that would help me pay for some of those things and I don’t know that I’ll be using my card that much more for a while – and it is good to have non mold shoes and hopefully they stay that way. My scripture cases and covers also have mold but I’m just getting new covers for them, sigh! Haha…all is well besides that. As for you not coming when I come home, that seems best to me for now also but I still think coming back in the summer will be hard and if we came back at all it would be best and most meaningful six months after I come home over Christmas break – but I won’t plan for anything at all at this point and that’s always best because we have no idea what will happen. I get the feeling all my money and any you want to help me with when I very first get home will go to school. All I would need help with at first was paying for an apartment before I started getting paid at whatever job I find and then I’ll start up full time classes once I have enough money or a good job but I’ll need an apartment and maybe will take one or two classes – like a religion class and a tagalong class. I still don’t know and have a few months before I need to be more serious about it though so that’s all for now.I did finally send a letter and so hopefully that will get to you and I did get one hand written letter from dad a little while ago and if I have more mail I will get it again on Friday because we go to transfer, hooray! I’m running out of time now and can’t remember everything I’ve written about or need to, email is kind of crazy like that sometimes. Thanks for all the letters and good luck with the travel. I bet I travel as much as dad does in a week because our area is so far and when we go to email, to shop, to district meeting, then to zone interviews, to transfers it’s a good couple of hours or more in vans, tricycles and on a boat! Haha – I love you all bye! Sister Landrum

Email November 24th, 2008's probably better Dad couldn't email me, hearing about the loss from mom was a little bit easier to take. The pressure thing, it must have really gotten to them :( it was a Utah home game and that's always hard, and they were undefeated and so I guess it was our year to lose but hopefully it will pick up again once I get there, haha. Anyway, my companion told me to "lock my heart" from BYU football, hehe...she was just joking.As for my bank account, I have about $90.00 in there...the sad mold story meant I really needed to buy myself some shoes. The mold attacked my shoes and I attempted cleaning them really well and it just got worse so I bought myself some new shoes, nice ones for conferences and church and plastic ones for rain, and hopefully the nice ones will be good for when I come home too so I won't feel so bad about spending that much money. We also were in Lipa (the city) for zone conference so we bought ourselves some chips and salsa and found real cheese and things like that for our own little thanksgiving smash on Thursday...since nobody else cares that it's a holiday (at least my companion is American for the holiday's haha). As for your letter, that you still don't have...I've had real issues sending it. Pola has its own time system and I can't seem to catch the post office man in his office, ever! It's not like I can just sit around there either so we just keep trying different times of days, today a letter will get sent if I do have to sit there, though...beacuse it's p-day so I'll find a way. Also, I got the letter with the dried leaves and some of the filipino elders really enjoyed smelling them, something I didn't even think to do at all...haha. I say you stay frumpy and in sweats (it fits the Idaho scene, hehe, just kidding) and give me all of your cute clothes so I don't have to try to shop at all the rest of my life. Also, you still have a nine year old so you won't be free of girls for a really long time. Does Savanna know if she can graduate yet? Tell her I think she needs to try going to BYU. I say it's worth taking classes she likes such as art if you're going to be at school even if it's not your focus, like my dance classes. Don't worry, I feel pretty bad I don't have any pictures of our great costumes from the musicals is different when you have a digital camera, I became the picture taking queen in college and before that it was just a bother plus my face always looks gross and then I get depressed when I have to look at the pictures, haha. Our people choosing names or being given names again for Christmas? I was just wondering if I would be a part of it or just discounted now that I'm on a mission and far away. Maybe I should just be left out actually, haha. I got a letter from Jenny the other day and I'm going to try to create some kind of Christmas card to send everyone but I can't make any big promises because my time on Monday goes by really fast here since it takes so long to get here and back from the email place. As for's only a branch here and we teach all three hours because nobody else is there to do it sometimes, or nobody else make a plan for doing it and so we've been going around trying to get people to Church -- but you have to balance finding new strong members and helping the ones who are already there so that's what we do. We did laundry with the second councelor in the branch presidency. His wife is the relief society president but she is on vacatio nand doens't know when she can come back yet because they don't have money to come back. She's staying with their son in a different area of the Philippines and he has stopped coming to church, it was before she left however. So, we went down to this stream place where he washes clothes and spent all morning washing clothes with him, and the next day he came to church. He only stayed for one hour but he that's progress. It is really hard for people to get to church sometimes, our meeting house right now is kind of far away from a lot of the areas in our area and from the main city so they have to walk. It's possible but the rain keeps a lot away and sometimes a lack of desire to walk in general. We did however have ten investigators come to church on Sunday and were pretty excited about it because that is a lot compared to the normal 1-3 hopefully. It doesn't feel like it's November or almost December or close to my birthday or holidays or anything here -- which is maybe a blessing. I don't remember if I told you but Sister Ganir (they are couples in the mission) said she wants the sisters to stay at her house in Lipa after zone conference in December, which is the 24th of December, and then we will spend Christmas eve baking cookies, becuase she has an oven and can buy the stuff for it and she might get permission to watch a Christmas movie also and then we would maybe call you the next morning whcih would be your Christmas eve..but we still don't have that worked out. Christmas zone conference is also just a party...we even do a gift exchange. If Sister Thompson is still my companion next transfer I hear her mother sent her companion presents, bonus for me, hehe! So, I think that's about all from me for this week. It was another week ofl ots of travel. In fact, after zone conference we missed the early boat and were on the slow boat out on the ocean until about ten at night (way past curfew but it wasn't our fault and were with our entire zone) and the ocean is kind of dark and scary at night but it was really cool to look at the stars from the deck because usually you can't see many stars here. Then the Elder's had to drive us home so we drove all in their truck for another two hours and poor them had to drive home. We went to bed after midnight and I realized how much of a not night person I have might come back to me or be forced to at times but I just like going to bed now. Anyway, that's all for now. Bye, Love from me Britney

Email November 17th, 2008

Hello to all of you. I've been trying to copy some of the pictures that you've all been giving me to print some of them for myself but that took up a lot of my time, sorry. This week was full of travel and this upcoming week, meaning tomorrow I guess, we travel more! Zone conference when you're on the island is a three day adventure of sorts and going to Manila was quite the adventure. We were in the bus all day long in terrible Manila traffic and a rain storm, but we got to watch the Testaments and we got to go to the temple. It was amazing. I think I wrote about all of this in the letter I was writing while not sick on the bus so I guess I apologize for the repeat. Sometimes it's hard to think of what exactly to write or how to write it even though a lot happens. We talked with the husband of a member, whose family is also members, but he is a born again preacher. He wants to understand the Book of Mormon, he wants to know if he can be a member without believing in the Book...because he feels it contradicts the bible, he is a firm believer in the bible and his big hang up is on the fact that it says "God is spirit." You can tell he really just wants to know, but he's very hung up on intellectual things and so it's hard for him and we were late getting home so the conversation stopped, we actually only talked with him at all beacuse we were dropping by their house to get my shoes which they had graciously glued back together for me, haha! Anyway, tomorrow we go to zone conference again, but it's actually Wedenesday. We saw the hugest spider that either of us have ever seen and it's probably still wandering around in our closet because it hid from us in the room with no light and it was night so we missed killing it. As for monkey's...I really never see them, only a couple of times and it happens to be that one of the times he decided to pull my hair. The children here don't seem to play with bugs as much, or I just don't see it because they are in school now and in my first area they were on summer break. It also depends if that kind of bug is in this area. They do spider fights also though, they catch these spiders and keep them in little containers and will get them out on a stick and try to make them fight and let them crawl all around on their hands and things. We made a record possible on Sunday...I played the piano, we both spoke for sacrament meeting, we taught the lesson in Sunday school and then we helped to singing time and a sharing time story in primary -- the difficult thing here right now is a lack of people fulfilling their callings an thus we fulfill them for them. It's winter of sorts here also meaning it rains for than other times in the year (so they say) and it's been raining almost every Sunday so a lot of people don't come to church. We'll just keep trying to get them to church, to stay once them come for all the meetings...and read their scriptures other days :) We've both been talking about how our missions have helped us want to magnify all our callings because we see how hard it is for others who make up the difference if you don't, or when nobody is there at all to do it and the church prog rams suffer and the edifying of the poeple suffers and we become disunified and disconnected and fall away from important truths that were once in our lives. Well, I'm about out of time so I guess I'll end there. I'm excited to go to Zone conference and maybe get more mail and to try to send off my letters to you -- they'll come I promise! Love Sister Landrum

Email November 10th, 2008

I don't understand Garyn's question...why did I choose to be obedient? When? I can give you a missionary answer? Mosiah 2:22/41 and Haring Benjamin or King Benjamin that is explains that God gives us everything even our lives and all he requires of us is that we are obedient...the blessings are great too, the happy state of the obedient in this life of troubles, temporal and spiritual blessings and a promise of life in a state of never ending happiness after this life. As for Elder Holland's answer, obedience is not only the first law of heaven, it is the first law of EVERYTHING. Now, if we had not chosen to be obedient to the plan of God in heaven none of us would be here, now we just have to keep choosing obedience. From my lesson on Sunday in church, it was about faith and they there is no faith where there is no obedience "walang pananampalataya kung walang pagsunod." AS for my personal words on the matter, I sure am not always obedient nor strictly obedient as the two thousands stripling warriors but I've never in my life had a desire to be rebellious, too much...and I like the safety in obedience. My patriarchal blessing also advises me to develop my obedience and that in so doing it will be a blessing to my younger sisters.As for letters from my and not emails, life is a bit far away in my new area so I'm sorry that you might be waiting for your next letter and it sounds like you've gotten all the ones that I've finished sending. WE are also having a couple days of craziness because we all have to travel to Manila and have our fingerprints taken for our passports and it's causing mayhem so I apologize that hand written letters are in scarcity right now. I was able to print pictures today though so hopefully some of them work out nicely and I will send them also. The funny thing about your thinking look really fresh and such is that we really are sweaty and gross and my face breaks out like crazy and stuff but that's just life and pictures seem to capture a better side often, maybe it's because everything around me is so beautiful.I'm not sure which elementary school it is you're seeing, Dad, but we live right below an elementary school in a home that used to be a doctors office. Sister Anderson really doesn't like it, Elder Homer (one of the AP's right now) told us that she really feels bad for us, haha...we are surviving quite nicely however. Pola is extremely remote, but it might get a little busier in the summer time because they do have a beach's not an extra fancy beach either though and it is hard to get here so I don't really know. We were a little afraid for our work because the area is large but the main area where we should work and easily can is kind of small...and people from far away parts of the area never go to church so they dropped all those areas and have been focusing here. We spent all week finding, however, and I have never taught more families in whole before in my whole was amazing. It's really different to teach when there are children and a mother and father and all are listening and participating to some degree even if that means the teenager is secretly texting until her father takes it away (it made life seem really real again or something) I've really never taught full families before like this and so that was a fun experience for us this week, we were really surprised. People are also really kind about our Tagalog handicap and try to help us out, I just hope they are understanding the message, especially the vital parts of it, well enough. I've recently been praying for more of our extended family also and I really hope that they are reading the Book of Mormon or will find a way to do it again because I am teaching people every day that their salvation depends upon it. I have a scripture chase I created as I was reading through and would underline in purple all of the traits or qualities of God, verses that were more specifically about Father in Heaven that is because there are many that refer to Christ or to them as one...and in the Book or Mormon you learn many of His traits, you learn the importance of belief in Him and his great power and knowledge and love and long-suffering and all those traits we are meant to require here in order to become like mission president pointed out that if we plan to create a word don't you think that takes knowledge and patience if we plan to be parents of many it surely requires love and long-suffering and if we are all powerful you must have humility to check it etc. anyway I really like Mosiah 4:9 also "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend..."Well, I think I'm running out of time again and I'm going to email Savanna so thanks for the emails and good luck with everything, love from me. Sister Landrum

Now I'm going to add to this letter because I realized I had a lot I still needed to address. I did get the shirt and it is a bit not missionary but it's cute...maybe I'll find a good occasion that I feel comfortable wearing it and if I never do it's not a waste because I'll wear it when I come home, haha. Thanks. As for coming to the Philippines, I never talked about that last week I realized. In some ways I think it would be good, just come home, see everyone at the airport, it would take away some of the stress there at the end of hwere to go and who I want to see again and where you'll be etc. but the down side is you wouldn't get to meet Sister victorino, Sister Abad, Sister Hill or my mission president...also I would probably not want to come back in another year if we did because I have no idea what I'll be doing at that point, if you didn't come now I would say plan for Christmas break only a couple of months after I come home and then it's still not too long after I've left my areas and things like that and there is less prediction happening about where I'll be job wise etc. I also keep hearing some strange rumor about how the missionaries from the philippines are all going to be invited back and even helped to go back to the philippines in 2011 because that is the mission here in the philippines 50 year anniversary and so maybe I'd be coming back or trying to then. Anyway...just tell me what you have continued to think about it. It's kind of sad because I never bought one of the cool bags in my last area but maybe I can have someone buy one for me I just won't get to choose and it's more about the people anyway and not the cool bags that they make, right? I think there were other things I also forgot to address but this is all I'm remembering for now so I'll close once again and leave you with this for the week. My week is all travel and the next week is more travel because of zone conference so these shoudl be a couple of interesting weeks -- anyway take care (ingat poh kayo lagi Doon sa malayo!!!) Sister Landrum

Monday, November 3, 2008

Email November 2nd

Hi, so I suddenly realized that my email last week didn't make lot of sense. Sister Mabalot and Sister Abad would like five tops and five bottoms each of garments -- I figure you did understand that because I continued on by explaining sizes best I could and that they want the silky ones but I just thought I'd make sure. I also thought that I really need some sticky notes, not the pad of big ones but the little ones that are square that I can use to stick in people's books to mark their assignment -- I can't find any here and I'm running low. I made an amazing discovery, there is such a thing as slips in shorts style -- I'm wearing Sister Thompson's right now and it's AMAZING, I'm not sure what makes the slip so much better like this but I'm a fan. I'm wearing hers because my one and only one is being washed right now. As for Sister Thompson, we get along too well maybe, haha. We have to be careful not to talk too much (especially in English :) hehe and get everything else done we need to. Of course we're different people but it's really easy to get along with someone that understands everything you say, haha. I miss Sister Victorino and I miss having someone who always understood everything going on but we're learning a lot and we feel really strongly that something about our companionship is going to help our struggling but humble area. As for the area, it's Pola not palo and I'm not sure if you just typed it wrong or what but maybe there is a place palo that you've looked up that is
that tourist place you are speaking of because although I'm sure there are tourist places somewhere on the island Pola is not one of them -- furthest thing from it. It's really hard to even get there so I doubt many people go there unless they have to. There also really isn't anything to do there at all including work so many people are split families with one working abroad or they work in a field an then eat what they grow or sell it to try to make money . Our Branch President for instance doens't work at all, his wife does, and he focuses entirely on his
calling. He couldn't find work before and every since being called has lots of offers that would force him to leave but they've decided they need to stay here and work it out, he acts as branch clerk too and his counselors don't always come -- they also don't have a compute or printer or anything here so our records are really fun to try to keep -- and I have no idea where my apartment is in relation to what you described...sorry. There is a huge cemetery on a hill and we live a little further down the road and to the left of it but that's the best mark I can think of.
Something really fun that recently started happening is that everything I own contracted mold, I'm trying to salvage it all but I wish I could just throw everything but my scriptures and one dress away -- that would be the life. I felt inspired by mom's email to tell you something I don't think I specifically did before. It was kind of interesting and I didn't think too much about it
but back a while ago when Elder Teh was here and he interviewed me he asked me a lot about my family and school and what I planned to do after my mission and something about our conversation lead me to say something to him that I hadn't vocalized or thought much about and is really a simple statement but I had thought about it a little at the MTC but in a different sense and about more the entire family - I guess I started realizing how your entire family is blesses if you sacrifice to serve but it was just a realization and then here actually on my mission and mostly during my interview when I said it -- well what I told him was "I think one of the biggest reasons I'm here is for my mother...and for our relationship..." kind of like that and then I told him it was interesting because dad was the one who always really wanted me to go and I knew it and I knew you'd be so excited for me and had all the reasons and had also served and hopefully our family would be blessed spiritually with callings etc. and financially which all seemed to relate to Dad. Mom, on the other hand, may have liked me to stay home and get married and have a baby boy or something, not that she was against me going but I guess I never thought it would affect you so much that I did rather than didn't -- who knows. I realize this paragraph is a mess but I don't have time to fix it and am choosing not to delete it, haha! As for leaving my mark, I hope I'm leaving the gospel mark, I hope we're planting seeds and at least for a moment helping people know that God love's them even if they never progress while I'm here or ever from that point on but I feel less and less like I have anything to do with it and that anything about me has anything to do about it every day, so I'm not sure what mark I specifically would make of my own. I have a very AMERICAN mark on them because they all love Americans and it's really difficult to speak or express or explain how I might in Tagalog and so instead I say what I can or what I have a little help from the spirit saying about God's message to them but I'm having a great mark made on me which I'm leaving here and will bring back with me and that is a mark cemented deeper than it was, but one that was already there. I love this gospel, I know it's true, I have a desire to not doubt and to improve and to help others and to not falter and it do what I am meant to even if I don't always understand why and that is the kind of mark I have at this point. By the way, Sister Thompson is from Smithfield near Logan not Smithville - retraction from my last letter. As for our apartment -- President and Sister Anderson came
to visit and Sister Anderson really wants us to find a new apartment, but I don't think we'll find better here and it's hard to move. As for water, we often don't have any, depends on the time of day. There are frequent burn-outs so sometimes no electricity. We hope it continues but our one great success story from this Sunday -- well there is a family of members but the father is not active, the older son is recently act ive again and one of the older daughters is married to a born again preacher. They have been the focus family for the last three months Sister Thompson has been here. Their daughter is about my age and the young women president here, she's kind of spunky and really funny to talk to, she wants me to leave my blouses with her, haha. We visited and taught them once and then Saturday we were in the area and we talked to him again and told him to come to church with us and I told him jokingly (because it makes more sense in Tagalog and doesn't sound as weird and it's their personality) that I would give him a prize if he came and I knew his family would be happy and something like that... well the next day he was there at Church and Sister Thompson was so surprised, it is the first time he has come to church in basically forever and his wife shared her testimony and said that it's amazing because that morning she had been tired and was having issues getting to shower
and almost didn't come which means he may not have, oh how the adversary works in all ways to stop progression, but then she found out he was going and quickly changed her ways and was again an example to her husband and as a family they came to church, because he'd promised the sisters he'd come, haha. We taught them and their born again preacher, it would be so much easier to answer his questions if I could speak English, haha! Well, I'm sorry but i'm going to have to close right now. We're emailing kind of late and so we have to leave early. I'll try to finish up answering questions and stuff later and tell Savanna that I'll reply to her email another day and thanks for the pictures, Elli is beatuiful! and they're all so big, wow. I love you all, bye

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Email October 27th

Something "Tricky" did end up happening. It must be because it was the October transfer. I mentioned the few things I thought would happen to me at transfers and then I said if that didn't happen something tricky might and that's just what happened. I had it all worked out,who might be my new companion and where I would be going and then the names kept getting knocked off, there seemed to be no places left for me and I was a bit confused... and then I was going to the "other" island. I thought there was a chance at the one but I knew the other was not possible -- oh was I wrong. So here I am in Pola Mindoro with Sister Thompson, an American! She hasn't really been here that much longer than me. Ten months meaning she's at her one year mark if you include the MTC. Life is definitely different on the Island, and if you end up not getting an email one week don't be too worried. I don't think it will happen but the email place is now really far away and who knows, so just to warn you ahead of time so you don't call the mission or anything. I also don't think i'll be sending pictures quite as often as I used to because only when we go off the island is that possible, but who knows. I talked about how the spiders are also huge here but I didn't know huge until I got to the apartment on the Island. My first night there was a nice big one crawling around on our ceiling with something white attached to it. That would be its egg sack so when we knocked it down from the ceiling and smashed it all the little spiders went all over and I started spraying the floor as we stepped on them all. Later there was another large one by my bed, I can't smash the big ones it completely grosses me out so I'm pretty glad that Sister Thompson has no problem with it, anymore. She's from Utah, Smithville, and turned 22 this October. She went to Utah State University before her mission and we both just kind of struggle with the language, we both have no idea why we were put together since there are only five American sisters in the entire mission -- but maybe we'll get some insight as time goes on and maybe from president tomorrow at our zone interviews. The branch here is what you call starting out and President called STP - Same Ten people... they just trade around the callings every year and have multiple ones and try to get everyone else to help out. I played the keyboard for sacrament, shared my testimony and then taught one of the classes later that day as Sister Thompson taught another -- they are good and patient with my language skills, for now. I get the feeling I'm going tobe forced to teach myself for now and it's going to be good, yes it will be good we just keep telling ourselves it will be good, right, good? Haha, I was so shocked at the meeting that when I stood up to greet her and move seats my legs were shaky and I felt a bit hot. As for you coming here again-- I need to tell Sister Victorino something about what you think about having her be your tour guide and what your plans are, I don't really know what's going on with that for you. As for the package -- I think I sent a letter talking about some more things I would appreciate and don't know if you got it get or what I said in it for sure and also the official best thing to wear here on a day to day basis, especially on the island where it is not easy to wash my clothes and dry them and be hot all the time -- Jody Dresses -- I have two but if you want to send me another it wouldn't hurt my feelings. If they are super long, well I had the ones I bought altered to be shorter just because it's easier here anyway Sister Abad and Sister Mabalot would like 5 tops and 5 bottoms each, meaning 20 pieces total and I'm pretty sure they want caranessa bottoms and the silk tops -- and that they don't really understand the sizes because sizes are different here. Sister Mabalot and Abad are about my height, not super short like others, and Abad is a little bit bigger, if you have pictures you can compare her to me. My bottoms are the hmmm... XS 24/26 or something i that is a size or maybe the S also, I'm thinking that's more what sister Abad would need and then Mabalot is tiny so maybe more like Mom's size or a little bit smaller as for tops I don't really know -- :) how do you like that information? I'm glad Maddie enjoyed her birthday and dad survived the movie, truthfully those are not my favorite either :) I remember the first time I saw it was because I was trapped on the couch after jaw surgery and the girls were watching it over and over again, haha. As for speaking when I come home, am I really going to end up speaking in your ward?Hmmm, and don't expect anything from me that might just disappoint you, haha a talk just comes out as it does when it does kind of like teaching does sometimes here, and not to mention if I do speak it would have to be pretty quickly if I end up going back to Provo and it's strange to teach in straight English right now, because you express life different in Tagalog and that's what I'm around all the time -- who knows. Anyway, if you haven't noticed about my personality I don't really like to have people have expectations of me, it's kind of a bad personality trait and makes me try to avoid letting people know much about what i'm doing, or feeling like I have to live up to something because it stresses me out and then I feel like I'm doing things for the wrong reasons, well I can'texplain this but anyway that's how I feel and probably part of why way back when I didn't really want to speak when I left either, but I did, and now you're moving so I'll never see those people again. I'm kind of excited for the moving part to be over and hear how everything is going, it's like limbo right now but I'm here so life is going fast fast fast -- half way like you said, but some days are still slow slow slow. Thanks for the letters and the emails and the package, yes i got the package at transfers and already ate all the licorice and the american Elders were really excited to eat some starbursts for the first time in forever also -- they've been here longer than me. As for that necklace from your letter way back when, when I got it there was a huge hole in the envelope like it had been ripped through then taped again and there was a chain, a small chain necklace and that's it and I wore the chain for a while until the sweat make it irritating to my skin like all the necklaces do if I wear them here and then i put it away in a safe place but if there was a vile attatched I never saw it, it probably didn't travel well in just a normal envelope. I don't have too much more to talk about because life has been full of travel and unpacking and cleaning and that's about it for now and I'm feeling a bit crowded at this internet place because there are tons of little boys crowded around the chairs to the side of me playing internet games and it's kind of hot so i'll try to write more about things, maybe you can ask specific questions about something you would like to know so I'll know what you want to know and good luck to everyone with everything else and that's about it for now, love Britney

Email October 20th

Well, we really weren't expecting it to happen but I am being transferred! Ugggg, that's just how it works, things start picking up and you find this fabulous family you've been praying for your entire mission and you love your companion and you only get one transfer with them and no time to see the family progress haha! Neither of us were expecting it really and both cried right when we saw my name, so it's to Alaminos I go on Friday and who knows after that. I have very few options actually, I'll become the companion of Sister Hill's current companion in San Pablo or go to the island -- or something tricky might happen and I'll be in a threesome who knows where. It's kind of funny because all three American's in our district are being transferred out at the same time. As for BYU -- since Utah didn't lose it just means they have it coming at our game and we'll be tied, one loss and one loss but their loss will be worse becauseit will be against their rivals :) Who knows but I guess we all require humility even in football -- Elder Bringhurst will be very upset (one of the couples) and he watches all the games on the internet, haha. As for your visit here, what are you current and continous thoughts on it because we've had some fabulous revelation. Sister Victorino is from Manila so she said she could be your tour guide, you can pay for her transportation to Alaminos with you as payment for guiding maybe and she'll lead you to the mission home then we'll all go together back to our area here in Lucban and when finished take her back to Manila at the temple and fly out from there. If you get here Monday early Philippines time and we stayed only until Thursday or Friday that would probably work well, anyway tell me what you think. I'll have to work it out with her from a distance now because I'm being transferred, blah :( haha transfers are what life is all about I guess but clearly I'm taking this one hard, I like Lucban and my companion and the other sisters here and our investigators and I'll love all my new ones too, right? I'll miss the baptism coming up also but that's not the important part I suppose, it's that it happens and the retention after even if I never see any of them. As for Christmas cheer, there is plenty of it here, rainy, green style beause they have no other holidays in the way, christmas lights and jingle bells right now, wow. What is it Maddie had to say about me in her talk? They finished their primary program here, the best part was that the Bishop sat up on the stand still and the children were behind him, he lip sang or really sang all the songs with them while he sat there, it was great. I noticed something about Alma this week that I really appreciate. He's consistently telling the people that he hopes they do not think he knows the things he's teaching of himsef, then teaches them of his study, fasting and of the spirit which is how he knows all things and they can know it also. As teachers of the gospel we must consistently acknowledge how we know, all comes from God through His spirit and that is how others will know also. As for your sale and the selling of all my belongings, I bet you'd make a lot off of Carin's painting and all my journals, it's all art :) just kidding but when you first started listing items I thought you had seriously sold my things-- you really can't sell the computer it contains all my life information, hundreds of dollars of music and pictures and journals et. very important to me :) good luck with the moving, with the scrapbooking, with the house remodeling and the new job and the finishing school before break and I'll keep trying to learn Tagalog and tell you abut my new area next week. Love from me, Britney/Sister Landrum.

Wait, although there are many dogs they usually don't chase me but we have a great story about our ROUS's here, rodents of unusual size such as the mouse that ate all my shampoo! It ate a hole in our door then ruined all our bathroom supplies, but was never caught. So one day we came home for lunch and I opened the door only to scare a mouse or rat the size and fatness of a slightly grown up puppy! It was so huge and scared to death of my screaming. I sat there and yelled at it in Tagalog while Sister Victorino stood on the stairs away from it trying to think of what to do. Finally we heated up some water to throw on it but I told her just to get the neighboor to help us. Ferdinand came over and locked himself in the bathroom with a stick and killed it. We made him clean the blood with our hot water then we both cleaned it again a couple of times and still didn't want to use it. That night there was a nice large cockroach in our bedroom even though I sprayed after the rat experience -- so we sprayed it and it started flying around the room as I chased it out the door and finally it went on the floor where sister. Vic smashed it a couple times before it died as it continued to leap around, they are so strong it's ridiculous. Well, I enjoy my rodents of unusual and terrible sizes. Everything comes in huge size here, rats, cockroaches, spiders but the dogs are all small, just diseased. All right, sorry that ended up being my closing I had forgotten about it though. Good bye for real this time - Britney

The Philippines from an outsiders view

I saw this posted on the internet and thought it was very interesting to read. Therefore, I thought others might gain insights as to where Brit is by reading it also. Hope you enjoy.

And there I was. Not on a white sandy beach. Not in a funky Filipino hotel. Not prepping to dive the coast of Palawan in the morning. But instead, sitting on the faded blue seatcover of a lazy old couch in the living room of this Filipino family in the town of Pola 3 Hours from Puerto Galera, my intended destination, with the sun long gone behind me, and the sound of tropical insects buzzing outside the screen door. Kathy's mother was extremely surprised to see her daughter hop out of the tricycle with a large white girl in tow, but graciously accepted me into her home. I must admit, I was a little stunned to be sitting there. Kathy's 11 year old brother was insanely shy, and although he learns english in school, you would have thought he was mute. When her father came through the door he was also somewhat shocked. "Dirty!" he said in english. "Our house is very very dirty!" They felt very sorry for my having to stay with them in their poverty. Me, a rich Canadian girl out to travel the world... having to stay here... in a town consisting of one street. I was so happy to be with these people though. When would I ever have had this kind of chance if I had stayed at some ridiculous all inclusive resort?? After explaining how thankful I was to be there, they wanted to serve me dinner, and disregarding my calls of "im not hungry", we jumped on a tricycle to buy a roasted chicken from their neighbors down the street. Alas, it was just wasted gas, as the chickens had been sold out. We settled instead, on canned tuna from the tiny shop run out of someones home near the road. Tuna and rice, and it was time for bed. This house has three rooms. A dusty living room with 2.5 couches, a small table, a scratchy tv, and 3 kindergarten graduation photos of the children. Next, around the corner, is the kitchen. which has a sink, a table, and a pantry cupboard. This room also has a plastic children's mirror sitting above a box with some toiletries on it. (Bathroom? I thought?) Next, pass under a curtain and you are in the bedroom. Yes, thee bedroom. There is only one. This house has 2 parents, and three children, 2 boys and a girl. and ONE double bed. They offered it to me, with no chance of my declining. Fortunately Kathy accepted to sleep on the other side of the bed, but that meant that Mom, Dad, and little boy slept somewhere in the living room... probably on the concrete floor. The fan blew all night, but it was no contest for the humid air that covered my face in about an inch of sweat and grime by the time I awoke early the next morning. With little boy off to school, Kathy and I went to the "store" to get some instant coffee. Breakfast was luxurious with our coffee, some fried eggs from their chickens, and these little sweet buns. I had two buns with half an egg in each. mmmmm... dee-lish. One of the greatest things I can say about living with these people was that you could see where all of the food you ate came from. The eggs from the chickens, the rice from the feild out back, the soy sauce from a fruit on the tree in the backyard. The milk from the coconut tree out back. The fish from the fisherman at the market. All local. All organic. All full of vitamins. No processing. No packaging. Food - the way it should be. To provide nourishment. Momsies had to go to work, she works at her sisters store in the nearby town, so we all hopped on the tricycle to drop her off. "Later Mom!!" Next, over to the gas station for 100 pesos of gas ($2.50ish) and then on a tour of the town. Since it was Holy Week, the whole town was out and about for the Mariones festival... where big dudes dress up in elaborate costumes to scare kids and parade through the town. We stopped to watch, but suddenly the crowd closed in around me, and I became the attraction. This group of little schoolboys was tugging at my arm while the Mariones dudes stared at me and shook my hand. Walking through the nearby park, a group of older women yelled out to us and Kathy translated, "They want to touch your nose. They are pregnant and want their babies to have a nose like yours." The little school boys could be seen hiding behind trees as they followed... it was all very very strange. I don't know the words to describe it. You might think the attention was great... but I felt guilty... that these people were attracted to something I had. Something inherent in me that came not from my knowledge or learning, but was owed to where I was born, and the colour of my skin. My skin as a symbol of a life full of opportunity. We left the park shortly after. Stopped for some pritong sagging (fried bananas with brown sugar), and headed back home. The kids next door played marbles and Pops worked on the tricycle... the sun shone, and the chickens made chicken noises. A day in the life. To an extent - it reminded me of metchosin. Except it would be basil and strawberries in place of rice... and hiking through devonian park in place of marbles... and now im just rambling again. Anyway, it was really neat to be in Pola. I learned a lot (I hope!). Kathy is 19 and all she wants is to go to University or college - but has no idea how to find a sponsor to fund her - and wants to be able to support her family. Things we take for granted at home. The rest of my trip played out pretty safe... Their older son Roosevelt and I took some vans and jeepneys up to Peurto Galera and I found that funky hostel, met that old fisherman who chartered our boat to a private piece of sand, scorched my body (got a crazy fever and will NEVER tan without sunscreen again!), ate some halo-halo (dee-lish filipino treat), ate some pig blood and organ stew on rice.... , woke up with black nasty mouse eating peanuts out my purse, and wandered some streets carrying a watermelon in my shawl. If anyone wants to head back to the Philippines with me, at any time *and potentially this JUNE for 3 weeks?!* I am down. But instead, we can learn to dive in Palawan, and hike trails in Romblon, and head to the rice terraces in Banaue and Baguio.... OK? cosmic love and photosynthesis, Gala

Email October 13th

So, we had a super busy week of travel and then they had a zone activity with the assistants today for p-day so I've had hardly a moment to think about or de-jumble any of it. We have another transfer coming up and that happened super fast... and we have no idea if i'll be transferred now or not so I guess we'll just find out next Monday what my fate is. Snow! Haha, sounds kind of like last year because I have pictures at a football game early in the season where it snowed like crazy on us -- oh the diligent fans who stayed to the end :) and the crazy pre-mish freshman who took their shirts off and turned red and then had to leave so they wouldn't get sick, haha. Wow, wow...that's so exciting that they are doing so well it's going to be an absolute nail biter I'm sure the last two years of Utah BYU games were ridiculously close. AS far as work goes I don't have a lot to report because we were so busy with other things. We've been working on really using the Book of Mormon earlier and better in each principle we teach and our study sessions have been so uplifting just as we search for them and consider how each verse might improve our teaching and the lives of our investigators. We tried it out this week in some of our tracting lessons and it worked so beautifully, ha!

At zone conference we performed our fancy version of Praise to the Man and everyone thought it was really great. I was thinking about how we really did work hard at it but I'm not amazing pianist despite trying to make it a little fancy and they're not professional singers by any means..however we were singing about truths of the gospel and missionaries are promised that as they share messages of truth the spirit will make it stronger, it was a strong performance. Then came conference, the general one :) The tabernacle choir makes me home sick-ish, haha and I noticed in all of the talks, most particularly of the twelve and first presidency that they were like missionaries, they would testify of the last to speak then start, they would leave commitments of sorts at the end, they share testimony of what they teach, missionaries. Their messages definitely focused on holding on to hope, gaining hope, being hopeful and cheerful in a world of despair. I was thinking that without all of that and the great fulfillment just listening and considering their words brings my life would be rather empty and wondered how other people survive and how they can hear those things even and not see how important it all is. Elder Bringhurst mentioned that for us we are so used to the spirit in some ways we forget that others don't have it as a promise to be with them always, constantly teaching them and bringing those things to them and making them clear. Then I also considered how i do have it all and yet much of what they talk about I struggle with and am not perfect in following, and yet I know that if I would just do it and let go of my sins and not give into my weaknesses that I would be happier, I know it and I still fail...maybe that means my knowledge is not yet perfect but that's why we develop faith first and our faith brings us knowledge bit by bit until the day that we can be perfect. By the way, according to my time it's Dad's birthday so happy birthday again! I'm glad to hear the card got to you before your birthday...which for you is tomorrow still but maybe that's when you'll read this anyway. Okay, well I'm going to finish off here and not forget to give mom my small list that I have come up with so far so I'll do it now becuase I almost just forgot

-Stephens hot chocolate (for christmas) and either the mint or raspberry...those
good flavors
-Another white undershirt (yes I know another one) xs fits me best
-Blue Red and black BIC pens and a notebook of normal paper for writing letters
-Crest blue paste toothpaste, they only have colgate here or filipino style and
I miss crest
-As slip to go under my skirts...I only have one and would like two

I cannot currently think of anything else, thanks!
I love you all and hope you are following all the counsel from conference.

Transfer day

Brit is now on the Island of Mindoro which as you can see is across the sea below the main Island where she served in her first 2 areas. She is now in Pola which has white sand beaches and thrives on tourism. It is quite interesting to look at using Google Earth. She has her first American companion (from Utah) and her email discussing this transfer is quite enjoyable to read.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family and friend challenge!


Yes, I love my missionary daughter and on her behalf I offer you a challenge. With Christmas and Brit's birthday (December 30th) on it's way I would appreciate any extra effort you could make to send Brit a letter or even a small gift box so she doesn't miss home during this time. As you can see they are already in the Christmas season over there so no need to wait until December. It would be great if she receives "stuff" between now and her birthday. It takes packages up to 8 weeks to get there. Letters usually within 7 days. Thanks for loving and supporting our amazing daughter!

October 12th 2008

Hey, this is just really quick because according to this letter Savanna was still going to send me something which means she might still be working on it or gave up on it because I do not yet have a letter from her. As for me here... no snow but it's already Christmas. This referring to your last question about Halloween. They don't seem to have that holiday like we celebrate it but there is a "day of the dead" kind of day where people go and sleep out at the cemetery and pray for their dead. Then there isn't a Thanksgiving either meaning it's Christmas season now here... they have decorations already and we sing and hear Christmas songs all the time. Yup, yup, very different. I haven't gotten any letters from Garyn yet. Maybe I will soon. Okay, well, I'm going to send this really quick in case you're still all on right now.

(then, we received another email from her)

So, we had a super busy week of travel and then they had a zone activity with the assistants today for p-day so I've had hardly a moment to think about or de-jumble any of it. We have another transfer coming up and that happened super fast... and we have no idea if i'll be transferred now or not so I guess we'll just find out next Monday what my fate is. Snow! Haha, sounds kind of like last year because I have pictures at a football game early in the season where it snowed like crazy on us -- oh the diligent fans who stayed to the end :) And the crazy pre-mish freshman who took their shirts off and turned red and then had to leave so they wouldn't get sick, haha. Wow, wow... that's so exciting that they are doing so well it's going to be an absolute nail biter I'm sure the last two years of Utah BYU games were ridiculously close. AS far as work goes I don't have a lot to report because we were so busy with other things. We've been working on really using the Book of Mormon earlier and better in each principle we teach and our study sessions have been so uplifting just as we search for them and consider how each verse might improve our teaching and the lives of our investigators. We tried it out this week in some of our tracting lessons and it worked so beautifully, ha! At zone conference we performed our fancy version of Praise to the Man and everyone thought it was really great. I was thinking about how we really did work hard at it but I'm not an amazing pianist despite trying to make it a little fancy and they're not professional singers by any means. However, we were singing about truths of the gospel and missionaries are promised that as they share messages of truth the spirit will make it stronger. It was a strong performance. Then came conference, the general one :) The tabernacle choir makes me home sick-ish, haha, and I noticed in all of the talks, most particularly of the twelve and first presidency that they were like missionaries, they would testify of the last to speak then start, they would leave commitments of sorts at the end, they share testimony of what they teach (missionaries). Their messages definitely focused on holding onto hope, gaining hope, being hopeful and cheerful in a world of despair. I was thinking that without these things and the great fulfillment that is brought to my life by just listening and contemplating their words, my life would be rather empty. And, I wondered how other people survive and how they can hear those things even and not see how important it all is. Elder Bringhurst mentioned that for us we are so used to the spirit in some ways we forget that others don't have it as a promise to be with them always, constantly teaching them and bringing those things to them and making them clear. Then I also considered how I do have it all and yet much of what they talk about I struggle with and am not perfect in following, and yet, I know that if I would just do it and let go of my sins and not give into my weaknesses that I would behappier. I know it and I still fail. Maybe that means my knowledge is not yet perfect but that's why we develop faith first and our faith brings us knowledge bit by bit until the day that we can be perfect. By the way, according to my time it's Dad's birthday so happy birthday again! I'm glad to hear the card got to you before your birthday...which for you is tomorrow still but maybe that's when you'll read this anyway. Okay, well I'm going to finish off here and not forget to give mom my small list that I have come up with so far so I'll do it now because I almost just forgot:

-Stephens hot chocolate (for christmas) and either the mint or raspberry...those
good flavors
-Another white undershirt (yes I know another one) xs fits me best
-Blue Red and black BIC pens and a notebook of normal paper for writing letters
-Crest blue paste toothpaste, they only have colgate here or filipino style and
I miss crest
-As slip to go under my skirts...I only have one and would like two

I cannot currently think of anything else, thanks!
I love you all and hope you are following all the counsel from conference.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The long road back home

With the difficulties of the economy and the irresponsibilities of the lending industry and government, last year was catastrophically damaging to my business. As a family we were faced with a very difficult decision. After requesting and receiving a blessing and after much prayer an opportunity presented itself to us. I recognize in my heart that the Lord has protected and looked out for our family. I have chosen to take a very exciting position with a generous and stable company in Idaho. I know that if we simply stay faithful during our tribulations and do what we have power over, God desires to bless our lives and guide us in the paths He asks of us.
That path has led us to Burley Idaho where we got our start! We will greatly miss our family and friends in Utah but look forward to the opportunities that await us in our home town. We look forward to establishing a new home there for Britney to be well received come August 2009! We love and miss you sister Landrum!

September 25th, 2008

Hi, so I probably won't get that letter for a while now but I'm looking forwards to hearing more about the play. Your statement about your sisters reminded me of something I've said sometimes. I tended not to notice when my friends were not quite as zealous about being my friends as I was about being theirs until you or someone else would say “why don't they do this or shouldn't they have done this?” In the screw tape letters C.S. Lewis talks about how one of the devils greatest weapons is self-sacrifice. He loves it when we sacrifice for others. Something as simple as you wanted to watch this movie this time so I let you even though I didn't want to. When you sacrificed that movie you didn't really sacrifice it. You expected that the next time it would be your choice and then are disappointed if it doesn't work that way. Because, we then build up in ourselves a mental list of all they owe us while at the same time they are doing the same. But, neither recognize this list and both are noticing only what is done for the other and therefore, what they owe you. Forgetting what they did in their own way until someone explodes. And, of course, the other has their own list to throw back at you so nobody wins. It just becomes resentment. Even when we try to have very pure motives our mortal state causes us to do that. And so, since reading that I try to make sure I expect no return. Even the return of thanks or of being noticed sometimes doesn't happen. But, that should not be what motives us rather a true love for others gained only through our knowledge of the Savior's love for all of us and His great sacrifice. And, then we can expect the greatest return because God's blessings in our sacrifice are sure and eternal. Well, I read dad's letter too, of course. Good luck in your search and in your move and adjustments. I came to a point where I tried to stop being surprised when we moved. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere but it helped me realize that the church is always the same. That was one great blessing. Then I went to college and created my own stable little world with my same job and apartment andFriends. But, it's funny to create a stable world in such an unstable one. It was bound to change and always did. I found myself disconnected from my family however. I didn't feel like a part much but separate and not sure how to change that since everything seemed more to be pushing me away and into my own life. I realized early on at the MTC that my mission was a chance to become connected again. It forced me to. When I return you'll live somewhere new again that I have never been and further away from where I will be. But, Savanna will be on my level now. I've had all this time to write letters and share great amounts of my life and experiences and feelings more than I ever would have or did at college or in High School and it's just a good blessing. Not to mention I learned again that in a world of unstableness the church is the same. Even here, it is the same. It is cool, I speak Tagalog! And, I realize in my last email I was a bit excited about that realization but don't get too excited because I'm still millions of miles away from fluent. It's such a SLOW process despite how fast it is. It is strange how life is contradictory. Well, I'm going to leave talking about Sherwin's baptism for my letter so I have something to say in it and that's about all for now. Love much Brit

September 19th, 2008

Dad! Wow! I just can't believe it. Three straight years of amazing football at BYU! If we win against Utah I will probably just be out of my mind that I missed it! Haha. I never knew I'd become such a football fanatic. I still vividly remember you dragging me off to the big crowds where we'd search for ticket hackers and watch the game. I think I just liked to be with dad and tell my classmatesthat I went to the game. I didn't much appreciate football. I'm also fairly positive that's one of the few things I knew about BYU. That's how I knew BYU and from that wanted to attend that school and only that school. I feel so blessed to have attended a school where we pray before we study biology and we talk about how the founding fathers were inspired by God to help bring in the restoration of the gospel. I'm also very glad that my new companion likes to work hard and likes to study. When you're not equally yoked in trying to do both of those things, everything starts to fall apart, it gets a bit depressing. Elder Teh not only interviewed us but he sent us all letters. They were personal letters. He told me my heart is in the right place. How nice... I'm glad at least my heart is where it should be. It's amazing how distracting your own thoughts can be but as long as your heart is where it should be it makes it easier to control wandering thoughts. To football games and weddings and families that are moving to a placeYou have never seen before... all of that. I started a list of the places in the scriptures where it talks about learning line upon line, light for light etc. Knowledge being added upon itself or taken away as we live according to what we're given. As we're true to it or as we are not. It's an eternal concept that the scriptures frequently touch upon and I found in it such a great lesson about the mercy of God because He says that He will not give a higher law to those who can not yet live by it. For those who transgress a higher law will be accountable for it. If we truly want to become as God, know of His mysteries etc. we must become someone who can live by that greater knowledge. And, that takes proving it to God every day because each time we choose the dark the light is taken away from us. It is in fact taken away until a day when you have less than what you started with. We cannot stand still. We are always moving forward or moving backwards. I forgot that for a time in my life until I realized my complacency was taking me to a place I didn't recognize because I had less than I knew before. Don't go through the motions of life, live life! When that became my motto things got better and I learned to truly repent. To change every day. That's still a struggle and we'll all still go back and forth but Christ will make up for it if He is our path. I asked about the whole coming here thing. Transfers are the week of August 12. Meaning, that Monday is when I can leave and they said you could also come Sunday night. This means you'll have to figure out what day to leave your time to get here Sunday or Monday morning our time. Or, maybe you could come Friday? Also, what you have to do is buy two - two way tickets and one one-way ticket for me. Then the church will reimburse you. I don't know exactly how that part works, they just told me to tell the office Elders. At that point I can stay here until the flight home. That puts us late in August and I will probably want to head straight to Provo. My plan would be to find work immediately and I guess depending on Savanna I'll need you to rent us an apartment sometime in April. Hopefully, at campus plaza again. But, that could also change. Sister Hill and I might be roommates. I don't know. And, I'll maybe want to take just one class and work full-time so I can try to start school. School will start very soon after I get home so that's hectic. But, anyway, it's the plane tickets that we have to worry about now I can worry about getting ready to go to school and work and coming home in general in a couple more months. Good luck with the house buying and new job etc. and tell everyone I love them. Brit

September 12th, 2008 #2

Hi, so I just got another email. I don't know if it just didn’t show up before or if you jut sent it at the same time I sent mine. As for Brandon and Ivy I suppose I would like to write to them if you could get me an address. I would like to congratulate them and encourage them to continue forward. I'll be trying to write and finish you a letter in response to all of your letters and this email later. My time is up after having written my other letter. Good luck with the shoe collecting. It's too bad I can't see the final product (referring to the footloose play our family is in). Good luck with the house hunting. So, thanks for the mail. Sister Victorino says you are very diligent after she saw all the letters I got. I am glad you like the small pictures too. They aren’t just smaller but they are also cheaper. J teehee. And, they weigh less so they are easier to send and cheaper to send. All right the end now. Brit

September 12th, 2008

We're probably going to email earlier from now on. I don't know if I don't have mail from all of you because it's still early or if just dad wrote. But, I got his two about Idaho and about BYU football. J Haha. I'm just fine withthat though because we just had transfer day and I got mail. Lots of letters from mom but still not that one dad said he wrote and sent about the whole new job moving thing. I also got another letter from Becca and her companion who is from here in the Philippines and from ANDREA! Finally! Haha. As for transfer day, Sister Victorino is my new companion and she is of course good at Tagalog since she's from here and is also very good at English. She is very hard working. Being in a companionship teaches you a lot. Different people’s personalities, strengths and weaknesses and seeing how in their own way they leave the area different and they leave you different. But, I do believe in one thing. Just do the simple things and submit yourself to God and follow the rules and the commandments and give yourself up to something and you will be happy. You will overcome obstacles and you will feel the spirit and you will help your area. Sister Victorino goes home in January so we're not sure how long we'll be together. They could go off and decide to leave me in this area forever and I'll stay until she goes home and until I train someone new on the area -- March Yikes. Or, we could only have six weeks together so that she'll get two more to train someone new on the area before she goes home. Or, we'll get two transfers and then she'll have only one transfer to train someone before she goes home. For now, I have each day of hard work and continuing to learn this language before me. We had a fun surprise and Sister Hill was at transfersafter all because they were put into a three-some. Elder Cheney was also there because his companion was transferred so our entire batch was together again. Elder Cheney is senior now and district leader, he looked a bit worried! As for going home, I don't really know about that. If you need to book flight now I can try to ask about it early. I think they send you "trunky letters" throughout your mission and I could be getting one soon or it might be far away still. They send them to help us plan for things like this. All I know is that there is no transfer at the end of July so I would either come home three weeks early or 3 weeks late. Maybe, Aug 12th transfer. Rules change a bit if your parents come though and I would most likely leave earlier than transfer then we would fly home on the same scheduled time. Wow, I have no idea with that. I’ll just have to ask if you need me to right now. Strange to talk about it and even more strange that I was thinking I have just one year more. But, now it's not one year it is less. Man, I need to improve my language skills! I do feel a lot more confident all of a sudden. But, I'm sure that something will help me feel a bit humbler again soon J. Actually, I always feel humble with language here so no worries about that. I still frequently don't understand what's going on and can't fully express myself but I speak Tagalog! Isn't that amazing! Even if I went home right now, I can communicate with people in another language to a pretty good degree. It's just amazing even if it's lacking. Amazing! As for Elder Murdock, I've heard the name but am not sure I've met him. Sister Victorino says she knows him. There could always be more than one Elder Murdock in the Philippines but if it's him it will just go well with my "Iknow someone no matter where I am in the world" story from all my different moves and activities. I'm really curious about when you actually plan to move everyone and how the girls all feel about it with school and all of that. Maybe I have letters coming that will inform me better. Living in a hotel and traveling so much does not sound like so much fun though so I hope it all gets worked out soon. Don't forget to do the simple things every day. Don't forget to put God first and He will take care of everything else for you. That doesn't mean everything will be perfect because we're in a fallen world. But, in the end that will all be worked out because Adam fell and Christ was risen up so we all will be also. Christ makes it all fair again and fixes the consequences of sin. We will have to look towards that, follow that and allow it to be in our lives because we have that agency. But, that understanding brings so much peace. You can rest easy now. J Well I have to go now. Love Brit

September 5th, 2008

President approved an activity for us today (P-day) before transfers so we all took a boat out to this beach of white sands. We spent most of the time taking pictures which I'm printing to send to you all and eating food. The water was so amazingly clear and warm I wanted to swim so much! Haha -- Bawal. We also found out today who will be transferred on Friday. Sister Odo is being transferred and I'm left in the area. I'll know who my new companion is next Monday. We have a lot of work to do in this area so I hope she's ready and willing to work hard :) I also hope she's really good at Tagalog, teehee... we'll see. Sister Hill is still in her first area and her companion goes home next transferso she'll be in her first area for most of her mission, I'm glad to move around but sad I won't get to see her at transfer day, I was sure she'd be transferred and we'd get to see each other. Does this fabulous new job mean you'll be able to come pick me up in about a year? :) Is there vacation leave, Haha. I realize that would be extremely expensive and who knows maybe I'll marry someone who served in the Philippines somewhere and we can all return together. I guess if I marry someone who didn't serve in the Philippines we could still return. It would just be cooler if they had. Also,more likely to happen. I'm still really curious about how everyone else feels about moving and what plans are for when you will move to Burley. Maybe I'll find out inmy mail this Friday. As for the card, the card has always worked as long as I'm at a store that accepts cards -- but I still can't get myself cash at the ATM's to use for places that don't accept cards. I might just be able to work it out so I don't need cash ever, though. Even though, cash would be easier. I just buy my food and dish soap and stuff when I can with the card and feel okay about using my mission cash for things like material for skirts. I also bought myself a Christmas/birthday present -- whatever you want it to be. It was our last chance because the couples buy them for you when they go to Manila and they are going home soon and who knows if the new couples would do it. They sell strings of real pearls for about 40 dollars. According to Sister Bringhurst they would be a couple hundred in America. I love pearls and they are really very beautiful. You didn't mention anything, or I forgot, about a package. At this point you may as well just get a good Christmas/birthday package ready for me, Haha. I don'tknow how you feel about trying to send cash in a package but I hear it's good to hide it in some way if you do and maybe if you do that I could have something just in case I ever do need cash but I think I'm a-okay. Also, you have to be careful about sending food because first off it's hot, second it could sit in the mission office for a long time and we have cases of bugs getting into packagesand destroying things. So, it has to be packaged and re-packaged if you decide to try that. Australian licorice maybe J. Anyway, here in the Philippines once you're into the BER months meaning September, October until December you sing Christmas songs so Sunday I played Christmas songs for sacrament meeting. I guess they don't have Thanksgiving to get in the way so it starts extra early.It was funny to me because we get frustrated when the music starts even right after Thanksgiving sometimes and here they have two full months before. They do have Halloween here however so that is kind of strange to me. It's okay. It always seems like Summer anyway. Well, because of our long trip I actually don't have much time to email and have to leave soon. I'll have lots of new news for you next week after transfers and hopefully will write some good letters next week also if I receive your mail. I love you all -- good luck with the play and finding a house and doing school and having your back get better! Love always again. Britney

October 2nd, 2008

We sat in the front of the jeep we rode home in the other day. Sister Victorino was watching as he worked the clutch and asked me to explain it all. And, I got to thinking about driving. Especially from your last letter all about selling my car. Funny how I really have SO many memories attached to that car. I wish I could be there to drive for you all those miles because I kind of miss driving. But, my day will come again. For now I'm a passenger in the most interesting of transportation methods. Although, I'm not sure this makes me as healthy as I should be and am excited to start regular exercise again (very difficulthere, haha). So you don't plan to every do any remodeling to the house? I feel like that will change but who knows? I am sorry I didn't do a better job of packing up all my things in the office for you. I think all of my "things" are in that office. I guess there are the boxes in the barn. It willbe fun to go through it all when I come back and figure out what to throw out, what to pack and what to take again to college or wherever I go. So were John and Felicia busy with school so they didn't come to the blessing? What are they all up to these days? I don't seem to hear a lot about the younger generation.Grandma Lois also, I think your mention of seeing her at the temple was also the first I've heard about them in a while. Well, be sure to tell everyone hello from me even if they aren't really getting letters -- I expect whoever really wants to is looking at that blog site, I don't know if it's been updated at all but from almost every letter I get someone mentions looking at it so it makes me feel less bad that I don't write to many people unless I get a letter from them :) Speaking of Aunt Terry the new graduate -- and Gabby being all grown up, how are Becca and Kate also? And uncle Shawn? Hmmm, anyway, I like news about the family even if it's only a little bit. Some sister’s skirts are just a little too short in my opinion. I prefer a little bit longer than too short especially because it's hard to sit comfortable especially when traveling. As for blouses, a collar is not mandatory. It just needs to be nice and it's not supposed to be TOO flashy or too informal. The idea -- the focus is not on our clothing but we need to also look nice, basicallythat's it. I've been through the process of having almost everything I brought with me altered, shorter sleeves, to fit better because I lost weight or it was just baggy and long etc. and bought a couple more short sleeved shirts while here like the one you mentioned with the cream tie. If you could send me some more simple headbands, black also... that would be nice because I wear a headband almostevery single day and braid the rest of my hair -- it's all I can do :) As for my skin... it's just as annoying as ever but the pictures do seem to not show it off very well which is nice. This week I've had a particularly sensitive skin week :) Most of the American's I've seen/talked to say their skin doesn't like it here either. We've all broken out at times then gotten better, etc. just because of the pollution and the heat and sweat. It pulls the gunk out of the pores because of the humidity anyway this is a bit long for talking about skin and as for my soap, I use whatever I can find. I'm not sure what will happen with this but my old companion Sister Mabalot and sister Abad are now companions and they both asked me the other day how hard it would be to have you send them some garments from America because here they only sell one kind and they both really like mine, the dry silk tops and the caranessa bottoms. Maybe you can just tell me what you think about that or how hard it would be. I expect they would just pay me in pesos and so you'd never get any extra money for it. I'd just get some cash :) haha. If the package really does only take six days I will get it at zone conference which is October 6th or something like that. But, last time it clearly took longer so I won't be looking forward to it :) I got a letter from Shaela and Jake is going on a mission. That's exciting. I also heard from Andrea and Heidi is getting married in December. Maybe I told you that last week. As for actual gifts for Christmas and my birthday I can think of nothing in particular and already count the money I use on the card as my gifts even though the money on the card is actually food. That's because I use my cash to buy things like material to have a skirt sewn. I also use it to print pictures and send expensive letters because my allowance money doesn't fit for that either and dad said to keep printing pictures so that's what I'm doing. So, I printed the pictures from Sherwin's baptism and will write a letter later today about it. We had a super busy week with travel to Lucena and service projects because in the Philippines it was Family Week. We visited the jail and the children's center. I'll probably write more about that also. I can't believe September is over and neither can my companion. October seems like it will go fast also because we have Zone Conference, General Conference, Stake Conference and then another transfer. And, we're not sure if I'll be transferred now or next time but likely one of them since she'll need to train someone new before she goes home in January. Well, good luck with all the parties coming up and keep me updated. Tell everyone hello and that's about it for now. Love, Brit.

August 30th, 2008

“Lilipat Kayo!” That means you will move again -- the subject that is. I'm pretty impressed with myself, I will have been interviewed, set apart and now released by different stake presidents. I'm pretty sad that my poor car will be gone, lots of memories (thinking -- pondering -- done) and does that mean Savanna has actually taken my advice and decided to live in Provo with me? I bought some material today with the card so I can have our ward mission leader make me some skirts and pants -- if he does a good job I might do more because the material is SO cheap to buy here and they custom sew it! Anyway I'm pretty excited all the Elders have reallyfancy pants sewn for them so I figure I can get in with the action and get myself some good clothes -- some of my skirts are already starting to look a little shabbyfrom sitting in dirt and riding in trikes etc. What's funny is we are emailing super late so you probably didn't need to rush to get the mails off to me. I'm pretty anxious to hear more about how all this moving will go (and my things sitting there on that book shelf of mine, posters journals etc. I'm really sorry now I didn't pack them up better for you but yes please be nice to them :) it sounds like dad is moving up there to work before everyone else and funny as it is I actually had that very thought about buying Grandma and Grandpa's old house and it would be extremely funny -- going back to your roots! I want to hear how everyone is feeling about it, when will everyone else move, I guess that depends on when you get a house? I feel like I don't have much to say -- I wrote letters to the girls earlier and from what I wrote last week in emails and letters that you should be getting there just isn't much else. Mostly I have questions now but I guess I'llfind out at transfers (because that's the next time I will get mail from all of you). Transfers are September 12th now and I expect we will have one still but even if we don't those who go to transfers will bring back our mail. Last time they brought us mail it was my smallest amount yet, only one and from mom – Mom always pulls through for me :) I was also thinking about BYU -- I'm missing the reign of Max Hall, what a shame :) I was there for two amazing triumphs over Utah though so I'm pretty sure I can't complain. I mentioned BYU football starting at our last district meeting, last Wednesday and Elder Collins was pretty happy for me, that I like Football that is. Do you know who you plan to vote for? Maybe someone who can help the gas prices go down (do presidents have those powers?) They are high here also which means it costs us more to ride trikes and jeeps/busses if we travel far. The president here is a woman. I have noticed that women in the Philippines often take one the strong position while men are more easy going; they have a lot of female leadersand often their leaders are also actresses and actors. The most recent Philippines "myth" that I won't listen to is that if I wash my face at night I will go blind/get blurred vision -- I already can't shower at night ever without getting in trouble, I'm not going to stop washingmy face , haha. I will be working with Sister Abad tomorrow, we are doing an exchange which they allow once a transfer. Sister Abad is my same batch to go home and Sister Odo, my current companion, trained her. Sister Matapule is from Tonga and is a go home batch with Sister Odo so they want to work together also -- exchanges and zone conferences etc. are always a nice change of pace and to learn something from the way others do things. Alaiza was baptized Sunday. I don't know how much I've said about Alaiza. I will write more later I think but we've been teaching her the entire time I've been here. She is Olivia's age almost exactly and comes to church alone every week -- although her parents are members they aren't active at all. We had the baptism all ready and no here still so we went up to her house and she was not ready at all and didn't say much to us just looked at us with sad eyes kind of and went and changed then came back crying. Her father had gone to look for people to drive around, he's a driver and that's his work, her mother was washing clothes and wasn't going to come because she's ashamed to go to church or something -- they aren't much support to her and she was very upset she really wanted them to come. Her mother followed us there after waiting and we did the baptism. Michael baptized her. He is a recent convert, one year now I think and often helps us. He is the only member of his family also and wants to serve a mission but is a bit older now for boys and doesn't have much money to do it so he's frustrated. He did such a good job, he'd memorized it all perfect and I just felt really peaceful and calm, like a clarity of happiness as I watched and then I realized that feeling was the spirit now present and that's when my heart sped up a bit and tears came to my eyes for only a moment. The feelings of the spirit were the pure happiness the clarity of thought and the calmness throughout my body but recognizing that it was the spirit brought the rush; it was an interesting realization of how the spirit feels to me. Alaiza shared her testimony after and cried -- and so did her mother. She said she knows this is the church that will help her make her life better and it's Christ's Church and he lives. Well -- that's all for now I'll write again next week. Love - Britney