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Monday, June 30, 2008

June 29th email

Dear Family: I have some questions that you have answered before possibly but I need to ask them again because they are either lost or I forgot, sorry. This type writer is fabulous... I have to really PUNCH every key for it to work.

1. What is the full name of the stake president so I can send his letter to him? Ummm, I actually can't think of any other questions... ha-ha... maybe later.

I'm pretty sad I won't get to see this fabulous play, it sounds like it's going to be pretty good. I like river rafting, don't so much like 17 year-old boys that pull you in but that's always a part of it, and I like 4-wheeling, and camping, and hiking. Then there is that other side of me that loves dance concerts and being refined to some degree and clean and dressed up... that part of me will come back one day after my mission, for now the camping side of me is useful :)

We will meet our new President this week, I'm sure he will have some great influence on my mission since he's in charge of it, but I wonder what the impression of yours implies :) Hmmmm, only time will tell as with most things. I don't have a lot of fabulous stories right now. It is just a slow and continual process of trying to have more patience in learning the language and getting used to new-ness of all things all the time and making slow but important changes to the way some things are done so that baptisms will happen! I printed some more pictures today that I can send you along with a hurried one we took so you can at least see the face of my new companion; we don't have many pictures yet though.

I will finally remember in my next letter to send you my card numbers so you can try to activate it so it will work at the ATM's because I really need to just get out some cash and use that... nothing major important but it would be simpler for a few things. Guess what we did for service the other day? We dug holes in the ground for the poles of someone’s new home since theirs was destroyed in the storm. I dug dirt out with half a coconut shell... amazing!

Here is something insane... at the end of this next month I will have been gone for half a year! That's so fast. Thirteen months still seems far away so I don't feel like it's all going TOO fast yet, but isn't it mean how life works. It will go slow until I feel comfortable speaking and then it will be gone! I was reading the Liahona in Tagalog yesterday during part of ward council (that was a-okay with everyone, no worries...their meetings aren't altogether formal to say the least) and it got me so excited about school and working with Church publishing. I don't know that it is something I will end up actually wanting to or even being able to do but just having for once an actual purpose for my studies really add to my desire to learn. I also really love language, we communicate a lot without it but I was in the book store getting myself a small Tagalog bible and saw some books/authors I love and remembered they existed and how much I love to read and write and although I love non-verbal communication through art and danceI LOVE language and learning a new one really helps you appreciate your own and how amazing language is. I also understand English better than I did before.

So, the Stake Pres said something in my blessing when he set me apart that I wonder about sometimes. It kind of scared me thinking about it that night after and still has me wondering in what way, dramatic or more subtle etc. that it will come about. But, he said that there will be times on my mission that I will feel like I cannot put another foot forward, take another step etc. but my strength will be in pulling others with me... anyway, that's the gist of it. I don't think I've experienced something where I just don't think I can keep going -- not everything is pleasant but it's all bearable.

Sometimes we get really set in a schedule and pattern of how things should go and will go and we visualize our future that same way to some degree... I feel as though I can picture what my next year of life will be in some way because we do the same basic things every day but really a lot of things I can't imagine or expect will happen and people will come into my life that I can't imagine yet it's just an odd thing to think about actually so this really isn't going anywhere, sorry :)

Well, I'm going to write some hand written letters now because I'm really behind and I don't have much to say in email, sorry. I'm glad your hot summer seems to be going well and I love you all too. Even though times are hard and won't get easier, but harder, we're awfully lucky to have the proper perspective and proper place for trust through the true gospel.

Love,

Sister Landrum

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Brit's 2nd area; Lucban


The Municipality of Lucban (Filipino: Bayan ng Lucban) is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 38,834 people in 8,422 households. This municipality had the mountain named Mt. Banahaw.

History
Legend has it that the town derived its name from Lucban or Pomelo fruit tree. Three hunters from Majayjay, Laguna named Marcos Tigla, Luis Gamba and Lucas Manawa came upon a plain at the northeast foot of Mount Banahaw after they lost their way following the trail of some wild game. Resting under a tree, they saw a black crow or "uwak" up on a tree, and believing this to be a bad omen, they moved to another location and rested once more. While resting under a large shady pomelo or lucban tree, the trio were attracted to a couple of kingfishers (salaksak) singing. Fascinated by the lovely rhythmic chirps of the birds, the supertitious hunters took the incident as a sign of good fortune and decided to settle in the place and named it "Lucban." The people of Lucban accepted the story as true. Marcos Tigla was the first gobernadorcillo in 1596, then Lucas Manawa took over the responsibility for four years. Today Lucban is a thriving community surrounded by its pristine environment and retaining its historic beauty.

Pahiyas Festival
Lucban celebrates the Pahiyas Festival every May 15 in honor of the patron saint of farmers, St. Isidore. This festival showcases a street of houses which are adorned with fruits, vegetables, agricultural products, handicrafts and kiping, a rice-made decoration, which afterwards can be eaten grilled or fried. The houses are judged and the best one is proclaimed the winner. Every year, tourists roam the municipality to witness the decoration of houses.

Brit's 1st area: Lemery


Britney's 1st area is Lemery. Lemery is located west of San Pablo and slightly south near Balayan Bay in the South China Sea. On the map it is underlined in red.

Lemery is a 1st class municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 66,528 people in 12,709 households. The current mayor of the municipality is Eulalio M. Alilio after the ouster of Raul BendaƱa in 2007. The vice-mayor is Geraldine Ornales with eight councilors.

Lemery is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Batangas, Philippines with major commercial establishments fastly occupying the streets of Lemery. Lemery is also known for its ideal terminals of travel to Manila and other cities due to its proximity.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 22nd email

Huwag Kayo Magalala means don't worry :) We did have a Typhooon...well actually it wasn't a typhoon where I am. They had a typhoon in the mission very far north of our mission and the sisters are sleeping in the chapel, exciting eh? We had a baguio which means lots of wind and rain. They have levels 1-5 or something and I think that measures the wind level. Here in my new area, Lucban we got to about level 2 during the night and didn't have electricity for a day and a half but no major damage. We till don't have power for cell phones or internet so right now we are in the area of the Elder's to email our families etc. I don't know how it is in Lemery, I hear it was worse there but the sisters are safe. Lemery is on the sea and it floods easily plus there are many homes there that would easily be destroyed so I'm a little worried about some of our members and investigators that I know will have suffered. My new area is in the mountains and not near the sea. It is COLD here...haha. I went from the hottest mission to the coldest and I'm sure my body has changed because you would probably not think it was cold, but I do know. We have to heatup our water before we shower so I heat up a pot of water while I eat, dump it in my bucket fill the rest up with the ice cold water and use that small amount to bathe...it's exciting. My new apartment isn't as new or nice as in Lemery. We have lots of cockroaches and mice but I spray the pemethrin frequently :) My first Sunday here was an interesting experience because of the storm. Nobody showed up at first so we only had two meetings in the end and about 30 at sacrament meeting. The bishop made me speak...not just share my testimony, haha. I think this area will make me STREEEEETCH myself. Sister Odo is my new companion and she knows deeper tagalog than Sister Mabalot did, she's also not as good at English and talks VERY fast so that will hopefully help me to learn faster. It's nice to have a start over with meeting people because when I met all the members in Lemery I didn't know how to say anything basically and didn't understand them...I was also very shy to try speaking if I knew it was wrong. I've been praying to be bold and just talk to people. It's hard to leave an area...especially so fast. We had a lot of upcoming baptisms and I finally felt comfortable, I'm once again lost but that's okay. This area is also not progressing as well although we seem to have more support from the leaders than we did in Lemery. As for helping the people here, we're actually told not to have our families send help, etc. for problems here. As we take care of things here you can focus on things at home. As for at home, the news doesn't make me very excited to return indeed...it sounds like nasty times to return to and try to finish school, find jobs and start a family in. It really will take strong youth to live faithfully through these upcoming times. Sister Odo's teaching skills are very good...it's interesting how you give and take with each different person. I may have mentioned my pondering about this before but it's interesting how it's both easier to be obedient and disobedient on your own, when not watched and also when not hindered by others. However, we can't be saved alone, we know that...and you must be together in a companionship of marriage to have eternal life so it's ultimately not good enough to be the best you can be, you have to also help someone else be just as good because you're only as good as the worse of the two, you have to do it all together. Thus, we can only save ourselves by saving someone else...everything comes down to some kind of service and even if it seems selfish it leads you to sacrifice and unselfish actions. I don't have much money here at the end of the month of money and after transfers because that takes extra money so I haven't printed pictures and probably can't send a letter this week. For sure I will next week...and I'll start writing them all now. Ay Pala! I received the package along with a lot of mail at transfers. Except, mom said in her letter that there were skirts in the package and there were not so maybe you sent two or I don't know what happened. I got pictures with your Tagalog phrases, they are cute... the only problem with them is grammar :) The plan of salvation props are great also, they are the same as Sister Mabalot's which were given to her by an American so that makes sense. I had another letter from Amanda and it sounds like she still hasn't received any of my letters... hopefully she'll get at least one of them soon and if not I'll try sending mail again next week, like I said before. Also, once again if you could give me the name of the stake president, you may have actually but I think I accidentally erased some of your emails, sorry. I'm kind of annoyed with myself for that. Hmmm... what else about Lucban, here it is less Americanized than Lemery was and the people seem to be a little better off... or there aren't any who struggle as much it's all kind of middle ground. It's also a little more how I think I imagined the Philippines, here in the mountain Jungle area and the Tagalog is very deep in this area and the culture is seen more, like for the old, you "bless"them by putting their hand on your forehead. Have I ever told you my fabulous idea? Well...if I ever end up getting married I want my gifts to be food storage supplies. It would be somewhat difficult to fully supply yourself with the proper food and safety storage right at the beginning of a marriage so if that's what you were given for your gifts it would be great! Before district meeting last week I read a little bit of John I don't spend a lot of time in the New Testament these days and as I read just a few chapters the Savior's life and ministry came alive to me again. It's amazing how all I have to do is read about it and I know it all happened. That faith for me has always simple and exists but sometimes I have to realize it again. I know that Christ lived, that his life was essential and central part of a great plan for all of us, the Father's accepted plan, that Christ also gave honor to his Father who sent him and in return the message of the Father to all of us is always of his son and to listen and follow him because he is the means provided for us to return to the Father and become like him obtaining all he has -- which is his Work and Glory, I know he lives even now and our lives should be spent in coming to understand the miracle of his sacrifice in our lives and learning to use it to its full extent while sacrificing all we are in return -- Romans 8: as we suffer with Christ we become Heirs with him, we fulfill our work just as he fulfilled his...doing all the Father asked of him. Well, I have to go now, bye. Love Britney

p.s. I'm sure there are many adventures to come in my mission but don't spend too much time worrying -- I probably won't tell you about them all now anyway just so you won't; and they will be great stories another day :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Typhoon Fengshen


Today we learned that a terrible Typhoon has hit the Philippines and has caused widespread flooding in the Philippines including the general area that Britney is serving. It for sure flooded the Province she was 1st serving in but she was transfered last Thursday and we have yet to hear where she is now.

We have not heard anything from her mission so we assume no news is good news. We may not hear from her for days due to the power problems and basic life interruptions that this type of devestation can cause. We anxiously wait and pray. We appreciate your prayers on her behalf and for the people of the Philippines.

Some of you have posted comments which I appreciate. However, you should know that Britney is a strict missionary and follows the rules entirely because she desires any blessings she can receive to help her learn the language. Therefore, she does not view anything online including taking a "peek" at her blog. We post her emails for your ability to stay in touch with how things are going for her.
I do hope to have this site serve as a type of journal so any comments posted are very appreciated and will make Brit's viewing of the site that much more enjoyable when she returns. So, we encourage you to post.

We will post further information as soon as we have any.
The Landrum Family

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15th email

So, first news is that I'm being transferred on Thursday so next Monday I'll tell you all about my new companion, new area, etc. I'm pretty sad to be leaving our progressing investigators, Leondard's family who will soon be baptized also and especially the children but I'm sure the new experience will help push meto a new level of ability in all aspects, especially language. Still no package but maybe Thursday :) The pictures worked! There was only the one with the family and I had to open them as an attatchment...but that didn't work at the MTC so maybe it's because here there isn't a filter like at the MTC. So, we had zone interviews on the 12th and Andrea's wedding announcement came, that same day she was getting married...it was kind of unfair that way with everyone there and I couldn't help but cry but it wasn't until I woke up Friday morning that I knew all of my friends and family would be there at the reception...but I went right to reading my scriptures in Tagalog and didn't think about it again :) Hooray for me, haha. Probably the boy was Steve, darker skin, tall :) I've written to Amanda but I think she hasn't gotten them yet because she keeps moving :) haha, I'm glad she's been able to hear news of me now with the great internet technology. Shaela and Tyler are nearing a year of marriage now, crazy. It sounds like it was great and I'm pleased to hear the pictures I gave them were included in the video and that they had pudding on the rice which was a "US" college thing and Becca told me that she was planning to do it. Hey Garyn, thanks for the email and I'm glad to hear you're experiencing the heat now also, although I'm sure mine is wetter heat :) Good luck with finding a job, it's great that you're so dedicated to working hard, hopefully that transfers into all areas of your life, especially gospel related. I always wanted to work really hard and do everything but often that pushed aside time I could have spent on religious things and it's only now that I realize how much time I maybe wasted, even as I was doing things. My thought for the week...my stake president said something to us before our missionary interview. He asked all of us why we were serving and afterwards told us that we all have good reasons to serve missions, or sometimes we don't...but our reason should become to baptize, ultimately that is the goal and the purpose, to baptize, baptize, baptize and pres Hinckley added...retain! We can do good things for the wrong reasons, or even for good reasons but not the best ones and we will need the best reasons and the right reasons to become ours so we remain... they said to go on a mission for whatever reason but stay on your mission for the right reasons. Okay, so all these thoughts put together got me thinking about why it is we do everything we do, why do I write a letter, why do I smile at someone, why do I wash my clothes or prepare a lesson or anything at all and all of these have good reasons, and sometimes not so good and somewhat selfish reasons attached but as we strive to have all we do be for the ultimate reason; that we love God and in loving God we also come to love others because he loves all of us, then all we do will have greater purpose, we will discover what we were meant to complete while here on earth, remember what we promised God we would do as we left his presence to come on this journey, and it will become easier to give up entirely the things we shouldn't do and prioritize the others. We had district conference broadcast from SLC yesterday, Father's day, and it was wonderful to hear from both Elder Oaks and Uchtdorf and members of the seventy, especially to hear news specific for the members of this country. President Hinckley's gifts were nice to read, thanks... especially gratitude for parents/family or people in general really. The thing is I've always been concerned about my pride and often it rules my actions, my thoughts first which lead to my actions and it is frustrating. I have a hard time understanding humilityand have spent a lot of time in the scriptures researching the topic. The most amazing realization, for me, came early on while being here which is that Humility and Gratitude are linked especially close, all virtuous things and traits are but as my gratitude grew for all of my blessings and those in my life, or as I came to realize my gratitude in new ways, gratitude that was already there, I began to understand humility and it became easier to be humble. Back to conference: Sister Mabalot's favorite quote was when they were talking to the members about being the parents of the rising generation and he said "you parents are the full time missionaries and your children are your investigators! "This added to my thoughts about my patriarchal blessing and wondering if a mission was really where I was supposed to end up -- and I realize that there is nothing about a mission that isn't preparing me to better do the missions I will be called to do after. I see in myself the potential to get stuck in mission mode, and have a hard time going back to normal life so I try to remember that I must do the best where I am and fulfill what I can here then leave it to someone else and find joy and fulfill my duty in other areas later and one is not greater or of more importance than another, just different. When we view another calling as more important or essential it limits us from truly magnifying the great call we have and doing all we must to strengthen the whole from where we are placed at any given time. Adventure hour now: WE were walking home from an appointment, it was near to our curfew and suddenly we had a flash flood or sorts, rain like crazy and then all of the electricity in the city went out so here we are running down the middle of the street, darkness, holding hands and not even bothering with the umbrella...it was rather exciting. We then used candles in our apartment to try to plan for the next day and find our dry clothes :) We took pictures first, however...we couldn't pass up the opportunity to photograph our sogginess. Sadly enough, but really happy, the electricity came back so we had light to finish our night but the candle discovery has been great since we have no light in the bathroom now and we're too short to change it, so now we use a candle in there when we shower, or bath, or dump water on ourselves or really it sounds best to say it in Tagalog now..."Maligo ko" All right I think this shall be all for today we have much to do, especially since I'm leaving Lemery, the city by the sea for another unknown land. I love everyone, so tell everyone that for me...thanks! Brit (known to all here as Sister Landrum).

Sunday, June 8, 2008

June 8th email

All right...thanks for editing my emails :) picky ako eh? Please tell grandma that I got her email and thank-you for sharing the experience. We played basketball with some of the sisters and Elders in our zone today...it was SOOOO HOT! haha...but really fun. We don't usually do activities all together because it takes away all our time for other things in the day like writing letters :( but Elder Figuracion and Sister Nielsen are both going home next transfer which is June 19ish I think? They are our zone leader and one of the sisters...I will miss them both. I'm sure I was supposed to meet them and wouldn't have if I had stayed to do EFY and see Andrea's wedding. Elder Figuracion has a great story about his father's re-conversion story while on his mission etc. that he shared with all of us at Zone Conference...he got everyone crying. It was a sad zone conference because our MissionPresident is going home July 1 and President Anderson will be here instead, changes changes. We won't know until next Monday if we are transferred and the package wasn't here yet but we have zone interviews on Thursday so if it comes before then I might get it then and then for transfer Sister Antonio could maybe pick it up for me if we aren't transferred and it's there then...I've heard some crazy stories about packages though, sometimes getting here months and months after they were sent and after going all the way around the world with lots of stamps on them first. Sister Ganir (one of the couple sisters) told me to ask if you sent it by boat or air...if it was sent boat it will take a long time to get here.

Anyway, we've been a little bit sick...my stomach and Sister Mabalot's throat...she has no voice haha...that makes teaching really exciting. We had two baptisms on Friday. Usually we do them Sunday but it was his birthday and the other one just followed suit so we didn't have to plan two. Leonard's family all came to church on Sunday! Hooray, we've really been praying and fasting for them to find a way to come even though everything is against them to do so. Thankfullythey live really close to the chapel so they can walk because they definitely don't have money for travel. As for Andrea's wedding, I have to force myself not to think about it. I kept wondering when she would go through the temple, she probably has by now etc. and it's really hard not to in some ways because I spent so many years helping her plan it that I can imagine it so well and in another sense I can't imagine it at all. She asked me to give her your address before I left so she could send you an invitation so I know she wanted to, but I can't remember if I actually gave it to her and she's likely been busy and occupied so if you still have not received one I need you to try to call her family or something because I really want you to go and say I love her for me etc. take a picture you know all of that. I want a first hand account if possible. I expect she will eventually get around to telling my herself which will be great so I guess if it really can't happen I will understand.

What else happened? Lots of travel because of zone conference...a lot of drunk men that wanted me to marry their sons. It was the week of meeting maraming Iglesiaand maraming lasing....lasing is drunk and iglesia means the members of the iglesia ni cristo Church who are either really mean to us, won't let us in or they try to convert us....I think everyone we talked to one day was iglesia. We talked to one little boy, asking him some questions so we could understand them a little better. If they are born into the church they don't have to be baptized...and if they marry someone outside their faith they are excommunicated! Interesting twist of doctrine that is, born into the covenant and marrying outside the covenant and somewhere along the line they lost the real purpose for baptism and for the covenant of marriage and sealing of families together. We also taught the plan of salvation to this older lady, she was smoking and used to be Catholic but now is an inactive member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo...her grandfathermaybe or great grandfather was LDS...lots of different faiths in her background. Well Sister Mabalot usually asks, after teaching the three kingdoms, where they would like to go and she said "Kahit Saan." "wherever" so she explained a little more thinking maybe her lack of caring meant she hadn't understood well enough but really she seemed to not care. Then comes the challenge of tryingto help people really understand what we can't comprehend, we have to believe that God is, that he was and that he is all powerful and his ways are not our ways and trust that following his plan is what will make us happiest. It is an interesting challenge to teach these concepts to all different people with different religious backgrounds, education levels, desires and family situations etc. I think I shall enjoy it far more once I understand what they are saying better so I can fit our lessons to their needs and really teach for understanding, language muna, languagelanguage :)

Okay... Well, I can't think of much today so I'll leave it at this I think. Olivia probably didn't get her birthday card yet so tell her happy birthday for me here and hopefully the card will come soon and Happy Father's day Sunday...thatone will for sure be late. I didn't get the package but I did get letters from mom and another from Grandpa Jim...mom and Grandpa are officially the best at writing to me, I'm not sure I would have guessed the second but he's really risen to the occasion :) Love, Britney

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1st email

I have to get all the smiles in I can since it is such an expensive one! Haha... I don't usually even think about the numbness in my lip... it's almost gone now that it's been nearly two years since my surgery, wow that's a long time now!

Don't worry, the names are all very interesting to me too :) Sister Mabalot's first name is Glazier-Gay...the other thing is most of them don't go by their real name, they all go by nicknames. I'm constantly confused between what is a nick name, a first name, a last name etc. so I'm rather bad at names. Princess and Angel are very popular names and twins are often given the exact same name but labeled #1 and #2... I think I actually wrote this in a hand written letter so sorry:) Those same little boys... well we went there in Saturday and after teaching we told them it was time to practice testimonies again, they usually do at the end of our lessons but then we told them the next day would be the day they get to share. Monsmith jumped up off his chair and said, "YEAH!" Then yesterday in Church as the first woman was sharing their testimony they all stood up together and marched up there, courage in numbers :) Raymond, the oldest of the four who went up, will be baptized this upcoming Friday along with JP whose birthday is Friday June 6, which is why we're having it Friday instead of Sunday. Leonard's mother, sister and "adopted sister" of sorts who lives with them and is a single mother now...she's 26 and has a couple months old baby, her husband left her at the beginning of the pregnancy though... well they all committed to a baptismal date. They've all committed to a baptismal date and Leonard has the Priesthood now and blessed the sacrament on Sunday. The problem is that it's hard for his mother and sisters to come to Church because of the two babies. They don't have enough money for babies milk for the baby so they use the rice water instead and they don't have diapers so it's really hard for them to take the babies away from the house. They are examples of truly humble and happy people. We always love our visits with them and our "gratitude in prayers" activity was a great experience. On the wall of the room in their home where they have their water bucket and rice cooker they have a picture of a kitchen... it's a nice tile kitchen with wood cupboards etc. I noticed the picture one of the very first times we went there, in fact I might have told you about it before because like you've been talking about that picture in their home so very far from that standard made me too think of all the beautiful homes you build and how great the workmanship is... and I wonder how much we can feel okay with just living according to standards of where we are or how much we should worry about the lack of good standards of living in other places. Well... because we want so much for Leonard to keep doing the things he needs to be active in the church, serve a mission, be an example to his family etc. we decided to donate a set of scriptures so he has the full set and a journal of our own so that he has one. When we gave them to him on Sunday he was so surprised and so grateful -- they were both things he would never have had enough money for of his own and will significantly help him with Church activity and preparing for a mission so I'm glad we were able to do that for him. Thanks for all the stories and updates -- sorry I'm not always the best at responding about each thing but I do enjoy reading it all etc... time is just limited on here.

Love, Brit

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May 11 to Savanna

Ugggg...I did it again. This time I ac cidentally erased everything while trying to be smart and save it! Well...I'll try to start over buti t's going to be shorter. The most important things

College: being roommates at college will be way different and that doens't mean easy because roommates still have issues sometime sbut different and i think good and fun and we'd learn a lot about each other now that we'll kind of be in the same stage of life, strange. We'll see what happens later though. Also, like I said before lots of people lived at Campus Plaza that went to different schools or just worked etc. so it doesn't really matter. It's BYU approved housing which means students attending BYU can live there (we'reo nl allowed to live in approved housing because of the honor code) but anyone else that wants to can also live there and they do.

As far as patriarchal blessings go...mine tells me something that I interpreted in part to mean i shouldn't serve a mission. It was something I de bated about when trying to decide to come and it's amazing that after I realized I needed to come and then did I learned very quickly how serving a mission actually helps me to do the very thing my patriarchal blessing says to do that I thought wouldn't happen if i came. Kind of ambiguous but maybe you understand. Sometimes we just have to move forward. It also tells me kind of what I should study...but it's not specific so I wouldn't expect that, who knows though eh?
Here it is already summer. They're school is about to start and the hot season will be over, but I think it will still be hot here no matter what season it is. It's funny you are all just getting out of school andt hey are all just starting.

WE did a service project cleaning up trash! Super trashy in Ogden is probably nothing compared to here but I'm glad you're doing service and that people like to try to be clean there :) I enjo clean :) haha.

I do love babies...but I'm not allowed to hold them etc. here. It's against the mission rules. They have lots of babies here also, i think it's baby breeding season everyone seems to be pregnanat. They all have very large families here, though. For Mother's day one of the men in the ward said to us "Happy Mothers day...soon :)" and grinned really big...I looked at hima nd said "ha, a couple years or more still, that's not soon!"

It's too bad Becky is having a hard time in life, I have a lot of friends who have struggled witht heir lives and families and i've seen how they can be happy within a hard situation or they cannot, some of them including Amanda, Carin, David, Kathy, anyway etc.

Okay so I'm going to finish here...this keyboard is driving me batty the keys are all sticking really bad so it's hard to type, especially to type fast...I love typing! Hehe. Goodl uck with everything and all of your decisions.

Brit

April 27 to Savanna

Hi, so I sent a letter that will probably be the next to arrive which is addressed in large part to you, haha. I informed you throughout the entire thing what your plans for the next couple of years should be, but a patriarchal blessing might be a good source to add to my fabulous payo (or advice that would be) :) haha. I can't believe you haven't gotten it yet, silly girl. I guess maybe I was fifteen or maybe sixteen even, I just felt like I was older. I think it was my first year of high school for sure, actually...the very beginning of it so I was only fifteen.

It's true, I'm not a big fan of all the soda they drink here, but I'll survive for sure. Well, nothing is really for sure but I don't think it will be that, that kills me if I do die :) Maybe baptisms are frequent, a lot of children are being baptized lately is partly why. We currently have most of our progressing investigators working toward baptism which means we really need new investigators. Finding them is definitely the hard part.
Also, if it wasn't the first letter it must be the same one that addresses what you should do in your life that talks about the temple. I'm glad it seems you all go more than I ever did, I talked about that in the letter also. All my news really does come to you in an odd fashion because the emails will get there sooner always and then similar or different news in a different order comes with the hand written letters...just try to sort it out why don't you?

The closest temple is the Manila temple, which for now is the only operating one in the Philippines, they have another about to be opened. I think it takes about four hours to get there from where I am...but I'll never get to go during my mission, only Manila missionaries.

My ACT score was 22...I think. Not so fabulous but it never improved. My reading score was really high but my math was about 17 also I think.
My companion is fine, she's pretty good at English so that helps/probably doesn't help with learning Tagalog...we speak in an interesting taglish language most of the time.

Interesting people? I guess everyone is interesting in their own way. I'm going to write in a little more detail about our days and stuff in my other emails and letters so read those also and maybe in a future time I will have better things to say to you individually, haha. Well good luck with that picture of the Philippines, make sure you buy lots of green paint for it :) Maybe you could draw a rainstorm at the ocean...the rain comes down HARD here and then the streets are all flooded and muddy...it's fabulous to try to walk through. Okay well that's all for now I'm going to read the rest of my emails and respond to them.

Brit

May 26th email

I would say fast...it seems slow in the sense that I can't think of any work (being busy) that we did particularly to report on but I think it's because the week happened so fast it feels like it's still last Monday and I can't think of anything particular to report. The relief society lesson on Sunday was about that same talk, except I didn't understand most of what they talked about, sigh :)

I remember something about that whole story, but sometimes I get all the different people from your different stories mixed together so you end up with one person who hit the girl, ran away, stabbed the car chair, ruined the business, never paid you back, had a heart attack, struggled with drugs, decided he was homosexual on and on and I think they're probably mostly all different people. Sister Mabalot and I have been talking about anger a lot lately also, but more like tempers etc. being hot headed or "init and ulo!" haha or matigas and ulo. I understand her a lot better after she expresses the changes the gospel brought to her life in the last four or so years since becoming a member. She said her family would call her the princess always ordering people around and they tell her now that they miss her loud voice yelling for things through the house :) haha... it makes her laugh and she said that her mission has been good for her because it taught her that she can be a nice person! Amazing :) It's funny how it's just the same for me. I was always very good at getting my way, very good at being angry and holding resentments etc. hard headed and even if I was right about a situation the right way to go about it would not be to be angry when others didn't agree or do thing my way. I definitely have/or had a very prideful disposition and that made it hard to change even when I wanted to. It's easy to continue being how you are even if you know it makes you unhappy and isn't who you should be when everyone seems to expect it of you and I didn't like attention it brought if I changed because in my mind it almost didn't count to be nice if you were acknowledged for it, so I just wallowed in my bad attitudes while everyone around me expected it to be that way. It got a lot easier for me once I moved away and could start over in a sense but even my roommates the very first year I lived completely alone in our apartment acknowledged a change between my first year living with them and my second. That second year of college was full of big changes and growing up. I was overwhelmed and unhappy with the lack of progress I felt in my life spiritually and even mentally... I was in a rut that required some big sacrifices, sacrificing my pride mostly and realizing like Sister Mabalot that I could be a nice person. Carin even said to me one morning the second year we lived together "Brit, you really have changed, you always smile at me in the morning now." Mornings may still not always be my favorite, I may have to force myself to smile but I woke up every morning and the first thing I thought was that I was grateful for another day to progress and become more like Christ and I would kneel down and tell my Heavenly Father that. My morning prayers became more focused rather than sleepy and hurried and the rest of the day was better for it. It's not just imagined that as our lives become more Christ focused they become better, happier, we change and sometimes that change is hard and scary even though we know it's what's best for us and it makes us an others happier. It's even funny to me that I still considered myself a very hot headed, quick tempered, somewhat mean person. I said something to one of my male friends who had met me well after a lot of my changes about how I kind of had a temper and he looked at me incredulously... just that look made me realize that I had changed it wasn't just that he had only seen my good side...he'd seen me in many situations etc. and I knew he knew me very well...the new me that I didn't even know yet because I was still figuring out who she was and holding on to who I had always been told I was before by Satan, by friends who had seen me that way, by family who expresses frustration at a difficult teenager and that that is 'just how they are', but it's not how we have to be ever. Oh, that doesn't mean I don't still lose my temper or get frustrated, but I feel like my spirit that wants to be good and patient and kind even in pain and frustration has far more control over my natural tendencies now and it's a beautiful and relieving feeling. I only hope it will continue to be better through the future challenges I will face in life. I like the confidence to know I can choose to do whatever I can to enjoy the company of anyone, any companion or roommate and even have a good relationship with them. Just after Sis. Mabalot and I had this discussion one of our investigators who has taken all of our commitments very seriously and is reading straight through the Book of Mormon, every day and whose prayers are really becoming more sincere and he now attends Church every week "nourished by the good word of God" basically and has given up word of wisdom problems etc. well in only the short month or so of doing this he told us he noticed that it's easier to not be angry, his desire to fight with those that hurt him has gone away. He has more patience and sees situations differently and he was thanking us for bringing that to him. We told him that when you fortify yourself with the gospel you become more like Christ and thus become like he is beginning to. All the things he is doing, following the commandments, reading the Book of Mormon which is all about Christ, attending Church where we share testimony and teachings about Christ etc can't help but change you if you open your heart to it and let it take over your life. It's too bad that so many hard headed people can't open their hearts to it. We can even go through the motions of it all like I did for a lot of my life, with moments of progression etc. and basically doing all I should having learned it since I was a child but until you really give yourself up to it you can't be truly happy and truly have control, the freedom to choose eternal life rather than eternal damnation. So, a really sad moment for me... but kind of happy in a way was when we were teaching in Sinisian, Br. Boyette's family. All of the children ages 9-17 go to Church every week and most of them have been baptized now so we're teaching new member lessons and preparing a couple for baptism still. Raymond who is 12 right now is next. Well, Minandro who was most recently baptized and is soon to be 10 is the one who asked the question. We had taught them, then they asked me to teach them how to make paper balloons so I did quickly and then they all practiced sharing their testimonies to all of us for next Sunday in Sacrament meeting. After our prayer Br. Boyette was talking to Sis. Mabalot about transfer date and when we could potentially be leaving. They are thinking of bringing Elders back into our area so we might both leave when we are transferred so that more Priesthood can be here...Minandro caught onto the conversation they were having and that we would be leaving, an idea that I think hadn't crossed his mind... he probably thought we would keep coming every Saturday, Wednesday and being there at Church on Sunday. He looked at me and asked, in Tagalog of course, "...but if you're not here who will teach us?" The part that is sad is... I don't know for sure! The missionaries can't keep coming as frequently as we do now... although hopefully they will continue to visit with them since they are such a large family of new members but who knows what the future missionaries will do that is out of my control. BenWoodgie (17) older cousin of MonSmith (9) who was recently baptized was excited to tell us that the other day Monsmith reminded him that they needed to pray before they ate because that's what the Sisters had taught! That's so great and Woodgie having not been very active before we started teaching them all is active again now and excited to have learned something from his young cousin that helped strengthen his testimony about prayer. I want to take all the children in the world and take care of them. Right now we have at least four little boys who want to serve missions and are excited about it but without strong examples I wonder what the next couple of difficult years will bring them when they are teenagers and faced with money issues, the hardships of life especially the life of the poor here in the Philippines... when the careless life of a child goes away will the teachings we gave them be something they can turn to even without anyone else continuing daily in their homes? It's good they have the habit to go to Church. Monsmith -- well he's my favorite I think even though he's kind of naughty and likes to throw the big bugs at me because I'm afraid of them -- the other day when it started to rain he ran outside where his nice clothes were hanging up and grabbed them saying "oh no my clothes" because they needed to stay nice for Sunday the next day. Okay so we've got them all wanting to serve missions and I want them to continue to want to and do what they need to do it but I know Satan will thwart it and we can't seem to get their families to help them and I can't stay here forever! Errgggg... anywayI will pray for them for the rest of my life I think, my prayers are awfully long just of people now to give them strength to overcome addictions (a major problem here) give them faith to come to Church instead of go to work, give them a desire to pray, give them the spirit to know the truth of what we teach help them understand the importance of preparing for temple marriage give them strength in pains of sickness and disease in the face of death ahhhhhhh on and on. If Leonard was taller I would pray fervently that he serves a mission stateside, learns English and would then marry Savanna...haha! He's just so great and sobraaaaa Magaling siya! Very talented. We gave him his baptism pictures and the next time we came back he showed us his little notebook where he has all of these drawings and then he had a couple pages of scrapbook he'd created with our pictures and little captions and drawings etc. all around them, it was really good. He also sang for us a song he'd looked up on the Internet. He's been searching for LDS religious music but most of it is in English so he wanted me to tell him what some of it meant. It was a song about the "Potters Hands" and uses the clay to let God mold us was the gist of it. He has a good voice, loves music, plays the guitar and piano and is excited to use all of his talents to help the Church -- what more could you ask for? Anyway -- Leonard's family is very poor and they work very hard. He also cleans their clothes in the river etc. and takes care of his sisters baby while she has to go to work. We love visiting with Marie and her baby and Leonard and his other sisters baby. The babies are so adorable. Right around when I'm going home Leonard will be old enough to go on a mission and Sis. Mabalot and I both want to make sure he gets to. Even help him in some way if we can. Sometimes I wonder about my faith a bit though, it's rather weak and that makes it hard to learn the language, it's coming so slow when I just want it to be easier. I feel sometimes like I would have been a better missionary and better able to offer my talents if I was sent English speaking, I feel so inhibited here-- and I have a hard time with our investigators. It's hard for me to really let myself be excited about them because the retention rate is so low here, so many people have gone inactive and I'm almost set up to expect it and don't want to deal with that disappointment after seeing the great progression in lives like Leonard's and the other children I was talking about earlier. Well, I'll press along like always, though, and try to learn from everything and do what it is I was meant to do. Maybe it's time for me to learn that I have different talents to develop that the people here need and to develop my faith mostly to learn the language like I wouldn't have had to if I was speaking English. I'm afraid of failure though, I can't envision the day where I can do it and I see myself being so sad and disappointing everyone by never having reached my potential for helping and speaking and teaching but I fight that also because fear is against faith. Fear has always been a big theme for me in my life. I've always loved all the scriptures about not being afraid and trusting God and I've seen in small ways how I've done that better all through my life and become less afraid of things that used to cause me great anxiety and waste my time with worry. Well, progression always isn't that nice? As for the package -- Wala Pa. Hmmm...some things are so much easier to say or come more naturally so say in Tagalog :) I may not be fluent by any means but it's true that some things just become natural and it's strange to try to say it in English now... Wala Pa basically means, none still? Haha, that sounds so strange in English though you just wouldn't say it that way I guess I would say, I still haven't received a package. Zone Conference is Jun 3 I think so maybe then if it has arrived, that's when I get mail :) I got letters last Wednesday though because President came to our District meeting, two from mom I think and Maddie and then one from Amanda, one from Andrea who is totally excited about her wedding and... that was all I think. Well, my time is up now. I love you all and hope you are making good choices :) teehee. I pray for you every day "Pakibasbasan po ang Pamilya Ko, lalong-lalona habang malayo mula sa kanila."

May 19th email

Hi to all of you again! Okay...so the cards, remember how I renewed the cards right before I left mom? That's probably why they think I have two working but I only have the renewed one with me, maybe that means I did not activate it so that's why the ATM doesn't work but when I use it at stores it still can go through. There are very few places where they accept my card so what I've done is use the card a couple times to buy food etc. in order to pay back for the things I've had to use my cash allowance from the mission for. The way the money works is we get an allowance every month... this money comes from the $400 you give but that doesn't mean I actually get $400 dollars. They distribute the money given by families all throughout because say I was in Europe... I would need a lot more money to survive the same way than I do here in the Philippines or maybe in America so every missionary gives the same amount but we all get what it is we need to live a fairly modest lifestyle in the area we live. The money is only to be used for food and toiletries, utilities, transportation which is a big one in our area we have to pay for lots of transportation, getting our clothes washed and postage for letters home which is rather expensive and more so if I send pictures etc...if we buy clothing, get pictures printed etc. it needs to come from separate funds from home. I don't expect to have to use that too much but I did need to get some of my clothing altered, I bought English Tagalog dictionaries that are better and I need to buy a smaller bible in Tagalog still which will be cheap...also the sheets I bought because I only had one set. It sounds like you would like me to give the information to you in a letter so i'll send it later. It's not too big a deal right now and maybe won't matter at all. So, dad wrote "Mom had a heart attack" referring to sending the package which scares me... because there still is the chance it won't get here! I really don't want you to spend lots of money sending me things, I can survive without packages... maybe one more for Christmas/birthday and that will suffice :) Anyway...when I read it I really thought he meant she'd had a heart attack and I nearly did... it took my brain a while to figure out what was really meant by the words. Today we had a district activity for P-day. We sent to fantasy world again which is just this place where they have lots of trees and paths and flowers and a big castle. We went there before with some members because it's in our area but the other missionaries wanted to go also and we thought it was open now so we'd be able to eat and go bowling. It still wasn't open, though, so we just walked around taking pictures and then it started to rain, and then it was raining really hard! Haha...we ran through the rain and were pretty soaking wet. We took refuge in the castles cathedral for a bit but then it wasn't letting up so we continued our trek to the street to catch a jeep to go back home. It was pretty exciting, haha. So mom, I just want to let you know that you're probably a lot stronger and braver than you seem to think you are. So Aunt Amy and Aunt Jenny are pregnant? I thought Amy was done with four? Hopefully she'll have a girl and then Chloe can have a sister with all those brothers :) I wonder if I'll have boys or girls or both etc...or any children at all! haha... I used to think I could never have boys because I'd have no idea how to raise them or anything about them since I only had sisters but I continue to have lots of experiences that help me understand the life of a little boy on up and I probably wouldn't mind havinga little "mommies boy" :) haha. All the little shops have put out their school uniforms and backpacks etc. because school is about to start here. It makes me feel like I'm in a different dimension of time altogether because you're finishing school but they're just starting school, so strange. Sister Mabalot and I decided that when I go home you have to come pick me up so we can go to Baguio where she lives and see it there. It's a really beautiful area of the Philippines with water falls and rivers etc. and then she'll come home with us to see Utah in the fall... a season she's never experienced :) She's actually going to try taking the exam to get into law school at BYU but isn't sure how that will work, especially being a foreigner and with money etc. Yesterday in Church I understood basically everything that was going on. Church is always very Tag-lish... but I understood a lot of the Tagalog parts of that Taglish. Understanding is coming a lot faster though.

The little boys were catching these huge bugs that they like to play with, I think I talked about them before. They were throwing them at me, it was very unpleasant :) They thought it was a great game. Minandro was being a little kinder about it all and kept telling his comrades "Huwag!" Which means "Don't" basically. Then they would say, "Sister Landrum, Sister Landrum, Kailan Kayo pupunta sa amin?" Asking me when we would be returning to their home to teach them. We're teaching Raymond, their 12 year old cousin, lessons to be baptized and the rest of them who are 9-10 have been baptized recently so we're teaching them new member lessons. We'll return Wednesday and they want me to teach them how to make paper balloons. Well, I can't think of much more to specifically talk about right now. I hope all is going well and am excited every week to find out the every day happy events of your lives. Tell Ike congrats for me eh? Funny, all of the males in the family go state side and I'm here in the jungle!
Love from your missionary, Sister Landrum!

May 12th email

Since I taked to you earlier today I'm going to try to type this journal entry from April that I tried to send before...the keys are sticking on this keyboard so sorry for the mistakes. It was great to talk to all of you and next time I do I promise it will be in ALL Tagalog...bwahahaha (SANA!) which is an expression of hope.

"Today should be my day in the life of story. I rather enjoyed all of it. Due to washing my clothes tonight I don't have time to write everything today I'll finish tomorrow. It rained a lot today so I was never overly hot which is always nice. We woke up and did regular study time. I read about the tree of life in the book of momon and we studied word of wisdom and how to teach it in Tagalog. After we did email. With a whole hour I feel like i'm writing my family a novel. After Sis Mabalot got her hair relaxed at a salon. That took a long time so I wrote a letter to Andrea while sitting in the nice air conditioned salon. We ate lunch then went to Ate Ludy's to text our numbers to the zone leaders. That's when the rain really started up, so we just stayed there while I wrote my letter to my family. It was rather long you might say especially after my long emails, kanina. We went grocery shopping after that and then returned to our apartment where I labled all the pictures Im sending home...with high hopes that they will actually make it there. Our planned appointments for the night were Leonard and the Dillion family. They have many children, cousins mostly, and then Christian and Mary Jane and their baby usually join with Lola peeking out sometimes. The neighbors are always very intrigued by what is going on and will wander around near us lingering a bit. We invite them all of course. Well, here in the Philippines it gets dark early all year long. WE walked to Leonard's in the mudd streets. I can't sufficiently decribe his home/neighorhood for you in words to get the right picture. They are down in a swampy kind of area with little streams and all the homes are raised up. The floors are made of these thin slats placed next to each other and space in between. Sis Rochell's home is the same and while there and sitting on the floor the little kids will go under and poke us! So, we sit on their porch and have rope strung all above us with their clothes draped over to dry and Leondard drags out a a table to sit between Sis. Mabalot and myself. In the center he places an old bottle with something corked in the top that they light so we have small flame and now the evening is getting dark so it's all we have to read with. We set the scriptures open to the section we will study next to the bottle on the table and begin. His mother and sister are also with us on the small porch. With our small flame we read about those things that bring light into our lives, into us and it continues to be such a great experience as revelation comes to them, commitments are made and kept and their humble lives become opened to all the riches of eternity waiting for the faithful. Taal is very far away, up the hill and across the river from Lemery so we chose to take a tricycle to make our family home evening appointment. We wave one down, my newest description for it is a bike cart for children but on the side of a motercycle instead of behind a bike. We ride up to Taal then walk up the dirt stairs and along a small path of green to their home. They have a nicer home, tile floors and a large porch attatched. All of the children start gathering as the first sees us and starts yelling "sister, sister!" The neighbors peek out at us and Nanay will join for a moment. I sat and wrote out the words to "A Child's prayer" while Sis Mabalot does her chattering that I still don't understand. We've decided to teach them prayer in families. We begin with a prayer, all kneeling together on their tile porch and then start. She always asks how we communicate with God, texting? maki pag text as they would say. One little boy answered, "Hindi ko alam, siguro!" Which means i don't know, maybe...Mary Jane laughed and her baby was rolling around in a baby walker exploring everything. We have Br. Christian read the verses in third nephi 18 about praying in families and addressing them we tell them their family will be stronger if they pray together and for each other. Then we sang. I sang it for them first and then had them try with me. "A Child's Prayer" which has always been a favorite of any group of church members I've associated with. Their English is a bit broken up but I feel the spirit there. I know it's true and hope that the message can come to them through it even in English. In song we pray, and I feel like all the cildren, with me, were praying to our Heavenly Father. Then it was time for games! We played Handa Kilos with the funny monkey actions. Everyone laughed...then Sis. Mabalot's game of slow elimination and the first three out have a punishment. The punishment is the best part of the game. The first out has to face the wall and in a splattered position as we yell questions out she has to answer. The first was "what is the name of your boyfriend!" All the other children answered for her! And the adults laughed. The next punishment was that they had to do a dance for us. The other children joined, however, not wanting to be left out of the fun. The others sang and clapped to the beat. It was a well known dance and fun to watch. I wanted to join / wanted to go home and see Maddie and Olivia dancing to our fun music... both the same age as these little girls. We left soon after. At home we planned for the next day. I washed my clothes...filling our bowl in the sink with water and suds I soaked the clothes and rubbed them together creating more suds and dipping and ringing out and sweat rolling down my brow as I hummed the children's hymns from earlier that day. After hanging the now rinsed clothes to dry I showered off the sweat... dumpig ladels of water over my head. Time for bed, we pray. I pray. And, soon fall asleep only to be awoken early the next morning to sounds of the motorcycles zooming past below and the sticky heat of the day. Roosters also...of course! I wait for the fan to turn to me again as the air hits my toes and I twist a bit so it will go up my now sweaty back and neck. After some stretching I'm up and the day begins again with prayer. The frustrations of learning a new language and wanting the faith to know I will while enjoying the new and now familiar scenes of Lemery. Like chickens with one leg tied to a house or post etc. The people are the same in ways deep inside. Their babies all naturally dance to a beat and sometimes to the music playing in their little growing brains. They smile when smiled at and their eyes light up at attention. They are curious and sensistive and have inner strength they don't even know of yet but will need to face the challenges that will surely come as they continue to grow and are faced with the outward learning that will come to them from environment, from circumstances from others...they need to remember those things they already know, remember those ways that they already naturally are that make them want to dance and sing and laugh and rejoice and smile and make their eyes shine."

Okay, time is very up now that was kind of my journal entry. I'll write again later.

Love, Brit

May 5th email

Hi, so as far as political things go we are advised not to talk about it all...especially as Americans and not in emails or letters that others could come across and get the wrong idea from. I don't really hear much or know much about it at all. Sometimes i hear little things, especially from Sister Mabalot because she's interested in government. She wants to be a lawyer and her father is a police man...but they live in the northern Philippines while what you are talking about is on the other end so I still just don't know. I haven't noticed any specific difference between people older or younger...or anyone who is really anti America (Anti us teaching them, yes...) but anti me not so much. Very interested in me they all seem to be. When they hear me speaking Tagalog to Sis Mabalot as we walk along the street they will say "May Tagalog?" In suprise... which means something like, there is tagalog, she knows tagalog etc. Anyway...I did just talk to you all about a second ago and it seems you still haven't responded to me. I'm going to read the rest of my emails now and then maybe type my journal entry that i tried to send before when it disconnected me.
Love from me

May 5th email for Dad

Dad, sorry I've been really delinquent at writing to you in response to what you write to me. I'll have to fix that in a written letter for this week because I'm a bit out of time. Of course everything I write is really for everyone although I address specific people sometimes. So, your Tagalog is very interesting :) I actually still don't know a lot of the words you are trying to use, sad as that is. I understand Gospel terms and our lessons a lot better because that's what we do all day and what I practice and hear over and over, culture and every day stuff will have to come later. Also,the grammar is a bit different. It's fun to try to decode though :)

Our name is Landrum in Tagalog... it's a name so it just stays a name. Dumaong does mean something but I'll have to look it up, Sister Mabalot can't fiture out what the English equivalent is. Kapatid is sibling and na babae, babae is girl so sibling that is a girl. They also just use Sister... some things they just say in English. Couldn't would be "Hindi Puwede" Hindi is no and Puwede is one of the words for "Can" I had my preach my gospels bound so that cost a bit of money but they were falling apart a bit so that was important. Sending heavy letters and printing pictures is also expensive and I have to use funds from home and not our missionary funds for it but if you want me to I'll keep sending them sometimes. Just make sure to keep me updated about what money is on my card still so I don't go over, k?! I'm glad you liked the pictures. They all do look very young, until they get old...then they all look really old. People always react to me very interestingly and from what I hear from Sister Nielsen who is soon to go home, it never really changes. The other day some man whose friend we were teaching just kept staring at me and then he tried to court me, he wants to marry me etc. and it was a bit hmmmm just uncomfortable for me but harmless thus far so we're having members from the ward come with us whenever we teach them. I also have to be used to people just touching my hair sometimes or grabbing my arm...it's interesting. More about leadership and the youth later so I can discuss it better, maybe in my hand written letter. That is definitely why we need good missionaries and presidents etc. to help the areas of the church in the word where it's still not established. Help them not corrupt doctrine simply because they don't know any better... it'seasy to see how doctrine becomes corrupted very easily also. I talked with the mission president about how to cope with some of my concerns, of course I can do nothing to change them but they cause me concern anyway so that was good to discuss with him. Gas is so expensive! Sheesh...I hope it goes down before I come back. I guess I probably won't have a car though so it might not directly affect me in that sense. Thanks for the "world update" I don't even know who I would vote for if I was there to do so... I think the most I can do for our country and for the world in some cases is just pray that the best for us will turn out and that we can overcome it. We live in the time when our country has rejected a lot of truth, though...and the book of mormon clearly states that because it is the promised land a curse will come upon it for those who do not follow the commandments of God. If fact, I've started keeping track of how many times that exact thing is said. Maybe I'll send all the references when I find them all. Anyway have to go, sorry...
Love, Brit

May 5th email to Garyn

Hey, sorry your responses back are short. This one is going to be also but it'saddressed to JUST you, aren't you special? I don't have very much time,really, to read and type all the things I would like to but that's for a goodpurpose. Is it your queen of hearts play that is soon? Hmmm...so I think I getto talk to everyone next week so you can just tell me about how it all was then,if the whole crazy phone business works. Actually...I'm going to end this here,haha...almost not worth having done but I need to respond to dad real quick and then be done for today with Email. How is everything going with finding a job? Im sure wherever you end up you'll learn a lot. Random as it is, I left homefor College and needed a job for the summer to help me pay for everything in lifenow that I was along "kind of" Iw asn't really ever along everyonealways helped me and I was living with Julie but the first job I got was janitorial,cleaning bathrooms...really nice ones though in a brand new building. The hourswere late at night. I wanted a different job, I wanted the job I ended up gettingat the end of the summer at the counseling center but my experience all summer cleaningrestrooms, the people I met and learning to really enjoy it was a such a blessing. I even chose to return to that job the next summer to earn a little extra moneybefore going to boy scout camp. Then at the MTC our service each week was to cleanthe bathrooms and I LOVED IT. Everyone thought Iw as so funny but it brought goodmemoreis and just cleaning hard nad getting wet and sweaty felt good. My adviceis to enjoy whatever work you do. My Branch PResident, PResident Lant, at the MTCsaid to use frequently..."Whatever I do I do it unto the Lord, and I do it happily, if i'm called upon to be the man who dumps the trash every day thenI do it in the name of the Lord and for him and happily because that's how hewould do it" I really liked that. Anyway now I'll be done. Love youBrit

May 5th email

All right, I was officially wrong about mothers day somehow...it's next week:) That means I can call but we've still not been informed of how. I don't fully understand the time difference but I will be calling some time early in the morning Monday here which will be some time around five-seven Sunday night there I think? Yeah, except I think I need to give you the number to my phone card and have you call Ate Ludy's land line and that will be what works best, because her land line doesn't call out. I might need to have her email that information to you and hopefully it will all get worked out! As an explanation for Ate...and Kuya here they have this respect thing and if you are the older sibling all of your younger siblings call you not by just your first name but they must say Ate Britney (for a girl) and Kuya "Mike" for a boy. Sometimes you use it for people who are older than you that you associate with, or you just call everyone Nanay and Tay or Tatay for mother and father. We had interviews house to house with the president last week so I chatted with Elder Queathem (AP going home in July) about how to learn and adjust and stuff and we talked about school at BYU since he will soon be returning. Then he said...oh, so your birthday is in December, you're a little bit older than me, "Ate Landrum" haha. It's kind of like using "po" while you speak for respect and it's funny how all those words mean at all are "respect" and you get accustomed to hearing it and it sounds nice to hear it..."Oo" for yes changes to "Opo" and all the little children respond to us by saying "Opo"and it just sounds nicer, respectful even though it really doesn't mean anything. Anyway, I can't explain it but it's an interesting cultural note on the language, culture being very important for the overall learning of any language, demonstrated clearly in these couple of words :) I can't remember all the pictures I sent...the one of me in the bathroom, well that is what we use to flush the toilet but that's also where I would stand and how I would bathe. I dump that ladel of water on my head and suds up and then dump more water. The sheets are pretty, I needed two pair so I can wash the one... they are pretty but not quite as comfy as the blue ones grandma bought me...a little scrathchy but just today as we left I was admiring how I like the cheerful bed spreads in our kind of empty apartment. Uruguay...so she'll learn Spanish. Spanish would be so useful to know. The other night Sister Mabalot and I were talking about all the different places and church history sites in the world that we would like to see. It got me thinking about all the different missions I could have been sent to, visitors centers where you dress up a bit fancier than I do here and give tours etc. or somewhere in Europe or somewhere in South America or just another state in America and about Tagalog and how exciting it's going to be to find out what great use I will have for it after my mission. Preach my Gospel says to continue learning the language always because the Lord has invested much in you and will have use for your skills...so if I believe that I must have some work to do after my mission to help the people who speak Tagalog, as much as I may think knowing Spanish or something else would be more useful...for me Tagalog will be what I use to serve and maybe I will study Spanish again and it will be easier to learn once I have Tagalog. You don't dance at all? That's kind of upsetting! So does dad have to sing? From what I remember that part sings but maybe they have adapted the play for the stake? Remember how Shaggy Tony (who took me to prom) looked when he came to destroy my room? That's because he was one of Chuck's gang members in our high school's performance of footloose so he had to grow his hair out like that. I'm slightly depressed that you are all in a play and I don't get to see it. Way back when I was the one in plays, I wonder if I'll ever be in a play again or if that part of my life is over. I've wondered that about dance a little too. This morning Sister Mabalot and I decided to be more dedicated about our exercise, and she keeps telling me I need to stay flexible to dance when I go home, although I don't know if I'll get the opportunity to...I do want to stay flexible! We've been a bit achy in the mornings and through the day "Sakitsa likod" she'll say which means, pain in my back!" haha so we made a plan which requires us to wake up a little earlier but Monday's we will jog near the dagat, or ocean...Tuesday weights (somehow, we don't have any) and muscle training and flexibility, Wed kickboxing style stuff thurs weights and flexibility again and Friday stairs and lunges then Saturday some kind of yoga/whatever we decide that day to get us ready for Sunday! The White missionary handbook tells us to follow a regular excercise schedule and we've been lacking in that so we're trying to improve upon all aspects of our work and starting here with our health. We're both excited about it and it, we'll see how it works. At interviews they brought us mail and I got another letter from Mom and one from Sister Vake, Sister Hill and an Elder Budd...Elder Budd? So I opened it and he had seen a picture Sister Vake has of me and was like "what! Britney?" So Sister Vake told him I was now Sister Landrum and he wrote me a letter expressing his excitment at getting to now call me Sister Landrum and that we would both know Tagalog. He was one of the Premies (pre missionaries) freshman in my ward at Campus Plaza. I forgot he went to the Philippines. They were a funny group of boys in that apartment and he went on some dates with Ashlee, my roommate from that year. Anyway, it was exciting to hear from him and everyone else. He talked about how the beginning while learning Tagalog is Hindi Mabuti...not fun, not good etc. but that it's great and he seemed to be doing really well and gave lots of encouragement. I like hearing from people who have clearly learned it, it makes it seems more possible especially since I knew him before I know he didn't know it, and to hear that everyone struggles. Soccer is fun, I enjoy the women's soccer games at BYU but as far as I recallI spent my soccer days just running up and down the field really fast...haha. At least I was exercising but it probably would have cost less to just make me run up and down a field chasing after a ball you threw at me. I think they have plan of salvation props...somewhere...some people bought some from a lady that makes them at the MTC and maybe I should have just done that but hers weren't my favorite. We'll figure something out, thanks for trying for me and I'm excited to see what you did come up with.

Aww, the Temple. I miss the Temple, especially when I think about Andrea:) She will probably be really busy with marriage and changes but I want pictures earlier than her delinquency will bring so if you happen to attend her reception I would love for you to take some pictures for me and send them :) I guess this is rather far in advance for that but it was a thought I thought I would get outof the way. Rochelle and Tony need to be married. Tony is a member, reactivated recently as we've been teaching Rochelle. She's decided to be baptized but they have to be married first. We had a great lesson about eternal things and the happy preparations they will make to be sealed in the temple in a year or so. We figured it out so that maybe it could be right as I was going home and Sister Mabalot would travel to Manila (since she will have already gone home) and we could both attend their sealing. They seemed happy about it etc. Our next visit they were both quiet, frustrated etc. and from what I gathered/understood her parents are getting upset again about having the wedding at the Catholic Church which is too expensive for them really and they would need to baptize Tony at the Catholic Church...we're not really sure that is something he should do and neither is he but Rochelle is having a hard time with reconciling her family and the gospel. We shared part of Pres Monson's message on Treasures of Eternity and talked about making sacrifices. Sister Mabalot's family is Catholic also...she shared her story about them not accepting her but now that she's here they have begun to again and she has hopes to teach them when she goes home. We talked about how the adversary will put things not of eternal value in our way as trials and we have to choose to follow his commandments and pray for advice when there are multiple choices that could take us down different roads. Anyway...it's kind of a rollercoaster ride, missionary work. One day everyone is so joyful and the next so miserable and we have to try to pull through it all with strong faith. I liked something they said at the MTC...this life is a test right so when you think, man I'm being tested or this is hard just remember"oh yeah, this is part of my test and I'm going to pass this section with an A!" Now if my feet kind of hurt or my skirt is just too long and too hot or I didn't understand anything the person who was just trying to talk to me said I think...well this is just part of my test am I going to be happy about it and work harder, learn something or am I going to fail it and have to be tested again? I hummm a bit and think of Nephi who was always so obedient and then when his trials were great and he sorrowed because of the sins he makes due to being mortal he cries out to the Lord desiring to rejoice in Him and put off his sins and no longer droop in sorrow etc. and says that he knows in whom he has trusted, then later says "I have trusted in the Lord and I shall trust in thee forever and not in the arm of flesh etc" It's in large part this perspective that makes each situation one that we can handle and even with a happy attitude? Of course I'm not perfect at it by any means but I know the goal point to strive for at least. Anyway, I'm going to do the same and save more of my better stories for my hand written letter, I think.

Love,
Sister Britney Landrum

April 28th email

Last week you asked what I would like if you sent a package. I would suggest not sending anything if it's too expensive, and I would guess it would be but throughout the week I did think of the main things I would like if you were to send something...not really food funny as that is :) haha, I've never been a HUGE food person. I already mentioned the tinted face lotion like mom sent me before, and more persa-gel oxy for your face...those little germ-x hand sanitizers of mine will probably run out soon and I'll REALLY want more of those for the rest of the time I'm here. They have alcohol stuff here but the hand sanitizeris way better. Another white undershirt... haha... and if it was cheap and easy having a skirt (shirts are easier to find here but maybe a good missionary-ish short sleeve shirt that would match a skirt kind of like the pink one you sent me, still conservative but maybe more of a flowing style and not so hot. The skirts I have, especially the brown one, are REALLY hot and kind of long but that's not a big deal if it's too hard or expensive it would just be nice. What is more important is I don't have plan of salvation props. If you could find good ones there that have little laminated pictures of each step, a body, a spirit body the pre-earth life all the kingdoms etc. you know that would be good because right now my companion has some but when she's not my companion I may want my own. Pictures in general are good if I could put a small book together to carry around with pictures like of Christ and the twelve apostles, a baptism, the nephites in America resurrection, garden of gethsemane, people praying as a family etc. they are really good for teaching, especially since we teach so many children. Also...gallon size ziplock bags, they have come in so handy and I've used all of mine up now and can't find them here. Well, that would be all. Mom mentioned that I went into the overdraft. Sorry, I guess that was before you put the 200 in because I don't think I've used that 200 up since then. I did just last week buy myself a good tagalog-english dictionary when we were at zone conference so I'm not sure what my new balance is. My real problems are that I don't fully know how to transfer pesos into dollars to figure out how much I'm spending and I don't know the cu... (So...this would be all that I had saved. A much longer and actually addressing the gospel and my work and my life letter followed this but the Internet kicked me off and got mad and all that and only saved this much of the letter and now we are outof time to write so I can't re-do it.) I'm sorry and will try to do more of it later. Thank you for your emails and I hope you all continue to do well. I will write you hand written letters tonight which you won't get for another two weeks but there is always next Monday :)

I'm really upset actually because that took me a long time and now it's all gone but it's okay. I think I get to call you next week, problem is they didn't give us any specifics about it so I have no idea when to tell you to wait for my call or how it will work so maybe be around your phone all the time? I have no idea! haha...especially with time differences it will probably be early in the morning or late at night and I'm not sure if it will be Sat Sun or Mon. Happy Mothers day though :) And sorry again for the lack of a good email this week, blame bad internet connections.

Britney

April 21st email #2

Pamilya Ko! Requests, requests! It's kind of difficult to do and I can never remember what I've already told and how I've told it. I sent pictures, it was expensive and they probably won't get to you for a long time :) I'm glad to hear that the letter and possibly scary picture of me with the President and his wife got to you. The area I am in is large, we live in the "city-ish" part of it which is not so thick with the green and jungle as the outskirts and maybe is a bit dirtier etc. We are near the dagat (ocean) so there is sand everywhere. I talked about food in that other email I sent today in response to one of Dad's letters...really not that exciting :) sorry.

The size of the branch is rather large, the amount of people that come every week is rather small...maybe 90 but I think most of them are children or youth, in fact they fill many of the callings :) I'm kind of afraid for the next year or so when two of the young men will be leaving on missions and in the next month one of the RM sisters who does a lot of work here will be getting married and leaving! I guess that makes my work here even more important, we just need to reactivate. We spent a lot of Saturday trying to get people to attend Sacrament meeting the next day, none of them came...yet. I wrote a journal entry about my day last monday and called it the "day in the life of" so maybe you would like to hear something like that...i don't have it with me but I could try to recreate it a little bit. The parade houses you are building sound beautiful and large and like something I'm having a hard time imagining these days. There are some nicer homes...the floors have fancy tile, always tile and they have beautiful benches. The difference between the rich and the poor here is the real program, the gap is extreme and they'll live right across the street from each other.

I'm kind of sad that you'll all be in a play and I'll have to miss it, especially after all those years of me being the only one in plays and such and you all watching me...when will my turn come! haha... sounds like fun though. Maddie: I'm writing you a letter...oh yes to everyone I did get some letters finally! Hooray, I got one from Grandpa Jim, my friend Taran whose brother will soon be joining me here and thus I expect he'll write to the both of us our whole missions and two from you. I'll respond more directly to those in my letters but they were fabulour to recieve. Zone Con. is next week but I guess the ZL's had a conference before so they brought us mail, it was nice of them. Now to Soccer, it's okay you didn't win as long as you had fun. I'm sorry that ice skating is finished, it sounded like you were doing really great! Keep practicing hard on the piano so you can play me a really great song when I come home. I'm not really very good at the piano but here I get to play for the baptisms and sometimes in sacrament meeting so it's a really great blessing to have that talent and you should keep working hard at it so you can bless other peoples lives with the joy of music. Olivia: I am alive still and getting tanner...and always hot :) I remember my field trip to antelope island, the water is REALLY salty. I never liked salt water before but I really like it now. AFter working on the island in Caliofornia and swimming in the ocean every day I started to like swimming in salt water, it's an acquired taste however. I'm not sure how many poeple I have taught...but we just try to teach as many people as we can every day, and some days are better than others. WE teach a lot of children, I will sing them primary songs and some funny tagalog songs I know, they really like it and clap and say "isa pa" which means"one more." Some little girls we did a family home evening with played a game with us and the way it works is once three people are out they have to have a punishment. We choose the punishment and it was for them to dance. They did a cute dance for us and the others wanted to join in even thought they hadn't lost so they danced also and sang and clapped. It made me miss when you and Maddie and even Mom would dance for me in the house to your funny music. I guess my feet do hurt sometimes, but I don't think about it...I'm used to my feet hurting from lots of walking around campus, bad shoes and dancing :) Savanna : Wala Pa! That means basically no you still, that's all right finish up school well etc. you know all that good stuff.

Oh dear, my time seems to be basically up! sorry about that. Mom: I've kind of already responded to a lot of yours so that's good. I kind of feel bad when you say good things about me, strange as that is. Maybe because I want them to be true and am afraid they really just aren't. I try to live up to that everyday and have courage and work hard and have the spirit with me and recognize it and use it to know I'm doing what I should and that Heavenly Father is pleased with me and taking care of my life at home and all that I left there. Ren Mcormick's Aunt is a funny part if I remember correctly :) Doesn't she sing, though? Are you going to sing!! tee hee I wish I could see it. Well, sorry I really am out of time and didn't realize it happened so quick so this is kind of a blah letter for everyone. Good job Garyn, keep working hard and you probably do have a temper, in fact I do too and it was worse and it was amazing when I realized one day that i had changed a lot, become a little milder and a little less prone to argue etc. but I still thought of myself the other way and realized how much I didn't want to be quite that way but was glad about my changes. Anyway, I don't say that to mean you should change but just that you probably will your whole life and you'll look back on who you were and who you are and who you can become and it's an exciting process and one you should be actively aware of. People need to notice their weaknesses and not be frustrated by them but active about them and just doing their best and being who they are every day. Good luck with the job search and all the plays. Asia? Well my only experience with it would be the plane and the airport stop in Taiwan and it was all really clean and really quiet! I recall similar experiences at the EFY talent show auditions... some would come in and sing or whatever and after they would leave we would finally breathe again, after holding our breath to make sure we wouldn't laugh! I kind of felt bad I guess...but we didn't mean to laugh at them it just happened :) And I didn't think anything bad of them, actually they were better than me in many cases, I usually won't try anything unless I know I'm really good at it, I don't like embarrassings myself although my inhibitions lessened at certain times and i've had my fair share of embarrassing moments. Oh yes, Dad again...JP has agreed to be baptized, he wants to be and continues to come to church and I told him to try and read the entire book of mormon before. He asked to do it on June 6th because that is his birthday and he will be 21...soI guess that solves the question of how old he is :) I think it's great when they request a date! That is kind of far in advance but he still has a lot of learn and a lot of dedicate himself to. The largest problem currently would be Word ofWisdom, it concerns me and I pray for him every day in hopes that he will be dedicated to it and we can do what we need to to strengthen him, but ultimately it comes down to his own decision. I think I'm kind of afraid of the disappointments that will come so frequently in this work, especially when I allow my deep and important spiritual feelings to be a part of it all, but it will come in God's timing and with their agency playing the largest part in many ways. We'll see what happens with him. Leaonard is progressing beautifully for his baptism and we are teaching his family now. He went to youth conference and even though he's really quiet he's not shy...our mission president was there at youth conference and one of the boys in the branch told Sis. Mabalot that Leonard got up and shared his testimony at youth con. even though he's not a member yet and President asked who he was and had them translate what he said...they told him that he was an investigator in Lemery.

OK, so I really have to go now we're going over time. Love you all and am trying to be the best I can for you even though my best isn't worth much at least the gospel can make it worth something.

April 21st email

Hi! Well it's about 3:30 PM here, Monday...the time that we email varies but it's usually after 12:00 because in the morning we do regular study etc. butit just depends. I think it's only 14 hours now because of day light savingsthere in Utah...it was fifteen before. That's what Sister Nielsen was saying anyway. She is about to go home, and did I tell you about her accent? She said that she can't tell she has one but it's really easy to tell and she said last time she talked to her family they could tell. I don't really feel like I'll get an accent...I'll just have the way I speak in English and the wayI speak in Tagalog, but we'll see. I think we had a little bit of rain yesterday, but none today. Manila is a ways from us so they probably do have it there. 90 could be right, but it feels more like 100 plus but mostly because we sweat so much. The baby powder habit is the funniest...I'm always rubbing it on my face now :) The things that I eat really aren't that interesting...they just are what they are. They do eat some interesting things, but I've thus far avoided it and the few people we eat with Sister Mabalot has jokingly informed that I can't stomach anything so they tease me about eating their isda "fish" and I avoid looking at the staring eyes as they all tear pieces off of it. I eat a lot of bananas, they have them everwhere and it's good for breakfast. I also bought some oats because the doctor told us to eat oats to stay healthy and I'll have that in the morning. We eat a lot of rice, it's like a filler and then I eat gulay, vegetables that is...carrots oh and a new favorite that they don't have in America (not that I know of anyway) which is sayote, green beans, red peppers. Eating really isn't for enjoyment for me anymore, it's simply to stay alive :) Haha... Iguess that means in a package I woud probably enjoy some kind of enjoyable and healthy food. I never realized how health crazy I am about some things...not about others I ate plenty of unhealthy things like when we would buy pizza etc. or lot sof ice cream but really I was a rather healthy person.

Ati Ludy made us a soup the other night...milk and cabbage and hot dogs and beans and carrots maybe? They all really like hot dogs also and they'll feed you some scrambled eggs with a hot dog and rice. I finally ate some pinya (pineapple) good... I love the pineapple juice the most I always get that. I'm sorry if my diet is disappointing, haha...oh and if you send a package I would love more of that lotion stuff mom sent, the tinted kind. I don't know where she got it or if she could get more of it but I was a fan, it works well here for me but it's almost gone, in part because it exploded on the plane and is just a mess in a bag now that I keep trying to use because I like it. Hmmm, I can't really think of things I would like...I don't really need things I suppose. I realized the other day that I am okay with giving things up, but i'm an all or nothing person about some things. I miss dancing and going to plays or concerts and my friends and school and my singles ward and family events etc. But, I'm okay with giving them up entirely, music, television, movies and focusing entirely on what I'm doing here except there are forces against me! Haha, I think I was sent to a mission where I happen to expect more of myself than anyone else, more than the members and my companion and other missionaries etc. I want to be really dedicated and use all our time really well though because that's what I'm giving this time for, that's why I gave up those other things...I didn't come here to take part in them or talk about them all the time and I need to do that or I won't learn the language. I'm trudging forward day by day and learning that I am more impatient with myself than I really knew! Haha...patience patience, everyone else seems to eventually learn the language so I'm sure I eventually can also. I'm glad to hear what you said about being go-getters or whatever you said specifically. Not being able to speak makes me have to take the back-seat in a way and things aren't always done how I want them to be but it's a good part to play while I learn.

I'm going to send this now and respond in a different email to the other emails so I can review them again. Bye!