Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13th email

So everyone that reads the blog knows officially... I don't ever go to the blog but it's nice to have you forward their comments to me! (I will forward any comments made on the blog to Brit and as you see she enjoys them) We got a warning today in email from the president because lots of people are breaking the email rule, going to other cites and such so we might lose the ability to email... pray for obedience in this mission so all the Americans will still get to email their families :) For now however, here is my weekly email again. (only having met Jodi’s husband once Wendy and I couldn’t remember who the Sparks were until Brit helped us out) You know Jodi Sparks (Hansen) from the rental house on Antelope ward. I think the last time you saw her was at a concert at the High School right after they got engaged. (Wendy and I went to Great Harvest Saturday morning prior to hiking the Bonneville trail above Ogden and told Brit about it) Great Harvest Bread sounds wonderful. They didn't have scones at the great harvest in Provo -- it was sad. Sharing a car and being roommates would be great (minus having no money for those high gas prices) but Savanna will need to decide to go to Provo before that idea will really work :) Try subliminal message maybe to help her make that decision, haha. I finally sent off a letter so you should be getting more pictures. There are some included that I only have one copy of because someone else took the picture so make sure to save them for me :) Who knows what will happen with me and school -- work first I suppose so hopefully I find a good job :) Good luck with your school and work plans for now. Maybe I'll just write a book and make tons of money off it (like we've plannedsince I was five or something) and then we can both live off that while we pursue our true dreams and help people along the way. The problem with me writing a book is it would be the type that would be rejected by my own and become a classic long after I die :) I think that's just my style, not really a pop culture person - fast and flashy etc. teehee. So, hopefully my problem with the card can be resolved because in my new area there aren't really stores that accept a card so I need the ATM to work. I will send you the numbers this week, I finally remembered to write them you can try to activate it or whatever the problem is. Shawn's question will take more writing and thinking -- about the culture and what they do every day and what they really care about. I am excited to learn their language better so as to understand that very thing. It's amazing how much culture really is within a language and here every small area of every city has its own "language" the dialects are hundreds and I wonder how anyone everunderstand what's going on. Something I found interesting though... we ride jeeps everywhere and you all sit on the benches, packed in and everyone passes their money forward and the driver passes the change back etc. and you say "Bayad Po" first and sometimes where you're going or how many you are paying for. Then you say "Paki-abot" and everyone passes...that means please pass then as you pass others money you say "Bayad Daw" and Daw is a word thatmeans "That's what was said, that's what they said, it was said" then to stop you say "Para na po!" Para is really a Spanish word that means For and they use it the same in Tagalog except on the jeep it means to stop. All right, so this is something you pick up and begin to mimic etc. and the other day I saw a group of little girls playing "jeep" and one was the driver and the others were saying "Bayad po' Salamat (thank you) para na! etc. it was so intriguing to me because I realized I was learning just like them, but as children it was a game until when they get older it becomes what they due, culture passes on and they will forever pass the money that way and stop the jeep that way because the children see their parents do it and they play at it until one day they grow up and they do it too... Anyway that's a thought for the day. I still haven't read your other email so I'm going to move on to that now. Love, Brit

Hey - I just realized there aren't actually two emails but you just sent the one twice so I guess I'll write some more here. Actually -- I don't know what else to write at this point so just I love you and am trying to do my very best. I recently read Mosiah 3 again -- it is an amazing chapter on the atonement. It's funny to me how my studies always tend to get me really anxious to do more study! I love to find more and read and hear different ideas on a topic and relate one thing to another. One speaker at the MTC gave a talk on the atonement and he said "the burden of the scriptures is the atonement" and as I read through the Book of Mormon again that statement becomes more and more true -- it will take a lifetime and then some to come to understand it fully but I love to study and apply that topic to my life and help others do so also. This was definitely the mission for me though because I get to teach people very simply and suddenly the beautiful simplicity of the doctrine has been brought to me -- I like to concentrate on the complexities of things but I've learned to notice and teach the basics and realized how personal deeper study benefits us -- it's still necessary to continue our personal growth but it's something you must do entirely on your own and choose to do so. I think we're leaving now so I guess I'll end now - bye! Love, Brit

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 7th email

Hi! Thanks for the address (she asked for the Stake President's address). Hopefully, I'll get that off soon. Speaking of letters, you might not get one from me for a while but I'll hopefully be sending one tomorrow... it might not be very long but it has pictures. The last couple of weeks have had very busy Monday's and I don't have much control over that with it being a new area and a new companion etc. It's quite the adjustment just having language barriers. It takes us a long time to understand each other sometimes, but it's getting better.

(I was eating fruity pebbles when I last wrote her and randomly asked if they had them in the Philippines)

There are no fruity pebbles in regular areas and at the SM which is the big mall they have in really big cities (areas where we usually have zone conference) I haven't seen any either but last time we were there I did find some fruit loops and I bought them! haha, kind of expensive in pesos but it was a splurge I don't take often, haha. I think what I miss the most is chex with bananas and BYU creamery chocolate milk. Pretty random but it was one of my favorite treats at school. Of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables they have here they seem to eat only meat! It's crazy to me.

(I had commented on the simple and in many cases poverty level living the people have there yet they seem so happy)

I see nothing wrong with making money, having money... but then you have to remember that we really SHOULD be living by the law of consecration although most people are not ready for it so instead we live the law of the tithe etc. As we try personally to follow the law of consecration we live in a medium level with all by giving our extra to others in some form or another... sometimes that form ends up being by serving a mission. This thought was lead to me once again because of my new Mission President. They are both originally from Burley, the Andersons...hmmm? They had a nice big piece of land in Farmington with beautiful trees, a beautiful home, lots of children and 30 grandchildren now who would have parties there, their ward would come also etc. So their story goes they were serving at the Bountiful Temple every week but started to feel like they needed to do something more and so they put their names in at the temple and a week later (in the middle of a bad time for selling homes as you would know) someone just showed up at their house and asked if they could walk around (the house wasn't for sale either) and after he made an offer President said he couldn't refuse. They realized this was an opportunity to be free of the large land and serve a mission! They sold their home of 20 plus years and bought a smaller home that would be easy to maintain and rent while gone, near to their daughter, and received soon after a mission call as a couple to Africa. Not long after that he got a call and they were asked if they would be able to come in for a preliminary interview and were told that their names had been put in the temple. Later Elder Eyring’s secretary called them and they went in to meet with him one stormy day. He informed them that they would be serving a three year "English Speaking" mission -- and they both accepted. At the time they were not told which mission! They were told that a regular letter, similar to my own, would be coming with the exact assignment. Well they had booked a cruise a year before and during the next three weeks that's where they were. He said he was not much fun on that trip and wished they didn't need to go :) They were anxious to know where they would be going and he had it down to London, California, Arizona etc. as the openings in "English" speaking missions. Finally he was so anxious he called home for five minutes, costing thirty plus dollars on a boat, and his daughter opened the letter for them. They couldn't believe that they had been sent to the Philippines. They don't speak English there do they? Haha. “They” might not but the President does :) Thus, they are here. He is an older man, he misses his 30 grandchildren and Sister Anderson said her great trial so far is getting used to carrying around a cell phone all the time and learning to text, it made me think of mom :) Texting is very important in the Philippines so she'll be a pro soon.

We actually had interviews with them on the 4th of July. Elder Queathem was very excited to show me his Flag tie -- but we were really the only ones that cared it was the 4th of July. Besides that the day went just as normal. I also received the letters with pictures from Andrea's wedding. How pretty! It seems kind of not real that they are actually married - it wasn't quite so strange with Shaela for some reason. Maybe in part because I know Luke also and I went through all the years of their relationship growing and changing etc. I was also there for Shaela's wedding and not there for Andrea's so maybe it won't be real until I get home. I really can't imagine what my life will have to offer me after so it's good I have a long time left to NOT think about it :)

I will probably get your written letter at Zone conference. I don't remember when that is -- a couple of weeks more. This mission of mine has given you the great opportunity to graduate before me – haha. If that's the course you end up going for. My emails probably seem odd and mixed up sometimes. I always read them all then respond so I answer some stuff from what Mom said here but I'm going to write another quick email to catch anything from hers I missed. Everyone just reads all of them right? Right, okay, good, whoever wants to.

Want to know what the most random food was I suddenly missed the other day? Grilled cheese and tomato soup - let's just scream college student diet :) Of all the great foods to miss. I didn't miss food too much until I was put into a district with two other American Elders who like to talk to me about the great foods they miss, haha. Elder Bench was sent some bit sized twizzlers! We all really enjoyed them and our companions though they tasted like medicine -- fine with us, more for us!

My last district/zone was very "together" you might say and just a great hard working group -- a lot of them at the end of their missions and still working really hard, really good examples etc. This new zone is a bit rowdy you might say so that is an adjustment I'm trying to cope with at the moment and move forward happy in the work. The work in my area right now is kind of slow so I feel like I don't have many fabulous stories. I'm still really enjoying my scripture study and as for language -- the magic veil has not lifted, it's still hard... but it's getting better. Everyone says you really just have to suffer through sixmonths of confusion - hopefully sisters go a bit faster :) Already I think I'm a little bit faster but six months -- ask me again at your birthday and hopefully I'll be beautifully fluent. It's funny how all who do not serve missions foreign really just think it's magic to some extent, I sure did... I thought it would come so fast and I don't know I just remember how I felt when writing to my friends who served foreign missions, they probably laughed at my letters when I would say things like "you're probably fluent now!" It's truly amazing how much we Americans have learned already, Elder Collins is only a transfer behind me so we're going through the same stages "Sabay Kami" which would mean at the same time. Anyway, it's still a miracle but all of us sent foreign have something to learn and sometimes maybe it just comes slow so we can struggle through, be humble, learn to be happy in confusion :) learn to rely on others instead of being "independent" that one of course should ring a bell for you as rather difficult for me.

I love you all