Sunday, October 5, 2008

August 24th, 2008

Hi Family… So, I’m doing what you told me to and typing this in word so I can just paste it later. I can look at the pictures but this computer likes to shut everythingdown as I do so, thus going through all of your letters plus the ones I didn’t get last week before checking has taken up a lot of my time. Everyone looks pretty fancy and ready for school and Savanna’s bangs are fabulous… I never figured out the bangs thing…they were always so cute on other people and I just couldn’t get the hair-do thing right for myself. Right now my hair is just long and funny layers and I braid it every day. I probably will need to get it trimmed at least before another year is over but I’m kind of afraid to for some reason, haha. My honest reaction when I first read about the possible move was to cry – probably out of habit since that’s what I did every other time. Maybe out of empathy for Garyn who it sounds like took it hardest, since I fully understand what she’s going through. By the time you read this you may have made a decision but whatever happens assure her that she’ll live through it and something good will come from everything. I could have done a lot better at that. Of course, I could have done a lot better at a lot of things as is the truth with all of us. I don’t feel like I’ve given so little detail about this area as your emails make it sound like. Maybe, like you mentioned about getting used to your surroundings, thePhilippines in general are more familiar to me and so I don’t feel there is as much to say or I don’t notice it. I don’t know, I guess I don’t know exactly what you want me to describe or say about it. Also, we’re not supposed to go into detail in our letters about struggles per-say so maybe I’ve been “distant” in my letters because this area has been a struggle. Of course, you know that because I did mention it slightly. I feel like I’m realizing a lot of things I never knew before or that I used to think were one way and they just aren’t. For instance, learning a new language. I was grateful for something Luke said in his last letter to me about how he learned the language, about how before you do it you feel like it’s either you don’t know it or you’re fluent but it’s more gradient and you hardly notice it. And, then he mentioned things he had to do like writing down words he didn’t know and rephrasing things back to people and then he said, “And I had to do it my whole mission.” My grammar is terrible, my vocabulary is lacking but I can communicate and I can share my testimony and I can understand basically what people are expressing when they talk. I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting. The last time I gave a talk was when I was not quite three months into the field, right now I’m not quite five, and I had just come to this area. The talk was pretty short and shaky but I only said one thing in English, and it was after I said it in Tagalog first. The second counselor told me after that my Tagalog has really improved. That’s about all I can go off of. I have at least improved while here. Something I’m learning much more acutely right now is how destructive it is to say anything bad or destructive about anyone else. As I was pondering this idea and some of the examples of that I’ve encountered I read the beginning of Alma. You just finished it and I just started it. In Alma 4-5 the people of God have just finished a battle in which they should have lost but they used the strength of the Lord and thus they won. And yet, they still had many losses once peace was restored and had great cause to lament. However, what happened is that their losses woke them up to their need to continue establishing the church and after this, many more were baptized. They were already God’s people and he even helped them through the battle. But, it was because of the battle and their losses that they were able to further establish the Church, we can never sit still or think the word is done even if we’re already members, already active, already being good and being supported by God. We need more baptisms. These same people one chapter later in five begin to be prideful, as you know is the cycle, and what it says is that they began to scorn those in the church and persecute those that were not. And thus, the wickedness of the people of God became a stumbling block for those who were not me members yet. They destroyed themselves from within and then there was no place for those outside to come unto. Thus, nobody became members and the Church was destroyed. I felt that this was exactly the time I needed to read this chapter to fully press upon my mind and soul how the Book of Mormon teaches truths that continue to occur in our day. I’m seeing that happen right now and am caused to ponder on how to turn it around and help others develop love for one another, and caused to remember times where I may not have been the perfect example of doing this myself. I am going through a very repentant time. As I am forced to seek comfort from the only sources left possible to me, prayer and scriptures, I have remembered my own sins from the past which I never truly sorrowed over even if I left them behind to some degree. It is a time for me to change so that when I return and no longer live the missionary lifestyle I will not do again those things I simply shouldn’t. So often we repeat our own mistakes over and over. The other night was a night for cockroaches. They were huge. They were as big as a small mouse or even a good medium sized mouse. Maybe it was because it rained a ton the other day but suddenly all the cockroaches were in our apartment and I was running around spraying them with our pemethrrin. It’s way too disgusting to me to smash them but Sis. Odo is just fine with it Haha, she smashes them all. They started eating her notebooks the other day so she was pretty mad. I have this fear that my journals or notebooks or whatever will be destroyed at some point in my mission – it’s highly possible actually so I think I might try to find a way to send some things home at some point. Well, back to the whole moving thing and trying to decide about a job. I didn’t touch on that much before but this brings me back to it. I also considered that you’ll have to move all of my things, particularly my not really packed all over the place and covered with a blanket things that are in the office. That’s not the most thrilling idea to me but far from being a reason not to accept a good job. Just a random thought. Don’t be mad at me for it, Haha. You have been very prominent in my prayers, particularlyabout decisions for a job and so I know that whatever you are supposed to do you will be helped in doing it. It will be a bit of a longer drive to get home from school and I am sad there are no mountains in Idaho. As you can see a lot of my reasons are not so important. I have full confidence in you and am glad we have the example of great leaders who have gone through life and been men and women of God through it all like President Eyring. Our attachments should be to what God’s will is for us and not to our homes or wards or schools etc. Consider a mission president. Well, President Anderson and Sister Anderson sold their home of twenty plus years with its beautiful yard and many memories. Sister Anderson recently told me that she’d just redone her kitchen and that it was sad for her to leave it but they sold it and made themselves a path to which they can serve God better and they left their 30 grandchildren and came to live in the Philippines with all its troubles and discomforts so they could grow closer to God and come to love those that are hardest to love. And so that they could become more unified in all they do as a couple. Those are some of the great things I’ve heard about couple missionaries and they truly sacrifice everything. Then there is President and sister Uchtdorf and they had to move from their own country and leave their family in Germany as they spend their life in service. We are called upon to sacrifice all and our leaders do that. So, I wrote about the things from my email last week in some of the letters I sent but I’ll try to repeat some of them here to give you some substance and especially since my main letter last week I sent to Savanna. I was attacked by a monkey. We have this contest going one between Elder Cheney, Sister Hill and myself. Elder Cheney so far gets best disease, mumps. Sister Hill gets best package, her parents sent her a full sized toilet seat! I get best attack by an animal. We were walking under this doorway after a lesson to someone we had tracted and suddenly I had some pretty intense pain on the top of my head. I was wearing the head band that Aunt Jenny made me and I guess the Monkey that was swinging up above the door liked it as much as I do so he swung down and grabbed it along with a lot of my hair and then swung up and yanked it all – array! (which means OUCH!) I fell on the ground out of shock and pain and I think someone from behind untangled the monkey’shands and retrieved my headband – bad monkey. It was quick and surprising and I stood up fast and started to laugh because the people we had just taught looked so ashamed. We also had zone conference and Elder Teh and his wife came. They are from the Philippines and he is a member of the seventy. After lunch they asked me to go play some prelude. I started to play and then the Elders started to push the huge white board back behind me and the piano so I scooted forward for them on the little bench I was sitting on and it collapsed! I was underneath the keyboard in my skirt with the elders staring down at me. I tried to push my way out. They kept staring and finally Elder Teh came over and helped me up – Haha. The best part was I didn’tfeel embarrassed at all – I must be really humble now I have no pride to lose, Haha. Well, afterwards he chose some people to interview. I think I mentioned this in myletter in more depth. All three Americans from my district were interviewed and Elder Bench was sure we were getting sent home. It was more like a good chat than an interview to me and I became strangely shy. He asked about family and plans for after my mission and schooling etc. and I was surprised both at what I told him and about his very sincere support of all my unrealized dreams. He also mentioned that his mission was the best for him and mine will be for me. Others have said this also but it’s good to hear it over and over again. We don’t always realize the importance of something within it and maybe I won’t know exactly why this was the mission for me for years but I want nothing more than to do what I’m supposed to. Well, our time is quite up and I haven’t really finished writing about all I would like to but still have a hand written letter to finish so you’ll have to be patient with me. Good luck with school everyone. I love you all, bye.