Thursday, December 11, 2008

Email December 8th, 2008

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