Monday, February 23, 2009

URGENT! I need to contact Carin

Britney mentioned getting ahold of Carin, her roomate from Campus Plaza. If anyone reading this knows how to get in touch with her will you please have her call me ASAP @ 208-431-8505. It is VERY urgent.


Email February 22nd, 2009

Hello again...I didn't email early as in not on Monday, we just emailed earlier in the day. If you email me on Saturday or early Sunday it will always get to me, however :) We are emailing early again because we are here in my first area, Lemery, and about to go on an activity with all of the youth. Everyone who has seen me so far just keeps saying, "oh, you speak tagalog now!" haha...thank-goodness right? I may still speak choppy, actually, but at least I know what's going on now. One of the Elder's told me the other day, "you may still not be perfect, but nobody can sell you now." It's kind of strange translated into English but that's what he said.

I am in Lemery because I'm working in the area right next to it with another sister who'se companion also went home. We are working here until this Friday when I will get my new companion -- there are very few choices, not many sisters were transferred, but I still have no idea who it will be!

I'm having a very hard time typing, actually, because I decided it was a good idea to chop my finger off in the fan earlier today. It's not really chopped off but it hurts super bad and it bleeding all undernearth the nail, the middle finger on my right hands to be precise. I guess I should be smart enough to not turn the fan while it's still on, but I've done it some many times successfully! Gargh.

As for my exact date, I'm really guessing in a sense because they haven't given me my "trunk" letter yet which you get at about six months left...but I know the transfer is on the 12th of August so I leave on the plane the Wedenesday before that and because of the time difference arrive there that Thursday maybe or even Wedensday your time...probably Thursday actually but I really don't know, sorry. It's that week for sure, however.

As for school, I sent Carin an email and asked about campus plaza and if she would like to live with me again or knows of any openings. Hopefully I get a reply at transfers, if not I still don't know. I would like to just live there again because it's close to campus and a pretty good rate/ I like the people even though most of them are married now :) It would be great for Savanna to live with me and the institute program for non-students is fabulous, they feed you after every week and some people just went to get free dinner I think, but still got spiritually fed :)
It really is a difficult time for me to be coming home, I would like to early some money first, but hopefully I find a good job, or I'm thinking two! Since I have to take classes to stay enrolled I will take a Tagalog, religion and maybe dance class to get myself in shape again and try saving up enough money. If I need a loan for tuition I'll do it -- eeeek...and having a car would be fabulous since you live rather far away and even doing anything is more difficult without one. I don't like thinking about it, and probably did a lot more because my companion was going home, and I'm trying to be more full of faith and not scared about what will happen to me but I really wanted to try convincing president that I should just stay here as my eternal calling -- I know he won't agree and I do miss a couple of things -- like good lasagna and mexican food...and maybe my family too :) hehe.

We had another baptism last week, it went well also. She is the daughter of our recent member and the first one we ever contacted in their family -- it just took her a little longer than her mother to get ready.

That's about all I have as far as news and thoughts this week. I'm glad you are also enjoying your scripture reading along with my mission -- haha. Someone said in a devotional that it is good to have your blank scriptures, ones that you just read through without any interruptions so the revelation can flow and not be influenced by your past revelation which you have written and marked. I like the idea and do like to read straight sometimes and will probably buy myself another set of blank scriptures when I come home.

Good luck with everything and continue persuading Savanna that she needs to live with me first and it will be a great time -- hopefully ;) I'll tell you all about my new companion next week.

Sister Landrum

Email February 15th, 2009 (#2)

Hello again...I've been checking out the BYU website while waiting to see if you would email me before we leave but there still isn't anything so I thought I'd just write another short letter of sorts to make of for my lack of hand written ones (?) sorry...they are coming :)

By the way, President gave me permission to look at the site to check when I need to register etc. He said that BYU sent him a sign to form so that I can start school again and that told me that I need to plan to start school again in September -- that's going to be crazy! Well, I think I leave the Philippines August 9-11 and I'm not sure what that means about which date I get home, but that's an awfully LONG ways away so I'm not worrying about it too much, just looking at the BYU page...haha. There wasn't a lot there for me yet, however...I'll probably look again in April I think that's when I can register.

I'll get my sixth companion in the field on Friday and I hope that our work just continues to progress. I feel that's what has happened with my last couple of companions, it just keeps getting better. My transfers with sister pasi have definitely been high finding ones. We usually find more than twenty new investigators a week and talk to more, of course. With sister Victorino I probably reached my highest lessons in one week -- somewhere around 40. Our missions standard is twenty and that's not counting recent member and less active lessons. We've been good and busy, besides teaching a good twenty new people lessons one and all about Joseph Smith and the riches of the Book of Mormon in our lives we get at least more than five LARC (and one week our goal of ten recent member and less active lessons) plus 25-30 other lessons taught -- it's busy here in Pola and I think I know almost all of the people in this small town (not even close, but it sure seems that way!) I can't tell from what president said at interviews if I will be here for six more weeks or for twelve -- if twelve I really might know all of the people in Pola :)

We had our new member give a talk at our baptism on Saturday and he did amazing. He had it all written out and read it and I was surprised by him. Even President Marco (our branch president) said it was a really beautiful baptism.

Sister Pasi and I spoke again on Sunday. Here we speak in sacrament meeting every third week -- I had no idea what I wanted to speak on this week until that morning before we left. I talked about missionary work my first time, the book of Mormon the second and this time I took a strange route and went for the importance of our agency in this life and how to use our time wisely. Our area has a gambling problem and I had been trying to think of how to address it but nothing was coming. I was planning to speak on recognizing the spirit and seeking answers but that morning it just jumped out at me to speak on agency and in a sense the not gambling thing fit well into it. Sister Pasi ended up speaking on making goals in our lives, like going on a mission or getting to the temple and in the end both our talks were almost exactly what President had planned to speak on, their goals for having a chapel here next year, getting to the temple, sending out missionaries etc. and choosing to do those things that will get us there. It's amazing how when you pray for help and just act the things you need to help others just come out perfectly. I can tell when I'm speaking on what I was really meant to because it seems to flow out better, even with my sometimes choppy Tagalog.

Well, Sunday night we went to teach a new member lesson to a family that was baptized just before I came to the area and they were there with two of their friends who are members of a different church and have been trying to convince our new members to join them. He had some questions for us so we asked if we could start by teaching him our first lessons and promised it would answer some of his questions. He took time to explain his position, but would also listen and didn't have a contentious spirit which was nice, he also thanked us for the same, he seemed to be expecting us to debate with him as many other religions try to. I have really been praying for help in using the Book of Mormon in each of my lessons and trying to have faith that although I may not know all the scriptures by memory and perfectly that as i diligently study and ponder them the promise that what each needs in each moment will be brought to my mind to teach them through the spirit. I really felt that happened in this lesson. It seemed each question he brought up came with a new scripture pressing into my mind and although I wasn't sure where that scripture was or rarely used it I was able to find them all quickly and use the Book of Mormon to teach him our doctrine and principles.

We also met a new family the last couple of weeks who we are thinking will progress. At our last lesson the father came home drunk so we ended promptly and left with a promise to return. As we were closing up his wife started telling me that at our first visit he had told her he thought maybe our lessons and our church would be what helps him change because he really wants to. At at the same time he was telling sister pasi that he really wants to change and that we should come back "tomorrow" we told him a couple times that we couldn't return "tomorrow" but would come back. Even while drunk he knew he didn't want to be. I told sister that his desire is the first good step, many don't have it, and that I know our message will help them change their lives. That's who we're looking for, people who want to change their lives for the better, and I know as I have seen it in my own life, even in small ways, that we change as we learn faith in Jesus Christ and follow his commandments.

Well, I guess that's all for now, I'll check one more time to see if you emailed and if now...I'll here from you next week -- that is if I get to email since I'll be in a different area for that week I'm not really sure what will happen.

Love - Sister Landrum

Email February 15th, 2009

Hey - we had to email early today and it looks like you haven't sent me an email yet -- boohoohoo. Well, I'm sorry Mom but your birthday letter will be kind of late, but happy birthday on Tuesday anyway. This Sunday we leave the island and won't be back until Friday, I meant I won't be back until Friday when I return with my new companion. I'm working in Nasugbu on the main land until then, it's an area in my first district area, the other sister area in Batangas.
Mary-Grace was baptized on Saturday and on Friday Mauriel will be baptized. All went well, and I will send you pictures this week.

We also had zone conference. Our mission president is having us all read the Book of Mormon together as a mission. From now until June 1 when we have our mission tour, meaning a member of the seventy comes and stays with us for a week and we have conference with him, we are supposed to finish it. It will be my third time on the mission to read it so I'm excited to do it as a mission and see what it does for us.

Well, hope all is going well. Late happy valentines and love from me.

-Sister Landrum

Brit comes home...

I can't believe it has already been over a year and that discussions of her coming back to us are already necessary. But, Brit mentioned that she should be returning around the 14th of August. Today is her 13th month anniversary (the 23rd) and so she will have extended 3 weeks before arriving home. I know if it was up to her she would extend 3 years if she could convince her President to allow it. We are so proud of the seriousness that Brit has taken with not only improving herself and growing but in loving and blessing the lives of the Filipino people. Her life and theirs are forever changed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Plan!


I would like to do something special for both Britney and those who love her. I am going to plan a mini reunion for just after Brit gets home. The difficult part is that we don't know when yet! I will keep you posted at the earliest convenience. I am going to book the old Albion college for an overnighter. I have toured it and I promise it to become a favorite place for us to gather! The setting is nice and the facility has every convenience along with the nastalgia of history! I think it will be amazing to allow Brit to share stories from her mission to our whole family in one setting along with a testimony meeting afterward. Please plan for late July or early August!


Please let anyone in the family that you talk to know about the plan!

Email February 10th, 2009

Well, we ended up moving houses on Friday and then we were in the area of the elder's, far away from our area, for Saturday and Sunday becuase of zone interviews and our areas district conference which the area seventy came to preside over along with our mission president. Since we were so far away and had just moved our house over (so it was kind of crazy there) President had us stay in the hotel that they stay in when they come over to the island...and maybe it would be an "okay" hotel where we're from, but it was luxurious to me I felt a little bit shocked at just how nice it was to me. There was a shower head that drizzled out the water in one stream but it was a shower head and it was hot water! Crazy! We also each had our own queen sized bed with two pillows! Then they served us breakfast in the morning to top it all off.

It was really nice after my bad travel Saturday morning. I must have been exhausted from moving houses and spending all afternoon cleaning etc. then waking up at four to catch a van to take us to Calapan. I don't do well with travel anyway but despite all the vans, buses, trikes, jeeps and even the boat I have yet to throw up while on my mission until that morning in the van. I could feel it coming, not that there was anything to come...I hadn't eaten just drank water. I had this sack with my extra pair of sunday shoes in it so I took the shoes out and prepared the bag for myself and it wouldn't come, but it was trying...then it came and it really was all water...all would have been well if it had not been for the hole in my sack. I was wet quite instantly, not to mention my poor companion. Thankfully this lady in front of us gave me another sack that I put my first bag in but my skirt was already soaked and going through my layers. I cleaned it up with my rag and water as best I could and endured the rest of the trip as best I could but I started shaking super bad with chills from the sick feeling and because now I was wet. Oh, but I had already gotten wet actually when we rode the trike early that morning to the van, it was raining so my entire back and feet were wet and I get chilled easily now since my body had adjusted to the heat. It was quite the adventure and I am really amazed I made it this long without actually throwing up! Well, sorry for such a descriptive and not pleasant story.
After our meeting we went to the hotel then out to eat and I felt a lot better. I bought myself some bonamine which is the dramamine of the philippines and it seems to be working well so far -- we take the boat later today so we'll see if it continues.

Back to me not emailing -- we went to the meetings on Saturday instead and then worked all day Monday and now it's Tuesday and we are about to go to the main land for zone conference so we're just using today now as our p-day/ travel day and working in my old area day etc.
This upcoming Saturday the daughter of our recent convert will be baptized along with one twenty-year old girl we found right when sister Pasi came to the area. Last week she finished reading the Book of Mormon and yesterday she informed us that she is now in second nephi again, I'm sure I've never ready it through that fast in my life. Her testimony is founded on her knoweldge that the book is true, she knows it and she developed a testimony all on her own through diligence in reading, continual prayer and we have simply seen the fruits of it as she voluntarily shares her testimony and prays for us at the end of lessons. It sounds like her plan now is to serve a mission next February at her one year mark, she'll be twenty-one in September -- hopefully whatever happens in her life it will continue to be what she needs to strengthen her ever developing testimony of the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am also continually surprised by our other recent member. He is only eighteen and recieved the priesthood at district conference. He always works with us and also wants to serve a mission. We are teaching a large group of his friends, most of which also attended district conference and they are all reading the book of mormon together. One in particular prayed and recieved an answer immediately about Joseph Smith -- his father is a born again preacher and we're wondering what will happen there as they continue to progress, or not. As we taught them last night they mentioned something about how their friend, our recent member, has gotten "nicer" since becoming a member -- and we have noticed that he has gotten less shy. At his baptism he could hardly say two words then sat down awkwardly after we prompted him to close in the name of JEsus Christ. Now he testifies after each of the lessons we teach and even stood up on the first sunday and shared his testimony with the branch.

We are teaching his cousin, and had been before we even met him, along with his wife and their three children, one of which is still just a baby. They have baptismal dates and we were very happy to find out that he was given a job to be the one to fix out the new house we just moved into and he's continuing to help us with some minor repairs. They are both so willing and desire to follow all the commitments we give them. I was particularly surprised with myself as we re-taught them the lesson on chastitiy. I recal at hte begininig of my mission how we taught mostly males, it seemed, and I was extremely awkward about how to teach this law thoroughly, but I knew it needed to be thorough and understood because it is so important. There is a large problem here with inappropriate posters, everywehre. And they create free calendars out of them which many people have hanging in their homes, including our investigars. We had taught them the law of chastity before giving them a baptismal date, but the posters remained. We decided now that they had a baptismal date to teach it again and specifically commit them to get rid of all things in their life, such as the posters, which are inappropriate. I studied some of the scriptures in preach my gospel for the lesson that morning and we had a plan but as we were teaching another scripture came to my mind from something Brother said and so I interrupted Sister PAsi and suggested a scriptured, she yealded to the new idea and it really ended up working well, he appreciated the scripture and understood it very well -- it opened up good discussion and I testified bodly against the evils around us which we must put far from our reach and avoid them like poison. After the lesson I realized how good it felt to declar the truth and that it was not awkward as it had been for me before, it was maybe in using boldness but not overbearance as the scriptures inform us we must do, this is a topic which requires boldness but proper sensitivity and God supports us in all truth. At our follow up appointment they informed us that the took them all down and asking their father about taking the other down whic his in their parents section of the home they share, he also told us that he really appreciated the lesson and we shared anotehr scriptures with him from mosiah about the importance of watching our thoughts and words and actions in all things. Our other new member was also there and as he realized we were talking about taking down the posters he informed us that they had a poster like that inside their room which we never see and after we taught him that lesson before he was baptized he asked his father if they could get rid of it, just because he thought it was the right thing to do. It was so good to hear he'd done it all on his own, even when we didn't know.
Well, I have to leave right now because the boat is leaving and my companion just left -- no time to close really anyway have a good week thanks Britney

Monday, February 9, 2009


I just had to share this with everyone! One of the newest aspects of the LDS.ORG web site! I have only recently noticed this site and have really enjoyed it! I hope you enjoy it as much. Just imagine what the impact of the internet will ultimately be in helping spread positive and spiritual messages worldwide! Likely, the gospel taken to every nation! Prepare to cry watching some of these!

I hope you enjoy these uplifting messages as much as I have. Oh, by the way, this week (February 9th-16th) is officially "Random Acts of Kindness" week. My college professor first introduced me to RAK when I attended UVSC in the early 90's. I have tried to incorporate the simple concept into my life ever since. I love to pay a waitress for someone elses meal that is eating alone and have her give them a message "to have a wonderful day". She is of course told to just say "a new friend" when asked who paid. I love to watch the varied reactions. One lady cried which swelled such a positive feeling inside my heart that I carried it for a long time. Pretty selfish to claim to do something kind for another when truly we are doing something kind for ourselves! A random act of kindness could alter someones entire day and just maybe even have deeper significance! I challenge you all to incorporate the spirit of RAK into your lives.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Email February 2nd 2009

We're super late to email today because we had a bit of travel and hospital time to take care of. Before the missionaries go home they are required to get an x-ray of their chest so that's what sister Pasi and i did today and then we went with some members and elder's in our district to a beach and ate food and took pictures and are in a hurry to get back to our area now but stopped to email first :) I'll be emailing again Saturday I think...because we have zone conference next week and we have zone interviews in Calapan first Saturday we are going to just do our day in Calapan as our p-day so we can work Monday since we will then be gone from our area Tuesday and if you want me to get an email from you, it will need to be sent sometime Friday your time, I think. I'm glad to hear my grandparents received my Christmas card...and tell Aunt Jen not to worry. First of all I'm quite a ways away from all of the Elder's or anyone else for that matter most of the time. Second of all, my face is a bit spotted red lately and I'm always sweaty and my hair is flying all over the place -- it's not really attractive and the culture here doesn't mind pointing it out to you "so, do you have an allergy? Why are there red spots all around your lips right now? What happened to you?" They don't care at all, in fact they probably all still think I'm beautiful just because my hair is "yellow" and my skin is white even if my hair is gross and all over and my skin is white and polka-dotted :) hehe. I realize i'm deceiving...I sent pretty pictures - who wants to send a bad picture of themselves to people? haha. I'm glad that everyone is adjusting all right to the schools and are and all of that. Which dance was it they went to? Hopefully you will send me pictures. I still don't have that other letter from dad, but i haven't gotten mail yet again. This coming Saturday we will have interviews so I will get mail then and tell you if it came.

Oh yes, my one companion went home (that asked for garments) so she won't be having me send for more but the other one tried them out and says the tops are way too big for her and the bottoms were just great and she would love more -- problem is I don't know what sizes you sent for them originally to have you send more for her. I sent her a letter and hopefully I will get the information soon and you can send it -- but I thought I would ask if that is still all right?
I'm excited for zone conference because we will be staying the night in the apartment in my first area and I will probably go on splits with the new American sister and Sister Wilson, the other American, will work with my companion because they were companions before. I will get to see some of the people that were baptized in my first area again! hooray, I'm also excited to see how our new American sister is doing, it makes me think a lot about how much I have changed from those first couple of months to now, especially with her there in my very same first apartment and area.

Well, I hope you continue to all be well and that you accomplish sending me something before Friday so I can hear from you again...but if not I may be able to check it on Tuesday when we go to the main land for zone conference but I'm not really sure what will happen in the next two busy weeks of my life here in the Philippines...just don't be shocked when you don't get an email from me or get one early or get one late or anything like that. We have three baptisms scheduled for February fourteenth so we're working on getting them all ready and planning for that day and they seem to be excited that it's a memorable day (the day of love). Haha, well that's about all for now.
Love, Brit

Email January 26th, 2009

Magandang hapon po!
Mga pag-iisip ni Sister Landrum dito galing sa Pilipinas! :)

Well, my thoughts are full of Amanda and my unfinished letter to her so I'm sorry about that :)
After my many weeks of no letters -- 20 came! Haha...two were from dad and one from the family for my birthday, all with the money :) Whew, the postal workers are safe...except did Dad send three envelopes of his own plus the birthday card cuz I only got two...but two is better than none right? Carin sent me three, she's trying to make up I think...I'll write her later today and hope she got my last one which I think I sent before she sent hers but she clearly had yet to receive. My most mind consuming letter, however, was from Amanda. A "Dear Elder" letter which had a letter from Andrea attatched also which really confused me at first becuase Ithought it was still Amanda and yet it seemed so Andrea! Nice to hear they are alive and the holidays went well for my married friends and their married siblings and my other married friends who hosted parties and talking about all these married people -- well Amanda is joining them and she couldn't even wait six months for me to get home! I guess that's how it goes and March 21st (now isn't that when some other important people in my life got married or am I off? I could be off...) all of my closest of friends from Jr. High will be paired off. We could add this multiple ways, I now have double the amount of close friends or I have a subtraction of "close" friends :) haha. For now I'm on neutral ground and nothing can be calculated :) That's why missionary life is wonderful, eh? Sometime when I return I figure things will go about how they always do in life and the couples will hang out with the couples and the singles withe the singles -- hopefully one of them will have a baby and I can be their babysitter :)

Zone interviews are coming up, I'm thinking about asking Pres. if I can extend six months -- the Elder's get two years maybe i have a chance (my companion does not agree, she say they're shipping me off and there is nothing I can do about it -- she however has yet to realize my fabulous words of persuasion, I must not be as persuasive in Tagalog :) Okay, so I feel mostly like I'm being silly and babbly in this email. Thanks for all the emails -- I enjoyed each and every one of your individual words and I hope Maddie and Olivia -- Garyn too, are adjusting better to school and enjoying all the new people they get to meet, I know how hard it can be to fit yourself into an already finished puzzle, but don't worry it's not really finished, they all just haven't realized that a key piece is still missing :) We had a hot day, not one of the dripping with sweat hot days but it was hot compared to the rest and I thought that summer was well on its way. Their summer starts in March I think...but not it's rainy and kind of cold again. We found a new apartment that they want us to move into. We'll be moving houses in February, right after district conference and zone interviews, and the next week we have zone conference and a baptism and the week after that -- well that is the last week my companion has here in the mission field and the following week we'll go to Alaminos and I'll work somewhere else until Friday when we all get new companions, crazy. We're relishing the time and each week we seem to find even more investigators from the week before. The more you find, the more that progress and come to church and eventually get baptized -- it's all about finding! The finiding might go down a little as we try to help the ones we have progress -- but hopefully we find more people in the morning and early afternoon and that they continue wanting us to teach them in the morning and afternoon :) Our real problem is that we need eight night hours and no afternoon hours, everybody want us to teach them between 5-7 and that's just not really possible.

We taught the cousins of one of our new members. They are actually leaving again to Manila soon so we won't continue teaching them but I hope that the missionaries teach them there because the one sister seems ready. The interesting thing about these lessons has been that they are both blind, and thus our demonstrations and picturs do us no good, it's all in our words and our words are all in Tagalog :) Haha, I've recognized how I teach differently when I use only words, not even my hands can be used to demonstrate. Anyway, it has been an interesting experience.

So, i'm really sorry about this crazy letter but we're actually going to leave now so for this week this is what you get. I know that the church is true, I know the book of mormon is the word of God and there is not a single day that we do not need God's words in our life because it will make us hungry -- our souls. Just think about it, when your stomach is hungry you get angry easier, you are sad, you have no patience, you are weak, you lose focus on the more important's probably the same with when our spirits are hungry. Feast upon the words of Christ:) Okay, that's my sermon for the day, I love you all bye.
Sister Landrum

January 18th, 2009

So, no email again...I considered not writing anything because I'm trying to write a hand written letter and I have no email to repond to and then I thought -- and if I had one last thing to say what would it be -- and why why would I give up the chance to say it, and so even though this is no last chance as far as we all know (all meaning anyone that might possibly read this, my family, my friends, the random people who look at that blog page dad keeps up, I think...) I decided to write and make sure everyone knows that I love them. I remember my years of writing "monthy Britney emails" to anyone who ended up with their address on my sender list. I wrote about whatever pleased me and I guess it was my version of a blog before they existed -- and I always ended by telling them all to remember I loved them and that however long it had been since we'd talked or seen on another that I was there if they needed anything. I figured it was my way of making sure no one was missed. Well, this is my "weekly missionary email" rather than my "monthy britney email" and I'm here to tell you all that even though it's been four days short of a year since I've seen any of you and today I got no email and the past month I've had no mail -- I love you all (and that thing about the email and mail had nothing to do with my chastising but maybe I'm just feeling it a little more because it's been a while since I've read your words and a year is quite the point to reach all at the same time!) I'll be sending you pictures of Sister Racquel's baptism in my letter today. She amazes me, her faith...she prayed us to her and informed us that she's continuing to pray that we'll never leave -- who knows I might end my mission here if her faith keeps up :) Of course we know, and according to my last email on faith, that it doesn't really work that way. She will understand and I will too when or if I am transferred and I hope to find all the people in my new world that are praying me there also.
Thank-you to all of you and could you send me Ike's address because I don't think I have it anymore or maybe never did.
Love from the Philippines
Sister Landrum

Email January 12th, 2009

Hello -- this will be real quick because we're running late today. We did an activity of sorts...more like we rode a long way away to another area and then ate and took pictures...because transfers have come again and some of our zone is leaving the island for main land. I am however not a part of that and neither is my companion so all is well in the land of Pola. As for my mail, our post man resigned in Pola so I have once again not been able to send any of my letters. In them includes a letter to Amanda so maybe you can tell her; and the others include birthday cards for my old sisters -- so I'll just say happy birthday here and hopefully you'll get letters from me within the next month or so, like around Mom's birthday, haha! I haven't gotten mail for a long time, we get it rarely here on the island anyway and the post office was closed for Christmas I think even on the main land so they weren't receiving mail to give us. Hopefully we get mail at transfers and hopefully Dad's letters are with it, I'll tell you next week.
Well, besides that all is well. I'm having a hard time thinking of much else to say; probably because I'm in a hurry to write so nothing is coming even for my short time here. I'll write again next week I guess -- untile then good bye, good luck with the snow and moving and school and work and Love from the Philippines - Sister Landrum

Email January 5th, 2009

Britney emailed a few times around Christmas but there wasn't much content due to our amazing and enjoyable 1.5 hour phone call with her for Christmas! Trying to use AT&T prepaid cards to call the Philippines proves to be an interesting experience! But, we were successful and had a great visit with her. At the end she read 1 Nephi Chapter one to us in Tagalog. WOW!

January 5th:

Speaking of cold weather -- I have been SO cold lately, I'm wearing layers and socks to bed every night and even in America I never wore socks to bed...but of course I had quilts and such there and here I only have one sheet. It's really funny because I'm sure it's not that cold but I have been nice and cold so I'm wondering if my body will be very angry with me if I return to the world of snow, at least it's still summer when I come back. I figured something about the moving had inhibited the emailing, it sounds like the weather is crazy. I recall last winter driving from Provo to where you live and it was no fun, I got caught in a terrible snow storm and remember praying as a clutched the steering wheel and ignored my phone ringining as mom tried to find out where I was -- "I'm about to go a mission, I thought, I shouldn't die yet and not like this!" Well, I eventually made it home but I'm not sure I'll quickly forget that and I'll probably try to avoid driving when it snows. President and Sister Anderson came to our branch on Sunday and sister Anderson said they talked with President's sister for Christmas and she told them they have a new family in the ward, "The Landrum's," haha -- I live in a very small world. I forgot, and figured I should give this advice in an email and not in a letter so it will get there faster but I had an idea about the applying to BYU thing for Savanna (no, I don' plan to give up any time too soon :) haha) I mean she could at least try to go to UVU although I don't know what the programs are like there but at least it's in the Provo area right? Well, since she's not in school anymore this would be fairly easy and I think would have to be done right now so get on the ball is all but I hear it's easier to get in spring and summer terms and then if you just take a few classes and do well in them it's really easy to get accepted for that fall semester following even if you didn't get accepted before that. Since she'll have time to work and then to even find a job somewhere else and start working there she could maybe do that, even just summer term, but I don't know. I guess in the end it will be wherever she really wants to go to school or whatever she really wants to study, right? I still say doing the costume design would be much better at BYU though, I know the program and the techers and it's a good one :) Alright, enough about school.

Two of my companions, including my mother in the mission (trainer or Nanay) go home on Sunday! I can't believe it. We'll find out next week about transfers. Since my current companion goes home the next transfer I don't expect a transfer this time either but I've been saying that for the last couple of transfers so I guess we'll just wait and see, right? We have a baptism this Saturday and I am very excited about it. She's great, and she came and helped us clean the church on Saturday and plans to be the official meeting-house cleaner if they'll let her because she want it to be clean and a nice place to attend church, she's very hard working. We're still working on her family -- her husband is just very shy so he avoids us and her children vary in age and some of them had baptismal dates but now don't for different reasons (friends that are teasing them etc.) so we'll just keep working on them too but she's taking the lead and like president said, once she has the holy ghost as her constant companion it might help her to do the things and say the things every day in her home that will help her family follow her example and great faith. Less than twenty days and it will be a year, I guess that is a really long time ultimately but it doesn't feel like I've been away for that long. Maybe because I do have email communication every week so I feel somewhat a part of everything, but i'm sure i'll be shocked all the same at how different everyone is once I return (if i return, haha! :)) Speaking of faith -- I don't remember if I ever related to you my story, maybe in a letter (maybe in an email) but I have a couple of specific instances where my faith has been strengthened which I probably noticed more or was looking for because I have been trying to understand and develop faith. Well, did I tell you that my luggage decided to completely break on me. Maybe on the phone, haha. Well, when I was transferred to the island I packed all my stuff up and we were headed for the mission home but as they loaded my things onto the bus taking us there the zipper started ripping open and everything started falling out. The bus was about to leave so they just shoved it in there telling me that my things would be all right until we got where we were going even if they fell out. We got on the bus and I started thinking about what I could do becaus I would still need to get myself and my things to wherever I was being transferred and then I just prayed and asked if when we got off the bus my luggage would shut for me until I was able to make it to my new area. The interesting thing about faith is the doubt that wants to sneak into it. I sat there on the bus considering my faith and if this was faith for me to say "my luggage will shut for me and all will be well," now if my luggage didn't shut would I end up saying my faith was not strong enough, that God wasn't really there or didn't really hear me or would I see in it some other plan God had for me? Then again, if it did shut would I say to myself "well even if I had not prayed it would have shut anyway so God or my faith and prayer really had nothing to do with it in the end..." and as these thoughts entered my head I decided to push them out, I didn't even entertain the different ideas and I simply thought to myself, "this is something I need at this moment and God will help me to get to my new area so that the work there can quickl progress and my new companionship will start well..." and then we got off the bus in Alaminos and they unloaded my luggage. I took someof the things that had fallen out and i put them in my other bag and then I zipped my zipper one way and then the other and then it was shut again and never again have I had a problem and right then and there before we left I said a prayer of thanks in my heart and continued on without giving anymore thought about why or how it happened.

Wow, now I share my birthday with someone in the family -- I feel a little selfish about it, hmph!~ Haha Just kidding, I feel bad for her it's a crazy time to have a birthday and it sounds like that very day was a crazy day, it's good that everything worked out in the end and I'm glad they have another girl although I wouldn't have minded another boy because baby Cole is all big now and I will miss his oh so cute baby-ness. I'm glad my painting is doing well -- and all the other things. Hopefully I'll get a frame for my very large painting one day and take it off to my own house if i ever have one, but until then it will probably live there in that room in your house becuase it's so big. Did you also put all of my boxes from your barn in that room? Anyway, thanks for the "things" update.

Did you really send me a ten page letter Mom? That's crazy! Haha, I figured you would have less time to write such letters now that you're moving all over the place and everyone is starting new schools etc. I still haven't gotten any of the letters that Dad sent but it sounds like the post office here has been closed for the last little while so I hope that's why. You know what I did for new years? I slept -- fell asleep before eleven and didn't wake up when all the fireworks went off, which is what they do here at midnight. My companion said she woke up when it got noisy but I didn't flinch -- very tired also I guess. It is a new year, however...last year I knew what would be happening to me within that year although I knew very little about where I would be going or who I would be meeting -- this year I have a lot better idea about what will be happening to me, at least until August and after that I have no idea again...but I have a goal to write in my journal every single day. I miss some days, we'll see if it lasts and it will probably be a very interesting journal at the end of this year. I've done well so far, five days and only 360 to go :)

I'm glad you like your new relief society president. We were very happy here in the Pola branch to have our relief society president return after the last two months of being on vacation in another part of the Philippines where her son lives. We had a semi-more organized meeting for our third hour unlike the rest of the time I've been here, it was so great! It was actually a really good first sunday of the year and I hope it sets a better standard for the rest of the years meetings. Our ward mission leader also attended church for the first time since I've been in the area and our ward council meeting was almost completely with all the people who should attend as they handed out all the new pamphlets and books for this years lessons. I haven't heard many of the lessons from the Joseph Smith book and have only read a few of them through my time here so maybe that will be something I do from September - December before the two years of using that manual are over, read it all! I enjoyed the challenge my singles ward gave us to read the lesson before Sunday, I would often read it to Andrea sunday morning as she fixed her hair, it was great! I love that we must seek for our own knoweldge and learn from the seeking almost more than anything, the time given/sacrificed and the pondering the focus of our minds etc. Speaking of mind focus, when we went to clean the meetinghouse I ended up playing ping-pong with some of the youth for a little while and I was rusty. I was never that good before but I got pretty good for a while there. I got more into it after a while and realized Ir eally love doing things like that, like going just by myself and shooting a basketball until I have it down sothat I know how hard, in what way to what area I must throw or hit something so that the deisred result comes from it. That is also why I enjoyed dance, I like the mind control and control of body that activities like that require -- mindless activities and conversations are very difficult for me to endure for very long.

Tell Grandma Grandpa and anyone/everyone else hello from me also. My time is nearly up now so I will close here. Oh, and in closing I read most of the priesthood session talks from last conference this morning. Funny as it is they are always some of my favorites and I never get to go to the session itself since it is for the Priesthood. Well, my mission has been a great time for me to recognize how grateful I am for the priesthood and those who are worthy to exericse it, I hope that all men and young-men will take their council to heart (dibdibin nyo iyan!) because it is the most wonderful thing to have worthy and powerful preisthood leaders, I very much want to become more worthy of the priesthood blessings in my life.
-Sister Landrum