Saturday, February 7, 2009

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