Monday, March 9, 2009

March 2nd, 2009

Hello again -- I am a bit shocked about the apartment thing! Eeeks...I can't believe it's already booked. I guess it is around March and April that they start re-doing apartments for the following year but I also can't believe that as of yesterday it is March. It snuck up on me and I haven't even sent Andrea's birthday card yet, and her birthday is tomorrow so it will be late like all my others have been.

At transfers I got some letters. Maddie mentioned that Savanna wrote me a letter in one of hers, in response to her birthday card, and yet I didn't get the letter from Savanna. Maybe she never sent it?

Okay, back to the house will be different to live in the house. I had friends and visit taught someone before that lived there and it's a nice enough place so I have no concerns, it will be interesting. As for Carin. I also received a letter from her but she still doesn't seem to have gotten my letter about apartments to help me, but that's okay because you took care of it now. I get the feeling that if they are all booked up she has already signed up for her own apartment and she has many other friends and roommates who she will be staying with. Its good enough to be in the same ward again -- if that's what she has decided to do and will be living there next year.

That's funny that he remembered me -- there were two different ones that worked in the office. The one also served his mission in the Philippines, the other one is family, I think, of the owners and is married now so he no longer actually lives in the apartments.

It definitely takes stress away, so thanks, but adds to it at the same time. Only in the moment. My heart jumped when I read it -- an apartment already there waiting for me and Savanna is going to live with me? My life will be so strange and different I don't know what to do with myself. Then there is a job to find and start and money to gather and school to get serious about, now that I'm kind of old I have a lot of decisions to make that are somewhat important. I feel less stress in other ways now that I have served a mission. I feel more directed and more patient with my life and at the same time more driven towards specific goals and flexible at the changes life brings daily.

It does seem very far away, except it's not. As for the close thing, this culture has definitely accustomed me to closeness. My companions from here mostly all like to hold onto your arm or hand and things like that etc. and when we travel anywhere there are five people sitting on you, basically, and someone tends to fall asleep on your shoulder that you've never met before.
As for my new companion -- she is coming from my last area, she's the one that replaced me when I left and Sister Victorino trained her so we had the same companion and lots of people that we both know because she was in that same ward. She is from another area in the Philippines, southern, where they speak a different language but they also learn English and Tagalog in school and she's very talkative, we've done a lot of talking and I'm sure that my Tagalog will improve while we are companions.

I enjoyed all the emails and find it very funny that both my parents are bloggers now. It was something I never did. I did the facebook thing, but even there I never posted blogs. The closest I got to blogs was the email I always sent to everyone. It is addictive, isn't it? I'm not sure how much I'll try to get into it when I get home because of that, there are too many other things I need to try to accomplish, haha! I hope you continue having a good time doing it. All right, so I'm sorry that I'm ending here but we are late to go somewhere and the place we are emailing cuts you off at time and it's flashing at me that my time is up. I hope that you have gotten a letter form me now and if now -- I think one is coming.

I'll write more about my week away from my area and with another companion that happened last week in a hand written letter. I enjoyed a good prearation day with all the youth from my first branch and spoke in tagalog with the president and Leaonard who still sounds like he's planning for his mission and his mother will be baptized soon! Okay bye it's going to cut off!

Email March 8th, 2009

I'm glad that my mail made it to the house -- even if it took a while. I do try to be more diligent in writing letters and in being good about my information in email and letters. As for writing mostly spiritual things in email and "logistics" in letters I'm not sure how I could sort it out. Sometimes the business gets put in emails because it's faster and my emails aren't full of spirituality, but then my hand written letters don't really happen. I'll admit that having to write my letters and do my emails only on Monday and at a speicific time makes it somewhat forced sometimes, I guess I just can't always be in a story telling mood or have that be what's on my mind. I found writing letters so much more pleasing and relaxing before my mission -- this is not complaining I still enjoy writing letters and I have a lot to say but anyway I'll just continue on as I do and I hope it works out for everyone.

We have spent a week working in Pola as a companionship and all is going well. Sister Jagnas is a recent convert. She had been a member for one year and ten months before her mission. Before the missionaries taught her she was a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church, a very prominent church here in the Philippines. It is very interesting to hear her insights from the change and her insider perspective. Each companion is so very, very different -- there is simply no comparing them they are just different. She is also 22, a month older than me. She has been on her missoin for three transfers, I have four transfers left of my mission. I don't like counting in transfers -- that's a super small number. I saw sister Thompson also at transfers and she informed me that her family is getting "Trunky" for her and even told here that her flight plans had come, she still has two transfers left, however.

I have a few questions about the apartment -- will we have a car and did they ask you if you would like to reserve a parking space because if we do have a car I definitely want a parking space reserved, the sticker is $40.00 or something like that. Also, does the house come with Internet like the apartments or no? Anyway, I guess I can't do much about either at this point so all is well -- and continually strange.

I was doing some stretching the other day and realized that I have lost a LOT of my flexibility in my legs while here on the mission. Probably because I do so much walking so the muscle has been building in some places without the proper stretching to go with it and overall my exercise is limited to none. Well, hopefully my flexibility returns. I guess I may have lost physical flexibilty but I've gained mental and spiritual flexibility and firmness so it's a good trade. It's great how almost all concepts, or all, can be applied in gospel terms. As our body requires us to become strong and firm while equally stretching or else we will be in pain, in mental and spiritual lives must be strengthened and firm but also be open and flexible -- what I mean is that we must stand and not waver in our faith and in our testimony but we must also eventually learn to see and think as God does which is fully open, he sees and understands all and each perspective and there is no limit, and yet as mortals aour thoughts and our vision is so straight and narrow and not open. There is an importance balance in our lives to being "open minded" to matters and yet firm in our standards.

Our district is wonderful, I really like our new district here. Our district leader is training and he goes home the same time I do. His companion is American and so his Tagalog is very "beginner" and I am glad that I am beyond that :) The other two elder's are both new, they re-opened the area and one of them is Sister Jagnas's batch coming into the mission, American, and with only three transfers here is better at the language than almost anyone I know -- he also speaks spanish which is a great help to him. His companion is from the middle east, I believe, but his father is Filipino so he looks like everyone from here. We have good uplifiting meetings and I can feel that everyone wants to work hard and help their areas improve and help their companionships -- continue learning the language etc. We have three Americans again in my distrcit and we are all at very different stages of learning, another things that is interesting to see. Sister Jagnas said that in just the week we have been together my accent has improved -- she informed me the other day that I don't sound as American anymore. It is hard when your companions have all been American -- and besides being with her now I still have a terrible accent but people understand me.

At this point I do know the area and the people fairly well -- sometimes it's hard because I'm not sure where else to try finding people becuase I know all the places we have taught before or we were rejected at the doorstep. That's why transfers are good sometimes, get new eyes to try the same old houses again because eventually the people there will be ready.

OH yes, since Savanna is going to live there, what exactly does she plan to do there? Just wondering -- maybe her letter answered it but I still need to wait another week and a half to read it.

As for Amanda's news, I guess they decided against what she originally told me and they are getting married in April (better choice school wise).

Okay, well thanks for all of the letters and support and working hard and going to school and reading your scriptures. I'll write again on Monday.

-Sister Landrum