Monday, April 13, 2009

Email March 15th, 2009

Transfer day we ate at Pizza Hut! It's too expensive here for our budget or the money of any of my companions and we had a long and exhausting first day together with traveling back and forth and standing in the heat and smoke waiting for a bus and then staying over night at the sisters house in San Pablo instead of going back to the island and then travelled more the next day. So, amidst all our travel we made it to a big city where they have a mall and we ate pizza hut and I paid for it with the card...we were full and happy and I've never really liked pizza hut pizza that much but I ate noodles and it wasn't all that bad :) Anything is amazing compared to the food we manage to find ourselves and cook in Pola, however. I don't remember if I told you about the crab I was gross and I never want to eat crab again -- actually it was kind of tasteless but I think my big thing is smell and texture...if either are bad I don't want to swallow :) I may have already told you that, however...besides that the food is just vegetables and rice and sometimes spaghetti with hot-dogs. I eat oatmeal most mornings with powder milk and bananas if I can find some to buy.

As for persecution -- I probably haven't really mentioned persecution because we're not supposed to talk about "problems" in letters or emails so much and so I try to avoid it as much as possible. As for persecution, something I find very interesting is that many people know our church as the "rich" church and members seem to be persecuted and others don't want to join because they say it's for rich people and all the people are rich in our church. Of the three of our new members there is a bit of a story for each. One of them has her family tell her that she reads too much from the Book of Mormon and that she shouldn't join if she's not going to change (whenever she does anything that's not "perfect") because if she's a part of a church that means she's perfect now, right? It's kind of the same story with our other new member who has her family telling her there is no such thing as God and she can go to church and read all she wants but she's still not changing either and that it depends on our own hard work whether we will be happy and rich or not, not on God. They also told her that if she goes around sharing with other people these things people will think she's crazy and make fun of her. Maybe that is true because with our other member who often does work with us he has people tell out to him "Brother "name " " or "pastor..."name"" and laugh at their good "joke." These are only small trials, things they must overcome and for a season they feel alone but we are helping to to reach out to God through it so they can find peace and joy and companionship through God and his spirit and the power of Christ in our lives.

We have zone interviews tomorrow and so I will get mail...I know I have a letter from Savanna waiting (and hopefully they brought it) but who knows what else. I am slightly interested about mom's full lenghth version of the prom story she promised in a letter because it sounds more interesting than just "Garyn got dressed up and went to prom" but who knows. It's kinda of funny that my two younger sisters pretty much look like they are older than me -- I think most people would guess that at this point -- and I hear Olivia is even as tall or maybe taller than me. Sa Bagay she's about twelve now right and that's when i stopped getting taller -- i was very tall back then and everyone else kept growing! I'm tall here though -- except our new American Elder is 6'6 or something -- he's so tall. I think it might not have shocked if me if I'd seen him in America but now i'm used to short people and he is just ridiculously tall!

We have a good district. We all seem to be working hard and have a desire to do well and be obedient -- I don't know how long I'll be here at this point, maybe I'll get an idea tomorrow at interviews. Each of my areas have been so different, full of different people, different culture and food and even their language slightly different and different challenges in the wards and branches that I don't know what to expect if I go somewhere else.

I have been teaching the doctrine and covenants class to the youth or young single adults or combined or whoever needs a sunday school class etc. This week I ended up with four young-men ranging from 13-17 and we discussed section 20 about their duties, they recited the sacrament prayers for me in Tagalog and tried in English -- they have a desire to serve mission at this point. We talked about the future of the church in their country and in their city and how important their decisions are now. I noticed that the line "invite others to come unto Christ" is there in section twenty as it describes the duties of our young priesthood leaders, that is the opening line of "my purpose" in preach my gospel for all missionareis, taken right from the duties of thep preiesthood. I told them about why even as a female it is a blessing for me to serve and talked about how it is a part of their duty and we talked about what their preisthood means to them. I think I feel a lot more prepared after all my interesting experiences in life to have sons, if i even do. Before camps, and EFY and serving a mission I didn't have a lot of experience with young teenage boys :)

It has been interesting having a native companion again. She notices things that I don't and neither did my companions. She knows when I speak correctly or not and sometimes after our lessons, as we are walking away, she will tell me that she was surprised by my Tagalog, that I spoke more clearly and straight and she seems to notice when our investigators react emotionally to what I'm saying in correspondence with when I speak more correctly. Sometimes that spirit really fixes up my speaking but I don't seem to notice as much as she does when I'm right or wrong -- to me it's just trying to talk and trying to say what I'm supposed to.
I was appreciative for the activity we did at district meeting. We had questions we had to answer from the Book of Mormon that are frequently asked by investigators given to us and three minutes to find an answer. These include, "is the law of moses still intact" "I don't need religion to be saved only faith in Christ" "why don't you use the sign of the cross" etc...and I was surprised also at how quickly we all found very good answers and more surprised when my question "I don't need religion to be saved..." was asked to me a couple days later -- I was quite ready. My answer was slightly different to her than it had been at our meeting but the basics were the same.

Well, I'm about done now and need to leave so thanks for the emails and Love from me Sister Landrum.