Monday, May 25, 2009

Email May 24, 2009

Today as I welcomed Sister Garcia to our companion study and announced that it was the first day of transfer, Monday the 25th of May I thought..."...that sounds like a holiday."

We had an enjoyable week as a three-some and enjoyed attending transfer meeting without the pressure of being transferred, getting to see our other friends and hear president's talk...then within the last two days three of our current investigators agreed to baptismal dates, we discussed how blessed we have been and we know it has to do with us trying to do our best and to be obedient.

We are also very excited and know the service of another missionary is helping with one. He is on a mission here in another mission in the Philippines and his mother has been being taught for years. We taught her the plan of salvation and I talked about that day that we will stand beside our Heavenly Father and about the time we will enter his Kingdom with our friends and family, and talked about her son on his mission and how that is exactly what he wants and he also imagines her there. She told us she would decide after she finishes reading the entire Book of Mormon. Then we finished teaching her and I asked her how she felt about our lesson and all she said was "Sister Landrum, I will get baptized before you go home, let's set a date and you can write to my son and tell him." We are very excited to write to her son and tell him. We can sense a missionaries just how much that will mean to him.

I met a very interesting family one of the days I worked with a member and Sister Garcia and Pairat worked together. We didn't have anymore scheduled appointments and it wasn't time to meet up with them yet so I started talking to people outside and met this woman with four little boys standing with her. As I talked to her, her husband came outside and from their door motioned toward the pamphlet I had, he wanted one. I re-focused my attention to him and asked if we could share a message. They invited us up to their porch and we discovered their neighbor is an old man and woman. The man baptized a couple years ago but since we've been here he has been ill and has not come to church. His wife agreed to listen to us also and we continued in teaching their neighbor. I started by teaching about the Godhead and knew from the start that he is a bible scholar because he had many questions and personal ideas. He is not however affiliated with any religion. His questions lead us into parts of lesson two and I was not sure where it was all going to go because I was having a hard time directing it towards one topic for our first lesson but felt like just continuing on how we were until he got to his big thing. He believes that any religion that is the true church of Christ should be actively concerned for the temporal welfare... and he brought up Malachi and Tithing so I opened immediately to third Nephi 24 and started testifying about tithes and offerings while his old man neighbor started telling them "they have a supply!" It was kind of funny... he listened now without question unlike before and I taught him about the church welfare program, tithing and offerings and then testified that we have living prophets who direct this work and closed by giving him all three of our pamphlets to read. He read them all before the next day and we taught all of lesson one and gave him a Book of Mormon. The interesting part is what he said to this neighbor of his, not directly to us... on the first visit he said "all they have taught me is almost exactly like "The continuation church of Christ" and I got from that a part of an idea about what he is up to which was confirmed at our second visit when a paper with a drawing of a church logo fell out of his bible and so he showed us. He has been creating his own Church because he doesn't find any others to have all the truths he believes in from his research.

So, they weren't there the next time we returned and I don't know where it will go but it was quite the experience and I felt so strongly the truthfulness and fullness of our Church, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ here and of what I teach. All that anyone is searching for is here and all the answers if you will only search them out. I don't know all the answers myself, I still have questions, but I have a firm testimony of the most important things and I know that as each of us continues to seek learning "even by study and also by faith" we will come to know all the mysteries of God and be prepared to receive his fullness.

Well, I hope Savanna made it to Utah alive and that Mom's leg is healing. Olivia and I will have to race when I get home... I bet I'm SUPER slow now :) we'll see. Give me a couple weeks I'll get into my real exercise program again -- all of my arm muscle is gone I think, haha.

Congrats on the graduations, birthdays coming up and SUMMER BREAK. They are about to start school again so it's funny that you're just ending. I'm sure the next few months will go very fast for you since it's break -- have fun.


Sister Landrum

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Email May 18th, 2009

Hello - We had our first Darasa baptism on Saturday. I realized that it could, possibly, be the last baptism that I witness on my mission due to the fact that they need to attend church at least four times before baptized and overcome all addictions for longer. We have a couple of investigators right now that I am hoping to have baptized before I get home, or right after I leave, but I guess we'll see what happens; whatever the best timing for them is.

My companion was especially excited because it was the first baptism of her mission, I'm glad we've had such quick success in this ward -- they all are so helpful. We have them working with us and yesterday we went on splits for the first time, my companion felt comfortable with having me leave her now and being in charge and we had a lot of appointments, and I worked with one of the RM sisters - it's always nice to hear others teaching styles and learn from them.

This week Sister Pairat is working with us until Friday when she will get her new companion at transfer day. We will probably go on splits almost every day. I will work with a member and they will work together. I'm excited to find a lot of new investigators this week.

We have our mission tour in two weeks with Elder Edwards and I need to read about five chapters a day to finish the Book of Mormon on the scheduled date, I find every spare minute to read and it's really great. It will be my third time through in English while here on the mission and I think I'll focus on Tagalog a little more my last two months, it's slower-going and longer in general in Tagalog so we'll see where I get, I plan to finish it once I get home though.

Did I tell you the other great thing about our baptism on Saturday. Two of the baptisms, one was a child of record, were the nephews of a member we met our first week here. He hadn't been to church of years and we taught him a lesson about the importance of the Sacrament, and about how that is the main purpose of why we should be at church every single week, because we need the sacrament every single week. He started coming to church that very week and was ordained a priest soon after and then able to baptize his two nephews. Him and his sister worked with us this last week and I noticed in his testimony that he always talks specifically about the importance of the sacrament, the very thing we taught him about and he put into action and thus gained a testimony over which he now is sharing with others -- how wonderful.

Well, I'm out of thoughts for the moment so thanks for the email and for Maddie's joke Love,


Email May 11th, 2009

My companion is really great at English, isn't she? last companion wouldn't speak English to me at all, even if I requested she do just for a minute or requested she I don't know how good she is at English -- haha. My second companion was like that also, but we got by off of her English for the most part and I know my trainer was good because I couldn't speak any Tagalog third companion is also very good at English but we always spoke straight Tagalog so I could learn faster, she was good at that my current companion likes English :) haha...always Tag-lish I even speak Tag-lish now.

If you sent a package, well I sent a letter about the garments for Sister Abad only, even if it was only two-five..she only wanted five. She was the original sister that asked a long time ago and then you sent the trial pair and it was a very wrong size for her but she paid for them anyway so I just kind of felt bad never getting her any at all that were the right type and size. They like mine because they are not as hot and really easy to hand wash but they don't sell them here -- but that's what one of my letters I sent was about. As for anything else, starbursts so my companion can try them because I told her stories about how they were my favorite when I was in high school but she doesn't know what they are -- besides that I can't think of anything so maybe it really wouldn't be worth it. I guess I'm feeling like three months isn't so long that I'm going to be missing much. Almonds and dried blueberries :) haha and if you sent me a can of black beans I wouldn't probably give it to Sister Anderson as a going away gift because she was really jealous that I had some and she also loves them.

I think it's funny that Tagalog sounds asian to you -- like Chinese or something. I keep trying to remember how it sounded to me before I understood it, but now it sounds like English does kind of because it's just words that have a meaning now, not strange sounds that sound funny. Sometimes words still sound really funny to me, but words in English are funny to me also.
Well, you said my email doesn't need to be too long -- that's good because I'm not sure what more to say at this point. We have zone interviews tomorrow so I might get more mail and we found out in our email from the mission today that before transfer day we will be a three-some with one of the sisters whose companion is going home on Sunday -- a five day three-some, how fun :)

Okay - thanks for the expensive call :)

Love Britney

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Happy" Happy Mother's Day

Well, our family had a WONDERFUL 2 hour phone call with Britney last night! We went to my office and used my speaker phone. It was great! She sounds like she is very happy and well.

Did you know that to call the Philippines you use 14 minutes every minute! Where we don't have a land line we bought an AT&T calling card. Wow - 2,000 minutes doesn't go as far as it used to! LOL. We actually didn't even use the entire card because as Wendy put it 22 years ago when she and I had a similar lengthy call... Brit's teeth were floating!

What a wonderful night with all of the girls gathered to be able to each take time visiting with Britney. But, after the 4th sister opened by saying, "Hi Brit, how are you?" Brit finally said, "the same as last time I was asked a few minutes ago..."

Britney spoke tagalog to us quite a bit and it is amazing how smart it makes her sound! We were able to speak with her companion for awhile also. What a sweet and complimentary young woman. She said, "Brother Landrum, you look so young... Sister Landrum, you look beautiful and have such good fashion sense... Maddie, you are most beautiful...".

Sister Ruth Ann Garcia is from the Philippines. She went on to thank us for such a wonderful daughter. She said that 3 of her siblings had served missions also and that they told her how important it was to have a good training companion. So, she prayed hard before her mission for the right training missionary and God blessed her with Sister Landrum and that she is so thankful for her..." She went on and on about how great Britney is. I already knew this fact but to hear how genuine and appreciative Sister Garcia was touched my heart. I believe that she did pray and that Britney was the answer to her righteous desire... that is a significant and wonderful thing to know. I believe that they are working hard together and that they are being blessed for it. Britney's influence will not end when she returns to us in 3 months.

What an appropriate and blessed way to celebrate Mother's day. Wendy deserved every moment of it.

Email May 4th, 2009

Here's the thing about Mother's day -- I forgot that it's this Sunday and I have no idea where we can call from so it's all kind of up in the air. My problem is i don't have a phone number for you in order to text or do a initial call to tell you, so maybe if I find out I will do another email sometime throughout the week to tell you when and hopefully you will have sent me a phone number. We might be able to use the phone at the church -- but I still think it's better to have you call me using a calling card so I would arrange to get one of those also. We would probably call Monday morning, meaning Sunday night for you.

As for food -- this was from a couple emails ago I think, but maybe I want to eat stake, how does that sound? There is a good chance I will be the most tired and gross person on earth after my flight so who knows what will happen. As for when I get home, what time, what day -- I don't plan or schedule that at all and have no idea how to figure it out time difference wise either so you'll just need to wait for the church to send you my itinerary. I think Sister Thompson's family got hers when she had about three months to go and I finally turned in my change of address form in etc. so maybe they'll be sending that to you in the next couple of months.
President Anderson says hello and asks me how my family is in Idaho every time he sees me. That includes today. We came to the mall, which is very close to our area, so that my companion can buy an umbrella because she left hers on a jeep. As we walked in we saw Elder Hunt, Sister Hunt was buying pizza at the time so he was walking alone and I randomly ran into him --- he was very surprised and invited us to eat lunch with them. As we ate President and Sister Anderson showed up and ate with us then bought us ice cream -- Sister Garcia says we're "blessed for hard work!"

We gave two women that we found our first week here a tentative baptismal date yesterday. She has attended church twice and the other has not yet, the only problem is she has no work currently and is trying to go abroad now as her only means of making money for her son whom her sister will watch over while she's gone -- we're trying to find her work here so she can stay and become a strong member of the church and have the blessings of God help her family instead of working abroad, we'll see what happens. Our first baptism here will be on the sixteenth and they are both doing great.

I hope that Savanna does not decide she needs to destroy everything in our apartment LOL, I figure we'll have unhappy roommates if she does. A clean apartment is the best, I hope I have clean roommates again, we'll see. I had amazing roommates right before I left, our apartment was always so nice to be in, always clean and happy.

As for coming home July 1, it's basically out of the question at this point, in my mind anyway -- and the only good thing would be it would give me more time to FIND a job before school actually starts, not actually make money but find a place to make money instead of worrying about it amidst school and all those other busy things like moving and going through my things which have already gone through a move while I've been away etc/ adjusting to the new time, your night is my day and that has been my life for over a year now so i wonder how the adjustment will go, maybe easy but i hear coming home is harder. Anyway, August 12 sounds about right because August nine I'm at the mission home, the tenth we have a family home evening, the eleventh all of the --wait i just don't know :)

As Sister Thompson informed me regarding her family -- I will label you also "my family is trunky for me" it's a good thing, I don't have to be trunky you're just doing it for me, making plans and all that stuff, but mom you've jumped a bit forward in time a couple of times a lot of years talking about weddings and I don't know about the spring, I like fall, haha! Anyway I actually haven't thought about it much at all and only know that the months of November through February are out of the question, no questions asked, no circumstances etc. i will not have a wedding during those months the end. You have permission to hold this against me when I get married in January, but don't hold your breath over it :)

I'm kind of old now, I need to finish school...but that's going to take me some time still and first some money meaning a job but I have a good four months to get myself to that point. I still say people will think I'm younger than Savanna -- I need to buy myself some nice classy high heels a cute outfit to go with it so I can seem older, i have a very casual, simple, easy-going (i look young) style but I could pretend that I'm old sometimes and get away from my flat third-grader style shoes -- I think I've always secretly fought against really growing up or seeming mature in my femininity (odd eh) anyway I'm short so I can wear high heels too, haha.

Was it Maddie's idea to have a party? It sounds like she thinks she's in college, we always had parties for no reason, or we would just come up with our own reasons. Garyn, in the Philippines you don't say Aloha, you say "Mabuhay!" Just look at the talk Elder Teh gave a couple of years ago in general conference, that is exactly how he started it, "Mabuhay from the Philippines..." The literal translation is "life" or "alive."

Whenever I meet children around Olivia's age, especially boys, I always say...oh my sister is just about the start the youth program also, but she is almost as tall as me and they are so shocked. They are all very surprised about how tall my sisters are. As for the sealing, I can't believe they waited all this time and then did it only four months before I come home! I told Julie ages ago that I should attend. I'm glad to hear they are alive, I talk about them all the time I realized, probably because I lived with them for a year and they were at school and work etc. I'm absolutely planning to write at least some response to all the people who have written me. This includes Aunt Molly, Uncle Scott, Aunt Amy and grandparents -- after that list I might try to get to others but I guess if they don't write me they are content with the emails if they read them so I'll see everyone in a couple of months and call it good.

Does anybody know Amanda's new last name? Not that it will help me out much, I also don't know her address but it's strange to not know her new last name, sheesh.

Well, my time is actually running out now so we're doing fine here in Darasa, we have a lot of help from our leaders and members and i enjoying just listening to the good lessons on Sunday, since usually I am the one teaching and even on Sunday before I was the one teaching and listening was as enjoyable in the first areas because I didn't understand even though i wasn't teaching so i would get sleepy and fight sleep by just writing all the words I didn't know, basically all of them. Now i participate and answer questions and learn from insights of others -- wow, how fabulous, haha.

I'm finishing up Alma and at a sprint to finish it all by June when we have our mission tour and then I'll start over again I suppose but maybe focus on Tagalog for my last little while here, a side by side reading.

My companion, i think, has found every spiritual thought in the Book of Mormon regarding being prepared to give for our companionship studies --she really enjoys those scriptures and i have noticed because of them how much it actually does talk about preparing ourselves or talk about other families preparing themselves, their foods, buildings, for travel -- being prepared is very important.

Okay, time is officially up so I'll try to work something out for calling and may end up checking email again or sending one to know the numbers so keep checking and send me a number I can call if I will need to do that first.

Ang Minamahal niyong Anak at Kapatid :) hehe Si Sister Landrum

Translation: The beloved daughter and sibling
Ang = The
Minamahal = Beloved
Anak = Daughter
Kapatid = Sibling

Email April 27th, 2009

The pictures worked, might just be this computer but they are really small and kind of hard to see but better than nothing! I have a good picture of how it all went, everyone was there it seems.

Sorry about the bad health, I've been praying for good health for all of you; especially dad. The weather has been strange here also. We have had continual rain and it's supposed to be the hot season -- I guess if it's "cold" here you would expect snow storms there even in April.

We have zone conference again this week, it's going by fast. Did you know that the sisters from my batch in other missions in the Philippines go home July 1? They go home the transfer before we should and I go home the transfer after. July 1 would be so much nicer, and in fact President said that if I wanted to I could work out going home also at that time; but of course I don't. I did however have this strange dream the other night that nobody was at the airport when I got home and I drove myself straight to BYU to try to find my old job but the buildings on campus had all been changed and I was lost. I'm sure I'll find some kind of work and in the end everything will work out fine, I also expect you will in fact be there at the airport and I don't know what kind of food I will want :)

We have a nine and seventeen year old here in our area with baptismal dates now, they will be baptized in May. I will be printing pictures later today (now that we got our support money again) so I should send more pictures within the next couple of days, sorry there aren't any letters. I actually have one sitting in our apartment not yet sent because I've yet to find the post office here. I think there isn't one in our actual area, we have to cross over into the Elder's area to send mail.

We did some bowling earlier, and they still are while we email so I'm kind of in a hurry. I got a strike my first go at it and they all chastised me for having said I was bad -- but I proved it to them all the other times when I got gutter balls :) haha. I miss the days of lane gates -- I remember I always wanted to go bowling when I was younger, I have no idea why, haha.
Thanks for the mail and all the support -- sorry this is kind of short.

I love you all


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Family Values - Strong among Filipinos

Filipinos highly value the presence of their families more than anything. Despite the liberal influence they have gotten from the west, the family remained the basic unit of their society. This trait clearly shows among Filipinos abroad who endure homesickness and tough work just to support their families back home.

In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the provider of the family while the mother takes responsibility of the domestic needs and in charge of the emotional growth and values formation of the children. They both perform different tasks and being remarked separately by the children. Children see their mothers soft and calm, while they regard their fathers as strong and the most eminent figure in the family.

Because of this remarkable closeness, parents sometimes have difficulties letting go of their children and thus results to having them stay for as long as they want. For This somehow explains why grandparents are commonly seen living with their children in the Philippines. Unlike the way people grow old in the west where they are provided with outside homes and care giving, Filipino elderly enjoy their remaining lives inside their houses with their children and grandchildren looking after them.

Another trait Filipinos made themselves exceptional from others is their strong respect for elders. Children are taught from birth how to say “po” and “opo” to teach them as early as possible how to properly respect their elders. These words are used to show respect to people of older level. Even adults will be criticized for not using these words when speaking with their parents or people older than them. Inside the family, the parents are expected to receive the highest respect from the children along with the elder siblings; as they are given more responsibilities to look after younger siblings when parents are not around.
Children fighting back or addressing parents or elder siblings with an arrogant tone is not at all tolerated. They are also not allowed to leave the house without their parents’ permission. Upon arriving home, conservative families expect children to practice the kissing of hands or placing their parents or elder family members’ hand to their foreheads with the words “mano po” as a sort of greeting.

Even after finishing school, Filipino children are not obliged to get out of their homes unless they want to. In fact, most of them keep close relationship to their parents by staying at least before they get married. Leaving them only happens when they really have to, but usually, at least one child, depending on his willingness and financial capabilities, stay even after marriage to support and look after their aging parents.

Moreover, Filipinos keep close connection with other relatives. They recognize them from 2nd degree to the last they can identify. As Filipinos say, “not being able to know a relative is like turning their backs from where they come from.”.

Philippines Tourist Guide


The Philippines has a unique blend of eastern and western cultures. While most of South East Asia necessarily is a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian traits, Philippine culture has been marked by long periods of Spanish and subsequently American occupation.


One of the greatest impacts of the Spanish Period was the introduction of Christianity on the islands. Spanish clergy converted a large amount of Filipinos to the Roman Catholic faith. As a result, today the population is almost 92% Christian - of which an overwhelming majority of 83% are Roman Catholic, and 9% Protestant. About 5% of the population is Muslim and 3% are of Buddhist and other faiths.


The Philippines is a linguistically diverse nation - there are almost one hundred and seventy two native languages and local dialects. The national language is Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. Tagalog was the national language during the American period. Filipino, with its basis in Tagalog, but containing elements of other local languages, was adopted as the national language in 1973. Both English and Filipino are promoted as official languages for the purposes of education, government and commerce. Apart from Tagalog, other dominant languages are Cebuano, Klokano, Hiligaynon, Bikol, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Kinaray-a, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug.


Philippine cuisine is as diverse as its people. There is Chinese Filipino food, such as pansit (noodles), lumpia (vegetables rolled in edible wrappers), siopao (steamed filled buns), siomai (dumplings). The Spanish introduced new flavors such as olive oil, paprika, saffron, ham, sausage and cheese into traditional food. Today Philippine food is an exotic blend of variations of Chinese, Spanish and Mexican dishes made with tropical local ingredients.


Philippine music has influences as diverse as Christian religious church music, Indonesian Gamelan music and of course, the US period of occupation was significant in introducing American blues, folk and rock and roll. There was the origin of a new form of music called kundiman in the 1920s when traditional songs were sung in western ballads styles. In later times, Pinoy rock was a new form of fusion, with Freddie Aguilar being one of its most popular and successful proponents. Pinoy rock was used to motivate and unite protestors in popular uprisings in the 1980s - in fact Aguilar's 'Bayan Ko' became an anthem of the 1986 revolution.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Photos of Festival

Buchi and Rabutan "Brit's favorite foods"

Email April 20th, 2009

Hello, I checked my balance account in order to be safe and I am fairly sure I didn't use it all up...that's why I checked it, I just wanted you to know why my money is suddenly missing, we bought things for our apartment. We didn't have enough money here at the end of the month and after transfer day travels to buy all the things our apartment was lacking or that were disgusting like our mold covered half broken plates, so last preparation day we went to the mall and we bought plates and a shower curtain and a trash can and rags to wash dishes with etc. and we cleaned our apartment up all nice, it's very livable now. Don't worry, all the money I spent is refundable and the mission will give it back to me -- I just thought I would explain the great reduction in my account. In truth, it's a super nice apartment. It's my first apartment with a flushing toilet and a shower head, and there is very strong water pressure. The shower is still cold water but that's okay because we are in the deep heat of summer here (I can't believe it snowed only last week there! It's supposed to be April showers bring May flowers not April snow to kill the flowers, grabi).

Okay -- my last companion was very malambing which means very close or touchy or warm and fuzzy like, you know. As for calling each other by our first names, that's not allowed. We also are not supposed to call each other by only our surnames -- yet sometimes the American's in my district would do that and then I glare at them and ask if I am on a football team, and sometimes the Elder's in the office will call you by your first name because they see your mail and everything else all the time so they know all our first names -- but it's not really something we do or should we are Sister's and Elder's. As for my companions, let me try to remember their first names --

Sister Glazier-gay Mabalot
Sister Julie Odo
Sister Michelle Victorino
Sister Shanda Thompson
Sister Naomi Pasi
Sister LuDevina Jagnas
Sister Ruth Garcia

Sister Garcia is very good and obedient, extremely good at teaching and interacting with people (in part I expect due to having been a professor and teaching college students all day long), and loves to cook -- but we don't usually eat hot-dogs in the morning, yet we still eat hot-dogs. She is short, but not extremely short, and is from another Tagalog speaking region in the Philippines. It's nice to have a companion who speaks "real" tagalog, although hers has a lot of English in it because she's very good at English Tag-lish...because some of my other companions have different dialects and their language is also different -- but that's just what you get here if you want a truly common to all language it is actually English, the language of their government, schools, etc. and yet not even everyone knows that or is fluent in it. She corrects me when I'm wrong, which is helpful, but also tells me that I'm fluent now -- this I don't believe due to so many words I still do not know, but what makes you "fluent" anyway? There are tons of words I don't know in English and I also use incorrect English grammar and in fact probably understand Tagalog grammar better at this point than English grammar due to studying it -- hmmmm.

Did that answer all of your questions? We take a jeep or a bus if we go to district meeting and sometimes a trike if we go to far away areas but mostly we walk, as you said. I weighed myself last transfer day and one of the Elder's looked down at the scale and said "what, are you a philipina!" haha...except I'm still quite a bit larger than all of them and throughout my mission I have gained or lost eight pounds continually, I also have a bit of a gut more than before which in fact Andrea's brother warned me of because eating so much rice will go straight to your tummy even if that is not the regular palce in which you gain weight. I think I was at about 123 last I checked. So far they feed us a ton here and my companion likes cooking so I might come home with long kind of scraggly hair in need of a good styled hair cut, a slightly blotchy red face from a freakish break out that's been taking place along my jaw line for the past two months and a bit chubbier around the stomach but for the most part not really fat :) hehe who knows just don't be too shocked when you see me, I just don't know!

It's still so very far away so maybe my face will get worse or maybe improve and maybe I'll gain a lot of weight or just lose more than before due to some strange sickness I could pick up from the new area (let's hope I don't get sick) and maybe I will get so sick of my hair I'll get it chopped off at David's Salon where one of our ward missionaries works (but let's not bet on that, haha) anyway this is a lot of speculating about my appearances and kind of hilarious -- look where your question of my weight has taken us! hehe.

What is the best thing I have eaten? The cottage cheese the couples found and gave me, haha (joke) except it was really good. Ummm, there is a form of sticky rice that I really like, and pancit is okay -- I don't know if I could say I'm overly in love with their food style in all truthfulness it's not super tasty to me but it's not terrible either, I can't however think of any specific favorite dish. I really like Buchi, which is like a round ball of something sweet and also Shainghai which is deep fried pork or sometimes vegetables (kind of like an egg roll I guess) and I really like the bananas in wrappers, also deep fried. Oil is a big deal here and I expect to go back to not using it when I go home so as to help out my body a bit, haha, but I do like the things they cook using it. A fruit that I like which we don't have in the states -- rabutan which is red and has spiky like looking things on it and it's kind of like a huge grape.

Sorry -- I think I can't answer the question of whether I have enjoyed one companion more than another etc. but you can just think about it and guess for yourself and one day when I'm not here maybe I'll tell more stories, haha. We are going through our challenges of building up our investigator base and teaching lessons one all day long, but it's all good and the member's give us a lot of support. I really love our Bishop's family. We had family home evening with them last week and played games and Bishop gave a lesson then gave us an opportunity to share whatever we would like then we had dinner. After games there is a punishment. You have to give a talent if you lost. The Bishop's family loves music so they were all playing the guitar and singing and playing on their keyboard etc. -- it was very fun, I love music and playing and singing (even if I'm not particularly good at singing I love singing along and having OTHERS sing, haha).

Thanks for the letters and emails and support and hopefully all continues to go well for you there despite any trials that our economy or the evils of the world in general may bring -- we are safe in the church if we "follow the prophet," since we are "in a world where people are confused, if you don't believe me just go and watch the news..." I'm glad that is a part of a primary hymn by the way. Have you ever heard the hymns "The Time is Far Spent" or "Truth Reflects upon our senses" can I just inform you that they are two of the favorites here in the Philippines. It's very interesting, they have their own set of favorite hymns here and many are ones I don't know at all and in turn they are not familiar with some of my favorites like "Be Still My Soul." Okay, good bye for now

Love, Sister Landrum

Email April 13th, 2009 "Transfer to Darasa"

I have spent my mission life separate from the city and the busy traffic and now I'm very near it. We are still in a little town a ways away but the main street of the town is a part of what seems to be the highway into the big city so there is plenty of traffic. It is a ward here and so far seems to be very established. We don't know too much about it yet, besides meeting the Bishop's family and a couple of ward missionaries because we spent Saturday and Sunday in Lipa for general conference. Today we are here in Lipa again to buy things for our apartment because it's greatly lacking in necessary items, meaning all the plates are covered in mold etc. Oh, by the way...the reason we don't know much about the area yet is because the Elder's were taken out and sister's put in -- because we are opening the area again the assistants and Elder Cheney (my batch and office elder) took us home to Darasa.

This was actually Elder Cheney's first area, and he was there for NINE months so he was very excited that his "batch" will be opening it up again and hopefully getting the work going strong here. My new companion is straight from the Manila MTC but as the few members we have met say "hindi halata" which means it's not recognizable that she's new...she is also 22 and the youngest of eight, the fifth to serve a mission. Oh yeah, so when the Elder's got to our apartment and opened it up Elder Winn said "wow, did they TRY to make it dirty!" and all of them immediately started sweeping up trash etc. it was kind of bad news. We in turn spent much of our first day cleaning then visiting some members, especially the Bishop to get to know the ward. The next day was conference and also the next and today is Monday, preparation day. Tomorrow our work will really start and we hope to get to know our area quickly and also quickly add to our investigator pool. Conference was very good. Elder Holland's talk was like a revised version of exactly what he said to us a little more than a year ago at the MTC and where my batch got the saying "Don't you dare abandon the Savior." He added some aspects and made his talk fit better for a general audience and it was amazing to hear again. I also continue to love listening to conference while on my mission because our prophets are missionaries. Elder Uchtdorf taught the entire lesson three that we teach "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" and it was so familiar to me, everything he said, plus I learned good things that I can use to teach it myself. I most especially liked how serious and stern our Prophet was in his last speech about avoiding certain evils that will destroy our lives and spirits and the lives of those around us -- I also have come to find myself teaching these same things with gravity of heart and deep sincerity for the importance of strictly following these principles in our lives and staying far from temptation.

Back to my companion, her name is Sister Garcia, pala. She had graduated from college (they graduate very early here -- ) and is now a professor of IT at the school she graduated from, something that most cannot become without a masters, she feels very blessed to have gained that job and provided also a way for her to serve a mission. As for the Moriones festival, I thankfully was not there for Friday - Sunday. As much as it might seem like a great memory to have seen the festival itself and the people who practice self harm for forgiveness and reinact the torture that our savior went though, I have no desire to see it or have a better image of it in my mind because I do not believe in that practice. We saw the soldiers and I even took some pictures but the main things happened Friday. We experienced it in a sense due to trying to travel that day -- everything was closed! People are quiet and don't do much. I never knew that what they believe is that Christ dies again each year and then lives again, and thus a day of mourning and a day of rejoicing to follow.

I know -- we'll just have a family gathering with food etc. and then you can do a question and answer session. I figure everyone individually will want to ask me some kind of question and probably I will repeat myself about some things so instead they could just ask me when we're all together and I'll answer to them all -- who knows maybe they won't have any questions -- anyway that's in a long time so whatever you plan I'll just follow along I don't think there is much else I can do, hopefully I still won't have jet-lag.

We're really busy today with buying things for our apartment and trying to finish cleaning etc. and tonight we'll have family home evening with the bishop and then start our work tomorrow so I'm going to leave my email here for now. Oh yea, since I'm here in the city area and very close to the mission home compared to my other areas I might get my mail more often, but I don't know. Also, your package came. I actually knew that last week but still didn't have it. President called us to ask permission to open it because something had broken inside -- that would be the salsa! Oops, but thanks for the effort, don't worry I'm appreciative of the rest and was able to give the ties directly to the people who will give them to the soon to be missionaries because we were all there at transfers. I am also here where there is a mall so I just bought myself some salsa and will make myself some beans and salsa, hooray! Anyway -- that's about all for now.

Love, Britney

Email April 4th, 2009 "Happy Easter"

Happy Easter, although there really isn't Easter here. We do, however, have Holy Week. This also is not that significant unless you are in Pola Mindoro or on the other island Maranduque. I happen to be in Pola Mindoro. It started this morning and goes until the final event on Sunday. I almost wonder if you could find pictures of it online. They all dress up in Roman soldier costumes with scary masks and march around the town. Other people engage in "fasing" in which they drink a lot and cause harm to their bodies then cover our white cemetary in red, they also have an enactment of the crucifiction among other things. I've heard MANY stories about it and only now started to see it. I happen to be grateful in some ways that I will not be here for the final days because I am transferred OFF the island. My district mates said that they were "voting me off," Haha. I have been here on the island longer than anyone else here, however, so I guess it's appropriate but I have no idea what's in store for me! Crazy. Due to the extreme traditions in my particular area we have in fact been teaching about the resurrection and about the atonement and the importance of true repentance and Godly sorrow not personal suffering, to everyone we meet. I think I've easily made Maddie's goal of sixteen. The problem of this particular week is that we need to be careful on the streeets and I will be transferred so we'll be traveling and thus I don't know how much I will be teaching.

I am sad that I will not see the baptism of some of the families I am teaching -- this is my first area where I have really taught families and had them progress but at least they will be baptized, that is what's important. I also feel like time will really fly by now with transfers and a new area to learn. Before I know it I'll be transferred home (the scariest transfer ever!) Speaking of that, I forgot to ask you something very important. I was given my letter from Salt Lake about going home and need to send back to them all of my information and also which airport I will be flying into . It sounds like my options are Boise and Salt Lake. From what I hear if I go to Boise I will still go to Salt Lake first and just have a lay over there before I fly to Boise -- but I'm not positive how it all works. It depends on you in the end but I won't lie - I like the idea of flying into Salt Lake, espeically if I'll stop by there anyway, because I'll feel more like I actually came home.

As for this family picnic of sorts, when would you be planning it anyway? I don't know what I would say! It's hard to be put on the spot, okay so you've already thought that I would think all of this or say it and thus you explained your intentions and asked nicely -- I still don't know exactly what I would say. How do you sum up a year and a half of your life anyway? It's not really like anything I would have expected and in other ways similar to what I thought. Sometimes I'm very curious about how other missions and even the mission of my friends who are here vary due to being in different areas with different companions etc. -- so much determines our experiences. I do see how each of my personal experiences have been meant to help me help others and myself. The monumental thing in the end is me encased in a cement box of sorts. This coming from the fact that my entire mission I feel as though I have been sitting in soft cement and slowly being pushed in deeper and deeper until it gets hard and I am covered by a hard case of my beliefs, standards and behaviors. There are many things that will still change about me but there are so many things that have become engrained into me now that weren't so much before or really only on the surface of my life. While at college I wasn't very directed. I was a "hard worker" through high school and I thought about a lot of things and what I wanted in my life but I still had to figure out what was really important to me in the end. I went through a bit of a hard time there my second year of college and in a way it all helped me to decide to serve a mission. I also had many learning experiences at my job for the counselors, EFY, working on an island all summer and these things helped me see many lifestyles and make other decisions for my life. I needed this time to really become focused and I know that everything will go better than it did before once I return -- although I don't know what will happen or what challenges will come to me I have much greater faith than I did before and understand the importance of many things about my life that I didn't consider before either.

You know what one thing I really left behind? Dancing. I'm not super talented at dancing but I have always loved to dance. I probably spent too much time just taking dance classes in college because I could. I'm not sure what I'll do in the end with that anymore because I've lost a lot of my flexibility and those things I knew and it will be hard to start over but I think that it's good for me as exercise and enjoyment but I will need to focus on other things, but we'll see right? I'm really excited to study religion again, haha. I'm glad I go to a church school. I'll basically be a missionary again, I'll probably take Tagalog and religion my first semester :) haha.

Okay, well I'll have a lot of news next week again about where I have been moved to and who my new companion is. It's too bad the pictures of Sister Jagnas still haven't made it to you and now she won't even be my companion, that shows just how fast that went.The other day the couples were here to check apartments and they took us home from the place where we did email. While riding in the car Sister started talking about what she's seen us do in this area...she said, "you've really left your mark here Sister Landrum, we're proud of you." It kind of caught me off gaurd since that's dad's poem and the pens he gave me. I'm not sure what mark I left but I hope that I have become more like our Savior and that I have left his love in the hearts of those I've met -- I want to leave His mark.-

Love Sister Landrum