Saturday, May 2, 2009

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