Wednesday, December 17, 2014

He's Home!!!!!










Kendric couldn't believe this was Maile...




Meeting his niece, Gemma, for the first time...





Yay!!!


Taylor, Dianne & Wendy - thanks for being there!







Mom wouldn't leave his side! :)

Dinner at Freddy's!

He really liked carpet...
Well, that's it for this blog, thanks for sharing Kendric's mission with him. God bless!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Last letter...

{This was Kendric's first email tonight. Needless to say, we were not amused... :) }

3 John 1
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
 14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.
{This was a follow up letter, sent much later in the evening - and after a little threatening from Mom, Dad and his siblings...}
Family & Co. 
So it is really, really weird to know that this is my last mission email ever. And I'm sorry about my previous "letter". Haha I thought it was pretty awesome! And to be honest that was all I was planning on sending, but mom and dad's reactions weren't too encouraging. So I will repent right now, and write this letter! ;) 

*Okay, this is for reals. A typhoon is hitting my area right now, and it might blackout any second. So I'm gonna make this a bit quicker than I had planned.*

For the last few weeks I have been putting off packing my luggage, but today my old comp, Elder Bausing called and told me how he had put if off and didn't realize how much stuff he had accumulated over the last two years. Haha so I'm a little scared!

Okay, so the rain has died down a bit, so I think I can take my time with this last part. I just want to bear my testimony to you all. I know it's cliche, but it's my last letter:

For the past two years, oh man where do I even start. I don't know. I have been asked a lot why I chose to serve, both investigators and members have asked me that. And at the start, I would only say "because that's what's expected of young men in the church". And that's true, that was honestly the number one reason why I chose to serve. I have been well-groomed to serve, from my childhood to teenage years I was well-groomed by loving parents, leaders and teachers. And as a result I knew what was expected, and always had it in my mind that I would serve. And so I found myself in a jungle, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and eating baby ducks. And at the start that sense of duty kept driving me "I need to finish, I can't go home early, I need to return with honor", thoughts like that. But as my mission evolved, and I got put in more and more difficult situations, my reason for serving gradually changed as well. I have developed a deep love and appreciation for my Savior and Redeemer, and the reason why I serve is because I love Him. I am so grateful for Him. I have been so blessed because of these two years. I cannot, and I don't want to, think about where I would be had I not served. This has brought me from darkness into the light. And I have seen my fair share of trials on the mission, like every other missionary does, but I am so grateful for them. Looking back I can see now how each and every challenge built me. I know God lives, and He is love. I know this Church is true, and the only true church on this earth. I know my Redeemer lives, and loves me. I know that when we are in the darkest abyss there is always the light to bring us out. Heaven, elysium, valhalla, whatever you wish to call it, exists, and exaltation in our Father's Kingdom is a very real thing, and we are candidates to that glory with the seeds of godhood in each of us. This is my testimony. In His holy name, even Jesus the Christ, amen.
Love,
Elder Rand 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"So. I guess this means I'm close to the end."

So. I guess this means I'm close to the end. I cannot tell you how conflicted my brain is. Everything is switching focus, my thoughts and mind all point to home, but I still go out and work everyday. I feel like there is still so much for me to do, but then I remember I am going home. Oh it is the craziest feeling ever. 

I think to say that these are the best two years of my life would be a bit inaccurate. I will however say with all certainty that these two years were the toughest, most challenging, and rewarding in my life. I have learned so much about myself, and patience and endurance and a million other things. 

It is so humbling to think I will be taking my name tag off for good in two weeks. That name tag and I have been through a lot together ;) But at the same time I know my course here is coming to a close. If you could just look at the state of my clothes, ah mom would never let me step out of our apartment. My shoes are falling apart, my socks have gaping holes, the hem of my pants are ripped, the collars on my shirts have shredded to pieces, my belt is frayed along its sides, etc. Haha everything seems to be telling me it's time. And I know it is. So for these next two weeks I will work, work and work some more. I will go out with a bang :) 

My birthday was awesome, and thanks so much for the wishes. You guys are so awesome. I got your letters this week, too. Thank you so much! But I think either Maile and Dad didn't write, or they got lost in the mail somewhere, because I only got letters from Mom and Aleigha. Which is cool if you guys didn't write, but Maile mentioned she did..? It's all good, it'll show up eventually if you wrote :) Our less-active next door neighbor baked me a cake, and we also ate lunch with my district, and they celebrated mine and Sis. Umaga's birthday (it was on the 29th). So there are definitely cool people here who take care of me :) 

And your lives sound spectacular! I am so excited to come back! Thanksgiving looked amazing, Adam's hair is long. Aleigha's hunt looks amazing, and I will pray for her to get a deer this week ;) Arizona just overall could not look better :) I am so excited! A lot of uncertainty about what's going to happen still, but I am excited. 

Mom, as for your questions, I would love to apply for BYU, everything seems to be pointing that way, and I've actually had a few of my MTC batch approach me about being roommates, so I think it would actually work out awesome. I figure I could have either one of my mission presidents write me a letter of recommendation. Maybe President Martino, because I hear he pulls some weight in Provo. So I'll get it figured out. I am hoping to be able to work full-time again to save up for my move to Utah. We'll see. And I think I will let you know next week if I need money for traveling. I mean, I know it would be best to have some, but I'll ask around to figure out how much. Thanks mom and dad :) 

Okay, so I'm gonna send some pics now, so standby! I love you all so much, and please have a great (successful hunt?) week! As always, I remain, 

Very Sincerely Yours,

Elder Rand


This is Baler zone @ Ditumabo falls! 



​This is the cake our neighbors made for me! :) 



This is our apartment in San Luis! It's actually a pretty nice apartment, pretty clean inside. But showers in the morning are from a bucket, and it feels like glacier water haha ;) 


Monday, November 24, 2014

...My second to last letter...

A sobering thought just occured: this is my second to last letter to you. Talk about crazy. Another thought: in just twenty days I will be traveling down to the mission home in Tarlac, and proselyting will be officially over. Hm. I might cry right now. Haaa but anyway! How is everyone?? Sounds like your Sabbath was really relaxed. Sounds delightful :) My Sunday was a lot of my companion and I trying to reactivate less-actives, and we spent many fruitless hours inviting those members to church. It was not encouraging, as none of them attended. But then the ray of hope! Two of our less-actives we had visited several times during the week showed up for Sacrament meeting! Ahhh I cannot tell you how awesome that was. This area is definitely taking its toll on my mentality. It is so unfruitful. And yet things like that keep us going. But honestly, and this is dead honest, I feel like I have been trying to finish a race, that last stretch, and suddenly my legs have fallen off. It's like I am literally crawling with my arms to the finish line. BUT. The important thing is I am trying to follow Pres. Hinckley's father's advice and "forget myself and go to work". :) BUT 20 DAYS. Haha just kidding ;) 

So my companion almost went apostate this week, and it's because of me. For some reason when we got back to the apartment we started getting into the topic of the plan of salvation, and then he started asking some questions to himself about God and I then I mentioned the doctrine of plural gods, and he about died. Ohmahgosh, it took me about an hour of explaining and using the scriptures and "Mormon Doctrine" to tell him about it, and after that he was quiet for about an hour, and then he came out of the room and he just said "I don't think I can accept that". And he was honestly thinking of going home, and I was like "ah frick" and had to talk to him more about it and clarify it, and finally really late at night he said he'd sleep on it. The next day he was like "yeah, I knew that all along" like nothing had happened and since then he's been all right, but super absorbed in studying now. Which is good because he was lazy as heck before, which really bugged me. But since then I've seen some really positive changes, and he's super excited about everything he learns. So I guess it was a good thing..? 

Okay, so I actually had a couple really cool experiences this week where I saw the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. I had exchanges this week, and actually got to go back to Maria, but in Maria A not B. So it wasn't technically my area, but if you remember, I worked there for about 4 weeks when my companion was sick and in the MRC. So I got to know that area really well. So anyway, that's not really important to the story, sorry, but Elder Anasario and I had just gotten punted from everyone of his planned appointments. So we were just standing on the side of the street trying to make a plan to figure out what to do. And then all of a sudden this girl walking past us stops and starts talking to me, and shaking my hand like we had been friends forever, and I'm like "whooooo are you?". So she introduces herself, her name is Candy. And I'm like 'okay, that's vaguely familiar' and then she tells me her story, and it is so cool. So here, I'll tell it from my point of view, and then fill in that one-year gap with what she told me.  
          
Back when Elder Ofiana and I were in that area, we had run out of teaching appointments. If you guys remember we were opening that area up, and I was training Elder Ofiana so of course he had no idea what was going on. So we went to members and tried to get referrals, and we got one, for Candy and her family. So we went over there, and tried to teach them. We got through part of the first lesson, and the father started falling asleep, the mother was pre-occupied, and Candy and her siblings were obviously not listening to a word we said. So we ended the lesson early, and called it quits. We went back with high-hopes, and this time the family, who we heard talking inside, decided to hide when we went up to their door and wouldn't have anything to do with us. So we moved their teaching record in our area book from the "new investigator" section into the "former investigator" section. And that was that. I guess a few months ago some missionaries here found that record, said "heck let's go for it" and in that period of time the family had read some of the Book of Mormon we had left with them, and all were baptized except one son who is living in Manila. Talk about a pick-me-up! My whole mission I had read in Preach My Gospel where it says "no effort is wasted" but this totally gave me a testimony of that. So cool! 

Okay, so I hope you guys have noticed this is a bit longer letter, and I've actually spent almost all of my time on this letter. Dad I do not have a digital copy of my itinerary, but I will ask the office to maybe send a new one? I can kind of tell you from memory a few parts of it. I will be leaving Manila Dec. 17 at 9:04am. From there I will travel I think about 3 hrs to Tokyo. Then I leave for Seattle, and that's about a 9 hr flight. Then I will fly from Seattle to Tucson, and should be arriving about 2:04 pm, I believe. Next week I will try to give a more complete report. Mom, thank you for depositing that money! I did get it withdrawn, thank you so much :) And Aleigha, your date idea sounds frickin cool! Hahaha let me know how that goes, and your hunt as well! Maile, of course I am still game for that concert ;) Okay okay I really have to go do my report. But I have several pictures simultaneously uploading, and they will follow shortly. :) Love you all! 

-Elder Kendric Rand 

This is our meeting house here in San Luis. Yeahhh.....



This is my district! Minus two of them. Haha, from our activity earlier! 


This is our activity from last week, we rode this boat to a mountain where back in the day Filipinos survived a huge typhoon by climbing to the top. We made it to their camp, and saw some cool little memorials and stuff. But the boat, the boat made it worth it ;) By the way that is the entire Baler zone in that pic :) 






Sunday, November 16, 2014

31 days left I guess..?



This is from my last area, in Sta. Ignacia, a family of recent converts who I totally miss! (apologies, this is literally the only pic I have to send, but we have an activity mamaya so I'll send some next week!) :)


Holy cow. Time, is so weird! Like, looking back, it's like, "Wow. Two years." Like it has felt like forever. But then I really think about it and I'm like "Wowwwwwww two years!" haha and it is the weirdest thing! It is weird to think that my time as a full-time missionary is coming to its close. I cannot imagine my life right now had I not served. Oh man I would be such a loser. I have seen so much and learned so much from this mission and from the people and my companions and leaders, it has been the greatest experience ever. 

This new area I'm in is the first time in my whole mission where I've gotten to a new area and just felt a strong confirmation that this is where I am supposed to be. This branch is struggling, and my companion has been struggling too because he's been stuck here for 6 months now, and now he's killing me, which means he'll be here to the end of this transfer and at least another one. So he's been worn down. And to top it all off this is still his first area. Poor guy...so I've just been trying to bring a whole ton of energy and optimism into this area, and I've seen his attitude starting to improve. We'll see. Yesterday at church our meeting house had no electricity because our branch president didn't pay it. Talk about embarrassing, I do not want to bring investigators to church here. But I've been  trying to apply everything I learned as a zone leader into working with the leaders here. Man talk about a great way to die in the mission! It's definitely keeping me on my toes, and not trunky ;) 

All righty, well I've gotta make some reports :/ but I love you all! Thank you so much for all of your support, and I am so happy to see you guys soon :) Love you!

-Elder Rand 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Good evening, fam!

Good evening fam! So this week, holy cow! Just FYI I am here in Tarlac right now, coming from Baler zone, which is a TRIP let me tell ya. It is a long drive. So yeah, that's the cool thing! I am back in Baler!! Holy cow I forgot how amazing this place is! I will send more pics too, don't worry :) So it has been a hectic past few days. But guess what!! Elder Stenquist came and visited me with his family before going home, and they took my comp and me out to dinner, which was super awesome of them. So that was cool. They were all super nice, and fun to be around! They actually invited me up to their cabin for New Year's so we'll see how that goes, if I can make it or not. But as for this area, it is infamous in the mission for being difficult, and it has been fulfilling that expectation in every possible way. Yesterday at church there were 22 people there. Total. We have no one in our teaching pool preparing for baptism. So yes, I have work to do here. And it is definitely helping me to work hard and endure to the end. 

So tomorrow I am going back to Manila to get fingerprinted, and then all of my official requirements to go home should be fulfilled!! And mom it's a requirement to be x-ray'd for TB before going back to the States I guess. Haha my lungs are fine, I guess a little bit wheezy, but I don't think I need an inhaler at all, I will be okay :) 

Well it sounds like everyone is staying super busy, so that's good! And I am so jealous you all listened to John Bytheway! When I was in the MRC I did a few things everyday, and one of them was listen to John Bytheway talks. He served in Angeles zone back in the day, which was totally super close to one of my areas. One of the Elders I met in MRC was from Baguio mission and in his first area John Bytheway was the branch president. Crazy right?? 

Dad, all this "hunting" talk is getting me ready to kill something haha ;) And frickkkkk I cannot wait for some deer jerky. HAHA I think Maile is awesome for wanting to go bow hunting for elk! Maile, you can do it. Doubt your doubts. And dad hang in there with all your business trips and stuff. :) 

All right, well hang tight for those pics. I promise I will send as many as this horrible internet will allow. I love you all so much, and please know you guys are awesome! Have a great week everyone, hurrah for Israel! :)

Love,

Elder Rand






Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Worried...

{OK, this freaked us out a bit this week. We didn't get a letter from Kendric on Sunday - he's never missed before in the nearly 2 years he's been out - so I emailed his mission president on Monday morning. The President got back to me pretty quick and said Kendric was fine and he'd have him email us the next day and 'fill us in on his delay in emailing us this week'. The email below came late Monday night. ~Dad}



Good..night? Haha I don't know what time it is for you guys, but first off, I do apologize for not writing yesterday. It's kind of a long story. So I'll start at last last Monday, when I got my x-rays done. So the doctor told me he found "suspicious densities" in my right lung. Okay, called Sis. Clark, she said that was normal, and asked me to get x-ray'd a second time. So I did that, but wasn't able to get the result until last Monday. Haha, this time the doctor seemed certain that those spots in my x-ray is TB or tuberculosis or whatever. So then I called Sis. Clark up again, and she told me that day not to email you guys that I had TB. So I was silent last week on that. THEN they sent me off to MRC (Missionary Recovery Center) at the Manila MTC on Thursday, and I was there until yesterday getting x-ray'd and sputum tested and PPD'd and all that jazz to confirm if I have TB, which I don't. All of my results came back negative. And so yesterday they sent me back here, and I was basically on a crazy long roadtrip from Manila to Angeles to Tarlac to Sta. Ignacia. It was awesome. HAhaha....OHHhhhhkay. So that is my tale of false-TB readings. But MRC was actually a super-cool experience. I was isolated in a room by myself because of the "TB" and so I had a lot of time to myself to read the scriptures. I also got to go to the American Cemetery in Manila, which is the spot where all the WWII casualties have been buried. It is also the spot where Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Philippines for missionary work in the 1960's. It was suuuuper sacred, and such a cool experience. They also have these pillars with the names of all those who have not been found, I guess MIA is what they are but I don't remember the official name for it. I found a couple of Rands on the list, too. Don't know if we're related, but it was still cool to see.



​The graves of a tiny portion of the cemetery. It was interesting because not all of the symbols are crosses, there were a few with the Star of David on it instead of a cross. 



The Manila skyline, with the graves at the bottom. (Just FYI, Manila is where that last scene in the Bourne Legacy took place, fun fact for ya).



This is Sta. Ignacia zone, but transfers are coming up and President told me I will be transferring, so it's not my zone for too much longer ;) The Elder to my lower right is super cool, and I'm gonna try to go to school with him too. His name is Elder Johnson, really good friend of mine. 



This is NOT from Manila, haha this is from our ward's service project last week. Here in the Philippines on Nov. 1 and 2 there are holidays called All Saint's and All Souls' Day, where people visit their loved ones at these graveyards. So we went and cleaned them up, and I thought it was such a dismal place. All the graves are crappy concrete, falling apart, and then in the middle of that I saw this and I just thought it looked pretty cool. 






Okayyy. So again, I apologize. But it was outside of my control that I didn't email yesterday! Haha...sorry. But dad, oorah. You got another deer, and that means beast feast, right?? I am stoked for some jerky! And thanks for that quote, it was awesome! And mom, thanks for doing that stuff for me for school. I would love to take pre-college algebra-I honestly remember NOTHING about math. If you feel like easier math would be a good idea I am all for it :) Thanks so much mom! And Aleigha and Maile, I got your guys' letters, thanks for writing too :) It's crazy how soon I'll be seeing you all again! Aleigha, hang in there! :) All right, I've gotta go. Time's short today since it's not a p-day, and we've still got to go out and work. But I love you all, hope you like the pics! I definitely enjoyed dad's pics! 

Love,

Elder Rand

Monday, October 13, 2014

Naimbeg nga aldaw (Good noon!)

Hello family! 

Man this week was nuts. Conference was amazing, so many amazing talks I really really needed to hear. I really really liked that Jorg guy's talk. Super good! And I've heard about that "Meet the Mormons" documentary, any news on if it's available to download or anything like that? That'd be super cool to use with out investigators! Dad, I am super stoked for the iPhone 6! This one ward member talks technology with me all day, so I've heard a lot about it haha :) He always bashes on anything Apple though, the Philippines is almost purely Samsung. That's way cool about javelina too! I don't have my driver's license with me though, so if you're still on please let me know what all you need and I'll get it ready for next week's email. Ah, and yes, our training went awesome. I used some Jeffrey R. Holland quotes for the chastisement, and scriptures for the motivation. It worked out really well haha :) 

So mom, for school I've been giving BYU a lot of thought, but I'm still not sure, it just doesn't make sense to pay all that money for my generals when I could hopefully get a scholarship at a smaller school and save a lot. So I'm still pondering that out. Those two classes at Pima though would be awesome, definitely a great idea :) If it's all right, I would love for them to be science/math classes. That's what's been calling my name lately. Mom I am okay financially, and in terms of supplies. I will be okay :) Thanks so much mom! And I'm glad your classes are going so well too :) 

Well as for me, I am doing well, no complaints. I have read a few really life-changing talks lately, including one by my favorite general authority, Tad R. Callister, that's called "Becoming Men and Women of Integrity". It is so powerful, and has definitely helped me these last few days to have more integrity in everything I do. 

All right, pics! 

This is after a family home evening at these members' house, with their investigator sisters!
The river we went to earlier! :) 
A ward baptism that happened this week
We had a district CSP this week, that mound of cement we're sitting on is what we hauled.
Our zone activity earlier! Just sat in bamboo huts along this river, super relaxed.

Okayokayokay! Looks like I'm gonna call it a wrap. Love you all, thanks so much for everything you guys do, I am sorry for all of my faults and weaknesses, but I am truly doing my best to overcome! Till next week! 

Love,

Elder Rand