Monday, January 27, 2014

PICTURES!! ;)

Hey family! So I did get a new camera!! Thank you so much, you are the best :) So here are the first pictures ever taken with my new camera. Hope you enjoy! Elder Wick and I are in the same zone again, which is pretty cool. And then the other pics are in Air Force City, in Clark AFB. If you remember, this is the AFB that the US evacuated back when Mt. Arayat exploded. So it's a really cool area, and it feels like I'm in America when I'm over there. Ahh sigh...America. ;) 

Dad, it sounds like work is getting pretty stressful. But at least your hunting trip and exercise is helping a bit, it sounds like. That's so cool you get to get out every once in a while and just adventure. It sounds like the quad was definitely worth getting :) And it sounds like you guys are not going to move after all! Pretty cozy in AZ. That's cool about the wall/fence. I am so excited to see nice, well-mannered, rabies-free dogs for once. Believe it or not, I miss that little furball (that's Carmel). Heheh. I'll try not to cook her when I get back, kay? And that's cool about the plaques! Please give them an updated picture though, not back in those days of glutenous living/all-day sleeping. Hahaha ohhh man... Mom, the church is pretty strong here. It's nice to be in a ward again, branches have so many problems, and nothing seems to get done. It does feel like we are in the world, but doing our best to not be of the world. I really have grown to love this area already, the members are all great people, and the people may not be quite as soft-hearted as those from the rural areas, but they are approachable (for the most part). Ah! I actually talked to a really really nice American the other day, weirdest thing ever. I think I probably sounded like an idiot, because I can't remember how to be polite in conversations, so I was using 'sir' like everyother word. "Sir, where are you from?" "I grew up in Arizona, near Mesa" "Oh sir! No way sir! That's pretty close to where I live sir." (Actual excerpt from our conversation). I'm gonna die when I come home. 

So I am going to get some new socks today hopefully. But if I could request one thing, just some floss. That would help so much. I bought floss here and it felt like I was flossing with a chainsaw. Haha I just do NOT want to go to the dentist here, so I have been taking WAY good care of my teeth. Heheh. 

Wait, how's Maile? I hear you're getting braces!! That's cool! Don't worry about what people say, because once they're off, you'll have beautiful teeth for the rest of your life. So it's really worth it :) How's your guitar learning going? Are you still doing choir/piano? Has there been any cool new music that's come out since I've been gone? 

All righty, welp...I'm gonna call it a wrap. I love you guys so much! Really, thank you for all that you are doing. I am staying healthy, and abstaining from all that fatty American food. Actually, in this area I have access to really healthy food. I've been eating granola and fruit for breakfast every day for breakfast this week, and really just being very conscientious. So I'm still trying to get better looking ;) All right! I love ya'll. Please stay safe and happy! I am praying for you all, especially my siblings. 

Mahal na mahal ko kayo, 

Elder K.H. Rand



And this is my new comp! (Elder Salado):








Sunday, January 19, 2014

Last week's & this week's emails

Jan 12th
Oh my gosh....mom you like bagoong?? I absolutely loathe it!! I am so sick of bagoong! And since I'm in an Ilocano area everything is drenched in it!! Hahaha and mom I will send you some pictures of me eating mangoes ;) They're green right now, so that's exactly what we do; we slice 'em up and eat them with shoyu and/or bagoong (but shoyu is better..). Sooo good! That's really cool about your calling mom! But I bet you're a bit stressed lately..But still, I bet it's cool getting to be with Maile in primary every week. And man, I wish I was there with you guys. Hahaha but it's okay, almost to a year!! ;) And MAN!! Buntis naman si Caitlin (Caitlin is super pregnant)!!! HAHAHA SHE'S SO BIGGGG. Bahahahaha....Anyway. Mom thanks a lot for getting that p90x! Super excited. :) 

Dad, that is so cool they made a movie for Lone survivor. How was Mark Wahlberg? That guy's a boss. And shoot, 4 months to go until bear season? That's so cool. And that's pretty cool you got to see your sister and mom too. Please tell Paul congrats for getting into JAG, that's cool too. And dad thanks for depositing that money, I will get a camera soon, I'm just waiting to see what happens with these transfers. And yes, I got to baptize Edmar Hallig yesterday, but it didn't count for us, it counted for the branch. But that is okay because the important thing is he got baptized! ;) 

Aleigha, I wish I would've watched more of the Sherlock series before I left, but hopefully by the time I get back they'll have more on Netflix. Dude, enjoy school! I really do miss learning, and wish I spent my time better in school...hahaha..and bunso (that's Maile) thanks for writing me again! Hahaha I'll be honest though, Google Translate doesn't make too much sense sometimes so I don't think I understood your whole letter. But it's the thought that counts ;) Love ya bunso! 

Well this week has been all right. Kinda kicked my butt a little bit, but we worked hard. Just looking forward to transfers this week, I'll let you know next monday what happens. I want real investigators who actually learn and engage in lessons. But that's okay. Just trying to endure until I do get transferred. If I were to leave, this area is definitely in better shape than it was when I got here. Oh just something cool about my life. I got all my white shirts tailored for like...$2. Yeah. All right. That's about it. I love you guys all so much! I hope everythings good over there in the Promised Land. Be safe! Mahal na mahal ko kayo :)

Love,

Elder K.H. Rand

Jan 19th
Well I have officially left Bamban, and am now in the thick of it. Hahaha this is a huge change, I have never experience anything like this before in my mission! I am in Angeles City itself, in an area called Balibago. It is amazing!! I love the city! But whereas when I transfered to Bamban people told me I was going to "outer darkness", when I got transfered here I was told I'm going to Sodom and Gomorrah. It is wicked, it really is, and it feels a bit like Las Vegas actually. My area has what is called the "red and blue zones". Red zone, I cannot touch with a 50 ft. pole. If I set foot in there I will get sent home in a heartbeat. Blue zone, we can ride jeepneys through, but again if I get off in the blue zone it's a one-way ticket to America. I think you guys know why these areas are forbidden, so I won't explain it. Anyway, there are white people everywhere. But not the ones you'd ever want to talk to. They're the ones who are here only for evil purposes. I've seen sooo many white people, old, fat, and they have their arm slung around some young filipina girl. It's so so sad..But my ward is great. We have a really good ward mission leader, and an assistant just got called yesterday. And the FOOD!! There is sooo much food here!! I ate a krispy kreme doughnut the other day, and I about died. Then they have wendy's, mc'dos, burger king, and so much street food. Ah yes so I am going today to get a new camera, because there are 3 huge malls in this area. Thank you so much parents. And my companion is great. I am his follow-up trainer, and so I'm helping him refine some of the skills he's learned already, and at the same time of course I'm learning from him. He's so cool, I like him a lot and I'm excited to see where this companionship goes. So every morning during my personal study I've been reading the best talk ever, given by Elder Callister. It's called "Consecrated Missionary" and it has changed my mission. He talks about how sometimes missionaries will just change their behavior, doing things because that's the rule. But he talks about how we have to go deeper, until a change happens in our nature, not just behavior. And that's what I am striving for. Exact obedience. Doing everything I can every day. It's the best feeling at the end of the day when I can honestly say in prayer I've done all I can this day. One thing that is so hard in this area is controlling thoughts, especially with all the filth around. But I feel like when that was once my weakness, it is truly becoming a strength. After this mission, I think I'll have learned to conquer my old Goliaths.

Well other than that, it sounds like you are all doing well. I'm glad you guys had fun shooting dad! And you totally should've shot my AR! ;) And 7 falls sounds like so much fun right now. But hey, almost hit a year. Just a little....bit....more. :) I love you all so much. Please know I am doing well, and healthy. Actually I've started taking airborne cuz the city is filthy and everyone has coughs and colds. :D yay! All right, calling it a wrap. Have a great week family! :) 

Love, 

Elder Rand

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ang baho ng mga kilikili nyo! (Your armpits are really smelly) Good Tagalog phrase to know.

Heheh! Hello family! Happy 2014!! Uhhhh...So New Year's was NOT dramatic at all. But I think in the more city-ish areas it was. But in Bamban..? No. Like, there were a few fireworks, but nothin' all that cool. Oh! So yes I withdrew! That was me! I still have my card haha and I figured if it's gonna expire in Feb I ought to withdraw. That $200ish I had at the start of my mission has lasted me until now, but I ran out last month so I just withdrew that. I can use that for a camera though, is that the plan? I'm not sure when I will be able to get to Tarlac to buy one though. However there is a mall opening here in Camiling the day before transfers on Jan 16, but I don't know if I'll transfer or not. Anyway. Parents thanks a lot for your little auto-biographies! Really, it's really cool getting to learn all this! :) And dad, I am super stoked for moose, but don't worry it's not getting me trunky or anything. That ship has sailed...(for now). So you were really close to Uncle Scott back in the day. What happened now that you guys have kind of separated a bit? But that's cool, it seems like now you guys are getting back together again with this hunting :) Hahaha mom that sounds exactly like the little boys here. There are these vine-weed things that ahve these little flippin' razor kinda things on them, and they whip each other with them! It hurts!! Hahaha :) And dad I can't believe you got ganged up on! I guess we were pretty dang sheltered growing up. I remember that house on Bayou Dr. that was kinda scary sometimes. But then we moved and Vail has been great. Man. So mom, new calling! That's way cool! Maile sounded really excited in her email to me that you're in primary with her :) 

So last Sunday we were teaching one of our investigators, she's 11 years old. So on Sunday we taught her the Word of Wisdom. And we told her the things that we need to abstain from, and then that if we do our bodies will be healthy and we can run and not be weary and walk and not faint. So we teach her this, and she really gets it. The next day (P-day) my companion and I are playing basketball and since he's way out of shape he does something to his foot and he gets a bit of a limp. So we go over to this little girls house to teach her and she notices my companions limp and she's says: "Elder, what's wrong? You haven't been drinking coffee, have you..?" And she does that one face where she lifts an eyebrow, and you totally know she's judging you. Hahaha it was sooo funny! My companion got totally schooled by a little 11 year old girl. Heh heh. Anyway, so as for new experiences...Hmmm.....okay so one of my favorite foods is called goto, and it's this rice porridge with cow intestines in it, and it's actually suuuuper good! So that's about it. I'm sorry this was kind of a average week. But hey, I love you guys! I hope you had a good new years, and that 2014 will be a great year! :) 

Love,

Elder Rand

Naimbag nga melem (Ilocano yan!)

Grabe family, that was so cool talking to you guys. And I got my package!! It was actually later that day. OH...MY..Gosh...so fantastic. Thank you all so much! Maile, that drawing of Jesus is sooo cool. It's hanging up in my studyroom. And Aleigha, that snowman dude was a little loopy. That's weird disney made a Christmas movie! Haha thanks dude :) And mom and dad! THank you for everything, seriously. you are the bomb.com. Mom those oils smell so good. And they help a lot! I'm not gonna lie I thought the whole oils thin was a little bonkers when you first told me, but they're actually way cool! Sometimes I just sit there and sniff them for like...hours. Hahaha just kidding, but seriously..

Mom thanks for writing that story about you. That was really cool to read! And you know, being a Filipino/American here is like...way cool. This really is a cool opportunity to learn more about our roots, and the kind of people our ancestors were. The culture here is so different, the people are so different, the food, basically everything is different! But this is where your grandparents are from, and it's cool to know I'm where they were. And man, Ilocano is flippin weird.  

Dad, not gonna lie, definitely a little bit jealous you're going bear hunting!! And that's cool you got out scouting a bit this week. Perfect day. How's the swim/bike/running? Do you have a triathlon coming up anytime soon? 

Well, I don't have too much to say this week. Man, I can't believe I had an accent. I asked all the American missionaries and they all said we've been in the Philippines too long because they can't tell! Hahaha, well hey, happy new year! Aleigha have fun at your dance, ah by the way Elder Stenquist wants to write you. Is that okay..? He's so funny. All right. I love you all, be safe on new year's! Ah! Real quick, we should be having a baptism Jan 11, the primary boy is getting baptised through the branch so his is on Jan 4, but DonnaBel is set for Jan 11. All righty, be safe, I love you, bye-bye :) 

Love, 

Elder Rand