Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Please don't boycott me

Hey fam! 

Weellllllllllllllllllllllllll another week down. Time is going fast, but slow at the same time. Heh I don't know how to explain it. I am on section 116 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Anyway, things are going great. The mission just seems to drift on and on. But we had a baptism on Saturday! Bro. Samuel Nueva got baptized, and his little brother just passed his interview yesterday and will be baptized this Saturday. They are two nieces of this really strong member, their parents are over seas in the Middle East or somewhere (they did give permission for them to be baptized, haha..). So that was cool. 

Hm. What else...ah yes. We had a snake in our apartment this week! Talk about fun. 

This was before I decapitated it. So yeah. Got that goin' for us. 

Also, the conferences with Pres. Ardern were awesome. He talked to us a lot about being leaders, and helping our zones. I confess I was a little bit disappointed, because in the Mission Leadership Council he talked a lot about the numbers in missionary work, which I honestly get sick of. I feel sometimes like being a zone leader is just a numbers game. Like, my companion and I will get chastised for our zone's sucky work. So yeah. It gets a little bit frustrating sometimes. But anyway, his other workshop was to the whole mission, and that one was a lot better. 

This is from our MLC with Pres. Ardern, but he wasn't in the picture.. ;) 

Okay, other than that....I am doing well :) I am not just "skating" through the mission either. I remember dad telling me that. When he and I had walked through the gates together at the airport, he said "Don't just skate through the mission. It's possible to just skate through it." Thanks for that dad, I have thought of that a lot throughout my whole mission. 

Thanks for all of your letters as well! You guys are awesome. It's so nice to hear about life over there, back home. Here, it's like we're in a bubble, completely oblivious to what's happening in the "real world". The news I get from you guys is about it! Hahaha so thanks. It is aprreciated. I love you all so much! I am safe, I am healthy and all that jazz. Funny about that ice bucket challenge, heh. And mom, that is totally her, Sis. Larson. Haha! Ayyyy...Dad, can't wait for Panda Express. I mean, we totally have orange chicken and all that here, just, you know, without the orange sauce. So I mean we have chicken here. I love you guys! And that Panda Express comment has reminded me of another pic! 

Philippine's KFC. Notice the lack of delicious potatoes. Replaced by flavorless rice. Why oh why.....


Elder Rand

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dude....I forgot my fetching camera.......

So I thought I would tell you the bad news first! Hahaha...frick. I actually took a lot of pictures this week, too. I am really really sorry! 

But anyway, it was awesome to read your guys' letters! Dad, that's cool that it sounds like work is a bit better now that you're doing some of the grunt work. And what was Canada like? One of my favorite elders is from Canada, but I'm not sure what part. And I can't believe hunting season is coming up already. It seems like just a few months ago you sent me those pics of your last hunt. Errgghhhh I just want to shoot some guns.

Sounds like the Hancocks are doing really well! But how is Bro. Hancock? Any news? That's so rough..I'll keep him in my prayers for sure...how was Erin's talk? Man, all the sisters in our batch have all gone home. So weird. 

Kimo will be down for Christmas?? Right on, I didn't know when I was going to get to see him again. That's awesome news! Has he mentioned proposing at all yet? 

Dad, I will definitely start taking pics of all that stuff. I have actually thought about that a lot, and have started to take pics of simple things here, things I might one day miss but for the mean time mean nothing. Haha I will definitely take pics of what an average day is like in terms of my meals ;) 

Hey mom! BTW I got your letter this week. It was awesome getting a real letter from you :) And so I guess you might want one in return...so I wrote you a REAL letter this week, like with a pen and stuff, and now all I have left to do is find a post office. Which I'm not sure exists in Sta. Ignacia. Hm. BUT! If I am up at the mission office any time soon, I promise to send it. It even has an awesome postcard in it ;) And now to answer all of your questions, I am doing really well, I really am :) I am still in Sta. Ignacia with Elder Bausing. There was no change for us, but as for the rest of our zone, oh my gosh. We had four of our ten areas "whitewashed", where both missionaries in an area are pulled out and replaced with new ones. So our work in this zone has gone to heck in a wastebasket, but it should recover pretty soon...hopefully. Uhmmm the rain had stopped for about a week, and then started again yesterday with a vengeance. It was a good thing, too, though, because the people here rely on the rain for their rice fields. So yeah, it's good for them, but for missionaries... ;) haha just kidding. I am staying healthy. I haven't had time at all to do p90x, but started again on Friday. I have been eating well though. I am super stoked to look at schools with you mom. I have my options revolving around three outcomes: anesthesiology, mechanical engineering, or computer science. My preference is anesthesiology I think. I would never have to worry about bills. I don't know...I haven't seriously prayed about it yet either. So we'll see. And my thoughts always change, but that's why I needed to narrow it down to three ;) 

Maile, thanks for the letter too :) Sorry your week was a bit boring. And you should tell google to fix their grammar when they translate into Tagalog. Hey, maybe I could help google improve their Tagalog ;) And did Robin Williams really die??? What the heck??? How? And I've heard of "The Giver" coming out as a movie from a couple of the greenies. That's awesome! 

All right, well I love you all family. You guys are the best. Stay happy, and keep on choosing the right :) I will send pics next week! Love you! 

-Elder Rand

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This is the Long Letter You Have Been Waiting For

Family! Hahaha dad, those shallow promises will now reach fruition. This is the beginning of my letter. 

So I guess I will answer questions first. The weather here has been more pleasant than it has been in the past few weeks. I have seen the sun this week! I wore dry clothes! Haha and right now, it is slightly cloudy, with scattered sunshine ;) Our apartment is pretty nice, in terms of third-world country missionary standards. As in, we have a flushing toilet (yes!) and a door that locks (bonus). It's also got the fewest mice than any apartment I've had before, besides Baler. So I've got that goin' for me. Mom, my socks are holding up, I shouldn't need any until I go home. And as for me...

I am doing well! I am super excited, because Pres. Ardern, the Seventy, is touring our mission this week, and on the 19th zone leaders and sister training leaders have a mission leadership council with him! So that should be really really cool. Another cool thing I've been doing, I started reading the D&C backwards a couple weeks ago, starting when I had 138 days left. So if I read a section a day, it's like a spiritual countdown for me :) Right now I am on section 124, soo....124 days left. Holy cow. 

Let's see, what else....ah so we should be having two more investigators baptized this upcoming Saturday! Their names are Samuel and Joshua, they are cousins of this really awesome sister, whose husband left her. She is a super strong member, so this was really cool for her to help them be baptized. Hmm yesterday two of our investigators missed church, because of the price of fare. Ahhh third-world problems...honestly, do you want to know the two problems that keep people from being baptized here? 1. Coffee. 2. They can't read the Book of Mormon because their eyesight is shot, and they can't get glasses. There's actually a lot more than that. Like fare. But those are the two biggest problems I've noticed. But I tell you what, nothing gives you a better perspective of our blessings until you've experience first hang things like this. I'm sure dad has experienced it too in his business trips, and mom, from the stories you tell me from your childhood, I can totally relate to your family's circumstances. Missions are the best. 

Well, your guys' letters are awesome. Sounds like life is going great for you all. Aleigha, dance? Social! (That means 'fancy' here). And yes! I totally remember mom and Caitlin getting all over Kimo for trying to use the 9x9 pan! Yeah, remember when mom chastised ME for getting pushed down the driveway in that plastic red car? Hahaha oh man, I have no regrets. And remember that one time we started that fire in the backyard, and dad came outside all of a sudden and we like destroyed that fire to cover it up? And Maile, parang astig yung panaginip mo! Haha baliw ka talaga. Isalin mo ito sa google translate ah. At malalaman mo yung sinabi ko ;) Anyway, Aleigha I expect you to update me on popculture. I don't want to be a 2014 kid when I get back, I gotta be updated! I remember one of the last movies I saw was Les Mis! Update me! Hahaha....

Okay, well I have a few pics to send, the one attached here is from our FHE with the sisters in our ward at Bishop's house. That little girl is his daughter, and she is the most adorable thing. 

All right, but I love you guys. Thanks so much for everything you do. I guess this letter wasn't over-the-top long, but I hope it's sufficient. I did write this letter first this time, BEFORE all the reports, so if you have time I can definitely reply a bit. I love you again, and mom I think I am good with stuff, I only have 4 1/2 months left. Unless! Ohhh maybe some muscle milk..? Just if you can, I don't need it, so please don't worry about it if you can't. Thanks mom :)

Okay, peace.

Elder Rand

So this pic is from our service project this week, which was aactually a really cool project. One of the bishopric in our ward is also a barangay kapitan in one of our areas, which I guess in English is village captain. It's basically the highest political position in a barangay (village). So he wants all of his community to come together, and so he's been asking every religion to participate in garbage clean-up. And from the feedback from the community, the "Mormons" have done the best job. In fact this one old nanay came up to the kapitan and told him that she wants her children to join this Church just because of the awesome example of service that our zone gave. Sweet! BTW this pic is our whole zone. :) 

So this is Sis. Larson. Ahem. She is from St. David. And uhhh....well they say a picture can speak a thousand words. So I think you guys will understand this one without an explanation... 

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4th

Hey guys! 

So I will apologize in advance, this letter might be a little short, we're trying to get these reports done fast...but anyway! Thanks for your letters! :) And parents, thanks for all the updates with missionaries who've headed out, that's super cool to hear. Mom, I will definitely look for that story in the Liahona! :) And are you guys planning on going to Nathan's wedding? That is so sad to hear..and I can't believe Erin is going home already! We were in the same batch going out to the MTC! That's nuts!! That feels like just yesterday..and what is up with all of those kids getting married?? 

Well my weeeeekkkk it was alright. My companion got sick one day so we had one day I was just sitting around the house. But I guess it was a nice break. Got to catch up on some sleep ;) Overall it just felt really, really slow. Kind of sluggish. But it was good. And yes, mom! Yesterday we had six investigators at church again! Whoooooo....So that is super exciting for us :) And I also got to meet with the stake leaders again and with President Clark in our Stake Missionary Coordination. Very cool opportunities.

Okay, I am so sorry, I will repent next week and write you all again, but a much better letter. Please know that I am safe and healthy and doing well. I love you all soooo much! 

-Elder Rand

Haha this is one Elder Stenquist sent, from our district and zone leaders council last week. Annnnnd that's my comp staring at the camera ;) hahah he is the coolest guy! 

@ zone interviews with me, Elder Tsunoda (the Japanese looking elder [he is a 1/2 japanese] *he's also one of the ap's*) and Elder Movilla

This may not look too good to you guys, but I cooked it and it was delicious. This is my favorite "ulam", called bikol express. It is pork with onions garlic and peppers, and a teeny tiny bit of bagoong cooked in coconut milk. It is the BEST. And "ulam" is what you eat with rice. So basically in the Philippines there are two food groups. Your rice is the first, and the second is whatever the heck you want to eat with it, or more simply, "ulam". :)