Monday, December 29, 2014

Week #22 Wise Men Still Seek Him...

Dec 29, 2014

From Michelle: We had a great Skype call with Elder Michael on Christmas Night (which was Friday morning for Michael since he is 15 hours ahead.) At first the connection was terrible and we would lose him every few seconds and he would have to call back. After about the 10th time he went and got the lady the runs the "Computer Haan" (Internet cafĂ© type place) and she came over and she was able to get the connection on his end to work better. It was so fun to hear Michael speaking Ilonggo to her! After that we had 2 hours of uninterrupted Skyping with him. It was a little rough for all of us at times and every once in awhile we shed some tears. We miss him....he misses was bound to happen! LOL Being away from home at Christmas is never fun for anyone--but being 7500 miles away in a strange country just makes it that much harder. He had a great Christmas Day filled with baptisms and fun and besides being a little homesick, he is thrilled to be where he's at, doing what he's doing. His new companion, Elder Ducatan is awesome and Michael loves that he is very organized and a hard worker, so he's staying busy and they are getting a lot of work done together. Michael talked a lot about the heat there and how much he is missing Utah snow. He also talked a lot about never again taking for granted the blessings of our comforts that we have living in the U.S. and how spoiled we are, that we have so much. The Filipinos live so simply and with so very little compared to how we live in the U.S. but they are happy and so kind to the missionaries. He loves the church members--he has made some very good friends. It was hard to say good-bye to him. But I predict that by our next Skype call on Mother's Day, we will be "old hands" at this and hopefully it won't be as emotional for all of us <Please Please Please> So without further ado...Here is Michael's email this week:
The Bingco Family we have been teaching--I love them!
Hello Family! Getting to Skype with you was great even though I was homesick after it was done haha but we ended up having a few good lessons that day and I quickly cheered up! It was so good to see and hear you! It feels like I've been waiting forever to get to Skype home!  Now that Christmas is over (even though its still going here....) time should pick up and things will get better! I was having a hard time talking sometimes without getting all teary eyed, but you know that I love my family tons and of course miss you tons! But don't worry about me! I really am happy and I'm not wishing my mission away haha

The last few days I have been a little bit sick. I had cold symptoms like a headache and cold shivers and my whole body felt sore but I'm doing much better today.

We had an investigator who Elder Fogavai and I talked to about 2 months ago call us this week and he wanted us to visit him on Friday. He is a really nice guy and he appears very interested in what we shared with him. His family is very interesting and the dynamics made teaching difficult at times. He has a son who has some special needs and he would blurt out random stuff while we were talking. And then there is another son who was playing grand theft auto on the computer and being really noisy, and then another son who was very focused on us and what we had to say. So it was quite the mix. But it was yet another good learning experience for me and the Lord teaching me patience.

Yesterday was a very interesting day because we went on splits with some of the members so I had to lead everything!! I didn't feel ready for it at all, but I had no choice but to just do it. I took 6 members with me and Elder Dacutan took another 6. I felt a little stressed out in the lessons because I'm still learning how to use the members in teaching the lessons and of course the language still kicks my butt sometimes.  I got through it though and had fun running around with the members that day. I was really impressed with one of the young men that came with me. He was very willing to help and do anything I asked. There are some very good members here and most of them are recent converts within the last 2 years. They are really wonderful and treat the missionaries like kings. 

HUGE spider!
(I started this email around 9:30 a.m. and then the power went out, so we went food shopping to wait for the power to return, so that's why I'm a little later than normal with emailing!)
So for New Years it is going to be crazy the people here party all night they say so theres going to be no sleeping that night :/ The ZL's are coming over to our apartment for the night so it should be pretty fun :) The old man next door said he's sorry in advance because he's going to play his music all night... ha I'll let you know how things go :) Love you all lots have a great New Years!! :)
I really enjoyed talking to you for Christmas I hope you did too. Don't worry about me I'll be fine! :) 
Love, Elder Michael
P.S. Thanks Mom and Dad! The power went out *AGAIN* so I had to leave again for awhile, so my email is short and sweet this week. Thank you for your emails and have a great New Years!
I sent this to Elder Michael this week to give him a laugh! Napoleon Dynamite cracks him up.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week #21 The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer is Singing Loud For All To Hear!!

December 22, 2014

Guimaras Zone
Hi Mom and Dad!  Here it is Monday again!  I can't believe how fast time flies. There is a point in the middle of the week where time comes to a standstill, but then it picks up again and the next thing I know I'm emailing home again! I’m feeling ok, so don't worry about me. I have been a little homesick and I do miss being home for Christmas. I'm especially missing your Christmas treats you make each year Mom. Just knowing you are making all that candy and taking them out to the neighbors makes my mouth water! Let's just say I'm looking forward to January getting here. The Filipinos start celebrating Christmas in September! The old guy that lives next door blasts Christmas music every morning starting at like 6 a.m. It is so annoying! He plays “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” and stuff like that over and over again, so you can imagine how that makes me feel. The mornings here are very loud in our neighborhood everyone just blasts music and there are dogs barking, motorcycles zooming by, kids crying...haha. All- in- all, it’s a fun day! :) It’s not too bad though and I’ve gotten used to it I guess.
This week I had a lot of change happen because it was transfer week. I finally finished my 12 week training program! Elder Fogavai transferred to Aklan, and I stayed on Guimaras, which I’m pretty happy about since I really like the area and I hear our house is pretty nice compared to others in the mission.  So I got a new companion. His name is Elder Dacutan. He is a Filipino from Bacolod City, so he's really far from home (HAHA NOT! I’ve seen Bacolod from the East side of Guimaras of few times!) He is super organized and focused on the work, which I really like. I’ve learned a lot just from the last few days of being with him. He eats rice for every meal—and I mean *every* meal haha but he will teach me to cook Filipino foods, so that will be cool. So our zone (Guimaras zone) is pretty much all new now except me and 2 others. We got some new missionaries and it feels great to be one of the "older” missionaries, even if it’s just by 2 transfers! haha.
We had the Buenavista Branch Christmas party on Wednesday and also on Saturday we were in Jordan for a baptismal interview so we got to stay for that party as well! The Filipino people love to party! They will party for hours and hours! The Filipinos will play a lot of games and there is a lot of participation with all the skits and stuff. Everyone really gets into it! It is very different from the Ward parties I'm used to back home where we just eat, talk, listen to a few songs then head home! HAHA

Partying Branch Members

The Buffet

She is crying...but not because of me! HAHA She wanted her picture taken
Slaying some fish!

Last Monday Elder Fogavai and I went fishing and we actually caught a few! I couldn’t believe it! Sure they weren’t big or anything but we still caught fish so it was fun ;) I tried to hold them out in front of me to make them look as big as possible haha.. 

Question from Mom: Did you learn anything new this week? It really sucks sometimes to go out to work in the afternoon, because it is so hot, but I’ve learned that if I just put my shoulder to the wheel and work hard until the day is over, I don’t notice the heat as much.

Question from Mom: What made you laugh this week?: Elder Kruegar and I sang "America the Beautiful" at the Jordan Branch Christmas party. SOOOO not a Christmas song and no one got the joke, but they laughed a little when they heard the word "America" and that cracked me up.

Question from Mom: Do you have any blisters from all the walking you are doing?  My feet are ok, no bad blisters or anything. We didn’t have to walk too far this week, but generally we walk a ton.

Question from Mom: Did you eat the fish you caught?:  We just gave the fish to some members because we didn’t have any time to cook them.

Halo Halo
Question from Mom: Have you tried Halo Halo? (Filipino dessert of shaved ice, evaporated milk, boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits) or how about bagoong (shrimp paste): I haven’t tried halo halo. It looks pretty good, but I haven’t wanted to dump any money on it. I haven’t eaten the shrimp paste crap either, it is disgusting looking and smells more disgusting than it looks! haha I really haven’t eaten any weird foods yet. A lot of missionaries get a kick out of eating the crazy different foods (balut anyone?) but I just don’t have the desire. I don't want to get sick! LOL
I will try and email you again later this week to let you know about skyping. They will tell us what to do tomorrow but it’s supposed to be on Friday here, so it will be Christmas Day for you.
Love you lots! Elder Rasmussen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week #20 By Small and Simple Things are Great Things Brought To Pass. . .

Hey Family! Thanks again for the packages Mom!! I am thoroughly enjoying all the treats you sent! 

I still don't have any information yet about calling on Christmas Day, but hopefully I'll know something soon. Either way I'll be able to Skype, I'm just not sure yet how, where or when. I will let you know though as soon as I know anything. I've thought a lot about being away from home for Christmas and no surprise, I have had a few homesick moments this week :( All-in-all though the week just flew by and I had some great experiences!

We had our big Mission Christmas party last week before all the missionaries who are going home head out this week.  It was pretty cool! They fed us really well and we also got lots of treats. The pig was really good! The Lechon pig is a really popular thing in the Philippines. It seems like everyone has a pig. If you think *that* is gross Mom,  you should see the market!! haha That night we stayed over in Iloilo because the boats don't go back to Guimaras that late. I didn't get to shower (which is know me!) and I didnt sleep very well. Plus all of the "old" Elders kept talking about how they're going home this week, so It makes a new missionary like myself feel a little bit impatient with time! :/
Sister C's Baptism Day!
So this was a really exciting week! Saturday I did my first baptism! Her name is Cherylyn and she is 24 years old. We've been teaching her for the past couple of months. I think I've told you about her before - she lives on the other side of Buenavista, which is a good 25 min jeep ride, which can be expensive, and she comes to church *every* week. Her commitment is awesome. During her baptism it was low tide, so we had to walk waaaaaayyyyyy out to find a deep enough spot haha luckily she is a very tiny lady! It was a really amazing experience and I'm so happy for her and that I could be a part of it. :)
Two little specks of white walking out to find deeper water
I am really understanding more and more of what the people are saying and learning more and more words each week. Yesterday we went tracting and we talked to this lady who spoke very good English and she wanted to show off. What was funny is that she kept speaking English to us, but we spoke all Ilonggo back to her, so I guess we were showing off too haha :) I'm still trying to learn how to find people. Tracting can be frustrating. I still have that "salesman" feeling and somehow I've got to find a way to work through it.  Since transfer are this week I am really hoping that I will get to be a trainer. When I first got here I didn't think there was any way that I would ever be confident enough to train, but now I'm really hoping for it because it would help me progress a lot and It would be great to do more leading. I'm tired of being the "new missionary" and if I train it will help me to stay busy.
All the older missionaries say that time really starts flying by after the first 12 weeks. Once 2015 starts time is going to just zoom though. I don't know how I got to be over 4 months on my mission already! I feel like I just did my farewell and got to the MTC! I hope time seems fast for you too.

It's funny you should mention Elder Cuillard Mom. I just talked with him at the Christmas party. We both do kind of have the same struggles and laughed that before we know it we'll be speaking good Ilonggo and be 18 months out!
Today for P Day Elder F and I are going to try and fish down by the wharf! We have talked about fishing a lot and so we are going to go try and see if we can catch anything. Dad, I miss fishing with you so much! I'll let you know if we bring in any monsters! haha But I'm guessing we will most likely get skunked.
Love you lots Mom, Dad, and Hayley! Tell the family I say hello and I miss them too. 
Love Elder Michael

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week #19: Master The Tempest Is Raging….Peace Be Still….

December 8, 2014

Kamusta! Thanks for the emails Mom and Dad! Mom I wish you wouldn’t have prayed for the storm to weaken because it worked TOO well!! We were told to prepare for the "super typhoon" this week and we were expecting something really insane and powerful, but all that happened was a little drizzle!! Boring.. One really good thing about the storm though is that it has been very cloudy and the temperature is much cooler. Such a super nice break from the usual heat! I guess I’ll just have to wait for next year and see if a real rainstorm comes in.

Thank you for taking care of my truck so well. That truck cover is a very nice Christmas present. Thank you for thinking of it Dad!

I have a hard time thinking about snowmobiling and snowboarding without getting homesick, so I’m glad winter is sucking there! ;)  Haha

That is so cool that Elder and Sister Taylor were able to meet you while they were in Tooele visiting! I’m so glad Sister Taylor contacted you - I was really hoping they would! They are an extremely nice couple and I miss seeing them each week. So cool they were with me here on Guimaras and now they were there with you!

This week had its ups and downs for sure, but overall it went by very quick as always. Monday I spent 3100 pesos on food, which is a lot, but I got a ton of food for the month. Tuesday on the way to district meeting I talked to a guy on the jeep on his way to work and I was feeling really "sagad" in the language because I had a very good conversation with him! I like to talk to people about the NBA because basketball is their favorite sport here so lots of people know about the Utah Jazz. It’s a good conversation starter :)

The big news is I finally got my packages!!! Thank you so much for sending all the stuff! I have a stash of treats that I will slowly break away at over the weeks.

This week we also went to our baptismal candidate’s house and I saw a motorcycle with 5 people on it, all adults! CRAZY!! That’s the Philippines for ya! The jeep we rode was packed like a sardine can, so I had to sit on the top to ride, which we aren’t supposed to do unless there is no other way, and there was no other way! It’s amazing how many Filipinos you can put in one jeep! We were unable to get a ride back so we had to walk back and after walking about 4 miles we were finally able to get a dump truck to stop and we rode with them on the way back to town. They were very nice and the dude even got out of the front seat into the back so we could sit up front!

Another cool experience I had this week is I met an Elder who was on the island back in 2010. He was here visiting some members and his name was Gowey. It was really weird to see someone from America and an RM with a beard and long hair. He was here for a school speech or something.

Friday was a hard day. I woke up homesick and felt kind of depressed but we went and did a baptismal interview and things got better. Every now and then I start really wondering why the heck I’m here and if I’m ever going to really be able to make a difference here. Thankfully the negative feelings pass, and I get back to work and I’ll have another cool experience that will build my confidence again.  At some point I will understand why the Lord sent me to the Philippines. Until then I will keep working hard and have faith that the language will get easier for me.

We had a cool experience where this trike driver talked to us and straight up asked us if he could come back to church. Well of course you can! Then another lady started talking to us about the church right after that, so we were feeling very guided by the spirit and that God really does prepare people for us! :)

Yesterday was Fast Sunday, and you know how hard it is for me. I get a little grumpy with no food. Haha.  Then the Elders got the assignment to bring the ice cream to the Christmas Party. Ice cream is really expensive here. It was the most expensive thing on the list! So that got me a little more grumpy. IDK they think the Elders are rich or something but we really arent! lol  But I’m really looking forward to the Christmas party—it  will be fun.  Another funny story - Pres. Fernandez the Branch president,  came to church in his work uniform yesterday and he was bearing his testimony with his gun stuck in the back of his pants haha it was kind of funny. He is a really good man! Elder F. and I blessed the sacrament in Hiligaynon yesterday as well. It was so cool to feel the same spirit even in a different language.

Well, that was pretty much the week! I'm running short on time and will try and send pics next week. I don't think today it is going to work. :(  I love you tons! The church is true! Love, Michael  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week #18 He Qualifies the Called.....

12/1/2014         Kumasta Family!
Getting a free ride on top of a truck
This week was really hard for me to miss not being at home for Thanksgiving :/  But besides that we had a really good week on Guimaras!
Thank you for your emails and for filling me in on life in Erda and for sending me pictures. Mom your Thanksgiving dinner looks really good as usual! I told my comp you always go all out and then we started talking about the pie and ahhhh man I was missing Thanksgiving dinner! Especially since Dad has your amazing mince meat pie all to himself with me not there! ahhh!! I'm jealous! haha Thanks for sending the picture of everyone at the table. It looked so good though and you all look like you are having fun. Darin's beard is intense haha!
I wish I was there to help you with your projects since you have so much time off from work this next month Dad. The grave marker you are making for Gertie and Maggie looks awesome! I've been thinking about our pups a lot this last week because of how many dogs we have around our house. Every now and then I'll hear what sounds like Gertie barking and It makes me sad :( Then I see the dogs laying out front all lazy like and it reminds me of Maggie haha I miss our puppies! 
A spectacular Guimaras Sunset
This week we had some great lessons and I'm also getting much better at understanding the people! Speaking is still difficult, but I am understanding more and more. I can teach the lesson's really well, but just random speaking can be difficult. I am understanding more and more of what people are saying and I can understand my companion perfectly. The hardest part is that the Filipinos often speak the "slang" and shorten the words, so I stll need to learn how to follow them. 
This week my companion and I got in our first real disagreement. It wasn't a big deal, but we were pretty mad at each other there for a bit and we ended up having to go directly home because we were so mad at each other. But we worked things out and we were best friends again by the time we got back to the house! We've done really good as a companionship gettting along, so I figure 1 time in 10 weeks isnt any big deal. We have a lot of fun doing the work together, so it was just a minor bump in the road that surprised me since we've been getting along so well.
Yesterday I think was the best day of my mission so far! We were fasting because we fast the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month. I spoke in sacrament for the first time on the topic of tithing. It was a piece of cake to get up in front of everyone and speak even though my Illonggo isn't very good yet. But I did pretty good I think. After that I ended up teaching the Sunday School lesson on missionary work to a group that included a couple of our investigators, which was awesome! After church we did our monthly feast after the fast and I cooked curry and Elder F cooked chow mein and we had fried eggplant. The whole meal was delicious and I was so stuffed after so It was kind of a substitute for Thanksgiving. Afterwards we had appointments and we taught a few lessons that went really well. Our investigators were giving us bananas and mangos and we were feeling very blessed. Then we got a free ride hitchhiking on a truck to our next appt which was a dinner appointment with the member who has all the motorcycles--which is always nice! :) He always has his sons give us a ride home on the bikes and I wanted to drive, but my companion said to me "100% obedience Elder". (sigh) So I hopped on back as the passenger instead of the driver (even though truth be told I'd be much safer being the driver!). Then on the way back I was talking to the member's son and I told him how hard it is for me to be a passenger on a motorcycle since I want to drive so bad! But my companion will get "akig" at me ha ha. So we got to the house and the other two weren't showing up so we drove back to find them and freaking Elder F was driving the bike! I couldn't believe it ha ha. I gave him a lot of crap and we had a lot of laughs over it. That was a fun day!

I'm glad you got to feed the missionaries. I was really jealous thinking about how they get to eat my Mom's food but I don't!! :) They are very spoiled, I hope they know that! haha
Oh yeah I forgot to tell you this week we didn't have water or power in our house for a day and its been really cloudy so it had cooled the temp down a lot and made work so much more enjoyable. I'm still missing winter back at home. But it was nice to get a little break from the intense heat.
I still haven't gotten my packages from the mission home. It's driving me crazy! I am going to try again today to get them. If I'm not able to get them today, then they are suppose to be at our district meeting tomorrow. The dude who's job it is to get them to me has been dropping the ball big time. No hurray, but in your next box can you send me a microfiber towel and some waxed dental floss? oh and a big pack of M&M's too :) lol (Michelle: If he will ever get his packages he will be very happy when he finds out that the big bag of M&M's and the dental floss are in there thanks to his Mama's intuition! LOL).
I miss you very much and pray for you daily. I  hope you're happy Mom and Dad and don't get too sad with me gone. I know, since it's hard for me sometimes too, but we will find out that me being in the Philippines for awhile is a huge blessing and we are going to become so strong through this experience. The Lord always gives us more in return for what we give to him and I know that is 100% true. Thank you for your emails and please keep sending them every week. I love reading about how you're doing at home. I love you all very much! 
Love, Michael


Monday, November 24, 2014

Week #17 Be Ye Thankful....


Guimaras with the City of Iloilo in the Distance
Hi Mom and Dad! This last week went by so fast its crazy how time flies! We had a good week and with our area being a lot bigger we've been able to get out to different parts of Buenavista and enjoy some different scenery. Its been fun to have a bit of a change.

Cute Little Buddy of Mine

We have a few new people we've been teaching that I was really hoping would attend church this week, but I think the fear of what others in their family will think is keeping them away. We are teaching a family named "Bingco" who have been our investigators since early October. There's the Mom and Dad and 3 kids (we did a service project for them a few weeks ago). They are such a great family! The oldest daughter is 18 and she has had a bunch of questions for us about the Book of Mormon written down in her journal when we come, so that has been so cool! They are really good people and I'm hoping they'll come to church
soon.  There is an area close to the Bingco Family that we go to with like five or six families and they are all the Galfo Family. We're teaching three of the families and they are really nice too. One of them is an older couple and the "tatay" is always drinking with his buddies when we go there haha He's super nice and funny though. We mostly teach the "nanay" and she is a very good listener so high hopes for her. We were in an area called Supang this last week and the members wouldn't let us go without eating with them! I was really hoping to avoid it because it was dry fish and rice haha but luckily there was a little chorizo that I was able to eat. I can't believe they eat dried fish! They give me a hard time and they think all I eat is bread because that's what the American Elders have a bad name for. I'm not picky, but so far I just have not been able to bring myself to eat dry, rotting fish. haha :) The area there is really cool! It is a mango farm. There are mango trees everywhere! But, Unfortunately, it's not mango season yet, so there are no mangos on the trees. :( I'm really hoping I'm still here for another few months so I don't miss mango season! 

I'm excited that you are feeding the Elders this week!! They should be very appreciative because for missionaries getting food is a huge thing! They will get really good food in a nice home, so what missionaries wouldn't appreciate that? We got fed by a member last night who would be considered one of the wealthier men around. Last week we missed a dinner appt. with him and he ended up cooking two chickens and a bunch of other stuff. We were so bummed we missed it! Last night he made us Filipino spaghetti and sugar bread haha He's super nice and we always enjoy going to his house. Plus he always gives us a ride on his motorcycles after our lessons.

Last Monday we got those fresh chickens from a ward member and they killed and cleaned them for us right on the spot! That was an experience! It was kind of sad the way they killed them :/ but, on the bright side we got super fresh chicken for cheap!

There are about 60 people who come to church each week.  Church here is the same as at home but the classes are held outside under the trees and obviously most everyone is pretty new to the church and still learning so sometimes things don't go exactly the way they are supposed to but it's all good and it's still church. I haven't had to speak in Sacrament yet but I've contributed to the lessons and bore my testimony several times. Sundays come around so quick its weird! 

I sure miss my family! I'm glad you were able to have a little bit of fun this past week together and that Hayley had a good horse show! I will sure miss Thanksgiving dinner this year! As you know It is my favorite holiday!! We have a lot of birthdays and parties coming up in the next month so hopefully we'll get well fed. I'm looking forward to it! BTW I weighed myself this morning and found that I have lost 30 freaking pounds and I'm 150 now compared to 180 in the MTC!! I couldn't believe it! I don't feel any lighter and I feel like I'm eating really healthy, so I guess its from all the walking we do. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week! Just picture me at the dinner table when you all eat :) Wow ~ I miss eating like a king haha.
Love you all!
Elder Michael


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

He Will Guide Your Footsteps If You Are Willing To Move Your Feet

Getting some physical labor in!
Hey Mom and Dad! (and everyone reading my blog Mom is updating!)
Thank you so much for your emails and the inspirational messages you always send me Mom! Of course, Dad you are always staying busy and getting a ton of projects done as usual ;) and Mom I'm so glad Sister Taylor was able to email you . She is an extremely nice person and I am really going to miss her and Elder Taylor! Sister Taylor was right ~ I am doing really well and my confidence really *is* getting stronger each week! 

There was a ton of change in our area this past week because of Elder and Sister Taylor heading home. The other two Elders in our apartment moved out and into another apartment, so Elder F. and I are just a two man apartment now, which has been really nice since it gave us so much more room! We've been able to reorganize the apartment. We set up a new study area and having that makes our studies more enjoyable.
Our new Study Room Area

Me cooking my delicacies!

and we walk and walk and walk...
This last week we had the traveling AP's come on splits with us and I learned a lot!  Since the other Elders moved this past week, our area is now all of Buenavista and the whole North side of the Island, so we have a ton of new people we visit and teach now. I was a little worried about all of the area we have to cover, but it has really been fun and we are staying really busy which is awesome. 

We got some bikes this week, but they aren't in very good shape, so Elder F and I were trying to fix them. And then after all that we found out we aren't allowed to have bikes anymore, so I don't know what will happen now. I wish they would let us ride motorcycles since that is the main mode of transportation here on the island. Wouldn't that be cool? In my dreams! But oh well. If we can't use the bikes then we'll just keep hoofing it! We spend a lot of time walking! 

We went to birthday party of one of the Branch Members and I seriously felt like it was my birthday they were celebrating! haha! They treated us so well! We sat at the best seats and basically had first pick at the food haha We have some wonderful branch members here and they are such good people. They love the missionaries!

Today we are going to a member's house to get a chicken. She is going to butcher and clean it for us so I'm excited that we don't have to buy the nasty, expensive chicken at that filthy market! Speaking of food, I've really been learning a lot with cooking and have been eating pretty well! I made french toast and I made some banana raisin pancakes this morning that were great. Yesterday after church 
Banana-Raisin Pancakes - my new favorites!
I made your hamburger stroganoff recipe you sent me Mom and I have to say it turned out really good if I do say so myself! I know you think I look skinnier, but I don't think I've lost much weight haha I feel exactly the same. But we *are* walking 10-15 miles a day, so who knows?

BTW I talked to the computer guy here about what the heck is going on that I can't get my pics to download and he says I might have a virus on my card! AAARRGH! I hope not! I used his card reader though, and it worked just fine and let me download pics, so I'm not sure what the deal is. I'm going to try and back up the pictures to dropbox and hopefully I'll be able to send them to you. [obviously he was able to get us some pics this week! WOO HOO!]

Keep sending me emails each week letting me know what you do and anything new like going fishing, riding horses, or whatever! :) I love hearing about everything you are doing at home. I miss you very much and love you tons! Have a great week!
Love, Elder Rasmussen