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

Monday, November 10, 2014

“Ponder the path of thy feet” Proverbs 4:26

Hi Mom and Dad - Thanks so much for your emails! and for the pictures. I love reading about what you are doing at home. I knew exactly what was coming when you said you had bad news :( Poor Gertie. So much has changed in only 3 months!! But I knew when I left that she would not be there when I get home. I just still can't believe Maggie is gone too. But we have so many great memories with them. I hope you guys don't get sad and lonely with all of our pets dying! sheesh! But at least you still have The Fuzz (Note from Michelle: for those of you who don't know--"The Fuzz" is our wirehaired dachshund Izzabelle).
Thank you for keeping me filled in. Man how I wish I was there to ride motorcycles with you in the cold :) I so look forward to doing that in the future.
I'm glad you were able to go to Hillary's farewell. It's hard to believe she is already leaving! It seems like yesterday she got her call! Time flies so quick!
Your week sounded a little more exciting than mine was! Monday was of course our day in the city and I was able to get a lot of "American" type foods that will hopefully last me the rest of the month. I spent 2800 pesos (about $62) which is quite a bit but I got a ton of stuff like peanut butter, hamburger, cookies, honey, oatmeal and lots of other stuff. It is really fun to ride the boats across the ocean over into the city. I look forward to it each time.
On Tuesday the Senior couple missionaries on Guimaras made us cherry cheesecake treats for district meeting because they are going home this week. They were so good! and it made me miss home so much and all of the incredible food we eat there! haha little things are a huge blessing here.
On Wednesday my companion and I went out quite a way on the Island towards the Bacolod side in a place called "East Valencia" to find an investigator who has been coming to church. She rides a long way to come to church each week. I am very impressed by her faith and willingness! Our 2 min ride to church in Erda in our air conditioned cars is nothing!! We met another really nice couple down the road from our house that was very willing to talk to us and they were smiling the whole time we were there. I love meeting people like that. Lots of the people we have been teaching have been just down the road from our house on "Sinamay". In total contrast to the really nice people we've met, we also met a trike driver this week who was the complete opposite and tried to screw us on our fare.  We were already so sick of people trying to rip us off, because we had just come from paying our utilities fee (which is a disorganized mess here :)) so we kinda fired back at him which you aren't supposed to do as missionaries, but we had just had it. But it ended ok and we learned a few lessons with that incident!  We also met a family this week and each of the kids were named after brands of cigarettes "Phillip" "Ace" "Love" haha it was funny. That reminded me of Uncle Eddie from Family Vacation--just seemed like something Eddie would do! haha Another lady we met was named "Tuesday". You meet some very interesting people in the Philippines.
So last week I finished my first transfer in the field so that shows you how quickly time moves. It feels so slow sometimes, but then I realize I've been a missionary for 3 months already! The transfer week didn't affect me because I'm still so new. They put us through a "12 week program" with our trainer, so nothing will change until the next transfer. President Aquino says I could be a trainer next transfer which I'm very nervous about, but everything will work out and it will be really good for me.
Yesterday we had Elder Kruegar with us because Elder Walmer went to Manila for Visa stuff. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with teaching lately and the Language really is coming! When people talk sometimes I can't understand a word they say, but other times I can totally understand them. I know it will continue to get easier as time goes on. I've found that my favorite thing to teach has been the Word of Wisdom :) When you tell people the blessings that come from living this commandment its like a slap in the face how obvious it is that our lives are much better when we live the word of wisdom! The people we are teaching have been very accepting of it so far!
So that was pretty much the week. Yes I still feel homesick every now and then but I have come light years from how I felt 6 weeks ago! I'm doing very well and I really hope that you are too. Thank you for the prayers and I hope you always know how much I appreciate my mom and dad and love you!! 
I haven't gotten my package yet but I was told that there is one at the mission home for me. They sent it to the wrong area at first, but apparently they fixed the mistake so hopefully I will get it. I will send pictures when I can. It's just the luck of the draw with these computers whether it works or not. 
Thank you for taking care of my toys (truck, motorcycle) if you can move the propellers on my planes every now and then so the parts move (just back and forth dont force them through a whole piston cycle :) BTW: What do you plan to do with my room? I just love my new room and wish I could have enjoyed it for longer before I left. 
I hope you don't miss me or worry about me too much because I will be home in no time at all! By the time we get there it will be amazing how time flew by. Love you! Stay happy and know that I am doing great and I'm happy! Love, Michael

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/03/2014 More Motorcycle Craziness!!

Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you for all your emails! It looks like you had a good week! Thank you for the advise and also for filling me in on what you’ve been doing. I had a really crazy week that was very eventful.
Guimaras Mangos!

On Tuesday I went on splits with an Elder on the other side of the island in a place called Nueva Valencia that is a really beautiful area! A lot of the houses are right on the beach, and it is way cool! On Thursday we had a trainers and trainees meeting at the Mission office which was great because I got to see all of my MTC buddies and hear how they are doing! A few of them have lost a lot of weight! I don’t feel like I have at all. I really do eat very well so I don’t have any reason to lose weight ha ha! So we got to go into the city that day which I like. It is fun to cruise around in the city every now and then. That is where we are right now because it is our "SM" day. 

Friday (Halloween!) I went on another split with the zone leaders. Elder Banang and I had a really interesting experience! We taught several lessons and after our last lesson we started to walk home down the road.
Elder Banang and Elder Rasmussen
We were just walking along talking and I could hear a motorcycle coming up behind us really fast but didn’t think to look behind because idiots zoom past us all the time. The dip stick ran right into Elder Banang and hit my wrist with the handle bars. Elder Banang seemed hurt really bad and the driver was just in the middle of the road like unconscious underneath his bike. It was a really scary moment because I was the only man standing! I quickly gave him a blessing which I wasn’t prepared for, but I did it and hurried and called President Aquino. In a few minutes a million Filipinos were all around us so it didn’t take long for help to come. We ended up riding in an ambulance down to the wharf and then took the boat to Iloilo where we went to the hospital. I was 100% ok--I promise!! haha But it was scary because I thought Elder Banang was hurt really bad. But amazingly enough he's actually totally ok. I ended up staying the night in Arevalo and Pres. Aquino bought us Mc Donalds for dinner, so that was pretty sweet! That night I was a bit miserable because I couldn’t brush my teeth or shower since we didn't have any of our stuff with us and I had to sleep on the tile floor with no mattress, but I was so tired I slept like a log anyways. So that was the crazy Halloween night we had!

The Mission Home

Sunday was a really good day! We had a lot of good lessons and then after church, Elder Fogavai and I made a huge lunch that was fried chicken, veggies, mac and tuna, fried bananas and rice. It was so good!
We couldn’t really teach our families too much this week because of all the meetings we had, but we have been doing a lot more plan of salvation lessons, so that has been great. Which, by-the-way, thanks for continuing to pray for me to receive the gift of “Chit Chat” Mom! LOL You are right—I don’t like it much, and it’s been really hard for me to get used to, but I’ve got a while to figure out how to do it and learn to love it.
Homes Sweet Home
 By-The-Way, here are some more pictures of the house where I live. I don't think I ever sent these to you before:

Although I'm happy and having really great experiences here, for some reason I wake up every morning homesick. It is just in the morning.  Once the day gets moving and we start getting busy, I feel a lot better.  Don’t worry though because I’m still getting used to this and I really do have a lot of fun. 
Speaking of fun, on Saturday we walked past this house that was blasting Taylor Swift and I was totally singing along with it even though, as you know, I HATE Taylor Swift!! HAHA Just shows you how much I miss music... :) It’s all part of the sacrifice!
Time is going so quickly though can you believe it has been 3 months since you dropped me off?? It’s crazy I feel like that was yesterday. Plus its insane to think about how quickly the last 2 years went by. Blows my mind! I remember when we went to that firework show at Camp Floyd which has already been well over 2 years agon. Seems not so long ago. Time comes and it goes! :)

Well I love you Mom, Dad and Hayley very much! I am so thankful for my awesome family! I know I tell you this every week, but I feel the need to keep telling you that! I’m doing great and I am very safe. HAHA Even though I am not going to let motorcycles go by me anymore without totally watching them!! Crazy freaking drivers! haha. Which btw: He might have been drunk -- we’ve heard a million different stories from people, so who knows?? The whole island knows about the two Mormons that got ran into (bunggo). My 15 minutes of fame I guess!
Love you all!! Elder Michael