Saturday, February 28, 2015

Week #30 - "Search Inward, Reach Outward, Look Heavenward"

February 23, 2015
Hey Mom and Dad!!!
Thanks for the emails. I can't believe the change that is happening back at home that place is going to look so weird in 18 months! Thanks for the pictures Dad. The basement looks awesome. I sure wish I was there to to help you with it.
Wow! There's a lot going on..
I had a good birthday last week. Even though my birthday doesn't really mean much to me anymore, I made sure that I just relaxed and I ate a little bit of the junk food you sent me. We ended up having FHE [Family Home Evening] at a member's house so we got a good dinner and got to be around some very nice people. So it turned out to be a really nice birthday for me.

This week we weren't able to do much in the way of real missionary work because we had a meeting with President Aquino on Friday and then Stake Conference in Iloilo yesterday. We met some really cool new people who we will continue to keep teaching because they said we could :) I feel way more comfortable talking with random people now. I have totally noticed the change in myself just in this transfer and my teaching and talking skills have really improved! 

Like I said, on Friday we went to Iloilo to meet with President and Sister Aquino. Our Mission President is a way cool guy!  I just love him! They had the missionaries cook the lunch so we had to bring 4 kilos of beef with us and then we cooked it while we were there. I ate a ton of beef which I haven't been able to eat a whole lot of lately :) So it was a nice change from chicken and fish. The food was good even though it was way salty and oily, which isn't very good for you, but oh well, what the heck. On the way home we watched a movie on the bus back to Passi that was really violent about WW II. They play some really weird movies on the bus sometimes.

Stake Conference yesterday was fun. We had to get up at 5 a.m. and be at the church at 6 for the Jeep. There were about 35 of us total in one jeep but we all got in because that's how they do it in the Philippines haha The ride was a little uncomfortable but I guess I'm getting used to having to crouch the whole time while riding in the Jeeps. They are not made for tall people that's for sure. There was a ton of people in Stake conference I kind of felt like I was in Utah again because the church was so big! 

After Stake Conference we rode a crowded Jeepney back to Passi. We would normally have gone back out to teach after we got home, but my companion wasn't feeling very well so we just stayed home. I spent the time reading and studying the scriptures, which I'm finding that I really enjoy. Before my mission I never really had an easy time reading the scriptures, so it's good to know that I'm getting better at learning and understanding the scriptures better myself.

So that was basically the week! I haven't been able to eat the sugar cane yet, but there's a ton of it here so I'll try it out this week. Hundreds of dump trucks just drive up and down the highway packed full of it so there's lots of scraps laying on the roads. There is also a lot of pineapple but I havent tried it yet either. I'll try both of those this week and report back! 

Here's answers to your weekly questions Mom:

What made you laugh this week? This little kid holding a stick with meat on it walked up to me and said "Ginakaon ko and tao, aswang ako." haha he said he was eating people and that he's a monster haha kinda creepy but it was funny. 
What was your biggest success this week?  Finding new people and having them let us come back :)
What was your biggest concern? Every one in the house is sick except me so hope I dont get sick.
What was your favorite day? Yesterday was fun going to Stake Conference with the members. 
Who was your favorite person to teach this week? A less active member. The Defacto family. They are way nice.
Did you eat anything new this week? Nope just the regular.
Love you
Love Elder Michael

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Week #29 - Be Thou An Example of the Believers 1 Timothy 4:12

Maayong Gabi! [Good Evening] Thanks so much for your emails Mom and Dad!  I had to start laughing when you told me all you've been working on this week Dad -- you are always building something or working on the house as usual!  Mom, I'm so glad you had a good time at your horse clinic. I can't believe you've already sold your Shadow - it's amazing that it was 18 months ago that we bought it! That is just insane! I remember that day so well. It just goes to show how fast time flies.  Mom, PLEASE be careful on your new bike!!
So this week there was a "fiesta" here in Passi so there were a ton of people all over the city. Pretty much every single house participates, so we were unable to get any lessons in, but we got fed by a member for lunch and later in the day we went to the plaza and did some O.M.'ing (street contacting). Never gets old hearing people say "kabalo ka magilonggo??" [do you know how to speak Ilonggo?] haha you'd think that everyone here would know that the white guys in ties are Mormon missionaries and we know how to speak Ilonggo, but there are still a ton of people who have no idea who we are! It just crazy and goes to show there are TONS of people here that we still need to make contact with!
On Wednesday I went on a split with Elder Crooks, the new missionary and I took him to my area. I felt a little pressured it just being the two Americans and all and I still feel like the new guy too. But it went great and we taught 2 lessons and then went to the Bishop's house for dinner. The Bishop's family feeds us every Wednesday.  On Thursday we had the Traveling AP's pop up at our house. We went with Elder Carnahan who was awesome and totally fearless so I learned a lot from him. The next few days we taught some less active families and on Sunday we worked with some members which was a lot of fun. It was a quick, pretty uneventful week!
My companion and I had a little bit of a tiff last night. It's all good now, but sometimes we just don't understand each other.  I guess you just have to expect that from two people who are from totally different cultures who are trying to live with each other 24/7. It can be a challenge at times, but all in all we get along really well and he is an amazing teacher.  My mission is a lot of fun, but there are also some rough bumps at times, but it for sure is for the better and in the end makes me a stronger missionary.
This morning I opened all of the letters I got for my birthday! Thank you Lexton and friends, Aunt Joan and Uncle Richard, The Haffners, The Radcliff's, Granny Derr, Eva and Eric, Grandma and Grandpa Rasmussen, The Gerkensmeyer's, cousin Emily, Aunt Pat and Uncle Rob, Hayley, Maddie and the Cole's and of course MOM AND DAD! :) And thank you to anyone else who hopefully I didn't miss. Love you all lots! Thank you for making me feel special!
Here's the answers to your questions Mom:
#1 -  Tell me something that made you laugh this past week: Our lessons with Elder Crooks and I. We did pretty good for just the 2 of us! The members crack me up they are way cool.
#2 - Tell me about one person you OYM'd this week and how'd you do it? I like to OYM the trike drivers because they are stuck there and can't leave the conversation haha ;)  plus Its fun to talk about their viaje (their work).
Banana Float

#3 - What was your favorite day this past week and why? Sunday was a good day- working with the members is fun. They are a lot of help and make things more comfortable for the investigators. 
#4 - What is your favorite Filipino food so far? Adobo is way good and pretty simple to make. I love Banana Float as well. 
#5 - What is your favorite thing about your new area? The trike drivers are way nicer here then on Guimaras :) and the grocery store is so clean and nice. 

Love you lots mom. Thank you for your emails and always telling me know how your week goes. and thank you for everything you've sent me. Love you lots! 
Have a great week!
Love you!
Elder Rasmussen 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Week #28 "Here Am I, Send Me." Abraham 3:27

Hi Mom, Dad and Hayley! Kumusta Ka? Wow that's a heck of a week you've had Mom and Dad! Even though moving all of Granny's stuff *TWICE* doesn't sound fun, I still wish I could have been there to help. I can't believe the weather you are having there! That is just sad for it to be winter and NOT have snow! But if I were there I'd totally be tearing it up on my bike right now ! HAHA I love that picture of Daren! His beard is insane! :) Mom your new bike looks really nice and I'm glad it is working out for you as well. I can wait to take her for a spin!
I got my birthday packages (WOOP!) and of course all 3 showed up at the same time so I have a ton of junk food! Thank you for sending them and for all of the cards I got! I will wait until my birthday next week to open them.
The Twinkies appeared to have survived but they're a little smashed and the m&ms got a little melty too, but I'm not picky! Thanks so much Mom and everyone else!
This week went by really slow and really fast. Weird how that works :/ Elder Meneses is still teaching me how to OYM (Open Youth Mouth!) people and do effective tracting. He has no problem talking and finding people--he is amanzing! President was truly inspired making him my companion. Slowly but surely I'm learning how to tract better and find people that we can teach.
My companion Elder M. and me
On Wednesday our Bishop fed us dinner at his house and it was a typical spoil the missionaries rotten kind of situation. They treat us like kings! They are very nice people. We also have 3 for sure dinner appointments this week, so heck yeah Im excited! Getting fed is the bomb. I ate at Jollybee for the first time this week but It wasnt that good ha I miss American fast food joints so much! McDonalds is truly a high class restaurant as far as I'm concerned.
We had one of our investigators tell us how she knows that what we are teaching is true and that she knows we're real servants of God because we walk all day in the hot sun teaching people for no money. haha It felt good that she appreciates us! 
I'm really comfortable with the members here. They are way cool and love the missionaries. Every one is willing to talk to me even though I'm not the best at speaking Ilonggo. We have a really good relationship with the members. I sat with one of our investigators in sacrament yesterday and she is a really nice lady. She sometimes has a hard time understanding what we are trying to teach her, but she comes to church and is very sincere about her desire to learn and be baptized.  I'm learning a ton about the Bible that I never knew before my mission. People here bring up the Bible way more than in my last area and so I'm trying to learn as much as I can. One guy likes to justify everything we teach him with the Bible, which is fine, but he's like totally wrong every time and doesnt use the King James version, so it can be very frustrating to teach him. Luckily he's a really nice guy, so that makes teaching him easier.
Yesterday our water wasn't working so we had no water all day. Luckily our neighbor had water and so she let us fill up a jug so we were able to shower. I took my first bucket shower last night and I dont know if I will ever go back to the regular shower again while I am here! I love the bucket shower :) We ended up getting the water back this morning so we could do the dishes and I cleaned our fridge, which was disgusting. Later today we will clean the house. I didn't get any pictures of my house like you wanted, because it has been pretty dirty. So today after we clean I'll get pics so it looks good. ;)
Here's the answers to your weekly questions Mom:
What made you laugh this week? Hah I dont really know I cant think of anything... Yeah Ill try and think of something but I cant right now
What was your biggest success this week? 2 investigators came to church which is always good! 
What was your biggest concern? I wish I knew the scriptures better--but I'm getting better every day. 
What was your favorite day? Wednesday was great because of the awesome dinner we had with the Bishop's family. Yesterday (Sunday) was pretty good too.
Who was your favorite person to teach this week? One of the less active families we are teaching. They are really nice people and they gave us saging :) (bananas)
Thanks for the emails and packages again and everyone who sent me letters for the birthday that was way nice! Palangga ta kamo! Love you lots!  Michael 
P.S. Dad, here are pictures of just *some* of the motorcycle shops here! Like I was telling you they are *everywhere*!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week #27 You say goodbye and I say hello. . .

Hello Mom and Dad! Thanks as usual for the emails. Lots happened back at home this last week it looks like! Mom that bike looks great! I'm pretty jealous I'm not there to give her a spin!! And I can't believe those gas prices--that is just ridiculous! This morning we played basketball with our District which was fun I guess. I just wish I was a better basketball player! haha

So I figured you were probably dying to know what happened this week in the Iloilo Mission :) I did end up getting transferred. I'm excited about being in my new area, but I will really miss the members in Buenavista. It was a little sad to leave them and say goodbye. One of the younger members that we have always worked with a lot "Tata" Gallo got all teary eyed when I told her I was transferring, which I wasn't expecting. It was sad. We took her out with us to work one more time and she gave me a picture of me and her family in a picture frame, so that was really sweet. Another man I've been teaching watched me walk away from his house for the last time like a puppy dog tied to a chain haha It was a little hard to leave him and his family too! There are some really cool people that I got to meet on Guimaras and I will miss them. It was such a great first area for me to teach in.

My new area: A view of Passi City By Air
Passi City and Jalaur River
So about the transfer :) On Thursday I took the pump boat over from Guimaras to Iloilo for probably the last time ever. When I walked into the mission home the first guy I talked to was Elder Meneses. He walked up to me and told me he's my new companion. He's a way cool guy and I really like him! He's Filipino and he's super good at speaking and teaching so I will learn a ton from him about how to become better at talking to people. I got transferred to Passi A in Passi city which is located in the heart of Panay. We rode a bus 2 hours North of Iloilo to get here.  My new house is actually a pretty nice house, so I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. But no more hot showers or flushing toilet. But I knew I was pretty lucky to have those before. The shower is an actual working shower, just no hot water and not much water pressure.  The toilet is a flushing toilet, but it is broken so you have to pour a bucket of water down it to flush it. I think I can fix the toilet and get it working properly. I'm now the second oldest in our house. There are four of us with 1 new missionary and the other one is a transfer behind me. Elder Meneses has been out 18 months. The area is great and I'm getting used to being back in a larger city. The members here love the missionaries so yesterday I felt super welcomed at church. We also have some cool investigators and are finding more and more people to teach each day  because of Elder Meneses' incredible tracting skills. I'm so jealous of his talent! haha But he's going to help me a lot. Another awesome thing about the city is that it has a nice, big, CLEAN grocery store, so that will make buying food easier. I'm really looking forward to the things I will learn in this area.  I also have Elder Cuillard in my district now so I finally get to be with someone from my "batch". I have a few pictures I will upload, and I will take more next week!

Elder Meneses

Crazy sugar cane factory behind me

Cemetery outside Passi City
Weekly Questions: 

What has been your biggest concern? Will I ever get good at tracting? BIG SIGH....
What has been your biggest success? All of the members say I'm good at the language ;) so that helps give me a boost of confidence.
Who has been your favorite person this week? I have met so many nice people here--I couldn't choose just one. 
What has been your most significant "Feel Good" moment? So the other day we were teaching a lady and I said to her  "we all want our families to be happy, and the gospel can help us do that" and she was very touched as she told us about her family and she started to cry. It was a really good example of how the spirit teaches.  
What are you looking forward to this coming week? Zone meeting tomorrow 
Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week? Just all of the Book of Mormon. That book is just awesome.

About all the motorcycle jersey's you talked about Dad, tons of people wear them here because they are way cheap, and with all the millions of motorcycles here there are tons of dealerships all over.

Sure do miss you and pray for you every day. My Mission is going great and I'm really enjoying it! Things that used to totally stress me out are easy for me now, so I know that through time things will continue to get easier for me as I do them everyday. Love you all a ton!! Elder Michael