Monday, July 27, 2015

Week #52 - "Onward, Ever Onward!" “

July 27, 2015
Michael's release date is July 26, 2016, so we are officially on the down hill side! 1 year left to go!

Hi Mom and Dad! This week we did a lot of really cool stuff, so I have lots to tell you about.
Me & Elder Alpon
Monday after I emailed you we went bowling for P-day. The bowling alley was pretty cool. The pin machine is a Filipino kid and he throws the ball back down the isle. haha It was fun!
On Tuesday we were able to go aboard the Navy Hospital ship the USNS Mercy and do a tour. It was coolest activity I have done on my mission so far. I was a little worried President Aquino wouldn't let us go since it wasn't P-Day but sure enough the ones that were invited to go on the boat were also invited by President to eat lunch at a very nice restaurant with him! There was a ton of really good food and even shakes at the end I felt like I was in heaven :)
Then we went to the port and got on a small boat that took us out about a mile or two to the ship. It was so cool to see it while in action ha there were about 900 people on board. All of the Filipino Elders and President looked wide eyed and commented on all the big, huge people as we walked through the ship. It was funny. The Chaplain who is LDS took us on a tour. We went through all the surgery rooms and basically most of what you would see in a normal hospital. The feeling was like being in America again and you know that when there is a drinking fountain that is 100% safe to drink from! HAHA President Aquino really liked that haha. We even got to eat in the cafeteria and even though it was cafeteria food it was USA cafeteria food and that was awesome! I really had a great time and it was so cool to see all that the U.S. is doing to help others on this planet. The U.S. does so much good humanitarian service for people. My pride in my Country about shot through the roof!
So that basically took the entire day to do so when we got home we just showered and went to bed. It was a really cool experience!
My companion and I have been working hard with a guy named Tomas who is awesome and is helping us by showing us where all of the less active members of Panay live [unfortunately, there's a ton of them]. I've learned a lot with the language because they speak it the whole time so its been nice to be away from the English so I can learn more. Even Elder Seeds and I speak a lot of Ilonggo to each other most of the time.
One of the areas we visit you have to cross a big river twice. The first time we took a construction boat and then the second time it was a little bamboo boat that is way low so a little sketchy going across and I didn't quite make it getting off and stepped right into the water haha so I walked around the rest of the night with a soaking wet shoe. Crossing the river is way exciting though :)
Church services in Panay start at 1:30 which is a bummer because they won't let us go to church in Roxas in the morning so we just stay home and try to study until it's time to leave for Panay. That's a long time to try and keep studying, but we've got our work cut out for us there, so we are working hard to come up with ideas to help them. The meeting house is very humble and very hot and sweaty. It *really* makes the whole church experience a whole lot more enjoyable (NOT) haha :) The members are very unprepared and the two times we have gone to church now they basically have a meeting about what to do with the group since it has been closed down many times and they are at risk of being closed down again. It's a little weird but I sure hope that we will be able to help them so they can build an actual chapel. It will take a ton of work and I'm not really sure where to start, which really stresses me out, but we will try our best to help them. Like I said, we need lots of fasting and prayer--so send some prayers our way for the little group in Panay.

I did get the package you sent. Thanks! Elder Seeds and I are going to celebrate our year mark on the 6th. We celebrated yesterday a little since that will be our go home date next year on July 26. We were both a little trunky yesterday but we're doing good now :) 

Thanks so much for always thinking of me! Have a great week! Glad you made it safely home from your motorcycle trip. I can't wait til I can go with you :) Love Elder Rasmussen
Lunch with President & Sister Aquino

The Famous "Milkshake"

Chapel in Panay

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week #51 - “Hope on. Journey on."

July 20, 2015
Hey Mom and Dad! So I transferred out of Passi this last week after being there for 4 transfers! It was really hard to leave - I felt kind of like I did when we left Sterling a few years back. It was like leaving home. It was a weird feeling. I was so surprised how close I've grown to the people here in such a relatively short time. We said goodbye to our investigators the Panes family and they didn't want me to go haha they said I was part of their family. They are such nice people. I will miss them lots. The members in Passi treated us to a nice fish/chicken/pork dinner the night before transfers and it was a little hard to say goodbye to them.

Thursday morning we headed to the bus Terminal and the other Elders all headed to the transfer meeting, and I rode by myself up to Roxas City. I was excited to find out that Elder Seeds, one of my batch mates, is one of my housemates now! We've had lots of laughs and we'll get to celebrate our 1 year mark together. My new companion who came from transfer meeting later in the day is Elder Alpon who is from Bacolod. He's way nice. He doesn't speak much English which is going to really help me get better at the language. There are 2 Americans in our house and two Elders from Bacolod so we speak a lot of Ilonggo which is fun.

My new area is called Panay and it is a very difficult area from what I have heard and seen. It is very far away from our house and there is only a small group of members and lots of the members are less active or inactive, so we have our work cut out for us. Yesterday we went to church twice. Once in Roxas and then in Panay later in the afternoon so we could get to know the members. My companion and I are white-washing the area, meaning that we are both new to the area. I really like Roxas City so far. Roxas is called the seafood city of the Philippines because it is so close to the ocean. So I'm going to enjoy getting lots of fresh seafood while I'm here! Our house is really cool. Its a nice apartment. It overlooks a really noisy street which is a downside but other than that it is a very nice building. The water pressure is really nice and there aren't too many houses I've been in with good water pressure. Plus I'm no longer sleeping on the floor anymore!! BONUS! I have an actual bed now to put my mattress on so that is way nice.

Even though I've only been to my area 2 times so far I really like it as well. Like I said, we will be doing a lot of "Less Active" work in our area. We're going to need a lot of  fasting and praying that we will be able to help reactivate more members in the area because they are thinking about closing it down and just having the members go to church in Roxas--which would not be good since it is a long ways away.  The members just want to keep their meetinghouse in Panay, so we have lots of work to do to get people coming back to church.

Right now there is a Navy Hospital Ship "Mercy" docked in Roxas and they are spending a couple of weeks here doing surgeries and all kinds of medical help for the people. Some of the ship's crew are LDS and they came to church and spoke yesterday. It was so awesome to meet and talk to so many Americans!
Here's the answer to your questions this week Mom:

#1 - What made you laugh this week? All of the ELders in our house are funny guys and we all have really different personalities, so it gets pretty funny. LOL There was also a snake that Elder Seeds and I caught at the church and this little boy was crying on the inside of the church when Elder Seeds picked it up haha us two white boys were surprisingly the only ones that would attempt to catch it.
Elder Rasmussen & Elder Seeds and the Great Snake Adventure

Looks like a python to me....eeek!
#2 - Have you eaten anything new/different in your new area? I ate squid the other night and it was pretty good. 
#3 - Do the members there get to go to the temple very often? I think I read that they will ride a ship to go to the temple in Cebu? Lots of people go once or twice a year. They go in groups and it usually ends up being about a 4 day trip. 
#4 - What's the landscape like in your new area? Its flat but we are pretty close to the ocean. Roxas is a big city though and that's where we live but our area of Panay is on the outside of the city in a more rural area.
I finally figured out the picture Dad! You moved the chicken coop! haha I'm going to really miss being home on the 24th, that's one of my favorite times of year. I guess my "Utah Pride" has really skyrocketed since I've been here. Have fun our your motorcycle trip and be careful. You and Mom don't be racing those motorcycles! LOL Sure wish I could be there to go with you, but I'm loving my mission regardless!
Have a fun week!
Love Elder Rasmussen

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week #50 - “Rise up and Become the Person You Were Meant To Be.” Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

July 13, 2015

Hey Mom and Dad - Thanks for your email! and thank you for the story from President Uchtdorf about becoming like the Apostle Peter. I love Pres. Uchtdorf I don't know how anyone couldn't love him! That sounds like a really cool talk and I'll look forward to reading the whole thing--thanks for sending it! I've noticed how much of a learning lesson our mistakes are in life. There are a lot of things that I have learned by falling and stumbling the first time.  But getting back up again and doing better the next time. 
We went to SM again this week which is really weird since It feels like we were just there. Had a great McDonalds lunch and did a lot of lagaw lagaw at the mall haha it is fun to go there once a month. (Note from Mom: It took me awhile but I finally figured out what "lagaw lagaw" means - it's "strolling" haha)

This week we had a lot of good lessons with our cool investigators. W.P. has always been fun to teach and she was able to meet with us 3 times this week which hasn't happened in a long time because she been so busy. We read with her in the B.O.M. and answered some of her questions she has from her studying. Her husband told us this week how he feels about us teaching her. He is [another prominent religion] and his family has been [another prominent religion] since the beginning of time and he basically told us there is no chance of him ever being baptized because of that. He's an awesome guy, but he's not real excited about his wife investigating our religion but he likes us and likes having us come over. So there you go. But we've planted a seed and hopefully some day something will be able to happen there.
We also taught our other super cool investigator family who are also [another prominent religion] as well. They seem to really enjoy learning about the gospel and also really enjoy having us at their house. Surprisingly the mom sends her kids to church with us and she has even come a few times herself. They always treat us like kings when we visit and they won't let us leave their house unless we eat all of the food they put in front of us. haha They are such a super nice family and we always have a lot of fun with them. 
I got sick on Wednesday which sucked. So we had to stay in the house all day.  My stomach wasn't feeling well at all and I had a headache big time. Luckily the next day it faded off and we were able to get back to work. One of our inactive families we've been working with who haven't been to church in a long time and kind of turned us down a few months ago, actually let us come and visit them twice this week! And they were really fun to visit and invited us to come back again. So that was cool.  Later on we ran into another of our inactive member's who hasn't been to church in a really long time She was walking to go get her water and she didn't look very happy. So we stopped to chat with her and we offered to help her carry her water up the hill to her house. It is just her and two kids. She is a really nice lady, but very busy so we only get to see her every now and then. I'm so glad we ran into her when we did and had the chance to help her.

Other then that I can't think of anything else too interesting to write about.  I'm looking forward to the transfer this week. I'm ready to experience something new in my mission. I've been with Elder F for 3 transfers now and also been in my 2nd area for 4 transfers, so it's looking like this will be my last Monday in Passi. Transfers are on the 16th--so I'll let you know next week what happens!
By-the-Way thanks Mom for all your help with my debit card and everything else you do for me. I hope you aren't getting sick of having to do all this stuff for me haha cuz I sure need your help a lot! Love you and appreciate you tons!

Love Elder Rasmussen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Week #49 "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less".

July 6, 2015
Hey Mom and Dad - thanks for your emails and the details about your awesome 4th of July week at Fish Lake without me... :) haha just kidding! I'm way jealous you got to go fishing and probably ate a really nice perch dinner! That trout Hayley caught looks like a monster! I'll bet she was way excited.
I had a good week too, even though I wasn't at Fish Lake. It did go by very quickly. We had a Zone meeting on Tuesday and those are my least favorite meetings for some reason and I always get a little homesick when we take the bus back to passi ha Weird. But thankfully it passes quickly.
The following days we found some new people to teach in an area that we thought was dead. So that was really cool! This old trike driver, who is a super nice guy is always waving at us and talks to us when we are at the terminal, got a flat tire so we stopped and helped him fix it. He thanked us for helping him and then said he was going home.  Well, later in the day as we were teaching a family in that area we saw him walk by, and it turns out the family we were teaching was his brother! haha So then he told us where his house was and after we were done teaching his brother's family we went up and we were able to have a lesson with him. He is a super nice guy. His house is very very run down and I felt bad for him because its just him and his dog at the house (he isn't married.) I was very glad we found him and got to visit him and hopefully he will let us keep coming to visit.
It rained a lot again this week. I think I will end up saying that every week now since it is rainy season! Our member who always works with us fed us this week and it was a really good meal. For the 4th of July Elder Crooks and I decided we wanted to bring some American tradition to our house, so we cooked up hamburgers and fries. It was delicious and we also at Doritos and rootbeer. The Pride of America was powerful that day! haha
We went to the home to see a less active member yesterday and her neighbor was playing his music really, really loud. She told us he always does it, but she could not stand up to him and ask him to turn it down for her. So I walked over and asked him to please turn his music down as we were trying to visit with his neighbor, and he turned it down. She was so happy and so were her other neighbors. I was glad I could set an example to that they shouldnt be afriad to stand up for themselves and ask people to turn down their music. Its a common problem in this country-- you really can't go anywhere without hearing loud music playing all the time. haha

Yesterday we got a text about an activity in Lapaz to play sports for P day today and I really didn't want to go. I was just so tired and really wanted to stay home today and just relax, but my companion really wanted to go.  He was a little bit rude to me about it last night when we were discussing it, but we talked it over this morning and I felt a lot better about the situation. It's just that we go full blast all week, so when P-Day comes it's just nice to relax for one day. So anyhow, it was a huge test of patience and humbleness for me to compromise and do what my companion wanted to do. In the end it all worked out and the activity ended up being ok and I was able to see a lot of Elders I know including my MTC comp. We had some good laughs about the hard times we had in the MTC haha. Companions are the hardest thing on a mission sometimes and I have worked hard and have improved my patience substantially and I really feel like I have become a lot stronger person from dealing with some of the things that I have experienced over the last 11 months. "All and all, its a real fun day..." haha (another classic Andy Griffith quote) 
I sure miss you guys lots. Thank you for your good examples to me. I know it's because of my parents that I made the good decisions I've made so far in my life. I've thought a lot about when we moved from Sterling to Erda  and how unhappy I was about it, but I know now that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Mom you were right when you told me that everything would work out for the best if I just have a good attitude and stay positive, and I know I didn't believe you at the time, but you were totally right.  
About the college stuff, I know you pressed me really hard to apply to lots of different schools and I know 100% that I was too stupid to listen to you and of course now I'm paying for it! Thank you though for looking after me and helping me with my future.  I'll work on the BYU application stuff and get that to you over. I know I remember applying for a deferment for my scholarship at Snow, and the Regent scholarship. I sure hope they went through o.k. All these decisions I have to make sure are stressful, but I will stay positive and I'm sure it will all work out all right. 
Thanks for all your support and prayers! Have a great week! Love Elder Rasmussen