Monday, December 28, 2009

For all those readers out there...

Have no fear all of you following Jake's blog. We haven't forgotten about you. Jake has been very busy with holiday things and talking to his parents on Christmas so there should be an email next week. Just keep checking we should have an email soon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

> Hello hello hello! I have stories galore, but I will only share one then I will get to responding.
> So, yesterday (yes, Sunday) was my first baptism. There is a long story behind it, but I will give you the shortened version. So, to start out, there was supposed to be three baptisms yesterday. Gilbert Arizola, Tatay Eclarinell, and Edwin Eclarinell Jr. So, let me explain what happened. In order for someone to be baptized, they need a final interview by our district leader. His name is Elder David and he is something else. He is like the biggest work work work grow up fun is overrated neo nazi I have ever met. He, and I quote, said in a district meeting “a mission is not for fun. If you are having fun you aren’t devoted to the Lord” I don’t understand him. We, as missionaries, are asked to keep our lessons to around 30 minutes-arrival, conversation, prayer, lesson, and closing ALL INCLUDED. People don’t want to sit down and be talked to without their say in the matter for an hour-that’s all there is to it. Elder David (I went on splits with him once) sits down and talks for 45 minutes straight. I will explain something, and then he will go back behind me and take another 15 minutes to re-explain it. There is really no way to describe it like he is the guy who doesn’t buy toys for his kids at Christmas, he makes them read the whole new testament front to back. He really bugs me but I try to get along with him. Well, he, without talking to us, pushed back the baptismal date of Gilbert (he likes to abuse his authority-that’s another thing that bugs me. He thinks he is the alpha and omega because he was made a district leader…) and so I went and asked him about it. Needless to say, he didn’t give me a reason and got all mad and we, more or less, had world war 3 in our apartment. Yea, not something for a missionary to do I know but we resolved everything and we are good now so no worries Anyways, we returned to Gilbert (Elder Banawan and I) to re-teach him the doctrine that he “didn’t know” last night. We asked him what kind of questions Elder David asked him and he said (regarding “the living prophet” the section that Elder David “failed” him on) that he asked him how many prophets there were between Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. That is why Elder David pushed his baptism back 2 weeks. Gilbert is such a good guy. He is 19, has a strong testimony, and is dedicated to living a lds standard driven life. That is all I am going to say about that matter because it still burns me off because there were other things that he asked him-deep doctrinal things-but there is no sense getting on a soapbox about it 1)because it would just be whining and 2)because soap boxes in the Philippines aren’t that big and I would probably crush it and have to pay for it:/
> So, Edwin Eclarinell (heretofore mentioned as tatay) was also supposed to be baptized. He had some problems that we still need to address so we had to push his date back. We offered him some things that should help his problem so hopefully he will be able to get over the strong grasp of an addiction.
> Edwin Eclarinell Jr. did get baptized, along with his brother but there is more to the story ah HA! So, the baptism(s) was(were) supposed to be Saturday, but there was a small problem. The chapel was completely without water. SO, we decided to do it in the ocean. Cool right? That’s what I thought, but turns out Edwin’s father, tatay, couldn’t make it. So, we rescheduled it for yesterday morning at 7:30 right before church. Man, those kids were flipping ADORABLE. The looks on their faces were absolutely priceless. You could feel them glowing when they came out of the font. I’m pretty sure that a baptism is one of the happiest days of someone’s life (besides getting married in the temple because that is, if you think about it, just as important as baptism). So, that is the whole story. We have so many baptisms coming up. For the Filipinos being tan, they are pretty dang white and ready to harvest. Everyone who we talk to ends up accepting our message and starting the process to rock salvation. This gospel rocks my socks!
> So, onto the responding. As for the telephone call, I am not sure exactly what is going down. In the internet cafĂ© that we are in, there is this wee poster that mentions chat and such so I will ask about that. Elder Lee heard about this web site that calls a landline or something but we will figure that out when the time comes. Just be expecting my phone call Christmas eve and Christmas day. The whole 14 hour difference really screws up things because in order for me to call you at 8 am Christmas day I need to come to the internet shop at 10 pm and that is when it closes and there is a curfew Christmas day because everyone is drunk and the curfew starts at 6 pm so I don’t know what is going on. I will try to figure things out though.
> HA that missionary hates the snow? Tell him to come to the Philippines which makes the united states look like an icebox in the summertime. Gotta love 10000 percent humidity. I miss the snow and want some but I don’t think that there is any way for me to get it haha. Ill just have to wait…
> Ps-I am sending a package to you all over the next month or so with some way cool Filipino stuff in it. All I am going to say is I would be excited if I was you all…
> My toe is weird. The scab got mixed with dirt and sand and now it is black and hard like cement. Delicious!! It doesn’t hurt anymore though so that is a good deal.
> As for the mail that I have received, I did get one card from you all. I get mail again this Friday (its transfer day. My first transfer-done. Dang…) I got a whole bunch of dearelders too. Tell Scott Wertz that I got his letter and I will try to write him back sometime here soon. The mail thing is way strict-as it should be. I only get mail when I see the office elders which is, rounded down, once a month. I will tell you what I get in this coming up transfer)
> The members are something else. I have never met a group of more humble, more loving, more Christ-like people in my life. They constantly invite you into everything and they check to make sure you are constantly doing alright. This one nanay, nanay Velasco, keeps us missionaries in Lopez living. She brings by food and washes our clothes and cleans. Do we ask her to? No. Have we told her it is unnecessary? Yes. Does she stop? No… The thing that I can’t get over though is undoubtedly the kids. When I am walking down the street in Magsaysay (the most city part of our area) you hear “elder” and little 5 year old boys and girls flock to you cause they want you to pick them up and shake their hand and stuff. One of the families that we visit has an 18 month old baby boy and I swear when they aren’t looking I am going to box him up and send him home so you can keep him until I get back. The kids are so dang cute and its heartbreaking to see the conditions that they live in but they know no better so it doesn’t matter to them. Ha I always feel bad because I always end up laughing in sacrament meeting because we have this deaf kid and he is always smiling (he is like 7) and he will scream and run around and pound on the piano and he does things that you shouldn’t laugh at but you have to because he is a kid and he is deaf so what do you do? I have come up with a simple formula…
> Kids=happiness
> That is all I am going to write for now. I am probably forgetting something but I will type it next week. Did you check up on my computer for me? Next P-day has been moved to Friday so we can have a Christmas p-day so I wont email you next Monday. Just be expecting a call all day Christmas eve or Christmas haha:/
> We are going to the beach today again for a zone Christmas party so that is gonna be way fun. Relaxing on the beach listening to people play the guitar and swinging in a hammock…while you are all freezing haha. Well, that is life I suppose!!
> I will take some more pictures. I will be sending 2 memory cards back when I get my one back so be ready for them. Can you let me know if you all received my letters yet? I have been sending letters out like crazy so hopefully the 10,000,000 people get them.
> I love you all and look forward to talking to you in less than 2 weeks!!!
> Love,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Daily Blogger

> So, before I start, I have a story for all of you. It is the story of what happens when you cut your toenails down the side and not straight across like you should.
>
> So, this whole story started on tuesday when I went to zone conference. Zone conference (this was the Christmas one so it is different) is where the elders get together and they just have fun. We have workshops, we eat catered food, we have a few people get up and bear testimony, they are way fun. So, this zone conference was different because it was the christmas zone conference like I said. We had gift exchange where we exchanged previously bought gifts and such, we played games, we sang christmas carols, the whole shebang. At this point, my toe was a nice green color with pus coming out of the side like a water fountain. I took my toe to sister anderson and she told me to go have a pedicure...are you kidding me? I will come back to this a little later...for now it is back to the zone conference story. So, we exchanged gifts, took pictures and such, and then headed over to SM. SM is a 3 story mall. It is paradise haha. It has mcdonalds (which is not called mcdoo by the way it is just like mcdonalds in america except for a few menu changes...rice...) pizza hut, KFC, dunkin donuts, a movie theater, TONS of stuff. It even has an ACE hardware haha what the heck? So, we went to the mall and it was SO much fun. Just being in a mall was good because it was like a break from the boonies that is lopez (my area). There were actual cars in the parking lot, not just Chevrolegs. Anyways, I had a funny experience in the mall. Elder Lee and Elder Bernard had to get something in ACE so we went in there. When they were checking out I saw this white guy so I decided to go talk to him because it was the first white guy I had seen in a month. So, after a good 20 minute conversation I got the info on him. He is a "treasure hunter" (you know-the guys who blow all their money looking for gold?) and he said that the Philippines is like the richest (as in gold) country in the world. Yea...and I wear a size 7 shoe...I also found out that he is a pastor. He started going on about how mormons were all good people and such and how we help people. This is where the conversation started to pick up. He goes "you just wait. Over the next few months the Lord is gonna start a great work here..." Elder Lee hopped on the opportunity like a tiger-"yea, well the Lord has already started a great work here"-that was the opening line for a referral...or so you would think. His next line left us all with our mouths agape. "You know what, eventually I am going to teach a sermon on the holy ghost in one of the mormon temples" I like choked on my spit haha. I was almost bust out laughing but when I saw that he was serious I regained my dignity. Are you serious? My sarcasm caught the best of me and I blurted out "ha good luck with that" and he heard it and responded with "I have people working with the mormon leaders...one day ill teach." At this point we could see that this guy had absolutely NO interest in listening to our message so we gradually bailed on the conversation. Ha I still cant believe that that guy said that. He is gonna teach a sermon in the temple. Cool. Maybe in the kirtland temple but not within the next...I dont know...eternity will he ever get that opportunity. Unless he is converted, but then things get complicated so we wont go into that.
>
> After that we continued walking around going in a store here and store there. They had TONS of clothing stores that were the equivalent of hollister or abercrombie so it was like a wee dose of home. We had to leave at 6 to get back in enough time, but we still had a good chunk of time to look around and have fun. Have you seen that christmas carol movie with jim carrey? It looks WAY GOOD! Ill have you know we went into the grocery store in the mall and I bought skittles and mike and ikes haha. I couldnt resist...
>
> So, back to the toenail story. When Sister Anderson (the presidents wife) saw my nail she told me to get it taken care of and suggested a pedicure. Yea...right. So, the next day (wednesday) I went to the hospital which wasnt really a hospital at all, it was like a 80' x 30' building with an "emergency room" and a lobby. Haha good times. I saw the doctor and he told me that they would have to remove the whole nail and that there was no alternative. Ok, FIRST OFF you DONT have to remove the whole nail. You remove the section that is embedded in the soft tissue. Come on now. I only have 38 university credits and I have more medical knowledge than that guy. He prescribed me antibiotics for bacterial control, a blood coagulant (which I didnt take. Why would I take a blood coagulant if I’m NOT BLEEDING???) and pain pills the size of a golf ball. He said we would wait until Saturday to take the nail off which screwed me over because that meant that I couldn’t walk (his orders…) until Saturday. So, I got to be confined to my apartment from Wednesday until Saturday. Saturday came along and there was (coincidentally…or maybe not) a specialty surgeon that was there from Manilla. A specialty surgeon was his title. Yea…because it takes a “specialty surgeon” to remove a part of a toenail BUT I am no less grateful that I was sent a doctor who knows what he was doing…Anyways, I asked him if we needed to remove the whole nail and he laughed and said there was no reason to remove the whole nail. So, I went in to the “emergency room” and got my toe worked on. Ha I can assure you he was not too gentle with the needle either and I don’t have a problem with any of that stuff either. Anyways, you can probably guess what I am about to say. I had elder Lee (the elder who went with me to the hospital) film it so I will send you the memory card soon:D Its way cool haha. I have watched it like 9000 times already. Ok, maybe not that many…
>
> It is frustrating because this whole ordeal cost me 2300 pesos which is more than 1/3 of my “support” for the month and I don’t know when I will be reimbursed but I will let them do it in their own good time.
>
> But, that is the story. It kind of sucked being not able to go anywhere from Wednesday to Saturday (I don’t know how retired folks do it. Sitting at home with no work made me want to scream) but it is all good. I spent hours going back and marking my scriptures so now they look nice and pretty! Ha what do you do:/
>
> So, that is how my week went. For my Christmas gift at zone conference I got this cool native thing carved out of wood from Marindouque (pronounced mair-in-dookie no joke. The missionaries shorten it to dookie. “Dude, where is your area again?” “Dookie” “Oh man I LOVE Dookie” Yea, its funny to hear them talk. The only problem is it takes 2 days to get from the island to the church we had zone conference at because its SO FAR…). It is a container that is carved out and has a leather hinge and stuff it is WAY COOL.
>
> Now, I will try to respond to the questions that I didn’t get to respond to last time because of time restraints. As for my companion, yea he speaks really good English. He is quite possibly the most amazing elder I have ever met. He has NO anger, contention, resentment, or height. He is really really patient and is SUCH a good influence. All I speak is Tagalog and it is coming along expectantly. It is still difficult to teach more indepth principles like the Law of Chastity or the Atonement (not like that is important or anything) because of the difficulty of the words, or length of the principle but I am chugging along. I promise that if it weren’t for the Lord, I would be failing miserably right now. Its weird. Take a day and sit down and right your blessings out on a piece of paper. It starts average length then keeps going and going…and going……..and going. Ha I am pretty sure I have the best employer in the world and my paychecks are the richest
>
> My stomach has been fine. I don’t know who will read this but I don’t care ill talk about diarrhea all I want. No I haven’t had any of such things yet. We call it LBM (liquid bowel movements-TMI??) here in the good old Philippines and it has been hitting some elders in our district HARD but I take those probiotics and that multivitamin every single day as directed on the bottle so I am still going strong!! The food is one word, which I am sure you can guess-Rice. I have started mixing rice, soy sauce, chili powder, and hot sauce cause it is the hottest thing I can get here without buying lava singe your tongue you wont be able to taste anything for the next 3 weeks peppers so it works. Soy sauce I have decided is DELICIOUS. You can do SO much with it. Ha I have fallen in love with soy sauce-something I used to DISPISE. I will send you a recipe for Adobo one day. It is chicken, garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, soy sauce, and more delicious DELICIOUSNESS that goes into it and you put it over rice it is SO good.
>
> Can you get me Derek’s and Max’s address? Check on facebook for it-it should be there. Just ask Chelsea for the password and then you will be able to get on my account and go look at their pages and get the information.
>
> Did Brady really bear his testimony? Ha I am SO proud of that kid. He is maturing spiritually faster than the clunky remote control car in the case (tell brady to read that one. It is an inside joke. Ask him to explain it haha good times) I bore my testimony and it just came out smooth and nice. I have decided that there will be not one single fast and testimony meeting where I don’t bear testimony on my mission. It is a goal so we will see how that one goes down.
>
> Holy cow, dad is rockin church huh? Dang, apparently this past month has been the time for spiritual growth out the yin-yang haha. Soon he is gonna be called the quorum of the seventy…ill bet it is such a feeling of fresh air for him to be done his schooling. He has worked SO hard on that so he has more than the right to boast BUT tell him to check out Alma 26:11-12. Just a guideline He has come a long way haha I remember when he started back in the day at FCC. That seems like it was so long ago oh man. Dad is such a champ!!
>
> When you say the Chinese guy are you talking about Eddison? The kid who is 5’5” and has a HARDCORE asian accent? Haha he has a long story of his own. We sat down one night when I went over to kevins for one of our late night chill sessions ha and he like told me his life story and it is INTENSE. Remind me to tell you one day. It follows Pirates of the Caribbean almost perfectly haha.
>
> I have not gotten my memory card back yet.. As for the time it takes to get stuff, letters obviously take much less time than packages. The card you sent me you sent on November 12th and it was received by the Philippines on November 20th (I read the little stamps over the actual stamp haha) so it takes between a week and a week and a half for a letter to get here but I only get letters and packages when the APs (assistants to the president) come by which is once a month guaranteed, twice a month sometimes-but is isn’t too bad. Days fly like pigs and you lose track of the time when you work your butt off so the day is over before you know it. I have been on my mission for 3 months. WHAT? Where did the time go? Tsk tsk tsk…
>
> If grandma muller sent me a package please tell her thank you!! Tell them that I love them and that I miss them. I sent a letter out to grandma and grandpa clark this past week so they should get that soon. Can you get me grandma and grandpa muller’s address so I can write them? I know like half of it but I don’t want to send it to someone completely different because I messed up the address haha that wouldn’t be too good:/
>
> As for stories from the field, I don’t really have any cool cool stories because I was cooped up in the apartment all week long so that kind of sucked. The best story that I have is about how one day this week I sat in the apartment and read 532622 ensigns about every possible topic known to man then played scrabble with elder Lee (he was way way sick and he punched a wall and broke his hand-don’t ask why…) I was disappointed yesterday at church because we found out that one of the people we were gonna baptize cant let go of mga cigarillo (cigarettes) or alak (alcohol) so we have to push his baptismal date back yet again. Eventually…this Saturday I get the privilege of baptizing a 19 year old named Gilbert and I am way stoked for him. He has come such a long way.
>
> I am sorry to say that I am going through withdrawals. I haven’t been able to look at nice cars or sit on a bike for a good 3 months and it is taking its toll on me. The most car style action that I got was being in a van (going to zone conference) that was a stick and I was itching to drive it SO BAD…yea-pathetic I know.
>
> I am so jealous of the snow in Utah. I want some cold. Last night it dropped down to like 78 and poor elder Banawan was shivering. He had to use my sweatshirt cause he was so cold. You get used to sweat though ha. That is what correlates with the Philippines-sweat. I have a picture of the Salt Lake Temple in the wintertime at my desk and I always look at it and long for snow, but I don’t think it is gonna come anytime soon…no matter how hard I wish for it. I am so stoked to see the pictures that were sent
>
> Speaking of which, I am sending a couple of pictures in this email so you get them. One is of the sunrise, one is of this adorable little kid (no its not Bernard) and one is of the water in the Philippines (it is not a good picture but you get the idea) so hopefully you will get them. Let me know if you do.
>
> Well, that is all she wrote. It is time for me to go wash my clothes, get a haircut, and do what I need to do.
>
> I hope you are all staying warm-I definitely am haha!! I wrote Brady a letter this week so that should be getting to him before this Sunday. I also sent a little surprise which is way cool so hopefully you get it and it hasn’t been broken or anything. Tell me if you get it ha I want to know what you think of it. It was my Christmas present from president Anderson but I cant use it so I sent it home. I hope you get it before Christmas!!!
>
> I love you and miss you all. I hope the snow isn’t too much of a problem ha. I wouldn’t mind it being a problem here! Tell everyone I say hi and am way STOKED to talk to them at Christmastime (less than 3 weeks WOOOOOOOT!!!)
>
> Love you all,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One more for good luck

> Ok, I am going to try and reply because I came back to the place where we email for another elder (they just got back so we had to bail on our appointments) so I will continue responding. First, I have a story.
>
> Earlier today, before we went to the place where the waterfalls are, we stopped in this city to get some food (the place where we bought the fish that got left on the jeep-nee). I was sitting down when I looked up at this lady who looked less then respectable wearing 2 pairs of underwear 6 inches above her waist. Like when a child pulls their pants up to their chest to emulate erkel-that is what this woman looked like. I looked at her and let out a chuckle and looked at elder Banawan and he laughed with me. Well, apparantly the lady saw me and was offended because she got her revenge by coming over to me, singing "we all need someone to LEAN on..." horribly I might add. I started dancing cause she was obviously trying to embarrass me because I laughed at her so I fought fire with fire and she ran her hand through my hair. I was like WOAH and she laughed and walked off. I asked how to say creepy in tagalog but no one answered. Yea, so I got my hair felt by a creepy filthy woman who needed a shower today. That was fun.
>
> Your thanksgiving sounded way fun. We did nothing special for thanksgiving. I woke up and elder Bernard, another american in our apartment, was like "today is thanksgiving" and all I could think about was how you guys were going to be waking up and eating delicious food and gathering together and having a blast. I wish I was there to put up the christmas tree with you all. Can you send me a picture? Ha the good ol christmas lights. That reminds me about last year when I put it off until like the last minute and you asked me to do it and it had snowed like 12 inches and they still werent up and it was like december 22nd. Ha. Sorry about that:/ Why in the mud didnt dad hang the lights? Just dont pull a clark griswald haha:)
>
> So, elder Lee is done so I have to go now. Sorry I didnt email more again. Love you all so so much:)
>
> Love,
> Jake
> aka Elder Muller

Happy Sabbath

Sorry that I missed you guys. Today our zone went to this place deep DEEP in the forest where there is a waterfall and so that took up most of our day. I do have a few funny stories for you though haha.
>
> The first one made me think of you mom. I have to confess, before I tell the story, that I was laughing histerically during a prayer. Not something for a missionary to do right? WELL, elder Banawan and myself were tracting a couple days ago when we came across a house that we felt we needed to go to because it was the only house for like 1000 meters. We went in to find HARDCORE born agains who agreed to listen to our message. We started teaching and it turns out the father was this pastor guy who was "licensed" to be a missionary. He showed us all his liscenses and church ids and all this stuff, and so elder Banawan and I realized that he wasnt gonna except our message. We told him that we were thankful for his time and that we were going to leave but before we left we were going to close with prayer. Elder Banawan asked the father to give the prayer and he gladly accepted. Mom, you know the stories we tell about the people who worship Christ by screaming hallelujah? Well, this guy started his prayer by deepening his voice and practically screaming "OH HALLELUJAH!" I felt bad because I was laughing SO hard. I was quiet about it but all I could think about was what you would think if you heard it. Haha it was an experience that I will never forget.
>
> The next is a tracting experience. I went on splits with a ward missionary who is a good friend and we went tracting. He was telling me about how mission experience when we came upon this party. We started talking to these two old ladies and they were giving us the look of DEATH. Brother Djeta was talking really fast to them, and while he was talking like 15 people lined up behind the two old ladies with this look of disgust on their face. I was like what in the world, why are these people about to kill me? Brother Djeta turned to me and goes "so...we tracted the party after a catholic baptism. All these people are hardcore catholic..." or something to that degree. We tracted a catholic baptism. COOL. I turned to him and said "well, I cant speak tagalog so it is up to you to get us out of this one bud!" in english so none of the people understood me. Ha it was kind of funny I am not gonna lie.
>
> Today, like I mentioned earlier, we went to these waterfalls. I am sorry I didnt catch you all. We left around 7:30 this morning. After buying food and stuff, we rode a jeep-nee (a kind of public transportation) to the point where we would have to walk. One of the ward missionaries who came with us left the meat (enough for like 12 people-we had a BIG group) on the jeep-nee haha so that kind of sucked. It was like a 30 minute walk to the house where we dropped off our stuff and headed out for the falls. From the house it was like another hour or so walking through rivers and 6 inch deep mud to get to the falls. We were gonna wade in a bit like up to our knees, but it had leeches in it so we didnt haha. The walk there sucked because I think I am getting an ingrown toenail (that is gonna be fun to get taken out if I do have one) and it hurts WAY bad. We will let time dictate what is going to happen with that one. Anyways, on the way back I got lost and separated from the group so I had to ask these little kids to lead me the whole way back to the house haha. Fun times here in the mission I can assure you:)
>
> As for the pictures, I am definately taking some. One morning I woke up at 5:30 and ended up watching the sunrise and got a GORGEOUS picture that I will try to email next time. I am trying to start getting some pictures with the families that I am teaching so hopefully that will be on the next card. By the way, I wasnt correct about the package thing. I get another chance to get stuff on december 22 or so so we will see.
>
> There are 2 sisters in our zone. We always hang out with them on pday and they are way cool. We went to the falls with them today so that was way fun. It is nice to get people your age who arent just guys. Well, more like 4 years older but its ok ha. There are 4 companionships assigned to lopez so our areas are pretty big. I will be out here for a good couple months. I need one more transfer with my trainer, one with a follow up trainer, and then after that I dont know what is going to happen-tis up to the Lord!!
>
> I really hate to end this email so abruptly with so many questions still to answer, but we got back SO late from that activity and I need to buy a christmas gift for our zone conference tomorrow (we get to leave at 4 am cause it is SO far on a bus. It is kind of like a christmas party) and I need to buy a whole bunch of stuff cause its pday. I am sorry to cut things short. I will try to catch you all next pday so we can chat.
>
> I have a quick favor to ask of you. Can you take my labtop to bestbuy and ask them how much it would be to get everything off my harddrive? I have tons of pictures, music, and all my assignments from freshman year at Utah State on that harddrive. It is a lot of stuff. Can you take it to them and have them look at it because it is pretty old and they wont be able to give you a quote over the phone because I dont know if the harddrive is still even good. Please ask them if they can look at it and give you a quote. Thank you:)
>
> I hope everyone is doing well. Stay warm an safe. I feel like a butt cutting this this short but I need to go and get ready for my appointments and such. Tell brother Ellsworth that I got his email. Please tell Steve I say hi and hope he is doing well. Ha I miss that guy:/
>
> Once again, I hope you are all doing well. Tell Braeden Gray that I say hi. He probably wont remember me but he did something for me at aarons camp that I will never ever forget. It is one of those experiences that changes the way you look at the church that you have when you are a kid one of the crazy spiritual things that everyone searches after. Tell him I say hi.
>
> I will try to email something worth reading next time haha. Sorry again.
>
> I hope everyone is doing well. I love you all and cant WAIT to talk to you all at Christmas!!
>
> Love,
> Jake
> aka Elder Muller

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

> So, I want to drop some specifics about the trip that I took today during the city's brownout (that is why I wasnt here at the same time that I normally am) Today we decided to go to this island that one of the nanays always talks about. It was decided that we bring a couple of people along with us so it turned out to be this big trip. It was really cool because in order to get to the boat that took us to the island we needed to ride this train...thing for a good half an hour. I say train thing because it was a homemade train car with a lawnmower engine on it and that is what pushed us at the speed of light across the tracks that definitely WEREN'T even...now that my pelvis is broken in 32 places...anyways, it is way neat because there is just one set of tracks so whenever you and another car come face to face one person, usually the driver, just picks it up and walks off the tracks with it. When I say homemade I mean home MADE. So, we eventually got to the place where the boat was going to take us over and it literally took my breath away. It is just like it looks in all the pictures-crystal clear water that is blue as the sky, and the cool boat looking things that are the boats that they use in "the other side of heaven." It only took like 20 minutes by boat to get to the island but it, once again, was way cool because there is just one house on the whole island and the person who owns the house is a friend of one of the people that we brought along so that was way fun. We cooked dinner (5 pounds of rice that we poured onto these leaves that are a good 3 feet long. Everyone just grabs what they want with their hands and eats it...except me haha. I sit in the back wondering how many diseases are all over the peoples hands that are touching my food and so I ended up eating a fish instead. Yea, not some fish, A fish. That is how they cook fish-whole. They drop it down on your plate as one thing. You can tell which fish are girls cause they still have makeup on that is how whole they are but you get used to it eventually...) and hung out for most of the day. While everyone was talking I walked the beach for some alone time if you will but never fear-I was in the sight of my companion:) I got a bit red today but that was to be expected.
>
> So, things here in the Philippines are going as normal. We just had an emergency transfer because on of the zone leaders decided to sneak out every night so...in nicer terms, he got...demoted. They transferred him outta here faster than Ben can climb on you when you are sleeping. Then, our district leader got released because president caught him with a cell phone (that was not church issued) and a dvd player. Are you serious? What a fool. He is a nice guy and everything, but the scriptures say that obedience is the first law of heaven for a reason. What was that? When we obtain any blessing it is upon _________ to the law upon which it is predicated? Fill in the blank. I guess that is what you get when you disregard rules though. He said something to me that made me realize how much dedication is needed when you are working on the Lord's clock..."Its ok though, I didnt come on a mission to lead or any of that [stuff] I came to teach" HA. It is funny how sometimes you get messages out of things people say that are inversely proportional to their intended thesis. Fun times here though.
>
> I have another funny story. I want to warn you all right now because I fear that my english is gonna slowly go down the drain. Our new zone leader-elder Lee- has been in the field for 9 months and speaks Tagalog really well. Today he intended to ask "how many of there are you" referring to the amount of people he needed to tell the boat driver so he could do something and he ended up saying "how much are you" so if in 16 months I end up speaking like a 2 year old, you will know why!!!
>
> So, about the baptism, it was what we like to call non-existent. The person we were going to baptize decided they didnt want to come to church. It is funny how sometimes the adversary twists and grinds something as brutal as a thorn into something as beautiful as a rose...until you touch it. There are so many times that people are so excited in the gospel and they end up bailing on everything because they decide its "not for them." Oh well-more reason to keep trying. I do have one coming up that I am really excited for however. There is a boy named Gilbert who is 19 that we have been teaching. He is a close friend and he decided that he wants me to baptize him. I told him that a member should but he really wants me to do it. I would ask his father to do it, but he isnt a member...yet...so that would be sort of difficult.
>
> So, in answer to the question about my apartment, it is actually nice. I am almost positive that I have bed bugs which sucks because I wake up and have random bites all over my body, but it is ok because we have what we like to call the permethrin of justice. Permethrin is a insecticide that is illegal in the states because it kills cats and small dogs haha but it is ok here I guess. Apparantly it is a force to be reckoned with. A few sprays with that baby and BAM-judgement day for some poor insect souls. But, you will see my apartment in the video that I sent you guys last p day. It is on my memory card which should get to the house this week...hopefully...my apartment is clean, and it has clean water-after filtration. It doesnt have warm water so cold showers are what I have gotten used to, but it is ok.
>
> That is way cool that you got to sit in front of president eyring and uchtdorf. Man, what an opportunity!!! If I was there I would have started the conversation of champions with them. There is so much stuff that I want to ask them haha. That is also really really cool about dad seeing-hopefully-a calling in the future. Genealogy is way tight. I never really noticed it before, but there is so much stuff that you can do with such things. You should get brady over to the temple to rock some baptisms for the names that you find.
>

> Haha good ol Bernard is doing fine. He makes me feel at home whenever I go over to visit the Lungasa family. He always comes up and gives me a giant sized hug and says "mataas" which means up and so I put him on my shoulders and run around-probably looking like a fool but I dont care-and it makes my day. Ha I love that kid so much he is such a cutie. I will try to get some pictures with that family here soon, along with my other families because as of now I only have boring pictures of water, trees, more trees, and run down buildings.
>
> Tonight I am going to a FHE with another family that we are teaching. Their youngest-puchi (pronounced poo-chee) is the most hyper-active kid that I have ever seen in my life. Ha he is a blast to be around. I will be teaching sitting on a bench to the family and he will climb on my head and jump up and down on my shoulders while pulling my hair. Sounds annoying right? Ha I love every minute of it!! I cant wait to become a teacher. Those kids have no clue what will have hit them. Anyways, the family got baptized in October so they are fairly new, but they are so loving. I hope they take a trip to the temple next year and get sealed.
>
> This brings up that favor of the gold dollar. I have a different reason for asking for it this time. Can you include a gold dollar in my christmas present? If they are hard to come by it is ok ha shows you how much I know about them:/
>
> I have asked this 10 million times so I am sure it is getting annoying, but can you continue taking pictures and putting them in the mail? My walls are filled with pictures, but they are all pictures of church events...not that that is bad or anything but it would be nice to have some pictures of my family if you know what I am saying!
>
> Aside from the emergency transfer, the island story, and the baptism update, nothing intense has happened. I have some more favors to ask however. Can you get me the addresses of Leah, Sarah, Grandma and Grandpa Muller (I have Grandma and Grandpa Clark's address and I will write to them soon) and of Scott Bradford? Many many letters to write ha.
>
> I cant believe that I have been here almost 3 full weeks. Time really does fly. I was thinking the other day and when I get back I am going to be 21. Common sense, but mind blowing nonetheless. Can you imagine that? A 21 year old jake...complete with facial hair and everything. Brady is gonna be 15 when I get back holy cow. Dang, and mom, you are gonna hit the big 4-0 next year. DANG. Ha thought I would rub that in:) Its ok cause Dad is gonna be 47:/
>
> There is one more story that I want to tell haha. So, last week I had some 2 letters to send out-one to you all and one to Chelsea. I went to the LBC, which is the Filipino equivalent of UPS and they wanted to charge 2400 FILIPINO PESOS TO SEND THEM. THAT IS LIKE 42 DOLLARS. So, I looked the lady straight in the eye and said "HA ill email my parents" and I took the letters out of her hand and walked out. Then I walked over to the post office and they charged 50 pesos for both of them. That is barely over a dollar to send 2 letters to the united states. That is what I am talking about. Just goes to show you that you cant buy the first thing that you see haha. I thought of you mom when I dominated that lady because it brought up memories of you dominating the people at the yard sales on the east coast when they tried to rip you off.
>
> So, I sent those letters last p day. I was going to write more today, but I only started one. I will try to send them out this week. The one to you guys will have some cool stuff in it;) It will also have a phone card, the one that I told you I would send to you so you didn't have to pay an arm and a leg when you call this Christmas.
>
> Well, that is all she wrote. Tis time for me to leave once again. I love you all and hope you are all doing well!! I have FHE in 10 minutes...
>
> Love,
> Jake
> aka Elder Muller

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 2 in the Phillipines

> So, I have a story about the whole wallet thing. Remember how I frantically emailed you last week about how I had lost it? Well, it turns out that the trike driver found my wallet in his trike, took the money, and tossed the wallet into the gutter outside this weird Catholic Church. I told the bishop about it when I was at his house the day it happened and he went and told the tricycle president and his wife texted the FM station and they broadcast a bulletin about how I had lost it and anyone who finds it should bring it to the radio station. My zone leader came in my apartment 4 days later and told me that they had found it and that the radio station had it. I was expecting to get a wallet that was torn to pieces and that was practically unusable, but to my surprise everything (except the money of course-but that isn't important) was in there. Things were re-arranged but nothing was missing. All my IDs, my temple recommend, and even my subway card (which has enough points to get some free cookies-very very valuable, and come to think about it, since all my cards were canceled it was probably the most valuable thing in my wallet. Too bad the person who could have taken it would have had to fly 7000 miles to use it...) were all safe and sound. What is the lesson that I learned from this experience? Well, that is another story from another day. I feel like I am living a Dr. Seuss book because there was a hidden message in my struggles, but isn’t there always??
>
> So, back to what I had typed in the last email that got erased...the Philippines are so different than the USA-obviously right? I will say it is discouraging at times because whenever we have an appointment I can’t catch half the things that are being said because they are being said at mach 4 and my brain doesn't register words that fast, but I am getting better. Luckily I have elder Banawan because he does a lot of the talking and whenever I want to say something that I can’t get across right, he is always there to help me out. This mission has an extremely high baptizing rate and I can’t understand why. Every week we get 2-3 more people with a baptismal goal date-which is only a goal I realize, but it is that much closer, and better than nothing. I have a baptism this coming Saturday that is going to be interesting because I will probably say the words wrong because they need to be said in Tagalog ha. The Filipino people are the kindest, most loving people that I have ever met in my life. Last night, at one of my appointments, Elder Banawan mentioned that we hadn’t eaten that day anything besides lunch and the family made us a meal which was only supposed to be for the father, but they expanded it so it would suit us. Whenever we go to an appointment people always try to feed us haha it is so so different than the USA where one, in contrast to here, people are so greedy and selfish. How is the food you ask?
>
> The food is a different story. It isn’t too bad actually. I was expecting things like intestines (which, like I said in my last email, I have eaten...I almost threw up all over my companion...) and chicken head but it’s not that bad, or at least I haven’t seen it that bad yet. One thing that they do is cook a whole fish and then slap it down on your plate accompanied by a "you eat fish!" It isn’t very comforting to know that the thing that you are about to eat is staring you right in the face. You just have to remove the meat and eat it with a smile on your face. In accordance with all the jokes that you all made about me eating nothing but rice-you were wrong...there is a carrot or two thrown in there every now and then. I have never eaten so much rice in my life. Am I getting sick of it? Ehh...not yet actually. It never is straight rice-they always make something crazy to put over the top so it isn’t that bad. I haven’t had the blood and organ pudding or the boiled chicken foot yet so that is next on the list. I am ashamed to say that I had to turn down baloot yesterday because my companion told me that one of the American elders ate it and they got really really sick. The little boy who was handing it out had this look of innocence on his face and I think deep down inside he was thinking "if only I can get this American to eat this baloot...then we will see how strong his stomach really is..."
>
> The kids are another thing in themselves. Kids always come up and crawl in your lap and joke around with you and they allow you to take time and have fun. There is this one kid named Bernard who rekindled the fire in me to become a teacher. He is one of the cutest kids that I have ever seen. Good ol' Bernard is 4 years old and he is one of the only people that I can have a conversation with because his vocabulary is about as extensive as mine. Bernard and I have each other’s backs-except for yesterday...he tried to put this ant the size of Rhode Island on me and I screamed like a girl and ran away into the barren wilderness.
>
> I had the opportunity the other day to stop by a birthday party and let me tell you-Filipino birthday parties are something ELSE. In reality though, they are not that much different than one you would see in a non-lds home in America. We heard this music coming from the home when we were approaching and we could see a light. When we got closer, we realized that it was a karaoke machine. Filipinos LOVE karaoke. Much to my dismay however, when we got there it turned out that the people singing it weren't the best people to have at an LDS birthday party. Let me describe the scene for you. I walked up and I saw a couple of drunk Filipinos with no shirts on drunk out of their minds singing in a language that, even if I was fluent in Tagalog, I couldn't understand. We wished the sister happy birthday, talked to her for a little bit and then left.
>
> Transportation is a fun thing here in Lopez. In order to get from one area to another, you call a trike. It is kind of like hailing a taxi, but you get in this little side car (which I awkwardly don’t fit in ill have you know) and you tell them the destination and they go-their 100cc engine sputtering the whole way. If you really try, you can get a good 6 or 7 people on that baby and then it’s going 3 mph up a quarter mile hill-as dad would say, sped racer. It is fun to ride them however cause you get a decent breeze and you can watch the scenery go by.
>
> My companion is a cool kid. He is a native of the Philippines and he speaks rather efficient English. I have taken the liberty of explaining such essential English words as "boonies" and "ghetto" to him so he will be able to understand me when I speak in English. Elder Banawan is 5'5" so it looks...shall I say...different when we are walking down the street together. I am pretty sure I already said this in my last email, but we totally look like David and goliath when we are walking to our appointments.
>
> Now, the height is another issue in itself. I don’t fit on my bed, I dont fit in any of the trikes, I dont fit at my desk, I dont fit in anyones house (cause they are all made of bamboo and these leaves-most of them at least, the ones that arent in the city) and so whenever I get into the house the floor creaks and I have to hunch down because if I dont I hit my head. It sucks and is funny at the same time because the Filipinos always hang their laundry out on these metal wires...that are just high enough that they dont hit them...and there is no electricity in most of the trails that we walk obviously and so at night I always run into them and strangle myself. Funny, but not:/
>
> I dont think that I have ever been more grateful for all the things that I took for granted in the states. Family is a big one. I dont think that we really realize how much family really means to us until they are gone (or just really really really far away). There are also things that I miss deeply...washing machines...my bed...wal-mart...air conditioner...cold...english..
.schoolwork...a reliable form of transportation...clean water...there are so so many things that I will never again take for granted. Absence makes the heart grow fond and that is totally being manifested ha.
>
> I am going to send out a letter today (hopefully) that has my memory card in it so I hope it gets to you all safely. Seeing as how I lost all my spending money, I want to apologize for skimping out on the Christmas presents this year. I will find some way to send everyone stuff for their birthdays however.
>
> The mission president is a really really nice guy. You can tell, or maybe just I can tell I dont know, that he is a grandpa haha. He is really really nice and immediately took me under his wing. The mission home is a really nice place and it served us well. I will send you some pictures on my memory card of the mission home and all the missionaries in my batch. Have you found Elder Hansen's mom yet? I told him to tell his mom but I dont know if he did or not.
>
> I love you all with all my heart and miss you all so much. I hope that you all are enjoying the snow cause all I get is rain and MUD MUD MUD MUD:/
>
> Stay safe and bundle up. Keep going strong in the church. Brady, Samuel, and Ben, you may not realize it now, but eventually the church will become one of the most important things in your lives. Cherish it. Dont blow it off and play video games your whole childhood (now who does that sound like...) ha. Embrace young mens and try your hardest to accomplish all you can in scouts. I didn’t get my eagle scout, but I know that it would have been worth it and I regret not getting it. Hang in there guys!
>
> One again, I love you all and hope you are all doing well.
>
> Until next Monday
> Love always,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Week in the Philippines

> So, I just spent an hour typing an email, but the computers here are from the 1980's so it deleted everything. So I will try to type up a quick one because I pay for everyminute that I use.
>
> LIfe here in the Philippines is good. As a whole, it is really poor, but it really makes me appreciate everything that I have back in america. Ha some of the things that americans take for granted I now appreciate much more. Take toilet paper for example...my toilet paper is a sprayer. Take walmart for example...my walmart is a market with pig legs and pig intestines hanging all over the place. Ill have you know that I have tried intestines-yea, never again.
>
> The people here are really nice. They offer you food no matter when you come to their house. They are really giving and love everyone. I dont fit anywhere ha. People look at me when I walk down the street. I always get one of two questions-1) what is my height, or 2)are my eyes real. I dont know why, but people always ask if I am wearing contacts that make my eyes blue haha.
>
> The scenery is gorgeous. The stars at night are breathtaking. I look for the big dipper every night but I cant find it because it is over america right now ha. Oh well-with time.
>
> This is really really frustrating because these computers are garbage and they deleted my last email. I need to go and I want to apologze with every inch of my heart. The computer keeps freaking out and it makes it really hard for me to email. I love you all so much. I promise you I will email next week more.
>
> Please pass on the information that I cant email anyone else other than you guys.
>
> I love you and look forward to getting your next email. Once again, please forgive me for skimping out on the email, it is really difficult for me to get up and walk away with this little amount but I have to because I have tons to do. I love you all and miss you so very much.
>
> I will email a lot more next time. Please teach brady samuel and ben to appreciate what they have. How are all you doing? Can you email me what is going on with everyone?
>
> Much love,
> Jake
> aka elder Muller.
>
> PS-sorry again honestly. I dont mean to be so short, but an hour of typing disappeared in a bleep. Patience though right?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Only 7 days left!

> And that is how the cookie crumbles! I have purchased the calling card and I will either call you at SLC or LAX. I am debating calling from Taiwan because my minutes become 539x more expensive so it drops from 1000 minutes to like 4 but all is good. If you could, in your next dear elder, give me the phone numbers of both sets of grandparents, leah, sarah, and aunt laura I will be sure to call them all! I am going to call mom's cell phone so if you all could be ready it would be a sweet deal! I leave the MTC at 4:30 PM on Monday so I hope to have a decent amount of time at SLC to be able to call. If you can tell grandma and grandpa Muller to be expecting my call that would be great. I will probably end up calling them first because they are 2 hours ahead so I will call them and talk with them for a while and then let them go to bed. Brady will be able to tell you how to put it on speaker, but if not I will tell you way quick-simple as pie. I was close to calling Jules from the airport and seeing how he is doing because I havent talked to him in a while and I wanted to make sure he is doing alright, but I dont know how he would receive my phone call so I decided against it. I do hope he is doing well.
>
> Anyways, I have a few requests that I would like to drop down. I would really like a few things in the mail...
>
> 1)Superglue. My scriptures look like they have been through WW2. The casing is coming unglued so I need to glue it back on. It is just the border so nothing too big. Ok, maybe not WW2...maybe Grenada...
>
> 2)A jumprope. Ok, this sounds wierd, but its not for double dutch I promise! I want a jumprope so I can get a good workout in the morning when I get over to the Philippines and dont have the privilege of having a gym period 5 days a week. You can find a sweet (yea I just used sweet to describe a jump rope:/) jump rope at like sports authority or something. It has to last 2 years so we will see the true colors of such sports stores.
>
> Those are the only two things that I need in the mail. I am sending back a whole bunch of cards and things that I have received in the mail. If you could put them in my room so I have them when I get back it would be awesome. Mind you Braeden, that room is still mine and I will dominate you if you think otherwise...
>
> Amidst the confusion of letters that will be in the package, will be a whole bunch of toiletries. I bought enough toiletries to bathe the salvation army for 3 years so I am not gonna carry it all with me. I will send you a tie (from missionary mall) in which the string in the back randomly came out so I was like "what is this random string" and so I pulled it and my tie like blew up and fell to peices in my hands. My poor tie gave its life in the line of duty. It will receive a purple heart from the MTC I will make sure of it.
>
> Anyways, so a tie, toiletries, cards, and 2 pairs of pants. I need to get new clothes and belts in the Philippines anyways because they make stuff special to the heat and rain so it doesnt either shrink from a 34 waist to a 24, or fall apart. You can get way cool bone and wooden belts over there so that is the route that I am going to go. The two pairs of pants have enormous holes on the seams-how this happened I have no clue, but I can guarantee that mom is gonna make fun of me for the rest of my life when she sees where the holes are. Ha cliche? I think so...
>
> So, back to the airport situation. I am going to call, like I said, from SLC (hopefully) and so Braeden, Samuel, and Ben have elder Muller's permission (even though its not my house...) to stay up that night until I get to talk to them. Mind you, that is while I am still in the United States...speaking of which, who is excited for the definately not 2 month long flight over the scenic view of...water? I AM!!! Yea, that was sarcasm. Being stuck on a plane with the same people for hours and hours and hours...and hours...is not gonna be fun. I better get the window seat or someone is gonna get a pass along card to the face. Ok, maybe not, but still.
>
> So, if you could send those things in the mail, it would be way nice. I only have 50 dollars in cash right now so I need to go to the ATM (which charges 2 bucks. In the MTC? Honestly...) and take out 60 more so I can be close to 100 cash. That is what they suggest you have at all times on your person when you are traveling. I have decided that if I get mugged at gun point in the airport at taiwan, I am gonna go down swinging...
>
> "GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY NOW!!"
> "No, you give me a minute of your time so I can tell you about the salvation you are about to screw up"
>
> That is my fail-proof way of getting out of a robbery. I an anxious to try it out so we will see.
> > So, basic underlying theme of this email-I have only 7 days left in the MTC before I fly to my actual mission. Am I excited? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!! Am I going to miss smelling 11 other elders who aren't the most hygenic out of the bunch? Yea, I think you can answer that one!
> I will explain more when I get to the airport. If you guys want to stay up so I can call you when I get to Los Angeles, tell me and I will be sure to call you and continue talking because I will have 1000 minutes paid for and 2 hours of nothing to do whatsoever but sit there and talk...
>
> Anyways, that is how it is going to go. I love you all and hope that you all are staying safe and out of trouble. I love you all and will talk to you in 7 days!!!
>
> Love always,
> Jake
> aka Elder Muller
>
> PS-yes mom I have been taking my vitamins...gosh...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dang, Where is Time Going?

> So, first priority-things that I have forgotten to tell you guys thus far. First thing on the list-I have a new companion! I got him last sunday (as in not yesterday Sunday) because most of the companionships in our zone were having hardcore problems with contention. There was one companionship in particular that I can think of in my district that cause a LOT of contention between everyone in our district. They were both really good guys, they just didnt get along, shall we say, the best. My new companion Elder Brown-a crazy good guy from Ceder City. He was a fire fighter before he decided to go on a mission so he has cool stories about that and all. He is 23, and is such an inspiration to me. If I had been baptized when I was 23, I dont know if I would have had the courage to serve a mission. He is a cool kid, and our district leader at that. Elder Hansen got released last Sunday, and only the district leader can get the mail, so it is cool because I am the first one to get mail!!!
>
> Anyways, onto item number 2. I got to host last wednesday (I dont know if I told you that that is why I am repeating it) which basically means I get to foresee the new missionaries in when they arrive. I get to take them to get their 10 million books and through all the orientations and all that trash, but all in all it is a good experience. Its wierd because I still regard the incident of arriving at the MTC as yesterday, and yet it was almost 2 months ago holy cow. I get to host this week also, and I am guessing they are going to have us host every week until we finally leave (in 2 weeks WOOOOOOOT) but that is just a guess. Last wednesday there was this family that seemed close knit, and let me just say this-when a hispanic mom starts crying and sobbing in spanish and you are standing there between her son and herself and she starts running to her son to give him a hug you need to MOVE and QUICK. The elder seemed like he was ready though so all is well in the MTC.
>
> So, onto the main course-I get my flight plans this friday. Yea holy cow it is that close. I only have 14 days left in the good ol' MTC, and I think I am gonna miss it im not gonna lie (which is good because missionaries dont lie...). We get a general authority every tuesday, and the spirit here truly like a fire is burning. I got the privilege of hearing Elder Holland a few weeks ago and, during a visit with the MTC president that I scheduled, I was told that I "dont want to miss the one tomorrow..." so I dont know if he was pulling my leg or if this leaked info is legit but we will see. I feel cool, like I have infiltrated the system or something because I know something that no other elders know ah ga ga ga-that one was for you Benjamin:) Anyways, in 14 days my mission will be 1/12 of the way over. Ha, I wish I could stop time and take it upon myself to go to every single house in the Philippines-whether in my mission or out-and share the gospel. If they dont accept it, I will just stand outside of their door and sing with my companion until they cant stand it anymore because of how bad it is and decide to read the book of mormon just to get us off of their backs-but little will they know they are about to be dominated by the spirit ah ha! But, on a lighter note, the fact that I only have a couple days until I get my flight plans is quite exciting. Tomorrow I have the devotional, Wednesday I get to host, Thursday I have my T.A-kapag nagtututo ako ng lahat leksion sa Tagalog (where I teach the whole lesson in Tagalog), and then Friday is when I get my flight plans. This week is set!! Of course, next week I will have practically nothing to pass the time so it looks like someone is gonna get to know Isaiah rather well (understanding Isaiah is harder than all my 7 mile runs put together ill have you know...)!
>
> I will let you know next monday what my plans are like so I can tell you when I can call and when you should be ready. I think I am gonna buy the 10 dollar card because I was reading the fine print's fine print, and it turns out when the card says you get 500 minutes, you actually get like, I dont know, 7. So, better safe than sorry and hey, if I actually do get 1000 minutes, so be it. I can think of some people to call.
>
> How is the MTC going so far you ask? Well, rather well actually. I have come to find a new meaning reading the scriptures and I started the good ol' BOM over again. I have 10 pages of notes and I am only in Jacob, so I think that I am gonna start another journal just for the language and for my personal study of scriptures so that way I have everything in one convienient package.
>
> Now here is where we hold the phone...let me get this straight. MY family decided that they were gonna go down to Logan and visit a certain person. Cool. Not only do they get to go to one of my favorite places, they get to chill with one of my favorite people. Well thanks for taking me with you. Ok, maybe that isnt that possible, but still. Ill have you know that while you all had a blast, I dealt with elders who think it is funny to see who can play a hymn with their...backside. Yea-fun times here in the MTC...
>
> Anyways, how is all the family doing? How are Braeden, Samuel, and Ben doing in school? I wish I could pound the importance of diligence in educational studies into their heads, well more Samuel and Braeden but still. You tell them that they need to be workin' their tails off or I am gonna get permission from president Smith, take a scooter up to roy (cause there are more scooters than people in Provo) and personally dominate them. Also, if I remember correctly, Braeden went and did baptisms. I am so proud of him. There are so many people that have been waiting for him to go do their work so they can take the next step.
>
> Well, off I go to change out my laundry (2 pairs of my pants have holes in the seams ill have you know. THANK YOU MISSIONARY MALL. Now I have to take a 20 out of the ATM to break it because they dont take debit. COOL.) Life is good, the gospel is true, the Lord loves us all and blesses us in our daily lives, and skittles dominate-what more is there to ask?
>
> I love you all and hope that you are staying on the straight and narrow path.
>
> Love always,
> Jake
> aka Elder Muller
>
>
> PS-if you are having trouble with backtalking in the house, sit down and read James 3 as a family. EXCELLENT CHAPTER ON THE TONGUE!!!! Do it-you wont regret it, I promise:)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Only Three Weeks Left in the USA!

> Well, the day is here. I leave in exactly 3 weeks-not to return to the U.S. for another 22 (or 21.5) months. I cant believe its this close ha I can taste the delicious cinnabon at the airport now mmmmmmm.....
>
> I really need to work out with you guys what time I am going to call. Like I said, I will have 500 minutes to use whenever. I might call at LAX because we have a layover (I think) and so that would give me time to call. It would be on a Monday more towards the nighttime so if that helps as to when you should make sure everyone is inside. By the way, should I call a cell or the house because if I called a cell, you would be able to put me on speaker and everyone could hear me at once instead of having to talk to each person individually (not that I have a problem with that though!). I do have a few favors to ask though, and I am going to ask them early so I dont forget.
>
> 1)Can you ask grandma and grandpa to be at the house when I call so I can talk to them also? That would rock my socks if I could talk to them.
>
> 2)Can you get me Scott Bradford's address? There is a letter that I want to write him (along with 10,000,000 other people I have to write I am SO far behind...)
>
> So, anyways yea if you could decide those things (house phone vs. cell, what time to call, and if grandma and grandpa can be there) it would be great.
>
> I have a question for you mom. I am really curious about the whole me being able to send things for free back to you (cause I am gonna have a TON of toiletries left over I kinda over estimated on that one...). How does it work? Who do I have to talk to to get information on that cause I really dont want to drop a fat amount of money on sending a package of soap and deodorant back to roy (which is why I would love it if you showed a Christlike attribute a.k.a. Charity and paid for it:D).
>
> How was conference? I heard that it was only you (as in Mom) and Ben? Was everyone else spending time with their heads near the good ol' porcelin throne? That sucks, but good thing you guys are all over it!!
>
> Anyways, onto the daily grind. Here at the MTC, the days go slow and the weeks go fast. I cant believe that it has already been 6 weeks. Like I said, we speak nothing but Tagalog all the time, and so it is just enduring through these last 3 weeks that is gonna get tough. There are some good friends that I have made here in the MTC leaving today (that was horrible grammar but oh well, or in Tagalog-walang anuman) and they are so stoked. I cant wait to arrive on the day that I get to go to the actual field and start dominating people with the gospel full force. Its wierd cause, with the whole Tagalog thing, it has overtaken my vocabulary. I will be sitting there and daydreaming and it will be in Tagalog and whenever I write or type, there is this little voice in the back of my head that translates everything into Tagalog. Its actually really annoying ha but all is well. I can talk in Tagalog if you guys want when I call. I would rather keep it at a testimony, but I can teach you the first and second lesson if you really want:/
>
> Speaking of which, I am sure you guys are all curious as to how the whole teaching the first lesson in Tagalog went. Well, let me illuminate. Each week, we have a wika-task or language-task. It is usually completing objectives by conversing with people and getting their information. It is just a way to increase our skill in Tagalog. Well, Elder Hansen and I had our wika-task turn into a door approach. The best part is that he forgot everything and froze so I did all the talking haha. We did a door approach and we went in and started teaching the lesson. Ha poor guy, Elder Hansen had no clue what to say whatsoever. I would talk for like 15 minutes and he would try to put in a sentance and it would be like "Through sin, the earth restored god to joseph christ and made it possible for families to apostasize eternally" Ha it was NOT good. So I took over and taught the lesson and finished it out. He didnt do too bad overall, like I said, some of his sentences were a bit...different that what he wanted, but he did alright. It was really easy for me though. The language just seems to click for me and its not that difficult. We have learned all the necessary conjugations, structures, and essentials for Tagalog so now it is strictly memorizing vocab. Unfortunately there are some elders in our district who have NO clue what we are saying and they are behind the elders who just got here last wednesday. They are trying their hardest though, and I know that if they keep trying they will get it eventually! I will say this though-it is one of the most gratifying things when you and your companion try your hardest to teach a lesson in a foreign language and by the end the investigator has tears in his eyes. It is what im talkin about!! I cant WAIT to get out into the field.
>
> Ill have you know that I am still taking my vitamins mom. I would never skimp on such a thing. I take one every morning before I dominate the cafeteria with eating skill. I (this is random by the way) will have you know that I am suffering here without my memory card:/
>
> I love you all and hope that you all are doing your very best to not let the Lord down and keep his commandments. I am still trying to hold on (cause everyone says that the MTC is the biggest hurdle in the field and that once you get out you have a BLAST!) and rock the MTC so we will see!!
>
> Stay safe, and I look forward to calling you guys soon.
>
> Love always,
> Jake
> a.k.a Elder Muller

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Officially Half Way at the MTC

> So, I first want to point out that I am officially halfway done the MTC. I have 28 days from today and then its off on a plane to the Philippines. I actually want to address something real quick regarding that actually...
>
> I have the opportunity to call whoever I want when I am at the airport. I buy a calling card here (I choose between 500, 1000, and 2000 minutes at 5, 10, and 20 dollars respectively) and then I use it during all my layovers in LAX and stuff so here is what is going down. I need to know when you guys are gonna be home so I can call you. I am going to have SO much time to talk ha so you better be ready. Will you be able to be home (mom and dad) or will I have to call your cell phones? Either way, all is good. I am planning on calling the house when I get into either SLC or LAX so hopefully you will be home. I hope I get to talk to everyone cause, well, what else do you do during a 12 hour layover? Ill answer that one-you sing hymns! Ha, the elders in my district have come up with a playlist of hymns we are gonna bellow out in the airport. Its gonna be mormon DOMINATION!!! We expect at least 550 people to be converted that day so its gonna be a good day. Anyways, like I said, I need to know when you guys are gonna be home so I can call. Oh man...hundreds if not thousands of minutes at my disposal with a brain full of phone numbers...how I could get into trouble:)
>
> Anyways, life in the MTC is good. I have gotten used to the constant day by day schedule that NEVER CHANGES so its not that bad anymore. General conference this weekend was absolutely AMAZING. I got to watch all 5 sessions (that includes priesthood obviously) and it was one of the fattest spiritual highs I have ever had. It was way cool during the priesthood session cause the song that they sang with the congregation was praise to the man (amongst the top of our mormon domination playlist ill have you know) and we were near the front so I had 2000 elders singing way loud behind me it rocked my socks im not gonna lie. Anyways, one of the things that I noticed was the pure love that President Monson has for us holy cow. I dont even know the man personally and I love him like family. I feel myself turning into the stereotypically missionary. What is next? Laughing at "the singles ward" and parting my hair in the middle? I am finally starting the appreciate the MTC. I am finally learning that there are so many blessings that come from obediance. Rules are there to strengthen us, not restrict us so Braeden, Samuel, and Ben-listen to mom and dad or ill come home and dominate you!
>
> I got to go to the temple today, just like every other monday, and, just like every other monday, it was such a good experience. I am destined to become a temple president one day. That would be the job of a champion. I am gonna try for a session a week when I get back and I am gonna try to volunteer weekly as well. I love how the general authority (I forget who) announced the Brigham City temple. Who lives in Brigham City? I know of two really nice old people who live there and thats it. Still, the temple is gonna be way pretty.
>
> Anyways, how is life at home? How is the epidemic known as the swine flu coming along? Has everyone gotten over it? I hope so, but remember, you do have someone with the priesthood right on the second floor of the house if needed:)
>
> The language is actually coming along really well. This thursday Elder Hansen and I are going to teach the first lesson in Tagalog, and we are feeling rather confident about it. All I do is memorize memorize memorize so its all good. After you have the 10 million structures of sentances and conjugation and possession and all that trash down, its actually not that bad. Some of the elders in our zone decide to memorize phrases that they...lets say...will NEVER USE on a mission so I already have half of the vulgar dictionary ingrained in my head. When I come back and we are riding in the car, I have decided that I am only going to speak Tagalog so we will see how much you understand. Its funny because I will find myself mixing up randomly. We pray in tagalog, and all our classes are straight Tagalog now (no english) and so its starting to get to my head. I will randomly mix up words and phrases and stuff (like calling him Jesu Christ or Jesus Cristo) but its all good like I said.
>
> Next week, the branch 3 weeks ahead of us leaves, which means we are the oldest Tagalog speaking branch in the MTC. Of course, we also get 50 new Tagalog speaking missionaries in next week also so that kinda sucks (30 minute lines to take a shower here we come!) but no worries. I am sure you all have heard of the insane tropical storm that hit the Philippines this month so that is what everyone is doing right now who is over there. The tropical storm hit 2 main missions-Manilla, and, yep, you guessed it, San Pablo. Ha oh well though-ill do what the Lord wants me to do:)
>
> Elder Hansen was telling me what the San Pablo RMs were telling him and its really interesting. Apparantly, there is a place in San Pablo called "the strip" and its like the tourist attraction of the Philippines. It is right on the beach, and it is where all of the people who visit the Philippines go so that is gonna be tight. The whole "strip" is covered in hotels and stuff like that...of course, when you go to its back yard, you are in the jungle book with mowgli as your tour guide wishing you had your machete, so I guess its once again to balance out the good and the bad. You better believe that I am gonna take 10 MILLION pictures and send them to you so be ready. I need to set up a gmail account by the way cause that is what the missionaries use in the Philippines to rock email (by the way, the pouch service only comes once a month at zone conferences so probably not an efficient way to send mail that way:/) so I will do that once I get over there. I am sending a memory card this week, so it should get to the house Wednesday-hopefully.
>
> Well, I hope all is well, and I love and miss you all!!
>
> Keep everyone safe and rockin the iron rod with the grip of death:D
>
> Love always,
> Jake
> a.k.a. Elder Muller...or akela...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Half Way in the MTC Email

> Things in the MTC are going actually really well. Not to be stereotypically cliche, but every single week, when I dont think that my testimony could grow any more it blows the roof on my previous expectations and keeps going on and on and on...
>
> Its funny actually. I was talking to one of my teachers and asking him how I should make my study more effective and he offered me one simple suggestion-read the Book of Mormon for someone else. Dont read it for your own gain, read it for the gain of the Philippino people that you are gonna be teaching. I have started the Book of Mormon over again and actually started studying it intensely and HOLY MUD there is SO much. Ha actually, it takes me like an hour to get through 2 chapters I am that indepth in it. There are so many principles and so many doctrines that most people miss because they arent studying, they are just reading verse after verse. Read it for someone else and you will figure out what I am talking about. Mom and Dad, I STRONGLY encourage you guys to get old and wrinkly so you can go on a senior mission. I look at the senior missionaries here and they are having a blast holy cow. By the way, mom, I think you have some sharing to do with some people if you know what I am talking about, and I think you do.
>
> I am almost at the halfway point into my MTC experience. I look back and its like holy cow, I just got here yesterday (or so it seems ah ha!) President Stott (a branch president) and I have become quite attached and he brought a problem up to my attention this week. There is an elder who is having a really rough time in one of his districts here, and he wants me to go talk to him. I dont know why, but everyone here seems to think that I am the guy to go talk to; I am the guy who talks with everyone. Elder Hansen actually gets frustrated with me sometimes haha because I always talk to the sisters and elders all over the place. Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do!
>
> Small side note, I felt bad the other day cause I laughed at an elder. Whenever you talk to an elder you ask them where they are going and how much longer they have left. I was talking to this one elder in the lunch line the other day and I was like "Hey champ how's it goin?" and he was like "good how about you?" and I was like "good. Where are you off to here in a little bit?" and he was like "pocatello idaho..." I almost drenched his face because this enormous laugh-I have NO CLUE where it came from ill have you know) came unexpectantly and all this spit went everywhere. He didnt find it very funny because I was like "Dang killer, you are going straight into the heat of the jungle with that one-how exciting!" obviously JOKING...but he didnt take it very well.
>
> I hope, once again, all is well. Tell Leah that my best wishes and prayers are with her. I hope you all are doing well. I love you and miss you all!!!
>
> Love,
> Jake
>
> aka Elder Muller
>
> P.S-GO TO THE TEMPLE MORE ITS AN AMAZING BLESSING:):):):)

Monday, September 21, 2009

MTC email #2

> So first let me establish why I didnt email last week. So, we get 30 minutes to email to the second. So here I am, having a good ol time typing up a storm when this wee itty bitty window pops up saying that I have 5 minutes left to type. I blow it off-what does it know right? Well, at this point I should have remembered how it took me 5 minutes to log on in the first place, but I didnt. I kept typing and trping (my email was about novel length at this point) until my timer read 0:08 at which time I clicked send. The system decided to show its superiority at this point by freezing BUT continuing to keep the countdown going. Yea. I got jewed over in the MTC. Tight. I clicked send and my computer stood still until the timer ran out at which point another wee itty bitty message box came up to say that my time was up. Kicked off with no way to send you an email telling you what happened. I will try not to make this mistake again...
>
> There has been so much that has happened since the last email that I wrote (that got to you). I will first answer your question mom-my favorite scripture is gonna have to be...well I already told you that one. I went to the temple this morning and got a nice surprise. I think you should go to the temple soon so you can see what surprised me. I love the temple so much. It brings so much peace and tranquility. I only get to go once a week, but that one day is so worth it. The first week in the MTC sucked. The second was getting adjusted, and this week has been amazing. I have the study habits of a champ, I have the self-discipline of...well, someone who dominates, and my testimony has grown exponentially. I have had countless hours to go over the scriptures and I have learned so much. There is SO much in there that I never even know was in there. My teachers point out stuff that someone who read a verse for 3 hours couldnt. I get to go to the RC (referral center) every saturday for a good 2 hours. That is where we get to call up the people who ordered stuff from the church, or wait online for people who log on to talk with a missionary and answer questions that they may have. You can make outbound calls there too so sometimes I just look up investigators numbers and drop them a call to see how they are doing. The chats are cool because you always get people logging on to try to find their missionary ha. Sometimes you get bottoms who call in, but it is all good.
>
> My district dominates. Elder Hansen and I have already made plans to rock lake powell when we get back. He has a house boat and a plane and all this cool stuff haha so I have the hook up when I get back. There are like 8 elders who are going to Utah State when they get back, and one of them's (elder saxton-the one who I went to school with at Roy) brother has already looked at houses and stuff for when they get back because with 8 elders living in a house it would drop rent to like 175 a month. Things to consider. Elder Sanders went to USU before he came here so when we get out (he is probably gonna leave a transfer early too so he can get in fall semester) we are gonna tear USU UP!!!! I cant wait to go back there ha there is so much I want to do now, its like I have this wack new outlook on life (yea, wierd I know) This way I will be able to dominate with determination and rock the grades not play xbox all day like I did last year. Speaking of which, I hope brady hasnt been playing that too much...
>
> Anyways, life is good. I have 2 years of bomb missionary work, then 5 years of bomb schooling so my life pretty much dominates:)
>
> Tell the family I said hi and tell B-Rizz, Samuel, and Ben to keep doing that they are doing! I hope that you all are doing really well, and (this is random) try to attend the temple more. There are SO many blessings that come from temple attendance. I have gotten so many answers in the temple its not even funny (maybe thats why I have a new outlook, who knows:/)
>
> I love you all and wish you the best and I will click send with more than 8 seconds this time.
>
> Love,
> Jake
>
> a.k.a Elder Muller:)
>

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Excerpt from a letter since there was no email this Week...

An Excerpt from a letter since there was no email this Week:
Let me drop you a story that happened to me at one of our large group meetings- just a seminar on a topic of the speakers choosing. So let me give you a little background on the subject. We are sitting in this room, There are like 150 missionaries in total. A guy named Nick Hansen is giving a talk on "how to get more people to attend sacrament." We were about 15 minutes in when he goes, "Ok, I need a volunteer." This elder near the back raised his hand. "Ok elder, what is your name?" I Don't remember what it was bah. "Ok elder ______, where did you go to high school?" "Alta" the elder said. "Ok so you went to...wait a minute, didn't you play basketball?" "Yes..." the elder said and a wee smile come on his face..."and didn't you DATE MY SISTER?" Ha the speak picked an elder who he apparently had a bad experience with in the past. I found such a thing funny.

There should be an email tomorrow....sorry this is all I have time to type for now!