Tuesday, January 26, 2010


> Dear Family-
> So today was a tragic day. I came to the internet café earlier to email you all and I had this nice fat email all nice and planned and then Lopez decided to have a brown out so all my stuff was lost. I will give you all the speed demon version of it.
> One of our investigators-the one whose husband left her and her two kids decided to get drunk and try to drive a bus. He totaled the bus and ended up getting his leg cut off in the accident. The operation that he needed to save his life is gonna cost 500,000 pisos and the bus will cost anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 pisos to replace. Right now he only has a 50/50 chance of living. I feel way bad for them because there is NO way in the world they are gonna be able to afford all that. He was, before he decided to leave the family, the only source of income for them all. Sad times. Why would you get drunk and try to drive a bus? I wonder if they found the leg that he lost…
> We also had a baptism last Saturday. The baptism of Tatay Largo happened and when he got up to bear his testimony he started crying and it was way cool. We are hoping to baptize his son, Jason, this coming up Saturday. The wife is still a little bit hesitant, but all in good time.
> Yesterday I went on splits with Brother Dieta (a guy in our ward who works with us often) and we were walking up the hill in one of our areas when I looked up ahead and saw this white guy. I practically ran up to him and shook his hand and I was like “you don’t know how good it is to be able to speak English to someone else!” Brother Dieta is fluent in English-I was just breaking ice if you know what I mean. We started talking and it turns out he is from England. He met his wife at the UN because both he and she work there. He looked to be like 45-50 and they had a 2 year old kid. Late bloomer I suppose. He brought with him his mom and his dad and I felt like I was in a harry potter movie. It was way cool. Their accents were way cool to listen to also haha.
> Elder Banawan gets transferred this Friday. Friday is transfer day. It is in San Pablo City so we have a nice 5 hour bus ride one way ahead of us. Ha I cant wait…It is kind of a sad day cause Banawan is being transferred and I am getting a new companion. Only one more transfer left in Lopez, and I will be transferred to a big city with malls and cool stores and NO MUD!!! I get mail on Friday so I am stoked for that! I also get to see Elders Hansen, Johnson, Harris, and Sister Andreason. They are my “batch” coming from America to here so that is gonna be way way cool too.
> So, that is that. Another quick story-so all the trikes and jeepneys out here have names painted on them. It is the owner’s way of personalizing the transportation. The name can be a football team, or the name of a daughter of the owner, pretty much anything. Well, today I was walking and guess what name I saw on a Jeepney? Jerry Louis. I started laughing and Elder Lee, the elder I was with at the time, was like why in the world are you laughing and I was like haha dude it’s a family joke. Thought I would share that with you all.
> As for the camera thing-please buy a poor man friendly camera, but not one that is trash. Preferably a cannon, but if they are too expensive just get me one that uses an SD card. Sony and Olympus don’t use SD cards so they are out of the picture. Please run the price by me before you buy it.
> The weather is has been cold…er at night recently because of the rain that has been going nonstop. I am way jealous that all you guys have snow constantly. That is what im talkin about. I get mud and rain haha.
> I cant believe that the day is coming that Benjamin is gonna get baptized (is that bad English? Probably…) I still look at him as the baby of the family and I cant believe that he is already turning 8 years old holy COW. Why is everyone so old? Please send me tons of pictures of him and dad in their white suits. Man. Ha downright amazing.
> I had a cool experience yesterday. These two people from Lucena came down to Lopez to work with us. One of them was mute, and the other was his translator. The cool part was the mute kid, a Filipino, was fluent in ASL which meant he could only read English. Ironic cause one of the only Filipinos in the area that can speak English cant actually speak English-only think in English. Cool huh?
> I want to apologize for the weak sauceness of this email. Earlier today I was typing explaining all my cool stories and my funny experiences and we had a random brownout. Please tell Brady that I am looking forward to him emailing me and responding with skill. Hey Brady, do you remember when I smacked you with that paddle accidentally at niagra falls KOA? We went canoeing and I spun around and dominated you? Ha, just randomly remembered that…I look forward to hearing from you B-Rizz.
> That is life in Lopez. I am glad that my memory card got to you. Please FILL IT UP as much as you can with videos cause they are so so fun to watch. Elder Hansen in the MTC sent a camera to his friends back and forth and they all recorded messages for him, and he responded to them. Fun times.
> I hope you all are doing well and staying warm. Please tell Brady that I miss my queen size serta more than ever before and I want him to send it via UPS right away. Oh man, that mattress is going DOWN when I get back. Please tell the whole family that I say hi and that I wish them well. Mothers day is approaching quickly!!
> Love you all,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller
> Sorry again for the skimpiness of this email. I had to retype this all in like 20 minutes cause my old one got dominated. Time for a haircut!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What a Week

> So, this week has been a way cool week filled with domination and coolness. As with my other emails, I will start with the stories first because I have some…believe me. This email is gonna be REALLY REALLY LONG. Sorry, is my English sucks…it is slowly going down the toilet…
> So, to start out, I had some bomb spiritual experiences this week. The first was with one of our investigators in Conception-one of our areas in the political boundaries of the boonies. Her name is ate Gina. She is like 35 or so and has kids, the whole family-work shebang. We have been teaching them for a fairly short time, before the appointment that I am going to tell you all about, we had only met with them for a total of like 45 minutes. So, one day this week we were talking with them and we were teaching about the pre-mortal existence, the creation, the fall, and this life-all the purposes and good stuff like that. After we got done our lesson and said the closing prayer she was like oh, and sorry about me leaving throughout the lesson and coming back, my kids were screaming and we were like no its all good no worries. This is where it gets cool-now remember, we had barely taught her about the restoration. She looked us in the eyes and was like you know, I have gone from church to church-catholic to seventh day Adventist, to jehova’s witnesses to iglesia (that church I was telling you about last time) and there is something about your message. Then, with the power of a fire hose she was like “I know your message is true” Elder Banawan and I had to pick our jaws off the floor so they wouldn’t get dirty. We were like holy cow that’s what we’re talkin BOUT!! It was the first time that an investigator that early in the teachings had testified to me and it was way way cool.
> The second story would make a good movie. This girl named Hazel May has taken a liking to our teachings and is always up to date on the readings and pretty much dominates everything that we throw at her. She is like 23 and she is married with a kid and is a college student so we have to catch her at the right time or she isn’t there. Our last lesson was going along swimmingly when she randomly started to cry. When Elder Banawan gets serious, he lowers his voice and goes into auctioneer mode and flippin destroys with speed and so I was COMPLETELY lost amongst translation. After everything was cleared up I asked him what was said and apparently she was Adventist and her dad was a pastor. Her boyfriend is a catholic and when she started dating him the Adventists shunned her to the max and kicked her dad out of his position. She was like “there is something unique about your message, I can feel it in my heart” Once again it was way way cool.
> The third story is about how I learned to liken the scriptures to myself. “…for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength…” This is the council of King Benjamin (one of my favorite stories WOOOT) in mosiah. I learned what this meant in the most literal sense a couple days ago. After the first story that I told, we decided to go check out the top of this hill to see if there were any people living up there. The trail is like a 86 degree angle and it dominates with steepness. Well, Elder Banawan and I climbed that piece and got to the top and, to our disappointment, there were no houses. Elder Banawan needed a rest so I was like ok, well im gonna go down way quick and wait and he was like ok. The trail was straight down to a point and I was gonna go wait down at the “landing” of the hill if you will. Remember the advice? Now, imagine this tall lanky elder running down this crazy steep trail going really really fast-cause its downhill obviously while making a stupid high pitched noise being annoying as usual. Now…imagine that same elder sliding off the trail, falling, and smashing into a thorn bush. Yea, my arm looked like a rose bush stem. It did NOT feel too good. Never again will I run faster than I have strength cause it turns me into a rolling piece of mass falling into the thorn bush of pain.
> My last story is NOT funny so no one should laugh at it cause everyone laughed at me when I told them. It was a sad day. So, yesterday it rained ALL day. 80 % of the Philippines is mud, so all the trails were absolutely liquefied. Well, we were visiting one of our families who lives 432563 miles in the mountains and it was night time so it was dark. Let me put some background in this…Caribou (which is actually calibou but Americans englishisized it...) poop is ENORMOUS. It looks like pancake batter when you put it on the griddle. It is a good 12” X 12” circle of dookie. Creepy right? Why am I telling you this trash…WELL, now remember, it was dark so it wasn’t my fault. I was walking at the bottom of this path jumping from mud mound to mud mound cause in the lower parts it was filled with water…and I jumped into a enormous pile of dookie and it shot ALL OVER THE PLACE. My foot is just as big as the deuce that some caribou dropped, so add that to me jumping on it…yea. ALL OVER THE PLACE. I realized it at once and I was like “WHO THE FREAK PUT THIS DOOKIE HERE” and Elder Banawan almost had a heart attack he was laughing so hard. He was like “Elder, you look like moses and the red sea.” Hey thanks Banawan ya butt. So, needless to say, I spent some quality time in the grass wiping my foot off.
> That is that. Is Benjamin ok? Ha the weirdest stuff happens to that kid. How did it go at the hospital? Benjamin, I realize brick walls can come out of nowhere, but you have to watch out bud ha. I have a habit of running into things and tripping over stuff, but I can say that I have never ran into a brick wall. Brady almost ran my car into a brick wall though…and that is all we will say about that…poor guy. Samuel and Ben have this weird obsession with stitches. Like every 2 months one of them has to go back and get stitched up for something. Samuel cut his leg open with a spatula and ben ran into a brick wall. I broke my stitches in my mouth twice, and Brady…I don’t know what happened with Brady yet, but im sure there will be something haha. Its ok brady, ask mom about how well I respected the stitches in the bottom of my foot after the asateague(spelling) island incident…
> Anyways, I have had chances to speak at church. I testify every fast and testimony meeting and conduct a lot. My tagalog is slowly inching forward. Its really cool when you sit there and you think in tagalog. Sometimes, just to mix it up, I will say a companionship prayer in English and I like stutter and have to pause cause I cant think of the word that I want to say in English. Unfortunately I usually end up just saying it in Tagalog cause I cant think of how to say what I want in English. If I had to write a talk on preparing about a mission…oh the stories that would be included. A testimony is something that no one can take away from you no matter what. Houses crumble, cars rust, money corrodes, but a testimony does none of those things. Even when it isn’t used, it still stays there in your heart until you decide to take it out. Man oh man. If I could only go to every single youth in the church and tell them how much they NEED the church whether they realize it or not. A mission has made me get my priorities in line, has made my testimony grow like a chia pet, and has cleared up the haze on my future. Being a missionary rocks my socks!!
> As for the camera, yea I priced out the cameras at the mall. An acceptable one was like 15,750 pesos which is like 300 dollars. No thanks. Please go to best buy and tell them the situation and see what they say as to what I should get and stuff. I am gonna run my camera by someone here to see if they can fix it. Speaking of best buy, did dad take my computer to them yet? Please run the price by me and stuff.
> As with Brady, the prayers of a missionary are with him. Slap a fat limitation on the xbox and see if that does anything. If it doesn’t, check the influences he has. That’s amazing about the basketball though. That’s SOOOO cool. I played basketball today and I was guarding Elder Richens. Yea, he is like 6’7” so it was like the clash of the two towers going at it surrounded by 3 foot Filipinos. When we got into it backing down and stuff everyone backed away cause they didn’t want to get crushed haha. Samuel and Ben seem built for sports so this is way good that they started early. I wonder if they are gonna rock it in high school. I was thinking and consider this-when I get back…Brady will be like 9 months away from getting a license…HOLY COW. Bah ha Brady driving…I can see it now “look at this kid who thinks he is fast BUMMMMMMMMMMM” as he floors it…LIKE HE DID MY CAR…anyways once again…tell Brady I am probably gonna write him this week. I am gonna write Mr. R this week, and gma and gpa muller too. Hopefully I can get them all out by next Monday.
> Zone conference was absolutely amazing. President immediately came up to me and hugged me and was like “elder are you doing alright?” He is such an amazing person. I can safely say that he genuinely cares for all his missionaries and there is a flippin TON of them. Zone conference was ok, we went to SM and I got caught with Elder Richens (I have never clashed with someone more in my life. It will be safe to say that we…don’t get along) who totally gives us a bad name cause he flirts with every single girl that he sees (what an awesome thing for a missionary to do right?) and he looks like napoleon dynamite so they both add up to ultimate creeper status, and Elder Lee who hates shopping so we like stood there the whole time. But, on the whole, it was a good time.
> The weather is, according to Elder Banawan, freezing. It has been dropping to like 75 and rainy and such and I feel bad because we went and visited bernard’s family and poor Bernard was wrapped in his tank top cause he was cold, but he doesn’t have any other clothes that are warmer. I was going to go get my sweatshirt for him, but 1)it would eat him, and 2) it was too late and it was time to go back. It has been unnaturally rainy lately and such but other than that the weather is the same. Sad day that you all don’t have any snow. For what its worth, we don’t have any either haha…
> There is pure gold that I found in the hymn book the other day and I want to share it…
> Should you feel inclined to censure faults you may in others view, ask your own heart, ere you venture, if you have not failings too. Let not friendly vows be broken; rather strive a friend to gain. Many words in anger spoken find their passage home again.
> Do not, then, in idle pleasure trifle with a brother’s fame; guard it as a valued treasure, sacred as your own good name. Do not form opinions blindly; hastiness to trouble tends; those of whom we thought unkindly oft become our warmest friends.
> I don’t know why, but this smacked me in the face yesterday. Just wanted to share!
> Mom, I asked president about those books I asked you to send and he said it would be totally fine. If you could get them and then send them it would be amazing!!!
> As for the thing that Chelsea asked you, I have not yet received her hand written letter. I got a BUNCH of dearelders from her (the Christmas batch-she knows what im talkin about) and this card with some tightness inside…that girl thinks she is Martha stewart with her craft skill…but no hand written domination yet. I have am about to write her a FAT letter though cause I have ten million things to respond to and there is something that I want to send in the envelope. Please tell her that I say that she better not have forgotten (is that correct English? I just had a debate with all the elders, and no one knows English anymore cause we only speak Tagalog…sad…) what tomorrow (tuesday) is cause if she did…tsk tsk…domination will happen.
> I recently remembered that Ben’s baptism should be coming up. His birthday is way close. DANG. Take a picture and send it to me on my memory card when you send it back. Yes I have sent it I sent it a while ago so you should have gotten it. I sent 2 memory cards inside so hopefully you get them. I will write him and Samuel a letter too in addition to the ones that I am going to write now. You should establish an email for brady so I can email him every week too, that way I get to talk to him more than every month and a half cause snail mail is HORRIBLE. If you do (that would be amazing if you did) PLEASE make him MORE than aware about the insane DANGERS of the internet holy cow. He probably already knows but the internet is a disgusting dingy place with no regrets. Just make sure he doesn’t fall into the trap that the internet holds for anyone willing to enter.
> I wanted to share some coolness with you all. There is a plant here called makahiya. It has hairs up the stem and on the leaves. It looks like a fern, but when you touch it, it folds itself up and withers and changes from green to red. They are so sensitive, you can lightly blow on them and they all fold up and turn red. Well, I have finally mastered it and I have acquired the ability to pick them without them folding. I have the hands of skillful domination…ness. Mahiya in Tagalog means shy for the record. Cool stuff.
> As for the valentines package, just put variety in it. I don’t really care what you put in it actually. Pictures are absolutely AMAZING but candy works as well!! What in the world happened with the Haiti thing by the way? I heard about something happening there but all I heard was “earthquake” and “100,000 body count” so I don’t know what went down.
> Other than all that stuff, things are going well. Elder Banawan, like I said, gets transferred the 29th so that’s not fun, but change is good. I got the card that you all sent-please tell grandma and grandpa clark. With that said, life here is good. I only have one more transfer here in lopez so I am excited to be transferred to a city with malls and coolness like that…not just mud and caribou poop…
> I hope you all are still doing well. Please, like I said, establish an email for brady so I can email him and not write him because, in all honesty, writing SUCKS…and I talk a lot so my letters are always really really long…ask Chelsea…
> So, that is the way the cookie crumbles. I hope this wasn’t annoying to read haha. I love you all and hope you all are doing well. Listen up-tell Brady to go to the temple this week. Mom, and Dad, you too. Go rock it and go with a question in mind. Why does this gospel dominate so stinking much?
> Love always,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My email!

> So I have some stories to share and they are stories I can promise you. Where to start where to start...
> So, last week I went on splits with Elder Dela Cruz. Elder Banawan is the district leader so he has to go interview the baptismal candidates before they get baptized. So, Elder Banawan went with Elder Bernard (another American) and I went with, like I said earlier, Elder Dela Cruz. Elder Dela Cruz goes home at the end of January so he is more trunky than the back of a car. Anyways, we went to this member's house to teach a lesson. Her name is Nanay Aurora and she is...different. She is like the hermit lady in the mountains who eats bark and showers in mud and stuff cause she thinks its good for you. No, she doesnt do that stuff, but it gives you an idea. She is REALLY nice to the elders but there is just something about her that is...yea, different. Anyways, so we went on this split and such and we taught our lesson and then Nanay Aurora turns to me and says "elder, my dog died" and so I was like oh really, how come, what happened? and she responded (mind you this is all in Tagalog, the english is coming...) he went out to the highway and was hit by a car I expressed concern by saying oh, im sorry nanay sad day... and then (this is still in Tagalog) she said one word which like stopped my world and made my jaw drop..."masarap" yea...that means delicious in tagalog. Then she started speaking english... "elder, do you eat dog in your place?" SHE PEELED HER DOG OFF THE ROAD AND COOKED HIM UP AND ATE HIM. That is way typical for Nanay Aurora. I was like totally speechless... "uh...no...nanay, we dont eat dogs, we pet them. They arent sandwiched between bread, they are sandwiched between blankets..." she responded with another creep sauce comment... "oh do you eat cat then?" WHAT IN THE WORLD NO I DONT EAT CAT I EAT REGULAR FOOD Nanay doesnt speak english very good, so in a tone that suggested happiness so she didnt know what I was saying I turned to Elder Dela Cruz and said "there is the door...run for it and never look back..." ha but yea, so that was kind of wierd. I used to pet that dog all the time...and now it is in Nanay Aurora's belly...hmm...there is something strange about that...
> My next story is about splits again. This time, I went with Elder Bernard (2 americans who dont speak fluent tagalog...we didnt make that decision...) to teach these 3 girls that Elder Bernard had tracted before. I need to introduce someone however to give you all the correct picture. There is a church called Iglesia ni Cristo. It started in the Philippines and has spread all over the world. They are really really prominent in the Philippines, but opression is a big problem. If you dont marry another "iglesia" or member of that church you are excommunicated. They dont allow members to read the bible, they have the pastors or whatever read it for them. If you dont go to church for 2 weeks straight, they will excommunicate you. They have a "prophet" and his name is eduardo something or whatever I dont remember his name but they claim to have a prophet. They are the biggest hinderence to the work(besides Jehovas witnesses-that is another story in its own holy COW) and so we always have to fix people spiritually from what Iglesia messed up. Anyways, one of the investigators of Elder Bernard is an iglesian minister and whenever Elder Bernard goes to teach him, he gives him (gives Elder Bernard) a copy of their church magazine (kind of like an ensign) and so he had it this day that we went on splits to this house. The edition of the magazine was all about the executive minister (their “prophet”) and so the cover had an enormous picture of this guy, this “prophet”…remember that. We walked in this house and immediately realized that these girls were more golden then the perfectly toasted marshmallow (in missionary language, golden means like no obligations to our teachings with a yearning to learn as much as they can. Missionaries always freak out when they find a "golden investigator" because it means the person will be like teaching a kid-accepting every single thing with no concerns or obligations…golden investigators are no fun…) from what they said. We sat down and asked them if they had any questions. The first girl asked a question that made us smile… “I want to learn about the book of mormon” Elder Bernard smiled at me cause that was the lesson we were going to teach, but it got better. We asked if she had any more questions because we would answer that one in time and she said “how can I know if your message is true” by this time Elder Bernard was nearly having a heart attack because that was the other half of our lesson. The field…or room…was white ready to harvest and we were about to dominate. Then, there came a turning point. Another girl walked into the room and asked if we had a picture of our living prophet. Now, Elder Bernard’s brain had a wee relapse here because it remembered that he had a magazine in his bag…but it thought it was an ensign…a particular ensign that we have in our apartment talking exclusively about the first president…but how wrong he was. Translated, he said “this is our living prophet today…” and he pulled out the MAGAZINE WITH THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO PROPHET PORTRAIT ON THE FRONT I was like ELDER-FAIL THAT’S NOT RIGHT he looked down and was like “OH…shoot…oh…well, no that’s not him…oh man” and at this point I am absolutely DYING of laughter. Poor guy, he was so embarrassed and I was laughing because the investigators knew he had messed up you could see it in their eyes, and they all had smiles on their face and he tried to fix it, but he didn’t know the Tagalog to do it haha so we were like sitting here and have just proclaimed that the iglesian executive minister is our living prophet today. Ha fun times…
> On a lighter note, I gave my first blessing this past week. It was the first time I sealed the blessing, not anointed. It was to this insanely adorable 1 month old kid (who I am going to steal and send home so I have this amazingly cute kid when I get back) who had a fever. I was, once again, on splits (I don’t go on splits that often, but nothing happens with elder Banawan and I haha) with Elder Movilla who has only been in the mission for 6 months but he is a native so his English is…less then understandable. So, I asked him if he wanted to anoint or seal, and he said anoint. I was like what in the world kid, you need to seal cause I cant bless in Tagalog and he was like I don’t know how so I told him I would seal. The sealing of an anointing is the part when you pronounce a blessing upon the afflicted person, so it is the person who does all the talking. So, my first blessing was in Tagalog. It was an experience because it really made me realize how much we rely on the Lord for everything that we have. It was really really cool. I have annointed here like 30 times, but I have never sealed…let alone in Tagalog, so that was an experience for me.
> Transfer Day is coming up speedily. January 29. Its kind of a sad day because my trainer, Elder Banawan, is going to be transferred, and I will get a follow up trainer. I love that kid with all my heart-he is such an amazing guy and I am not excited to see him go, but change is the most constant thing in the world, so I guess I cant complain. I have one more transfer here in Lopez, and then I will get transferred to a city. We will see how that goes down. Zone conference is tomorrow which means I get to spend some time in the mall again. WOOOOOOOT! SM (the mall name) is way way fun, plus it lets me get my I want to just hang and go do something self out cause it is just like a mall in America, but with 3 floors ha. I will look for another camera there when I get there and see what the prices are running.
> Yesterday we moved a baptismal goal date back from February 6 to January 23, so I have a baptism coming up again. This one is of a tatay who is on my list of the most kind people I have ever met in my life. He would give me the shirt off his back if I asked for it-he is absolutely amazing. So, he is coming up, but because of the needing to go to church for 4 consecutive weeks rule, many of our investigators are having their baptismal goal dates moved back. BUT, all in good time…
> SO…how is life back in America doing? How are the kids (yes b-rady, you are included in there…think you are all cool being a teenager) doing in school? I was looking at those pictures you sent me (I have them up on my mirror with a “families are forever” that I drew above them…) and Samuel has some BLUE eyes holy COW. Brady looks like he is 15, and Ben still looks like he is 5 to me, but he is the youngest so it is to be expected ha:/ I was thinking the other day and I realized something. Dad is gonna be 47 this year. That means he is gonna be close to 50 when I return. WHAT IN THE WORLD? I remember back in the day when he was like 32 and had brown hair and brown facial hair. Dang, time flies…

> And that is all she wrote for this time. I hope you are all doing well and staying warm-I know I am. Count your blessings everyday-it will help anyone who is having a bad day I promise! I heard something cool the other day. I was fiddling with my CTR ring and Elder Lee said, “you know what that stands for which is kind of cool?” and I was like what-expecting a lame-o answer, but he said “Current Temple Recommend” I thought that was way cool. Not only does it remind you to choose the right, but it reminds you that you have a current temple recommend-for most people
> Stay safe and “lie down unto the lord at night, and rise up unto the lord in the morning” or something like that!
> Love you all,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller

Monday, January 4, 2010

My email for the week of domination

> This week was the week of champions. I don’t even know where to start in my explanation ha. I will start on new years eve…
> So, as can be expected, and as you said you already knew, I had a curfew on new years eve. I was skeptical at first because its just new years eve-I have been out tons of times before on new years eve what would be the difference. FAIL. I got the feeling that I should follow the curfew after I had to jump out of the way when I drunk guy almost ran me down on his swerving motorcycle. I went to bed at 10 to peace and quiet and woke up to the onset of world war 3 holy COW. It was the MOST noise I have ever heard at one time. In the Philippines they don’t have restrictions on fireworks (just like they don’t have speed limits…not the best idea…) so little kids can buy like the shoot up in the air and explode fireworks. I woke up and elder Banawan wasn’t in my room with me I was like what in the world is that boy doing? So, we have a water tower next to our apartment and so I met elder Banawan in the zone leaders apartment (right next to ours) and we climbed the water tower. I kid you not, there was fireworks going off in every single direction. In the air, on the ground, one kid almost took my facial hair off with his ghetto rigged firework display cause it shot and almost smacked me straight in the face (iminent domination was about to occur-americano vs. pinoy). People were on their motorcycles sitting there and holding them at full rev and holding the horn down. It was like the most annoying display of noise I have ever seen. What in the world? That mixed with parties-I went to bed with akon, taylor swift, and flo rida (all people who sing songs that I have to hear EVERY DAY OVER AND OVER CAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY SONGS THEY GET HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES). The following day kind of sucked because everyone was sleeping and all the food places were closed down because the people decided to keep me up all night and not go to bed…
> And that was my new years eve. I have a sad story to tell. I was walking with elder Banawan and we came to this dominatory rice field. Whenever we come to a big big like 20 acre (they use hectres but I don’t know how much that is compared to an acre) rice field elder Banawan always sayd “ay, masarap ang hangin” which literally translated means “oh man, this air is delicious” but more culturally translated it basically means the expression when you are in the mountains and you smell the air. Fresh is more like it. Anyways, I pulled out my camera and turned it on and it was like “ooooOOOOO EEEAAAHHHHH shargle shargle SHHHIIIIIIIOOOOOOPPPPP” and it screamed at me and died. My camera gave its life up in the line of duty. So, needless to say, you all wont be getting any more pictures for a while. I am gonna price cameras at sm (the mall) so we will see how that goes but I don’t want to drop like 150 on a camera but anything less will be made of rocks and sticks so only time can tell…
> On to item number 3. New years eve was a sad day for one of our investigators. We will call her “ate” cause that is the tagalog word for sister “mind you that isnt pronounced ‘ate’ like the verb, its pronounced ‘ah-tee’) Anyways, in the Philippines its common for the husband to decide to just get up and leave and go live with another woman. Its really difficult because once the husband does this, there is no way to get a divorce. The government is really strict on divorce so there is practically no way to get one. When the husband does this he screws over him, his new “wife” his ex-wife and her new “husband” because they are all now living together and they are not married (and they cant get married because they cant get divorced from the old spouse until they have lived with another person for 7 consecutive years) and so they cant get baptized. Anyways, Ate’s husband completely tightened up his boot straps and left Ate on new years eve. He just got up and bounced. Cool husband thanks for being such an awesome influence to your kids!! That is Ate’s story :/
> I have a cool story actually. I got to be elder Rambo last Saturday for a service project. We try to get service every Saturday and so the sisters told us that they had service in their area (which is called atemonan not anti-monan like I said in a different email) and so we made the 1 1\2 hour bus ride and met them at their stake center. After we treked in the jungle for a good bit we came upon this house that needed their “back yard” cut down. Now, I can guarentee that a weed-eater could clear that baby out in a good 10 minutes…but we got to use machetes. It was TIGHT. Mine was all curved and arabic army like and I dominated those weeds. They didn’t even stand a chance. I now see why Filipinos are all so skinny. Cutting down the amazon in that guys back yard was tough stuff. When we got done we rocked some boku salad (boku is under ripe coconut. To explain that takes FOREVER the whole coconut thing. Long story short, coconut is NOT what you think it is…) and then left to Gumaca (halfway between lopez and atemonan) to go eat and then went home. It was fun stuff actually. The philippines have some intense plants. There is this cool plant that is really really sensetive and it is green and it looks like a big fern. When you touch it, it folds itself up and turns red it is SO COOL. All the natives were trying to pluck off a fern at the stem without it closing up on them ha. I failed miserably on that one cause my hands are so flippin big, but it was still cool. You just touched the end of the machete to the leaves and the whole thing folded itself in half. It was way way cool…and gave me much entertainment.
> So, I have been on my mission for over 4 months now, and I have been in the Philippines for 2 months tomorrow (Tuesday) Just thought I would share that
> I have a funny story about needing the spirit for the gift of tongues. Elder Banawan and I were teaching this group of ladies that we tracted and Elder Banawan was speaking and all the sudden this radio turned on. I don’t know why it turned on, but it was hooked up to subs so it was really really loud and some songs that reminded me of back home came on-songs that I used to run to and songs that I listened to A LOT up at usu. Well, needless to say my mind totally wandered and I was rockin out to the music-I know I shouldn’t have. It brought back a flood of memories in my mind. In the preceeding teachings, I told them “tsaka tuksuhin natin si satanas” which means we tempt satan and “ang priesthood ay wala ang mundo” which means the priesthood, the earth was lost. Better than the other mistakes that I have made, but less than correct by far. It happens when ever videoke comes on near our teaching. It is hard to teach and stay in the right mindset when songs are going off around you that make you think of home haha. But, I am working on such a thing and trying to get better.
> I was looking at the picture of samuel that you sent me on the train and that kids eyes are SO BLUE HOLY COW. I wonder where he gets it from…I still don’t believe that he is a mini me though. I want some documented evidence of such a thing. I swear brady looks like he is 15 with his hair and such. Who does he think he is? Shaggy off scooby doo? Speaking of kids, I want to show my extreme gratitude for the clean running water that everyone in america is entitled to. Yesterday we went to the Lungasa family and I was talking to Novelynn (one of the daughters of the family) and I was talking to her in english (she is only 13 but she is studying english in school) and I looked down at her feet and they were cruddy-like the equivelent of a good weeks worth of not bathing. Bernard came out and gave me his fat greeting like normal and I noticed that he was filthy also. All the kids were absolutely engulfed with dirt and mud from head to toe. The kids (along with all the people) out here have to shower, like I said before, using a bucket and a pan. I will be walking and saying “oh look, a pretty coconut tree, oh look, one of our investigators, oh look a naked child, oh look, an elementary school, oh look another naked child…on a good day I will only have to witness 2-3 people bathing, but sometimes we have to witness half of Lopez bathing. People don’t care about what other people think about them which is good and bad. There are signs all over the place out here that say “bawal umihi dito” which means it is forbidden to pee here (here is a tagalog lesson for you-bawal means forbidden, umihi is a conjugated form of pee, and dito means here) because people will just drop their pants and start watering the lillies right there in front of you.
> Random tangent, I am still going to ask about the whole you all coming to pick me up thing. Like I said on skype, there is an outback steakhouse in Manilla, along with wendys, tgi Fridays, and burger king ha. Anyways, if you all do come up, I am way stoked to show you all 1)the sunsets, 2)the stars, and 3)the moon. The moon shines like the sun and on the full moons I could write a novel under the moonlight it is SO bright. I will have a new mission president by then so I will ask him. I have been getting peoples opinions about the whole fall semester or not thing and most of them agree with you mom, so I will see how things turn out. I am going to ask derek, max, and this guy named Elder Sanders what they are gonna do. Derek, Elder Sanders, and Elder Bernard (the elder in my zone-another american) and I were going to go tear up USU when we got back, but with your suggestion, and the suggestions of those around me, I think I may just take your suggestion. It would give me time to work, and I want to take a day or two and go through every temple in utah (hey mom, can I use your van again) so this would give me time to do that too. Only time can tell. Plus it would remove the stress of having to go through all the trash of registration while I am still here…7000 miles away…and would give me the opportunity to go up to Logan and scope things out(employment, a residence, all that UHEEA crap…) before I jump right back into school so it is sounding more and more appealing (the stuff we talked about) so we will see.
> I started the new testement yesterday. I finished Jesus the Christ and it ROCKED MY SOCKS. I definitely suggest reading it. It is kind of long (800 pages) but it is definitely worth it. I learned SO much I never knew before. I couldn’t put it down. Being missionaries, we get a whole bunch of literature that normal members don’t get so I plan on going through the book of mormon with this textbook like thing that we have in the zone leaders apartment. It has so much random stuff that I never even knew. I am gonna start the BOM again. Haha mine already looks like a comic book with all the colors of my highlighting and my writing. I am going to get my cover redone on my scriptures because they are falling apart. You can have leather covers made here that are REALLY REALLY nice so I am gonna get that done. I am way excited to dominate institute when I get back. Institute and institute choir (I learned the blessings of a choir in the MTC) are going down when I return to good ol Logan-fresh and ready to rock.
> How are Rachael, Eric, and the girls doing? How is Stefanie doing down at school? I hope she is doing well. I told that kid to study study study so she better have taken my advice or else domination will occur. Can you ask Rachael to fly over here and make me some banana bread because I am in dire withdrawl from no banana bread. Sad day once again. By the way…I dominated that peanut butter in like 5 days…no more peanut butter for me…
> Today is one of the members of the zone leaders’ areas birthday so we are going to this island for her birthday. It is really really expensive but this lady comes and cooks for us and cleans for us out of the kindness of her heart. She loves the missionaries like I love skittles so it is the least we can do-go with her and celebrate.
> That is all she wrote for this week. I hope you are all rocking life and staying out of trouble (brady…I am watching you kid…ha just kidding) I love you all and wish you all the best!!
> Love,
> Jake
> Aka Elder Muller