Thursday, February 28, 2013

About Philippines Quezon City Mission

Call to Serve in
Philippines Quezon City mission

The Quezon (KAY-zahn) City Mission encompass the northern and eastern suburbs of Metro Manilla and adjacent communities, and is located in the southern portion of the island of Luzon.  This is a densely populated area of some 20 million people with an approximate distance of 35 miles across.  This distance can take as long as three hours to travel because of the usual heavy traffic.  the outlying province areas of our mission have more of a mountains rural setting with rice fields, farm land, and tropical vegetation.  The bulk of our missionaries serve here.  Our mission also includes the western half of Mindoro Occidental Island.  this island is sparsely populated and mostly agricultural.

Missionaries use only public transportation to get around in our mission.  These modes of travel include: Tricycle (a small motorcycle with a covered sidecar); Jeepney ( an elaborate, elongated version of an American Jeep that seats approximately twenty; regular buses( with and without air-con); and modern taxis, which are also available, but only used for emergencies because of the cost.

On 28 april 1961, then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley returned to the Philippines and met with a small group of servicemen, American residents, and Filipino members and officially opened the islands for missionary work; and it is now the nation with the fifth largest LDS population.  The Philippines Quezon Mission now has 6 stakes and 2 districts.  Proselyting areas usually consist of one of these units. In September 1984, President Hinckley returned to dedicate the Manilla Temple, which is within the boundaries of our mission.  Missionaries may attend the Temple once a transfer on Preparation day. Also missionaries can bring their investigators on Saturday mornings to tour the Temple grounds and partake of the spirit.  Most church members are somewhat conversant in English, and church meetings are conducted in a combination of English and Tagalog(tah-GAH-log).  Hymns are sung in English.

Missionaries live in apartments of houses with two to six missionaries in each.  Laundry women and housekeepers are not used, and all missionaries are responsible for keeping their surroundings clean and neat.  Missionaries are also responsible for purchasing and preparing their own food, and should bring with them a few good and easy recipes that contain basic ingredients.  Rice is a staple in this country and is an inexpensive main dish.  Every apartment has been provided with rice cooker.  Most of apartments has no oven for baking.  Taking shower is done by bucket full of water and laundry is done by hand since they don't have washing machine.  

The Philippines peso is the unit of currency.  Currently the rate is about 44 pesos(P44) to the US dollar($1).  Missionaries can find most of the things that they need in very inexpensive price in Philippines.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 22

From: Mandy Elsmore
Date: February 25, 2013 10:30:53 PM CST

Kumusta! ^_^

This week has been full of highs and lows. Its just been CRAZY! We have had random people come to our door inviting us over to eat with them, we've had people taking pictures of us at random birthday parties. I meet some Japanese people and got to speak to them in Japanese, which was super bad. I would try to speak in Japanese, but then Tagalog would come out. It was a mess, but we became good friends and they want to meet missionaries. :D Walking through pouring rain. Sadly, since I'm on a mountain, it was only a few inches of rain. No swimming through floods yet mom. ;) Had lots of people who are scared or angry at us for being Foreigners which has been really surprising to find here in the Philippines. All in all, its been a really strange week. Which I wish I could tell you more about in detail, but goodness, there never seems to be enough time. 

Something that has been recurring over and over again in conversations is the dreaded Aswang. Its this witch that is only waist up (not legs) and has long pointed teeth and how they fly is by flapping its arms. It also has colored, huge eyes and it eats people. Its so funny, the things that people come up with and find terrifying sometimes. These people are so superstitious and claim to see ghosts all the time. They are also dreamers. Many people say that they receive answers from God through their dreams all the time. They love to talk about them. Which is really interesting to me that people here are so eager and willing to share about "visions." Then ask us if we have had any. There is a very different sense and definition of the meaning of  holding things sacred to people here. Its really interesting. 

Here is one story about superstitions that cracked me up...
We were walking out of this house with a less active sister, and we hear this cat meowing, (well it was more like it was screaming. Cats meow hear sound really horrible and sad. Not sure why...) Anyway the sister stops and tells us about this cat. Whenever she hears it, someone on the block is pregnant. Its happened 2 times. The third time she heard it, she looked around and did not see anyone, and then looked down at her stomach and asked herself, "buntis ba?" which means, pregnant? HA HA HA! She was not pregnant though.

There is going to be 21 missions in the Phillippines. 58 new missions have been annouced throughour the world, 4 more here in the Philippines. YAY!!! So pretty much there is going to be about 4,000 missionaries in the Phillippines by the end of the year! SO AWESOME!!!

Read in Mosiah 1-6. King Benjamin has always been one of my favorite prophets and leaders in the BOM. He knows and lives how a good leader and example should be, he's educated, righteous, loving, bold, but not overbearing, leads by example, knows how to work hard, and made sure that his people and his sons understood and learned for themselves the gospel of Jesus Christ and gained a education. I really like Mosiah 3:41- There are always amazing people out there that you can just see the gospel blessings working through them and guiding their lives. These are always the people that everyone wants to be like and loves to be around. You can see that they are truely happy and you feel happy around them. I hope I too can be that kind of person. We all can! Which is the beauty of the Gospel and this life. :)

Got to Go. Love you All!
Sister Elsmore

Hi! Pictures from our trip to the Petrogyphs. Try to upload more recent ones next time. Sigh... so slow...HA HA HA! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 21

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: February 17, 2013 10:50:10 PM CST


Thank you for your letters! They really helped me. Not sure why, but so tired this week.

I've been making No Bake Cookies for people, because we have been having a lot of FHE's or Dinner Appointments with people. We are trying to get the ward to work with us more and do missionary work on their own. So I've been suggesting to people that we get together for a FHE or Dinner and I'll bring a dessert, or teach them how to make Japanese food. Which people have been getting really excited for. Its been really effective so far. Its getting people to open up more and getting excited to work with us later. Also. made Honey Lemon tea for a inactive sister this week. Found out she was sick, and felt we needed to do something for her. However, the only bottle we had was the left over honey jar, which looks like a alcohol bottle. HA HA HA! Gave it to her house help with a note explaining what it was. Hope it helped made her feel better and at least got a laugh out of it. 

On Friday, Elder Allen Packer (70 and President Packer's Son) and Elder Nelson (70 and in Area Presidency) came and spoke to us. Talking about the mission goals and where we need to improve on. They had great talks and I'm inspired to improve the weaknesses that I have. One day at a time. Little by little. 

D&C 123:16-17 This is Sister Nelson's favorite Scripture. She likes it because it demonstrates that through small adjustments, big changes can occur and put us back on track. Its in our power to DO all we can and do it cheerfully. Then we see the hand of the Lord in our lifes. 

Love Ya All!
Sister Elsmore

PS: Sorry its short, trying to post pictures, but its not working. I'll just have to accept that I'm cursed with technology. HA HA HA! Try again next week. 

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 20

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: February 10, 2013 11:49:32 PM CST

Kumusta! ^_^

This week has been a bunch of highs and lows in the mission. We are finally seeing some of the fruits of our labors in the Ward, the Less Actives, and Investigators. They are starting to grow and progress, even if its just a little bit. Its exciting. Sunday, Sister Christensen and I witness the miracle of forgiveness as a Less Active, who has not come to church for over 6 years, came back and shook the hand of the member who offended them. All because of one experience when we found a name we never heard of and decided to go look for them. They felt like our coming to them, when no one, not even previous missionaries, decided to visit them. We felt the spirit as we taught them, and they said it was a answer to their prayers to feel loved, appreciated, and to gain the strengthen from the Lord to come back to church. The Spirit, Its Amazing! The Atonement is real. Christ is real! The love shared and felt in the ward as they welcomed back this missed member was sincere and touching. 

We went to Temple Tour with a less active and her two children, who are crazy, but we love them. Made origami with them so they would calm down and their mom could concentrate on what was being said. After the tour, the next day at Church, they were happier. The kids, though still rowdy were happy to be at church rather than whining to go home. Sister, told us that she's inspired. She wants to come back completely. She wants to enter the Temple again. The last time she went in was in 2003. Right as she said this, the ward clerk walked by, she stopped him and asked if she could scheduled a appointment with the bishop for a temple recommend. The spirit at the Temple was strong, and its amazing what the spirit can do and touch peoples hearts after just one experience. Perhaps this is why strong spiritual experiences only come once in a while. It inspires us to change when we need to. We appreciate them more when they come because they are less frequent. I know the Lord gives us these experiences for our growth, benefit, and in the perfect time. 

Also from these experiences, I'm learning the power and effect of the Holy Ghost in peoples lives. I'm learning that people not only have to know truth, but they have to feel it as well. The Scriptures show this in 3 Nephi 11:8-17. This is the story when Christ comes to the people in America after he was resurrected. At first the people don't know who he is, they just know he's some kind of great being or angel. They Christ Tells them his identity. The people fall down because they remember the words of the prophets. However, it is only after, each and everyone of them Felt Christ did they truly know. That they truly understood and praised the Lord and believed in Christ. In order to truly learn, to truly gain a testimony, and to be truly converted; we not only have to know and learn the doctrine, but also live it, to feel it, to experience it. To have a true testimony and knowledge of truth we have to feel it through the spirit that is is true. These feelings are the things that inspire people and last in the hearts and memories of people for the rest of their lives. 

I'm continuing to try my best. Having patience for my companion and for myself. Just when I think there are no more problems, health wise, with Sister Christensen, another problem comes up. One she has not told me about before. I admire that she keeps pushing through everyday even with all her challenges. 

I'm learning lots and excited to learn more. Thank you for the love and support! Love ya all!

Sister Elsmore

Adventures of Mandy Elsmore 19

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: February 4, 2013 12:37:27 AM CST


So I got my haircut finally. I could not stand having long hair here anymore. The humidity and long hair are NOT a good combination. (Also it was making my shower time longer because of it. HA HA HA!) So I cut off 4 or 5 inches today and made the poor hair dresser guy nervous. HA HA HA! But it turned out good. :) After I got my haircut though, him and his friend were saying I looked maganda (beautiful) and asking if I had a boyfriend. O~o Awkward... Left fast after that. HA HA HA!

Sunday was fun. So before we invited everyone we talked to to come to church with us. They were like, sure we will come, but in a tone that was like. If we have time, but I don't really want to. However, we had 10 investigators at church! Sister Christensen and I were super happy about this but had NO IDEA what we were going to do with them all! We might have freaked out a little bit. HA HA HA! Luckily we had a recent RM who was willing to teach a gospel doctrine class on the spot and it went well. Also the testimonies were all really good in sacrament meeting. IT WAS A MIRACLE! There was only one testimony that was, why are they talking about this... It was just one of those small miracles that you see the power of fasting and prayer. :)

Taught my first lesson in district meeting about using the scriptures. Had them do a activity with paper teddy bears. Have people compete against each other for who can find the scripture the fastest. Whoever wins, gets to rip off a lib from the losers teddy bear. The missionaries who win face each other and then the losers face each other. Repeating the pattern. Whoever has the most limbs after a several rounds wins out of everyone. Anyway, it was fun. Perhaps a little bit to much teddy bear carnage (because the elders began to rip not just the limbs of the bears. Should have expected this. HA HA HA! However, just showed how skilled a knowledgeable of the scriptures everyone is. It was intense. :) The winner got No Bake Cookies. 

Alma 31:5
I like the comparison of the scriptures as a sword. They are powerful and a essential tool as a missionary. <3 them. :) They also invite the HG which is the true teacher. We could teach/ preach all we want, but without the spirit, it doesn't mean a thing to people. One way to invite the HG is through the scriptures. Also, through our example and personal study of them, others will know that when we share them, we are truly being sincere. 

Love you All! I will write again soon. :)
Sister Elsmore

Adventures of Mandy Elsmore 18

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: January 29, 2013 2:59:50 AM CST


This week has been fun and random! It was great. We got a bunch of random stuff from people for no reason: bread, cakes, plant, mangos, weird fruit I have never ate before (need to learn the name), and can't remember what else. Also learned how to do a bunch of random things. Make feather dusters from chicken feathers. Chinese Jump rope with a bunch of kids. Also got bit by a pet chicken name Ipot (poop in Tagalog), road in the back of a prisoner van, and had a experience with Filipino trying to contact a investigator and he treated the situation like a mafia movie. HA HA HA! One of my favorite stories is the following...

We are walking and we see this guy working on his car. We decide to go and talk to him, but he seems really busy and can't see us. So Looking around I notice these plants on the side of his house. They have green leaves that grow just straight up and have almost like a tiger pattern to them. They have pointed tips. You see them all over here in the Philippines. Anyway, on these plants, on the tips, there were egg shells. It was super Bizarre. So I turn to my companion and say, "I'm going to ask him about those eggs." So I ask the guy if I can ask him a random question. He Looks at us, then walks over to us and asks, "What is it?" I then ask why he has eggs on his plants. He then states that it just looks better that way. They are for decoration. HA HA HA! We talk to him for a while, and before we leave he asks, "Gusto mo ba ang plant?" So Gusto= can mean want or like. We thought that he asked if I liked the plant. So we say yes, they are great. We like them. He then has his friend (joined us later in the conversation who was just about to go garden) dig up one of his plants and give it to us. We were like, "NO! Sorry, we just like to look at it. We don't want to take your plant." But he would not take no for a answer. So we ended up carrying around this plant with a egg shell on it for the rest of the day. It was quite the conversational starter. We decided to name the Plant Sunny, short for Sunny Side Up. :)

2 Nephi 10: 23 I like this verse because it just simply and clearly states that we should,"Cheer up (our) hearts" can choose to be happy or sad. We can act for ourselves in this manner. It reminded me of the song "Don't worry, be happy now!" Its so simple, but so true. So this was my goal this past week, and I have been enjoying life so much more. :) 

Finished a Art project for Sister DeLaMare. She wanted me to design a wall in the Mission Office for our new theme. I had the Elders in my Zone model for me (which was fun). I just did cut out letters and silloqutes (yes I know I spelled this wrong, I can't remember how to spell the word) of Elders baptizing and confirming. Turned out pretty good. Hope She is happy with it. :)

Anyway, Hope you are all doing well! Love ya all!

Sister Elsmore ^_^

Adventures of Mandy Elsmore 17

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: January 21, 2013 5:13:26 AM CST


This week has been eventful. My companion has been really sick the past 3 days. Stomach pains that won't go away. O.o Hopefully they are not anything serious and we will be able to work more this week. She wants to work so much, she's awesome!

Asked a person if they wanted to be baptized for the first time this week if they received a answer that the church was true. Mary Grace said she would. She is great. She is very smart and wants to become closer to the Lord and know the truth for herself and for her 2 year old son. 

Experienced my first Bible bashing. It was interesting. I can see why people get such a kick out of it. There is a rush of wanting to prove your beliefs to someone else; however, there is also no spirit in a room of contention. It was not something I really enjoyed. HA HA HA! Sister Christensen and I just sat there as they "preached" to us about beliefs in the bible. They kept interrogating us on things we had mutual beliefs on. We would try to bear simple testimony, but then they would cut us off and ask us random questions about some other random doctrine. The whole time I was sitting there amazed at the amount the people knew here. There are a lot of Filipinos who are very learned in the Bible. ITS AWESOME! I was thinking to myself, "Man, these people are truly prepared." However, it got to be a little bit too much for my companion and she started crying. O.o Which finally got them to stop. 

Zone Activity today was AWESOME! We went to so petroglyphs! The oldest ones in all of the Philippines. There was this cave tunnel we had to go through to get to them and there were bats, owls, lizards, etc... I was in heaven! HA HA HA! There was also a view of the ocean out there. It was gorgeous. Took some pictures. :) Then afterward, we played some Filipino games in the church parking lot. Also, Elder Teh of the 70 came with his wife and gave us a TON of food and drinks. (we texted them and said there was no water running in the building. Wanted to know how to turn it on because we were dying of thirst.) We are so spoiled. My companion and I had to leave early though because she was pretty much dying. Hope the new medicine she gets today works for her. >~<

Scripture that I really like...
1 Nephi 22:25 Do you know the difference between a shepherd and a herder? A herder uses his staff to scare the sheep into going toward the direction he wants them to go. He moves them from the back. A shepherd leads the way. The sheep know him and love him. They trust him and know that he will not lead them astray. The shepherd also knows each and everyone of his sheep by name. He raised them from the time they where lambs, and loves them. He leads the to pastures, Heaven for sheep. :) I like this scripture, because we too have the opportunity to know Jesus Christ in this life. He leads us to pastures, and though, the road may not be easy at times, by if we follow in faith, we will never go astray. Also, that we follow Christ because we want to and love him, not because we are forced to. I know that Jesus Christ is our redeemer and knows and loves each and everyone of us. I'm seeing this more and more her in the Philippines, and I'm grateful for it. :)

Love Ya All! :) I will write again next week.
Sister Elsmore

Adventures of Mandy Elsmore 16

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: January 13, 2013 10:21:15 PM CST

Kumusta Family and Friends!

This week was hard, but we saw the blessings of the Lord when you work hard, be obedient, and act on faith. This whole last week, Sister Christensen and I have been punted at almost every single house we went to. I'm not sure if its because Sister Ramilo and Sister Sojor are gone and its just me. Or if its just because of the New Year people's schedule are changing. Many Less Actives that I taught before last transfer don't really want to listen to us anymore. So, after trying every single house that I knew to teach, we went tracking. Walking around all day everyday tracking. On Friday was one of the harder days. It was pouring rain and we were in a very wealthy neighborhood, where its Bawal (forbidden) to solicit. Finding that the less active was not home we felt like we needed to track in the area until our next appointment. We walked and walked, praying that someone would be outside their house so we could talk to them. Finally, we see this old man standing in the rain without a umbrella outside his house. We go up and talk to him and his daughter comes out and invites us in. Their whole family has been searching for the truth in many religions and have listened to many different missionaries of different faiths. This was their first time meeting LDS members (aka Mormons). We taught the whole family and they were very receptive. Had many questions and want to know more, even come to church sometime. :) It was just one of those times where you think to yourself afterwards, yes, this is why I'm here. To bring joy to people's homes by inviting them to come unto Christ. Also, that God really does lead us missionaries to his children who are searching how to become closer to him together with their families, through the Holy Ghost. It was a awesome experience. :)

This week my goal is to strengthen and incorporate the Christlike attribute of Hope into my life. To trust the Lord more and expect blessings and miracles to occur as I act on faith and be obedient. With hope, I know I can become more confident. I will not doubt or have fear with a hope of becoming a better missionary for the Lord and his children here in the Philippines.  Taking one day at a time, improving little by little, and having patience with weaknesses. I know through the gospel and through Christ's Atonement I can become more that I can possibly imagine, and hopefully, help other's to see this as well in their lives. 

Sister Christensen has allergies to wheat and milk. So we do not eat meals together. However, we have been making refrigerator fudge with coconut oil, cocoa, and sugar. She says that I've saved her life with this stuff. HA HA HA! We are starting to get along with each other. Its weird to be in a house with just one other person... But I'm getting used to it. She is very quiet, and shy, but we have a lot of things in common. Likes and opinions about things. I'll keep trying to open up more to her and have more fun. It's weird to feel like I've forgotten how to just have fun sometimes. O~o 

Anyway, Love ya All. Thank you for the support and letters. ^_^ 
Sister Elsmore

PS: Shout out to Becky and Loren. Your picture made me laugh. 

Pictures:YAY! 1) Temple lighting with my favorite family- Narciso children. Found out latter it was Bawal to be so close to the statues. Oops.

2) One of the Streets in my area.
3) Not sure what this mountain's name is

Adventures of sister Elsmore 15

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: January 6, 2013 11:25:22 PM CST


I have a new companion and trainer. Sister Christensen, she is from Provo Utah. She is very sweet, quite, a little shy, but very obedient. She has been out 6 months in the Philippines. 

I was in Cubao because I would not have a companion for a couple of days. I got to be with Sister Campbell (one of my companions in the MTC) again for two days. Funny story when I was staying with the Cubao sisters:

I needed sheets so we were looking in Sister Bowman's closet for some, when all of a sudden she screams, saying there is a HUGE lizard which is now in the pile of her clothes in the closet. We go through each article of clothing shacking them trying to find the lizard. Finally find it hiding under the last piece of clothing. I reach out to catch it and she freaks out again. Saying, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? OH MY GOODNESS! YOU ARE DEFINITELY SOJOR"S CHILD!" HA HA HA! She runs to the other side of the room. Then says, ok she is ready. I go for the 2 1/2 inch little gecko, but he jumps over my hands and runs towards Sister Bowman. Who screams and jumps up onto a nearby bed. The gecko, then runs into a crack in the wall. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. HAHAHA!

We mainly go to places by triks. These motorcycles with a side car. I have not exotic food stories for the week. I'm leading the area now, and remember everywhere we need to go. YAY! Though, my companion got SUPER tired with me showing her around the place. We might have to take more triks from now on. I forget sometimes that Sisters get tired easy sometimes. 

Anyway, got to run. Love Ya All! I will write again next week. I'm excited to have a new beginning with a new companion and experience a one on one companionship. 

Sister Elsmore

This is a tric that we usually ride on. They are not expensive. @Dad- This is probably what the Filipino member was talking about to you

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 14

From: Mandy Elsmore
Date: January 1, 2013 10:48:54 PM CST

Kumusta Family & Friends,

Yay! New Year! This week was crazy! I've never ate so much in my entire life! We had so many eating appointments for the the 31st and the 1st because 1) Filippinos love to feed the missionaries on Holidays 2) Both my companions are leaving this week. So they all wanted to say good bye. The Phrase my companions and the ward keep saying to me is "Eat more Elsmore." Thing about Filippinos, the same joke never gets old to them. HA HA HA! Most exotic thing I ate was crocodile. It was pretty good, like softer chicken. 

I am now in Cubao for the next two days and get my new companion tomorrow. I think I'm staying in Antipolo... I find out tomorrow. I'm excited to get a new companion(s?). I'm determined to get to know them and get closer to those in the Ward. 

One of my favorite people in the Ward, Nanay Helen, has been diagnosed with 2nd Degree Leukemia. The doctor says there is nothing they can do for her, she just has to wait for her time to die now. Its surprising to see though, how calm she is about it. Her faith about the afterlife is unwavering. She knows that her and her family have been sealed for all time and eternity and she feels ready. Ready to be reunited with her 14 year old son who died a couple years ago. She will leave behind her husband, a son, and a daughter. I love this woman. she has been a great example and friend to me. I will miss her when she goes, and for now, I will keep giving words of comfort and support to her, and try to do some service for her and her family. Its strange, but also wonderful to have the opportunity to become so close to so many people. And though its hard sometimes because you have no idea what to do or what you could possibly do to help, but I that's when after you do everything you can to help them, and listen to the spirit, you let the Lord take over and he takes care of the rest. Its amazing to see the effect the gospel has on peoples lives for the better.

Love you all! Hope you have a great start to 2013! 

Sister Elsmore 

PS: My card reader does not seem to work here for some reason. So sorry about no pictures for now. I'll look around for a new one here.  

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 13

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: December 17, 2012 12:12:17 AM CST


No bug nets in the house. Yes I wash my own laundry by hand. There is pretty much everything I need here in the Philippines so you don't need to send me anything. :) Antipolo is a province. There are a mix of middle class and poor people. There are many places where we teach which are smaller than my bedroom and are pretty much a shack made out of things they found off the street. However, aparrently its one of the safest places here in Quezon City. Many celebrities live here because of it. We actually have a referral to teach a actor/ model, which I my companions are VERY excited about. I have no idea who he is though. HA HA HA! Learning some Philippino dishes from companions as well. 

Starting to teach with more confidence now; however, there are times when I'm still all over the place. I need to keep practicing teaching skills and listen more to the spirit. I've made it a goal to memorize a scripture every week in Tagalog. This way I have scriptures that I can use for lessons and improve my Tagalog at the same time. 

Sis Sojor has been very sick the past couple days. :( I have been praying for her and trying to find things to do for her to make things easier. I hope she gets better soon! In the time while being at home so she can get some rest and get better, I have been writing letters of appreciation and my testimony of the savior to those in my Zone and my past companions. It has been a good reminder for me to count my blessings and review how Christ has made such a huge impact on my life. Like it says in 2 Nephi 11:5-6 "my soul delighteth" because of Christ and his atoning sacrifice for all of us, so much that I want to share this joy with others. Its been a good reminder of my purpose here. Christmas is GREAT!

We have been sharing the Christmas message with people and challenging them to share the gospel with their friends. We got a few referrals from it. :) We also shared part of Luke 2 with a family.

There is a woman who lives across from us. Nanay (mommy/ granny) Lolita. She is so funny, but so prepared to hear the gospel. We went to talk to here and she kept talking about how blessed she has been because of the the Savior, and even though her daughter died a couple of months ago, she's so grateful for the Savior and the scriptures. She reads the bible everyday with her family and prays together with them. Everything we talked to her about she kept saying, "AMEN!" and then would shake her head yes over and over again. We will teach her again tomorrow which I'm excited about. :)

Last Monday was a partner in crime for the Murder of Jericho the Chicken. My Zone tried to have me kill the chicken, but they gave me a dull knife. I was hacking away at it, but I was only giving little cuts to the poor chicken's throat. O.o Finally, one of the Elders took over and used for force on it to kill the poor creature. Afterwards learned how to clean and prepare the chicken. Everyone kept asking if I had done this before because I wasn't freaking out like the other american Elders in my Zone. HA HA HA! 

Thanks for the Pictures! ^_^ So the computer I am on is not working for putting pictures up.T_T I'll have to try again next week. 

I'm going to try skype on Dec 25 in the Philippines at 10:00 or 11:00 AM, so I think that is like 7:00pm or 8:00pm your time right? If its later, I'm sorry. So be ready on the computer. 

As for the blog. I think its a great idea. That way you don't have to keep forwarding emails to people. Just tell them the blog and they can follow along if they want. For the other missionaries, I'll tell you when to send them letters. Thank you family! Love you all.

Sis Elsmore

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 12

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: December 9, 2012 10:11:37 PM CST


This letter I will try to answer as many questions as I can. 

I'm in Antipolo City in the Masagana 1st Ward (Masagana means bountiful). Its in the mountains, and it has some really pretty areas and spots. My companions and the Bishop laughed when I told them this. They said wait until I see the "real Philippines." Which is to them in the south where they are from. HA HA HA! The only way for that to happen is if I got sent to the Mindoro Island. For now, I'll be happy with what is around me. :)

The Apartment is nice. It's actually my second apartment, because the 1st week the apartment we lived in, the contracted ended. So we had to move to another one. We have a oven with this one, which is rare to have in the Philippines. So my roommates and I made a chocolate cake for the Lady Next door. She is going to feed us and we are going to teach her about the Plan of Salvation (child who has died, so we want to comfort her.)

Only thing that has not been as pleasant has been the bugs. I'm getting eatten alive here. Also, I'm pretty sure I've killed more cockroaches here in the past two weeks than I have in my entire life. HA HA HA! I'm going to be a master by the end of my mission. You can just call me the roach slayer. ;)

Christmas season is great. Going to go carol for the Elderly home on Thursday. Also, Zone Activity today. We are going to Kill a chicken. They want me to kill it. O.o I have mixed feelings about this. HA HA HA! bought the chicken this morning. Was under my seat on the way back. Took a picture. Send it next week. 

Write more next week. 

Sister Elsmore

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 11

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: December 3, 2012 9:38:36 PM CST

Hello Family and Friends!

This week has been going well. We were able to teach many less actives and found a couple investigators yesterday which was exciting. I need to work on actually talking more and not letting my companions do all the talking though. Starting to gain a little bit more confidence in teaching because of companionship study with Sister Ramilo and Sister Sojor. I'm very grateful for their example to me, even if at times they get a bit trunky ( there missions end in a month, then I get a new trainer for 6 more weeks), they push through and keep moving forward with the work. 

Going in the Temple in Manila for Endowment Session was amazing. I'm very grateful to have a temple in our mission. It re-inspired me to the reason why we teach people and invite them to Christ. So they can achieve salvation with their families and feel the peace and joy from keeping covenants: baptism and temple covenants. I hope many people choose to prepare themselves for the temple so they can feel such a strong and wonderful spirit.

Christmas Season is here! YAY! I'm excited for the many opportunities to spread the spirit of Christmas. We want to carol for people as a service and invite many investigators and less actives to the Ward Christmas Party. I hope they will be able to feel the spirit of joy, happiness and gratitude there, feel welcomed by the members, be reminded how important Christ is to us, and draw closer together with those they love. I hope people don't hide from us when we carol. Many people when they Carol, they make you pay them for singing to you. Last night, my companions and I hid from them with the lights off in the middle of Companionship Study. Perhaps we should have used the opportunity to teach the people rather than hide from them. 

Sometimes feel like I have no idea what to say or do to invite others to Christ. Partially, because I'm spiritually weak I guess, but also the fact many of the less actives we teach, though they love listening to us, do not seem like they want to change. I guess I felt a taste of how prophets of old felt sorrow for their people and their iniquities. For example, tried to teach one inactive Sister who has a husband who is 19 years older than her. She was forced into marriage with him, so she says she does not love him. She is determined to divorce him and has many suitors. She has a daughter who is 16 years old and is struggling in the church because of her parents. Talking to this woman, it was amazing to see how it was almost like she was trying to convince us and herself that she was perfectly happy without the gospel. When we tried to bring up the church, she would brush it aside. Its crazy to think that a little less than 20 years ago she was a strong missionary for the church, but because of choices she has made and her focus on herself (she likes to brag about how pretty she is. Its hilarious in almost a sad way) she has changed into a completely different person. One thing she said as we were leaving struck me though. She said,"I am active in my heart you know, I may look like this, but I'm active here in my heart." Thinking about this, it is not enough to just say "I believe in Christ" and expect to receive blessings from the lord. You have to act on it. Like with growing up, we have to earn our Parent's trust by obeying the rules they set out for us. Then, they in turn allow us more freedoms and to have more privileges  Life is easier and more fun. I believe this Sister when she says she has a good heart. I've seen in in the way she treats us and her daughter. She also does a lot of Good for the children she teaches at elementary schools. Its just sad to me to see her knowingly making wrong choices and convincing herself that its okay and she has good reasons for it. I regret not saying anything as we left. From this, I have a new determination to strengthen my own testimony, so that I can bear a more heartfelt testimony. Also to gain more courage and be more bold in speaking out.

So, Mission Rules on Writing letters. I cannot write anyone other than my direct family; however, they are allow to forward me letters from you and vise-versa if you so desire. Or, Dear Elders take 1-2 weeks. (I get mail every two weeks). If you write me, I promise I will write back, but it might take a couple weeks just so you know. If you want me to write you a handwritten letter (easier for me to respond), send me your address. ;) Mail takes usually 4 weeks according to missionaries here. But they can take up to 7-8 weeks tops and 2 weeks is the fastest. 

Anyway I hope you are all doing well. Sorry if this letter is all over the place. I did not have time to organize my thoughts. HA HA HA!

Sister Elsmore

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 10

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: November 25, 2012 11:00:35 PM CST

Kumusta Family!

So the first week is going well. I am in a three-some yet again. My companion's are Sister Ramilo and Sister Sojor. They are SO FUNNY! They remind me so much of Emily and Erikka. So, if Emily Daw and Erikka Beam were Filipino missionaries, they would be Sister Ramilo and Sister Sojor. HA HA HA! They are a unstoppable force of nature. ^_^ They are great and helping me gain confidence in teaching. They are also great at relating to the people and becoming a friend to them. They are a great example to me. I hope that I can be a spiritual and good at teaching as they are. ^_^

I'm doing better in the Language than I thought I would. Everyone, especially my companions, are so surprised to hear me speak. They are keep asking how in the world I learned Tagalog, because there are no grammatical mistakes. Which is surprising to me, because half of the times I have no idea whether or not I'm saying things right. HA HA HA. They say I have "THE GIFT." I'm very grateful to my Heavenly Father for this. That I can teach people quicker and communicate to them the doctrine of the gospel. So they can understand who it relates to them and how to draw closer to God. I can understand about the general gist of what is going on if I concentrate (which can sometimes be hard when there is so much going on around you. Like on a busy street, etc...) I know it will take a little bit of time before I can be completely fluent; however, for now I'll keep striving to understand what people are saying and write down things I don't understand and/ or ask my companions what things mean.  

The things that I am struggling most with is probably gaining the confidence in actually teaching people. There were several time where I had no idea what I should say to them, in Tagalog or English for that matter, because of my fear of saying the wrong thing to them. Practice Teaching during companionship study had helped a little, but I guess I'm a little frustrated with myself in this area. I should not fear people. I need to have greater faith in the Lord, keep preparing myself and learning the gospel, so I can be ready to be a instrument in the Lord's hands. This is my goal mainly for this week and for my whole mission. 

The other thing which had been a struggle these couple days has been getting used to the time zone. HA HA HA! Sometimes during the Evening, I start to doze off during daily planning, or once even fell asleep. I'll keep praying that I won't fall asleep during something important like a teaching appointment or meeting and get used to the time zone. 

The people of the Philippines are great! I can't believe how spiritual they are. They are all so humble and wanting nothing more than the best for their families. There have been many families we have visited that have almost literally nothing, but they still have so much Joy. Because they have their families, food on the table, and their faith. They struggle with going to church because of reasons like, If I don't work, my family will starve. It makes me think how spoiled I've been in America, how my concerns have been sometimes be so self-centered and materialistic. It has been very humbling. I know that the Lord will provide a way for these people. They have such precious seeds of faith, I know they have the potential to grow strong and great if they act on it. I just love these people. They are so AWESOME! 

Food has been great. All tastes so good. I have no idea what they are called; however, my companion Sister Sojor is going to teach me. I ate Balut. It wasn't bad, just a little chewy sometimes. But I can kind-of understand why they love it. I don't think I'll ever have a craving for it; however, I'd eat it again. My companions are surprised I have not got sick at all. They said that usually foreigners get sick the first week because they are not used to the food. Another thing I am grateful for. That I can serve the Lord without feeling sick. Showering is pretty much a bucket and water. Its so AWESOME! Its like camping everyday here. LOVE IT! 

Anyway, Got to go. Love you all. 
Sister Elsmore

PIC- Me eating balut. I've had no time to take pictures of the area around me. Only allowed to take pics on PD. Send some next week.

Sister Elsmore With Sister and Mission President DeLaMare and Her companions,Sister Sojor and Sister Ramilo.

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 9

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: November 20, 2012 4:53:23 PM CST

Kumusta Family!

Been so crazy today. Packing, cleaning, sending things. I´m sorry this is short; however, I will call  When I get to LA. So probably around 9:45 ish. But I will call, and share lots of stories.

Because I will probably forget... Mom, I sent home 2 packages with all my warm clothes. Also there is a thing for James in there. Its this cool pull thing I used for my id card and key. I'll tell him more about it over the phone.

I got the package from Dirk and Dianne. THANK YOU! It was a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, Love you all! It's been great at the MTC. I've learned lots, had lots of spritual experiences, and worked my hardest. I don't expect to really understand anything that people say over in the Philippines; however, I feel like its the right time to go. ^_^

Sister Elsmore

PS: Alma 26 is AWESOME! All about missionary work, the blessings that come, and purpose. I'll write about it more next time.

PSS: (is this how you do another PS thing?) HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I greatful for the Lord and all the blessings he has given me. My family. The opportunity to be here. For sending his son, Jesus Christ to Atone for us, so we might be able to return to him and live with our families forever. Thank he can help us with all our trials and pain in life, because he has felt it so he can succor us. I'm thankful for this gospel, so we might know how to grow together as a family, grow closer to the Lord, and know how to live better lives.

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 8

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: November 13, 2012 5:38:29 PM CST
Hi Family!

Go to the Airport at 4:30pm. So thinking that the best time to call would be when I get to LA and there is a 2 1/2 hour wait. What  do you think? I get one more email in the MTC before I leave next Tuesday. As for the email, I keep the same email my entire email. Mom and Dad can keep emailing me. I don't know about anybody else yet. I have to wait until I get to the Philippines to find out. Probably I will be able to though. 

Delta Air lines 1211 
SLC 8:25 PM- LA 9:28 PM 20 Nov. 2012

Cathay Pacific Airways 881 
LA 12:05 AM- Hong Kong 7:40 AM

Cathay Pacific Airways 901
Hong Kong 9:05 AM- Manila, Philippines 11:15

Lots of things have happened...

Had fun in the snow. Made snow angels after Gym. WAS SO COLD! And made slushes with the snow by mixing it with juice. SO GOOD! HA HA HA! There are just sometimes when you have to let yourself have a little fun. ;)

We are sitting in devotional and someone asks before the start that they are looking for sisters going to the Philippines. we raise our hands, but the head people go over to another group of sisters first. However, after a couple minutes, they come up to us next and ask, "Are you the sisters who ate lunch with Brother Heaton?" We were like... "Whose that?" So they left. However, 5 minutes later they come over and Brother Heaton points at us and says, "Thats them!" We were like, "OH... That guy..." He says, "I ate lunch with them a week ago" We were all thinking, "We don't remember hardley anything that happened a week ago." HA HA HA! He takes us in a back room (my companions, another 3 some of sisters, and myself) and ask us if their conversation at lunch changed anything about our teaching. I was so confused, because on that day I was too far away from him to hear the conversation (being there were 3 sisters between me and him) so I did not take part in the conversation. He then asks us if we would share our experiences with everyone in the devotional as part of his talk!

We get front row seats to the devotional and my companion gives me a short summary of what the conversation was about. How to get investigators to truly commit. So we get up there and we each say something. I just share my thoughts on the subject (so scared). Finally my companion Sis. Campbell is the last to speak. She is so nervous she starts speaking some words in Tagalog. HA HA HA! Everyone loved her! We (especially sister Campbell) are famous in the MTC. A bunch of people keep coming up to us and talk to us like they know who we are. And the whole time we are standing there like, wait... who are you?"

Read a lot about the commandments this week. It will be hard to extend commandments I think to a people who are so poor and have nothing. But I guess its just like the story in Alma. The people were humbled by their poverty and were more spiritually ready to receive the gospel. I will have faith in the Lord and speak the words prompted by the spirit.

Sis Mandy Elsmore

Pictures: district and me hugging a snowman. ^_^

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 7

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: November 6, 2012 5:37:20 PM CST

Kumusta Family! (how are you- there is no Hi in the Philippines)

I LEAVE IN 2 WEEKS!!! CRAZY!!! Last normal week and then preparations for leaving. Thanks for the letters. Story about James was hilarious. ^_^. Pretty sure my there is no hope in convincing my companions that we are not crazy. Especially after having me as a companion. HA HA HA!  

Scriptures: (realized a lot of it is self evaluation. Guess because the end of the MTC is coming, with a new beginning.)

I've been reading in Alma this week and made the connection that Elder Holland is like a modern day version of Captain Moroni! He just increased in the awesomeness for me. :D Things that I've learned from their example and words is that Sin is not to be tolerated whatsoever. Do I make excuses for myself? Do I turn the other way when others are doing the wrong thing? Do I have low expectations for myself? These are some of the questions I had after pondering about from them.

Also, Alma 5 is SUPER AWESOME! Way to evaluate your own life when you read it. It makes me want to recommit myself to the Lord after reading it. 

Fun Thing:
I found I have a new skill. I CAN RIP APPLES PERFECTLY IN HALF! Its so awesome! A couple elders in my district tried it too. Its a lot easier that you think it would be. 

I have a question for Mom and Dad. Did you serve with a Jerald Toms? This is my companion's step-dad and he served in Japan the same time you and Mom did. (at least we think so) Which mission did you two serve in again? I keep forgetting.  

Sorry its short. Not much time today. Needed to write to my mission president in the Philippines. ^_- Write more next week and hopefully with flight plans. 

Love You All!
Sister Mandy Elsmore

PS: I got Grandma and Grandpa's letter. THANK YOU!!! It was very sweet. Made me really happy. To answer their question, it probably would be best if they sent the Christmas card this week or next. I'm not really sure how trustworthy the mail system is there. Particularly since Grandma mentioned including money. (which really they don't have to do that. I'm just glad to hear from them. ^_^)  

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 6

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: October 30, 2012 5:45:58 PM CDT


HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Thanks for sending me the picture of James. It was hilarious. I've been telling the elders and sisters in my zone about it and they think my little brother is awesome. ;) HA HA HA! I might be one of my companions tomorrow. At least I have options. HA HA HA! I can finally understand why all the missionaries were so confused about holidays in the MTC now. Not really any need or focus for them here. Only sign we have about them is from all the packages. SO MUCH CANDY!!! My companions have been getting so much here is no way we will be able to finish it in 3 weeks. As to Dad's comment about not to worry about sending any because he can't afford buying me larger clothing. HA! Yah right. I haven't gained any weight here in the MTC. :P

Other than the overload of candy and treats. Things are going quite well. Its weird to be the "oldest district" now, but its fun to help the "younger missionaries." We have only been here 3 weeks ahead of them, but I feel like we have aged a whole year here already. If this keeps up, I'll have aged about 14.1 years by then end. HA HA HA!

Things I have learned this past week...
Its amazing how things you never would have thought of become challenges and bring you closer to the Lord. For me, it was my talents. I have been struggling in knowing when it is appropriate to use talents like drawing or speaking Japanese. They are wonderful things that I love and cherish; however, they can also be a distraction. For me and for the missionaries around me. Having to turn to the Lord to know when such a seemingly small thing is appropriate is amazing. It was a reminder to me that the Lord cares about us and will help us even in the little things in life. I wonder if the many small, almost insignificant moments like these throughout life have more of a impact on us than one miraculous moment. 

The longer I'm here the more I wonder what my purpose personally will be from the Lord. Why I was called to the Philippines. This is something I may never know; however, its teaching me to trust in the Lord more. To prepare myself for that moment when he will need me. Perhaps not knowing is pushing me in ways I never though possible. For this, I am graitful. 

Moroni 10:3-5 I've made it a goal that I will do everything with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Jesus Christ. In every prayer, every-time I read, every-time I teach, every-time I testify. The difference is amazing. The spirit is stronger with just a change of attitude. Its wonderful. Sometimes things become to routine, and we need to step back and remember that this is God we are talking to and about. He is so important and we love him. How often do we show it?

Fun things:

Bubbles make EVERYONE no matter where they are or how they are feeling smile. Elder Cox (in my district) blow them randomly all the time. When they were running out, he added hand sanitizer to it. If you could blow a bubble from the concoction, it would be this SUPER Bubble that would stay on the floor for several seconds or bounce a couple times before popping. IT WAS AMAZING!!! HA HA HA!

Random Rant/ Expression of Gratitude:

IT'S SO COLD! (no mom don't send any more cloths. I'm fine, just over-exaggerating.) Especially in a skirt! There is no prevention (that applys to the MTC handbook) measure for it. I'm so glad I'm going to a warm place, I'm pretty sure I would not be able to function serving in a cold area. I have more respect for sisters serving in freezing places. 

Glad everyone is doing well. Thank you for the letters. They were a great help this week. I look forward to Tuesdays and Fridays. ^_^  Dad! I appreciate all the work you do for us. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here. Mom thank you for the words of support and advice. You are awesome! 

Love you All! 
Sister Elsmore

PS: Japanese and Tagalog are starting to get mixed up. Calling it Jagalog. HA HA HA!

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 5

From: Mandy Elsmore 

Date: October 23, 2012 5:54:35 PM CDT

Hi Family!

I read some of D&C 84. I did not get to finish it though, but I definately had some AH HA!!! moments reading it and going to the temple today. Thanks Dad for the suggestion. I'll have to read it again and plan more time for myself to pnder over it. probably on Sunday. :) Its times like these that you wish there were more time in the day ( or planned out more time in the day) to read scriptures. There is so much to learn spiritually in all the scriptures. Learning to have a increased love for them. I'd have to say personal study time is my favorite part of the day. Studying for the purpose of trying to bring your investigator closer to God, and also being edified yourself. It's fabulous. Something I will hvae to make sure I keep doing for the rest of my life. Time devoted to the Lord everyday to learn and to grow closer to him. ^_^

To answer mom's quesion... We had Elder Bednar come and speak to us on 10/9. He talked about the importance of developing a way to study the words of the prophets. (Which reminds me, missionaries in the MTC don't get the Ensign. Why? I have no idea, but it seems kind-of silly that we don't get it here. We preach about having modern day revelation, but don't have accesses to the talks unless we go on the internet (which is like never.) HA HA HA. Oh well, I'll stop ranting. Hopefully we get the Liahona in the Philippines.) 
Tips from him- find the doctrine, invitation, & promised blessing from the talk and apply it to YOU!

In Relief Society we had President Lindon Burton on 10/14 also talked about the ways to evaluate conference. The purpose of relief society. That women and men are like complementary colors. They bring out the other when they are next to each other. We are the hands that help on another and the Lord helps us with this.

Ann M. Dibb (2nd Counselor of YW and President Monson's daughter) spoke on Sunday. Also I got to meet here in person for a few minutes afterward. She is so much like her father. ^_^ Learned that President Monson had 4 chickens. ^_^ She went through a lot of stories about different principles of the gospel. She told me and my companions that we will mainly be going out and re-converting the inactive members. There are a lot in the Philippines. She said, "Missionaries who come back there often say that from their experience they never want to fall away from the church and have someone have to come and rescue them." I'll make that goal now. 

A re-accuring theme though in their devotional talks and others is that we have to step it up. Since the age limit has changed, there will be and is a increase in outgoing missionaries. (the rumor is there is the same amount or more girls putting in their papers now than guys.) Which means the demand for trainers goes up. We will most likely be training the incoming missionaries after 3 months in the field. Thats when they will first arrive throughout the world. (start in the MTC January. Get to the Philippines in February.) SO CRAZY!!! I'm excited that the lord trusts us missionaries enough to train others after such a short amount of time. I am determined to not let him down. if we keep doing our best and relay on the lord, he will take care of the rest. ^_^

Not sure about the whole Facebook photo thing yet. I referred Sam to the MTC missionaries and they Facebook/ emailed her. I have not heard yet whether or not she is talking to them or not. As for my emails, if you r could send them to me viva mail (printed out), that would be great! Have not got in contact with my mission president in the Philippines about that yet. So for now, better safe than sorry. 

As for the mission shrine, you should have clap on lights. ;) jk. Also thank you for the coupons. They were hilarious. My zone had a good laugh about it. 
Fun things done here. Played Soccer yesterday. We gathered enough girls to outnumber the guys so we got the field. HA HA HA! It was awesome. I have not played soccer in a while. Probably be the only time we get to do that here at the MTC. (many female missionaries are leaving next Monday.)
Well, still working hard. I've enjoyed your letters. Don't worry, I'm balancing out the work load quite well and enjoying myself in the MTC. I love you all!

Sister Mandy Elsmore

PS: If your thinking about sending me food. DON'T!!!! We have so much snacks and candies from my companions for Halloween its ridiculous. Send stickers or drawings or somthing not ediable if you must send something. HA HA HA! 

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 4

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: October 16, 2012 6:09:33 PM CDT

Hi family!

Still doing well. Not much to report. Things still going well. Learning lots about the gospel. Read through D&C 138 about the gospel being taught in the Spirit World. EVERYONE will have a chance to learn and apply the gospel if they so choose. God is very loving. I'm very graiteful. Also in this section is a good example on how to study the scriptures. Read a passage. If its something you never heard of before or don't quite understand. Ponder about it, then turn to the lord in prayer. For most of us, we will recieve a answer through the Holy Ghost. But, we will always recieve a answer. Moroni 10:3-5 How to pray and seek answers. Classic, but so powerful. One of my favorite scriptrures which I was debating about for my missionary ward plack thing.

Thanks for the letters. Sounds like James had fun camping. very amusing. Congrats on 1st chair and Good luck at Regionals. Work hard and have fun. ^_^ Don't complain too much about ice-skating boots. Keep Dad saine for when I get back ok. ;) Dad, way to take missionary opportunities. AWESOME! I gave a referal to the service missionaries here in the MTC. Hopefully they will talk to them. :D Glad you guys are having fun with technology. Some things never change. Mom's story about the temple was amusing. Its amazing how the spirit can lead you in little things in life, so they are easy to ignore sometimes. I'm sure the family was very graitful for what you did though.

We go to the temple once a week on PD. Its the best thing of the day. I've done 2 endownment sessions, 1 inititory, and 1 sealing. I almost have the endownment things to say memorized now. ^_^ I've been keeping warm. The room we have been staying in was FREEZING! We could not figure out why until I broke into the thermastate. It was at 0 F. Why, I have no idea. But I fixed it. Don't worry, I didn't break anything. i guess I'm going to be like mom was on her mission fixing things. ;P

We haven't really learned anything in class about the Philippines. Usually its just random stuff that happens to come up in class. Like when people sneeze. People around them sometimes jokingly say, "I took a shower today." Because they believe that when people sneeze its because something is dirty around them. HA HA HA!

Went to the bookstore and bought the library for missionaries. I have not started to read them yet, but I'm super excited to. Also, they sell casset tapes here. HA HA HA!!! You should send me my tape recorder. Then I could be like the Elder in the Best 2 Years and send home spoken letters. Also record talks and music. YAH! Going 80s and 90s here!

Also, and Elder here had his parents send him a map of the world and a map of the US. He's going to use it to show people in the Phillippines where he is from. SUPER AWESOME IDEA! I'll have to find a map here somewhere.  

Anyway, Love you All! Pray for you guys often. ^_^
Sister Mandy Elsmore

PS: Got Grandma and Granpa's card. Figured they were worried about it. HA HA HA. Thank you!

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 3

From: Mandy Elsmore 
Date: October 9, 2012 6:01:09 PM CDT

hi family! ^_^

Still doing well and working hard. The Elders in my district and my companions think I'm some sort of super sister missionary though. For reasons that... 
1) I speak Japanese (been talking to the Japanese Elders and Sisters also a return missionary from Japan whos the head teacher in the MTC. He told me to convert not only the Filippinos but also the Japanese people in the Phillippines. Its been fun to make friends with the Japanese Elders and sister. They are always so surprised and thrilled to find someone who speaks their language. ^_^)

2) I draw. I have been drawing the devotional speakers while taking notes. Also getting requests for me to draw pictures of like Joseph Smith or self portraits for Samoan Elders and Sisters. Seems like the mission blessings also included improving my drawing abilities. I'm surprised about it as my companions are. Its been a good stress relief to draw and do a service for people. )

3) I have been doing pretty well in Tagalog. I study all the time. 

4) I run like crazy at gym. Stress relief and also I find that it is easier to memorize numbers while running. I have to memorize the numbers in Tagalog and Spanish.

5) I laugh all the time. One Japanese elders asked my companions one time, "She laugh all the time?" We all laughed and they were like, "Yes, shes always this happy."

All this is very flattering I guess, but really, all I'm doing is trying my best and trusting in the Lord. Nothing more, nothing less. I live everyday like it was my last day of the mission. All these blessings I'm receiving have been from God. So, all this praise/ comparisons make me feel like I should hide my talents sometimes. That I'm being too careless in using my skills around people. I don't want to be the cause of people feeling discouraged. Anyway, I'm probably over thinking things, but I'm trying to be more conscious of my surroundings. 

I'm Graiteful for the blessings God has given our family. Dad with a job still. Mary and Paul doing well at school. Paul getting a job offer for summer. (I hope things go well financially for them in the Winter Semester.) Technology to communicate with each other. I have enjoyed your letters/emails. I thought it was funny about James' school picture. That's so mom to freak our about it. HA HA HA!

James, work hard and thinkg will be easier and you will not have to take advantage of teachers and people. However, try not to over do things and stress out. Mosiah 4:27- do not run faster than you have strength. ;) Its hard to figure out the balance of things. I'm still learning the hard way in this area; however, if you pray to the Lord, he will guide you in what you need to do in your life. Also we learned in conference, he will always answer you. ^_-

 Cool about the Filipinos. i'm excited to meet Bro. & Sis. Josefina Castelo. I got the backpack. Its nice, but I won't use it until the field. Can't use bags here in the MTC. Security is SUPER strict. I did see the Relief Society Conference. It was fabulous. We watched it on Saturday at the same time Priesthood was. I've been so spiritually fed this past weekend it have been great! Say Hi to the Stake president for me. And that I'm doing awesome and working hard. 

I was freaking out in the MTC about President Monson's announcement about a Temple in Tucson AZ and the age change. Glad James is Excited! I'm excited for him.  Conference reminded me that I love the Lord with all my heart. I willingly give my heart, might mind, strength, and time to the Lord so that I may be a instrument in his hands. I shall be more comitted to him in my conversion and strive to know and be like him. That I may have the strength to teach those lost and looking for the light of Christ. 

Sister Mandy Elsmore

Picture of my District

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 2

From: Mandy Elsmore 

Date: October 2, 2012 5:14:31 PM CDT

Dear Family,

I have got your letters. Thank you for sending them. They made my day. My PD is on Tuesday. That is when I shall write you guys. ^_^

Surprisingly, it has not been too stressful here in the MTC. I'm realizing more and more the experiences that I have had this past year have help prepared me in being here in the Mtc. I am extremely graiteful to Heavenly Father for helping me prepare for this. There is still a lot for me to learn and its not like I don't have my weaknesses; however, I'm starting to see and realize the hand of the Lord in my life. Which I shall be forever graiteful for.

A weakness I have is in teaching. I lack the confidence to open my mouth and share insights. I want to plan it out. What I'm going to say. However, it is forcing me to rely more on the Lord and strengthen my relationship with him. Also to increase my knowledge of this Gospel. I shall follow the counsel given by Robert P. Swenson (MTC Frieside). "If you are prepared, ye shall not be afraid. Preach My Gospel will prepare you to not be afraid. Preach my Gospel will prepare you to not be afraid. Study, know, believe and love what you study. You will be successful." I think this can be applied to anything in life. If you strive and do your hardest, you can overcome anything with the lords help. I shall study the gospel and the doctrine of Christ and rely on the Lord to help me know what I am to say to investigators to hear. I will work hard to get to this point.  

Another thing that was challenged was that we write down quesions we had, and pray to the Lord for answers through the Prophet and Apostols on General Conference. It brings together families and strengthens the realationship we have with the Lord. It increases our faith that there is a true prophet on the Earth today. I'm going to try it. You should write quesions as a family as well. ^_-

Stories of the Week

So we got a "investigator on our 3rd day here. Well we got a video response of him talking about how he felt; however, IT WAS IN ENGLISH!!! Everyone in my district after that thought that he is a member and that he will probably become our second teacher. All except for Sister Campbell. She insisted that he was still a investigator and that he just knows English. The next day, our new teacher walks in and low and behold its our "investigator." Sis. Campbell screams "NOOOOOOO!!!!!" over and over again. It was hilarious. Our whole floor heard it. ^_^

Another funny story,
Brother Roxas (investigator teacher) was going around interviewing each of us. When he got to me he says, "Before we begin I have an important quesion. Me,"ok..." bro. Roxas, "Do you have a photographic memory?" I laughed so hard I was leaning over my desk. I have not laughted that hard in a long time it seems. It felt good, but it was weird to realize I have not been laughing since coming here. Not fully that is. I told him, "No, I just work hard. REALLY hard." I made it a goal to not use any notes during lessons. Which forces me to memorize like crazy and figure out how the grammar works. He was impressed on how much I can say and how much I have on the grasp of the language. I am graiteful to God for blessing me with the gift of tongues right now. I shall not let him down and keep working hard and learn this language so that I may gain the respect of the Filipino people and be able to communicate and listen to their needs. 

Thank you for the scriptures. They have helped. No more time. Will write again. <3 you all. ^_^

Sister Mandy Elsmore

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 1

From: Mandy Elsmore
Date: September 25, 2012 6:26:09 PM CDT

HI Family!

Yay! I survived my first week! It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was surprised that they had us start teaching our first day here though. Also, we have an investigator who we have been teaching since our third day of being here (Friday). We've taught 3 lessons in tagalog already (well, kind of with the help of some notes and a LOT OF HELP from the Spirit). Our goal, is that tomorrow when we teach Nel (investigator form Philippines who know sno english) that we use no notes. Miracles happen in the MTC righ? ;)

I have two companions like I said in my letter I sent (not sure if it got there or not yet). Sister Harston and Sister Campbell. Sister Harston is from California, really tall, blond, sweet natured, girly, and more on the quiet side. Sister Campbell is filipino; however, she doesn't know the language. She is very energetic, a tomboy who loves basketball, and has no filter for what she says. She is hilarious! ^_^ Both companions have no sense of direction, so the past few days they follow me around like ducklings. (they still do. HA HA HA!). Its a good thing I've worked here the past year, or we probably whould have been lost in the MTC forever. 

In my district there are four elders. Elder Hawkins (hald Korean form Salt Lake), Elder Van Dyke (quiet one form Washington? I think...) Elder Cox (super tall district leader form Utah somewhere), and Elder Watters (red haired Canadian). They are all sure funny. Makes learning the language more enjoyable. 

I'm surprised at how much of the language I've leaned this past wekek. The feel and atmosphere of the learning program here is very similar to the Foreign Language Housing and the language classes at BYU. Just ten times faster, but since its the only thing besided learning hos to teach/ religion (which a lot of it is self-study), I feel like its doable, learning decent tagalog in 9 weeks. so, I WILL DO IT!!! >~<

The things I've learned this week is that you have to have mutual trust hetween your companion(s). When you go in to teach, you have a plan and lesson; however, sometimes you get quesions you never expect, which you might not know the answer to. Your companion(s) however, can suppor you and answer things in a way that might beter than your own answer. We all have different streghths and weaknesses, but we can use them to help each other out. Prehaps this is why the Lord has us serve/ do things in pairs or in 3s. Missionaries, home teaching, visiting teaching, leadership callings, 1st presidency, etc... Even in the creation of the earth, god sent Jesus (Jehovah) and Michael (Adam) down to accomplish this. Also learned about the trusting in the Holy Ghost. We can teach, bu its the HG who testifies to people and causes them to have a change of heart. The lesson is not the most important things, its the investigator and their relationship with God. I still have a lot to learn, gospel and teaching wise, but I trust the Lord will guide my companions and I and the Holy Ghost will be there as a support it we do our best.

Sister Mandy Elsmore.