Monday, March 25, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 26

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: March 24, 2013 10:33:17 PM CDT


This week has been interesting. Kids are getting out from school now and summer vacation has started for them last Friday. Lots of people are heading out for vacation to the beach or to their Provinces. So its been crazy trying to get a hold of people, but its been nice to play with more children now and get to know their whole families. :)

Glad all of you liked the pictures. Just to answer your question, I don't have to slay chickens every time to get meat. HA HA HA! That was just for fun. They have pretty good markets here. We usually just buy everything at the Super Market (like ones in the US). But sometimes, for fruits we buy them off the street (its cheaper  fresher, and taster). They have really good bakeries here. They have this thing called pandasal (translation: pan-bread sal- salt so Bread and Salt, not sure why though. Its not salty...) Anyway, its just hot rolls that are super cheep that you can buy. :) Its great. Especially when you are punted. HA HA HA! But they have cakes and pies. Coconut and Pineapple Pies that are really good. Never had them before in the US. Desserts, people usually always has condensed milk in it somehow. Which... sometimes is a little too sweet for me. But its good. :)

Funny stories:

I went on Splits with the Couple Missionaries: Heywoods. They are so GREAT! Their like my adopted Grandparents here. :) Anyway, we start talking to this guy names Vigil, whose about the same age as the Heywoods and whose English is SUPER good. 
Elder Heywood: "My hair used to be black like yours, but now I have gray hair"
Vigil, "Me too."
H: " you still have black hair though..."
V:"No, I'm a dying man."

Gospel Principles Class. The subject was on Prophets and the teacher, Mak Mak, was saying how important revelation from Prophets are because, no one knows everything in life, only God knows.
James (member): "Actually, there are."
Mak Mak: "There are? ..."
James: "Yah, they're called self righteous people." 
Sister Christensen and I just about Died from laughing. 

Tracking is hard sometimes. I'm still trying to get into the flow of bringing the conversation to the gospel in a way that is not abrupt or makes people want to run away (which people do here sometimes. Its hilariously sad.) I have no problems with just talking to people and getting to know them, but when it comes to trying to get people to give 15-20 minutes for their time for a short message. Many people shut off and are not interested. I've found its so much easier and more effective when there are referrals from people. Its amazing the influence and effect that just "normal" members have on their friends.

This is the start of Holy Week in the Philippines. Its supposed to be celebrating the Last Week of the Saviors life on earth (the week before Christmas). However, people here whip themselves and do crucifictions so they can be cleansed from their sins. Many people have drinking parties and robberies are for frequent apparently. Its really sad. One person we were talking to said, "Why do people do this. If its about the Savior, Jesus Christ, shouldn't we be giving reverence to him?" It made me wonder, "How will I show respect and reverence for the Savior this week through my actions? How can I become closer to him at such a special time where we are in remembrance of the Savior's Atoning Sacrifice?" I've decided that for me, I'm going to read the life of the savior. Matthew 1-28, just a little bit everyday this week. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our savior and redeemer, and there been many times where I have felt his love, help, and guidance in my life. Because of these experiences, I KNOW he lives! I'm very grateful for him, and his sacrifice for each and everyone of us. I know that he knows us more that we do ourselves and that his love for each of us is real, sincere, and a great blessing. I love our Savior. I just hope, in some small way, through the way I live, I can give back just a little bit for what he has done for me. For I know, without him, I would not be able to live and return to our Heavenly Father. For giving me this chance, I am and always will be eternally grateful.

Sister Elsmore 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 25


YAY! Pictures finally! :) The Narciso and Baultista Family (FHE I'm so tall. HA HA HA!) and the Pendon Family at the Temple. Their kids are so CRAZY, but I love them. :)

Favorite picture with the Pendon kids. It cracks me up! HA HA HA! 

 Also me petting a random calf on the side of the road. It kept following me and Sister Christensen. The cows here are SUPER Weird looking. Not sure what type they are...
Our Freezer accumulated a lot of Ice. So Snow in the Philippines. YAY! We had to boil hot water and melt it out of the refrigerator.

But actually, last Thursday, it Hailed in the Philippines! WHAT!!! Not sure where it came from. It was SUPER random!

Star Apples! They are in season now and their super good. Also corn is in season. There are stands all over the place selling them. Super good. My body and soul are really happy. :D

                                 Companions hard at work buying Fruit. :)
View from a investigators house. Sister Aree calls it the promise land, because every time we go up there we have to hike up a really steep hill. As we hike up she is always saying out of breath, "we... are... alMOST... to the..... Promise... Land" HA HA HA! She cracks me up. 

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: March 18, 2013 12:41:04 AM CDT


Hope you all get this letter! :) 

This week I've been so tired, not sure why. So to lighten things up, we celebrated my Half Birthday on Thursday. We got a little cake, (which later got demolished in Sister Christensen's backpack. HA HA HA! However, Sister Christensen salvaged it.) and cut it in half. Then put a match in it and sang half of the birthday song. Yes, we are ridiculous, but sometimes you just have to take time to celebrate the little things in life. ;)

Funny Story:
I was teaching to a less active when I felt like something was scratching my arm. I look down and there is a baby gecko on my arm about 1.5 inches long. I was like, "...what?..." Then the Less Active looks down and says, "Lizard yen." (Its a lizard) and then brushes it off my arm. Inside I was like, NOOOOO!!! Its so cute! I wanted to catch it; however, perhaps it was a good thing, because we were in the middle of a lesson.

Cultural Fact.
People here for their Birthdays wear red and are suppose to give gifts to others, instead of receiving a gift. Usually they invite everyone in the neighbor hood, and even people they don't know to celebrate. (been formally invited to crash a couple birthday parties already.) They always have pancit, kind-of like yakisoba, (fried noodles with vegtables and meat.), and if they can afford it, other food. Then they have this thing called Videoki. Which they can rend a TV with Karaoke, mikes, and these weird videos that people watch as they sing. You hear it all over the place. And since most Filipinos are Tone Deaf, and the adults are usually drunk, the singing gets 10 times worst and it is heard all over the neighborhood. HA HA HA! Its hilarious and horrible all at the same time. But I love it. The sad thing is it makes most people not look forward to their birthday here. Some don't even know WHEN their birthday is or how old they are. 

This week we had Stake Conference; however, this one was Special because it was a broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Evans (70), Sister Cook (Relief Society), Elder Holland, and Elder Robert D Halls spoke. IT WAS SUPER AWESOME! So many people came to listen. So many that we ended up giving up our seats to our investigators and sitting on the floor in the back to listen. Elder Holland focused on the life of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. And bow even a Jail can become a Temple. Spiritual Experiences can come to us no matter where we are, or what stage in life we are at, in any situation. If we want it, and seek for it, God will give it to us. "Man's Extremity is God's opportunity" If we are humble, God can turn our burdens into Temples. Times or places where we can feel even closer to the lord, find peace, a sanctuary. He challenged us all to read D&C 121-123. Its a great section in the D&C. 

Elder Hall talked a little bit about everything in general. That the Gospel is our Anchor in life. The more we live it, the more stronger it becomes and the more prepared we are to face the storms of life. The Atonement is center to every doctrine and we learn it when we live it. So DRIVE YOUR SPIRIT DEEPER! Live the Doctrine, and withstand the Storms. 

Sometimes we live in self pity or forget that commandments are for our benefit. That life is so much better when we live them. We become stronger. Even though its hard to see it at first, or to live it, but with time you realize the blessings that come with being obedient. You see the hand of the Lord in our trials and tribulations. We sometimes don't understand why we have them, but later the Lord comforts us, we overcome and look back seeing how far we have come. The gospel prepares us for anything that may come our way. And when the storm in our lives strikes unexpectedly, we are grateful the Lord prepared us for it. 

Hope you enjoy the pictures! Thank you for all the Support and the Love! 

Sister Elsmore

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 24

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: March 11, 2013 12:52:33 AM CDT


So there is a new announcement for missionary work all around the world. Missionaries can now email anyone and they can email us in return. Family, Friends, Converts, Investigators, everyone! We also are allowed more time to email. YAY! So next week I will start emailing my letters directly to you and write you all individually. YAY!!!  

Send Sister Mandy Elsmore E-mails to address below.

This week has been hard, but fun. Lessons are still a bit crazy and trying to find a balance is tough sometimes, but we are working on it. Striving to become more unified. Being in a threesome is a lot of fun though.

Oh, to answer your question about the weather. ITS SUPER HOT right now. Its getting more dry and the temperature is rising. SUMMER is HERE! People think we are crazy to be walking around in the sun (well under umbrellas). Summer here is from March to May and it is supposed to get hotter in April and May. I'm glad I've been a desert creature for most of my life. 

Cultural Fact:
People here are very open and blunt about appearances. They just straight up tell you if you are pretty, fat, ugly, skilly, white, dark, gaining or losing weight, body figure/ parts etc... Its really funny. People still can't figure out what race I am. I got someone who thought I was half Russian the other day, which was really interesting. Never have gotten that one before. Things that most people comment on about me is that I have really big eyes, pretty hair, have really small feet, and nice teeth. Oh, and I look better without glasses. HA HA HA! People have been telling me that I have been gaining weight too. Which they say is "bagay" (looks good) for me. HA HA HA!!!! Man, I love these people. 

Another thing they have been telling me is that my laugh is contagious. That they feel really happy when they hear it. So now they want to joke around with me more or tell me more jokes to hear it. HA HA HA! :D 

Funny Story:
So we are riding in this tricycle and Sister Aree and I are in the side car, while Sister Christensen and as Member- Cookie Quinto (about to serve her misison in Australia) are riding on the back of the motorcycle. We are close to our destination and there is this HUGE REALLY STEEP hill, which normally we would just ask to stop before is and walk us it because the house is not very far up it; however, Sister Aree did not want to walk up it and was curious to see if we could make it up it. So she tells the driver to go straight up it. We make it half way up, but then you hear the chain on the motorbike start clicking. The motor struggles, then dies. We then start rolling backwards, which then Sister Christensen starts screaming. The tricycle driver turns his wheel sideways and we skied to a stop. Sister Aree and I are laughing our guts out and Cookie starts apologizing to the tricycle driver saying we need to diet. HA HA HA!!! We pay the tricycle driver and make our way up the rest of the hill. As we hiked up this hill, Sister Christensen and Cookie were happy that we did not roll over and die and expressing this whole heartedly, Sister Aree huffing and puffing to get up the hill, but still laughing, and I was just laughing at the whole situation. Man, I love our lives. HA HA HA!

Mosiah 24:13-16 This is a example of how sometimes with prayers and in trials the Lord tells us that we need to wait. However, in times of hardship and struggle, if we cry to the Lord, depend on him, and keep trying our best day by day, the lord will ease our burdens and we will have the strength to overcome, and become better people than we ever could imagine. Learning more. Growing more, until finally, we see that at the end of our struggle and hardship, we see the hand of the Lord in our lives in the little miracles that occur. Then, when the time is right, the Lord answers our prayers and we are delivered from our problems. 
I think this is something that is really hard to learn and to recognize as we go through trials. Many times we are searching for instant gratification from God for all of our problems. When we don't receive it, sometimes we feel the Lord is Forsaking us. However, he never does, nor ever will. He always hears our crys, and blesses us for our obedience all the time. We just have to look and find it. Then, in the Lord's time, which is the best time, he will deliver us. We learn patience, trust, and how to "submit cheerfully" to the will of the Lord. Life is better this way. It may not be easy still, but its better than going through life on our own. I'm eternally grateful for this chance to learn, grow, and become a better person. The person the Lord wants me to become. We just have to trust him and we will become this person. :)

Well, I shall write again soon. Love ya all!

Sister Elsmore

Monday, March 4, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 23

From: Mandy Elsmore
Date: March 3, 2013 11:01:28 PM CST


I'm in a Threesome Again! HA HA HA!!! I'm still with sister Christensen and I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Aree. She is from Kiribati Islands (close to fiji). She is Great! I love her. She's happy,loves to joke around, kind, and easy going as most Polynesians are. ;) But she is hard working. I'm excited to learn from her and serve together with her. I'm still in the same area, but I'm glad. There is still so much I want to be here for. Things are starting to change and progress here in Antipolo, Masagana. Its Exciting!   

As for the language. I don't feel like I'm progressing much, honestly. I understand almost everything that people say; however, speaking wise, I feel like I'm stuck. T_T I don't speak very fluently. Need to practice speaking more. 

So we have some investigators who will be baptized at the end of this month (if everything goes well.) :) We have 5 really solid investigators now. The Siocon Family- Sister Eva, and her children: Tehya (16), Mitzi (14), Kurt (6). They are golden. They are so strong and good. Their understanding and insights from the scriptures are amazing. They pray and read from the Book of Mormon everyday, personally and together. Siocon Family hold family home evening every week, are willing to follow all the commandments of the Lord so far, and have a true love and desire to draw closer to God, Jesus Christ, and to each other as a family. I love and look forward to teaching them each week. They are so great! They are great examples of how missionary work uplifts and enlightens both the teacher and the listener. ITS GREAT!!! :D

This week we had a really interesting conversation about enduring to the end with a less active after sharing 2 Nephi 31:20. He asked what I thought it meant to endure to the end. I told him that for me, it was obeying and following all of Gods commandments, his will, becoming truly converted to him and more like him. For him, it is was having faith and acting on it; however, it was more important to have a personal relationship with god rather than having a church. He told us, he would like to see where we are 5 years after our missions. If we would be still as strong and devoted as we are now. He warned us that after the mission, things are different. Many RMs fall away, like his wife. He hopes we will still be active, but you could see that he doubted we would be. It made me realize, that I think the main thing about endure to the end is even when life's circumstances change, you keep going because of your faith, and you know that even though the blesses may not be here now, they will come. Living the gospel is more than worth it. I want to live it, I want to grow from it, because I know that this is the only way to everlasting life and happiness. In 6 years, I don't want to be as strong as I am now. I want to be stronger. To have progressed and become a better person a little bit more than I was before. Even if I fall, I want to pick myself up, brush off the dirt, and keep moving forward. Life is a journey. Conversion is a process, a process I'm starting to love, enjoy, and learn how to live. I am determined to continue on this path.:) 

Funny Story:
Investigator class- this random less active decided to join in. We asked him to give the opening prayer. He says ok, but if its okay if he says his own personal prayer. We say sure, of course. He then recites the Lord's Prayer. HA HA HA!!!! Our investigators were looking at us all confused, and I was just in shock, mouthing, "WHAT!?!" Which they started laughing at me for. Good thing our investigators are pretty solid and we have taught them for a while. Also, that they don't know that the LA was a member. 

Well, love you all. Sorry if this letter is all over the place. :)

Sister Elsmore