Monday, April 29, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 31

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: April 28, 2013 11:27:52 PM CDT


This week lots has happened. I'm finally getting the hang of the area. Pretty much know the layout and where things are and are called. Also. learning peoples names faster that I ever have before in my entire life. Its AWESOME! Super Blessing! :D

Randy and Manuel were Baptized on Saturday. YAY! They are super awesome and I'm excited for them. Its a little different feeling than from the Siocons, I was there for the whole conversion process with them, but the feelings of joy and excitement for them are the same. I get the joy of helping them (Randy and Manuel) become a part of the Ward and help increase their faith. Its a blessing and a privilege.

Got to hear from Elder Ian S. Arden of the 70 and in the Area Presidency here in the Philippines. He is from New Zealand and said many things that struck my heart. Talked about D&C 46- Gifts of the Spirit. One thing that he said that was interesting, is that all the gifts listed, we are entitled to, being members and having the Gift of the Holy Ghost. If we have a desire to obtain in for others, with humility, without pride, wanting it for a righteous purpose; we must first ask for it then pay for the gift. The price tag is sincere and diligent effort. It makes me think when in pursuit of new skills or "gifts of the spirit": Is my heart and intent right? Have I payed the price? 

I know that if its God's will, and if we work hard, we can accomplish anything. Perhaps its because of this that I always liked to try out new things and work hard to master new skills. Not for myself to brag or show off. Just because life is interesting, fun, and there are so many things to experience and learn. And, if I'm able to use those talents and gifts for others, then for me, there is no greater joy. I'm very thankful for life and this opportunity to learn, grow, and experience. I'm going to keep taking it one day at a time and strive to enjoy the little accomplishments in life. :)  

Funny Stories:
Went to one of our investigator's birthday party. There was a 4 year old girl there who, like all little kids eating ice-cream, had it all over her face and clothes. I was sitting on the ground and she starts giving me kisses on the check. They were very SWEET so say the least. HA HA HA! 

Don't freak out, but I fell down some stairs last Monday. But from my many years of accident pron experiences, I came out with a little scratch on my knee. Manuel and Sister Magalogo were freaking out for a full 30 minutes straight. HA HA HA! Went to Randy's family afterward and they were telling me different methods to disinfect the wound. Alcohol, various herbs, and apparently you can use gasoline as well... interesting. I had alcohol on me and washed it thoroughly later on at home. Its now completely healed and gone, but Now the story has spread like wild fire in the area and everyone keeps telling me to be careful down stairs or giving me tips of how to walk down stairs in swatters. Its really amusing.  

Random little accomplishments:
Opened and changed the water filter. Sister Bowman (kabahay) says I'm the only sister in her entire mission that she has heard of be able to open one. Usually we have to call Elders over to open it because its super awkwardly shaped and screwed on super tight. So yah, got that checked off my list. :)

Learned how to cook Sinigang (a beef stew) from a member, Maria Russel. She's probably one of my favorite people here in the Philippines. We have some really interesting conversations about life, the gospel, and food. :D She owns a restaurant and when people don't know what they want to eat, she bases it off their blood type what to give them. HA HA HA! I guess in general, depending on your blood type you will have more cravings for a certain flavor. I'm the exception though apparently  Said, blood type O usually wants something sweet like ice-cream over mangoes  which is not the case for me. Maria, "Its probably because you  don't have them in the United States that you want them." HA HA HA! Anyway, I guess I'm the exception to the rule, I'd rather have fruits over ice-cream any day.  

Love Ya All Lots! Praying for ya! Go do something new and fun. ;)
Sister Elsmore

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 30

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: April 22, 2013 12:32:26 AM CDT


I'm loving this area. The ward is really great and many have been coming to church and they are pretty unified. :) Many people are willing to work with us. Also feed us... Which its makes me really happy, because its delicious and for their kindness, but at the same time, many people have hardly enough money to make ends meet or enough money to come to church. O_o 
Yes, my area has a lot of poor people in it. We have a couple neighborhoods though with middle class or wealthy. The social classes here are so dramatically different. Sometimes I think I'm living in the 1800s, just with a bunch of Asians, and instead of coaches its tricycles. ;)

We had a baptism for a Recent Convert's son, Celso Payaga. He's super cute! He really shy, but sometimes shows his 12 year old mischievousness side. HA HA HA! I've enjoyed teaching him these past week and a half. GOODNESS! It feels like yesterday that I got here. Anyway, 40 people showed up to the baptism to support him. :D I've never seen so many people or heard of this many people coming to a baptism in the Philippines. It was AWESOME!!! Only thing was, we did not plan for so many people to come. So we only had 25 spoons for people to eat cake. Plus, Sister Tingney (19 year old from Mesa, AZ my kabahay,[missionary in the other companionship in our apartment]) and I had to get really creative in cutting the cake to have enough for everyone. HA HA HA! 
Anyway, the most important thing is that Celso is now a member and starting a new life, on the path towards our Heavenly Father. :) So excited for him!

We are going to have 2 other baptisms this next Saturday for Randy and Manuel. (the investigators who walk about 2 hours one way to get to church). Goodness. Not sure my heart can contain how happy and excited I am!!!

Random things that I've ate here: Cow legs- really rubbery but tasted really good. Also, Dinuguan- blood soup, just tasted like pork broth. 

Scripture: Alma 29:4 I like this scripture because it talks about desires and blessings.God will always give us exactly what we need and want according to where our hearts are. However, "he allotteth unto men" in "degrees" To me, this means that most of the time, the lord will not give us what we want all at once, right away. The things we want or desire may be really good things, but sometimes the lord wants us to work for them, wait, and trust him. Little by little we receive the blessings. But we will always have them. The hard thing is waiting, and being consistently obedient, and trusting that his way is the best way. Giving our will to him. Something I'm learning more and more how to do here. Then like in Enos 1:12 after much prayer and diligence, the lord will grant our desires because of our faith. I hope to be the type of person who's desires are in line with Gods and whatever God would have me do, I will do it willingly and happily. Becoming the person he would have me become. I'm still searching and trying to understand what that means, but at least I have my whole life to figure that out. Little by little, everyday. :) Sorry, hope this made sense, feel a bit ramblely right now. 

It was super confusing here in the Philippines about the bombings in Boston and the accident in Texas. Apparently, it was all over the news here too; however, Filipinos really like to exaggerate, so I wasn't sure what to believe or what was going on. O_o People were saying that the bombs came from North Korea and now Japan, South Korea and the United States were about to start WWIII. Also there were multiple bombings in Boston. Also in Texas, there was a accident and people were asking me if I knew anything about it since I'm from texas. O~o My heart goes out to all those effected by the bombing in Boston and the accident in Texas. Praying and hoping people feel comforted and peace from the deaths and injuries of loved ones. 

Love Ya All Lots! 
Sister Elsmore

Celso's Baptism. Payaga Family, Mom- Evelyn member. The others are interested in listening. 

 Phillipines- good definition to me. Really gorgeous here, but also has such a division of poor and wealthy.

The river. Not sure what its called. Find out next time. 

Some of the houses we go to. 
Swatters. : )

Some kids that live in the area where Randy and Manuel live. They danced the ChaCha for us, which we recorded on our cameras. They really loved the camera! HA HA HA! 

Kids here are so creative when it comes to having fun. They make kites out of trash bags, hula hoops out of tubes, dance, play with cans, flipflops, pretty much anything that they can find.  They are so cute and so much fun! Also, our language level is about the same. HA HA HA! Just kidding, I'm learning from them. :D

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 29

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: April 16, 2013 2:18:18 AM CDT


So I transferred to Tatay, in Cainta. I live by the river and its AWESOME here! The people are great and many live in swatters (little shacks made out of whatever they can find about a big as a bedroom in the states) here next to the river. Don't worry mom, I'm using bug spray so I won't get Dengue (is this how you spell it? @~@?) How we have transfer day here is we all go to the Aurora Chapel in Quezon City (pretty much the mission headquarters) in Jeepneys. Then we go with our new Zones with our new companions in a Jeepney to our new area. In some ways its nice to have such a small mission. :)

My new companion is Sister Magalogo. She is Samoan and is from Sydney, Australia. The best word I can think of to describe her is quirky. :D She's really funny and Loves the work. Shes been out for over a year. She had brain surgery on the mission and has a tube coming from her brain to her adomin. Apparently she had too much water in her brain. She was originally in the Bagio Mission, but due to her surgery, she has to stay here close to the hospital. She had the option to go home, but she decided to stay. She's AWESOME!!! :D I'm excited to learn and grow with her this transfer.  

There are a lot of awesome people here in Cainta. Many are super poor, but super smart. Deep thinkers, which I've been thirsting for. Lessons have been fun, being able to share and expound the scriptures with investigators and less actives. I've been asked a lot of really neat and interesting questions that I've had to go out and research or ponder about. Its AWESOME! For instance, the word Amen. What does it mean, why do we say it, and is there a synonym for it in English? Amen means true, or fact. Its something we say when we approve of something or believe to be true as well. That's why when we say Amen after someone prays, we are saying, we pray for the same things as well, believing, hoping, and feeling gratitude for the same things people have said in the prayer. For the last question, I'm still thinking about it... I can't think of a synonym... hmm... Can you guys think of one?

Funny Story,
So there are these bicycles with side cars here. They are like tricycles except just with a bicycle. So my companion and I are riding in this thing, and I notice that the guy is struggling. We are a lot bigger than the average Filipino  HA HA HA! So I ask the guy if I can try it. He looks over to me in shock, saying, "TALAGA!?!" (REALLY?) then I tell him, yes. He slows down to a stop, still in shock not knowing what to say, then says I would not be able to because I have a skirt on. I tell him that's not important and get out. Sister Magalogo laughing her head of saying, "She's Serious!" The guy, still out of breath from pedaling and sweat dripping down told me "no" though so I get back into the side car. However, it was a good conversational starter and he wants to listen to us. He told me next time, if I'm not in a skirt, then I can try pedaling. HA HA HA!!! :D

Awesome People:
Randy (22) and Manuel (16) are two of our investigators who are going to be baptized soon. They are Super awesome and dedicated to the Lord. They walk to church for about 2 hours every Sunday to get there in time for 9AM church on Sunday  They came to all the sessions in general conference this past weekend. For one of the sessions we had English in one room and Tagalog in the other room, but for the rest, it was in English (they had technical difficulties and could only download one of the sessions in Tagalog). Even though they did not understand everything in English, they were still at the edge of their chairs, listening for every word, and writing down what they could understand. It made me think, do I thirst for the gospel in such a way that puts me on the edge of my seat. After conference they said, "Maganda" (beautiful) They felt it was a sacred thing. The spirit is a awesome and wondrous thing. Even in situations where we don't understand the words, we can still feel it and gain revelation and impressions. Its amazing! To feel so united and gain a understanding of each other and the gospel even if we can't speak the same language. 

General Conference was Beautiful! I wrote a bunch of questions before hand and had every single one of them answered. Its was Amazing and I felt uplifted and a confirmation again that these Men and Women, general authorities, apostols, and the prophet Thomas S. Monson are truly called of God and inspired by the Lord. I'm so grateful for all the service they do for us and the inspiration to become a better person and closer to the Lord. Mosiah 2:41- remember the example of those who are righteous. Its only human nature when we meet or know someone who is righteous that we want to become like them. The blessings in their lives and the light of Christ emminates from them. 

Goodness this has been a long letter. :D Write again next week. :) Love ya'll lots!

Sister Elsmore

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 28

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: April 8, 2013 11:36:56 PM CDT


Hope everyone enjoyed General Conference. We have not seen it yet. We will watch it this weekend. As far as I know, we watch it in English... However, maybe in another area it could be in Tagalog... I'm not sure... Anyway, either way, I'm SUPER EXCITED for it! I CANT WAIT!!!

This past week has been CRAZY!!! We had out temple trip, then zone conference, my companions got really sick, and Sister Aree had a Allergic reaction to Mangos. OUT OF ALL THE FRUIT ON EARTH! MANGOS!!!!! so sad... We had our temple tour with the Siocons. Got 40 people onto one jeepney. HA HA HA! It was so cramped. The Elders were hanging on the outside of the jeepney. Yay, we are Filippino now. :D Then the Siocons: Eva (mom) Thea (16) Mitsi (14) were baptized! Eva had to be baptized twice because April (RM who was willing to baptize them before going to Africa) said the prayer wrong. HA HA HA!!!

Eva's testimony was very sweet. She bore her testimony about how the gospel has strengthened her family. Even though she is a single mom, she feels through the gospel they have become stronger. She's happier and closer to her two daughters and her son (Kurt 6 years old). She said, "Finally, we are baptized, but I know this is not the end. This is just the beginning." I

I feel very privileged and blessed to have been a part of there lives and helping them start on the path to returning to our Heavenly Father. Its been amazing to see the changes and the joy the gospel brings to people's lives. How it truely does strengthens families. Its been so great to feel so uplifted together with them every time we went to teach them. Its just like in D&C 50:22 "both are edified and rejoice together." I love them so much! I'm so excited for them and the start to a new and better life going down the path, drawing closer, and closer to the lord. I am going to miss them more that words can express. 

I'M TRANSFERING!!! O.o!!! I have mixed feelings about this... I really don't want to leave my area. The people are great! The Ward is starting to progress and drawing closer together. Many less actives are coming back to church. The Siocon family just got baptized! These past couple months, its been amazing to see the changes, and the charity in peoples hearts. There is so much I want to still do here with the people and my companions. However, I know that sometimes having a fresh start is a good thing. I know the Lord is sending me to where I need to be. I'm excited to serve in a new area, grow, and meet new people. So wish me luck. I find out tomorrow morning where I'm going. Next time I write I will be in a new area.

Love Ya Lots!
Sister Elsmore

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adventures of Sister Elsmore 27

From: Mandy Elsmore <>
Date: April 2, 2013 2:08:21 AM CDT


Funny Story:
Saw a man filling up some buckets of water. Started talking to him and asked if he wanted some help carrying them. Started laughing and told us it was too heavy for us. I asked him where they needed to go, they he said, "Doon" and pointed with his lips (how they point in the Philippines). I then grab the bucket filled with water and start marching off in the direction he told us too. After going about 15 feet Sister Aree grabs the handle with me and we start marching off together. Which Sister Christensen and the Man follow after us laughing. The problem was, that Sister Aree is a lot shorter than I am, so the bucket was a little lopsided. I ended up getting my shoes wet. (Thank heaven for my crocs. They're one of the best things I've every bought in my life). So then I ended up carrying the bucket by myself the rest of the way. We chatted with him a bit more, and he let us teach his whole family. 

This week has been interesting. We have been teaching about the savior to people and the meaning of Easter. Also why we don't use crosses in our church. Because we want to focus on the fact that Jesus Christ lives! Not his death. The thought occured to me in one of our lessons, that I'm pretty sure that Jesus Christ wants us to be happy in this life. I don't think he wants us to feel sad or depressed because of his sacrifice for us. Simply, because he loves us. Thats the whole reason why he went through the atonement in the first place. Like it says in 1 Nephi 19: 9 "...he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men." I know that Jesus is our Savior, that he lives and he loves us more that we can comprehend right now. That through his atoning sacrifice and resurrection, we too have a chance to live with our Heavenly Father again and with him. :D

On Saturday, the Siocon Family is getting baptized. YAY!!! I'm super excited for them! The only problem is finding someone who is willing and able to baptize them. O~o Its really hard to get Philippinos to commit to anything. They always say, maybe... Never yes or no. Also, they have a really hard time saying no, so if they don't want to do something, rather than say it, they run away and hide. LITERALLY!!! This one time this woman ran and jumped over her couch and ran to the CR (restroom) to hide as her husband told us she was not here. Or people have their kids come out to say they are not here, which is super funny and sad because the kids will say "Wala daw" which means "They said they're not here." I'm learning how important it is to just be honest with people and tell them no when you don't want to. Its less work, hassle, and for the most part, is less likely to offend people if you do it in a loving manner. 

Love Ya Lots. :)
Sister Elsmore