Friday, March 18, 2016

(mom took a 5 month hiatus - Henry's time at the mission office was pretty boring.)

24 January 2016

Dear Family,

I've decided, because I can't send pictures over email, I'll just print some out and send them with a letter.  There's a place in our area that prints for about P3 a picture.  Our area is really pretty and I hope you can get an idea of how pretty it is with these pictures.
left to right from top to bottom:
1. me with a bunch of little kids .  they are all children of one of our investigators.  Whenever they see us walking down the street they run up to us and ask for piggy back rides.  They're really cute kids.
2. balancing on one foot in a rice paddy on our way to one of the less actives in our area.  HIs name is Alvin and we're hoping to re-activate him.  In the Morong District, we are only 23 full tithe paying active Melchizedek Priesthood holders away from becoming a stake, 22 if we can get Alvin back.
3.  selfie I took while on an exchange with Elder Lindsey.  He's from Anaheim.
4.  last picture I took before leaving the city.  I love sitting on the backs of tricycles.
5.  really pretty little road in one of the coolest parts of our area.  It's way hidden from the main road and beautiful at sunset.
6. nice road with shady trees that my trainee likes to rest at.
7.  There are always a lot of cows and horses in this part of our area and we always try to pet them or jump on them.  Elder Makalio trying to touch a horse but not getting very close.
8.  my comp took this picture of me after visiting with Alvin.  The sunset is really pretty here.
I hope you like the pictures.  I'll send some more in the future.
With much love,
Elder Henry Van Slooten


18 January 2016

Dear Family,

I know I just wrote you all a letter about 2 days ago but I can't help but share with you how much I am enjoying my new area.  It's about 3:00 pm right now on pday and my companion Elder Makalio is asleep on his bed in the room next to mine.  I'm not feeling too sleepy so I decided I might as well write another quick letter.

We actually live in a house in this area.  It's not an apartment like all of the other areas in the mission.  Unlike all my previous areas, in this house, we have no neighbors.  We're surrounded by palm trees and grass.  We have a yard! It's about half as big as our backyard in L.A but for me it's still such a change.  I'm used to being surrounded by cement & streets, but in this area, it's just open.  I'm sitting at my study desk on the second floor of our home.  It's my favorite room in the whole house.  When you open the windows the sun leaks in and really makes the bamboo walls a nice light brown color.  We're just about eye level with a couple of palm trees that are growing in our yard.  Sometimes while studying I get distracted and just stare at the tops of the palm trees blowing in the wind.  The palm trees grow coconuts and we eat fresh coconuts with lunch sometimes.  Elder Nawaia can break them open with his elbows.  We just gone done cleaning the house and it feels more spacious and big now that everything's arranged and put away.

Our area is comprised of 5 barangays.  Malaya (where we live), Niogan, Barak, Quisao, and Yakat (Yakat being the farthest away) It's about a 15 minute walk between each barangay.  There's no real market anywhere near here except for a tiny place called SSP, supermarket sa probinsya.  You can get almost everything you need there.  That is almost true I guess if potato chips and laundry soap are the only things you'll ever need.  We usually go to a bigger town called Tanay to get groceries and pull out support money (There's also no ATMs here) There is this one restaurant that sells "classic American food".  Elder makalio and I love it but we wouldn't call it "classic American food".  I would describe it as "fresh Lunchables for very hungry teenagers".  It's great though! We love going there because the two workers know us and love having American customers.  (We are also usually their only customers).  Most of the time our kabahays cook for lunch.  Elder Palayar (he entered the mission the same time I did and he always calls me "batch") & Elder Almuete (from Pangasinan) I love them for cooking for us but it gets pretty old and repetitive. Tinola, sinigang, pinakbet, chicken curry and chicken adobo are the only things they cook so it just goes through a rotation.  They don't speak English very well and it seems like the only English words they know are "Elders, lets it" They say this every time they're done cooking. haha! We eat a lot of rice (except for Chill Hauz - the "classic American food" restaurant).  Unfortunately there are no magical little restaurants in the area (Alfonso's down Baja continues to set the bar and standard of comparison) Although there are many limitations in this area - no ATMs, no running water, no markets - I don't look at them as inconveniences.  I feel like I have a great opportunity to live life like a native Filipino would and dive into this culture and lifestyle again. 

I hope you don't worry about me over here.  I want you to know that I am doing very well.  I'm so happy and excited to start this final year of my mission.  I pray for you all the time and I think about each one of you often.

                                  Love your son
                             Elder Henry Van Slooten

14 January 2016

Hey Family,

I'm not sure when or if this letter will get to you but I'm really hoping that it does.  I got transferred out of the office finally and I love my new area!  The day that I transferred was a pretty crazy day.  I had to go to a few different transfer points before actually getting to Malaya.  My route was Aurora chapel - Sumulong chapel - Antipolo chapel - Malaya.  Before I left the office I was given missionary planners to give out to missionaries at Antipolo chapel.  Elder Bechachino & I rode from Sumulong - Antipolo together & once we got out of the taxi @ Antipolo, I began to hand out the planners (missionaries attacked me asking for planners) while Elder Bechachino unloaded the taxi and paid the driver.  Once all the planners were distributed & the missionaries were done surrounding me, I turned around to gather my luggage and saw one luggage total with no taxi in sight.  I asked Elder Bechachino if he unloaded everything & he told me that he unloaded everything in the trunk, but...I still had luggage in the car.  I ran to the main highway hoping to find our taxi only to come across a sea of cars, no taxi in sight.  I had lost more than half of my things... my camera, all my sd cards with all the pictures from my mission thus far, my scriptures, the food from the package & my shoes were all gone in the blink of an eye.  Needless to say I was very, very sad about this.  What a dumb mistake! I should have immediately unloaded everything before entertaining the missionary planner business.  The hardest part was knowing that something that was within easy reach just a moment ago is now completely unattainable.  I tried to remain positive about it even though I had just lost some things that were very valuable to me.  A church vehicle came to pick up the remaining missionaries going to the Morong Zone.  I loaded my one remaining luggage and got in the car.  Just before we started the car, our trusty old taxi came swingin' in around the corner with all of my remaining luggage still in the back!  I was so happy and relieved to have my things back again!  I gave that taxi driver an extra P300 and a restoration pamphlet and thanked him for his honesty. 

We continued on our way dropping off each individual companionships.  We drove through deep green canyons and windy cliff sides.  It reminded me of  Baguio a lot.  My new companion and I were the last in the car and after dropping off the companionship before us, I thought "We're pretty far away, we must be close now". I asked my companion how close we were and he told me we still have about 2 hours to go.  We are very far away.  My area right now reminds me of Baja.  One main road, tiny towns bunched up every so often and very empty.  It's sooo beautiful and I'm so happy here.  We are surrounded by rivers and a lake and we live in a bamboo house so it's a bit of a different experience.  I'm also training a brand new missionary which is so great.  He's fresh from the Provo MTC .  His name is Elder Makalio from Utah and he's Tongan.  I love working with him and seeing how much he learns every day.  He reminds me of me when I was in training almost a year ago.

At first I thought that the reason I was so happy here is because this area is so remote and beautiful.  That is true but I think the main reason is that I am back in the field.  I loved the office but I love these people so much more.  They are so humble and ready for the gospel. I feel like I'm falling in love with the Philippines all over again.

I love you all so much and pray for you every night.


                                Elder Van Slooten

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

this is a picture of my district after district meeting! We're a pretty cool district. There are people from Cali, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

October 23, 2015

Magandang araw family ko,

I have some pretty exciting news!! so this November we're going to have a mission tour and we're going to be visited by Elder Neil L Anderson! He's going to come and give training to the entire mission! Even including all of the missionaries in Mindoro. This never happens so its super cool. President told me to arrange flight plans for every single missionary in Mindoro to fly here for the mission tour. That's about 18 missionaries all coming to Manila which will be super hard to plan, for flights and where they're going to sleep and things like that. And when they go back to Mindoro they're not going to fly home. They're going to take a bus and then a ferry like we did in 2010. It's gonna be pretty hard to arrange for all of that. I'm pretty jealous though cuz it sounds super fun! but i'll be in the office when Elder Anderson arrives.  I might get to escort him around haha that would be crazy!
btw, I have no more long sleeve shirts and my watch broke so i might have to use my credit card to buy a new one.. im guessing that would be okay? after all, its not every day that an apostle visits your mission! haha hes going to be coming on Nov 17 so I'm super excited. not much else has been going on with me. just regular office things.

Did you guys get an email from the mission about a typhoon and how the missionaries are safe? that was me! hahaha president told me to write a mass email to all the families of the missionaries informing them that the typhoon isn't that strong where we are and that we're all safe. anyways how are things at home? how has class been mom? is the yard almost done? Ill write you guys next week! ingat kayo!
October 18, 2015 (letter from the Philippines Quezon City mission regarding Typhoon Koppu that hit the Philippines northern area)
Hello Families and Friends of Quezon City Missionaries!

As you may have seen and heard on the news, Typhoon KOPPU (LANDO) has made land-fall in the Philippines. This typhoon has maintained its strength while moving northward very slowly along the beach front areas in the northern part of the Philippines far away from Quezon City. The Weather Philippines Automated Weather Station expects the typhoon to decrease in size and strength in the coming days. Typhoon KOPPU has had no major effects on the Quezon City mission besides slight rain and mild winds. Every Missionary has been accounted for and is safe. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

October 16, 2015

Hey Family!

This week was pretty solid. We've been getting a lot done in the office in preparation for this upcoming transfer day. The week leading up to the transfer day is always really busy. My companion, Elder Tano and I had to go to the Philippines area office (in front of the Manila Temple) so we could pick up the passports of the foreign exiting missionaries this transfer. While we were there we ran into Elder Haynie of the Seventy! I dont know if you remember him but he spoke this last general conference. He told the story about being covered in mud and demanding to enter his house. He's part of the new area presidency here and he's really nice. He's pretty funny too.
In other news this one sister missionary I met in the mtc - sister jenkins - sent me a package this week! It was so nice of her. (She's home now and she lives in Idaho about an hour from grandpa's house in Garden Valley.  What are the chances of that, haha) There was a bunch of food and candy so if you guys send me a package don't worry too much on candy. I was super stoked on that package though. One thing I do need is socks... my socks are getting pretty worn out! So that would be my one request haha black and browm socks would be nice.
It sounds like all is well with you guys. I'm jealous about solimar! last time we surfed it it was windy, small, brownish water, and pretty cold. i miss that wave. it sounds like you're enjoying your new class mom! i pray for you every day.
i heard about tyler cowley! thats pretty exciting and hopefuly he picks up tagalog fast haha bulacan is in the angeles mission and thats where the "true tagalog speakers" are from haha or at least thats what Sister Revillo tells me haha anyways i love you guys! take care!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

October 10, 2015

October 9, 2015

This week has been pretty busy, we're getting close to transfer day and the week preceding transfer day is one of the busiest times in the office. Not too much has been going on except for the normal things in the office; driving people to the airport at 4 am, responding to parent's emails about their missionaries, answering the phone, taking care of the new couple missionaries, etc. Sometimes when I take a step back from things I'm amazed at how adjusted I have become to the Philippines. I forget sometimes that I'm living in Asia haha. When I step outside from a building with aircon (air), the brick wall of humidity doesn't hit me like it used to do or when one of my kabahays (companion/housemates)say they want balut (duck embryo) I don't watch in disgust anymore, I just eat a balut with them haha. The Philippines is such a unique place and after being here for a while now it seems to have lost its rarity to me and I want to try and remember how special it all is. I'll miss walking down the street and being able to buy pineapples and watermelon for 10 pesos (about $0.25) or hearing people yell "isdaaa" (fish) as they walk down the street carrying buckets of fish for sale. One thing I won't miss, however, is sweating uncontrollably haha That's one thing I'll never get used to!

Being in the office is pretty cool too, you get a lot of experiences with things you never thought you would experience in the mission. For example, I can now type somewhat successfully without even looking at the keyboard. a minor skill I know, but I never expected to gain that ability on my mission! haha
President Revillo told me that the companionships in the office will be switching this coming transfer. He explained that it would be better for the office and travel secretary (me) to be companions with the financial secretary (Elder TaƱo my new companion) because they often have more things to do in the office. The apartment specialist (elder Boringgot my current companion) will now be companions with the office recorder (Elder Reyes) because they don't usually need to be in the office for too long. This would also mean that I would be switching areas, Ill be getting into my fourth area Cubao.  My first four areas are Quezon City 1st ward, Quezon city 3rd ward, Quirino 2nd ward, and soon to be Cubao ward. All of these areas share a border at some point or another! haha I've been in the same place essentially for one year! I don't mind though I love the city. I'm making a prediction though that when I get out of the office, President is going to send me somewhere far away (maybe Mindoro?).  It's a mission myth and a rumor that whenever people leave the office, they go to Mindoro because President feels bad that they haven't experienced the province in a long time. Although it is just a rumor and a myth, it has happened to the last 8 out of 10 elders to leave the office haha. we'll see. 
I hope you guys are all doing well! I pray for you guys every night. love you!
This is me and my companion outside of the sister apartment at 4 am. We had to drive a sister to the airport really early. Recognizing the rarity of the situation, my companion and I decided to try and emulate an edgy band pic. This is the result haha I don't think we were successful.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 3, 3015

October 2, 2015

This week was pretty good. It’s been pretty busy because we’ve had quite a few meetings and there are always things going on in the office.
Something really strange happened to me the other day that I’ve never seen happen before in the Philippines. And it happened twice! So in my whole mission I have never seen anyone ever get pulled over… but last Saturday I got pulled over twice! The first time, we were trying to get to the baptism of Sister Latham's and Sister Tropia's investigator  (I’m their district leader and their investigator asked if I could baptize her) when we got lost on the way. I made a right turn down a street like any other – two lanes, wide, safe – when up ahead I see a standing street officer waving at me. His body language was pretty casual so I thought nothing of it and waved back. When our car passed by him he yelled pretty loud and slammed on the hood of our car. I realized maybe I had made a mistake and decided I should pull over. He came up to the window and told me that it was actually a one way street! Even though there were two lanes and I was the only car on the road! They were doing some kind of construction and they had to temporarily make it a one way street. I told him that there was no sign and he told me there was. He pointed down the road a ways and I saw a tiny sign hidden behind a garbage can... pretty lame. Elder Ramirez told me, “don’t give him your license” hahaha then right after that, the officer told me to give him my license! Haha I showed him my license inside my wallet and he told me to take it out. I took it out and handed it over and he took it away and traded my license with a ticket. He told me that I needed to go to Quezon City Hall to be able to pay off the ticket and to also get my license back. I even offered to pay him off right there and then to see if he was corrupt! Haha he didn’t accept the bribe, however,  and I was pretty bummed because I knew how much of a hassle that would be but I'm not going to lie, I was pretty excited to have to go to Quezon City Hall to have to try and retrieve my Philippines' drivers license. They were pretty nice though because they told me that they could give me a ticket for two things. One was disobeying traffic signs – which costs 350 pesos – and the other was going down a one way street – which is 1400 pesos. They decided to only give the disobeying traffic signs ticket and give me a break because I'm “a foreigner who can speak Tagalog” haha.
The second time I got pulled over that day was after the baptism and we were driving down EDSA when another street officer gave me some very confusing hand signs which I interpreted as “move forward”.. apparently meant “turn right” I moved forward and he pointed to the curb and told me to wait for him. It was about 6pm and EDSA was packed as usual so there was no where I could run. He came up and told me to give him my license.. for a second I had forgotten that I had gotten my license confiscated earlier and started fishing around my pocket for my wallet. I was super bummed when all of a sudden I remembered that I had no license! I told him pretty happily and he said why are you driving!! He seemed to be a bit more compassionate when I told him that I had just gotten it confiscated earlier because I was pulled over. He told me to be careful and to just get out of there haha.
I never ever thought I would get pulled over in the Philippines for driving, and in one day, it happened twice. It was pretty fun at Quezon City Hall too. Some pretty funny people and a pretty disorganized government system. All in all though this week was good. I really like the office and it’s a super cool experience. For example, getting  pulled over and having to retrieve your license at Quezon City Hall!
September 25, 2015
Hey Mom! 
Things are going so well right now! I'm so happy here in the office, I really feel like im a big help to the mission. Our days are spent mostly in the office and occasionally around the mission when we get assigned to do random tasks. I felt like at the beginning, there was no way i could ever be the office secretary. I thought for sure i would never be able to fulfill this calling. Bur right now I truly feel that I fully know how to do everything I'm asked to do. even though I only had about 4 days of training. I feel pretty confident and capable. T
To summarize my responsibilities, I'm in charge of all travel, all correspondences with other missions and ecclesiastical leaders of missionaries, processing all missionaries info into the computers, making appointments with the temple and a bunch of other things. Its really fun but slightly stressful at times. Every day we get to leave the office at 4 pm and go proselyting. The usual missionary schedule is 10am-12 pm proselyting, and then 2-9 pm proselyting so its a big decrease in proselyting time. Ofte times we need to take extra time in the office to finish the things we need to get done for that day so sometimes we don't get to go out at 4 o'clock. It can be hard sometimes. Our area is struggling right now meaning we are having a hard time finding people to teach. It's easy to blame that on our very limited working hours but we can still get a lot done. i actually love to go out proselyting after a long and stressful day in the office. It feels good to get outside and walk around. It feels good to sweat and talk to people. So its a huge blessing that were still allowed to work.
I do miss Elder Valencia's bicol express! It's a bummer because usually missionaries cook their own food in between proselyting hours for lunch, but because we're so busy in the office, we don't have any time at all to go home and cook food so we just buy ulam and rice at karinderias on the street. I like it too because they have some really good food most of the time but i do miss cooking. I'll get back into it when I get out of the office. The weather has been pretty hot as usual. Raining every so often but nothing too extreme. Driving is fine. I'm pretty safe on the streets as to not get in an accident. Everything is going really well here! I'm really happy and excited to keep working hard! I love you guys and hope everything is going well back home!
p.s. I think I hit my year mark next transfer? that's so fast! 
pulled over and having to retrieve your license at Quezon city hall!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015 (letter from Henry's mission president)

22 September 2015
Brother and Sister Mark Van Slooten
23019 Oxnard Street
Brother and Sister Van Slooten:
I am happy to inform you that Elder Henry Thomas Van Slooten has been called to serve as the new Mission Secretary in the Philippines Quezon City Mission. 
The Mission Secretary requires a missionary of exceptional integrity as he handles many confidential matters.  It also requires exactness in keeping Church records.  We are thankful that your son possesses both these important qualities. 
Sister Revillo and I feel it is our blessing and opportunity to work with your son. Thank you for raising such a fine young man.  We appreciate the love and encouragement you give him.
Carlos G. Revillo, Jr.
Mission President
Elder Van Slooten
Philippines Quezon City Mission
Mission Secretary
Telephone: (02) 913-3863
Cell: +639235422454  (I'm not gonna lie, this is tempting)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19, 2015 (still need to get used to Saturday pdays. Date night Fridays may ba a thing of the past)

September 18, 2015

This week has been insane! I can't believe how busy we are in the office! Well we aren't necessarily busy in the office.. we have to drive all around the mission to run random errands that our mission president gives us.. for example last Monday my companion and I had to go with two workers to get a house ready for the incoming couple missionaries - the Hansens. We left at about 7 am from the mission home with two random guys from Baclaran that Sister Revillo hired to help us with the house. They didn't speak English at all except for two words.. every time I would make a good move in traffic or something, they would laugh and say, "ooh sexy move" hahaha! They were super funny and they were good workers too. We had to move in a bed, install an aircon (Filipinos say aircon to mean air) unit, install the stove and move in a washing machine, and move some furniture around. It was super cool because it felt like I was doing another random job with dad. That was a lot of work and we kept on having to go back and forth between the mission office and their home in Antipolo, Rizal which was pretty far. It was a really pretty drive though and I got to drive through some really provincey areas. It felt like back in 2010 when we were driving through really mountainous areas like Sagada or Banaue rice terraces. We've basically been doing a lot of  preparation for the incoming couple. I was put in charge of planning out their first few days so I decided to take them to the insanely busy LTO (Land Travel Office) to get their drivers license. We luckily were able to get their license on the first trip so we didn't have to go back and forth 5 times on separate days like some couple missionaries have had to do in the past. As we were waiting in one line Elder Hansen went up to me and asked, "Is this an abnormally long wait or something"? hahaha I told him, "This is an abnormally short wait". He was a bit shocked but he actually served a mission in the Philippines 42 years ago, back when it was still called the Philippines mission. The entire country was one mission and it was for sure way different than it is now. I'm sure there was no LTO 42 years ago.

In other news.. I had  very special visitors this week in church! haha Grandma and Grandpa Nieves, and Tita Rory came to visit me at church! Grandpa was SOOO happy to see me! They all were but he especially. I could tell they didn't really understand what I was doing here on a mission as they kept suggesting we go out to lunch. Nevertheless they were so stoked! Grandpa kept hugging me from the side around my waist and resting his head on my chest (I don't remember being that much taller than them). He was yelling, "apo ko yan"! (This is my grandson!!) haha Grandma can no longer walk too well so she was in a wheel chair. She kept holding onto my arm and trying to stand. It was pretty sweet haha! She kept asking for a kiss on the cheek and stuff. It was slightly embarrassing as this was all happening right outside the chapel about 10 minutes before sacrament was to start. It was so good to see them. President Revillo told me that he will allow me to visit them in Paranaque towards the end of my mission. I'm super glad he said that too because I would have never in a million years suggested that I leave the mission just to see my grandparents. He was the one who came up with that idea and brought it up to me so I guess I will just go along with the flow! haha this week was great. We're so busy and it's just such a different life in the office. You get placed in the weirdest situations and you get the coolest experiences. 

Also the yard looks so different! I'm so excited to try the sand vball court! It looks really nice and I wish I could be there to help but even more I wish I could send those two workers from Baclaran to help you out, dad! haha it looks like you guys are doing really well. I pray for you guys every night! I love you guys!

Elder Ramirez and I were on our way to Morong to pick up a refrigerator for the Hansen couple. We decided to stop and stretch and take pictures at this cool place on the side of the road. Notice my very Philippino (Filipino) haircut. You sit in a chair and no matter what you tell them, they do the same thing they do to every guy that gets their hair cut. They shave the sides and leave the top super long haha

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015

September 4, 2015 (HBD Elder Van Slooten)
                                    (riding in a jeepney and falling asleep)
Things are going well! I'm not too stressed and I've been working well here! also I'm in a threesome haha! the one on the left is Elder Brewer (hes' the one that's training me to be the secretary lol) He's from around Sacramento and is suuuper smart and suuuper good at his job as secretary.. part of the reason I'm so nervous,  he used to program iphones and androids before his mish... idk what that  means but basically he's really smart. He's also 25 and I'm only 18... oh wait 19 haha!) and the one on the right is Elder Ramirez. He's the apartment specialist for the mish! He's from New Zealand but he was born in the Philippines and moved to NZ when he was 11-ish so he's fluent still.

Basically what I do is a  lot of typing and stuff.  My job is to process all incoming and pauwi (outgoing) missionaries, process their info into the computer, correspond with their families, bishops, stake presidents, etc. and  arrange for all of their flights (if I mess up people either won't come into or leave the mission... haha ) I have access to pretty much everything in the mission. It's pretty crazy but I'm adjusting okay.

It sounds like you guys are doing really well! I got your package btw!!! It was so cool!! The belt was really big so I had to poke a new hole in it so it would fit me but I really like the ties. I immediately wore them when I got them haha!

 I love you guys!!

September 11, 2015

My week was pretty solid, super hard.. but solid!  Everyday is so stressful haha! Like the other day I got an email that a new couple was coming into the mission and President Revillo said "Elder Van just make a draft of their schedule for the first week. Arrange for travel to pick them up at the airport and set appointments with the Philippines Area Office and Buruea of Immigration for fingerprinting and visa processing. We'll discuss your draft tomorrow." and I was like uhhh I literally have no idea what any of that is haha! Just kidding, I know what to do but it's super hard because i have to train myself! The office secreatary before me is already home! haha I trust myself though. I'm learning so much and I truly don't believe I could be doing this without Heavenly Father's help. Sometimes I'll be doing a random task and I'll think, "How in the world do I do this again"? and I'll just randomly happen to find out exactly where to go and what to do.  I'm sooo thankful for the Holy Ghost haha! I would be dead by now without him. Driving in the Philippines is.. very..scary.. haha!  Its pretty hard but a fun challenge. I think its making me a more aggressive driver which could be bad for the real roads but good for Tijuana border crossing. (never use your blinker if you want to change lanes when its bumper to bumper. don't even turn your wheels until you're ready to turn. then you pounce at the perfect moment - catch them off guard - and squeeze in in front of them. random EDSA driving tip haha)

My new companion is Elder Ramirez and he's a Filipino from New Zealand. Not gonna lie, at first he kind of bugged me. We got along fine but he was just a different kind of guy. I'm adjusting to him so well and I kept praying that I would be able to understand him and be patient with him. Man my prayer was answered! We're so close now and we get along perfectly. He feels like another friend from back home. I'm super glad I was able to adjust to him
this is just a random picture of me and my old kabahays (companion/housemates)but I wanted to send it because I got your package and the shoes are perfect!! I seriously love those shoes so much ahaha! and I got your other package with beans and tortillas. I am very excited about that. The belt was super cool! It was just really big so I had to poke a new hole in it. I think I'm losing weight? The other day I saw a lady from my first ward and she said, "ay elder! ang laki ng pinayat mo!" (Oh Elder, you're losing weight")haha I can't tell though.
I hope you guys are doing well! I pray for you guys every night! I love you!!!