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 Taño 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!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29, 2015

August 28, 2015

So I have some interesting news... last Thursday Elder Valencia and I were doing our companionship study when we got a call from President Revillo. I was a little bit scared to answer and so I made elder Valencia answer. He talked to President for a few seconds and then his eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped and he said "yeah here he is President". He handed me the phone and I say hello president. President says "hello elder hows your sore eyes?" etc etc. he asks me how im doing and things like that. then he says "Elder, the reason I am calling is because I have an extra calling for you" (I'm already a district leader so I guess I'm going to have an additional calling???) I said ".. uhhh sige po president what's that?". he responded by explaining, "so as you know the new couple missionaries - Elder and Sister Condie - came in two weeks ago and Elder Condie was to be my new office secretary. However they are not working out. I want you to be my new office secretary. Can you do this for me Elder Van Slooten?" ... haha I didn't know what to say. I probably sounded very awkward as I responded, "umm yes president.. I can do that for you". "good", President Revillo responded. "this means that you will be helping me run the mission from behind the scenes. Are you familiar with Microsoft word? excel? do you have a drivers license? you will need to get a drivers license, you will be driving all over the mission" President continued to explain some of the other responsibilities I will have and some of the many things I will have to do and what will happen in the next few days. "Elder you have my complete trust. I need you to learn fast. Elder Brewer will be training you and as you know, he goes home in eight days. Can you get your bags packed tonight? I want you to be in Quirino in the office tomorrow morning early to start your training. Elder I am relying upon you. can I trust you"? umm at this point I was speechless with about a thousand thoughts running through my head. I don't want to drive in Manila I'll die! I don't know how to be a secretary? I've never organized and planned the affairs of a mission! why me? I'm the least qualified! haha I responded and said "President I will give 100% to this calling. you can trust me". President simply replied "Great. be ready tomorrow by 8 am. thank you Elder". He hung up the phone and Elder Valencia and my kabahays - Elders Barenno and Scoffield - were all yelling "what happened, what was that"!! it was a pretty funny experience. so there ya go. I got emergency transferred into the office as president's secretary. My new ward is Quirino 2 at 1 in the afternoon (in case I have any prospective visitors) my pday is now on Saturday so you guys will be emailing me on Friday night.

This is a picture of me and my kabahays before i got transferred. My first night in the office was nuts.. we had to go pay the rent that the couple missionaries had before they left and we dropped by their apartment to get their key. Elder and Sister Condie are awesome and they looked pretty sad to be going home so i offered to give them a blessing if they would like. They accepted and it was very spiritual. Elder Condie was all teary eyed and he told me that he feels like he has known me his whole life. After we collected their key he offered to walk us out to the street. Elder condie told us "We had dinner with the President Revillo and his wife last night and they talked about you elders a lot". He then looked right at me and pointed at me saying "especially you Elder Van Slooten. President Revillo really depends on you and he sees a lot in you" (gulp) hahaha jeez talk about pressure!! I'm sad to see the condies go though. they were only here for two weeks

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23, 2015

We had a baptism this week! his name is Jericho Bibon 15 years old and he reminds me of Ryan Barnett. we have a super solid friendship. haha! he's one of my favorite converts because he's super funny and we're always sitting next to each other in sacrament meeting and having fun together.
After i baptized Jericho i wanted to yell into my towel. I was so stoked! Then the         
following Sunday the bishop told me that Jericho wanted me to confirm him. I was so  
scared haha! I've never confirmed anyone before in my life! It worked out well                                  though.
 This is our last baptism. Mariella May Ramos Cruz. I baptized and confirmed  her.      And that's our bishop crouching in the front. He's the old mission president of               the Tacloban mission!                                                                                                      
 This is a view of the neighborhood that I live in. If you walk along the   
 river,  you'll run into our street and then you turn left on our street and you'll find our house! Isn't that funny! haha! it looks so uninviting from the outside (and from the inside too) but it's a pretty cool neighborhood. it's always flooding and pretty often the river will flood over that wall and were stuck hahaha!
Me and Mister Buddy Reyes!! He gave me 1000 pesos haha! I told him not to but he forced it on me.

August 2, 2016
Hey family!! I got your package! it was so nice to get it and the timing was perfect! also the shoes fit me perfectly and are really cool! I wrote you guys a letter so hopefully you get it soon. I will send it tomorrow so it shouldn't take too long.
My new companion is elder Valencia from Bicol and he doesn't speak a lot of English.. which is a bummer because it's hard to talk to him for a long period of time but! he's super cool! we teach so well together. also a huge bonus is he's really good at cooking. He made Bicol express and chicken curry with fresh coconut milk we bought across the street. SO good! and now I know how to cook it too so hopefully I can somewhat emulate what he created the other day. I really hope that I remember all these cooking things. I want to cook for you guys when I come home! although it won't be as good as mom's cooking it will be better than my cooking before my mission haha!

It was so hard to have Elder Salisbury go. He was my best friend on the mission, and it's not like I'll see him in the future at mission meetings or anything. He's home now so I'll have to wait for when I'm home to see him again! It was pretty sad the first few days without him but I'm adjusted now. He's going to study at UVU right next to BYU so I bought a little coin purse here, wrote Sam's number inside of it, and told Elder Sals to give Sam a call when he gets home and deliver her the coin purse. haha! We'll see if it gets to her! 
Mom, that book by Elder Groberg is an amazing book! Brother Olsen gave it to me to read before my mission. It helped me a lot actually and there are a lot of passages from that book that I remember that are very applicable to life right now in the field. I wrote you guys a letter kind of about that. pray that it gets to you! because I think I have sent some letters in the past that didn't get to you!
August 9, 2016
Hey family! I hope you guys had a good trip to Mex. That'd be cool if Jolie got some surf all on her own to try and shortboard. What board is she riding btw? Did you guys put a leash plug on my longboard yet? Also I hope this coming school year goes great, mom! I pray for you every night crisscross on the floor in front of my fan haha. It'll be nice to be so close to school.
August 16, 2016
hey family! this week was great! I had a visitor in the Quezon city third ward!!! Buddy Reyes!!! it was so cool to see him!! oh man if you guys ever see him in the near future make sure to tell him how good it was to see him!
Sounds like you guys had a great trip to Mexico. I wish I could have been there haha oh well I'll get there in 2 years.

I also wish I could get more done on pdays too, dad. Time is so fast on Mondays. We're not really allowed to go on hikes in this mission at any time so I don't think I'll be going on any hikes any time soon. If we want to go to a zoo or anywhere cool it has to be in our area,  then even if it is in our area we have to text president for permission before we go do anything like that on a pday. hahaha he rarely allows us to "waste time" on pdays. Missionaries from the Philippines say that President Revillo is the most strict mission president in the Philippines haha.  I don't doubt them but I also think it's good in some ways. We get a lot done and missionaries really learn to grow up with his strictness and we really work hard. although yes, dad I'm with you. I wish I could go on a hike too. Once a missionary asked him "President, can I read 'Jesus the Christ' by James E Talmage?" President said "Elders and Sisters, once you have 100 percent memorized the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel front to back, inside and out, you can read whatever you like" hahaha! it was his way of saying, read nothing except for the bom and pmg. Hes' so funny. Yeah I honestly learned to go with the flow. I love the scripture in the New Testament "Don't kick against the pricks" I try to remember that and accept things as they are.
Also our stake president surfs and he was telling me about Siargao and how there's
always surf there year round. I think we need to make a trip  back someday
This week we had another baptism! I'll try and send you guys a lot of pictures but it was awesome. every time I baptize someone, and I dry off afterwards in the bathroom I wanna yell into my towel from excitement haha. And yes Jericho is so pumped on being a member now. almost every time I see him he says "Elder van! magmimisyon ako sa inyo. sa lugar ninyo ha!"(I will go on a mission and I'll be going to your place) haha He reminds me so much of Ryan or Jacques Barnett. We have our own secret handshake and we're always joking around with each other. I hope he serves in the California San Fernando  Mission! Chances are slim but I'm hoping.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 27, 2015

Hey family!!

this week was another good week. I feel bad because every single week is exactly the same. study. work. walk. sweat. be tired. teach. work. eat. study. work. work, work. sleep. study. walk.. but one thing that's pretty cool is were going to get about three baptisms in august.
elder Salisbury left! he went home to Utah which was really hard because he was definitely my favorite companion so far. I miss him, but my new comp is an old comp of elder Salisbury. his name is elder Valencia from Visaya I think. we'll see what happens I'll meet up with him tomorrow.
I got called as district leader which was really surprising because I'm still so new in the mission. its not too hard though. I just have to go on exchanges with every elder in the district, give workshops every week, and interview the baptismal candidates of the elders in my district.
this last transfer went by so fast! I cant believe its already over. probably because my comp and I had so much fun.
anyways this next week should be cool. ill have a new comp and I think we might get three baptisms. I'm really proud to say I haven't had any baptisms on my mission that I didn't work really hard for. a lot of the times elders will transfer into a new area and baptize people that the previous companionship taught. its still a baptism but I can see how it would feel unfair.
anyways ill talk to you guys next week. my pday is on Monday again this week.
I love you guys!

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 12, 2015

This is a watermelon shake that costs 20 pesos. i don't think I've ever had a more refreshing drink in my entire life. sometimes my comp and i just sit down and drink one of these and take a break. its so nice cus you can buy them pretty much anywhere. very convenient for when you're super hot and super sweaty ( April, 2015, really hot summer months in the Philippines start in March to about end of May. Rainy season starts about May, typhoon season about June to about October)

  my kabahays! (housemates/companionships) except for elder de dios. we had exchanges so elder tampac (far right) worked with me today. we couldn't go out and work the rain outside was too heavy so we decided to stay in and have a kabahay picture (May, 2015)
 this was our most recent baptism! Jaime Cariaga. we baptized his wife a few weeks ago. definitely one of the coolest guys ever ( April, 2015)
 this is Jeslyn Bada Chua our most recent baptism woo hoo!!! shes from the tacloban mission and her native language is waray so sometimes its hard for her to understand some of the words we say to her but shes super awesome. (May, 2015)
on the rooftop of one of our recent converts house. its super tall and the view (as you can tell) is super cool. you can see all the way to the buildings of pasig and manila and you can even see some of the mountains in morong and rizal waay off in the distance. i was super scared in this picture and thats probably why my smile is a little nervous hahaa! (May, 2015)
 i dont know if you can tell but im super sweaty in this picture. also there are a lot of weird animals here (May, 2015)
 me at the temple! im frowning because my face was about to melt off in this picture haha! (May, 2015)
these are my kabahays! no one really knows how to speak english except for me haha. (May, 2015)
  also i hate chickens. they always peck your legs when you walk by. im gonna try and pick one up someday (May, 2015)
 had to say goodbye to elder nawaia last week :( we were in the same zone but now were probably going to be in different zones. btw in the picture im wearing a long sleeve and i almost died from heat stroke. ( ran out of clean short sleeve shirts or hung shirts outside to dry and got rained on, which you never do when rainy season comes) (June, 2015)

 outside the house of one of our investigators. the little boy in the middle is probably one of the cutest kids ever. his name is lawrence and his parents recently got baptized. (with his new companion, Elder Salisbury, who's going home in a couple weeks) (July, 2015)

kids playing in the rain. it may not look like it but it was raining so hard. the place where they were playing actually flooded. we left right before it flooded but jeepneys couldn't pass through it. (July, 2015)
we get to play bball a lot. its funny because the rims are sometimes just 7 ft high and pretty easy to dunk and people are so amazed when two American missionaries come and dunk a couple balls haha i have a funny picture of that actually, the dunk isnt that good but the people watching me on the side look so funny (July, 2015)

July 12, 2015   (Henry's latest e-mail. apologize for the lack of updates)

Hey family,
     this week was just another week of work.  sometimes i feel like every week is the same and i have nothing new to tell you guys but it has been raining a ton this week and it flooded near our house pretty bad. if it had floodeed just a little more it would have reached our house. most of our neighbors couldnt get to their houses.  there was a guy with a canoe taking people to their houses for a few pesos. i wish i could send a picture but the computer here doesnt have an outlet for camera cords! oh well hopefully next week ill be able to send some pictures. 
     i dont know if i told you guys this but in my ward right now (qc 3rd) theres a member that used to be the old mission president of the tacloban mission! his name is president malit. (the missoin president before him - president trask  - helped the tacloban become the highest baptizing mission in the world! just a random fact) but president malit is so good at missionary work.. obviously haha but he works with us a lot and really helps us out. were so lucky to be able to work one on one with an old mission president in the philippines. in a way we have a huge advantage over other elders because it's almost like we receive twice the training. hes super awesome and were really lucky to have him.
     i'm learning a lot about how to live with someone 24/7. when you and your comp get along well, mission life is good. so the mission has been really awesome for the last transfer becuase elder salisbury and i get along really well. 
     also uncle jeff and aunt laurie sent me girl scout cookies! my comp and i were very thankful for that! tell them i say thank you! a few nights ago i was talking to a lady in our ward and shes been to indonesia before! (the philipines is so close to indonesia) and i was asking her about the language and she said that she could understand some of the things the people were saying. indonesian and tagalog are very similar in structure and even a lot of vocabulary words are the exact same she said. she told me if you know how to speak tagalog, itll be easy for me to learn indonesian. i was clearly VERY excited when she told me this. when i get home im going to do all i can to learn indonesian haha i want to be able to speak it! that would be so cool if we go there some day!! but well see if what she said is true haha. 
     anyways that was my week basically. oh and btw my shoes are all falling apart and the biggest size they have here is size 11. i might have to get shoes made from some guy but ill figure it out! i love you guys!! 


Sunday, April 5, 2015

EASTER SUNDAY - April 5, 2015

                               Sister Zenny! my very first baptism
                        at the Manila Temple. It's really pretty there at night.
 This is how I react when our investigators say they're too busy to be taught.
These are the elders that live in our apartment. Elder Sia (from Bacolod, he's been out 7 months) Elder Connelly (from New Zealand, he's been out 2 months) and of course my trainer Elder de Dios from Toronto, he's been out 9 months.
March 15, 2015
I saw Sam's pictures! They look so cool!! I'm emailing her right now and she said she just landed in Seattle. I'm so jealous. She's going to Europe again!! and Jolie told me she's going to see  Best Coast with Sam and then Mac Demarco! I'm also jealous of that. But still there's no place I'd rather be than right here. These people love me and I love them. I feel like I have such a major obligation to them... the other day we were tracting and I started talking to this lady.. she rudely slammed the door so I said "Naiintindihan nyo ba kung ano ang tinatanggihan ninyo? Ate, ito ang kaligtasan ninyo!" (I usually don't say things like that because it gives people a bit of a weird view of missionaries but I felt prompted to say that) She reluctantly came back to the door and opened it the slightest bit and I said (after collecting my thoughts a bit more) "Ate, kung meron kayong oras sa amin, nais po namin na ibahagi isang magandang mensahe tungkol kay Jesu Cristo, ang  kahalagahan ng mga pamiliya at yung plano ng Diyos para sa inyo at para sa inyong pamiliya"... she let us in. She's now being taught and I hope more than anything that she takes this seriously and gets baptized! If you know how heavy and how important this gospel is, you start to realize how much everyone needs it. When you realize how much everyone needs it, you start to get a little bit more bold in inviting others to come unto Christ. hahaha maybe saying "sister do you understand what your rejecting?" was a little bit too bold, but it caught her attention. Anyways that was just a cool experience I had this week. 
I love you guys! take care!
Also, read the book of mormon every day. it will answer questions that we need answers to if we study it prayerfully. mahal ko kayo!
March 22, 2015
Marami akong gustong sabihin pero for now I'll just tell you that my week consisted of riding on the back of jeepneys, hanging on to tricycles with five elders on them and eating balut. haha we had a temple trip and another baptism! the first person I ever baptized! It was so cool!
March 29, 2015
Hey family!! Have fun in Mexico!!! I'm so jealous.. Take a bunch of pictures and send me some!! My week wasn't that exciting although I feel super confident in Tagalog now but my biggest fear is that my growth  will plateau.. I've been working so hard and feel that I've grown so much.. I dont want to stop growing at this rate so I'll just have to keep working harder. haha! My week was pretty good although we struggled to teach   many lessons this week. We had a few investigators drop us and it was super sad.. We're really working on trying to get investigators to understand why this is important to and for them.. we actually went back to a couple of the investigators that dropped us and we were like don't do this. This is important for you because... and we explained lesson two and now they're being taught again!! I feel like my teaching skills are improving so much and I'm grateful to my heavenly father who has helped me so much.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 9, 2015

    Elder Henry Van Slooten and companion Elder De Dios
  with President Carlos G Revillo Jr. (mission president) and wife
hey family! that's so cool Mario Bambo is back. I always remember him as being so nice. Don't worry about me. I'm eating healthy and exercising and sleeping well every night. but yes the little kids here are so funny! they always come up to us and ask for hi fives. they say "hey what's your name!" they're pretty funny but they can be a little overwhelming sometimes just because there are so many of them! the bugs here are massive.. the cockroaches are massive and they can fly, which is terrifying haha! the spiders are the size of the palm of your hand.. the other day in church I heard a girl yell and she said there was a big spider in the chapel.. my companion and I laughed because we thought she was overreacting. we went up to see how big it actually was and it was about the size of a cheeseburger.. so gnarly haha! one of the young men just got a broom and swept it out.. you see some pretty funny things here often. its not uncommon to see someone fully clothed on the sidewalk but dripping wet.. a lot of people don't have showers in their homes so they put on clothes and do a bucket shower on the sidewalk.. took me a while to figure that one out.  Its not uncommon to see 5 kids on one bicycle at a time or to see a man holding three live pigeons in one hand and a dead chicken in the other. People here are so kind though and I think I'm finally starting to understand them more. A lot of the time people will speak in church in English and I'll think "how did I understand that so well?.. oh it was in English" haha!  but this past week when people speak in pure Tagalog I'll think "was that in English?.. oh no it wasn't, I can just understand them". That always gets me so excited  and yes mercury drugstore is the best!  I always walk down the street thinking about how you used to walk down these streets as a little girl. I love you guys so much!! I'll talk to you next week, I hope everything is going well for you guys! tell Jolie I miss her too.

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015

HEY family!! this week has been great! a lot of our investigators are in pinyahan which is the neighborhood that we live in so its nice being close to all of them. one of our investigators - jonathan o'dell is super funny. he's definitely our favorite investigator. whenever we give him an invitation he says no.. but we tell him every time we're not leaving until he says yes. he talks about why he can't/doesn't want to and we tell him about how he can and should. anyway every time he ends up saying yes and every time he says yes we know he's going to follow through. he's awesome, super honest and so nice. we can tell he really likes us and respects us. he's about 30-35 years old and his family lives in iloilo. he's just here working. we really think if he gets baptized he can become a leader in the church. he's really great. he makes us laugh every time we teach him.
the other day we were teaching this one lesson and my companion, elder de dios, was trying to get contact information from  three people that we were teaching when this little girl tapped me on the shoulder. she was probably six and she just started talking to me. she asked me where i was from and i said "america, siguro iyan ang dahilan kung bakit ang pangit ko" just as a joke and she said "hindi..pogi ka" ;') hahahahaah it was sooo cute! she reminded me of bo.. anyway i gave her a restoration packet and told her to take it to her parents and have them read it.. we haven't heard anything from them yet.
everything is great over here, i love being a missionary! i feel like im learning tagalog and how to teach effectively really fast..

this is one of the people that we baptized this week! we had one other baptism. this lady's name is editha enolpe and the other baptism we had was sister evelyn cariaga. the other picture is just typical street view of where we walk around all day

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

hey mom and dad! Things are really great over here!! It's hot and humid so we're constantly sweaty but it's really fun. The language is totally different from the mtc, and it's pretty hard to understand people sometimes. I had balut and chicken intestine and the boiled blood stuff, there's a lot of crazy food here!! haha.
I'm in an internet café since there are no computers in our apartments. and don't worry,there's some good food here. I'm definitely not gonna starve at all and we're always getting fed.

We're busy every single day like crazy, even on pday so I won't have a ton of time to email you guys. A week before I got into the mission, the mission president decided to cut email time in half, from 2 hours to one hour so there are a ton of people to email and not any time to do it, haha!
I do have time to cook but very little. My trainer is Elder De Dios from Canada. His parents are both Filipinos but he didn't speak any Tagalog before his mission.  We sleep with a fan and yeah I'm sleeping really well because we get so tired from the day that we can't help but fall right asleep. From 1-8pm we're out teaching and finding people to teach and getting sweaty haha. There are four of us in the apartment so two companionships and our ward is really good. My first area is the Quezon City 1st ward.
I love you guys a ton!! I miss you and think about you guys a lot!! Ill "talk" to you all next week!!
 Elder Van Slooten trying on "balut" for the first time. (Balut is duck embryo, yum)
                            Henry and Elder Nawaia at the Manila MTC
                           before going to their respective first areas.

Elder Van Slooten's new mailing address:

Elder Henry Van Slooten
Philippines Quezon City Mission
Aurora Blvd. cor. JP Rizal St.
Project 4, Cubao
Quezon City 1109, Metro Manila, Philippines

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015

hey mom and dad! this week has been pretty good! i have quite a few pictures to send. elder nawaia got to go to temple square and walk around because hes an "international missionary". they let all the international missionaries go to salt lake and see temple square because they may never get a chance to do it again. anyways he took my camera with him.

 also exciting news, we got flight plans!!! were leaving february fifth after all and were leaving at 3;30 am hahaha were flying to portland to tokyo to manila!! im so excited to get out of here! we skyped with a member in the philippines and taught them a lesson and the member was in quezon city! she spoke pretty fast but i picked up most of what she was saying hahaha she said "pogi kayo elder" hahaha not sure if i spelled that right though.    these are my travel plans!!!!

January 17, 2015

this mornings sunrise was cool. that last one is of elder peck during our temple trip last Saturday

January 10, 2015

 elder nawaia is really great and hes starting to get a lot better at tagalog, its probably really hard for him to learn tagalog while hes trying to learn english at the same time. im excited to get into the field though the mtc is getting very repetitive and its hard to spend your whole entire day in the same class room. we eat breakfast and then go to class. then were in class until lunch time. then we go to lunch then come right back to class. and then were in class again until dinner time. then after dinner we go back to class again until 9:30 at night. its a lot of learning and a lot of work but we are learning very fast. some of the guys on my district are scared to get to the field in terms of speaking and understanding capabilities. sometimes i feel that way too but i actually feel very comfortable with tagalog and think i could almost go right now. i know if i went into the field right now with as much tagalog as i know, i would probably get fried. the hardest thing about learning tagalog is getting used to sentence structures. its very different from english. im really trying to let go of all my english tendencies and only think in terms of tagalog sentence structure but i think ill be ready in a couple more weeks. were supposed to leave february the fifth but one of my teachers got an email saying we would leave january 28th. i hope we leave then. ill send a few pictures. i didnt take that many this week because everything is starting to look the same.
this was taken last sunday during the temple walk. they let all the missionaries walk to the temple and tour the grounds for an hour or so every sunday afternoon. we usually dont go because its been so cold but we decided we needed to get off mtc campus and walk around.

January 5, 2015