I have been called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines Cauayan Mission. This blog is managed by my parents. If you would like to contact them, you can email at lindalarson1598@gmail.com

Saturday, September 28, 2013

West Side

Maganda umaga! This last week, all the Tagalog branches had to move to the West Campus (my mom should've posted the new address on FB I think but I guess people don't seem to write many letters these days...) and it is definitely a different experience. Everyone's initial reaction was that they didn't like it all. We are staying at the Raintree Complex and there are twelve elders in our apartment that has only two showers and one water heater. There is not much space for the four of us in our small room and our gym time is now outside. However, we are starting to get adjusted to it. And what I realized is that there will be times when we are comfortable in our mission and then things get switched up on us and we will have to accept it. We might as well start getting used to these living conditions, because once we are in the Philippines, we definitely won't be staying in any five-star hotel. On the bright side, the food is a little better and we also got to walk to Jamba Juice at Brigham's Landing the other day.

 The move has been kind of hard on everyone so some of the sisters needed to receive blessings on Wednesday. There were four so each elder had the opportunity to give one. It's amazing because when you are about to give a blessing, you don't really know what to say, but once you begin, the Holy Ghost will direct you what to say and the words and inspiration just come to you. The Spirit was definitely very strong for us that night and it also helped us bond together even more as a district.
There is this one elder in our zone who stays in our apartment named Elder Nielsen and I think he is one of the most interesting guys that I have ever come across. When we are at the apartment, he enjoys hiding behind corners and jumping out at people, giving hugs for no apparent reason, silently observing people as they sleep, and other stuff I can't even explain. I nicknamed him Dirty Nel (in honor of Mallory Moon a.k.a. Dirty Mal) and the name has caught on throughout the zone. I'm introducing him now because there will probably eventually be some crazy story involving him haha. As strange as he is, our zone would not be the same without him.

Elder Nielsen

And I will confess, I'm still the same nutty Asian boy I was before I left. Yesterday, I learned the chorus of A Thousand Miles in Tagalog. As long as you have a good companion/district like I do, the MTC is such a fun time. It is like the high school version of our mission and I can't wait until I'm actually able to teach the people in the Philippines.
Since we moved, Tuesday was the last time I got to see Elder McFarland. He departs to Korea in a few days and that will mean all the homies will be out in their respective mission. I have received updates from Elder Anderson and Robley about their first weeks in Japan and Russia and it is awesome to hear they are doing good. Also hopefully everything goes well with Elder Carr and his surgery! I seriously have been blessed with such an amazing friend group in my life. I miss all the crazy times that we had but they have been the best examples to me and knowing I have 14 brothers teaching the gospel in various parts of the world makes my mission that much easier. Same goes to my homies back in the Grove-Ry, Jeff, Charles, everyone else-I miss them and I hope everybody is doing good. I know that I was a hall of fame super senior but I heard that our football team is doing pretty good and that some other people have picked up where I left off with the school spirit. I love all you guys and I am glad to say that I made it through that tricky 3rd Friday.

 Elder Anderson

Elder McFarland

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The G Squad

My companion Elder St. Gelais
Kumusta everybody! Everybody says make it through your first Sunday (I on the other hand tell everybody to 'watch out for that 3rd Friday because it'll get you'...) and then time flies by and that seemed to be true because this week seemed to go pretty dang fast. I feel like I've been here forever though and my old life seems so long ago! It almost feels weird to be called Bryce now. I hope everybody is doing good back at home.
First and formemost, I need to introduce you to the self-proclaimed G Squad. I spend almost all my time with this crew and the MTC would probably stink if you weren't having fun, but we quickly developed a strong brotherhood and we just have a grand old time out here.
Hopefully my mom can load the pic okay so from left to right:
Geezy-My companion Elder St. Gelais but nobody can pronounce that right so St. Geezy it is. Such a cool and friendly dude and a volleyball champ. He has helped make my MTC experience a lot better. Frosty-Elder Wright has a white mark in his hair so Kruger calls him 'Skunk' but we all thought Frosty would be nicer. He understands my sense of humor better than most and we laugh about seriously the dumbest stuff all the time.
Div-Elder Divver is our district leader and I have come to the conclusion that he is Skyler Munson's long-lost fraternal twin. They act so similarly! He is always such a nut but he can also be spiritual so that's good.
Lady Slayer Lamb-The tall, quiet Elder Lamb who is a bank of knowledge. We all know for a fact that this guy knows his way around a woman's heart.
Muscles-I always dare Elder Musselman to do stuff and he is down for anything. He is in the other district with Elder Wright but the same zone so they're always with us.
So many funny things have happened already but it's hard to explain a lot without knowing the people or the inside jokes. Some entertainment tactics I use though are getting sisters from our district or other random missionaries in my camera selfies (like Charles would do to people at school), welcoming everybody to the MTC whether they are new or not, and looking up dumb stuff in the Tagalog dictionary. In honor of J-Rob who left this last week, I learned part of the chorus of 22. I saw Elder Anderson and Elder Madsen quite a bit but they finna dipped as well.
We teach these 'investigators' and even though they are just members volunteering to play the role, it's incredible how much you can still connect with the person and feel the Spirit while teaching. Our last few lessons we haven't used any English. We usually don't understand a lot of the stuff that they say back to us but we make progress each lesson.
The language gradually gets better every day but there are times that I get pretty frustrated. I think that it would sometimes be tough to get my point across in a lesson-let alone teach the whole message in Tagalog. But a scripture that has helped me this week is Proverbs 3:5-6 which basically states, "Put all the trust in God and he will direct thy paths." If it weren't for the Lord, there is no way I could do it. But basically as long as we are putting forth our effort, Heavenly Father will take care of the rest and the Holy Ghost will testify what is needed to the investigator. You might not always know the language and the doctrine completely, but the most important thing you can do is give your best effort, turn outward to God, and LOVE the people. If you can do that, you can become a great missionary.
Sige po. Mahal tayo! (Goodbye. I love you all.)
   Elder McFarland and me

Our District

Saturday, September 14, 2013

First email

Dear Family,
I don't know if you got my letter but I don't know where my important pouch is. I saw I got a package so hopefully it is in there.  Jake says he gets like three packages of food on Fridays so I have high expectations to be hooked up.  Mom can you check my email and send me all the missionary contacts
Anyways, I can't believe the time has finally arrived. It was awesome being hosted by Elder McFarland and Elder Anderson. I have really missed them. I have also seen Elder Robley, Elder Babb, Elder Kruger, Elder Loitz who is from PG and going to Cauayan and a few others at the MTC. I get to visit Elder McFarland a lot during the night.
At the MTC, they literally just throw you right into things. The first day, they barely spoke any English in class. Mostly Tagalog. (Tug-all-ig. Not tag-all-og.) It's frustrating at times but it's starting to come already, faster than I expected. I can carry on a short conversation while greeting and becoming acquainted with someone and I'm close to being able to say a prayer.
There are four elders and eight sisters in our district. I already love them. Sister McHenry is in it, so it has been really nice to already know someone. I joke around with her a lot. Our district knows that we knew each other before so some of them think that we are hiding a prior relationship that we had hahaha. My companion Elder St. Gelais (pronounced JUH-LAY) is a really easygoing and laid-back dude. He is a very cool guy and has been a great companion so far. Elder Divver got called to be district leader is so goofy and he talks even more than I do, but he also plays ball and I think if he lived in Pleasant Grove, he would probably hang out in our friend group a lot. From the stories he tells, he reminds me a ton of Skyler Munson because he also seems like a pretty sneaky snake. The last elder is Elder Lamb. He is tall and pretty quiet, but sometimes he says something that is just so funny. It's a little like when Jeffrey makes a joke, but Jeffrey is the best.
Speaking of that, all the homies need to email me. Getting mail is one of the best feelings! By the way, UPS stores SHIPS FREE ON FRIDAYS. Ladies, feel free to HMU with the packages! If you send a Dear Elder, it would probably help to include your address so I can send you a letter back. That delivers every day so it's pretty convenient. And my P-Day is Saturdays by the way.
Sometimes I get frustrated with the language but honestly so far I love it a lot here. You stay so busy all the time, you don't even have much time to think about what else is going on back home. The food hasn't been too bad either. I love you all. Start writing me!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MTC drop off day

We said our goodbyes and then dropped off Bryce at the MTC.

There to greet Bryce were two of his best friends, Mike and Jake. 
 It made it alot easier to leave him in good hands.