Thursday, November 29, 2012

A 'Turkey-Day' To Remember!! Received-11-26-2012

Hey Everyone!

Wow Thanksgiving was a blast!  Even though I went and got sick... :P  We finally found our turkey the day before.  We had to ride a trike (motorcycle with a sidecar) all the way up a mountain to a less populated area and we finally found some people selling some bigger ones at the top.  We kept it overnight and butchered it in the morning... Kinda gross but really fun :)  But that was the morning I woke up sick so after we finished killing it I went straight back to bed and missed out on gutting it :P  Glad you were able to tell Bro. Mendenhall bout it too haha.  That was lots of fun chasing that goose down in his back yard and I was thinking about it when we got our turkey idea :)

Our Turkey!

We had our Party at Sister L's house.  She's a 50 yr. old Less-Active that hadn't gone to church for 3 years.  The first time we met her she was laughing and having fun and she's been to church for the last 2 weeks already.  Cool beans :)  We had turkey, MASHED POTATOES :D,.... rice... pancit (noodles).  haha, it was definitely Filipino style thanksgiving.  After that we sang videoke for a couple hours with all the Branch missionaries that came with us.  Videoke is Karaoke... dunno why it's got a different name here haha.
Maligayang Araw ng Pasasalamat!:)

Pretty awesome turkey experience you had comin from Chelsey's concert haha :) (We followed a diesel full of turkeys on their way to the slaughter house!) I think I'll stick to frozen turkeys too from now on even though it was fun :)

Wooooooot! :D  That's awesome that James got his call to the Pines!  Tell him congrats for me.  Cebu is where Elder Montemayor was from, they speak Cebuano instead of Tagalog.  Tell him "Maot man kag panagway oi!" for me... it's the only Cebuano I know. Means "Your face is ugly!"  Tell him it's nothing personal, just teaching what I know :o)

Things I could have gone without?  Toilet paper :)  Mosquito net... can't really think of too much.  I used the sandals once or twice but they were way cheaper here and flip flops I bought here work just as well.  Let me know if they think of anything else.  Maybe tell him if he's bored and wants to learn part of his language to try reading the Cebuano Book of Mormon out loud even though it won't make any sense at all haha.  Let me know if they have any other q's

-Nice Turkey-

Cool beans for Tauni and Jacob too!  LOTS of people are heading on missions! .... Lots of really younger people.  I've been out here FOREVER! haha :)  REALLY cool that Heather's sending her's in too!  Pretty awesome stuff!

So area:  When I say mountainous here it just means it's in the middle of a bunch of really cool hills.  It's kind of like mountains but nothing like our mountains back home :)  Haha, our toilet flushes but we have to do it with a bucket and ladle.  Definitely miss the shower from Baliwag but one day Elder Hensley boiled water on the stove and poured it into the bucket for me to shower with and I haven't been able to take a freezing cold shower since haha :)  I've been washing my own garments but I take my clothes to a Laundromat 15 minutes away... Totally worth it :)  Machine washed and dried clothes feel WAY better than hand washed.  Yup.  All our investigators have come from members so far.  Pretty great area/branch liking it here but I might be transferring already on Dec. 13.  Pretty quick eh?  It's a big city but not nearly as busy as my first area.  No rice fields and kinda polluted but ok.  A lot of the area is somewhat poor but it's not too bad.

People are just starting to put their Christmas lights up right now.  Fun stuff.  It's gonna be interesting having a warm winter again haha.  I'll make sure and get some belts made.

I'll try and get ya a day in the life of Elder Powell next week eh?  Love ya! :D

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maligayang Araw ng Pasasalamat! :) Received-11-19-2012

Mamaaaaa Ooooooooo! :)

Wow, we had a really good really long week!  We got a ton of work done and we're having a lot of fun at the same time.  We're in a Branch again.  It's the Minuyan branch but the organization is actually pretty good.  The District and Branches here are very close to being stepped up to a Stake and Wards.  The members are all very excited for it.  Haha, yup the fridge was pretty gross.  But again the apartment's fine now.  I'll send ya a pic of my EPIC hammock hangout :)  Nothing too exciting in the way of bug stories but if you want we'll keep our doors open at night so that we can have some eh? ;)

Epic Hammock Hangout!

Sounds like everyone's still having fun back there eh?  Glad to hear your still keeping stats at Basketball games :)  Can't wait to get back and coach and cheer that kid on.  He sure is a tall lanky kid isn't he?  Does he trip over himself like I did? :)  He dominated with rebounds eh?  Man I can't wait :)

The Rebound King!

That's really cool that Athena and Samantha are singing in the same concert as a UVU group!  Glad you were able to go and enjoyed it.  I really love music too and I'm really grateful that we've been so blessed to to have it be such a big part of our lives.  I actually have thought about joining a choir when I get home.  I really enjoyed singing with the choir in the MTC.  But we'll see what happens when I get home :)

Wow ma!  I'm super grateful for your gratitude list! haha :o)  Once again you're being an awesome example for me.  Being on a mission (especially in a foreign country) makes you grateful for so many things that you take for granted at home.  WARM showers.  Air conditioner :)  Flushing toilets.  Clean air.  Beautiful mountains.  Loving family.  Basically everything we need and most of the things we want.  We are so ridiculously blessed and sometimes we don't even realize it.  Happy Thanksgiving!  (Maligayang Araw ng Pasasalamat!:)
Getting Excited For Cooking!

Speaking of Thanksgiving... This year it's gonna be EPIC :)  We met a Less-Active last week and she warmed up to us right away and she introduced us to her neighbor that we're teaching now.  We're gonna have a big Thanksgiving at her neighbor's house with all the branch missionaries and youth that work with us.  The best part?  Me and Elder Hensley are buying a live turkey tomorrow so we can fatten it up, and then kill it, clean it, cook it, and EAT it on Thanksgiving.  It shall be a party and there SHALL be pictures.  Be excited :)

With finding new investigators we haven't ever done an English class before... maybe that would be fun :)  We usually go to Less-Active members and bring them back to church and teach their unbaptized family members.  We also get referrals.  Those are usually the best ways we find.  We can tract but it's kinda weird here in the Philippines because the houses aren't all nice and set up in a row like in America and most people are outside their houses anyway.  So sometimes we'll just talk to random people on the street.  Fun stuff :)
Elder Powell and Elder Hensley
Ready to share the Gospel
Hahaha, as I stated to Dad in his email... You guys are OLD! :)  Loved the story :)  Weird to think that I'm older right now than you were on your first thanksgiving together haha.  Pretty great story though.  I'll try and make sure that my first thanksgiving's better than that... maybe we'll eat some Filipino food on rice :)  I better start learning to cook this stuff, I'm gonna miss it when I get back.  Does Bud know how to cook Filipino food?

Love ya TONS!!!!  Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!  Share my love to the family!

Adventures of the STINKY FRIDGE!! Received-11-12-2012

Hey again! :)

Yup I'm lovin it here in SJDM(San Jose Del Monte City) so far.  Haha, hopefully I will get Montalban next time, that was Elder Hensley's last zone and it sounds pretty amazing.

Had a pretty great week.  I'm having a blast with Elder Hensley so far and we're getting some good work done.  The people here are super nice too(and feed us lots;). 

Holy tawale my friends are getting mission calls! :D  That's great news about both Becca's!  I'm glad you worked up the courage to text her haha :o)  You'll hafta tell her congrats for me.
Becca Oliphant's going to serve in the same mission as me?! :D  Hahaha, that's awesome!  I never thought about serving in the same mission as a friend, that's gonna be a blast!  Might also make me a bit trunky for PG haha :)  Let me know if she has any Philippines questions and tell her I'm super excited to serve with her haha  Don't forget to let me know where Shelby's going too eh?

Yup, heard about Obama.  Oh well... hope he does well... or that this helps bring the 2nd coming faster :o)

Wow!  That's awesome that Kylee made the 9th grade basketball team!  Make sure and tell her way to go for me.  Tell her to stick with the practices even though she can't play as much, (she's also got a main part in the Jr. High play going on at the same time), it'll help her get on the HS team next year.  Make sure and get me some epic pics and stories from Hunter's first Bantam game too, pretty bummed out I'll hafta miss that. :)

Wow......  That's FREAKEEZING COLD!!! (freaking-freezing cold:o) (I told him about our weekend snow storm) I'm pretty sure I might freeze to death when I get home.  Tell Becca to be ready for Heat shock when she gets here, she'll be getting here right at the hottest point of summer haha.  Sure glad I don't hafta do any snow shoveling again this year :)
GROSS!!! I think it's alive!!!

Storytime:  When we first got here our apartment stunk REALLY bad.  Elders had abandoned it for about a month and forgot to take all their food out of the fridge... blech! So we cleaned it out really good and now it's not all that bad at all.  I actually like the apartment a lot!  We're almost in the middle of this little forest on the side of the road.  There's a little spot on the side of the house that's perfect for studying.  It's nice and quiet, has a nice breeze and plenty of shade and... a spot for my hammock :)  I was having a hard time setting it up when Elder Hensley(who enjoys making fun of people from Utah:o) said "Aren't you an Eagle Scout Utah boy?  You should know how to tie those knots."  Right after he said that I accidentally tied a PERFECT bowline knot and then another, and another... and another!  Don't know how I did it... never could in scouts haha.  Gotta admit I'm pretty proud of myself and you would be too Pops :)  Woot!  Lovin this place so far.

Things are pretty good with Investigators.  We only have 5(three of them are kids) but they're all progressing.  So basically everything here is going well.
Haha, loved the Halloween pics.  Keep the pics comin!  I enjoy em, even the silly ones :)

Have a great week and let me know if you've got questions about this place!
Mahal Kita!!!
Elder BJ

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hey Hey Hey! :)

WoooooT!  I'm glad you got my letter, sounds like it got to ya faster than I expected.  I only sent it about 2 weeks ago.  I kinda got in a writing mood for the first time in FOREVER and sent 8 letters out.  Hope I get some replies soon ;) 

Transfers are complete!  I've been assigned in....... NOT Caloocan... NOT Fairview... and NOT Montalban :(   I'm in SJDM! :)  It's the other mountain area I was hoping for.  It has some really pretty spots on top of the hills where you can see all the mountains but it's pretty deep city compared to San Ildefonso but not nearly as deep as caloocan.  My area is called the Minuyan Branch and there's 4 missionaries here like my last area.  There are trees all over the place, love it :)  Elder Wu's still a junior.  His and President's goal is that he'll be a Senior next transfer.  His new companion is Elder Green a super funny elder who was trained by Elder Sidillo right after me (which makes him my kapatid(brother)).  Elder Sidillo and Elder Wilson (we were in Meycauayan together) are our Zone Leaders and I'm no longer a District Leader.  Don't worry I didn't do anything disobedient :o) I'll be a Senior Comp again.

My new companion is... Elder Hensley from Florida.  He's really cool and funny and I'm excited to work with him.  His hump day is this Friday so he's almost at his year mark.  Yes we will party :)    Hopefully we'll be able to make things work out and we'll have a BLAST this transfer because he really is a great guy. Pretty excited :)

So we're both new to the branch and we don't know much about the area yet but things'll work out great.  The missionaries before us worked super hard with the Less Actives and the we have a lot of people to visit and teach.  Hopefully we'll be able to find a lot of people to start teaching and help investigate the church too.  The branch is really hard working... basically I'm really excited cuz things are looking great already :)

Hahaha, sounds like y'all had a blast on Halloween :)  Congrats on winning your costume contest at work Pops!  Being a Viking isn't so bad after all is it? ;o)

Awwwwww man!!!!  My Cards (St. Louis Cardinals) were up 3 to 1 and choked?!?!  Bummer!  Just let Hunter know he won't be so lucky again :)

Woooot!  Pretty excited for the little guy's b-ball league (in case you can't tell:o)  with good coaching at such a young age he'll turn out great!  I didn't learn the weave until I was in Junior High!  Pretty great stuff :)  How's Kylee's play and Ashlyn's band tour?   I'm thinking I need some pics of the trumpet players on people's shoulders :)

Haha, I'm glad I got some music in too, even if it did sound terrible haha :)  I hope I can learn how to play piano and guitar when I get home, I think it'd be fun.
Yup, those were the scriptures I lost.(The Leather covers he had specially made.)  BUMMER.  That'd be great if you could send me the blessing and help pay for the scripture binding :)  I think I'm gonna wait until later in my mission for the binding though so it'll be nice and new when I get home.  I also found out the branch president in the branch next to us makes belts out of carabao horns for $10.  Woot!!! :)  I'm hoping to get a couple of those for me and family, should be cool :)

Haha, wow you're keeping pretty good track of things aren't ya? :)  That's all right with transfers and people.  Just let me know if you have ?s about the baptisms.

Wow, that's pretty cool you met a couple Filipinos! :)  Fun stuff.  Hopefully Bud keeps working on his Tagalog so I'll have someone to speak it with when I get home :)

Hmmm.... Spiritual thought of the day......
Only thing I can think of is yesterday we taught the Restoration to a new investigator.  The member I was working with bore testimony about how he had prayed to know if the church was true and that's how he got his testimony.  I realized that that's not the way I got mine.  Mine came from obeying the commandments, the example of my parents and others, and reading the Book of Mormon.  I testified to her how reading from the Book of Mormon brings comfort and invites the Spirit into our lives and that by doing so we can gain a firm testimony of the truth.  I felt the Spirit as I told her about it.  Sooooooo.... READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! :)  Even taking a short 5-10 minutes to read just 1 chapter invites the Spirit into our lives whether we're blown away by the chapter or not.  Cool beans :)
I LOVED the pics you sent hahaha :)  I'm thinkin the Disney costumes are pretty rough but more than that you need to apologize for that bowl cut!  haha :)  I look like the guy off Dumb and Dumber! :o)  Sorry I don't have any pics, I've been busy and left the camera at the apartment.  I'll try and get some to ya next week.

Love ya TONS!!! :)
Elder BJ

Saturday, November 3, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Received 10-30-12

Happy Halloween to you too!

Haha, glad to hear everyone's got their costume's all sorted out.  That's awesome that Hunter's gonna be Flint Lockwood.  Love that movie haha :)  Holy freaking Toledo mom!  I remember those Disney outfits hahaha, pretty intense stuff :)  Do you have any pictures of them you could send next email?  You didn't mention you, dad, and Bud's costumes!  You're gonna dress up right?  Which reminds me.... How'd my Cardinals do this year?  Did they defend the championship?

WOOOT!  Glad he went out with a bang. (Hunter's flag football) Sounds like he's got a little Johnny Harline in him eh? :)  I remember always coming home from school with grass stains on my knees hahaha, sorry bout that mom, if you don't get any stains you didn't play hard!  Do you remember the football game where we all slid in the mud after we won and I had to wrap up in an old blanket so I didn't get the car dirty?  Haha, fun times.  How's the Bantam B-ball going?

San Ildefonso District

Sooooo.... I am officially getting transferred!  San Ildefonso has been fun but I'm really excited for some change.  Haha, I'm glad we're on the same page with where I'll get transferred.  Hopefully I'll get SJDM or Montalban with all the mountains but anywhere will be great.  You'll hafta have everybody guess again for me :)

Hahahahaha!  Don't worry mom, no tape worms yet... that I know of :o)  I'd say I haven't been sick for a looooong time but I don't wanna jinx it ;)  I'm taking good care of myself even if I am getting tired of ramen noodles
Brillantes'  One of the many fun families in San Ildefonso.

Don't worry, I pulled out the money to get some new scriptures... I think I left my others on a bus on the way home from the temple.  Also left my patriarchal blessing in them.  Could you send me a new copy please?  Small and laminated like the last one?  That'd be cool :)

Alex Sta. Maria came home... and ran away again... twice.  He's ok now.  We talked with him and he seems like he's doing better and he asked us to pray for him.  Hopefully Those 2 will get baptized while Elder Wu's still here.  Aiza has been ready since the end of July but keeps skipping church.  Lame sauce!

So exciting story of the week.  We taught Americans this last week! :D  They're Filipinos but live in San Diego.  They came home to visit their house here and family.  It was really cool.  The sister is Seventh Day Adventist and the brother is Catholic.  They believe everything we've taught them.  We watched the Restoration movie (on their big-screen TV, don't think that'll happen again on my mission:o) and they said they believed it.  They're just trying to decide if they're willing to make any changes or steps in their lives because of it.  They're in their 60s or 70s.  Hopefully they continue listening to missionaries here and when they go home to USA in a week or 2 we'll send their address to the missionaries there and hopefully they'll get baptized.  Woot! :D
BJ's Place

Well..... That's All Folks! :)
Mahal na mahal kita!!!


Nice! A real shower!

Here's those pics of the apartment you've been asking for for 4 months now... hehe :)
I finally put up a couple decorations you sent... on the outside of the house :o)  Hopefully they stay there forever and I'll leave my mark on San Ildefonso :)
Like I said I LOVE my almost normal pressure shower... gonna miss it.

Listen to the Natives, or you too may get muddy!-Received 10-24-12

OH MY!!! I hope Mom doesn't find out!

Had another pretty good week with a couple adventurous moments but nothing too crazy :)  Glad to hear that Jinky and Brandon are doing good.  Let her know I'm looking forward to a good Philipino meal haha :)

Glad Chelsey was able to come home and spend some time with y'all and her friends.  Pretty crazy that people are starting to get home from their missions!
Holy tawale!  Sounds like most the girls I know from High School are going on missions eh?  I heard that the application rate has jumped almost 500%, there's gonna be a TON of missionaries!  That's awesome about Becca and Shelby, you'll hafta let me know when everyone starts getting their mission calls.

Glad you guys are keeping busy :)  Sounds like Hunter really is gonna be our sports star eh?  Hope he remembers us all when he's rich and famous! :o)  His legs are friggin LONG!  He's been growing quite a bit eh?  You'll have to cheer him on for me too.  Let me know how his Basketball games go, I'm excited for this Bantam league stuff :)

A bigger puddle than I thought!

So I'm thinking (and hoping hehe:o) that Elder Hicken and I will get transferred this next Thursday (Nov. 1st).  It's been fun here in San Ildefonso but I'm getting a bit antsy for a move :)  Hoping I'll get sent to the Mountain places, San Jose Del Monte or Montalban.  Whatever happens will be fine.

Nope, no baptisms for at least a month here.  They keep skipping church... even the Sta. Maria's.  Blech!  Alex Sta. Maria actually ran away back on Sunday and I'm not sure if they've heard anything from him yet.  Hope things turn out OK for them.

Hahaha, funny story.  I haven't ever done anything with music in a church meeting until last week.  The 1 piano player in the ward was gone so they sang the first hymn with no piano.  It was so bad and quiet that I decided to play for the next 3.... even though I can only play the melody hahahaha.  It was pretty rough but it was lot's of fun :)  The missionaries don't run the branch, but the members kinda depend on us a lot.  We always fill holes when teachers don't show up and speak in sacrament meeting sometimes.  I gave the Sunday School lesson last week without any warning haha, pretty hectic.

(Answers to some ?'s we asked him.)
Haha, yup still have someone washing our clothes.-Yes our toilet flushes :)-Our shower is the nicest one I've had in the mission. You can actually feel the water pressure! :D  It's still freezing cold water, but having pressure is a step up :)-CD's would be great!  Mp3 is nice too because I have a flash drive that I can store music on but CD's are great.

Interviews went pretty well.  President mainly asked me how Elder Wu's doing and I told him how our Chinese friend has improved a  lot lately.  He thanked me and told me that I was "just what the Doctor ordered" haha :)  Also told me thanks for the great influence I'm having on others and the things I'll continue to do in the mission.  Cool beans :)


Here's our adventure for the week!  Me and Elder Wu got punted(weren't accepted at appointments) 3 or 4 times in a row last Thursday so we decided to visit a member at his new house.  The only way we knew how to get there was to go through a BIG rice field.  As we got close to the field a bunch of Filipinos told us that we should find another way because the field was muddy.  Usually people say things are muddy and we'll only see a couple puddles.  So we thought we could handle muddy.  WHOOPS haha :)  We got about halfway through the field and my foot sank super deep and my shoe got stuck.  We stood there a couple minutes before I gave up and dug it out with my hand.  Then we had to walk back to the Filipinos' house and ask them to let us use their water pump to wash our shoes off.  They laughed at us for a while and so did we.  Fun stuff :)

Love y'all TONS!!! Have a great week!
Hunter wearing dad's costume.

P.S.-LOVE the costume!  Pretty excited to see dad as a VIKING!  But..... does that mean you hafta dress-up as a cavewoman?  Just wonderin :)

General Conference was 'DA BOMB!'-Received 10-15-12

Hey Hey Hey! :)

I LOVED conference again!  Luckily I wasn't dead sick like last April and I was actually able to listen and get a lot out of it like I did at the MTC.  Sadly... I forgot my notes and can't remember VERY specific things that I liked but I remember a couple of talks that I liked.  Loved both of President Uchtdorf's of course.  I really need to begin to enjoy my time here on the mission even more because before I know it, it's gonna be gone.  I liked the story he told about him and his wife biking and him wanting to race all the time.  We don't begin a bike ride just because we want to finish it! haha.  Pretty great talk.
Also liked Elder Christofferson's talk that called men back to manliness! :)  That was pretty great :) There were a BUNCH of others but my mind's kinda useless without my notes at this point :o)  Sorry! We watched conference at the District Center with some members.  It was kinda sad because there were a bunch for the Sunday morning session but for ALL the other sessions the missionaries (14) outnumbered the members! :P  It bugged me a bit at first and then reminded me how I didn't really value conference nearly as much before my mission as much as I do now.  The mission's a pretty amazing changing experience :)

Thanks for the update on everyone!  I LOVE hearing how you're all doing.  Also good to hear that you're all getting a well-deserved break and you're having a bunch of fun together :) (It was our fall break) Also glad that none of you fell off the ski tram when you went to see the leaves at Sundance.  I was always a little skittish about those too haha.  Holy freaking tawale I'm excited for Hunter to play in his Bantam League :)  You need to let me know how it goes and send me a couple of action photos :)

Speaking of action photos..... :)  We rode some more animals today!!!  Sorta :)  We went to another place with statues cuz we realized we didn't have any pictures for the last week.  Pretty exciting stuff.  Rode dinosaurs, a tiger, and (best one) a dolphin!!!! Woot! :)  Trying to have fun while we're still here in San Ildefonso.  The next transfer day is November 1 and me and Elder Hicken will probably be leavin.

Awww man!  Sorry you can't make it on band tour this year!  That's alright, there's always next year.... Maybe I'll hafta tag-along next time :o)  Pretty cool that you fingerprinted a retired NFL player... (Jason Buck) Even if he did go to Lone Peak to coach. haha

Pretty crazy that I've already been here for a year!  It's fun reading my journal entries from the MTC each day and this week I'll get to read about the plane ride haha :)
As far as the package send anything you want and I'll be SUPER happy :)  I'm getting pretty music trunky and mentioned to Chelsey that you guys need to send me the 2 Alex Boye CD's.  It would be REALLY cool too if you could send me The Piano Guys' CD.  You know.. The Jon Schmidt Steven Sharp Nelson group?  That would be THE BOMB.  And I loved the Christmas music you sent me last year but gave it to Elder Sidillo so another one of those would be great too :)

Let me know if there's anything I can do for ya or describe better for ya.  Also send my love to friends and fam!