Monday, 8 September 2014

Mom Finally Found Time to Work on My Blog!

Note from Mom:  Branden has now been in the Philippians for 4 days.  I have not been able to update his blog until now because our we were in the process of moving.......and oh ya, the movers stole our computer.  Hopefully now I can post Branden's letter on a more regular basis.

Aug. 8

I loved the letters I got from you guys... or from mom and dad anyway, haha. So everyday after each meal our district leader checks the mail room for mail and so that is when i get my dear elder or any letters. So don't be afraid to send lots, cause getting mail or packages is awesome!!! Well I may not sound homesick, but I miss you guys a whole lot. It is so weird to think that it will be like 23 months until i see you again! Its sorta sad, but I'm gonna try to grow up in that time. Its killing me having to be here at the MTC. The MTC and I are sorta in a love hate relationship at the moment.

The food is starting to get old, its still alright but it isn't the best quality stuff.
And the long days of class sorta stink and are so...well long, lol. I super love Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays though!!! Those are the days there is choir, devotionals from big important people from the church, and the spirit is a bit stronger. And Friday is P day and I get to go to the temple and play risk and email. So If you wanted to know I get to email in the afternoons on Friday, before 5:00 and after noon. Although when is hard to say, but I would guess probably around 2 or 4, I get an hour so. 

Me and Sterling get to visit here and there, sometimes at meals, but we usually sit with our companions and districts. We also usually have gym together so we get to visit a lot during then. I have also seen and talked to Clark McNab a bit too. He went to mission prep with me before we came to the MTC, although he is leaving on Tuesday since his mission is English speaking. I think Sterling is pretty confidant about his mission, he has told me stories his teacher told them about a lot of dark magic and ghosts and stuff. They practise dark arts in lots of places over there, he told us about one guy who went to a little island very known for dark magic and that missionary came back crazy...creepy. He leaves one week before me, I think the 27th of August of something, he is here just one extra week. His family is moving here to Utah i think this next week, but i do think he is a bit homesick. His language is pretty different than mine too, although we aren't fluent so its hard to say, but I don't think his is anything like mine. 

The language is still quite hard. My district seems to be picking it up, I'm actually sorta slow picking it up, although Cebuano has a lot of Spanish influence in it and most of them all took Spanish in high school so they already know a lot of stuff like how to count, and the days of the week, ect. and I have to learn all those still, but its coming. I am not worried, the Lord will make up for it where I fall short if I keep working hard, the Gift of tongues is real!!!! And my companion got the shot, but his dad is a radiologist so they can easily afford it. I don't think everyone is though, its pretty stinking rare and I think I will be fine with out it, but let me know quick. 

I met Keston Avery from Cardston, and I know he worked with dad when dad worked in Cardston. Oh and I met a girl who is from Hillspring, her name is sister Demes, she knows Teagen.
So that was cool. I have met a few missionaries going to Edmonton on their missions as well, but i don't really know names super good so. I will keep a look out for Elder Ash, although I haven't met him yet. Do you know where he is going? And thanks for sending that, if you send stamps it would be great!!! Some international ones so I don't have to keep sticking 3 stamps on an envelope. I have written a bunch of letters, and since it is so expensive to send them individually I am sending a bunch together to you. Oh and Liss sent me a package, with a bunch of candy and then a letter from sage, one from summer, and one from Liss. It was awesome, I love getting stuff, its like my connection to home, and it makes me happy, and feel loved, lol. 

That is crazy about the house. I can't believe that happened. So is it costing us anything and are you guys having to deal with it a bunch, or is it all sorta left to insurance and the new guy? And those movers can go jump in a pond, that's stupid. They are ridiculous when they try and do stuff like that, it makes me mad just thinking about it. they are dumb, haha. And Im so glad June is with Natisha, that is great, at least you can still see her when you visit cardston if she doesn't run away ;). And poor Ivy, June was just trying to latch on to her arm so she wouldn't have to go, not just to bite her. 

That's so crazy about the truck, oh my goodness you guys just have the worst luck ever!!!! That's good at least you can fix it cheap, although that is still pretty expensive. Just make sure you have a good time, and think of all the positives. The good things in life are what makes us happy and give us motivation. I am so glad dad is starting school, you guys are gonna love Edmonton, it is going to be so good to have Todd and Amy so close with all of you, you all need it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The end of the missionary motto is to help others endure to the end, and you guys just need to keep that up, because life is really only a blink of the eyes. 

Elder Simmons

                                                                           Elder Ah Choo Koon

My Companion Elder Giauque

Elders Larson, Thompson, Camiling, me, Jones, Lewis, 
Jenson, Simmons, Giauque, Ah Choo Koon, Remer and Hepler

Aug 15, 2014

Well, there wasn't a whole lot that happened this week. I got your package, thank you so much it was awesome and delicious!!!! And the letters were great too.  I have written some letters to send you after I get your address. The language is coming better, I can teach a lot better now and use less notes.  It is actually so ridiculous how fast I am learning it. The temple every Friday is great!!!! I am loving some of the ties I am getting, you would be proud, I am definitely getting some great ones. Um our teachers brother Johnson and brother Mcbride are great!!! They are so funny, they use some pretty great analogies and other ways to teach too. Um you should ask me a bunch of questions so I can answer them because the MTC is pretty much the same these days, just 16 hours of hard work and study a day then bed. It will be a lot better when we go into the field. Sterling and his family moved down here to utah now. They didn't sell there house, but they are all down here now. Um Parker Mcnab came and went and I have met a few more elders from Cardston, Magrath, a sister from Raymond. I never met that elder you spoke about earlier, I think we must have had different schedules. Ummm I have met a bunch of elders all going to edmonton for their missions which is kinda cool. We get our travel plans and all the info about where we will be flying and when in a week!! I love it here at the MTC, but I really wanna get to the Philippines. I got some Japanese language books and stuff for free, so I might send those home. Should I send them to you or to Babb where Grandma or Tish or someone could pick them up. I still have a strong feeling and something is seriously pulling me to Japan and China, I cant shake it! Gym is awesome, I am getting my old volleyball skills back, I can hit the ball really hard now and pass again :) Don't forget everyones addresses, including like uncle Curtis's, and everyone. Even Brandleys or Jacksons or any of them. I already wrote Dave Oconnor a letter, he sent me a dear elder and it had his address on it. Oh and about my plaque, make sure if you can they don't stick that nasty one of me that was sent to Utah, make sure it is a grad pic of me, cause that one we sent is sooooo nasty and it doesn't even look like me. Thanks for those stamps too!! Those will be great to use, and I cant find a shaver chord to charge it, it hasn't run out yet but I totally lost it. Umm anything else?? My roommates are awesome, the food is good and bad, depending the day. I weigh 170lbs, i have put on 12 pounds since I have been here, hahaha, but I will lose it all again in the Philippines. Anyway keep sending me dear elders,and get other people to send me stuff too, I absolutely love getting stuff, my companion got six letters yesterday and he gets at least one to two a day! lol, but he is from Idaho. Oh and i have written his girls from Idaho! hahah and one replied to me today!!! its soo funny! anyway, love you all lots and miss you all

Elder Schnoor

Branden has requested that I post this link for him

Aug 22, 2014

Ok, so this last week. Pretty much the same as usual. I get up every morning, get ready, study, have 50 minutes of gym, then at 2:15 I have class until 9:00, with about a half hour dinner. It is very draining to sit in class so long, but even though it is literally all day studying and learning, I am still enjoying the language and the lessons. The spirit is a great companion to have with me to help me. And I couldn't do it without the holy ghost either, it is so awesome. Being a missionary rocks. So the language, I can teach pretty easily a lesson. Not in super detail but we aren't supposed to get in super detail anyway, just teach the simple doctrine. 

So my companion is 18 like me, but we have an elder who served in the Marines before he came on a mission, Elder Simmons, and he is 21. Elder Ah Choo Koon is 19, and not sure about everyone else. I love them all, they rock. They are sorta my family at the moment.

 I hate that the movers are doing that, I say sue them and win and get the money. Its so funny you brought up that Mormon message about the cross roads, I recommend as a family you all watch a Mormon message or those bible videos every Sunday or something, they are so good and I have seen almost them all since I have been here. It is crazy how good they are and the testimony builders they are. It is so true about the cross roads, I sent you another analogy in a letter this last week you can read when you get it. Dang mail takes forever though, but oh well. 

Well the MTC food, I can't help but get the big plates. I don't feel overly sick from eating it, it is more just getting sick of it, not all of it, but some of it is super good. Sterling leaves on Tuesday, and I get my travel plans sometime today so I might let you know later when I come back on where I am going and all that jazz. I miss everybody so much, I can't believe I am missing surveyors! We just got a new Elder named Elder Orr from Edmonton in our zone, I have talked with him a bunch. So we know the MTC pretty good so we got to HOST senior missionaries and take there bags to their rooms and stuff, and one of them was from Calgary, and owns a house down the road from Grandpa Schnoor, he is Elder Draper, which was crazy. He asked if Ron was my grandpa. Then Elder and Sister Gordan are a couple I would always see in Fort Mac, she was in the young women presidency or something a while ago, and I saw them in Lethrbidge too, which is where they are from, and they recognised me so we talked. And another senior served his mission in Lethbridge, and another is going to Vancouver, so I have met so many people everywhere with connections to Canada, especially southern Alberta. 

So as for the girls.....oh my stink its ridiculous here, there are so many really pretty sister missionaries, its sooo hard!!! hahaha, but as for interactions. We don't have any sisters in our district, but our "sister district" or the other district that came the same time as us and are going to the same places have three sisters, so we can talk to them. We call them the Sister district. Then whenever I pass a Sister or see one I could potentially talk to them, which is all the time, but we can only talk and give them a simple handshake, no flirting or anything like that. In my room there are six of us, 3 sets of bunk beds, and it isn't huge space, but its enough. 

The teaching. Ok, so a few days into the MTC we had to teach a discussion from preach my gospel in Cebuano to a guy who speaks Cebuano and we had never met. We taught him a few times, struggling a lot, then he ended up becoming our teacher, Brother McBride, He is from California and he is sweet. Brother Johnson, our first teacher, is sooo good too. I honestly think we have the too best teachers in the entire MTC. From what I have seen, they rock the most. So now, and since the beginning of the MTC, we teach one of our teachers every day, and they pretend to be an investigator that they taught on their missions. They become them, so they are completely in character. That is a lot of fun actually, and why Cebuano is getting better. Every Tuesday we have what is called TRC, so volunteers who speak Cebuano, literally anyone who wants, come to a building and we go in and get to know them and teach them a discussion. It is cool since they could be anyone. The best was yesterday though. Yesterday we got to skype a girl from the Philippines and teach her. Although it was pretty lousy because her mike wouldn't work, so she could only here us, so we just shared a quick discussion and that was it. But she was an actual girl from the Philippines, and she was a cute girl to compared to every other companions people they taught. 

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson came and spoke to us this week too. She was great, and it was really good. 

Can you give me grandma's address in Babb, so I can send a package of stuff home before I leave, it costs to much to send it to Canada, so i thought if grandma could pick it up sometime. Anyway I have about 20 minutes left so I will send some more in a bit. Love you and miss you all lots, 


Elder Schnoor

This is an idea of a picture that Branden came up with.  Each missionary took turns hold the Book of Mormon.  Branden called it POWER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON

Oh I loved the package!!!! It was like Christmas, lol, it was honestly the best ever when I got it. If you send stuff in the future, you should send Mr. Bigs and more wonder bars, lol, my companion has always wanted to try a Mr Big. I can't believe how funny the wiki tikis are, and good job Liss!!! Its hilarious to play with there imaginations.

Ok so a few things. So I leave the MTC as of September fourth at 6:00 am, then from here in Utah we fly to Tokyo japan, and then from Tokyo we fly to Manila. Then from there I am assuming some sorta small plane or boat. The flight is going to be soooo long, we leave at like 10:00 am on the 4th and don't get to japan until the night of the 5th, although it seems longer because they are fourteen hours ahead. I am sooo excited for that.  So keep asking me questions, I have sent you guys a bunch of letters already. 

Aug. 29, 2014

Don't worry about the letters, you guys at home are super busy with all that moving crap you have to put up with. I wish I could come and just tell the guys off, I was totally feeling the argument mode coming over me when I heard Dad and that guy were arguing!!! And they stole the computer??? Does that mean if you don't find it you lose like everything?????? Cause that would be really really bad!!!! I'm ticked they didn't take care of the stuff either. Don't worry about the blog, it'll all work out, trust me, just remember the Savior. 

That's crazy about those bugs. I think I know what caterpillar you are talking about, that's so cool it is in a cocoon!!! And that spider sounds intense, although where I am going there is every type of spider in the world pretty much. Our teachers have told us stories, like they will get in the shower and they will look up in the corner and just think pasti lang(dang) because there is a giant spider bigger than our hand just chilling there. And every night when we get back from the day, we will have to grab brooms and whatever we can use to kill bugs, and go in and kill all the cockroaches and spiders. The spiders are so fast that we will be swatting at them and they will just jump out of the way, and the cockroaches are huge, and to kill them you flip them on their backs and drop alcohol on them. We actually get a bunch of alcohol which is funny, we use it to kill the bugs and sanitise our hands and stuff. If we squished any of the bugs, they would shoot guts everywhere and attract tons more bugs. Its a tricky business. 

So there is something I think you should read. Maybe even as a family. It is D&C 121 and 122 I think, it is when Joseph Smith is stuck in liberty jail, and how he has literally had to face soooo many trials and is just stuck, and he calls on the Lord for help because he feels like he has been left alone. But he wasn't, and neither are you guys. Trials are hard, but they shape us. They make us who we are. They get us to points in life where Heavenly Father wants us to be, if we endure them and have faith. I honestly can't believe all this crap you have had to put up with, but I do know it is testing your faith and you will be soooo blessed if you keep putting up with it, if not this life then the next. It is not easy, but remember the Savior. Rely on the Savior. Life is actually sooo short. What we are working for and trying to achieve is easily worth it. And another thing, remember Satan feeds off contention, and fear, and stress and anything that puts us down. Don't let Satan win! Honestly, if anyone ever feels anything that is not happy and if anything is troubling, turn to the Savior. Think about him. Think about the love he has for everyone. Think about his atonement, and if needed watch some of those bible videos on, or read the scriptures and picture the positive.  I know the movers and everything is hard, but remember too that Heavenly Father loves them just as much as you. He just may not like them as much at the moment, and I don't like them very much either. 

So I have been through the temple so much now, I have seen every video, the three new ones and the really old one(dang it was old). And I have memorised it all. Going to the temple is where I wanna be all the time. Ok so this week we skyped again. We skyped a girl who grew up in Manila and is going to BYU Hawaii right now. Anyway we taught her a lesson in Cebuano and she was having a hard time switching into Cebuano mind since she knew I think at least 3 other languages, lol. We taught he about testimonies and how faith nurtures that seed of our testimony. It is soo coool, I love the Filipino people already!!! So I told you I leave Thursday. So i might try and call you before the trip in Utah for sure, then again in Tokyo if I can figure out a cheap way how, but we'll see. Am I calling your or dads phone? And just so you know If I call from Tokyo It will be who knows when, they are a day ahead and so it might be like 3:00 in the morning maybe??? I leave Utah in the morning and won't get there until late that night, and so not sure. Just keep your phones on you and the ringers on.

The language is coming a lot better, I can almost speak in it now, hahah, its soo fun and soo hard. I am literally tired all the time. We had what is called in field orientation yesterday.....sooooo long. It was from 8:00 am to 5:35 pm, It was ridiculously long. it was cool though. I have taught a bunch, gone to my classes, and studied pretty much all week. Sterling left on Tuesday which was lame. He is in the middle of the ocean sometime now, hahah, Mason Seguin leaves to Peru in a couple days. I have met a few more people from around southern Alberta. So In the field, I may only get letters when I go to zone conferences every month and I will apparently have like noooo time to write letters or do much  I am sooo excited, its gonna be great. 

Philippines' Flag

This is where I'm going

Power Ties!

September 5, 2014

Well I made it the the Philippines!!! It is so crazy here, Manilla is full or Skyscrapers and giant buildings, then in between it is really run down houses and some are even built on top of each other. Lots and lots of poverty, I feel so bad for them. I can't wait to teach them. So we are going to stay here at the Manila MTC until Wednesday, because everyone has to finalise their visa stuff. So we get to resume study and class. It is sooo hot and humid. I haven't seen any wildlife yet like spiders, although there was a giant snail we saw in the Grass. It is so nice here. So we travelled to Tokyo, then sorta toured around the airport for a little over and hour, then hopped on our next flight. The plane to Tokyo was huge, and the first class and business class seats on the plane were so nice. We had a touch screen TV in front of us, it was so tempting to use it. They had all the new releases on it, some I think are still in theatres in Canada. The new xmen, malificient, how to train your dragon two, ect. It was a huge temptation, but I mostly just slept. We got blankets and a pillow and earplugs. The next plane to Manilla was even bigger. It had an upstairs, and same stuff as the last. It was sweet. I loved loved Japan so much, I am so going there lots after I can afford it. So we are here now, safe and sound. It is 11:40 a.m. right now, almost lunch. It was so weird because we left the MTC on septmeber 4th at 6:00 in the morning, then we got here at Manila at 12:10 am., just after midnight, on September 6th, we skipped so far ahead. My companion was switched to Elder Remer now, until Wednesday when we switch out. Later today we get to go out on splits in Manila with missionaries serving here and proselyte and teach at appointments. We have alcohol with us always so sanitise our hands and they are pretty strict about shaking hands and stuff. And another thing is they don't have breakfast, lunch, dinner, it is all the same type of food. They just serve food, no specific breakfast meals or anything. It is great food so far though. And the people here, the teachers, all speak so fast and don't really speak any English so it is hard to understand so i will learn even quicker now. Its gonna be so crazy, I don't think I will be able to respond till a week from Wednesday so I will talk to you then. Love you all lots, send me emails and letters.

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