Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in the Philippines!

Here is how Sam described his Christmas in Estancia:

(After our telephone conversation…) we headed to our branch Christmas party at the
church. we got to watch a few of the little dances/performances, ate,
then watched them play a few games before leaving, including one where
the younger kids danced boy/girl with a ball about the size of a golf
ball held between their heads, and whoever kept it there the longest
one! then an apple eating contest with the same kids, where there were
apples hanging from strings and they had to eat them as fast as they
could w/o hands. it was very fun to watch, and so fun for the kids.
Then they had a Filipino piƱata! They had clay pots with a little bit
of candy that they hung and swung at blindfolded ha-ha I have some
pictures I’ll send hopefully next week. I didn’t bring my camera
because we just got back from roxas, at 6 at night! and we are in a
super rush to get our laundry and everything done tonight! After the
Christmas party was a normal day of work! We taught a couple lessons
and tried to focus on the Savior and His birth. We visited a part
member family that didn’t go to the party, because they said they were
embarrassed because they didn’t have any money so they couldn’t
contribute to the food like they should have. It was a very down mood
when we arrived, but we shared about Christ and it lightened up a
little bit. It makes me realize how blessed I have been in my life.
For this family, and many others, Christmas was a normal day of work,
maybe even a little worse than normal knowing that so many other
people were enjoying celebrating the holiday. I was glad that we could
help lift their spirits a little bit talking about the true spirit of
Christmas, but I still wish there was more we could have done. We have
been so blessed with the lives we've grown up in! We had a couple
other lessons then had dinner together with the other missionaries. It
was a very eye-opening Christmas for me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waiting for the Phone Call!

We are anxiously waiting the phone call from Sam on Christmas Eve at about 7:30 p.m. That is their Christmas day, about 10:00 a.m. We get to talk to him on Skype, without the video, but we are so anxious to just hear his voice. He is doing very well! He says they are working on finding more investigators that will progress along in the gospel. But, they feel fortunate because they usually have 11 investigators at church which is really quite remarkable. Sam has a Filipino companion now. Sam has negotiated with him to do the cooking--he likes the food he has fixed so far! His companion wants Sam to also cook some American dishes--ha! Sam never was one to spend "time in the kitchen." He is trying to learn the language well as his companion doesn't speak English much better than Sam speaks Ilonggo. So we will keep you updated on the progress!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cats and Rats and Laundry!

I'm glad you liked the photos! they were great huh? :) I actually have a present coming soon to you! I got all the pictures I’ve taken so far put on a cd and I’ll send it probably tomorrow. so if it makes it safe, you can have those saved and see all of them! the coconut day we did service at the lady's house, digging a trench around it so it didn’t get wet inside and to control the mud outside when it rained hard ;) super fun!! But super sweaty. its funny here, I can hardly get dressed in the morning without sweating. not because I am unfit! its just SO HOT! just MOVING makes the body want to sweat!! and, guess what/? its not even hot season yet !!! wow I’m excited for it! haha
For other service, we've been struggling finding things. we deep cleaned our house for our service day this last week. that was fun! its nice and shiny clean. for the most part. but I can really feel a difference now. it was... pretty messy in some areas. but now I feel like it is a better place for the spirit to reside! the other service, one time we went to a less active's house and tried to help them build a house. but, they didn’t have enough materials, so the guy pretty much threw up, very sloppily, 1 and a half out of 4 walls and called it good! other than that, I can’t recall our other ones. We've weeded a couple times. if you thought weeding was a chore at home...... think again! haha but its always a great feeling to serve the people. And they think its hilarious to see Americans working, especially weeding haha
for laundry, we have 2 buckets. We soak clothes in one w/ some soap for a couple hours or half a day. Then, scrub scrub scrub with our hands! just scrub the clothing against themselves all over, focusing on the sweatiest areas! then, ring out, put in a bucket of clean water. rinse and ring out, repeated 2 or 3 times, then hang up! Fairly time consuming, and not very entertaining, but, it must be done! can only wear a church shirt 2 days max here with all the sweat and rain combined with the dust sticking to you.

I have not yet received the birthday package! But hopefully soon. Elder Adams got a package that arrived a couple days ago and only took 13 days, when Elder Andrews was sent in mid September and got it the same day! guess it just depends. elder Andrews' was full of ants. haha. But a lot of it was salvageable. For my birthday we're going to make home made ice cream to celebrate, and probably go to dinner somewhere close by one of these nights. Exciting! And I’m very excited for the Christmas package :)

We had a great testimony meeting this month. Probably the most spiritual sacrament meetings I’ve had here. The YSA group had an activity the weekend previous, and apparently it was a huge success! There were multiple less-active single adults there, and they all shared very powerful testimonies and desires to become more active in the church again! We had a low turn out on investigators at church. BUT there were lots of less actives, which is pretty much just as good! The testimonies were so strong. It was so great to here these testimonies here, and feel, even though we're on the opposite side of the world, holding church in just a small church house with no piano and a small tape player for the microphone, that the testimonies and doctrines and members of the church are strong here as well and have great spiritual experiences. Priesthood class was great. It felt so full with just a couple of 21 yr old men there that normally weren't. We talked about baptism and confirmation and the priesthood, and they were so excited about knowing they could perform baptisms that they all got out paper and wrote down the proper way to do it and the prayer for it and how to confirm people as members! I felt the spirit so strong as I watched these men so excited to become active and ready to use their priesthood. Hopefully 2 of them will be able to be ordained as Elders soon, and have the desire to serve missions! Rey, the 77 yr old that just got baptized, should be ordained to a priest in the next couple of weeks! Our branch president, President Alajar, baptized him.

This week we tried something new with some of our lessons. We took around the 20-minute restoration video about Joseph smith and showed it to multiple families. What a great movie! I felt the spirit so strong each time we watched it. And I really felt like it helped investigators understand Joseph smith's story better. We also had a very powerful lesson with John about baptism and its importance, and committed him to pray about it because he's not quite sure if he wants to be baptized yet, but he said he'll prepare to be ready for November 27!

This weekend we had zone conference where the whole zone gathers and the mission president comes and teaches and then the APs teach as well. I love president pagaduan. Such a great man. He talked about understanding our purpose as missionaries, and then being unified as missionaries. Then the APs had a great lesson on the power of the Spirit and it's importance in conversion. Great great conference!

I shook a 111-year-old ladies hand! That was cool. I did a respectful handshake where you bend down slightly and touch their hand to your forehead, and she thanked me for it haha
there are rats and cats playing in our ceiling. One of them fell thru the ceiling in the middle of the night last night. haha. we need to set up our traps again!

Well that’s about all I got this week! I love you so much. thank you so much for the emails and the thoughts. I love hearing from you each week and about how the family is doing. more to come next week!
Elder Pettit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sam's first baptism!

Sam had his first baptism on Saturday! He was very excited! He is loving his mission, his companions, and everything he is doing. He attached some nice photos which I finally figured out how to post on the sidebar. You can see that he is very sweaty in the one where he is drinking coconut juice==and there are photos of the baptism. I'm not sure who the gentleman is doing the baptizing, I think it is the Branch President. Sam says they are doing great, and I look forward to hearing more news each week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Latest email news! Photos will be posted soon!

Here are excerpts from Sam's last email. He also attached photos which I will hopefully post soon!

October 9, 2010
This last week was a big fiesta in Estancia, and right next to our house there is a big Philippine independent church, and right outside of it there was a group of teens playing concerts a couple nights in a row, which was fun to stop and listen to for a minute. They play all the popular U.S. songs because that’s what plays on all the radios! I wanted to go up there and join them but I thought it might not be very missionary like, plus it was on the grounds of another church ha-ha.

As for money, I should be ok for a while. I’ve bought a couple things here with it: a pull up bar, some cards, and yes, I actually bought a guitar a couple weeks ago! I could probably count that as an early Christmas present. I am getting some music for hymns and things and been trying to learn some of the efy songs I have on my ipod.

The weather sounds great there. I’m jealous. I have definitely NOT become accustomed to the heat, and I don’t think I ever will probably ha-ha. I’m getting more used to the feeling of constantly sweating, and of being very sticky in the afternoon, and we carry around handkerchiefs to try and keep the sweat out of our eyes! It’s just always hot. We got quite a bit of rain the past few weeks, which is a great relief w/ the cloud cover and such. But one night we had to walk a long ways from a member’s house to the center of town and got completely drenched! Even w/ our umbrellas. Sometimes it just pours! Cant decide if I’d rather be drenched in rain, or sweat, but its usually one of the two ha-ha

Conference was absolutely amazing! So many amazing talks. We went to Roxas city to watch them all, so we even got to enjoy them in an air-con church building! It was super luxury! I loved Pres. Monson's talk on gratitude, the guy that talked about the scorpion and the sting of sin and poison of pride or something like that. His talk was very powerful to me. And of course Uchtdorf's were amazing! His pride one was great, and the one about just slowing down in life and focusing on the important things. I’m so excited to go over all my notes on them these next few weeks, and to get the Liahona with the talks!
Well, this week was kind of slow. But I do have a great story about our investigator Remo: for the past week or so he's been planning a trip to Manila to pick up his mother who has been staying there and bring her here. He was planning to leave yesterday, but has no job and no money, so he'd been really worried the last few days about what he was going to do. But when we visited him on Friday he told us this: I fixed a stereo system (ish thing) a while back, but haven’t been able to find ANYONE to buy it! But, I prayed elders, and God answered my prayer. I asked to find someone to buy it, and someone showed up, just like that! And now I have exactly enough money to travel to manila, and hopefully stop by Guimarras to visit my wife and my son for his 3-year-old birthday.
It is so incredible to see him exercising so much faith. And then recognizing where his blessings are coming from. He has many many trials in his life, but he turns to Heavenly Father, and sees the blessings from it. He won’t be back for a couple weeks, but we're so excited for him to return so we can continue teaching him and getting closer to his baptism.
Other than that, it has been hard switching from focusing on Balasan to Estancia. We went back to having almost no investigators to teach, so we're visiting a couple less-active members and searching for new investigators. But the work goes on! Our teachings should escalate again as we find new people to teach.
Thank you so much for the emails! I love you so much and pray for the family every day.
Thank you for the thoughts and prayers!
Elder Pettit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Great Email!

We were hoping to have some photos, but apparently the download didn't work! This is an exercise in patience. Here is an excerpt from Sam's last email--you can tell he is having a great time and loving it!

October 4, 2010

Today was transfer announcements! Where we have our normal Monday meeting, but they let everyone know who's going to be leaving their areas and who is going to be being appointed to leadership positions! So super exciting. but, unexpectedly, our whole apartment of 4 elders is staying exactly the same! We thought at least Elder Ellsworth would be transferring cuz he's been in the area for a real long time, but he's still there! My companion Elder A got assigned as the new district leader. but, we're not going to be assigned to Balasan really any more :( the area we live in, Estancia, is really struggling w/ how many priesthood holders they have, so they are going to split the city in half, and we'll take half and they'll take half. but it'll be a fun change! It’s been a great week! We had some really good lessons w/ some of our progressing investigators. We taught one of them the word of wisdom that was really cool. We had 5 investigators at church from Balasan yesterday! That’s a ton compared to the average week, especially for it being a new area! So we were way excited for that. but it’s kind of sad we'll only be spending a day or two in Balasan each week now.
Before one of our lessons, my companion challenged an investigator to chess for me. I got beat pretty bad. but it was great for building a relationship! Now I just need to practice up on my skills for the next time I play him. Its fun finding small things like that to relate to people with. One time we also walked across some teens playing guitars and so I played a song for them which they thought was cool. How often do they hear a real live American play guitar and sing? Not often! haha.Hope all is going well back home! I'm having such a great time out here.
I love my mission!
Elder Sam Pettit

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Email excerpts from September 27th

The food is all right! I’m trying to learn to cook some new things.
Canned 555 tuna is getting a little old for each dinner, but its still
tasty haha we're trying some new things this week, but so far nothing
really out of the ordinary has been eaten! When they cook fish, they
just cook the fish... there is one organ they remove because it is
bitter, other than that, the guts, the fins, the eyes, the head... all
just part of the food! Yum! I’m not a huge fan of it to be honest
Yes we take a tricycle to and from balasan every day, and sometimes
take it around the town too because the area is HUGE. Really spread
out. So if we have lots of appointments, sometimes we have to catch an
extra ride across town. Its sad to see us using so much money on the
travel, but it all works out. It’s pretty fun! My favorite place to sit
is sideways on the back of the motorcycle, or standing up on the back
of the sidecar. Those 2 places get the most wind (nice and cool!) and
I can just look out across the landscape better.
I got to see a baptism this weekend! The other elders, Ellsworth and
Andrews, had 2 teenage sisters baptized. We took about a 5-minute
drive down the road to a little beach area, and that’s where they did
it! It was so exciting to see! We have about 5 people right now
committed for baptism October 30, so hopefully I’ll be reporting about
those in about a month!
We live pretty close to the beach; close enough that they dry the fish
out right at the end of our street, so there is always a yummy fish
scent outside. mmm. But the ocean is very pretty, and there are a
couple islands just off the coast that are pretty.

Well, this week was really good. We had our record for lessons taught
in one week! We have a real funny 77-year-old man we're teaching that
is scheduled to be baptized end of October. He says I look like Barack
Obama. He says "Barackama!!" hahaha and he says my companion looks
like George bush. Do I really look like Obama? Ha-ha and people here
doubt whether I’m 100% American, because I have black hair. They
always ask if one of my parents is Pilipino or Mexican ha-ha that’s a
hard one to explain!
We are also teaching a 30-ish year old guy that is so excited about
the gospel. We just taught the plan of salvation, and he kept pointing
at our picture of the celestial kingdom and saying "that’s where I’m
going!!" its so great to be teaching these people that are prepared to
hear the gospel, are accepting it and progressing. It makes it a lot
easier when they aren't questioning everything we say! Ha-ha

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Excerpts from another email!

So, yes, I was daring with the balut, but, I probably won’t eat anything that cool really again, because it is strongly advised against. One rule of what we shouldn’t eat is "don’t ever eat something someone dares you to" hahaha I thought that was funny.
I do have a great story about something I ate this week :)
We were teaching a husband and wife investigators, and the wife said something about what she was cooking and asked if we'd ever tried it. We both said no, and I didn’t really register what she said in English at this moment. So she brought out these bowls of steamy hot soup! It smelled good, and the broth was actually rather tasty, but there were these strange things in them that I couldn’t tell what they were. They looked like... mm hard to describe, like the peel of an onion, a little square of it, but really thick. Like pieces were probably half inch thick. There was barely any meat in the soup. So I decided to eat one of those things cuz they looked like a vegetable or something. But, it wasn’t. It was really tough, rubbery ish, quite strange to try to bite and break up to swallow, and it tasted strange. The texture was really weird. so. Guess what it was? If you haven’t guessed it yet, it was big chunks of boiled COW SKIN! YUM!!!

So in the Philippines, more so in the smaller towns, there are what are called 'brown outs' where the power just stops working for, oh, anywhere from 15 minutes to 6+ hours, you just never know. We’ve averaged about 1 brown out a day. This is rough, because that means our little electric fans don’t work, so we just cook in our house. (We have a pretty nice house, I wish I could send pictures! hopefully next week I can). But, one morning, we woke up to one, and it didn’t look like it was coming on soon, so I got my first candle-lit shower! It was pretty fun. We go thru a lot of candles. But I’m buying a flashlight hopefully today. Everything is SO cheap here! Sure, its not top notch quality (ha-ha), but dirt cheap! everything! Eating out at restaurants, no more than $3 for a big meal!

It’s funny how different the weather is in just a short distance. In our town 15-20 minutes from this one, we could have a HUGE rainstorm (had an hour long ish one last week that left us soaked) and come home at night and the other elder's have had no rain at all! our area, balasan, seems to rain almost every day! so I’m getting an umbrella today too :)

The work is going well, continuing to find good people to teach, slowly but surely. Cool experience with one of them a couple days ago: he said, in his opinion we were God's instruments, to bring him the Holy Ghost, and that he doesn’t think it was coincidence that we met him in the city hall the day we did. Wow!! How incredible! We sometimes will tell people that ourselves, but he just strait up said it! That ended the day really well for us, feeling rather good about ourselves ha-ha.

The language can be frustrating. I’m understanding more, bit by bit, but I just really wish I could hold a conversation. But, I know the Lord will help me as I focus on the people, and it will come! (Hopefully before I’m transferred to an area w/ a different language! haha)

Thank you so much for your emails and love and support. I love hearing how everyone is doing.
I love you so much!
Elder Pettit

Monday, August 30, 2010

First email from the Philippines!

wow. i'm in the philippines! what on earth?!
so i should have a little longer here to email, so you dont have to completely worry about making things short :) its much less stressful without the minutes counting down in big red numbers on the screen!
so the travel here was... ok! lets see, i called you from... SF. so from there we took the HUGE 14 hour flight. that was... full of sleep and reading and staring at the seat in front of me. i was sitting next to a missionary, and a chinese man. early in the flight i asked how his dinner was and he said "no english!" so after struggling to act out "yummy" and "dinner" i kinda gave up with him.
the flight actually went pretty quick to me... faster than some of our drives to st george even ;) haha
it was slightly hectic finding our terminal in taiwan, but we did. we were walking along, coming up on a GINORMOUS "hello kitty" area, complete with rainbow stairs, play place, and pink walls floors and pillars. as we gaped at it, we looked at the gate number right next to it. of COURSE it was our gate!! so we sat our things down in the hello kitty pink waiting chairs and laughed. i think i got a few pictures...
oh about pictures, apparently most the computers here have viruses and such, so its kinda risky to plug things into them. one of my roomates has a card reader that is slightly safe, so if i can get a hold of that i'll upload some photos today, if not it will have to be about 2 weeks so i can go to Roxas (the big city) and buy a couple of things to make it virus proof. but i'll try! i have some great photos! i just wish photos captured the whole scene i see.
so after taipei we flew to manila. by this time we were all exhausted, with 2 days of travel and rough airplane sleep only. but in the manila airport, elder burton and i talked with a guy for about 2 hours or so! we talked about his job, his family, and then the gospel! he was really interested!! so i gave him a book of mormon, got his address and gave it to the missionaries in his area! it was so exciting to finally be able to share the gospel for my first time! and i was blown away by how much tagalog i could speak and understand!! he knew a little english, so between us we could pretty much completely understand eachother! (i sat next to some filipinos from manila to iloilo and they just laughed at me when i spoke to them, haha, but whatever!) but about tagalog... yeah, right when i feel like i can almost hold a conversation, i get here, and i cant understand a SINGLE THING. i wont lie, i feel pretty dumb cuz i have nothing to say to anyone we contact haha but amat amat, little by little, i'll get there!
so the first night, wednesday night, we drove to the mission home, and i wont lie i had a little hit of culture shock. and the next morning i had the feeling, "this is the philippines, what on earth am i doing here?!" but after that, everything was fine! i LOVE the people here. they are so nice, and hilarious. after eating and we retired in the ZLs apartment. next day was orientation where we just talked about mission rules and what not, got our ilonggo language book and talked about health safety and such. then friday morning we had our transfer meeting! i am assinged in the Roxas zone, the north east corner of Panay Island, a good 2+ hour drive from Iloilo city! my companions name is Elder Adams, from colorado. he's only been out about 5 months, but he's a great guy, and his ilonggo is incredible.
but the coolest thing about my assignment is that we were assigned to the Balasan area, a town that has NEVER had missionaries, so we are opening it! most of the people havent even heard of the church! and there are only a couple members in the area, so our first day, we went down the street of a baranghei (neighborhood) and just talked to everyone we could see! we started teaching lessons (Elder Adams does most of the teaching, i just try to bear my testimony and pay attention to the language right now!) and setting up return appointments, so we've got lots of teachings to do this next week! i'm super excited. we spent.. friday and saturday in this one baranghey, and thats only one out of the many many in the city! we board in a neighboring city, Estancia, so we have to ride a Tricycle each day to and from balasan (20 min each way) (tricycles are motorcicles with little passenger carts on the sides, super fun! :) ) i'm excited to spend the rest of the week returning to the people and finding more to teach there. it varries on the people, but some are super nice and welcoming, and others just want nothing to do with us. i LOVE this area tho! its a more rural area, lots and lots of rice fields. its so pretty. i need to take more pictures!
its incredible how much we stick out here, especially in balasan. people will just stand on the side of the road outside their houses to watch us go by! and we get shout outs all the time "hey joe!" thats what they call all white people haha and they always ask where we are going. its funny. the culture is great!
ok. so now just a couple quick experiences i've had:
-at our transfer meeting i met a boy i knew from school a little, Elder Oldroyd (his mom's a missionary mom, mom :) ) that was cool. and guess what? he just happens to be in my zone, and district! just saw him this morning at district meeting.
-so i room with Elder Adams, and Elder Andrews from my district at the MTC! and his companion Elder Ellsworth. we have a nice place, probably one of the nicest missionaries will ever live in! its a house that we're using while the owners are in europe or something. i have some pictures you'll have to see. the first day, when we got home, their rat trap was occupied, so we first disposed of that.. then we went to the palengki (market) and got some nummy philippines food! dinner usually consists of rice with sulad, pretty much anything you put on rice, mostly canned meet etc. breakfast is nummy chocolate cereal w/ powdered milk, and yes, rice! that was a fun experience. lunch is either rice, or their equivelant of roman noodles, panit. and then we'll mix in peanut butter sandwhiches and eggs into our meals. thats about it! yum! for our first day, yes, we ate balut. the duck was young, so it was like eating a boiled egg yoke with a glob of dark goop in the middle.. yum! i didnt mind it actually.
-yesterday was stake conference, so we shoved all the members from here in estancia into a jeepni (i think... 45 people?) and we drove to Roxas, only a 2 hour drive. but once we were outside the city, me and a few others just climbed on top of the jeepni to make it a little less cramped :) i let some others sit on top on the way back, and i got to hang onto the back for that drive. Fun!
-on our.. first day i think, it was really hot (suprise!) and we needed water so we went to a little shop and asked for some. we asked if it was filtered and they said yes. after elder adams drank his cup and started filling up the second, i looked down from drinking half of mine, and let me just say... it was not filtired. elder adams is a little sick today and we think thats probably why. but yesterday while we were waiting for our ride to roxas my stomach was upset, so i had to ask to use a persons bathroom. LUCKILY they had a toilet at least. but when i tried to flush it.. nothing. they always have these huge buckets in the bathrooms full of water and a big ladel (usually the substitute for toilet paper, luckily i had some with me) so i tried filling the toilet with that to make it flush. but then i got nervous, what if it never flushed and kept filling? so i just left it! haha i felt kinda bad, but hopefully they forgive me. i guess you ARE supposed to just fill it till it flushes. i'll know that for next time! :)
-yesterday, a huge rainstorm came when we were trackting. we stood under a waiting shed, but the wind was so hard the rain was comming sideways, so our pants were pretty soaked! but there was a filipino man under there we got to talk to for a half hour while it rained! the Lord works in mysterious ways!
-cold showers... but not w/ ladels for now, an actual shower! and our friend Shelob in the bathroom helps keep the misquitos thinned out :)
so today we played basketball with some filipinos which was enjoyable. they're pretty good! (dont worry, i still only lost once :) ) and we just bought some new beds so me and elder adams can take our mattresses off the floor, although it was probably cooler on the floor.. we sleep with little fans blowing on us, and no blankets, otherwise it is very uncomfortable!
so everything is going great! i love the ties mom! my comp says silk ties seem to do fine for him, so i should be fine, but if i need i can buy some more here. everything is CHEAP! one elder got a guitar and case for less than 20$ :) i'll have to look around. and you can get any custom jerseys, shorts, and pants, for 3-5 dollars. havent done it yet, but i plan to get a few things made for me. the elders here say the dress pants they make are super comfortable! i get to do my first day of laundry today... not excited. our shirts last... 1 to 2 days, depending if we mind putting it on again with a black collar. haha.
wow time has flown! i still have to go do laundry, which i hear takes forever. its about 6 pm here, so its only 4 am there!! so you'll have this to read for the morning, maybe between classes mom :)
i love you all so much! it was so good to hear from you on the phone. i'm excited to have some more stories for you for next week!
Elder Pettit

you can send this to anyone that would like to hear! love you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sam's email the day he left! (Today!)

(As you can see, Sam is in a hurry when he emails us and doesn't pay attention to punctuation, spelling, etc. I am saving these this way and some day he will be embarrassed!)

i cant believe it! i leave today!!!!
thanks for the reassurance about airplanes :) i'm excited for my first experience, being only an hour flight, but i don't think i'm going to thoroughly enjoy the 14+ hour one across the pacific... haha its so exciting tho. in 2 days i'm in the Philippines! i'm pretty much done packing, so its just the couple hour wait and then the last minute hustle!
yes, when you say these last weeks have flown by i know what you mean! it feels like yesterday we got our flight plans. the days sometimes are long, but before i know it it's the end of the week! and now i'm leaving!
k my flight plan got changed a tiny, so by the way things look, i'll be able to call probably first between 6 and 7 tonight at SLC, and then 9:30 to 1 ish in SF. that's probably pretty late so i'll try to call as early as possible! as for taiwan, i dont have an international calling card but maybe if there's a cheap one there i'll pick one up! i'll see what everyone else is doing.
i'm so excited to hear from everyone!
the mtc has been such a great experience for me. its sad to think i might not see some of the missionaries in my district for who knows how long, 2 years at least! maybe we'll beo n the same flight home... but its crazy how close i've grown to them. it feels like i've been best friends with tthem for years, and that we're just our own little family! i had the best district i could ask for. and my companion was so great! i feel like we've become great friends, and i'm glad to say i'll probably be seeing him around in Iloilo every now and then. I've learned so much from my district, my teachers, the study time we've had, and all of our firesides/devotionals! i have a study journal packed with notes to help me out. its crazy to think back on all of the negative feedback i've had about the mtc. maybe its just cuz my district was so perfect! and my teachers couldnt have been better! i got some more pictures, but i ordered them a couple days ago, and today they were supposed to be done, BUT something happened and i didnt get any! makes me sad. but i'll try to post them on walmart when i get to the field sometime.
thank you so much for the love and support. and all the letters and goodies!
i'm excited to call home!
pretend like you didn't read this in case that's all i talk about on the phone! haha
i love you all so much!
Elder Pettit

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One of his first emails!

so I've been here for... 2 and a half weeks? wow, on one hand i feel like I've been here for my whole life, but at the same time it feels like time is going pretty quick! I'm a third of the way done w/ the MTC! (forgive my horrible grammar and lack of caps mother, I'm used to typing like this so it'll be faster :))
anyways, I've had some great experiences here so I'll share a few of them.
I LOVE the firesides they have here! and the devotionals. They always have random people come and speak and they are always amazing! last night they had a girl (Jenny Oaks Something) who is the daughter of Dallin H Oaks but is now married, and an accomplished violinist. she shared some experiences of her life then played the violin. Clay, get pro at the violin, it's sweet! Funny story she told tho: this year at the stadium of fire she performed. after her performance she was sitting w/ her sleeping 3 yr old in her arms, watching fireworks, and a firework went crazy and shot straight at her! she turned just in time and took it right between the shoulder blades, where it caught her clothes on fire! some guy came and helped her put the fire out, and she left with just some burns on her back and arm. Crazy! but her music was amazing. the spirit was so strong. and it was cool to see Elder Oaks in there as well :)
there is this building called the TE: training evaluation or something where you sign up to have meetings with recently returned missionaries and teachers that you can practice teaching or get advice from etc. me and my companion, elder burton (cornnuts :) haha) are going at least once a day and it's been helping so much with our teaching skills etc. but one thing you can do is sign up for a PI (Progressing Investigator) and how this works is they pretend like a real investigator, and you set up appointments like a real investigator to teach them and try to get them to progress, and once you start it, they NEVER are a teacher again! it is soo cool to get the feeling of real life teaching, it makes all of my study time so much more meaningful because i feel like this guy is an actual investigator so me and my companion try so hard to focus on his needs and how we can help him. he's a tough investigator too. he is a very good guy, smart (going to med school), doesnt have any morality problems or antying, just doesnt see a need for a God. it's so exciting working with him. tomorrow we will be teaching him the plan of salvation.
anyways, the food is still OK, not quite sick of it yet (they provide cholula sauce so everything can taste good to me haha)
i look forward to gym time every day where my district all plays basketball together usually. but sadly they are closing the gym for construction wednesday and it probably wont be back open before we leave! but oh well, we'll have to play beach volleyball or something instead.
classes feel long, but we have great teachers. the language is a struggle, but it's amazing to realize how much i know already! in two weeks, we'll be starting to teach the first lesson in Tagalog. scary thought.
our zone leader and his district leaves tonight, they were a great group of Elders and Sisters, but our new zone leader (one of my roomates, Elder Crowley) is a great guy and he'll do well.
anyways, things are going well! seeing the other group leave to the philippines makes me even more excited to get out there! 6 more weeks :)
its so good to hear from everyone. hope everyone's doing well.
love sam
Elder Pettit

He is currently at the MTC in Provo, Utah.

Samuel left for the MTC on June 23, 2010. It was a very quick, drop and run type of deal that they have going there now--no time to boo hoo and get too emotional! After dropping him off, we went to the BYU Creamery and tried to get our emotions under control. Mom definitely had the worst time. It was a very long wait until the next Monday when we received his first email, telling us all was well and he was enjoying it so far!