Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hello Family!  

While you were watching general conference, I was on a tiny fishing skiff skimming across the ocean  going to paradise.  GREAT WEEK.  Love you!

Guess I should further explain:

What an adventurous week (still don’t have my land legs back)!  Interesting, intense, filled, stressed, and demanding are other appropriate words to describe it.  This is for a host of reasons, related to missionary work, missionaries, members, and so on.  I feel like the writers of the Book of Mormon when they say that they couldn’t even write a hundredth of what they saw or heard.

First I should describe the adventure.  On Sunday, President took us with him to Batan Island!  It’s an island just out of the Legazpi Bay (2hrs one-way).  This is unlike the other islands we've been too.  It’s small, rural (very rural), and rather than taking a big ferry out, we took a tiny little fishing boat (see pictures).  We went for their branch conference.  It was such a humble place.  They only have power from 4pm-midnight so it was beautifully peaceful.  There is no bigger vehicle than motorcycles.  There are no real stores.  There is no clean water.  There is no internet, cell phone signal, or television.  There is almost nothing really.  But somehow there is a branch there and they’re about 40 every week.  Two weeks ago they got full-time missionaries for the first time (before the missionaries just went on the weekends).  The missionaries live in the small little meeting house simply because there is nothing else.  Still can’t forget the serenity of it all.  It was me, Elder Madsen, President Guanzon, the stake presidency and the supply couple.

We loved the journey so much.  We’re always so close to the ocean, but being just inches above the water and getting the spray flung into my face as we cruised along, it really made me miss the beach.  President told me I could jump in for a swim… he was joking.  Darn.  I imagined the glee I felt on there is what Dad must be talking about when we talks about having the catamaran before.  Ahm.  I love the Philippines.  I love the warm water.  I love the low clouds.  I love the green jungles lining everything in sight.  I love the food.  I love the culture.  I love the people.  I love their attitude for life.  I love their focus.  I love being here with them.  I love immersing myself as much as possible.  I love who I do it with.  I love my companion.  I love the other missionaries.  I love my mission president.  President is the best.  I love the Lord.  I love what he’s allowed me to see and experience.  I love it all.  I love you.

Elder Shane Brown

Got a little carried away there.  I’ll give more updates next week.  Here’s a few pictures though!

1.  This is our boat!

2.  President found this big hermit crab on the dock.  I decided I had to pick it up for the picture.  Moments after this I starting swirling around screaming like a girl because I thought it was going to pinch me and I didn't want to just throw it into the ocean... President got a good laugh there.

3.  Us, walking down the dock.

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