And Lamont James Tueller! Look at you! I'm so glad I get to email you on this special day! Happy happy birthday! We've celebrated 3 birthdays in my district while we've been here, so I know how to say it in Cebuano- Malipay nga Adlawng Katawhan! You're such a grown-up big boy now! I hope you're learning everything about Sitting Bull and George Washington and the capitals of the world that you could ever want to! You don't remember when you were born, but I do, and probably most of the people reading this email do too. Everyone was so excited for you- for a while, it was my job to write down all of the gifts that you got, and you were just too loved. And I was so excited to have a little brother. You're my favorite little brother! Haha, all jokes aside, I wish I could sing Danny Boy with you and dance with you and read Harry Potter with you, but I have really great mental images of all of those things, so I'm thinking of you today!
All of you are having such fun adventures. I loved the reports about the reunion and the pictures! I almost feel like I was there with you- I especially wish I could see the Tueller Talent show act- Chinese gunpowder in 1122! You're the funniest- I think I have the best family in the world. And the singing!! I've been humming Come Ye Sinners and In Dublin Fair City- if you have an available copy of the Tueller family song book, I would love love love to have that.
I'm on my last p-day in the MTC! The time has been pas-pas gayud (isn't that a great word for fast?) and I don't know if I feel ready at all, but I'm going, so I guess I'm going to be ready. We leave Monday around 5 pm on a flight to LA- missionaries are allowed to call home at the airport- so around then, like 3, I can call you! And then in LA we have a 5 hour layover that starts at 5:48 LA time and goes until 10:35 LA time so I can talk to you then! Let me know what's best? then we have a straight flight to Manila which will be forever long, but it's okay- we get there at 5:55 am on the 17th- wednesday! From Manila we take another flight to Cebu, which is only an 1 hour long. In the process of all of this, we skip the 16th entirely- it's nowhere on our travel plans. I need to get packing done without Grace here, but I think it'll be okay. Mostly, I'm excited to go see this place and meet these people! We've heard that we'll get to email when we get there, but we won't get a P-day, so it could be a little while. You could be home!
The 4th of July in the MTC was really fun- it was nice to have P-day and write letters all day and then we had a Independence Day devotional where we sang the patriotic hymns very enthusiastically. I think this was so that we weren't listening to Carly Rae Jepsen from the Stadium of Fire, but we got to watch a movie- 17 Miracles, which I'd been meaning to see, and it was really inspirational. After the movie, around 10:00, so this was a crazy night in missionary time, we ate ice cream outside and watched the fireworks from the corner closest to the Stadium. Isn't it fun to think that we were all watching those, from Normandie, and Oak Hills, and the MTC? What a good moment.
Today's going to be another interesting P-day. One of the sisters in my district, Sister Malietoa is having gall-bladder surgery today, and they need another companionship to come get the prescription, or something like that. We're leaving campus! I think, maybe, unless plans change and someone else goes, but for now, the plan is going to the hospital in a few hours. We're hoping for a swift recovery, even though she probably won't be able to leave with us on Monday due to recovery time. But if you could keep her in your prayers, I know she'd really appreciate that.
We're doing all sorts of closing things around here. I've avoided playing volleyball this whole time, but we had a whole district game against another district, and I'm not as bad at volleyball as I remember! We had tons of fun out at sand volleyball, and laughed with each other about every hit. It's going to be sad to leave these people, but I can't wait to meet the people in Cebu! We also taught one of our teachers as a class. It was a really cool experience to teach someone we know so much about, and to switch those roles a little bit. Right now, we're the ones set apart to invite others to come unto Christ, so that's what we did! We taught about hope, and the Spirit poured out on our little classroom. If I can get close to that bouyant, bright feeling, that's all I can ask for as a missionary. I had another really cool experience in following the Spirit the other day- our teachers told us we had 15 minutes to follow the spirit and find someone who needed a message we could share with them. I was terrified for a few seconds, because they were asking me to do something I'd never done, but that's my job. That's what I do here, so we did it. We started with a prayer (I think we start everything with a prayer here, which I love, but it also makes me laugh- we pray, and do something and then end with a prayer and then start something else with another prayer- The Cebuano word for often is the same as always- "Kanunay" and PMG sa Cebuano tells us to Pray Always, not Often like the English one. Missionary jokes, I know, but it made me laugh) Anyway, basta, I really felt an impression to share Moroni 7:33 about miracles, and then we started walking in a direction that felt right. Sister Rugg and I found a companionship and started talking. One of the sisters was from Arizona and her mom was a Tueller. The other had attended BYUH and of course, knew Brother Tueller. We often meet people who know a Tueller, or know me, but never two in a companionship. I don't know if they actually needed our message, but I certainly needed that comfort of knowing that the Lord will guide me, and knowing that he is exactly aware of my life. I know he's watching over me, and so I don't need to fear anything. He will give me the power and the words when I need them.
During gym, we've been using no English and it's really fun- but also really funny- trying to play bocce without being able to say throw, or your turn, or ball, or shade, or really anything except here and there, and "Excited kaayo ko!" I can teach a 40 minute lesson about the plan of salvation but as soon as I have to go grocery shopping, this is going to be dili maayo.
On Sunday, we had a wonderful mission conference because of Fast Sunday , full of reminders about what I've learned here. Then in the evening, we got to hear from George Durrant and Susan Easton Black. After wards, we watched Character of Christ by Elder Bednar- I'm so excited to learn more about my Savior- it's changed my perspective on a lot of things- mostly about Christ's character of Turning Out in love and compassion when the natural man would turn in. Right now, as I got out, I just want to forget myself, my fear, my doubts, my whatever is holding me back, and get lost in the work of helping others become better. Hopefully, in the process, I'll change, but that can't be the point.
Next week's going to be interesting. There's a Cebuano word that might describe it- grabi. It literally means awful, but no one really uses it that way- it's more an expression of emotion- like that's sad- Grabi, that's so exciting-GRABI, I'm going to a foreign country with people I don't know and I'm going to go tell them about Jesus Christ in a language that I still don't think I really know how to speak and my life will never be the same again- GRABIIIIIIIIII.
I love you all so much! Have fun adventuring, and pray for me in this really crazy adventure!