December 31, 2017


San Juan


Elder Armadillo

Week #15 San Juan

Hello my family!!

Okay, our christmas talk was amazing. It was so fun to see you all and talk to you. I miss you like crazy, but feel very happy that we got to talk and laugh together :)

I absolutely love my missionary plaque. I feel like it captures the heart of the philippines, and shows how much fun I am having here. Thank you so much for doing that! Also please thank the southams for the awesome ornament. Seriously, so thoughtful
of them.

I already told you a lot of this, but Im going to write it down anyway. Christmas was super fun. WE slept over at manda house and ate a bunch of food over there. In the morning we listened to christmas music and had a really good time. I also shaved
for the first time with shaving cream and a razor. The mission has made a man out of me hahaha! I will make sure to get Elder Mulipola's shaving tutorial to you when I get it. After, we all went to our district meeting and activity. I was in charge of the
christmas message which was fun. I shared about 1 nephi chapter 11. I focused on the verses about the savior and his saving power. I felt the saviors power and peace a lot this christmas. This is one of my favorite christmases I have ever had. It was wonderful
to feel the spirit so strongly and to just focus on our savior. It was wonderful. Afterward, we ate and hung out for a little while. WE then went to work, christmas truly has it's miracles. We found a new family who is part member. The nonmembers were
really interested and we are going to start teaching them. We also contacted a referral for the first time and she committed to church and that she would read the book of mormon. Christmas is a special day and it felt wonderful. We finished by going to
a members house and eating a big dinner. It was a wonderful christmas.

Christmas tradition here:
Here in the philippines, people show there respect to the elderly by touching the hand of the elderly to their forehead. This is called blessing, and everyone does it. A fun christmas tradition is that all the children, when they bless and elderly person,
are given money. Its a really cute, fun tradition. On christmas morning, a ton of kids are running around trying to find the elderly, and all the old folks are hiding. It is super cute and fun.

parties here are absolutely wild. There are at least 6 on each road. You can only walk a few feet before running into more drunk people. They are all singing karaoke, and eating. I seriously can't believe how much drinking I saw. One drunk guy came
up to me and hugged me, before giving me a big/wet kiss on the cheek. Oh my word, it was so gross. My companion thought it weas really funny hahah.

ward activity: We had the awesome opportunity to go with our priesthood leaders to deliver food to the needy members in our ward. It was wonderful. The four of us elders were packed into a car with a ton of members and we all had a really good time
laughing and joking. One of the members we were delivering to was a less active member. he is a balut salesman. Bishop insisted that to fellowship him, he would treat us all to balut. He turned to me and asked if I could eat balut and I responded "of course
bishop". Poor elder davis did not enjoy it at all. They gave him a different kind of egg, that didnt have the bird. He almost through it up. Poor guy hahah. I ate 2 baluts. The members LOVED that. They kept patting me on the back and telling me that
I was a philipino at heart. Elder Armadillo kept saying, "thats my boy, thats my boy!" Balut isnt actually that bad. Its grown on me a little. The only thing is that I prefer the bird a little more adapted. It is much tastier fleshy rather than liquidy.
Either way though, balut isnt that bad. It was so fun getting to deliver to our members. I seriously miss activities like that from mutual. The food drive, christmas boxes, and service are definitely my favorite memories. It was so fun to get another
taste of that here in the PI

more activities to come: My missionary pal and I have plans to start doing more activities here. We want to give members more opportunities to bring people and want our tinituan to be fellowshipped and loved. We are going to start a family history class,
english class, and do a mini mtc hopefully. I am super excited for these. I think they will be great opportunities to find people.

Our new years is going to be awesome. I think that we have all 9 missionaries sleeping in manda tonight. Wow, I cant believe it is new years already. Time flies so quickly. Merry new years everybody!! Love you all!!!!

On Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 10:38 AM The Dyches Family <<a href=""></a>> wrote:

Happy New Year my Bud!!!!

Can you believe that we are starting another year?? So crazy!

Ok--that was such an amazing treat to talk to you on Christmas!!! It made our entire Christmas to be able to talk to you and see you on the screen! It was so so so so so so amazing...but also made me miss you so so so so so so so much! The entire family
burst into tears the moment we ended the call. We all had a good cry and then put back on our game faces and are now good again. It was just so good to see that you are doing so well and that you are so happy there. That makes me so happy!

Christmas was great! Grandma & Grandpa Todd came and stayed 2 nights. We worked like crazy on the Christmas puzzle and played some really fun games (some of which I sent you pictures of). I don't know if you remember all the wild & crazy games that my family
used to play during the holidays--but we pulled them all out this year and had a blast! It was really fun to see Grandma & Grandpa more engaged this year then they have been in the past. Grandma Dyches came over just for Christmas day. I'm sure you saw
and could tell on our phone call how much she has aged since you have left. This week I think will be the week that we move her into an assisted living place.

This week we toured around a bunch of different assisted living places both in Bham and the Louisa house in Ferndale, and we decided to put her into the one in Ferndale. On Friday I went there to tour around it again and to reserve her room. They are going
to let her have the show room studio (it is one of the nicest ones). We will take Grandma there on Wednesday (after all of the New Year festivities are over) to check out the place and be evaluated by their nurse to determine the level of care she will need
while she is there. Then I imagine that we will be moving her in this weekend. I am actually really excited about this as then we will finally have some peace of mind! It has been difficult having her live on her own. Dad has been SO BUSY with helping
her--especially during the last couple of months. She calls many times a day (at all hours--often waking us up sometimes at 3 am--this morning is was 6 am!) And it will just be such a relief to know that she is getting her meals and meds regularly and that
there are people around 24/7 to help her. I imagine that the next few weeks will be a big adventure as we are trying to help her with this transition of giving up Toki, moving, selling or renting her home, & finding a place for all of her things! Her new
little place is a very small studio apartment so we are going to have to get rid of a TON of her things. We will go in and take anything that we want--and then we will be giving away most of the rest. We will see what Susan's family will want. If they come
up. They didn't end up coming for Christmas. So we will see if they decide to come up for this! Grumble, grumble. Anyways, that is the biggest news right now and taking
up most of our thoughts and time.

I am DYING to find out if you got your package yet!!!!!! After the call, I realized that one of the items that I sent for you and your comp won't probably be useful to you. You'll know which item it is when you open it! Because you don't do any cooking--go
ahead and give it to someone in your ward or an investigator who can use it (just take a picture of you and your comp in them first! I forgot to take pictures and I think they turned out pretty cute!) But please feel free to give away anything that you don't
think is useful. And please let me know if there is anything you need for your Birthday! I have to start putting that package together pretty quick here if I want to get it to you by March!

It was crazy to think that today was our last 3 hour church meeting! And that we will be starting the come follow me home curriculum! I am really excited about it and hope that we can make it a part of our daily family scripture study! I think it will really
help to focus our study as a family instead of just reading random passages of scripture and such--we will have a much more focused study which will be good for us.

So we went to Nathan's ward to hear his farewell talk. It was good! I think he is excited and ready to go! His Mom looked a little teary and it made me remember how hard it was!!! I am going to check in on her later this week and see if she wants to go
for lunch or something. That was so helpful for me to have those other mom's to talk to and lean on! Nathan will do great! He seemed excited and ready!

Nicole and Dad both gave talks in church today and they were really good. Nicole spoke about the Good, Better, Best concept and did a really good job. Dad talked in our last hour combined meeting on our new area plan--which includes a whole section on sharing
the gospel with our friends and associates. Dad did a really good job.

Well, I am dying to hear about your week and PLEASE TELL ME IF THE PACKAGE ARRIVED!!!!!

I love you SO much bud! It is such a pleasure and privilege to be your Momma.

Love you!

PS. I FINALLY got your plaque and picture and everything all put up at the church today. I'm sorry it has taken me so long. It took me so long because I was having such a hard time deciding on a picture! I finally decided to put my favorite missionary picture
of you in it instead of the typical kind of picture where the missionary is by themselves holding a b of m or something like that. I enlarged the picture of you playing with the 2 little Filipino girls and used that. I am SO happy with it! I think I sent
a picture of it to you. I hope you like it too. Forgive me that it took so long!


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