Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas in Vanuatu - 27 DEC 2015

27 DEC 2015

Christmas shopping in Luganville, Espiritu Santo
So yeah I just spent Christmas in Vanuatu. It is literally the exact same. Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and presents. All the missionaries had a Christmas Eve dinner which was an entire roasted pig. Then we had an "American" breakfast which was waffles with ice cream. It was good. Then we did a white elephant thing, we all bought gifts for like 5 dollars. I almost got a lavalava (an article of clothing worn like a skirt) but it was stolen. I got a little Book of Mormon so I can't complain. Elder Thomas got a binky and baby socks with crackers in them. It was a nice Christmas.

I am officially going back to Vila. They don't have a ticket for me yet so, I'm still here in Santo. Right now I'm on splits with Elder Thomas until I leave for Vila. There's a trio in Vila and one of them will go to Malekula, and I'll be in a trio. But for now I'm still in Santo. On Saturday we went proselyting (Elder Thomas Harding Samaniego and I) and we met a nice family that said we could come back every week to teach and we had a wonderful lesson with them. Then we had dinner at a resort area right across from Harding and Samaniego's house where we are all staying at. It was good but it was expensive.

On Sunday we went to church. I think there's only one church here because all the missionaries were there. It was nice. We had a lesson in Sunday School and I thought it was on Faith but then we learned about the lineage of the Bible from Adam to Christ. Afterwards we just went back to the house and stuff. It's been a good weekend so far. Now it's p-day in Luganville and we are going to go do stuff I guess. Next time I email I should be in Vila so I'll be able to talk all about that.

I don't have many pics. I have one that happened on Christmas. We went to the store to buy wrapping paper and this drunk lady had baby powder, so she started pouring it on us and tried to kiss us. It got all over the back of my neck and in my hair. But on the bright side, my neck felt baby smooth.

Alright that's about it for this week. I want you guys to know that I love you all and I miss you. Take care of yourselves.
Papa Joe and Elda Bramell in Malekula

The LDS Church building in Malekula

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frustrated Travel Plans, Delays, Disappointment, and Arrival!

Arrived to the Mission Home - Pictured with "Presiden" Granger and "Sista" Granger

Flying from NZ to Vanuatu

15 DEC 2015


After a 1.5 hour flight from SLC to LAX, delayed flight, 12 hours from LAX to Auckland, New Zealand, 5 hour layover then another 3 hours from New Zealand to Vanuatu...he arrived!  Island living for the next two years.

14 DEC 2015

Change of Plans
Guess where I am guys?! That's right Utah still. Because of weather in San Francisco, our plane got delayed 4 hours and so we would have missed the only flight to New Zealand. So basically we got taken back to the MTC and are waiting for new flight plans with no schedule, no teachers, and nothing to do. Elder Birch and Elder McGee left this morning. Elder Plumb and Elder Siliva leave tomorrow morning. So, they gave us our keys to our room back and they're the wrong keys so we can't close the door. And our cards were deactivated so we can't enter any building until someone passes by. So, it's not the best of circumstances. 

It snowed here last night! and I have no jacket, only short sleeve shirts. Now we are just here doing our thing, working out, studying, laundry, and stuff to keep us busy. We checked the travel office and because of the weather here, they aren't scheduling any new flights until Wednesday. So we won't leave until Wednesday at the earliest. So, it's kind of a bummer. I wanted to be in Vanuatu walking on the beach and talking to people, but instead I'm here basically a ghost. We'll see when I can leave hopefully it is soon, they said to check again after lunch. Hopefully we can at least know for sure when we can go. I'll be sure to tell you guys when I find out. Until then I'll be chillin' at the MTC. Love you all.

13 DEC 2015


Hey guys, What's up? Well whatever you're up to I bet it's not flying to an island nation later today. Oh wait, that's me! Yeah so today I leave the MTC at 1pm and my flight leaves at 5:40. So that's why I'm emailing right now, because I may not get to this week otherwise. But yeah it's been a good experience here at the MTC. Everyone is super nice and they're all like " I love missionaries!" So yeah, I'm kind of a big deal. Anyway I hope all of you are doing okay. all I'm doing today is finishing my packing. So hope you're day is more exciting. My travelling doesn't get exciting until tomorrow when we make a stop in New Zealand. So other than that, I just wanted to say I love all of you! And if you are in this big group email, you're going to stay in it no exceptions. I want to tell all of you what I'm up to. So, stay safe and take care of yourselves, I'll be thinking of you.

Friday, December 11, 2015

First Letters Home - Life in the MTC

Elder West and Elder Bramell showing us where Vanuatu is
04 DEC 2015

Hey so this email is only for us to say a quick little hello. Our pday is wednesday so that's when i'll be able to write more. But I'm doing good so far. The food's fairly okay and everyone is real nice. I have 8 elders in my district and no sisters. There are some sisters going to Vanuatu but they aren't in our district. 4 of us are going to Vanuatu and the other 4 are going to Trinidad. My companion is Elder West, and the other 2 elders going to Vanuatu are Elder McQuivey and Elder Thomas. The other 4 elders are Elder Plumb, McGee, Birch, and Mahelona. They're all good guys. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures I'll be able to send those Wednesday. On Sunday President Nelson is going to be here so that's exciting. Alright I don't have a lot of time to write much else. I want you guys to know I miss you and I love you guys, tell everyone else I love them too.

Elder Curtis Bramell

09 DEC 2015

Hey everyone, how's it going? It's been all good over here. I've got one week down at the MTC. I leave for Vanuatu on Sunday! I fly from here to SF to New Zealand to Fiji to Vanuatu. I am going to get there on Tuesday. I'm the travel leader which basically means I make sure no one is getting left behind. But it's still exciting! By the way Elder Nelson didn't speak to us but he was here. Yesterday we had Sister Oscarson speak so look it up. On Sunday we watched the Christmas devotional and it took a while to get connection so the whole audience here at the MTC sang 9 songs in a row. Then we watched the "Character of Christ" by David A. Bednar and that was like the greatest thing ever you guys have to watch it.

But you know my district is basically the best district here. Just 8 of us Elders. (Mahelona changed his name to Siliva) but Elder West and I get along well. Elder Thomas, McQuivey, West and I basically hang out all the time. We love to play volleyball together. They are all some pretty cool guys. We have a lot of fun together.

We get to go to the temple later today at like 3 so that'll be nice. Yesterday we got some instruction on Malaria and some pills. They also took some blood samples. When the lady was taking my blood something broke and so she felt bad and gave me 2 pounds of candy. It doesn't hurt that much. But I have to take a pill everyday for my whole mission. But it's not so bad. Alright I have to wrap up this email because I'm in the middle of laundry so I'll be back on in a second...

So I'm exhausted. The MTC is so busy all the time. We have been teaching "investigators". One of them is our teacher so obviously it's just role play. We are really good with him because we already gave him a BoM. But then we have a TRC investigator ( I don't know what TRC means so don't ask), and it is going terribly. The first lesson we started off bad. We thought he said "come in" but he said "one second" so he doesn't really like us. The second lesson was singlehandedly the WORST teaching experience of my life. We were going to talk about the Restoration but he asked us like 5 extremely difficult questions that we didn't know the answer to, so we just fumbled our way through it making absolutely no sense at all. It was the worst. Apparently he's that way for all missionaries; and I don't know if he's a member or not so it's just more stressful. But we get like hardly any time to ourselves. Elder West and I taught Priesthood on Sunday and that went very well. Everyone here is super jealous that we get to leave so quickly and go somewhere so cool. We are the only guys with short sleeves. You are required to wear suit jackets to big meetings but our district doesn't have jackets so we don't have to. The food here is pretty good. They only have original life cereal so that's sad but I just get chocolate milk all the time. I will have to send some stuff home because of the airline rules. the airlines require 50 lb bags with 15 lb carry-ons.So I'll be sending stuff back. Other than that its been pretty good. I'll probably email again on Tuesday or next Monday so until then!

In front of the Provo, Utah Temple

11 DEC 2015

OK so the most frightening thing just happened. I got a message in the mail a couple days ago saying I will go to Vanuatu without my visa and so did all the other Vanu's. Then today some other Vanu's got a letter saying their visas were delayed and they were going to Arizona. I thought I was fine until they said they got the message saying they didn't need visas as well. So we started freaking out! I did NOT want to go to Arizona (no offense Arizona). So we went down to the mail room and...

I'm still going to Vanuatu straightaway. Biggest relief of my life! I'm still sad for those who can't go straight there, but maybe that's were they need to be for a little bit. Anyway other than that I'm okay. Everything will go as planned. Whew. Stay safe guys. Love you all!

The District