Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Really good week!

Mom, the spiders aren't poisonous.
My clothes never dry. In fact i'm wearing a pair of socks right now that i cleaned on Monday and they're still damp.
Toilet paper does work for the sewage.  I have some toilet paper now! Thank goodness!

2nd Coming!
We haven't been rained out or any floods!  I have heard a lot of people talking about the floods in Manila!  It sounds crazy!  My companion is from Manila!  I don't think the part that he is from flooded but we're not sure!  My companion is a really cool Elder!  He only has 15 days left on his mission...  He keeps saying that he never thought the day would come that he would go home.  Well it's finally here and he's freaking out a little bit!  He keeps telling me his number one priority is getting married in the temple!  He says that when I am done with my mission he'll meet me at the Manila temple and go through it with me!  I keep telling him that he's going to show up with his wife and 2 kids! haha 

This week was really good!  On Tuesday we had district meeting and lunch with the district at Dins, a local restaurant here that is pretty good!  I look forward to Tuesdays because it's always the best meal of the week!  Mom, pancit is amazing huh?  SOOO good!  The only thing I've really eaten the past few days is rice, chicken and a lot of pancit!  If you want to eat something that is truly Filipino you have to cook Chicken adobo! You eat it with rice and it's like the main dish here in the Philippines!  

Wednesday was probably the best day the whole week!  We went to a trainers meeting in Cauayan! At the trainers meeting I got to see everyone that I was in the MTC with!  It was amazing to see all of them!  I have a picture of the group that i will send later!  The mission President and his wife catered lunch for us!  They had cinnamon rolls!  When I saw the cinnamon rolls I was the most excited I have been in a long time!  

MTC District

The next day we went and taught Brother Mark again!  The Branch President keeps calling Mark a golden investigator and he really is!  Mark has reactivated the less actives and is bringing more investigators than just himself to church!  We taught Mark this week about the law of chastity and he said he would follow it.  After the lesson we told him that we would have to set his baptismal date a week because we haven't been able to teach him enough.  When we said that, he told us he wants to be baptized on August 31st but we told him he has to get an interview and we still have to teach him some lessons before baptism!  It's awesome to see his desire!  We also had some other investigators come to church this week that we didn't expect!  It's cool to see people keep your commitments.  She is the only one in her family that isn't a member other than her son.  When we go to teach her, her whole family is there and all bear testimony to her!  It's really awesome!  

Only bikes in mission!
One bad thing happened this week.  The member who gave us our bikes took them back because his grandson needs them.  It makes our work a lot harder and a lot slower.  To get to some of the areas now will take over an hour to walk to!  He said he might be able to give us back the bikes on Tuesday so we'll see what happens.

I gave my first blessing here in the Philippines!  The sister asked for a blessing and my companion told me to give it!  I didn't even know why she needed a blessing but he later told me that she has a form of dengae that is rare and really bad!  The blessing went well even without me knowing what was wrong!

The work here is going really well!  The members here are amazing!  Yesterday we had 8 fellow shippers!  It was kind of crazy to see how many people wanted to go teach with us!

This is a tricey.  I've seen 11 people fit in one of these!  This is a members tricey!  Most of the members triceys say CTR all over them but this one says liahona which i thought was funny!
Love you,
Elder Tribe

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2 Months All Ready!

 This week was a really good week!
Right after I sent the letter last week, we were headed back to the other Elders apartment to stay one more night and of course right across the street someone was selling balut!  Of course all the Elders were EGGING me on!  Get it? Ha-ha Jokelong!  So we went across the street and they bought me one and told me how to eat it and everything! I asked the lady how many days the eggs had been fertilized for and she said 18 days!  I was told that the best eggs are at 14 days!  I couldn't see the egg much because it was dark but you could definitely see a little ducky in there!

 First you crack the top of the egg open and suck all the juices out!  It sounds disgusting but is really good!  Then after you drink the juices you peel the egg back a little more and take a big bite!  My first bite wasn't very bad and tasted and looked exactly like the yolk of a hardboiled egg.  The second bite was the chick and I got a little crunch from the beak and then swallowed!  It was surprisingly good and tasted like a hardboiled egg!  The only bad thing about it was that I got little feathers in my mouth that I had to spit out!  I'll send you some pictures of it after I send this!

This is to answer dads question about what I do if I don't use toilet paper...  Well, you have a barrel next to you and it's full of water.  You never sit on the toilet so you're always squatting.  After you are finished with your business you take a little ladle type thing and kind of pour it down the lower part of your back and rinse...  Do you get it? Hahaha The pipes all drain out right behind our house except for the toilet, thankfully!

This is how we wash our clothes weekly!

Our work here is mainly based on bringing less active members back to church!  There are around 200 members but only 60 on a good day come to church!  Speaking of church!  The other day when I was sitting in the congregation I was told I was speaking that day in church!  I've never been so thankful for the MTC in my life!  In the MTC they told us to write a talk each week in Tagalog. I didn't have to speak long but I gave a good talk about pananampalataya or in English, faith! 

It's a way different culture here!  They drink a lot of soda and so when nanay or Grandma in English, drink it they just start burping all over the place!  It's freaking hilarious! They also eat with their hands a lot here and so they taught me how.  They told me to tell you that I am eating with my hands!  

We had our first FHE it was really funny and the food after was so good!  It was homemade fried chicken, pancakes, and pancit!  I think they tried to make the food a little more American for me which I was grateful for!
After FHE back at our apartment we were having nightly planning and I looked at the ceiling and saw a HUGE spider!  It was massive!  We have some bug killer stuff that the mission home gave us and they said it's 30x stronger than the wasp killer we use back at home so I was pretty excited to use it!  So I grabbed it and started spraying the spider!  It started going crazy and ran under our fridge!  My companion was trying to see if he could see it under the fridge when it all of a sudden it ran out and started chasing us around the apartment!  It was terrifying!  It was really fast and had its fangs ready to bite!  It didn't get any of us before I sprayed it a bunch more and then it died!  We have had 2 spiders try to attack us so far...  It makes things exciting here!

Most of the time back at home when it feels like something is crawling on you like a bug or something it's just your mind playing tricks on you. In the Philippines something is always crawling on you!  I'm always finding ants in my bed and all over me!

I went on splits this week for the first time!  I went with Elder Linnel.  He is our zone leader and is really hard working!  It was a good change for a while to have someone that knew fluent English to talk to.  It was also kind of cool to be in charge and show him where to go and introduce him to people.  We taught a whole bunch of people and rode our bike to Alicia.

 Alicia is the biggest city next to us.  It was dark when we did it and I later found out that we probably shouldn't have ridden our bikes in the dark to Alicia that night because we are both Americans wearing nice clothes and some Filipinos told us that you have to be careful around here.  Nothing happened to us but it was still a little sketchy!  

We found a couple new investigators on Sunday!  
Mark is doing great!  He is still coming to church every week and is following all of our commitments! I'm thankful for your prayers!

On P-days we mainly just go to another area and play basketball with the Elders there!  It's kind of cool being the tallest one on the court!  It's super hot here!  I've sweat more here today than any day at home!  The richest member in maybe all of Alicia bought us lunch today!  I had fried chicken and some other chicken things with rice!  You don't eat fried chicken here the same way you do back at home.  Here you eat everything with rice.  You also never have a knife unless you are a wealthy family.  You put your spoon in your right hand and use that to cut and eat with.  In your left hand you have your fork and you use it to kind of just scoop things into your spoon.  

This week has been pretty amazing!  Its super hard being a missionary sometimes but it's also the best thing in the world!  It's cool to see people change their lives!  I went to a baptismal interview the other day and the guy had quit smoking and you could see a huge difference in the way he looked and acted!  The Church is true!

Has Bridger left yet? What about Zach Annis?  I want their E-mails! Maraming salamat po
Can't wait to chat on Christmas! :)  Love you so much. ingot po.
Elder Tribe

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013
This week has had its ups and downs.  The night after I wrote my first letter home and I left the computer shop to go back to the apartment. I ate some weird food that my companion called a hot dog.  It didn't look or taste like a hot dog but I was hungry so I ate it.  That was a bad idea.  I went to bed and woke up at about one in the morning with the worst stomach ache I have ever had!  I reached for my flashlight so I could go to the bathroom but my flashlight wasn't where I usually leave it.  So I got up and ran blind outside the front door and threw up all over the ground!  It was one of the worst throw ups I've ever had!  It was LAVA hot and I couldn't breathe! After I threw up outside for a little bit I went to the bathroom and threw up some more lava!  At that point I was so homesick.  I was sitting in the bathroom throwing up and stuff for a little more than an hour.  The whole time there were mosquito's flying and biting me and I still could barely breathe! 

The next day we didn't do much. I felt good enough to go out to a district meeting in Alicia which is about 30 min from our house.  At the meeting everyone was saying my eye looked super red and that popped blood vessels in your eye and blurred vision are signs of dengue fever!  I didn't have a fever but I still didn't feel good so we went back to the apartment where I slept all day!  The next day my throat hurt really badly so I called the mission pres's wife and told her my symptoms.  She said to just drink as much water as possible and gargle warm water with salt.  So I did that the next few days and there was no improvement with my throat.  I told her that my throat bled a little while I was throwing up and so she finally gave me some pills that WORKED!! 

After all that sickness and bad stuff I feel almost completely healthy now!  Don't worry about it me.  My immune system will slowly get used to this place!

On Friday we had a one day mission in Jones where we taught the members how to teach and open their mouths!  It was pretty cool leaving our area and going to someone else's!  Jones is a really nice place but is a really hard area!  The people don't like White people or Mormons!  We went out and taught one guy who hopefully the sisters will go meet sometime but I don't know how the sisters will ever find his house!  The only way they are going to find it is by the guidance of the spirit! 

On Saturday we taught Mark again. (He's the guy I challenged to baptism)  I challenged him and his friends again but I gave them an exact date on August 31st and he said yes again.  When I told him the date, he said "What time?" It was really cool and surprised me!  I think he seriously wants to get baptized!  I can't wait and I hope he is ready to be baptized on August 31st!  My companion leaves at the end of this cycle and I want him to be able to see him baptized before he leaves!  Mark has come to church 2 times in a row and in the classes we teach he is giving really good answers!  Most of the investigators will just laugh and get really nervous and give a primary answer or something but Mark will say something really good!

During sacrament meeting we got a text that said we need to evacuate if we live in a low laying area because a level 4 typhoon is coming! That's exactly where we live. After church ended, we went back to the apartment and started packing things because we were going to stay at another Elders apartment!  We put everything on top of tables, cabinets and shelves just in case it flooded and left.  It started to rain really hard and got pretty windy while driving to the other apartment.  We went to bed and woke up expecting it to arrive in the morning sometime but it never came! It missed us just by a little bit!  All the missionaries were pretty bummed because we wanted to experience a typhoon! 

Dad, I know you too well!  While it was raining and pretty windy I told an Elder that you were probably watching the storm from Unisys weather!  The storm wasn't bad at all!  Everyone was pretty disappointed!  The worst thing that happened was the door flung open in the middle of the night and got me all wet from the rain!

Now we're at today...  Today has been a good day!  I took a 40 min bus ride to a bigger city called Santiago where they have McDonalds!  It's the first time I have felt good and full since I have been here! 

I went to a REAL store!  It was like a tiny Costco and it was amazing to be in some place nice and has air conditioning!  The store had samples like Costco but they were just a little different.  The samples were alcoholic beverages!  It kind of blew my mind and made me realize that this place is nothing like home!

Tonight we have a dinner app. at a member’s house where they said I would eat balut.  I'll let you know how that goes next week!  
I haven't eaten too many crazy things here! I've eaten a fish that was cooked whole, some weird soup, and lots of chicken and other meat.

I know this letter sounds kind of bad but it's only because I didn't have that great of a week and I’m not going to sugar coat it!  I'm feeling a lot better now!  

The mission makes you realize that your family is the most important thing in the world!  Thanks for the letters and prayers!  It's super hard here but it's slowly getting easier!  I keep asking my companion if his mission went fast and he keeps telling me that it was the fastest two years of his life!  He tells me that it's worth it and he learned a lot from it!  I can't wait till I see you all again!  It's crazy to think that when I get back David will be married almost 2 years!  I told David that I didn't really care if I missed his wedding before the mission but now I would have given anything to be there! I love you so much and these next two years are going to fly by!  Mahal Kita!


Monday, August 5, 2013

In the Philippines

Monday, August 05, 2013
The Philippines is almost the complete opposite of America!  After I finished talking to everyone (except for David....) I boarded the plane and 9 hours later we landed in Tokyo where everyone had to try the badae's!  I don't think I spelled it right but it's the toilets that shoot water!
We were only there for a few min when we had to board another plane and head off to Manila!  When we landed in Manila and got off the plane, it was an eye opening experience!  Cars, motorcycles, and people everywhere!  It was mass chaos!  It stunk so badly and it made me super happy that I wasn't serving in Manila.  I'm pretty sure that Filipinos have an immunity to car exhaust.  It was sooo hot and it felt like I was breathing clouds of smoke!  We all waited at the airport for an hour and then we headed off to a hotel for the night.  At the hotel when we arrived I asked the driver if it was a nice hotel and he said "5 star." The standards are different here for what is nice!  The hotel I worked at was way better than the "5 star" one in Manila!  (At this time I didn't realize what I’d be living in) After about 3 hours of sleep we left and went to the airport again to fly to Cauayan!  It was only a 30 min flight which was good because I’m sick of planes for 2 years! From the airport the AP's and Pres. Ralf came and picked us up.  We went to the mission home where we talked for a while and ate some really good Filipino food!  (I should have taken advantage of that food)  When we finished eating we got to see our new companions and mine is a native Filipino from Manila! His name is Elder Guevarra.  He's a pretty cool Elder and is trying his best to teach me Tagalog! When we left the Mission home that's when I realized I didn't know what I signed myself up for!  After a 20 min ride in a van we got out and had to take another 20 min ride on a triky. A triky or tricycle is a motorcycle that has a little side car on it that is made out of whatever the people who are driving them can find!  It was kinda scary at first because people were driving so close to us and so fast!  Finally we got to our apartment, just Elder Guevarra and I live there.  The area is called Da Gupon.  It's the only area that has bikes because it's out in the middle of nowhere!
There have been a lot of first time experiences here so far!  I took my first bucket shower that day and my first no toilet paper experience!
That night I wasn't feeling really well and we went over to a members house for a dinner appointment.  We went to their house that is only 3 rooms and is the size of half our garage and 12 people live in it!  We sat down at a table than wasn't any bigger than the size of a monopoly board and it didn't come past our shins!  I felt bad when I didn't eat all their food because I felt sick but she was nice and understood. 
That night was probably the worst night’s sleep I have ever had!  I'm still pretty jet lagged but that night I woke up at 4 in the morning and couldn't fall back to sleep!   I was just lying there and then all of a sudden about a million roosters start crowing! (They do this every morning)  It's the most annoying thing in the world! 
We stayed in the house till about 2 studying and confirming appointments and then we finally set out!  The area I’m in is pretty low class!  Most of the houses have straw roofs or are just made out of cinder block but the people are so nice and give a lot to us!  Every lesson we have with member or non-member they always give us some food and Pepsi/coke!  All they drink here is soda and they don't drink it in bottles!  They pour it in a sack and you drink it with a straw! 
The same thing happened the next day but we got a text saying "I want to be a member of your church" I thought it was a joke because I thought that this never happens! It wasn't a joke. I challenged 3 people to baptism the next day and they all said yes and came to church the next day!  I bore my testimony in sacrament and in class about prayer and families!
That Sunday we went out and taught 3 families.  In the middle of the lesson I saw a rat going through the person’s food and plates.  I didn't tell them because I didn't want to distract from the spirit and I also thought it would have embarrassed them.  So I just watched it run around and have fun.  We taught a newly-wedded couple that were recent converts and they said that sometimes they yell and get mad at each other.  They asked ME what they should do.... (For some reason people think I know everything because I’m American)  I had no idea what to say because 1. I’m not married and 2. I’m only 20 years old!  So I just shared a verse in 2 Nephi about patience!  They seemed to like it and then my companion took it from there! Now its p-day on Monday here.  I think it's midnight in Utah!  I'm slowly learning the language and how to survive. I love you all so much and I was so happy to talk to you!  I can't wait till we can talk again!

Mahal Kita, Elder Tribe 

Our apartment

Our kitchen