Hello! I'm in the Philippines now. It's nice to be here. As you know yes it's hot, humid, rainy, all of the above. Besides that point it's really nice here. I'm in the northern part of the island; Cadiz Zone. My area is Victorias. I'm serving in the 2nd Ward. Our area is quite huge. There's sooooo many houses! I love it here. I live in a two story house, no AC, has a ref and stove, we sleep on the floor because it's too hot upstairs, so we bring our mattresses down to the first floor. It's sort of like our living room. Our house is very dirty, but I've been told it's one of the nicest houses in the mission. It's exclusively for missionaries. A member owns the house, so we see him often.
Thursday was my first day here (in the mission home). President Lopez let us sleep in because we didn't start our training meeting until noon. However with the time change we still got up at 6am. So we got up and got dressed and things. The mission home apparently just got renovated, so it was very nice. Air-Con and all! For breakfast we ate fresh mangoes, bananas, banana bread, cinnamon roll, and MILO :) So good! Then I was handed a package from Courtney haha. Every one's like, "you already have a package" SO FUNNY! So thanks Courtney for the package! Then we walked around the barangay (or neighborhood) and saw what it had to offer. It was hot haha. Then we went back to the mission home and ate Thanksgiving. Turkey, potatoes, pretty much standard Thanksgiving food. No stuffing, we had rice instead LOL!
After Thanksgiving I got assigned my companion. His name is Elder Doverte. He's from Luzon, which is northern part of Manila area. He does speak English, so that's been a blessing honestly. My language is okay, I'm understanding more each day, but I can't really talk much. I can talk, but the only problem is I don't know what they say back to me, so it's a bit weird. Thursday he showed me around Victorias and I really liked it. Nice city. Okay, nice in terms of 3rd world. But still, I like it here. Elder Doverte is 26. A convert to the church at age 19, so he's a really great guy. Fluent in Illango and Tagolog. So it's nice to have him around. I'm a lot taller than most people here! Kinda cool, but I do stick out like a sore thumb.
Friday was my first full day. Woke up did all the good missionary stuff, during the first 12 weeks you get an extra hour of companion study for language and practice teaching lessons so we left the house around 1. We went to a place called Ditching. SOOO Far away. My Tri-ci-cab it's about 15 min. And Dad, it's like Jamaica... no rules on the road. I usually ride on the side of the cab, not really inside. It's too small for my American legs. We taught some recent converts out in Ditching and then went to Cane Town. Yes, a lot of Sugar Cane! The whole island smells like fire! So, I think Dad can relate a lot to it. Friday night we talked with the ward mission leader, His name is Jon. He's 19 and leaves for a mission in 1 week to Luzon, up by Manila. His mom served a mission and speaks English. The people here are shy to speak to me in English because they think that they are going to speak bad or something. Honestly right now I don't care. I love people who speak English to me.
Saturday was another good day. I was a witness at a baptism. It was really nice. The spirit was so strong. So that was fun. Then we went to the plaza because I had to buy some soap and shampoo. So that was fun. It was super hot, so I bought a sprite. Instead of giving me the bottle, they put it in a zip-loc "ish" bag and then gave me a straw to drink out of it so they could reuse the bottle. So that was interesting. After that we went and taught some more. Tracting isn't allowed here as you know, so we teach a lot of inactives and part-member families. That was fun.
Sunday was Sunday. Our church starts at 8:30 (Priesthood) so that was fun. There was 7 people in Priesthood including Elder Doverte and I, so that was interesting. They sing so loud though, so the spirit is super strong there as well. Then we had Sunday School. They try to teach in English, but sometimes they can't really say what they're trying to say, so they just Speak Illango. I understand some of it. Then I spoke in Sacrament. In Illango. Just my testimony and introduced myself. So that was fun. The members here at SO NICE! True Latter-Day Saints. Not fake ones. They're so nice! SO nice! I've been fed like 4 times already. One of them was fish, and we know how I am with fish... so I just prayed that I wouldn't throw up. So that was a blessing I didn't. But I ate what was on my plate. Oh, the head was still on it and everything, so that was nice :) Last night we taught the Demandar family. They're planning on going to the temple in 2 weeks to Cebu. They don't have electricity in their house so we taught by candle light, so that was fun. Great experience. I was able to share a scripture with them in Mosiah 2:6 about the temple and how to be focused on the temple. So that was a great lesson.
So some things that I want to share. The first night I was hear I saw a woman "feed" her baby. I knew it was going to happen sometime I just didn't think on my first day. Tapos, I like the no TP thing :) 3rd, when I got here we have zero investigators and as of right now we have 3! So that's awesome :)
I really love it here! The people are great. The food actually isn't that bad, except that fish, but that's okay! I'll get used to it. Everything is good and dandy here in Victorias. It's supposed to be the nicest area... so I'd honestly hate to see what the other areas look like you know? For who ever is reading this Elder Garner is in my district! I'm sitting next to him writing this email. So that's pretty cool I've finally got to see him. Tomorrow is district meeting so I'll get to see him tomorrow too. He's the Zone Nurse LOL! NURSE! HAHAHAHA! So that's good. I'll try to send pictures but I'm not sure... we'll see what I can do.
If you could add 2 people to your emailing list for me that'd be great. The first if Adams Stokes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the next the Sister Scott (email@example.com) They were my teachers at the MTC. Sister Elwood was the first to teach the Demandar family and so it's cool that I've heard of her before now and now I get to sit in her home and talk with her.
Thanks for everything family. Your support is great. This is honestly so much fun! :) Hard, but fun!
Love y'all SOOOO MUCH!