Sunday, September 11, 2016

San Juan Week 1

Hello everyone,
I have spent the last couple of days in the mission, and it has been a roller-coaster.  There were 8 missionaries going to Laoag from our batch, all but one came from the Provo MTC.  We stayed at the mission home for the first night, then we had orientation the next morning and met our trainers.  My trainer is Elder Cerbolles from Manila, and he's great, but he doesn't really speak English.  I guess that's a blessing, it'll help me learn Tagalog faster.  

Anyway, I was assigned to the San Juan area, and it turns out there's only about 5 members in the area, so all we do is find.  Tracting has been alright, I've been hit with rejection a lot, but oh well. I'm just glad the people can't slam doors in my face, mainly because most people don't have doors.  However, the first person we contacted let us in, and even agreed to say the closing prayer after the lesson.  It was pretty great to see someone willing to hear the message we have.

Church was great as well, but I still don't understand a lot of Tagalog.  They speak so much faster here, and their accent is pretty hard to understand, but I know I'll get the hang of it eventually.  Right now, it is 11:20 am on August  29, I believe the Philippines are 14 hours ahead of Utah time.  It's been pretty difficult adjusting to the time difference, even with that first week in the Manila MTC.  Everything is super cheap here, 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 46.25 Pisos or something like that. They also don't use cents, its only full pisos, at least from what I've seen.  Transportation is interesting too, I don't have a Jeep-ney in my area, so we ride on Tricies, which are motorcycles with a big side car, and buses, but the bus is only used when we have to go to a different area for church.

I'm sorry this letter is so unorganized, I just have so much going through my head and there's so much to tell.  The Philippines is a beautiful place, rice fields are gorgeous, and it rains so much now because it's the rainy season.  However, the way people live is very interesting.  Most people live in homes that have a tin or palm roof, with either cinder blocks or bamboo for walls, which didn't surprise me.  What DID surprise me is the fact that everyone here has a cell phone, and most everyone has a laptop, tv, or some other kind of electronic device, even though you'd think they couldn't afford it.  It's very strange and hard to describe.  I do love these people though, they are very quick to laugh and work hard.  

Just so you all know, my address is

Brgy. #50 Buttong, Airport Avenue
Junction Tangid Road, Laoag City
2900 Ilocos Norte

In case you would like to send something, but please keep in mind I have to pay 112 p for any package sent through UPS or USPS.  Those two companies are the best, FedEx is very expensive both for you and me, so DO NOT USE IT.  I don't expect packages or letters, but I thought I'd let you know just in case.

I already know I'm going to lose a lot of weight here.  The food isn't bad, but there's a lot of concern for getting parasites, so there's not many places to eat that you know are safe.  I also sweat so much here when it's not raining.  It's always humid, and when the humidity is coupled with heat I sweat like crazy.  Hopefully I'll get used to it.

I know this letter may sound discouraging, but don't worry.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be in my life.  The spirit felt while teaching is fantastic, there's nothing quite like it.  I know that I'll continue to increase in my knowledge of both the gospel and Tagalog.  The adjustment is difficult, but I know if I have faith that everything will turn out ok, it will.  I love you, and I love serving the Lord.

Until Next time
Mahal ko kayo
-Elder Anderson

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