Before I begin, I must apologize, I left my card reader back at the apartment again, so no pictures, but I promise I do have them!
Anyway, this week I adjusted more to missionary life, sorry for the somewhat discouraging email last time, I was pretty overwhelmed with everything that was going on and the difficulty of the language. I'm better now though, I simply needed to decompress.
So, as I mentioned previously, all me and my companion do is finding. This week, we taught 18 lessons, which is apparently high for my area, and it continues to increase. We gain quite a few investigators, but sadly, none of them went to church yesterday. However, all of the less-actives we taught this week came, so that was great :) My companion and I work hard, I really hope that the hearts of the people here will be softened so that we may teach them the love and joy the gospel brings, and so they can understand the atonement and the blessings it brings.
We have extended several baptismal invitations, and they've been accepted, they just need to continue to progress and come to church. Fun fact, in all of the Philippines missions, it's a requirement for all investigators, before baptism, to attend church four weeks in a row. This rule is put in place in order to increase retention of those whom we teach. Apparently that's not a normal requirement. It works though, the Philippines missions have a 98% retention rate, or so I heard. That's pretty amazing to me :)
My Tagalog is improving, but I still can't make day-to-day conversation to save my life. I can teach lessons, pray, testify, and introduce us as missionaries, so I guess that's something :) I just wish I could learn this language already. I've started translating the Book of Mormon from Tagalog to English, and it's been helping a lot. I like to think of it as mimicking Joseph Smith, translating from some foreign, crazy language into English.
So, now for some fun facts. There is no toilet paper here. You can buy it, but it's expensive, and the toilets don't flush, so you run the risk of clogging the toilet. Instead, there are either sprayers or a bucket of water with a ladle that sprays you clean, or you have to use (if you're filipino, I don't do this) your hand mixed with the ladle of water. It's pretty nasty, but thankfully I budget out my money to buy toilet paper, I am NEVER using my hand. To flush the toilet, you have to fill a bucket with water and pour it into the toilet until everything goes down, it's pretty.... different.
Also, there is no hot water here, anywhere. Nada. Zilch. So for showers, you fill a bucket with cold water and you take another, smaller bucket and pour it over your head. Every morning and every night I shower, and each instant the cold water goes over my head I have to gasp. It is SO COLD. Oh well, it could be worse.
Finally, one of the favorite foods here is coagulated pigs blood, and they like to barbecue it or put it on rice. It's honestly not bad, the texture is just super weird.
That's all I've got for you, let me know if there's any questions you'd like to ask!
Remember, Christ does not give us any trial we cannot handle, through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can overcome anything in our lives. Stand with faith, and know that God is always with thee, even if no one else is.
Mahal ko kayo