Hello once again!
I actually have my card reader, so I'll be sending pictures in another email :)
This week was pretty great, we taught lessons and gained new investigators. It's been kind of hard because we don't have any progressing investigators yet. The missionaries before me were super lazy and didn't work at all, so my trainer and I are essentially opening an area, but that's all good :) It just means I get to lose myself in the work even more :)
I have forgotten to mention that the situation of the San Juan elders is fairly unique. We don't have a meeting house in our area, so we have to travel to Cabugao in order to go to church, however, there aren't any buses leaving from San Juan early enough on Sunday to get us to church on time, so every Saturday we stay the night with the Cabugao elders, who also happen to be our Zone Leaders. One of our Zone Leaders is Elder Fees, an American from Utah, kind of close to Park City, and he has helped me adjust a lot. I can speak English to him, which is surprisingly comforting. However, I still study the language really hard.
Those of you who know Elder Doman, he was called to the Tacloban mission and learned Cebuano, but they only really speak Wari-Wari there. That's kind of the same for me here, I learned Tagalog, but they mainly speak Ilocano here, which is COMPLETELY different from Tagalog. Most kids will understand Tagalog because they learn it in school, but the older generation and the poorer areas only understand and speak Ilocano, so that's fun :) I also realized that's why I have had a hard time understanding some of the conversations I hear, it's because they are in Ilocano... Oh well, two languages learned on a mission are better than just one right? :)
This week has been really good though, my trainer has been following the Twelve Week program and I've been getting better and better at teaching and finding. I've definitely seen a lot of improvement on my faith as I seek the gift of tongues and it comes to me during lessons, I've seen a lot of improvement with my social skills as I have become less shy and my love for the people increases, and I've seen improvement on my Pancit Canton cooking skills (essentially just Ramen without broth) It's been pretty great :)
I've also decided I'm going to buy a hammock for my apartment that I can take with me throughout my mission. The ZLs have one and it's the best for studying, relaxing, and just general sitting. I've started to get more used to the Filipino culture and gotten more relaxed as I've come to understand what means a lot to them and how I can relate to them.
Now onto the food... It's so bland. They don't use a lot of spices in their cooking, and there is rice for every meal. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. At first I thought I liked rice, but it gets old after you have it for three meals a day. I've decided I'll only eat rice if I have a dinner appointment with a member, every other time I won't eat rice. It gets so old and there's no nutritional value for this white rice they so dearly love. It's kind of crazy how much they LOVE rice... it's honestly not great. The best thing they have here is the fruit stands though, even though you have to be careful from where you buy due to health concerns. The fruit is so fresh and so cheap, it's pretty great :)
That's all I've got for this week, until next time!
Mahal ko kayo