Well, I feel like I’ve been here for months already. Haha I’m not really even sure where to start, so I guess we’ll see how this goes.
To answer your questions–
Emails are a great way to communicate because we don’t really have a time limit like I did in the MTC. But Dear Elders would be really nice to get, too 🙂 we get dear Elders and any mail once a week, on Tuesdays (so that means the ones I get tomorrow will be the ones you sent last week) at District meeting. so…both is great, haha 🙂 the mission office is 2-3 hours away from Tuguegarao. Tuguegarao is one of the northern areas in the mission. Yes, everyone just calls each other Brother/Elder/Sister. Except with a Filipino accent, haha. Trycies—pronounce it just how it looks. tricycle, except the shortened version. Trycies never drive more than 40mph and probably average like 20 in general. But the pace of life here is way slower so I never really notice that we’re going so slow. Tuguegarao–tug-ee-guh-r-ow (ow as in…ow, that hurts.) (and the r isn’t an english r, it’s more like spanish.) And yeah, the trycies all have different pictures or logos on them. Lots of them have like…either a religious one, or I see a lot of adidas (the adidas originals symbol) and sometimes Nike… With the temperature, I haven’t noticed a whole lot, besides that my hair feels great. It doesn’t feel ‘hotter’ here, I just sweat a lot easier. I’m always sweating like I just finished a cross country race in August. but the heat itself I don’t usually notice. apparently it gets hotter here in the summer–which is April-May here. I haven’t had any issues with food here at all. I know some from my district have been, though.
Last Pday we emailed and then went to the palengke, which is the market. after Pday ended, we went to two FHE’s with some members and the stake president, and those were both really fun. and we had two dinners. Here, people always tell me to just keep eating and I’m always so full.
Tuesday…Tuesday we had a miracle! 🙂 pretty much the highlight of my week. all of our plans for the day fell through, so we were trying to decide what to do. we split up and prayed personally, and I kept thinking we should go to Tanza. So I told Sis Barril we should go to Tanza, and she said, okay, let’s go visit this less active family who lives there and then we’ll OYM (Open Your Mouth – street contacting) there. we show up to their house, and they’re standing outside talking to each other, plus their cousin who lives a few houses over. we asked if we could teach (the Elders before us had been teaching that family) and they said yes so we all went inside, and they push their cousin in, too. We start teaching lesson one to Janet (Less Active), her daughter, Jane (nonmember) and their cousin Jovic (nonmember). Jovic is 19. The whole time he was super attentive and asked a ton of questions about the Godhead, Jehovah….lots of things. When we would answer him, he seemed to think that everything was starting to make sense to him. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to pray about Joseph Smith. But the lesson was GREAT. For me, I really liked teaching him because most of the time in lessons, I feel like the things I say don’t matter because they’re so broken and most people can’t understand my Tagalog when I do speak it, anyway. Which is frustrating, because whenever they are expressing thoughts or asking questions, they are looking at Sis Barril because they know she understands them. Besides the language barrier, it makes it harder for me to figure out what they’re feeling because they’re never looking at me. As well as Filipinos don’t express emotions on their face nearly as clearly as Americans do. Their expressions and body language are totally different, so I have a hard time reading them to begin with. Sis Barril will say after a lesson, wow, they seem really receptive! And I had no idea if they were receptive or bored or what. But Jovic is just very engaged in the lesson and I just understand a lot more of what he says and how he feels. And I’ve never had a better lesson with my tagalog than that lesson. He is really busy, though, and he wasn’t there on Saturday when we showed up to teach, and I was kind of bummed out. Well, on Sunday the families we planned to visit both weren’t home (scheduling appointments and following through is a struggle here) so we went over to visit a nonmember+LA(Less Active) that lives kind of next-to-slash-under the Calluengs, the LA family we taught with Jovic. She wasn’t there either, so we asked where Jovic lived, and we found him, and we had a lesson. He hadn’t read the Book of Mormon yet, but he said he prayed about Joseph Smith and still didn’t know for sure, and wanted to learn more about him. We asked him what he felt during the last lesson, and he said something like..(I don’t know the words he used,) a lot of good feelings in his heart, and happy. We told him that was the Holy Ghost. Then we watched the Restoration DVD in Tagalog. After we asked what he felt when he watched it, and he definitely felt the Spirit. We invited him again to read the Book of Mormon, and to come to church next week and he said he will, so hopefully that happens. He seems to be really receptive and willing to learn. Sister Barril said that he is concerned about the welfare of his soul, so I think during the Restoration video he was able to kind of connect to Joseph Smith’s situation. so it’s just great 🙂
We had some other good lessons, some with a family who lives by us. they have the cuuutest little twin boys who are probably no older than 1. I can communicate better with them than everybody else here, I feel like, haha. the mom is a returned missionary, and I think her oldest son is baptized (he’s like sam’s age – 11), but her husband isn’t a member. She really wants her family to be sealed in the temple, so we’ve started teaching her husband. I really hope he joins the church, because I can definitely see him as a future priesthood holder and I want their family to be able to be sealed.
It’s hard to keep track of people here. Our plans fall through almost every day because people tell you what day they are ‘available’ or what time for the next lesson, and it almost never works out. It’s kind of frustrating for me because I want to be able to teach people, but they either are never home or they come up with tons of excuses to avoid you.
So, other differences I’ve noticed here–
–There are lizards in everyone’s houses. little lizards, like no longer than 3 inches, but still, they just crawl around on the walls. this week I saw the first one in our apartment. I’ve seen a couple more since then.
–All the food here is sweet. I think part of the reason I like eating peanut butter so much is that it tastes salty, which is an aftertaste that is almost impossible to find here….opposite of America, haha. even if things start out tasting savory(salty) or spicy, it is always, always a sweet aftertaste. We went to Macdo’s the other day (McDonald’s…but everyone calls it Macdo (mac-doh) here.) and I got fries and they were sooo great. But you can also buy rice and chicken and spaghetti at the Macdo’s here and their hamburgers are super weird from what I saw.
Oh, also, supposedly there was a level 4 typhoon that was supposed to come in at 5am today, and now it’s 2:15pm and we’ve just had regular rain…I don’t know how it’s been in the rest of the mission, but it reminds me of that blizzard warning we had a couple years ago, haha.
I love you all! Always remember how important the gospel is.