August 5, 2013 (in the Philippines)
Alright so this has been the most insane week of my life and I still am spinning. I got here safe and sound like you have heard and seen. I love seeing all the letters I have gotten from you it is amazing.
Okay so I know you wanted me to put this in story form, but to answer specific questions this is easier I will tell stories after these:
1. Tell us about your Companion; Full name, Home town and address, Does he have a FB page or Blog we can follow. What he is like, funny, serious, happy or solemn, Worker or layed back, etc.
His name is Elder Mario Crosland; He lives in Preston, Idaho; Now this Elder is amazing he is so spiritually strong and adept at everything. He can speak fairly well. He has been out for 7 months. He is funny and always up beat. He is so willing to do things for others and I find it amazing. I am glad to have him as my companion. I am slowly learning from him.
2. What were you doing when you were at the front of your meeting in the pictures on Pres Lopez FB page. (Bearing testimony, short talk, what.)
Bearing my testimony, he had asked 4 of us to go up and bear and it was really nice to do that.
3. Is the language anything like what you learned in the MTC? Are you understanding anything?
Yes, I can pick out most of the conversation fairly well. Speaking is a lot harder. The words you learn in the MTC are way to deep almost biblical so teaching is difficult. English is commonly known though, so you mix them a lot if you don't know how to say it. They are very humble and willing to hear.
4. Have you been able to teach any lessons yet?
Yes, to less actives. You see, not only am I new, but my companion is also new to the area. He is district leader and only 1 person in our branch knows the area and so we have been coordinating things with her. Investigators will come soon, first we need to strengthen the Members back up. We have about 600 members here... somewhere, but only 160 are more active. So we are going to bring those members up first then start working hard on investigators.
5. Have you learned The phrase "can you speak slower please? haha
Nope just opening your mouth and stare blankly is actually how you do it here. Same with just moving your eyebrows up, which means yes if asked a question.
6. Are you in a ward or Branch? What was your first Sunday like?
Branch, it used to be a stake though so that is why they are hastening the work out here to build up this once thriving town again. Sundays are kind of a mad house. I understood most of priesthood (8:30 AM) it was on blessings and ordinances, Sunday school I was lost (9:30 AM) there was just to much going on. Sacrament was crazy though, the language is spoken very loud (usually by kids) or super quite (most adults) so it was a loud meeting. They had recorded music and most don't understand the tones of music so it is pretty bad sounding.
7. Have you eaten anything weird, delicious or other?
Everything here is good. I haven't got to try much homemade stuff because we didn't know anyone. Fruit is the best here though, mini bananas that explode with flavor. Rumboktan (not written right) is really good. Chorizo is fantastic. They have amazing peanut butter. And all bread is good here.
8. Tell us about your investigators, lessons, initial contacts.
We have really just traveled around and got used to the area and its people. Our members are amazing. We have like 10 ward missionaries that are willing to serve. One of them reminds me of Shon Hamblin. His name is Archie and he is just the coolest person I have ever met. All the people here are just so humble and willing to listen. They are trying to help me learn, and tell me if I talk to the children it is the best way to learn.
9. Have you had any notable spiritual experiences.
Last night, Sunday the 4th, we met with several families. Most are inactive, but one was a recent convert. I talked to her and bore my testimony. It was amazing because she speaks mostly Cebuano (I think) but I told her we love her and we are happy that she is in our church. I also told her God loves her. That we were there to help her. She was so happy she even started crying (which happened twice that night) it was amazing. THese people know what they should do they just get lazy so we just have to build them up and make them want to go an not have to go.
10. What are you finding to be the most rewarding parts of serving a mission.
I love making people happy. Just smiling at people seems to make people sit up straighter smile big and it is amazing. The best is riding on trics. They are bikes with side cars and I have seen people stack like 10 people on one. They are the best ways to make people happy though just sitting down and waving to people and shaking hands with people. Man it is crazy here. It takes all my energy to keep going, but it is recharged as soon as we feel the spirit.
It is amazing here. I have been able to see a lot of stuff and there is so much to still see. I have been able to meet with a lot of good people.
Ok so these are shout outs to all those I haven't had the chance to write:
First Annixi, thank you so much for all you have written me I miss you too. I am so thankful to hear from you and everything that is going on. Stay strong and just try to enjoy your senior year.
Second Stephen, alright bud I was told not to worry about you. I love you man and so does Joey. Joey is worried about you because you haven't sent him anything. I know you are busy, but find time it is important not just for you, but he needs help.
Third Heather, Again thank you for all you have done. Please just enjoy your summer.
Forth Grandma Minson, I love you and miss you. I am a worry wort so please keep me updated. I love you and pray for you. I am so grateful for all you have given to me in my life.
I have to go, I am sorry, I love all of you Tammy, Kim, Eric, Everyone who has written me, I am so grateful for you and all you have given to me and done. The letter have been nice and encouraging. I hope to make you all proud.
I miss you all and I love everyone.
Please keep your shoes on and keep them tight for me!!