So in the Manila MTC you are allotted 30 minutes to email but in actuality it was more like five minutes. I barely had enough time to email my mother and let her know that I had survived the flight! So the gist was, we flew from Salt Lake to LAX, and there we had a 6-hour layover. Elder Fifitta's family met us at the airport, and as we couldn't leave the airport, brought a bunch of food and it was soooooo goood! After 6 weeks of Provo MTC food any food tasted good, in all honesty... They let us borrow their cell phones to call home. It was loud and hard to hear at first but I was so grateful for the opportunity to call and not have to use my calling card, which was annoying. Eventually we had to go through security and then I called using the calling card.
So the 15-hour flight... I don't recommend it, especially if you have two screaming twins that are only a few months old on either side of you. That was not very fun... But thanks to some pm Advil and a sleeping mask I got so much sleep on the plane! And the food that they served, especially the cup of noodles was good, It was rather fun to teach Sister Banham and Sister Rosser how to use chopsticks. Sister Rosser kept at it but eventually gave up and just drank it like soup! It was great. What was not great however was the people around us watching rated R movies and us trying to read scriptures with that all around.
The Manila MTC was eventful. Me and my two kasamas shared the room with Sisters Boobu (boh-b) and Tewaia (tie-way-yah) who are both from Kiribati. And like everyone from Kiribati they are loud and fun! Sister Boobu got up at one time to shower! That was fine in and of itself, but then she started singing and turning on all the lights and talking to Sister Tewaia! I had fun teasing her about that the rest of the time in the Manila MTC.
This week has been an eventful week. I was reassigned to my field companion and had to say goodbye to my MTC companions. My new Kasama, Sister Bagalay, is amazing and I honestly don't know what I'd do without her. We 'hit the ground running' even though we only had four days before we were to report our week we did our best to get all the lessons we could!
Despite the obvious language barrier I think that I've done a good job of connecting with the people. During this week, sadly, I got heat exhaustion and that really sucked. After informing Sister Andrada of the situation and receiving her instructions (she's a trained nurse) I was trying to fall asleep and my mind was overwhelmed with all the things I was missing back home. It really sucked, but then I had this dream that Sister Bagalay and I were inside this large building. It was about three stories tall and simply filled with people. As we walked through the building people would come up to us and greet us, thanking us for teaching them. They were all the people we taught! There were families, students, children, everybody. It was so great- It was just what I needed to overcome that homesickness.
The adversary has been working hard on me to get me to give up, but I will not give up and I will not go home until my mission is over. My Trainer, Sister Bagalay, has been an incredible help and comfort to me as I adjust to mission life, learn the language and improve my teaching skills. She lets me know how it is, without making me feel inadequate. We truly are a perfect match!
So when you look up the weather here in the Philippines you can see the temperature, the humidity and all that, but it doesn't really sum it up. Think of it as the same weather as Houston, but everyone without power. We only have oscillating fans and fridges to keep us cold. So when I had heat exhaustion, I took a quick shower and then went to bed with two fans pointing at me.
As can be expected the culture is very different. I wake up at 6:;00- every day due to all the dogs, chickens and people. I can see why people would eat dog- although I will not- if the dogs keep waking me up like this.... joke-lang. Pero, It wont be hard to eat chickens as they get into arguments at . Its like how in America there will be two dogs barking at each other for no reason? Its the same here, but there will be two roosters crowing at each other from down the street and next door. Its quite fun, and I'm buying earplugs. Its defiantly an adjustment but I am enjoying it.
The showers here are not so much showers as a bucket of water and a bowl. You just pour the water over yourself to rinse. So no more standing under the water and contemplating my place in the universe!! HA HA Not to mention the shower is also the Comfort room (bathroom) so there really isn't that much room.
So in the Philippines its very common to see chickens, children and fruit trees everywhere. Being white everyone just staaaares. Yesterday a sister that Sister Bagalay and I were teaching said that my whiteness what indescribable. Its so strange as everyone here wants to be white, and i'm hoping I'll tan! But with my area being the hottest and it being the hottest time of the year it's not safe, and I don't want heat exhaustion again!! So maybe I'll tan during typhoon season, that sounds fun! (For all you worry warts they have ditches along their roads that are up to my waist, they are so deep. So the water should drain off well.)
It's easy enough to find people, they are already staring so you just start talking! We found some really amazing people who were very receptive to the gospel, Benidicto- or JayR (JR)- accepted the commitment to baptism the first lesson! The people here are so humble and willing to learn. Most of them are also very devotedly Catholic so sometimes it's hard to teach them. We have one investigator, Nanay Maria (nanay means grandmother nah-nay) who's grand daughter was baptized last month into our church. She wants to take the lessons and wants to quit smoking, but does not wan to give up her religion.
Sadly the members are not as receptive, and many are less active. This last Sunday they only had about 50 people show up! Please pray for the members and investigators of my area that they may be inspired to continue perusing the gospel!
That's all for now.