Monday, July 19, 2004
I don’t actually have a journal entry from this day but I wanted to share some of my memories of the trip from the MTC to the Philippines. We left early in the morning from the MTC on a bus to head to the Salt Lake Airport. I remember leaving around the corner from the MTC and feeling really strange. I had come to be so familiar with the MTC that leaving it was almost as hard as entering it had been.
We had a goal to give away a copy of The Book of Mormon on our flight and so when we were in LAX we talked to several people. We were so full of our potential that we thought we were unstoppable. We mostly got shut down by people who didn’t want to listen. We got to call our families from LA and talk for about an hour.
We had a very late flight out of LA headed to Taiwan and I don’t remember much of that flight except that they served us a very Asian breakfast of a salted black egg that none of us were able to stomach. After a brief layover in Taipei, where we couldn’t understand anything, we were on our way to the Philippines.
When we disembarked in Manila, as soon as we got off the plane and into the airport we were hit by a massive wall of humidity. We had been instructed to wear our suits so we were all sweating to death in them. We had to figure out how to get through customs. We all thought that the customs agents would only speak Tagalog so we tried out our primitive language skills on them. They were more confused than we were and eventually we all just started talking in English. After making it through customs and getting our baggage, we headed outside. It was at this point that we realized that the airport had been air conditioned. The “wall of humidity” that we thought we felt when entering the airport was actually the comfort of A/C. Wow! I was sweating buckets under my suit. We had to walk down a ramp and when we got to the bottom there was a massive throng of humanity yelling and screaming in some language that definitely wasn’t the Tagalog we knew!
Luckily The elders from the office showed up pretty quick. They laughed at us and told us to take our suits off! We wouldn’t be needing those for two years. They drove us, like a couple of maniacs, through the maze of Manila traffic back to the mission home where we spent the night and got our assignments in the morning.
One more thing… when we got to the mission home, the office elders gave us each a big bottle of coke with our lunch of pizza from Pizza Hut. (Turns out Pizza Hut would become a rare treat.) We weren’t sure if this was some kind of sick test of our obedience or what. Turns out that we were told by the mission to always drink coke when it was offered to us because it would help kill the worms. I’m not sure if that’s scientifically true, but I drank it all through my mission and as far as I know never got a worm. . .