Friday, July 23, 2004
Well I really need to start writing more. A lot has happened since I wrote last. Well to make things short I’m here in the Philippines now. A few highlights from the flight over here. I got to talk to my family for a long time at Los Angeles. It was really good to hear from them and to get to talk to them a little bit. They are all doing well as far as I can tell and are really happy since returning from their trip to Canada. I didn’t get to place any of the Book of Mormons that I wanted to because I was always sitting next to missionaries on the planes. Well I also wasn’t very assertive and I feel bad about that. As my travel group was talking to a lady in the airport we were approached by a man who said that we all should go and break our legs and that we were all false teachers etc. I was surprised but not really because I’d heard of people like that before and sort of knew how to deal with it. I also talked to a Spanish man in the airport for about an hour about the church. It was really hard because I don’t really know any Spanish. I did end up getting his address though and I’ll send it in to the church. I got to talk to mom again from Taiwan and that was really good. I’m really going to miss all of them. I love them all very much.
Well here I am in the Philippines. It’s really weird to think that this is really here and I’m really out in the field. We got here two days ago and when we first got off the plane we were greeted by the office elders, Elder Belliston one of my friends from college was there so it was good to see him.
We went straight off to the mission home and had pizza. It was really good. Oh by the way the weather is HOT! I can’t believe how hot and humid it is here. After we ate we had a little mini orientation and then went straight to bed. Sleep was masarap.
The next morning I had an interview with President Beck. That was good as well. We ate breakfast with all of the trainers who had arrived by then. We still didn’t know who our trainers were so it was kind of tense. Breakfast was bacon and pancakes. It also was masarap.
After breakfast we had our long orientation that lasted until about 11:00. I got my trainer. His name is Elder Sanco. He is Filipino and only speaks a bit of English so it’s kind of hard to communicate. My first area is in Manila Zone in the Green Hills ward/area. We went straight to work yesterday and by the end of the day I was convinced that I didn’t know any Tagalog. They all talk so fast that it is really hard to understand. Last night I was feeling really down and discouraged but I had a good prayer and felt a little bit better.
This morning I got up and had a wonderfully cold shower. I loved it. We went out and did a service project with the two other Elders who are living with us and two sisters, Judy and Juris. We helped a little school in a barangay in our area and then followed up on Juris and Judy’s commitments. They have a baptismal date for the 31st and I hope they will make it. They don’t really feel that close to me yet but hopefully that will change. I’m always really tired and I still have to go to an afternoon’s worth of work. Oh well. With the Lord all things are possible.
This afternoon was interesting. Well it was actually really good. I got to teach my first discussion in Tagalog. I guess it went okay but I’m always improving. I got to teach the first outline to George who lives behind a little shop on the street.
We found out tonight that Juris, one of our potential converts, her mother doesn’t approve and she is having a hard time. We’ll stop by tomorrow to see if we can’t help.
 masarap: delicious, tasty.
 A barangay is the equivalent of a neighborhood. There are usually around 100 families in a barangay and they are led by a barangay captain. The captain knows everyone in the barangay and can be very helpful if you are trying to find someone that doesn’t have an address.
 Elder Sanco really liked to take long lunch breaks and he would often take a nap after lunch so that’s why I was able to journal so much during lunch.