Monday, May 30, 2016

30 May 2016

So, the most prominent part of the whole week has definitely been the food-lots of it, and most of it really weird. I've been fed chicken liver, chicken feet, pig kidneys, whole fried fish, and a ton of other stuff. Most of it is pretty good (not the liver), but you have to convince yourself to eat it. The weirdest thing I've had is balut. That is where they take a duck egg, let it grow and develop for a while, then boil it and eat it. That was one of the worst things I've ever eaten. It has the texture of styrofoam, and looks like...trash. Inline image 1

We waited the whole week in suspense for transfer calls. That's right, transfer calls 3 weeks after the last ones. This mission and my last one have opposite transfer schedules. So here, we were unsure what was going to happen. Elder Brown was going home for sure, and Elder Nawaia was probably leaving (he's been here for 6 months). That meant I could go to either side of the area, or just plain anywhere in the mission. But, I ended up staying where I was at. 

Apart from that, not much happened. We dropped off Elder Brown for his trunky run- going home. We also spent a lot of time running around the squatters. Funny thing- in India, a squatter is a type of toilet. Here, it's a slum neighborhood. Either way, we spent a lot of time proselyting there. 

That was about it for the week. See ya!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

22 May 2016

Well, this week has been pretty long. A lot of stuff happened! The problem is, I can't remember most of it. Here it goes anyway:

Last p-day, after I emailed, we went out to a mall to do some shopping. They had a certain restaurant, Zarqs burger. Sounds interesting, right? All the crew members were wearing t-shirts that read "The Greasier, the Better". Yeah, that's my kind of place. We ate a ton there. They had a challenge: eat a massive burger and a pound of fries in five minutes, and it's free. 3 of the elders took it on, and one of them even made it! That was pretty impressive; the burger was huge. I had one without the challenge, and nearly couldn't finish it. 

As a sidenote, the food here is pretty strange sometimes. I've had barbecued pig kidneys, boiled chicken feet, chicken liver adobo, and quite a few other "delicacies." You can find a lot of American food here...thank goodness! I've already had a Big Mac, and a couple other good things from back home. 

Anyway, we had district meeting early on Tuesday. Apparently, it's held at 9 am in this mission. Not too much else happened, though. On Wednesday, I got picked up by the APs to sign some paperwork for Immigration. That's another quirk of this mission: the APs have their own car. Lucky! 

We had 2 Family Home Evenings this week: one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. I'm not sure why, but they were great. The first one was with the family that we baptized last week, and the second was with a group of members. I had the lesson for the second one, but only learned about it two minutes in advance. I needed to come up with an object lesson, but couldn't think of I used a card trick. I did relate it to the gospel, and it went really well.

At church on Sunday, our converts were confirmed, and one of them got the priesthood! That's always exciting. Unfortunately, that's all the news for the week. Here's some pictures. These are all just random pictures of parts of Quezon City. 

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Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16 2016

Well, this email is probably the most eventful I've sent in a while. Everything was crazy. Monday was the only day I was in India. I spent the whole day packing and preparing to go, and even learned a new magic trick from our ward secretary. Monday night at 8:30, I got on a cab to the airport. I arrived around 9:45, and made it through security and everything without problems. I made it on to the flight with no issues, and took the 6 hour flight all the way to Hong Kong. There, I had a 5 hour layover, where I had to go all over the airport. The airline people kept changing the departure gate, so I went on a couple trips o\around the airport waiting for them to make up their minds. Eventually, the plane arrived, and I made it to the Philippines. At the airport when I arrived, it was already 6 PM on  Tuesday. I got in the cab, and had a 2 hour ride to a hotel, of all places. The mission had arranged for me to stay in a hotel overnight for some reason...not that I was complaining. That was super nice! It had its own AC, and two beds.

Wednesday morning, I was picked up by the same cab, which dropped me off at the mission office. There, I had a little bit of drama. I was supposed to use my second passport to go check in at the airport, but I couldn't, because I couldn't find it. That was a big problem. Using my original passport instead of the second is (hopefully) not going to be too big of a problem, but not having a passport definitely is. The mission office asked for my second passport as soon as I got there, I ended up tearing apart all my luggage twice before I found it, which was king\d of funny because I remembered where I'd put it as soon as I found it. After all that, I attended the zone conference that was going on upstairs. That lasted 6 hours after I showed up, and covered all the new mission rules. There's a lot of new rules: this mission is really strict. We can only wear our bags over one shoulder, not across our chest. We can only listen to music that the mission provides. We have our schedules mostly planned out for us. There's more, but I only remember that off the top of my head. After that, I got assigned to my new companions: Elders Navaiaz, from Kiribas, and Elder Dadis, from the Philippines. Our mission president is President Revillio, who is being switched out in June. That means I'll have at least four mission presidents, and possible five (if I go back to India). Then, we went out to Shakey's, and got pizza, which was amazing.

Thursday we spent doing lots of proselyting. Our weekly planning is on Friday here, so Thursdays are a lot freer. We went and visited a lot of people who's names I've forgotten. The trickiest part about switching to a new country is learning everyone's names: for some reason, every time you change cultures, it takes forever to learn names again. I started studying Tagalog, the language here, That's used a LOT here; most people understand English, but have a hard time speaking it. I haven't learned much yet, but I'm getting there. Friday went more or less the same way, but Saturday was eventful.

The first thing we did was wake up early to go to a service project at an elementary school. There, we cleaned up this area behind it that had clearly been their dump for at least a year. There were hundreds of broken wood desks, innumerable scraps of wood and junk all over, and it looked like a disaster. This was the Philippines LDS Day of Service though, so we had well over 50 volunteers there. The mess didn't stand a chance. Unfortunately, it got revenge. All of the missionaries that were there have all got some sort of rash that vaguely resembles chicken pox. I think it's just some sort of reaction, because taking an Allegra helped a bit. Later, we went to the church, and prepped for the baptism we were having tomorrow. Oh yes, did I mention that? Of all the areas where I left dozens of people on date to be baptized without having a single one ready when I came in, this area has them all beat. There were 4 baptisms scheduled for that Sunday!

On Sunday, we had an interesting experience trying to get out of our area. As soon as we'd arrived in our area, the other elders called. They were trying to visit a hospital to give a blessing to a member there, but one of them, Elder Brown, couldn't go in. Why? Because he was a foreigner, of all reasons. We went right back to help them out, and Elder Dadis went into the hospital with Elder Acosta (both are native Filipinos). After that, it was time for church. That was also interesting. Nine-tenths of it was in Tagalog, which I still can't understand. Afterwards, we had our set of baptisms. One was the bishop's daughter; the other three were converts, all from the same family. I got to baptize one of them! 

That's all the news of what I did, here's a little about the Philippines:

The Philippines also doesn't have safe tap water; all the missionary apartments have water filters. However, the water and power both seem to be much more stable than India! Unfortunately, that's the last of the good news about the apartments. The one I'm in at least, doesn't have AC or ceiling fans, which makes nights a lot of fun. It's just as hot and twice as humid as India here. We have a bunch of floor fans, which we use all the time. The people here are all very nice, and the food is great. The main method of transportation we use is jeepneys, which are like tiny 20 passenger buses. 

Why were you going to go to New York? How did you hurt your back? Didn't Sam go with Mattie to Prom last year? 

I think that's it for the week. See ya!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

8 May 2016

Real quick about my college plans:

Like I mentioned in December, I'd like to be a raptor rehabilitator. That will probably take a specialized degree, and I have no idea which colleges offer it. So, the plan that I just came up with is that I'll stay home for a while after my mission, taking my beginner classes at Ivy Tech, or just everything I can take there, and finding some job that will get me experience in the right field, hopefully. After I've done all I can at home, I'll move on to whatever college offers the right degree, and figure it out from there. Is the basement still open?

Well, my visa ran out, and I'm skipping town. Tonight, I leave for the Philippines. Yep. I spent a lot of time packing, and preparing to go. I said goodbye to all the members, and tried all the good foods again. I even went out and spent way too much money on souvenirs last p-day. That's been about it for the week. I'll talk next from Quezon City!

Monday, May 2, 2016

2 May 216

This week was fairly eventful, but not quite as much as the news back home, I'll admit. On Tuesday, we had quite a few fun appointments with some less-active members. At one of them, the family had a few pet chickens. Those came in handy when a cockroach raided the house. Turns out, chickens love cockroaches. They handled the situation very quickly. We also had a couple appointments set for later days. 

Wednesday was an exchange. I went with Elder Shanmugam to his area, which turned out to be fairly uneventful. We had a quick appointment with an investigator in the morning, but the next appointment bunked. Then the one after that bunked too. Instead, we tried to  find someone to teach, but I didn't know the area, and Elder Shanmugam didn't know anyone close enough before our final appointment. We ended up going to that last appointment early, but the brother was an hour late. That was a long day. 

Thursday was the real exciting one. We had to wake up at 4:30 to make it to Whitefield chapel for a mission meeting. There were a lot of missionaries there! Coimbatore, Chennai, Sri Lanka, and Bangalore all arrived for it. You know what's really funny? Ever since Coimbatore got evacuated, it was turned from a zone down to a district. That's right: Elder Kommalapati and I single-handedly took out a whole zone. Aren't you proud? Anyway, I got to meet up with a lot of old companions: Elder Campbell, Elder Whaley, and Elder Maddikonda. That was pretty fun. President Funk, the Asia Area President, addressed us for a few hours on the Atonement, and teaching repentance. It was a good meeting! Afterwards, we went to the mission office to do some work, and I heard the final news: I'm going to the Philippines Quezon City Mission on May 10 or 11. That's soon! 

On Friday, we had a surprise visitor. Elder Wijithenge, from Sri Lanka, was with us during our proselyting. He and his companion are the only missionaries from, or serving in, Sri Lanka. They came up for the mission meeting, but their flight wasn't until that night. So, in the afternoon, we went all over with him, but our evening was burned by dropping him off in Ramurthy Nagar and going back. 

Saturday was also interesting. We had our weekly planning then, instead of Thursday, because of all the stuff that had happened since. Afterward, we had a lunch appointment scheduled, but the family had to bunk because one of their uncles died, and they were flying out to Chennai. That night, we went out with a member to visit Amul Raj and his family, who we met last week. They still don't speak too much English, but we managed. 

Fast Sunday is always fun as a missionary. We had church, then a meeting, then a lesson, and then lunch. In the evening, we went with our Elders Quorum President out to a new area, Gotigere. That was an hour off by bus. We found a new family there, but ran out of time and had to go back. 

That's the news for the week! I have picked up all the souvenirs I'll need for a lifetime, including not one, but two saris. Turns out you'll have to do all the stitching yourself- they come as long strips of cloth. There's (relatively) plain cloth at the end of it that you cut off and sew into a blouse, and the rest you'll have to look up. I also got a lungi and a jubba, for me. A lungi is basically a lava lava, and a hard to explain. They're commonly worn by Muslims here, though. You should like all the stuff, though. I've heard that you can get anything in the Philippines, which will be very exciting.