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!

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