Date

September 23, 2018

Area

San Juan

Companion

Elder Armadillo

First Week in Field

Hey my wonderful family!!!

I'M in the field! can you believe it?? I still cant. In an answer to your question about balut, it doesn't taste that bad. A little feathery but for the most part pretty decent. IT tastes like eating chicken and a hardboiled egg together. Not bad tasting,
but i still don't really want to eat it that often. I have no idea what the pepper was but it was SOO HOT. i was tearing up at the end and rushed for some milk. saying goodbye to the mtc was bittersweet. I loved it there a lot and im so grateful for all
the good times I had there.

now the field
The field so far has been so much fun!! and yet it has been so hard and I've had a couple really rough times. Ill tell you all about it.

So the Philippines traffic system is like the most dangerous thing ever. in america cars stop for pedestrians. Not here. getting through traffic here is like a giant game of crossy road!! The cars dont stop so you have to weave your way through moving cars. And they get so close! its wild. here pedestrians are comfortable being inches away from moving cars. So weird!! I love riding in jeepneys and trikes here. They are so much fun! we take them a ton, and i love it. Each cost about 8 pesos per person which is so cheap!! They are each very squishy though. The Philippines people are all built a lot smaller than i am.
The people here are so poor, but so humble and kind. I always feel bad when people ask my about things i had at home., We are so blessed to live where we do. Sometimes we take everything that we have for granted. People here are happy to have a roof over their heads, even if the roof is made of cardboard and leaks everywhere. Everyone here is so friendly and happy. They all act like members even if they aren't. The problem with them is that they don't keep commitments and a lot of times aren't there when you show up for lessons.
One of my favorite things i tried this week was halo halo. IT IS SO GOOD! its a mix of a bunch of fruits and flavors. it tastes super unique and i cant even try to describe it because i've never had anything like it.
My companion is amazing. His name is elder Armadillo. He is always happy which is really nice to be around. He has been in the field for 18 months and goes home in the beginning of march. He loves playing guitar and basketball. He is super talented at guitar!! he can play just about anything. He is super complimentary and funny and everyone loves him. He is not fluent in English which has been a great opportunity but also kind of hard at times because there is a definite language barrier. I love that guy though. We joke around with each other and talk the whole day long. I also love that he pushes me to speak as much tagalog as possible. He has me take the lead when we knock doors, has me teach a lot of the lesson, and bear a lot of testimony in tagalog.
That is really helpful for me. Instead of taking a backseat because of my poor tagalog, he is working hard to help me improve and get more comfortable.
Our area is pretty great! We have quite a few progressing referrals. We are teaching consistently, mj marcelino, the villanueva family, ronaldo and virgil valdez, marlon zabala, and are going to start teaching beng beng and rose on thursday. MJ is a twelve year old girl who has been taught everything and is super happy and kind. She is super ready for baptism and i believe she really wants it! the problem is her parents. I'm not sure if they are un-supportive or not, but the past sister missionaries
said that the problem there is parent permission. The villanueva family consists of mirasol and her children. In total there are 4 of them. They are such wonderful people and act like members already. I think we are going to extend the baptismal invitation tonight! they came to church yesterday and i think that they really liked it! Pray for me and hope it goes well!! Virgil valdez and ronaldo are super wonderful too. virgil has been taught before and has the foundation of a testimony already. Ronaldo is an older man who has never been taught before, but sat in on our lesson. Ronaldo was way more interested that i thought he would be! i hope they progress well but are both super busy and haven't come to church. A mission requirement here is that they need to attend church 4 times before we can baptize them which is hard in a 6 week period of time. Marlon zabala is in a part member family and is super kind as well. On our first lesson we gave him the baptismal invitation and he accepted!! I'm super excited for that!! He has been in the hospital for a broken leg though so he hasn't come to church yet.
The members here are wonderful. In this area all of our investigators are referrals. We see way more success in referrals than in finding here. My elder host a couple weeks ago told me that "scattered Israel hangs out with gathered Israel" and i can definitely see thats true. The members here are all really focused on progressing the work and finding people for us to teach. In ward council yesterday the ward mission leader said "we should be the permanent finders and the missionaries should be the permanent teachers' so cool!! if we had that attitude at home the work would progress so much quicker. All of the people in the ward are really nice and i love talking with them. Especially the young men. They are all so curious about america and were so hyped that i've seen a real nba player haha!! they are o great.
Sunday was the greatest and i needed it so much. I bore my testimony for the first time! it went super well! i shared 1 nephi 8:10-12, about the fruit of the tree of life. That's become one of my favorite scriptures here in the mission. I shared that the fruit symbolizes Christ in our lives. after reading verse 12, i shared about how much i love my family and how i'm here in the PI to give other families the joy that i've had in eternal families. When i started talking about family i started crying. I love you all so much. I am so grateful that through Christ we can live together forever!! two years is a really long time. Its super hard. but because of Christ's suffering for us we can live together forever!!! that makes me so happy!! we will NEVER be separated. that's so beautiful to me and i'm so grateful to my heavenly father for that.
All the people here have been complimenting me non stop on my tagalog and cant believe i've only been here for 6 days! they came up to me after my testimony and said, 'usually we can never understand the new missionaries who speak, but with you we understand
everything" i give 100% credit to the spirit if that's the case. My comp told me that a bunch of the members afterward asked if i had been in the field for 6 months!!! They always tell me that most missionaries take months to learn tagalog but that im "already fluent". That's definitely not true but its so kind of them and such a tender mercy from heavenly father. Its so funny because i realize now that i'm in the field that i know almost nothing, and yet know way more than i should. The spirit is so cool!!!
I had a cool experience the other day. Amy's favorite scripture verse is philippians 4:13. She emailed me a couple weeks ago telling me to read it. A couple of days i had a super strong feeling to read it (not realizing it was a prompting) later that day we met a man and were telling him about the book of Mormon. He asked if we believe in the bible too. we replied yes. He then said "then quote philippians 4:13" the spirit brought it to my memory and i quoted it to him!! he then explained that it was his favorite verse and we had an amazing conversation about the book of Mormon and shared a couple verses. He accepted one and gave us his address and number!! How amazing is the spirit and how wise is our heavenly father!! he prompted amy to send me the
verse, prompted me to later read it, and then brought it to my memory. It was such a wonderful experience to know that the spirit is guiding us even when we don't realize it. That is especially wonderful because amidst the language stress i often wonder if I have the spirit with me. what a wonderful tender mercy.
Its been a really fun but really hard week. I am exhausted. Its super hot, I'm working all day, and speaking an unfamiliar language all day long. there are times when i have felt really down. I worry about losing my good qualities because I'm not really able to convey my personality in the language yet. That and mostly i miss you guys. More than ever before i miss you. I love you all so much and get really sad that i cant talk to you or see you for another 22 months. It seems like forever. All i could think about is getting off that plane and running into your arms and crying for a long long time. Aww i miss you all so much. It hurts so much to be away from you. Elder armadillo says that the first month is super hard and super exhausting but that after
the 1st one it goes by so quick. I hope he is right. Awh my family i miss you so much! i care about you more than i could ever put into words and i miss you so much. i've had some really rough mornings where i miss you all so much and feel like my heart is breaking. I've turned to the lord in those hard times and am trying to turn that sorrow into the joy that we can be together forever. I try but am not always successful. Oh my family don't ever forget how much your big brother loves you!! please never forget that you are in my prayers. please keep me in your prayers too. i am trying to be happy but am having a hard time sometimes.
I have a testimony of this gospel. I can feel it growing in my prayers and in the spirit i feel here. I hove this church with all my heart and i love my savior with all my heart too. I am so grateful that we can be together forever. THat is the most beautiful truth out there.

I love you all so much!! i miss you!!

your elder




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Philippines Manila Mission
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