Well hello everyone from sunny Manila! All is well here. I arrived after a very nice 13 hour flight to Taepai, which wasn't too bad because I slept for 8-10 hours; probably closer to 10. I was surprised at the leg room, way to go EVA. Anyway we landed and had to say our goodbyes to the other members of our district; it was sad, but they re off to be excellent missionaries. The AP's picked us up and we headed to the mission home. You would not believe the traffic and driving here! Take Boston, New York, Utah, and any other bad metropolitan area in the US and you'll not even get close to Manila. Its pretty intense. Anyway Vaka, Adamson, and I arrived at the mission home and President Lesuer met us with a hug and a smile and fed us lunch. We talked and he and his wife are very nice. After lunch we took quick showers and got ready cause we were going out on splits. I went to Makati with the elders that were working there. Btw I'm in the signal village 2 area, same ward in the pasig stake. Anyway...being here has changed my perspective, I've seen things here in the last 5 days that I haven't seen in my whole life! We went out to teach and it was pouring down rain...Manila knows how to rain, Washington has nothing on Manila. We talked to people and went to an appointment, which I helped with my broken Tagalog. I just asked questions and the people here are very nice. This family we visited had 7 or 8 kids and lived in a shack that's about 10X10...maybe. There is some intense poverty here, but the people are amazing. We got back to the mission home and collapsed into bed. We got up the next morning at 5 so we could be ready at 6 when the Filipino missionaries arrived. We ate breakfast and had a little devotional with president. Then we were assigned our companions and areas. My companion is Elder Sorensen and he is pretty much all that I wanted in a trainer. He lived in Canada and has been out for 23 months now, so I'm his last companion. Hes amazing and we work well and hard together. Its way fun. We're shot gunning this area which means that we are both new to the area. I think it had been closed for a while so we reopened it. Its been pretty good we have been able to teach 12 lessons so far and have many more that we hope we can teach. We spend a lot of our time finding more people to teach. Its kinda hard cause a lot of the time i don't know what people are saying and wouldn't know what to say to them anyway, but I'm working on it. We've had some really good lessons thus far. Last night we were out finding and we stopped by a house and the man immediately let us in and we taught him the first lesson. It was really good. We left him the BoM and he said he will read it and is really excited to come to church. The night before we found this older couple that let us in right away and we again taught the first lesson, also really good. The Nanny was so excited and wanted to know when we were coming back to teach more. We have high hopes for both these families, our goal is to have a least one baptism before Elder Sorensen leaves. Yesterday there was a signal 3 typhoon, I'm not quite sure what that means but it was raining really really hard. The streets turned to rivers that were over ankle deep. Taxis that drove by had water up to mid hub cap, we didn't go out and work till after 5 when the water had drained mostly. A lot of houses were really flooded. The older couple had about 2 feet of standing water in there house, but our apartment is fine. We just had a little water come in, but nothing to bad. Elder Sorensen and I live with Elder Tupil and Elder Ramirez, both pinoy. We have a pretty big apartment. Elder Sorensen and I share a bunk bed, I make him get on top. We currently have to buy filter water just down the street cause our water filter is broken. We go through 6 liters a day at our apartment. We keep all food in the fridge because of all the other friends that live in the apartment with us (ants, mosquito's, cockroaches) its good times. Its weird to eat rice every meal, but I'm adjusting. I think my body has accepted it and is moving on. Every night I don't sleep with a blanket or sheet or anything cause it is waaaaaaay too hot. Its in the 80's at night and as you can guess we don't have air con, or a dishwasher or a washing machine. I have gained a great appreciation for washing machines, this morning as I washed my clothes by hand. Luckily theres a laundry place nearby and I can have my pants and Polo's washes for cheap. I just have to hand wash my garments, which let me tell you, goood times. Anyway lets see...oh transportation, its fun. The main ways of transport are jeepneys, tricycles, buses, taxis and of course walking. Riding in a tricycle is especially fun for me especially as I'm so tall. Sitting on the back of the motorcycle, I can't sit up straight cause the cover is not tall enough. My head and neck are usually at some weird angle and its fun as people stare and point. Its quite an interesting experience to be the tallest person around. Everyone stares at me, I stand out a bit in the sea of brown. Well I think that's all for now, hopefully next week I'll have more exciting news like people with a baptismal date or something. But who knows, were just working hard and trying to be as obedient as possible and leaving the rest up to the lord.
Hope all is well.
mahal ko kayo,