I have been called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines Cauayan Mission. This blog is managed by my parents. If you would like to contact them, you can email at lindalarson1598@gmail.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

That Filipino Swag Tho

Holy cow I can't believe I am finally in the Philippines now! I don't even know where to begin. I guess we can start with the travel. We woke up at like 4:30 A.M Monday morning then flew to Seattle then Japan then got to Manila late Tuesday night and stayed in one of the nicest hotels they have. It was so nice to be able to talk to a lot of friends and my family during my layovers. Glad to hear everyone is doing good. Also shout out to my homies that were able to visit me at the temple on Sunday!
Wednesday we flew from Manila up to Tuguegerao then took a bus back down to Cauayan for our meeting for the transfer meeting to find out our companions. As Elder Robley described it, it is kind of like the NBA draft. A name goes up on the screen and then the companion is announced.

My trainer's name is Elder Merza and he is from here in the Philippines. San Balas I think he said but I don't really know where that is. He has been out for 5 months. He is pretty good at English but I usually have to ask him to repeat himself. We are serving in the Cabarroguis area of the Santiago zone. He has been very helpful in assisting me to learn the language and the culture. He is great with the people as well. A few fun facts about Elder Merza: 1-He has a strong dislike for dogs. Often times when we see them while walking, he will throw rocks or swing his bag at them. It is pretty funny I must say. 2-He does not seem to believe me that I like rice. Despite my Japanese background and the fact that every time we eat rice, I assure him that I do in fact like it, he still is not convinced and asks me again the next time we eat it.
 Elder Merza and me

It's only us in our apartment and from what I have gathered, it is actually pretty nice. We have a bedroom, a room for study, both of pretty good size, as well as a large kitchen area. We have to use a bucket to shower and flush the toilet but that's not too bad.

The people here are incredible. While we are tracting, almost everyone is open to hearing our message. I can now say that I know exactly how Elder Calhoun feels in The Best Two Years. Basically when we talk to people, the only things I can say are, "Ako po si Elder Larson", "Taga Utah sa America" and "Bago (New) sa Pilipinas. Alam ko conti (I know little) Tagalog and I can bear my testimony on whatever subject we are teaching. I love the ward here. The church is bigger than I was expecting and the members are awesome and very strong. Friday we participated in their mutual night activity and we just played games. Sunday during sacrament was the Primary Program and then us elders who are new to the area were asked to get up and bear our testimonies. I'm so excited to serve in this ward.

One of the wonderful things about them is that even though I usually don't know what they're saying right now, they can understand me because almost everyone knows English. They sing all their hymns in English and they are also very fond of American pop songs, so as I walk down the street I hear a lot of that. Charles and Kevin will be happy to know that yesterday I heard 'Treasure'. I think the funniest time though was when I heard 'Teach Me How to Dougie'.
As for the food, that is great as well. A lot of the stuff is similar to American food and I haven't had anything crazy yet so that hasn't been a problem. Everything here is also very inexpensive. For example, for lunch today I had two doughnuts and a bottle of Sprite and the cost came out to be equivalent to about 50 cents.
Before I sign out, I think it is STORY TIME. Our main way of transportation besides walking are these 3-row vans that people pile into. There is normally about fifteen in there but the most I have seen is eighteen. Anyways, it was my first day in the area and the ride to get where we were going was about thirty minutes. So I board the van and sitting next to me is a very drunk man and he wanted nothing more than to talk to me. Basically he went off the whole time and kept asking me questions, but of course I have no idea what he is saying because I barely speak Tagalog so I am just sitting there smiling and nodding my head. The only thing I caught is that he thought I was guapo (and apparently most people think the same way just because I am a tall white man...). He asked for our phone number and we also gave him a pamphlet about the Restoration so maybe some good came out of it. It was pretty funny though. Maybe when he becomes sober, he will read it. Anyways, until next week my friends. Mahal ko kayo!

Another one of our main ways of transportation.
Usually fits 5 people, up to 8 or so when people sit on top

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