Thursday, February 5, 2015

September 29th,2014: First Area- Culasi, Antique

My family!

Man, so much has happened since I really got to email you guys last. SOOO much, so this email will be just kind of all over the place, so what I think I'm going to try and do is just maybe talk about the MTC, the Philippines, and then my experiences I've had as a missionary. '

So, just to let you know, I didn't experience any of the flooding because the MTC is right next to the temple, up on a hill, but I was kind of affected by the flooding. Our first day there(well, actually we got there in the middle of the night, but the next day) we were going to go out with some of the missionaries in the field to go proselyting, but their area was all flooded, so they were all doing service, trying to clean up, so we had to go somewhere else. As far as that went though, thank goodness people here can kind of speak English, because I know NONE of the Tagalog language. haha, but it was really cool. Manila is officially the craziest place I've ever been to. There are just tons of people. The traffic is crazy, I am actually so shocked we never crashed riding around in the jeepneys or trikes, there. I have a couple pics of jeepneys that I can send you, but you can probably find them on the internet. Riding in my first jeepney was pretty disturbing. Actually really disturbing. It kind of reminded me of something... like maybe in Harry Potter when they are riding on that ghost bus in london...haha. They just pack those things full of people. And then they are like blasting rap or headbanger music, and then just driving like complete maniacs. haha. My first trike was in Manila. You can probably look one up on the internet. It's basically like a moped with a side cart. It is crazy how many people they fit on those things. There will be like sometimes more than 15 people on them. If your not one of like the 5 people sitting you just find a piece to stand on and then hang on for dear life haha. It's pretty pointless though when you get a ton of people on them though, because the trike goes soo slow. Anyways back to the MTC.

It was pretty nice. We had to stay in a hotel in Manila, and it was soo nice. The food there was also soo good. My district in the Philippine MTC was all the Elders going to Iloilo, so 12 of us. My companion was still Elder Chapman. By the way.... FREEDOM.... oh man, Elder Chapman was so frustrating sometimes. I never could really write about him because he was always right next to me, but the 5 days we were in the Philippines, he was pretty crabby... jetlag I think. In Tokyo, I was talking with some other missionaries about how I didn't want to get on another plane or something like that, and then he's just like, "Be quiet." and then I said what? "You should just be quiet. Act like a normal person." I couldn't believe it. I kind of got the giggles because he honestly might be the weirdest person I have ever met hahaha. I didn't hold it against him though because at that point I think he was going on 26 hours with no sleep.... but yeah, my new companion is super awesome. He's so much fun... and the other two Elders in my apartment, their pretty cool. Its just nice to have a break from Elder Chapman. I loved him, but I needed a break haha.

The MTC was pretty plain though. We just had class and stuff.

My first night in the field, I stayed in Iloilo at a hotel, that was... not as nice as ours in Manila. We had no running water except for our toilet.... which the water in that was brown... about the color of a penny. I have a picture... you guys won't believe it haha. but in that hotel, I was giving it an "inspection" and I saw a huge spider in the back of one of the beds, but it was half behind a leg post, so we could only see its back half. We were all kind of freaking out haha, but it turned out it was just a huge beatle/cockroach thing. Turns out their everywhere, but then, it was kind of a big deal hahah. I have a picture.

Our mission president is pretty awesome. I don't really know how to describe him, but his voice kind of surprised me. It's kind of high pitched and squeaky haha.

The second morning though was pretty awesome. They lined up all the trainers(They call the trainers Tatay, which means dad) on one side of the room and all the batas (children) on the other side and then the AP's announce who's with who and then they meet in the middle and everyone claps, it was pretty funny. My favorite companionship is Elder Orr, from my batch, who's from Canada, and who's huge, and then he got put with a huge Polynesian Elder. It's just kind of funny because everyone here is so small. I've only met one Filipino who's taller than me. It was so funny to here where everybody from my batch is going on the Island. We had made predictions the night before. It was so funny. Elder Mudrow, who wasn't very good at the language, was the only Elder from our batch that got put up in Kalibo, where they speak Tagalog and Akleanon, and no Ilonggo. Haha, he was freaking out. Elder Chapman is somewhere In Antique, not sure where. Elder Staples in near Iloilo in a brand new area with only three members, so good luck to him.

My area: super beautiful. On one side you have the ocean, which is always calm, like no waves, all of the time.. kinda weird, and then on the other side you have the mountains. In between you have a couple small villages, jungle, and rice fields. The people here are so nice! and the members love us.

Today, we went up to Pandan to visit the Miyagi's(yes, their name is Miyagi haha), who are members. Mr. Miyagi is so funny and has a ridiculous amount of energy. He just may be the happiest person I've ever seen haha, but we were going to help them kill their chickens, but somehow we convinced them to come on a hike with us up to some falls. The hike was insane. we just hiked straight up the river, up the side of this mountain. I was just hopping from rock to rock while everyone else just waded. They all hiked in flipflops, but I wore my tennis shoes. It came in handy when hiked up the actual mountain part, to the top. The trail, if you can call it a trail, was pretty difficult. There are no such things as switchbacks here, its just straight up. We got to the top and there's just an old man living up there in a tiny straw shack... it was so funny, in one hand he had a cigarette, and the other a machete haha. The trail though.... man, I'm lucky I didn't kill myself. It was all muddy too because its rainy season. Not a lot of traction I did roll my ankle, so that's a bit sore. I would ice it, but there is no such thing here. haha.

Our apartment... to be honest, its pretty rough haha. There are tons of spiders, but its like a sin to kill them because they eat mosquitoes. There's also quite a few rats. Also there are little lizards everywhere. Their called tikis. Everywhere.... They are so fast too. The biggest one i've seen so far was about 5 inches. They just chill on the walls though. They're pretty cool.

Our church building is just a house. Two elders actually stay in it, but its so cool. Church was awesome. It reminded me of Sturgeon Bay because our building isn't that big and we had about 60 people there. We are actually a group, not a branch and my companion is the group leader, so the missionaries pretty much run it. My companion found out that I can kind of play the piano, so my new calling is the pianist! haha. I can only play the melody, but that's better than everyone else. I gave my testimony in Karay-a on Sunday too. It went great. Everybody was sooo welcoming haha. It's just so much fun.

Yesterday we had FHE with the Blancias. Two sisters who are recent converts. They are 23 and 26 I think, and they are so much fun. We watched a video about a pastor being converted by the Book of Mormon and then played this game. One thing that I have learned is that Filipinos love games haha. Anyways, I'm not going to explain the game, but if you lose everybody rubs charcoal on your face. I'll send you a pic. haha.., but when I was first going in, I moved they're door a bit, which is a couple sticks with a tarp over it, and then the power went out. I felt so bad because they were playing games, and then it was almost pitch black, so we just sat there and talked for like 20 minutes in the dark and the power came back on. They were all giving me crap because I thought I knocked out the power from moving the door, but it turns out that the whole city had lost power, and they knew it too.... haha.

Anways, I'm out of time, so I'm gunna try and send you some pictures.

Halong, Elder Robertson

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