I sent Greta a letter yesterday morning. Part of it was a series of videos we watched about 4 brothers who all went on missions and had a lot of interviews and what not. The youngest said he felt bad he hadn’t written his brother in Cambodia for 3 weeks, and that he would try to do a lot better; he didn’t want his brother to come back a new brother. But to still share stories and experiences and pictures so he still knows, and knows even better, his brother when he gets back. Maybe share that with Siany too. Know that I miss and love everyone so much, especially whenever I'm in the celestial room. We do temple sessions every p-day morning, and I always say a prayer for all of you individually. I love you lots <3
This week... I know things have happened but the weeks have already started to blend together. Elder Holmes, who left yesterday with the group who had completed their 6 weeks said "the weeks are like days and the days are like weeks." It's completely true. Class is ridiculous. Meal lines long and the quiet times at night are non-existent. This whole week we have been staying up way past lights out visiting with all the Elders who were going to be leaving on Wednesday. Elder Unice however, my companion, likes to be in bed by 10:15. If I'm not in the room he'll come around looking for me and tell me to go to bed. He's too much of a Mom. As long as I wake up on time and do my part in lessons, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Aaanyways, The "3 weekers" or group that just left, seemed so experienced and older than my group, even though I'm the oldest Elder in our whole Philippines zone. We all shared emails so I can get a heads up on what the first 2 weeks of the real field will be like. I feel like I could struggle through communicating my thoughts and needs, but when it comes to listening and understanding the speed that Philippinos speak, I need a lot of work. But for my understanding of the language for only being here 3 weeks -- Wow! I never would have imagined what partial immersion in a language could be like. Definitely more knowledge than when I was just taking a class in school, even for 5 hours a day.
I'm trying to decide if I should send home my suit. I'm leaning towards it, since I don’t want it to just be hung up unused for 2 years. I'll get one before I come back anyways, so I can look fly for homecoming ;) Constantly wearing short sleeves is nice, because now whenever I wanna dress up and look good I just put on the long sleeve shirt and I feel ready for some formal event. I'll ask my mission president if they allow the Turus, like lava-lavas - just black sturdy fabric skirts. The Philippines may not be that small of an island, but it’s an island nonetheless, and I plan on treating it as such. Our teachers have told us that if you want the people to like you, BECOME Philippino, don’t hold back or be timid to try things because you're from America, because it will show, and they will see you as American.
Teachers! We got a new teacher in addition to our other two. He is a 6'3" ginger, super energetic, and has high expectations. I lowkey don’t like how he came in and sort of took over our class from Brother Hill, but we will learn more under him I think. Every Tuesday we do TRCs, Teaching Resource Center, where we go and just visit and get to know members, then share a brief message. I got Elder Unice to agree to sing a song to our member, to bring the Spirit and set the tone for our message. Ha, get it, tone? Yeah, whatever. Our members said afterwards that singing songs during teaching appointments in the field is a really good idea. It gets everyone focused and attentive. I'll have to purchase a Philippino hymn book just for that purpose.
Okay, food. It's good. Ha I mean I don’t know what everyone wants to know about it. I think since this Sunday the meals have started to repeat, besides burgers which we have once or twice a week, and subway Mondays and Pizza Fridays. Most of the meals are pretty good, some are not as much. I thought I'd escape Portland's traffic when I got here (although I miss driving a ton.) But I find myself waiting in lines for breakfast, lunch, dinner, choir, and Devotionals. This Sunday we had Elder Neil L. Anderson, everyone was hyped, and I barely knew who he was... but it was a good talk on missionary work and not letting your fire die at any point during the mission. Choir meets every Tuesday and Sunday for special numbers during devotionals. It’s alright, mostly just a time to hangout and hope you get on camera. Whenever the camera focuses on me, which happens more than expected, the guys next to me elbow or nudge me trying to make me laugh, which usually works.
I'll try to take note of events as they happen, so I can have good stories for you all.
I'm getting ready for all those new Philippino foods, starting with that beet you sent me. I just wish I would have taken a picture of the box full of candy then a random beet for more context on that one.
Elder Pue'fua giving us an impromptu lesson on finding good wives.
One of our trips to the temple, everyone is in what little shade is available.
My boys: Elder Symes, me and Elder Rennaker. Portland boys. And some random guys smiling at the table.
Elders kamalu, Fenn, Wells, ??? haha, and Elder Beck. All great guys.
Elders Unice(got cut out of the picture oops,) McMullin, Schwab, Kamalu, Maners, Aguiar, and Bland, and that's me up front :)
Mahal ko yayo!! I love you all!