Six days until I fly out to the Philippines. It's becoming more real to me that I won’t be seeing Portland again for a long while, but at the same time it’s not too long. These past 5 weeks, while the day to day has been slow, the weeks seem to have flown by. The only representation I have of everyday is a page or page and a half in my journal. It's a weird way to conceptualize days, by journal entries, just little sheets of paper. It’s good though. I'll be glad once I'm back and have a ton of stories written down that I normally would have forgotten. Most of them are probably insignificant, but every now and then you find a diamond in the rough.
Probably my favorite activity this week was the start-up of our acapella group, Mga-Elder-Pella, attaching mga to a noun turns it plural (one of the many rules to Tagalog.) We've only sung one song, Lean On Me, but we're open to suggestions! Whenever we have a little bit of down time between classes, we'll either play games or Elder Schwab starts singing and everyone adds something to the mix. The first time, man we were bad, haha, but we told the tone deaf elders to clap instead of sing and now we sound alright.
Last Thursday, night we had our first Skype sessions. Not with our families, but with members in the Philippines who only speak Tagalog. We had 30 minutes to get to know and teach a lesson. Our guy, Allen, was really nice. I think he understood most of what we were trying to get across, since he didn’t give us too many weird looks. He spoke more siguano, another dialect that I'll probably end up learning. A return missionary came to our class who learned Tagalog in the MTC and 3 other languages during his time in the Philippines. Anyways, he couldn’t really remember Tagalog numbers, so when he shared his favorite scripture with us, he meant to say Ether 12:6, but said 9:6 instead. I'd invite all of you reading this blog to look those two up. One is very inspiring and can help us carry on; the other is very confusing as to why it'd be your favorite. After looking it up in our lesson, I looked at Elder Unice, he looked at me, and just asked Allen to expound on why he liked it (since we had no idea what scripture he had actually shared). I can imagine this happening in the field, me not understanding anything the investigator is saying, but just smile and wave, smile and wave. We have another Skype tonight, wish me luck!
More funny lessons happened, mostly with Brother Cobb. On Monday we knocked on the classroom door representing Domingo's (aka Brother Cobb) house. He opens it and quickly ushers us in saying basa which we found out means "wet." He had the classroom T.V. on to a picture of a jungle and a soundtrack playing with rain and thunder The sound was up sooo loud we had to lean in and talk loud to be heard. Apparently it was monsoon season and wouldn’t stop raining for a whole week. It was so random I had to laugh and made him break character a little bit too. How we do lessons at the MTC is our teachers take on the persona, or story, of one of the investigators they encountered in the field. They take on their problems and we need to identify how we can help them through coming closer to Christ. It's pretty effective practice, and they force us to use Tagalog in our lesson, although they let us slip in a couple English words if we get stuck. Our lesson with Domingo yesterday was AWFUL. He told us he worked extra hours in a rice field and was very tired. He was uninterested, distracted, and even falling asleep! (his eyes were drooping) When we finished teaching, Bro. Cobb told us he was sorry for falling asleep, and that he had helped his Mom move that morning and so he was very tired. This means he was actually falling asleep, not pretending.... So we need to work on being more lively and loud to keep him awake.
A problem I've encountered at the MTC is stateside missionaries... I know we're supposed to love everyone but its hard sometimes when they run through the halls late at night screaming and chasing each other with plungers. It’s annoying because they just have to go and learn how to give a lesson in English that they basically already know. While we need the Spirit in order to have the Gift of Tongues, basically the only reason we've been able to learn Tagalog so quickly. We talked to them and they've been less obnoxious lately, but man it is hard sometimes to get along. Hahaha, two nights ago some of them were yelling past "lights out", 10:30, so Elder Unice got out of bed, stormed over to them and yelled BE OBEDIENT!!! It was hilarious, but I talked to him later about keeping a level head. We've since been calling him Green Goblin since apparently he has a bit of a temper.
Usually we go play volleyball during exercise time, but yesterday we played kickball out at the field. It was pretty fun, although hard since the grass was still wet from the morning dew, so catching balls in the outfield was hard, but sliding into bases was easy-peasy. Elder Unice was our pitcher and in the last inning he got hit 4x by the ball after it was kicked; he failed to catch a one. He's more into hiking (granola-ing as Elder Schwab calls it), he said he played “lax”, but I don’t know how I feel about that.
Me and Elder Perry (from Vernonia, Elder Perry is Bro and Sis Gibson’s grandson)
Missionaries from District H with Krispy Creme donut hats, one hat comes in 1 box, so ya know we've been eating a lot of sugar.
My flight itinerary. I really don’t know why they have me going back to Hong Kong in October…maybe if there’s a problem with my Visa??? Idk…Otherwise I’m on my way to Baguio!