We got this surprise email from Tiegue on Wednesday since he would be traveling on Thursday, his regular pday. Nice! Even got to talk on phone with him in airports. Double Nice!!
My last day in the MTC has been a strange one, both super busy and way relaxed; oddly enough last night was best of both worlds, too. We originally were told to be done packing and out of the residence by 11 am, because new missionaries would be moving in at 12 noon, but at 8 o’clock last night we were told we had to be out by 7:30 am because sisters were moving onto our floor, due to bats in their residence. How bats get into the buildings, I don't know, but there was one in the gym while we played volleyball on Monday. So last night was a late one; it started out so crazy, loud, and everyone was in the way. Elder Unice's stuff was spread on every inch of the floor, making it impossible to move around. His Dad is a doctor, and packed enough medical supplies to support a small brigade. In our packing list we were told to allow for 12 pounds of language supplies, which turned out to be more like 20. Some of the lighter packers finished around 10:30 pm, while the ones who couldn’t let go of unneeded possessions stayed up laaate into the night. Elder Haycock's struggle was the funniest to me. He was up until 2 am, packing, unpacking, weighing, and starting again. Around 1:00, I tried convincing him to shed some unneeded weight, like the 3 large tubes of toothpaste and an abwheel. My struggle, like others was more of what candy I should put into my bag, and what I should leave for the newer group of missionaries at the MTC.
When I woke up, it really hit me. I'm about to leave for the Philippines, a third-world country, where no one speaks English. After saying a prayer to be able to handle the day we set to cleaning our room, which was awful. Somehow we made it out by 7:30. The rest of the day has been nice, since we don’t have teachers anymore, we've just lounged, hanging out before we're split up, collecting all the Myldsmail.net's we can, in order to stay in touch from different mission areas. Emailing and an impromptu trip to the temple was a nice way to spend our last day. At 3:00 today we will meet at the travel office and begin traveling to our new homes for 2 years. The last group to have left told us their travel time was 33 hours, and after a brief stay in the Manila MTC I will have an 8 hour bus ride to my area :). The MTC experience seems to have flown by, but when I look back at everything I've learned, I mean, we can speak Tagalog! Not fluently, but we can stumble through mostly anything we need to, and within 6 months, we should be basically fluent; although there is never an end to mastering a language.
There's a notice board (television) that has names of elders who need to visit the front desk for any issues. My name just appeared on the board at 1:30, we're supposed to board the bus at 3:00. I went to the front and they gave me my ID card, that had fallen off from my pocket. Before I had walked up to the front I said to my companion "dang if my visa didn't go through, I'm gonna be sooo mad." When Elder Unice and I were walking back, I remembered Elder Puefua, who actually hadn't been able to leave for a week because his visa didn't get done in time. I told Elder Unice that I wanted to play a trick on the rest of my district and tell them I wasn't able to fly out with the rest of them. I stayed around the corner of a hallway and sat down, while he went to them and told them. Our District Leader Elder Birges came over and kneeled down next to me. He asked me if I had prayed, and other things, and I barely let out a whisper in response. I even surprised myself by having my eyes water up and let a tear fall. I felt kinda bad because he was being so sincere and trying to help me feel okay, and I just burst out laughing. He's like "What!??! You were Joking??" and pushes me out of my chair and the sofa/chair tipped over. I was cracking up but didn't want it to go any farther. It was REALLY funny though, well worth the effort. Having to stay would have been bad, but not the end of the world. Glad my Mom put my paperwork in for me on-time :)
Thanks to everyone at home and anywhere else who takes the time out of their week to read this, I try to keep it interesting. And thanks for your prayers. Don't think for a second that missionaries are too busy to miss their family and friends. We love you all! Philippines here we come!
These are some elders that Elder Unice and I met. They are from the same town in Canada, and were best friends before being companions in the MTC. They’re going to France, French speaking. We can never remember their names so whenever we see them we just say "Hey! Laundry boys!!" then we'll all laugh as we pass by; we've seen them so many times we had to get a picture on our last temple walk.
This is the only time I've seen our ironing board being used. Elder McMullin is waiting patiently for his Companion to get dressed to go outside and study. One of the perks of being a Philippines missionary, we don't have suits and aren't expected to iron our shirts, just as long as they are still white.
The contents of a package Elder Beck got for his birthday, along with a wall banner and party hats and little blow horns. His birthday is the day we arrive in the Philippines.
Brother Cobb is an awesome caricature drawer. He drew these of our class on the last day. We took a picture of us all kneeling underneath our faces. I will try to get it sent to me by someone in my district. It is on his facebook though, Newel Cobb; I told him to accept any friend requests from "Hennesseys"
Brother Hill and I. He showed us pictures of his mission during his last time teaching us, and to be able o see the change that he went through was amazing. We joked around saying "Ako po sa Pilipinas" (I am in the Philippines) to "Nito ang Pilipinas KO" (the Philippines ??) His first picture was him on a beach, big smile, arms down, looking green. His last was him on a mountain, overlooking the same beach, looking confident and able to take on the world, saying "these are MY Pilipinas.". It’s neat that the pictures were actually taken in his first and last areas.