So let me start by saying that missionary life is hard and it stinks. I love serving the people but it’s hard being away from everything. I am in the city of San Isidro. It’s in northern Samar and 7 hours away from the mission home. I don’t understand a single thing that anybody says. I’m really trying though. My companion is Elder Neilson. He is from Utah. He has been out for a little over a year. He’s great. He is very supportive of me. So this area I am in was white washed, meaning that both elders were taken out of the area, so both of us are new to the area. The previous elders didn’t do much. They were lazy and didn’t follow the rules much. The branch I am in is very excited to have new elders that are ready to work and share the gospel. My first night in the area I had squid and rice. It was so good. That was the only thing I ate that whole day. It was so good. The members here are really sweet and invite you in all the time.
So a lot of people were wondering about Tacloban. It is pretty much fixed up and ready to go, except the airport. It is still under construction. The mission home is so pretty and stands out. Everything here is very poor but the people love to please you. The sick apartment is pretty small and when transfer day came around there were 20 something elders in the house. It was pretty tight. After getting my new companion we went to lunch and had smoothies. I had mango. It was so good. Perfect because it is so hot here. We loaded the cars and left for our area. I was really sad. I felt safe there and what everyone had said the area I was going to didn’t have much. They were right. There were a few shops but that was about it. Our apartment is really big for the area we are in. It’s so not home though. The bedroom is in front and then our changing room then the bathroom and shower room and kitchen are in the back of the house. The sink is outside. The bed feels like it is going to fall apart every night. We have three fans for the house, 2 in the bedroom and one for the rest. Every night you go to bed drenched in sweat even if you shower and then wake up freezing cold because of the fan. We were fortunate enough to not have any sort of remains left over from the previous elders. They were really not helpful to progressing the work but it’s ok. We are going to rock the next 12 weeks at least. The best part was there were 2 bills that didn’t get paid so we don’t have water as of right now. Not good for the weather we have. lol
So every morning I try to shower. We have a shower head but the pressure isn’t very strong so I get to have a bucket shower every morning. You fill the bucket up and use the cup to wash the soap off. It’s really fun, takes forever. The best part, it’s freezing cold. Our apartment is right off the ocean so we can see it as we leave every morning. It’s pretty cool. Some of the other elders, a little farther north are right on the ocean. Lucky them.
I mentioned it was hot here. It’s pretty hot but it’s more humid more than anything. I don’t have any dry paper. All of my notebooks are soft. Didn’t think I would ever take that for granted until now. Makes its hard to write things. I also learned I sweat a lot. My shirts are so soaked by the end of the day that they prob weigh a pound each. Because they are so wet they rub on my neck and my neck is raw as can be. It’s lovely. My shirts kill to wear.
I have been having a really hard time here being away from everyone. I don’t adjust to change very well. It is hard for me so it’s been a struggle the past few days. But I have a goal to get over it in the next 12 weeks so hopefully I can achieve that.
1 peso =0.02
I get 8000 pesos a month
Needless to say everything is pretty inexpensive. But we only have so much each month and we have to pay bills and traveling. I finally am putting the skills I was taught into place. I have a stash of emergency money. My companion is pretty much paying for everything even when I try to help he pays anyways. So I got pretty lucky.
When we got to the area we didn’t know anything so we looked on the phone (everyone here has phones. The indestructible Nokia) and we called the ward misson leader. He is 18 and has been the biggest help to all of us here. It is so nice to have him. He doesn’t understand English so I am trying hard to communicate with him.
My companion loves him to death. I guess he is a lot like him so it’s neat to have him. My companion talks to him all the time so I feel left out all the time. He told me yesterday that my companion loves that I smile and nod even though I have no idea what’s going on.
There are tikis everywhere they crawl on the walls so let’s say I go to sleep in fear that one is going to be on me in the morning. It’s great. There is a party every night outside our house so I have a hard time going to sleep.
Now for the spiritual side of things. I have been really blessed to have the Lord bless me in my life. He is watching out for me even though I feel like I am alone a lot. The members here are very loving and they have the spirit with them. They try their best to do what they can to build up the kingdom. We had 45 people at sacrament meeting Sunday. And I had to give a talk. Great day for me. Everyone laughed at me. I still don’t know why. I guess I have an American accent or something.
Well I love all of you guys and want you to know that I know God lives and he answers prayers and that if we really ask him he will answer us. I know that I am doing the Lord’s work and that he is really watching out for me.