Elder Johnathan Hale's Mission Site
First E-Mail from PhilippinesDate: March 15, 2010
Companion: Elder Abitria from the Philippines with Roomies -Elders Saet (Philippines) & Ward (MTC District/Idaho)
Well I believe it is around midnight where you all are, its almost 3PM here. That means mom may catch this e-mail before bed =).
Well this was the longest few days of my life. Tired. On the bus ride up here I got no sleep due to many bumps and turns and speaking to this former member, now Prespraterian minister. We chatted for a while. He let me "practice teach" him. He said he was in Korea and this man came up to him and said, "You will become a missionary some day," and walked out. Probably a drunk, but he was all on an amazing high having met me. He said "What are the odds that we are at a bus station, and our paths crossed for a split few moments, then we are on the same bus together." Before I attempted to sleep he gave me a badge and his e-mail and said he wouldn't forget our meeting, and that he doesn't regret his time as a member of our church and that he wants to focus on what unites our church not divides us.
Kinda cool, but not as cool as at the bus station waiting to travel 13 hours to Cauayan. I OYMed this lady, salt of the earth, who works for the government. Her motto in life is "do what is right." We talked for a while how if everyone just did what was right the world would be good. She said she prays every day and gives thanks to God for what she has. We chatted for about an hour. At the end of our visit I gave her a Book of Mormon and wrote in it places to read. I didn't just give it to her, but I let her know how dear it was to me first. She promised she would. We parted and her family sat down for lunch. As she was eating, she was reading it. Way cool.
Anyway, President Villinawavav and his wife are amazing. I am in good hands. They made us feel at home. He is an amazing man. I'm excited to get to work with him. My companion is the definition of a Christlike/PMG missionary. His name is Elder Abitria and he is from the Philippines. President said he is one of the best, and he was right about that. He is going home in 6 weeks and he has served as a zone leader for the past little while. I can't talk him up enough, humble, and has done a bunch of small acts of service since I've been here, and he's really patient with me.
Anyway, that first night I fell asleep in the Sapongay families house, during the closing prayer. That was funny. We got them to come to church this Sunday and committed them to baptism the next lesson. We had 7 investigators at church and 8 with baptism dates, and others we are teaching. Sabongay's can speak English well enough, but I try my Taglish [combo English/Tagalog] with everyone else. I am in Burgos, ask Brother Brown if he knows where that is, by Roxas.
They sell toilet paper but don't use it. I bought some, and just today got diarrhea. It's the pits as Randy would say. I'm sure at some point I will have to use the hand.
I promised Brother May and Sister Leathem to give them a report on OYM. It was great. I personally gave 5 people pass along cards, and 1 Book of Mormon. You could save this and send this to them next week, I forget their e-mail addresses at home. 4 Jayhawk fans at SLC, 1 rejection on the plane, but she still talked the whole way to LA in a kind way. Me and Elder Farley OYMed the lady at LAX who was smiling because I was, he committed her.
Me and Elder Hardman OYMed Sean Mariman, he committed him to go to the Mormon.org web sight, he said he would, then at the bus stop in Manila, a Book of Mormon and pass along card. Thanks so much Brother May and Sister L.---game time!
The food isn't bad at all, and in regards to the bugs, nothing could be as bad as the Hale of that Yellowstone trip, in regards to bugs. Not way bad bugs. Showers are interesting, the best way to describe living conditions is it's a lot like a camp out.
There is drought here, not much water, so rice crops haven't done as great as I hear. It is harvest time right now so lots of rice on the side of the road, and some people are not going to church because of it. It is a branch, but it was District Conference this week with an Area 70. That went good really well. Their district was about the size of our ward, give or take a few. We will see how the branch is next week.
Elder Ward is taking care of me, we live together, so see you next week.
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