First off, congrats to Gavin in making the team! Start practicing hard buddy! It only gets better in real High School Ball! Glad to hear that Garrison finished cross country strong! Haha something I couldn't have done! Atta kid! I'm happy to hear that Grant is out and about with all his new friends! That's great news! All the brothers and I will have some serious wrestling matches and sports days when I get home. Count on that! I miss my late night talks with Mom too. I could go to you with anything mom, even if you were busy with work. You would take the time to help me for as long as I needed. Thank you. Dad, Zac Brown Band, a little Jazz basketball when I get home? I think yes! I miss those times with you a ton. I could always relate to sports and our music interests. You would always buy something on Itunes and just know I would listen to it. ESPECIALLY if it was Zac Brown Band, Eagles, Don Henley, or anything like that. And Gabrielle, my sweet sister. Keep up the hard work in Dance. :) I know you miss our drives home after I would pick you up from dance, I honestly miss that a ton (ya I can admit that dad!), and our late nights with Criminal Minds and Friends! We will be doing plenty of that when I get home. You're never too old for that! Put that on your Calender! Gosh writing that brought tears to my eyes. Shoot. Umm.. Ok.Wow this week has been an emotional roller coaster ride for sure. Good. Grief.I did a little better this week then last week. Still missing home a ton, but I am trying to find ways to distract myself. For example-tons and tons of studying. Especially Preach My Gospel. The three youngers should start reading that and marking what sticks out to them and what they learn soon. I use that book everyday. Hasn't been a day since August 8th that I haven't touched it, and read it. That is just my advice! Anyway, I know I didn't tell you all a ton about the Philippines last week so I will now.First off, be grateful you have washing machines. Washing laundry by hand isn't too fun, and it takes like 2 hours. My back kills! I know I need clean clothes though (See Mom and Heather! I can be clean and tidy. I even iron my shirt every day. There is hope for me!). Plus, my hands smell like a mix of bleach, tide, and downy... Yes. they do sell packets of that stuff for the use of buckets haha.
Next, I live with three elders. My companion Elder Parilla, and two other elders whose area is right next to ours- Elder Collado, and Elder Rilliorta (all three are Filippino..yay.) and... a ton a bugs and spiders!!!! They are everywhere!! I will just have to get used to that. They usually come out at night though. So right after we get home from teaching all day, we plan, and then I grab the broom and go "hunting" as my companion calls it, for the stupid little crawly things. They are huge! And so quick. Take Garrisons palm of his hand. That's how big they are that I have seen so far. And fat. And fast? Man. Totally not cool.
Hand washingIt is so hot here! I literally sweat right through my shirt every day. Makes laundry fun! In a way, it reminds me of east Texas humidity. But worse.. I don't know. I have never sweat so much in my life!I literally have rice. Every meal. No matter where I go. I have just accepted the fact that I can't avoid it. Not that I don't like it, just every meal? Come on. Oh well, gotta get used to that and do what makes the people (and hopefully my stomach) happy!There aren't any speed limits here. At all. And because my area I am in is so isolated from the city (40 minute bus ride), whenever I see a car, its going like 90 mph average. Easily. We take the bus usually to neighborhoods, then walk the rest of the day, or sometimes we take whats called here as a tricycle. Its a motorcycle, and a handmade metal cart that is attached to the side of it. Its so weird but I promise you will only see that kind of thing here. It's quite the experience!
The people are really nice and understanding that I am learning and all that stuff. Which is really nice to have here, especially since I am adjusting and all. If only I could speak English all the time! Halimbawa (for example).. The other night we had a lesson and the Second Counselor in the Bishopric for our ward, and his 19 year old daughter was reading in the Book of Mormon and had a question about a meaning of a verse. They read sometimes in English to learn, and there isn't such a thing as scripture talk in Illongo in their version of the Book of Mormon so everything is simplified. So when they read in English, they don't get it cause they have never heard or read any of those words in their lives. Anyways, I couldn't do it in Illongo, so I asked my trainer if I could say it in English if they would understand.. cause I honestly didn't know if they would or not. He said "I am not sure, but go for it." So I did, and they totally got it! I answered like 5 more questions like that too. It felt really good to speak English lemme tell ya... sheesh.
Public transitAnyway, lastly I can honestly say that I have seen everything here that isn't normal for America, well most of this stuff. Like... Pregnant 14 year olds walking around, kids who look like they are 16 buying beer and the clerks totally allowing it, little kids peeing and pooping on the roads and sidewalks, moms breastfeeding out in the open. Like she will full on lift up her shirt and just do that right there. I honestly feel like I am scarred from some of these things. Ok, last is the dogs. It makes me so sad but all dogs here, I cant touch. :( and it kills me cause I miss the puppies Rocky and Tex back home. First off, they are ridden with fleas. I can just tell. They haven't had a bath in their life, and they have talons. Not nails, talons. No joke. They just all are mangy and gross.... I see 100 dogs a day, and cant touch any of them. So dumb! Please keep taking care of the dogs! Be grateful for them!Oh wait, one more thing. The members here love Missionaries. Love us. Even if I cant understand a single thing they say sometimes, They still find it in them to love me. Haha. We have had 3 dinners with members here since I got here. THEY WILL JUST FEED YOU AND FEED YOU AND FEED YOU UNTIL YOU HAVE RICE COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. Honestly. You could say no I am good no more please, and it honestly wouldn't matter. MORE RICE FOR YOU! Gosh. And for some reason, I still feel like I am losing weight. Maybe because we walk 10-15 miles a day. Average. I know its good for m, I know. I am also grateful I am being so well taken care of. Phew.
|Rice paddies alongside the Chocolate hills|
Thank you for all your prayers and emails. I loved reading all of them. I hope you all enjoy my emails! You all are deeply missed here. I love you all! SO MUCH. Keep praying for me, as I am for all of you. Thank you for making Heather a part of your life too. Means a lot to me. Remember what Helaman teaches us in Helaman 5:12. Rock of Our Redeemer. Study that!
Thank you all again! I love you! Until next week.-Elder Garner