Landon with local farmers

Landon with local farmers

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Legit English and Mondragon, How sick is that?



Sorry I am getting on a little late, I had some things to get figured out and such so... It is all a work in progress. I will explain further in my email now.
I think you all may know that I did get transferred. I am no longer in Caduha-an. I am in Hinoba-an, Sipalay Zone. Here is how you can tell where it is, look at a map of Negros Occidental, and look at the border between Occidental and ORIENTAL, and I am the last area on that border. NEGROS ORIENTAL is where the Cebu Mission officially starts. Don't ask how the boundaries work- I have no idea. Let’s just put it this way, I know I am in the farthest area south in the mission. It is about 7 hours on a bus south of Bacolod. So ya. very far. I will go through the big events that happened this week though now.

So on Wednesday, we got a text from our mission secretary about paying your share of the bill if you end up getting transferred. We asked around the Zone to see if anyone else got it and only 2 other companionships did… so we figured it was a sign that either Elder DLS or I was going to be leaving. So we spent the day teaching until around 6, then we went to visit some members that we are close with, just in case. So we did just that. At around 9:30 we came home, closed the day, and planned for the next day. We hadn't received a call from the President or the AP's yet so we figured we jumped the gun or something, right? I had just finished writing in my journal, brushing my teeth, and I was about to go to sleep when one of the AP's called. He told my companion that I would be leaving tomorrow and that we need to be in Bacolod by 8 the next morning. Meaning I had to start packing right then. And I was all comfortable and had a system with all my stuff, too! Haha dang it! Oh well. The entire time I was packing, I could only think about where I was going (the AP told my companion that we would find out tomorrow), and who my new companion would be. I finally got to bed around midnight after packing for an hour and a half (man I am so bad at packing..... I needed so much help. But, I got it done. So, that was that.)
 We woke up and left for the Mission Office at 6:45 am, and got there around 8:15. I found the one of the AP's and asked him where he wanted me to wait. 
Bacolod LDS church building
He told me to go into the Chapel in the church and just wait for my companion to come. So, I went in and found most of my batch in the chapel, too. They ALL are training right now. I asked, "How do you all know that?" They told me that the AP's told them when they called. So I asked the AP "Am I training or no?" He told me "No, Elder Garner, President Lopez has something special for you." SO.... ya I got nervous because I knew nothing. My companion finally got there around 9:30 am. His name is 'Elder I'. Sounds Filipino right? Because he is. But when he opened his mouth to talk to me, English came out! And not just Filipino English, it was like legit English. No accent at all. I asked "Where are you from????" and he replied "Vancouver, Canada".  I have a Filipino/Canadian companion! He is about 5'4, and weighs just as much as I do right now which is like 183 now! He has a scale at our apartment…so yes I have lost an additional 5 pounds since December.
Anyways! More about that day. I asked him where our area is, and he told me that is "the farthest south in our mission you can possibly get." And was he ever right! I said goodbye to my old comp and Elder Ellis, then we left to get on a bus with my luggage. The bus ride was a full 7 hours from Bacolod. All the way down to the tip of the island. A little oasis called Hinoba-an. And by oasis, I mean it. It is right on the beach. Lets just put it this way, our chapel is right in front of the beach. Like 20 steps. And by beach, I mean white sand beach. I have been taking a ton more pictures so don't worry. Oh, and before I forget, one side of our area is the beach, and the other side is the mountains. It's like I am getting the white sandy beaches of California and the mountains of Utah all in one area! Except the mountains are not near as big, but they are more green for sure and still just as beautiful. 
When we got to our area, I stepped foot into our apartment, and thought ‘we live here’?  Hmmm, it’s like the people building the house didn't bother finishing the floor or the roof. The floor is like what an unfinished basement would look like (cement), and the roof isn't totally sealed all the way. Meaning birds and insects fly in all the time. Last night we had a bat fly into the house actually.  I won't complain though. Actually, Elder I tells me that President Lopez might want us to find another apartment soon anyway because next transfer he might split our area and put 4 elders in one house, just to lighten the load in our area. It is pretty huge. Plus we are getting like 24 new missionaries next transfer so why not? 
Anyway, we have spent the last few days meeting members and trying to get me accustomed to the area and all the new people. He knows I am still sort of new, so he helps me out (Elder I). Oh, and just for your information, I will not get any letters for like 6 weeks if you send any. Apparently, since the area is so far away, the couple missionaries only make the trip down here once a transfer - which is understandable because it is like driving to St. George and back from our home in Lehi. Ridiculous. We do, however, have a post office in our area. So I can send letters regularly still. The last thing I am trying to find is a place to print pictures, so you all can see what I am living in.
Hinoba-an beach

YOU ALL HAVE TO SEE THIS AREA! Every time we drive by the beach or the mountains I just fall over in complete aw... it's incredible. It is actually like a big tourist spot here. I see non-native people all the time actually.

Hinoba-an mountain range
As for yesterday, I was asked by our Branch (yes I am in another Branch, in a District, not a Stake) President to be the first speaker. I had just arrived at the chapel. I did ok though I think. I didn't get too many confused looks as I spoke so it was good. Oh, our President's name is President Mondragon. How sick is that???  
That is what I have so far. I would tell you names of places and such, but I am still trying to learn them. I will continue to look for a place to print pictures. I think we may have found one actually, just the only thing is-  they only print out wallet sized ones and one size bigger. I hope that is ok. I love you all so much! Thank you for all your prayers. Keep doing the righteous actions I know you are all doing! -Until next week everyone. 

Love From The Philippines!

-Elder Garner

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