Hey mom and family.
Thanks for your extra prayers! The typhoons (a second one hit shortly after the first passed through) weren't too bad here. They did hit signal 3. That means all missionaries have to stay inside. It hit Manila area the most. The whole Bicol region is doing good, just lots of extra rain. Some people's houses flooded a little bit but they are used to it. Its so sad. Paracale didn't flood. We got a lot of rain but its ok here. I love the typhoons here because it really cools this place down A LOT. Its so nice when I can walk outside and not sweat. Actually its nice when I can sit on my bed and not sweat lol.
|Photo courtesy of Sister Rachel Hancock (presently serving in Naga)|
I heard President Packer gave a really good talk. What about Elder Holland? I've listened to all 42 of his talks on my iPod. That's awesome that everyone was able to get together for priesthood. Was it weird without The Burns and me? Who are the Elders in the ward? I love Elder Baldree, is he still there? Can you find Christian Gibson on facebook and ask him to send me an email? I feel like he was my first companion because of all the splits we went on.
The language is coming slowly but I'm getting better at it. Every time I hear some people talk I can kind of follow what they are saying. Other people talk so fast that I have NO idea what they are saying, so I just laugh in my head and pretend like I know whats going on.
By the way Ive lost more weight, I like it. Ive been eating healthier because there isn't a whole lot of crap food here. I'm still warming up to the foods here. I have eaten intestines, Balut, lots of liver, and other random things. My favorite dish here might be Pancit. There's a place in Paracale called Cowboy Hauz and they have really good Pancit. I always try and guess what meats are in the dish but I can never tell. They use lots of liver here and other things. They don't waste any of the animal. It tastes good though. Liver is good if its cooked really well done. Mostly everything is fried though. I think I'm at about 12+ pounds gone. I bought a mat made out of woven reed and grass to workout out on. Ive been doing abs and push ups every other day. I hate doing abs and always have but I want to beat Aunt Emily in 2 years. Also on days I don't do abs or push ups I do calf raises on the stairs leading to our apartment. There are about 2 flights so its a good little workout. I haven't been reimbursed yet for my luggage but I bet I will be next time I see President and Sister Bliesner. I withdrew about 2200P for some personal things. I bought a Carabao (Water Buffalo) belt and it should be done by General Conference this coming week. Ill pick it up when I'm back here in Daet for conference. A member here makes them. I'll send you a picture when I get it. Its a belt made of water buffalo horn, they're so sick. Every missionary has one and every teacher at the MTC had one too. I got a black rough cut belt. It was 800P. Also I'm getting pants made today for 300P. Its nice to have an extra pair of those. Before I leave Paracale I'm going to buy a custom ring too. A lot of people in Paracale work in the mines by town. Silver and Gold are way cheap here.
I included Joel in my 24 hour fast. (yes a whole 24 hours) I don't think he realizes how big of a life change it is. It's harder than I thought. Make sure he is spending time with Bro. Beck or Bro. Arnett or Bishop. Those guys know what they're doing. I know Joel is working with Dave. I hope he keeps it up. Brother Beck is awesome. He just sent me an awesome email.
We are about to have 7 people committed to baptism. I hope they workout. We found this guy named Jeffrey the other day. He kicks butt. He is a neighbor of one of our investigators. He wasn't part of our planned lesson but by the time we were done teaching he was an active part of the lesson. We've been looking for more men to be baptized because lately its just been women. More priesthood and then hopefully soon Paracale will be a ward and not a branch.
There is a lady here that is in our ward who is less active. She is soooo poor. Her house is tiny, made up of plywood, etc. Her husband is a fisherman without his own boat, and he can't read. They have 4 little kids. They are poor. We went over to their house the other day and we shared a message Elder Smith felt to share Jacob 2:8. After that she told us that when her youngest baby was born, he had breathing problems. He was there for 4 days. While he was there she couldn't afford to eat. So all she had was water and her scriptures and prayer for 4 days and she is grateful for it. She says she's blessed. I didn't understand what she was saying but Elder Smith told me after what she said. She is really awesome.