The "Ber" Months
Hello. From from the One and Only Scrooge the Philippines has ever
known. It's Christmas time out in the tropics, and my only reply is
"Stop it." Christmas is for December, and December alone. Take down
your decorations and turn off the music. IT'S TOO SOON!!
;) :P :D
In all honesty, it's not that bad :) Though celebrations truly do
start out here on September 1st, and go throughout the rest of the Ber
months. Really, I just can't help but laugh whenever I walk into home
and see a Christmas Tree and/or "MERRY CHRISTMAS _ HAPPY NEW YEAR"
banners, hung across the walls. My celebrations will be held off until
December, but I'll let everyone else have their fun :P
Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE WHO IS APART OF DIXIE'S PRODUCTION
OF TARZAN!!!!!!!!!!! I can already tell it's going to be amazing!!!!!
Shout outs to the leads!!
Zack Grob as Tarzan and the Father!! (of course :D )
Sara Glauser as Jane and the Mother!! (another obvious pick :D )
Cameron Holdaway as Young Tarzan!
Caleb Smith as Terk!
Alex Easson as Clayton!!
Stockton Meyers as Kerchak!
Kiarra Dalley as the Leopard!
Mailea Dalley as Kala!
So! Let's start from a week ago. Right after I left you all with my
previous letter. I went out and got my first haircut. But not just any
haircut! A 78 cent hair cut!! Things are ridiculously cheap here. As
missionaries, we get about $185 a month total to pay for food,
transportation, utilities, laundry, and personal care Items. I use
about $125 of that. McDonald's is one of the more expensive places to
eat out here, and the prices are pretty similar to America's. So,
uh... hooray for fluctuation? I don't really know...
Now for another jumble of thoughts and memories. Enjoy! :P
First off, this place is sort of like a death trap. Even when it's not
rainy season, we get "light showers" once or twice a week. Light
showers, as in the water is only up to my ankles, rather than my chest
:P The rain results in mud, so I've got to watch my step, but then I
can't watch my head. Since very few people have washing
machines/dryers out here, they wash by hand and then hang them out to
dry. But the drying lines are EVERYWHERE. They aren't much trouble for
your average Filipino, but I'm not your average Filipino, despite my
diet. I've literally been clothes lined over a dozen times this last
week. But if I focus on the sky, I lose a couple inches, and a shoe
once or twice. Every step is quick sand if it's not on a stone :P Even
when I'm lying flat in bed, I've got to keep an eye out. Mosquitoes
like to celebrate the Holiday Season just as much as the next guy (as
long as the next guy isn't me (sorry Amy Jensen :P )), and their main
course is the exotic white American. Really, my native companion has
NO problem with the bugs. A bunch of little racists.... ;) :P I'm
beginning to understand what Pleakly from Lilo and Stitch feels
like... minus the constant urges to cross dress, of course :D
Also, I was able to officially eat Balot this week!! It actually taste
pretty good, as long as you add plenty of salt and spicy vinegar :)
It's quite a fun and expensive story actually :)
Every few nights, Elder Maestrado and I go over to a Recent Converts
home, and have a group Scripture Study with them. Nanay and Tatay Diaz
were baptized last December, and are preparing to go through the
Temple at the end of this year! Anyway, they live with their Niece and
Her Husband, AJ (April Joy) and Gerald. All four of them are insistent
on making me try Balot, so at our most recent visit, they sort of
forced a little 7 year girl to stand outside for an hour and flag down
any Balot vendors passing by. To my obvious despair, they found one...
They ordered 8 servings of these creepy little Duck Embryos, and gave
me the honor of paying for them! Yay!... Again though, things are
cheap. It was like, $1.50.
***WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR READERS WITH
A WEAK STOMACHE AND/OR A VIVID IMAGINATION***
So I payed and we went inside. Nanay taught me how to eat it. You peel
off the very peak of the shell, add some salt, and drink the "soup"
inside. Take a bit more of the shell off, pull out the solid yolk
(they're boiled before sold), and eat that however you want. It's a
yolk. Next you remove more shell until it's just like a bowl, except
this bowl has a creepy little duck embryo inside staring at you. You
can make out the beak, eyes, wings, and feet, and since it hasn't been
fully formed, it's sort of translucent, so you can see the bones,
brain, and all the other insides too. Fun stuff!! You add a couple
splashes of spicy vinegar and slurp it down. It's literally a slurp. I
don't know how else to describe it :P The Embryo is the Climax to the
story with a gentle little resolution. At the very bottom of the egg
is what used to be the Egg white, but it's become very dense and hard.
It's still edible though, so you down that, just to say you ate it
all. And that's balot! :D :D
So obviously, after all that, the Diaz Family are one of my favorites
:) Another really popular family in the eyes of a missionary are the
Carpesos. Brother Carpeso was baptized January, and the Rest of his
family are marked as Less Active Returns. Every time we go and visit
them, they bring out treats and drinks, as I may have mentioned
before. Lately though, they've been allowing us to join them for
entire meals :P Few Filipino's actually use utensils, and the White
Bible says to accompany the Host in their use of utensils, so we ate
Rice and Fried Chicken/Fried Milkfish with our bare hands. The
Chicken/fish wasn't anything different, but eating rice with your
fingers is understandably pretty difficult :P
We stopped by their house at about 6 PM yesterday after we had closed
our fast, to drop off their son, Jam-Jam, who had been doing splits
with us. Before they let us leave though, we had to finish two pizzas
and a liter of Mountain Dew. I was more than happy to oblige :P
Because we get soda so often at members homes, I've decided to only
buy it on Christmas and my Birthday. It's still probably more Soda
than I had at home though :P
Anyway, we returned last night for an actual teaching appointment, and
they fed us again!! I feel sort of bad, but they're one of the more
wealthier families in the Philippines, so I doubt we're even putting a
dent in their bank account. After all, a whole pizza is only about $2
Next is probably the weirdest part of my week. On Saturday, our Plans
A, B, and C all fell through, so we went tracting instead. We found
this little cluster of huts and OYMed the first person we saw. As we
were talking to her, more and more people started popping up to
listen. That's pretty common, but what made it weird was that they
were ALL sisters. Not necessarily siblings, just females... you
know... sisters. Anyway, we ended up teaching a group of about 13
girls the first part of The Restoration. It was a little hard to
concentrate though, because four or five of them kept pulling their
phones out to take pictures of me. And they weren't even trying to be
sneaky! One of them was literally no more than 3 feet from me, and she
held her phone up at eye level, pointed it directly at me, and I heard
the camera shutter noise. She didn't bother to turn the volume down.
Just took some more pictures. It was REALLY awkward :P That actually
hasn't happened to me yet, believe it or not. Being white can be
interesting in the Philippines ;)
A final tidbit before I move onto the spiritual part of my letters:
Nanay Pesita. We were Tracting and found a Nanay just sitting enjoying the day, so
we asked if we could share our message with her. She said okay and
pulled out some chairs. She seemed to listen well enough, but didn't
seem to be all there. At the end of the listen, we invited her to pray
for us, but she said she didn't know how. So we taught and she said
she'd do it if we helped her. Like a child bearing their Testimony in
Sacrament, she pretty much just repeated everything we said. Even
after we started her with "We thank the for..." she stopped, so we had
to ask her "What are you thankful for, Nanay?" but she didn't know, so
we told her. Same with blessings. It was interesting. I don't think
the's mentally here enough for us to continue the lessons. She was
nice though :)
And now for the more Spiritual part! Best for last! :D
First off, Fasting is SO powerful. Despite the extreme difficulty to
not drink for 24 hours in this kind of Humidity, it's absolutely worth
it. I know the Lord really is mindful of our needs and wants, and will
help us achieve them as long as we're willing to sacrifice something
in return :) Keeping those things and people you're fasting for
constantly somewhere in your thoughts, makes our purpose as
missionaries so much clearer. I'm personally grateful for the
opportunity we have each month to fast and grow closer to our Father
Also, we have two more Baptismal Dates! Ronald Garcia, and Hill
Garcia. No relation :) They both seem to be pretty interested in our
message, and have done well with their commitments. They've yet to try
and avoid us, so I think they'll make it :P They are both scheduled
for the end of October.
We also have some pretty promising Investigators without baptismal
Dates, but that should change within the week, so I'll keep you all
I love you all!! Thank you so much for your support!!
"In the Philippines Angeles Mission, we Chastise and Rescue!"
(Just kidding. That's a Zone joke :P -we Baptize and Rescue!!)
They load in reverse for some reason so the top is the most recent picture :) JSYK
Lovely Rice fields :) I've yet to earn the privilege to actually work in one, but it sounds pretty exciting from Elder Zeirenberg's letters :)
Clouds and corn. The Sky is beautiful out here.
"Ooh, fascinating.... AaaaAAAAAAaaahh!!!!" - Pleakly (Lilo and Stitch the Movie)
SO many bug bites out here, and sooooooooooooo itchy :P
My first sunset picture out in the Field.
My original goal was to just get a picture of the cool Tree Tunnel, but the lighting makes it look like the entrance Doom and Despair.Field shot!
This one is normal. The other one is zoomed in. JSYK
I'm not tall enough, but this is the best view I could get of over the top :)
My Budget list :D I felt so proud when I completed it, then realized how inefficient it was. It has since been upgraded :) I have it split into Support Funds, Personal Funds, and leftover funds to return to the church.
I hit the jackpot at Waltermart this week! I got Oeros for my peanut butter now, and some all Natural Grape Juice. Now if I could just find some Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar...
My new jump rope. The only ones they had in the entire mall were for 5 year olds, but it's strangely still long enough for me. It's even got a fancy little defective jump counter! I ended up trashing the foam handle covers. They just slip off and the rope goes flying :P
Here is San Leonardo.