Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 4



So good to be able to talk to you guys again! I just want to start by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHELLE! The BIG 30 haha! So crazy that youre 30 haha I hope you have an awesome day! Thats sweet that you get to spend time with them up in Utah. But that stinks that its so cold haha. I definitely do not miss the cold! Hey could you give me Matt's email? I want to send him an email and see how he's doing. Thats sweet about Louie! I cant wait to see him out here! He'll get here on the transfer day where I'll be done getting trained so maybe i'll train him or be in the same area as him! thats would be crazy. So this last week was pretty hard, we werent able to teach that many lessons because we went to Iloilo on Thursday and came back late Friday night so we werent able to teach for those 2 days. We had a trainer/trainee meeting in Iloilo that we had to go to sothat was fun. It was great to see the missionaries from my batch in the MTC again and to see how they were doing. So they trainer/trainee meeting was pretty much all day on Friday. It started at 8 and went til 4 haha so it was kind of long. So then we went and tried to teach on Saturday and Sunday but all of our investigators either werent home or they were busy. It was super frustrating. And one of the guys we were supposeed to teach was on hour walk there and back. So we walked there and found out that he was busy, even though he told us to come at that time, then we had to walk back, so it wasted 2 hours of our day...Also, Bro Lito didnt go to church yesterday, and on Saturday we went to his house and his daughter said that he had been drinking, so that was another let down. Also, yesterday we taught Rodil and we asked him how his word of wisdom was and he told us that he drank on Friday. Then after that we talked to the Branch President and he said that Rodil told him that he drank 3 weeks ago, but Rodil never told us about that. Such a bummer! So now we have to move the baptismal date back from Feb. 9 to sometime in March. It was soooo bummed but we cant give up on him! I know that he can still get through this and reach his goal of baptism. We're just going to have to work hard with him! So yeah this last week was a rough one. At church yesterday there were about 45 people so that was more than last week. Also, Elder Shingleton and I had to teach the youth Sunday School class so that was fun. Haha it was hard because they were all just laughing at my language but whatever it went alright.
      So the pictures of the weights was in front of the Banga house. The area north of us where Elder Stacey and Leon live. Our district leader last week said that we cant stay in Banga anymnore on monday nights because President Pagaduan doesnt want any sleep overs so we have to go back every monday night now, then go back to Kalibo early tuesday morning for district meeting. I am going to upload my pictures to dropbox so go check them out there! We took some pictures on a single motor motorcylce that I am going to send you. We fit 5 people on the motorcycle to ride to one of our investigators houses haha it was nuts! The 2 filipinos are 2 members from the branch that come and work with us all the time, theyre so awesome. The one behind me is Rogie and the one in the back is Francis. Francis was just baptized this last October and Rogie was baptized almost 2 years ago! They said they are going to go on missions soon so im stoked for them. Theyre so strong in the gospel its great. Also, we took some pictures outside of the church building yesterday. The girl in the pictures name is Debbie and she was baptized Novemebrr 2011. Shes also a supeer strong member. She just got her mission call to Cauayan Philippines mission and she leaves in March. Shes the only member in her family and her family is super upset that shes going on a mission but she says that she loves God more than she loves them so thats why she's going on a mission. She has such a strong testimony its so great! She also comes and works with us and helps us teach our investigators and less actives. Also theres a picture of some kids on a cow haha. Its such an awesome picture. I saw these kids just sitting on a cow and I was like I need a picture of that haha so I hope you like them! So this last week I had a goal to pass out 3 BoMs/pass along cards/pamphlets during the day and I was able to pass out 3, it was great. So this next week my goal is going to be 4. Haha sometimes it is scary to open my mouth because I have no clue what the person is going to say back to me but I just go for it and it always ends up well.So we stopped by the investigators houses that we tracted this last week and of course they werent home, so that was a bummer. But were going to go by them this next week so hopefully we'll be able to teach them. Also, in 3 weeks at the next transfer, we're going to be getting 2 more missionaries in our area. I dont know if I already told you that or not. But Elder Shingleton and I have to find all the furniture and everything for them so we are also busy with that. We havbe to buy beds, bed frames, closets, a bigger fridge, study desks haha so yeah it should be fun. And because our area is so remote, we havent found any places that ship to Altavas. So we have to find some way to get the stuff to our area., But is should be way fun to have a 4 man apartment and to split our area up. Im excited to see what happens in a few weeks.
      So I was wondering if you could send me that smaller Preach my Gospel book to me in the next package. Its easier to carry that thing around rather than the huge one to district meetings and stuff. Also, I dont like tuna that much and I dont know if i would like any canned meats. I buy a lot of hot dogs and I am going to try to buy chicken today if they have it at the store. They havent had it since I got here. But yeah Im doing fine here on food so far. A lot of missionaries get big packages every week but they take awhile, a month or more. Just put pictures of Jesus all over it. Yeah someone from the mission office brings us are cargo, letters and packages, to us every week and we usually get it at district meetings. I finally got dads letter this last week so that was so nice to get! thanks for the letter dad it made my day. And I love those story/poem things that you send me so feel free to send me those whenever youd like!
        Well, I dont have much else to say. I love this gospel and the joy it brings to my life. I love having the Holy Ghost with me at all times. Out on a mission, you come to realize how important the companionship of the Holy Ghost is your life. I would recommend that each one of your try  your best to have the Holy Ghost to be with you at all times. Try to not do those things that cause the Holy Ghost to leave your side. I promise you that with the Holy Ghost, your life will be sooooo much better. You will be happier, more confident, better able to deal with stress and trials, and you will receive so many other blessings. I promise you that. I love the Atonement and I am so grateful to know that no matter how sad or stressed or tired I get, Jesus Christ has been there too and He can help me get out of those hard times. I love you guys so much and I hope that you have an awesome week! Till next week!

Love,
Elder Anderson













video

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

3rd Email from The Philippines



So another week in the Philippines! This last week was really quick, it seems like I just emailed you! Anyways, this was a good, busy week. So i'll start with the fiesta/festival thing that is going on in Kalibo and Altavas. So in January every year the Filipinos in the Aklan area have a festival to celebrate the past Catholic leaders or something. So this last week in Altavas they everyone was preparing for the festival. For the festival, all the kids dont have school all week and they practice a dance/march thing for the festival all week. Then also there are some kids from each highschool that make up a drumline team and they paint their bodies and go marching through the streets during the festival and play songs all day. So the festival is today and tomorrow in Altavas but unfortunately we will miss it today because we are already in Kalibo to email and get groceries and everything. But luckily its tomorrow too so we'll see it tomorrow too. But this last Saturday they were doing a drumline competition in the streets in Altavas so Elder Shingleton and I took pictures and some videos of that. I'll attach those pictures. Oh yeah also this morning when we traveled up to Banga, they had a parade too and I took some pictures of that so I'll send that to you. Everyone during the festival just marches through the streets and drinks and stuff. It pretty much just a big party hah its pretty crazy. So for lunch today we went to a lady's house who is the home owner of the missionaries house in Banga. She was soo nice and she gave us so much food. I have no clue what I ate but it was so good! Haha and she lives in a super nice house which you dont see a lot of here. It was like an American house it was weird. And yeah we take a bus up to Banga every monday morning and drop our clothes and stuff of there then take another but up to Kalibo to email, buy groceries, and play basketball and stuff. Then we go back to Banga and teach there on Monday night and stay the night there then wake up and take a bus back to Kalibo on Tuesday morning for our District meeting. Then we take a bus back to Altavas after the district meeting, so we usually dont get back to Altavas till like 2 or 3 on Tuesday. Hah so yeah a lot of traveling and stuff every week.  
     So the work was kind of hard this last week with the festival and everything. No one was home this week and we were rejected/punted a lot because people we too busy getting ready for the festival. Also at church there were only 20-25 people. Elder Shingleton said that was the worst he has ever seen is. Yeah it was bad haha. Everyone was getting ready for the festival or something. Also, this last week we focused on rescuing the less active members. We got a list from our ward clerk of less actives we should focus on and we went and taught a lesson to each one. They all seemed to realize that they needed to come back to church but none of them showed up this week, so that was rough. Also, Brother Lito didnt show up, so I was super bummed about that. It was a big let down to not see him at church. I hope it was because of the festival and he'll be back next week but who knows. This last week we taught him another great lesson and I shared Helaman 5;12 and talked to him about that. Then after the lesson he was talking and he heard me say that I like seafood and he got all excited and said, "Oh I'll cook seafood for you! I'll make shrimp" haha I was like "no, no okay lang". He's seriously so nice and him and his family have barely any money but he would go out of his way to make dinner for me. I felt so bad for saying that and I hope he doesnt cook up shrimp for me. He sells fish in the market for work and he says on a good day he makes about $30 dollars a day and he has to feed a family of 6, so I felt bad when he offered to cook for me. So now about Rodil. We taught him 2 times this past week and once again they were just awesome lessons. We taught him Tithing this past Thursday and it was the best lesson/experience that I have had here so far. So Rodil doesnt have a lot of money either and all his clothes are old, faded, and have holes in them but his faith is so strong. So we started teaching him tithing and he was like, "I already know what tithing is. The speaker from church last week taught us that we give 10% of our income in order to build up the Lord's church." So yeah we pretty much didnt have to teach the lesson because he remembered what the speaker from church taught about tithing. But his faith was soooo strong that if he gave 10% of his income, which he doesnt have a lot of, God would bless him. His faith, even though he isnt a member yet, strengthened my faith. Who knew that a non memebers faith could strengthen mine, haah but it did! It was the greatest feeling to see his strong faith in God and to have him commit to paying tithing with a huge smile on his faith. Gosh it was such an awesome experience. So he came to church again yesterday and we taught him after church. His baptismal date is February 9 so yesterday we just did a practice baptismal interview and it went really well. I asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he gave this long answer, but unfortunately i couldnt really hear and understand him so that was a bummer. Elder Shingleton could hear or understand him either so we dont know what he said but I could just feel that he had a true desire to be baptized. So yeah Rodil is progressing so fast, its so awesome to see. Also this past week, because a lot of our investigators were gone or busy, we house to house and tried to teach to people. It was very scary but it ended up well. I went up and just started talking to a family of like 6  who was just sitting outside their house and introduced myself and got to know them and everything. Then I gave them some of the Restoration Pamphlets and started teaching a lesson. I dont know how they understood my broken Ilonggo but they did! and we got a return appointment for this next week so Im stoked to go teach them this week.So by doing that house to house thing we got 2 new investigators who we are going to teach this week. It was way scary to go up to a group of people and start talking to them and not having any clue what they said back to me but after that experience I realized that it was way worth it. And now I feel more comfortable with just going up to people and starting to talk with them. All filipinos are so nice so that helps a lot and they are so accepting to Jesus Christ so that definitely makes it was better. But everyday I try to OYM and hand out a pamphlet or a pass along card and its the best feeling after you hand one of those out. 
       So thats awesome that Marshall gave his homecoming talk, it doesnt seems like he's been gone for 2 years haha. That was good advice you gave me too, im definitely going to try to always remember that. Thats so cool about everyones mission calls! Everyones going to South America haha! Hey do you know when Louie is going into the MTC? Im stoked for him to get out here. Also, do you think you could email me spencer and ryans email. I think that would be better than sending it in the mail because by sending it in the mail, I wont be able to read till like a month or so later. And I could just take a picture of their emails and read them later so that would be sweet if you could do that. So for the food situation hah yeah we make all of our meals here. I usually just eat Ramen noodles and rice and crackers for dinner or I just cook myself some hotdogs. If you want to send me food I'll take about anything-cashews, tiger milks, fiber bars, protein powder (oh and if you could send me my shaker cup that would be great, but if not thats totally fine), maybe some mashed potatoes packages that I can just thrown in milk or water and have mashed potatoes, beef jerky, pasta where I just add water, or anything else youd want to send. Hah i have gotten used to eating just ramen noodles and stuff so yeah my diet isnt too exciting haha. I buy apples and pineapple so im eating a lot of fruit. The water situation is fine here. We have a purifier on the kitchen tap water so I just have a huge gatorade bottle that I fill up using that and I just drink that so yeah the water isnt a problem. So the wash takes about 11/2 to 2 hours haha. Because we have to go to Kalibo on pday I do my wash at night after the work day. I try to do it as much as I can so that I dont have that many clothes to wash, which makes it faster. So you let it soak, then you get a bar of soap type thing a scrub out the dirt and stuff, then you rinse it out under the bathroom faucet, then you hang it up to dry. Yeah hah its a lot of fun. Lets just say living here makes me miss the little things like a washing machine, shower head, a flushing toilet haha stuff like that. But its all good, i'll survive. 
      Well, thats all for this week! I cant believe this is already my 3rd email in the Philippines! I love this work and this gospel. I love changing peoples lives by teaching them this gospel. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the Atonement in my life and how it allows me to be forgiven for all of my mistakes, short comings, and sins. Without the Atonement I would definitely be lost. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that that book can change you life if you read, ponder about what you read, and pray to God to know that the words within that book are the words of God. I love teaching people everyday and seeing this Gospel bless their lives. I love you family and I look forward to next Monday where I get to email you again. Have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Anderson









-So im just you some pictures of the parade/festival thing. Also a picture of me, Elder Stacey, Elder Shingleton, and Elder Leon and I at the ladies house who fed us today. Then some pictures of some members and I at the parade.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Second Letter from Philippines


Hey family!

How was your week? Let me tell you mine was long and hard. We worked so much and this last week I was still adjusting to everything, the living conditions, lifestyle, missionary work, and everything. But thankfully I feel like i am fully adjusted now. That was sweet to get a little message from Matt! I cant believe he's giving his farewell that came up so fast! What date does he leave? He's going to be an awesome missionary. And thats so cool that Logans back. I dont even try to think of what time it is there because its so confusing but you'll probably get this on Sunday and here its 10:00am on monday haha. But I wish I could be at Matt and Logans talks, thats going to be sweet.

So my address to send stuff to me is just the mission home address. Its:

Osema St., Arevalo,
Iloilo City, 5000
Philippines

Sorry but I have no clue what my address to my house in altavas is. But its like on the mainstreet of altavas. Maybe i'll take a picture of it this next week so you can see the front of it. Its just a concrete house haha. So yeah just send everything to the mission home because they get all the mail and packages there then they send it out to our areas. We only get mail and everything once a week so yeah haha that should be fun. Also, I dont have that much time to write letters to people during the week so everyone dont be offended if it takes awhile to get a letter from me. On Pdays we have to take an 1hr bus ride to Kalibo and we email here, get our groceries and do our stuff here then we stay in a town called Banga, like 15 minutes away from Kalibo, on Monday night because we have district meeting in Kalibo at 8am on Tuesday. So I dont have that much time to write letters on Pdays and I am busy on the other days of the week too. Our mission president never gave us a set time for emails and I didnt see anywhere in the white hand book that said a set time for emails so I have a good amount of time to email so if Rachelle wants to email me and Taylor that would probably be fine. Ryan already emailed me so that was nice to get an email from him. But im going to keep the email time reasonable because we need time to do other things on pday. Last Monday on Pday it was pretty fun. We went to a church and played basketball on the court outside, then we played a game of football. So after that I played catch, with a baseball and a glove with Elder Stacey. Hes serving in Banga, the area next to us. He plays baseball for BYU and he brought 2 gloves and a baseball on his misison so we played catch. It felt so good to throw a baseball again hah it was awesome. Also, I was able to talk to him about baseball and about possibly trying out after the mission for BYU. He said I defintiely could but it just depends because I will be getting home in November and thats kinda late. But we talked about High schooll baseball and stuff so that was cool. He's from Crescent City, CA a tiny town up north by the border of Oregon. He plays 3rd base. Also he said that BYU finally fired Coach Law haha, finally...They hired the coach from Dixie State. Anyways yeah it was a good Pday and it was pretty fun. Oh also last Pday I bought a Kobe Lakers jersey for $5! Its not 100% authentic but it looks real. Yeah and it was $5 haha so cheap! Also I saw a Mark Sanchez Jets jersey too and it was 100% authentic for $5 too haha so cheap. Everything is super cheap. I will send you a pic of my with the Kobe jersey. Its funny I have seen like 20 different people wearing Laker apparel. Its so cool to see that here haha. 

So about the missionary work. We work pretty hard. When we would come home everyday I would be so exhausted. Some nights it was hard to keep my eyes open when I was writing in my journal. Its so hard bcause I am just always tired. We walk everywhere and our areas pretty big so we walk a few miles a day. This last week it rained everyday so all the trails and everything was super muddy. Everday we walk through the jungle and it is just thick mud. My shoes and pants just get so dirty haha. I have to clean my shoes off every night because there is so much mud but its fun. I bought an umbrella so I used that this last week a lot. Im so glad I brought a flashlight because every night we're walking through the jungle and if I didnt have a flashlight I wouldnt know where I am going at all. The first night walking through the jungle was pretty sketchy but Im used to it now. So we taught probably on average 4-5 lessons a day to investigators and less actives. We have one investigator, Rodil, who is close to being baptized. The rule to be baptized here is you have to go to church 4 Sundays in a row, do 1 service project, and keep all the committments with word of wisdom and everything. Rodil has been coming to church every week and everything so we're close! He is seriously the nicest humblest man ever. He is always smiling and hes always laughing. Its so cool to teach him because he understands everything so that makes it way easy. Also, we have about 15-20 other investigators that we're working on right now but theyre not that close to baptism. So yeah its nice to have a lot of people to teahc and its good that we are always busy. This last week we got 5 new investigators so that work is going well out here. Everyone here is sooo nice. Like im walking down the road and everyone smiles and waves and says "mayad hapon" which means good afternoon. I have yet to see a mad Filipino haha I swear theyre all so happy and nice and always laughing, its so great. So at church we probably had 50 ish people there. There are 220ish members but only 50ish go to church. So there are A LOT of inactives. So we definitely need to be working on that. Yesterday at church I was able to understand a little bit more of what everyone was saying. Im slowly getting used to the accent and I can now interpet different words in the sentences and stuff haha. But it is still so difficult. Oh I have a story about a less active from this last week. So His name is Lito and we teach him because he rarely comes to church but his wife and kids go every week. So he was saying how he cant go to church because he needs to work to provide for his family and he cant go to church and provide for his family. So the Spirit told me to share 1 Nephi 3;7 with him and I explained how God has commanded us to go to church every Sunday, and that with that commandment he will help us follow and keep that commandment. So I told him that if he went to church God would help him provide for his family and he will recieve blessings from going to church. The Spirit defintely helped me in that lesson because I wouldnt not have been able to say all that in the language without the Spirit. And he understood everything. The Spirit was way strong in the lesson it was great. So we committed him to go to church and he said he would. So then Sunday came and he showed up! I was seriously so stoked to see him walk into church. It was the best feeling ever! We just need to make sure he comes every week! It was seriously the coolest thing! 

So Elder Shingleton and I are getting along just fine. He kind of goofy but he's a super nice kid and he's good at teaching the lessons, so that helps. He's a pretty hard worker so its good to not have a slacker companion. Our apartment isnt super nice but its fine. I took some pictures that I am going to send to you. We have one big room thats our bedroon, living room, and dining room. Then we have a study room. Then a kitchen that is all concrete, even the floor. And the sink is just a concrete sink haha. Then we have a room with our closets and then a bathroom. Our toilet doesnt flush with the flush handle thing, we have to poor watrer into it and it flushes. And we just have a bucket with a little bucket to shower with. Our apartment is one of the ghetto-ist apartments I've heard so I guess if I can get used to this then I can live anywhere. I did laundry this last week and it sucked! It was so hard and it took forever. Everything takes forever to dry out. Haha so yeah its going to be a long 2 years of doing laundry with my hands. Also I bought toilet paper so I havent used my hand at all so thats been good. So our meals arent too special. I just eat oatmeal for breakfast, a few peanut butter sandwiches and some crackers for lunch, and I cook like top ramen noodles and rice for dinner. I dont eat a ton but I get filled up so thats all that matters. Oh and last week I have hot dogs 1 night haha so thats was good. I am definetly losing my MTC weight so thats good. I am always sweating haha. Also we never get fed by members here. Elder Shingleton says that he has never been fed haah so thats a bummer.

Well I think thats about all I have to write about! Yes i got the poem you sent me, that was a good poem. And Yeah Elder Shingleton and I are the only Elders in Altavas and our area is big. Our farthest investigator is like a 15 minute bus ride haha. But we might be getting 2 more missionaries in Altavas next transfer so hopefully we do! Those pictures of Sebastian were great! He's such a cutie! I know this Church is true! I am so grateful for all the love and support that all of you give me. A mission is so hard and it tests my faith everyday but I know with the Lords help I can do this. I know that prayer is real and that through prayer we can receive help to anything we need help with. I know the Lord is helping me everyday and I know the Holy Ghost is helping me everyday. I am trying my best to be the most obedient, hardest working missionary I can be in order to have to Holy Ghost with me everyday but I am definitely not perfect so I always fall short. I am so grateful for the Atonement and how I can be forgiven for all the sins that I have committed and that my slate can be wiped clean. I love you all so much and I miss you a ton! I hope you all have a great week and I look forward to getting your email next week!

Love,
Elder Anderson
PS. So I attached some pictures. Theres some of a bamboo bridge that we cross to get to an investigators house. Its way sketchy haha and it hovers over a kinda big river. Also, I took some pictures of where we prostelyte and teach everyday. Its just green everywhere. Also I took a some pictures at the top of our house, where we put our laundry out to dry, looking out at Altavas and the hills and trees and stuff. 

This is my $5 Kobe Jersey!

So this picture here is of the elders in the areas around my area after we played basketball. The elders bought all those jerseys here haha. But its fun to play with all of them, everyones athletic and we have a lot of fun together. Im going to go play in a few hours so it should be fun. 
Here are some pics of our apartment








Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First Letter from The Philippines!


So I am finally in the Philippines! SO crazy! It has been an interesting, hard, fun week. So we flew in on Wednesday and when we got to the airport no one was there waiting for us haha. So, because I was the travel leader, I had to find a phone to call the mission home. So we were going around talking to people and we couldnt understand anything. I swear it wasnt the language that we learned in the MTC, it was nuts. But after people laughing at us and making fun of our broken Ilonggo, we finally found a phone. So I called the mission home and the President and his wife came and got us. Then we went to the Mission Home where we had our interviews with President Pagaduan. Then we had a delicious lunch and then that night we went out and taught lessons, it was crazy! So we got paired up with the Elders working in the office and we jumped on a jeepney and went to our investigators houses. So my companion for the day, Elder Kaaa, and I went to our first lesson and it was in a little hut built out of bamboo, it was nuts. The roof was just like 5 inches above my head haha. So we taught him about Christ's earthly ministry and I said the prayer and bore my testimony to him at the end of the lesson. It was hard to speak but I just went for it, I dont know how much he understood. So then the next day we had orientation pretty much all day where the President and the AP's just gave us instructions on everything in the mission and taught us a few lessons about companionship unity and stuff. Oh also I met Elder Foshee because he was working in the office. We got a picture together, but I didnt have my camera so sorry I didnt get a picture. The after orientation we went out and I went to a FHE with a family and played a game and stuff, it was way fun Also they fed us spaghetti, I guess Filipinos love spaghetti haha. The food here has been sooo good, way better than the MTC. So the next day we had transfer meeting and we met our trainers and found out our areas.

So my trainer is Elder Shingleton and he's from Utah. He just got done being trained so hes brand new hah Im actually older than him too which is kind of funny but whatever. I am serving in Altavas in Aklan. Our area is Kalibo, the northwest part of the island, you should look it up. Where I am at is very bukid, or mountanious and a lot of jungle. So in the Kalibo area, people speak Tagalog and Aklanon mostly, haha barely any Ilonggo. So yeah it has been interesting. I have been teaching just in Ilonggo and if they dont understand, my companion translates it for me haha so its has been fun. So from the transfer meeting we jumped on a bus and rode for 4 hours til we finally got to Altavas. Then that night we went and I met the Branch President. The next day we did our studies then went out and taught people. Our first lesson was in the middle of the jungle it was sweet. Everyone here has bamboo houses that are about the size of our dining room in our house. It is so crazy. Everyone here is so nice and humble its awesome. Even though I cant speak well at all, everyone is so nice and helpful its great. So we taught all day Saturday, we had about 6 lessons and we were pretty busy it was sweet.

Then on Sunday we had church. Before church, my companion and I went to an old couples house in the jungle and had to wheel an old Brother down from his house and to church in his wheelchair. It was super hard because it was way muddy and there were ruts everywhere but it was all good. I guess we do that every Sunday so thats cool. Then we went to church and I didnt understand anything haha. Everyone came up and shook my hand and I introduced my self it was funny. The church building is just like the one in St. Marten . So it was Fast Sunday so I bore a short and sweet testimony haha and everyone was just smiling, almost laughing, at how bad my Ilonggo was. But it was a good Sunday. I have been feeling the Spirit a lot at our lessons, its been great. After that we taught some more lessons and we had to walk pretty far to get to some of the houses. I would say we hiked 1.5 to 2 miles to get to the houses, it it defintely a challenge but I will get used to it. One of the lessons that we taught was to 2 14 year old boys, John Lloyd and Rence. They were baptized a few weeks ago so we're just finishing all the lessons with them. We taught them about the 10 commandments and the Spirit there was so strong. They just showed so much desire to accept this gospel and to live it, it was so great. Anyways thats what I did this last week. Im still getting used to the apartment, showering with a bucket, wiping with my hand (yeah I did that for the first time on Saturday), and with the humidity. I sweat a ton here but its all good because I need to lose those pounds that I gained in the MTC. Elder Shingleton and I get along well so thats good. He's 6ft 6ish so he sticks out here like a sore thumb. When we walk through the streets everybody shouts, "Joe" or "Kano" (for americano) or just "Hey der!" (for Elder). haha its pretty funny. I hope everyhting is going well at home and you all had a good New Years. This last week was pretty hard but I know that it will get better. I need everyones prayers that for sure so I'll take all the help I can get. I love you all and I hope you have a great week. 
-Elder Anderson

PS. So I took this picture walking back from one of our teaching appointments. It is just rice fields and jungle everywhere.