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!