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