Mar 10th, 2016
(Ignore the dates, he never changed the date stamp on the camera)
So when I got here on Wednesday, we got straight into learning Tagalog. We learned "How are you?" "Who is that?" "Where are you serving you're mission?" etc. within the first hour and we were on our way. Now I can pray, share a scripture, bear my testimony, and recite the baptismal invitation all in complete Tagalog.
My companion is Elder Mwarie from Kiribati. (Pronounced MAH-dee-ay and KEER-dee-bus.) On Friday, we had our first teaching appointment. It went okay. Elder Mwarie doesn't speak English as his first language, so he is much more focused on learning Tagalog than on any kind of planning. It has been frustrating because we have not been prepared for any of our four teaching appointments -- because he doesn't want to do companion study. Multiple teachers have told him about the importance of it, but we still have never had companion study for more than 10-15 minutes. He's a really nice guy, and loves to play volleyball.
I have a second companion now, too: Elder Solis, from West Jordan. He was already one of my roommates, but then his companion, Elder Williamson, had to go home because he came to the MTC with a torn ACL. He was really mad when he left yesterday. He's having surgery tomorrow.
Elder Solis is actually Filipino. He has never been, but his parents were both born and raised there. His dad was actually born in San Pablo. He said their whole family was bawling when he read his call. He understands a lot of Tagalog, but he doesn't know much of the grammar.
Our teachers speak as much Tagalog as possible, and usually just use adjectives and nouns in English. One of our teachers, Brother Spencer, had to answer his phone right after class yesterday, and it was REALLY WEIRD to hear him speak English. I honestly don't even know what the phone call was about because I hadn't really thought that he knew English.
Most of the guys in our zone play basketball for the first half of gym time, and then volleyball with the whole zone for the last half. The guys in my zone are really cool, and we have a good time. I'm happy that I have such dedicated elders to serve with.
On Sunday we we get to walk around the temple as a zone. It was a very relaxing day after not getting P-day last Thursday, and working hard and long the first 4 days.
The food here is not fantastic. There was some pretty good jambalaya the other day, and then some good mashed potatoes on Fast Sunday. Other than that, it has been just alright.
On Tuesday, Elder Pino of the Seventy came to speak to us for the Tuesday Devotional. He said that "all over the world, I have seen General Authorities use interpreters to speak to missionaries. Now it's your turn." He is from Venezuela and spoke in Spanish with an interpreter. His talk was really funny. He spoke about our call, how much we are set apart from the world, and the reasons. He said our call is a personal epistle.
We finally got to go in the temple today! My companion had to be interviewed because his bishop wrote down his step-dad's last name on his recommend, instead of his actual last name. The Provo Temple actually looks a lot like the Seattle Temple on the inside. It felt so good to go do a session with my new brothers. We also got to eat breakfast at the temple, instead of the MTC! The omelettes are really good, and they had: biscuits and gravy. Elder Knowles said that the temple breakfast changed his life.
I thought we would be mostly studying the language every day, but our teachers put a lot of emphasis on learning the lessons in our native language, and then the Tagalog will come later through the kaloob ng mga wika (the gift of tongues/languages) as long as we spend the appropriate time in personal, companion, and language study each morning. We teach every day except Sunday and Tuesday. My teachers say I'm picking up the language pretty quickly.
I'm learning a lot, and I had a lot of great insights at the temple today, based on my personal study this week. I love being able to read in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel for so long each day.
I can't believe I actually took as many pictures as I did. I'll try to take more, but I always forget.
Alam ko po na buhay po ang Manunubos ko!