Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Monday, July 22, 2013

7/19/2013 Philippines MTC

July 19th, 2013 email:

Sorry, I didn't send a big chunk of my last email; the computer logged me out. I think I just sent it just now, though.

Times are getting even more busy! It's amazing how much I can get done in one day. Even on P-day, I'm rushing from one place to another. It's crazy. I never get enough done of what I want to accomplish in one day (including emails), though. 

My day usually starts at 5 AM, when I go to gym with my kasama (companion). We spend our time playing volleyball (which he rocks at) with a few other people.

There's roll call at 6:10, which everybody is always late to, besides us. Then I go to my district room at 7:00, and then gospel/language study basically until lunch. We get a 20 minute break for a snack. Other than that, it's hard work. Other things we do are TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning). Preach My Gospel activities, role-playing in Tagalog, different lessons, and giving lessons to our "investigators" aka our teachers. It's all so tiring, but I get through it!

Our “investigator” lessons are always really nerve wracking. The teachers really get into their persona and they mainly speak in Tagalog. We started out by bringing pieces of paper to read the investigators, but we're now doing it by memory, so we're actually learning the language.

Our teachers, however, tell us we're nowhere close to being "native speakers."  Like, the other day, my Kasama wanted to ask, "Could we come over later?" but instead said "Could we kiss you later?" to which she burst out laughing. We had no idea what he said until we talked to some Philippinos later. I also accidentally said, "Jesus nailed the Jews to the cross" instead of "The people nailed Jesus to the cross." I'm pretty sure I'll be taking people away from the gospel before I'll bring any to the gospel. But, I did actually commit Nathanael my investigator to baptism! I said, “Susundan mo ba ang halimbawa ni jesucrist sa pamamagitan na pagpapabinyag sa isang taong ng maytaglay ng awtoridad ng priesthood ng diyos?” I was super happy I remembered all of that. I was smiling like a fool for a good 30 minutes.

My kasama and I have our cultural differences, which can be hard. But overtime we've gained a lot of respect for each other. He gave me a Tongan shirt the other day. It's now my favorite shirt, and I now tell people I'm from Tonga. I'm going to give him one of my ties when I'm done here. 

The food here is..... extremely fattening. I'm definitely gaining weight. And yes, we get rice for basically every meal, in case you were wondering. They love serving us Tang as well. We get to go to this grocery store on P-days. I spent 1020 pisos last time and got a bunch of imported American stuff, but this time I got more stuff and spent only 450 bc I bought the Filippino brand. Also, Nutella was about 6 bucks, but I bought it anyways.

There were 72 missionaries along with me two weeks ago. But this week there are a whooping 140! It's amazing how many missionaries are streaming into this place! Most of them are Philippino. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE PHILIPPINOS! They're all so nice and funny and have great testimonies. It's the best. 

Tagalog is pretty confusing, but I'm sort of getting to know at least what I'm confused about now. They love their prefixes and suffixes. And the words change based off of the most important part of the sentence (verb, actor, location, etc), which English doesn't consider. For example, "I am GOING running" would be spelled out very differently than "I am going RUNNING". Does that make any sense? 

Honestly, I hardly remember life before the MTC. (I got sad a little bit when i realized it was 7/11 and couldn't get a Slurpee, but other than that, I'm really so happy to be here!) It's been the best 2 weeks of my life! 

I've become famous when it comes to piano. I play for every mtg. I absolutely love it, though I'm getting out of shape. (Sorry, Dr. Hanson!)  (I tried playing the Ocean etude by Chopin and I could barely make it four pages before my fingers stiffened up.)  I was also asked to give, with 1 minute to prepare, a 3 minute talk for church. I took 5 minutes. What's happened to me? :o 

Right before coming here to write this email, I found out two more missionaries are moving into my room! They're Philippino! Yay! 

I also have gone running a few times with Elder Webb and one of his kasamas Elder Wilkinson. During the middle of one run, it started pouring and pouring and pouring, but we kept on running! It was so, so relieving. The other one of Elder Webb's kasamas (companion) is related to my companion, and I seriously think he's six years old. But, my kasama loves to talk to him, so we listen, too. He (E Langi) loves playing pranks and laughing. He's become rather infamous. Just yesterday, there was a teaching demonstration and Elder Webb started falling asleep. E Langi started laughing, and my kasama did too. I didn't think it was funny until E Webb woke up and looked around and wondered what was so funny, and then went back to sleep, not knowing we were laughing. I couldn't help but laugh, and laugh..... and laugh.... and laugh. I knew I was part of the reason the Spirit wasn't in the lesson, and I felt terrible. E Langi also loves to come into our room and talk in Tongan with my kasama. It's common that E Webb and Wilkinson come in after looking for him for a while.

Honestly, I can't wait to get out on my mission! Just going to the grocery store on p-day (preparation day--the one day a week we do things other than missionary work), there have been 3 people that have come up to me and asked me about my religion (in English). And I give them pass along cards and tell them a little bit about the gospel! I'm not even doing anything! 

Paalam po lahat! (goodbye everybody!)

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