Monday, September 27, 2010

So second week in the Philippines down! Everything is going great, I love it here! The people are awesome and so is this place. It's just so different from everything I'm used to, so it's fun to experience all these new things. All right so where shall I start. I guess I'll tell you about the people here. The president of the branch is named president oliverio and he and his family are some of the coolest/funniest people I've ever met, I love them! President is way funny, I can't wait till I can speak Illongo so I can understand all of his humor, his wife is super nice and a good cook, they always feed us on sundays. She is also making me a bag called baguio bag which is like a side satchel/man purse kinda thing I guess you could say. I'm excited for it, I hate carryin my big backpack around. They have lots of kids, but I only know their youngest son who is 19 and is the branch mission leader, his name is JR. I love working with him too. It's always hot here, no matter what time of day. However, when it rains it cools down for a little bit. Wow I love the rain here! It rains most everyday, and when it rains, it pours! like the biggest rainstorms I have ever seen. So when we teach lessons either jr or president go with us. They are basically like my family here ha. Elder sanchez is awesome, we have a lot of fun together. This week he had to go to Bacolod for 2 days for some training meeting, so I went to another area with some other elders on splits, it was way cool. Their area is like bukid-err jungly/ foresty. So everyone that lives there lives in bamboo huts with palm tree leaf roofs and everything it was way cool. La castellana has one part like that, but mostly it's just small city. One of the coolest things I did this week was baptize! we had these 3 girls, ages 11 13 and 21 who were going to get baptized and we asked them who they wanted to baptize them and they said me! it was such a cool experience! Their whole family is way awesome, the parents know the church is true and they have strong testimonies of the church but they have a problem with coffee and they never go to church cause they have work, so thats something we have to work on with them. We have lots of investigators actually, and also we have to do a lot of visiting to recent converts here and like less active members to try and get them to church and what not. I don't understand, the people here are so nice and will do anything for you, but they don't do like home teaching or fellowshipping, so thats why recent convert retention rates are so low. Thats one of the biggest problems in the philippines. Ok now I'll tell you about my house. I don't even know how to describe it really, it's really small! when you walk in the room is about the size of our kitchen maybe and then there are two rooms about the size of like andreas room, one with desks and tehn the other has our stinkin bunk bed haha. then we have a bathroom the size of the backroom bathroom, and the shower room is about that big too. So far I haven't seen anything too crazy. The snails here are HUGE and then we have these little lizards called tiki everywhere in houses and everything, but they don't bother anyone cause they eat mosquitoes and stuff. The ones you gotta be careful with are the tuko lizards. they are bigger sized and make a sound that sounds like their name- tuk-o, tuk-o ha but they can be scary cause if they bite you they cant let go cause they have locking jaws and so if you get bit by one you have to kill it. we don't have big spiders in our house, but out in the sugar cane there are big ones. at night the kids go through at night with flashlights and catch them and then fight them. Oh good news, the roosters don't wake me up anymore cause I'm just used to them now I guess. It's way pretty here, I'm basically in the mountains and there is a big volcano not too far away and then some other little mountain things, but everything is just so lush and green. there is also a big river that goes right through la castellana. My Illongo isn't very good yet, but I'm working on it. In some ways it's a lot like tagalog, but then in other ways its completely different. It's basically just a matter of talking and using words and mimicking the natives, even if I don't understand what the words mean haha. Just trying to talk to people is big. I haven't had too much fruit yet, but i've tried a couple new ones. I'm excited for mangos, but they aren't in season right now so they are a lot more expensive, so we don't buy them. Well thats about it for me here, oh last week I told you about sikads. only I called them sickles haha I have no idea why probably cause I was in a hurry, but they are called sikads. They are way fun, especially the big motorcycle ones with like 6 people stuffed onto it. Busses are fun too haha a bus that has enough room for 50 people will hold actually 80 or more. It's great. I'm gonna miss all these crazy ways of transportation when I go back home, but thats not for a while haha. OK thats all for now. Love you- Elder Andersen

Monday, September 20, 2010

SO I made it! haha it's so crazy here! I guess I should tell you where I am first off.. I got assigned to an area called La castellana it's about and hour and a half ride from bacolod on the stinkin busses. I don't know if it's on a map because it's kinda small but it's by the mountains and super gorgeous, there are a lot of sugar cane fields here, and it is nothing like america haha. There are like karabaws (water Buffalo) everywhere in the fields and stuff. The town is pretty nice though, there are a few cars but mostly motorcycles. Everyone has motorcycles it's weird. So they either ride those, walk, or take a cycle they say it sickle, which are like these bikes with carts on the side, or they have motorcycle ones too. It's pretty awesome. My trainers name is Elder Sanchez and he is a native Filipino from Manila! I'm the only one of my batch that got a filipino companion... Kinda weird. It was hard at first cause like I didn't know what to say to him or anything but it is better now. In la castellena there is a small church building but there are a lot of people that come to church, we had 96 yesterday! This area is newly reopened just last transfer, but elder sanchez and his trainee before me had 13 baptisms already! We had 4 on saturday, but I'm not counting them as mine cause I didn't do anything to help those people I just got here haha. I don't understand like anything because everyone speaks Illongo, which I need to learn. It's different than Tagalog, but I'm sure I will learn it sometime. My apartment is nicer than I expected, but still not that nice haha. We have a shower, but the water pressure usually stinks so mostly we just end up using the good ol' bucket and ladel technique. It's a little chilly but it wakes you up. I haven't been sleeping very well cause I wake up at like 4:30 or 5 cause of stupid roosters! They start making noise so early and everyone and their dog has a rooster so it's just non stop. Haha I never knew this but filipinos are awful at singing. They love music and singing but they can't carry a tune to save their lives. I do my best to sing on tune but Its hard to get 96 people on tune. It sounds like a combination of tone deaf people and dying cats , so try to imagine 96 people doing that haha. When we teach I just sit there and smile, and then randomly e Sanchez will be like and now elder andersen is going to share about such and such, so I do, and then he translates for me. I love it here, the people are all way nice, and they are really poor. They have like nothing, but will still have a tv and a cell phone, I don't understand it. But whatever. THe kids here are the cutest things I have ever seen! they are fun. Yes, everyone yells out Hey joe! or wash yo name? or they just run up and give you a high five. THe food is good, elder sanchez always cooks, and I do the dishes, cause I don't know anything about the food here. I only get a half hour here too it's kinda lame... so I gotta go, but before I do here is my address in case anyone wants to send me mail: ELder Greg Andersen Philippines Bacolod Mission Galo&Lacson street P.O. box 660 Negros Occidental 6100 Philippines I love you all, thank you for your prayers and support, I need them! Love, Elder Andersen

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey Fam! Well this week has been a lot calmer than all the crazy stuff that happened last week. Nothing really too exciting to talk about, except I did get my flight plans on Friday so I'll tell you what those are. OK so at 4:30 next monday we leave the MTC and drive to SLC airport and hang around there and our flight leaves at 8 to LAX and then we get there at like 9 and hang out at LAX till 2 in the morning and from there we fly all the way to Taipe, Taiwan! Then from Taipe to Manila, And from Manila to Bacolod and I get there at 3:15 P.M. on September 15. So I'll be flying for a really long time. I bet it's going to be just wonderful. OK so things I need: Yes I did get that towel thanks! But I think I'm gonna need more than 4 bottles of contact solution for 2 years... the deoderant is fine I can get it there so just send those 4 or whatever. I need a new alarm clock.. the one you gave me before I came didn't work for some reason, like you couldn't read the numbers on it or anything. Yeah I can't believe I'm leaving in a week either! I heard about BYU winning their first game. I also heard them winning their first game. Good for them I suppose. I was more excited about Oregons 72-0 beating of New Mexico. Tell Miriam thank you for her email, and that I'm sorry I don't ever have time to reply personally to anyone! Rachel- good luck in school at good ol BYU-I! Oh and yes I should be able to email you from the Philippines I'm pretty sure. Letters would take way too long so I'm not even going to deal with those. I'll probably send some stuff home that I don't want or can't take with me. Our suitcases have to be pretty light. OK well I best be going, I've got class here in a few minutes, I love you all and I"m praying for you! Oh P.S. I think I can call you from the airport, so don't be afraid to answer the phone from a weird number monday night around 9 or 10 probably. OK Mahal ko kayo! Love, Elder Andersen