This is the most amazing place. I have so much to share. for many of you this is the first opportunity I have had to add you to my email list. Please feel free to forward this letter to anyone you know, who would like to read my emails!
I'll start with last week because I didn't get a chance to write from the MTC.
Our teacher told us that there are essential six (or 7) key components of being fluent in Tagolog. As a district, we made goals, and one goal was to study one of the topics each and teach it to the other missionaries. We were promised, in the first week, that it was entirely possible to be fluent before we leave the mtc and also, as I have stated I have really attached to the concept of planning. Our teacher promised us when we finished making the goals, that if we stuck to them we would have many specific things, that i wont write here. Every morning we studied.
The 24 hours on a plane, was terrible, but not near as awful as the 8 hour bus ride from Manila to Baguio. KFC is not the same here.
I got my new companion, Elder Robison (walang n) and we said good bye to our MTC district who all went to different areas.
I got a golden trainer. He's not disobedient, we work hard, he follows the spirit, and I can understand him!
Here's the most amazing thing! Everyone said when I get off the plane I will think "what language are they speaking?" but in my first lesson I understood them perfectly, and most amazing of all, they asked how many months I have been speaking Tagolog. When i told them this is my first area they were shocked. I know that it's not my talent though. Through our districts diligence, we were blessed I was blessed with the gift of tongues. There are times when it escapes me. but when I am in a lesson it always flows out. Our message is so important to me. I know it's a gift from our Father in Heaven.
On a less spiritual note, bawal toilet paper sa bahay namin. walang flush dito. we just pour a bucket. I keep hoping to see a large spider, and I still haven't tried the sweet kind of mango. or rambutan. I love my bag to death, but there is such a thing as two big. I bought a 2nd (tiny) bag for 300 pisos! and I bought some shoes, that look like really nice dress shoes, but are actually rubber, for 200. The man thought he could raise the price because I'm american, but I really enjoy bartering :D I didn't get any support money til today, so I've been on personal funds, However, money goes a lot further here. The best advice I have received is to not compare anything to us dollars. think in relative terms to the country you are in. I have started calling anything over 20 pisos expensive thanks to my companion...
The only thing that frustrated me about him, is even though he is experienced with Tagolog, he has no clue how to plan, and wont accept what I say about planning. And what is even worse, he has no clue how to determine the needs of the investigators. we usually answer many questions about the trinity or the sort. they tend to walk on us in our lessons. I know that I'm not perfect, and I used to be that way when i worked at Radioshack. But I am having a hard time praying for patience. That's something for me to work on.
I will send a couple pictures next week. I forgot my chord for my camera.
I love you all so very much, and I know our Father in Heaven does as well! Ingat kayo!
Elder A. Cook