Well no letters yet, and unfortunately we don't get to see conference until next week. HOWEVER, my companion is cheating the system and downloading all the talks to his ipod so we get to hear it early! That's great news! There's another cute baby cousin to add to the list. So I think something I failed to explain very well is that the main mode of transportation is bikes. Motorcycles are very commonly converted into triceys (just nail a side car to the side of a motorcycle and its a trike) which is how we usually get around. I had my first jeepney ride last week though, man was that fun!
Food is actually really good here. Walang mustard at walang mayo! (That means none!) They don't really have American food here so a lot of things taste different and all the Elders in the apartment don't like the knock off brand of mayonnaise. Soda isn't nearly as acidic and it's made with real sugar instead of syrups. meat here is usually pretty fatty and the bones aren't really ever taken out before being cooked. It's your job to take those out when you eat. My favorite is probably pansit. It's a noodle dish that you can pretty much thrown anything into and they even have it Ramen noodle style!
I will definitely miss the snow. It gets pretty hot here and you're bound to sweat, but I'm adjusting pretty well to that. It only rained a little bit last week which is really weird. A couple weeks ago there was a typhoon named Baguio that came through and forced everyone to stay in for a week because of all the water. I'm sure we'll get some more water soon.
My companion is from Grantsville, UT. He's a pretty awesome guy and he played soccer! That's like one person of all the people I've met going to or in the Philippines that likes soccer besides Sister Wood. My companion is a really funny guy and he's probably the best trainer out there. He has a lot of experience and he can speak Tagalog exceptionally well. Our work here is long and good. The most disappointing things that happen are when you travel all the way out to a far area and then find out that nobody is home because they're all out working. It stinks when you have all that time planned out and it gets wasted. We have trouble with people going to church because there's one building in all of Cabugao which could cost someone 40 pesos (that's the equivalent of $1 in the U.S.) to get to and from the church and people just don't think that it's a worthwhile expenditure. We did commit two little girls to baptism on and one of them was at church! That was a happy experience.
So there are a couple siblings asking about bugs. It isn't too bad because usually you don't see them. I know they exist and once or twice a week we see one in the apartment that's bigger than the normal size ant. Kolsen would probably find every single spider though and have a heart attack. I honestly didn't even realize there were some spiders chilling in our bathroom until a few days after I got here. The spiders aren't poisonous according to the people here, they just keep the bugs down so I hope we get some more soon.
So Halloween is pretty much the equivalent of a lesser holiday in America. They start getting into Christmas in September. So now I get to wake up to songs about maligayang pasko (merry Christmas). The architecture is pretty simple. Either you live in a hut made from bamboo or a house made from plastered cinder blocks and a tin roof. It's poor.
Well thanks for letting me know how you all are. I hope things stay good.
As far as spiritual matters,
I think that I've found the Spirit works better through you when you are humble. I had a little experience that I won't go into detail about, but God wants me to learn a few lessons. Pride is something even people in the Philippines have. There is so much we like to boast about. I'm not saying I've been really stuck up and feel like I'm better than anyone, but there's always room for improvement. I have a lot more appreciation for some of the things that we take for granted and have learned to remember who gives us those blessings. This last week there was a particular day where a lot of lessons fell through, and even during the few that we had, I struggled a lot with teaching. I had a really good experience with this last fast we had and I am ready now to let the Spirit put words in my mouth.
Well just know that I'm doing very well. Healthy, happy, strong, etc. I'm learning a lot out here. I love you and miss you all!