Did I till you that we are opening an area? We met one really old guy (83 years old) who told us all about this set of what looked like children's books about anatomy. And then told us to leave. (He was polite, but he still told us to leave. He said something like "please excuse me" and then waved us away.) We asked him if he thought that God's word was important and he said not really. We then asked him what was important to him and he said money... That is when he asked us to leave. We also have another family who is always too busy, so we haven't gotten to do anything but say hello to them... We have taught a lot of lessons to recent converts and to less actives.
I have not had balut yet, but I probably will have to eat it at some point... The food here is actually really good though (I've actually heard that balut is too.) I actually ate some fish this week... It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite. The zone leaders actually arranged for the sister next door to cook for us, so that is good, because we don't know how to cook, and she really knows how to cook. She has made fried chicken for us, really good noodles, spaghetti, and chicken curry that tastes just like the kind you make at home. You eat here either with a spoon in your right hand and a fork in your left, or just with your hands. It is pretty freeing to eat rice with one's hands. The 7-11 hot dogs are really pretty good, but I don't think we will be eating them that often anymore because Sister Edna is cooking for us now :) She is really nice. We had the noodles and the spaghetti for breakfast (on separate days of course.) The ligaya bread is great, I actually just ate some for breakfast today. It is probably just sugar, water, red food coloring, and maybe they do something to it... I'm not really sure.
I think everyone at least speaks a little English, but I will definitely have to learn Tagalog. I think my language skills have improved a lot since we got here. I feel like pretty much the only thing I can do is teach the lessons though...
It gets sooooo hot, but when it rains, it is soooooo nice. They play Christmas music at the mall and just around and about here... It is kinda weird. We do have a washing machine :) It doesn't always do such a great job, but it is not bad. You still have to rinse the clothes off when they're done... but it's pretty nice. My companion and I are going to go get a haircut today, so that should be interesting. I will try to send a pic next week... We have actually seen a lot of baklas around, so that is pretty weird... I am bringing this up because, I guess many of the haircut places are run by them, but we know that the one we are going to today is not.
The tabo is really not a problem at all for me anymore... It is just... what you do here.
I am pretty sure we don't have an address here. I know that the name of our barangay (I think that is how you spell it) is Bigajo Sur. That is the closest thing that I can give you to an address. I think I would just appreciate a dear elder here or there through the mission office if that's ok.
They love the NBA here. It seems like just about everyone is a Lakers fan :/ I have seen a near infinite number of Kobe Bryant jerseys here. And not to mention 3 Che Guevara shirts (weird, right?) I saw a Mr. Bean t-shirt too, and our neighbor was actually watching Mr. Bean too, which made me happy. I also saw a Be The Reds t-shirt.
We get our support money at the mall. The mall here is so awesome, it is almost like being back home in an American mall. There are just no recognizable brands at the mall here. I bought some shoes. They are rubber or plastic or something, and they have no backs on them. (I had to get the ones with no backs on them like all of the other Americans do because they only go up to size 10). I am told that they will stretch out as I wear them more. After we got our support money at the mall, we went to a really cool restaurant where you order chicken and they give you unlimited rice. (and for just around 100 pesos). It is about 42 pesos to a dollar, I think, but most things are really cheap still. It was really good.
One of the less active families we visited had like 5 tiny puppies and they were all cuddled together in a ball sleeping. It was so cute. I probably should have taken a picture. I bet Daisy is doing much better now. I don't know how you managed to get everyone to stop feeding her wheat.
I think I will tell you about one of the less active sisters we have been visiting. Her name is Sister C, and she hasn't been to church in around six years. I think she is in her early 60s. She is so sweet, and the last time we came over she asked for me to share the message because I must be special because Heavenly Father sent me here to her all the way from America. Her English is really good, but I shared the message in Tagalog. I think she actually used to be an English teacher. We have another investigator of similar age named Josefina, who hasn't been to church in about the same amount of time. She shared with us her testimony of Joseph Smith (even mostly in English), and she even cried. It was amazing, but I think it will be a while before she will come back (that is actually what she told us). Usually, we also have a family home evening about once a week where we invite all the youth to come, but they have to bring a less active or non-member friend. We are having ours tomorrow, on Tuesday. We start with a prayer and a song, then someone shares a spiritual thought and then we play a crazy game, one of which involved flower and hard candies. I will send more pics maybe next week when I get them from Elder Sorenson.
I love you guys tons and I miss you guys sooooo much.
Elder Benjamin Merrill