Sounds like Christmas was pretty fun there. We had a really good Christmas too. After we were done skyping, we took the multicab back to Basud. We went to Sister Pinky's house as planned and were fed spaghetti, sticky rice, cake, and roast chicken. It was good, and the next food appointment was awesome too. We went to the San Felipe next to meet up with the Cabase family. We went to Lola (grandma) Cabase's house first. She is so nice. She invited us right in to eat. She had some of the best food at her house. She had tinola, spaghetti, and the best, LECHON PAKSIW! Lechon paksiw is really good. I highly recommend it. It is pork that is first roasted and then paksiw'ed or put into a mix of vinegar and brown sugar and all that good stuff. It was really good. We then went to the Cabase family's house. It was actually their youngest daughter's birthday too, so they had a nice cake, fried chicken, pancit bihon, spaghetti, and ham. It was way great too. After that, we stopped by Sister Alorro's house. Her husband, who is a seaman, is on a boat somewhere right now. We didn't eat there because we were already super full. They had a lot of friends and family over and it seemed like they were enjoying their Christmas. Finally, we headed back up to Daet to eat at bishop's house. There, we ate some really good fried chicken and spaghetti carbonara. Carbonara is really popular here. It's pretty good. After that we got to go straight home and do weekly planning. Pretty exciting stuff. It was a really fun christmas though. My first Christmas was way harder than my second in the mission. It definitely gets better. I carried candy in my pocket to give to all of the little kids, and one time when I tried to give a few kids some candy, they refused because "Everyone gives them candy." They wanted money... I figured this out when they got on a multicab at the same time as us and one of them tried to get his hand in my pocket. I gave him a "You know better than that" look And they got off the multicab without paying just a few minutes after that.
We had some other good things happen this week other than Christmas too. The first of these was exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I got to be companions with Elder Pedersen who is from Portland. I asked him if his life was like Portlandia. He said that there are definitely a lot of people like that up there, and he also really liked my Keens. He said that they are really popular where he's from. Maybe I could fit in in Portland. He was really nice and easy to work with. We were able to do a lot of finding, though we didn't really get a lot of results. We have a few houses that we might try to go back to, but that's about it. We were also able to teach a gal we are working with during the exchanges, and we finally got her less-active grandmother to listen to us. The lesson was really funny because Nanay kept interrupting the lesson to tell us what she thought about the verses we were reading. It was actually pretty fun, and she made a lot of good points. She was even willing to say the opening prayer for us, and when we tried to commit her to pray every morning and evening, she prayed for us right on the spot. It was really funny and all of her grandchildren started laughing. Nanay told us that her grandkids laugh too much because they need to study more. It was really funny.
The lesson we taught to them had some awesome results though. The girl, about four of her cousins, and her grandmother all came to church in Daet this week. (We didn't have a service in Basud because it was the last Sunday of the year.) We even got our new rm here in Daet to fellowship her, and it was super effective. She just got home from serving in the Honolulu Hawaii mission. I think she was in the visitor's center somewhere for most of her mission.
There is some news about the new meeting place. We should find out byif we can use it for our sacrament services. Hopefully things will go through with that. It would be a huge help for the work here. More people will definitely attend once our meeting place moves.
I love you guys all tons and I know that the church is true and that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father who looks after all of our individual needs and gave us his only begotten son so that we can live with him again.
Elder Benjamin Merrill