Monday, October 28, 2013

First Area: Cabanatuan! Teaching, Gift of Tongues, and Flying Rodents

Elder Watkins is in the mission field and having many great experiences! He only had time to make three recordings since he was busy packing, moving, unpacking, and settling in. Some things he mentioned in his recordings were: He loves President and Sister Martino! and thinks they are amazing; is fed by everyone they teach, usually fudge bars or Filipino twinkies and soda; lots of teaching! 

One of the funniest things he talked about was when he got to the AP's apartment - a bat flew in and started flying toward people! As everyone was taking cover, the AP took a broom and swat the bat mid-air! Elder Watkins was the first to dive onto the bed and take cover! haha


Oh how I miss you all!!...not even kidding. Sorry about last week - not sending a family letter - we were so busy with leaving and packing I didn't have much time. But this week has been crazy. First week in the field and a lot of new experiences!

So my Zone is Cabanatuan and Area is Talavera. Here mainly the work is re-activating people. Tons of people are baptized but don't attend church. So a less-active return is basically just as important at a baptism here. A LAR is when they attend 4 consecutive weeks of church. We have 8 investigators with baptismal goal dates, but they also have to attend 4 consecutive weeks. We hope to be able to baptize this month, but one is questionable. The other 6 have a really hard time attending church. We only had 4 of the 8 investigators attend yesterday and of the 8, even though 7 said they would attend. The one who said he would not attend is Joey Gasbar He used to be a priest for the Catholic Church. He said he couldn't come but would try next Sunday. I appreciate his honesty. He believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, but he is having a hard time accepting that we are the only true church - which is kind of contradicting! but we will keep working with him :)

So the language is going well. Most people are surprised when I say that I've been here less than a week because I can speak a lot of Tagalog. The thing is they don't know that I have no clue what they are saying back to me. I just nod my head and say "opo" which means yes and laugh when they laugh! But I really need to work on conversational Tagalog cause that is a weak point as well right now. So the gift of tongues is awesome but I'm still waiting for the gift of interpretation :)

So this week I also learned that there is no toilet paper and no showers! So we have a bucket with a "tabo" that you wash yourself with. I never go to the bathroom in public places because there isn't even a tabo and you just use your hands! So that's exciting news. As far as our apartment goes, ours is considered really nice I guess. We have a water filter and fridge and a fan for each person which is amazingly nice. However, we don't have a lock on our apartment which is actually terrifying, but the Lord bed occasionally has bugs but for the most part it is nice :) My trainer is Elder Gomez from the Philippines. His is 19 and speaks perfect English. I initially thought he was American when he spoke but he said h learned how to speak from TV. He's been out 3 months which means he just finished being trained and is now training which isn't that common. So we are learning together. He's a cool guy and I like him. He's really smart and will e able to teach me a lot. Once I get things down I think we will be able to do some really good work together. We eat rice like every meal and a can to tuna or something with it and a banana. This week I plan on buying eggs to get some diversity. I thought I would be coming home skinny, but I might come back fat! Every lesson the people give you like chocolate or a version or twinkies and make you eat it! They occasionally give soda in a glass bottle that is rusted and you have to drink it! You can't refuse, of course, because it would be rude. So I'll be coming back fat! :(

My favorite lesson this week was last night. We taught sister Mari Corpus in her house. She has a house of sticks the size of our main floor bathroom with a dirt floor and small bed. We taught with a candle for light and it was so humbling. It was really great, and my first lesson I led. She was so humble and still happy. It just made me feel so happy, and made me realize how fortunate we are. I love being here even though I miss home like crazy. This was the hardest week for me by far because a lot of thing reminded me of home. thinking about you all was really hard, but I really need to stop. It makes me so sad, and while I was chatting with mom and dad earlier on email, I just broke down here in the small shop of computers...I really miss you all and love you all, but I know this is what is best for me and I need to help people like sister Mari Corpus. I LOVE being a missionary! and I love you!

Have a great week family!
-Elder Watkins

Elder Watkins with President and Sister Martino

Elder Gomez and Elder Watkins

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