Well week one has completed in the Philippines!!! We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and stayed in a hotel and chilled and walked around the Manila city for a little bit and then on Wednesday we went in for orientation with all the brand new missionaries fresh from the MTC. Then on Thursday we were assigned our areas and companions. I got a companion named Elder Van Tassell. He is from Spanish Fork Utah and he is way cool. We get along really well and he is a really hard worker. He is really good at Tagalog also.
So we are serving in a tiny tiny little branch area called DapDap. There are only like 30-40 people that come to church there, and it is a small little village with really nice sweet people and everyone is christian so quite the difference in terms of religious preference! But i am slowly trying to pick up some Tagalog. I can say hi how are you, i am good, what is your name, my name is, i am from, and can almost say that i know the book of mormon and the church is true. It is quite difficult but i am trying to pick it up for the sake of my companion who does pretty much all the speaking to people right now. Some people understand english but very little because we are in such a small place. I help teach but i teach in simple English, and if they cant understand then my comp just translates it.
We had some good success this week in finding new investigators and even set four baptism dates and have like three more baptism dates so in August we could be having like seven baptisms. We found this family this week and one of the sisters named Tess is really interested. she says she is so happy when we come over and that she wants to be baptized. But she hasn't committed to a date yet so that could be another one also.
We stay in a small little home. In this mission everyone stays in houses. Nice cold bucket showers and bucket flushing toilets. It is pretty cool. There are like 220 missionaries in this mission which is like triple the Bangalore mission. So the Philippines is okay. It rained like non-stop through saturday literally 24 hours each of the days. but yesterday and today it has been pretty hot. Last night we had a really fun family home evening with the branch. The branch does this weekly and it is a good feeling activity because it is a small community that can get together and have a good time. And also, people here are obsessed with basketball. It is awesome. So this morning we played a little ball. They all make their fake jerseys and like everyone, even girls wear basketball jerseys all the time. So that is really cool about the Philippines.
However, i miss India so much. I love that place so much. I am hoping i am only here for one transfer. I think i will be here for 6-12 weeks and then head back to India. But i am trying to adjust here and make the best of it and we are working hard and having a good time. The branch leadership isn't very good so we are basically doing all the work on our own, but we are really trying to bring people to Christ. We have had some really good lessons this week and this upcoming week we will be having some more. I am trying to learn how to pray in Tagalog by the end of this week. I feel like a junk guy sometimes because people are really disappointed when my white companion speaks really good Tagalog and then i don't speak like any haha, but i try and they are still really nice people.
The food is way different also. It is sweet...so honestly it tastes really bland to me! haha. So when me and my companion make noodles for dinner we always make them separate because he likes his with just the regular flavor but i like to make mine really spicy so everything is really bland to me now because i got so used to the spice!! haha but it is fun and i really have an awesome companion. He has been out for about a year also. We get along really well and get work done. So anyways there is my schpeel on the Philippines. I am not a huge fan of this place because i fell in love with India, but i am sure it will grow on me a little bit. However, there is no place like home (and by home i mean India, for i am now Indian) :)
So now that i have been year out, my shoes are actually still in good shape, but they are always dirty or wet. However, my shirts are looking in a little bit rough shape. Like they are having yellowish tint. The philippines elders have really white shirts because the members handwash them for us for a small fee and they wash them so good. Plus it is clean in the Philippines compared to India and the air isn't so polluted. Seriously the Philippines is crazy, but India definitely beats it out in terms of craziness and i even think poverty and stuff like that. I definitely have had some interesting mission experiences. And i don't expect that it will cease to be that way. But i can't wait to get back to my native (india) but while it lasts, i will try to make the best of this opportunity. And maybe i will come home knowing like 5 languages haha. or at least bits and pieces of many. Well love you guys, have a great week!
Love, Elder Ball
Pictures from Angeles Philippines Mission of last week's incoming missionaries...