Friday, September 26, 2014

So we are now the senior batch here in the MTC which means in less then 2 weeks we will be leaving and entering the Manila Philippines Mission!!! Im so excited to get out into the field especially after proselyting the other day! We traveled out into the Quezon City mission and met up with some elders that had been in the field for a while and went out with the in their areas! I went with Elder Anderson who is from Canada and we rode in a jeepme! My first time riding in one and it was sooo fun! HAHA! They are extremely hot though and the weather was crazy that day! It was reaining when we left the church building and then stopped raining about 20 minutes into the proselyting! It got super hot. Then later it started raining again and then stopped and got super hot again! The weather changes so much here and so fast. Anyway we went into an area where people live in homes the size of Cadens and Devons room that has a uneven concrete floor with dirt and the foundation is built out of woot that is now rotten and held together with rusty nails and screws! Then they will put metal slats on the outside of the home for walls! No carpet, hardly any lights, a floor that is falling apart, and walls that are made of rotten wood! It really makes you understand how lucky we are for what we have. I cant believe some of the living conditions here. OHH and lots and lots of cats! I saw about 30 to 40 cats in that one area that were all just skin and bones! Thats like the really poor area of the philippines but still just a humbling experience! Elder Anderson and I had the opportunity to actually teach a lesson to a women and her granchildren! He taught most of the lesson but I said the opening prayer and shared a little bit with her in tagalog!
Learning the language is actually getting much easier! Im able to learn words, memorize commintments and learn the sentence structures a lot faster than before. Yesterday I memorized "Susudin mo po ang mga bawat ng diyos?" which is "Will you follow the laws of God?" and "Luluhod ka po at mananalangin araw-araw nang mag-isa at kasama ang pamilya?" which is " will you kneel and pray with your companion and family everyday?" It only took me 5 minutes to memorize both of those! Then I used them in our lesson with Adam which went great! He has commited to a baptismal date and our lessons have really gotten better. Our first lesson stunk and now we are confident and are really able to teach well and in taglish. Which is tagalog and english mixed! My companion has improved a lot this week. He uses his time more wisely and has really improved in his tagalog! Its really nice because I see a difference in our lessons now that he is just as focused as Iam! We are both learning a lot and Im glad that we are MTC companions.
Im not one of the shortest ones here! IT just depends the missionaries from all over the world are usually the same height as me. some a little taller and some are shorter. But the Philippino Elders are all really short! When we went proselyting I felt so tall beacuse everyone was only like 5 feet tall and some were like 5 foot 6 inches but most of them are shorter then me! And when we went proselyting we just cross roads as we wish. There are no stop signs or cross walks so you just cross and everyone who is driving just stops. So we were walking in between moving cars that were inches away from us its crazy! HAHA! But its also really fun to be out in the city!
There are some historical sights here a couple weeks ago we went to a cemetery for American soldiers from World War 2! There was 17,097 soldiers buried there and a wall of rememberance that had 36,286 names of soldiers who went missing in action! It was crazy! It was called the Manila American Cemetery and Mermorail.  It was really cool to get to go there.
Oh so we all feel like were are in the CIA here! We have security cards to get into the buildings and basically all the doors have a scanner that requires a security card in order to get past. Plus we walk around in ties and collared shirts all day and we use our security card as gun since it hangs from our belt on a string that retracts. Its so fun here at the MTC. Im learning so much and I love every minute of it. We have a lot of fun and a lot of good conversations. I love my district which I sent a picture of us all right after our temple session today. Our teachers are also way awesome! There are both super funny and are really good at helping us understand the language!
The old senior batch just left on Wednesday which stinks because we really got to know all those Elders and had good friendships with them all! Mof them also played basketball so now we are down to about 12 people that play instead of 25. But the new batch just came in today and hopefully some of them play ball. But this new batch was actually really small which was very surprising! So the night before the new batch left some of the seniors had a testimony meeting in their room! It was amazing and definitely one of my most spiritual experieences this week. Over 20 Elders crammed themsleves in this tiny room and we started with a song and pray then some of the Elders from the senior and middle batch shared their testimony. Its amazing to hear what some of these guys have gone through and to hear their testimony just strenghtened mine! It was a great time and a memory that I will never forget. After the testimony meeting there is something here called the brotherhood that a senior batch started 8 batches ago. Basically your initiation is a hand shake and once a member of the brotherhood always a member. And the brotherhood is basically we are all brothers and no matter what you are going through at any moment in your life you always have your brothers to back you up even though we here at this MTC are from all over the world! Its way cool!
I baught a book of mormon today thats in tagalog it also came with the doctrine and covenants and pearl of great price. It cost me 21.00 pisos which is about 48 cents. Its so cool how I was able to get it for so cheap along with everything else here. I spent 81 pisos today at rustans super market which is about $2. Its so wierd to look at skittles and see a 38.00 on the price. It seems like its so expensive but when you do the math its only like 90 cents. Its crazy!
Well we have dinner now so I have to go! I still have a bunch to tell you all but I write in my Journal daily so you can read it when I get home! I will write you all again next week! I LOVE YOU ALL AND PRAY FOR YOU EACH AND EVERYDAY!! Good job on everything you are doing! I wish I could see your new trick Rylee! I LOVE YOU CADEN, DEVON, RYLEE, TAYLOR AND MOM AND DAD!!! I MISS YOU ALL A LOT!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hello Family
I hope you guys got the pictures I sent to you!
This week was really good we had a ton of fun and learned a bunch! The days are getting really repetitive just because our schedule is the exact same everyday! But we make the best of it and we have so much time to study each day its great! Im learning so much and my testimony is strenghtening so much and Im only in the MTC. Honestly I cant wait to get out into the field. After feeling the spirit the way I have this week Im so excited to share this gospel with the people of the Philippines! We are the middle batch right now and next week the senior batch leaves which means we will be the senior batch and will only have about two weeks left here in the MTC! I know that Im going to learn so much more out in the field and its going to be so amazing!
So we learned this week that here in Manila it rains sooooo much! Its been raining for over 12 hours now and its still raining! I heard that theres a possible typhoon coming into this area but I dont think it we really affect us here at the MTC if there really is a typhoon! So we just got back from the temple and we had to run over there in the rain and back so we were all soaked but were pretty much dry now! I love this weather!
Everyday we play basketball in the gym and its so fun! The only thing is the humidity! And Ive also been doing pushups crunches and some other work outs everynight before I go to bed. Its cool now all the Elders in my room expect for a couple work out everynight its fun! HAHA! We all also write in our journals everynight! I havent missed a single day of writing in my journal since Ive been here which is great! Its really becoming a habit!
Im starting to get a hang of teaching progressing investigators. Its getting easier and I feel my comfortable doing it. Because of some of the experiences Ive had doing it I am now really looking forward to entering the field and teaching real investigators. My companion is a good Elder but because the MTC is acutall a really hard place to focus he messes around a lot. Im not trying to be mean but our lessons have suffer a couple times because of it! I try my best to use my time wisely and Ive been trying to get him to do the same! Hes been getting better but theres still some work to be done! Im actually really thankhful for it because it making me a stronger missionary, teacher, and person. 
Again this week we had some more opportunities to gibve preisthood blessings! Some of the sisters in our district got sick and we were able to give them blessings it was a great experience. 
My tagalog is getting better and Im learning a lot of new words but again I feel like I will learn so much fatser in the field because I will be communicating in tagalog. Here at the MTC there is still a lot of english because everyone here can speak it. Im looking forward to learning this language and I cant wait to be able to speak it!
Time is still going bu extremely fast here! It feels like I was just on the plane a couples days ago on my way here and now we are about to be the sneior batch! 
I hope everything is going great at home!! I MISS you all and love being able to email you guys! I love being a missionary and am looking forward for the next two years. Alam Ko po na (I know that) This Simbahan (church) is the totoo (true) Simbahan on the Diagdig (earth) today. Make sure you guys are praying and reading your scriptures each night because it truely doesn make a huge difference! I have had the spirit with me so much this week and feel the spirit often! LOVE YOU ALL!!! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

KUMUSTA PAMILYA!! (Hello Family)
So this week at the MTC went by so fast it was crazy!! I woke up the other day and thought it was wednesday but it wasnt!! It was thursday!! I cant believe how fats time is going here at the MTC! Everyday Is super busy with Ebanghelyo (Gospel) studay and language study!! We have way more langauage study then gospel study just because we are here for 6 weeks! The langauge isnt to hard to learn. Some of the words can be difficult but the sentence structure is super simple! We just need to practice a lot more.The sntence structure is backwards so learning this language is messing with our english! We all speak english backwards now its funny! So all the regualr training missionaries as well as the senior batch of the Language training missionaries just left the other day and for dalawa (two) days there were only about 4 districts in the MTC it was so nice! But today a new batch came in. The biggest batch to enter this MTC with about 120 missionaries! Here we get missionaries from all other the place! There are tons of philippino missionaries and some from Australia, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji and today we got some from Pakistan and India. Now there are a bunch of missionaries here at the MTC. So my kasama (Companion) and I are already teaching tatlo (three) investigators and its difficult to teach because they just speak in tagalog! But we are always reminded that when we are teaching the is only one langauge and it is the language of the spirirt. One of our progressing investigaors is named Adam. This is all acting and pretending so its not real. But we had an awesome lesson the other day with Adam! We taught him about the plan of salvation. At theend I bore my testimony on the plan of asvlation and my kasama started to cry and our investigator Adam almost cried! The spirit was sooo strong it was crazy! Adam is totally going to get baptized! I invited him to get baptized and he said he would. By the way I already have the baptismal invitaion memorized in tagalog. I dont know if I told you guys that last time. Also read 2 Nephi kabanata (Chapter) 31. We invited adam to read it and I think that it was a great chapter to have him read! Its just a great chapter in general. 
Things are great here right outside our window is the city of Manila so our room basially over looks the city! Its a big and heavily crowded city! There are a bunch of skycrapers probably just as many cranes in the air as there are skyscrapers just cause they are building sooo much stuff here!! Oh and we asked what the minimum wage is here and its 10 pesos a day which is about $10 a day. Gas is also about a $1 a gallon and we can get candy bars for 8 pesos so about 20 to 30 cents. Its nice. Some of the other missionaries spend so much money here on p day. My campanion spend over 1000 pesos on our p day which is crazy! I dont spend nearly that amaount.
I havent been able so sent pictures cause there is no WIFI here at the MTC and the computers will only send isa (one) picture at a time and it takes forever! Im trying to send some right now! The rules here are really strict which it completely understandable. We arent allowed to chew GUM!! Which stinks because I use to crew gum ALL the time. So im going through withdrawls right now! HAHA!
We get an hour of gym everday and we always play basketball its so fun except the humidity makes us all sweat like crazy!
We also got to go to the Manila temple again this week! We go every P-day so we will get to go about 4 or 5 times while we are here in the MTC. Its really cool.
I read those letter you all wrote for me!! Salamat po (Thank you with respect) They were awesome to read I leave them in my bag in the envelope and they will stay there!
So today on our way to rustans the store thats right by the MTC I bought a ring that says Philippines Manila Mission and inside it says Elder Jones. I actually ordered it today it will be here next week! It will cost me 400 pesos or like $8. So it was worth it. There are these ladys that stand on the sidewalk everyday and sell CTR rings and mission rings. Its crazy how busy they are all the time!
There is so much thats happens in a week here so Im not sure if I wrote everything I wanted to.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! I cant wait to here from you next week!!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Kumusta pamilya! Or should I say hello family.The MTC here is amazing it is so nice. Our schedule everyday is jam packed with tons of classes and study time. I hardly have time to think some times. For one of our training exercises we have to teach a progressing investigator which is crazy. Its not so much the teaching part thats hard its the fact that the investigator speaks very little english and we have to communicate in tagalog. It helps us a lot to learn the language. My companion and I are doing good in the lessons we just finished teaching our first investigator yesterday and we have already been assigned 2 newnvestigators.
So our flight over here was super long but luckily we had plenty of time to sleep. I met up with Elder Ashton and Elder Beagley in Salt lake city and then in portland we met up with Elder Boshard who is my companion, Elder Thacker sho looke EXACTLY like Stephen, Elder dunford, Bowers, and Gibson. We all flew from portland to tokuo then to Manila. The planes we flew on had tvs in the back of the seats and it kinda stunk cause we couldnt watch tv. We got to manila super late beacuse our flight got delayed in tokyo because of rain. we then went to this super fancy hotel in Manila and the next morning went to the MTC. The driving here is absolutley insane there are zero traffic laws everyone honks their horn to tell you they are comng and people cut eachother off all the time the buses here just weave in and out of traffic and people walk through the streets while we are driving. its crazy. we also had to go to the immigration center to finish our visas and I thought we were going to die because how insane the driving is around here. the city is also crazy there is a really nice part ansd then also a part that is really run down with tons of homeless people and its also super dirty but that makes up the majority of the city. The other day one of our kasamas got really sick and we all gave him a blessing in our room. Within a couple hours he was back to normal. There are 6 of us in our room 2 elders from samoa and 4 of us from the states. There are a bunch of philipino elders here some from tonga samoa one from new zealand how is like 6 feet 6 inches and probably weighs 350 pounds and not beacuse hes fat but beacuse hes so strong. The other day he picked up and elder with one arm it was crazy. By the way his name is elder hapi and he is massive. today we had the chance to go to the temple and do a session as a district the manila temple is amazing and theres an underground tunnel connecting the MTC to the temple. Theres a really busy street that seperates the 2. It rains everyday here and it is actually raining right now. The humudity is crazy. it is so humid and so strong. Oh and i havent sent and photos because there is no wifi here. the MTC rules are so strict. Every Friday is our p day and we still have to wear church clothes all day and we still have classes. not much of a p day. The food here is really good we have had rice for breakfast lunch and dinner everyday except for maybe 4 meals. so ya we eat a lot of rice. even on our p days we only have an hour to email which isnt much time at all considering how much happens in one week. We had a really good devotional the other day and our speaker said "Faith and Fear cannot exhist in our hearts at the same time." So remember you either have faith or you are afraid. I have so much more to say but i dont have much time left. Its 10:48 here so its about 8:48 at night back home.
Sorry this letter is so unorganized i just have so much to tell you and not enough time so im just writing whatever pops into my head.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! I will write you again next friday about the same time.