Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 11 Santo Domingo Philippines

Soooooo it's been quite the past couple of days....

 Manila Temple

 My new companion is Elder Tajada. He is a Filipino and he barely speaks English. He speaks super fast Tagalog and he has a soft I can never ever figure out what he is saying. I get trained for 12 weeks, but Elder Tajada is going home in 5 weeks, so I guess I will get a new trainer soon. We have been assigned to Santo Domingo, which is just North of Vigan city. Annnnnnddd Booyyyy it's pretty out here, but it's definitely third world. Pretty much everyone out here farms or does something that has to do with farming. Everyone has the skinny dogs and chickens and some people have cows. It rains pretty much once a day here. Oh yah, and most everyone has dirt floors or concrete floors and no AC and yah. We are soooooo blessed in America it's ridiculous.

So the first thing we did in the area on Friday was we went to our apartment. I don't know how I have been able to sleep at night. There are spider webs all over the walls and the ceiling and the bathroom and the shower and They all have spiders in them. Tons of mosquitoes. You should see my arms. I'm being eaten alive. There are occasionally Geckos crawling along the walls, (I don't mind the geckos) I caught a glimpse of a rat one night. There were also 2 huuugggee roaches in the kitchen one night that would not, I mean WOULD NOT die. So I just left them and they disappeared so IDK where they are now. There was a centipede under a flip flop in the cold shower this morning, mice, flies everywhere all of the time and who knows what else. There was something weird flying around the room last night I don't even know how to describe it. So yah.

 Also I got to meet the branch today, interesting experience. So there was about 40 people at church on Sunday. Most of them are women. Really the only priesthood in the building was the Branch president and his counselors and the Ward clerk and a couple others and then about 4 or 5 young men. (Oh yah everyone here pretty much speaks ilokano, but they have to switch to Tagalog so we can understand each other). I gave my 2 minute welcome testimony and stuff then after that we had mcm, which is where the missionaries meet with the branch president. There are 4 of us. Me and Elder Tajada and two sisters. Thank goodness one of the sisters is from Utah so I can talk to someone because I have no idea what anyone is saying to me all day long. Its pretty much the worst.  So anyway, we did the meeting which I couldn't understand because everyone just babbled in Tagalog and I understood nothing and then I volunteered to speak on Sunday and then they asked me if I had anything I wanted to say. I said yes. I spoke in Taglish haha, so I could try to express my thoughts. I asked how many less actives were in the branch. We have an 18 % attendance rate, 546 members, 316 families, 48 active Melchizedek priesthood holders and 229 potential priesthood holders. Whhhhhaaaaatttt this is nuts.

Most of the people we have been teaching are investigators, the people that Elder Tajada and his old companion were teaching. How on earth are we supposed to baptize people and keep them active if the branch is so weak? Not to mention, only about 10 of us sang the hymns.  Most people weren't even paying attention. People were watching basketball on their phones DURING THE SACRAMENT SERVICE, and I heard gun shot noises coming from some kids smart phone. There is no branch unity. So I expressed to the counsel that our first priority should be the branch and we need to make an effort to inspire the active members and reactivate the less actives.  The sisters and the branch president seemed to really agree.

I am soooo stressed out, The Lord has me here for a reason, I know that, but I am so stressed out. I know what we have to do, my companion is close to leaving, and I don't speak the language yet. I feel this tremendous weight on my shoulders and it's hard. I am definitely praying my guts out so please pray for me, my companion, and especially for the Santo Domingo area B.

Oh also, there are these service missionaries who live here and apparently they are really sharp in tongue and have offended many of the members who are now less active.  The Lord must expect a lot from me or something because I couldn't feel more over whelmed and alone. I know through Faith and Prayer, and action, The Lord can turn this area around, so I am trying my best. Please pray for us. 

Also I never thought I would get homesick. I miss Utah and my family and my ward and my clean house with my clean bed and no bugs inside and all that hahah, but I'm pushing through. I'm praying a lot and I'm trying to improve my companionship unity with Elder Tajada. I find the most comfort in the scriptures and prayer and study, but usually right when I wake up in the morning I feel very overwhelmed. My emotions are on a roller coaster ride haha. I've cried like 4 times during my prayers haha. I think its safe to say that this is the HARDEST THING I could have ever even imagined to be entrusted with. The Lord is counting on me. The mission president is counting on me. The whole Santo Domingo are counting on me (well there spirits are, they just don't know it) My family is counting on me, uhhhgg. And I don't even know the language. So yah, I'm stressed hahah. I  don't show it on the outside and to my companion, but I feel like my head is gonna explode hehehe. 

Sorry, I don't want to burden you all with all this, I just kinda went on a tangent. Oh well. Don't worry, I'm full hands on deck, and I'm giving it everything I know how. It's just nuts haha. I feel very similar to the prophets of the BOM. I can feel the weight the task and the responsibility, but All those stories in the BOM usually had a happy ending.  So I have faith and I know the Lord is with me.  
I feel similar to Alma when he gave up the judgment seat to go and preach the word unto the churches of the Nephites, (hopefully this doesn't turn out like ammonihah hahaha)
Ingat! I love and miss you all! 
-Elder Andersen

Here is a map of his the Laoag Mission...

 Here Is Vigan City...

Not too shabby, and here is Santo Domingo...

Arial view...

 Some cool, old building

 Me and Elder Langevelde

 Farm Land in between Laoag and Santo Domingo

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