Wow I am actually in the Philippines, I can't believe it! After a long 19 hour flight, we finally made it to Manilla and got to our hotel around midnight. It was the longest two days of my life. I have never flown for so long before, and my poor ankles were swollen for about 3 days haha but they are to their normal size now!
But it has been a whirlwind being here, the days go by so fast and every hour I am doing something. So the night after we got to Manilla, we took a 6 hour bus ride to San Fernando where the mission office is. It was really hot like everyone said that it would be haha, but it was nice to get tan again. After just two days, I had a tan line on my feet, I was stoked! So we stayed in San Fernando for two days and met our Mission President, President Balledos and did some activities with our batch. It was really fun getting to be with all of the Baguio missionaries from the MTC as well as the missionaries from the Manilla MTC. Filipino people are so nice, it blows my mind! So I really liked being the lowlands for the first couple of days. We even got to eat at President Balledo's house which is right on the beach in San Juan. It was gorgeous, and we loved getting to put our feet in the water. We also had something called a budofit (sp?) that night where we all eat with our hands, it was so fun! I never thought that I would love to eat with my hands, take bucket showers, and hand wash my clothes, but I really do! Everyday is an adventure and I'll never get tired of it!
So after those two days in San Fernando, we had our transfer meeting, and were assigned to our trainers and first areas. My trainer is Sister Lazan from the Philippines! I was super stoked to get a Filipino companion becasue she can help me with Tagalog, I need as much help as I can get! I also got assigned to Baguio city! It's really cool that I'm starting off in Baguio, but I was so sad when Sister Sawada and Sister Tapusoa got assigned to be in San Juan. I cried so much when we were separated, but I will see them again, so it's ok. I'm really happy that I'm in Baguio now though. It's high up in the mountains, about a 2 hour jeepnee ride, and it's cold and foggy. It's sobrang maganda here! Everyone keeps asking me if I am cold because I never wear a jacket, but the weather is just perfect! Excpet it does get cold at night. I never thought that I would sleep in sweat pants in the Philippines haha or have to heat up my water for the shower! But I love it, it will be hard to go back to the lowlands where it's so hot. Baguio is high up in the mountains, and we have to climb so many hills everyday. Also, there are a lot of stairs and alleys that we have to go through which can seem kind of sketch at times, but the ward missionaries here have helped us so much! So both my comp and I are new in this area, so we have had the ward missionaries tour us everyday, except today we will go out on our own. But get this, the ward missionaries are all like 17 years old! They are so young, but use all of their free time to help us out and go to lessons with us. They really love the church so much, it is their life! It made me feel guilty for not going out with the missionaries back home as much, because they are so great and helpful. Being here has really made me realize how simple life really is. You don't need a lot of physical things to be happy. The people may be poor, but they are always smiling! The first night that I came to Baguio, I went around and met some of the members, and they would offer me food and hug me. One member even washed my shoe for me after I stepped in dog poo. They are seriously the nicest and most humble people, I want to me more like them. I know that I was called here for a reason and that God has a perfect plan for me and the people that I meet here. I am so excited to begin to find investigators in this area and hasten the work! The ward that I am in is decreasing in numbers, so there is a lot to do here. Pray for me that I will be able to learn Tagalog quickly so that I can get to know them better and help them in any way that I can!
Thank you Mom for your letter, it made me so happy to get that when I was going off on my own to Baguio. You can still dear elder me if you choose the Baguio Mission and I get them once a week. Thanks so much everyone for all of your love and prayers, I really need them! But know that I am doing very well here. The power of prayer is real and I am learning and growing in my faith every single day! I love you all!