Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week Three? I Think?

The first thing I want to say is that the Filipino people are like MY people! They all get distracted super easily just like me. Elder Ehlert says I just have this skill for getting us both off topic SUPER easily without him even realizing what's happening. Just something I've been working on for my entire life! One of our investigators, Sonny Q, gets off on some crazy tangents! We'll be teaching about the Word of Wisdom and then he'll just butt in and start talking about how he drinks so much water and tells us about all the benefits of water for like 5 minutes. Haha, so great! And our other investigator, Sonny F (yup, they have the same name. They're both best friends too), goes off as well! We often times end up talking about some bad things like a boil he's had and all the puss that squirted out. He's a funny guy though! The last time we taught him we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. I was sitting there when I suddenly realized I'd never seen his wife. I thought, "I wonder what happened to her." Literally RIGHT after I thought that he launched into his story. They were lying in bed one day when she complained about a pain in her chest. That was the last thing he heard her say before she passed out. He yelled to his son to get the car because "Mom isn't feeling well" and they rushed to the hospital. He told us how he waited at her bed side holding her hand while he watched her heart beat monitor. The beat was irregular and he slowly watched as the time grew longer and longer between beats until it reached a flat line. Within three hours of her passing out she had died. Totally unexpected. It was just heartbreaking to hear him tell that story. It made the rest of lesson just amazing though as we told him about where she is now and how he can someday return and live with her again. That was an incredible experience. Really cemented in my mind exactly why I'm here, ya know? 

We also had our first CSP this week! (Community Service Project) That was just tough though. All it was was cleaning all the water out of this well. We had a bucket and some rope. Let's just say that we have a lot of blisters from said rope. We worked for HOURS just hoisting bucket after bucket out of this well and only cleared out like 15 feet of water. We still had more to do, but had to go teach some lessons. I think they got some people from the ward to help out though. So that was fun. Makes showering just awesome with all these open wounds all over my fingers! Elder Ehlert showers with gloves on now because it hurts so bad! haha It's the funniest thing watching him go in there with his gloves on. 

Elder Ehlert and I are also trying to do some more street contacting. We try to just start off conversations naturally and stuff and it really works! One of my favorites is this: We were walking down the street a couple nights ago when I saw a guy and this girl sitting on the hood of a Jeepney with a guitar. Elder Ehlert saw me staring at the guitar and said, "Ask him if you can play it." So I did. Of course the first song I busted out was "I'm Sexy and I Know It" which was cause for some good laughs and, soon enough, I had a little crowd of like 15 people listening to me play and sing. It was so cool. Just like sitting on the hood of this car under a yellow streetlight while everything else was just pitch black with night. Just straight up one of those magical mission moments I'll never forget. I then started playing some "Never Know" by Jack Johnson and kept the really quite and gentle sounding guitar part going as Elder Ehlert started teaching our small crowd about the Restoration. We didn't have enough pamphlets on us to give to everyone! It was just so awesome. We said goodbye and continued on our way. Now everyone knows who we are on that street. It's like that everywhere though! All we have to do is one memorable thing on a street and EVERYONE will know our names on that one street. We have a few places like that where we'll just get mobbed with kids the instant we set foot on the street. I literally feel like a rock star. People will just yell our names from down the street and give us a big smile and a wave. I love the people here so much! 

The language is coming along okay I guess. Humihinga pa ako (I'm still breathing). I know it'll get better, but it's just hard to be so handicapped as a teacher. Oh well. Just know I'm doing really well! Sorry, I forgot to take pictures this week! It's so hard to remember to do that! My mind is just in other places all day. Thinking about our investigators and stuff. 

But ya, I love you all so much! Thanks for all the support and love you give me. I just want everyone to know that I'm so thankful that I can be a missionary! It's a wonderful calling and, even though it can be really hard at times, I know I'm doing what I need to be doing right now. Ingat po! (Take care)

Elder Krueger
P.S. It's really weird to hear my first name now.. Like it just feels wrong even calling myself Patrick hahaha sorta funny!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Second Week

As a mother it is hard to see this kitchen! I know they have an apartment check once a month... thank heavens!

This is the Laundry Room

Typical meal... lots of rice!

Peeling the shell off the Balut

It's truly hard to believe that I've already been here two weeks... Like it has been EIGHT weeks since I left on that airplane. I'm practically home already!

 Well, the Philippines is the same as usual. I'm probably frightened for my life AT LEAST once a day. I really thought driving could not be any scarier until I got on a bus. Like one of those BIG buses. They seriously drive like they're a motorcycle! Darting in and out of traffic. They should really have a sign that says, "Keep your arms and legs in the ride at all times" because that is what it feels like. Plus, if you stick your arm out the window you WILL get it knocked off! So ya, that's fun. I also just love the publicness of using the restroom here. That is, there is no restroom. You just stop on the side of the street and let loose. Needless to say, I've definitely tried that! 

I also had the opportunity to try Balut. If you don't know what that is it's just a half developed chicken egg that you want served to you warm. Pictures are included! 
"Do I really have to eat it?"

The heart was pretty hard and tasteless, but everything else was actually quite delicious! Once you got past how it looked and what it was it was really good! I accidentally broke the head open and the brain spilled out into my bowl though.. Got all of the egg shell on it and I didn't really feel like just eating the brain plain haha It just tastes like a really good hard boiled egg! I'll definitely be having it again. 

The Philippines is changing me... I even killed a cockroach the other day! Smashed him right where he stood! Or crawled I guess. Well, not really that either cause he was just squirming around on his back.. It was actually a pretty pathetic fight now that I think about it. He never even stood a chance. Or crawled a chance... the bugs are actually sorta fun. It's like a whack a mole game while you're eating dinner! 

The heat here is just about unbearable! They tell me this is the coolest time of the year as well.. It's just hard because we climb a hill for the entire day to get to our appointments. I guess it just means that we get to go downhill at night, but it's just awful in the afternoon to be climbing through muggy alley ways up these hills. 

The first P-Day last week was a lot of fun! My district is really cool and filled with really nice guys. We went out to lunch at this place called Pancake House and that was just delicious. I got this huge waffle fold over with a punch of peanutbutter, ice cream, m&ms, and chocolate syrup on the inside... So good.. The restaurants here are way backwards though! We went to Pizza Hut and it was like a NICE sit down restaurant! It was also like 10 times better than American Pizza Hut as well. 

Elder Ehlert is pretty sweet too. We are getting close and he is just a nice guy! We have a ton of deep talks about doctrine as I read about stuff in the Bible Dictionary. I really love it! He's really patient with me as I'm learning too. Ya, the language is not coming along as quickly as I'd have like it. German sorta just came naturally, but Tagalog is tough. I just can't seem to wrap my head around the concepts of the word order and really just the simplicity of it. It is like SO simple it's crazy. You just want to speak how you would in English but you say like 5 sentences in English just as once sentence in Tagalog if that makes any sense. I dunno, I'm sure it'll come soon enough. The people are what I live for though. I love just going through the streets and talking to people. Although the last few people we have OYMed (Open Your Mouth- just people we talk to on the streets) have all turned out to be preachers for other churches! We can't seem to catch a break! That and our investigators keep moving to Manila without telling us. THAT'S just wonderful. We'll like show up at their house, or shack more like, and the neighbors will tell us that they moved. Soooo ya, we're having a sorta hard time. But the investigators we have are all pretty golden! One of our investigators, Sonny F, asked us, "Is it alright if I invited another family to church this Sunday?" Elder Ehlert and I were just like "YES! That's totally fine! Do that as much as you want!" haha it was so great. He is just in love with this Gospel! 

So basically, all in all, I'm trying my best. I really want to do my best too. Sometimes it gets discouraging when I just have to stop in the middle of my sentence during a lesson and just think about a word for like 30 seconds, but I have a purpose to why I'm here. I just think of everyone counting on me here to learn this language and to teach them the gospel. And also about the people who are counting on me back home. Also, sorry for the weird day of getting this email. We had our PDay on Wednesday (today) this week because it's our temple day today. Should be back to the normal day for the next few weeks. 

MAN am I excited for Christmas! I don't even want anything. I'm just so happy I get to call home. Best present ever. Well, I love you all so much! I probably forgot a bunch about this week, but I'm writing in my journal every night so you can read it when I get home! I'll talk to you all in 5 days.

Praying for you always, 
Elder Krueger

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First REAL Week

Patrick's district at the MTC

Look at the Krueger boys! They both are funny boys! Must be the name!

One of the best teacher ever!! Sister Myra Hernandez

Outside his window


Patrick's desk


So where do I even begin? The last few days of the MTC seem like such a blur to me now. Just saying goodbye to everyone. Saying bye to our teachers was pretty hard. They were wonderful people and just really loved the gospel. But all good things must come to an end! Me and Elder Krueger pulled some pretty good last few pranks (not really "pranks" but they made us laugh) and, I have to say, I'm really gonna miss my district. That was the closest I'll ever be to a district that I'm in while I'm here. Like I'm 5-6 days in this now and I haven't even met my district leader yet! 

Wednesday morning came and they loaded us all into vans and sent us away. We went to the chapel for some orientation from the AP's and that was pretty cool. The AP's are both really nice guys and were super stoked about all the new missionaries. We then had our interviews with President Sperry at the mission home. Let me tell you, after seeing that place.... I want to be a mission president.... It was such a beautiful house. They let us check out upstairs and see the room where the General Authorities sleep when they visit, and I had to lay down in the bed for a few seconds haha! Just so I can say that I've laid in the same bed where a General Authority slept! But then they took us back to the chapel and I got my companion, Elder Ehlert. You guys. He's American. PRAISE THE LORD ABOVE! I can actually speak to him in English and he can understand me! We went back to our zone which is the (drum roll please) FAIR-VIEW ZONE!! WOOO! Not really that exciting, but ya. It's actually the same zone that we did the MTC exchanges in. I actually also remember seeing Elder Ehlert at the exchange thing! So that's cool! Being in the same area means that EVERYTHING is just like WAY ghetto! 

We taught the night that I got here. We actually taught the first two lessons in the same house. The girl who lives there takes care of like 4 or 5 kids and they were all just super crazy. The house was tiny and you could see cockroaches and mice running around, but these kids were so happy! They said that I looked like Gru from Despicable Me and kept on pinching my cheeks and telling me I was cute haha they were all over me. Like literally. They were climbing all over me! I was trying to figure out where we were in the lesson, but then one kid would poke his finger in my ear while one girl would be climbing up my legs while, yet another, would be climbing up my arm. It was just chaos haha but we got through it just the same. Everyone has a really hard time pronouncing my name though. Most of the kids usually just give up and call me "Elder Cracker" haha which I guess works because I'm white and all! But ya, that was it for that first night, and we went home to the apartment and slept. 

The next day was pretty jam packed. We had so many appointments and not a lot of time for much else. I'll just tell about some highlights. Walking around is pretty fun actually because you get SO many people yelling at you if you're white. People will ALWAYS ask what your name is and it is just so easy to start talking to people because they just automatically are intrigued because of your skin color. But ya, we taught this guys named Sonny and he was really funny. He's had such an interesting life and is just chalk full of great stories. He even speaks some German so I totally took advantage of that! If I didn't know it in Tagalog I could just say it in German! Looks like I can use that language after all!  I bore my testimony at the end and he said something I couldn't understand, but I just said, "Salamat po (thank you)." After we got out, Elder Ehlert said that I made that lesson happen. I was so confused until he told me that Sonny had not been sure if he wanted a return appointment until he heard my testimony. Apparently Sonny had said, "THAT is why he is here and why he is learning this language and trying so hard. He KNOWS that this is true." That really lifted my spirits because that was the lesson where I was thinking, "How am I going to do this...?" The Lord totally helped me out with that. That gave me so much strength to push forward. 

That night (or maybe the next night) was also my favorite lesson. We went to the Ladera family. It was already dark when we got there and their house was pitch black except for one little candle. They put the candle on a little table and the whole family and me and E. Ehlert all gathered around it to teach the lesson. It was seriously like a scene from a movie or something. Just a single flickering flame in their concrete box of a home. We actually went back there last night because one of their kids was really sick. We gave him a Priesthood blessing. I said it and that was actually the first blessing I've given. It was sweet. Both of the parents were just crying by the end of it. We also have another investigator named Dyosan who is really cool! She cracks a bunch of jokes and is really interested about EVERYTHING! We spent forever trying to explain "snow" to her two days ago. It's weird because she knows that she is dirt poor, but she is so dang happy. Her husband is also really nice. We also taught the Bulan family who is housing some kids from the Tacloban area! We taught them the law of chastity and went through each of the kids (the oldest being 10) and asked them is they had an "asawa" (spouse) which made them all laugh quite a bit. It's nice to know that everyone has a good sense of humor! The members are also really cool here! They actually had me bear my testimony at church and that was pretty much a train wreck. I got up there and just forgot every bit of Tagalog I knew. But everyone was really forgiving luckily! A few of our investigators came to church and that's just the best feeling in the world. We had a ward mission meeting afterwards and that was fun too. Everyone was trying to get me to pronounce words correctly and just speak in Tagalog, but that wasn't happening haha This one girl turned to me at one point and was like, "Have you seen Warm Bodies?" I told her I had and she said, "You look like the guy from that." I then asked, with mock hurt in my voice,  "Are you saying I look like a zombie?!" She like turned bright red and was just speechless sputtering, "N-no!" Hahaha it was so great. They all also wanted me to try balut today... which actually may be happening later tonight.. wish me luck! ( balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. It is just days from hatching usually. It is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines.)

Speaking of balut, the food here is pretty normal. Like people will make spaghetti and just like sandwiches and stuff. Super easy. I still have yet to try dog though... I'm eager to check that off of my bucket list. Ya, I'm pretty sure you could constantly play "In the arms of an angel" while filming all the dogs here and you'd have a perfect "sad dog" commercial. There are so many dogs just running around... A lot have homes though! There's even a guy in the little sub division we live in that has a chocolate lab! So it's always nice to see some dogs that are actually being cared for. 

Hmmmm, I'm not sure what else to write about.. The weather is hot and humid! I bring around a little bandanna to wipe my sweat and that's about the only thing that keeps me going. Oh! We found a cockroach in our garbage last night! I went to grab the spray thing of bug killer but E. Ehlert just like grabbed its antennae, carried it over to the door, all while it was wriggling in his fingers, and threw it outside. Needless to say I'm pretty scarred now. He said that he was like me at the beginning of his mission but he just doesn't care anymore now.. I don't want to be like that though! I mean, he's only 9 months in! By the end of his mission he'll probably like catch them and then eat them! 

Oh ya, I'm also teaching myself the Tagalog Ancient Script. It's just like what they used before they started using the English alphabet. It looks super awesome! I'll write a bunch in it and take a picture of it for next week's email! I'm planning on rewriting a few chapters from the Book of Mormon in it! haha How sweet would that be?! 

Well, that's about it you guys! I love you all and I hope you're all having a good time back in America! More next week.

Elder Krueger

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some Crazy Stuff!

Hi Everyone!
I thought I should fill you in on some of the events that took place this week. As you know the Philippines were hit with that big Typhoon. Luckily it did not hit Manila and from the sound of Patrick's post and from the two emails that we received during the week they did not tell them much about what was going on. They did however take in many of the missionaries from the Tacloban mission at the Manila MTC and they will be helping them put their lives back together and get them back out in other Philippine missions. I am getting bits and pieces from different sources and there are a lot of stories coming out of that poor mission. This is a terrible tragedy and I, as a mother, am trying to figure out what we can do to help. I have come up with a few ideas and am beginning to put them in motion and will keep you updated. The missionaries were found and taken to safety. Many of the people they love, including their mission president, lost everything they own and are still there looking for loved ones that are missing and trying to figure out how to go forward with their lives. I want to help in some small way. So stay tuned!
Susan Krueger kruegerworld@msn.com (if you have any thoughts or ideas)

 We have been getting a lot of missionaries coming in from the area that was hit by the typhoon. The stories they've been telling... Just bodies literally flying down the streets, roofs collapsing on them and they had to use tables as shields as they watch all of their belongings around them get swallowed up by the rising water.. Most of the 71 who came here lost everything they owned. They had been surviving off of one meal a day in the same clothes for 5 days before they could leave the area. When they came, we put together a HUGE donation room and everyone just gave them any extra clothes they had. I gave some as well and it was totally worth it just to see the look on all of their faces. I don't think they expected everyone to be so giving. It was awesome to see all that though. It really hit me what happened here in the Pines once the Mission President told us, "This is YOUR home now. Those are YOUR people who lost their lives." It hit everyone so hard. I kid you not, the whole MTC was in tears. It just sucks cause they can't even send missionaries in for service missions (to Tacloban) because they just can't do anything.. Like the mission was just completely wiped off the map. 

The next day got better though. We went proselyting again! This time it was in the Quezon City mission and I actually thought that it was more fun. My companion was Elder Baticbatic (bah-teek-bah-teek) and he was seriously SUCH a funny Filipino dude! Everyone was actually pretty jealous I got him because he was just such a cool guy. We taught this family that had two little girls who were just the cutest things ever. Whenever we'd read a scripture the smallest one, who was sitting next to me, would just look at me and say, "Elder" and hand me her Ang Aklat ni Mormon so I could get her to the page we were reading. It was so cute. (Yes, I am a man and I can use 'cute') I taught quite a bit of the lesson as well! It was a little easier because their house was quite a bit nicer than the one I went to last time! haha No rodents this time! They had tile floors and the father had a BUNCH of sound equipment in their front room. I was just like, "Hey, I know what that is, and that is, and that is..." haha Good conversation point. He was pretty surprised that I knew how to work it all. The heat was just brutal though.. I need like so many rags just walking around for 2 hours.. All in all though, the proselyting was wonderful. I can't wait to get out there for myself. Everyone is just so dang happy out there! 

Funny story- Elder Biggs is trying to teach a bunch of us how to shuffle.. haha it's actually going rather well! It just makes you really realize how uncoordinated you are. But Elder Biggs was like on a dance team or something back home just for shuffling and stuff and he is pretty dang amazing at it. So basically I'm gonna give up Neuroscience and become a dancer. It's gonna happen. We have also come up with a bunch of games that we play as a district in like tournaments and stuff. Like we play this game with highlighters. I dunno, it's really hard to explain, but it's way intense. And we also play Bocci ball with all these marbles we found one day. I love all the random things we have to entertain ourselves!

Can I just say that the Cheeze Whiz stuff that they have here isn't actually too bad... I actually bought some from the store. It tastes sorta like easy cheese and I found some Ritz cracker ripoffs that it tastes delicious with. All the other Americans were disgusted by me though, but all of the Filipinos would just be like, "You like Cheeze Whiz!?!?!?" Just in total and utter amazement. Funny stuff! I also bought these chip things that taste EXACTLY like fries dipped in ketchup! They are pretty dang delicious! But the metal lid on it was like super sharp and I actually cut myself a few times trying to throw it away. The cuts would NOT stop bleeding for close to 20 minutes, so I put some of that green goo on the cuts and it stopped right away. That stuff works miracles. It also works crazy well on bug bites. It's incredible! Love that stuff! 

So Elder Lindley and I are loving having that room to ourselves. The super bed is just wonderful and fantastic and every night I get such a good sleep. Plus our room has now turned into the hang out room. We get a bunch of visitors in there every night just to talk about all sorts of stuff. We've even talked about one of my favorite subjects: all of our theories of time and black holes and just space in general. I live amongst nerds like myself! 

We've also been doing really well in our teaching appointments! We got Noli to put a date on his baptism and we finished teaching the Plano ng Kaligtasan (Plan of Salvation) to both of our investigators. We made these little cut outs to illustrate the whole thing and they absolutely loved that. It's gonna be weird to get another companion next week cause me and E. Lindley are just so in sync now. I'm gonna have to figure out the whole new dynamic now with my new companion. Hopefully he'll be cool.. I also had a personal revelation about faith after reading the first dozen verses in Heleman 10. I'm not gonna really tell you what exactly, just read it and find it for yourself! I love that chapter! 

 Me and the other Krueger read a bunch of Revelations and D&C 130 so we could talk to each other about it and, let me tell ya, that conversation lasted a couple of hours. I love talking about all that stuff though! D&C 130 is just sorta funky though. haha Me and Krueger have talked about everything though and we finally have come to some sorta consensus on the doctrine. I really just hope all that stuff doesn't come up with an investigator... I don't know enough Tagalog to deal with that. haha But ya, that was basically my week!

Oh, another funny story- I totally got my face smashed playing basketball. The other Krueger was throwing the ball to someone just as I was retrieving a ball that was trying to escape from me and it just smashed me right in the face. Don't worry though! Nothing is broken! I felt my nose crack a few times, but no blood or anything! I just thought it was so funny. Like go into my first few weeks in the mission field with a swollen face and a purple nose. Can you imagine? haha It's been a wonderful time. I love my district and I love being a missionary! I'm excited to get out into the field next week! Oh, about that. I'm not really sure if I'll be able to email until my next P-day, which will be in 10 days. There have been rumors floating around that we may be able to email on Tuesday, (your Monday) but I don't know if that's true. If it is, I'll talk to you in a few days! If not, I'll talk to you guys in 10 days. I love you all!

Elder Krueger

Friday, November 8, 2013

Best Week Ever!

 The Super bed upper bunk!
Elder Lindley forgot to brush his hair so E. Walters and E. Johnson are trying to help him

So I'm gonna try another way to organize this email thing! I'm just gonna take some bits from my journal entries and expound upon them. You guys can tell me whether it works or not!

The language is coming along nicely! There was one night while teaching though that I accidentally said "Nagluto po si Joseph Smith and Doktrina at ang mga Tipan." Which is "Joseph Smith cooked the Doctrine and Covenants."... I meant to say "Nagsulat" but totally spaced! Got a pretty good laugh out of our investigator though! I also introduced the blow dart game to my district. Anybody who was in choir last year will know what I'm talking about. There have been times where the teacher has walked in the room and half the class has been dead on the ground! It confuses so many people! We are really dedicated to it though. Like I've died on the stairs before. Not so much fun there. Hopefully it'll last for our entire mission! That'd be so great haha Another funny thing that happened is simply the word for "mermaid." The word is "sirena" and it's also slang for "gay" and so we would ask our teacher all day, "What's the word for mermaid?" And we'd just watch her turn bright red and she'd never tell us! It was so priceless. 

I should also say here that I finally finished the Book of Mormon. Took me 8 or 9 days to read the whole thing. I even read all of Alma in a single day. Ended that day with a headache, haha, but I seriously love the Book of Mormon! I plan on finishing it again before I leave the MTC. Two weeks should be ample time. I also still can't find the scripture that made me come on my mission now. I don't know, there's something up with that. That scripture has literally disappeared and it's starting to make me wonder... Just some funky stuff, ya know?  I've been thrilling everyone with my stories of how many times I've been pulled over by the cops and never gotten a ticket. Everyone is quite impressed with the feat I accomplished. 

On Tuesday I finally got some Dear Elder letters that had been sent a while ago! One from Xandra and one from Elder Lindley's mom. Also on Tuesday, we got the 6 worst people at basketball, me being included, and played a game of 3 on 3. It was the most hilarious thing you could ever imagine. Like we were just... awful.. By the end we were all just cracking up and sweating a ton. Just like every other day here. So much sweat. But that night made up for it as we were just singin oldies tunes like Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of our lungs in our district room. Gotta love the Elders and Sisters in my district! We sometimes do exercises where some of us pretend to be investigators and we'll teach each other. One night I was an investigator. My character was Brother Dela Cruz and I had a girlfriend and a baby. My girlfriend to be played by one of our Samoan sisters, Sister Sene, and our baby being a balloon. Weirdest thing ever. Plus our teacher was watching us from these cameras and we had no idea! Let's just say that there were some things that were said in my room.. haha oh gosh.. Luckily he forgot to record it! He wrote some of his favorite quotes and shared them with the class while he was laughing hysterically. 

And, while I remember, we are all perfectly OK with the weather and stuff. The signal 4 typhoon missed us, but we are supposed to be getting hit by a signal 2 later today so that should be fun. Nothing to worry about though! The new guys got here safe too. Plus, none of them got put into me and Lindley's room! It's just the two of us for the next two weeks! The super bed LIVES!!!!! 

But now on to the real stuff. Our proselyting activity. This was my favorite thing that we've done at the MTC thus far. They let us go out into one of the surrounding missions and get reassigned to an Elder who has been there for a while and then just go with them to their appointments and stuff! We are also really lucky because we actually went to the Quezon City North mission to proselyte! The drive to the mission home is an adventure in of itself. The driving here is just plain chaotic. There was one point where we turned out onto, I kid you not, a 10 lane road. The craziest part though is that there were NO street markings on it! It was blank asphalt! The cars would literally just drive wherever they felt like! It was like a Mario Kart game or something. So we got there safe and sound and got reassigned to new companions. Is it bad that I can't remember the name of mine? Oops. Anyways, we had like 20 minutes to prepare and then we were out and teaching. Our investigator that we were gonna go teach was Sister Rosie. So we started walking. My companion was a Filipino guy and he was telling me that we were going to one of the poorest areas in all the Philippines and I was like, "Greeeeeaaaat" But it was just that. Great! We rode a Jeepney to the little "neighborhood" where the investigator lived and that was so sweet! I got whistled at by some girls and got called "bogi" (boh-gee) quite a bit, which means "handsome." Even by like dudes and kids. We got to our destination and it was seriously like the pictures you see. Bunches of people standing around in dirty clothes. Piles of trash everywhere with countless concourses of dogs picking their way through it. Little kids running around naked or peeing against walls. It was another world. We walked through so many streets and alleys that I just got so lost. I don't know how my companion knew where he was going. But we finally arrived at the house we were teaching at. If you could call it a house. The bottom floor was just a concrete box. Nothing in it whatsoever. There were some crazy steep stairs in the corner though that went up to their living space. It was tiny. Probably about the size of my room at home. There was a couch, two chairs, a TV, a fish tank, and their kitchen shoved into the tiny space. It was just depressing at first, but then you paid attention to the people. And they were happy. It was the strangest thing. They were some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life! And they were just existing. I looked around and could see the lizards crawling all over the walls and mice sticking their heads from their holes. I even watched mice climb INTO the bowl of noodles the mom had just cooked and take some noodles out and back to their hole! Like this is just such a crazy place! Yet they were happy. We taught them about obedience. There were 5 people we were teaching and 1 baby. So in this tiny space we had 8 people crammed in. My companion made me start the lesson and he saw that I needed some help and took over. I shared a few scriptures and explained them the best I could in Tagalog. There was one point where the girl sitting across from me had to cover her mouth to stop from laughing at my Tagalog and I said jokingly, "Bakit (why) laughing?!" And that just made everyone laugh. It's seriously so easy to get these people to laugh. You'd have thought I was the funniest guy in the world if you heard them laughing at me.  I finished by saying the closing prayer and then we had to go back to the church. We were supposed to teach another lady but we were at that first place for an hour and a half. So we walked back and even took one of those tricycle things for part of the way! That was super fun! Just walking is fun too though. Everyone is yelling at you asking your name and calling you "Joe" because you're an American. The kids will swarm you and all give you high fives and stuff. It's just a fun experience. 

So we got back to the church, but it didn't end there. There was one missionary who was from the India mission and he was here to renew his VISA and I asked if he knew Elder Head. And he said he did! Ryan is in the Quezon mission though... but then I met this other sorta bigger Asian dude who knew Ryan Head as well and then I remembered that I actually hung out with this guy in Utah! He was one of Zac and Hayden's friends and I asked him if he was the right guy I was thinking about and he just freaked out! He was like "Dude! You are family to me!" Lisa and Dave, he's the guy that broke your couch when he sat in it that one time! Turns out he may even be the guy who trains me! How crazy is that? It was nice to see a familiar face out there. But then we had to go back to the MTC which was just awful. I wanted to stay out there. I felt like I BELONGED out there. Just two more weeks though. It's so crazy thinking about that. Already a month in, too! The time is just flying by! But ya, that is my week. Some really exciting stuff and I'm so excited to finally be able to get out there and teach people! I'll try sending pictures tomorrow. I don't really have time now... 

I love you all and thanks to everyone who sent emails! I love reading them! And I do. I read every one.

Much love, 

Elder Krueger

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week Four Coming Up!

 The buzzing of the hair!
 "I met him!" Elder Anderson
 Posing 
 The Filipino version of the CTR ring
Wow! That is an interesting meal!

Mother, I can not believe you were a whoopee cushion for Halloween... Like I'm embarrassed just thinking about it.. But I'm glad you had fun! (I sent him a picture of me and I guess he showed his whole district and had a good laugh) Trunk or Treat was always a fun night. As was actual Halloween. It's November 1st for me already and Halloween came and went really quickly. Halloween over here is like our Memorial Day. So nothing really happens. Oh well. 

I really felt none of the effects of the typhoon or earthquake! We heard about it, but there was literally nothing going on over here at the MTC. Ya, and that Elder who was thinking about going home went home this last week. Elder Havea. It was really sad cause we all really loved the guy. He was just the perfect example of quiet dignity. We all miss him, but also wish him peace in his decision to return home. It's better to get things from before the mission resolved then just sit with them on the mission. 

We have conversations all the time in Tagalog! We teach everyday and our investigators only speak Tagalog! Been like that since the second day here. Funny story. One investigator, Melinda, (the teachers play the investigators and keep them on their toes!) had all these questions about Adam and Eve yesterday saying (In Tagalog) "Why didn't Adam and Eve have to get married?" Like she understood all the commandments of God and was so confused on how they could populate the world without being married. I explained that marriage symbolizes becoming one in flesh and that Adam and Eve were already one in flesh (Eve having been taken from his side) but she didn't accept that answer! She told us to study that for homework but literally NOWHERE in the scriptures does it talk about them getting married or sealed or anything!! It just refers to Eve as "his wife" from the very beginning. So I dunno. Sorta in a sticky situation. But I love teaching these investigators! It is so much fun to see the look in their eyes after you explain some principle of the doctrine to them and they actually understand it! Best feeling ever! 

My hair is actually shorter now... I buzzed it to a #4 with E. Krueger and E. Lindley... Don't kill me!!! We look super chill though, so it's all good. We lost our two roommates, like I wrote last week, and we got 4 new Filipinos for roommates and the first thing we heard them say, after they opened the door and saw me and E. Lindley, was, "Oh! White room!" and they shut the door again. Sorta an awkward start haha but they've turned out to be pretty sweet guys! They just get up at 5 every morning and start talking really loud and singing... I've told them multiple times that they need to be quiet in the morning, but nothing came of it.. The MTC is getting quite old though. The same rote tasks everyday. Really I feel like anything that isn't learning the language is a waste of time now. We've gone through PMG (Preach My Gospel) and it's just making the days go by so much slower. By 1 I feel like we should be heading to bed. I am SO ready to just be out in the field! There are some good things here though! Elder Anderson from the Quorum of the 12 came to speak to us! It was SUCH an amazing talk and everyone was so inspired by it. Having an Apostle speak to you and there only being like 200 people there is so cool. We all got to shake his hand and tell him our name, so of course me and E. Krueger stood next to each other to mess with him! But my favorite part of the talk is when he shared a scripture in John 12. He told us the verse number was 14 but that was WAY off! Look it up and you should get a good laugh out of it! The real verse is 27, which I now have memorized cause it's just so awesome, and it reads: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." Isn't that just awesome?! So poetic! It is now my favorite scripture. It just describes the way we all feel in the MTC right now. Like we are all sorta unsure about going out there and teaching real people. It's a scary thing. But then you think about all the people you'll help. For this cause came I unto this hour. Such an awesome scripture. 

Speaking of the scriptures, I'm reading through the Book of Mormon right now and it is CRAZY the difference in the reading. Being a missionary just really opens your eyes to a lot of things. You notice more of the doctrine and really see it as a different book. I started 2 or 3 days ago and I'm a few chapters into Mosiah. I'm cruisin pretty quick through it! You guys should read it too! To put it really lightly, there is some good stuff in there. 

Oh! I got my shoes this week as well!! They are barely big enough for me but they were the biggest they could even buy! I seriously feel like a giant here. I'll see a Filipino man standing next to a Filipino woman and she'll be up to his shoulder and I'll be like, "Oh, he's pretty tall!" And then I'll realize that the MAN is only up to MY shoulder! Everyone is SO crazy short here! But they are also filled with so much happiness it is crazy. I will not be that happy living in this humidity. Seriously standing outside and doing NOTHING for 20 minutes will get you covered in sweat.  

One of E. Krueger's friends in the field came to visit us in some free time this past week and that was really sweet to talk to him! Calmed a lot of my fears about getting out there. Plus he said that P days in the field are actually P days. Not these super scheduled ones we have here in the MTC, so I'm excited for that! The social aspect of the MTC is weird as well. Like we have 3 "batches" (that's what we call them) and every two weeks one batch moves out and we get another one in. But it's strange. We are all roughly the same age in all the batches but the older batches seem literally older. And this new batch that came last Friday seems younger than us. It's so weird but it's totally like highs school. Everyone in my batch is sweet though. I'm becoming good friends with a lot of the guys. It just feels like high school again. Like I've known these people for a lot longer than I actually have.  Quite a few elders are 18. I'm the second youngest in my district though.. and there are quite a few Americans. Like SOOOO many people from Idaho and Utah! Everyone in my batch is going to the same mission except for 2 people. 

One other thing! I got my PAT ring this week! If anybody wants one gotta tell me by next week. That's my last chance to get them! Thought they'd be pretty cool gifts given that it's like my name and everything. 

Well I think that's about it! I've rambled on for long enough. Just know that I'm doing good and that the mangos are AMAZING! I'm sure I'll love it here even more once I'm out of the MTC. 

I love you all and thanks for keeping me posted! I'll write again next week! 

The Infinitely Wise Elder Patrick Krueger


Friday, October 25, 2013

Week 2... Officially the Middle Batch!

 Roomies
 Views from MTC

 Manila Temple
 The two Krueger's!
 Travel buddies
 He hasn't lost his personality... thank heavens!
View of city at night


Hi Everyone! 

It's really hard to read through those emails and answer all the questions, so I'm just gonna write what I was planning and hope I cover a bunch of them! I love hearing from everyone though! So this week I actually have an outline so hopefully I won't be as scattered. 

First thing first I STILL don't have athletic shoes! The sizes are so screwed up because they're either fakes or replicas. Ha ha! Some even have the wrong logos! So hopefully I'll get some like tomorrow. I was also talking to our Filipino roommates and they were saying that I could get a good handmade guitar here for one to two thousand pesos!!! That's like 25-50 bucks!!! So cheap it is crazy! Not like the food though... Anything that is American at the supermarket is so expensive! Like at least 5 times more expensive than Filipino brands that taste exactly the same. Needless to say I don't buy anything American there. Stick with my Jack-n-Jill brand chips and such. Another cool thing to get here are these PAT rings. It's weird that it works out like this, but PAT is the Filipino CTR. So I now am getting a PAT ring with my mission and name engraved on it! 

Oh, I actually have a question to ask you guys! Someone sent me some flip flops and I have no idea who it was. Gotta figure this out! 

We have a lot of devotional type stuff here and one was this video of Elder Holland that he gave last year and it was INCREDIBLE! That guy can speak! So uplifting and, at times, even scary. He called us missionaries "lower case 'a' apostles" which was good for some laughs, but it made us all realize just how important this work really is. I'm so excited to be here and to be doing this work. We've been told that China, as well as the rest of Asia, is really reliant on the work we do here. The Philippines is the stepping stone. This work is so important for the church. 

The language is coming well too! My teacher is impressed with my progress and says I notice intricacies in the language that no one else does, not even her. It usually takes like 3 or 4 teachers collaborating to answer any question I have. Ha ha oops. But I really do love the language! It is really cool sounding. I also really like my District. They are really cool guys. Me and my kasama (companion) Elder Lindley get along really well too. We are really good team teachers. We play this game in our district called "What if?" where you all write a question on a piece of paper and then switch papers and write the answer on the back to whatever new paper you have. After that you mix them up again and the first person reads their question and the next person reads their answer and you just keep going around. It get's really funny cause the answers don't usually match up quite right and you get some hilarious results! 

The food here is good too. Every two weeks we get burgers, pizza, and spaghetti, which is all incredible. It was nice to take a break from the plain white rice being 75% of my diet. And I haven't really gained too much weight. I don't really know though. My pants shrunk a bit and they still fit fine, so I'm assuming I'm the same. I do work out every day though. Me and E. Lindley have a routine for each night, so that helps us out a ton. 

It's also true what they say about Filipino men and American women. They LOVE American women. I showed my roommates some pictures of like Xan and Audrey and everyone else in that picture book and they were like, "She's your girlfriend!? WOWWWW!!" or like "American women are so beautiful!!!" They liked Audrey too ha ha and I was like, "Yaaaaaa.. She's 14." But everyone has some admirers here! Those roommates are gone now though :( They were only 12 day MTC guys, but we got a new batch today! We are officially the middle batch! The greenies are pretty cool and me and my kasama got some more Filipinos for roommates and they're super sweet guys. We were gonna tell the new guys that the word for companion was asawa instead of kasama. Asawa means spouse ha ha but we had mercy on them as they looked pretty shell shocked. 

I guess the only other thing that happened is that after the two Filipino missionaries left it was only me and my kasama in our room. So we obviously had to turn two of the three bunk beds in our room around to make two GIANT beds! I call them the Super Beds and now everybody knows what they are. It was nice for a couple nights but now we have six people in our room so it's back to a single bunk.. Oh well. It was good while it lasted. 

I'm having a blast here and it is so much fun! I love you all!

Elder Krueger

Thursday, October 17, 2013

AHHHHHHH!


Hotel in Manila 
View from hotel window
View from MTC window
Patrick's room

Local store?? Looks like they have familiar things... The Elder in front is Patrick's companion

Where to begin? I love the MTC! There is SO much to do here! The food is like crazy weird.. I had a  whole fish yesterday and there is so much rice with every meal... like half of my plate. it's insane. The classes are way long. Like 16 hour days and such. We've already had four teaching appointments with a guy named Jayson and they have gone well! He only speaks Tagalog but we got him to commit to baptism! Teaching in Tagalog is really difficult but it is crazy how far we've come in a week. All of our favorite words is Mabuti (Pronounced Mah-boot-ee). See if you can figure out why.. It means "good" so we're always like "Dude this dinner is mabuti." The other missionaries are really cool! We get along really well as a district, which is the Alma district. We don't have TOO much time to bond because they keep us so busy, but that's ok. Keeps my mind off of missing everyone, ya know? I really love the little toys you guys packed for me. They are such a relief when I've had a stressful day and everything and I can just chill with a yo-yo or something. Ok, I'm sorry this is so rushed. There's just a lot I wanna go over! Let me slow down. 

My companion is Elder Lindley and he's a really cool guy. We have quiet moments but we have the relationship where that is totally fine. The rooms are for six people but we only have four, thankfully. Our two roommates are both Filipino which is really nice for all of our questions about the language. 

They keep us really busy, like I said, with language classes, preach my gospel classes, and just teaching practices. They really challenge us with difficult situations and leave us to figure it out on our own. Like the investigator we are starting with today hates God, is recently divorced, and his son died two months ago. It'll be challenging but I have faith (Pananampalataya sa Tagalog) that we will be able to teach him well. 

We get gym time every day but I definitely forgot athletic shoes at home... so I wear my flip flops and play ping pong for an hour every day. I ordered some new ones for like 500 pesos, which is about 12 bucks and I think they may actually be here today! The food, like I said, is funky. The cheese really does all taste like easy cheese and the milk is most definitely powdered. You can't even imagine how much rice I eat. All in all though, the food is delicious. 

My jet lag is gone now. It was actually gone after the first couple days! Doing good! Eating, sleeping, and praying a lot! You can definitely see the Lord's hand in everything once you are in the right mindset. There are so many questions that I've answered from our investigator that I have no idea how I understood him or even remember how and what I said to answer. The Spirit helps in every lesson. We watched General Conference again last week! They get it a week later here so we had another ten hours of sitting in really uncomfortable chairs listening to Conference. I got so much more out of it though. It was really cool. 

Hmmmmm. I'm really not sure what else to talk about. Everything is good! I'm happy and so is everyone else! Oh! We had this like stress mangagement class that was really needed. My whole district was really down in the pits about the third day just with having to learn the language and everything like that, but this class lifted our spirits luckily! Not much else to say.. Enjoy the pictures!
 I love you all.   

Elder Krueger                  

 P.S. I can not tell you how many times people have asked if Taggart and I are brothers. Gotta explain the same last name but no relation haha it's fun.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

I"M HERE!

So crazy you guys!!! I'm actually here! They are letting us write our families and stuff right now but ya, I just finished getting a mandatory haircut and my hair is like SO short now! haha Mom would hate it! I love this place so much. We got into our hotel at like 1 in the morning and didn't get to sleep until about 2. So three hours of sleep and I was up at 5 and now I'm here! The drive to the MTC was insane.. like seriously frightened for my life while we were going... but I made it. It was just crazy on the roads. Any four lane road became six lanes with motorcycles darting inbetween cars and such. It was insane. We were all just silent in amazement to all the people and giant buildings and just all the... EVERYTHING! It's crazy (Have I told you that it's crazy yet?) I love all the guys and gals I got to come over with. They are way cool people. 6 elders and 2 sisters all going to the Quezon City North mission. I also met my companion for like a minute or two and he's a cool guy. We'll get along nicely. The flight over was just like way long.. I was so done after like four hours from Seattle to Tokyo, but we had like 7 hours left of that flight left and then like another 4 to Manila. We actually got to Manila at 10:30 but going through customs took forever.. The flight from Seattle was cool cause we left at 2:30 PM on October 9th and then arrived in Japan at 5 PM October 10th. Lost a day or something. Killed our first cockroach at the hotel. Super fun... I'm glad to hear that you all are doing better! Just know that I'm having a great time so far and ya. I love it here! The humidity hit us like a brick wall getting off the plane. The airport was hot and humid and stepping outside was SO much worse haha but I'll get used to it. I'm not sure what else to tell you about... Elder Krueger is sweet! Nice guy. Uhhhhh that's about it you guys! I love you all and everything! I'm not sure when I'll get to write again so that'll be a nice surprise for you guys when I do.
 
Elder Krueger

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

First Pictures

I am so happy my kids love each other! This is from Patrick's Farewell
After Patrick was set apart Audrey went in for the big hug! Love his face!

A kind traveler sent these from the Seattle airport. Love her!

All ready for Tokyo then on to Manila!