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

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