Archive for September, 2012
I dont know where to start. The Philippines is crazy and very different from anything I have ever experienced. The plane ride here was very long but we were able to sleep a lot and they fed us pretty good. President Peterson picked us up from the airport and it was only a little over and hour drive to the mission home which is shorter than I though it would be. President Peterson is very nice and gives us a lot of guidance and at times he is in your face and intimidating. One of the Elders from Logan, UT told me hes the way he is because he knows how sacred the work is. Sister Peterson is great though and has a huge job of keeping all the missionaries healthy here because of how much disease and things there are here but she gave us a lot of good tips on how to keep ourselves healthy.
Anyway we ended up spending Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the mission home and then had transfer day on Friday. I dont know if you got a picture from the mission home but sister peterson was going to send a picture with me and the presidency I think. I am in Nagsugbu which is about the farthest away you can get from the mission home going west. I took us 5 hours on a bus to get here. My Companion is Elder Viloria he is a Philipino but he speaks a lot of English as do a lot of people here actually everyone knows a little bit. Elder Viloria has only been out for 4 months so we are both very young missionaries. He knows the area well which is hard for me I still havent figured out which way is North ugh ha. Nagsugbu seems so big mainly because of how many people are here. I dont know why everyone is living so close to each other when there is a lot of open space. Along with that there a so many little kids running around. There is actually a lot of everything. Motorcycles! They have these little 150cc motorcycles that they welded a little cart on the side and you pay them to take you around places. For the majority theres mostly motorcycles. But there is another way to travel by Jeepney which are these big monster Suv’s with big bumpers that people load into and there was a bunch of those in San Pablo. IDK but I think Nagsugbu is a a lot poorer of a city than most. The apartment that we live in I was told is one of the nicer ones actually it has two small bedrooms and a kitchen with some desks. All tile floor throughout it. I actually think its very nice after going and teaching others in there homes.
Only one of our lessons so far has been in a dirt floor home. But even if its not dirt floor its still very very small one room usually with a bed and maybe a small closet to change in. Some of these things I dont even know how to explain or describe maybe you can get on google and look at pictures. Also check up on Elder Spezia’s blog im curious to see how his area is and i know he would be much better at describing than I would be. Its almost like when I got here and started trying to speak Tagalog I lost my words for English also I dont know how to speak at all now ha not really but I have found it very hard. When I teach lessons they just look at me and nod and I dont know whether that means I understand or they are just being nice. Here in Nagsugbu there is just one branch but I am really impressed with how much the members do Brother Alkin is 20 years old and on Saturday he went to all of our meetings with us. Also the church buildings here are amazingly nice. Especially cause right on the other side of the wall is a shack. I hope you are all doing well back at home and a already have much more to tell you about the Philippines next week. Keep me in your prayers.
Love Elder Polatis
We got our flight plans our plane flies out from Salt Lake at 8:30 pm and then we go to Los Angeles and transfer then from there we go to Hong Kong and from there Manila and then I heard its like a 5 hour drive to San Pablo from there so I will practically be on a plane for a day and a half ha. So I bought a calling card so I guess I will call sometime in there when I have time im not sure when or where just Monday night. Its getting pretty crazy and hard to concentrate on learning the language Brother Langer just taught us our last grammar concept last night and it flew right over my head like all the concepts though I have just needed to study them out a lot to get them. So I dont know how clear my letter was last week about Elder WAITE getting ACL surgery it wasnt elder Spezia my companion but another elder in the district he is gunna be here at the MTC for another six weeks or so probably but hes recovering quickly.
We hosted the new missionaries last week and I actually did see TJ Mathews but I havent seen him since I also saw Cole Farmer come in that day today. We host again tomorrow so maybe I will see more people I know. Our roommates that we got a few weeks ago are actually going to Indonesia so its fun having another group of people we know outside of our district. I cant even think of whats been going on here because its all been going by so fast that I feel like our same old schedule over and over again since we last talked.
I do have a new goal the before I leave the MTC I want to break 150 pounds. After gaining about ten pounds I kinda slowed down on eating a whole bunch of deserts and junk food for meals. I do eat a bunch of candy though cause at night we just go back to our rooms write in our journals and have bags full of candy but I figured while im here I might as well throw on those few more pounds and hit 150 before I go get sick in the Phillippines.
So we went to the temple this morning for my last time until I am able to go to the Manila temple at the end of my mission. That was just crazy to think about while I was in there.
The other day me and elder spezia and some other kids were doing our personal study on the grass somewhat close to the gate and I watched the cars drive by with the BYU flags in the window and throughout the afternoon you could hear the band and the crowd cheering ha we always ask the teachers how the game went also theres a lot of missionaries I have found that went to Utah State so I heard about there game beating the U of U and from Nicoles letter telling me. Once we get to the Philippines it seems like all that will be behind and it wont be happening all around us it seems.
Thanks for all the packages I got from everyone here I liked all the stuff. That tie is also very cool I got a lot of compliments on it Elder Spezia had one similar to it same design just different color scheme so we wore them both on sunday I got some picture and they just put card readers in the computers at the Laundry room so if I am able to get a computer down there I will send some pictures but the laundry is always so busy so I dont know If I will be able to.
This coming Sunday me and Elder Spezia are teaching a lesson in District meeting for our second time its on the Book of Mormon so were pretty excited cause theres a lot of ways to go with that. Last time we taught on Faith in Jesus Christ and that went good so we are just building upon that. We really enjoy opportunities to teach in English because we are able to just focus on doctorine and not get frustrated with the language while we teach. Im also excited because I will be able to share some parts of the Book of Mormon I have read through while being here. One of my favorites I dont know if I mentioned this in a previous email is Enos. Because its only one chapter it has given me a lot of time to think about it and what kind of a man Enos was his background what his feelings were to have such a strong change of heart and that much faith to be able to be cleansed. While I was studying yesterday I was thinking about faith and reading scriptures and trying to figure out how to gain it and how to use it and I concluded with this “We must excercise faith in order to gain faith” Sometimes its hard to just have complete trust and rely on Heavenly Father but the more we try and work toward that the more he will bless us in our testimony. I really hope I can put these messages into the Tagalog language and teach people about gods plan for us and how to find true happiness. Its really hard to visualize that in about a week from now I will be walking around a jungle like that speaking this language but im just going to continue to rely on the lord and do everything I can do and I have faith that it will be enough.
Love you all
I bet your all wondering why you didnt get an email this morning. Well funny story I left the MTC today. Elder Waite had ACL surgery so we went with him to the hospital waited around for 3 hours and then got the prescription from his doctor to go pick up his medicine. It was weird being out of the MTC because those name tags really draw a lot of attention everyone was talking to us in the waiting room and outside on the sidewalk doesnt matter ha. That was nice though to start getting a feel for it. Plus we got a break from our normal routine. While I was out and about we went to the BYU health center for the drugs and I ran into Stephanie Turpin there ha I forgot to say that Brittany is going to Peru but i hope she probably nows by now anyway so yeah that was a surprise seeing someone I know while on a mission ha.
Speaking of people I know though I also met Elder and Sister Welty Laurel Tomins parents its was just by accident that we sat by them and I thought they looked familiar so I started talking to them and they said they served a mission in India so I asked them if they happend to know Logan Thompson who served there she said no but I know his parents west of Blackfoot where I grew up ha its just crazy who you meet. Also met one of Taite Polatis’ (kirks son) good friends from RIgby. From what he knew Taite is turning in his mission papers this week. To add on to that Taites sister Abby is going to Romania on a service mission or something. So see I do know things that go on outside of these walls ha. The one thing I dont know is if anything new has happened these past 3 days because there was no mail yesterday for holiday and we have been at the hospital all morning so I am hoping for a big stack I hope no one dissappointed me ha just kidding.
One more thing I think you might find ineresting is that this sunday was mission conference and they announce that there will be a new MTC mission president in January when Brittany comes in. I really like President Brown who is the president right now but I know that the new president who is President Nally will be good to. Sunday was a unique sunday on top of mission conference. For our usual sunday night devotional we instead watched president Monson’s 85th birthday celebration which was very fun and ineresting cause there was like Broadway music and stuff on it music I am not used to. The coolest thing about it though is that Steve Young hosted his birthday celebration also.
Other than that were just still waiting for flight plans to come in and find out when we leave everyones getting pretty anxious to leave and stuff. One goal me and Elder Spezia set during weekly planning was not to let our anxiety and stuff distract us though cause we still have a lot to learn and everyday is important here. I want to share some quotes that I wrote down in my planner this week. The first one is from my teacher Brother Langer he heard this in his religion class at school and shared it with us and now im sharing it with you “We learn from the word of god until we are able to learn by the word of god” I know that ca be interpreted so many different ways and to be honest I dont even know what it really means but it can really get you thinking about gods plan for us and all principles of the gospel. The other quote I wrote down is actually something mom wrote me when she was telling about a talk she heard I cant even remember who it was by now or what but it says “Happiness is a by-product”. Being here in the MTC has really actually been pretty hard and stressfull but when I read that I realized im the only one that can change my attitude and stay postitive through whatever. Theres more to the quote but i didnt write that down. Anyway I just want you to know that through Heavenly Fathers plan we really can experience happiness and I believe that and am very thankful for that and how much he shows he loves each of us by the many blessings he gives us.
I love you all,