Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Philippines!!!

(We did not get the traditional Christmas call from Elder Swanton. He was busy with baptisms and was unable to get to an internet cafe on December 25th.. He contacted us on his next P-day, December 28th.)

The following are questions and answers from our call:

What are your living conditions?: 10 x 10 room with outdoor kitchen,no indoor plumbing, no TP, hand washing clothes.

What is a sample breakfast, lunch and dinner like?: Cookie Crisp with Australian Milk?for breakfast, Rice and a chicken hotdog for lunch and drum roll please.....rice and chicken hotdog for dinner. "Hows that MTC food looking now Elder?" Jacob said that fruit is out of season right now and is expensive. Also eggs are really expensive.

What did you do for Christmas?: Enjoyed a Branch Christmas Party with fried chicken, rice and a really good root pie? He also enjoyed 8-9 hours of continuous karaoke. Yes, they like it very much. No current pop songs however, they enjoy old romantic American love songs.

How do you like the people?: They are great. They all call him "Joe" or "Santa Claus" because of his jolly appearance. He said that for children, pants are optional. Such a freedom we do not have here in the states.

How is the language going?: The language is difficult because it is not what he learned in the MTC and he didn't even have that down all the way. So it is a work in progress.

How is the local Branch?: It is small, about 30 members. They meet in a small one room building with a karaoke machine for a microphone. The branch is so spread out it takes some members over an hour to get there when they come. It is very difficult for some families to come regularly.

Update from Jacob's email:

Well, not much happened this week except that I had two baptisms and that was way sick. We also did some lessons to some less actives here. I think the problems with Bugasong is that it is just a big joke to the rest of the mission. I think it is because the whole branch hates each other and they get offended so easy and then they don't want to come back to church. This week was the first week that we kinda separated and headed out to our own areas. Elder Larsen and Elder Capulac's area is super close to the ocean and my area is super bukid, which means mountains and rice fields. O yeah, Christmas was this week and you can really tell here. What I forgot to tell you is that we live kinda close to the town center that has a basketball court and a big huge stack of speakers. Like it is crazy how many speakers and they are so freaken loud, like I thought that my ears might bleed.  So yeah, all Christmas we heard the music, which is just music that was very popular in the states like 25 years ago and now its just barley getting here. So yeah, we ate at this member's house. She is a Nan, which means mother and she always tells us to come over and to eat, but we are just like no I don't want to get tambok that means fat. She says well come eat anyways. It's pretty cool. So the 26th comes around and we have two baptisms. Then I learned that they will be on the beach and I get ready and head out to the water. Then all of a sudden, the waves just start to get huge. As I am walking out with one of the girls, the waves hit me in the back and almost knocked me over. The girl was almost swept away, so that was a quick baptism. The next girl was the same,  haha. It was awesome to feel the cold water just smashing me in the back and then have this little girl about to become a member of the church. Yeah things here are pretty crazy and I don't really know how to describe things, but just know that I love the work and I am very thankful for all the challenges and trials that I have and am going to receive. Here are some pictures of my area and the baptism. I love you all and can't wait to email you all again.
Elder Swanton

 2 guys with sticks

Local fishing boat


Nice huh!

Local area- nice mountains, excellent down hill mountain bike potential

My first baptisms- performed in the ocean

Cute girls- my first baptisms

Rice fields

Local transport

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