So, one thing that I used to think, but have since been proved wrong, is that I would be fluent in Tagalog when I could speak using the same mannerisms and bringing the same feelings and emotions with my words whilst speaking it. You have all heard me speak and I felt, up until recently, that it would be a long long time before I would be able to speak Tagalog like I do in English. We had a workshop the other day when we sat down and shared a personal experience. We started in mostly English. Then, trying to tell it as best we can, putting more of it in Tagalog as we shared it with multiple people. I learned that as I talked and as I translated my words – and really thought about the experience I was sharing – that I was able to do it. Not only with the same determination, but I spoke in the same manner that I do in English. I was speaking a language that I didn't know a little over a month ago. It was a very strange experience.
I just want to say tho that I think that Tagalog is the simplest language ever concocted. That doesn't mean it is easy, but it is really really simple. It feels like a project in College where a group of Guys had to create a language that had real grammar rules and real words and they had around 2 years to do it. But then they procrastinated and made up all the grammar rules and tenses in the last like 4 days and drank waayyy too much red bull whilst pushing out verb forms.
It doesn't feel like Christmas. Time here is going very quickly. It is hot outside, so it very much does not seem like Christmas is in 4 days. In my mind I know that it is, but at the same time I have been preoccupied with a few other things lately. I need to sit down and focus on Christmas for a bit or I think I’m going to miss it.
I have a challenge for all of you. That challenge is: if you would not normally read the Book of Mormon, read the entirety of it in the year 2017. Never read it without a question written down in front of you. You could easily do it if you read simply around a page and a half every day – something that takes less than 10 minutes. God will truly bless you if you do this. If you would have read it anyways without my challenge: do something more. Encourage others to read it, or try to once a week share something that you read with someone that you could help. Simply put, I have this promise: Reading this book every day WILL improve the quality of your life. I do not care if you believe that, but it is true. As Alma said, I would ask not to believe but that you would simply desire a better life and then experiment on my words. That is all. Now continue in Faith
I have less than a week here in the MTC and it went by very quickly. I actually don’t know where all that time went; but now it is gone.
My sister Lisa has come up with an appropriate name for the things in Tagalog that I share every week: TAGALESSONS. The Tagalesson for this week is on two words that we don't have in English: "Po" and "Bayanihan". Po is a word that is like the salt of the Tagalog language. If you want your food to taste good, then use it. It is a word that has no concrete meaning but you use it to add respect to a sentence. For example: "Magandang Umaga" is “good morning”. But if you say "Magandang Umaga po", it is like saying it with a little bit more respect. Sometimes you just kinda add it in wherever. The other word "Bayanihan" has a concrete meaning that stems from the fact that Filipinos sometimes help each other move houses. Like they all stand around the house and they lift it up and move it somewhere else. Kind of like that talk by Elder Uchtdorf or that episode from Spongebob. But it means a large group of people working together to accomplish one purpose. Think about it like unity but stronger, and fueled by a love of other people. It is a great word.
The Title of this email is “Akong Bahala”, which means "I got this". It can be used both in the regular meaning of the words and sarcastically just like in English. I'll let you decide which it is when I say that I enter the field in one week and I say “Akong Bahala” to you all...