So the day after my last email was the first time that I ever went out proselyting. We taught two lessons and I was able to lead the second one. I felt more ready than I expected, but also way more aware of the amount that I have to learn still. I don't think that I truly anticipated how hard this would be; but at the same time I will learn to love it and adjust to the workload of the field – probably a few weeks into it. Here at the MTC I am surrounded by many good influences and tons of really nice, good people that build me up every day; and I will be sad to lose that in the field. One thing here that is obviously shocking is the circumstances in which people live; I got to see some of that when we went proselyting, and it is crazy to see how humble these people are in their circumstances.
We have learned a lot about teaching people and relating to them this week; you need to really understand where people are at in their lives temporally, spiritually, and emotionally before you can teach them effectively. The problem is tho, it is really hard to create that relationship with them if you can’t speak the language conversationally. That is what I will be struggling with for a long while tho. I think I will figure it out and try not to worry about it.
I feel like a ton happened this week and I have little to say about it. Our batch is now the senior batch and new missionaries have come in. We are no longer the newest missionaries in the Philippines. My companion and I are Zone leaders. We have stewardship over all of the language training missionaries that spend their whole missionary training experience in Manila. It is really nice to be able to impart advice to them and tell them what they should and shouldn't worry about – something that I feel our senior batch didn't really do for us.
Around Christmas time I urge all to remember Christ and what he did for us all. We owe everything to him and I am realizing that a little more each day. I try every day to stop thinking about myself and focus on the work ahead and the reasons I'm doing it. It can be hard to forget ourselves. So, every day try to do one thing that you can completely say you did for someone else other than yourself. Jesus watches those acts as you serve your brothers and sisters and he appreciates them much more than you even know. I get to talk to some family back home this Christmas and I am very much appreciative of that opportunity; but, as I am sure it will happen every time, I will wish that I will have more time.
Today, the Tagalog lesson that I will impart to you all is about Focus. I won’t delve into it too much because it is useless to try to understand within a few weeks – let alone a few minutes. But it is in teaching that I learn better, so suffer me this. Basically focus is something that exists in Tagalog and it is all about what you want to emphasize in a sentence. In Tagalog, there are only three tenses: the Past, Present, and Future. The problem is, you have different types of conjugations for different verbs and they dictate what you focus on in the sentence. So in English you may say "We read the book to him" but the problem is, in Tagalog that word for "Read" could be conjugated three different ways based on if you wanted to emphasize: WHO was reading, WHAT they were reading, or TO WHOM was being read. Basically it is really dumb and it makes sentences really hard to form without thinking a lot about what you want to say.
Anyways thanks for listening to my rambling about everything. I think I may start prewriting my emails throughout the week so that I can respond to people individually more and not run over time. Also, I got a camera so I may try to get pictures up next week.