This week was very interesting, I think Elder Jucutan and I are getting into the habit of finding people and we are getting a little better about opening our mouths and sharing to people. This has been a weakness of both of ours for a long time now. I have learned that I can hold a pretty decent conversation in Tagalog right now for a small while. If we start talking about something that I don’t know the words for, I am completely lost. This has helped my confidence in talking to people, as I have found it a lot easier to talk when I believe that I will be able to say what I need to say.
Honestly, that has been one of the most difficult things so far: having something to say and just not having the words to say it. Looking someone right in the eyes, knowing exactly what you should say, then not being able to have them understand is a frustrating feeling. However, I have seen that when I open my mouth in those times, I end up saying something that I needed to say, not what I wanted to say. I lacked the words to say what I wanted to say, but what came out worked just as well. When speaking a different language, you learn a lot of ways to say things. Sometimes you forget how to say something and you need to say it in a more roundabout way.
Conversation can be difficult here, especially when we are with someone we have never talked to before and we are trying to learn their beliefs. Oftentimes it is my trainer and them talking; many times, they are talking so fast that my brain can’t make a response faster than they are talking and it is difficult to get a word in edgewise. I did, however, have a very good experience with this this last week. We were in what seemed like a hopeless conversation: the lady we were talking to knew a lot about the scriptures and she had a habit of interrupting Elder Jucutan, finishing his sentence, then take over the conversation again. This made it almost impossible to say anything, especially because I have to put all my thoughts in another language. In the end, we discussed authority and what happened to the church Jesus established. I had the chance (just a split second) to come in and I talk about how important proper authority is when dealing with spiritual matters. Missionaries would not be out teaching people if we didn't believe we are called of God. I talked about why we need baptism and why it must done with proper authority to truly follow Christ's example (baptism by immersion with authority). I ended that conversation with what I said and I felt good to speak my mind.
I still struggle with the language, a lot. I was called to give a talk in sacrament meeting the other day. They gave me less than 24 hours (most of which was proselyting time) advanced notice. It was really hard, and about the last 40% was in English. I think that is okay because even the bishop uses English when speaking in church. I felt bad because much of what I wanted to say, I knew I could say – I just needed more time to think. I didn’t want to pause for 10-15 seconds to think, in front of a bunch of people – essentially looking like an idiot. I don’t know how many people won on that occasion.
The other huge thing that happened this week was the 7-week follow-up training. I got to get together with all the people that entered the Quezon City North Mission at the same time I did. All the people from my mission that were in the MTC with me were there. It was a cool thing to see how they all were doing. I learned that I need not compare myself with other people – that we all learn and progress at different rates, in different ways. (Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?) All-in-all, I really appreciated that experience; it was nice to see friends again.
Culture: Public Transportation. There are two major ways of getting around in the Philippines (for short distances at least). Jeepneys and Trikneys. The Trikney is basically a motorcycle that someone jerry-rigged a side car to. There are about a million of them. They are small and they fit anywhere from 1 to 8 people. The Jeepneys are trucks which you enter from the back. They have seats on either side. They fit anywhere from 1 to 30 people (they really stuff those things full.) Both means of transportation seem really unsafe, but that is really only true because of the way that everyone drives – which is fine by me because I don’t drive much safer. [Insert from Jordan’s sister here – he really doesn’t. I appreciate his honestly here, despite the fact that it really worries me.]
Tagalesson: Words you need to know for transportation along with the most important word that is the easiest to miss:
Bayad: means to buy. You use this when you need to pay, then you pass your money up, and people pass it to the driver.
Dao: pronounced "Dow" it means "Someone else said". When you add this in a sentence (Which this word is super easy to not hear if people talk fast), it means that it is coming from a different source. For example, when someone says "Bayad dao", it means someone else is paying.
Saan: Said by the driver to ask where you are going it means "Where"
Po: I said this one before, it means respect, but it also means a lot more. It basically fills the spot of “please” (as there isn’t an effective word for please in this language) so a person usually says "Bayad po" in order to pay.
Magkano: "How much" – you ask this to know how much you must give to the driver.
Learning to do public transportation was actually a really fun experience here.
I am pretty much out of time, so I will see you all next week. We have Zone conference so I will be on 2 days later (Wednesday for me Tuesday night for you) next week.
Love you all,
Me with my batch from the MTC
Me with a package from home
Me and Elder Jucutan with a couple RCs