This was my first week in Sapang Palay, in the SJDM North Zone. My new companion is Elder Rasmussen, he is an American from Virginia, that has been in the mission for around 8 months now. At first I was kind of nervous that, as two Americans, we would have a lot of problems with teaching and finding people. In reality though, it hasn’t been like that at all. He is a pretty great guy and we are able to evaluate after every lesson how we did and what we can do better. It is nice because we both know that we are struggling with the language and are not perfect, so we rely on God and the spirit to do most of the work that we can’t do.
At the same time, I think having an American as my companion is encouraging me to work a lot harder because he cant save me when things go badly! It is really fun to work together, to talk to people on the street. We don’t often find ourselves in situations where we are outright confused, so I think we are doing well.
We have actually found a good amount of investigators that are pretty interested. Our companionship goal for this transfer is to prepare 12 baptisms for the month of May (The month after this transfer ends). We are both excited. Our goal is to set up 3 for every week in May. If we work hard enough, I think that we can hit that goal and have a lot of progression.
Like I said before I came here Sapang Palay is on top of a mountain. It is a really cool area and beautiful as well. You can look to the mountain and see shacks built up the side it. It is amazing to see how people live here, as the economy is not as good as Malolos. It is also more hilly, so we have to do a decent amount of walking. We get tired pretty fast. It is the start of the Hot Season, and very wet here. It is especially difficult in the middle of the day when you are walking a long distance.
Pretty much the best part of living here tho, is the Tindahan that is literally attached to our house, you don’t have to walk more than 10 steps out the door and say "May bili" to get food in the morning. It is fantastic! The lady that works there is a member of the church, and our landlord. Basically that means she loves missionaries and we are always buying things from her. I attached a picture. The other amazing thing in our house is that we have a real weight; it is around 60 or 70 pounds, so it is good for curls but I am still working on how to add weight to it so it will be better for benching. I have attached pictures of both the bench press and the Tindahan for you. The other two pictures are taken from our backyard.
Culture: Managing stores: This is sometimes a big thing that keeps people from being able to go to church. The way these Tindahans work makes running them simple. So simple that sometimes younger children (around 14 years old) will be asked to run it. Oftentimes the store doesn’t make up all the income for a family, but it is more often used to supplement income from another job. In a nutshell, the Tindahan pays for things that you don’t need, but are nice to have. MOST things are only nice to have. Things that we might count as "Needs" are really only nice to have. Back to Tindahans – someone always needs to be at the shop so the family won’t lose that important income. This can be a real challenge when inviting people to church because they are not able to leave the store.
Tagalesson: “Daw”. Daw is the best word sometimes, even in complete English conversations we will use this word because it is useful in almost all circumstances. It marks a quote from someone whether direct or indirect. it can also be used to push away an idea from the speaker, the same way we use the word "Apparently". For example: Why did he get in trouble? Oh he wasn’t getting up on time daw.
You use daw there to say that your information is coming from somewhere else, that it isn’t you who knew it. This really helps when people say things like "Well you said _______." You just tell them “Daw” and all is forgiven.
I hope you like the pictures from Sapang Palay, it is a fantastic area. Hopefully soon I will have some really cool stories about the people here, I already have some that maybe I might be able to share later.
The last thing I would like to remind you all of is my invitation to read the Book of Mormon this year. It will help your life. If you haven't started, I highly recommend it. That one simple thing is often the difference between someone who doesn't understand why the missionaries are there talking to them, and someone who has a knowledge of the truth of God.