Monday, June 20, 2011

a different kind of bukid

Monday, June 20, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island

Moving Day
 Last Tuesday (June 14) we loaded up from our treehouse apartment and moved.  We used a jeepney that a member owns, and we loaded that up and drove to our new apartment.  It was fun to move.  I had a lot of practice when I was younger, so it was real easy to do.  Elder Arrieta and Unabia were impressed with my moving skills.  Elder Unabia’s companion had finished his mission and left Monday morning, so he was with us until Thursday.  During the ride from Tangalan to Baybay, I rode on top of the jeep.  There was no room inside.  I took a cool video of us moving.  We had the fridge hanging out the back, and the beds on top.  It looked like the Grapes of Wrath or something. 

I was kind of sad to leave Tangalan, but of course excited about my new area.  I visited James Templo before I left, and visited Estelina the morning before I left.  Besides that, we just did regular work.  In the past, when elders were about to leave an area, they would hang out with the members that they really liked, but it messes up the work.  So, although we did visit James Templo and Estelina, we did not interrupt our work at all.

Tangalan was getting so good.  We were going to have 6 baptisms this month!  I had a way great companion.  Our new apartment was so nice; it was right on the beach, and I did personal study on the beach.  The morning that I left, we went running on the beach.  I ran without shoes, and that was a mistake - the beach was way rockier than I'd expected. 

Iloilo was a trip!  After being out in the bukid (backwoods), it was crazy to see big buildings and gas stations and stuff.  It's really polluted there, but it's really cool because there are people everywhere!  It's a really convenient place to be.  You have everything you need in your area. 

We stayed with a lot of other elders the night before transfer meeting, and I knew a couple of them from my batch.  It was also way cool to meet missionaries that I didn't know. It was a huge sleepover.  There was a lot of talk about transfers and who was going where and who was doing what, but I did not listen because I wanted it to be a surprise at district meeting.

District meeting was way cool.  Most everyone from my batch was there. The same people I had not seen for six months.  It was kind of ridiculous, though - all we wanted to do was catch up with each other, but the A.P's wanted us to sit silently and read our scriptures in the chapel.  Elder Peterson and I were like long lost best friends.  I saw a lot of other people who I really enjoy.  Most everyone is still way stoked about out missions.  It was funny, it felt like the MTC again when I saw them all. 

Arriving in Guimaras: Mango Importation Warning
So, Elder Light and I both got sent to Guimaras, the little island to the south of Panay.  It's where the best mangoes in the world are grown.  It's also the most bukid area.  I'm so stoked to be with Elder Light still!  The zone is way cool.  Everyone is way tight and fun to be around.

My companion and I are in the middle of nowhere.  We live in a two person apartment, and there are about eight active people in the ward.  (Um, branch?)  It's bukid, but a different kind of bukid.  It's more like rural Arkansas, and less like eastern Tennessee.  When traveling to our area, I was wondering when we would come to a city.  We drove on red dirt roads forever, and finally we stopped.  "Oh, I guess this is our middle of nowhere".

My comp doesn't speak English at all, which is making me learn Ilonggo fast, but it makes it really lonely in my area.  I'm still working hard.  I did a grade-A job of fellowshipping the members (at church).  I've worked the entire time I’ve been here.  I'd love to say I'm doing well, but really I'm just not too excited about my situation.  I feel kind of down.  I always thought it would be awesome to be in such an extreme situation.  I always thought I would live for it and stuff.  I'm not letting myself be defeated, but man.

We haven't had power at our place for two days.  Since we don’t have any power, we can’t use our fans, and that makes it too hot at night to sleep.  I haven't been able to sleep well, and I don't have an appetite. I don’t mean to worry you.  I’m just saying this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m sure I’m up to it, and I just have to stick with it.  Most of the other elders who have served here in Sibunag have gone on to be great missionaries.

The internet went out here earlier (after the last paragraph), so I had to return to send my email.  I played basketball in the mean time.  It was pretty fun, and I feel a lot better about my situation after playing basketball.  We won’t return to our area tonight.  We can’t - it’s too far.  P-days work differently here.  It’s a sleep over every Monday night.  It’s a geographically challenged island.

My Ilonggo is coming along way fast.  It’s way easier than Aklanon!  I’m learning it way fast because they DO NOT understand Aklanon here!  My companion isn’t bad, but he’s really reserved.  There’s the language barrier, so I’m sure he feels the same way.  I’ll put a lot of effort into it.  That is way important.  So, yeah, I’ll figure it out.

I love you all so much.

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