I finally made it to my first area. It is super hot here and I am in the beginning of the cold season here. Even though the Illocos region got hit really hard by the typhoon, my area doesn't seem like it got hit really hard, however I'm more southern than other missions and the north got hit the hardest. I arrived last Saturday and met my companion in the mission home on Friday. His name is Elder De Leon. He is a Filipino. My first area is Sinait. It's a decent sized place with a lot of farms. It's really beautiful here. I'll try to send pictures but I'm not sure how well it will work. My apartment is really small. The shower isn't even a shower, it's a bucket with really cold water. There are at least 12 giant spiders that are visible in the apartment, there may be more that I can't see. It's pretty great here though.
My first day here I got to attend a baptism for one of the members. I was asked to speak about the baptism and then I got to be a witness at the baptism. It was a really cool experience. I talked to some of the members that where there. We ate dinner at one of the branch presidency's house and talked to a recent convert that is his neighbor, his name is Jerom. The members here are really cool. Then on Sunday I spoke in church, said the opening prayer in priesthood and the closing prayer in sacrament meeting, I taught young mens, needed to answer half of the questions in Sunday school where I was helping. It was also the branch president's birthday so we celebrated with this jello kind of cake that had cheese on top of it, pieces or corn inside of it as well as some pieces of carrots. I didn't like it, but everyone else loved it. We also ate spaghetti to celebrate. After that Elder De Leon, the Sisters, and I went to a members house to give a baby a blessing. Elder De Leon anointed the oil for the blessing and then I was asked to give the blessing. It was a really amazing experience. I was lead by the Holy Ghost to say certain things, which I needed because I didn't know anything about the family. It was really amazing being able to give that blessing. After that we went back and did our study's and then went back to teach Jerom. We were fed again and I ate dried fish for the first time. Apparently every American that trys it hates it, I thought, however, that it was pretty good. The food and the culture here are so different but I'm slowly starting to pick it up. They don't use utensils most the time, they mostly eat with their hands. It's different but I don't mind it. I'm not as good at Tagalog as I thought I was. I'm an extremely slow speaker and it's hard for me to understand what they are saying because they speak so fast. I know though that in time I'll understand it and be able to speak to them fluently. It says in 1 Nephi 3:7 that, "the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that thing which he commandeth them." So I know that there is a reason I am in Sinait and that Heavenly Father will give me challenges because He wishes to see me grow. I know He does the same thing for all of you.
Sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, Amen.