Kamusta (hello) Lahat (everyone),
A lot has happened this past week, including a few funny stories! I first have to tell you about jeep-nee drivers and how crazy they are. Here in the Philippines traffic is very different. You pass people who are slower, it doesn't matter if there is oncoming traffic, or if there are 3 other cars in front of them, you just pass them. And the thing is that people here don't seem to get mad! They are totally ok and there isn't any road rage. However, this past week we were in a jeep-nee in the town market area and it was really slow traffic because of a funeral procession. Well, our driver had places to be and riders to drop off so he decided to drive around the big sign and barrier saying "Welcome to Alaminos" and then drove in the left lane, passed the funeral procession and pulled out again in front of the hearse. It was one of the funniest, scariest driving moments I have ever experienced.
Walking around the areas where people live is also a different experience. Everything is pretty open and people are hanging out in the street or on their porches. People here love Americans and are very generous. All of the men on the weekends are usually drinking so everywhere I go they yell "Hey Joe! One shot?” I just say no thanks or it’s bawal (forbidden) and walk away. But this week I decided to be bold so with one guy I said "Actually I don't drink and this is why" then I gave him a Word of Wisdom packet asked him to read it and to talk to me if he wanted to know more and then I walked away! My companion was stunned but afterward we got a pretty good laugh out of it. Who knows maybe he will get baptized one day! People here also really like American music, but only 3 songs…One by Pink, “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars and another one by One Direction. Everywhere you go it seems people are listening to one of those 3 songs on their phones.
Buying things here is also very interesting. I had to buy a side bag to use during the day so we went to the only shopping center around here. I told them I needed a side bag but wasn't sure exactly which one. I was surprised when 7 employees all went and got different side bags, stood in a line and all tried to show me what they all had to offer "how about this one sir?" or "dito has marmaring zipper"(many zippers). I found a good bag and then they all walked with me to the checkout and I bought it. It was pretty funny but very different at the same time.
The food here isn’t too bad! Some of the stuff is weird, but I mostly eat fruits and rice. I had to eat pork liver this week and that was gross but not terrible. There are a lot of different bananas and other fruits that are really good. Every morning I have either a mango or some bananas and the other day I had a dragon fruit that was really good!
We have several families that we have been teaching. One of them, the Giaz family, is doing really well. They have several kids and a few nieces that live with them. They seem really interested in the gospel but we are having trouble getting them to come to church. There was also are guy who just showed up at church and then said we could come teach him later on that day. We were really excited so we went and taught him the entire first lesson, he was doing so well that I extended the baptismal challenge and he said that we would!! We thanked him and got ready to go. As we were walking out he said he was really excited to get baptized again! We stopped and asked "again?"… turns out he was confirmed a member in 1992 and has just been inactive since then! It was funny because we were so excited to have a baptism and a golden investigator just to find out he was a less active.
I miss you all and hope you have a good week!
P.S. I've attached pictures of a cool looking lizard and also what most of my area looks like.