Elder Cole's first mission field letter to home.
It's still weird to think that I am 10,000 miles away from home. When I wake up every morning and hear Tagalog I feel like I'm in a dream. Sometimes I feel like I'm still at the MTC and I'm going to wake up to my district. I miss those guys greatly but I know that we'll see each again. Well maybe not Sister Mwea unfortunately. Well Dad, I was assigned to work in the Naga 1B area first. We cover a great portion of the city (It's a pretty big city) and a few small towns out in the middle of nowhere. Mt. Isarog is in our area and boy is it gorgeous. I felt like I was in a Jurassic Park movie when I first saw it. My trainer is Elder Manicdo (Maneekdo), he's a Filipino and this guy has only been out for 3 months. He is one strong worker and doesn't give up easily. The great part is that he speaks English very well so he is constantly helping me with my Tagalog. My language skills are starting to come but I'll give it at least 4 months before I'm really good with the language. I have been extremely humbled being here in the Philippines; just seeing all of the poverty makes so grateful for the things which I have. We are very blessed that we have a shower head in our apartment, there's only cold water but I don't care. During my first ever lesson, Elder Manicdo and I were teaching a recent convert Beverly (16) in the center (or Centro) of town and two little boys that didn't have any shoes on (neither one looked over three), came up to me and asked me for money. My heart literally broke in pieces at the moment. I would have probably given them a few pesos in heart beat if it weren't against mission rules. Brother Evangalista (one of the members in the Naga 1st ward) is probably one of the most humble men that I have ever seen in my entire life. He and his family live in an alley way where no light can get through the windows. He has a daughter who is severely handicapped but yet he counts every blessing that the Lord has given him. He told me with his broken English that his house is always open to the servants of the Lord, so they fed us with what little food they had. He didn't even eat because he said we needed the nourishment more than he did. These Filipino people sure are very special.