Sunday, January 3, 2016

First update from the Philippines (PI) - Manila MTC

Dec 17, 2105 -
Keanan's weekly email was moving and inspiring.  We are so happy to be able to share this experience vicariously through him.

Being here is awesome.  Man there is so much to talk about, I can't fully describe everything that happened this week.  The plane ride was long and boring, we aren't allowed to watch TV or anything so that was terrible but I got some good sleep time in!  Finally getting to Manila and driving on the bus was crazy.  There is traffic all the time, the cars drive wherever they want, and its just a free for all!  After that I just spent time in the Manila MTC and after a little we got to go to the Immigration office.  So we are driving to the office and this time its day, so I can see so much better.  As we drove through the streets I saw homeless people everywhere. They build shacks against the buildings and kids play in the streets.  I've seen places like this in pictures but actually being in the middle of it is so different.  As we waiting in line to go to the immigration office, I saw three little girls who were homeless and I talked to them in Tagalog a little.  They were only 10 10 and 8 and they had on rags.  The thing I noticed first about them was that they smiled constantly. and as we drove back to the MTC I noticed that, people here smile a lot.  They are so happy despite their lack of worldly things.

Just yesterday we went on MTC exchanges with missionaries here. I thought we would be street contacting but we went to an inactive members house. I was with one elder from here and another from new Zealand. to get to this members house we took a tricycle which is just a motorcycle with a side cart attached.  As we cut through cars and drove on the wrong side of the road I began to wonder why there were no seatbelts in this thing... it was crazy. as I exited the tricycle I found myself in the poorest area I've been in my life.  there were stray dogs everywhere, houses on houses on houses, and everything looked like it was struggling to live. We weaved through an ally or two to get to the members house and as we walked I saw a man sleeping on the ground between two buildings. One of my companions pointed to him and said "That's one of our members, he lives there" and I couldn't believe what he was telling me. I was truly humbled. After walking a ways we got to the house. outside there was some sort of washing machine that had the hose hooked up to it. right behind that was the door and above the door there were a couple giant umbrellas, the kind you would bring to the beach. And as I entered I took off my shoes at the door of the house, which was smaller than the size of my living room. The woman we were visiting greeted us as her daughter darted upstairs. I tried to pick out what Tagalog I knew as she talked to my native companion. She invited us to sit on her couch/ bench which had been made by her husband I presumed. before we began, we sang a hymn, which I've never done when on splits in the states.  as we sang silent night though we were quite off key I felt the spirit so strongly.  during the song the daughter came back down and joined us.  after the song one of my companions turned to me and said "well what message do you have for us today?" I was caught off guard but I was able to pick out a scripture i had been reading this past week and it went well. I read 1 Nephi 19:9 which talks about how the whole have no need for a physician but the sick do. and how he came to call not the righteous but the sinners to repentance.  I talked about how the gospel is for everyone on the earth and how we should share it. as we concluded and left the house I felt so humbled.

I know I've only been here under a week but I love it, its so amazing how loving and receptive the people are, we set up an appointment with the Tricycle driver on the way back to the church!  I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to be here.  

I love you all so much, don't forget it!  

Elder Taylor-Jenson

Manila Temple

Dec 24, 2015 -
Keanan was able to call us on Christmas Eve (his Christmas Day)-the best Christmas gift to all of us! He was enthusiastic to start the work, and had fun things to tell us.  He lovingly and jokingly said "I am one of the tallest ones here!  Everyone else comes up to my chin!"  He is enjoying his "super sized" status.

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