Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Oh my goodness my place is a palace here in the Philippines, it is actually one of the nicest places around. I already have quite the stories to tell, haha, all in my journal. Ok, so the rats. So We decided to go check upstairs under a dresser. Well, we look under with a flashlight and find our food being stolen. This rat(s) took a bag of itchyban, or pansit, and pulled it to his hole. It wouldn't fit into it, so he ate lots of its but it was half in and half out of his hole. The first time I saw the rat, it was about the size of three tennis balls next to each other. He disappeared so fast. Then the next time was in the middle of the night when it was chewing a whole in our ceiling. Well, we hear it all the time in our ceiling, and this week after finding its hole, we found that it lives in between the floor upstairs and the ceiling to our room. So that's good. We are actually looking for a new house because our house doesn't meet code for a mission house, lol. And we have scorpions now too. We sprayed Premethrin around our walls, come home and found three scorpions, one half dead but still alive. They are small, which means they are poisonous too! So we need to watch out for them, and the cockroaches. And we find about one giant Spider ever week. It is quite the house. And outside on the roads there are always dead snakes and giant toads that are giant squished, so I guess there are snakes. And lots of them in my area. It is towards the centre of Bohol. And another thing too, a couple years ago rebels in the Philippines against the government came and live deep in the bukid, so we have been warned to be careful. They are dangerous, but they live deep in the jungle so that's good. We travel mostly by foot, but our area is super big, and takes forever to walk I think we are going to get an area adjustment so we can afford motors to take us places. We take either buses or jeepnies(really getto jeeps) to Tagbilaran every pday, and those cost money too, but everything here is dirt cheap. 40ish pesos is one dollar so. Anyway there are two big malls on Bohl, and one is called BQ mall and the other island central mall. They sell groceries and knockoffs and lots of stuff here. Down the street there is a place I can get a pair of pants made for 150 pesos. And I can get any shirt made here. The food we get is super cheap. We get pansit because each is about 10 pesos, and noddles. A mango is like 50 pesos, and sadly, we have about 400 pesos a week on food so we get the essentials and then get out. The main food here is rice. Everybody has rice every meal, no matter who you are. It is pretty cheap, depending on the kind. The dirt cheap rice has rocks in it, they dry it on the roads on tarps. So church is 40 minutes via jeepni away in a small chapel, we have about 50 people right now. And we watch general conference in Tagbilaran this Sunday, they have to translate and send it here first. We get to watch it Saturday and Sunday, all sessions. It is crazy about people who are against the church. I am getting some of our investigators to come. One of the hardest things here is money. Everyone is so poor, they can't get to church, and lots of times it is too far to walk. The people here are pretty good, most everyone will listen to us. The culture is too nice to say no, however they just listen, the trick is getting the ones who want to know more. We were riding a motorbike home the other day after the day was done, and the guy ended up setting an appointment with us. The next time we saw them it went pretty good, we gave them a pamphlet of the restoration, and then the time we visited after that they read the entire thing. Elder Durham, who has been here 1 year and 3 months, said that is super rare. We have committed a bunch of people to baptism. We keep in touch with cell phones. Very cheap crappy ones though. We get 600 texts a month, and to get more it is called load. Lots of times though the people don't have load, so they can't check. The appointments here are just sorta set. We can say about 3 and show up way late or early, it is very chill that way. We just need to visit most people whenever. Lots of times we don't set anything up. 

Ok, so this morning I had about 20 minutes in a cafe with fast Internet so i sent some pictures.  So I got to tell you about today. We went across the Island over to a river resort place and did something so cool. You know in the shows and movies when they are travelling on boats down a river with jungle on either side like the Amazon river, that was what we did today. It cost 450 pesos, or about 10 dollars, and we got all you can eat food( I had crab, seaweed, tons of fruits, this giant fish thing, chicken, pork, it was great) while travelling on one of these boats down a river. It was fancy and honestly a crazy amazing thing. Half way through we got off on this floating island and a ton of people, like 70 ish, all were dressed up cool in dresses and sang and danced and played little guitars and danced and we all got to watch, I even joined in and had a great time. Then at the end there was a couple smaller waterfalls. It was so crazy and awesome, I loved it. Way worth it, then on our way back I got a machete with a handle made from a caribou (big fat water buffalo) horn, so that is sweet. I have it with me right now. So Visayan, that is what the language is called up north, by Manila it is called Tagalog. Here in the islands it is called Visayan. Cebuano is a dialect from the islands of Cebu and then the surrounding islands are all different dialects. Here on Bohol it is called Boholano, they switch J's for Y's and have a few other words. Anyway, it is all based off of Visayan. And the pictures, I will try and send more of bugs and kids, I have tons of pictures, although I don't take a ton of pictures proselyting because we are not really supposed to a ton and I don't think about it all the time, I am focusing on the language and there reactions and the lessons. It is pretty cool. So a quick cool story. The other day we talked to a guy in the market. He wanted us to come by the next day and speak to him. So we did, and found his house (the houses here don't have numbers and there are no addresses so it can be a bit tricky) and when we came in, there were like 30 other people all with bibles and a pastor guy. We sat, then proceeded to pray, then they all say a really long catholic type hymn in visayan, and then prayed again, then they all got up and payed tithing in some cans, then prayed again and it closed. The pastor raised his hands when he prayed, it was a weird experience. Anyway, it was sorta dark, and it was our turn. He pretty much bible bashed us, but wouldn't let us talk, and it was a good thing too because everything he used my companion and I could have explained. hahaha. But anyway, he then got out a banner chart thingy and it was a time line of the churches of the world. It showed ours, then tons of others. He then claimed his church, which is called the true church of god, a break off from catholic, is the true church and that it never left the earth. Then he got out another chart with meats and talked about clean and dirty meats, so he still believes in the law of moses too! So that was interesting, then the fed us noodles, chicken and rice and we left. It was crazy. I got p[pictures ;)  lol. That is great about the house, it sounds awesome and super exciting. I am so happy for you guys, it can only get better I hope. Anyway love you lots, Talk to you next week. 
Love you lots!

Elder Schnoor

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Chocolate Hills, butterflies and lots of animals

Dear home. The chocolate hills were great! They were so cool, but there really was not a ton with them. You literally go up some long stairs to the top of a hill and stare off and watch them as long as you want, after that you come back down. They were really cool though!

After that we went to the butterfly sanctuary, and it was alright, the zoo is better, but there were some pretty big butterflies so that was cool to see.
Then after that we went to the Tarsier monkey place and saw a bunch of those little monkeys only found in this part of the world on a few islands. They were very cool, and they were actually kinda cute and so little. So that was Pday, sadly not a whole lot to tell.

That is awesome about dad getting that calling. The priests seem pretty awesome and I bet dad will do great. Young mens is definitely fun, so he will enjoy that. Plus Kaden is in there which is great! Are you in Todd and Amy's ward?  Dad will really enjoy his call if he can get close to the boys. I am excited for him from here. 

So I got to tell you about our new house. It is one of the lowest standards in the entire mission. It is very hard for the mission to find homes to rent, and my area is pretty out in the middle of nowhere so our house sorta is crappy. The first day there, I saw a giant cockroach, absolutely giant, take a piece of me with it if it bites me. I killed that guy. Then a giant spider, it looked so creepy, it was pretty big and so fast....and big. It looked like a giant wolf spider. But the worst part of it all is the Rats. We saw a giant rat, and so didn't know where it went. But we guessed it went into this storage room so we locked it off. We could here the rats crying all night to get out, they were starving to death. Then we came home one day and Elder Durham went into the kitchen and this giant rat come running out, past me, hops up each stair and runs and hides somewhere. We don't go upstairs...but worst of all, last night we were in our room and we both woke up to this chewing scratching noise. We turned on a light and a rat was chewing its way through our ceiling into the room. So we have rats living in the ceiling too, which oh my goodness rats. Our house is not my favorite, and I am there at least until half way through January. 

It is pretty crazy here. I know I have said that but I always think it. We have a couple progressing investigators right now. We got 14 new investigators this last week, its seems like a pretty ready area. So I don't know if I told you this one earlier, but we will be teaching a lady, and boom she whips out her ... and starts feeding like nothing changed. I can hardly concentrate when that happens. I honestly just concentrate on eye contact let alone the language and what I am saying. It happens all the time, all the time, anyone anywhere. ugh, but meh. 

So yesterday I ate something so weird and I probably will try to avoid. Rice, noodles and cooked pigs blood....it was so hard to get past the part of the dirty pigs blood being eaten. So nasty, and I am gonna try balute and probably some intestines this week. Our area we have been walking so much lately, it rained the other day and we chose to run through it to get home rather than wait forever. We got soaked to the bone. I was dripping wet!! I tried to catch a baby tooko too, it was a pretty big baby lizard, lol. And I saw a dead black snake squished on the road, so the snakes are here, but that was out towards chocolate hills more. Most of the dangerous stuff is in where the people and we are not. Its because the dangerous stuff is scared of us and if anyone sees anything dangerous, they kill it. The biggest thing I need t worry about are the rats, cockroaches and spiders. I can't believe I have been on my mission for over 2 months already, it is super slow but fast at the same time. The language is slowly coming, it is pretty tough to get, I can say some stuff but they talk so fast and there are so many words to remember.  I think I am learning more than I think I am, but oh well. It'll come.   Anyway I love you all a ton, miss you lots. I'll talk to you again next week. 

Elder SChnoor

Animals everywhere!

I'm making rice by pounding it so the husks that are around the actual grains of rice fall off and turn to dust.
 An example of a home here.  It makes my home look like a palace!
This is a family we are teaching right now. The little boy doesn't have any legs and has a thumb only on one hand. He is so cute, and laughs so much and his mom loves him a lot. His sister is pretty cute too. 

That is president Brios, Branch president in Cortes Branch 

Huge and Nasty!

Well, I have to be quick right now because we are going on a zone activity today and so I don't have very much time. We are going to the Chocolate Hills and some sanctuaries.  The people here are super awesome, and it is completely like Jamaica here although worse in a lot of places. I can tell you a lot more about it all next week, but lets just say people survive with pretty much nothing here. They survive off rice, super cheap rice. It is super sad to see. I have to wash my laundry in a bucket every week! That is hard and takes time, and is pretty annoying, but I will get better at it as times goes on. My new apartment is in an area called Balilihan. It is sketchy, you walk in and there is a big open room, then a kitchen area and another room.  Then upstairs  there are a couple rooms, pretty small, and the floors are a wood and you can see through parts of it. and everything here is super dirty. I am getting used to it fast, mostly because i have no choice. The washrooms, well.....no toilet paper. There is a little toilet and a bucket, a faucet and drain.  You asked about toilet paper and well, you wipe with water and..... your hand....and soap, but the trick is to poor water while you go, down your back so showers you off, haha, then use soap and rinse...it is sorta gross, but actually way cleaner in a way. And my showers are all bucket showers, so that is hard. I am not going to lie, conditions are horrible here and super hard, its not an easy mission when it comes to living conditions.  And the language is super hard too, people talk so fast here it is super crazy. But I love this mission, and I am happy to serve the Lord and teach people. So more about our new area. Balilihan is huge, and is starting to get more into the center of Bohol, so pretty much tons of bukid(jungle). Our residence is through some trees a ways, and people honestly can be anywhere. Its pretty spread out, lots of walking. And mud and rain. I am so tired at the end of each day. And the animals, there are lots. Lots of everything. I have seen a moth the size of my hand, a nasty spider the size of my hand, tooko's which are giant lizards that if they bite you their jaw locks and you have no choice but to kill them. I have not seen a cobra yet, but I have seen a python skin so there are pythons too. Then the cockroaches too, oh boy they are huge and nasty. And if they bite you it will most definitely get infected. So pretty much there is lots out here that can kill me, everything is dangerous and poisonous. The big spider I saw, if you look up online the spiders int he Philippines, and that picture with the big creepy  spider and the bird all tangled up, thats pretty much what I saw...its intense.
Huge spider with my companion Elder Durham

This is not fun to find in the cupboard!

And the water here is not to be drunk. Our tap water is full of mercury and other metals, plus the bugs that are in it...and we don't have tons of money so I will mostly survive off itchy ban, rice, oatmeal and whatever else I can find. I can't believe how crazy it is here. We get in our jeepny's, or these long jeeps, and they can fit a lot of people. You basically fill every square inch, including on top. We had about 50 in one the other day, it was so so so hot, I sweat all the time.  By the end of the day, I stink soo soo much. Just absolutely smell. I have not had balute or anything to crazy yet, I have been to busy. Yesterday, we went up to Balilihan and to go check out a referral and she ended up being too busy because she is basically and maid for some guys. And they were all drinking and eating cow and goat intestine. It was nasty nasty nasty. They kept offering us some but we said no, a lot. We didn't actually teach them, but we gave them a pamphlet then left. They eat so messy here too, like animals, with there hands and a spoon and fork in each hand. Since we are opening a new area things have been pretty disorganized and crazy. We do a lot of tracting, and the area seems pretty good. Lots of them are all about the born Catholic, die Catholic life, but lots are willing to let us talk. Lots are just to polite to say no, so we teach them and see if they are actually interested or not. It has been a bit discouraging at times, it is super hard, and knowing i still have 22 months to go is pretty overwhelming. I miss home a lot, but things only get better. Especially when I can start getting the language and can actually talk to people, then it will be nice. Elder Durham is a good companion, he is a good guy and knows his stuff so thats nice. I really like our zone leaders and the AP's a lot. They are really cool. Oh did I tell you about where we get to baptize? We get to baptize at the base of one of those crazy beautiful jungle waterfalls. I can't wait, lol. I will be here in this same area until the middle of january. Just wait until I talk some Visayan to you at christmas time. Do you know if that package has arrived in babb I sent, it don't care when you get it, it is just stuff for me when i get home, but I would love to know if it made it there. You should see the driving here. It is ridiculous. You honestly just go for it. People are dodging, speeding, going crazy everywhere. Its nuts, look it up on youtube or something. I can get some cool stuff here too, lots of custom stuff.  Anyway I love you all a ton, keep emailing me and tell all those that I didn't email I am sorry. Love you all a lot, i do miss home a ton. Anyway I will reply as soon as I can again.


Elder Schnoor