There are lots of things in the Philippines that are similar to here in the US, but there are a lot of things that are different. Here are a few of those things:
This is some kind of "dragon" parade going on downtown:
Here is a church real close to Elder Booth's apartment. He said he really likes the way it looks:
These are some pictures of "Jeepneys." That is what Elder Booth rides in to go everywhere. He said: "You just sit and wait on the side of the road and wait for one. You just sit down and pass some money up. They are pretty skilled. They can shift and count out your change all at the same time."
Here is Elder Booth riding one out to the more rural areas. Some of the pictures are of what he sees:
The Elders also ride in "trickes" a lot. It is a motorcylce (or bike, it looks like) with a little car on the side that will usually even have a roof.
These guys are definitely getting their exercise!
Elder Booth also mentions that the mall in the Philippines is really similar to the malls in the US. I'm sure there are more similarities also...
Here's another letter from Elder Booth:
January 11, 2009 8:48:04 PM PST
Hey, how is everybody doing? I don't know if I will send out personal emails to everybody, so I will just try and answer all of your questions in this email. Yes, I did get all of your emails. The internet here is actually just like the internet back home. Most of them are to poor to have their own computer so there are internet cafes everywhere. It's actually pretty funny because there are a bunch of kids at all of them playing all the American games online. I love hearing from everybody, however it gets here. It takes a while to read all of the emails, but I don't know how long it takes for "Dear Elder" to get here. So I don't really know what to tell you about that. I don't mind the emails though. If you do email, just keep it to short updates. Don't be afraid to write either, because receiving mail as a missionary is pretty cool.
The work here in Paglaum is going great. oh, and just so you know, that means hope in Illango. I thought that was pretty cool, myself. The family with a baptismal date is still pushing forward. We made sure they were married this week and were very very relieved to find out they actually were. Ryan, you are very right. That is a huge problem here. Actually. one of our good investigators is having that problem. They were supposed to get their licsence on the fifth, but didn't because of some stupid reason. When we tried to give them a baptismal date, they just said no and that it was too expensive. I think they heard about other missionaries paying for it somewhere else, so they are probably just trying to get us to pay for it. It's alright though. They are coming to church pretty often, so it is just a matter of time before the spirit relates the fact that eternal salvation is more important than 200 pesos (which is only like four dollars). Crazy, huh?
We have been getting a lot of new investigators though. We get punted a lot so it gives us a lot of time to go tracking. I am getting more and more oyms each week. My companion still helps a little bit, but at least I am making the contact and commitment. It is actually really fun. Mainly just because the people are really nice here. It would probably be pretty hard in America. We were only able to get one more progressing investigator because we are not usually able to find people for the follow up visit. We even had one guy run away from us. It was pretty funny. Oh, and my companion got a kick out of me when I chased a guy down to give him a pamphlet after he walked away from us. He said I looked like the elder on "The Best Two Years" in the park.
I am actually fitting in to the culture really well. It is pretty much like Mexico, from what I have seen in Mexico. The food is great. I am starting to fall in love with rice and chicken. I had some chicken adobo last night. It was actually just like the chicken Ulma's grandma fed us a couple of times. They just put it on rice instead of tortillas. Oh, and I had my first chicken foot this week too. It was actually pretty good. I mainly accepted because I just wanted to say that I have eaten one. It was really funny, actually. When they offered, I could just see my comp trying to think of excuses not to accept. He gave me a pretty bad look when I spoke up with a loud "OO," or yes. It was good though, and now I can say I have eaten a chicken foot.
I went on my first splits this week too. I went with the zone leaders to their area. It was amazing. He was a great elder that gave me a lot to strive for. He has only been out for a year and has already trained, been a district leader, and is now a zone leader. I think he trained after six months, which is pretty cool. I don't know if I could do that. I will try and be ready to though, because that would be really cool to train that soon.
Well, nothing else too exciting has happened. I still haven't taken too many pictures. It is really hard because the only time I take my camera anywhere is on P-day and we mainly just go to the mall to buy all of our stuff and then go home to clean and study. Oh, I don't know if I told you about the mall here. Probably. It is really cool. It's like stepping into America for a little while.
Well, I hope I answered all of your questions. If I didn't, just tell me next week. Oh, and thank you for all you do for me. I am truly spoiled. I don't know how I got so lucky to get such a loving family. Thanks and I really do love each and every one of you.