Elder Booth is on his way to the Philippines! This is Elder Booth and some of the other missionaries he was traveling with on the planes. Is that surprise or shock on his face?
Here' another plane taking off:
While they did have a layover in LAX (I don't think this is that airport) and Taiwan, I'm not sure what airport this picture was taken. It could also be from the airport in the Philippines...
Here's the plane as seen from the airport:
Elder Booth and the other elders he was traveling with were greeted at the airport by the Mission President and his two assistants. They were taken back the mission home, which was pretty nice and you can read about the rest in the letter below. This is a picture of Elder Booth with his Mission President and his wife and the other elders who arrived with him:
Elder Booth ends up living in the same apartment with Elder Hamblin (second one in on the left) and on the far right is his companion from the MTC, Elder Wade. I'm sure he'll see these guys again through the course of his mission.
Here's Elder Booth alone with the Mission President and his wife (I think Elder Booth is growing )...
Here is the first email we received from Elder Booth after he arrived there:
December 28, 2008 6:56:15 PM PST
Hey, how are you doing family? I am now writing you from a little computer cafe thing in Bacolod. I cant really remember what the name of the area I am in right now, but I will get it down eventually, I hope. The plane rides were good. The one that went for fourteen hours was actually a really nice plane so it went by really fast. I think it was actually harder to just sit in the air ports and look at people that didn't understand a word I was trying to say. Oh well. I had some pretty good food in Taiwan.
I think the most surprising thing when I got of the plane in the Philippines was the humidity. You can pretty much taste the water in the air. It's not too bad now, though. I am already pretty used to it and don't really notice. When I first arrived in Bacolod, I was fist met by the mission president and his two assistants. We went back to the mission home which was actually really nice. We ate some really good food and then had our welcoming meeting. It was a good meeting and he gave us a chance to all bear our testimonies as well. After the meeting we were assigned our trainers. Oh, I forgot to mention that they (the trainers) were there the whole time watching us. I ended up being matched up with Elder Erickson from Idaho. He is a really good missionary and I love learning new things from him.
The next day we really didn't do any missionary work, but instead had a big mission conference with most of the missionaries in the Bacolod mission. We started of by going to the hospital to sing and hand out presents. This would have to be my first culture shock. I really hope I don't have to go to the hospital for anything serious. That was a pretty dingy and depressing place. After this we went and played some games, which was fun, because I found that we had some pretty funny characters in our mission. Oh, and I found that I really need to work on names because I am lucky if I can remember my companion, let alone everyone else. We then had a tie trade, which was actually really fun. I ended up with a pretty good tie and got rid of one that I didn't like, that I got from the MTC. Don't worry, it wasn't one that I got from anybody at home because those are all magenta and I love them all. Then we ate and had some skits. I actually played a role in mine, even though I didn't really practice or help come up with it at all. Actually our zones skit ended up turning out bad and making fun of the mission president and his wife, so I really didn't know what to do. I just said my three lines and ran off stage. I guess they taught me what not to do next year. After all of this was finally over, we finally got to go to our area.
We live in a nice apartment. My companion said it is probably the nicest one he has ever lived in, so I guess I am pretty lucky. We started working the next day. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have yet to meet a missionary here that is fluent in Tagalog. Instead they are fluent in Ilango or maybe Sabwano. So yea, people understand me when I speak Tagalog, but I don't understand anything they say to me because they are speaking a different language. I am currently trying to learn Ilango and it is slow goings. It is really frustrating, but I will just have to keep working.
Anyway, the first day was amazing. We went to visit a family, but they told us to come back at night so we just decided to head to our next appointment. We talked to some people on the way, but when we asked for some directions from one family they told us to come in out of the rain. We decided to teach, so this was my first lesson. My companion taught about Joseph Smith and I taught about the Book of Mormon in Tagalog. They didn't understand everything that I was saying, but the spirit was helping me out a lot which was amazing to see. They ended up taking the Book of Mormon and said they would pray. We will be going back next week and hopefully it will all work out. The next family wants to get baptized, but they have to get their marriage liscence first. Hopefully we can help out with that. We then taught a lot more. I would love to tell you about them all, but I am running a little short on time and I don't think that I will have time to say it all. I did teach a lot though, even if it was in Tagalog. They understood everything I was trying to say and if they didn't, my companion would help out a little.
The people here are amazing though. They have to be the nicest people that I have ever met. I am really excited to spend two years with them. Church was great the next day too. They were all really nice to me. My nick name is Elder nice because the word for nice here is buot. I guess they think that is sounds the same. It is better than Elder cell phone, like my companion. I guess they are a fan of the Sony Erickson. All the new missionaries just bore their testimonies and then we had some speakers. It is a really good, organized ward with really good attendance. The members really want to work with us too. I think we have a ward missionary with us almost every day this next week. Oh, and since today is my first p-day I had the honor of washing my clothes by hand. Just so you know, it is not as fun as every one says it is. Actually it is pretty crappy. It wasn't to hard - it just took up a lot of time and wasted pretty much my whole morning. I took my first bucket shower today too. There wasn't any water pressure in the shower. It was really cool though. I am a fan of those showers. I might just do that every time.
Well, I better get going so I hope everybody had a good Christmas and I hope you have a great New Year. Pray for me to learn this new language and hope that I don't get too frustrated. I love you all and always remember to keep the Holy Ghost with you by being worthy of his presence.
We're sorry we missed the call (well, some of us) and we're glad everything went well on your trip. Good Luck Elder Booth!