First of all, thank you for the marami at marami letters that I received this week! I only get mail every six weeks, but I was thankful to hear from so many of you! If you sent me mail to the MTC after I left, I got your mail, too! And Illia, it took exactly 12 days for your letter to arrive here.
So, the news of the week is the category three typhoon that passed through Ilocos this morning. We were told by President Barrientos that we could not leave our apartments today, but the typhoon got stage fright and never showed up. I was excited to see this amazing Filipino storm, but there were only about three gusts of wind. I am not leaving until I see a real typhoon!
It has been another busy week here. Sister Abuel and I have been teaching many people. Sadly, this week Sister Augustin and three of her children were in a tricycle accident with a drunk driver. Sister Agustin and two of her children are still in the hospital. The prayers of many people have been with the Augustin family this week, and their great faith is carrying them through this difficult time. I know that faith works. When we show the Lord that we believe in his power, miracles do happen. I love the Augustin family very much; in many ways they are my home away from home. They are blessed because they believe.
This week’s cultural lesson will be on leisure time in the Philippines. People have a lot of free time here and they like to sit around, talk, and relax. It is quite common to hear the atrocious sounds of karaoke floating through the streets here. I do not know where this national obsession originated from, but it hurts my ears. Also, basketball is huge here. The kids often ask me if I have met any NBA players in the US. In addition to karaoke and basketball, many people play bingo here. It is hard to see so many people gambling their little money, especially members.
This week’s funny story goes to a scary tricycle driver. A few days ago while walking down the street he serenaded me, and then a day or two later he got the guts to talk to me. The conversation went like this (I have translated into English for your convenience):
TD: Do you have a spouse?
TD: Do you have a girlfriend?
SC: No, but do you mean boyfriend?
TD: Yes, do you have a boyfriend?
TD: I love you.
TD: I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
*I am not really sure how many “I love yous” there were, we just ignored him and went on our way. The best thing about it is that stuff like this happens all of the time. People are obsessed with being white here; it is so bizarre. In the US, all of the products that are sold are to make you tan, but here, everything has a whitening agent. And when I say everything, I mean it.
I love the Philippines. I am excited that I have been entrusted with the opportunity to deliver the blessings of the Gospel to the people here. The Church is so very true. The people here know it and they live it.