Monday, April 9, 2012

Out of place.

Dear Mom,
After nearly 21 months in the mission, I feel like I just landed in the real Philippines.

I am now in Plaridel, Bulacan Province! The birthplace of Tagalog. Let me take you on a short update.

The Companion:
My companion's name is Elder Anderson from Canada - oh yeah. He's about 6'3" and is a typical jock. Eats, sleeps, talks, acts, dresses, everything just like your typical basketball or football player. He's pretty new in the mission, I will be follow up training him again just like I have been the last 203948573094857 transfers. He's a good kid though. We are completely opposite, but it's a good adjustment. Regardless of his stereotypical attitude, surprisingly, he has told me that he loves me more than any other companion I've ever had - except maybe Elder Tengelsen.

Funny aside really quick (first of a few I have), Elder Anderson had no idea that I was from Vegas at first - he thought I was just straight up Filipino. He panicked for awhile because he thought he'd have to speak 100% Tagalog. I pulled his leg for a little and then eventually spoke a little of English to where he found out that I am actually American haha.

The Area:
Is HOT. But also very, very green. The streets are straight and it's very quiet. It's like nothing I've ever experienced my whole mission. Even Montalban was basically city because it was so close to Quezon City, but Plaridel is straight up Filipino countryside. Our area is covered in rice fields and farms and the people we have taught, for the most part, have had houses with farms - in fact I taught on one last night (and as a funny detail, tripped and gashed my leg on the way out). It's been really hot here though, and it's much more humid here than in the city. And for goodness sake, the water is hot too. In Fairview, the water was freezing, and here I feel like we have a water heater. In Fairview, I warmed up water to take a shower, here I freeze ice and put it into the water when I shower haha. My first night, I laid for hours in sweat with the fan blowing hot air not being able to sleep because it is so hot. It's just another experience though - I actually feel like I'm in the Philippines now!

Another crazy aside. Friday we had a lunch appointment and we ate on... leaves with our hands. I could not believe myself. You should have seen me, I looked like an idiot haha.

The Zone:
I have a few zone-mates that I've been with in other areas before so it's not too bad. A funny thing is that since I'm close to ending my mission, I've been released from my previous leadership position and am just a regular missionary now. My leaders now are actually people that I've been a leader too, like Elder Naraja. It is a really great thing to see - new missionaries taking over the reigns of the mission.

Other than that, that's pretty much it.

It's been pretty hard though. I've felt extremely out of place here not knowing many of the missionaries (let's not even mention the actual environment) because they are all new - not to mention being new to the ward. When we went to watch General Conference this weekend, I feel like I couldn't even concentrate because I felt like no one really cared to sit by me or make me feel welcome. I missed Mapayapa so much because I felt so welcomed and loved there. But longing to go back won't bring me back.

Marcie wrote me a letter before I left and he told me that this was going to be a time to get ready to step out of my comfort zone. Stepping out of my comfort zone was sure right, but one thing that has brought me a lot of comfort is seeing small tidbits of God's love everyday that He sends me to bring me up. I've seen a lot of crazy coincidences since I've been here. Many of my best friends have been assigned here and it's great to hear about them. Also, I've met lots of people who know really close people to me. Today we had lunch the Javier Family in Balagtas, who happened to be a family that Marcie told me all about when I was in Mapayapa because he served with their son who is just like me, a Filipino raised in the states. And then, I found out that Sister Nunez, a brand new missionary from Manila, knew Jansen Tesoro from BYUH! Just crazy things like that that are simple but powerful enough to make you smile and remind you that even though you may feel out of place, you're not out of place alone.

I guess for now we'll see what happens. Transfers are hard, but to make things better, I just remember past transfers and how things always turned out more than okay. I'm excited to see what new adventures I'll have here. Welcome to the Philippines Elder Corpuz.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. Sorry for signing "Eric" last week unintentionally haha.
P.P.S. I attached some pictures of my last night in Mapayapa. It was really special - the senior missionaries made it out to come have a Family Home Evening with us and the Sales family. Attached is pictures of the people I loved most from the ward. The girl with braces is Carla, and you know the others. It was a great way to spend my last night in Mapayapa.