MTC District - only Ryan and his companion (Elder Wineberg, front 2nd from left) are going to Laoag. All others are going to San Pablo (south of Manila).
Okay, well that week flew by. It does not feel like I've been here 3 weeks. I'm now officially one of the "Older Guys". Yesterday was a pretty sad day. All the guys that welcomed us into the zone when we got here, hit the road. I was really good friends with a lot of them, so it was tough to see them leave. BYU winning made my day when I found that out. My comp is from AZ, so that saddened him a bit.
Alright so I'll talk about the week a little bit. So getting bed bugs was pretty annoying, but there were some sisters that got it worse than us. One morning, one of them woke up to a bat nesting in her hair!!! Turns out, there was a nest of them living in a dorm somehow.. crazy gross. So they had to pack up their stuff and move, but also had to stay in the MTC an extra week and get a rabies shot.... so basically the MTC is infested with all kinds of things.
Sunday I had the privilege to pray during Sacrament Meeting, in front of like 100 people, in Tagalog. The Branch Pres said he was very impressed though, so that gave me a boost of confidence. On Sunday night, Chad Lewis spoke (previous BYU/NFL football player). It was soooooo cool. He's a really good speaker and taught a good lesson about valuing your time as a missionary. I really enjoyed that. So on Monday, I saw Kenzie (cousin, currently teaching Portuguese at the MTC)!! haha it was sooooo good to see some fam in the MTC. I think I'll probably see her a few more times. And then for dinner, Chick-fil-A catered. Best meal I've had here yet, by far.
Tuesday was a really good day. I had no idea who was speaking to us for our devotional, and then D. Todd Christofferson walks in. I was stoked. Never been to General Conference or anything so this was the first time I would see an Apostle speak in person. Prior to Elder Christofferson speaking, the choir was going to sing. And I heard that this was going to be broadcast to all the other MTC's across the world. So I definitely wanted to get on the camera haha. While we were singing, I looked up and the camera was roaming.. It literally pointed at the guy sitting to my left, and then switched to a different camera..so that frustrated me a bit. I calmed down though and listened to the great talk Elder Christofferson gave. Talked a lot about the importance of teaching repentance. The Spirit was way strong the whole time, it was incredible. So yesterday I volunteered to host a new missionary. Luckily this guy got out of the car, said a quick goodbye to his brother and sister, and didn't even shed a tear haha. Well, even though I've been here for 3 weeks, I accidentally took him the wrong way and we ended up walking a half mile with all his luggage. My arms were begging for a rest, but I couldn't show him that I, his host, was weak. So I carried on. Got to his building just to find out that his room was on the 4th floor. Hauled his luggage 4 floors up and collapsed on his bed to rest haha. My forearms are in such pain hahah. But after that I had some free time, and I remembered that Aunt Robin helps here on Wednesdays.. so I went searching for her, but didn't find her. So can somebody figure out for me what day Aunt Robin will be here (note: she's on vacation this week...but will be back next Wednesday for Ryan to "run into"). Welcome, Kyle Penney (friend from our ward - also going to the Philippines - different mission), to the MTC!! I've see him a lot already, and he seems to be fitting right in.
So one night while eating dinner, I realized that the food seems to get worse and worse. I remembered all of the people telling me how incredible the food was here. And then I just realized that everybody that had ever told me that, were only in the MTC for 3 weeks! haha So I guess it gets worse from here. I'm sure I'll miss it though when I'm eating a few grains of rice off of a leaf in the jungle. Well I wish I had some cool stories to tell ya, but I am still in the MTC haha, so there's not too much that goes on.
I'm learning to love the Lord more day by day, it's so cool. I'm also learning to love the language so much.. It's incredible, sometimes somebody will ask me a yes or no question and without me even trying I'll just spit out the answer in Tagalog. Its usually simple like "Hindi" or "opo" or "hindi ko alam" haha but it's cool how my brain is starting to think in Tagalog a little bit. I really am surprised by how well the language is coming along. I ask in prayer every night for my tongue to be loosened and for help to understand the language, and I can truly see how I am being blessed. It just takes hard work and faith. Sorry this letter isn't too exciting, I'll try to have something cool to write ya'll about next week. Love you all!!!