Family and Friends,
I've been transferred! My new area is Socorro, Mindoro. It is about as far away as you can get from the mission home and my companion and I are pretty isolated out here. The other missionaries affectionately refer to our area as "outer darkness". The Socorro branch isn't actually a branch. It is a group. There is a really interesting story that goes with Socorro. A few years ago, they pulled the missionaries out of Socorro, because of some things that were going on in the branch. After that, the whole Socorro branch dissolved and just went away. We are the second group of missionaries to come into Socorro after it was reopened. Now it is just a group of about 15 active members and two active priesthood holders. Let's just say that I was a little overwhelmed by the whole situation at first. There is a lot of work that needs to be done here, and my companion and I are really excited.
My new companion is Elder Santos. He's 19 years old and only speaks a little bit of English. I'm really excited to improve my Tagalog a lot here. On Mindoro, they speak the deepest form of Tagalog you can find in the Philippines and I'm in a very provincial area. We spend almost all of our time here visiting inactive families. It has amazed me to see them pull out their old Books of Mormon and dust them off, and then commit to come back to church.
I had to travel all by myself from Calamba to the Batangas port (about three hours). Then it was a three hour boat ride to Mindoro. Then it was another 2 hour drive to our area. We only have district meetings once a month because of the travel time and expenses.
That's all the information I have about my area right now. I'm getting pretty talented at walking on muddy trails in the jungle without getting my pants dirty. Other than that, I'm really excited to get to know the area and my companion better. There is an unbelievable amount of work to do here, but we can't wait to get to work.
- Elder English
Our current meeting house.
What we see outside of our apartment.
My last week with Elder Torio. We had this service project while it was pouring rain. My first service project with machetes and bamboo.