Elder Luke Roberts

Elder Luke  Roberts

Friday, July 24, 2015

Last Week in the MTC

First time for us at the Mission Home
Leaving the MTC next week and entering the mission field!
Last week in the MTC! Time has flown by but it's amazing and I'm actually surprised at how much Tagalog I can speak. The conversational Tagalog is hardest because we don't practice that as much, but teaching and understanding is a whole lot easier for me!! 
Our district always opens class with a hymn and our teacher said we sound really good! (Oh course not me haha). So she went and got the MTC president and he loved it so we are singing Nearer My God to Thee this Sunday at church for everyone! In Tagalog of course.
The language is different because English is very Nasally, but Tagalog is all in the back of the mouth and it comes more from the throat. So my teacher has been working with me so I will be able to sound native. It's come a long way!! 
Our tracking experience this week was a lot different. We went to the Quezon City mission. It was nicer for sure. Less dogs haha. We rode around on the Jeepnies which was crazy. Most the time there are 3 lanes in the road but about 5 lanes of cars haha. Every time I would lift my head to talk to somebody on the Jeepnies I would wack my head on the top bar haha. I'm heads taller than everyone here! As we walked down the streets we saw lots of fruit stands with ancient people looking dead on a chair haha. LOTS of kids with flip flops and basketballs running around, and yelling, "Hey Joe". They also love to come around and give us hi fives. So some of the Polynesians in my district have brought me their ripped pants and ask me to sew them up haha. They say pants have a hard time holding in their poly thighs haha. But I'm really glad I can sew them up!! Filipinos are really dramatic. We have "investigators" we teach here are they are volunteers from Manila. They have a lot of really cheesy drama shows here or something but they really go all out, and they are just dramatic people in general haha. I love the Filipinos and the Philippines!! It feels so right that I'm here and I really connect with the people. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior, and wants us to get to know Him as well as He knows us. I love being a missionary and am so grateful to be the Lord's representative. So I had fried squid on wednesday haha. weird but good. Fried banana is my favorite treat here though so far! Expect another letter on Monday. We get another random P-day right before we get to go to the field. Today is just soooo hot. soooo hot. I'm so glad the fam is doing well!!! Love you so much! Thanks for all your support and prayers :)
video
This is a video that a Senior couple serving in Elder Robert's mission filmed.  They filmed while driving one day, trying to get to apartments in the Tondo area. She didn't start filming soon enough to really show the congestion of the nice, wide street that is made almost impassable by the little markets plunked on the sides. No missionaries in this, and you can hear them talking and see their map reflected in the window, but I added this to give you a little taste of Manila. The man on top of the jeepney was working on an electric line.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Garbage and sewage and sweat oh my!

I love the Malaysians
Hello everyone!  Only 2 weeks left in the MTC! The one downside this week was that the Malaysia group left this week. They usually sneak me candy haha. Well this was a big week for me! We got to go out into the mission field for a day! They matched us up with missionaries that have been here a long time. And we got to go to the Manila mission which is mine! 
      It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. Me and my companion for the day went out and we rode on a tricycle to our area. It was an extremely hot day. We got out and started walking around. It was a dump, it's what the Filipino's call "squatters". Stacked houses of aluminum built on trash. Sewage flowing through the road. Like a slot canyon of houses and my feet would sink into ground, it was rubble and garbage. There were flies buzzing around my face and I can't describe the smell. Naked kids ran around. Zombie dogs were just roaming around the place and nasty cats looked like they were dead! There were countless roosters in cages. I asked Brother Handy, the companion I was with what they were for, because I saw them let the roosters run towards the other ones and then pull them back again. He said they do Cock fights every night for gambling purposes. Then eat them sometimes I guess. It was hard to walk cause if you looked up you would stumble over rubble or sewage but if you looked down, a power line would hit your head or an edge of a house. It was a maze!! I had no idea where we were going but he seemed to know. Many kids ran up to me and grabbed my hand and then put it to their forehead. It's a sign of respect and the kids were so cute!! They lived in this place and were extremely skinny yet smiled all the time!! I saw shirtless men smoking on their hammocks staring at me as we passed. Everyone was napping or sitting by a pile of food trying to sell it. It was like a jungle gym. SO many kids running around the corner chasing each other naked. Smoke, sewage, and sweat was all I could smell. Yet... We found people to teach!
 I walked up to this old man who was staring at me but like always as soon as we start to talk they just kinda look down or sideways. But we asked if we could share a message about God in his house. He said he was busy. "They are always busy", smoking and sitting doing nothing. But we promised it would be short. So he let us into his house. We had to climb this really old wood ladder leaning off the side of the house and we went up there and it was kinda just a floor, but he found some chairs and my companion said to me, "share with him something about God". So I said a couple basic phrases and he looked like he was starting to cry but he was still just staring at the ground. He said we could come back and that was awesome!! 
Later it started to rain.... Hard!! And that wasn't even as bad as when it stopped raining... When it stopped it turned into a steam room, and we began to be steamed. The sun started to dry up all the rain and we began get really sweating and it began to be crazy hot! I wished it was still raining. Anyways we talked to lots of people and it went well. We talked with a recent convert we ran into. A ten year old girl who is so sweet! But very shy. 
People were smoking on the side of allies with pipes. On our way out we saw a bunch of people yelling and running around. All these guys were stabbing into the ground with big poles! There was a giant snake down in the creases. I don't know what this place is yet, but I'm know this where God wants me to be. I saw God's love through the kids running up to me and the old ladies smiling and laughing when I would speak to them, they get a kick out of me speaking Tagalog. I even saw one butterfly. I love these people and I love where I am.
Love,
Elder Roberts
Good friends, Sister Koi from Fiji, Sister Ngakuru from New Zealand, and Elder Roberts squared
My Malaysian buddies


Note my hair goes over not up. . . I guess you could call it a part

Friday, July 10, 2015

Week 3, even faster than week 2

So the days are finally going faster!! This week especially went by quickly. 
So this week a batch of Indian missionaries came to the MTC. They are hilarious and really cool. They said there are no wards but only branches there. They all have amazing testimonies because to join the church means to be disowned by your family. One of the Elders I talk to all the time said they tried to kill him because he is Christian now. Crazy huh? The church means a lot to them, and they wouldn't convert if they didn't know it was true, because he said they get beatings regularly in India. The Muslim culture doesn't like people converting to Christianity. 
 Also a huge batch of missionaries came from Malaysia and Indonesia. They are all really nice and humble! They all have amazing stories and really help me increase my faith. They teach me so much just by being themselves. 
So some of the Filipino Elders are going to California on their mission. So they come and talk to me all the time about what it is like and stuff. They ask the funniest things in the world. For example yesterday, one asked "It's okay to call people fat, if they are right?", He was curious if that was rude or anything. We were laughing so hard haha. I told him it was kinda rude. But here if you're fat, you're healthy. So it's okay to tell people they are gaining weight or they are big haha. 
It's rained everyday this week!! It rains crazy hard here. Yesterday I was studying and I looked up and it wasn't raining, filled a couple pages and looked back up again and it was a down pour!!! It rains so hard... All the time. It stopped long enough for us to walk to the temple today which was cool and then started up again.

 I'm a couple heads taller than all my teachers and most people here haha. 
This week I practiced teaching an investigator and when I got out I realized I didn't speak any English!!! I was so excited!! But I'm a long ways away but I think I'm progressing. I'm really excited to go proselyting this Wednesday out in the field!! It's for practice and it will be really nice to teach real people! 
At the end of my mission, I want to be life flighted home because I will have given my all to the Philippines. I'm here to work and I'm growing spiritually everyday. And physically actually too, I have never been so fit in my life! I jump rope 1000 times before bed and we get to play ball everyday and I've been doing tons of push ups with my companions. 
Local Policeman, we're tight
Funny story, today we got to go to the store for Pday to get snacks or whatever. These two Filipino guys came up to us and said hey Elders hows it going!! And we found out they were sneaking Beer into our cart, they thought that was so funny... They weren't members obviously but they knew we couldn't drink. We just kept saying Bawal, bawal (meaning that's not allowed) and laughing. Haha, anyways... They all have a weird sense of humor here but they are all hilarious!  Mom, you asked what kind of dancing I'm doing at the MTC since there's really no music here.  Just every kind of dancing you can think of.  Slow hip movements with leaps and snaps and you know, all that good stuff.  It's a riot here, but we work hard so we need some outlets sometimes.
View outside my window
 I love you all and thanks for your support,
Elder Roberts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Week 2 Flew by

Week 2 went by much faster and was much better haha. The language is getting harder as we get deeper into it. Yet I'm able to relax a lot more and just do my best. It just sounds really funky, because there are a lot of repeating syllables and if you repeat a sound it can change the meaning or the tense. Confusing and weird but I'm getting a lot better! 
For an activity we got to walk to the temple and talk to the people on the grounds. We went to practice teaching a simple lesson. I got talking to some kids and they said they had driven 8 hours to be at the temple. Everybody there had sacrificed so much to be there! It was really inspiring and it meant so much to them. Our teacher told us that we really helped strengthen their faith and they really look up to the missionaries. But I'm the one who felt strengthened! Such a cool experience. 
All the girls from Fiji really get a kick out of my blue eyes. They call my name so I will look and then they giggle. They think it's so funny to do that! I'm pretty sure the Tower of Babel was in the Philippines haha, there are over 170 different languages, and they aren't even that similar haha.
When you take pics with Filippinos, they all want to join in
All the teachers here are native and that really helps because they only speak Tagalog during class and they really get the culture. Oh, and with the language, you have to make sure to use the word Po a lot, it's respect to usually older people. But if you forget people get offended haha. The Filippinos are so nice! I guess on the mission if we are companions with a native we are really encouraged to practice English with them because if they speak English they can get a job with 4X the pay than if they don't! 
So the heat here is so weird... In Hawaii it feels like a tropical heat and has a vacation feel to the weather, but here you just feel like you're cooking. One night our air conditioning wasn't working and I couldn't sleep at all!! It felt like somebody was giving me a really hot sponge bath and you couldn't escape it! We all know that feeling. 
Sooo haha, Elder Roberts and I found a huge Cockroach in my bed last night before I hopped in bed. I don't know what I did to the cockroach to make it think we were that close but I took care of it. The bugs here are huge!! There are lots of cats walking around here... They look skinny and lots of them are white, they just roam  around and I guess that's normal haha. When it rains... it pours... and then it stops, and its so hot the puddles dry up within several hours and you could never have guessed it has even rained!! We got to go to the temple today! It's so beautiful and really small. The natives think it's cool I'm from Salt Lake and they are all great members! I'm glad I played Frogger as a child. Because otherwise I would die. Here, cars have right away. The roads are absolutely nuts!! People just honk and merge. No lanes, no nothing. just traffic and bikes weaving in and out and people tapping windows trying to sell you stuff or people will carry their babies and ask people for money, in the middle of the highway!! The smell is different than I expected. You can't describe it, so you will see when you visit. By the way I still dance all the time and I'm leaving a legacy at this MTC... There are only about 90 people here in the MTC  right now and I have made so many friends! I wish I had brought a ton of ties because the Fillipino elders sometimes just have 1 tie they wear and they come up to me and say, "How can I remember you?" (Because they love us) and I would love to just give them a tie or something.  How are all Leisl's dates?  You've all prepared me well and I love you all so much!
Love, Elder Roberts
I guess my hair wasn't short enough.  Boiler room.  Literally.  They use huge scissors.