This is going to be a very long post. Sorry, but there is just so much to share.
Our flight was long, but not as bad as we had anticipated. We were pretty comfortable, and we flew through the night, so I was able to sleep some and wake up in Hong Kong on Monday morning feeling like it had just been a long night. Elder Schlager was not able to sleep, and he walked around in a sort of daze for the next week. Is that jet lag?
We were met at the airport in Manila on Monday morning, by a lovely Filipino brother with a van, who drove us safely to the Mission Home in Quezon City. Boy, is he a brave man. The traffic is really difficult to explain, but mostly no one goes very fast. There are cars and trucks, and jeepneys, sort of a tank for people to jump on and off of as they go from place to place, and motorcycles that zip around between everyone else, and trikes, that are a motorcycle with a side piece people ride on, too. No one uses laws or lanes, except on the highways, and even then you just fill the empty space or start pushing your nose in until someone has to stop for you. I don't think I will drive much!
At the mission home, they gave us a lovely lunch and introduced us to President and Sister Revillo, Elder and Sister Jensen, from Canada, our trainers, and Elder and Sister Horsely, who are from Utah and work with housing.
After lunch. we met with President Revillo, who has changed our assignment from Office Missionaries to MLS, or member leadership support Missionaries. We will be working in three branches in the provinces, as far from our Mission Home as you can get. They are Tanay, Malaya, and Sompalac. The last doesn't have a building--they meet in a home there. We will be working with 8-12 missionaries, and with the branch leaders.
They gave us a car, and sent us "home", to Antipolo.
Our house has three bedrooms and two baths and a small kitchen. It is at least an hour from any of our areas, so we will be on the roads a lot. Fortunately, the traffic is just as crazy out here, but not quite as heavy, usually!
The Jensens, (more about them later), had kindly cleaned the house, stocked the refrigerator, and made our bed and left towels, etc. so that we could sleep. But we were pretty jittery and it was daylight, so we went shopping instead for dishes and trash cans and brooms and a washer and a microwave and a hair dryer and hangars and soap and ....well, you get the picture. Our home has running water, but no hot water and you can't use it to drink or cook. The water in the kitchen is filtered, and we buy drinking water 6 gallons at a time from a business in our neighborhood, which is gated and has guards. It is an interesting place, outside of Antipolo, called Maia Alta.
By the evening, we were pretty done, a little bit scared, and confused. We said our prayers, turned out the lights, went to bed and held hands until we fell asleep.