We had the opportunity to skype with Tristan on Christmas Eve for 2 1/2 hours. It was Christmas day for him as he is 15 hours ahead of us. We couldn't get the video to work for the first little while, but once we got it worked out Tristan was all smiles.
He is doing well. The lifestyle is so different there, he has had to get used to a lot of difficult changes. He has kept a very positive attitude and laughed a lot as he told us about some of them. His diet has changed dramatically, but he said he is really liking rice. He eats a lot of it. There are other things he hasn't enjoyed so much like chicken feet, ballot, dog etc. But I am so proud of him for trying. He has had some stomach issues due to the changes in diet. He had a great sense of humor concerning the lack of toilet paper issue, and says he keeps alcohol with him at all times for sanitizing. Before Tristan left, he would throw shoes to kill a spider and only ate cereal. He said the spiders there are huge and is thankful for the lizards in his apartment because they eat them. He said the apartment is the size of our kitchen. There were four elders living in it. They had small upstairs room with beds. They cook on a propane stove and shower with a bucket of cold water. Makes you feel super spoiled doesn't it? They walk mostly, but when they get rides it is on jeepneys or motorcycles with carts. He currently had 2 strong investigators with january baptism dates. We asked him how he feels he had changed the most and he told us that he had been humbled. He said that as soon as he got off the plane in the Philippines that he noticed the poverty. There were children only wearing a tank top for clothing and he commented on how dirty they were. He has seen children sleeping in the streets. He said some of those who do have homes do not have roofs. He said how grateful he was for the work he had. He said he could not believe what some of the people have to do for work and how little they are paid for it. He said our home is like a mansion in comparison. He said the kids toys are rubber bands. He said they don't have toys like we have. He said they are happy. He had a lot of children come Christmas caroling to his apartment during the Holidays for money. They have a mission rule that they are not allowed to give out money.
He was able to email us again on Christmas for us, the day after for him. He had his camera stolen. :( so that was disappointing, but said he had a great Christmas night with some of the members that had them over for a Christmas party. They sang some Karoke and had dinner. He said he had a great time and really likes the members in his area. I asked him if he sang and he said yes, he said even if it sounded terrible he just kept on singing. He said that a mission is hard, but that he is doing well and is enjoying it. He also said to tell everyone hi and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Tristan's Testimony 4/2014
Well I could tell you a huge testimony and just tell you how much the lord has blessed me on this mission, but something I have learned is that sometimes the most powerful testimonys are the simplest! So I will quickly share that I know without a doubt this is the true church, that there is a God and he loves each and everyone of us! I know that because of the lord I am able to have a strong family in the church and because of his son Jesus Christ I can be forgiven of my sins and make it back to him! One of my favorite quotes that I heard from the conference is from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf its in 1 nephi and it simply states that it is AFTER all we do, that by gods grace we will be saved!