They said that there was plenty of food there. They were amazed at how organized it was, and how many options there were for food. Friday was even pizza night. They ordered from Papa John's. Imagine getting an order for 1500+ pizzas. The missionaries were limited to 3 slices!
From what I gather, these are some of the other senior couples at the MTC with them. (I know, good deduction on my part :)) Mom and Dad did mention that there was another couple there that had been to the Philippines on a prior mission a few years back. Maybe this is them! That couple and the teachers at the MTC shared a few customs that exist in the Philippines.
*You shouldn't drive at night, seeing as there are no lights on the cars....
*When going up to the house you dont knock on the door, you say 'hello people' in tagalog
if no one answers you can knock on the door frame, just not the door
*There are really small apartments there. In one case the family had to move a bed to open a door, then move the bed back to open the closet....(and dad thought the basement bedroom
*People seem to have the belief that they need to be promoted, so to speak, in callings. If they feel that they aren't moving up, they stop going to church.
Mom and dad also learned that they need to wash their hands all the time, and drink only filtered water. There is a customary dish (a duck egg I think) that they aren't supposed to eat. They both said that it was very interesting and are excited to see how it will be! (Culture shock!)
If I can read the nametag right, this is their tagalog tutor. Dad said that it helped him greatly to be able to speak face to face and to ask direct questions about the language. When I asked them on Friday how their MTC experience was, they both said that they were very tired! They would go to classes all day doing roll playing and learing customs etc and then when everyone else got to go back to the hotel (the senior MTC building was under construction) dad and mom got to stay and have tutor sessions. Dad said that Friday night he just hit a wall with the language. I think that it will help them to be immersed in it. No better way to learn it I think! Dad went on Stake visits a few days before the MTC and they ran into Pres Maylin (one of his counselors when he was stk president). Pres. Maylin asked dad how the language was coming and dad said ok. Pres Maylin then asked him if he could pray in tagalog and dad said 'yes'. Could he say the first vision? Dad said 'yes'. Then he asked if he could bear his testimony. Dad said, "yes, I can." Then Pres Maylin asked, "well, what else do you need to know?" Dad said he thought about that and realized he probably would be ok. Those who know dad know that he likes to have things done right, a perfectionist of sorts, so even though he will be ok right now, I know he will learn a lot more pretty quickly :) Mom will too, just at her own pace!
It seems that they loved the MTC. Mom did take her cell phone so they could get updates on baby Sam why they were there. This helped ease some of the anxiety of having a grandbaby in the hospital, I think.
The kids were all glad to see them after 5 days. Isabel made a bank and is saving all her pennies so she can go to the 'Pill-a-peenes' to get them! Too bad she doesn't realize how long 2 years is!