It was so exciting to talk to Mac via Skype on Christmas Eve. It was his Christmas day. He said it didn't feel like Christmas since it was so warm. He went to a cyber cafe in Paniqui to make the call which is a 45 minute bus ride. They could take a bus with out air conditioning for 50 cents or a bus with air conditioning for $1. Yep, he is my son, he spend the extra money for air conditioning.
Some things we learned:
They drink a lot of soda. And the soda comes in glass bottles, but you can ask for plastic. When you do, the pour the soda in a bag (like the kind you get when you buy goldfish) and tie it up. Then they put a straw in it. When people are done with their drink, they just throw the garbage on the ground. There is garbage everywhere.
They get around by bus or tricycle. A trike is a motorcycle with a sidecar. Sounds fun to me!
His companion is from one of the southern islands of the Philippines. His whole family are members of the church. There are over 7000 islands that make up the country. Mac said it costs the locals around $50 to serve their whole 2 years! But they have to save for years to come up with that amount and many can not afford to do so.
His area of San Manuel is the hardest area of the mission. There is not a church and very few members. It is a new area that just opened up.
The people are so fun. He loves the people and the language. Everyone calls him Joe (reminds me of the TV show MASH, how all the locals would call the Americans Joe.) The people try to touch his forehead a lot since that is a sign of a blessing. The kids all come up to him and try to talk to him. When he speaks back in Tagalog, they are shocked and amazed. But the people, especially the kids, want to touch him a lot. They don't see a lot of white people there. So he uses a lot of hand sanitizer.
We could tell that the people sure loved him. All during the call, there were locals walking behind him and looking at him and us. There was one lady that was just staring at us. It was so funny. Plus kids walking up and down behind him would look and laugh. His companion was sure sweet to let us talk for so long as well (2 hours!!).
This was the best Christmas present ever! The kids loved talking to their brother. It was so great seeing how happy he looked and how happy it made his brother and sisters. Miss our family being together, but know that he is doing so well, makes us so happy!