Monday, December 19, 2011
San Joaquin, Panay Island, Philippines
This was Christmas week, I guess. It was also a really hectic week. We didn't get as much work done as usual, but we did as much as we could, so that was nice.
Last Tuesday was our zone meeting. We ended up leaving our phone there and had to go back to get it. The Zone Leader had picked up our phone and taken it to his area, so we had to then go get it there. What should have only been a few hours in Iloilo turned into pretty much an entire day. By the time we got back, we were so worn out that working was hard. When we got home, we admitted to each other that if we rested we'd probably not get up, so we went ahead and got to work despite being so tired. We actually had two pretty good lessons, one of them being a FHE.
The FHE was a blast. We had it at a member’s house in Masagud. So many less actives from that barangay came! Less actives that we can't get out to church for the life of us! We had blast. First I gave the lesson, and then we played games. Man, I can't explain it, but Filipinos get so into games. Back in the states, adults usually remained composed and never really let loose without a sufficient amount of booze. Here, booze or not, people will become wild for any game. You know how when a kid is so into a game that he can't stay in a chair, his knees are coming up to his chest, his hands are slapping stuff and laughing hard. Well, that’s how adults are here – kind of wild. It was good time had by all. I'll have to show ya’ll the games when I get back. We ate some lugaw and got on our way back to town. We managed to get home, but after that we just crashed.
Wednesday was this festival called "saylohay." It was huge. It's big here in San Joaquin. I guess however many years ago some Malaysians sailed here and traded native Atis gold for the entire island of Panay. I guess they landed here San Joaquin, or at least that's how the story goes. It seemed like everyone was at the festival. Working was difficult that day, but we got some done. We worked just about the entire day, walking from place to place, just trying to teach some folks. We even did some tracting even though almost no one was home. We ended up getting three teachings, though. We had made some appointments the day before that pulled through. In the evening we checked out the festival itself. It was way cool. Maybe you could find a video of it to get an idea of what it is. But there were five "tribes" competing, or rather high schools. It was basically a big coordinated dance thing with costumes, flags, drums, and background sets. It was way sick. Plus there were a lot of venders selling mango smoothies. That helps.
Thursday and Friday were basically regular days of work. Saturday was hard again.
We had the big branch Christmas party. It was supposed to start at 8, but no one showed up until 10:30. We had a talent show, food, karaoke, and more games. Elder Eror and I performed Joy to the World. He played the ukulele and I played the guitar. At one point he turned his ukulele upside down and used it as a drum. I put my guitar behind my head and played it. We got second in the talent show. We lost to the primary. They just sang some Tagalog Christmas song. The karaoke was way funny. They get so into it. One guy was basically Frank Sinatra and everyone just loved it. The food was good, and there was enough for everyone. Most everybody had to serve themselves, but the members brought food to us because they all wanted us to try the thing they cooked. We got really full. We played musical chairs too. We did it by age groups. Elder Eror and I were compelled to play. When it got real competitive, I had to lose on purpose - I didn't want a lady sitting in my lap. We also had a few more less-actives come, and they all had fun.
At church we had five investigators, one of them for the first time. That was a good turn-out even though we didn’t get very much work done during the week. Our investigators got fellowshipped pretty well, but the talks were terrible. Plus, sacrament meeting was two hours long because it was a Christmas presentation. The Christmas presentation was lame. They hadn't prepared, but someone had printed off scripts and handed them out. It wasn't put together very well, and we sang like a billion hymns. We sang until I was winded, and a little past that. I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost which wasn't too bad. I at least didn't say that Jesus Christ killed for my sins. The next talk after me was like thirty minutes long, and he talked about crazy stuff that our investigators didn't understand. The investigators liked the classes though. I'm sure they liked them because none of them were Elders Quorum age.
Elders Quorum was wild. Remember those kids "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum." The male one punched me in the crotch last week. Well, this week during the class he was banging on the piano hard during the lesson, so I went over and tried to get them to stop. Three five-year-olds started attacking me. No joke. They nearly pulled my pants off, and the same on that punched me in the crotch last week bit my leg! He bit me! I shook him off my leg, and his mother came and got him, but he was back just a while later. I let Elder Eror take of him. He didn't get bit, and the kid calmed down a bit. The lesson was on the priesthood. One person asked if we have the same priesthood as Jesus Christ. Someone answered it, and then someone wanted to add on to the answer. It was our 2nd counselor. He got out of his chair, pointed his finger, and basically yelled at the guy who asked the question. It was crazy. We had no idea where it came from. It basically ruined the lesson.
In the evening, we went to Iloilo for the Christmas missionary fireside. We sang "It Came upon a Midnight Clear" and sounded alright. I also got to see our converts and members from Sibunag. That was a blast. There were a bunch of people who sang, and some were really good. The missionaries were all in the back where it was hard to hear. When some seats emptied out near the front, Elder Lowry slipped up there. We enjoyed it a lot more when we could here. One choir did a great version of Little Drummer Boy.
You would think that I would be more homesick around Christmas, but I’m not. I'm enjoying Christmas here, and I don't even really compare the two.
We slept in Iloilo that evening, and in the morning played basketball in Arevalo. I'm not the best, but I at least played hard. President played as well, and really schooled us. He trash talked a bit, but you really don't know how much you can trash-talk back. I told Sister Pagaduan, who was taking pictures, that if someone fouled president he'd send them to Sibunag. She laughed.
We have some cool investigators. One is a full family. Only three of them came to church this week, but all of them accepted baptismal dates. One of them isn't married but has a kid and is super willing to get married in order to be baptized. She came to church and loved Relief Society. Even though the priesthood here is dysfunctional and argumentative, the Relief Society is way solid. I love it.
One of our long time investigators, Tina, is going to Taiwan soon. She had been waiting for her husband to be able to join before she gets baptized. The husband is down to just one cigarette a week, but has only been to church once. With her leaving for Taiwan, they have run out of time to be baptized together. We talked with them about it, and they decided they will be baptized on the same day but in different locations. We’ll continue to work with the husband here.
That's that. I love you all. Hope all is well, and I hope that kid didn't have rabies.