Monday, February 28, 2011

gift of tongues. . .there when you need it

Monday, February 28, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay Island

We had white people had church.  What?  They are staying in Boracay while waiting for the father's business to get started in China.  It's just cheaper to live in the Philippines.  It's a young, attractive family from California.  The entire ward just watched them every meeting.  It was kind of weird.  They watched their every move.  I made an Aklanon/Tagalog survival guide for them.  I think they are going to come to our ward every week.  We are the closest branch to Boracay, although there is a group in Ibajay.  It was interesting to see white people walk through the doors, and they we surprised to see me.  The mother is a returned missionary from Argentina.  She said that Aklanon was nothing like Spanish except for a few nouns.  Actually, for the most part everyone spoke as much English as they could, way more than usual.  I was like "What?  You know English?  What!?"

Last week when Elder Light and I went hiking, we tried to climb a palm tree.  During the attempt, Elder Light lost his nametag.  We have a video of it coming off, so we know he lost it there.  Elder Pipit and I went back to find it.  We went back and I looked for 15 minutes, but it wasn't there.  There is a house nearby on the mountain, so we walked through the yard there and back.  It's a creepy house.  It has a bunch of crosses in the ground, and mounds beneath the crosses, and then like voodoo wooden mannequins hanging from trees and stuff.  It was weird, but totally cool.  We took a picture next to one of the figurines.  The funny thing is that voodoo guy is probably who picked up Elder Light's nametag, because that part of the mountain is probably his.  So, maybe Elder Light is the under the influence of voodoo?  Okay, don't freak out Mom.  Things are cool.

Our baptism!  Nobody showed up until five minutes before it started.  I was the one to do it.  I wore my suspenders and played the hymns on the piano.  People made fun of my suspenders.  Just further proof that I'm "Grandpa".  The kid is very, very shy - he's 14 years old.  It wasn't a very exciting baptism, but afterward Elder Pipit and he played basketball.  We had peanut butter sandwiches afterward too.  I had to do the baptism ordinance twice because his hair didn't quite make it under the first time.  Really not much to say about the actual baptism.  I think we'll have three or more in the next month.

Last Saturday we went to the home of a member, Sister Gloria.  She's married to an Italian man who speaks broken English.  We teach a nine year old at Sister Gloria's house.  It's such a nice house.  It's right on the beach, has a dishwasher and a flushing toilet.  After we taught Estelina, the nine year old, we ate with them.  He cooked us real Italian food.  Real food!!!  It smelled good.  For the last four months, I have been eating because I needed the energy, or liked to consume the sugar, but not because I liked the taste.  I ate slowly, and it was so good, especially when the last two months has been nothing but rice and chicken.  It was so good.  REAL FOOD!!!  He spoke just broken English, but I still tried to talk with him.  When he didn't understand, Elder Pipit translated to Sister Gloria, and she translated to her husband.  We talked about Italian wines and German beer.  It's funny, I know quite a bit about beer when it comes to it.

Right before we crossed the voodoo house, we saw the biggest spider I have ever seen.  I found the spider because I walked into the bottom part of its web.  I have multiple pictures of it.  Honestly, it's probably bigger than Dad's hand.  It was Harry Potter size.  It was legit.

The language is coming along pretty well.  I know a lot of vocabulary, and I can understand it a lot better than I can speak it.  Still, I am trying to speak it.  It's funny how much you can do when you take the "damn the torpedoes" approach.  I have no major mistakes this week besides saying that you buy tithes and not pay tithes.  Elder Pipit and Sister Ditchie corrected me, so no harm done in the lesson.

I had another really good experience.  The Catholic Church runs the Philippines.  We may have investigators who know what we are sharing is true, but can't make the switch to come to a Mormon church because their family is all catholic, and “has been since Adam and Eve.”  That's the way it is with Brother Ludin and his wife.  They have a baptismal date, but haven't come to church for two weeks in a row.  Elder Pipit asked me if I had anything to share, and when he asks me that I usually just say a thing or two, but this time I went off for like seven minutes.  I had them read from the Book of Mormon, and told them about a change of heart and how their family will be more blessed because they will bring the spirit with them from church.  I recommitted them to baptism, too.  The gift of tongues is not a constant thing, but it is there when you need it.  The lesson up to that point had been a letdown, and just bad news, but after my spiel, we walked out of there feeling good, and they recommitted to baptism.
We had zone conference.  I was really excited for it, but it turned out to just be more MTC stuff.  Kind of a bummer, but it was cool to talk with everyone.  President used me as an example.  He talked about how my posterity will be blessed from my serving a mission.  The other missionaries started calling my posterity the "Waggonites."

The first part of this week was super hard on the Templo family.  So Sister Templo doesn't have a job, and Brother Templo now needs medicine for his skin because it's because super raw on his back from sitting down for four years.  The medicine was super expensive.  I love this family, and I prayed for them every night and morning this week, and in every meal prayer, and every prayer for anything else too.  Yesterday at church the stake president came and told Bro. Templo that he was going to be in the hospital today.  Then the stake employment specialist came and talked to Sister Templo.  Right now Brother Templo is at the hospital getting a check-up.  I jumped for joy when I found out.  It'll be a long road for them, but this is the first step.  I doubt the hospital here will be able to really assess the situation, but it's a step in the right direction!

Fred, our strange investigator, is becoming less strange every meeting!  We'd always follow up about his reading of the Book of Mormon, and he'd never be able to tell us much, but his brother had told us that he was reading all the time.  Every time we would check up about Fred's reading, he would be at some spot in Nephi.  Finally we found out that he's just be reading Nephi over and over again because he doesn't understand it, but he likes the spirit he feels from reading it.  We gave him a Tagalog Book of Mormon.  We had given him an English one originally because he said he'd prefer it in English.  He’s ready for baptism.  He even got a haircut, and came to church yesterday with his hair combed over to the side.  Not that the comb over is required for baptism, but it's cool that he's changing on his own - or the Spirit his helping him change.  The ward, however, is not ready for a member like him.  Elder Pipit and I give the ward a week to get ready for him.

I have some much to do that I don’t have time to write letters.  Someone tell Ed to write on dear elder or something.  I haven't heard from him since last November.

All is well.  Elder Pipit and I are alright.  I had to stand my ground for a couple days because he was kind of stepping all over me.  I decided to be whatever kind of missionary that I am.  We've had a good week.  I feel like my prayers are real good quality.

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