Monday, February 21, 2011

God was helping us

I wrote down everything I wanted to say, but left the piece of paper at home.  Sorry, this e-mail may be a little scattered.

First thing, one of our investigators gave birth this week!  It was awesome.  Of course I didn't see the actual event or I would probably have a different opinion, but certain things about it were awesome.  We've been teaching her and all the while she’s been "SUPER" pregnant.  This Tuesday was her d-day.  Her husband was in Boracay (small resort island northwest of Panay Island, about 25 miles to the west of Tangalan) to earn some money for it.  Man, she was tough.  She was prepared to give birth in the third world equivalent of a nurse’s office.  All of the women standing in the room, or just outside, and all the women's husbands were sitting a ways off, sitting together but not talking.  Obviously a little perplexed as to what they were doing there, obviously forced into bondage by their wives to be "Step and Fetch-its."  Sister Dejuan (the pregnant lady) was ready to give birth without pain medicines on a 100 degree day, with just a fan to aid the heat.  The whole town, Tagas, was there to help the process.  I wonder if American women wouldn't rather have a town on their side than the comforts of first world medical care?  Her husband came back just in time - well, actually not, they had already started - with money.  They travelled via trike (motorcycle and sidecar) to Kalibo and she gave birth there.

Second, the Templo family.  Elder Light and I went on splits.  He came to Tangalan, and while he was here, we taught the Templo family.  They are my favorite investigators.  Elder Light was deeply touched by them, just as I always am.  The father is paralyzed from the waist down, and his family takes care of him.  I am so impressed with this family's son, Jaymarsh.  He does the dishes, cooks the food, washes the clothes, gets the Books of Mormon for family scripture study, turns off the TV, and changes the channel.  This week he pulled the stunt that got him the most Christian award.  He took his younger sister to prom to make sure she'd go with a good guy and a Mormon guy.  There are no other Mormons her age in Panayakan (a town into the mountains west of Tangalan).

Brother Templo
 This family has such great faith.  The mother has recently become un-employed.  She was working away from the family in Boracay.  Now they are in a tight spot.  Still, it's kind of cool because she gets to spend time with her family.  This week they had lifted the father outside and watched the sun set together.  We accidentally interrupted this special moment for them, but they were happy to have us and let me try my Aklanon on them.  I love this family.  They all pitch in.  I pray for this family and you should too.  I've already talked to the stake president here about getting him church services.  He has told me that the paperwork is done but they most wait for him to have been a member for a year.  This man must weigh 80 pounds, he stays in bed all day.  His goal is to make it to the temple in a year and be sealed to his family.  I pray that he makes it to that time.  He has the greatest faith.  He has a picture of the temple by his bed, and also a couple of copies of the Book of Mormon.  Pray for the family, will you?

We went most of the week without a fridge and it was very hot.  We got our fridge back three days later than we were supposed to.  We lost a full day of work because they didn't show up when they said they would.  We were really frustrated with them.

Elder Light and I went on splits!  It was awesome.  We only taught one lesson because we got punted at all the other ones.  We taught the Templo family and we taught about tithing.  It was a great lesson.   We tried to teach more families, but they fell through.  We did find four new contacts though!  Elder Light and I went running Saturday morning along the beach to Afga to a lighthouse.  It was swell to say the least.  It was so awesome.  The lighthouse is up on a hill and looks over the ocean.  Later in the day we went hiking in the bukid.  I wanted to show him around the backwoods.  It was so awesome.  We hiked a mountain following these crazy small paths up through the jungle growth.  We got to the top and it was clear, with just grass and no trees, and we could look out over the valley.  It was so cool.  I have pictures.  Elder Light and I did a video journal together and then turned to leave to an appointment.

mountain top boys

We were about to leave, but we saw to small kids struggling up the steep hill with big bundles of sticks.  Elder Light and I wasted no time in helping them.  We ran to them and took the load off their heads.  We carried them over our shoulders while the kids lead the way.  I could communicate with them because I knew more Aklanon than Elder Light, but Elder Light struggled because these kids spoke serious back woods language.  They led us over the mountain along small dirt paths until we found where they were going.  The wood was for a fence.  We talked with the mother and took a picture with the kids.  We felt really good about it, and I hopethe kids felt great about having two random white guys help them carry sticks.

Elder Light and I planned for two lessons on Friday night.  One about the ten commandments and how the fit into the two that Jesus gave, and another one about tithing.  We were a little timid about teaching the Ludin family tithing because they have just committed to a baptism date and we didn't want to mess it up.  If we gave the wrong impression about tithing we could really mess it up.  Elder Light and I knelt in prayer to know if we should attempt to teach it to them.  While in prayer, I had an epiphany to teach tithing as an object lesson.  We both felt okay about it.  We studies some tithing terms and looked up scriptures, then made aboard for putting the ten commandments on and made sticky notes for each of the ten commandments.  Then we went to the store to buy m&m's for our object lesson to teach tithing.  Instead of m&m's. we found gold coins.  It was perfect.  We got to the Ludin's house and they weren't there so we went on to the Templo family.  We seriously taught for an hour, in full Tagalag/Aklanon.  Let me tell you, God was helping us; it was smooth and awesome.  Elder light got the impression to teach about the gospel blesses us through trials, and when we got to the ten commandments, I decided to teach tithing instead.  So we read a scripture about how we get everything we have from God, so I handed one of the kids in the family ten gold coins.  Then we read how we are supposed to pay one tenth back to the Lord to test faith and other stuff, so I asked for a coin back.  Then we read about how we receive so many blessings from paying tithing that there will not be room enough to receive it, so I dumped the bag of coins out into his hands.  It went great.

In the morning Fred stood us up, so we went to find him.  We stopped at his brother’s work and started talking to his brother.  He had read all of the pamphlets we gave to Fred!  He was super interested!  I think we might start teaching him too!  Elder Light and I shared the restoration with him!  Then we talked to Fred - he was feeling sick so he didn't come.

The next day at church I had the idea to teach Fred an untraditional way.  We taught Fred the ministry of Christ, apostasy, and restoration by giving him a tour of the church's paintings.  We taught just a little bit at each painting.  What we taught about coordinated with the painting we were looking at.  Then at the end we showed Fred the baptism of Christ painting and told him this is what he is working for.  The spirit was there.

While on splits with Elder Light I realized a couple of things.  While we were teaching, I started teaching like myself and it felt great.  I taught by the Spirit and with conviction.  I felt more like a missionary. 
I realized that I've been doing so many things with Elder Pipit in mind, and not because I want to be a good missionary; I just wanted to please Elder Pipit.  When I washed the dishes, I did it to the standards of Elder Pipit.  When I prayed at night, I made sure they were long so that Elder Pipit would think my prayers were sincere.  When I did personal study, I studied because I wanted Elder Pipit to think I was diligent.  I will still do these things, but not for Elder Pipit.  I've been my own man since Saturday when he returned.  He clearly doesn't like it.  I've still been obedient.

I've started teaching like myself.  I've started being the missionary I want to be.  I've been teaching my style.  It's been awesome.  On Sunday, I did that tour with Fred.  Later in the day we went to go teach our Jehovah's Witness guy.  It didn't go well because he was mocking us and reading the bible in a roller coaster voice as if he didn't care what was being read.  He even insulted me a couple times as an American.  I told him that this was maybe the most important thing he'd ever hear, and that he should take it seriously.   

I'm doing well, so don't worry.  I try to do that whole “follow the spirit” thing.  My language is improving.  We have a baptism this Saturday!  I feel better now that I'm being me. 

We have the worst of luck.  We cleaned our apartment this week (it was gross) and we accidently broke my desk.  It's old and really not our fault.  So, that’s the next broken thing we have to figure out.

I love you.  Thanks for everything!  I love you so much.  

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