Monday, February 7, 2011

. . .I felt like an instrument of the Spirit.

Monday, February 7, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay

It's been an interesting week.  Really it has, but also kind of a strange week.

Elder Pipit had me lead this week.  That means lead the planning, where we go, when we go, what we teach, and also lead the teaching.  It was a rough week because he didn't just play the role of junior companion - he played the role of clueless tag-a-long.  He was doing it to help me, to make me stretch.  It made me stretch, but it also left me really frustrated.  All week long, all he did was say "I don't know" whenever I asked him anything.  It actually started to get to be too much.  He would say “I don't know” about everything, and not just missionary work.  I got hacked at him a few times, but like we're totally cool - I think.  He was just doing it to help me.

We have some interesting investigators.  We had been seeing a lady around a lot.  She likes talking to us, or just saying “hi” to us.  We had seen her enough that I decided the next time we saw her I would ask her if we could teach her.  So, Wednesday we saw her, and I asked.  I am really excited to teach this lady because she speaks English well.  It turns out that she's the younger sister of our all-star member!  She told us that she lives really far and it's muddy and it's hard to get to, and she's really busy, but she doesn't mind if we teach her.  Then we went to out all-star member’s house (Sister Ditchie) and told her we want to teach this lady on Friday.   Sister Ditchie said it's good for us to go there now because we knew that she was at home.  So, about thirty minutes after we invited her to hear us, we showed up at her door.  It was really tough to get to her, but it was cool to show up at her door and be like "Bam, here we are."  She was really surprised.  She was really receptive, and I look forward to teaching her again.

I'm the cook.  I cook adobo, spaghetti, and other junk.  Adobo is easy.  My companion and I love the mesquite seasoning we throw on the meat before we "adobo it."  I cook spaghetti like our family always has, with the beef and junk.  Our spaghetti was sticking together the first time we made it, and I knew to get oil for the water.  We had forgotten to pick some up, so I just used the grease and oil form the meat.  No more sticky spaghetti.  I truly have fun cooking.  After lunch, Filipinos like to take a nap.  They call it siesta.  I have been known to take one or two a week.  Never for excessive time - just 30 minutes or so.  It's hard to tract while the rice is expanding in your stomach.

I bought a new bag and new shoes.  I just did it with the money that the mission reimbursed me for traveling.  My shoes are slip-ons.  That's good because we always take our shoes off at every house, even if it's just a bamboo floor.  Elder Pipit says they are "Granpa shoes."

We have a crazy investigator.  Elder Light and I contacted him in a hair salon two weeks ago.  We invited him to church, he came, and we're like “ok, we'll teach you.”  Awesome.  He has pink hair.  His name is Fred.  He came to church for the first time all gayed out.  The entire ward was asking us why we're teaching him.  Well why do we teach anybody?  Because the gospel will bless their lives, duh!  So, we said we'd meet him at 8 O'clock on Tuesday at a waiting shed in Tangalan.  We were expecting him to bring us to another place to teach him, but he just wanted for us to teach him there.  I was ok with it, but Elder Pipit wasn't.  I just gave him a pamphlet and told him how much the gospel would bless his life, and what to expect from our church and from our lessons; then we scheduled another meeting with him.  We decided to meet with him at the church, which we did on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday last week.

The first meeting was strange.  He told us about demons and witches and the devil and junk like that.  We asked him if he was a drug user and if he was gay, because he looks gay.  Not that we can't teach gay people, but we need to know concerns and needs of investigators before we teach them.  He said he doesn't use drugs, and isn't gay - he just likes gay fashion.  He had some horrible looking necklace on.  We asked him what was if for - it was really weird.  He said it was to fight off evil spirits.  We taught him and gave him a Book of Mormon, and told him to start reading it.  We said you don't need to worry about demons and bad spirits if you read the Book of Mormon.  We're giving him the slow road to exorcism via the discussions.  Each lesson we've had with him has been better - less weird each time.  The lesson on Saturday was on the Word of Wisdom.  I taught it like he had to overcome an addiction even though he said he wasn't a heavy drinker.  He walked away really understanding the Word of Wisdom.  I have a feeling that the Word of Wisdom is something we’re going to have to follow up on a lot.  He smells like alcohol.

He came to church again last Sunday.  It was Testimony Meeting.  He wanted to bear his.  Oh boy.  When he got up to bear his testimony, the ward got really scared.  Now, I had explained to him that he could if he wanted, and I explained to him what a testimony is, and what it was not.  He got up and started talking.  The Branch President signaled to the Elders Quorum President to come to him.  The Elders Quorum President talked to the Branch President for a few moments, and then got up and whispered in Fred's ear.  Fred went on undeterred.  I don't know what our Elders Quorum President said.  Fred did a good job.  He just kind of freaked out the ward with his pink hair and his baggy poor man's clothes.  He did have a white shirt on, though, so he was making an attempt.  He's willing to listen and to act on the commandments of God.  He understands us, so of course we're going to teach him.  The ward doesn't want us to, but they can suck it up.  He's got some out-of-this-world questions and stuff.

I think it was Tuesday when I woke up to smoke in our apartment.  At first I was like "What the hell?" but then I realized it was the neighbor burning their garbage, which was going straight into our open window.  It was 6:30 am.  Elder Pipit had gotten up early and was showering when I woke up to my alarm.  I got up, realized our house is full of smoke, realize what it was from, and then get the fans to blow all the smoke out.  When elder pipit got out of the shower, he was like "what did you do?!"  It was fun.

It was transfer meeting today.  No one I know about is getting transferred, but Elder Lowry is training!?!?!  What!?!?!  It is his second transfer here!  I hope I don't have to do that.

We have that investigator Brother Ludin.  He came to church again, this time with his wife.  He lost sleep over which church is for him.  He's one of my favorite investigators.  He's super cool.  I feel like he's going to progress more.  It's exciting.  He seemed to have a good time at church, but we haven't been able to do a follow up visit with him.  He has baptism date for March.

We have two investigators that have been taking the lessons for like years now.  We decided it was time for the “do or die” lesson; either you want to take the discussions or you don't.  The first one was with Ailyn.  Her mom doesn't want her to take the discussions, and it really seems like she doesn't either.  So we asked her if she would pray for her mom's heart to be softened, and we would fast for it too.  She said that she didn't really want to pray for that, so really she doesn't even care. We fasted anyways.  We don't think she's all that interested anymore.

The second is Teddy Batister.  He's 14 and his older sister and mom are members.  He's been taking the discussions for eons.  He had a baptism date, but then his sister got offended at church and that date didn't happen.  The other day we were over there and Elder Pipit told me to lead, so I did.  We followed up about the assignment we had left him, and then I was going to start teaching about something, but felt the spirit guide me into another direction.  I asked him,"Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?"  He said “yes,” and then I asked "Do you believe Joseph Smith was a real prophet of God"  He again said “yes.”  I paused, looked to Elder Pipit, who had his head down looking at his scriptures, and decided it didn't matter what Elder Pipit thought anyways.  I asked "Will you be baptized?" Elder Pipit lifted up is head, and Teddy said “Yes.”  So, yeah, sweet.  Elder Pipit took it from there.  He has a date for the 26 of this month!  Whew.  I was jumping all the way from Pudiot to Tangalan!  (A little more than one mile, it appears.)  Whew.  It was awesome to be led by the spirit while teaching.  I've felt the spirit before in lessons, but that's the first I felt like an instrument of the Spirit.  Whew!

Two of our investigators are kids.  I like teaching kids.  They laugh at my Aklanon, but I can teach simply, which is all I can really do anyway!

Elder Pipit has been kind of hard on me about my teaching skills.  I kind of got frustrated about that.  I can barely speak the language, so teaching skills?  You can critique my teaching skills, but that how I teach right now because that’s all I can say.  I feel like I want to prove that I'm a good missionary, and that I can teach well, but right now everything is inferior because I don’t know the language.  This morning I chilled with Elders Lowry and Light and Sister Danner, and then ate at a pizza place.  Pizza is nice. 

We had six investigators come to church this week!   It was a good week for that, but we didn't teach that many lessons - we just taught effectively.  We only taught ten lessons with a member, plus four others, and four to less actives, but we have six progressing, three with a date, and six came to church!  Whew!

I'm doing well. I really am.  Don't sweat it.  My Aklanon is getting better.  I can understand most words, but I have problems stringing the sentences together as fast as people talk.  Man, they talk quick.  I get so worn out trying to listen to people.  I am getting better, though.  That's good.

I'm too tall for the Philippines.  I hit my head on stuff a lot, and get clotheslined across the neck.  I just laugh it off - it helps when others are laughing at you too.

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