Monday, April 11, 2011

listening in a different way

Monday, April 11, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panya Island

I've been starved of good, hard work for weeks.  Elder Pipit was sick for three and a half weeks, so I was so pumped to work.  I was so eager to work this past Tuesday that I barely let Elder Pipit sit down with members.  We just worked.  We got 7 teaching that day, which is ridiculously good for our area.  I came home in the evening absolutely ecstatic.  I was so tired, but I felt so happy.  When Elder Pipit started to sit down with members, I told the members we were leaving to tract.  We killed it!  The rest of the days weren't as fulfilling because, well someone is trunky.  That first day, he could not have made me sit down unless we were teaching.  The other days he did.  I never want to be in the office.  I never want to be a district leader.  I just want to work.  I got to do one day’s serious hard work, and I want that every day.  So this week I am determined to work all week.

However, we do get some referrals from talking with members like he likes to, so it's not all that bad.  We received three referrals this week, and they are likely to progress.  One is a family, and they are really nice.  The kids love me because I gave them suckers.  I carry around suckers with me all the time to give to kids.  I got the idea from Elder Light. 

(In the Philippines, General Conference is shown the weekend following the broadcast in the U.S.)  General Conference was SO good.  No joke.  I was listening in a different way, though.  Usually, I only listened if something really applied to me.  I just filtered out the other stuff.  This time I listened for my investigators, one of which was sitting by me.  Man, the topics where great too - family and service, and a lot on marriage, which definitely didn't apply to me.  Not now, and not for a while either.  I was listening for the investigators we have just like I used to do it with my CD's.  I'd listen as if I were other people I knew, and it helped me refine the music.  So, I did that for the talks.  I really loved all the service stuff.  That's what makes us saints anyways.  We haven’t been doing service projects as a companionship, but now I've got to fuel for it, so I hope to.

I really enjoyed Elder Bednar’s talk.  His, and President Eyring’s in Priesthood.  Man, he floored the listeners.

After Priesthood Session, I was set on getting ice cream. (A family tradition.)  Elder Pipit refused, and Elder Lowry had been sick and was not supposed to walk very far.  Elder Light was set on watching the choir music.  I went with two Elders from the US that I didn't know as well.  It was a good chance to get to know them. One was Elder Thayne.  Elder Thayne was in the MTC while I was there.  I also invited Fred, our investigator, but he really didn't want to.  Still, I did do my ice cream trip.

Also, I can definitely tell I’m in the Philippines because I had an eager eye on the female section of that BYU-Idaho Choir.  Not that it was overly attractive - notice the Idaho part of their name, but yes, there were some very pretty girls there.  Oh, I'm a sinner!

Fred went to Conference and really just loved it.  We only expected him to stay for the Priesthood Session, which was first, but he stayed for the whole day’s sessions.  After the 2nd session, we left him with our Branch President.  When we returned, we asked our Branch President where Fred was, and he said inside sitting down.  He wasn't.  He had wandered off and missed the start of the next session, but he did come back in time to hear the first talk.  We were kind of hacked at our Branch President who has never shown interest in Fred.

with the Masula family
Last night we went to dinner at a member’s.  This member found out that we had been eating at another member’s house fairly frequently and got jealous, so she fed us too.  I honestly don't mind; I got fed.  It was the Masula family.  The two daughters of that family teach me Aklanon.  I have a lot of fun joking with them.  One of them didn't go to General Conference.  I asked her what she was doing instead, and she said washing clothes.  I asked her, in her opinion, which is more important.  She said Conference.  I went on to say "Next October you will. . .” and she started to answer, but I cut her off, “. . .bring your clothes with you to Kalibo and wash there"  (Kalibo is where Conference is shown.)  Of course this conversation was in Aklanon. 

Earlier today I bought breakfast for two homeless kids.  We're not supposed to give homeless people money as a mission rule, but I have always wanted to.  I had the thought to just buy food for them like Mom always does for homeless people in Las Vegas, but I figured that was against the rules too.  Then I saw Elder Lowry do it the other day, so it must be okay.  I did it this morning, and even got to talk with them.  I felt good.

Today we went bowling again. I got a 105.

We have a new investigator named Franklin.  He was a referral, but he was drunk when we contacted him.  He told us that he was sad that we came when he was drunk because he had really looked forward to us coming.  He told us while we talked to him that he wanted to be baptized.  Later, after we left, we walked back by his house again and saw him fall of over because he was so drunk.  So I don't think we're going to count what he said as legitimate baptismal commitment.  We went back and visited him when he was sober, and he didn't seem so rushed to get baptized.

There is a huge, clear sky here at night.  I finished my washing early and just lied in the grass of the church for 30 minutes while I waited for Elder Pipit to finish.  It was great to just lie there and think.  I miss camping.  How can anyone look at a clear night sky and say there is no God?  It's beyond me.

I’ve thought a lot about what got me on a mission, but let me tell you what definitely could have kept me away: The White Handbook.  If I had read that, it would have scared me right out of those papers.  I'm sure that is no surprise to you.  I'm trying to be a better missionary all the time.

I don’t know exactly what got me on a mission because I didn’t make the decision all at once.  I definitely waited to make the decision until it was completely my decision.  That has proven to be a good thing, because some who had their parent make their decision for them are having some hard first months.

I don't know why it is, but some missionaries love to preach at me.  It’s as if they are trying to be influential to other missionaries, and say profound things, and be all-stars.  It kind of bugs me.  The other day, I asked an elder who had just been transferred from the office if the work was easier in other areas.  I was just striking up a conversation, and I had already heard from other missionaries that Aklan has always had lower numbers, and people are less receptive here.  He took it as an opportunity to preach to me about determination.  Suddenly, I became a student by force.  It really bugged me.

By the way, having the guitar has not been a distraction.  I want to work more than I want to play it.  When it's time to work, that's the only thing I want to do.  We work all day, and then I update the area book and write in my journal.  If I still have a few minutes before bedtime, then I’ll pick it up and play it.  If anything, it's been a great outlet for expressing myself.  I have learned a few hymns, straight from the hymn book.

I love you.

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