Sunday, April 10, 2011

"This is where it's at."

Monday, April 4, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay Island

(Elder Pipit was still ill) so last week was boring.  It got better though, because I got to work some!!!!  Not working for so long has convinced me that I never ever want to work in the office.  I want to be a field missionary only.  Dad, what were in the office?  Elder Pipit was financial secretary.

This week we received a referral from the Templo family.  It's for their father/grandfather.  We went with Jaymarsh to Pudiot to find him.  Actually, that was to do a follow up lesson with him and try to teach the family too, because we had already taught him once at the Templo's home.  So, we went to Pudiot, which is the opposite end of our area from where Jaymarsh lives, Panayakan.  We took a long ride on a jeep, and then start looking.  We were directed through the baranguy.  We asked people, and they would point the direction.  Then we'd ask some more people and they would either point back the direction we came or tell us to go further.  It's almost like asking for directions from hillbillies.  At one point we had walked a really long ways, and we were in the bukid already. We asked some lady where Pio Templo lives, and she points further down the road, says "malayo pa, sa bukid."  (Further on, in the wild.)  What?  Are you kidding me?  This is the wild, this is already far.  It took most of our Sunday afternoon to find him, plus the travel from the opposite end of our area.  I still had fun.

We did find him, and we got to teach the family.  It's great to teach people who already have a relation to the church.  They can easily see how the gospel blesses their family through James Templos part of the family.  They had a lot of questions, which is a great sign.  If they ask questions it’s almost never because they are trying to prove it wrong; if they think it's wrong, they don't care to listen to us, which is another story I have to tell.  If they ask questions, it usually means they have the desire, if you have the desire, then faith is supposed to be pretty easy to get from there.  We had a great lesson with them, and afterward they kept on asking question.  

Then they insisted that we stay and eat a snack with them.  We were hesitant because we were far from the road, and it was late afternoon, but we're missionaries and we can only say no to a few things.  We waited.  Eating a snack with them entails one of their kids walking far away to get the stuff and come back.  I didn't see this as unnecessary, I saw it as super nice, and we always thank them.  Usually this is alright, but this time they brought back coke!  Coke is bawal (taboo) for missionaries in our mission, but I had been fasting, I was thirsty, and we had walked so far that we weren't in our area anymore.  I wanted to drink it, which brings up a side story. . .

At Bonnaroo last summer, it was super hot and muggy.  I remember to it was Brandie Carlisle’s show.  She was going strong, and I was having a great time.  I was also super thirsty.  Without even knowing that I was dry, Devon handed me a cold Dr. Pepper or Pepsi.  (Our family almost never drinks caffeinated drinks.)  I took a sip, and it was liqueur to Townes (van Zandt?)  It was manna to the Israelites.  It was wine to the Italians.  It was brownies to Ben Gibson.  It was Yoko to Lennon.  It was genealogy to Dad.  It was motorcycles to Uncle Kenny.  It was a little sip of the celestial kingdom.

Back to the Coke. . .I was hoping for the same experience.  Damn the rules, I'm thirsty.  However, Elder Pipit pulled the obedience card and excused us from the Coke.  Instead, we drank dirty water!!!  How much better is dirty water than coke?!  Not much.  But we were being obedient, so I doubt the water had amoebas in it.

We also tried to teach Jewel Morales yesterday.  We haven't been able to teach to him since we had finished the plan of salvation.  We had been teaching him plan of salvation since the beginning of my mission.  We finally caught him at home.  He had quit his job, had taken his furniture out of the front room, put a pad down and some pillows.  He was lying in boxer shorts and a t-shirt from his old company, and was watching Star Trek on Tivo.  He was watching it without his kids too.  Star Trek was almost over when we arrived, so we waited for it to finish.  I prepared my thoughts and scriptures.  When Star Trek finished, Wolfman was on next, and he asked if we want to watch it with him.  I said that I'd prefer to teach, but he said he wasn’t in the mood, next time na lang. (just next time).  I thought that was the definition of lazy.  He saw us preparing to teach, and then said “Well, I'm not in the mood.  He let us in to turn us away.  When he said next time, that didn’t mean next time, it meant not now. 

I've been getting organized.  I made pocket calendar, and mapped out the dates that our investigators could be baptized.  It's realistic now because it shows how many teaching we will have to do between now and then.  We plan daily and weekly, but never far in advance. We planned it out for three of our progressing investigators that have committed to baptism.  It's cool, and we showed it to them and showed them the importance of each meeting with them. 

We got to work with Jaymarsh.  It's fun to work with him.  He speaks slowly and clearly to me.  He's upbeat and excited to work with the missionaries.  He'll make a great one.  That whole family is so humble.  He actually looks like a young George Clooney.  I hope to have pictures for you later.

I received a letter from Ben this week.  I was dying laughing.  We have way too many inside jokes - mostly just quotes, actually.  He struggled in the MTC the same as I did it sounds like.  We both really dislike being trapped, and the lack of music.  I was laughing so hard that Elder Pipit asked me why I was laughing.  I read part of the letter to him.  Ben is really funny. 

We are now teaching Bernard and Sheryl.  They are Fred's brother and sister-in-law.  It’s cool to teach them because they can see the obvious changes in Fred.

Next week we will watch general conference here in Kalibo.  We're taking Fred, Bernard and Sheryl.  It will be good.  I'll try and get ice cream afterward.  Maybe Elder Lowry will come with me and can substitute.

Elder Pipit is better now.  We went to the doctors on Friday and got him all checked out.  He is supposed to rest until this next Wednesday, but I'm going insane, and he feels fine.  We started working hard again on Sunday, after one more half-day of rest on Saturday.  It feels so good to work again. Sunday night, I laid in my hammock strumming my guitar, drinking a root beer, and thinking to myself, “This is where it's at.” (After I did the area book, of course.)

The Avetts have a great line in one of my favorite songs. It says "I found God. . .in a long day’s work and a good sitting chair."  Yeah.  Those two go together nicely - a hard day’s work, and then a sitting chair.  Or a hammock, take your pick.

On Saturday when we did that half day of work, it was clear that I was out of practice.  My language was slow, my teaching was choppy, and my head was nervous.  Sunday was better, but I'm still a little rusty because of the three weeks rest.  Just before Elder Pipit got sick, the language was going great. I had really picked up momentum.  Hopefully I can get that back.  It was really hard to study Aklanon when we were staying in the apartment all the day.  I just didn't have the heart.  I’m sure my language studies will be better now that I'm actually using it.  It will be like it used to be.

kids shooting pool
Last week we played pool with the district.  It was really fun.  We played three games.  Little kids usually come and watch us play, and we talk with them and practice our language; they high five us when we get one in.  This week we went one step further.  One of them asked to try, and that was it.  After that, we each had a replacement kid for all of us.  We gave our pool sticks up to the boys, and we rooted for the kid that took our stick.  It was fun, and I have some great pictures from it that I will upload next week. 

We had 99 people at church.  That's the largest it has ever been.  We had been focusing on less actives, and got the Relief Society to make a plan to get them to church.  The Relief Society visited the less-actives and boy, did it work!  We had to get more chairs for Sacrament Meeting.

We saw a little bit of the KY-UConn game.  It was cool to see the word Kentucky on the screen, but besides that it brought no pleasure to me.  Kentucky was playing like hockey players in the first half.  They soon turned it off, and we started our lesson. 

We're still working hard on James Templo.  Our response from President was still the same – “talk with the priesthood leaders.”  I’m kind of bummed about that, but he's the boss, and I trust him.

Elder Pipit and I have this one particular spot to <relieve ourselves.>  It’s in an open field on the long walk from Pudiot to Tangalan.  We usually do it twice each week.  We’re always given juice at the Batister's, which is the last person we visit on the days we go that direction.  We are always loaded by the time we get to that spot.  Sometimes I have been more than loaded, but still wait to go at that spot.  It's always dark by then, and the cool wind will blow across the field, and the shadows of the mountains in the distance. Yesterday we got to do it again.  It was awesome.  I'm having a great time.  In what other mission can I <relieve myself> by the side of the road?  I got called to the perfect place. 

Today we went bowling with the zone.  It was fun, but really hot.  It was a very old place, and kind of run down.  Someone kept score for us.  The district leaders, zone leaders, and sisters and companions were invited.  It was fun.  The whole floor was slippery, and not just the lane.  I slipped a couple times on the approach.  It only made it more fun.  One of our zone leaders is from New Zealand.  We talked about Lord of the Rings.  He tells Filipinos that there are Hobbits who live in New Zealand, and they believe him.  We joked that men are descended from monkeys, and hobbits from rabbits.  That's why they have long hairy feet.  He's clearly put a lot of thought into this.

Thanks for the emails. I love you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment