Monday, April 18, 2011


Monday, April 18, 2011
Tanagan, Aklan, Panay Island

We got to work this week, and work we did.  I’ve been leading all week - for reasons unknown – but I set a high pace.

sunset from Kalibo
Last Monday evening was a little wild.  We had another endless P-day, and I mean endless.  We didn't get back to our apartment until the next day.  We went to another FHE in Kalibo, where we played games, had a lesson, and they didn’t bring out the food until about 9 pm.  It was on top of a building in Kalibo at a really wealthy family's house.  We watched the sun set over the mountains from one of the tallest building in Kalibo.  It was cool.  It would have been rude to leave before eating, and they cooked A LOT of food, so we stayed.  They had spaghetti, rice, ulam, all kinds of meats, some awesome pineapple juice that was at least worth dying for, and tons of desserts.  Elders are supposed to be in their apartment by 9:30, but we didn't start eating until 9, and we were in Kalibo.  Did I mention it was a lot of food?  A lot.  It was all very tasty, and we definitely pigged out.  I could not keep up with Elder Aquin from Hawaii, but I sure tried.  

I left completely stuffed, and we walked the night streets in the rain until we could get a trike driver who looked to be a nice guy to drive us the dark way to Numancia.  We slept on the tile floor because there were also two other elders crashing there.  It was a wild night.  I slept rather close to Elder Aquin at one point in the night.  It was funny.  I rolled over half asleep, and I'm breathing, but my breath is coming back to me warm.  I opened my eyes and saw that I was about four inches from a giant Hawaiian.  Sometimes a mission makes for strange situations. 

National Service Day
We had National Day of Service this week.  We swept the streets.  All the youth and adults wore yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts.  I had fun and really pitched in.  I was soaked in sweat by the end of it.  Man, I stunk.  I'd rather work with the members than fellowship them.  It's funny - they were all in awe that I was working hard.  They tend to think that Americans are just lazy and rich.  They kept on saying stuff like "meroon ka magsilhik?" like "you have the ability to sweep?"  Well, yeah - I had a mother too!

Early this week, our work was dead.  It's hard to pick up after a couple weeks off, and last week wasn't that great.  On Wednesday and Thursday, our numbers were like straight 1's even though we had been working all day.  It was such a bummer.  Actually, we still end up hanging out with members, so that's why, but I honestly can't do nothing about it. Trunkiness kills.  So, I decided that from now on we were going to skip my language study and get to work first thing in the morning.  My language studies were half hearted anyways because all I ever did was learn new words.  I decided that, because I'm not ok with numbers that low.  Not from me.  I didn't come on a mission to be kind of effective.  So that’s what we did, and it went great.  The hours from 10-11 is great for tracting.  People are outside and at home.  The first day we did it, Friday, I said "Elder, let’s go find a golden family."  I was putting that whole faith thing to the test.  Elder Pipit said something like “whatever.”  But we found a great family the first house we went to.  It was a good discussion, and one of the girls got all choked up in the prayer because the spirit was so strong.  Man sometimes, it's just good. 

I helped Jaymhars Templo fill out a PEF form this week.  He didn't have all the info he needed, but we did as much as we could.  He hadn't done the sufficient research about his desired field of work, so I took him around - against his will - and we interviewed some cooks there in Tangalan.  So, we at least filled out that part. 

The power went out during lunch on Saturday, so we couldn't cook our rice.  So, we went downtown and ate there.  We found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ate there.  My food had hair.  You have got to love the Philippines.  By the way, there is no distinction between an item and where it comes from.  For instance, the word for pork, baboy, is the same as the word for pig.  The word for wood is the same as the word for tree.

On Sunday I talked in church for the fifth time.  Gosh, for not understanding me, they really like to listen to me.  I talked on charity and service.  It was an ok talk.  I didn't write it out.  I just highlighted a couple scriptures, and talked from experience, so it was new type of talk.  I'm comfortable enough to be unscripted, so that's a good sign. 

teaching about prayer
I taught some primary kids how the pray.  I taught without Elder Pipit, which is actually happening a lot lately.  He was an office elder, and I'm sure he just feels put out to pasture.  He’s in his last transfer, and he's just training this punk American. 

Oh, in another lesson I called Joseph Smith a girl, but Elder Pipit caught me and corrected in.  It doesn't help that boy and babae both start with a B.

I received my package.  It was like Christmas, and it was fun.  All of the other missionaries were standing around watching me open it, which is actually common, but this was my first time.  When the almond m&m's came out, I was all the sudden the center of attention.  Thank you, I really loved the package.  I love the tic tacs, and the root beer barrels, and everything.  Everyone had a good time looking at the map you made.  No one has seen that good of a map of Panay.  Man, it was good. 

Fred, our solid investigator, has gone through seeming gay, seeming crazy and weird, being smelly, all the way to wearing a white shirt, combing his hair, and sitting for three sessions of conference.  We were supposed to baptize him this week, but he had a mental breakdown.  I tried talking to him, but he's just not in there.  We talked to his family, and they said it will usually take a week or two to recover, so we'll see what’s up then.  That was a real blow to us.

It turns out Elder Pipit is kind of a guapo Filipino.  I’m not much of a judge for guys’ looks, and I don't know Filipino culture, but this week he got texts from the daughters of some investigators telling him “Goodnight” and he received another love note from the same girl.  It was in invisible ink.  I told him you have to spread citrus on it to read it.  He said he didn't read it, but I saw him cutting an orange.

We have a lot of ants.  I'll be studying, and I'll notice dark spots on my sleeve or shoulder.  It takes a while to realize that it's ants, but when I finally look at my sleeve, I see an army of ants.  I just brush them off, but dang, there they are again.  And again.  On Thursday, I was a walking ant farm.  I finally just sprayed myself in mosquito repellant and that seemed to ward them off. 

I love you all so much, and I mean it.  Thank you for all your prayers.  This week, I worked hard all week.  We got some great new investigators, and I'm excited for the future.  

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