Monday, June 27, 2011

yes, that is our church

Monday, June 27, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island

Gosh, last week was Job week for sure - as in the guy from the Old Testament - but at the end of this week, things really started looking up.  I’m back to my (fairly) good old self.  First off, I think I'm doing better because I got enough sleep.  Man, I was really sleep deprived, and I think that was the biggest factor to me being miserable.  My first couple days here were really tough, but I'm fine now. 

Last p-day was great.  We played a lot of basketball, and I got to eat some famous mango stuff.  I may have had the best mango shake ever.  It was 15 pesos, but worth 100.  This red dirt island has a really good redeeming trait - it's the mango capital of the Philippines, and has the best mangos in the world.  I have a lot of things to do today, some more important than others.  The most important are to write to President Pagaduan, and then to write to you all; after that, the next important thing is to get a mango shake.  Sorry if this email ends up being short - I really want a mango shake. num num num. 

I was happy it was p-day last week, but I was still really beat.  In an interview, I ended up telling someone that I wasn't doing great.  Also, when I wrote to President Paguduan, I mentioned that things were kind of rough.  (We write a letter to him every week.)  I wasn't over the top complaining in my letter to him, but I wasn't lying and saying I was happy.  So, I wasn't too surprised when we got a call from him on Wednesday.  It was a nice call, but it really seemed like President thought I was "scared" of my new area, which isn't the case.  After the call, I felt stupid for even telling someone about not doing well.  It didn't change anything, but now people knew I wasn't doing great.  I shook it off and got to work.  

When President called, I had just woken up from a nap.  Let me explain.  Wednesday morning, I got up and felt completely miserable, but I figured it was just my outlook and didn't pay any attention to it.  I suffered through a cold shower and breakfast, and settled in to personal study.  Then I realized that something was seriously wrong because after an hour and a half of being awake, I couldn't keep my eyes open.  I pushed through it, and then 30 minutes of companion study.  My heart wasn't really into it, and I told Elder Conjelado that I was sorry and I had to go lay down.  I slept until 11:00 am, and then woke up with a fever.  I ate some food, and took some medicine, and tried to push through it.  Then Elder Conjelado said he was feeling the same thing and went to bed.  So, we were two poor sick little puppy dogs.  I set an alarm because I wanted to work, and went to bed.  The alarm went off an hour later, and I felt a little better.  I got up just as President called. 

Elder Conjelado
After the call from President, I felt determined to just let it go, stop feeling sorry for myself, or ashamed that I wasn't being supermissionary, and Elder Conjelado and I got to work.  We worked hard, walked real far.  At one point though, it started to rain - not just rain, but sideways.  We were soaked in seconds.  It's like in Forrest Gump when he says "and then someone turned the rain on."  I laughed through it because I'm American, but Filipinos freak out when they get caught in the rain.  

After that, we caught a ride on a motorcylce to an investigator’s house.  During the ride, I noticed that I was actually really cold.  Then as the day of work went on, I just got colder.  As evening came on, I was shivering.  We came back to the apartment, and I crawled into bed.  I was still cold.  I got up and put on some more shirts and some pants.  I was still cold.  Now keep in mind, it's probably 75 degrees outside.  Why am I so cold?  Then I put some water on the stove, borrowed a wool long sleeve shirt from Elder Conjelado, and lit some candles and leaned over them.  The candles singed my hair, and the gas ran out for the stove.  The water was warm enough, though.  I was cold maybe for another hour and half, and eventually started to get really hot again.  Then I evened out just in time to go to sleep.  For a while I was thinking "Heavenly Father, seriously? I'm trying here!"  The next day I had a head-ache, but I was fine.  Man, it was a rough start to the week.

So, the next day we had to buy gas for the stove.  That ate up a lot of money.  I withdrew last Monday, and already I'm low again.  It's going to be a tight week until we get new "kwarta" (money) for the next month. 

This week we had a lady at church!  That hasn't happened in this area since February.  Elder Conjelado was going nuts.  It was someone that we tracted into this week, too.  So that's our silver lining.  Her husband wanted to come, but had to work, so he’ll try again this week.  She was fellowshipped pretty well.  Actually, I didn't know that she was an investigator.  I'm still pretty new here and can't remember where and when we met people.  So, I recognized this lady, but couldn't remember if she was a less active or an investigator! 

My friend Ed, being Mexican, once told me about the stereotype of a lot of Mexicans being able to fit in a vehicle.  Well, Mexicans have nothing on Filipinos.  We got 23 people into a van!  It was ridiculous.  I could hardly breathe!  Filpinos are talented.  I don't know if you can get a picture of one from the internet, but it's called an L3 van.  It's about the size of our Honda Odessy.

I’ve mentioned that Filipinos don't chop off a fish's head. Well, this week we ate at a member’s house, and she fed us fish and rice.  I ignored the head.  She told me it was good.  I was like "OK, so you eat it."  She freakin' did!  She took the whole head in her mouth and sucked out the brains and the eyes!  I was like "No thank-you."  I told her "You just ate brain!"  She went on to say "Brain is OK to eat if you cook a fish for 2 minutes, 10 minutes for a human brain."  I was like "How do you know ten minutes for a human brain?"  She said “science,” but I just accused her of being an aswang.  (For all the non-Filipinos out there, an aswang is a witch that eats people - everyone here believes in aswangs.)  So it was a joke for a while until I noticed she was kind of taking it personally.  So, I backed off and fixed the problem by calling myself a "white monkey” or "Maputi ng amu."  After that, it was a pretty funny then.  She now calls me "Elder Amu." 

Every Saturday here in Sibunag we have an activity for the group.  (Group refers to a small congregation that meets by itself most weeks, but joins with a larger congregation once per month.)  I think it's a giant waste of time, but Elder Conjelado swears it's important.  It lasts all afternoon on Saturday.  This week the same lady who was the aswang asked us to buy fruit for it.  Now, it's the end of the month and we're running low on kwarta, but we did anyway.  She accused me of being "a rich American, so it should be easy to buy the fruit.”  We bought watermelon and pineapple.  The watermelon wasn't very good because it was overripe, and the lady kept on saying that it was overripe.  It kind of got on my nerves.  She just kept on saying it.  Then, in church the next day when we talked about how the activity went, and the first thing that was said was that the watermelon was overripe.  I almost busted a vein.  Man, that lady can buy the watermelon next time. 

This area's previous junior was Elder Faran.  I think the world of him. He's in my batch, and was here for 6 months.  Apparently he was way good in the language.

The chapel in Sibunag
That's all I’ve got.  I'm going to send pictures now.  And yes, that is our church.  I love you all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

a different kind of bukid

Monday, June 20, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island

Moving Day
 Last Tuesday (June 14) we loaded up from our treehouse apartment and moved.  We used a jeepney that a member owns, and we loaded that up and drove to our new apartment.  It was fun to move.  I had a lot of practice when I was younger, so it was real easy to do.  Elder Arrieta and Unabia were impressed with my moving skills.  Elder Unabia’s companion had finished his mission and left Monday morning, so he was with us until Thursday.  During the ride from Tangalan to Baybay, I rode on top of the jeep.  There was no room inside.  I took a cool video of us moving.  We had the fridge hanging out the back, and the beds on top.  It looked like the Grapes of Wrath or something. 

I was kind of sad to leave Tangalan, but of course excited about my new area.  I visited James Templo before I left, and visited Estelina the morning before I left.  Besides that, we just did regular work.  In the past, when elders were about to leave an area, they would hang out with the members that they really liked, but it messes up the work.  So, although we did visit James Templo and Estelina, we did not interrupt our work at all.

Tangalan was getting so good.  We were going to have 6 baptisms this month!  I had a way great companion.  Our new apartment was so nice; it was right on the beach, and I did personal study on the beach.  The morning that I left, we went running on the beach.  I ran without shoes, and that was a mistake - the beach was way rockier than I'd expected. 

Iloilo was a trip!  After being out in the bukid (backwoods), it was crazy to see big buildings and gas stations and stuff.  It's really polluted there, but it's really cool because there are people everywhere!  It's a really convenient place to be.  You have everything you need in your area. 

We stayed with a lot of other elders the night before transfer meeting, and I knew a couple of them from my batch.  It was also way cool to meet missionaries that I didn't know. It was a huge sleepover.  There was a lot of talk about transfers and who was going where and who was doing what, but I did not listen because I wanted it to be a surprise at district meeting.

District meeting was way cool.  Most everyone from my batch was there. The same people I had not seen for six months.  It was kind of ridiculous, though - all we wanted to do was catch up with each other, but the A.P's wanted us to sit silently and read our scriptures in the chapel.  Elder Peterson and I were like long lost best friends.  I saw a lot of other people who I really enjoy.  Most everyone is still way stoked about out missions.  It was funny, it felt like the MTC again when I saw them all. 

Arriving in Guimaras: Mango Importation Warning
So, Elder Light and I both got sent to Guimaras, the little island to the south of Panay.  It's where the best mangoes in the world are grown.  It's also the most bukid area.  I'm so stoked to be with Elder Light still!  The zone is way cool.  Everyone is way tight and fun to be around.

My companion and I are in the middle of nowhere.  We live in a two person apartment, and there are about eight active people in the ward.  (Um, branch?)  It's bukid, but a different kind of bukid.  It's more like rural Arkansas, and less like eastern Tennessee.  When traveling to our area, I was wondering when we would come to a city.  We drove on red dirt roads forever, and finally we stopped.  "Oh, I guess this is our middle of nowhere".

My comp doesn't speak English at all, which is making me learn Ilonggo fast, but it makes it really lonely in my area.  I'm still working hard.  I did a grade-A job of fellowshipping the members (at church).  I've worked the entire time I’ve been here.  I'd love to say I'm doing well, but really I'm just not too excited about my situation.  I feel kind of down.  I always thought it would be awesome to be in such an extreme situation.  I always thought I would live for it and stuff.  I'm not letting myself be defeated, but man.

We haven't had power at our place for two days.  Since we don’t have any power, we can’t use our fans, and that makes it too hot at night to sleep.  I haven't been able to sleep well, and I don't have an appetite. I don’t mean to worry you.  I’m just saying this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m sure I’m up to it, and I just have to stick with it.  Most of the other elders who have served here in Sibunag have gone on to be great missionaries.

The internet went out here earlier (after the last paragraph), so I had to return to send my email.  I played basketball in the mean time.  It was pretty fun, and I feel a lot better about my situation after playing basketball.  We won’t return to our area tonight.  We can’t - it’s too far.  P-days work differently here.  It’s a sleep over every Monday night.  It’s a geographically challenged island.

My Ilonggo is coming along way fast.  It’s way easier than Aklanon!  I’m learning it way fast because they DO NOT understand Aklanon here!  My companion isn’t bad, but he’s really reserved.  There’s the language barrier, so I’m sure he feels the same way.  I’ll put a lot of effort into it.  That is way important.  So, yeah, I’ll figure it out.

I love you all so much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sad to leave, stoked for my next area

Monday, June 13, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay Island

It's been a pretty good week.  I worked hard all week, despite being a little area trunky - I learned that I'm going to be transferred.  We didn’t work for part of the week because Elder Arrieta was a sick for a couple days.  Actually, he's still kind of sick, but he toughed it out.  It was raining, too, and he was like "magwork ta der!" (that's Taglish.)  Oh, by the way, no one refers to us as “elder.”  They call us just "der."  That is pronounced like “dare” in English - rhymes with air. 

Yesterday at church I spoke.  It was ok.  I didn't plan for it because I wanted it to be from my heart.  I tried really hard to just trust in the spirit and talk, but it didn't really work out.  I ended up talking about faith, and managed to use the scriptures.  Elder Arrieta also spoke, and he did very well.  We also played two hymns each on the piano.  I played There is a Green Hill Far Away and God be with You ‘til We Meet Again.  Somehow the ward started There is a Green Hill Far Away on the wrong note and never found the right notes.  It was so bad. It was SO bad.

Before sacrament started, I was sitting with some of our investigators, and all the primary kids came and sat with me.  They just smile at me all the time.  There was a little bickering about who got to sit in the chair right next to me.  Estelina got it.  She wants to hug me all the time, but that's not allowed.  It was really touching.  My last week in the ward and the primary kids come and sit with me.  I had to leave them to bless the sacrament.  It worked out well because our investigators are a family, and their kids got to sit by other kids. 

After sacrament meeting, I taught Fred one last lesson.  We had not taught him for like two weeks, but I just wanted to give him some last help.  Elder Arrieta went to the youth class, and I taught Fred alone.  I basically just asked him what he wanted in life, and then showed him how it would be easier for him to get those things if he followed certain commandments.  It was a pretty intense lesson.  His goal had always been to be baptized before I got transferred, but that didn't happen.  He was kind of sad, but I explained exactly what he needs to do to be able to get baptism.  Then the Spirit told me that Fred needed to work on his prayers, so at the end of the lesson I asked him to pray, and told him to pray for at least five minutes.  He probably prayed for ten.  I hope things work out for him.  Afterward I offered some pointers for his prayers, such as you don't need to use such fancy words, God may not agree that Saturn is the super model of all the planets he created, etc.  (Yes, he did mention Saturn again.)

During the lesson with Fred, some girls were peeking through the window, trying to get my attention.  I recognized them, but couldn't remember how I knew them.  I just kept teaching Fred.  When i got out of the lesson, the three girls approached me.  They were some of the people that Don Cooper brought with him from Boracay.  I think that Don Cooper had sent them.  They are going to school in Kalibo.  I had gotten their information contact information when they first visited, and then passed it along to the Sisters.  Apparently the Sisters never contacted them, so I got their contact info again and will pass it along.  They really liked it that I could speak their language, and they wanted a picture with me. 

I played with goats yesterday.  I got to pick one up and carry it.  I have some cool pictures. 

Lately we have been teaching our neighbors, the Valyejo family.  The mother is the servant of or landlords.  The family is super poor, and really lives out in Baybay.  The mother lives in the house behind ours.  A few of the kids often stay with her.  One day Elder Arrieta said "Hey, do want to come with your family and watch a movie at our church with us?"  She said yeas and went to the church and watched "Finding Faith in Christ."  The next day, they came to church.  They have been going for 4 weeks now!  They have prayed about the Book of Mormon as a family, and three of the kids have a baptismal date.  Later today we are playing basketball with the oldest son.  He doesn't have a baptismal date yet, because we haven't even taught him the first lesson.  He only sat in for one lesson about faith because he works in Ibajay sometimes.  It's way cool to be teaching a family.  It's way exciting.  The other day, two of the girls were sitting outside of our house.  I went and played the guitar for them, and then read the Book of Mormon with them.  They are illiterate, so we read to them.  

I love working with Elder Arrieta.  We develop gospel based relationships with our investigators, and that increases the trust they feel with us.  I like the way he works. 

Last P-day, one of my fellow missionaries was buying a guitar in Gaisano’s  (a large mall in Kalibo, part of national chain.)  He asked me to check it out for him, so I did.  I tried to tune it, and a string broke on the guitar.  I may have been tuning it too high, but more likely it was just a terrible guitar.  The employees freaked out and tried to get me to buy they guitar because I broke a string.  I refused, and they got some more employees involved.  So, I left the employees talking to some other missionaries, and bought a guitar string.  I returned, took the guitar, and strung the string in like 30 seconds.  Then I handed the guitar to the employee who had said I had to buy it, and left.  Apparently, after I left, it was a big deal that I had bought the string myself.  The missionary who wanted the guitar ended buying it, and he got it as a damaged item because I had broken the string.  The employee who was in charge of the guitars kind of got in trouble.  I'm sorry the guy got in trouble, but come on, it was a broken string!!!

Last week we ate at this way legit restaurant here in Kalibo.  It was pretty expensive.  I finally got to eat a hamburger!!!

As I said, Elder Arreita was sick this week.  As mentioned, Filipinos are way sensitive to the rain, and it rained almost all week.  We rested for two days, but after that Elder Arrieta just worked anyways.  In fact, we got stuck out in Jawili in a thunderstorm, but we still worked.  I like his work ethic.  I'm sad to leave him.  He has been a great companion.  But, as I'm sure you guys know- I'm way stoked for my next area!  I hope I go to Guimaras!!!  (A small island, just off the south coast of Panay Island.) 

Last week we went to those gardens out in New Washington.  They are the Sanpaguita Gardens.  They're kind of famous, and Elder Arrieta wanted to see them.  They aren't as much gardens as a lot of cartoon, childlike figurines in a religious context.  I think they have a website if you want a better explanation.  Though I felt a little weird to be there, we got some awesome pictures.  

This morning I packed.  We're going to move tomorrow from our "tree house" apartment to our "beach house" apartment.  I'll sleep at it Tuesday and Wednesday night, and Thursday midday I go to Iloilo.  I'm way excited to see my batch.  Most of my batch is transferring this week, so I'll get to see them!!!!  Our new apartment is so sick!!!!  Bummer that I'm leaving.  Later today, after we play basketball, we'll pack up the house.

I've been thinking a lot.  My entire group of friends is on missions - besides the non-member ones, of course.  Man, it's wild to think that we are all doing the same stuff in different parts of the world.  I miss them, of course, but am so happy for them.  I'm sure they are jealous that I get to play with monkeys, but I'm equally jealous of their experiences.  Trevor met gypsies!!!!  I can't wait to go camping with them again, and swap mission stories.

I love you guys. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nagtaksay, Monkeys, Baptism, and Saturn

Monday, June 06, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay Island

One of the awesome things that happened this week was fishing from the shore with huge nets.  It’s called "nagataksay" or "taksay-ing."  One day we went to teach to Estelina out in Baybay, and she was swimming when we arrived.  She saw us and got out of the ocean and went to go change.  I was impressed that she'd stop swimming to listen to missionaries.  Most people won't listen to us if they are washing clothes.  While she changed, I suggested that we help out the local fisherman, so we helped them pull their nets in.  They take a boat out maybe 8 football fields from shore and drop the nets, and then pull the nets in from shore.   There are two teams of people that at first are really far apart, and as they pull the nets in they walk toward each other, meeting in the middle when the nets, with all the fish, are finally at shore.  When we taksayed in Baybay there were maybe eight people on each team, and we only did it for maybe 20 minutes.  I learned how and had fun.  Everyone holds on to rope and then steps back in rhythm with each other.  It was fun, but we only did it for 20 minutes and I didn't get to see the fish we were pulling.

A day later, we had finished tracting in Afga and it was dusk.  Like two slightly A.D.D. missionaries, we decided to walk home the long way through the beach back to Tangalan.  Good decision.  We found another group of fisherman, and I suggested we join in.  I love Elder Arrieta - he's like Ben, always ready for something cool.  We taksayed from the beginning for about an hour and a half.  At first there weren’t many people, but as the nets got closer to shore, more people joined in.  Everyone was so excited to see a white guy helping them with the nets.  I got to know so many people, and of course had so much fun.  We started taksaying from Afga, and ended just before you get to Tangalan.  This was way bigger scale then we had done in Baybay.  As the nets came in, the whole town came out to meet the fish.  I guess it's free fish?  We saw so many investigators that we had dropped or had dropped us.  They thought it was awesome that we had been helping.  After a while, my socks and shoes we so soaked that I just took them off and rolled my pants up to the knee.  This allowed me to be more efficient because I could start pulling the nets from the front of the team.

Our Fish
When the nets came in, it was awesome.  Elder Arrieta was joking that we caught a mermaid.  We did catch a lot of jellyfish though!  Elder Arrieta held one, and later had a swollen hand.  I told him he had to pee on it.  I don't know if he did, but he wasn’t complaining about his hand the next day.  They handed us a huge bag of fish, so we had dinner for a few days.  I gutted them.  Elder Arrieta thought I had committed a huge crime because I cut off the head before I gutted them.  Apparently, here in the Philippines you just don't do that!  Thanks mom for the fish spices!

We were going through the baptismal interview questions with Estelina and her siblings joined in.  When we asked Estelina what was not allowed in the law of chastity, her younger brother said "bawal magihit sa puno it niyog."  I didn't understand it at first because I didn't know the word niyog, but I did get the first part.  He said "it's against the rules to pee on a coconut tree."  I thought you'd like that.

We played basketball last week in New Washington.  It was way fun.  I'm pretty good at defense, especially against Filipinos.  I blocked multiple shots.  I'm not saying this to be cocky, but only because I have never before been any good at basketball!  I was really proud of myself, but really I was just playing against short people and other American missionaries. 

We got that sweet new apartment that's right on beach.  It's very unlikely that I'll ever get to live in it though.  Transfer day is coming up real soon.  Sometimes I hope I don't get transferred so I can just live in it, and see all these people I've been teaching get baptized.  On the other hand, I’m ready for some change.

Monkey in Numancia
Ever since the MTC, I have been seeking for a certain experience. Elder Lowry had it, and other missionaries had this experience, but I just could not find the chance to have it.  Then last Thursday I went on splits in Numancia.  I found a monkey!!  Woah!!  I was with Elder Christenson in his area, just walking on the gravel road, when he points to a wall and says "Elder, look at that!"  There was a monkey chained up, eating bread.  We played with it.  I have a video of the monkey going through my hair and nibbling on my finger and holding my hand.  I was freaking out for like 30 minutes afterwards.  A monkey!  Could the Philippines gets any cooler?  (Yes, please – it’s way too hot here!)  The word for monkey is "Amu."

Thursday I went on splits in Numancia, and Friday I had splits with a zone leader, Elder Scott, in my area.  He had served in Tangalan before and had quite a trip down memory lane here.  We had a baptismal interview with Estelina and after she got "Jesus Smith" cleared up, she passed.  She knows who Joseph Smith is, but said Jesus Smith.  We also visited James Templo.  Elder Scott had been the one who found James Templo, so it was way cool.  I really enjoyed Elder Scott.  He's down to earth, fun to talk with, and likes a lot of really good music.  He was really sad that he ever had to come back to the Tangalan apartment, though.  And for good reason, too.  Later that night we had the worst storm I have ever experienced.  I thought it was a hurricane.  Thunder, lightning, buckets and buckets of rain, and wind and wind and wind.  We had a brown out (no power) so we couldn't turn on our electric fans.  It was too hot to sleep, so we stayed up talking for a long time.  At one point, we had both dozed off and then there were two ridiculously loud claps of thunders.  Those woke me.  Then there was lightning so bright I'm pretty sure it hit our apartment, then a split second later the loudest thunder I have ever heard.  I felt it from head to toe.  It sounded like a bomb had gone off.  It was so loud that I curled up into a ball with my hands over my ears.  I felt really small.  It's flooded here right now.

While on splits in Numancia, I had not slept well because there was no fan for me, and it was too light, and plus there house is right on the road and too loud.  Then in morning I woke up at the crack of down to do a wild CSP.  (C0mmunity Service Project?)  Then I worked all day Friday with Elder Scott, and didn't sleep because of the storm and brown out that night.  Then we got up at the crack of dawn again to go to Kalibo to exchange companions back, and then had the baptism for Estelina.  Needless to say, after Estelina's baptism on Saturday, I took a nap.  We didn't work that day. 

We were so behind on laundry, writing in journals, and sleep, that we took Saturday off to recover.  We both hadn't washed for at least a week.  We washed our clothes that evening for about 3 hours. 

That CSP was awesome.  Basically, we destroyed someone’s house.  They needed to remove a member’s house in Numancia, and move the wood so it could be used again at another location to rebuild it.  The first half was way fun - and way unsafe.  I had not brought proper clothes for the CSP, and the other Numancia Elders had not worn the proper clothes for something this destructive.  The first half was whacking stuff with a crow bar.  In the U.S. they would have attached the house to a Ford F-250 and pulled it over, but here they handed us weapons of slight destruction and we had batting practice.  It was unsafe because it was not organized.  There were rusty nails, and falling ceilings, and huge spiders, and missionaries in flip flops and basketball shorts.  It was awesome until we had to clean it up, but we stuck around for that too. 

Estelina's Baptism
Estelina's baptism was way awesome - my favorite so far.  I had been teaching Estelina off and on for a long time.  She just loves us.  We had the service on Sister Gloria's front porch.  The ocean breeze was blowing on us.  It was a nice, short service, and not far from the beach.  We had a song, a prayer, a short talk about baptism, a practice, and then went out into the ocean and baptized her.  Then we had a 9-year-olds testimony, a few closing words from Elder Arrieta, a song, a prayer, and some ube bread.  It was awesome.  Our bishop didn't show up, and there were only three priesthood holders there, including us.  Estelina was so happy.

We've started teaching out neighbors.  We are teaching a full family, and they are coming to church.  It would be so cool to see them baptized, but I don't think I'll get to be there for that.

Fred bore his testimony yesterday in church.  The first time he did it, the ward almost had a cow, but this time they listened intently because it was so strange.  He said he wanted to be a philanthropist, the BOM is an OK book, but not great, and that he wants to be an astronaut and go to Saturn, the most beautiful planet.  I bore my testimony after him to do damage control. 

Yesterday we went on splits with members in our area.  I visited some less actives.  It's the same ones that talked with about fire breathing dwarves and aswangs the last time I visited them.  The family was super sick, so the conversation wasn't as fun.  We did share a little bit about prayer, and then I had the chance to give priesthood blessings.  That's always awesome and makes me glad that I’m worthy.  The hardest part of the blessings is always saying the person’s middle name.  Filipinos have realy strange middle names.  Yesterday’s was "Magdaluyo". 

Man, it was a good week.