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. 

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