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.

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