Thursday, July 28, 2011

doubled our teaching

Monday, July 25, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island

I gave 100% this week.  I felt like I bled for our investigators.  I have been very non-pleased with the work in this area.  It's a real hard area, but that means you work harder, don’t give up, and get the bare minimum of teaching - and then blame it on a hard area.  This week, we doubled our usual week.  We usually teach ten discussions per week, and the best we’ve done was 12, which was my first week here.  Well, this week we taught 21 discussions!  

I pushed Elder Conjelado to work harder this week.  It’s a difficult balance, because we have to have good relationship to succeed.  A couple of times before, when I tried to push him, he got offended.  I was really worried about trying it again, but the last district meeting was all about giving 100%.  Not that that's new or anything, but I was glad to have it coming from another source besides me.  So, I took that momentum and ran with it.  I ran us right into a disagreement. 

I was so stoked to work Tuesday afternoon.  We have district meeting Tuesday mornings, and then ride back to our area.  Elder Conjelado stalled, remembering a bunch of things that he forgot to do the day before, and we didn't get back to our area until 3:00!  We worked until 6:00 pm, and then went and chilled at some former investigators.  Whenever we go there, we just stop by.  These former investigators are not interested in our message at all, but really like to be friends with us.  We stayed there for about two hours.  They invited us to stay for dinner, but I tried to excuse ourselves.  Elder Conjelado left me hanging, and made me look like a bad guy.  It was real awkward.  I was chomping at the bit to get back to work and didn't want to stay, so every 15 minutes or so I'd tell Elder “It's time to leave,” but he'd say something like "tagal lang," which is Tagalog for “just wait.”  

When we finally got back to the apartment, after a wasted day, we were both ticked.  We decided to talk about it, and I’ll skip the details, but Elder so got mad at me for not accepting their dinner invitation, and also for me telling him that those former investigators were a waste of time, that I had to call the zone leaders.  I couldn't handle it by myself.  The zone leaders agreed to come the following morning.  We stayed mad at each other until the late evening, and finally we shook hands and said sorry to each other.  We agreed that we'd work it out with the zone leaders the next day. If we hadn't done that, I doubt we could have slept. 

The next morning, we were cordial to each other, but we were still mad.  After a really awkward comp study, Elder White and Elder Peterson showed up.  (Elder Peterson is our district leader, and came with Elder White.)  It was easy to resolve when we had two other voices of reason.  They gave us some things to do to make sure we worked well, and before they left we had an agreement about what to do about those certain former investigators.  

Then we got to work like we never had before.  From 6:30 am until 10:30 pm, we were doing something for missionary work.  We shredded.  We got over our fight way fast. By Wednesday afternoon, we were laughing that we had called the zone leaders for something that silly.  We literally were laughing about it.  It's amazing what you can put behind you when you work together in unity.

On Thursday, we had weekly planning that lasted three hours!  We planned like champs.  From then on, we not only worked a lot, but we worked smart.  We planned what member would work with us, when and where to meet, and exactly what to do.  It was awesome. I didn't pull out my guitar until lunch time on Sunday.  I didn't listen to music until this morning.  It was hard to find time to right in my journal.  We pretty much doubled our lessons in one week!  There is hope for this area.  I pushed us to work hard, but it wasn’t all me.  Elder Conjelado more than pulled his weight.  It's hard for me to even teach people in Hiligaynon, and He was king of the cell phone this week, setting up appointments and who would work with us.  It's just that at first Elder didn't really like the idea of really going after the work.

I found something new and fun to do this week.  With Elder Pipit, working was boring and hard to enjoy.  With Elder Arrieta it was easy to work because we’d always do something cool, even if it was just help people load bags of rice on a jeep or something.  That’s something I’ve tried to bring here to Sibunag, and I always look for opportunities to mess around.  That’s nothing new for me.  In fact, it’s pretty natural.  Well, it’s been raining like crazy (which has slowed down our work) and all of the banana trees have water sitting on them.  I called Elder Conjelado and the member who was working with us over to a tree.  I asked them about a certain spot on the tree, and then I kicked it.  They got really wet, I did too.  That’s nothing for me, but the way Filipino’s feel about getting wet is just slightly less intense than the witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”  I thought it was funny, and they laughed too.  Then they started doing it to me.

We had some of our best lessons this week, too.  We changed what we would teach investigators.  Before, for the first four lessons or so, we would mainly teach the Book of Mormon, the restoration, or lesson one, and most people have been losing interest.  Now we’ve switched from that, and decided to teach agency, or repentance, or the atonement, or the Holy Ghost.  It’s actually working well.  This week we even talked about baptisms by proxy.  That was an unusual lesson, but we taught about the opportunity to receive the gospel in the spirit world.  We used both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  It was a really cool lesson by the end of it, but at first it was a really weird lesson.

On Wednesday, we had gotten trapped by the rain.  We were waiting by a third world gas station until the rain died down, and I decided to start talking to the people around us.   I shared a bit with a man named Rony.  I set up an appointment with his for Sunday.  Elder was talking to the gas station attendant when I made the appointment.  After we left, I told elder about the appointment on Sunday and where it was.  Little did I know, but this guy lives way down by the ocean. 

I’m pretty serious about keeping my commitments, so on Sunday we organized some splits.  Our Group Leader and I drove out to the boonies on his moped.  It was really rainy.  From the back, while he drove, I held out the umbrella in front of and above us.  It was fun, but dangerous.  It was muddy, and these are winding roads.  

When we showed up, the guy was amazed that we came on such a bad day of weather.  We had a good lesson.  We taught him and his live in girlfriend about marriage in the temple.  I’m not sure what happened, but they seemed to really be interested in that.  No joke, they asked these two questions in succession.  “Do you have to be a member to go into the temple?”  We said yes, and explained about being worthy to enter the temple.  We didn’t get too far into that when she asked “Where is your chapel?”  Yeah, I like those investigators.  Since they live way far from us, we’ll only visit them on Sundays, but they seem really cool.

Then we rode back and visited a less active family.  The family was having a lot of problems with their kids’ health.  One child has urinary tract infection, and the doctor wanted the child to get a test done that is something an x-ray.  The family didn’t have money, so they didn’t get it.  We asked them if she’s been paying tithing.  We talked about having money for your needs if you pay your tithing.  The spirit was there, and when we left she was stoked to pay tithing.  Man, I’ve got a good job.  There’s no salary, but it beats Jamba Juice. Changing lives for the better is a good deal.

This week is likely to be real good too, except I’m on splits with the zone leaders in Jordan for a few days.  That’ll be cool.  I really like our zone leaders.

I got to read a little about you guys visiting Corry.  I’m glad you got to do that.  I actually think about him a lot.

Here’s another really funny story.  We have a pregnant investigator. She’s only like three months into that whole ordeal, but it’s her first.  It’s cool because she wants the best for her new kid, so she’s really interested in our message.  Early on in the month, I bought watermelon liquid soap for 75 pesos.  I decided to splurge a little because it smelled really good.  The morning before we taught this sister, I had showered with it.  The smell of the soap set off her cravings.  She kept on having to put her shirt over her nose.  I scooted back so we could continue teaching.  She was really distracted by it, but the lesson went well enough.  She offered us coffee, so we talked a bit about the Word of Wisdom.  We gave her a pamphlet about it.  You wouldn’t believe it, but on the page about eating healthy foods, there is a picture of a watermelon. I felt so bad.

Even though we worked so hard for our investigators this week, none of them came to church.  We were devastated!  I literally wanted to cry.  I could not concentrate.  We were so bummed.  But maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t come because it was a really bad meeting.  The neighbors were cutting down trees with a chainsaw or something, and it was loud, and we couldn’t really hear.

By the way, my hair is definitely doing something different.  It's way more blond, but that may be from the sun.  It's also thinner than I remember.  Is Stevie balding?  He’s my only cousin my age from the same grandfather on Mom's side.  What's his hair like?  I wouldn't mind going bald - I like baseball caps – but not knowing what’s going to happen is killing me.  I can at least grow a wicked neck beard now.  I am a descendant of a billy goat. 

So, certain people went going to see two my favorite groups?  It doesn’t bother me.  I eat mangos and play with monkeys and tell old people about the plan of salvation.  Besides, I'll just go to a few festivals without you guys when I get back, and I'll be all caught up.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Videos

For those who prefer more pictures and fewer words. . .

Elder Waggoner agreed to teach a man a hymn each week; in exchange, the man would take a missionary discussion each week (sorry about the traffic noise in the background):


video


Here is the second part, with the man practicing the song:

video



Monday, July 18, 2011

Woah, I did not have that planned

Monday, July 18, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, the Philippines

Last Wednesday we had mission conference.  Elder Teh of the Seventy was there.  It was really good.  It’s amazing to see how well he hit the nail on the head.  He doesn’t work exclusively with missionaries, but man he was right on.  He spoke about being a missionary always, not just while out working.  He also addressed being kind to everyone.  Some missionaries <struggle with that concept.>  I don't understand how they can be like that.  It was a really good experience.  It was actually pretty upbeat, but still, yeah, we got called to repentance.  Sure, I need to straighten up a little bit, but what he talked about was something I had been hoping that other leaders would talk about.  I was wondering why that aspect of “being a missionary” was being overlooked, and finally Elder Teh talked about it.  It was really cool.

At one point he had this cool object lesson.  Our zone leader, Elder Andrews, volunteered.  Elder Teh tried to tempt Elder Andrews with candy.  It was pretty funny because Elder Andrews didn’t know whether to go along with the example, or if Elder Teh was testing him.  Eventually, Elder Andrews just took the candy once he realized that he was holding up the point of the lesson by resisting the temptation.

Before mission conference, we were asked to fast and to prepare three 2-minute talks.  The three topics were “companionship unity,” “preparing to teach with the spirit,” and “teaching through the Book of Mormon.”  The first to were pretty easy for me.  I prepared them on Tuesday in about thirty minutes while sitting our front porch area.  However, with the Book of Mormon one, I couldn’t decide what I really wanted to say.  I wrote down some things I could say, but I wasn’t very impressed with what I’d written down.  

Wednesday morning. I was sitting on some couches at the mission office and decided to pull it out one more time.  I got some more thoughts together and I at that point I could give an okay talk about it, but it was still nothing great.  The idea was that everyone was supposed to prepare the talks, and then get called on randomly to give them.  

Later that day, I got called on.  You’ll never guess which one I was asked to talk about . . . the Book of Mormon one.  But something unusual happened.  I got up there and offered some insights that I hadn’t even thought of before.  I talked about how the Book of Mormon helps investigators to progress without us pushing them along.  I talked about reading the Book of Mormon as if you were one of your investigators during personal study.  I offered some other good thoughts, too.  When I finished, I was thinking “Woah, I did not have that planned.”

We also sang in Mission Conference.  It went well enough.  We did it a capella.  The first verse was kind of shaky, but we got it all together for the second and third verses.  I don’t think we scared away the spirit, so that’s good.

I received the package.  It was really awesome.  The strings were too thick for my guitar.  Sorry, I had no way of knowing.  When you get around to it, maybe try the high E string at a 10 gauge.  Try real thin gauge strings.  It was too rough on the guitar.  Thanks for the root beer barrels, too.  I got to give them away to people I knew in the MTC.  I was the root beer barrel king in the MTC.  It was cool to share them again.  Elder Conjelado thought it was Christmas when I gave him those jolly ranchers.  He was really happy.  Thanks guys.

I filled another journal.  I’m on journal 3 by the way.

The language is coming along well.  I’m now as good in Hiligaynon as I was in Aklanon.  Now I’m earning words in Hiligaynon that I never knew in Aklanon.  It’s going well.  Elder Conjelado quizzes me nightly.  I’ve had a couple of Filipinos tell me that I’m “sagas sa Hiligaynon.”  Maybe they are just be being kind, Pinoy missionaries have said that too.  Maybe I’m good at it.  I still have a long ways to go there before I can really rock teaching, though.  It’s actually kind of fun to learn this language.  I seem to hear every word I learn the same day I learn it.  It’s nice.

We had a very cool lesson the other day.  We were teaching a former investigator and her kids were so wild.  We had started the lesson with the kids being really rowdy.  Five minutes into the lesson the kids were putting Seattle’s teenage anarchists to shame.  So, I got down off my chair and took a picture of Jesus out of my bag, and kneeled down in front of the kids.  It was a picture of Jesus holding a sheep.  I explained to them in really simple terms about how Jesus loves all people, even if they don’t know him.  The kids listened, and I went on for about three minutes.  When I finished, the mom was listening too and the kids were calm.  Then we were able to have a good lesson about family prayer.  It’s not that cool of story, but it was cool to see how the lesson changed into something good.

Yesterday Elder Buluran came and helped us in our area.  We don’t have enough priesthood to go on splits, we only have one.  Elder Buluran’s companion had to work with the zone leaders, and he was without a home.  I worked with Buluran, and Elder Conjelado worked with the priesthood guy.  Elder Buluran and I got punted like a pigskin, but we had a pretty good lesson.  It was a follow-up lesson on “pray to know.”  At first she claimed to be too busy, but we just started teaching.  It went so well.  At one point I asked her “if she knew that the Book of Mormon was true, would she come to church - the true Church of Jesus Christ.”  I wanted to ask her to be baptized, but I hesitated.  I was afraid to scare her away because of how hard it is to find new investigators here in Sibunag.  Elder Buluran didn’t hesitate.  He asked her, and he was following the Spirit.  She said yes. That’s two with a baptismal date in my area!  How cool is that!?

I want to improve this area in this transfer, not over my entire time here.  I want it to be good while I’m still here.  My companion is often frustrated with me because I don’t like to take it easy in the mornings.
This area is difficult because of how spread out everything is.  If we get punted at one place, it’s at least a thirty minute walk to the next.  Even if we don’t get punted, we are looking at a maximum of seven appointments we can go to.  So, if we get punted at four of the seven, that’s just three lessons in a day.  Plus, we’ve had a lot of distractions in our work with Elder Conjelado being sick and having mission conference.  So our numbers have been real low.  We’ve taught just twenty lessons in two weeks.  This week looks like it’ll have distractions too.  It’s killing me because I want to work.
  
(In response to a question)  It takes about forty minutes to get Alibhon.  The road is a piece of work.  I usually ride on top of the van because it is way too crowded inside.  I don't have leg room to slump down, and it's too short for me to sit up.  Also, it is way hot, and there’s no air.  I’m like Gandolf in Hobbiton.  Because of the road, sitting on top is like riding a bull.  I hold on top, and I'm never scared about falling off, but it’s always a fun ride.  It's so dusty that I wear a bandana over my face.  It's not mean looking because it's what everyone does out there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kidney stones, food poisoning, and a lost shoe

Monday, July 11, 2011
Guimaras Island, the Philippines


consequence of pushing the liquids
Elder Conjelado was sick this week.  He finally got his kidney stone out.  He showed it to me like he was way proud of it.  He has to drink like a lake worth of water every day, and so he is peeing like every 15 minutes.  It was actually hurting our work, as well as hurting him.  He is getting better, though.  At the beginning of the week he started to have an allergic reaction to his medical pot.  Like way red eyes and a scratchy throat.  Is this funny?  Kind of, yes, but it wasn’t great for work.

On Thursday morning, I woke up all the sudden.  I ran to the bathroom and threw up.  Then I had LBM until 2:00 p.m.  I guess I had food poisoning.  It was way bad.  We didn’t work until 3:00 p.m., and then we had to stop walking every once in a while so my stomach could settle down.  I had eaten some old ramen noodles and rice the night before.  The worse was in one of our lessons.  We were teaching about the Book of Mormon, and all the sudden my stomach turned upside down.  I just handed the pamphlet to Elder Conjelado and he took over for a while. 

writing in journal - during a brown out
This next Wednesday is mission conference.  Some Elders and I have been working on “Abide with Me, ‘tis Eventide.”  The Guimaras zone was chosen to put together a musical number.  I got drafted.  We actually sound pretty good, but probably only because of Elder Light teaching us the tenor part.  I’ll tell you how that goes in next week’s e-mail.

Every P-day is basketball day, for like 6 hours.  Each week I have been getting a little better, so I was a little excited to play today.  This morning before we left Sibunag, I went out to the front porch to get my tennis shoes.  I could only find one.  Now, we have a bunch of shoes on our front porch, mostly ones that got left after someone was transferred - and they’ve not been touched since.  These are terrible shoes.  My tennis shoes were the best of the bunch, but one of my tennis shoes has gone missing.  We guess a dog carried it away.  I looked all around our overgrown yard, but I couldn’t find it.  I’ll probably buy new tennis shoes on Wednesday when I go to Iloilo for mission conference.  Today, I’ll play basketball like a Pinoy: in sandals.

Every P-day is a sleepover.  We have district meeting on Tuesday morning, and we couldn’t get back in time if we returned to our area after p-day.  The last ride leaves at 5pm on Monday, and the first ride out of Sibunag is 7:30.  District meeting starts at 8.  As a result, every Monday night we sleep at the missionaries’ apartment here in Alibhon.  We always leave a mess.  Not really me or Elder Conjelado, but the others do.  Last Tuesday in zone meeting we kind of got talked to about it. So, on Tuesday before we returned to our area, we broke into the Alibhon Elders’ apartment and did the dishes and swept the floors, plus left two referrals for them.

I’ve been collecting and passing on a lot of referrals lately.  I’ve been doing a lot of street contacting lately, just talking to people.  My companion and I often find ourselves waiting for transportation, so I’ve been getting a few investigators this way.  We met with one of them yesterday for the first time.  It was the funniest lesson ever.  It went well despite being a weird lesson.  I think the guy just wanted to listen to us because I am white.  He tried to talk to me in English even though I know better Ilonggo than he knows English.  He kept on high fiving me, all of the time. I’d ask him a question, such as “From what you understand, what is the gospel?”  He’d give an answer, and I’d be would say, “yes, that’s right” and he’d put his hand up for a high five.  We did maybe 30 high fives in 20 minutes.  It was awesome.  We have a return appointment to teach him on Tuesday.

We got a baptismal date this week!  That’s pretty cool.  We have 4 progressing investigators, though they are a different four than last week.  The work is going well, but we just couldn’t do a lot of it this week because of our health.  We taught only ten lessons for the entire week.  And some of those lessons, it would be better if they had not happened. 

We had a lot of other distractions this week, too.  On Wednesday we had interviews with President Pagaduan, and on Saturday was the lamest church activity in history.  It looked like a (bad) church dance with people just sitting in chairs against the walls.  Only 3 people of group came.  It was a Guimaras-wide activity.  I spent about 30 minutes talking to the members from our area, but then I was out of vocabulary to use.  In fact, it was really just a large gathering of members and food, with everybody sitting around bored until they finally brought out the food.  Then they ate and left. I spent most of my time practicing our song for mission conference with the other missionaries, but I did fellowship a lot of other people too.  Some of them even said I was good in Ilonggo. That is cool, because nobody said I was good at Aklanon.  Or, maybe I just didn’t understand them when they said it!

Sorry if this was a boring letter.  Nothing awesome really happened this week.  I spent most the week kind of frustrated at myself for being sick, or frustrated that I couldn’t work.

Elder Conjelado and I are getting along well.  He told me that he has a lot of fun working with me.  I think I learned how to be fun while working from Elder Arrieta.  We teach in unity.  We usually teach about 50-50 in our lessons.  That’s the way I always wanted it to be.  The only problem is I think we hang out too much at members’ houses.  We’re working on that, though.  I’m sure he’s just tired of the area.  I’m sure he wanted to work real hard and maximize his time working when he first got here, but after being here so long it become a lot easier to just relax at members’ houses.

So yeah thanks for the emails I love you all so much. I wish you all the best.

Monday, July 4, 2011

He is just fine now.


Monday, July 4, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island

Most of this week has been routine, so I truly don’t have much to write about.  So, I will take this opportunity to explain how a few things work out here on "the island," and a few things that happened.

Let me start off with this phrase: I’m not certain, but. . .my companion is on medical marijuana.  Maybe I should start at the beginning of the story?

Thursday we had done a pretty good day’s work.  We taught three lessons, and that's a good day in this area.  We got back, it was hotter than, well, you know.  My companion and I returned in the evening, and started to close for the day and plan for the next.  Elder Conjelado was complaining about a pain in his side, but we finished planning.  We did our regular things for the evening: wrote in our journals, cooked, ate, cleaned the dishes, and maybe showered.  (Probably not - I played the guitar.)  Elder Conjelado got in bed before I did, and I was still writing in my journal.  Of course I had my fan on, and he asked me to turn it off because "the wind is affecting his stomach."  You cannot argue with Filipino logic, so I turn it off, finished up, and got in bed.

About 11:45, Elder Conjelado woke me up, "Der may sakit ako guid."  (Elder, I’m sick.)  I asked him what kind of sickness he had, and it was in his stomach.  I turned on the light, and he was buckled over, head to his knees.  So we talked about it: do we want to call the mission president’s wife, who is a nurse?  Or, I have Advil?  I suggested a Priesthood blessing.  We did that, and about fifteen minutes later, he was fine and fast asleep.  So good deal, tapos na?  Indi.  (Finished?  No.)

The next night he made the same request for me to turn off my fan, and I knew we were in for it.  This time it was a lot worse.  He was buckled over in bed, and could hardly talk.  Again, we tried a priesthood blessing.  Maybe I lacked the faith, because the pain got worse.  So, we called the mission president's wife.  I got her on the phone and started explaining the sickness to her.  I asked Elder Conjelado a question, and got quite a response: he started throwing up.  Sister Pagaduan (the mission president's wife) was asking me a question, but I had to say "Sister, sister hold on - he's throwing up now."  I followed her instructions.  We had no first aid kit and no hospital.  I made a hot pack for him from my towel and boiled water.  I also give him some Pepto (thanks Mom.)  It was cool to have the Pepto, but he threw it up.

He stopped throwing up, and was way hungry and in bed, all buckled up.  I texted Sister Pagaduan about what he can eat.  I cooked him a Filipino version of ramen noodles.  You'll never guess, but that came up too.  Finally, he was in bed and trying to sleep.  I asked him what I could do.  He asked me to stay awake until he fell asleep.  I sat at the foot of his bed reading until it was time to call Sister Pagaduan and tell her about his progress.  He was able to talk to her this time.  I didn't understand all of it through his moaning and the Tagalog, but I gathered that we were calling the police for a ride and going to the hospital in Alibhon.  I went to change, and made a quick bag of his clothes and stuff, and opened the gate.  Then we waited.  He lied on the bed until the ambulance came about 30 minutes later.  

Old guy from "Elizabethtown"
The ambulance was maybe from the 70's, and was driven by a very old man and his wife.  The old man is a Filipino version of the old man in the movie Elizabethtown.  You know, the one who's all serious before the Freebird scene, and says "I'll tell you one thing, it wasn't easy for him to leave his family here in Kentucky and move to California."  Yeah, that guy.  He drove the ambulance.  I was a little worried about his eyes, but he did an expert job of driving the Flintstones-like ambulance through the rain and muddy, windy roads to the only town here on Guimaras.  It was one of the wildest trips of my life.  I really enjoyed it.  Elder Conjelado didn't throw up, so I think he liked it too!

a logo found on the internet

So, we got to our destination, which was a third world hospital.  I completed the paperwork, and stuff for the ambulance, and checked him in.  He lied on some bed, but by this point was doing pretty well.  He got his blood taken and his pulse measured, and then we waited like forever until a doctor came by and asked him questions.  I sat by his bed in a wheelchair while wearing a tie at 1:00a.m.  That was a moment to be remembered.  They told him he has a urinary tract infection, and prescribed him half the medicine in the Philippines.  I suspect they would have prescribed him half that much if a white guy hadn't been sitting by him.  So, they gave him some pain reliever, and we walked to the Elder’s apartment in Alibhon.  We slept there, and in the morning we went to buy his medicine.  It has a picture of a leaf like marijuana on it, and it's called Pain Re-leaf.  How sick is that?  He is just fine now. J

I went to Iloilo earlier today.  I had to get fingerprinted, or I was going to be deported.  That was fun.  Most of my batch was there.  It was awesome to catch up with them.  Then we went to the mall in Iloilo.  Two cool things: first, I had a Big Mac (not as big, actually.)  Second, I found it.  I found the holy grail.  I found that secret chord that pleased the Lord.  I found the Aztec city of gold.  I found . . . A&W root beer!!!  I bought 6 cans for 20 pesos (47 cents) each.  I am sitting on a victory seat.  I am king of the castle.  Later today, I’ll have a mango shake.  Life is good.

Our area is good, too.  We have four progressing investigators.  We had one “kinda” progressing investigator when I got here.  I'm not saying that I am a super missionary, but things are picking up.  Of course, we’re growing from seeds planted long before I got here.  Elder Conjelado and I are getting along great, and teaching in unity.  The language is coming along.  It's way easier than Aklanon.  We and the group (local members) fasted for missionary experiences last Saturday, and yesterday.  We opened and closed as a branch.

Next story: don’t worry, it involves less throw up.

We had to get to Alibhon Sunday night, or we'd be late for finger printing at 8:00 a.m. in Iloilo the following morning.  We had to close the fast as a group about 6:30 p.m., and leave right after that.  It was 6:05, and I suggested we visit a less active member real quick.  We got there, and I felt that we should teach about finding faith.  We opened with prayer, and I asked her (in Ilonggo) "In your opinion, what is faith?"  She gave a Primary-level answer like "going to church," and I asked her a deeper question "How have you grown your faith?"  She then talked for 30 minutes at us!  My brain turned off after five.  I could not take it.  She was talking so fast I could not keep up.  Now, we had told her that the lesson would have to be quick.  About fifteen minutes into her talking, I started doing things to wrap it up.  I could not get the space to tell her we had to leave.  There was no air in that conversation.  I put my Book of Mormon away, and she was still talking.  I sat up real straight at the edge of my chair, zipped up my bag, and she was still talking.  I fiddled with her magazines, hoping she'd get distracted, but she kept talking.  I put my bag over my shoulder, and she kept talking.  I tapped her on the knee, and she stopped!!  Thirty minutes later!  We promise to return on Tuesday, and she can talk us to death again.  I would just as soon kiss a Wookie, if'n you know what I mean. 

We made Alibhon anyway, but I had a headache when we got there.  A mission is hard sometimes. 

We walk a ton in our area.  Provided I eat enough food, the Appalachian Trail will be a breeze.  

Okay, another cool thing.  One of our investigators is like 70 years old and has the worst teeth in the world.  I don't actually know her name.  Her teeth are way bloody.  It's something out of a horror film.  I can't really look at her and still teach with the spirit, so we teach her at night when it's dark.  This lady may have been to a dentist once in her life, but that was back in the prehistoric age. 

Thanks for all the e-mails.  I love every one of them.  I love you all.  I'm doing well, albeit a little wet at the moment - it's raining sideways again.  I'm going to buy toilet paper tomorrow.  I bought tooth paste today!  See, I'm way good.  I think I could even handle college.  That's all I’ve got.