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.

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