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.

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