Sibunag, Guimaras Island, The Philippines
Last week we had the best P-day ever. Ever since the end of sleepovers, our P-days have been pretty lame - we hadn't quite figured it out yet. But last week, we got our act together. It was fun. Get this - we went spelunking. First, Elders Light, Chandler, Conjelado, and I went on a way long hike, which is nothing new, because we do that every day. We hiked three miles from Alibhon down to the shore. I still get a kick out of hiking through the jungle, but the others just thought it was hot. I almost stepped on a snake, but it moved. That's always fun. When we came out of the jungle, we came upon a perfect white sand beach. The ocean was clear, too. So, we went for a swim. The water was so nice, and the swim was wonderful. Just kidding, but if I was ever going to swim during my entire mission, it was going to be right then.
|from inside the cave|
Last week I also got my shoes fixed. I bought them in Iloilo. I bought the best shoes I could find, and they actually are steel toed. I took a long time buying them, and I even banged my foot into a wall to see how good they'd be. I wanted really sturdy shoes because my area is Sibunag. Anyway, these shoes that were 2,000 pesos only lasted a week and a half. I got them fixed for about 120 pesos. They fit differently now, but I haven't had any trouble with them yet. Right now they are covered in mud tough . . .
|Elders Conjelado & Waggoner, muddy road|
Tuesday and Wednesday I went on splits in Nueva Valencia with Elder Bono. He is a batch under me, and was actually my zone leader for two weeks in the MTC. We had a good time because neither of us is that great at the language, and in his area for some reason they speak a lot of Kinaray-a. We managed, though. We taught seven lessons in two days, and two of those were by tracting. I do want to tell you one of the lessons though. We taught this lady who is maybe 40. Apparently, she always gives them a hard time. We taught her the law of chastity, and I have never had such a hard time with that lesson. The lady just would not accept that it's not ok to watch pornography, even if you’re married. Elder Bono shared a story about pornography destroying a family, and I taught about "adultery in his heart." We went back and forth, and she found a million ways to justify it. Finally, I said "this is what Jesus said about pornography, you understand it's not ok to view?" (Ini and pulong ni jesukristo parte sa mga bastos, inchindihan mo nga bawal ina?) She said "No," so we said a prayer and left. Man, if you get the Yes you just got to leave. Sometimes if you get the No, you still just got to leave.
Still, the teaching in Nueva Valencia wasn't all bad. We taught two girls, 10 and 9. They were so helpful. We'd be struggling to get out what we wanted to say, and they'd jump in and say exactly what we were trying to say. They we so smart and helpful, and we had a great lesson with them about the importance of baptism. Then afterward they asked us stuff in English. They loved the heck out of us. They didn't even know me, but loved me just because I am a missionary. They wrote my name in a book of theirs, and when we left, they escorted us out the woods that they live in until we got to the road.
People here are so kind. Elder and I literally took five minutes to think of one person who has been mean to us in our two transfers together. We finally thought of a drunk guy from my second week here, and even he was pretty nice for being angry. I feel blessed to be in a place where people like us.
The work is going well. We did get punted quite a bit, but we worked really hard this week despite that. We have a few investigators that are really progressing. One lady we received as a referral just eats up everything we teach her. She has three boys who are always getting into trouble, and her husband is living in Iloilo, and she just found out that he has been cheating on her. So, he's now out of the picture. Anyway, she is really eating up everything we teach her. The only problem is that she is super poor and doesn't really have the money to go to church, or else she would go every week.
I know I should write more about the work, but that's hard to do. It's really just one blur. I am getting to be a better teacher, and my language is improving.
I told you about Sister Elisabeth, and how she’s moving to Qutar. This week in a lesson, Elder Conjelado did something that really ticked me off. He guilt tripped her for leaving her son to go work in a foreign country. He said if we trust in God that he'll provide for us, and used 3 Nephi 13:31-34. The lesson got really uncomfortable, and she explained she was working in another country so she could provide for her family. They started to go back and forth a bit, and eventually I blurted in and took over the lesson. I softened our stance on the issue, and told her to just pray about it, and any answer you get is good by us. Elder didn't like me saying that, but it’s so reasonable that he couldn't really get mad at it.
Afterward, he was really happy that he got to say "what he wanted to," and I just listened, but in my opinion we almost lost an investigator. I would have gotten into it with him about it, but we are all out of load for our cell phone; if we had needed the zone leaders to come, we couldn't have called them. So I left it alone. Elder Conjelado and I are still good. It's funny we never get into arguments about each other, but just about the work. I'm really learning to choose my battles, but sometimes it's worse if we don't talk about it. We don't dislike each other at all. In fact, we get along really well. His teaching style and work style bug me a little, but we are getting along great.
The other night, there were no clouds it was probably the most stars I'd ever seen. We walked home with our flash lights off again. There were many Christmas trees of fireflies. Life is good out here. Days are weeks. Weeks are days. Anyway, that's all I’ve got. I love you all.