Monday, September 26, 2011

the kind of lesson I've always wanted

Monday, September 26, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, the Philippines

(Please Note: To protect privacy, the names of investigators in this blog have been changed.)

It's been a pretty interesting week.  I guess every week is, though.  I feel like I'm in the groove.  In fact we both are.

I feel like Monday is my Saturday, and my Tuesday is the real first day of the week.  This last "week" started with a funny thing.  Our district leader and his comp didn't come to district meeting.  They just didn't show.  Elder Bono has back problems, and goes to Iloilo to get his back treated about three times each week.  His comp, the DL, goes too.  They didn't tell anyone that they weren't going to be at district meeting.  It was kind of funny.  Elder Andrews led us in a discussion about our area.  It was still a good meeting.

Last Wednesday we went tracting.  A lot of our investigators have moved away, so we are back to finding folks to teach.  I've told you about a lot of investigators.  It seems that every time we get someone really going, they fall off the face of the earth.  They move away because their husband beats them, or because they need work and there isn’t any in Sibunag, or they go live with their parents while they are pregnant, or their husband doesn't want them listening, etc.  We have had a lot of investigators that really were going places but never got there.  They are in the area book though, and in the future when their situation changes up, maybe they’ll progress.  

Anyway, last Wednesday we went tracting.  We found one new investigator and that was it.  Then we started walking on this dirt road, and it led downhill, so we didn't have the desire to walk back up it.  We reached a point where we were so far away that it was unlikely that anyone there would be able to get to church.  We decided that we'd just walk until we reached somewhere, and then try and hitch a ride.  We almost walked all the way down to the ocean.  We did get someone to give us a ride, but first we had them swing us by the dock.  It was my first time going to the ocean in our own area here in Sibunag.  I had been to the ocean on the other side of the island, but not on the east side.  We chilled there for a few minutes, and talked to some people about how to get to the islands in our area.  We are positive that missionaries have never been there before, so it might be a good P-day activity.  We might try it week after next.  People say there are prime beaches over there.

We had a pretty ok FHE at a less-active family this week.  The less active family is shy, and it was a little awkward when we showed up on time.  The other members didn't show up until at least an hour later.  MST (Mormon Standard Time) has nothing on (FST) Filipino Standard Time.  Elder Workman directed the FHE, the lesson, and games.  At one point he used a machete as an object in one of the games.  The game was each people had a two syllable fruit.  One end of the machete was the first syllable, and the other end was the 2nd syllable.  He’d point the machete at you, and then change up the person he was pointing at.  It's pretty funny.  The next day Brother John brought it up in Coordination Meeting, saying that he didn't like the fact that Elder Workman was using a machete.  No one else had a problem with it, though.
We have some super sweet investigators, the Johnsons.  The daughter Ann is back for a while from Manila, and her mother Sue has been an investigator for a way long time.  We've been having some way good lessons with them.  We did The Plan of Salvation with them last Saturday.  Elder Workman made cards and would flip a new card at each part.  For the most part, they held off their questions until the end, but we could tell they had a ton that they were aching to ask.  A couple times we asked "Do you want to ask a question?" and they said "No, continue, I want you to finish it."  We did, and then they let loose on us.  They asked questions like "Can you sin in heaven?"  "Why don't I just wait to be baptized in the spirit world?"  We even got a little into ghosts, but that was just how deep they were getting.  We talked about how death will not change our desires, and that there is no sin in the celestial kingdom because there is no desire for it.  We explained that repentance changes our desires.  We explained that if someone still had the desire to sin they wouldn't feel comfortable in the celestial kingdom.  We talked about not being able to prove ourselves if we were in the presence of God, and why we need good and evil on earth.  It was the kind of lesson I've always wanted to do with the plan of salvation, but we’ve never had the investigators who had the interest for it.  It was a blast.  It was so much fun.  We used a ton of scriptures too.  In a couple cases they asked a question and we said "Let’s open our scriptures" and had them read it.  It was so much fun.

Sister Rita came to church last week, but not this week. She had visitors, so she'll go next week.  Her understanding is very low.  We had a lesson with her on Saturday about authority.  We just went around in circles for like twenty minutes.  Elder Workman used a lot of object examples, but she just wasn't getting it.  Finally Elder Workman read a scripture in the Book of Mormon.  She didn't get it at first, but then she read it to herself like five times, and then it clicked!  She said "So you’re saying all the other churches teach the gospel, but only one church has the authority to baptize.  And I can know that your church is true through prayer and going to church?"  I literally said "It's a Christmas miracle!"  She already believes the Book of Mormon is true - she tells us that all the time.  But until now, she hadn't made the connection that only our church has the Book of Mormon, and only our church has the authority!  We'll see what happens there.

We made awesome pork adobo last night.  It was so awesome. Elder put in vegetables, I did the meat, we slow cooked it in soy sauce, vinegar, water, salt and sugar.  It was intoxicating.  We were writing in our journals, and thinking "Oh man, I'm dying here!"  We ate it so fast!  It was a good way to end our week.  We had been fasting for Sister Martha, the lady whose husband drove off when Elder Conjelado and I tried to talk to him.  We did at least do a lesson with her this week.  Her desire is still way good.

Also, watermelons are back.  I thought April and May was watermelon season, but maybe watermelons go twice a year here?  So yeah, I ate an entire watermelon by myself.  I did it back porch style, like Sarah and I used to do in Sycamore, IL.  You cannot complain while eating a watermelon.  No, you cannot.

I'm still doing work outs with Elder Workman.  I can do more push-ups now.  Yes, they still suck.  Elder Workman has lost so much weight since he was here in the Philippines.

We had two at church, Sister Johnson and her daughter Ann.  They arrived forty minutes late.  They had left home late, and they almost didn't come, but we texted them and told them to come anyways.  They arrived only two minutes after half of our members arrived.  We then proceeded with sacrament meeting.  That was basically lousy.  The speakers were talking heads, and I was really concerned about what the investigators were getting out of it.  Sister Angie then saved it during Sunday School.  She talked about the Sacrament and the Sabbath Day.  She kind of veered off into her personal views like "you can't watch TV on Sunday" or "you have to wear church clothes the whole day," but for the most part it was super awesome.  She was interactive and taught clearly.

After church we gave a member a blessing, and I talked with Brother John a little bit.  I let the members fellowship our investigators.  They did the best job ever.  It was thirty minutes of talking after church, and now this week's FHE is at the Johnson's house.  We were walking on air the rest of the day.

Elder Workman and I are getting along really well.  Our nightly jams aren’t that often, but we've been doing other stuff. We even took turns reading Jesus the Christ, and last night I helped him write a mission article.  It's weird, but I'm better at grammar than him?!

It's raining pretty hard right now, and the computer shop is like steamy.  We had plans to go see waterfalls today, but that seems less likely now.  We'll see.

I love you all so much. I miss you, but not too bad.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Prayer, Bogus Journey, and No Goat

Monday, September 19, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, The Philippines

(Please note: to protect privacy, the names of many in this blog have been changed.)

It's been in interesting week.  I'll follow up on some stuff.

Remember Sister Johnson?  Well, we gave her, her daughter, and her friend baptismal dates.  Before, they used to be pretty scared of Elder Workman.  Now they love us.  For some reason they didn't go to church, so that was a bummer.  They said for sure next week, and that they had some place to go.  We had some darn good lessons with them this week.  We taught them three times this week.

We only had Sister Rita at church.  She's the one whose preacher told her not to go.  She came anyways.  I like her a lot.  Previously she let me ride her carrabou.  We actually have a few older ladies in the group.  We've never really done much with them, because they are old, but yesterday they fellowshipped Sister Rita like champs.  Apparently they go way back - as in back before I was born. She showed up late, but the group re-arranged so she could sit by some of her peers.

Elder Workman has got me on a workout program.  I have done it every day since Tuesday except Sunday.  I'm pretty sore.  I previously had the desire to  work out, in hopes to one look like Scott Avett, but man I’ve got to tell you . . . working out is no fun.  Zero fun, sir.  All my workout activities are names weird things.  Like "goat pushups" or the "dying cockroach" or "bok-choy curls."  It makes it a little bit more fun.

We've really been trying to get members to work with us. We tried to get people to work with us almost every day, but they only pulled through on Friday and Saturday.  Both those days we got punted way bad, and only taught three discussions.  On Saturday, we worked from 10 until 7 and only got three!  For five of those hours we had a member with us!  

By the end of the day, we were super pooped.  I'm sure you know what that's like.  Coming home, tearing off your polo and tie, and running to turn on the electric fan.  Well on my trot over to the fan, I stepped in something.  I looked down and the entire floor was wet!  I surveyed the damage, and then Elder Workman steps in it too.  We were thinking "what the heck?"  So, I had left the water on.  We have a filter on our faucet, and it works very slowly, so you don’t notice it when it’s on.  Well, I left it on and the container filled up, and then started leaking all over the floor.  Nothing important got wet - most everything is up on the table or desk, and nothing of value was on the floor.  The tile is slanted in the middle so the water did not reach the walls.  That's good because we had our luggage against the walls.  

Elder Workman's skating injury
We swept the water down the drain in the CR (comfort room) and we were getting out the mop.  Then we realized how much fun it was the slide across the tile floor.  We had a lot of fun doing that.  We took some fun videos of sliding across the floor, and then Elder Workman took an ill fated ride and got a chunk of his toe taken out.  He bled pretty a lot.  It really hasn’t stopped truly bleeding since Saturday night.  He's been walking on it quite a bit, though.  He's got it all wrapped up in band-aids and then electrical tape.

You remember how we did that lesson with the two member girls accompanying us?  Well, Jenny went to our FHE last Tuesday.  We had it at the church!  So technically she kind of came to church.  She seemed relaxed and laughed with everyone.  Sometimes people don't need the gospel as much as they need a friend.  Or maybe those are the same thing.  She said she was going to come to church on Sunday.  Sister Meyda Rose swung by there Sunday morning, but I guess she was still asleep. After church, Elder Workman and I decided it was better if we didn't visit her.  Instead, we sent the two girls her age over there to "chit-chat."  They wanted to know why we weren’t going to come too.  We explained if we went too, the girls could not chit-chat to the full potential.  So we told them to share like five minutes worth from the scriptures and then chit-chat until they had to leave.  Jenny knows all the stuff we could teach her, she just needs gal pals.  That is something Elder Workman and I cannot be.  I don't know how their visit went, but I do know they went over there.

Elder Workman and I have been having some real success.  A lot of our investigators are reading and praying and growing in faith.  For some reason, only one person came to church, so we'll work on that.  Elder Workman and I are really going at it here in Sibunag.  We are actually doing really well.  We are getting organized and the members have really taken him in.  I think if Sibunag is ever going to get going, it's now.

Sister Mary has a teenage neighbor girl who has always sat in the lessons.  She has always been squeamish about praying.  Whenever we ask her to pray, or try to get her to pray, it ruins the spirit of the lesson - she just doesn't want to.  So last Tuesday evening, we went over there to teach, but had no plan. We started asking questions to try and figure where to teach.  From our questions, we found out that Sister Mary was for sure going to Manila on Saturday, and then on to the middle east.  We really couldn't decide what to teach to Sister Mary as a last lesson.  We kind of floated around until we got on the subject of prayer.  Then it just clicked, and we got in the groove.  We both bore testimony and read a verse or two from the scriptures. I told about praying for James Templo, and Elder Workman talked about the peace that comes from prayer.  Man, the spirit was there.  We asked her to pray.  She did.  Sister Mary helped her out a little, but she did it.  Elder Conjelado tried to get her to pray every time we visited, but she never did.  Man, I know this is kind of sappy, but the spirit makes a difference.  We had been teaching Mary and Ellen for at least two months now, that was the first time Ellen prayed!  We were so stoked.  
We got invited to eat there.  As we sat down to eat, we got a text saying "Elders, Diin Kamo haw?"  That's means.  "Where are you at huh?"  We were late for our FHE!!  We had forgotten about it.  We ended up being about an hour late - which is just fine if you're Filipino, but as the missionaries, it was kind of bad.  We were the last to show up actually. We got from Mary's house to the church in Dasal mostly by foot.  At night there are no motors to hitch.  We ended up just asking someone who had a motor to drive us.

Last Friday I went on splits with Elder Andrews.  He's really cool.  He's the zone leader.  He's not stuck up at all.  I really think a lot of him.  We did get punted pretty badly, but we tracted into some crazy folks.  I guess their religion is classified as "Jesus Miracle Crusade."  The lesson was all over the place.  We did our best to control it, but by the end of it, we were thinking "let’s pray and get out of here."  The whole lesson they were talking about how it's against the commandments to wear jewelry and pants.  They just wore skirts.  So I made the mistake of asking them to pray.  They gave us the craziest prayer ever.  We all kneeled down, they raised their hands in the air and said the oddest, most exaggerated prayer ever!  It took every ounce of grown-upness in me not to laugh. I controlled it until we left.  Then 
Elder Andrews and I had a good laugh.

Now that there are two Americans out here in Sibunag, we've been getting ripped off left on right.  The thing is, I know the prices too!  Last Tuesday on the way to district meeting, it was the worst!  We hitched a ride with this one hothead.  He agreed to 80 pesos, that's the normal price we I usually pay to get to Alibhon.  He was driving way slow, and being a punk and complaining about how big Elder Workman is.  His motor was fine!  I've see him fit 6 Filipinos on his motor, and Elder Workman and I don't equal six Filipinos.  So, we told him to just keep going.  He said he would if we added another twenty pesos.  I argued with him a little bit.  He had already agreed to 80.  He said his motor couldn't do it!  That was a load of crap.  His motor was fine.  I said to him "Your motor can't do it for 80, but it can for 100?"  He said yes.  We asked for all of our money back.  We weren’t even halfway there, and in a spot that we could not get a ride.  He only gave us 37 pesos back, and we stuck in the middle of nowhere.  We ended up hitching a ride on a moped all the way to Alibhon from there!  We were pretty late to district meeting.  We talked to some other people who drive motors for money about it.  It turns out that this hothead's nickname is "Bumper," and he always pulls crap like this.

Mary left for Manila on Saturday.  We tried to visit her on Friday, but apparently she was out getting good and drunk.  So that's that.  She's going to send us her address when she knows what it is.
Magic Show

Elder Workman is a lot of fun.  I like him a lot.  He does magic for the kids!  The other day, he was in front of about 30 kids for fifteen minutes.  We had to leave for an appointment, so for the last trick he told them to close their eyes and then we ran away.  They all chased us.  It was like a scene from "A Hard Day's Night."  It was so much fun.  We would run and jump behind bushes and stuff.  I have a good video of running away from them.

You know that hint I gave?  The hint was that I was planning on buying a goat.  I wanted to name it mud.  We've been looking at some goats, and it seems like goats are out of season?  What?!?  The cheapest we have found is 1000 pesos for a female, super ugly goat.  We might cook it when I transfer, or just give it to some members that raise goats.  We looked at some goats earlier this morning, but there was no go there.  I don't want to waste money on goats, but goats are so sick.  We'll see what happens here, but right now it’s looking like it won't happen.  I hope it does though.  It's not technically a pet because it's for the grass in our yard.  If I can't get a goat here, I'll get one when I go to college.

some stories

Monday, September 12, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, the Philippines

This will be a little different this week. I’ll try and give you an idea what the work is like.  I’ll tell you about how the work goes - specifically this last week.  But first, some other things.

The FHE Group (click to enlarge)
We did another FHE this week.  This was by far the funniest.  Elder Conjelado was still here.  It was kind of stressful to prepare for because we had it on our front porch.  We wanted to have it at our place so we could supply rice and banana float for it.  We didn’t work at all Tuesday because Elder said he had to wash clothes.  He didn’t.  He wrote ten thousand good-bye letters to people.  Some people showed up on time, but that was awkward because they were the only ones for an hour.  About 7:30, most other members showed up.  I wanted to start, but Elder didn’t; he wanted to wait until everyone showed up, so we waited longer.  This FHE was too big of a deal.  It was supposed to be an FHE, but it turned into so much more.  It turned into a goodbye party for Elder Conjelado.  We only have 300 texts for the months, but he used like 100 making sure everyone was coming.  When they were late, he called them.  Calling someone uses the text faster.  I was kind of frustrated with him.

Lipstick for Losers (click to enlarge)
The FHE itself was way fun though.  I gave the lesson about being thankful, and then we played games.  If you lost the game, you got lipstick smeared on your face.  I lost so bad.  It’s pretty funny.  Then we ate.  We made WAY too much rice, and Sister Anna Lee brought pancit that was better than rice, so our rice didn’t get eaten.  Our banana float did though. We made it, and it was excellent.  I’ll make it when I get home too.  People left about 10pm.  Then Elder went into a coma from too much FHE, and I did the dishes and clean up.  He just sat there looking at pictures while I cleaned up the mess.  Anyways, I wasn’t too ticked about the text, and I wasn’t too ticked about cleaning up.
Elders Workman & Waggoner (click to enlarge)
I have a new companion.  He’s Elder Workman.  I knew him back in Aklan.  We’re getting along pretty well.  I like him.  The other new missionaries here are Elder Shmoekel up in Buena, and Elder Matthews from New Zealand is the new DL down in Nueava.  I like him a lot.  He was my ZL up in Aklan.  He’s way funny and relaxed.  When I saw him, I asked him “they let you out of the shire?”  He always tells people that Hobbits are real.  I like that.

It’s interesting getting a new companion.  You’re afraid how people might react to him.  This time it’s been funny trying to work things out.  For instance, here we do the dishes in the sink outside, and the sink inside is for water.  We wear different slippers in the back than in the house.  He also has to learn the issues affecting each investigator, and which member can help.  It’s just a funny experience when you companion doesn’t know that a woman doesn’t go to church because her husband doesn’t want her too, not because she’s too shy to go.  When I was new, it was hard for me too.  It takes a while to really understand an area.  He’s catching on quick.  He seems to be a hard worker.

Also another thing that’s different is how you teach.  Elder Conjelado and I taught in unity, but that was kind of a show.  We knew what to cover in a lesson, and how to give the other person time to say stuff.  That’s fine, but I want to teach in unity because we are both following the spirit.  Dad, you are exactly right.  The spirit won’t be there if you are not unified – truly unified.  Elder Conjelado and I had an ‘agree to disagree’ truce sometimes.  I talked with Elder Workman about it.  We are going to work on teaching in unity and allowing room for the spirit.  Elder Conjelado wasn’t a bad companion, but he always thought I was attacking him if I tried to change something - so it was hard to improve.

One thing that we’ve been trying lately is working with members effectively.  Instead of just having members working with us, have a certain member join us for a certain person.  It’s been amazing the help that that’s been.  For instance, we have a family who used to go to church in Alibhon, but they have not been going for five weeks now.  The problem is that they don’t have money to go, and don’t have the faith to trust in God and go anyways.  (The brother still has the money to buy cigarettes, though.)  So, we got a member from Alibhon to meet us there.  It was hard to set up, but it was so worth it.  The family didn’t go to church this week, but the family did have the desire to go again by the time we left.

We have a 14 year old inactive, Jenny. She hasn’t gone to church in years, and doesn’t care.  She always shies away when we bring another member over.  She will commit to read and pray, but never to church.  So, here’s our solution.  Lately two teenage girls have returned home here from the city where they were studying.  One actually is just coming home for the weekends, but one is here for good.  Anyway, we took those two girls to our lesson.  Truth be told, it wasn’t the best lesson, but Jenny committed to coming to church quite easily!  And one of the girls is going to swing by there Sunday morning and pick her up.

One investigator, Annette, is about 40 and her husband isn’t so supportive of her listening to us.  We brought Sister Merced with us. Sister Merced is actually a pretty respected person in the community.  Her family wasn’t receptive to the missionaries at first, but now she’s a member.  In fact, when the missionaries first visited her, hid.  Anyway, she came with us to teach Annette, and it went great.  We still have to go back and talk to the husband, but Sister Merced talked about the blessings of the church and really gave Annette the courage to give it a try.  Or bring it up to her husband.  It was great.

One of the investigators that is progressing is a small, sweet lady who just figured out how to use a cell phone.  She always sends us text messages.  She even calls at like 1:00 in the a.m.  Man!  Those are interesting phone calls.  We visited her last Saturday.  Elder Workman is kind of a big guy.  This lady was so sad that Elder Conjelado was gone that she had teary eyes, and she was also so scared of Elder Workman that she was sweating way bad and basically talking gibberish.  The lesson was going downhill fast.  I asked if I could say the opening prayer, she said “No! You say it.”  I said “OK, yes, me.”  She said “Just you.”  I said a slow prayer.  When I opened my eyes again from the prayer, she was calm and relaxed.  We had a great lesson.  She was bummed that she couldn’t be text mates with Elder Conjelado, but she did like us enough that she gave is avocados as we left.

Mostly when we teach we get no questions, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if people even understand.  On the other hand, Sister Mary always has really interesting questions.  She doesn’t just want to know what the gospel is, but how we live it.  When we taught her Sabbath day, she asked us why we work on Sunday, and we taught about doing good things on Sunday.  We taught her the Ten Commandments, and she had some questions about coveting.  She asked us if we covet things.  What a good question!  We talked about improving your situation to be happy, and wanting something to be even with someone else.  I told her I don’t really covet anymore but I did when I was younger.

Sometimes people are so ready for the gospel, but it just doesn’t work out because they can’t imagine their life if it’s not the way it is.  We’ve been teaching an older lady, Sister Rita.  She’s about 65 or so.  She told us that she’s never seen a church that she really thinks is the church of Jesus Christ.  We asked her to check out ours.  We’ve had some great lessons about prophets, the BOM, the restoration, and the apostasy.  It took a lot for her to understand it, and we had to take it slow, but she was really progressing.  Last week she don’t go to church because she had to visit kids in Iloilo, but this week she said she was coming for sure.  She didn’t.  So Sunday we went by her house to ask her why.  She said her preacher didn’t want her to go.  I was thinking “Well, duh.”  Instead, I just asked her what she wanted to do, and she said “I want to worship at your place and see what it’s like.”  We didn’t teach her.  We’ll teach her tomorrow and see what we can do.  That’s happened many times before, but last time I really thought about it a lot.  Back when I was not so hip on church and stuff, I once had an interview with Bishop Horlacher.  He offered to take me to other churches to see what they work like.  I turned him down, but I was impressed by his offer.  I like the see for yourself attitude.

We went by Sunday morning to pick up another less active.  She’s been saying that she just forgets about church so she doesn’t go.  We went to her house at 8:00 so that she’d have time go get ready.  She lives very far away, so it was hard to get out there that early.  As soon as she saw us she said “Just next time!”  I asked her why, and she said because her kid was sick.  Her kid was running around playing.  I explained to her that she could still get ready and go. She just turned it down.  You can do all you can, but if someone doesn’t want to go, they don’t.

Well, that’s this week. Life is good here.  It’s fun on this island.  I love you all.  I hope you enjoyed my stories about the work.  I realize I usually only talk about the different stuff, and not about specific investigators.  So yeah, there you go.  I love you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

as missionaries do

Monday, September 5, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, the Philippines

 This week has been cool.  I like it here.  I don’t think I’d want to serve anywhere else.  Though really, truly, Alaska would be a nice change.  It’s too freaking hot here.

Now, I’m just placing a hint here.  Every other Friday, we have to chop the grass in the yard with machetes.  It takes a long time, and it isn’t effective.  I have found a better solution.  Ngaaaaa.  This is epic.  I’ll tell you about it next week, but something big is in the works.

Last week we went to some waterfalls.  It was way cool.  You know those falls up on Mount Charleston?  Yeah, that isn’t a waterfall; this was a waterfall.  It was actually three different ones.  Most people just stayed at the bottom, but Elder Light and I got up to the top.  I really don’t know what to say about that except the waterfalls were big and cool and really awesome.  We had fun here.

Elder Conjelado and I got a little sick this week.  It was just a cold, but for some reason in the hot Philippines a runny nose really runs.  Plus my throat was sore, and I had no energy.  I thought maybe it was just because of the cats (I’ll buy a slingshot soon) but it didn’t go away when I went out to work.  Plus, Elder had it too.  Our numbers were a little lower than usual, but still higher than before we got here.  Not that numbers matter or anything, but we were really on a roll, and I was sad to see it stop.  I’ll pick it up again with my next comp, though.  Elder Conjelado is going to transfer.  People are scaring me, telling me I might train.  If I do, I feel bad for my comp.  First, he has me as a trainer, and second, he will be starting out in Sibunag.  Eeeeeeuuw.

I’m sure you guys know that I have really been clashing with Sister Angie.  She’s a real perfectionist.  She tagged along with Brother Glenn and I last Sunday during splits.  We went and taught Jenny.  Sister Angie had to go move her cows before she came, so got there after we started.  Jesssa May is a 14-year-old inactive who is very shy and kind of hard to crack.  Brother Glenn and I had her laughing, but then Sister Angie arrived and Jenny got all hard.  The lesson went horrible.  Jenny wouldn’t talk, and I got all intimidated by Sister Angie, and it really was no good.  Afterward, Sister Angie pretty much told me off.  I wasn’t in the mood, and ended up being a little rude to her.  That night I felt kind of bad, so I decided from now on I’m going to be her best friend.

A little about Sister Angie: she went on a mission at age 36 because she didn’t have anything better to do.  After that, she worked in the MTC, and then got married at about age 40.  She is now a perfectionist know-it-all.  She is way sincere about the church though, and loves to help if she can.  She is usually too busy with her job, and I’d rather kill myself than spend time with her, so it doesn’t happen often.  

After that evening, I decided to make her my friend.  That next night we had a way fun FHE.  (The Group made us buy ice cream, and we could have said no, but we didn’t.)  At that FHE, I talked almost exclusively to her.  By the end of the night, we were joking.  She HATES my corduroy pants, so I joked that I’m going to get a corduroy skirt made for her.  Then I did the unimaginable: I asked if she could help me with my teaching skills and language.  Last Thursday night, we did exactly that.  I taught the law of chastity to her.  It’s awkward enough already, but to teach it to her, man that was bad.  She really tore me down, but I learned a lot, and just from that I’m now not bad at teaching the law of chastity.  I’ll try to go to her once or twice a week for help.

Long-awaited Carrabou Ride
Last Tuesday I finally rode a carrabou.  I’ve always wanted to, but just now I finally did.  I tried riding it like one of Brother Marx’s horses, but it didn’t respond.  It’s so fat that it doesn’t care if you kick it.  You say “sh sh sh sh” to make it go, and “HAW!” to make it stop.  It was fun.  It ran me onto a tree, and I grabbed a limb.  The carrabou went out from under me, but I kind of fell at the same time.  It’s no problem.  I didn’t get hurt at all, and I landed on my feet.  I do have it on video.  You guys will probably have a good laugh over it.

Elder Conjelado and I sometimes kind of struggle with each other about what to do with investigators.  He likes a real “in your face” but not saying anything approach.  It bothers me.  For instance, someone will drop us, and he won’t say much but will just stand there or sit there forever.  We now have the reputation in one barangay that we “disturb” people.  I don’t know where they get it.  (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

Sister Martha is one of our progressing investigators.  She and her daughter have baptismal dates.  Sister Martha had come to church a couple times.  Her husband, George, doesn’t want us to teach to her.  At first he said it was ok, but he isn’t interested.  Last Sunday, we found out he was mad.  Elder wanted to go see him, but I wanted to let him to cool down first.  I stood my ground and he stood his.  I wanted to let some time pass, and then we could probably talk about it with him reasonably.  Elder wanted to talk to him before he transfers, so we went.  He said George wouldn’t be mad because he “knows people here.”  We just went there and started talking to him.  He knew what were there for, and tried to excuse himself.  Elder started to talk to him about it, even though it clearly wasn’t the right time, and George walked off.  Then Elder was like “I don’t know what to do now.”  I pointed out he actually hadn’t said anything, and I approached Brother George and told him that we will respect his decision, whatever it is, because he is the head of his household.  He just told me he had different beliefs, and got on his motor and rode off.  That is how I foresaw it going down, and that is how it happened.  I didn’t say “I told you so,” but sometimes Elder just kills me.  Somehow, I do like him though.

This last week we taught a family - a mother, her two daughters, and her brand new grandchild.  The mother (now grandmother) was super proud.  The baby’s name was River John by the way.  That’s kind of cool.  Anyway, it was a cool lesson about how the gospel blesses families, and I told them about Dad.  This grandmother was only 43, and I talked about Dad being 52 and not having any grandchildren, and how he’s disappointed with us because he isn’t a grandfather, and none of us are even married.  It was funny with the way I said, in Hiligaynon, that we kids of the Waggoner household are “good for nothing.”  But yeah, forget it Dad.  Dugay pa.

FHE with the Sibunag Group
As I mentioned, this week we had a cool FHE.  We played the tie race game.  If you lose three times, you have to do a talent.  Elder and I did the talent together.  We sang “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission,” but it went like this:

I hope they call me on a mission
When I have grown a foot or two
I hope by then I will be ready
To teach, and preach
And walk and walk
And walk and walk
And walk and walk
as missionaries do.

That’s what we do out here.  We walk.  The Appalachian Trail is going to be so easy.