Monday, September 19, 2011

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.

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