Tuesday, October 11, 2011

chokeholds and conference

Monday, October 10, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, The Philippines

Please note: to ensure privacy, most names in this blog are changed or omitted.

To start off, this week we had one of the most bizarre experiences of my mission.  We were working in a remote area, and after finishing a lesson, we received word that Sister X did not want us to come by.  We love her but she had not been progressing, so earlier in the day we had prepared a lesson in detail just for her.  We asked the messenger why, and were told that her husband was home.  That was a little alarming because we had been told that her husband was out of the picture.  He had cheated on her, and also chased her around with a machete.  She really hates him, and just judging from what we’ve heard, he sounds to be real shmuck.

We told the messenger that we were going anyway.  I wanted to meet her husband.  As we went over there, I filled in Elder Workman about his guy.  When we arrived, the husband was rummaging violently through the house.  I asked if he could step outside, and if we could meet him, and he semi-yelled stuff at is.  Neither Elder Workman nor I understood what he said.  We stood there talking to their 14 year old son.  Sister X arrived from some other neighbor’s at that point, and was concerned that we were there.  She said that it was not a good place to be, and we had to leave before things got out of hand.  We wanted to make sure everything was going to be ok, but she just wanted us to leave.  

We asked her to come out to the road where she could talk with us more freely.  On the road, just a ways off, she told us that her husband was looking for a card of some sort, was acting like a demon, and she wasn't afraid to die.  She tried her hardest to get us to leave, but we refused.  In fact, I felt the spirit saying to stay.  She really wanted us to go, but both Elder and I knew we were supposed to stick around.  We reached an agreement with her that we'd stay on the road, about 30 feet away, unless it got out of control.

It quickly got out of control.  We had only been waiting about two minutes when we heard a ruckus.  We heard the husband and Sister X screaming at each other.  Elder ran to the side of the road to get a better look.  He then put his bag down and ran down to her house.  I dropped my bag and followed.  A male neighbor yelled at me to not get involved, but the other neighbors were yelling at Elder Workman for help.  When I got there, the husband had Sister X in a chokehold, and Elder Workman had the husband in a chokehold.  Another neighbor came running and yelling at us.  I got distracted by her because I couldn't understand what she was saying.  (Yelling in Hiligaynon is hard to understand.)  Next look I got was of Elder Workman setting the husband down on the ground.  He had choked him just enough to make him snooze.  Sister X yelled at us to leave before he got up.  

I stopped a motor that was passing, and we hopped on.  On the way, I called the police.  We intercepted them on the road, had a brief conversation with them, and then they sped off again.  We went home and called the AP’s, and then president called us.  It was taken care of very nicely.  Our landlord called the Mayor, President said that we did the right thing, and it really hasn't been much of a problem.  The police let the husband go that night, which was a bummer, but they say they got it all worked out.  Sister X has even told us how thankful she was for us being there.  I really hate the way some husbands treat their wives here, and it was kind of cool to have done something about it.

Elder Workman was very cool headed through it, too.  He was ready enough to get involved without a second thought, but at the same time was measured in his response.  I think Elder Workman showed great restraint by not responding too strongly.  I don't know how clear it is from the earlier paragraph, but the husband was hitting Sister X before Elder Workman laid hands on him.  So, that was quite an event. 

on the way to General Conference broadcast
This week we also had General Conference.  That was great.  It also meant that I got to catch up with Elder Lowry.  We talked multiple times.  He even lent me a blues gospel CD.  I loved the conference.  It means so much more while you're on a mission.  Everything is clearer here on a mission.  Like the idea that “if you follow the commandments you get blessings” wasn't so clear before.  I knew I had blessings, but I didn't recognize what was a blessing and what wasn’t, and I didn't know which blessings were a result of following the commandments.  As a missionary, it's so darn clear.  Not only in my own life, but also in the lives of our investigators.  

I was listening to the prophet and apostles, and when they were talking, I was thinking "yeah, that's so true."  One of my favorite things said was "though this time may be like the times of Noah in sin, it has one major difference, there are those in this time who are willing to uphold the word of God."  Cool. 

During Priesthood there was some excess talking going on, so I sat with Elders Light and Matthews to get away from it.  Priesthood was so good.  Watching it alone was weird, but made me feel grown up.  I felt like I was dad kind of.  Anyway, all the talks were excellent.  One person told a story about a man who had only converted one person on his mission and what that meant for that one person and his family.  It made me get kind of teary eyed, and that doesn't happen much.  I thought of the folks that I've taught and helped on their way to conversion during my mission.  After conference, I was so happy, and we all were. We went to a burger place called "crave burger."  After Elder Light and I ordered, we went and got some ice cream together.  His dad does that too.

That night we had a big sleep over at the Molo apartment.  We played UNO and other stuff.  It was fun.  Elder Workman and I had previously made up a song about teaching a monkey.  The highlight of the song is the monkey sounds that I do.  I do them way loud.  We sand it to all the elders, and they just about died of laughter. 

Sister Johnson came to conference!  Let me tell you how hard it is to save seats in the Philippines!  It's hard, but we did.  Sister Johnson came with the church members from our Group, and they arrived pretty late.  They were timid about walking all the way up to the front to sit down, but I pretty much made them.  In the back of the cultural hall there was a lot of talking, but in the front of the chapel everyone was listening.  Sister Johnson seemed to have a good time, although I don't think she understood much.  (The broadcast was in English.)  In the second session, she even kept Elder Workman awake.  We introduced her to President and Sister Pagaduan.  We introduced Sister Johnson as "our mom in Sibunag," and Sister Pagaduan as "the mother of all the missionaries."  

On the way home, Sister Johnson joined all the missionaries.  It was funny because she kept running off, and all the missionaries would get on a boat and be like "Where is she?" and we'd have to tell the boat guys to wait until Sister Johnson came running on.  Sister Johnson's daughter is committed to baptism too, but hasn't been able to go to church for two weeks now.  She did get this next Sunday off though!  Whoo!!  We are way excited about them!       

We actually had a great lesson with Sister Johnson and her husband this week.  We taught them the law of chastity and the Word of Wisdom.  We taught them in a cool way.  We talked of course about the blessings of the Word of Wisdom, but the blessing we focused on was having a clear head.  We talked about how that would bless their marriage.  When we taught law of chastity, we talked about the family that God had approved. We talked about how two people can improve their marriage through dates, spending time together, working together, and going to church together, and then talked about what things can ruin a marriage: pornography, drunkenness, and adultery.  Elder Workman and I sometimes have lesson that are a train wreck, but other times they are way great.  What’s great is that when a lesson is a train wreck, we talk about how to improve it. 

One thing really ticked me off this week.  Our Group Leader said that he didn't like that we had gotten involved with Sister X's husband.  He told us "You guys move area every so often, but this is my Group and I have to live here.  You should have thought before you got involved.  What if people think badly of Mormons?" I actually rolled my eyes, and I didn't even realize it.  He asked me what my problem was.  I gave him our Mission President’s number and told him to call it if he had a concern.  Elder Workman was kind of appalled at the Group Leader’s reaction.  He was like, "This is what my dad taught me, and I won't let a man beat a woman."  I did apologize to Brother John. 

I have a bulge in my throat.  I've already talked with Sister Pagaduan about it.  She told me to take vitamin C pills.  We'll give it a week or two.  I can feel it when I swallow.  It's not too bad, but if it gets worse, I'll do something about it. 

There's a lot of extra stuff happening this month.  We already traveled to general conference, and I have to get my shoes repaired again.  Also, it's a five Monday month, so that means that I have to budget for five weeks.  We have a two day Stake Conference in Iloilo.  Also, we are hoping to go to the island in our area next week and eat at the resort there.  Apparently there is awesome seafood there.  

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