Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scott, the Turkey

Monday, November 28, 2011
San Joaquin, Panay Island, The Philippines

Scott, the Turkey

The first cool thing we did this week was buy a turkey.  We bought it for 400 ($9) pesos each.  We had been asking around for a while, and last Wednesday we realized that the next day was Thanksgiving and there was a turkey out there somewhere that was going to be our Thanksgiving dinner.  We realized, first, it was not ours yet, and second, we didn't know where it was.  One of the less active families in our area directed us to a small barangay in the mountains.  It wasn't too bad of a hike, but definitely off the beaten path.  We went looking for a guy named "Hikot."  We asked around, and eventually found him.  We explained what we wanted, and he took off charging down a hill with his shirt off, making turkey sounds.  It was the coolest.  Hikot reminded me off the Mexican guy on "Nacho Libre."  He was so excited for us to buy his turkey.  He gave it to us for a great price, and we named the turkey "Scott."  That's Elder Lowry's first name.  We kept Scott in our side yard, and even bought some feed for it.  Elder Lowry and Elder Gowey took care of the turkey after Friday night.  We ended up celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday.

We have both been feeling that we need to focus on less active families here in San Joaquin.  Of course focusing on baptisms is more fun, but less active work is what this area needs.  The less active rate is outrageous here.  People tell us about less-actives that we can’t find on any list.  We teach a lot about family prayer, family scripture study, church attendance, and endure to the end.  It's a different kind of work, but it's pretty rewarding.  We had some folks come to church this week that haven't been there for a while.

On the way to a less active family, we walked by a lady waiting for her kids.  She said something like "Good afternoon" in English, and we said something like "maayad nga hapon" to her in Kinaray-a. She was like "Woah, you know Kinaray-a?!"  We ended up talking to her for a while.  When her kids arrived, we walked back with the lady and her family.  It was just a regular, casual, nice conversation - pretty fun, actually.  When we arrived at our destination, we slowed down a bit and asked if we could visit her family sometime.  She said no, but in a nice way.  We just took the no, and said it was great to meet you.  I like that.  We could have pushed them, we could have maybe gotten an appointment sometime in the future, but it may have ruined the nice pleasant walk we had with them.  So we just left it at that, and maybe in the future some missionaries will go to their house and they will remember us.  That's why I like Elder Eror.  He's not going to push someone into anything.

I went to the doctors on Friday.  In fact, Friday was way crazy.  We first went to Iloilo for a District Leaders meeting.  While I was there, I asked if we could get some money for my doctor appointment.  They had none.  It's the end of the month, and the office is out, so I had to pay for my doctor visit by myself.  I can get it remembered later though.  The doctor appointment was stupid.  When I first walked in, the lady was talking about TB and I didn't even know she was talking to me.  I literally asked "Are you talking to me?"  She said "of course" though she had not yet looked at me.  I asked her why she thought I had TB.  She said because of my symptoms.  I asked her what symptoms, becuase I have none.  She said "Don't you have a cough or a runny nose?"  I have nothing.  She sent me to get tests for TB.  I agreed because doctors are the people you let rip you off.  ("Let the wookie win" I guess.)  So I paid a lot for an x-ray and a shot in the arm.  The x-rays of course came back negative, and she told me to come back in today for the arm to see if my arm had swelled up from the shot.  I didn't go back today.  Anyway, she prescribed some meds for some mucus build up or something, so I bought those meds.  She also asked me to get some nasal spray.  I had already spent a lot, so I just will get the nasal spray when I get the reimbursements.  The lady eventually said I probably just had a build-up of mucus in my nose, so we'll leave it at that.  I'll take the pills, but if they don't work . . . oh well.  But I think they will work.

I also ran into Elder Workman at the hospital.  After we bought my meds, we ran into Elder White.  He and his bata (trainee or "kid" in Ilongo) were in Iloilo doing medical stuff too.  We ate at McDonald’s and caught up.  It was so nice to see him.  His bata lives by Coachella, and has attended the music festival a few times.  I hope I get to follow up his bata or something so that I can crash at his house during Coachella '13.  Elder White was my ZL on Guimaras and he's way cool. Actually, he's going home soon.  His parents arrive in two days.

After that, on Friday we went to buy shoes.  We were in a hurry and it wasn't the best selection of shoes.  I found some I liked and tried them on.  I walked a bit in them, then looked at the price tag.  There wasn't one.  I asked someone how much it was.  They took the price tag off of another pair of shoes and put it on mine.  It was a good price, so I went with it.  I paid for them.  Then the lady realized the shoes were two different sizes!  So i just said never mind, I'll just return them.  It was such a hassle to get a refund.  Not only that, but it took like 20 employees, and they all were just suggesting I buy these other shoes, or these ones, or try them on again see if you like them.  They were doing everything to not have them returned.  It was so frustrating I eventually told them directly “I just want my money back.”  I'm sure they were just scared of getting their boss.  The boss eventually came and authorized the return.  I explained to the boss it was my fault, and that the workers were very helpful - even though they annoyed the crap out of me.  So, I didn't get shoes on Friday.

We then went to Tigbauen to do a baptismal interview.  During the interview, I went with Elder Domincel and taught an investigator of theirs.  Turns out he was mostly deaf, and didn't understand a word I said.  After the lesson, he asked me if I wanted to shoot his makeshift gun.  I passed.  After that, we did a baptismal interview in Oton.  That went well, and then we went to Miagao and got prepared for Thanksgiving dinner!

We got back and cooked.  With four elders cooking, we got dinner on the table in under thirty minutes.  Elder Lowry bossed us around, he's the only one with any cooking experience so we listened to him. For dinner we had watermelon, peaches, corn, gravy, homemade mash potatoes with chives, root beer, mango flavored juice, bananas, rice and one dead turkey named Scott.  We wore Scott’s feathers at dinner.

The next day, Elder Eror had to go to the bathroom real bad.  It seems that Scott gave him some trouble.  We had to ask complete strangers, on two separate occasions, if we could use their bathroom because it was an emergency.  I guess we ask complete strangers if we can teach them about Jesus so it's not that much weirder to ask to use their bathroom.

We got a load of referrals yesterday.  One member took us to all his neighbors.  We taught a 15 person lesson outside by the beach as well. That was a cool format to teach, but it was no sermon on the mount by any means.

We also found someone who just moved to our area and was being taught by the missionaries somewhere else before she moved. That was definitely more than coincidence.  We will teach her tomorrow.

Today we “dropped” a few things.  Elder Gowey is going home, so we dropped him off.  I dropped my old shoes in a dumpster.  And, I dropped a camera.  Yes, while I was looking at a camera in the store, I somehow dropped it.  It hit the ground, but there was no damage to the camera.  It was the one that I wanted to buy, and I was testing it out.  I, of course, was NOT testing to see how high it bounced, but I sure found out.  The camera was perfectly fine, but they still wanted me to buy it.  I liked the camera, and it was the first I'd asked to look at after going to four or five shops, but I hated being forced to buy it.  We even got kind of serious about it with the lady.  If there is no problem with the camera, why do I have to buy it?  I didn't sign anything to say I have liability if you let me see it and so forth.  I ended up buying it because I liked it and I am a representative of Jesus Christ and wasn't about to just walk out.  I don't know how it works in the Philippines.  I thought it was "If you break it, you buy it."  The camera didn't have any mark on it from being dropped, and it worked just fine.  Though Elder Lowry and Elder Eror laughed at me, I don't feel bad about the camera, I like it well enough.  I withdrew a bit extra when I bought the camera just in case Sister Pagaduan insists that I buy the nasal spray.  I’ll be fine for a while.  I bought new shoes too.  My heel was going through the other ones
Elders Eror and Lowry, and Scott the Turkey
Sarah's package came.  I won’t dig into it until Christmas.  Also, Dad, your trip to Virginia makes me darn jealous.  Mom, I have a fiance?  Where was I?  Oh, right, playing my guitar.  (A reference to the movie That Thing You Do.)

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