Monday, January 30, 2012

working, teaching, singing,. . .and debating

Monday, January 30, 2012
San Joaquin, Panay Island, Philippines

(To protect privacy, most names in this blog have been changed.)

I taught district meeting this week.  I taught about revelation through church attendance.  It went well, in my opinion.  A lot of people added insights. 

I had mentioned before our friend Phil.  He's way cool.  We went over there for diner twice this week.  They feed us well, and just love telling us all of their stories.  It's a rare opportunity for them to talk to young people in English who can relate to their experiences in the Philippines.  He, his wife and his sister will tell us a wide variety of stories from WWII to arguing with catholic priests to farming to life in America.  We enjoy going over there.  It's so nice to have a sit down dinner.  The food is good, and we are good guests.  Both times before we left we treated them to some hymns.  We sang them Simon and Garfunkel style.  Phil and them really enjoyed it.  Singing for dinner - not bad.

Remember the devil kids.  Well, I gave them a piece of their own medicine.  We were teaching near their house, and they were interrupting.  After the lesson, I chased them slowly like a zombie at first.  They laughed at me, so I sped up and then the one boy started running for real.  He looked back in terror.  He cried.  He didn't expect I'd chase him for real.  Before we left, though, we were pals with him again. 

I went splits with Elder Vernard this week.  We worked hard.  We taught six lessons in one day.  We even found a less active member from La Paz who was vacationing in San Joaquin.  We'll refer him. 

While on splits with Elder Vernard, we taught our investigator Arturo.  We've been teaching he and his family, but his wife has never sat in.  When we first approached the house, we went over to Arturo’s wife and asked if she would sit in.  She's pretty darn catholic.  Brother Arturo was amazed that she joined us.  He joked about it when she read from the Book of Mormon.  "See you didn’t catch on fire!"  In his closing prayer, he said "thank-you Heavenly Father for Elder Vernard, the only missionary who was handsome enough to get my wife to attend."  It was funny.  In fact, his wife loved it.  We read Third Nephi 12.  She found a lot of things she thought her husband she be doing.  Then on Saturday, we went back and she just joined the lesson.  She enjoyed Third Nephi 13 just as much. 

On Friday night, we went to a less-active family’s house.  It was kind of late, and we didn't know if we'd be able to get out there, but we caught a ride with a member on his motorcycle.  When we arrived, the children ran inside to tell the father that we had arrived.  Then the father hurried out to us.  He told us "Some other sect is here, and we're debating, hurry inside!"  It was the Baptists.  Let me tell you, Elder Matthews and I don't want to debate.  In fact, Elder Matthews rolled his eyes when Brother Larry said that.  We went inside with no intention of debating, but the Baptists were doing a full on attack of our religion.  We did nothing but defend our faith.  We did it pretty well.  The Baptist guys lost their cool.  One couldn't even sit in his chair when we told him about our potential as humans.  They mentioned we were going to Hell, and all and told us we were lying to this family, and all kinds of other groovy things.  It was ridiculous.  The one pastor said he wouldn't believe in the Book of Mormon unless there was archeological evidence to support it like the Bible has.  Talk about faith.  After they left in a huff, we shared a lesson about the Holy Ghost with the family.  They noticed the difference, but first we had to clarify a few things the Baptists had said. 

I'd rather eat my smelly socks than debate.  I hear about my pals in other missions debating all the time.  I haven't done it for a while, and this was my first time with Baptists.  I'm sure my pals in other missions would agree that it just goes nowhere!

We walked up to Dacdacanan on Saturday.  It was hotter than, well, it was s pretty typical of a Filipino summer.  We wore bandanas, and Elder Matthews wore my straw hat.  Man, we were just dead upon arrival.  Also on the way up there, we walked by a house.  As we walked by, some kids came out screaming and crying.  A teenager took off doing the same thing.  We continued on, but then heard to barangay bell ringing, so we went back to see what was up.  Apparently a lady had just died as we walked past.  She had had cancer for a long time, and passed away that morning.  It was weird for that to happen just then. 

We worked way hard this week, but struck out at church.  None of our investigators came.  Man, it was disappointing.  We had had solid commitments from them.  It was a hard pill to swallow.  We had actually broken last week’s record by three lessons.  We killed ourselves.  We're behind on laundry, I'm behind in my journal, and besides eating at Phil's, we haven't had any good meals.  But we could do all that if we wanted, but we don't.  I'm so happy that I have a companion as crazy as I am. 

Sunday night it finally rained, with thunder and lightning too.  We sat out on the beach about 7:30 and watched the lightning over the water.  It was way misty, and when the lightning went off, it made the whole sky a purple color.  The bright lights of the fishing boats even lit up the sky a little bit.  It was like a huge waterfront amphitheatre for watching lightning.  We enjoyed it. 

We sang Nearer My God to Thee before Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.  We did it reverently, but still Simon and Garfunkel style.  The Philippines has a problem settling down for Sacrament Meeting, so singing before it starts helps the meeting.  We sounded good.  Elder Matthews is great at harmony.

Our branch mission leader is moving to Pandan.  It's a bummer because he was such a help.  He has never been to Pandan either, so I got to read him a little part out of my journal about it.  I also told him the names of the members there so he can find them.  Good thing I'd written them in my journal. 

The N and O on this keyboard haven’t been working.  Sorry. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

apartment check and great work

Monday, January 23, 2012
San Joaquin, Panay Island, Philippines

I'll just start off with the worst part of the week if you don't mind.  (The rest of it was just great, though.)  First, there’s some background:

Elder Matthews and I are working like demons.  We’ve been so busy that, until this morning, I was behind a couple of days in my journal.  We would come home every evening, stay awake long enough to shower, and then get into bed.  We both feel asleep this week while praying a couple of times.  A few nights we came in so tired that we skipped dinner.  I'm not saying this to show that we are “poor, overworked” missionaries, but to show how much we simply love the work and are doing well.  I love working like this.  We waste just about no time.  

Saturday morning we got up, prayed, ate a little bit, and went way out to the bukid to visit some members.  It's quite a hike to get to them.  We ended up getting kind of punted, but that's ok.  Needless to say, when we got back for studies and lunch, we were beat, smelly and sweaty.  We just shed our clothes, and I went to sit under the fan while Elder Matthews went to take a shower.  

While chilling with the fan on me, I heard a "tagbalay."  It was faint, but I went to look through the window to see if someone was there.  I walked into the other room to do so, but I didn't need to look out the window because someone was looking in at me - President and Sister Pagaduan and the AP’s.  There I am in a state of undress with President looking at me.  I asked them to wait a second, and I ran and got on clothes and let them in.  It was an apartment check, and we were about to fail.

We failed big time.  I knew that from the moment they walked in.  The apartment was a wreck.  Not a wreck in the “after-a-party” sense, but a wreck in the “two 21-year-olds who haven't had the time to clean up” sense.  I figured we would be asked to clean up a bit and that would be it.  I know they are supposed to do apartment checks, but they came in and searched through our stuff!  Their tone and demeanor were not kind.  It felt more like a drug bust, and I felt violated.

Another thing was that a lot of the furnishings are broken in the house.  For instance, one bed is broken, one desk is broken, and one fan has no guard on it.  I was using all three of those because I didn’t mind, and I didn’t want to give the broken things to my new companion when he arrived.  I knew we were supposed to repair or order new stuff if something in our house was broken, but I just didn't mind.  So, President chewed me out a bit about that.  Even our landlady got in trouble because she didn't have proper screens in the house.  Also, we got in trouble for how dirty our little concrete sideyard was.  I tried to explain how the neighbor’s cats get into our trash, and how the chickens run through our yard and leave drippings there, but President said he didn't care it is our yard. 

I’ve always hated it when church members bust someone’s chops.  The sad thing is that this past month has been the best of my mission.  We've been working super hard and having success.  I feel that I’ve been becoming a better missionary in a lot of aspects, and just as everything is going so well: drug bust!   It's true the house was a mess - a super mess – and we should have been busted, but not in that way.  I'm over it now.  Sometimes you just have to “school your feelings" and let it go.

Besides that, we had an awesome week!

We met the coolest guy.  His name is Phil.  He’s white, and grew up here in San Joaquin.  He lives here in the banwa near us.  We've seen him a couple times, and he always invites over for dinner.  We weren’t ever able to go until last Friday night.  We had dinner with him, his wife, and his sister.  They have been here since they were born.  They own a Bed and Breakfast here.  In fact, we took a lost Australian there to them last week.  At dinner on Friday, they just told us stories about the Philippines during WWII.  (They are pretty old.)  Apparently, seven Japanese soldiers came to get Phil's dad, and took Phil captive.  Phil's dad shot five of them.  By the time the other two came back with help, Phil and his family had fled into the bukid.  They spent the next few years hiding and living in the bukid.  About three years later, in 1942, Phil’s father was shot by Japanese, but the rest of the family survived the war.  He and his sister, who remembered it better, told us some cool stories about hiding all over the mountains of Panay.  It was so much fun to just talk to them.  It was just like at home, talking around a well cooked meal. 

Saturday was also fiesta day in San Joaquin.  The highlight of fiesta was this thing called "pasungay."  It's like a rodeo, but with carraboa, (small) horses, and cattle fighting each other.  We went and checked it out.  It was sweet.  The best is when the giant carraboa (water buffalo) gets loose and runs for the stands. 

Sunday we had a brother work with us.  He's a recent convert of a year, and has a darn near fiery testimony.  The first lesson we took him on we accidently let him loose.  Oops.  We were just talking to the investigator about the Book of Mormon, and we asked the brother to share his testimony about it.  He talked for about thirty minutes without stopping, and the also talked about the pre existence, Adam and Eve, urim and thumam, and a bunch of way deep stuff.  He thoroughly confused out investigator, but it was still pretty funny.  Afterward we talked to him a bit about "milk before meat" and he was fine in the rest of the lessons.  It was comical to watch.  Actually, this type of things happens pretty often in the Philippines. 

My birthday was Wednesday.  We had interviews with President in Iloilo that day.  I got to pick up my package there.  Those strings feel so nice!  Thank-you.  Also, thanks for the camera and the candy.  We devoured the skittles promptly.  Sister Pagaduan had even gotten me a little cake.  That's way funny because she had forgotten that she had given me some cupcakes for my birthday a week before at transfer meeting.  In the evening, we had dinner up in the mountains at our branch president's house.  We ate the cake there.  It was a nice little birthday. 

In my interview with President, I asked if I could extend.  He wasn't sure because it depends on the area presidency, so we'll see.  I might be coming home mid-December. 

Earlier in the week, I went on splits with Elder Soderquist.  Man, I like him.  That guy doesn't have the tiniest bit of bad in him.  He has had trouble with some disobedient companions, and we talked a bit about that.  He loved having someone to talk to.  We taught six lessons together that day. 

This week has been great for music.  Elder Matthews and I sing at the beginning of many of our lessons.  He can sing wicked harmony.  We even sang to some drunks Saturday night.  We sang "Nearer My God to Thee."  Also in our district, Elders Soderquist and Vernard can sing.  We all sang some hymns after district meeting last week.  Elder Soderquist helped me sing the tenor parts in the songs. 

Life here is good.  I love it.  We are doing some great work.  This week, despite interviews in Iloilo on Wednesday and the fiesta on Saturday, we broke my personal record for teaching here in San Joaquin.  It's so good being in a rugged area with a good companion.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Companion and Pink Appalachians

Monday, January 16, 2012
San Joaquin, Panay Island, the Philippines

I am writing this to you completely stoked.  Here’s a rundown of my week: 

The first couple of days, Elder Eror and I worked way hard, but every evening was met by disappointment.  I was hoping so bad to train.  Though I hoped every evening for a call (telling of an assignment to train), it never came.  I knew we had a pretty substantial group of new missionaries coming in.  It would be the first substantial group since I came in over a year ago.  I was looking at the missionaries in the mission and who could train.  Instead of my batch doing the training, a lot of older missionaries are getting to train twice.  Elder Thayne and Elder Light got to train though.

Elder Eror and I were on good terms to the end.  I was sad to see him go.  Sometimes by the end of a companionship, you can be sick of some things, even if you like them, but this time I wasn't. 

My new companion is Elder Matthews.  He was my ZL back in Aklan, and then my favorite DL when was in Sibunag.  I went on splits with him a long time ago, and we made a bonfire and sang songs until it was time to go to bed.  So yeah, I was pretty disappointed not to train, but then when I found out we were comps at district meeting, I was so stoked.  Also there was no adjustment period because we already knew each other pretty well.  We went straight to work after transfer meeting, and we didn't stop until p-day.  Even then, we have two appointments set up for tonight.  The last 3 days have been so awesome.

Elder Matthews is a fast walker, and we waste no time.  At night when we come home we are so beat.  Since he's the new one to the area, I am leading the work.  I was a little afraid that I was overwhelming him, but he's keeping up and we've had some great lessons. 

Also, Elder Soderquist came to Tigbauan, Elder Vernard (from AZ) to Miag-ao, and Sister Sablan to Oton.  All really good missionaries in my opinion.  I was sad to see Lowry go, though.  He hasn't gone far though. He went DL in Iloilo.

Saturday night we had an area conference.  It was straight up depressing.  The Philippines has a terrible problem with new member retention.  They had some pretty depressing statistics, and they talked about how to fix it.  It actually wasn't really the missionaries’ part though.  The focus was really on the leadership of branch's and wards.  They talked about things such as Ward Council and Home Teaching, which don't happen much in the Philippines.  I noticed it a long time ago, but as a missionary I can't do much about it – it’s not my area of authority.  The Area Presidency was very direct.  I loved that.  I've wised I could do that myself a few times.  I think it's had an effect. What it means for me, as a missionary, is a lot less looking for new members and a lot of reactivating.  I'm ok with that though.  It really is what we need here. During the area conference, I kept on having names of people to visit pop into my head.  People I realized needed to be focused on.  I’m pretty sure it was revelation.  Me and Elder Matthews have talked about it, and we're going to apply all this stuff this week. 

Yesterday we had Brother Dela Cruz work with us.  He worked with us from 2 to 8:30.  We taught five lessons with him.  His wife had come up to us at church and asked us if we could please have her husband work with us.  It's funny that actually happens quite a bit.  Wives think we're good influences on their husbands.  I suppose they’re right that it's good for the priesthood here to learn how to do stuff like this so they can apply it to home teaching.  But we're not always the best examples.  Our ward mission leader taught us some bad words in Kinaray-a.  We don't use them by any means, but yeah.

New pink floor (broken bed supported by books)
Here's some news.  We got new flooring in our house.  It was just an unfinished concrete floor, but now they put down linoleum.  Pink.  Hot pink.  Now my companion and I live in a pink floored house.  What was our landlady thinking?!?!  I swear, feminine just floats in the air!  They also did a horrible job putting it down.  It's all bumpy.  We actually realized they were putting it down badly, and asked them to do it well.  They said ok, and that they weren't finished yet, and they'd flatten it.  When we got home in the evening, it was finished but not flat.  It's going to suck to mop it and sweep it.  It's like and aerial view of the Appalachian Mountains.  Pink mountains.

We also went to a zoo earlier. It's different from a zoo in the U.S.  For one, the cages are smaller, and they have crazy foreign animals here, like German Shepherds and golden retrievers!  Well, they also had huge lizard, like 5 foot long, monkeys, huge snakes, ostriches, weird elk looking things, turtles, bats, crazy looking fish, all kinds of tropical birds, and my favorite: the bearcat.  It's found in the forests of Luzon, but it looks like a giant angry raccoon.  We had a good time.  We tried to make the snakes, crocodiles and lizards do stuff but they didn't care.  The bearcat got pretty excited though.

Well, life is way good here.  Thanks for all the emails and stuff.  I might buy an electric razor.  The Philippines has no shaving cream, and I'm tired of dry shaving and tearing up my face.  Sometimes I even use dish soap to shave.  I found out an electric razor is only 500 pesos, so maybe next week I'll buy one.  It’s at the point I need to shave every day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No firefighting, but still a cool week

Monday, January 9, 2012
San Joaquin, Panay Island, the Philippines

I'll just start with the most interesting thing that happened this week.  I got a text from Sister Pagaduan that I had to go immediately to the hospital on Friday morning.  Lame.  It was O.K. because Elder Eror had some training there on Friday anyway.  I really didn't want to go to the hospital because the lady there just claims stuff is wrong with you, gives you no proof, and prescribes you a billion medicines.  So, I was less than thrilled to go.  Sister Pagaduan said that they had found spots on my lungs from an x-ray I got back in November.  All of this is nonsense, resulting from my mentioning a thing in my neck to Sister Pagaduan.  How many trips later is it now?  The nice thing about it was I had good company.  I got to go to the doctor with the financial secretary and my good friend Elder Thayne.  He was also in Iloilo for some sickness problems.  It was good to catch up with him.  The financial secretary drove us and paid for it all.  

Once I finally got to visit with the doctor, it was exactly like I thought it would be.  She assumed I had some tuberculosis or something.  I asked her what the signs of that are.  I had nothing of what she listed.  I was pretty forward to her, that I came all the way from San Joaquin for something she should have seen back in November.  I'm not so sure she wasn't just making it up, either.  She never showed me the x-ray.  I did have to get another x-ray, which she also never showed me.  She said something about coming back when the results come in, but I'm not going to.  It's ridiculous. 

I also got to see Elder Arrieta.  He had been in Iloilo the day before for training, and had stayed with Elder Thayne until they both went back to Antique.  After the whole ordeal at the Doctor’s office, I ran errands with the financial secretary.  It was kind of fun. 

Elder Eror and I are pretty absent minded.  We left our phone in Tigbauan on Monday, then we went to get it on Tuesday after district meeting, but neither of us picked it up, so we had to go back again and get it.  On Thursday, Elder Eror left his glasses there.  On Thursday afternoon when I returned with Elder Domincel (we were on splits) I realized I didn't have a key.  Luckily our landlady has one. 

We had a long-time less active come to church again.  He's been a kind of abusive drunkard.  This is the first time he's gone to church in ages.  We have been focusing on him recently.  We are going over there and doing scripture study as a family.  We just pick a cool story in the Book of Mormon and read it with them.  Then we commit them to do it on their own between visits.  As of our last visit, they haven't done it on their own, but the spirit has been there while we did scripture study with them.  They don't know how to discuss what they’ve read, so we're showing them a bit. 

It was Elder Eror's B-day on the 5th.  We celebrated it with the Tigbauan Elders before we did splits.  I bought ice cream. 

Sunday we went up into the mountains to New Gumawan.  It was their fiesta.  We got fed pretty sizeable amounts at two separate houses within 45 minutes.  It was good food.  It was good to talk with our investigators there, but it was bad that I had a full stomach and the way down the mountain is windy.  I kept it in, though. 

Dweedle dum bit me again - during the Sacrament prayer.  On the finger.  Hard.  I don't know why we always end up by these kids at church.  They’re the devil.  Later in the day we went to a less-active family near to them.  The kids came into the lesson and screamed and kicked us and stuff.  Elder played with them just outside the door while I finished up the lesson.  At one point I took over for Elder Eror, but the kids threw rocks at me, so I let Elder Eror handle it.  It was quite the lesson.  You can only imagine how freaking wild these two kids are!  It's like two of me when I was younger!

We taught a lot of our investigators and less-active families about the atonement this week.  Elder Eror and I found that most people know that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, but that’s about it.  We talked about spiritual death and temporal death, and why we can't enter into heaven with sin.  Those were some cool lessons.  We also committed a lot of the folks to repent.  We didn't ask them what their sins were or anything, but we still committed them to repent daily.  Cool.  It's a hard thing to follow up about, but it's necessary for people to do it.

We got the George Albert Smith books.  I've probably read a third of it in 3 days.  That guy is cool. 

We ate a lot of yellow watermelon this week. 

I got a haircut.  It’s the shortest it's been yet.  Yikes. 

People here can be way flakey.  Elder Eror and I went out to a place that was really out of our way. I called ahead to make sure it was going to go through, because sometimes she’s at the beach house, and sometimes at the bukid house.  We made sure it was at the bukid house.  When we arrived, the lady wasn't there.  We went to the beach house, and she was there!  I waved to her, but she kept on walking.  When I got to where she was at, she was pretending to be asleep.  I could hardly talk to her.  We had such a busy day that day and man, I was frustrated.  Man, sometimes it's rough.  I did what I could, though. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Baptism, Fire, and New Year's

Monday, January 02, 2012
San Joaquin, Panay Island, Philippines

It has been quite a week.

I'll tell you first about my Saturday because it was the single-most crazy day of my mission.  That morning I returned from Iloilo where I had been on splits in the city with the zone leaders, had a baptism, fought a raging fire, got some good grub at a member’s, then had a New Year’s party in Miag-ao.  I'll focus on fighting a raging fire.

After the baptism, we were super beat.  We hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and hadn't eaten breakfast.  After our baptism, we went straight home and got some food and rested a bit.  We were just chilling on our beds with the electric fans going on full blast.  I heard a commotion outside and went to see what it was.  It wasn't too weird to have a commotion outside because New Year’s here is anarchy anyway, but this time was different.  I walked out the front porch and saw our neighbor in the street with a face of fear.  She yelled to me to kill our power.  She said something about a "sunog." (fire)  I went out into the street to get a better look, and black smoke was pouring up into the sky about 40 yards away.  It was behind our house, then across the street, but pretty close still.  I get Elder Eror and told him to grab his camera.  On our arrival, we saw high flames and a ton of spectators.  I waited a second, checking it out, and then noticed some people yelling at the house nearby.  I told Elder "let's go help."  He didn't go into the house because apparently it was smoking, but I did.  I went to the back of this house, which shared a border with the house that was up in flames.  It was super hot.  Super hot.  Right on the other side of this house’s back wall was a raging fire.  I help some locals fill up buckets and throw it on the house’s roof and other bordering parts.  There was a manual water pump, so we used that for a while until it broke.  The back of this house was semi outside like most kitchens are in the Philippines.

I turned on the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom and put pots under them.  By then other people had arrived that were better at doing the water stuff.  Also by then the water pump had broken.  I then helped people get stuff out of the house because we figured it was going to go.  No fire truck had shown up yet.  Once the house was unloaded, in a matter of minutes, I helped get water to the scene.  There was a local pump across the street, but there were too many people waiting for water there.  There was a big line there, and a big line going behind the house I was working in to throw it on the fire and keep it from spreading. So I called to Elder Eror, and we got a few other folks and got another water pump going a few houses down.  Elder Eror pumped, and a few boys and I ran it to the house.  My adrenalin was going.  It was such a rush.  Some fire trucks showed up, and the fire was soon put out.  It had not spread to any other houses.  Many people had done the same thing in other neighboring houses.  It was a success.  When it was over, I wanted to go home.  People were pointing over to us and trying to talk to us, but I was so drained.  We went back to the apartment, and I took a shower and changed clothes.  We then went out to see what else we could do. We helped some people move stuff back into their houses, and made sure some buckets we had borrowed without permission found their rightful home.  We got a teary eyed thank you from the house I worked in.  It was such a crazy situation.  It could have so easily have spread, but everybody pitched in and it didn't.  All the houses are super close.  Crazy, huh?  It was so hot in that house when I first went into it.  I don't know when the fire trucks arrived, but I know at some point while working they came.  If they hadn't come, a huge piece of San Joaquin would be gone. 

So thanks for the Skype call last week.  That was super cool.  It didn't make me trunky.  Actually, it just got me a little more excited for working.  I think it's because we pretty much only talked about missionary work. 

I found a good home for that camera I bought.  I found a missionary who needed it, and sold it to him for 5/8ths the price.  I wasn't going to be able to return it to SM because it had been over a month.  (I don't know if I mentioned this, but the camera started working just fine a day or two later.  It's been fine since.)  It's not a great camera, but it’s still a camera. 

We had a baptism on Saturday.  Israel, who is in a part member family, and his eight-year-old sister were baptized in the ocean.  It was a nice little service in a wood shack, and we had a pretty good turnout.  For some reason, he and his family didn't go to church the following day!  A lot of people didn't come because it was the day after New Year’s, but it was a bummer that he didn't!  So, he is not yet confirmed.  We'll get him next week. 

I taught district meeting last week.  I taught about the Holy Ghost.  I talked about what it's supposed to be like when the Holy Ghost is present in a lesson, how to attain that, and how it helps the investigator. I quoted Dad's Christmas story a few times, and even showed them the candle analogy.  It went pretty well, and the spirit was present in our meeting. 

For New Year’s we went to Miagao.  We bought a ridiculous amount of homemade river water coconut flavored ice cream, had cake, pizza and played Phase Ten.  It was a good time.  Midnight was crazy!  New Year’s in the Philippines is crazy!  Anarchy for sure.  Explosions everywhere.  It looks like an all out war. We watched it from the roof. 

I did two different sets of splits this week.  On Wednesday I had splits with Elder Lowry.  That was fun.  We did some good lessons, and I always enjoy working with him.  He helped me a bit with Kinaray-a.  I took him out to our bukid investigators.  It was fun.

On Friday I went on splits with Elder Lado.  He's the zone leader for the Iloilo zone.  We worked hard.  His area is in the city, so it’s about a five minute walk between lessons at most.  From about 2 to 9 we were either teaching, walking, or talking to someone.  We got punted quite a bit, but managed 6 lessons.  It was fast paced, intense work.  I loved it.  That's the way I've always wanted to work.  It was so much fun.  I also really liked Elder Lado.  He's from Cebu, and is humble and hard working.  He gave his all in ever lesson.  We talked a bit about missionary work, and both agreed on a lot of things that need to be done to help folks progress. One thing he mentions was visiting investigators a couple times a week even if you don't teach.  In the past I've had some comps who thought that was a waste of time (Elder Eror doesn't) and we talked about how effective it was.  I enjoyed the crap out of splits.  It gave me a new insight about working in a city.  I always just thought it was dirty and crowded, but I think it would be so much fun to work there.  You can work every hour of the day!  I still like the bukid more, of course, but the city wouldn't be too bad. 

We only had one investigator at church.  I won't complain because a ton of members didn't even come.  Hopefully we'll get more next week. 

We got to teach some investigators this week that we hadn't been able to teach in a long time.  They were great lessons, too.  That was up in the mountains in New Gumawan.  The power was out up there so, when it got to be night it was super cool.  Just bright stars and cool(er) mountain air.  We hitched a ride with a van down the mountain. I got to sit in the back seat and look out the window, just like old times. 

This week I hit a year in the Philippines.  MAN!  Time flies. 

We did a lesson with a lady who had her son die a few years back.  She had a lot of questions but mostly just cried about it to us.  We didn't teach as much as we could have because it seemed like she needed to cry it out real good.  We did share a few things from the scriptures. I'm glad the scriptures say stuff about it because as a 20 year old, I had no idea what to say.  Whew.  We have a lesson with her again tomorrow. 

I hardly have time to write about it.  We’re emailing late and have an appointment in about an hour.  Earlier today we went to the city and bought some fabric for flannels and jeans.  There is a guy here who makes great clothes.  He's a member and he gives us a missionary discount.  We also had some Mexican food!  Tasted so good!  It's been so long!  We also played basketball earlier.  It's been a good p -day.
A car hit some birds on the highway while we were walking by.  Within a few seconds, some people had gotten them. We heard someone say "Namit ang Karne."  (The meat is tasty.)  

I love the Philippines.