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.

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