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. 

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