Tuesday, March 6, 2012

filling in, following the spirit, and watermelon

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Bugasong, Panay Island, Philippines

Now, finally, I can write.  Internet service here in San Jose is lousy.

valley in Bugason
In some ways, church was ridiculous.  First of all, hardly anybody had shown up until 9:40.  That's when I finally said we just had to start with people missing.  Our schedule is backwards - we do priesthood first.  We didn't have a priesthood teacher, so I did it.  Then we had Sunday School.  After about 10 minutes of everyone just sitting around, I realized that no one was preparing to teach.  I asked around if we had a teacher.  No one knew.  I went to the lady in the Sunday School presidency and asked her if she'd teach.  You know, it is her calling.  She said she wasn't prepared, so I went over and asked Elder Dalu to do it.  He said he wasn't prepared either.  (Doesn’t he teach every day?!)  Then the Sunday School lady asked me to teach, so I did.  I taught about our need to forgive others.  I taught it from The Presidents of the Church manual about George Albert Smith.  I had been studying it all week, so I was pretty ready.  It ended up being pretty good. Elder Montecer helped me out a bit too.  He helped me explain some versus we read, and hissed some Kinaray-a words to me to while I was teaching, that better explained stuff.  Between the two of us, we got it done.  The best part of the lesson is when we acted out forgiving each other.  

One part of the lesson kind of scared me, though.  A lady asked me if she had to forgive her ex-husband, who she hated.  I told her “Yes, even him."  She said a few other things, and then left her seat and went away crying.  I looked to Elder Montecer with "oh crap” eyes.  It didn't turn out to be much.  I thought maybe I had offended her.  Turns out after being comforted by some fellow RS ladies, she was O.K. and later thanked me for the lesson.  It was kind of a rush to teach 50 people a lesson with no preparation, and then trying to keep it interesting enough to hold their attention in a hot room.

Then after that I played piano in sacrament meeting.  Elder Gregerson was supposed to do it, but he didn't feel ready, so I filled in.  He's actually way good at the piano.  Thankfully, all the hymns we sang on Sunday were in the Hymns Made Easy book.  One song I transposed from Bb to C during all the testimonies.  That too was a rush.  Playing songs I hadn't practiced.  After church, I was so burnt out. 

Elder Montecer
We did a lot of tracting this week.  We really got to work this week.  The area, like I said, was just split.  We knew it was going to be rough, so we really got our game on.  We had the beast week of work of my mission.  We taught 32 lessons, 16 with a member and 18 new investigators.  Now we have our time full this upcoming week.  It's been sick!  We are both just stoked.  One lady from our tracting has even committed to baptism!  Man, the area is doing well.  We still have to get all these folks progressing, but I was amazed at this week. 

I love Elder Montecer.  We work the same fast pace.  Not too fast during lessons.  We still have the spirit, but we don't waste time in between and before.  We are getting along great, and we only speak Kinaray-a with each other. 

This week has been a great week for the spirit.  We had a good fast, and I think that helped.  We have also been doing well at companionship study and stuff. 

Our 11-year-old with a baptismal date is so funny.  He's almost exactly like Simon Birch!  We just die laughing when we teach him.  He's really our friend, though.  He says the funniest stuff.  Like we asked him what was not allowed in the Word of Wisdom.  He said "shabu!"  That's cocaine in Kinaray-a.  He didn't just say it either - he flat out screamed it. 

Like I said, this week has been great for the spirit.  We've been directed where to go to tract.  Here's one example. 

Last Friday we were tracting, and I saw a house that looked like the Makasio's house back in San Joaquin.  I thought that was interesting, but I didn't want to try it cause it didn't look very approachable.  But the spirit told me to try it.  As we approached the house, I saw a teenager sitting on the front porch - the same way that Brother Makasio used to.  It was like deja vu!  So we introduced ourselves and started talking, and an old grandma came out and started talking to us too.  When the front door was opened, I got to look inside real quick. This family has the same wooden furniture as the Makasios!  Neither the teenager nor the grandma seemed too interested, so I started to wonder why the spirit had urged us to go there.  About five minutes into talking, a 21 year old girl came to the house and asked "Mormons, right?!"  We said "yes."  She then burst into an explanation of how much she missed the church, how she was baptized in Manila, how she loved her calling in the nursery, where is the church here, I know this elder and that elder, etc.  It was way cool.  She was so excited.  She changed the mood of the meeting, and we ended up have a really sweet first lesson with that teenager and the grandma.

kissed by a goat
Elder Montecer and I took "Jesus" pictures with goats in our arms. The goat I was holding kissed me!  The photo I'm sending was my reaction right after it kissed me. 

Elder Dalu is awesome.  He's a clean freak, and an awesome cook.  Elder Montecer is way tight.  In the evenings after we close, he plays my guitar.  He's getting better.  Really.

We have an American member in our area.  He goes to church in San Jose because it has air conditioning there, so that's kind of lame. He's from Mississippi, and has a hobby making smoked sausage.  We're going back over to his house tonight. 

Some of the people we have tracted are so cool. We had a sweet experience the other night.  We were teaching two ladies and one was saying "I'm not interested, I'm catholic, I'm just listening to be nice."  Then the other one blurted in and said "Well, I'm interested, my family needs to know this stuff!"  We were stoked. 

watermelon feast
At a lunch appointment with a less active member, I ate a lot of watermelon.  She brought out an entire plate of watermelon for us.  I ran over to her so I could carry if for her - we were outside, and it was a long walk.  When I set it on the table, I set it right in front of me as a joke.  She said I couldn't eat all that.  I said I could.  She said I couldn't, and called for the other half of the watermelon to be sent to the table.  I told her, "If I eat this all, will you go to church tomorrow?"  She said "Yes” because she didn't think I would."  I did.  She didn't go to church, though, because I guess she had health problems. 

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