Monday, June 4, 2012

rain, Elder Neilson, rain, work, rain

Monday, June 4, 2012
Bugasong, Panay Island, Philippines

(Most names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy.  Italicized, purple text are comments from the editor.)

This has been an awfully rainy week.  I've been soaked and muddy.  It's been a good time, though.

Last Monday was a blast.  I'm pretty bad at volleyball, but it was fun to do some sports.  We also played some basketball.  I was winded after twenty minutes.  For a long time, my only exercise has been walking and hiking.  I could really feel my heart rate going up.  We also rode a ferris wheel that night.  It was fair in Sibalom, and they had a rather sketchy one there.  I convinced Elder Sefeti to ride it with me.  He's afraid of heights, not to mention its questionable structural integrity, but I told him that I'd pay.  He got on, and he even enjoyed the second half of the ride. 

On Tuesday we had district meeting out there in Sibalom, and all of the ward missionaries from Sibalom attended.  The lesson was about coordinating lessons with members.  I learned quite a bit, and it was worthwhile.  That afternoon I worked with Elder Quinantoto.  He wanted to go tracting with me, so we did that.  We had a bit of success with that.  We also taught one of their progressing investigators.  Then it was time to go to Iloilo. 

Elder Quinantoto getting fresh air
That was quite the ride.  I love it.  We took a van.  Elder Lowry, the ZL here, thought that it would be a good idea.  It's faster, and it has air conditioning.  I was of the same opinion.  Well, in between Hamtic and my old area of San Joaquin, we changed our minds.  Both of us having grown up in hilly areas, we were fine with sharp turns going fast in the rain, but some other folks where not.  Some of our other zone mates had a hard time keeping their food down.  You would have thought we were at Chucky Cheeze’s with the way things were going in that van.  Some people got super car sick. Elder Quinantoto had his head out the window, and the cold air and rain kept him from throwing up.  

The next day, we heard Elder Neilson (of the Seventy) speak.  He is the man!  He is touring the missions in our area.  I really liked him because we could relax around him.  With many previous speakers here, I've been kind of bothered with the way talk to us about missionary work.  It seems like they were pushing the way missionary work goes where the church is highly developed, and that way doesn't work here.  I've even felt like President Pagaduan has been doing that.  Elder Neilson didn't. He related everything to the way work goes in the Philippines.  He showed us a lot of numbers of the rescue effort in the Philippines.  I've already been convinced that this is what we need to focus on, but after he showed us the numbers, man, he's got vision.

For a long time, I have been concerned how people just talk about going to church when they teach the Sabbath day, and skip things like not working and shopping.  I've made a point to teach that, and when I do, the members seem to be hearing it for the first time.  Well, Elder Neilson talked about the Philippines’ problem with the Sabbath day, and how it needs to stop.  He showed us how to treat less-actives who have been less active forever, and how to work with lazy branch presidents.  It was awesome.  It was so dead on.

Elder Sefeti, early on Friday -
before accumulating a day's worth of mud

On Thursday I worked in Sibalom, and Elder Quinantoto went to my area to do baptismal interviews.  I was a happy man to get back to Bugasong Friday morning.  I had really missed Elder Sefeti.  While I was gone, they didn't teach many lessons, but they did what they needed to do.  The entire Balgos family passed their interviews.  I hear that took about four hours to finish, and that it was a super spiritual experience for all of them.  They are going to be baptized in the ocean this Saturday.

Sunday was almost a bust.  It had been raining for most of the week, and some parts of our area are pretty flooded.  At 9 am, it was Elder Sefeti, me, and one other member.  I thought I was going to have to conduct, but slowly some people started showing up.  By 10:00 we had enough people to start, and by 11:00 we had a packed house.  It was scary for a while, but it worked out.  I think the rain hurt us a bit.  Some of our investigators didn’t come, but the Balgos family did. 

That afternoon it rained especially hard, and we had promised people that we would visit them.  We had expected that we would be able to go on splits, but that fell through.  We decided we need to go see all of the people we had promised anyways.  It was a lot of running around.  We got pretty darn muddy, but we got to them all.  In fact, the wind was so strong that my umbrella folded up on itself. 

That was our week.  I can't complain.  We had lunch with the ZL's at a seafood place today, it was tasty.  We'll see if I get food poisoning from it. (just kidding.)  We have a lot of things coming up this week.

I love you all.   

Antique Zone Conference, Elder and Sister Neilson in the middle

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