Monday, July 30, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines
So this was another week.
We’re back to just two of us again. Elder Foshee was called to serve as the mission financial secretary. Elder Foshee was not happy at all because he apparently sucks at math. Elder Manwill and I get along great, so it's cool, but we both miss Elder Foshee. So now it’s only the two of us, and that's weird because it's one of the biggest apartments in the mission.
This happened last Monday. All day, President was trying to call us, but every time he called we were shopping or something. Then when we called him, he was busy. It wasn't until the evening that we finally got to talk to president. He wanted to talk to Elder Foshee alone. We were worried that Elder Foshee was getting sent home for a medical release because of his back. So this news isn't quite that bad, but is still sad. I felt like I'd been transferred to Sibunag all over again. In three weeks, Elder Foshee had become like a lifelong friend. I am sad to see him go, but if God needs him to count money and sit in a chair all day, I guess that's what he's got to do.
He had to pack right away. A previous missionary here had, for a prank, changed the lock code on Elder Foshee’s suitcase. There are 999 options for that. I got to number 304 when it unlocked.
District Meetings lesson was on the Doctrine of Christ. Any lesson that you’ve heard over and over can get kind of lame, and we review that one a lot. That’s even more the case in our district because most of the missionaries have been serving for a long time. So, we put it into a different light. We talked about what has to happen between the baptismal commitment and yes. We practiced explaining what someone has to do to prepare for baptism. It turned out to be pretty a nice district meeting.
I think I've gotten the hang of things here. Monday-Friday the elders in this district are too busy with mission business and sick missionaries to get stuff done in their area. Then Saturday and Sunday they are so busy with sick missionaries that they only get a little work done.
I had a baptismal interview in Arevalo. The lady I interviewed was prepared, but had a problem with the Sabbath day. Before I went into the interview Elder Nunez told me quickly that she had a problem in that she needs to work on the Sabbath to support a family. He said they had already talked to the bishop of their ward about it. The bishop said to go ahead and baptize her and the ward would help her to keep that commandment. I went ahead and did the interview and of course it came up. I didn't feel comfortable passing her like that, so I took the interview in a new direction. I taught her about the Sabbath day and faith. She committed to it, so I passed her. She was super solid otherwise. She got baptized last Saturday and the elders have promised to follow up on her commitment.
I did splits with ZL Elder Light last Wednesday. We did some good work. We have both come pretty far since the MTC. He is on this trip about not teaching anything other the extreme simplest doctrine. We actually clashed a little bit in teaching, but got along great. For instance I explained that the Book of Mormon was from the Americas and the Bible was from the Middle East. I guess elder light thought that was unnecessary extra input. On the other hand everyone remembers everything elder light says because he teaches the bare minimum. Like instead of saying what I said he'd just say "the Book of Mormon is not the Bible." He seemed to want to teach a certain way.
Besides that, we got along great. We talked about the good old times back on Guimaras and up in Aklan. Man, he helped me through my time with some difficult people, and we both laughed about how some people were. We told some stories about things that happened between then and now too. It was great to catch up with him. He jokes around more than any other elder I know. We talked about how crazy fast the mission is. He tried to convince me to move to Montana and become a doctor. We taught five lessons together, and even managed to get some Japanese food for lunch. His area has the nice part of the city. We taught well-to-do people. It was crazy. My area is the slums, but I actually prefer that. Although in my area, you don't get fed as much as they do.
One day this week we taught a less active man. He's kind of old and had a stroke a while back. He was the epitome of grumpy. We offered to take him to church. We would need to physically have to carry him up stairs and stuff. He not only declined but added in a few words of his own. He blamed his stroke on the missionaries in the past. He said we are only faking our care for him, and if we arrived at the church we'd quickly ditch him, and that God understands his situation and doesn't expect him to go to church. We tried to explain that yes, God understands, but he would be happy if you accepted our offer to come. He was super grumpy, and we left his house having seen no success.
Our investigator Maria is doing great. We enjoy teaching her the most. We talked about following the prophet, praying always, and obedience this week. Elder Bednar is coming in August to speak to all the single adults (and so a mission conference!!! YES!!! WAHHOOOOO!!) so we invited her to that. She is stoked to go. She didn't go to church because it was her little brother's first birthday and she had to stay and help out. I don't know how great an excuse that is, but whatever. American humor and Filipino humor are very different. In America, this would just be stupid, but not here: We played around at the start of the lesson. We started off it off by asking her why we had cried and cried earlier in the day. We even pretended to cry. They were dying of laughter. After that, the lesson was great.
I told you last week about our awesome referral. We only got to meet with her once this week, but we had four ward missionaries there for it! It was the coolest lesson ever. Elder Manwill and I just conducted the lesson, and hardly taught. It was sick. We taught prophets through the start of the restoration, and left her with a cliff hanger and an assignment. We gave her a Book of Mormon the first time we met with her, and apparently she brought it to school with her. Cool.
It was a very rainy week - very rainy. You can't use an umbrella here. It's too crowded. We just get soaked.
Saturday morning we cleaned the font. It was disgusting. Elder Manwill did most the work, and I was his "step and fetch it." Elder Foshee, Loe and Vennard were there too. We ended up getting it pretty clean. One of Elder Foshee's folks got baptized and so did ours - Faye. Most people showed up late, or didn't show up at all because of the rain. (Remember pasmo.) The baptism was good because she got baptized, but we were pretty disappointed with the ward. No one from our bishopric showed up, and the members that did show up chatted through it. One girl even answered her phone during one of the speakers. I was quite upset, but of course didn't get on anybody about it. Later that night we ran into the bishop, and he seemed quite embarrassed that no one had come.
In church today, they nearly forgot to confirm her! They were about to do the Sacrament when I got the attention of the bishop and did a hand signal for confirmation. He tugged on the shirt of the 1st counselor and whispered in his ear. The 1st counselor said, in English "Oh that's right we have a confirmation . . . the confirmation of . . . of . . . of . . . Who again got baptized yesterday?" I was feeling frustrated. No wonder people here go inactive! It wasn’t a good welcome to the ward. We visited Faye and her aunt later in the day to do damage control. I might ask to bishop to go over there and smooth things over.
So that was the week. We did a lot of finding because we have a lot of free time now. We have found a few pretty promising people, so we'll see what happens.