Monday, July 16, 2012

change of plans

Monday, July 16, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philipppines

Here’s some news: I'm coming home in November.  Since the day that I chose October, I never really felt at peace.  (Due to a shift in transfer schedules, all missionaries in Elder Waggoner’s group were asked to choose between coming home two weeks earlier or four weeks later.)  I thought and prayed about it.  It was a difficult decision, but I think it's the better of the two.  I think I will do more good here.  The mission’s more senior missionaries are all leaving, and I'm one of the most senior now - there is a huge gap between my batch and the next substantial batch.  I could probably train again, plus I'm enjoying the work.

I had prayed a ton about it, and didn't seem to get an answer, so I went with choice means “more banjo” - that’s usually pretty sound logic.  But then I wondered if I was even willing to go home in November, so I asked the mission secretary to show me the roster of who's going home each month.  I switched my name to November.  I was going to pray about it that night, to be sure I was willing to going home in November.  To tell you the truth, that night I was just too tired to give it a good prayer.  It turns out that it didn't matter anyway, because when I checked up again with the mission secretary, he had already sent out the itinerary for the missionaries departing in October.  I guess I missed that train!  I feel good about November anyway.  A big thing was I wanted to see Kentucky in October, but I'll get that next year.  Don't tell me I didn't learn patience on my mission.  I just put off Kentucky, the banjo, and girls for another six weeks. 

We have this great investigator named Maria.  This week at the end of our lesson, see mentioned something about waiting for another sign.  It spent me head spinning.  We feel the spirit every lesson!  Why does she need another sign?  I started by asking what she meant.  She said she had two signs now, and wanted one more.  What?!  We talked about Alma 32, and told that her belief isn't going to be an answer to a “yes or no” question, but a “I believed it that much, and now I believe this much” sort of thing.  Then we talked in verse 28 about how the seed grows.  She said she felt that.  I asked her if that's the Holy Spirit.  She said “yeah.”  Then we read Moroni 10:5.  We didn't even use verses 17 and18 in Alma 32.  She got it before then.  She said that she didn't need a sign, she already knew.  I've used the scriptures to solve concerns before, but that was the best instance ever.  It was a blast.

Friday morning we got a call from President.  He wanted to meet Elder Foshee in his office at 10:30 am.  After the call, we were all stressing about it.  Once president called someone else who also had health problems, and he sent him home.  We were afraid that was going to happen to Elder Foshee.  We also wondered if Elder Foshee’s grandmother had died, or something like that.  On our way there, we basically interrogated Elder Foshee.  He hadn't done anything wrong that we knew of. 

So turned out that Elder Gregerson is out of commission, and his trainee is struggling.  So, his trainee has joined us, and we are no longer working in a threesome.  It's just Elder Manwill and I now.  If Elder Gregerson gets sent home, then it's permanent.  If he gets better, then we will be a threesome again. 

We played soccer this morning.  I accidently slide tackled Elder Manwill.  Both our shins hurt.  The field was wet.

We had a really fun FHE last Monday.  It was with a really cool active family here in Molo.  They were supposed to invite some investigators over, but they didn't do it.  That was a bummer, but we still had fun.  It's always super fun to talk about faith being something not seen for FHEs.  We had one of the girls fall backwards with a blindfold on after spinning around.  They don't know that someone is behind them.  It was super funny getting this girl to fall.  We decided that she didn't have much faith!  She tried to feel behind her to see if someone was there, but the older brother moved out of the way.  After waiting for two minutes, she finally kind of fell.  The family had a good time laughing with her.  I brought the guitar too.  We sang a few hymns.

Elders Foshee, Manwill, Waggoner, & Galloway

We seem to have this tradition where after church Elders Galloway, Loe, Manwill and I go to the mission office and cook a good lunch.  It's like our family.  It's nice and relaxing and fun to cook together.  I rarely take much time to cook a good meal, so it's nice.  

I gave a blessing to a pregnant lady in Elder Foshee's area the other day. Sundance and Lefty elected me to do it so that the girl could understand it.

I taught my first district meeting as district meeting last Tuesday.  I have a district as big a Guimaras Zone.  We talked about extending invitations, have people committing and the following up.  I focused on inviting someone want to say “yes” rather than forcing them.  It's been a real problem in the mission.  You can get anybody to say yes to anything here, but that doesn't mean they are going to do it and it's no use.  I also brought my guitar and played it for the opening and closing hymn.  We had a ton of class participation. 

We had two days of leadership training.  I love Elder Galloway and Elder Lado, but they were pretty boring.  I believe the stuff we learned could have been learned in two hours.  Instead, it took two days.  It was more like they wanted to make sure to fill up the whole time than say something worthwhile.  We did get good food though and it was sweet to catch up with some folks.  We had a ton of fun despite it being boring.  One of the trainings was practicing filling out a progress records.  Elder Light and I filled it out with star wars characters.  Then ours was chosen to be used as an example.  When Elder Lado read it to everyone all the Americans were dying laughing, the Filipinos didn't get it. 

At one point president was talking about how homosexuality is against the commandments. There is a lot of it here. I don't think he was trying to be funny.  He said "what are people confused about, what makes a boy a boy?"  No one said anything, but Elder Lowry chuckled, and everyone looked at him.

Elders Waggoner, Faran, and Lowry
After the training on Wednesday I worked with Elder Workman.  It had been a long time.  He and Elder Lowry got assigned to us three.  Elder Manwill and I took Elder Workman so that Elder Lowry could work in his old area with Elder Foshee.

Yesterday we had three single adult girls work with us.  I invited one to meet us at an appointment.  She and one more girl showed up.  After the appointment they came along again, and they invited yet another one that I didn't know about.  I wasn't about to bring five people to an investigator's house, so I sent them off the go visit some less actives that needed fellowship.  I didn't do it in a rude way - I explained how the less- actives needed fellowship, and not that it was insane for five people to go to one person’s house. 

We had an amazing week for work.  We are having success.

I gave a talk in church yesterday about reverence.  I asked the bishop last week if I could because this ward needs it.  He said I could and asked how much time I would need.  I said 4-5 minutes.  When I get to church, he asked me to speak for ten, and I said that was fine.  Then another speaker, a high priest, didn’t show, so they asked me to speak for 20.  It was good talk.  I read 3 Nephi 11 when they hear the voice and then the role of the Holy Ghost.  I shared some stories, too, and kept the people's attention.  Sometimes it seems that all Filipinos have ADHD, so that's pretty impressive.  Some folks told me they liked my talk.  I think that liked my topic.

Hey when I get home, I want to read the Dead Sea scrolls.  I might sit up in the front room and do that in December. 

Love you guys!

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