Monday, August 20, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines
Last week's P-day was nice. We went to the Iloilo City museum. I learned a lot. There was some real cool stuff there. I don't think I would have appreciated the place as much if I had recently arrived in the mission. Now, being a seasoned, well-traveled guy, the stuff had more meaning for me. I've been to most of the places it talks about. There was one section about the island of Panay in WWII, another section on how the Ati lived before the Apanish took over, a part about Spanish Imperialism, and then a part about Chinese business. It was pretty cool. I like history and museums, and haven't been able to learn history or go to museums in years now.
Last week’s district meeting was on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. I had thoroughly prepared. The lesson went well, but not as well as I had hoped. I sometimes feel like doing district meeting for the office elders is more of a hassle for them than a blessing. They've got a billion things to do. Plus, their weekly meeting with President, where they report on their jobs, is directly after district meeting so I'm doubt they are excited for it. I try and make it interesting. I brought candles and we passed the Holy Ghost to each other. (Yes Dad, I got that from your Christmas story.) We held candles during the closing song, which I was hoping was going to be reverent. Some people just raised the candles and acted like they were at a concert. I was a little frustrated. It was still a good lesson, and I can't complain. How many dozens of school teachers, Sunday School teachers, and seminary teachers have put in a ton of effort to teach me, and I just acted like it was game. Yeah, I've got no right to complain.
This week we had a relatively of recent convert work with us. Most of my mission, we've just had a young man work with us for five hours, and whichever lessons he was there for were our lessons with a member present. In the city, we can do it differently. We have members meet us for one appointment at a specific time. This week we had a lesson with an investigator named Danielle at the church at 6:30 pm. Her peers were all at institute over in Jaro, so we were up the creek. Elder Manwill suggested we ask Holy Grace to come. She was thrilled to be invited. She works a lot, takes care of her dad, and isn't heavily involved in church, but she has a great testimony and loves the church. We ran over the lesson with her before Danielle came. We taught the atonement, and gave Holy Grace the part about the garden of Gethsemane and spiritual death. We practiced it a few times, and then during the lesson she nailed it. The lesson was great, but I think the best part was having Holy Grace teach with us. She says she wants to serve a mission. She's 19.
On Wednesday we met the San Padro barangay captain. We volunteered to do a service project with his barangay. Next week we are going to clean up trash from the bank of the river.
Our landlord is Brother Dako. "Dako" in ilonggo literally means big, and Bro Dako lives up to the name. He enjoys the missionaries, and he'll always talk to us while we to laundry and stuff. Whenever he sees us, he tries to have an hour long conversation with us. He's a funny guy, but sometimes we've don't have the time to talk to him. He really wants us to play majong with him, and even put a majong table in our house so we'd play with him. We told him "if we had time." So on Tuesday, Elder Manwill and I played "speed" together right after lunch. He killed me, but I acted like I was killing him. I was pretty loud, and the next thing I know, Brother Dako is calling us. "Hey, are you playing cards right now?! I'll be right over.” Elder Manwill and I looked at each other. We said "O.K., but only for a little bit." So, there we are playing majong with our landlord when we are supposed to be doing personal study. After about an hour, I told him that we have to stop now, and that we have stuff we have to do. I had told him that we were going to have to end about 30 minutes earlier, but he just kept on pushing the game. Majong is cool, but I'll wait until I'm home to get good at it.
We joined choir this week. Truly, we got drafted. Usually I'd rather just work than do ward activities, but we felt like it was good way to build relationships with the ward. Also, we sang "Come Thou Fount" which is one of my favorites. We rehearsed Tuesday and Saturday night. We needed the practice because we didn't have much talent. On Sunday at Ward Conference it went well though.
I went on splits with Elder Vennard this week. We did some good work, and in the evening he taught me some music theory about passing chords. I went on splits with Elder Vennard back when I was in San Juaquin and it was interesting to compare and see how far we’ve come since then.
Saturday I went on splits with Elder Galloway. He'll be pretty busy soon because transfers are coming up, so I went ahead and got it out of the way. While working with him, he had to take a few calls from President, and we had to run to the office twice. We still did good work. We got punted pretty hard, though. Most of the big appointments fell through, so we only got to do our back up plans. Also, we got a surprise call from the Mindoriao elders. They couldn't do their baptism in their area because they had no water, so I helped then get it all set up for doing it in Molo. The hardest part was running around trying to find a key in the heat of the day. It took us an hour and half to locate a key and pick it up. By the time we got to the church to open it up, we were sweating from head to toe. The Ward mission leader of Mindoriao wasn't there yet, so we started cleaning out the baptismal font for them. It was disgusting. To repay us for our sacrifice, Elder Light brought us burgers.
Sunday after church we got punted like I've never been punted in my life. We got punted 16 times! We went to everyone in our area. All of the members went to the 85th birthday celebration broadcast of President Monson, and all our investigators were at the new boardwalk that just opened up here in Iloilo. We had nobody to teach. Usually, if we get punted, we go and buy a soda. Since it was Sunday, we couldn't even do that! We eventually got a lesson at 7:30 with our recent convert Faye. She is now enrolled in seminary! So that's pretty sweet.
Church was nice. It was reverent. The stake president is boss. He gives some of the best talks ever. He actually talked about reverence for his talk. That's the same subject I talked about 6 weeks earlier.
We played soccer this morning.
Yesterday after church we got invited to a birthday party. Maria, of one of our investigators, has a baby brother that turned one. We were happy to go because we had not yet met her family. We tried our best to make a good impression. It was difficult, though, because there was a lot of drinking. They fed us to within a inch of our lives. People don't really know what to say to two white guys, so they just say "here, eat more." We'd rather talk, but we didn't have a choice in the matter. We left full.