Monday, August 27, 2012

the Bronx of Iloilo

Monday, August 27, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Many names in this blog are changed to protect privacy, and the editor's comments appear in italicized purple text.  

You may not be aware of this, but Molo is like the Bronx of Iloilo city.  It's crowded and loud, but we make it work.

Last week in district meeting, I taught about resolving concerns with prayer.  I don't know how it is in Argentina and Holland (Mom’s and Dad’s missions), but people here have a difficult time learning to pray.  Some people will pray like they aren't even talking to god.  They will use the word naton instead of namon.  Naton includes the person you are talking to, but namon doesn't.  So, when somebody says “amay naton sa langit" it means our father in heaven.  The our includes the person you're talking to.  They don't even understand that prayer is really communication with God.  Also, they pray to Mary, and think they can only pray in church, and they use a rosary or the recite memorized prayers.  It’s an uphill battle for prayer in the Philippines.

In district meeting, we practiced resolving concerns about prayer.  I had three more experienced missionaries role play like they were investigators, each with a different challenge with prayer.  We had everyone rotate stations, and afterward we evaluated how we had done.  Some people really got into their characters. I had Elder Galloway act like someone who was super fancy, but not sincere in his prayers.  He got way into it.  He might have bordered on sacrilegious, but we run into all these things a lot so it was appropriate

There are once again a ton of people in my district.  The replacements for the office are already here.  The district had 11 people last week, but this week it may have 15.  Elder Bednar is coming tomorrow, and I teach district meeting at the same chapel as the mission office.  So yeah, if that happens I'll tell you how that goes.  Pray for me.

On Tuesday, I went to Mandurriao and did some baptismal interviews.  Elders Light and Christianson are baptizing a family of eight.  The DL of Mandurriao interviewed four, and I interviewed the other four.  I was so cool.  This family was super prepared.  It was quite a spiritual experience interviewing these people.  I interviewed the father.  He gave up alcohol and some other things in order to be baptized.  It made me think “How can it be that I'm the one who interviews people for baptism?”  Anyways, they all passed.

We got our apartment checked Wednesday morning.  Having had some unpleasant experiences in the past, I was a little uneasy about getting checked.  I was ready to fight to the death to keep my UNO cards.  I didn't need to.  The Dyers, a senior couple from Guimaras, were super nice.  The only problem was our fridge.  We joked around a bit with them, too.  They asked us what kind of clean up stuff we used.  I told them muriatic acid.  They said that muriatic acid is a little too strong for most clean up jobs.  I told them we let it get so dirty that muriatic acid is the only thing that can do the job. 

On Wednesday night we got punted, so we went to visit one of our favorite members, Holy Grace.  We talked to her about the joys of serving a mission.  She said she wants to.  We went over Section 4 in D&C with her.  Elder Manwill had a good time.

After the lesson about missionary work with Holy Grace, we had something funny happen.  We were walking home and found a poor baby kitten in the middle of a busy road.  I hate cats, but we did what we needed to save it.  When Elder Manwill put it down, it cried.  Then it walked over to him.  It obviously had no momma.  We debated about what to do with it.  I said it was ok to bring it home until we can find a home for it.  Elder Manwill didn't want to break the rules in the least bit, so we decided to run back to Holy Grace's and ask her to take it.  She thought we were weird.  She didn't want to take it.  We had her hold it real quick and then we ran.  We laughed all the way home. 

She put the cat in an abandoned house by her place.  I guess there are a bunch of other cats there too.  She named the cat Wagwill. 

Our investigator Danielle is doing super well.  We reviewed the Ten Commandments with her.  We talked to her about not praying to statues and stuff.   She asked us "but what about Catholics?  I was raised Catholic."  I was about to explain how we have to change in order to follow God’s commandments, but she cut me off "I'm just kidding.  I'm going to be LDs on the 8th."  Man, she's funny. 

On Friday I went on splits with Elder Light for the last time on my mission.  He's going home in October, and transferring this week. I enjoyed being with Elder Light, but it was one of the hardest days of my mission.  Man, we got so punted.  I had texted everyone the night before, so I had a pretty solid schedule.  If the day would have gone as planned it would have been excellent, but it didn't.  In fact, only one of our lessons actually pulled through!  It was insane.  We had to resort to tracting!  And we didn't just have the lesson fall through.  We had investigators drop us!  We had some sweet investigators, and they straight up dropped us!  I was bummed.  Three in total!  Man.  I was devastated that day – just so out of it.

At one point in the day I hopped on the wrong jeep!  My mind was in some other place.  We had one appointment at 6:00 that I was so stoked for!  It was another one with Danielle.  We had set it up to teach her at the church.  She asked to be taught at 7:00, so we changed it to then. Then the fellowshipper bailed on us.  We tried to find someone else, but all the people her age were at institute.  Then we get to the church and they were locking up because seminary ended early.  The only people there were from the other ward, so I couldn't borrow a key.  We texted her and cancelled with her.  At that point my mood turned sour.  We just walked off in the direction of backup plan #123.  

On the way we ran into Danielle.  She said it's ok to teach her wherever, so we decided to take her to Holy Grace’s.  (I had texted Holy Grace, but she hadn’t texted back).  We just showed up, and Holy Grace was cool with it.  Also, Maria was there.  She’s a super awesome investigator that recently got a job and has become difficult to get a hold of, so that was sweet.  We taught them all the law of chastity.  There were some local male young adult riff raffs that joined in too.  They caused some problems with their laughing and taunting questions about condoms and stuff like that.  Elder Light and I didn't get aggravated, but Holy Grace got a little embarrassed.  Danielle met every taunt of theirs with a quick witted reply.  Man, it was cool to watch.  Usually distractions like that suck, but this time it was good.  It was cool to see Maria and Danielle stand up for what we had taught them.

We ate at the Indian food place on Saturday.  We talked about Elder Manwill going senior, and me training again.  The food was good, and the conversation was great. 

Right now my district consist of Elders Manwill, Foshee, Vennard, Lado, Advencula, Nunez, Galloway, Loe, Domincel, Johnson, and me. 

Church was lame.  We kind of expected it because of how bad the week had gone.  I felt like I was serving a mission in Germany or something.  Danielle came, so that was sweet, but no one else did.  We had four less-active members that we thought were going to come!  If they had come, they would have now been counted as active.  Because they didn't come, we have to restart the count again. 

I'm fine.  I'm happy, but we did have a sucky week.  I'm sad to have a new missionary come right now when the area is like this.  I'm going to try get it back up and running as quickly as possible, though. 

Yesterday was nice though.  We had some appointments pull through, and got fed at the Katipunan's house.  I talked with the father about raising kids.  He taught his many kids how to use the potty.  I've taught my first kid how to speak Kinaray-a, and when my next one arrives, I'll teach him Ilonggo. 

We had departing missionaries come sleep at our house last night.  They are scared to go home.  They mostly just talked about working hard now because it ends real soon.

We went with a bunch of them to a member’s house here in Molo.  They fed us to within an inch of our lives.  I ate a lot because I could. 

A little bird told me (naghutik ang isa ka pispis sa akon) that I'm training another Polynesian.  It could be Elder Sefeti's cousin!  Really. 

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