Monday, September 24, 2012

an umbrella on a crowded subway

Monday, September 24, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Most names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy.

Things here in Molo are getting better.  We hit a rough patch with investigators dropping us and falling off the map, but I feel better now; we have some making progress, and we've let some others go.  I'm not about to go pushing things that aren’t going to happen, and we have enough going on now that doing so is a poor use of our time.

Last week’s district meeting went really well.  Dad, I took your approach.  I just studied a bunch of scriptures, wrote down five things that I wanted to discuss, and listened carefully.  It ended up being a great discussion.  Most of the people in my district have been out for quite a while now, and there aren’t too many of us old timers left.  I'm always afraid to bore these guys to death.  I've seemed to avoid that for the most part.

I went on splits with Elder Johnson this last week.  He came to my area.  We got good and punted, but kept on working.  We ended up only teaching three lessons, and most of them were to kids or teenagers.  He remarked that my lessons were too quick - only about 25 minutes each - but I told him that I wouldn't want to listen to somebody talk to me about Jesus for more than that when I was their age.  Most of time, people don't want to listen to as much as we have say.  I found the most effective thing is to teach somebody for a short period of time a couple times a week.  Maybe he got something along those lines out of the splits.  Let me tell you what I got out of the splits: I learned the plots of seven different movies I haven't seen.

We keep on running into President Pagaduan.  I like President, he's a good guy.  It's just that I have this natural problem with authority.  We ran into him twice this week.  

The first time we saw them, it was Wednesday, and we were going to visit a less active man who had a stroke.  We had the guitar with us, and President asked us why.  We explained that we were going to sing to someone.  He also said "Elder Waggoner, I keep running into you."  I told him "I'm sorry, it won't happen again - I promise."  He laughed a bit.

After running into President, we went to sing songs to Brother Sanz.  We sang "How Great Thou Art."  He was all choked up.  He can't speak anymore, and we didn't know if he was crying in a good way or a bad way.  We asked him and he gave us a weak thumbs up.  We kept on singing.

We got a pretty cool referral.  A girl from Elder Galloway's area moved into our area.  She's pregnant, and has moved in with the father's" family.  She's only seventeen, and her boyfriend is twenty-one.  We are excited about them.  We have been invited to see the baby when it makes its appearance on the 29th of this month.  We really want to become close with these two because now is the decision she'll make whether she stays in the church or leaves it.  She's way shy because she's seventeen and pregnant, and said she's afraid of being judged if she goes to church.  I don't blame her, and we're going to help out.

Danielle is doing great.  She loves institute, has a new calling, is planning on going on a mission, went to one of those satellite devotionals, has been hanging out with other members, and told us how much cooler we are than Jehovah Witnesses.  When we asked her why, she said because we share everything, and they just repeat the same stuff over and over again - about Jehovah being god.  We then showed her that Jehovah is Jesus Christ.  She high-fived us.

She gave us an awesome referral a few weeks ago.  He's pretty busy, but we've been having some sweet lessons with him.  He's a working student and rarely has free time.  We have to take what time we can get.  The time we got was 8:30 Thursday night.  It was an awesome lesson.  We went over the Book of Mormon, and asked some great questions.  The lesson didn't get started right away, and then went too long.  It was an appropriate amount of time because the spirit was there, but it was too long because the latest we can stay out teaching is 9:30 and the lesson didn't end until 9:42.  Oops!  (I don't feel bad about it)

We ran into President and Sister again Saturday night.  It was about 8:30, and it was raining.  They just drove on by, and I was relieved.  Then I received a text message from Sister Pagaduan, asking me where my umbrella was.  I literally cannot use an umbrella in my area.  Try using an umbrella on a crowded subway.  That's what this place is like.

Maria has gotten a job in La Paz, is rarely home, and is not doing well. It's sad, but we've sort of accepted it.  We are teaching another friend of Jessa’s, though.  She has always been around, but never really started listening until recently.  She's doing well.  Her name is Angel.  She said she was going to go to church.  I asked her why.  She said “To know if it's true of course."  She didn't end up going because she had to do something for her father, but it's cool to see someone who has some real desire.

Actually, I'm kind of glad she didn't go to church because it was terrible.  It was so loud.  Everyone was in some side conversation during sacrament meeting.  You couldn't hear the speaker, and the speaker has a microphone!  This ward has a ton of young single adults, and they just love to hang out and mess around.  Most of them act like I did when I was a deacon.  If you thought I was a problem, well, you have no idea.  We sat in the back and couldn't concentrate because we were distracted by everyone messing around in front of us.  

I don't think Felix, Danielle's referral, enjoyed church.  Danielle doesn't either.  I'm actually quite bothered about it.  Here we are, we bring a near-golden investigator to church, we've been having great lessons with him, and we teach him about how the Lord’s church is back on earth.  Then he attends a meeting, and sees that everyone is acting irreverently.  I know I was sometimes difficult at church, and that I was disruptive in my fair share of Sunday School and seminary lessons, but man, why does karma take it out on my investigators?!

We talked about it in correlation. I was calm about it, but I did explain how a bad Sacrament meeting can make the 30 lessons we do a week of absolutely no use.  Bishop said he'd work on it.  

There is this golden investigator named Lanielle.  She had been to church something like sixteen times in a row, then she moved just before I arrived.  Well, she's back now.  She asked us about baptism. Bishop had advised us not to baptize her without her family joining too.  I understand where Bishop is coming from.  He doesn't want a baptism to turn into yet another less-active two months later.  There have been plenty of 15-year-old girls baptized that are now nowhere to be found.

We tried harder to get the family involved, but every time we got to their house, the family runs away, and she's the only one who listens.  Each lesson, she has read the assignment and is ready to talk about it.  So, I was a little bummed about the Bishop’s stance.  I brought it up in correlation, and he changed his mind.  We gave Lanielle a baptismal date yesterday, and she was super excited.  She said something like "I'll never miss church ever!"

Last evening, we taught Angel at Jessa’s house.  It was a good lesson, and as we were leaving, I broke her floor.  Her floor is bamboo slats, and I stepped in the wrong place and my foot went through.  It was pretty funny.  Their bamboo is pretty old, and she wasn't upset.  She even gave me a plastic bag to carry my wet sock in.  (Under the house is a pool of water.)

We played basketball this morning.  Only the white handbook kept it from becoming a Harlem Globetrotters game.  Elders Maneateata, Galloway, and I played basketball with one of their investigators.  Besides the investigator, we don't know how to play basketball.  Elder Maneateata is good, but he plays it more like volleyball.  There were a wide range of funny tricks, including long haul granny shots and rolling the ball on the ground to pass it.  The final blow was when Elder Galloway was falling over and put up his foot.  It caught me in the wrong place, and we called the game done.

I hope it doesn’t sound as if I’m complaining a bit.  The work is going great, and the spirit is working with us.  I now have less than two months left.  That's kind of a crazy thing.  The folks in my batch that didn't extend go home in about two weeks.

Well that's all I’ve got.  I love you guys.

Monday, September 17, 2012

it was a nice lift

Monday, September 17, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Many names in this blog are changed to protect privacy, and any editor comments are italicized in purple.

Life is pretty alright.  I just had myself a good p-day.

Last Tuesday was zone meeting, which meant we didn’t have District Meeting, which meant I didn't have to prepare a lesson.  I was happy because I usually spend my Monday evenings skipping writing in my journal, and spend it making a lesson plan.  I was happy to relax and just enjoy the meeting.  It went pretty well.  At one point I had to stand up and do an accounting of the work in my district.  I did that, and then I said "Now, to show my love for my district, I would like to sing a little song."  It was at this point last zone meeting that Elder Light took the mic away from me, but this time I got to really do it.  "District I love you, district I do, Father in Heaven has sent me to you; When I am near you, I love to hear you, whisper so softly that you love me too.  Elders Nunez and Domincel and Galloway and Johnson and Maneateata and Foshee and Advincula, I love you, I do."  (This is an adaptation of a song that Elder Waggoner’s mother sometimes sang to him and his siblings at bedtime.)  There was not a dry eye in the place.  Just kidding.

The following day was a district leaders’ training meeting.  It was pretty good.  I had a lot of fun, and I got to catch up with Elder Lowry.  He's having a good time on Guimaras.  He says that Elder Sefeti is still pretty Kinaray-a.  Apparently people on Guimaras think it's way funny to hear Kinaray-a.  I learned a bit at the training, and got to participate quite a bit.  Sister Pagaduan even called on me to help everyone wake up.  I decided to lead the 16 of us in a round of the Hokey Pokey.  Sister also told me that she is glad I am extending. 

The meeting ended at 3:30, and we were out working at 4:00.  As we were leaving our apartment and getting to the main road, a car pulled over to us.  It was President and Sister.  They said "Get in we will give you a ride."  They drove us about 100 yards before we all realized we were headed different directions.  It was a nice lift though.

On Thursday we got a call from the office asking us to take an elder with us for a couple of hours.  His name is Elder Turner.  He's from the same batch as Elder Maneateata, so he doesn't really know what's going on in lessons yet.  It was alright, but it wasn't too smooth to bring two elders who don't know what's going on in the lessons.  One of them fell asleep!  I remember what it was like to walk around all day in the heat and not know what was going on.  Those poor guys.  Elder Turner worked with us until 3:00 p.m. that day.

Danielle is doing great.  We had a lesson about temples with her the other day, and she just loved it.  She is attending institute, which is something I'd hate to do, but I'm glad she is.  She has a goal to go to the temple in October, and she was confirmed this past Sunday.  She is way solid.  She may be the most solid convert I've taught.  She was just so ready. 

Since I've arrived here, we've been teaching four girls, all about 19 years old.  They are Jessa, Maria, Isabel and Angel.  Jessa and Isabel are members, but Isabel is less active.  Angel joins the lessons sometimes, but mostly listens because we're cute.  Maria used to be a great investigator, and was so close to getting baptized.  She's still doing well, but in the past she was on fire.  We are currently trying to get her on fire again.  She's having a rough time with her family persecuting her a bit, but she thinks they'll understand sooner or later.  Anyway, this last week I decided it would be a good idea to talk about the atonement again, but talk about it more in depth.  Yeah, bad idea.  Man, it confused them so badly.  I wish we hadn't taught that lesson.  We ended pp somehow getting into Pre-mortal Christ.  It was lame.  The lesson a few days later was a lot better though.

We've been kind of punted lately.  People in the city flake from plans so often, it is unpredictable sometimes.  We set awesome plans, we coordinate with members, have everything arranged, and then one lesson falls through, and then the next, and then they all fall through.  It is so inconvenient.  I knew I had this coming because back in Antique, I told Elder Sefeti that patience is a waste of time.  Now God is showing me what he thinks of that comment

Church was all right.  We had two investigators there.  I got to teach the investigators class.  We talked about faith.  Elders Galloway and Johnson had two investigators there, too.  They were some die hard Catholics, and really enjoyed the lesson.  After church we had a pretty good correlation with the bishop, and Danielle joined the ward choir!

Later that afternoon we were teaching a family when I heard shouts and crying, and the sound that a piece of bamboo makes against skin.  At first I let it go, but then it just got more intense.  I stuck my head out the window, and saw a 14-year-old girl beating a four-year-old for "lying to her."  I interrupted the lesson to call to her to stop.  Elder Maneateata didn't think I should do so, and told me it wasn't our business.  I ignored him.  I went over to the house after the lesson and told the girl never to do it again. 

I have only two months left.  That's weird.  I can't believe that time has gone this fast.  I'm kind of ready to move on and do other things, but at the same time I feel that I am just getting good at this whole mission thing.  I don't know.  Elder Lowry goes home in three weeks.  Weird.  I plan to keep working and finish strong, but still have fun.  I got my x-rays today - the ones you have to get before you go home.  Pretty soon, I’ll receive my flight plans!  It's just plain weird.

Our work area is way flooded.  I asked President if we could use mission funds to buy a canoe; he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

Monday, September 10, 2012

another interesting week

Monday, September 10, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Many names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy.  The italicized, purple text are the editor’s comments.

We had another interesting week, with lots of ups and downs.  The work in Molo is unpredictable.  In Bugasong, we had three separate routes that we followed twice each week.  This place has no route, and I have never seen a day go as planned.  The twists and turns are ridiculous -  I wonder why we plan.  One day we'll teach eight lessons, and the things will go great, then the next day we'll teach only one lesson!  This week, our timing was bad every day except Sunday.  For instance, we worked from 1pm - 9 pm on Wednesday and taught three lessons.  Sunday, we worked from 4-8:30 and got 5! 

My district meeting this last week was kind of boring.  We covered the material, but I just didn't seem to make it interesting.  I was pretty prepared, too.  Maybe most of us were just hung over from P-day? 

After district meeting, I went on splits with Elder Naylor in my area.  He was here to interview Danielle for baptism.  She frequently needs to change her schedule, and she changed the time of the interview about eight times before it happened.  The interview went fine, and she passed easily.  Also, she kept on joking around with Elder Naylor, pretending she had done serious crime in the third grade and stuff like that.  After each joke, she would admit she was just messing with him and then shoot him straight.  He and I did some good work together.  He's from Salt Lake City.

On Wednesday I did an interview in Elder Foshee's area.  This investigator used to be mine when we worked together.  Her name is Kiara.  She was way solid even back when I was teaching her.  The interview went about an hour, and it turns out that Elder Foshee was nervous because it went so long.  We discussed a lot of stuff like serving the church, sacrifice, and missionary work.  We also talked about her father, who just passed away.  It was my favorite interview ever.  I've been so lucky as a district leader.  I get to interview all the people whose testimony just got sparked, and is burning like a roman candle.  I walk out of those interviews wanting to be a better person. 

This last week we had a great lesson with a person who was referred by Danielle.  We brought a convert of about a year with us.  Danielle was there too.  It was awesome.  Basically, I just asked these two about the restoration and then the Book of Mormon, and how they came to know it was true.  I just filled in what they omitted.  Elder Bednar showed us how to do that in his training last week, and it was awesome to do it.  It wasn't a testimony meeting, but more testimony was said in that lesson then a typical 1st Sunday of the month in sacrament meeting.  After the lesson, we were all just so stoked.  We haven't been able to visit him again yet.  We hope to later tonight.  It will be an interesting follow up lesson.

Many evenings, we meet up with some other elders at a local gas station.  It's a nice American-style gas station.  We talk about things.  Elder Galloway and his companion are usually there, and sometimes Elders Foshee and Advincula.  It's just a nice time.  Last Wednesday, we finished our work kind of early and decided to hit up Caltex for some food.  When we arrived, Elder Galloways and Johnson were there too.  We talked for a good hour, just telling crazy mission stories.  We had Elder Maneateata rolling on the floor. 

Leading up to the baptism was super stressful.  Some things weren’t being completed on the ward’s side, and after some lame exchanges of text messages, I went ahead and texted the bishop.  I told him what still needed to be done before the baptism.  The bishop followed up on things, and for the most part the baptism went ok. 

One problem we encountered was that it was Danielle’s semi-final volleyball game at the exact same time as the baptism.  She chose the baptism, but only after a member had talked to her.  I think she kind of got cold feet about it.  It’s a good thing our member was there.  Then she showed up a bit late to the baptism, which is completely acceptable in this country.  The person responsible for her baptismal clothing hadn’t checked on it, even though we reminded him.  The only suit that fit Danielle was broken.  The zipper wouldn't go up.  So we spent a while trying to fix that, and then decided to just go buy safety pins.  After obtaining those, we ran into the Mandurrioa Elders who had a baptism at our chapel directly after ours.  There ward mission leader had brought all the baptismal suits from his ward, so he saved us.  The only problem now was there baptism was supposed to be at 5:00, and ours was just now starting and it was 4:30. 

Everyone was taking their sweet time during the service.  Sister Danielle was stressed because she was missing her semi-final game, and I was stressed because there is baptism starting right after ours.  Still, it was a nice service anyway.  Elder Maneateata and I sang "How Great thou Art."  It was good.  Elder Maneateata has such a smooth baritone voice, and I managed to get some treble in mine.  It was nice.  We sing together a lot. 

Church on Sunday was heartbreaking.  It was the first time months that I've struck out.  We had no investigators at church, and not only that, but Sister Danielle showed up to late for sacrament that she wasn't able to get confirmed.  Danielle is one of the most solid converts of my mission.  She has a great testimony, but she has her clock set for the wrong time zone.  I felt like dying, but I guess she'll get confirmed next week.  Man, do I feel stupid reporting that I had one baptism and zero confirmed!  Only in the Philippines! 

The work that afternoon went extremely well.  After a good meal and some good lessons, I got over my Sunday-worship-induced depression.  We had maybe one of the most effective days of work I've ever had in Molo.  We taught a new less-active we found.  She has been a real prodigal daughter and feels way bad, and is super shy to come back to church.  We talked about repentance.  It was a pretty weird second lesson, but it was a great lesson.  She really opened up to us so we were able to really teach to her needs.

Another lesson was with a less-active family that we inherited from another set of missionaries.  There was a complication, and President suggested that we teach them.  I didn't really know where to start, so we talked with them for a while.  I still didn't know what to share, so we had a testimony meeting.  We all bored a short testimony.  After that, I knew what we should teach about.  We talked about how trials build our faith.

Another lesson was with Maria, and Holy Grace was there too.  We talked about 1 Nephi 3-4, but really drifted into different subjects.  We also discussed Ether 12, showing how we receive "no witness until after the trial of faith."  Then, to make things super clear, we talked about "faith without works is dead."  One part of the lesson was way good.  She had drifted kind of far from us when she got a job, but she realizes she isn't as happy and wants to get back to where she used to be.  We have an appointment with her again tomorrow night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

a very busy week

Monday, September 3, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Many names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy.  The italicized, purple text are the editor’s comments.

This was transfer week, and because Molo is by the mission office, we see a lot of things go down.  It’s an exciting and stressful scene, and with Elder Bednar’s visit this last week, that added a whole new level of excitement and stress. 

Last Monday, we visited a member of ours in the hospital.  I think this was his third stroke.  His name is brother Sanz.  I may have told you about him before.  He's a really less-active member.  He's actually been pretty rude to us a few times, but I think that's because he's a cranky old man, and not because we did anything wrong.  So, we let that slide.   Well, we figured it was a good idea to bring the guitar and sing to him.  When we arrived, and finally found him, it wasn’t even visiting hours.  They let us visit him anyway because we were two white guys in a dress shirts and ties, and we are carrying a guitar.  We sang him two hymns that we thought would put him in good spirits.  It worked.  We sang “Count Your Many Blessings" and "Sunshine in my Soul."  Maybe he liked them a little much and we sang them a little too well.  It attracted the attention of a lot of nurses, and then Brother Sanz started to laugh.  Laughing is normally great, but I just learned that it’s not so great after a stroke.  He coughed and choked, and then we had to tone it down before the nurses chased us out.  All in all, we felt good about it.

Later that night we had a really fun FHE.  The other Elders came too, which made it a blast.  We had the FHE over at Holy Grace's house, and two investigators and a less-active were there.  The lesson was a little lame because people weren't all that into it yet.  But everyone got really into the games.  We got pretty loud I guess, and some neighbors came by to see what was going on.  We had a ton of fun.  Later that night, we got a text from one of our investigators saying that she hadn’t thought she could have that much fun that way. 

District Meeting on Tuesday morning went really well.  We talked about solving concerns using the Book of Mormon.  I used as many Elder Bednar quotes as I could.  I was trying to get my already anxious district more excited (or stressed) about Elder Bednar coming.  He was arriving a few minutes after District Meeting. 

Elder Bednar was great.  It was a very spiritual three hours, but it didn't seem like three hours.  It was too quick.  He talked about asking good questions and helping investigators find answers for themselves instead of just giving it to them.  He talked about faith and learning through the power of the Holy Ghost.  He talked about a lot of things that I felt the mission needed.  I don't mean to sound cocky, but for a long time now I've been saying a lot of the things he talked.  It was cool to see him talk about it.  The last hour was just questions.  He advised us to only ask good questions.  So that meant I had no questions.  When he answered people's question, he usually answered them through the scriptures.  He had people read them, and explained the scriptures.  He didn't just answer questions straight.

After the closing prayer, we were all really happy and reverent, and we each stayed put, waiting to be called up to shake hands with him.  It was very reverent, and we were still feeling the spirit.  Then out of the blue the unthinkable happened.  Some sister missionary stood up and asked at the top of her lungs "Elder Bednar!  Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son!  Have you seen God the Father and the So?"  I can't imagine what was going through that brain of hers.  Elder Bendar said "I will not answer your question."  What followed was the epitome of awkward silence. 

The next day I worked with Elder Soderquist and Elder Romanillios.  The latter replaced me as companion with Elder Sefeti.  They were in town picking up their new trainees, and they worked with me.  We did some good work, and it was a blast working with two extremely good missionaries.  We ended up doing a lot of tracting, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We worked hard.  Near the end of the day, Elder Romanillios made a remark something like "Now I know what Elder Sefeti was talking about."  I asked what he meant.  He said that Elder Sefeti complained a bit about how hard I worked him.  That made me feel good.

Later that night, Elder Sefeti slept at the Molo apartment, and I asked him about it.  He said something like "Yeah, you always made me so tired!"  Again, that made me feel good.

Earlier in the day Wednesday, I got a call from the A.P. asking me if I could put 12 missionaries to work in my district.  I kind of did, but they mostly did it by themselves.  We had elders working in every area in the district, just tracting and meeting people.  It turned out to be a good success.  We got a list of eleven people to go and follow up with.  We've only had time to find two of them so far, though. 

It would be nice to be on Guimaras right now.  Some of my favorite elders are there.  Elders Light, Loe (in Sibunag), Elder Quinantoto (ZL in Jordan), and Lowry (senior of Elder Sefeti.) 

Elders Waggoner & Maneateata
My new companion is Elder Maneateata.  He's from Kiribati.  A small group of islands somewhere.  He's way nice, and not too great at English.  He wakes up early every morning and plays my guitar.  He sings some awesome island songs in his language.  I can't think of a better way to wake up.  We have hard time communicating, but it's all good.  He really likes mango smoothies, and we've had maybe three each day.  Yesterday was hard for him because we were fasting, and it was Sunday, so he couldn't get any.  I am super happy that's he's my last companion.  It will be super easy to "endure to the end" with him.  The ward already likes him.  He smiles really big, and is just happy.  He is the only member in his family, and was baptized in 2008.  There is no electricity on his island.  Anyway, he's cool.

Elder Manwill is in Passi. 

I took Elder Maneateata out for Arroz Caldo.  He didn't like it.  He wouldn't say he didn't like it, but he only had a few bites. 

Danielle is doing great.  She gave us an awesome referral too.  She's going to be baptized this Saturday.  We are hoping her member friend can do it, but if not it will be Elder Maneateata's first.  Anyway, things are going great.  We did have a bit of hic-up Saturday night.  A concerned member told us that Danielle has recently entered a relationship with another girl.  I laughed at them.  They didn't laugh back.  They were dead serious.  It didn't make sense in my head.  We clearly went over the law of chastity with her, and she had no problems.  I told the members that it's probably just a joke, and we don't need to worry about it.  They said that I needed to make sure.

We talked to her the next day after church.  Like I thought, it was a joke.  If the member had told me all they really knew, then I would have been able to tell that it was a joke.  She says she’s engaged to another girl on her Facebook.  If I had known that before, I wouldn't have had to worry about it.  It felt stupid asking an investigator about a rumor that started on her Facebook page, but it was alright.

We finally got to teach Maria last night!  She's been so busy with her new job that she had stopped progressing entirely.  Then she felt bad, and started not texting back.  We finally got to meet with her.  She told us that she wanted to more or less put us on the backburner because her life is too hectic right now.  I've never really been a bold missionary, but yesterday I was.  We used Alma 32, and explained what would happen to her faith if she continued on the path she was on.  We also talked about some spiritual lessons we've had in the past.  We talked about how far she's come, and how she can't just throw it away.  By the end of the lesson she said she'd start having us over at least twice a week no matter how busy her schedule was.  She's also having some persecution from her family about it.  Holy Grace helped us with that one.  She went through that too when she joined the church. 

Church yesterday was O.K.  Two investigators came, but only right before the last meeting, which was Sacrament.  My new comp bore his testimony and told the ward he loved them.  The ward was heart struck.  They seem to really be taking him in.

This morning we woke up at 5:30 and played basketball.  I hate waking up early nowadays, but Elder Maneateata wanted to play basketball, so we did.  We ended up having a real good time.

I just barely we caught lunch with Elder Johnson and Elder Galloway.  It was Elder Johnson’s birthday.  We ate a lot of pizza.

This week I have seen a ton of elders come and go at my apartment.  The departing missionaries slept there Sunday night.  A ton of people slept there Tuesday night in preparation for Elder Bednar.  The new missionaries slept there Wednesday night.  By the time I brought Elder Maneateata home on Thursday, the place was a mess.  We got to clean it today.