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. 

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