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.

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