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.

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