Monday, October 1, 2012

my kids get along

Monday, October 1, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

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

on bamboo walk, between homes, over water
Last week we had way too much p-day.  We went souvenier shopping.  I am glad to have that out of the way, although I guess it's not really completed.  We also blew way too much money at a pizza place.  Then again, it was a very reasonable amount if you translate it to American money.  I also bought eight cans of root beer.  I don't find it all that often, so when I do, I load up.  So, yeah, I was pretty poor this week.  My funds came in today, so I'm fine again.  Anyway, p-day was ok, and I enjoyed it.

I also got a hair cut last p-day. My hair is now the shortest it will be for years to come. :)

Last week I was well prepared for district meeting.  I got there early, was well shaved, and had all the analogies a man could ever need.  The topic was how to begin a discussion with an investigator.  That is the easiest topic ever.  However, President and Sister Pagaduan decided to come.  Suddenly, comparing “the beginning of the discussion” to “making a good first impression on a girl” no longer seemed like a good idea.  I went halfway with it, looked at President, and did not continue the analogy.  I ended up getting kind of stiff and so the teaching didn't go great.  Everyone who is usually upbeat and happy to answer was super quiet.  Everyone was afraid to say anything that wasn't a quote from Preach My Gospel.  As a result, the district meeting was good, but not all that great.  To save anyone else the pain, I paired myself up with President for the teaching practice.

After district meeting, I was feeling way tired and light headed.  I decided to lie down.  Now, our landlord loves to talk to us every chance he can get, and before I got into the house, he caught me and held me there, trying to have a conversation.  I just told him "Bro Daku, I'm not feeling well, I need to go lie down."  While I was taking a nap, he decided to repair something in our house.  When I got up to do studies with Elder Maneateata, he heard me.  We had prayed and were getting on our way when he came upstairs.  He had a thermometer and a blood pressure thing.  For the next ten minutes, despite my protesting, I got examined by my landlord.  I turned out to be fine.  No one here believes you when you say that you’re feeling fine, and it’s sometimes annoying.  Brother Daku also added that I seem malnourished.  That's what skinny is called in the Philippines.

I went on splits with Elder Domincel later that evening.  He's the AP.  I enjoyed splits, and we taught four lessons together.  He likes to joke around, and I do too.  He and I were in the same district when I was in San Joaquin and he was in Tigbauan.  He was also my ZL in Antique.  We had a good time talking about old times.

We have been visiting a less active, nine-month pregnant girl and her boyfriend.  That's a difficult situation, but this last time the boyfriend's family joined the lesson.  Now we are teaching an eight person family.  We had an awesome "how to begin" with them.  We haven't been able to visit them again yet.  The baby was supposed to come Saturday, but hadn't come by Sunday evening.  I don't know medically what that even means.

Danielle joined us on a lesson with long time investigators Dale and Maia.  Maia is awesome and reads, but Dale is evasive.  We decided to go for broke and challenge them to baptism.  Maia wasn’t there for the lesson.  We were going to extend them a date, but it didn't happen.  Dale just gave excuse after excuse about how he can't get baptized because he needs to change, but needs to change on his own terms.  He can't be forced so he won't commit to a date.  He wouldn't listen to reason.  Danielle asked us why we even teach him after the lesson.

We gave a blessing to a five-year-old boy named Lester.  His mom is a less-active.  He had a real bad fever and has asthma.  We gave the blessing, and then Elder Maneateata did his amazing Polynesian head massage on the kid.  He got the kid to relax and fall asleep.  He had screamed and cried during the blessing.

We have a 17-year-old investigator who is a punk rocker.  He moves around a lot, and has been through so many missionaries.  Now we are teaching him.  He comes from a part member family, and we are just trying to help him develop some interest.  Each time, we do a 15-minute guitar lesson and then a 15-minute gospel lesson.  If he didn't read the pamphlet, then we skip the guitar lesson.  We've done it twice now.  Maybe that's not the best strategy, but it's one way that would have gotten my attention as a 17-year-old.

We've been looking for a new house.  We found a perfect one, but it's a little expensive.  It's not too much higher than our budget, but we can't extend our budget.  Elder Nunez tried to talk the old lady down, but she wouldn't budge.  President really liked the house and asked us to try again.  She’s Chinese, and Elder Nunez says they won’t budge on price.
On Saturday morning we had a double stake activity.  We all wore yellow shirts.  We first had a program where the institute students did a Korean hip dance that, apparently, is all the rage right now.  It was cool because Danielle participated.  We then walked along the river for a mile and a half or so.  They have this nice paved sidewalk near the river here in Iloilo.  The paved sidewalk is great because motorcycles aren't allowed to drive on it and run you over.  I mingled with a few different members during the walk.  When we returned from the walk, it was zumba time.  Zumba is exercise dancing.  There is a guy on a platform in front who “shakes his booty.”  You try to follow him, and in the mean time sweat like a pig.  We received permission to participate.  It was crazy to be able to move like that in public as a missionary.  We took advantage of the opportunity, but after four rounds of booty shaking we called it quits.  It was too hot, and only about 8 am.

Later in the day I went on splits with Elder Foshee.  We were trapped in the office until 5:00 p.m. with financial secretary work.  I helped him out.  I was the secretary to the financial secretary.  After 5:00, we taught two lessons and then got a call at 7:00 pm that we needed to go to St. Paul's hospital to pay for an Elder’s bills.  So our 7:00 p.m. appointment didn't happen, but we made our 8:00 p.m. appointment.  After that, Elder Foshee and I stayed up way too late talking.  I can't wait for him to get off his mission so we can hang out.

We visited Tatay Sanz twice this week, once with the guitar.  He likes our visiting.  He had a stroke and can't talk, but cries tears of joy when we visit him.

Last night taught Danielle a new member lesson.  She had a question about LDS beliefs on hell.  We then taught a four-minute discussion on hell.  That's the first time on my mission that I taught about hell.  I really enjoyed it.

There's sad news.  Maria has been having some pretty severe family problems.  We hadn't been able to visit her for a while, and we were sad about that, but we got even sadder last night.  She ran away from home, quit her job, and hasn't told anyone where she is.  She's not with anyone that her best friends know.  She's been gone four days. She won't answer calls from her family, and has only replied a few times to the texts of her best friends, Angel, Jessa and Isabel.  She doesn't have a change of clothes and is flat broke, and won't let anyone help her.  

Jessa suggested that I call her because she might answer our call.  I tried, but she didn't pick up.  I was bummed.  Later that evening, while closing the day, I got the impression to call her that moment.  She answered.  I got to talk with her for a few minutes.  I offered help, and told her that her friends and family love and miss her.  She said she can't go home, and she doesn't want help.  I didn't ask her location, but did find out she's sleeping in a cemetery.  At one point, I asked her how I could help.  She said that she is fine and content with her life.  I told her I didn't believe her.  She cried, and restated that she is content.  It was a heart breaking phone call.  Jessa was thrilled that I got through to her.  It at least shows that she is still alive.  Also, I'm told that Maria has started smoking again, and I'm guessing is doing drugs too.  I'm so down about this.  I wish I could search all over Iloilo for her, but of course I can't.  It's such a bummer.

Elders Maneateata and Sefeti
Today I met up with Elders Lowry, Sefeti, Galloway, Johnson, Domincel, and Nunez for lunch at my favorite Indian place.  Elders Maneateata and Sefeti got along great.  It was great to see my kids get along.

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