Monday, November 5, 2012

on the radio

Monday, November 5, 2012
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

To protect privacy, some names in this post have been altered.

This week was pretty crazy, with things that were awesome, and others that were the opposite.  I doubt I'll be able to do it justice.

Last Monday, as I had mentioned, we played football.  We played pretty darn hard, and we played for quite a while.  It was nice to not be playing basketball.  Anyway, I woke up Tuesday morning pretty darn sore.  It lasted until Sunday, each day feeling a bit better, but I could feel it all the way to Sunday.  I don't know why football killed me so much.  It was only flag football.  I thought that I was a sissy, but then I found out everyone else here was feeling it too.

I got my ecclesiastical interview last Tuesday.  When President asked the question about grooming standards, I said “If I go to BYU, then I will cut my hair.  It was good enough for him.

Last week's district meeting went just fine.  It was about using the Book of Mormon in teaching.  We practiced reading the Book of Mormon with investigators and pointing out key ideas.  It was a nice meeting.  Nowadays, I prepare the lessons by re-reading the Preach my Gospel sections about the subject, and then writing down a few questions to start a good discussion.  It is an approach we learned from Elder Bednar when he came.  He talked about how everyone should be able to say something it they want, and a teacher should be a leader of a discussion, not the discussion.  The people in my district tell me they enjoy district meeting because of how interactive it is.

Schools here have had semester break for about two weeks now.  It meant all the college students are on "vacation."  So we lost our "member present" work force.  Out total number of lessons with a member present dropped down by half this week.

I went on splits in Mandurioa this week.  The ZL's have this new thing where they can have DL's go on splits with other DL's for training reasons.  That meant I got to go on splits with Elder Thayne!  It didn't serve much purpose, since both he and I go home in 15 days.  It was fun none the less.  I love working with him.  He and I have been pals since the MTC, and it's sweet to see what kind of missionaries we've become.  It was also so sweet to get out of Molo.  Molo is like a war zone.  Mandurioa kind of is, too, but they brought me to their "bukid" area.  There weren't any mountains, but there were at least rice fields!  It was so cool to get mud on my shoes again!  I got to walk on rice paths again.

Elders Sparks and Thayne
Elder Thayne's is training his second kid.  He is Filipino, but from Idaho.  It freaks me out to see a person who looks like him but acts like an American.  It was just weird.  Anyway, Elder Sparks is way cool.  He's better at Ilonggo than most people three transfers ahead of him.  He's darn near fluent, and he's still in his first transfer.

Elder Thayne raved about some restaurant they had near their house.  He said that I had to eat there, so we did.  It was a nice place, but not really worth three hundred pesos!  ($7.50)  I got a smoothie.  I thought "Can't go wrong with a smoothie."  I was wrong.  It tasted great, but they served it in basically a shot glass.

I made homemade ice cream.  Our crazy tag-iya (house owner) gave me the mix as an early going away present.  I made it into cherry/vanilla ice cream.  I bought cherries in a jar.  It turned out great.  Then one of my comps turned off the fridge to let it thaw.  It wasn't so great when it froze again.  It was still good.

It was All Saints Day here this week.  That's when all the folks here go to the cemetery, light candles, and pray for their ancestors.  It was pretty crazy.  It killed most everybody’s work.  Our investigators must have longevity in their bloodline because it didn't hurt our work too bad.  I did buy some sweet candles though.  They were selling them everywhere.  The light in the bathroom I use died.  I figured candles could substitute just fine.

On Saturday I worked with Elder Kaaa.  He's from Hawaii, and acts a lot like Elder Eror.  That was fun.  We did some good work.  We got kind of punted, but we didn't mine.  We also bought firecrackers.  We had some fun with them, but not too much fun.

Sunday was pretty cool, but it was scary for a while.  About 9 am, I got a text from Maria saying she couldn't get to church.  That was lame because it meant she couldn't be baptized before I go home.  I was kind of down about it.  I called her to let her know that we'd have to push back her baptism again.  She said OK, and sorry.  I didn't try and push her or anything.  Then five minutes later she arrived at church.  She was pulling my leg.

Elders Waggoner and Johnson on the radio
Later that evening I got to go and sing and talk on the radio.  I was paired up with Elder Johnson.  He's a really nervous guy, but we talked it through and he didn't do too badly.  We talked about trials, and how they are part of God's plan, not just Satan getting in the way.  It was good.  We also sang Nearer My God to Thee and Did you Think to Pray.  I played the guitar and sang harmony.  I didn't sing the harmony too great on the second song.  My throat was kind of dry by then.  The program lasted about an hour.  We sang the first verse of "Nearer My God to Thee" in Tagalog.  The radio station owner was apparently listening, and called and asked us to sing another one.  We were already planning on it, but it was a nice that he liked it.

I fasted this week for last time on my mission.  I was pretty hungry.  I broke my fast at the Katipunan's house at 6 pm.  I really like them.

I had a crazy dream this week.  I dreamed that I was back home, and had been there for a few days, and realized that I had never been released.  I asked Dad about it, and he said "Oh yeah, that's right, let's go take care of that."  We went to the stake center, and I went into the stake president's office.  It was a guy with messy blonde hair and a Hawaiian shirt on.  He was joking about my mission.  He was talking about it real casually.  I got offended and walked out.  Dad was in the other room.  I said something like "That's the new stake president?!"  Dad told me it was just a joke, President Richards was in the other room.

We played football again today.  I started feeling it real badly again afterwards.  Elder Christian helped me stretch, but it wasn't helping much.  He told me that I should probably get my muscles warm again, then stretch some more (he used to work at a gym.)  I didn't want to be sore this whole week again.  He was hoping to work out after the football game at a gym in Arevalo, so I accompanied.  I rode a stationary bike, and did a few more things to help my leg muscles.  I stretched in between the exercises.  For the most part, it got rid of my sore muscles, but I can still feel it in my upper leg.

The Elder who was so difficult recently has not improved and his behavior has been an impediment to the work. He has offended a number of less-active members, and caused several investigators to quit taking discussions. The issues include his in-your-face teaching style, being overly critical when people fail to keep commitments, being disruptive during discussions, and playing inappropriate pranks. It also appears that he has been going through the possessions of other missionaries and sending unauthorized text messages. When he gets caught, he becomes angry and abusive. Even members have been complaining.

When members complain to me, I follow the good companion approach and say things such as "Well, no missionary is perfect, and he's only been a member for two years." Still, I was tempted to join in on the complaining.