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Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 15: First Baptisms!!!!!

Hey Howdy!

Another great week here in the Philippines. This week was really tough as far as teaching and it seemed like we were walking around all week from blown appointments but things really culminated on Saturday and Sunday.

Jofferson (right) and friend on baptism day
On Saturday I baptized Jofferson and it was awesome.  I also baptized an 8 year old girl that lives by him, whose family is members but couldn’t baptize her. It was really cool and the rest the day we went to the baptism of 5 other people around the city. It was a really cool day. Also we have another baptism next week of an 18 year old kid named Michael. He and his family have been investigating on and off for over two years and now he is the only on that has been progressing but he has been doing really awesome and he asked us how if he can go on a mission in the future! He even wore a shirt and tie to church -- here, like not even half the members wear nice clothes to church. Elder Weaver said that the majority have Sunday clothes but are just too casual or lazy to wear them;  it kind of drives me crazy, to be honest -- so that’s really awesome.

Sunday a new investigator of ours came to church for the second time in a row, we didn’t even have to pick them up, and she brought her child as well. She seems really golden. We introduced the word of wisdom and she drinks coffee, tea and occasionally drinks but after we told her those aren’t allowed she said, if we say its not allowed she won’t use those any more because she already knows the church is true! That is some awesome faith and I am really excited for her!
Elder Griffin and Elder Weaver

Elder Weaver has been kind of sick this week but we have still been able to work.   I have been surprisingly healthy (knock on wood) and things are pretty good. Tomorrow at district meeting we find out if we are transferred or not and on Thursday is the transfer meeting in Cauauyan if one of us does get transferred. I hope not. President told a few people that they are being transferred and where but when we saw him on Thursday at MacDonald’s he wouldn’t tell us either way what was happening. I guess tomorrow we'll find out!

The ward is still pretty unorganized but they are finally helping us out more. We also reactivated this 16-year-old kid and now he works with us all the time, which is awesome for the work! It makes it so we can teach all the people where no male is present and turns every lesson into a Member present lesson, which is the goal for every lesson. His name is Jason and he is really cool. He said he dropped out of high school last November (HS here only goes to 16) so we will try to get him to go back to school. It’s cool though -- he is pretty bold and not afraid to speak up in the lessons.

Oh and almost forgot the craziest part of the week. So remember the Iglesa ne Christo guy, that said he was gonna bring a priest. Well he brought 5!!!! From all over the Cagayaun providence! I can’t believe that guy cares that much to bring all those guys. So the highlights of our wonderful little discussion, they claim that they have authority originally from Jesus Christ and that the bible is perfect. Elder Weaver was pretty clever and we kind of told them that if the Bible was perfect then they should be going to church with the Catholics or that it does have flaws and therefore their whole religion is incomplete.  They really weren’t that bright or cunning. But they were pretty stiff necked. After they would just try to argue every point.  We finally just said there was no way they could learn except by the Holy Ghost and then we both testified that if they read the Book of Mormon and prayed sincerely they would receive a witness. They said they would read and try our challenge. They were a lot nicer after that and they gave us merienda  (snack time) and we are coming back next week. If they just want to argue more than we will be done with them. But if any of them are serious that would be sweet. The Iglesia ne Christo church is pretty stupid it sounds like. Their members aren’t allowed to have Bibles... But I think our testimonies were pretty powerful. We also brought a former bishop with us. It could’ve been pretty bad I suppose but all things considered it was all right.

P-Day fun -- It's Philippine bowling

Well now to the questions and that’s pretty much the happenings of the week!

1. What day is transfers? Next Monday? Hope you get to stay and continue with your investigators. Isn't teaching the gospel glorious? One of the greatest feelings in the world is teaching a principle and having the Spirit testify and seeing the light in their eyes as they understand.

Tuesday we find out and Thursday if either of us do, we head out. I would have to agree there is nothing more fulfilling than teaching the gospel especially to someone who has never heard it and never understood why they are here on earth.

2. Any cool landmarks around there? national monument or anything? I wondered if there was any historical stuff with WW II or anything?

Ummm... There is a big kind of cool church that looks like something out of assassins creed and a hour way is calleo caves. WE have been to the church but I haven’t been to the caves yet. Tuguero is just kind of big city with cool stores is what it is known for... not really that much cool stuff around except the stores. And WWII not really but most of the older people really dislike the Japanese because of what they did. And they love Macarthur
Elder Griffin and some Filipino "artwork"

3. You having a hard time getting up early?

I am pretty used to it on this end. The first month in the MTC was hard but now I'm used to it. We always pass out at like 10:00 we are always wasted...

4. Do you study mostly language in the a.m. or gospel stuff?

1 hour personal study first - I just read and find scriptures for lessons. 1 hour comp study -  we study the PMG  and handbook and sometimes practice teaching parts of the lesson to each other..  then we get 1 hour of Lang. study. - I usually read out loud the Tagalog Book of Mormon for 15 min, work on vocabulary for 15 minutes, and do whatever I need to study. We have had a lot of stuff in the mornings lately so I haven’t really got in good language study lately :(

5. How much news on sports do you get? Do people have TV's and get games?

I get absolutely zero except what you give me. People always say the love NBA but I rarely see anyone watching it. I think cable is kind expensive (at least to Filipinos, in us dollars it is probably only 8 bucks a month)

6. Does your town have a PBA basketball team?

No,  I guess no cities have teams, they are owned by businesses and they just play in random places across the country that they set up but none here as far as I now. The locals all think the PBA is kind of lame too.  They all like Lebron...

7. There's a college near you. Do they do sports and is like one of our colleges?

I don’t know... The other day on splits I heard a basketball game going on from the college but that’s the first and only time I have heard anything.

8. Need anything? MILK

9. You want us to DearElder pouch mail stuff?

Ya, I actually got moms dear elder on weds the 2nd  I think... that’s only a couple weeks right?? They pretty cool though definitely hook me up with some more

10. Are you all growed up now? We miss our little AJ sometimes.

I don’t know... sometimes I wonder when I walking though this totally foreign world...
The Elders near Cagayan River

Well Love you all!!! Hope you have an awesome week! I am praying for you!!!

Love Elder A.J. Griffin

1 comment:

  1. The members of the Iglesia ni Cristo church can be pretty tough to deal with sometimes. They're usually instructed not to meet with people from other churches and if they do to bring someone along with them. However, they are faithful and dedicated members of their church.

    I would recommend investing in some good Tagalog dictionaries. This one is hand's down the best dictionary out there:

    It can be a little difficult to obtain since there are not many book stores in the mission that sell that dictionary, but it's the best. Also, whenever you have the opportunity work with Filipinos on improving your Tagalog. Make sure they understand that you will not be embarrassed if they correct you so they won't be shy to speak up. You need to find the right person, too, since for a lot of the people in the mission Tagalog is not their native language.