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Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 17: Hot, Hot, Hot!

View from the balcony of AJ's apartment in Tuguegarao.

 This opening exchange is from live quick emails we exchanged Sunday night:
DAD: Hey, it's your Dad now. West won the all-star game and I won dominos -- yey! Whatcha been up to today?
AJ: Umm..mostly cleaning... the mission got new couple missionariess that are in charge of inspecting apartments. Rumor is they are headed for Tuguegarao because these haven't been inspected here in like 5 years or something.
DAD: Mom said u r going down! for having a messy apt. She wants a pic if u actually get it clean --

AJ misses American food
AJ: It is clean now. In all honesty it was pretty bad when i got here. Some of the stuff we cleaned up has probably been there for a long time.ha. Ill have to give you some pics next week.
DAD: (After sending picture of chili burger and fries) You like that picture?
AJ: That is just RUDE!  Elder Weaver keeps reminding me that he is going home to the land of Dr. Pepper and chili burgers and football in just three months. He is so trunky!
DAD: This is for Weaver:

             Few promises made in scripture have the credentials and guarantees of the promise made to those who endure to the end: “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Ne. 15:9)
DAD: Tell Elder Weaver I'm just giving him a hard time ;-)
AJ: Yea! i feel at home now! keep up the commentary haha
DAD: Next time you're in McDonalds u should take some pix. Supposed to be pretty classy, right? BTW, they are opening a McDee's here in Washington. Oh yeah, and I saw Dee and DT two weeks ago. They miss u.

"Classy" Philippine McDonald's
AJ: Oh ya McDee's are nice, a little nicer than in America but everything else in this country is pretty much lower quality than in America. But ya, McDees is sweet. truly an oasis in the desert.
Tell DT and Dee I said Hi. Also you should ask them about Taylor Simpson, the 18-year old kid DT.and I began teaching and he was going to get the missionaries to him. He was pretty bright and lived with members. I hope they were able to help him.
DAD: I texted them. DT said they have committed Taylor for baptism on the 5th of March and he is coming to church -- that's awesome! He said you really helped Taylor a lot.
AJ: Here's the big letter. That's cool about Taylor. Talk to ya next week.

Well another week is gone, a pretty good week. It was kind of weird. It was fast, but long... humbling and a week of growth – but a fun week.. and the work is going well. It has really got hot this week too.

Three of the people we teach told us about visions they had. Thankfully they weren't satanic or crazy. One lady had a dream, with words that are in the Book of Mormon about the straight and narrow path. She said she needed to change her life around and stuff, then she promptly left her family again (she disappears to Manila all the time). Its pretty bad. there are some young kids and the dad is enlisted in the army.

Another kid told us about a dream that he had about Jesus and Peter, James and John, and what he had to do to be happy in life. All the dreams and stuff weren't contrary to anything in the gospel. Anyhow its been a good week and we have had a lot of success.

I really love the scriptures. Personal study is my favorite time of the day . I finished the Book of Mormon (BOM) a few weeks ago and I picked back up on reading the 4 gospels. I am finished with Matthew and Mark and almost done with Luke. Scripture stories are so awesome. And I have so much to learn from the life of Christ. For sure set a side time to read everyday. It is truly rewarding and once you get into the stories, it is kind of addicting.

Well I don't have a whole lot more to say about this week in particular. So I'll try to answer the questions.

Some questions:
1. That's great that you have some baptisms scheduled. Can you tell us about who you are teaching and what they are like.

We are teaching a mom and her kid and they have been awesome. They are really hard to find at home and the mom just got a new job and she has to work on Sundays, but she is trying to get out of it. We are going to have to push the date back a few weeks because she hasn't gone to church the last 2 weeks. She has been reading and if she can fix the working on Sunday thing, it should work out.

We are teaching another kid...we baptized his brother last week and he had been kind digressing but after the baptism of his brother he showed a desire to get baptized himself for the first time. He prayed and got a definite answer about the truthfulness of the BOM but we still have a long ways to go with him. There may be some morality issues as well.

And our other one with a baptism date is a 10-year old girl named Lezel. It was pretty bad last week -- we taught the Word of Wisdom and she had problems with tea and coffee and her dad had given her cigarettes and beer before. That really threw us a curve. But she has been pretty awesome this week and we have seen a lot of progress. She immediately stopped all of the word of wisdom things. She now lives next to or with her uncle who is a really active member and she likes going to church so she can be a good convert and we think she will stay active for a good while. Hopefully we can help her build a strong enough testimony that she will continue when adults don't bring her.

Jofferson is doing awesome. He goes to seminary every day – it's a decent ways away too. He also comes to church by himself (his parents aren't very nice people) and he got the priesthood and passed sacrament yesterday. Michael also got the priesthood, yesterday. Its pretty cool to see them get into the service and everything of church.

AJ took this pic of rice field and Philippine carabao (and kids too)
2. Do the people there have regular jobs and work eight hours a day? Are there factories there and stuff. What about white collar jobs like offices and things?

It seems like their jobs are a lot more physical labor and long hours and they only make like 8 dollars or less in a whole day. There are some factories like Coca Cola and it seems like tons of people like to buy a tryke and do that. I don't think they make very much and it wouldn't be fun to drive a motorcycle everyday for12 hours a day. It would be really hard to live here.

3. I found some pix online of Asocena (dog meat) and they still had paws attached and stuff. Is there a lot of gross food in the markets there?

The grocery stores and stuff in town are pretty decent but there are lots of nasty street food and they have little places that just set raw meat out on a table and it sits there all day til it sells. We stay away from that. Those are quick ways to get sick.
4. Do you guys have a fridge for cold drinks and stuff?

Yea we have a half-size freezer/fridge. Its pretty nice. We chug down the water. It is really heating up this week.


5. Is there a food you really like, maybe one that measures up to an Astro Burger chili burger and chili cheese fries?

Not even close ... but there is some good stuff like Spanish bread (roll with cinnamon spread in the middle) and strawberry cringles (like the chocolate ones I told you about a few weeks ago). And this stuff called Bucci. Its like a cinnamon ball with sesame seeds on the outside. Might be Chinese... but food back in the states is better. 

6. Have you gotten any snail mail letters, maybe from the pouch mail/mission home? I know Kenny Gordon said he sent you a letter and Mom has sent you some.

I have gotten a real letter from Elder Shelley and 2 Dear Elders from Mom and from Bro Gordon. I really appreciate the letters. Tell Bro. Gordon thanks, I enjoyed getting a letter from him

7. Let me know if those pix turn out good.- awesome and quick, keep them comin'

8. Are those Tuguegarao pix last week from your apartment or what?

That's from downtown. Not quite as busy at our apartment but still pretty busy. In this week batch i sent a couple from our apartment balcony.

9. You should have them make you some shoes. Yours were looking pretty beat in the pic you sent. We can put extra money in if you need it. Gotta have good shoes. Let us know if we need to do something.

AJ at the computer about 10 years ago.
OK I'll look for some shoes. I also might buy the dictionary in the next week or two. It's around 20 bucks American I think. Oh and Jesse Sparks is a guy that went to my mission a few years ago. I don't know him but he was telling me about the mission on Facebook.
Well I gotta run, the work is great and I am loving it, even the heat...

Thanks for all your prayers and everything!


Elder A.J. Griffin

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