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Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 19: Splits and Spiders

Hey Family!

Kind of a long week but good. I had to go splits on Wednesday while Elder Weaver went to Cauayan for leadership meetings. Pretty good week only highlights were:

Weds on splits -- tons of huge spiders at the apartment I was at and we taught quite a few lessons. The people all liked me and they were all confused about where this huge white giant that speaks Tagalog came from ;-)

Friday to now I have had a pretty bad cold. Some of our baptisms are getting postponed as the people aren't quite ready for one reason or another. Pretty boring week. Weaver had baptism interviews almost all day Saturday so I got extra study time. We've just been working hard and nothing spectacular has happened.

We followed up once on the family that had the kid die (motorcycle accident) but everyone was drunk. That seems to be the biggest problem. Everybody loves to play poker and drink, usually at the same time. This country is kind of ridiculous sometimes. Little kids can buy alcohol, cigarettes, whatever.

We also saw this really young kid driving a tryce and I was like: what the heck?! So I said, "Ilan taon ka na?"  -- How old are you?!  -- He said he was 12. Oh well.

Well that's about it, just working and trying to help people see what the gospel will do for them if they can change their lives.  Seriously so much of the poverty and broken families and drinking and all the problems would just disappear if people would follow this gospel.

I know it's true and I know that God loves each one of us and if we do what he says we will be the happiest here on earth. There is no substitute.

Alrighy here is comments and questions from the letter:

**** From Mom****

Filipino squid
AJ's baked potatoes
"Are you not supposed to eat the veggies like the health dept lady said? (not that it would bother you if you couldn't!!!)?" They say peel it, boil it or cook it and it's alright. I just eat what members give me and lately we have found that baked potatoes are really awesome.(I sent a picture).

Have you had problems with bugs biting.  That seems to be another issue.  Are you still using the toxic bug killer you took with you on your clothes and sheets?  Does it help? 
There are a lot of mosquitoes, but not really at our house. I have a bottle of bug spray in my backpack. If bugs start bothering me, I spray some on right there. I haven't put more permithern on my clothes but i use it in the house and we don't see very many bugs.

So are you doing just fine with the foods and they haven't gotten you sick or are you just not sharing with us that you've been sick?  I'm kind of thinking of you as IRON GUT AJ!"
No, I'm just careful and the Lord blesses his missionaries. I just eat at members houses or fast food or at home. I am gonna stay humble though. Weaver says he never got sick til his third cycle. I luckily avoided some squid this week . It was a close call. Ialmost had to eat some.  All our members except one dinner appt give pretty decent food except this one family. They have given us dinguan several times and this last week squid, but I was able to avoid it. On the bright side this week, I made Cowboys and Indians (bread and eggs) baked potatoes and brownies from this brownie powder pack i found at the store! Yea!

We've been having fun with the young women and are doing some real missionary work. This week we had 6 girls out for Wednesday activity.
That's awesome Mom. I know you felt really overwhelmed with the calling, but it sounds like you're doing a fantastic job and you will make a huge difference in their lives. One thing I definitely noticed is what a huge affect one good person can have on those around them. Good work, keep it up. By small and simple things, great things will come to pass!

The girls started soccer this week and Katie made the first goal of the year for her team!!!  They won 7-0.  Holly played goalie and no scores were made while she goalied.  After she was done a goal was made and the game ended tied.  After a kickoff her team lost.  But it was close and fun."
Go Katie and Holly! I've never made a goal in my life in a game so she is already better than me! And sounds like Holly is a professional goalie.

OH! and last week i loved the pictures from the girls. I checked them out , but forgot to write about them. Good job sisters! I really appreciate it!

Did you finally get you some new shoes?  (I noticed you took out some $ so I was hopeful you had!!!)I looked for shoes, but none even close to my size. I talked to Bro. Pete, (a retired American and member in my ward) and next time he goes to the temple in Manila he will grab some for me. Also he said if I try the ukay ukay (thrift store) they sometimes get stuff from America, and if they have my size i should be able to barter it really cheap.

Oh by the way I love bartering for stuff. Its pretty fun. Last week I bought some wood carved stuff and I bartered them to half the marked price! Yea. They probably still ripped me off but the bottom line is it only cost less than 2 bucks American.

****From Dad**********
Elders Griffin and Weaver with a Filipino family
1. I got my Rosetta Stone for Spanish and am working hard at learning it. Any advice on learning a new language? How's that coming for you?Thats cool, learning is really hard.. Just talking it to other people, no matter how little you know is the best way to solidify it. I feel a lot more comfortable with the language. And this week it seems like teaching has become a little easier and I can have simple conversations with anyone. Sometimes I get behind though. It's alright though. I feel alright with it. Now I am just learning more and more vocab and working on the conjugation (seems like the hardest part of tagalog). I don't know what the sentence structure and conj. is like in spanish but I do know quite a few of spanish words now.

2. You get those new shoes? We could probably send you some if you think that would be better.Not yet but hopefully should have some in a few weeks. If worse comes to worst, I'll have you send some, but I am O.K. for now and I think I should have some new ones soon.

3. You doing other stuff in the ward like teaching priesthood or anything?Sometimes we teach gospel principles class but that's about it. We probably should teach them how to home teach better. They did a FHE last week at this less active members house and their lesson was almost 2 hours long! That is not how to get someone back to church. It was pretty boring too....

4. How many gringos or Americans do you know there?One that I really know, Bro Pete. He is really awesome -- a retired army guy who has a Filipino wife. He serves in the stake high council and doesn't really know any tagalog. He goes to Manila to the temple all the time and then picks up stuff for missionaries (like shoes or carabao belts). We have met like 5 other Americans (maybe just visiting, but they were serious losers). I think the Philippines only takes in reject Americans (with a few exceptions like Bro Pete and I am sure a few others).

5. Do you have mountains there? I know there are some in the NE. Can you see them or go to them?
Rice terraces in the mountains of the Philippines

Ya there are mountains all around us off in the distance. Last Thurs on splits i worked in a city that was kind of up in the mountains. The mountains are kind of far off though. I would like to go hiking up there.

6. Any message for your brothers and sisters? They miss you very much.I miss them too and wish I could be there but I know that this is where i need to be. This place is really strange but fun. We are really lucky to have such awesome parents. A lot of people have really terrible parents here and have literally nothing. Do what's right and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Have fun and enjoy life. Cheer on the Jimmer for me. And drink milk! Love you and I am praying for every day

7. How big is your district? Do you have District meetings or just zone meetings?Zone meeting is like once a cycle, zone conference (in cauayuan) is every other cycle and our district has 8 elders and 2 sisters. Everyone in our district works inside of the city.

8. Does Sis. Carlos cook for you guys every time there's a meeting? She seems like quite the mission mom.Yes, although I dont go to Cauayan very often. But food is usually awesome at the mission home

9. You ever have pizza out there?There is one pizza place called greenwichs. Its kind of expensive and not that great. McDonald's is better.

10. Anyone in your mission from Utah or more specifically southern Utah? Yeah, lots from Utah, and Elder Katoa is from St. George. He is training someone right now and he is a cousin to Isaac Katoa (from Pine View) I think. He is pretty cool. I have only talked to him like twice though. He was supposedly a stud at Dixie football a few years  ago..

I've learned so much on the mission so far and it is truly a life changing expericence. It is also something that is so rewarding ... I dont know how to tell dallas that but it is something he cannot miss.

Love ya!!!

Till next week
Elder A.J. Griffin

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