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Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 22: Transfers -- Elder Weaver heads South!

NOTE: This first part is an exchange AJ and his Dad had "live" by email that concluded at about 2 a.m. Monday morning (4 p.m. Monday in the Philippines):

AJ:   Hey its that time again! I didn't get transferred but I do have a new Filipino comp!
His name is Elder Daquioag. He is from Manila. He is a pure tagalog speaker (tagalog is his first language). He does seem to know english pretty well, but we only talk in tagalog. He is really hard working and just got stepped down from being a Zone Leader for 6 months. He goes home in June, so i might kill him off (be his last comp).
Dad: Hey man, good to hear from you! You think you'll get along well with the new guy. Must be a rock if he was ZL, huh?
Elder Daquioag

AJ:   He is a stud for sure. I really like him. He is really hard-working and obedient. He makes it easier to be obedient.  He is totally addicted to rice -- haha. Today I was getting out some Top Ramen for lunch. He started making rice. I was like, what the heck?  We don't even have any ulam (topping for rice)  We were really almost all out of food. He then said that Top Ramen goes on rice. Haha...
Dad:   Did you fill out your NCAA bracket I sent you?
AJ:   Hey Hey, you didn't think I would forget to fill a bracket out did ya?

I know the tourney is mostly over but I filled it out two weeks ago, and i had my new comp fill one out a few days ago, but he doesn't know anything about the tourney. So we are totally in the contest right?
Dad: Oh yeah, u r totally in the contest! But you would not believe how many upsets there are this year.
AJ:   Here is the pic of our brackets and of Jofferson's birthday! We bought him cake! Yum! And the last day with Elder Weaver :( 

Elder Griffin's  NCAA picks

Elder Daquioag's  NCAA picks
Dad:  How do you say your comp's name?  Oh, and sorry to say that neither one of you has a single team in the Final Four. But that's OK, neither does Grandma, Grandpa, Dallas, Bryce or Katie. Only Mom, Holly and I had UConn in the FF and the other three teams are ... ready for this ... Butler, Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth.  Crazy year.

AJ:  BTW, your letter from last week never came until this week. I was bummed out last week. but it's cool. I got Dear Elders and a letter from Sis.Watkins but still no real letters from you. Did Dallas get his birthday letter from me?

Dad:  Yeah, I felt really bad that it didn't go through. I never want to let you down. That's why I sent earlier this week. I learned my lesson. Did you ever get the bunch of pix I sent? 
Yes, Dallas got your little package and he has been carrying his little change purse around (hooked to his belt) ever since. He loves his bro!! Speaking of Dallas, he got a job working 2-3 hours a day at Sam Stevens wood shop. You remember Sam Stevens, big Samoan guy who lives in Bennett's old house on our circle. So I guess Dallas will start that tomorrow and he will be made a Priest next week in church. Boy's growing up, I guess. Should get his driver's license tomorrow as well.

AJ:  Oh that's awesome. That sounds like a good job for him. He better keep out a trouble. It's alright about the letter. The Jimmer sound clips you sent me from your radio show were pretty awesome. When I got on today, the front page said that no No. 1 or 2 seeds were left in the touney so i was excited.  I thought BYU mighta made it. Oh well. sounds like they had a good run anyhow.

Dad: Yeah, it was a good year. The best in 30 years for BYU hoops. I have Jimmer's best two games on tivo if they make it that long to when you get home. Of course, he should be playing NBA by then.  Does your comp get on and email his fam like you do?

AJ:   He is on now emailing someone. He said the other day his family doesn't email him very often.  But he is emailing right now, and he gets the big letter from mission president and earlier he was reading stuff on  But I will need to be quicker with my email letter. I'll feel bad if he is just waiting.

Dad:  Are you at some cafe or laundromat or what? You definitely don't want to keep him waiting too much. I'm sure he understands though. You never told me how to say his name ...

AJ:   HA landromat. There are no laundromats in the Philippines. And it took me like three days to learn hot to say his name. Daww KEY wug. Like that.

Dad:  So how do you do your laundry?

AJ:   You get a big bucket, pour in soap and water. throw in clothes and then scrub them with your hands. It takes hours. It sucks. With Elder Weaver we would do about half and then take the other half into a place that will do it for you. Now i just do all of them though. We are in a little internet cafe, btw.

Weaver catches some ZZZs on the way to Cauayan for transfers.
Dad:  We are gong to send a small box for Easter. Any requests? And don't say milk!

AJ:  You could send me a washing machine -- haha. Washing clothes by hand really sucks. Actually, 
Reese's and Dr. Pepper or just Reese's if DP is too heavy. Also Elder Daq. says he wants some chocolate ...  and if they have a small mini-sized D and C. I don't know if that exists or not. Like the new mini pocket sized BOMs except D&C. Either way chocolate is always good.

Dad:   OK, we don't want to make it too heavy, but we will work on that stuff. You want any dark choc or just regular?

AJ: Either way. Chocolate is gold here!

Dad:  We will look for mini D & C. Chocolate is still gold here too ;-P

AJ:  I got shoes last week from an ukay ukay (thrift store), but I still like my old shoes more ha.  It sucks getting money out. It's a 200 peso fee to withdraw (almost 5 bucks).  Well, gotta go. I am sending the big letter. Love ya Dad!

Now the weekly letter:
Hey Hey,

I can’t believe another week is gone. We had transfers and Elder Weaver got transferred to Dupax, Nueva Viscya. The complete other end of the mission. He got an American comp. Nueva Viscya is supposed to be pretty cool, he should get to see Banaue before he leaves and its supposed to be somewhat cool or at least livable down there.

Nueva Vizcaya, Elder Weaver's new area.

As for me I am still here in Linao and I have a new comp. Philippino! His name is Elder Daquioag, from Manila. And he is a pure Tagalog speaker (Tagalog his first language). He does seem to know English pretty well, but we only talk in Tagalog. He is really hard working.

He is pretty awesome. He is really nice and super hardworking and obedient which is awesome. I am always worried about getting a comp that doesn’t want to work or is disobedient. It is really awesome, I feel like I have learned a lot more Tagalog just this week alone. Really now I speak Tagalog 24/7.

This week as far as the work has gone has been really hard and investigators really difficult, but with our extra time we decided to do some less active work.  And with the help of the ward we have helped three families come back to church That was really cool to see.

One family we really didn’t even do anything. We went there, asked if we could teach them, they said no because they had to go sell balut, so we invited them to church. Then the next day the whole family came, the nanay (mom) said during gospel principles how grateful she was for us missionaries and that we were the reason she came back to church and all this stuff. We really didn’t do anything except talk to her and invite her. The best part was she brought her daughter in law (I think) to church too, and we also taught her later that day. She said she almost got baptized in 2002 but decided to be a Methodist. But now she is interested again. The best part is that she already came to church (which is where we met her) and which is the hardest part about the work here.

Our recent converts are doing really good, Michael Rodriguez gave a talk yesterday.  It was very good. The rest of our investigators seem to have been particularly difficult this week, but they have testimonies, they just need to know what to do with their testimonies.

Jofferson enjoying some birthday cake!

I know the church is true and that we are so blessed by living the gospel. It’s definitely been a humbling experience for me living amongst and helping the people here in the Philippines.  There is so much poverty.

So now to the questions. I don’t have a ton of time but I’ll do my best.

Can you get cream cheese and M & M's and stuff there? Do they have regular candy bars?

I haven’t seen nor have a desire to buy cream cheese, but they have M&Ms, but only at a few stores in Centro, and they are expensive ... like a dollar which is relatively expensive compared to snacks from here. I haven’t seen Reese’s or DP here. ... lame!

Are you exercising in the a.m. or do you just walk a lot?Elder Weaver never liked to exercise so I would just do push ups or something, but E. Daq. likes basketball so already we played ball once. We do walk a ton, though.

Did you get any shoes? Are you thinking we need to send some for you?No I got some from an ukay ukay, and Bro Pete is supposed to be bringing me some from Manila. I like my old shoes more though.
1. Anything you wish you'd known before you left that you know now?Eh, not really
2. How's Tagalog. My Spanish is starting to come along.Its alright. I speak it all the time pretty much. I'm sure it's not the best of grammar, and I can't always say exactly what I want to say, or in the way I want to say it, but it's all right.

3. Any radiation news? I heard Japan has some radiated food.None, just in priesthood and sacrament meeting they say how wicked Japan is and the second counselor actually said yesterday from the pulpit, that every one better start repenting and be more grateful because "Personally, I don’t think we are ready!"  yea that was a great sac. meeting ....(sarcasm...)
4. Did you hear that a lot of Japanese missionaries went home early due to the troubles there. Basically all the guys going home in the next 2-3 months were sent home with honorable releases. Also, they are not sending any more Elders to Japan for a while.I didn’t. And that is pretty crazy.

5. Are you confident with the language enough to be on your own? Yeah it's all right.

6. Do you get any exercise in besides walking. Haven't heard you talk too much about hoops.Yeah hoops isn’t as fun here. They just play it different. I don’t know, but I should start playing more often in the morning because Elder Daq likes basketball.

7. Anyone there care about March Madness. It's pretty wild here. Everyone is into it.Only President Carlos and a few other American missionaries. They only care about NBA. They always tell me how great Blake Griffin is. Sometimes I tell them he is my older brother. Apparently there is a UFC fighter that is really amazing because they always say how amazing he is too.

8. Baptisms update ...Our goal for the cycle is 4, its definitely possible, but things are going to have to shake out right.

9. Anything we can do? Should we send a box or some snail mail letters?I’m good. Letters are always great.

10. Are you keeping a journal?Yeah but I am terrible at writing in it. I don’t write in it too often. um...yeah.


  1. Wait until Manny Pacquiao's fight in May... since they're always on Saturdays here that means they're live in the Philippines on Sunday. That's when you really find out how strong your investigators and recent converts are, if they skip church to watch Pacquiao. :)

  2. So you guys don't have anyone that does your laundry anymore? All the missionaries used to hire active members to wash, dry, and iron all their clothes. Must be difficult to have to do it on your own.