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Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 24: Cats in the ceiling and Uchtdorf

Hello all,
Wow! The time still won't slow down. Every time we do weekly planning on Fridays I can't believe another week is gone.
Cats in the ceiling?
Everything is fantastic here. Conference was awesome. The work is really good. People are progressing and going to church and gaining testimonies. We are finding new people with great potential and I love my companion. We have dinner appointments every night. And I hit the sack every night exhausted and sleep really great (except a few nights this week when we had cats somehow above our ceiling running around and scratching and being really loud -- only in the Philippines, right?).

This week we finally were able to meet the dad of this part-member family (the mom is the only member and she's been inactive for 15 years). He is really cool. We have been teaching them every night as a whole family (which is pretty hard here) and they are so awesome. They are the Bulbuana family. The dad doesn't smoke, drink, and the whole family doesn't drink coffee, which is unusual and very good. The mom talked about about her testimony and how she needed to come back and the kids are really smart and read the assignments. Then the best part: They came to church!!! Except the dad, but he said he had a problem to deal with, but would come next week. I am really excited for them.
Also the mother of Michael (a recent convert) went to church/conference, too, which has been really hard for her to do in the past. And we also have some good investigators with baptismal dates: Abigail a referral from a member, and Sis. Lanie, the oldest daugter (27) of a recently returned to church (formerly inactive) family.
Buntun Bridge in Tuguegarao

The work is really good, although finding (kind of like tracting) in the afternoons in the blazing blazing heat is tough. But people are progressing and gaining testimonies!

Conference was really awesome. We watched the Saturday sessions and Priesthood Meeting this Saturday, with one hour breaks in betweeen and it awesome. It was all in English, too. I guess the dialect here is so deep that they don't really understand the Tagalog version of conference. And supposedly they can understand the English better. I am not really sure how much most people understood. The educated people could probably get a pretty good idea.  Everybody else, not-so-much. But I am sure they felt the Spirit at least and the Spirit speaks all languages right? Even Itwes.
Pres. Uchtdorf
On Saturday when we went to the first two session and Priesthood, almost no one came. There was probably the 20 missionaries and 30 other people. Then on Sunday morning it was absolutely packed -- filled the entire stake center and every room with a TV in it. That was pretty cool. Then about half left and never came back for the afternoon session. I was kind of disappointed.

Priesthood session of course was the best for me. Pres. Uchtdorf and Pres. Monson and everyone was awesome. With the six hours on Saturday and the four hours on Sunday, honestly it has all meshed into one in my head. I'm not sure which is my favorite. Uchtdorf during priesthood was really cool. Pres. Holland was awesome as always. The themes seemed to be eternal families (BTW, I would hate to be in the shoes of an unmarried RM right now --Wow Pres. Monson and the apostles were all over that), getting ready for trials that are coming, and serving and helping others ... especially the poor.

A note to Mom: This conference I was really thinking about you and the great example and teacher you have been to me. I am so thankful for your sacrifices and effort and love for us kids. And your great example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. You are so kind and selfless. Oh and thanks for all the Dear Elders from my friends and stuff. Those are really cool to get. I know that takes time, and also wanted to say I appreciate it!

Well thanks again for all your prays and support.

I love you and miss you all very much..
Remember the future is as bright as your faith!

Love Elder A.J. Griffin

Some questions:
Will you be able to get any NBA [playoff news? Jazz are out, but it should be interesting to see how the Miami Heat are (BTW, the Chicago Jazz, er, I mean, Bulls, have the best record in the Eastern Conference).
Wow, I am totally out of the loop. I didnt even know it was playoff time.

You guys usually sack out early? Is the culture there a nightowl culture or does everyone go to bed pretty early?
They all go to bed, or at least in the houses, really early. After about 8 the entire linao is like a ghost town. The only people out are drunk people. Apparently it's maybe kind of dangerous because people are always shocked when we are still out and walk home at 9-ish. They say, "Aren't you afraid to walk home?" But it's all right. We are protected. The only people that are out again are drunk people. And I am twice the height and weight of anyone here. As for us, I usually go home, plan, shower and go straight to bed. I am always tired. My comp usually listens to music and reads the Ensign at night.

One of the former Elders that went there said that the members used to do their laundry for a small fee. You're not allowed to do that anymore?
Nope. I guess like 2 or 3 years ago or less, the Philippine goverment whined because they weren't getting tax out of it so  now were are doing it ourselves.

Do you have email addresses for yuour buddies like Taylor or Derek or thiose guys? Are you supposed to write them and do you?
No, we are only supposed to write family. I would like to write my cousin Taylor and see how he is doing if you could send his address to me.
AJ and his Mum the day of AJ's farewell talk in church.

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