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Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 26: Drinking Soda from a Bag

Hello family,
Happy Easter!
Dallas and AJ, Easter 2003
Things are great and another week has flown by at blazing speed here in the Philippines. Lots of tracting this week and lots of new investigators, but they almost all lose interest immediately.
We are having some great success with the Bulbuana family. The mother has been a member since she was a dalaga (or teenage girl), but inactive for a long time. Last cycle she saw me and Elder Weaver walk by and said she notices we were always busy going places. We taught her immediately that day about The Restoration and she said she knew it was true. We then had a really hard time getting appointments with them until a couple of weeks ago with Elder Daqs. We met the Dad. He is pretty cool and we watched The Restoration with him and his kids (the mom wasn't there at the time). He then said we could come back every night and teach them. But then it was weird -- when the mother is there, the dad won't come join the family and listen to us. But if the mother is gone, he is more than happy to listen. So anyway we have been teaching them for about 3 and half weeks every day.
They came to church the very first week to General Conference, except the dad.  Then we continued teaching them, but only the mom and the kids. And then second week they went to church with the Catholics ugh!  It has been kind of difficult. We got them to pray right. Then the next appointment they had written a prayer to Jesus to use ... Ugh again. I guess in all the schools the Catholics come and teach rosary and all those terrible prayers to them, so eveybody's idea on the Trinity, prayer and how Jesus and Our Father in Heaven is, well, it's really messed up.
But we finally got them praying right and praying about Joesph Smith and they have all gotten answers to their prayers now. They are really awesome and they always read the assignments. Then this week the mother and the 2 daughters (teenagers) and the 9-year old son came to church. And they had  great time! I was proud of the fellowshipping and welcome they gave them and people not saying false doctrince from the pulpit. It was awesome.
They have a baptism date of May 14th and are excited. We will keep trying with the dad and older brother. They are cool and good in lessons but he really doesn't like to listen if mom is there. Weird eh?
They really are our only success right now. We taught a ton of lessons and got 16 new investigators but they just don't progress.

So Tuesday President Carlos came and interviewed us. He is really cool. He said I most likely will get transferred on May 5th ... So heads up, I guess.  I really like President. He is a huge BYU fan and was telling me that when he hears about Jimmer or BYU doing good, he is happy. He also said the Jazz are terrible, haha.

Only other thing to say about this week is I learned a lot from Elder Daqs, especially about finding. It's hard as I still am kind of shy sometimes, but I feel I was a lot more bold and it was cool to see the results. Really, the worst thing that can happen is they can say no. And if they do, that's too bad for them.

Well things are great, here.  I miss you a ton, but I am really happy right now on the miss.

Love ya -- hope ya have great week!

Mahal Ko Kayo!

A.J. Griffin

Some Q & A
#1:  Did the Easter Bunny come and visit?Wala pa. Or none yet. Maybe he is slow at swimming?

#2:  Do they have jelly beans and malted milk and marshmallow eggs and stuff like that there?I havent seen any at all.....
#3: Have you had any allergies in the Phillipines?  Do you get stuffy nose or itchy eyes or anything?
Maybe like once, I think. Just sometimes a little sneezing and sniffly nose but not bad.

#4: Do you have any great dinner appointments that are good food and fun or is the food still stuff that you aren't used to yet?I like all the dinner appointments except one. The guy also gives us squid and dinugan and gross stuff. But all the other ones are pretty cool and good. Especially one guy who is pretty well off. During my time with Elder Weaver, he always gave us American-esque food. But now he makes it about half Philippino and half American, haha

#5: Does your companion do anything that annoys you other than making rice all the time?No, I really have nothing negative to say about him. He is awesome. Really hard-working and obedient, so I love life and this cycle is flying by. I can't believe the cycle is almost over. He is kinda trunky. He is watching that talk by Richard G Scott about eternal marriage again, haha. If that's a sign at all ...

#6: Do you guys do splits with ward members or is that frowned upon now-a-days?
Soda from a bag -- only in the Philippines!
Sometimes. Yesterday we split with the two recent RMs in the ward. And that was cool. We are allowed to, but it's not really encouarged, just if things are really busy. We dont really like to split with the other ward members because they just want us to do their home teaching for them.

#7: Your mission mama has a picture of a kid drinking soda with a straw out of a plastic bag. Do you see that a lot there? She said it was cheaper than buying a cup so lots of kids did it.
Oh shoot, I forgot to tell you about this back in the beginning. So almost all drinks are from glass bottles because it is said to be cheaper to clean and re-use the bottle over and over than to make cans or plastic bottles. So, for instance, if you go to a little store (which there are a million as people sell stuff out of a window or door of their house and call it a sari-sari store), you can stay there and they will give you a straw and you drink it out of a bottle then you give the bottle back. Or they pour it in a plastic bag and give you a straw and then you can leave. Cans and plastic bottles of pop are generally only sold downtown at grocery stores. So bascially, whenever we want a drink, we drink out of a plastic bag -- haha. They also sell plastic bags of ice (literally they pour water into a plastic bag, tie it and stick it in the freezer. Popsicles are the same way). Also cans and plastic bottles of pop are like twice the price of buying it in the glass bottle. They also seem to only have coke, generic coke, mtn dew, generic mtn dew and orange soda here.

#8: Guess you aren't aware of gas prices too much but gas is up to almost $4 per gallon here again.  Does that affect you at all?

I have noticed gas is really pricey here. It's about 55 pesos a liter. Or if you bought it by the gallon, over 5 dollars a gallon. I guess that explains why everyone drives tricycles here. It's been 5 dollars a gallon-plus my whole time here so maybe in the past tryce rides were cheaper.

#9: What do you hear about other areas of your mission.  Are some of the areas really remote and primitive?So there are 7 zones -- Alicia, Ilagan, Santiago, Cauayaun, Tuguegarao, Nueva Viscya and Roxas. A little about each one:
  • Alicia -- supposedly there is nothing cool here, just fields and no good stores or sights or anything but supposedly the work is really good in Alicia right now.
  • Ilagan -- Not too much here except SaveMore, which is the closest thing to Wal-mart the Philippines has (real cheese here).
  • Santiago -- Supposedly one of the cooler places to go. I've heard of Dr. Pepper sightings in the area of Santiago and it's supposed to have some cool stores, too.
    Baunau Rice Terraces
  • Cauayan -- A few really cool areas like San Mariano (former area of Elder Weaver), close to one of the biggest dams in asia (Magat Dam) and home of the alligator farm! You get to hold the baby alligators if you go there.
  • Tuguegarao -- My home for the last 4 months. Close to Calleo Caves, many good stores in town including the only national book store in the mission. Also known as the hottest city in the entire Philippines. Said to have the 2nd most tryces in one town behind Pangasinan, I think.
  • Nueva Viscya -- The coolest place in the mission (in temperature, in sightseeing and in the work). By far the most coveted area in the mission. Home to the Seventh Wonder of the World, The Baunau Rice Terraces.  Supposedly even cold during the winter months and bearable during the hot months. Work is supposed to be pretty good here and also home to Solono, a pretty big city with cool stores.
  • Roxas -- Supposedly almost as hot as Tuguegarao, but no shade! Only rice fields, so maybe more hot than Tug. Not too much here, but there is a guy who makes really cool American quality custom backpacks for 8 to 20 dollars American.

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