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Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 33: Nachos and King Benjamin!


AJ: Hey Dad! How is it going on the other side of the world?
DAD: What's going on son? Everything ok there?
AJ: Survived the week. Transfers is on Thursday morning. We find out tomorrow if and where Lim is going. But it's almost done and a transfer is almost for sure...
DAD: What do mean "almost for sure"?
AJ: The ZL's told me that President Carlos is really ticked at my companion and they said he is pretty much for sure transferred. This week I got to go on splits in Bambang with Elder Pincock (the ZL) from Sandy. It was pretty awesome. He is really cool and we found some cool people tracting. We also had a baptism Saturday! Oh, by the way, Elders Daquioug and Weaver go home on Wednesday! Holy Cow!
DAD: Awesome! Sounds like you're doing all right. Hey the Dallas Mavs just won the NBA title! Won the last three games in a row after being down 2-1.
AJ: That's pretty cool. Lebron still couldn't win one with the super friends -- haha
DAD: Yeah it was sweet. Lebron was kinda lousy. Dwyane Wade kept them in it. But no doubt, Dirk Nowitzki is the mvp.  He was pretty awesome.
AJ: Yeah everyone here has been watching. I've seen little bits and pieces. I saw Dirk do some pretty sick stuff. He is pretty old now, isn't he?
DAD: He is in his early 30s. Jason Kidd is their point guard and he is 38. He's almost my age!!!  Hey, do u still think u might train next cycle?
AJ: I don't know. Hopefully. We found out the emergency transfer almost happened. That would have ended up me follow-up training a pretty new Filippino and my companion becoming Jr. to a missionary with only like 2 cycles left. But it didn't happen. Maybe I should of let it happen. Oh well. We'll see what happens. Whatever happens, I am happy with a transfer. I've more than had it with my companion. I wonder why he is even on a mission … 3 more days.
DAD: You can make it. Although I got stuck with Jones (name changed) an extra month when I was sure we were gonna split up. The dude was nuts. Pres. told me later that he thought I was the only one that could handle "Psycho" Jones. “Thanks a lot,” is what I told him. On the bright side, I had my best comp (Elder Bell) right after Jones, so I guess the Prez felt sorry for me.
MOM: Hey this is Mom. Dad's driving, I'm texting. Weird huh?  Worried lots bout you. How long has your comp been out?  Shoes yet?
AJ: None shoes yet. My comp has been out over a year. How was Grandma's house? I miss you all. And I really miss going to grandmas and eating tons of food.
MOM: What's up with shoes? Grandma's was great. BBQ and pie.  Miss having you with us, but so proud of you for enduring tough times. So you ok?  First time I've really been anxious over you.  Just want you to be happy.
AJ: Oops, I just used Tagalog grammar in English. I wrote wala pang sapatos or none shoes yet, literally, haha. That's ugly in English.  Don't worry about me. Despite how hard it's been, I've learned a ton and I am trying to be Christ-like by turning the other cheek every time he gets angry and still serving him and doing the dishes every time and making him food or whatever, even though he doesn't say thanks and is still a jerk to me. I am just trying to live Mosiah 2:17 (  I figure even if he doesn't appreciate it, I am still serving God. I've learned a ton of patience and a ton about serving others. It will be so much more easier to be selfless and serving to those that appreciate it too!
DAD: I can't tell you how good that makes us feel. It is not easy to serve selflessly knowing the person you are serving doesn't appreciate it. In fact it is probably one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. But we appreciate you.
AJ: Ya. I'm doing it for the investigators and the people here in Aritao. This is really an awesome area. I love the people and the mountains and just the attitude of things here. I wish i could see Elder Daquioug before he takes off. I may never see him again. I love that guy. He is a stud. At least I get to see Weaver tomorrow.
MOM: That will be cool. His parents are SO excited to see him!!! His Dad is counting down on Facebook.
AJ: So last week we had splits and I made the Nachos! It was absolutely awesome. And a plus, I actually made something good with a rice cooker – haha! And this was definitely the best tasting thing I have had in the Philippines! It was awesome!!!!!!
MOM: We just got home and I am on a real keyboard. Have I ever told you I HATE TEXTING!!!! This is SOOOO much better! We just got a peek at your pix and they are really nice. You are still the tallest, whitest, cutest guy around. Dad is going to be taking over the driver seat here in a minute … can't wait to read all about your week. The girls send big hugs and kisses your way. They are heading to bed.
AJ: I love them too!!! Sometimes the little girls here in the ward remind a ton of Holly and Katie. Oh, except they are smaller and browner and speak Tagalog – haha. But still it is cool.
DAD: Everyone's off to bed and all. Your Mom thinks and talks about girls camp all the time. I really believe she is more excited and will have more fun than any of the young women. As for me, it should be interesting going 4 days with no Shelly around. I will be one sad puppy by the time it is over. Plus she also has girl scout camp (3 days) and youth conference (3 days) this summer. I'm gonna be a lonely dude! Did you get the pix I sent?
AJ: I got some pictures of Jonny's wife and Marcus' babies. Yeah, I was reading your letters and all and you and Mom are so busy and I am so busy. I'll be home before any of us know it! Man, twice this week I went on splits (once with the ZL and once with a member) and the days went so fast. Days are just so fast when your just working hard. And when my companion is screwing around or trying to do stupid things the days just drag on FOREVER!
DAD: Just remember that your mission will fly by and you will have learned and grown so much and not even realized it and then it will all be over before you know it.
AJ: Yeah, I love being here in the Philippines and being a missionary, but I will be so excited to go home when it's time. I was talking to my old ZL in Tuguegarao (I saw him at Banaue) and he was totally a downer. Elder Andreason was like “Man, I don't want to go home. My life is gonna suck for the next five years and all this stuff.” I was like “Come on dude, you're going to the land of washing machines, unlimited milk and tall white girls. How can you be sad about that?!” Then I talked to my ZL here (2 months left) and Elder Weaver and they were like “It has been awesome here on the mission, but I am ready to go home – haha.
DAD: I remember getting feelings for awhile about not wanting to go home, but then I missed my fam so bad (and girls too). You will make some real friends there and a lot of life afterward seems superficial, like people getting upset about stupid little things. But then you start in on real life like school and dating and reconnecting with loved ones and it all comes crystal clear. Just remember that your current comp is just a tiny pimple on your butt compared to the rest of your life!
AJ: Yeah, that's totally true! Even if I have to get another 6 weeks with him, it will suck, but I'll get through it. He thinks he is really is getting transferred. He told all our investigators and a bunch of members he is. I was like dude, nothing is for sure. Don't tell anyone until it's a sure thing. But whatever. It's his life. Did you see my nachos? They were so awesome!!! Next week is Father's Day right?
DAD: Yeah, your nachos looked good. We don't eat those much anymore because they are so fattening! We prob haven't had those kind of nachos for 6 months. I am actually a little jealous.
AJ: Yeah they were awesome. Definitely send some again next time. They might have that kind of cheese at Save More, but definitely no Rotel, which really makes it great. Go buy some and eat some for me! They are soooooooo good! I miss Wal-mart. Save More is kind of like Wal-mart, but missing the best parts. We are heading out. Love ya, Miss ya a ton!

Hey Family,

Wow, another week down and this cycle is coming to an end. Transfer day is on Thursday, we will find out tomorrow if we will have changes.

Rainy season has arrived in the Philippines!
Things kind of settled down a little bit this week and we had a baptism and things are all right. On Thursday we had splits with the Zone Leaders and I worked in Bambang with Elder Pincock. It was pretty awesome. We got some good work done and we found some cool people tracting and everyone was like “Wow -- two Americans that speak Tagalog. Come on in, what are you doing here?!” People are so friendly here.

I don't know, I don't have a lot to say right now. Things are okay. Transfers are really close. Tomorrow we are going to Solono for district meeting and to find out if we have transfers. If we do, we will leave at 5 a.m. here to get to Cauayan on time (3 ½ to 5-hour ride, depending on traffic).

Got the conference issue of the Ensign on Thursday and finished it cover to cover by Sunday night. Some pretty awesome stuff in there. I think Uchtdorf still takes the cake as most powerful speaker of the conference after further review.

I started Jesus the Christ, I don't know how committed I am to continuing. I might be better off in the Book of Mormon, but it has some really cool stuff about his life and about the apostles and stuff.

Well I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth, and I know that if we want to be happy we just need to "seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you."

Life is hard sometimes and complicated and cloudy and whatever, but if we have our priority set on the gospel and we don't deviate, Things will work out. Every time!

Love ya Family!! AJ
Now some Q & A
AJ baptized 14-year old Karen (in white) Saturday.

1. How RAINY is rainy season?
Pretty rainy. It will be like all sunny and beautiful and then out of nowhere the rain jumps out and we get drenched.

2. Did you get your shoes today? How are they?
Well, they apparently can't make the shoes now. Supposedly the only person in the Philippines that knows how to make those shoes my size died... apparently!? I don't know if that is really true but at least they gave me my money back. They are still repairing my shoes I gave them and I should be able to get them on tomorrow.

4. Are any of the Filipinos good at basketball?
I am sure there are some. I haven't gotten to play with any yet, though ...

5. Tell us about baptisms and investigators.
Karen (14) just got baptized. Her whole family always listens to the lessons, but everyone else was hesitant to come to church. She has been coming for like a month and a half. Her baptism was really good, and she is super shy. So the last two weeks the older sister finally came to church and now we have been able to see some progress on her older brother. He is a really nice guy. The Mom doesn't really want to go to church and only listen occasionally. And the dad is pretty cool, but he is at work every Sunday, and about half the time when we teach. This one family has been members for maybe a year and they are great, but the mother hasn't been able to kick the cigarettes. Now we have her about 2 weeks since she had 1 cigarette., then 2 weeks before that she hadn't smoked either. So 1 cigarette in a month! If she can stay cigarette-free til the 25th of June, she can be baptized. We have another 14-year old girl whose family is a part-member family who can be baptized on the 25th if she continues. The area is so big and people don't really know who we missionaries are, so it makes for good tracting and finding.

6. Your clothes gonna survive and last with all that hand washing?
My clothes will be alright. As for my hands, that's a whole different story.

7. You making any progress on lazy bones, your comp, as far as the sleeping-in thing?
If anything he has regressed... sadly.

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