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Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 35: The power of coconut juice

Sunday conversation with AJ (via email at
AJ: Hey pops. hows the life?
DAD: Hi! How's it going?
AJ: Pretty darn good! How ya all doing there? Funny story. President Carlos texted us Friday and told us that Jimmer got drafted #10 and ended up in Sacramento in a three team trade. Our mission president is the MAN!
DAD: Did he just text you or the whole mission? That is pretty funny. My old mission Prez would not have done that, although he did buy tickets for the entire mission to see BYU play Temple U. at Veteran's Stadium in Philly
AJ: I am pretty sure it was just me, cuz he knows I love BYU. And every time I see him he just tells me about Jimmer stuff and wants to talk about BYU. He is pretty awesome.
DAD: Yeah, me and Katie and Holly watched the draft and booed really loud when Sacramento took Jimmer. We wanted the Jazz to take him. (Dallas and Bryce were at Grandma's).
AJ: That's too bad. That woulda been cool if he got on the Jazz. The Jazz shoulda manned up and took him at 3 – haha.
DAD: Some people were saying that who called my show, but there were a few really good players that they couldn't pass on, but it sure would be nice to be able to see his games. Colin Cowherd said, “Well that's goodbye to Jimmer, we'll never see him again now that he's in Sac'to.”
AJ: Didn't they just draft a white 7-footer last year. Sounds like another soft post like Mehmet Okur? I don't know though. I have been out of it for 8 months now.
DAD: This Kanter kid is supposed to be a stud. He throws down hard!
AJ: Did my letter to Bryce ever make it?
DAD: Nope, sorry, maybe in the mail tomorrow. He is right here though.
AJ: Oh well, happy birthday bro! I sent you something pretty sweet if it ever goes through the mail!
DAD: Bryce gives a half-hearted hooray … He has a hard time picturing it in his head. He is more excited about getting his learner's permit in the morn, I guess. He wants to put into practice what he's learned on Test Drive Unlimited ... heaven help us!!!!
AJ: Ya. You're probably gonna have to teach me how to drive again too. Yesterday this rich guy worked with us and we rode in his car. It was weird being in a real car. Oh, by the way, he said he used to always feed missionaries and then apparently Elder L. made him mad so he didn't feed us while Elder L. was here. He fed us last night though. And he is going to feed us always again. He was telling us about how full of himself and arrogant Elder L. was. Kind of funny. A lot of people here really dislike Elder L. It's too bad I missed out on an awesome dinner appointment every week because of him.
DAD: Yeah, what a bum! You cannot be a good missionary and be arrogant. Humility is a big part of miss. work, as you know. Unfortunately, there are a lot of arrogant elders.
AJ: Yeah. What comes around always goes around for guys like that though. It's cool with this guy in the ward. I think he is always gonna work with us and drive us wherever on Sundays now. Cars are so fast. I am used to riding in buses and Jeepneys that go like 30 miles an hour and stop every 2 minutes to pick someone up. They seriously drive me insane. It takes so long to get places.
DAD: I got pulled over Friday for going 86 in a 75 zone. He didn't give me a ticket. I think he just wanted to bust on a sweet red Mustang. I seriously thought I was only going 83, but he said otherwise. It was an unmarked car that I passed.
AJ: Wow Pops, you're lucky! Tickets blow. Elder Balaich is making me trunky. He is registering for classes at BYU (President told him too, haha). Mom should figure out how hard it will be for me to get into BYU.
DAD: Wo, wo, wo! Hold on there fella, you still got 16 months left!
BTW, how do you say Balaich? Buh-lake? Ball ache? Buh lashe? What?
AJ: Ball-liche. Philippinos sure aren't capable of saying it. Emphasize the “CH.”
DAD: like Ball leash? OK, that is a kind of funky name. What is it from, what country? Oh and Mom really wants you to say what you want in your box we are sending.
AJ: He is from Colorado. His name is from Croatia. The packages: Just send lots of Reeses and PB M&Ms and mixes of food again. Just chocolate and food mixes is really all. Oh and do you still have that shaving oil? Shaving cream is really expensive her. That would be nice.
DAD: That makes your mom happy to hear you requesting things. She ran out of ideas, but not room.
AJ: Yeah. Chocolate is always appreciated!
Craziest experience of the week. So on Wednesday, we had splits. I was with Elder Tangi (good friend of mine from Tug.) and we just got done teaching a family we tracted out (they seem to be pretty cool, by the way). We are going across this bridge and we see this Tatay (or dad) of this member family. He isn't a member, but he is always way nice to us and loves Americans. So he asks us if we want some Buko juice(coconut) and we're like... okay where? So says “Over here.” So we thought he had a friend or something, but he brings us to this grove of coconut trees and pulls out a ring of 6 straws tied together and starts climbing the 30 foot coconut tree. The man is like 70-years old! He gets a quarter of the way up and the straws break. So he comes back down and starts looking for something else to use. We are like “No, it's all right, it's all right. He eventually grabs a piece of cauayaun (bamboo) and a plastic bag and ties them all together and then climbs the tree and knocks down 4 coconuts. Then (maybe the most funny part of the story), he tells us in really bad English (he only know how to speak Ilakano and bad English) that we will be more manly if we drink the coconut drink. He is crazy and hilarious eh?

Hey family,

Well it's been raining for about week now, it seem like. It's pretty cool and pretty nice temperature most of the time. It even gets pretty cold at night. We usually get woken up and have to turn off the fan because it's too cold.

Pretty good week: we had a baptism, some funny experiences and we finally made the brownies you sent me back in the day. Elder Edwards (General Authority) came and we had a really cool spiritual meeting and training from him, and I found Sweet Baby Ray'ss bbq sauce for way cheap. I was shocked to see it! And on the way outta Santiago I was able to grab some Dr. Pepper!

So first the baptism. So this Nanay Fontiveros (nanay = mom, we call every one mom or dad or brother or sister) of a part member family that has been taught for over a year and could not kick the cigarettes was finally able to do it. When I got in Aritao, she still smoked 1 cigarette per day and then last cycle she got close. She went 3 weeks straight without a cigarette, but then she had one and she had to start over pretty much. But she finally made it a month and was baptized Saturday. I'll try to send pictures, but my card reader isn't working today. I think I need to buy a new one.

Elder Edwards was really awesome and talked about laying it all on the altar as missionaries and just being willing to work as hard as we can and give up our little problems with rules or whatever and fully committing to our missions. He is a really nice and intimidating at the same time. But I learned a ton. The best part was I didn't have to give a talk or get interviewed by him :-)

Now I'll answer Bryce's birthday edition of the Q & A:
  1. What's the craziest thing you've seen so far?
    Man, I don't know. Things just like seem normal to me now. All the time stuff happens and we are just like, “Yeah, we are in the Philippines. Lets see ... I've seen more drunk and gambling people than I think there are in Vegas. I rode a jeepney past a bus that just rolled, and saw people that were still climbing out. That 70-year old dude climbing a coconut tree was pretty crazy.
  2. What's the weirdest thing you've eaten?
    The dinugan was pretty bad. The other day these people gave us chicken toes. I didn't really eat it though. I couldn't do it. It looked like little baby hands.
  3. Dude, do they have like real toilets there?
    At the church is pretty much the only one. Most people have like little bowls that suck if you pour water down them.
  4. Do you have a problem with your budget? Do they give you enough money for everything? Yeah, it's all right. But if you ever want anything American-food wise, you pretty much have use personal money.
  5. Do you pay fast offerings and stuff? Ya, fast offerings, but nothing else.
  6. Have you worn a man-skirt? Does anyone wear those?
    No one wears those. Some Tongans have them that they wear sometimes just in the apartment. That's all I have seen.
  7. Dad is making me mexi food and cake for my B-day. Do you ever get stuff like that there?
    There is like no mexican food here. I miss it bad. I have had cake a few times here. It's expensive though.
  8. Does everyone stink there?
    Surprisingly, not really. They take lots of bucket showers.
  9. Any hot chicks in the Philippines? Be honest.
    Really, at least for me, almost none.
  10. How bad do you miss cheese and milk (scale of 1 to 10).
    Twelve! I miss it bad!
  11. Do they have hamburgers? Are they made of dog or something?
    Yea, they do. I don't know what they're made of, but it isn't dog. They're not very good. You have to go to Macdos to get a good hamburger. I have also seen some good meat at Save More. Also legit, bratwrust but I haven't bought any yet. They are like 5 dollars.
    Love ya!!! Gotta go!

    Have a great week.
    Elder AJ

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