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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 40: A.J. is a Daddy (Tatay)!

AJ and is son (trainee or greenie), Elder Fontany (far left)

AJ: Hey! I regret to inform you that I now have a kid in the Philippines. Yes, he is a Filippino, haha …
DAD: Wow, congrats AJ, you studmuffin!
AJ: Ha, thanks. I do miss Elder Balaich though. How's life going on your side of the globe?
DAD: It's nice. We are still in New Harmony (at Grandma's). I am sending from my phone. It is about 70 degrees and cloudy here. We don't want to go home to the heat.
AJ: Oh, and the I got the package on Thursday... I am trying to decide what the best use of the chili would be. The shoes fit just right and the shaving stuff is way better than using only water ... haha. I made macaroni once too!
DAD: Did you get the Velveeta too, or did we forget to include it. I am so glad the shoes fit! That was pretty quick for the package.
AJ: Ya, the Velveeta is what I am most excited about! I'll probably put one chili in the cheese dip. And then I'm not sure ... Baked potato, frito pie, cincinatti spagetti... What do ya think? By the way, my Anak (son or trainee in this instance) is Elder Fantony from Laguna (southern Luzon). He is pretty cool. He works hard and is obedient. He is a little tiny bit strange, but that's okay. And earlier today was funny because it was the first time he has washed clothes by hand. I guess that a servant person at their house always does it for them. That made me laugh.
DAD: Dallas is having fun working your old job.AJ: Who does Dallas work with?
DAD: He said the guy's name is Jason, also a little bit with Delwin.
AJ: Oh yeah, I know Jason. He is cool. Dallas needs to convert him though. I gave him a Book of Mormon back in the day. Have Dallas tell him that I said he needs to get baptized … haha.
MOM: Glen had surgery on his shoulder or elbow, so he has been not working for awhile. We are driving home now. Glad u got your box. Shoot, we just got a flat tire.
AJ: No way!? That is not good.
MOM: Dads changing tire in the dark.
AJ: Ah man, that blows.. literally.
MOM: K, tire changed.
AJ: That was pretty quick. Go NASCAR.
DALLAS (he has the phone now): We had kahlua pork and had fun at grandma's and me and dad played paper football -- Dad kicked butt. Dude, it's awesome that ur already training. What's so weird about ur new comp?
AJ: Haha, ya I was seriously shocked when he said he never hand-washed clothes before. I said it was like he was American. Haha
DAD: Does ur comp speak English very well or do u speak Tagalog with him?
AJ: All my Filippino comps I have had just spoke Tagalog. He doesn't seem to know that much English. He uses a lot of Tagalog words that I don't know yet. I guess in Laguna they are pure Tagalog speakers, so they have a lot more deeper words. Here in region 2 (Cauayan Mission), Tagalog is almost always their 2nd or 3rd language. So it is just kind of more simpler words, I guess.
DAD: How far away is his home? What mission did he live in?
AJ: San Pablo Mission. The mission of Sister Watkins and Elder DeYoung (MTC friends). Supposed to be an hour outside of Manila. He was asking if we had SM Malls and other really great restaurants and stores in our mission, but we don't have any really. He was telling me by his house they have almost every American fast food and Wal-marts and 7/11s and stuff. Needless to say, I was sad. I guess Cauayan Mission is like the least developed because it's mostly inland farming area, so tourists don't really want to come here.
DAD: Well it sounds like u have got a lot of work to do with this young elder. Train him up right so he will be a great missionary … ohh and what's the word for Dad in Tagalog?
AJ: Tatay
DAD: We are home now, we did do a quick change on the tire. Dallas and Bryce really helped a lot. Dallas and Mom have been typing from my phone while IO dictated, but now I am on the computer.
AJ: Oh cool. Yeah, I am pretty much done though. Work to do!!! Alright, I am out of here. Love ya! A.J.
DAD: K, love ya, good luck with greenie!

AJ (far left) enjoying "American" popsicles
Hey family,

Well I am tired … but happy and excited to be emailing you and be a missionary here in the Philippines.
Well I got a new companion and he is brand new from the Manila Missionary Training Center. His name is Elder Fantony. (I wrote about him in the Q & A). But things are going really good and I am happy. We just have been working hard and trying to catch up since we hadn't been able to work in the area lately.

We couldn't do much Monday (p-day, so at night only), half of Tuesday (packing and district meeting in Solono), Wednesday (on splits in Bambang) or Thursday (traveling). So Friday, Saturday and Sunday we had tons of appointments and it was cool to see some investigators that had read and progressed even though we hadn't taught them. But it was also sad to see a few others pretty much digress. But Church was good and for gospel principles class we taught about faith and used mustard seeds and had every one plant plants.

Yeah, I don't have a whole lot else to say. I love you all though. I know this church is true and that the gospel is really on the earth today and that Christ is the Savior of the world and that his invitation for us is really there. So let's follow him. I know it's the only way to true happiness.

Love you!
A. J.
Some Q & A with AJ
1. Was it a sad scene when Balaich left?
Kind of, except I was too tired to really notice. They left at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. I was happy for him though. He hasn't been home in a long, long time. We did have an awesome cycle though. And found lots cool people and had tons of fun.

2. Tell us all about your new comp.
He is 19-years old from Laguna (southern Luzon). He is youngest of 3 kids and is hard-working and obedient. He is also pretty tall for a Filippino (about 5-foot-11) and really excited to work and be a missionary. He is kind of quiet, but isn't afraid to OYM (street greet) or teach and he is a pretty good teacher. I am excited for this cycle. It should be a good one.

3. Is it still fairly cool there? You

 looked hot on the bridge.
It gets hot in the afternoon, but it still has been raining quite a bit and even when it is kind of hot, it isn't too bad. It was like four times hotter in Cauayan on Thursday and probably like 8 times as hot in Tuguegarao. So I am very grateful to be in Nueva Viscya this summer.

4. What do you do on a typical p-day, besides laundry and e-mail us?
Buy fruit and whatever from the palengke and groceries. Maybe play basketball or football if we can. If there is time, I like to take a nap on p-day. All last cycle we just kept doing awesome things (waterfalls, banaue, going to Save More, etc.) on p-day, so all our p-days were really packed last cycle. Later today we will probably play basketball.

5. Take us through your trip to Cauayan (rides, time, activity, etc.)
So going to Cauayan is exhausting.
Philippine mass transit
On Tuesday night we went to the ZL's house and that morning Elders Balaich and Pincock left. Then we worked that day ... or tried. We got hit by a baguio (typhoon) level 2, so it rained pretty much all day, but we were still able to teach some lessons. Then the Dupax elders came and slept at the house to be a little closer to Cauayan. Then that next morning we got up at 4:15, got ready and waited for a bus. Finally got one about 5:15, then we got to Cauayan about 9 a.m. Then we went to the 2 hour meeting and I got an anak. We ate food at Chowking (kind of like a lame Panda Express) and then went back to the mission home. Right before we were about to leave, Sister Carlos called us to to eat American food (peanut butter and popsicles!). Then we took Elder Fantony's stuff and waited for a bus again. We got one about 2. Then rolled into Aritao about 6. Did Cycle goals and then taught one lesson. It's pretty lame that it takes so long to get places. Cauayaun is only like 100 kilometers (55 miles) away, but it takes like 4 hours each way because the stupid buses stop every 10 mins. But yeah, I hate traveling in the Philippines.

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