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Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 47: Spider wars!

Email conversation between Aj and his dad at about midnight Utah time (about 2 p.m. Monday in the Philippines). If you'd like to email AJ, the address is

AJ: Wazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz upppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!
DAD: Hey Monkey man! How's the tropics?
AJ: Still hot and rainy! How's my beloved St. George? I'll tell you Dad, you don't miss what ya got till its gone! St. George is the Bomb!
DAD: Yeah, although it's still plenty hot here. I've done games in Manti and Cedar the last two weeks and it was nice to cool down.

AJ: Nice! Football! All the people that like football got transferred, so no no one will play. Also, you can tell Brother Balaich that Batud fever has infected the whole zone again.
DAD: Batud? Is that like bad attitude?
AJ: Ha no... Batud is a part of Banaue that is supposed to be really awesome and have like a huge waterfall and stuff. But the problem is, to get to it you have to leave at 3 or 4 a.m. and you don't get back til 9 o'clock at night. When Elder Balaich and I were comps we saw like the whole zone go and then they weren't able to work on Monday and were like wasted all week and had to email on Tuesday and all this stuff. It's just not worth it. And zone activities aren't allowed. So yeah, we didn't go. But almost the whole zone went again today. It would be cool to go, but it's not worth it and definitely not allowed. Yeah, so you can just tell him Batud fever infected the whole zone again.
DAD: Ah, well sounds like a looooong trip. How'd the baptisms turn out?
AJ: Thats still coming up this Saturday. Last Saturday was their interviews and they all passed! There might be a problem with one of the baptisms. It turns she has been married twice and (apparently you can do that in the Philippines). But she lives alone now, so I don't know what that means. If she does get baptized, she can't ever have a boyfriend or get married again. Oh by the way, did I tell you it is nearly impossible to get a divorce in the Philippines?
DAD: So she never got divorced. She is still married twice?
AJ: Yeah, she is legally married to two dudes and has been seperated from one for 30 years and the other for like a year. I talked to the AP's last night. They're supposed to ask President Carlos. She actually passed the interview and then last night we were doing the paperwork and we got to the spouse part and I was like, “Uh-oh. That might be problem.” The APs haven't called back yet so we are waiting.
DAD: I guess every country is different, but that would definitely not fly here in the USA. Maybe they have a statute of limitations and she is somehow civilly divorced. At least from the first one.
AJ: Well supposedly for the Philippines, if you haven't seen the person for a number of years than you can get married again to someone else. That definitely doesn't fly for the church though. I think she can get baptized still, but she definitely can't ever have a husband again. We'll see what President says. Her life was really a mess though. She had 2 other dudes she made kids with and she has 11 total kids scattered across the Philippines. In the Philippines, the family is not usually very intact at all.
DAD: Big spider. Is it poisonous?
AJ: I don't know but Elder Fantony isn't scared of it. I learned a new game. Apparently everyone who ever had a childhood in the Philippines plays it. You catch a spider, put in a match box for like 2 or 3 days. Your buddy gets one too. Then after 3 days you wake them up and then they fight each other. It's sweet. On the stick it's like Spiderman: they get knocked off and then they catch themselves with a web and get back up. If they are hungry enough, the winner will supposedly eat the loser. Anyway that is our spider fight earlier today. My spider got dominated. Mine is the little one. The spider is just about to deliver the final deadly blow.
DAD: Spider wars. huh? I think Michael Vick went to prison for doing that with dogs – HAHA. I guess with no football, you have to find something to entertain. Looks like some good junk food, too.
AJ: The milk and Oreos and peanut butter are from my 10 dollars of mad money at Save More! Thanks Ben and Laura! And I made cheesy potatoes with that cheez mix you gave me!
DAD: Remember Tyler Warhurst? Saw him today. He spoke at church. He went to the Caribbean. He said they are all 5-9 and brown and he is 6-5 and very white. Reminded me of you!
AJ: I don't really remember him. I know his name, but I cant remember the face.
DAD: BTW, Cowboys won today. Beat SF in overtime, Romo played great, even though he broke a rib in the 1st quarter.
AJ: What a stud! Cock fighting is huge in the Philippines, too. Almost every town has a big cockfighting arena. I wish they would just build a grass field instead. Oh, yeah, grass fields are almost impossible to find in the Philippines. They would rather plant rice fields I guess. The church has a really small grass field and that's it. There is nowhere nice to play.
DAD: They don't do parks there at all? What about at the schools?
AJ: No parks. The schools are tiny. I think they just think a grass field is a waste of money. That's why they don't play soccer or football.
DAD: I guess you gotta feed those 12 million people or whatever it is there. How big is Aritao (# of people)?
AJ: I don't know. It seems like a lot. I'll try and find out. I know Tuguegarao was supposed to have 200,000 people and it was probably in a smaller area than Aritao. It was crowded and polluted over in Tuguegarao.
DAD: Too bad you can't stay up there in Aritao in the mountains for the rest of your time. I guess there are others out there you need to find though.
AJ: Yeah, I don't know what the Lord has in mind, but I kind of think I am gonna be transferred soon. Whatever happens though, I am happy! All right, I am headed out!
DAD: OK , be good, love u.

Merry Christmas!!!

Yeah, so the Philippines is starting to get amped for Christmas already. Starting to see Christmas lights and like 6 people have said Merry Christmas to us. And you thought Walmart started early with the Christmas buzz!

So another great week here in the Philippines. The rice fields are almost all harvested and not as pretty anymore, but the harvest of men here is plentiful!

We had 6 investigators get interviewed for baptism this past Saturday and they all passed. So if we don't have any problems, we will have 6 baptisms this Saturday: A husband and wife in their 70s (the husband is a former Barangay Capt. and ex-Jehovah's Witness, too!); Their friend Beth (also in her 70's); then Sister Emma (about 50); Sister Janine (15), and Sister Nika (9). So we are really excited and have a busy week and a lot of work ahead of us!

Tomorrow we have Zone Conference in Santiago and we think the Elder's Quorom president is going to give us a ride because he is going to Isabella tomorrow too. Yeah, a real car! And there is always good food at zone conference, so we are excited!

I was just thinking the other day how awesome my mission has been so far and all the things I have learned so far as well. It's crazy. I've learned a new language, how to be a lot more patient, so much about the gospel and lots of other things. Even how to tie a tie good! I have a ton more to learn and I know that if I wasn't on a mission, I would be missing out on so many blessings, so many experiences and so much happiness. The mission is awesome!

I am thankful to be on a mission and I don't know a lot of things, but I do know that this church and this gospel is
 true. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he has a living prophet on the earth today. I know that this is the only way to be happy – by living the gospel!

Love You!

Now some Q & A
  1. Is it getting hotter or cooler there now? We are starting to cool down.
    It's been about the same, if not hotter since I have been in Aritao. All the people say that's kind of weird because it's supposed to really be cooling down here in the mountai
    ns of Viscya.
  2. Do you have many return missionaries around?
    There are 2 brand new RMs from Guam in our branch. They have been home for about a month. They are pretty legit and pretty cool. I think they must be really good at English, too, but they are either too humble or shy or something, cuz they always speak Tagalog to me.
  3. You ever get American visitors?I saw quite a few (like once a week) in Tuguegarao. But I haven't seen an American here in a long time.
  4. Tell us a little more about Elder Fontany.
    He is hard-working and pretty funny. He dances a little too much, but I guess everyone has their thing. He is cool.
  5. What is school like there? Do they go to high school and everything?
    High school is ages 12-16. They wear uniforms every day, too. They also have to call their teachers Sir or Madam. It's kind of funny – our branch president is a teacher -- the kids sometimes accidentally call him Sir Marlon. Also, like everyone in Aritao that has graduated in the last 15 years knows Sir Marlon – haha.
  6. Halloween is coming up. Do they celebrate it?
    I don't know. They sure are amped already for Christmas, though.

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