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Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 48: Military choppers and french fries

Posing with a Philippine Blackhawk helicopter.

What a week! This was a pretty legit week. Without further adieu ... here it goes.

On Monday, right after we got done with the computer, we were headed home and then a Blackhawk military helicopter (and another smaller helicopter) landed in the field right in front of our house. I guess there was a storm so they had to land. I am pretty sure a Blackhawk can handle a little storm, but whatever. Anyway, the helicopter pilots were way cool. They let everyone take pictures and stuff. They also said the helicopter belonged to the Philippines because the president of the United States gave it to them as a present back in the 1990's ... So that was cool.

Tuesday was Zone Conference in Santiago. It was very motivational and had lots of good food as always. The theme of all the training lately seems to be about becoming a "Preach My Gospel" missionary and planning and studying and listening to the spirit more. They used a talk by Elder Bednar at the last mission president's seminar at the MTC. The coolest part is every companionship in the entire mission got DVD PLAYERS and the Preach My Gospel DVDs! It's pretty sweet. Seems like it could be a big temptation to some of the, um, less committed missionaries (especially with DVDs at every market for pocket change). Anyway it's pretty cool.

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal. We have been focusing on the people that are getting baptized this week, making sure they are ready and excited and all!

Then on Friday everything went awesome. In the morning and afternoon, we worked in a neighborhood we haven't gotten to work in that much. We followed up on this family we taught last week and only the twenty-something-year old girl was there, so we were kinda disappointed because we couldn't teach. So we were just talking to her and she hadn't read either so we were kinda bummed out. But when we were about to leave, she told us she doesn't believe in God because if God was real, her mother wouldn't have died a few years ago. Then we both testified that God does love her and that she will see her mother again. The spirit was so strong and she felt it. We taught her how to pray and committed her try praying later that day.

It was a cool experience and she really seemed touched. I was just thinking right after about how great and joyful the message of the gospel really is. The gospel answers and solves so many problems in life and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly on the earth today. I know that in my mind and I feel it is true in my heart, too. It is so great to be able to share with the people that God does live, that he does care and that does listen to and answer every child's prayer.

After that, we went and taught this inactive part-member family. I can't really figure out what to do. They know the church is true and what they need to do to become happy. They just don't want to do it. They are super nice though and they made french fries for us. They were definitely the best french fries I've had in the Philippines.

Baptism day!!! From L to R: Lolo Calica (74), Elder Fantony, Lola Calica (70-ish), their friend Sister Bambico (old too), Sister Emma (48), Jenine's brother (baptizer), Sister Jenine (15), Elder Griffin and, in front, the little girl, Nica (9) -- and an unidentified kid.

Later that day we went to the church and got things ready for the baptism. Except for a stubborn printer and not being able to get the programs out right, the baptism went awesome! They all had great feelings after and they all bore great testimonies after.

Lolo Calica might have made the biggest change and had the coolest testimony. I just remember when we first went, he didn't want to hear anything from the Book of Mormon and had almost an argumentative spirit. But we got him to start reading – and the Book of Mormon converted him!

He has now finished the book of Alma and his grandchild said he prefers reading the Book of Mormon more than sleep (reminds me of a church movie, can't remember which one). He bore an awesome testimony about how his whole life he has been looking for the truth and now, at age 74, he finally found it. Unfortunately, I didn't understand most of it though, because it was about 90 percent Ilakano ... But that was the gist of it). It was really cool. And by the way, old people are hard to baptize.

Saturday in the morning they had "District Family Day" in Bambang. They had a service project (planting trees) and lots of food and stuff about eternal marriage and Family Home Evenings and stuff. The Calicas won a Bible and a triple for being the newest converts in attendance!

AJ with Elders (l to r) Fantony, Frythe and Castillo.

Sunday was pretty normal. Earlier today (Monday) we went to a waterfall, about an hour hike away in mountains in Aritao. It was all right. It was pretty hot and then on the way home it rained and we were just soaked from head to toe! Fun, eh?

So yeah, it was a great week! Transfers are coming on Thursday. We will find out on Tuesday if we have them or not so ... I don't know what's gonna happen. But one side note: Our investigator that dreamed that two Americans would come teach her about Jesus Christ said she just had a dream the other day that I would be transferred to Isabella. I guess we'll see if her dream turns about to be prophetic again.

Hiking to the waterfalls on P-day

I love you family! Thanks for the emails and the prayers and for everything you've done for me these 20 years! It been a great 20 years and I am so thankful to have parents that love me and are followers of Jesus Christ.

Fight the Good Fight!

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