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Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 52: Christmas in the Philippines ;-)

Email conversation between AJ and his dad through Sunday night at about midnight (about 2 p.m. Monday in the Philippines)
AJ: Hey, sup pops? You awake still?
Hey yeah, just working on a feature for the mag on the Scott brothers, Kenny and Brian. How ya been?
h just fine and dandy. Who are the Scott brothers?
Kenny played for Hurricane in 2005 on that undefeated team that lost to Riley Nelson and Logan in the semis. Brian is his little bro who had 1,400 yards this year and 25 TDs as they are undefeated again.
Oh yeah, I remember him. Didn't he and the Long dude beat Lark and company when they were undefeated or something.
eah, that's the kid. Logan crushed them both, though. Kenny married Zach Sorensen's sister.
DAD: Ben Brown and I chatted for awhile today at church. You'll remember he went to the Philippines on his mission. He asked how you were doing. He said he was in Cebu City for a lot of his mission and it was dirty and hot. He said they had pineapple farms in his mission and a member friend of their's used to pick them some "new" ones. They weren't much bigger than a mango and he said they were incredibly good.
o did Ben Brown speak Cebuano or Tagalog on his mission? I heard in Cebu and stuff they know Tagalog, but they don't really like to speak it and kind of look down on people that don't speak Cebuano.
Not sure on Ben Brown and the language. Melvin went there, too, but I think he spoke mostly Taglish.
Where was Jason Asay assigned? The Philippines has a ton of missions.
I dunno about Asay. There are 16 missions now in the Philippines. Crazy, huh?
I think 17 now. Quezon City mission in Manila just got split a few months ago. Cebu and Illoilo got split right before I got in the Philippines, too. By they way, did I tell you that Tyler Haws is supposed to be AP in the Quezon City South Mission? I guess a couple months ago he called President Carlos on business and President was all stoked and he said he made him talk basketball for like 10 minutes.
Haws should be about done right? Or did he not leave until the summer. I can't remember. BYU hoops should be good again. They lost Jimmer and Emery, but Davies got reinstated and they signed this major stud freshman named Demarcus Harrison. Plus Abuou and Hartsock are back. Should be fu
n.AJ: Cool. Haws is like 6 months ahead of me. One of my buddies here in the mission met him in the MTC. I guess he isn't playing basketball at all for these two years. He said Haws wouldn't play in the MTC. He would just run the track and lift weights. He thinks the coach told him not to play or something. I bet it's hard.
Wow, how could you not touch the rock for two years? I'm guessing it will take a little time to get his shooting touch back. His little brother (a sophomore) and Jackson Emery's little bro (junior) both already verbally committed to BYU.
So Tyler will probably be like in his senior year at the Y when his bro joins the team? Maybe the Lord will preserve his touch and give it back to him when he gets back in the States. That's gotta be hard. His companions definitely must be trying to get him to play like all the time.
Did you get to play today? Maybe some hoops or football? You probably get tons of exercise walking everywhere.
Yeah, we played ball this morning. Our bishop is super cool. We have been getting up at 6 and playing ball from 6-7 with the Bishop and this one RM in the ward. I really missed it. We never played ball with Elder Fantony. Oh, hey, our rice cooker broke so now we only eat rice when people give it to us – haha. Go America!
You have an indoor court, or outdoor? I'm kinda fat right now, you would probably whip me.
I don't think they have invented the indoor court in the Philippines – Joke lang! But really I haven't seen one yet. All the churches, even stake centers, are out in the hot, hot sun.DAD: I guess if your weather is always mild, you don't need to be indoors.AJ: Oh, by the way, we went to Macdos the other day and threw down 2 quarter pounders with cheese. It was epically American awesome! Anyway, I am outta here!
inished my story and chatted with you. Now must go to bed. Love ya AJ!
Hey family,

Time flies! So another great week of teaching and finding and working.

Ramon is a pretty sweet area. We have tons of investigators now and this Sunday a lady came to church with her husband and said they just moved here. She said “Hey, teach my husband!” That is the best finding, inside the church itself.

So this week on Wednesday we had interviews with President Carlos. I like interviews with President. He shared with me in Helaman 10 that as we teach and preach with unweariness, we will be blessed forever. That'ss a super cool promise.

By the way, it's officially Christmas here in the Philippines.
We sang 3 Christmas songs in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and tons of members have trees out. I guess they don't have Halloween or Thanksgiving to celebrate, so they just go straight for Christmas maybe. As I write this, they are playing “White Christmas.” I am not sure if I am buying into it this early … Kind of ridiculous.

So this week we had some cool successes like Tatay Onia. His son left on a mission a couple of months ago and he decided to start investigating the church. He has come to church now the second week in a row, hasn't smoked or drank in 8 days and took the baptismal date for November 26th.

We also were visiting a less active family a few weeks ago and ran into their cousin, 15-year old Mac-mac, who just moved from Manila. He is doing pretty good and the best part is that the young men are doing an awesome job fellowshipping and making him feel welcome. They already got him playing on the church ball team (BTW, in Santiago is the only time I have seen legitimate church ball-teams) and they got dressed up in a shirt and tie for church. Cool eh?

We have a ton of new families and great people that we are teaching that are super nice and we are hoping and praying that they will feel the spirit and that we can teach them goodly enough so that they can keep the commitments and find out for themselves. It's amazing how the Lord guides us in our paths. All the time our plans might not work out or something and we end up trying something else and run into chances to serve or into people that have been prepared by the Lord. It's a really awesome feeling to be guided in our goings and doings. We have been more bold and not being shy and talking to more people than ever.

I just read the w
eekly letter from President Carlos and it was really awesome. He talked about the Savior and Peter and the Feeding the Sheep lesson. Even our simple every day decisions are a reflection of how much we love the Savior. Of course if we love Jesus, we need to keep his commandments. John 15:16. It's not enough to say we love the Savior, but go back to fishing or (whatever our fishing may be). But we need to teach and teach till we can't go anymore.

Yes, I have also realized I hit the one year point this week and it definitely doesn't feel like it has been that long. Bu
t then again, I can't really remember not being a missionary ... so yeah. But life is good.

Well I have always known the Church is true, but this past year my testimony has definitely grown and I know without a doubt that this is the only true church on the Earth, that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration. I know that, in my mind and in my heart, and I feel it, too. The Book of Mormon is the greatest book on the Earth. Read it over and over again!

Well, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans so …

Merry Christmas Ya All!!!
Love A.J.

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