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Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 57: Bye Wooden, hello DL!

AJ's package made it to Utah in about a month
AJ: naimbug nga rabbi yu (is that you, father?)
DAD: Bodote skedeet nat n waddap an chu (gibberish)
AJ: Whats up?! You got the package already?! Can you send me a picture of it? Does it have a billion stamps on it?
DAD: Just sent a pic with my phone. Is there any reason we should open it before Christmas. Anything in there we should get out. Something kinda sharp is poking thru a little in one corner.
AJ: Um, Yeah, that's a machete. Surprised they let it through with a knife sticking out. I didn't say what's for who, so you might want to split it up evenly. But it might be more fun just to wait til Christmas. There is stuff for everyone, I just didn't really sort it up. Just be careful when you open it – up on the top is a picture, so be careful not to cut it up. On the bottom are the machetes. One of them doesn't have its cover on because it wouldn't fit. You all decide. I don't know.
DAD: It was just the very tip sticking out in the corner. I think it will be fun to open at Christmas. We sent you a package last week and the envelope one from a few weeks ago should be there soon. Good news: shoes are on the way!
AJ: How was thanksgiving?
DAD: Turkey day was great. Lotsa food, although I was sore all day after two hours of football.
AJ: By the way, Tuesday was the last day I was feeling lousy. Wednesday til now I have felt great! We just got done with the greatest football game the Philippines has ever seen!
DAD: So glad u feel better. Dallas started feeling good about Wednesday as well. We had a pretty epic FB game on Thanksgiving as well. I got to play QB the whole time for our team. About 18 Elders and young men showed up on the turf farm. I probably threw 10 TDs and four picks. Not as good as last year, but Brock Rasmussen plays a mean safety. He got me a couple of times.
AJ: So the A.P.'s came down from Cauayan. Elder Hale from SLC valley and Elder Katoa from Dixie High and they took us to this place we went in the past that's kind of far away, but it has a big field. The only problem, it's been a wet week and it was a mud pit. We were slipping all over the place. We were all muddy head to toe. It was insanely fun. Funnest football experience since America. Part way through, someone had a super bad idea. Mud tackle football! So we ended up playing tackle football for about 30 mins. It was so stinkin' fun!
DAD: UH oh, tackle football is definitely against mission rules. I know, cause it was when we used to play tackle football in 1985. Hopefully no one got hurt?! Mud football is extremely fun. Glad you had a good time. You deserved it after being sick for two weeks.
AJ: Yeah definitely against the rules. But it was the APs and Zls idea, so everyone played dumb and followed blindly – haha. No, no one got hurt. Everyone got skinned knees and stuff from before we started playing tackle. Katoa is such a beast though. He is just pure muscle gosh ... Did you meet him?
DAD: What's his first name? I know Isaac Katoa played at Pine View. There were several Katoas in the region -- all studs.
AJ: Yeah, when I was sick if it was a good day we would go to like one appointment and mostly Wooden would teach – I was a wreck. Bill is what Katoa's name is. He is a super nice guy – class act. I think he must've been a stud in HS too. I think he played LB or S.
AJ: Oh, hey – Baptism! MacMac is the teenager on the Left. He is super awesome! It was a great baptism. Even started on time. And his buddy baptized him, so double bonus!
DAD: Cool about the baptism. Amazing that you got it done considering you had been sick so much. I can't believe how little those boys are next to you and Wooden! Short, but also so very thin. They must weigh 90 pounds.
AJ: Yeah, that's how they all are pretty much. Sometimes we see Filipinos that are over 6 feet tall, but they are still skinny as bones – don't have a muscle on them.
DAD: If you started a football league there, you could be the Terrell Owens of it and score at will.
AJ: Or a basketball league too. It'd be more entertaining then Lebron's 3 on 3 strike tourney right?
DAD: BTW, they ended the strike yesterday.
AJ: I have no desire to watch NBA again. A bunch of babies. The Jazz don't have D-Will anyway. I'll just be a BYU fan. That's garbage …
DAD: Yeah, Jazz are gonna be lousy anyway. Devin Harris, Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward, with Ty Corbin as coach. It's like they are trying to channel their inner Minnesota Timberwolves.
AJ: So President Carlos paid us a visit this week ...
DAD: Oh yeah, what did Pres. have to say?
AJ: A lot of random stuff – then he said "Elder Griffin, you haven't been working very hard, so we are going to transfer you and make you district leader." Then he told Wooden he better get ready cuz he is senior next week to a fairly new Filipino. We were like, “Ah dang, we got a lot of work to do.”
DAD: NICE, DL! That's cool. You'll have to practice some of that tact and leadership you learned as a boy scout. Haha -- you'll be great! Taylor was just transferred and made DL as well. I never made ZL, just DL and trainer a couple times. Trainer was the best.
AJ: Yeah, it'll be fun but it's gonna be hard. I am not very good at teaching in the classroom setting. I guess I'll be practicing. I heard interviewing can be pretty awesome sometimes when you meet some of the other missionaries' way cool converts. It'll be good. President said Elder Wooden knows a lot about my new area. I am taking over his old area in Alicia Zone – in a town called Echague. I heard I will be living with the zone leaders and I think I know my companion. I don't know him, I just heard it's a newer hard-working Filipino. This is all not for sure til Thursday. I will miss Elder Wooden. We had a good time. Before I got sick, we were playing ball 3 times a week and we had a lot of good times together. He was super disappointed we weren't staying together for Christmas. I was, too.
DAD: Wow, big changes. Sounds like Pres. Carlos like what you're doing, though.
Pres. and Sister Carlos
AJ: Oh, so apparently President knows about the blog. He says the funniest things. I can't remember what he was talking about, but he was like, “Hey, you can go put that on your blog.” haha.
DAD: What a stud he is. I guess he is cool with us conversing via email. We read his wife's blog all the time, too. I wonder if he checks yours every week, or if he even has time or cares?
AJ: Oh yeah, and president brought us a bag of cookies and a Hershey's Bar. Cool eh? I think he Facebooks, too, to see who is using their Facebooks – haha. Seems like I've heard stories about that. Do you email him every week?
DAD: I've never emailed him – oh you mean to tell them about the blog. Mom might, I just post on my Facebook that it is updated. We haven't even touched your FB the whole time. I don't think Mom sends an email to them.
AJ: No I am pretty sure he ALREADY knows about the blog!
DAD: Well, good thing you are a good missionary and have nothing to hide, except tackle football ;-) Hey, Sunday was 13 months for you. Dang, time is flying! Enjoy it while you can!
AJ: Gosh I know. The clock wont stop. Its unreal how fast time goes. By the way, Echague is super close to Ramon. It's actually the same distance away from Santiago as Ramon. It's a 20 peso ride, which is like a 25 min ride or less. So Ramon is a 20 peso ride away from Santiago on a different highway and Echague is 20 pesos away from Santiago on the main road toward Cauayan. I am used to everything being far away, like in Tuguegarao and Nueva Viscaya. Anyway, Elder Wooden and the AP's both said you can P-Day in Santiago, so we still got Macdos! Echague is supposed to be a bomb ward. Elder Wooden said they give tons of quality referrals and he and his trainer baptized a family in Echague (that's my yet to be fulfilled quest – The Family!).
DAD: Ah yes, the family. I baptized a mother and daughter, does that count? (there was no dad in the picture)
AJ: If my family counts in Tug. We found the family. The mom had been inactive since she was teenager. We activated her and the kids all got baptized and the dad is going to church but isn't sure yet. The problem is, I got transferred before they got baptized. The dad might be baptized by now. I haven't heard anything in like 6 months. So does mine count?
DAD: Sure, your family counts. I've never baptized a Filipino, but I did dunk two white ladies and a couple of African-Americans.
AJ: I've never baptized a white person. Or an African American. A good portion of our baptisms have been ladies. But the grandpa in Aritao is legit. He is gonna be a branch president.
DAD: K, well, be good and good luck with transfers. Love you son!
AJ: That sounds great. I had a ton of stuff to read in my inbox. By the way, tell Grandma thanks for the email and pictures. It was good to see the fam. Yeah, good stuff.

G'night. Love ya!

Hey Family!
Well, it was a great week for several reasons! I woke up Wednesday and felt awesome and we have been working as normal ever since! Thanksgiving Day we didn't get too trunky and we ate awesome cheese hotdogs and Oreos! And even better than that, we had a BAPTISM!
All right here is the rundown. So on Monday it was P-Day. I was feeling pretty lousy so I just washed clothes then we went to the computer store. We were going to grab some groceries, but it just started pouring rain like crazy, so we just went home. By then I was wasted, so I slept til like 5:45, then we went out and found a referral. It was this RM guy who wants us to baptize his wife. But the problem is, it's not really his wife. He has another wife and there is no divorce in the Philippines and they just had a baby so they are a special case. So we gotta tell them soon that they gotta separate or we can't really help them. Kinda of an ugly situation – I don't know what to do. Anyway after that, I was still super dizzy, but we went to our dinner appointment and went home. I didn't do too good.
Tuesday I was pretty wrecked as well, but we went to district meeting, then got groceries. By the time we went home, I was totally out of it and had to sleep for a little bit. At like 4, we did personal and comps study since it had been a while since we had a chance to study for lessons (at least for me, haha, cuz he had lots of study time while I was out, but also for us as a companionship). We worked that night and visited the baptismal dates and they were doing good. I was still pretty dizzy. Anyway we got back and I hit the sack and in the morning I felt great!

Kanarraville's Homer Einstein says Happy Thanksgiving!
So while we were eating breakfast, the AP's texted us and said they might stop by and asked what we had on the sked. Anyway, they kind of visit a lot because there is a storage room in the back of our house and this elder back in the day made a ridiculously huge weightlifting bar – Oh, by the way, missionaries make or get made weights all the time. They are like a bar with coffee cans on the end full of cement. Elder Katoa has wanted the weight for a while, so we thought they were just coming to grab something. Anyway, I guess they missed the turn and then they tried calling us and our phone is broken so that only we can hear, the other person can't hear us. After a few times, President Carlos called us, but he couldn't hear us either. Finally we were able to text them directions. But then we were like, uh oh, President is coming. So we had to clean up a little, real quick. It wasn't too dirty. We just kinda didn't make our beds – haha.

Anyway, I love President. He says the funniest things. He comes and walks around our house. Elder Wooden had a pair of socks in a bucket of water – I don't know why – but President Carlos says "Oh good, you're marinating the socks." Wooden also had a bucket of clothes sitting in dirty water and president says "Well, that's the reason your clothes are gonna stink," which he was right, because Elder Wooden had started that laundry like 3 days earlier and forgot about it – haha. Then he broke the news (about me getting transferred and made a DL).

Well then on Wednesday and Thursday we've just being searching for our old investigators that we haven't seen in over a week. They are hard to find, a lot of them. One, however, that we did find again is Fortunato Paris. Fortunato is kinda of a crazy old man and he always wants to look up the cross references in the BOM to the Bible, which is great, but hard when your trying to teach a lesson and then go teach other people.

Anyway, 2 weeks ago we were kind of at an impasse. He liked to read the Book of Mormon and the Bible and liked to listen to us, but he didn't want to go to church even when we challenged him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. And even though we had taught the apostasy and restoration of the priesthood several times, and taught him about the need for the gift of the holy ghost he just kept saying he had been baptized in Espirtista (I am not sure what it is, never heard of it til my mission, supposedly the most espirutas are in Brazil).

Anyway. he wouldn't come to church and he just wasn't progressing. Well after 2 weeks of either being sick or him not being there, I am guessing he read the BOM a bit. His attitude was a lot of different. So he wants to go to church now. His problem was he was Mahiya. Basically Shy. It seriously is a disease – like it's definitely the most used excuse ever. Like, not just for commitments, but like all things. Anyway, we were able to talk to him and he is friends with a member that lives really close and he said, “OK, I'll just go over and go with them. The only problem is they just went inactive like 6 months ago. So we texted the member's son, who is active and a former bishop, to tell his dad to go to church with our investigator.

So ... as it turns out, our broken phone let us down again and he never received anything. So I don't know what happened, but neither of them went to church. Too bad. Hopefully next week.

Anyway the story didn't work out right, but here only in the mission have I gained a testimony of how important the very simple principles and ordinances of the gospel are and also how awesome the Book of Mormon is at changing the life of a person.

I know both of those thing are true and that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth. It's weird, in Utah it's like everyone knows the church is true but in the real world (is that OK to say?) is where I really grew a testimony. So the church is true.

Gotta go!
Love ya a ton!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 56: Mac-mac and Turkey Day

(Email chat between Elder AJ Griffin and his Dad, beginning about 9 p.m. Sunday in Utah or about noon Monday in the Philippines)
Elders Griffin and Wooden at a zone meeting in Cauayan.
AJ: Hey hey!
DAD: Hey man, you're on early tonight! How ya feeling?
AJ: Man I've been as sick as a dog this week, but today I am actually feeling kinda ok. Still dizzy, though.
DAD: Sorry you have been sick. You able to eat and get some nourishment? You gotta keep nourishing that body!
AJ: Yeah a few members brought us food and the district leader even brought us Macdos, so doing pretty good. I am impressed with dengue fever. I thought I could get over it in like a day, but now it's at a week and a half.
DAD: Kicked your butt eh? Do you feel like it is starting to go away? You need to take care and take this thing seriously.
AJ: Yeah, like from Tuesday to Saturday I was exhausted and slept most of the day. Monday to Thursday I had a terrible headache and dizziness and then I had fever and rash for awhile. Today though, I just am a little dizzy, but my body feels pretty good.
DAD: Is your companion going nuts? What about your investigators?
AJ: Yeah, he is going nuts. We've been able to teach a lesson at night a few times, but I come home all dizzy. We have been able to kind of keep up with ones with a baptism date, but with the other ones, not at all really. It's too bad. I've been wanting to go out and work so bad, but I just get all dizzy and out of whack.
DAD: I had a comp with mono when I was in New Jersey. Fortunately, I was able to do a ton of telephone contacting and setting appointments and stuff. We visited every member in the Audubon Ward with a member-missionary presentation that month. But I was kinda stir crazy, too. That was when I met your mother.
AJ: Haha – you dog! Were you attracted to her then or did you not really think much of her?
DAD: Nah, she was 16 and kinda nerdy and stuff. I didn't really talk to her again for a year until the end of my mission. My last couple of weeks we had a stake conference in her stake and I saw her there and she said she was coming out to BYU. Even then, she was kinda quiet and wore glasses and stuff. Never really considered her as anything but a friend until she came out to Utah, then it was Bam, Pow, Fireworks!
AJ: Haha, well I don't plan on meeting my wife on my mission. We have a baptism on Saturday! Mac-mac is a stud!
DAD: Sounds like your young men are studs, too, fellow-shipping him. How old is he? Does his family support his decision?
AJ: Yeah, the young men have been studs. I've only met like his aunts and uncles and cousins and they are mostly members. He is 15.
DAD: I hope he is strong. Do you think people there accept the Gospel because they have nowhere else to turn? They seem very humble, but also very poor. Does the church have a lot of people on welfare and stuff, or are they prideful and won't accept help? Just curious.
AJ: They are super humble and sometimes it seems like they accept the gospel because they have nowhere to turn. I haven't really seen anyone on welfare. I don't know how they use the fast offerings. There are no Bishop's storehouses or church-owned farms or anything. I don't know how the bishop gives out welfare. But people ask us for money all the time, so they aren't too prideful to ask.
DAD: Did Sister Carlos say anymore about this fever of yours and how to get rid of it? You just have to wait it out?
AJ: She just said I need to rest and take paracatamal (like Tylenol). She said if I push it too hard too fast it just makes it worse.
DAD: Well, listen to your mission mama. I guess there's not a whole lot we can do from here. We are praying for you (and Dallas) to get better. Holly gave a nice prayer at Grandma's asking Heavenly Father to bless you better.
AJ: Thanks, I think it's almost gone. Hopefully. I didn't even know Dallas was sick. Dangit! It just started pouring and our clothes are hanging outside of our house – supposed to be drying. They were close to dry when we left, too.
DAD: It rained coming home from G-Ma's, and I hit some big snowstorms the last two weeks. Mom was talking about sending you some hot chocolate. Cracked me up. She forgot that it doesn't get cold there.
AJ and Dallas (far left) Christmas morning 2004.
AJ: Yeah, it does not feel like Christmas season at all. It's just hot and rainy still. People are trying to tell me it's Christmas all the time though. I don't believe 'em.
DAD: Hey, only 36 shopping days til Christmas. Haha. If it's any consolation, I saw three houses with Christmas lights up today and all the stores are decked out for it, too.
AJ: Yeah, like 10 minutes ago these dudes came by with drums and a guitar, singing some Christmas song. It's still not even Thanksgiving! Settle down Philippines!
DAD: Guess you gotta go, eh? Well, I am so thankful to have a son like you. Your work and example there will touch the lives of so many, from your brothers to your nephews and nieces and your own children, plus all the lives you have touched in the Philippines. Thanks you for being a great son!!!
AJ: Thanks for being a great Dad. I sure treasured all our sports road trips.
DAD: Yeah, those were some great road trips. I loved 'em as much as you did.
AJ: We need to go on another one as soon as I get back! Love you! Bye!
DAD: Love you too!


Happy Turkey Day!

I don't think I will come across any turkey this Thursday, but I am thankful anyway.

Well, this week I've just been sick and we have been able to work just a little bit. Tatay Ania pretty much fell off the face of the earth. On Friday, they went to Nueva Ecia Daw and didn't go to church this week, so his baptism isn't gonna happen on Saturday.

But Mac-Mac has been doing awesome and he passed the interview on Saturday. So he will be baptized this next Saturday.

The ward has been really cool, bringing us food a couple times when I was sick. Our district leader brought us MacDonalds, too, so that was awesome. Hopefully my sickness is almost gone. I am tired of being sick. I wanna work.

Well since it's almost Thankgiving, here are a few things I am thankful for:

I am thankful for you, Mom and Dad, for raising me from a throwup-ey little kid to an annoying teenager. Thanks for putting up with me. Thanks for writing me every week. Thanks for sending me packages and thanks for praying for me everyday.

Thanks to Mom for waking up early all those times and driving me to football practice, even though I was terrible at football.

Thanks Dad for taking me to games for 15 years. Some of my fondest memories are driving to random places like Delta and Tooele and watching football and eating good food and having long conversations about life!

Thanks Dallas and Bryce for putting up with me and always hanging out with me. Thanks for always being there to play some Sega or throw the football. Thanks for reading the scriptures with me.

Thanks Katie and Holly for being so sweet and darn cute.

Thanks for taking us to Grandma and Grandpas every week and thanks for feeding me for 19 years. You are anything a kid could ask for in parents. I love you so much, Mom and Dad. I am eternally indebted to you. You are the best parents in the world! I definitely picked you in the pre-existence and wouldn't want it any on other way.

Mom and Dad, You are awesome!
Happy Turkey Day! Go Cowboys!
I love you! A.J.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 55: The Curse of the Dengue Fever!

(About 12:30 a.m. Utah time or 3:30 p.m. Monday in the Philippines. Dad had already gone to bed.)

AJ: Hey man, sorry we didn't get in earlier. News of the week: I got Dengue Fever. It's like West Nile, maybe. Anyway, I've got a gnarly headache, fever, rash and loss of appetite, plus I am super tired and dizzy. But I think it's starting to go away. I've got the right medicine now and it's getting better. Sister Carlos said this was just a mild case. It could have been much worse. Wiped me out though. More in the letter.

Dear Family,

Wow, so this week has been good. Just working and teaching the people here in Ramon.

Brother Onia (son is on a mission) and 15-year old Mac Mac Loteryo are doing really great. We have lots of investigators as well that are most all getting stuck from progressing on the “go to church” part.

Dengue fever, or West Nile fever, is a mild viral illness transmitted by mosquitoes which causes fever, rashes and muscle and joint aches. Treatment includes rehydration and recovery is expected. A second exposure to the virus can result in Dengue hemorrhagic fever, a life-threatening illness.
Thursday or so I started feeling super tired and dizzy with a headache behind my eyes. Slept that night, but still wasn't feeling all too great. Slept a little in the afternoon and worked all day, but it was hard. Then on Friday did the same thing, but it was so hot and hard, too. On Saturday, we worked from noonish til like 6 and I was just wasted. Decided to go to bed and hopefully I would be feeling better for church. Slept all night. Was still feeling way tired and stuff. Went to church, but after Sacrament Meeting I was just way tired and super dizzy, so we went home. That day was the worst. We texted Sister Carlos to find out what was going on. She gave me some drugs to get. And they helped a ton.

This is the apartment Elders Griffin and Wooden call home in Ramon.
The ward was super nice, though. They brought us lunch and then dinner later at our house and I got lots of rest. They really took care of us. I had Elder Wooden give me a blessing, too. Then This morning I woke up with rash on my ankles and on my arms. Later, Sister Carlos said it was definitely Dengue Fever. She said if it's a mild one, it should take just a week or so to get over and the first 4 days are the worst part.

So it seems like the worst part should be over. I got worked though. I guess quite a few missionaries have gotten it, too. Elder Balaich got it back in Tuguegarao back in the day.

We did meet this one cool lady in one Brgy. We got gatorade at her little store and then we gave her a pamphlet. We went and taught a different lesson then came back and this trycie driver came and talked to us about "religion," he said. Anyway, he let us teach him and then the girl's store was right there and she was still reading the pamphlet and she was super interested. She said she has read most of the Bible the “Muslim Bible” and she wanted to read the Book of Mormon. But we were out (of BOMs) that day and are still out right now. Hopefully we get some by tomorrow. But we were able to share about Joseph Smith and why there are many churches and how to know which one is true. And then she committed to pray about it. She is super cool.

The Elders at their weekly dinner appointment with a member family, the Olars, in Ramon.

So don't be worried about the sickness thing. It's not anything dangerous or anything. I don't have a whole lot else to say this week, just the whole Dengue thing.

I am doing good though and although I am tired, I am all right!

Love Ya!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 54: Pizza and the Day of the Dead

AJ: Musta na! Ano ang ginagawa nyo? (roughly translated as “Hi you! What is going on?”)
(30 minutes later)
DAD: You still on? I kinda fell asleep in my chair out on the living room.
AJ: Yea, still on here. I just found out we can buy from the LDS website. It's sweet – they have mesh garments and stuff. How ya doing?
DAD: Great. Sorry I'm late! How about you? Everything OK. Pizza looks good.
AJ: Great as well. That's funny. Elder Wooden falls asleep in his chair all the time – haha. What time is it in Utah? By the way, I took out a bunch of money. I am sending the package and I might be able to get a member to buy me some shoes in Manila.
DAD: It is 11:17 p.m. right now. Looks like you wrapped that package up tight. Hope it makes it without being hijacked. We are looking forward to getting it. How long do they say it should take?
DAD: Gotta have good shoes. Are your Hush-puppies wearing out already?
AJ: They are doing all right, but the Philippines is terror on shoes. We walk on crappy roads and mud and gravel every day. They're getting beat pretty good – they've got a while still, but I figured I better start looking now. I don't want you to have to send them. It's way too expensive.
DAD: What would you send the package through? Do they even have mail or is UPS there in the big cities or what? What time is it there?
AJ: It's 2:30 in the afternoon here.
DAD: Glad u got the little package. Those mags represent a lot of work on my end. All the writers are pretty young and raw. I had to do a lot of re-writing and editing. It's hard to believe we have put out four issues and are working on our fifth. Yes, get some shoes going now! Gotta find some before it gets to a critical point. It's too bad no one sells any your size, bigfoot. I dunno where you got your big feet! BTW, what did you write in Tagalog on your first email?
AJ: I don't know how long. Probably a long time. Hopefully it makes it before Christmas. I said. “How's it going? What are you all doing? Yeah, your magazine is awesome. Me and Elder Wooden love it. It looks like a ton of work. Do you give those out or do they sell those magazines?
DAD: They cost five bucks each, but when the schools sell them, we let them keep half. We usually print a batch of 2,500 and most of them get sold.
AJ: That's good. You can just get the schools to sell them. I hate selling stuff.
DAD: Where did you get that pizza? Looks good. Didn't see any pepperoni or much tomato sauce.
AJ: At "Greenwich Pizza." They have one in Tuguegarao, Solono and Santiago. The thing is, it's super expensive and not too terribly great. That's only the second time I've had pizza my whole mission. It was pretty good. It was ham and cheese. The hosers put onions on it, though. But they were big and easy to get off.
DAD: How much was the pizza? 10 bucks? Ah well, it's only money ;-)
AJ: It was 349 for that pizza – like 7 or 8 dollars. And that is exactly what I said earlier. It's only money! I love that saying!
DAD: Your mother gets mad at me when I say that! I think you are very frugal, just like her. Unless mission life is loosening you up.
AJ: Yeah, whenever I screw up and spend too much money, then I just say, oh well, it's only money! It's true. Ya cant take it with ya to heaven. It won't buy a loaf of celestial bread. Did you get the irony on the lottery picture?
DAD: Not sure on the irony ... tryce driver buying lotto tickets ... or something with the ladder ... I dunno.
AJ: You have to walk under a ladder to buy a Lotto ticket – haha!
DAD: Ah, I get it. Bad luck when you're trying for good luck. That's a pretty pink tryce, too. Guess he's trying to give rides to women, eh?
AJ: I don't know, man, about the tryce.
DAD: Your letter is here – must mean you're leaving soon. Love you!
AJ: Love ya too, PEACE!


Dear Family,
Another great week here in the Philippines. We had a good week teaching and then it was disappointing when only 1 of our investigators came to church. At least teaching is going really great. Every day we have almost more appointments than we can handle and we have tons of people that are really praying and reading the Book of Mormon.

Cool Experience: We walked by one of our investigator's house (Claudio family) a few hours before our appointment with them. We were headed to another appointment on the same street and looked in their window and they were reading the BOM! Yea! They didn't even see us either. Later, when we went to their house, we asked how their reading was going and he said something to the effect that he was loving it and it was almost like watching a movie. Cool!

Tuesday and Wednesday were holidays here in the Philippines. It's like “Araw ng patay,” or "Day of the Dead." It's like Memorial Day in America, except the cemetery pretty much turns into a carnival party thing. Yeah. So Tuesday, instead of district meeting, we all hit the cemetery with the Plan of Salvation pamphlets. It was interesting. We met this one guy who's 3-year old daughter had died a few years back and we taught the Plan of Salvation and how his daughter was definitely in heaven and that he could live with her forever through the gospel.
Sometimes, during a particular day or week, we will teach a certain principle a bunch of times, totally not on purpose. For instance, this one day almost all our lesson were focused on the doctrine of a living prophet in Thomas S. Monson on the earth today. It wasn't planned like that, but every time we were going to teach that day, we just felt like we needed to teach about the prophet.

For this whole week, it kind of seems like we have been teaching and preaching the blessing of eternal families and going to the temple. That is such an awesome blessing and I know that families can be together forever and that's what I want badly for each and every one of our investigators. This gospel is so perfectly beautiful and so perfectly true. I know that in my heart and in mind.

Sorry my letter is short this week. We have been teaching a ton of people and tons of them are progressing. Just the hardest part is getting them to church. I know that through small and simple things, great things will come to pass!
I love you family and miss you. I pray for you every day and feel your prayers for us and this great work. The church is true!

Love ya!